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Tarot & Magic
Tarot & Magic

By: Donald Michael Kraig
Series: Special Topics in Tarot Series #2
Imprint: Llewellyn
Specs: Trade Paperback | 9780738701851
English  |  192 pages | 6 x 9 IN
6 x 9, 192 pp., illus. bibliog., index
Pub Date: December 2002
Price: $12.95 US,  $20.50 CAN
In Stock? Yes, ready to ship

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This book is especially intended for people who already
have some experience with the Tarot and
magic. However, if you don't have such experience,
this chapter will fill you in on the basics of what you need
to know. If you have never worked with the Tarot before,
or never practiced real magic, start with this chapter.
Read it several times. Think about any concepts in this
chapter that are new to you.
I suggest that you read this chapter even if you already
have experience with either the Tarot or magic, or with
both. That way you will understand the terms and concepts
in the same way they are presented in this book,
and you will grasp the information presented later even
better. Of course, since you already know some or all of
this material, you may not have to study it as thoroughly
as someone who has no experience.
Whether you are new to either magic or the Tarot or
have lengthy experience with both, when you understand
and can work with this chapter, you will be ready to use
the Tarot for magic!
The Tarot and Symbolism
Although the approximate date of the Tarot's first appearance in Europe
(early fifteenth-century Italy) is known, its sources and development
before that time are highly debatable. After all, something as
complex as the Tarot does not simply appear without predecessors.
Some scholars look to India as the source of the cards, while others
suggest China and even more romantic places such as Egypt and Atlantis.
There are many good books on the history of the Tarot, so there
is no need to repeat that information here. Look in the bibliography
for books with information on the origins and history of the cards.
Even the source of the name Tarot is a guess. If you change the letters
of the word around, you could get the Hebrew word Tora, which
means "Law." Ator is a version of the name of the Egyptian goddess
Hathor. Going back to Hebrew, Troa means a "gate." Orat is Latin for
"it speaks" and Hebrew for "Thou art light." Other writers have suggested
that the name might come from a river in northern Italy
named the Taro.
Whatever their origins, we do know for sure that the cards first appeared
in Europe during the early fifteenth century. Since that time
they have gone through numerous evolutionary changes. There have
been two major evolutions, which have lead to the current selection of
what I call the "standard" Tarot decks. The first evolution was a standardized
number of cards split into two parts. One part is the Minor
Arcana. This is composed of fifty-six cards separated into four suits,
each running from Ace to ten plus four face cards. This corresponds to
a deck of modern playing cards, which is identical to the Minor Arcana
except for the names of the suits and the fact that it has only
three face cards per suit. The second part is the Major Arcana, which
has twenty-two cards illustrating certain conceptual ideas. The only
card of the Major Arcana that may have made its way into modern
decks of playing cards is "The Fool," which relates to the Joker.
Traditionally, the numbered Minor Arcana cards did not have images
giving their meanings. The second evolution took place in 1910
when the Rider publishing company produced a deck drawn by Pamela
2 The Tarot and Magic
Coleman ("Pixie") Smith (1878–1951), under the guidance of famed
occultist A. E.Waite (1847–1942). This deck, known as the Rider-Waite
deck, featured illustrations on all the cards.Waite also published a book
to go along with it, The Pictorial Key to the Tarot, making this an easyto-
use deck with a concurrent instruction manual. Another first.
Waite referred to this as a "rectified" deck in that he took the spirituality
and mysticism he knew and united it with the designs of the
Tarot cards. Since that time, hundreds of decks have appeared. The
majority of them have been variations of the Rider-Waite deck.
Inevitably, it is reasonable to ask, "Why did this deck catch on? Was
it only because it was easier to use and had a book explaining it?" I
don't think so. Rather, the images created by Smith and Waite, many
of which are new versions of older images, somehow affect us. Smith's
art is rather plain, but there is great beauty in it. It strikes a chord. It
means something.
The images mean something different than just the simple pictures
on the cards. They are symbolic. Virtually every part of every image
has a meaning.What is the color of the sky? That has a meaning. Is a
character looking up or down? That, too, has a meaning.What is the
symbol floating above that person's head? It has an important meaning.
In a very real sense, the Tarot can be seen as a complete course in
The Tarot can be an incredibly powerful resource to guide you on
your spiritual path. Its value is immense. One famous nineteenth-century
occultist, Eliphas Levi, suggested that if a person was left for years
on a desert island with nothing but the Tarot, and that person knew
how to understand it, when that person returned to civilization he or
she could discuss any subject with complete knowledge. (Personally, I
always thought that was quite an exaggeration, but the more I work
with the Tarot, the more I am inclined to agree with Levi.) Is it any
wonder that some people treat their Tarot deck with such incredible
In this book I will be working with four decks, and I want to explain
why I chose them.
The Tarot and Magic 3
4 The Tarot and Magic
The Universe
Golden Dawn Magical Tarot
The Hierophant
Golden Dawn Magical Tarot
Prince of Pentacles
Golden Dawn Magical Tarot
Ace of Wands
Golden Dawn Magical Tarot
The Golden Dawn Magical Tarot
by Chic and Sandra Tabatha Cicero.
Primarily, the focus here will be on the pictorial Major Arcana. The
reason I am using this deck is twofold. First, there is no other deck
quite like it. Its symbolism taps into a deep mystical area that, I think,
no other deck reaches. Second, it is a re-creation and enhancement of
the deck that A. E.Waite and Aleister Crowley used for years. It heavily
influenced them both.
The Tarot and Magic 5
Golden Dawn Magical Tarot
Two of Cups (Love)
Golden Dawn Magical Tarot
6 The Tarot and Magic
Five of Wands
Universal Tarot
Ten of Swords
Universal Tarot
Six of Swords
Universal Tarot
Knight of Wands
Universal Tarot

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