Tag Archives: Jeffrey S Kupperman

Three Books of Golden Dawn Tarot

Jeffrey S Kupperman reviews Three Books of Golden Dawn Tarot in Divination, Vol 1 No 4, from the archive of Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition.

Wang An Introduction to the Golden Dawn Tarot

An Introduction to the Golden Dawn Tarot [Amazon], Robert Wang. 158 pages. Samuel Weiser, Inc., York Beach, ME. $7.95 USD

First published in 1978, An Introduction to the Golden Dawn Tarot was the first book available that discussed solely the tarot as conceived by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (GD). Now students of the works of Israel Regardie, who had a great deal of input to both this book and its corresponding “Golden Dawn Tarot” deck had a quick reference manual for all of “Book T”. “Book T” also appears in the Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic and the Golden Dawn, however neither of these works are known for their easy indexing.

An Introduction contains more than just the raw tables of “Book T”. The first 51 pages of this small book discusses several topics anent the history surrounding the Golden Dawn tarot. For instance decks produced by various members of the GD are mentioned as well as how and often why they differ from the GD manuscripts. There is also a section talking about the differences between “exoteric” and “esoteric” tarot decks. More importantly, at least from the practicing magician’s point of view, there is a discussion on how the tarot can be used in ritual and for skrying.

The majority of the book contains the information from “Book T”, which includes not only the tarot descriptions and their meanings but also associated astrological information and the complex tarot reading known as the Opening by Key. Also included in this work is a paper by Mrs. Felkin, the wife of the Chief of the New Zealand Smaragdum Thalasses, an offshoot of the original GD after its schism. The book concludes with A.E. Waite’s “Ten Card Method of Tarot – Divination”, originally published in his Pictorial Key to the Tarot and a two page recommended reading list.

Perhaps the only thing that is disappointing about An Introduction to the Golden Dawn Tarot is the tarot deck that Dr. Wang produced to go with it. While the deck is accurate to the imagery of the Golden Dawn documents the illustration and color work are lacking in brightness, making the deck appear dull and faded. From the perspective of the GD’s color theory this will cause the tarot images to be less useful tools than they otherwise could be. From an aesthetic perspective the deck fails to compare with decks such as the Thoth deck designed by Aleister Crowley and painted by Lady Frieda Harris or Sandra Tabatha Cicero’s New Golden Dawn Ritual Tarot Deck (discussed below).

Cicero The New Golden Dawn Ritual Tarot

The New Golden Dawn Ritual Tarot: Keys to the Rituals, Symbolism, Magic & Divination [Bookshop, Amazon] Chic Cicero, Sandra Tabatha Cicero. 235 pages. Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul, MN, $14.95 USD

Published in 1996, nearly 28 years after Robert Wang’s Golden Dawn tarot book, The New Golden Dawn Ritual Tarot is the second of only three books released to the public concerning the Golden Dawn tarot system. Unlike Wang’s work, however, the Cicero’s have gone beyond the original GD documents to create an updated tarot book and deck, which is still based on the teachings of the Golden Dawn.

The New Golden Dawn Ritual Tarot, like An Introduction contains all of the material in “Book T” (minus the paper on the tarot projected into a sphere, which is also missing from Wang), though some of it has been rewritten in modern language. However, the tarot card descriptions go beyond the simple one or two paragraphs of “Book T” to discuss each card more in-depth. The only criticism of this is that these added descriptions seem to apply mostly to the newer designs developed by Mrs. Cicero and do not always apply to the GD tarot as a whole, though the creative student should have little problem in extrapolating from one deck to another or adding the new symbolism to his or her catalog of symbols.

This book also contains over 70 pages dedicated solely to ritual work and divination. Unlike in Wang, which aside from the Opening by Key only discusses ritual work in theory, the Ciceros give examples of rituals, divination and skrying techniques as well as the complete rubric for performing them. The book ends with a page on the 32 paths of wisdom, a later annotation to the Jewish Kabbalistic work the Sefer Yetzirah and a good sized bibliography.

