The 3x3x3 Tag: Tarot, Oracle, and Other

Tarot Decks (left to right): Haindl, Holy Light, and Hermetic
Tarot Decks (left to right): Haindl, Holy Light, and Hermetic

I came across this tag on Greylady’s Hearth a while back and wanted to pipe in with my own post. It originated among the vlogs, like Kelly’s of The Truth in Story and Divinationary, among others.

First of all, it needs to be said upfront that I’m an Air sign, both sun and rising, and my birth chart is dominated by the presence of Air. I’m fickle and flighty and am always changing my mind. So the most I can say is I’m answering these prompts based on me right now and only right now. Ask in, gosh I don’t know, a year or heck maybe even next month and my answer could change. So there’s that.

Nonetheless, let’s give it a go.

3 Favorite Tarot Decks

I’m naming my 3 personal favorite decks, not my go-to public reading decks. While I do use some of the decks I’m about to name in professional reading situations, I am far more likely to go with a Rider-Waite-Smith (such as the Smith-Waite Centennial or just the Rider Waite 1971) or the Golden Universal (basically RWS). Every once in a while, a seeker’s energy pulls me toward an entirely different deck, so it’s hard for me to give absolutes here. However, generally speaking, my favorite go-to reading deck for others is going to be a straightforward, classic RWS deck and from time to time, a TdM (Tarot de Marseille). There are a multitude of reasons for this discrepancy between personal favorites and public reading favorites, but that may be for another blog entry.

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The Hermetic Tarot by Godfrey Dowson: A Powerful Divination Deck and a Suggested Triquetra Spread

bellwen-HermeticTarot2

hermetic

The Hermetic Tarot by Godfrey Dowson is a masterpiece. The tone of the deck and Dowson’s artwork invokes the full spectrum of powers within the tarot practitioner for spiritual divinatory work. As a Golden Dawn study deck, the card images are fundamentally focused on alchemical and astrological references such as the decans in the Minor Arcana, with the deck outfitted for theurgy. It can be integrated into personal rituals, meditations, and ceremonies and in fact is probably far better suited for such work than, say, the Marseille, Rider-Waite-Smith, or even the Thoth decks.

bellwen-Hermetic-KnightGodfrey Dowson draws heavily from elemental dignities and affinities, Western astrology as interpreted by the Golden Dawn, and the Qabalah. Corresponding alchemical symbols for the four elements and astrological symbols are embedded into each card to denote the attributions. In the Major Arcana, the Key’s corresponding Hebrew letter appears on the top left corner. In the court cards, the alchemical symbol corresponding with the classical element that the card itself represents appears on the top left and the symbol for the element corresponding with the suit appears on the top right. The Knight of Swords, for example, represents Fire (for the Knight) on Air (for the suit of Swords). For practitioners who adopt interpretive methods reliant on elemental dignities and affinities, that is a godsend. The backs of the cards are illustrated with the Hermetic Rose and hexagrams. As they are non-reversible, it may not be an ideal deck for reading with reversals. That being said, the little white booklet that accompanies the Hermetic Tarot provides the meanings of the cards in the “ill-dignified” position, as reversals are called in the booklet, which suggests that the deck is nevertheless intended for reading with reversals.

The anatomy of the Hermetic Tarot is the same as the Rider-Waite-Smith (RWS) (e.g., VIII is Strength and XI is Justice or their equivalents) and there is substantial crossover of subscribed card meanings to render the Hermetic Tarot user-friendly for anyone familiar with the RWS. At the end of this deck review are correspondence tables that compare the RWS with the Hermetic Tarot. Note the card titles assigned to each card in the Hermetic deck. The essences of the cards as denoted by the titles are almost transferrable onto the RWS.

Continue reading “The Hermetic Tarot by Godfrey Dowson: A Powerful Divination Deck and a Suggested Triquetra Spread”