BN.com Gift Guide

Keywords for the Crowley Tarot

( 1 )
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (17) from $4.06   
  • New (8) from $12.48   
  • Used (9) from $4.06   
Keywords for the Crowley Tarot

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$12.49
BN.com price
(Save 43%)$21.95 List Price

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781578631735
  • Publisher: Red Wheel/Weiser
  • Publication date: 7/28/2001
  • Pages: 1
  • Sales rank: 1,315,884
  • Product dimensions: 5.37 (w) x 8.19 (h) x 0.59 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Keywords for the Crowley Tarot


By Hajo Banzhaf, Brigitte Theler, Christine Grimm

Weiser Books

Copyright © 1997 Hajo Banzhaf and Brigitte Theler
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-57863-173-5



CHAPTER 1

WHAT IS THE TAROT?


The Origin of the Tarot

The tarot is a card oracle that has existed in its current form since the 16th century. The deck consists of 78 cards, which are subdivided into two main groups: the major arcana, which consists of 22 consecutively numbered cards depicting individual motifs, such as the Fool, the Magus, the Sun and Moon, as well as Death and the Devil. The remaining 56 cards, the minor arcana, are arranged into a series of four suits. Each suit displays a common symbol (Wand, Sword, Disk, or Cup).

There are many differing opinions as to where this oracle came from and how it originally reached Europe. The earliest traces are lost in the 14th century. It is presumed that this is the time when the minor arcana came to the West from the Islamic world. On the other hand, the origin of the considerably more significant cards of the major arcana is uncertain. They only appeared around the end of the 16th century. It is not known whether the connection with the minor arcana first occurred at that time or whether all 78 cards had always belonged together.

Many people believe that these cards are nothing less than the ancient Egyptian priest caste's Book of Wisdom, which had blossomed in the dark for several thousands of years until they reached the light of public life about 400 years ago. However, others assume that the cards were created in the 14th century, which is undoubtedly the more plausible assumption.

As mysterious as the origin of the major arcana may be, its "disappearance" is also quite curious. Even though almost everyone is familiar with the minor arcana, because our current playing cards are based on it, only The Fool of the major arcana has "survived." He became the Joker. The other 21 cards disappeared from the card games that are commonly played today. Yet the four suits of the minor arcana, including their structure, are still found in our playing cards. The symbols—Wands, Swords, Cups, and Coins—which are widespread in card games from Roman-influenced countries even today, have now become Clubs, Spades, Hearts, and Diamonds.


Two Approaches to the Tarot

There are basically two different ways to approach the tarot. If we study the symbolism, the organization, and the structure of the cards, the images of the major arcana become a Book of Wisdom. They describe the human being's path of life and also permit meaningful insight into the reality behind reality. This deeply esoteric approach to the tarot is limited to the 22 cards of the major arcana, which form the actual philosophical background and contain the tarot's wisdom about life. Above all, important keys to this profound level are found in mythology, alchemy, and mystical numerology. In comparison, we do not know whether the cards of the minor arcana have ever been used for any other purpose than card-laying, which is the second, much more familiar way of approaching the tarot. And it is also the topic of this book. On this level, the differences between the major and minor arcana fade since they are treated almost the same when it comes to using the cards in a reading.


Coincidence and the Random Oracle

The relationship between an oracle and a game is not a phenomenon limited to the tarot cards. Other games we play, such as throwing dice, drawing lots, or Mikado, have also descended from ancient oracles. They are all based on the conviction that coincidence is something meaningful. Although the statement, "There are no coincidences," that we often hear today may mean the same thing, a closer look reveals its fallacy. We should actually say that there are no meaningless coincidences. That would correspond more closely with the original meaning of this word in the Middle Ages, which is based on the idea of "coinciding" or two things occurring at the same time. The philosophers of the European "Enlightenment" in the 18th century liked the approach that coincidences were purely arbitrary, depicting an absurd fate or the blind workings of life. This helped them through the embarrassing predicament of having to find explanations for inexplicable phenomena. However, our present-day willingness to presume a significant activity behind a coincidence or synchronicity has increased considerably. What does this mean?

When we translate our philosophy about our path to salvation (as described in a great variety of humanity's spiritual teachings) into the language of psychology, then our goal in life is to achieve wholeness. The force that urges each of us to strive for this goal is the "Self." C. G. Jung used this term to describe the greater whole that encompasses both conscious and unconscious aspects of a human being. Since our ego, as the center of consciousness, is only a part of the Self—and with great probability just a very small portion—it naturally cannot develop an extensive view of the greater whole. Neither can it speak with certainty about the nature of the Self.

However, we can pay attention to the messages it sends us via dream and inspiration. We can also observe its activity in the many coincidental phenomena of our lives. Similar to the situation of subtle quantum physics, the observer is naturally a part of the experiment as well. If we think that dreams are just nonsense, our dreams will hardly have anything meaningful to say to us. But if we pay friendly attention to the inspiration coming from the unconscious mind, as well as to coincidental occurrences, we will notice some unusual and memorable experiences.

