Jailbreaking Tarot of the Bohemians by Papus

Tarot, Astrology, and the Four Seasons. Reference diagram from Tarot of the Bohemians (Papus). Click to download high-res image file.

This is a two-part installment of Sightsee the Tarot as we take a tour of Tarot of the Bohemians by Papus, the pseudonym of Gérard Encausse, a French physician and occultist.

Part 1 is lecture only, summarizing the entirety of the text, Tarot of the Bohemians. Part 2 is a hands-on guided workshop of a reading method taught by Papus.

You don’t have to watch Part 1 (lecture only) to work through Part 2 (guided tarot reading method). The two parts can be standalone videos that you watch without the other.

So if you just want to try out the late 19th century reading spread instructed by Papus and don’t much care for an audio-visual summary of Tarot of the Bohemians, then skip Part 1 and go straight to Part 2.

If you’re just here for the audio-visual summary of Bohemians but aren’t in the mood to do a tarot reading right now, then just watch Part 1.

Continue reading “Jailbreaking Tarot of the Bohemians by Papus”

An “Ancient” Mode of Tarot Reading by MacGregor Mathers

Skill LevelGeneral (All)

Together, let’s walk through a tarot reading method instructed by S. L. MacGregor Mathers in The Tarot, Its Occult Signification, Use in Fortune-Telling, and Method of Play (1888). He describes this reading technique as “a very ancient mode of reading the tarot” that “will be found reliable.”

Shall we try it out for ourselves?

First, download the Reading Notes worksheet. You’ll be logging your card results on these pages (or copy the format into your tarot journal). I urge you to either use the worksheet or take really organized and structured notes on your reading here, because there are a lot of card pairs to unpack. =)

Reading Notes Worksheet

PDF Download

The Worksheet includes a final Review section for you to return to the reading later in time and give yourself feedback on whether your predictions came true or whether you may have misinterpreted some of the cards and how they actually came to fruition.

Alternative Reading Approach

In the video tutorial, we are reading the First Horseshoe as the Past, Second Horseshoe as the Present, and Third Horseshoe as the Future.

However, there is an alternative way to read these the three sets, and that’s noted in the above-linked Worksheet.

You can also opt to read the First Horseshoe as revealing of the Self, of the personality or character in question.

The Second Horseshoe reveals the environment, the plot points and situation the querent is in.

The Third Horseshoe can be read as the path forward, i.e., the future, or one’s spiritual path, or some combination of the two indications.

Inferences Made

In the selected passages of Mathers’ instruction on the reading method, he doesn’t get into any details about what each of the three Horseshoes indicate. However, I inferred the trinity and Septenary correspondences contextually, based on the preceding content in his book.

Experiment: Read Exactly the Way Mathers Would Instruct

A fun way to take this reading method out on a test drive is with a Tarot de Marseille deck and, following the instructions in The Tarot, read with reversals.

If you’re not familiar with the Marseille system at all, that’s even better, because the most entertaining way to do this is to force yourself to work off the card meanings given in the Mathers text, which you can download as a supplemental handout.

TdM Card Meanings Reference

The Tarot (1888)

In the above handout, I’ve rearranged the ordering of the card meanings. For the original order Mathers put the cards in, check out the subsequent download of The Tarot (1888). In the above PDF, I arranged it in the order that the majority of modern tarot readers are going to be used to seeing the cards. In a few places, I’ve also edited the text when the original phrasing by Mathers has become obsolete, so I included modern equivalents.

Continue reading “An “Ancient” Mode of Tarot Reading by MacGregor Mathers”

Review of the Dark Tarot

Dark Tarot 01 Majors I

The Dark Tarot is a Tarot de Marseille based deck designed by M. over at darktarot.com. I say “M.” because I don’t know whether this person wants to be identified, so there we go. I’ve been working with this deck for a few months now and just love it.

M. reached out and gifted me with this deck and not for any promotional purposes either. This deck isn’t for sale. In fact, digital files to the cards are available for free download at darktarot.com and you can use those files to print out your own copy of the deck. Free! Yet M. gifted me with a hard copy of the deck just because. And I am so glad to have become acquainted with this TdM deck!

Above, just look at the beautiful imagery in the Majors.

Dark Tarot 07 Card Backs

I don’t know a lot about the deck so I’m not able to give a lot of information, but I can tell you it reads beautifully. It’s a piecemeal of several public domain TdM-based decks. I’ve been working with the deck in client readings, for my Learning the Opening of the Key master class over at Tarot Summer School, and for those who follow me on Instagram, posting tons of lovely photos of the deck over there. Also, stay tuned to the end of this post for details on a giveaway. M. and I are giving away a free copy of this deck.