Along with The New Golden Dawn Ritual Tarot there is a New Golden Dawn Ritual Tarot Deck, designed and painted by Sandra Tabatha Cicero. This deck contrasts drastically from the Wang deck. Its colors are bright and vibrant and for the first time in a Golden Dawn deck the flashing colors are used. These aspects add to the overall usability of the deck for magical work. However the artwork of the deck is very stylistic, almost cartoon-ish, in nature and may not be to everyone’s liking.

Zalewski The Magical Tarot of the Golden Dawn

The Magical Tarot of the Golden Dawn: Divination, Meditation and High Magical Teachings [Bookshop, Amazon] Patrick J. Zalewski, Chris L. Zalewski. 395 pages. Open Mind Publications, Hastings, Australia. $50.00 USD Limited to 150 copies.

Published originally in 1997 but not released until several years later, The Magical Tarot of the Golden Dawn is possibly the most impressive of the Golden Dawn tarot books. This book is a massive volume, almost 400 pages in length on A4 size paper. Like the previous books this one discusses all of the material in “Book T” (including a re-written tarot and the celestial sphere paper). It also goes beyond the published GD documents in its treatment of the cards, however it does so in a traditional manner. Instead of creating a new version of the Golden Dawn tarot, the Zalewskis recreate a version of the original deck, even using images from the Smaragdum Thalasses’s original tarot deck.

The tarot card descriptions within The Magical Tarot of the Golden Dawn go far beyond the original descriptions and are often two to three pages in length. These descriptions include previously unpublished material from both S. L. MacGregor Mathers and various members of the Smaragdum Thalasses’s Ware Ra temple. Like in the Cicero’s book a great deal of research has been done into the history of the GD tarot and the tarot in general. There is a great deal of new information developed by the Zalewskis as well, as their discussion of the cards on an alchemical level or from the point of view of both spiritual evolution and involution.

Another new feature to this book is the discussion of color and how the GD tarot was traditionally supposed to be colored. According to the Zalewskis, they have published for the first time the correct Golden Dawn method for card coloring, which is apparently closer to that used in Crowley’s Thoth deck than in any other Golden Dawn based tarot. Along with this is a printing of the four color scales as used by Ware Ra, which different in numerous respects to those which have been printed by both Regardie and Crowley. The final 80 or so pages discuss numerous tarot spreads, including the Opening by Key, tarot skrying and meditation, and the re-written Golden Dawn paper entitled “Celestial Tarot”. The tarot spreads include some spreads which are the creation of the Zalewski and the section on mediation and skrying includes what can only be called “tarot poems” for each of the Trump Cards. Two methods for skrying are given in full as well as several examples of skryings already performed. The final section, “Celestial Tarot” contains reworked diagrams by Chris Zalewski. Unfortunately there is no bibliography, though many of the books used for researched are mentioned in the extensive footnotes.

There are two or three critiques to be made about The Magical Tarot of the Golden Dawn. The first of which is that, it being a work of self-publication, the binding method is worse than usual bookbindings. The comb binding used is inadequate for the size of the book causing the outside pages to tear. As mentioned there is no bibliography but there is also no index for cross-referencing. Finally there is not as yet a tarot deck to accompany this book, though according to Mr. Zalewski one being painted by Skip Dudchus is nearly finished.

Omnium Gatherum: June 11th, 2014

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for June 11th, 2014

Mihai Mihu Dante's Inferno Lust
Mihai Mihu’s LEGO diorama for “Lust” from Dante's Inferno

 

  • The Householder’s Guide to Form and Deed” — Scott David Finch (author of A Little World Made Cunningly), Spiral Nature

    “After putting myself in too many people’s shoes, and seeing the world through everyone else’s eyes for too long, I start to become a warped and weary alien to myself. I no longer recognize my own face and I need to recharge. This is when I head to my studio to sit.”