From this perspective, we know that oracles make significant statements, especially because of their random patterns, even if making such an assumption is blatantly contrary to the scientific way of looking at things. And here is where we repeatedly hear judgments in relation to reading the tarot: "If the cards are laid out five times in a row, an answer is given through different cards each time." This is both true and false. Actually, in such a situation, different cards would actually turn up, but this doesn't prove anything. Only the rational presentation of evidence is based on the repeatability of an experiment. To do this, it is necessary to exclude coincidences with a vengeance, to carry out a planned test series without any disturbances in an appropriate room, a shielded laboratory, for instance. If the experiment succeeds as many times as desired, proof has been provided. However, random oracles, just like dreams, belong to the irrational world, and therefore cannot be measured with such rational means.

A dream doesn't first become meaningful when we have dreamed it five times. In the same way, a random oracle does not live from its repeatability. While coincidence is considered an unknown quantity and an undesired troublemaker that can confuse any experiment in the rational world, it proves to be the most important and expressive factor in the irrational world. This is why the pattern of an initial and single laying of the cards is meaningful. The fact that it cannot be repeated does not prove anything.

If we consider Jungian psychology and assume that forces found in the unconscious mind guide us, then the tarot can also symbolize a dialog between the conscious and the unconscious mind. Just like the other occurrences and experiences that are brought about by the unconscious mind so we can grow and mature, advice from the tarot also comes into our lives with messages from the unconscious mind. This background allows the oracle to appear in a completely different light and become a unique source of self-perception. So that it would be understood in this way, the philosopher Thales of Miletus had the famous inscription of "Know thyself," written on the Temple at Delphi at the beginning of the sixth century B.C. to explain the actual meaning of all oracles. People who comprehend these messages, and who allow themselves to be guided by them, will take their very own path, one that corresponds with their individuality, and they will find themselves as a result. On the other hand, those who consider the unconscious mind to be nothing more than an enchanted wonderland with magical powers that the ego may shamelessly exploit in order to satisfy its boundless craving for recognition and naive expectations of happiness, will at best be disappointed. People who want to learn their numbers to play the lottery, or who consider the tarot as spiritual insurance against the inconveniences of life, may not be very successful. "Every approach to the unconscious, or just wanting to make use of it," warns the Jungian Marie-Louise von Franz, "has destructive effects." And she compares this process to the ruthless exploitation of the forests, the ruinous exhaustion of natural resources, and the greedy plundering of our mineral resources—all of which only leads to a disturbance of the biological equilibrium. Moreover, missing the point is the original meaning of the word "sin." Perhaps it is this danger that, time and again, has discredited the tarot cards as the prayerbook of the Devil.

CHAPTER 2

VARIOUS VERSIONS OF THE TAROT


The Traditional Cards

There are many variations of the tarot common today, but the Marseilles Tarot is considered to be the most classic version because it is most closely related to the card motifs of past centuries. Yet, we still cannot say that this is the original depiction, since the cards have always proved to have a great degree of variation between them, and no original tarot is known. A typical characteristic of older cards is that only the major arcana, the court cards (King, Queen, Knight, and Page) and sometimes also the four Aces have picture motifs. Apart from ornamental flourishes and garlands, the illustrations on the remaining cards are essentially limited to the numerical rendition of their symbol, similar to present-day playing cards. For example, the Five of Coins shows 5 coins, just like the Five of Diamonds shows 5 diamonds. It is understandably much more difficult to interpret these cards. We must either learn all their meanings by heart, or use another system to find the message of each card.

One way to increase our knowledge is to classify the four suits of the minor arcana according to the four elements: Wands = fire, Swords = air, Coins = earth, and Cups = water. If we also consider the knowledge of the meaning of the numbers 1 to 10, passed down by mystical numerology, the meaning of a card can be derived from these two components. Since, among other things, the number 3 represents healthy stability and living growth, and Cups are equivalent to the water element and the world of feelings, the following meaning results from the Three of Cups: feeling healthy and full of life. Without a doubt, such an approach to the cards is more difficult and less inspiring for most people than working with an expressive picture.


The Waite Tarot

At the beginning of the 20th century, Arthur Edward Waite (1857–1942) and Pamela Coleman Smith (1875–1951) created new cards. These were published in 1910 as the Waite Tarot, or the Rider-Waite Tarot, and became the best-known tarot cards in the world, and have the broadest distribution. Both creators of these cards were members of the Order of the Golden Dawn, an esoteric society that was London's most famous at the turn of the 19th century. This circle, which included many illustrious personalities as its members, was extremely interested in the Western tradition and tarot in particular. A. E. Waite, who was also the head of the order at times, was considered the "walking library" of the house. On the basis of his deep and extensive knowledge, he created the concept for the new cards. The artist Pamela Coleman Smith turned this concept into the pictures on the cards. While the depiction of the major arcana usually reflected the classical patterns, the minor arcana was given a completely new design. Each minor arcana card was illustrated, making it possible to derive the meaning of all 78 cards from the motifs. This change contained such an enormous enrichment for the cards that it has been the main reason for their great popularity.


