Everyone in the greater magical community knows that a tarot deck is the perfect tool for the art of divination, an esoteric science that seeks to uncover knowledge and information. Divination is one of the essential skills utilized by a majority of magicians, wiccans, neo-pagans, and other magical practitioners. Card readings and other forms of divination are considered to represent a receptive or passive approach to gaining spiritual knowledge, while the practice of ritual magic is regarded as a proactive approach toward acquiring the same. And yet, tarot cards can easily be used in virtually any magical practice for a variety of reasons and objectives.
As any modern tarot reader can attest, there are a multitude of tarot decks available for purchase. It really doesn't matter which deck you may ultimately choose to work with. This is because of the fact that behind the graphics, card titles, and keywords that ornament the face of every tarot card, lies an unseen realm of divine powers, astrological energies, and angelic beings that have been described in medieval grimoires and utilized by magicians and ritualists for centuries. These are real, potent forces that can be called upon to empower magical ceremonies or personal spells, provide aid in meditations or daily affirmations, supply gateways for skrying visions and astral projections, or create powerful talismans designed to achieve one's goals or manifest their heart's desire. Of all the spiritual forces connected with the tarot, angels are undoubtedly the most underused. This is surprising since angels are "messengers" between humans and the Divine in the "Great Chain of Being."
Choosing the Right Angel
It is a common practice for magicians to work with angels and archangels. Angels are spiritual beings that are considered to be specific aspects of God, each with a particular purpose and jurisdiction. The names of most Hebrew angels end in the suffixes "el" or "yah," which are divine Qabalistic names that indicate that these angels are "of God." These divine intermediaries work with the magician in two ways: as direct intercessors between the human and the Divine, and as governors in the spiritual hierarchies who command lesser angels, spirits, and elementals to carry out the goal of a particular ceremony or ritual.
For example, suppose you wanted to have visionary dreams while you sleep. You might decide to craft a ritual around a tarot angel who rules over prophetic dreams. In this case you might decide to design your ceremony around an invocation to the angel Nethahiah.
Anyone consulting our book on Tarot Talismans will discover that Nethahiah is one of two angels associated with the Eight of Wands, a card that is astrologically assigned to Mercury in Sagittarius. The planet Mercury in the sign of Sagittarius is manifested as a concern with thoughts and viewpoints, the result of which is often constructive in giving insight into religion, philosophy, law, and other studies related to higher education.
One of Nethahiah's titles is "God who gives wisdom." This angel helps the magician discover the truth of hidden mysteries. She serves to obtain wisdom, and provides revelations in dreams. She dominates the occult sciences and influences those who practice the magic of the sages. Nethahiah is said to be a poet-angel who delivers prophecies in rhyme.
Like many of the tarot angels of the Minor Arcana, Nethahiah can be invoked by reciting a scriptural passage, in this case Psalm 9:1: "I will give thanks to Tetragrammaton with all my heart; I will tell of all thy wondrous works."
You can visualize what this angel might look like by creating what is called a telesmatic image of the angel. A telesmatic image is a pictorial image of a deity, archangel, or angel that is consciously constructed by the magician. This is done by examining the Hebrew letters that make up the angel's name and by using colors, symbols, and other qualities that correspond to these Hebrew letters. The first letter of the name is assigned to the head, the last letter to the feet, and the remaining letters assigned to the rest of the body in between.
The Hebrew letters that make up the name Nethahiah are nun, tau, heh, yod, and heh. Because there are five letters, there will be five primary body areas indicated on the image:
Nun: crown, head, and face
Tau: neck, shoulders, and chest
Heh: arms, hands, and stomach
Yod: hips and legs
By consulting lists of information given in Tarot Talismans, it is a simple matter to build up a pictorial image of the angel. She might look like the following: "Nethahiah appears as a woman with a full, square face framed by dark hair. Her dark eyes are determined, penetrating, and intense. Upon her brow she wears a strophion or headband upon which is the symbol of the ankh, the Egyptian symbol of eternal life. Her full and sensual figure is covered in robes of violet trimmed with yellow. Great indigo-colored wings emerge from her shoulders and arch backwards into grey swirling clouds and flashes of lightening. Upon her breast she wears the sideways figure eight symbol known as the infinity sign. With one hand she grasps a phoenix wand, and in the other hand she holds a royal orb. She is seated upon a yellow-green throne that is surrounded by flames."Keep in mind that a telesmatic image of an angel is meant to be a personal magical creation. You may find that in your ritual working, an angel such as Nethahiah might appear different than the description given above. If this is the case, then make the appropriate changes to the image of the angel based on what seems right to you. Just remember that angels are our companions in the spiritual arts. They will appear to you in whatever form is needed in order to facilitate the spiritual work at hand. Invoking these mighty beings can only help add power and effectiveness to your magical rites.
Your ritual to invoke this angel can be as simple as leaving the tarot card of the Eight of Wands on a night stand near your bed and reciting Psalm 9:1 as you visualize Nethahiah before you drift off to sleep—a rite that can be repeated every night until you obtain the desired results. On the other hand, your ritual could be very elaborate—involving the creation of a tarot talisman.
The Ritual Card Spread
One easy way to work with tarot talismans is to create a ritual card spread. The ritual card spread may look like an ordinary card spread, but rather than interpreting the cards as they fall randomly in a divination, here readers choose the cards they want to use as talismans and actively influence the manner in which they want to manifest their goals. One of our favorite ritual card spreads is called the Triangle of Art Spread, a four-card spread that is based upon the Triangle of Evocation, a magical device used for centuries by magicians to call forth spirits to visible manifestation in the center of triangle. The cards that are used to form the points of the triangle represent those energies or actions that the magician wishes to bring into play. The talisman card itself is placed in the center of the triangle to affirm the magician's intent to invoke its powers.
A tarot talisman of the Eight of Wands created for the purpose of obtaining visionary dreams could be charged with an appropriate ceremony using the Triangle of Art Spread as follows:
At this point, you could arrange your temple or sacred space in preparation for ritual and compose your own personal invocations to the divine powers associated with the tarot talisman card. When consecrated, the tarot talisman will attract the spiritual forces needed to accomplish your goal.
When all is said and done, the human soul is the lesser reflection or microcosm of the greater universe around us. Therefore the same spiritual energies that are present within the seventy-eight cards of the tarot are present within all of us. The angels of the tarot reside within us as well as outside of us. It is only when we look deep within ourselves that we can access their wisdom and strength.