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Review of The Enochian Tarot
This article was written by Donald Michael Kraig, Certified Tarot Grandmaster on October 17, 2008
Summary: Not a beginners deck, the energy and passion in the art, combined with a unique focus on the Enochian system that only loosely—very loosely—follows standard Tarot protocols, make this deck a powerful addition to any magickian’s toolkit, especially for those using Enochian magick.
Name of deck: The Enochian Tarot
=Publisher: Llewellyn Publications
Creator(s) name(s): Gerald and Betty Schueler
Artist(s) name(s): Sallie Ann Glassman
Brief biography of artist(s): Sallie Ann Glassman is an initiated Vodou priestess who calls up and mediates the power of the Spirit. Sallie is internationally recognized for her lectures, art, readings and healing ceremonies. She is one of a handful of Americans ordained into Vodou in the traditional Haitian initiation. She owns the Island of Salvation Botanica, a store and gallery specializing in Vodou religious supply, medicinal herbs, and Haitian and local artwork. As artist and writer, Sallie has done much to further the understanding of Vodou. She is the author of the book Vodou Visions, co-creator and artist for The New Orleans Voodoo Tarot, and is the illustrator of The Enochian Tarot.
Name of accompanying book: The Enochian Tarot
Number of pages of book: 144
Authors of book: Gerald and Betty Schueler
Brief biography of authors: Gerald J. Schueler, Ph.D. born in Darby Pennsylvania, and his wife Betty Sherlin Schueler, Ph.D. born in Washington DC, currently reside in Maryland. Jerry is a retired systems analyst, free-lance writer, editor, and artist. Betty is a computer consultant, free-lance writer, editor and artist. They have authored several books on Enochian magick. They have also coauthored many articles on anthropology, computers, children, dogs, philosophy, science, magick and Theosophy.
Available in a boxed kit?: It comes in a boxed mini-kit that is the same format as the card deck. Inside a slipcase is a boxed deck of cards and a book. It’s not as big as a full-sized book, but much larger than the usual "Little White Booklet" that comes with so many decks.
Magical Uses: Enochian magick, astral projection, trance induction, guided meditation.
Reading Uses: General, Yes-No, judging magickal intent
Ethnic Focus: Otherworldly
Artistic Style: impressionistic
Original Medium: if known (examples: oil, chalk, pencil, digital)
Theme: The Enochian System
Does it follow Rider-Waite-Smith Standard?: Yes, but very vaguely.
Does it have extra cards?: Yes, it has eight extra Major Arcana cards, bringing the total to 30.
Does it have alternate names for Major Arcana cards?: Yes. Most are renamed and renumbered. Instead of starting at 0 it begins at 1 and continues to 30:
1. The Babe (Lil) [The Fool]
2. Babalon (Arn) [The Empress]
3. The Magus (Zom) [The Magician]
4. Cosmos and Chaos (Paz) [The Lovers]
5. The Arrow of Truth (Lit)
6. The Urn (Maz)
7. Love (Deo) [The Lovers]
8. The Holy Guardian Angel (Zid)
9. The Daughter of Babalon (Zip)
10. The Abyss (Zax) [The Devil]
11. The Holy City (Ikh) [The Tower]
12. Glory (Loe)
13. The Garden of Nemo (Zim)
14. The City of the Pyramids (Vta)
15.The Cosmic Dance (Oxo) [The World]
16. The Higher Self (Lea) [The Hermit]
17. The Balance (Tan) [Temperance]
18. The Vault (Zen) [Judgement]
19. The Priestess of the Silver Star (Pop) [The High Priestess]
20. The Wheel (Khr) [Wheel of Fortune]
21. The Reincarnating Ego (Asp) [The Emperor]
22. The Void (Lin)
23. Labor (Tor)
24. Travel (Nia) [The Chariot]
25. Intuition (Vti) [The Hermit]
26. Reason (Des)
27. Solitude (Zaa)
28. Doubt (Bag) [The Devil]
29. The Heavens (Rii) [The World]
30. The Four Regions (Tex) [The World]
These relate to the 30 Aethyrs or Aires, distinct and contiguous subtle regions of the magickal universe found in Enochian magick. On each card you will also find the name of the Aethyrs (found in parentheses above). Although the book doesn’t describe it, based on the names and the images on the cards, there are some comparisons you can make with the Rider-Waite-Smith major arcana (My guesses are in the brackets above). Note that this is just guesses, there are some repetitions, and you may come up with different conclusions.