The Crowley Tarot

Second today in terms of popularity—at least in English- and German-speaking areas—is a tarot deck created by the highly controversial Aleister Crowley (1875–1947), who many people denounce as a magician who practiced black magic, while others—including some very clever minds—see him as one of the great initiates. Crowley, who in his childhood suffered from the sectarian narrowness of his parental home and was not allowed to experience Christianity as a message of love, had passionately proclaimed the end of this world religion and claimed that he was the Anti-Christ, ultimately even the prophet of a new age. Since he fanned all the Christian fears that had been slumbering since the Middle Ages in the people of the Western world, and because he also rarely missed an opportunity to make himself unpopular, Crowley was not only stamped an arch villain but also fell lastingly into disrepute, far beyond his own age, so that even today some fainthearted souls flinch at the sound of his name. More than a few people fear that becoming interested in his work is a certain ticket to Hell. That is not true.

Crowley was neither a criminal nor did he propagandize evil. He was concerned with defeating a belief that, in his eyes, was outdated and hypocritical. However, for this purpose he had the audacity of besmirching the holy values of the Western world. He has never been forgiven for this insolence. Since his attempt to establish a new world religion has remained rather unsuccessful, and his magic only interests a relatively small circle of ardent insiders, the name Crowley would have long been forgotten except for one fact: toward the end of his life he developed a new tarot. This tarot was first published in 1944 as The Book of Thoth, named after the ancient Egyptian god of wisdom and magic spells. He let all his magical knowledge flow into these cards, which were painted by the artist Lady Frieda Harris (1887–1962). And since he was a highly educated, widely traveled man, and extraordinarily well-versed authority of esoteric tradition, it is no wonder that this tarot deck not only fascinates us but has also remained unsurpassed to this day in its symbolic content and complexity.

In contrast to the Waite Tarot, these exceedingly profound images present a problem. Although the pictures are fascinating, they are not simple and pleasing. Particularly because of the depth and abundance of their symbolism, it is not always easy to gain access to their meaning. A further factor is that in the design of the minor arcana, Crowley places himself between the simple but shallow depiction of the old cards and the easily understandable motifs of the Waite Tarot. We could say that he abstracted the respective idea in his cards. As a result, their meaning is expressed quite well, but only for those who are capable of reading the symbols. As if to balance out this complication a bit, each card of the Crowley Tarot has a name. For some, this may be a helpful bridge to interpretation. However, some people simply read the name without exploring the picture, which is known to say more than a thousand words. As a result, they only get a vague idea (or none at all) of what the card would truly like to express.

The Crowley Tarot is different in structure from the Waite deck. This difference has caused confusion for Crowley changed the names of the Court cards, which overlap with the old names in the following, easily misunderstood manner:

Traditional, names of the Corresponding Court cards
Court cards in the Crowley Tarot

King
Knight
Queen
Queen
Knight
Prince
Page
Princess

Furthermore, some of the cards in the major arcana of the Crowley Tarot received new names. Justice became Adjustment (VIII); while the Wheel of Fortune was shortened to Fortune (X); Strength became Lust (XI); Temperance was transformed into Art (XIV); The World is called The Universe (XXI). But the most fundamental change occurred in the 20th card. It has been called Judgement and showed the wonder of resurrection on the Day of Judgment. According to Crowley's understanding, this theme belonged to the closing age of Osiris, the age of the sacrificed and self-sacrificing gods. But his newly designed card, The Aeon, is devoted to the approaching age of Horus, upon which Horus can be seen as the ruler of this new eon. This approach naturally also transforms the meaning of this card. It no longer represents redemption and the wonder of transformation, as in the older tarots, but the birth of the new and the vision of a broad future.
(Continues...)


Excerpted from Keywords for the Crowley Tarot by Hajo Banzhaf, Brigitte Theler, Christine Grimm. Copyright © 1997 Hajo Banzhaf and Brigitte Theler. Excerpted by permission of Weiser Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Contents

What Is the Tarot?          

The Origin of the Tarot          

Two Approaches to the Tarot          

Coincidence and the Random Oracle          

Various Versions of the Tarot          

The Traditional Cards          

The Waite Tarot          

The Crowley Tarot          

Further Tarot Variations          

Are There Right and Wrong Tarot Cards?          

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers          

From Asking the Question to Interpreting the Answer          

Quick Access for People in a Hurry          

How Should the Question Be Asked?          

Shuffling, Drawing, and Laying the Cards          

The Interpretation          

The Individual Cards          

Summarizing the Message          

Reversed Cards          

The Quintessence          

Methods of Laying Out the Cards          

Simple Card Layouts          

Card for the Day          

Card for the Year          

Comprehensive Layouts          

The Ankh          

The Astrological Tarot Reading          

The Relationship Game          

The Blind Spot          

The Decision Game          

The Secret of the High Priestess          

The Celtic Cross          

The Cross          

The Next Step          

The Fool's Game          

The Partner Game          

The Plan Game          

The Door          

The Path          

Keywords for Interpretation          

Introduction          

The 22 Cards of the Major Arcana          

The 56 Cards of the Minor Arcana          

Wands          

Cups          

Swords          

Disks          

Sample Interpretations          

Glossary          

Selected Bibliography          

Index          

About the Authors          


Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 1 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(1)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)