  • How to Become a Living Douche! The Impressively Embarrassing Occultism of EA Koetting” — Thad McKraken, disinformation

    “I have to confess that what I’ve found mindblowing about exploring the Occult is that the church has slandered it as being daemon worship, and because of that, a group of gothed out weirdoes have decided that they love the idea worshipping Satan. Even though the Occult doesn’t actually involve that (it’s about mastering your daemons and making contact with your Holy Guardian Angel), they’re just going to make it about that anyway because they’re just…so…hard.”

  • Dreamscripts in the Waking World” — William Kiesel, The Brooklyn Rail

    “One of the signs which has become a trademark of being in a dream is the inability to read the written word or at other times to decipher numbers on a clock face or elsewhere. Such figures most often appear to blur before the eyes. There are times when the oneiric traveller is blest with clarity of vision wherein the characters in the given instance are crystal clear, but such instances are typically rare. It is significant that there is a crossover between the experience of legible and illegible scripts in both the waking and dream worlds.”

    “With the use of oneiric praxis, sigils of the wake world can be brought to the dreamscape, as well as drawing the dream texts upon the waking consciousness. No doubt the viewing of sigillic devices could produce the atmosphere of the dream in the waking consciousness of one unaccustomed to seeing such scripts.”

  • Caveat Lecter” — Houghton Library Blog [HT Harvard Library]

    “Good news for fans of anthropodermic bibliopegy, bibliomaniacs and cannibals alike: tests have revealed that Houghton Library’s copy of Arsène Houssaye’s Des destinées de l’ame [The destiny of the soul] (FC8.H8177.879dc) is without a doubt bound in human skin.”

  • Earth’s backup: Sending religious texts to the moon” — Paul Marks, NewScientist

    “The first artefacts to shoot for the moon could be three religious and philosophical texts. The Torah on the Moon project, based in Tel Aviv, Israel, has been courting private firms to deliver a handwritten Jewish scroll, the Sefer Torah, to the lunar surface. If they succeed, later flights will carry Hindu scriptures called the Vedas and the ancient Chinese philosophical work, the I-Ching.

    Each document will be housed in a space-ready capsule designed to protect it from harsh radiation and temperature changes on the moon for at least 10,000 years.”

  • The Samuelson Clinic releases “Is it in the Public Domain?” handbook” – UC Berkeley School of Law [HT Boing Boing]

    “These educational tools help users to evaluate the copyright status of a work created in the United States between January 1, 1923 and December 31, 1977—those works that were created before today’s 1976 Copyright Act. Many important works—from archival materials to family photos and movies—were created during this time, and it can be difficult to tell whether they are still under copyright.”

  • Handbook to figure out what’s in the public domain” — Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing

    “This is probably the most esoteric question that normal people from all walks of life have to answer routinely; the Samuelson Clinic has really done an important public service here.”

  • Book of Soyga or Aldaraia sive Soyga vocor [PDF], edited and translated by Jane Kupin, Twilit Grotto [HT Joseph H Peterson]

    “Here begins the book Aldaraia in accordance with that which our authorities proclaimed to us; they were from God and from the celestial parts and it was revealed to them in the desert about celestial matters.”

  • The Self-Sacrifice of Our Own Individuality” — Michael Gilleland, Laudator Temporis Acti

    “We perform our task correctly only when we don’t force our own mind into every ancient book that falls into our hands; but rather read out of it what is already there.”

  • The Anagogic Role of Sunthemata in the Sacramental Liturgy of Pseudo-Dionysius” — Jeffrey S Kupperman

    “The Neoplatonic writings of the 6th century writer known as pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite have influenced, and continue to influence, Christian theologians and esotericists, amongst others, to this day. Typically, a handful of Dionysius’ topics are discussed: his angelology, his sacramental theology, and his treatment of the divine names are on the top of the list. This paper treats one of these subjects, Dionysian sacraments”

  • Occultic and Masonic Influence in Early Mormonism” — Joel B Groat, Institute for Religious Research

    “The evidence of Joseph Smith’s close connection to occultism and Freemasonry, and how this influenced the origin and development of the LDS Church is not well known outside of scholarly circles. This article summarizes the evidence for Joseph’s personal involvement in both Freemasonry and occultism, and their influence on the Mormon religion.”