Does it have alternate names for Minor Arcana suits?: Yes, it equates the suits with the elements. Wands becomes Fire, Swords becomes Air, Cups becomes Water and Pentacles becomes Earth. The Court Cards consists of a King and six Seniors for each suit. The remaining cards seven cards of each suit consist of the Higher Sephirotic Cross, Lower Sephirotic Cross, Kerubic Angels, Archangels, Ruling Angels, Lesser Angels and Demons of the element.
As you can see, although this very loosely follows the RWS pattern (4 suits to the Minor Arcana with numbered and court cards and a separate Major Arcana), it is also quite different. If you are locked into an RWS-only mode of thinking, this deck will not meet your needs. If you’re open to other possibilities, and are attracted to Enochian magick, you may find this deck useful.
If you go online to seek reviews of this deck, you won’t find many. There are several reasons for this. First, in spite of claims that this is "easy" to use, when compared to other Tarot decks, it is far more complex. Further, although it generally follows the concept of the RWS deck, it is also so different that when using it you really have to rethink many of your concepts about what is and what is not the Tarot.
Perhaps most importantly, if you relate the Tarot to anything Kabalistic, you can pretty much throw that background out. The authors wrote many books on Enochian magick, but they all have unique twists. Some were remarkable, such as taking the Enochian entities and using them within a Solomonic evocational system. That had not been presented before and is both logical and incredibly powerful and usable. On the other hand, the authors also write from the position of being long-time Theosophists, and many of the concepts that are unique to Madame Blavatsky and her followers were grafted (and in my opinion, not always successfully) onto the Enochian system.
If you’re not familiar with Enochian magick, it’s far too complex to go into, here. It was revealed by Dr. John Dee (advisor to Queen Elizabeth I) and Edward Kelly. It evolved and changed while they developed it, some of it was lost, and what remained was reinterpreted by later magicians such as members of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Thus, the Schueler’s version of Enochian magick is not "wrong," just somewhat different. And it follows in a long tradition of magickal evolution of concepts and practices.
The book in this mini-kit does say that this is an "easy-to-use system of self-discovery." If you want to get into the Enochian system as presented by the Schuelers, it is certainly that and more. Therefore, this deck would be great for people interested in the system.
Another thing I find outstanding about this deck is the art. It is very dark and moody, quite a difference from most Tarot decks, and appropriate to the theme. Unlike the art in so many other decks that often appears locked in time and static, Glassman’s art’s moodiness is filled with swirling energetic motion. Card 7, Love, shows a naked woman, seemingly in trance, her long red hair swirling as fires around her sweep up in energies around her body. Card 46, First Senior of Air, shows a winged figure walking through roiling clouds. Card 69, Archangels of Water, show the archangels swimming madly in an enormous circle, creating a whirlpool leading to…? Where other decks show images, this one shows energy and passion, something sorely lacking in lots of Tarot art today.
That being said, if you think you might enjoy this deck I would urge you not to get the deck by itself. Instead, get the mini-kit with the surprisingly detailed small book or see if you can find a copy of the book by the Schuelers on this deck. Although you might get some ideas of how to interpret the cards from the images on the cards, often, the names and even the symbolism are somewhat minimal, befitting the deepest levels of our subconscious minds that links to this deck.
The book that comes in the mini-kit gives a simple introduction to magick and the history of the Enochian system, along with some basic concepts. Then you get the meanings of the cards for divination (you’re on your own when it comes to interpreting the symbolism).
The book then gives two versions of three-card spreads, a ten-card spread (the ubiquitous Celtic Cross), as well as a five-card spread, a seven-card spread, a thirteen-card spread and another ten-card spread. Even if you’re not familiar with any divination deck, this book will give you a lot to go on.
The book then goes on to rituals. However the rituals it gives are actually more forms of divination that don’t use a standard Tarot spread format. This information may open you up to other uses for Tarot decks. The book then gives two methods of studying this deck, one for beginners (two weeks) and other for advanced people (four weeks). This is followed by a sample reading, something I think more books on Tarot divination should feature. The book concludes with a valuable glossary and brief bibliography.
This is not a deck I would use for daily or frequent readings. In fact, I don’t use it that way. It is good for working with the Enochian entities, raising energy, moving into trance, and as part of rituals. I don’t recommend this for beginners looking for a basic divination Tarot, but I would recommend it for magicians interested in Enochian magick.
Why would anyone want to get out of their tarot comfort zone? If you are in your comfort zone, you are likely to be stable and confident and therefore able to do solid and dependable readings. Rituals and regular processes help ground readers and prepare the mind to begin the important work of interpreting the cards. We spend so much time finding... read this article
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