Dark Tarot 02 Majors II

These cards look absolutely beautiful in a spread, and if you’ve been wanting to learn to read the Tarot de Marseille, the Dark Tarot is an ideal deck to learn on. In some of the Marseille decks, the suit of Wands and the suit of Swords can look alike and get confusing for novices. Not here.

Dark Tarot 03 Wands

There are white borders here but it’s easy to trim this deck if you so choose to. I love the faux antiqued look here and this will easily be a beloved deck by any Marseille (TdM) reader.

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What Your Favorite Tarot Deck Says About You

lotsadecks

Let me tell you what your favorite go-to tarot deck says about you. That’s right. I think I know you better than you know yourself. And all from knowing which tarot deck you like.

Visconti-Sforza Tarot by U.S. Games
Visconti-Sforza Tarot by U.S. Games

Tarot de Marseille

You’re kind of an elitist snob. You think your tarot deck is more authentic than other people’s tarot decks and so that makes you better. When you’re talking about tarot, you make sure to emphasize that you read with the Marseille (no, you would say “TdM”) deck because you’re pretty sure that fact alone conveys the depth and breadth of your tarot knowledge.

Oswald Wirth Tarot by U.S. Games
Oswald Wirth Tarot by U.S. Games

Esoteric Tarot Deck Pre-1900

You’re an elitist snob. You’re probably a voracious reader of obscure books, especially books bearing titles that begin with “Liber.” You get all academic and historian-y when talking about witchcraft or ceremonial magic.

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Tarot of The Holy Light: A Continental Esoteric Tarot (A Book Review)

Tarot of the Holy Light, ISBN: 978-0-9673043-2-8
Tarot of the Holy Light, ISBN: 978-0-9673043-2-8

Tarot of the Holy Light: A Continental Esoteric Tarot (Noreah/Brownfield Press, June 2015) is a book that started ten years ago, and so when I talk about the long-awaited arrival of this book, I’m not kidding. It is the first volume of companion text to the Tarot of the Holy Light tarot deck by Christine Payne-Towler and Michael Dowers, which I’ve reviewed on this site before.

Volume two, forthcoming, will be Foundations of the Esoteric Tradition. The two volumes together function as left and right hemispheres of the same mind. This book review will only be of volume one, Tarot of the Holy Light (“THL Companion Book”)

THL - Book and Deck Closed

The THL Companion Book is self-published by Christine Payne-Towler and Michael Dowers under their publishing entity, Noreah/Brownfield Press. The book is soft-cover and perfect bound, and at 492-pages, is full of meat. I love the unique dimension, too, at 5″ x 7″, which makes it an incredibly compact text to throw into your handbag.

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XIII Tarot by Nekro: Deck Review

XIII Tarot - 01 Box Cover

The XIII Tarot by Nekro, published in 2014 by Fournier/Lo Scarabeo (and distributed in North America by Llewellyn) is a Gothic-inspired art deck with ornamental detailing, intense, evocative emotion, and a macabre motif. The art is in grayscale, with select sections of each card digitally enhanced a brilliant red.

The audience for the XIII Tarot deck is going to be aficionados of dark/gothic tarot decks, though without illustrated pips, it’s going to be better suited for Marseille readers.

XIII Tarot - Unillustrated Pips

Many of the reviews for the deck that I read on Amazon complain about the non-illustrated pips, but that didn’t bother me. You just have to know what you’re getting, as a deck buyer. In the context of Nekro’s highly detailed artwork, I like the non-illustrated pips. Illustrated pips, given Nekro’s highly detailed art work, along with the already highly detailed Majors might have been overkill.

Notice how the Majors stand out in a reading spread with the XIII Tarot.
Notice how the Majors stand out in a reading spread with the XIII Tarot.

When the cards are set out in spreads, the images on the Majors step forward beautifully, the Courts speak to us in their respective voices, and the pips provide supplemental information. For me, the deck reads quite well, but I see how visual-spatial-right-brained readers are going to prefer the illustrated pips that you might find in other Gothic decks like the Dark Grimoire Tarot by Michele Penco also by Lo Scarabeo, or the Bohemian Gothic Tarot by Alex Ukolov and Karen Mahony, which sadly, is now out of print (I believe).

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A Tarot Deck Library: The Hobby of Collecting

alldecks

I will start by saying that you only need one tarot deck to be a practitioner. Every deck over one is excess. That being said, if you’re a tarot enthusiast, there will be no convincing you to stop hoarding tarot decks. I mean, you probably only need one pair of shoes, and yet I have fifty. I like to collect. So if you, too, must collect, then at least try to keep your collecting focused. This post will offer tips on building a tarot deck library.

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