  • Christopher Lee makes heavy metal Don Quixote” — BBC News

    “Actor Sir Christopher Lee is marking his 92nd birthday by releasing an album of heavy metal cover versions.

    Two of the songs come from the Don Quixote musical Man of La Mancha, which was a Broadway smash in the 1960s.

    ‘As far as I am concerned, Don Quixote is the most metal fictional character that I know, the Hobbit star said.

    ‘Single handed, he is trying to change the world, regardless of any personal consequences. It is a wonderful character to sing.'”

  • Of course Thelema is satanic” — Thomas Zwollo, Spiral Nature

    “Thelema rejects all these notions that enslave humanity to a deity that would demand certain beliefs and actions and punish those who disobey. Satan represents the rejection of this belief system and the exultation of the individual. Is Satan central to Thelema? No. Is Satan mentioned in Thelema? Yes, frequently.”

  • On the ‘itch’ within the Witch” — Nicholaj de Mattos Frisvold, The Starry Cave

    “I believe Traditional Witchcraft is a poetic reality humming the nocturnal mysteries of Night. I believe the Witch is concerned with Solace and comfort, the same solace we find resting in the Night. I believe the Witch is a creature tied to the land whose heart is a crossroad where the fire of Need gushes forth from the fountain of the soul like a veiled spring of fiery droplets of gold and silver.”

  • The Rosicrucian Vision” — Christopher McIntosh, New Dawn Magazine

    “The word ‘Rosicrucian’ is one that most readers will have heard many times. Yet if I were to ask for a definition of the word I would probably be given a wide variety of different answers. I might be told that it was something to do with esoteric Christianity, with alchemy, or with Cabala. All of these things are part of the answer, but not the whole answer.

    So what is Rosicrucianism? For the time being let us call it a current of thought and ideas which has been flowing through history for at least three and a half centuries and probably quite a bit longer, sometimes underground, sometimes coming to the surface, but always pushing human beings towards certain goals. I say that we can trace the current back three and a half centuries because that was when it first came to the surface. So let us go back to that moment in history.”

  • Pagan God From Bronze Age Caught By Unsuspecting Fisherman In Siberia” — Yasmine Hafiz, The Huffington Post; from the it-has-the-innsmouth-look dept

    “Nikolay Tarasov was fishing in a river near his home in Tisul, in the Kemerovo region of Siberia, when he caught something unexpected—and very old.”

    “Museum curators dated the figure to over 4,000 years old. Carved in horn which was later fossilized, the Bronze Age figurine shows a pagan god.”

    Pagan God from the Bronze Age caught by fisherman in Siberia

     

  • Circumambulating the Alchemical Mysterium” — Aaron Cheak, Reality Sandwich; an excerpt from Alchemical Traditions: From Antiquity to the Avant-Garde

    “Alchemy may be described, in the words of Baudelaire, as a process of ‘distilling the eternal from the transient’. As the art of transmutation par excellence, the classical applications of alchemy have always been twofold: chrysopoeia and apotheosis (gold-making and god-making)—the perfection of metals and mortals. In seeking to turn ‘poison into wine’, alchemy, like tantra, engages material existence—often at its most dissolute or corruptible—in order to transform it into a vehicle of liberation. Like theurgy, it seeks not only personal liberation—the redemption of the soul from the cycles of generation and corruption—but also the liberation (or perfection) of nature herself through participation in the cosmic demiurgy. In its highest sense, therefore, alchemy conforms to what Lurianic kabbalists would call tikkun, the restoration of the world.”

