1. Your new book is titled The Divine Arcana of the Aurum Solis. What is the Aurum Solis?
Most of the Western Initiatic Traditions originated with the Qabalistic tradition and the Biblical religions. Aurum Solis is a distinctive initiatic Order, heir to one of the most ancient Western Traditions: Hermeticism. Born in Hermopolis, this tradition developed its specific character at the end of the Egyptian empire, the Ptolemaic period, in Alexandria. At this time the meeting between Greek initiates and Egyptian Priests gave birth to this lineage that became known as the Ogdoadic Tradition. Such elaboration established a pure receptacle for this inheritance. The main aspects of the Hermetic Tradition were and still remain the practice of Theurgy that are aimed at ascending to the Divine, the use of philosophy to understand and explain the cosmos and the invisible world, the use of religious rites to worship the Immortal Divinities, and the study of the sacred books, including the Corpus Hermeticum and the Chaldaic Oracles. These aspects of the tradition were freely accessible through the public rites, the books published by Masters, the lessons provided in such places as Alexandria (Egypt), Athens (Greece), and Apamea (Syria). Yet, at the same time, this tradition retained a secret heart, which was hidden from the general populace and only available to the initiated. Thus, most of the Theurgic practices and rituals were restricted to initiates. This was also true regarding any revelation of the interpretation of, and deeper meanings of the sacred books.
Around the fourth century the rise of political and religious fundamentalism of a new religion called Christianity forbade the open practices of the ancient cults, including the study of philosophy, and the initiation of new members. Christianity ultimately closed the sacred Temples. Several Masters and initiates were persecuted, even killed. The Hermetic, Ogdoadic Tradition made the decision to become a secret order, in order to stay alive. Throughout the intervening centuries, our Tradition continued to practice in secrecy, until the time of the Renaissance in Italy. It was at this time that our Tradition was rediscovered and there was a rebirth of Hermeticism. This rebirth occurred because of the work of a reorganized group of initiates who devoted themselves to the study of Pletho, a Greek Master and heir of this lineage. They translated and published various ancient texts that helped to bring about the Enlightenment. The Ogdoadic Tradition continued to be transmitted through neoplatonic and sometimes Pythagorean circles until its final rebirth in 1897 under the name Aurum Solis (Gold of the Sun).
From that moment, the Order Aurum Solis has continued its work of keeping alive this Golden Chain of initiates through the practices of Theurgy, Philosophy, and Epicurism. We always do this work under the aegis of the Immortal Divinities. We are one of the only Orders who have applied these occult principles all throughout our long history; we have kept our egregore and our lineage intact. My predecessors, the Past Grand Masters—Denning and Phillips—made a tremendous contribution to the work of our Order, through their publication of several books, which unveiled large aspects of this Tradition. Our Website gives tribute to them through an extensive presentation of their life and realizations.
2. Your previous book, Secrets and Practices of the Freemasons, focused on the Freemasons (you are a 32nd degree Freemason). What inspired you to write about the Tarot and the Aurum Solis?
Several past Grand Masters of Aurum Solis were Masons. I was also initiated into the Craft. It is important to understand that this affiliation is personal to me and independent from my function as the Grand Master of the Aurum Solis. Of course, Freemasonry is not as ancient as the Ogdoadic Tradition, but this symbolic and moral fraternity has a rich and respectable heritage. Its values are essential today in our world and have to be cherished and explained. This is why I have written several books about this tradition and its teachings. However, I am the Grand Master of the Aurum Solis, which is an initiatic order. As Grand Master of Aurum Solis, I have a duty to keep the Golden Chain alive, both on the visible and occult levels, by using our principles and the Theurgic keys. For long centuries the Chiefs of the Ogdoadic Tradition—Aurum Solis—have unveiled occult keys, provided historical insights about the Tradition, and (re)opened Guilds when they were needed. The process is the same today. Since the eighteenth century (and perhaps even more in the nineteenth century), Tarot has become an intrinsic part of the Western Tradition. Even if the twenty-two Major Arcana everyone knows today were created during the fifteenth century (as I explained in my book) the first occult interpretations were completed by Court de Gébelin and the Comte de Mellet in 1781, so that was a full three centuries later. However, it was a Freemason named Etteilla who gave birth to the myth that Tarot was an Hermetic book that came from Ancient Egypt. In the nineteenth century, another French occultist named Eliphas Levi defined the correlations among Qabalah, Arcana, numbers, etc. Unfortunately, this unique vision of the Hebrew Qabalah leads to several very important mistakes and misinterpretations of this aspect of the Tradition. Sometimes it is difficult to step outside of a set way of looking at things, and to examine this sort of entrenched teaching dispassionately. In fact, this is so difficult that these errors continue to be taught in modern Magical schools all over the world. As Aurum Solis was an essential part of the rebirth of the Hermetic and Neoplatonic tradition in the fifteenth century, it is time today to unveil the original keys and their use in magick and divination, so that we can correct these longstanding errors and eliminate confusion. Working with magical systems that have been built on error and confusion is never safe on the occult level.
