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Working With Tarot
by Peregrin Wildoak
One of the UK's foremost magicians, Gareth Knight once wrote that practical work with the archetypes of the Tarot is essentially a matter of using the imagination. Any practical work with the Tarot requires the foundations of altruistic intention, connection with the divine, meditation, purification, visualization and grounding. If you are not fully competent in these foundations please leave practical work alone. Otherwise your unfoldment and service will be hampered.
Firstly, it is important to consecrate your cards. This can be done on a number of levels. Psychological or suggestive consecration often occurs simply because we are using a Tarot deck, and we all know about them etc. We can also bring forth the natural qualities of the card. This works best with those decks that were created with reference to the Qabalah or another deck that was, or those decks that are linked to existing magical/astral currents. Both is even better. We can charge the card with the energies it represents to enhance its powers. Or we may charge and strengthen the link of the card to the astral currents in question. Nearly all Tarot cards have links through the inherent symbolism of the cards and structure of the deck itself. Or we may birth the card as a fully living Talisman. These are all advanced Western Hermetic magical techniques.
Here are some other techniques:
Active Meditation. Choose a card as a meditation object for your active meditation. It is best to start with the Major Arcana or trumps and work from the Fool through to the Universe (World). After this proceed with the sixteen Court Cards and then the forty Pip or numbered cards.
Arts and the Tarot. Choose a card. Meditate on the image and use it as a basis for writing a story, poem, dance piece, music, painting, etc.
Building the Cards Into Your Being: Besides drawing, colouring, meditating on the cards, there is a another good way to really get to know them. Choose a card and study it for several minutes, trying to remember its image as much as possible. Turn the card over. Draw each symbol that you remember and list as much as you know and FEEL about these symbols – both what you have read and what you sense or ponder deeply. Do the same with the colours on the card and the patterns in space the symbols make. For example do three symbols form triangle? Are all the light colours in one area of the card? What do these things mean? Once complete, turn the card over and see what symbols, colours or patterns you missed. Again work through Trumps, Court Cards and then Pip cards.
Circle of Trumps: Using consecrated cards, lay a large egg shape of the 22 Trumps in order, starting with the Fool at the top of the egg and Justice at the base. The order goes clockwise whilst looking at the egg shape from above. Now lie in the egg.
Imagine light going up your spine and out of the top of your head. Circulate the light down from the top of your head to your feet along the left side of your body, passing the energy through the Trumps. This helps build up the tarot cycle and flow of its energies into your being and should also help your readings (if you do any).
Colouring the Cards: Make or photocopy black and white outline images of the cards and then colour them yourself in a meditative space. Be conscious of the colours used. What changes in the energy and spiritual qualities of the cards would a major colour change bring?
Place yourself inside a Tarot card: This is similar to above in many ways, except that you imagine yourself as the figure in the card. This is often done in the posture of the figure in question. It is most noticeable in the Lovers card where you can take a different role and see the card from that figure's perspective.
Dancing the Cards: We build up the image of the card either within our astral auras or our chakras and dance to express the cards energies.
Designing a Ritual to Experience all the Energies of a Single Card: This is in effect a form of initiation. Again this is more advanced Western magical and Hermetic work.
Dreaming the Cards: Simply contemplate a card before you go to sleep. Read a little about it, ponder it, stare at it, feel the qualities. Then place it under your pillow as you sleep, consciously placing it within your etheric and astral bodies. Notice any dreams. Work through the complete deck, a card a night for 78 nights, following the pattern outlined above. The card is placed under your pillow (and a copy often at the wall facing the bed) and you meditate upon the card as you fall asleep.
Engaging with the Tarot Figures: In a sacred space the image of the trump is built up and you step into it. You then can speak with and engage with the figures in question.
Pathworking: A card (most often a Trump) is chosen and is used as a gateway through which to enter the astral world of the Trump. These correspond to the 22 paths or 10 Sephiroth in the Four Worlds from the Qabala.
Using Cards to Consecrate Items: A fully enlivened card can become the gateway for the blessings of the Paths of the Tree of Life and Hebrew letters. A cleansed item corresponding to the card (or another matching card) can be consecrated by simply placing it next to the enlivened card together with an etheric power source such as candles or incense.
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About the Author
Peregrin Wildoak is a mystic and magician based in Australia. With a history in many different esoteric groups, including the Golden Dawn. His blog “Magic of the Ordinary” is “a must read” for anyone interested in the esoteric spiritual and mystical matters.