  • Plaidoyer for historical-critical Steiner research. Using the methodological example of Rudolf Steiner as a possible character in the Mysteriendramen.” — David W Wood

    “A main thesis of this paper is that one of the ways for Rudolf Steiner research to become more scientific is to proceed in accordance with a genuine historical and critical methodology. It attempts to show that even though some of Steiner’s chief critics support this method in theory, they often fall short of a historical-critical approach in practice. Using the example of the unresolved problem of whether Steiner could be a character in his own Mysteriendramen, the author provides a number of methodological, historical and biographical indications for approaching this problem. He tries to demonstrate the fruitfulness of this method by addressing the question of Steiner as a drama character from the new perspective of literary pseudonyms. In conclusion, he maintains that a scholarly historical-critical approach to spiritual science was advocated by Steiner himself.”

  • What Happens to the Brain During Spiritual Experiences? The field of neurotheology uses science to try to understand religion, and vice versa.” — Lynne Blumberg, The Atlantic

    “Since everyday and spiritual concerns are variations of the same thinking processes, [Andrew] Newberg thinks it’s essential to examine how people experience spirituality in order to fully understand how their brains work. Looking at the bigger questions has already provided practical applications for improving mental and physical health.”

  • Intolerance and Fanaticism” — Michael Gilleland, Laudator Temporis Acti

    “Men find it very hard to apply a little criticism to the sources of their beliefs and the origin of their faith. It is just as well; if we looked too close into first principles, we should never believe at all.”

  • Paradise Found: The ideal(ized) vision of Paul Gauguin.” — Daniel Goodman, The Weekly Standard [HT Arts & Letters Daily]

    “Gauguin’s art depicts Tahitians as they are sleeping, worshipping, and engaging in other quotidian activities. But whereas Cheever, Chekhov, Roth, John Updike, and other literary artists used their keen perceptive abilities in the pursuit of sober realism, Gauguin put his artistry to the purpose of imaginative proto-surrealism.

    Gauguin, who rejected European cultural and religious constraints, thought of himself as a savage in the eyes of the civilized world. Oviri (1894, his personal favorite amongst all his sculptures) and many of his other works were regarded as radical for a variety of reasons, not least because they subverted traditional, conventional ideas of feminine beauty.”

  • We need to talk about misogyny and sexism” — Psyche, Spiral Nature

    “Equality. That’s the secret agenda, folks. Feminism isn’t about women first, it’s about women too.”

  • Congo: A Group of Chimpanzees Seem to Have Mastered Fire” — World News Daily Report; from the fake-news-but-wouldn’t-it-be-wild-if dept.

    “It is however, the first time that a group of these primates develops some technical concepts as elaborate as these on their own. A few individual apes seem to have originally developed a rudimentary technique of rather poor efficiency, but the group gradually improved it through experimentation and observation over the last few months. They are now able to create and maintain a fire, which they have been using mostly to scare off predators and cook some of their food.”

  • On the Seventh Day, We Unplug: How and Why to Take a Tech Sabbath” — Brett & Katie McKay, The Art of Manliness

    “Taking a weekly Tech Sabbath allows us to step off this wheel of endless sameness. It’s a ritual that pushes us out of the norm, to pursue different activities, and use different parts of our brains. In so doing, it refreshes and rejuvenates our minds and spirit. It provides the motivation to unhook our wired craniums from the matrix of cyberspace and explore the pleasures of the real world.”

  • Kircher & Schott’s Computer Music of the Baroque” — Phil Legard, Larkfall

    “Here is a piece of music, which was composed with a sort of 17th century computer called the Organum Mathematicum, devised by Athanasius Kircher and fully described by his pupil and assistant Gaspar Schott”

     

  • Mihai’s Inferno: The 9 circles of Hell made in Lego” — The Brothers Brick [See also Boing Boing, MOCPages]

    “Mihai Mihu completed a series of creations depicting the 9 circles of Hell. While staying true to the theme of poetic justice served to the sinners, Mihai portrays the punishments through his own interpretations. The recurring architectural elements and portrayal of the sinners tie the scenes together in a way that’s easy for the viewer to transition through. In this short interview, the builder talks about his project and the individual circles of Hell.”