This is a dangerous time in history, and people need to understand their lives; they need to know how to be able to take action. Regarding the Theurgic Tradition, you could use something like Tarot to know yourself better, and perhaps to understand some of the influences affecting you. But it is crucial to be able to understand how to interact with these powers with the use of the Divine Arcana, in order to be able to effectively reach your desired goal.
3. How can Tarot be used for magickal practice?
As I said, we can use Tarot for many different purposes: as support for divination, to know yourself, to understand the powers in the cosmos and your inner self, to discover the different inner planes, etc. However, most of these approaches are passive. A Theurgist or a Magus can understand the principles of the divine powers connected to the Arcana. They can learn how to use these principles from the simplest divination to the most advanced Theurgic rituals. However, in order to be able to do that, the system we are using must really be connected to the Divine, not just be derived from gaming decks. So the first step is to understand the real nature of the Divine powers and how they are organized in the Western Tradition. The second step is to show absolute proof of a connection between this Hermetic knowledge and the symbolic system that was created during the Renaissance. As you will see in The Divine Arcana of the Aurum Solis, architecture and archeology will lead us to one of the most amazing discoveries in the history of the esoteric Tarot. Once you read that, you will understand why what I call the "Greek Qabalah" or "Hermetic Qabalah" is more appropriate in this work than the Hebrew Qabalah. They are missing parts in the Hebrew system and the Hermetic system corrects these omissions. In this original system, each Arcanum is linked with a specific Divinity, with specific sacred names that have a direct relationship to these divinities. As you will see in my book, various archaeological artifacts, provide indisputable evidence that these Divinities are associated with specific signs, planets, and elements. After that the connections are very easy to understand and to use for a Tarot reader, as well as for an astrologer or a Theurgist. In The Divine Arcana of the Aurum Solis I provide several practices and full rituals that are rooted in this understanding of the Tarot. Several of these exercises used for balancing your invisible psyche, as well as rituals to heal your body in case of illness or any situation of psychological or physical distress. Several charts allow you to easily find the Arcanum connected to your problem.
4. Are there any Tarot decks you feel lend themselves more easily to magickal work?
In my book I provide correspondences between the Divine Arcana of Aurum Solis of the Hermetic Tradition and the usual Tarot decks that are commonly available. However, I don’t recommend the use of the common Tarots decks for your magickal work. Everyone working with rituals wants to use a tool that allows the practitioner to achieve a safe and balanced inner work. This is not possible with the Tarot decks you generally find on the market, for several reasons. First of all they are sometimes connected to the personal egregore of the person who created these works of arts. My concern regarding the use of those Tarot decks that have been adapted by initiatic Orders, is that they will connect the psyche of the user to the egregore of the Order that created the deck. Sometimes these egregores are tormented, divided, and unbalanced. Worst of all, there are mistakes on several trumps (errors in the symbols used, erroneous correspondences, etc.). These errors may create an obstacle to safe communication with the invisible powers. Therefore, it is safest and best to use the Divine Arcana described in my book. I provide the Major Arcana in Black & White in the book. You will be able to immediately use these Arcana with effectiveness and success on many levels. The full Tarot Deck in color (Major and Minor Arcana) will be published very soon allowing you to use this Hermetic system in various applications, such as rituals, divination, healing (direct and distance), development of your inner abilities, etc.
5. What tips do you have for those wanting to use the Tarot for magickal initiation?
Just open The Divine Arcana of the Aurum Solis to the section on ritual, print the Major Arcana of the Tarot (or buy the full Tarot Deck) and perform the rituals provided. Nothing is better than your own experience.