    Mihai Mihu Dante's Inferno

     

  • Techne: The State of the Art” — Damien Wolven [HT Joshua Madara]

    “If we really think that whatever kind of mind we generate from these efforts is going to be anything like us, then we’re probably in for a big surprise. We have to be prepared for—as opposed to scared about—the possibility that any machine intelligence will have vastly different concerns from us. “Occult Wisdom” means knowledge hidden from those who don’t know how to look for it and, without an understanding of how these new minds will experience our world, humanity will never know everything we might.

    As I’ve explored these ideas, over the years, I’ve found that the most valuable approaches have often come from the intersections that others might overlook. The intersection that’s been most useful to me is at the center of weird science, philosophy, religious studies, pop-culture, and magic. I’ve written articles, taught classes, and organized conferences arguing that “The Magical” is one of the most useful-but-underused tools we have for rethinking and understanding these ideas.”

  • The Flaw Lurking In Every Deep Neural Net” — mikejuk, Slashdot

    “If a deep neural network is biologically inspired we can ask the question, does the same result apply to biological networks? Put more bluntly, ‘Does the human brain have similar built-in errors?’ If it doesn’t, how is it so different from the neural networks that are trying to mimic it?”

  • We Aren’t the World” — Ethan Waters, Pacific Standard [HT Eleanor Saitta]

    “The potential implications of the unexpected results were quickly apparent to Henrich. He knew that a vast amount of scholarly literature in the social sciences—particularly in economics and psychology—relied on the ultimatum game and similar experiments. At the heart of most of that research was the implicit assumption that the results revealed evolved psychological traits common to all humans, never mind that the test subjects were nearly always from the industrialized West. Henrich realized that if the Machiguenga results stood up, and if similar differences could be measured across other populations, this assumption of universality would have to be challenged.

    Henrich had thought he would be adding a small branch to an established tree of knowledge. It turned out he was sawing at the very trunk. He began to wonder: What other certainties about “human nature” in social science research would need to be reconsidered when tested across diverse populations?”

 

If you’d like to participate in the next Omnium Gatherum, head on over to the Gatherum discussions at the Hrmtc Underground BBS.

Living Theurgy

Living Theurgy: A Course in Iamblichus’ Philosophy, Theology and Theurgy by Jeffrey S Kupperman, from Avalonia Books, may be of interest.

Jeffrey S Kupperman Living Theurgy from Avalonia

Living Theurgy is a masterpiece combining scholarly excellence with lucid practicality. Theurgy (‘god-working’) is a combination of ritual mystical practices interwoven with philosophy and theology. It was developed by Iamblichus and other Neoplatonists inspired by the works of philosophers including Plato, Aristotle and Pythagoras, and Julian the Chaldean.

Author and scholar Jeffrey Kupperman elucidates and makes accessible the core ideologies and practices of Theurgy, which evolved through more than 1000 years of Platonic philosophy and cultural transformations. Kupperman guides the reader through the contemplative and theurgical practices used by the Neoplatonists to create effective spiritual transformation in the practitioner.

Philosophia (Philosophy) as the foundation of Theurgy is explored through techniques such as lectio divina (‘divine reading’) contemplation and visualisation. It focuses on discussion of key concepts including virtue, wisdom, bravery, temperance, justice, evil, political philosophy, beauty and love.

Theologia (Theology) considers the One, also known as the Good, which is the source of all, through the spectrum of monotheism, polytheism and panentheism. It also explores different views regarding the nature and functions of the Demiurge, angels and daimons, and the human soul, and the practices of Theurgy, including the use of hymns and prayers.

Theourgia (Theurgy) focuses on the practices, from purification and the use of signs, symbols and tokens to talismancy and the ensouling of eikons (divine images). The work concludes with a complete guide to the Invocation of the Personal Daimon, an essential step in the theurgic process of purification and illumination in seeking the Divine.

Living Theurgy is a literary psychopomp for practitioners seeking effective methods of developing their knowledge and relationship with the divine through Neoplatonic praxis. It is essential reading for all those interested in traditional forms of magical, philosophical, and religious practice, and the history of the western mysteries.” [via]