Monday, May 1, 2017

Mix and match divination (just toss everything into the pot)

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Welcome to another round of the Tarot Blog Hop. Today's theme is the simple question: 

"Do you combine Tarot with any other divination system? Why or why not?"

Short answer: Yes...because I am a member of the Golden Dawn tradition.

Long answer: Well, let me illustrate what I am doing. 

Golden Dawn, a system of lodge initiations and magical instruction, founded in 1888, has mixing the Tarot with other forms of divination built into the system since day one. The common method of associating the Tarot cards with astrology that many of us know, actually first appears in the Cipher Manuscript of Golden Dawn. The Cipher Manuscript, the foundational document of Golden Dawn, lists the associations for the Major Arcana with the planets and zodiac signs. It also shows a connection of astrology with the system of divination known as geomancy.

Whoever created the Cipher Manuscript, probably the Victorian Masonic authority and writer, Kenneth Mackenzie, worked out a system of correspondence between the Kabbalah, the geomantic symbols, Tarot, and astrology. The connection between the Tarot, kabbalah, and astrology (& geomancy with astrology) was not a new idea, but the Cipher Manuscript arrangement was the one that ended up in Golden Dawn, and then spread outward into the general esoteric occult community, through the works of A. E. Waite and Aleister Crowley, and became the standard in the English branch of the Western Mystery Traditions.

(Recently, I saw an argument that claimed that Mackenzie [or whoever created the Cipher Manuscript] got his system of Tarot to astrology associations from Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers [one of the co-chiefs of the original Golden Dawn]--there is only one problem with this idea: Whoever created the Cipher Manuscript actually first assigned Strength and Justice one way to astrology, and then changed their mind in a later section--hardly what you would do if you inherited the system from someone else.)
Astrological decans and the Tarot (Golden Dawn tradition).
Thanks to the student of Golden Dawn learning these associations, they tend to explain the occult symbols in a great circle, going from one system of esoteric modeling to another, eventually ending up back at the beginning of the circle which is to say they continue to go around in a circle.

One of the exercises required from the practicing Adept Minor is to perform three operations for the same subject of a divination. In other words, the Adept Minor asks a question, and creates a geomantic shield, an astrological (horary) chart, and does a Tarot spread (Opening of the Key) for the question--comparing the three readings with one another.

It should be noted that once one passes their Adept Minor exams, that one often just sticks with a single style of divination after that point. But there are always those who continue to mix and match divination systems...

...freaks like myself.

As an example of a mix and match operation, let's look at one of my ongoing projects--the examination of astrology charts using the symbols of the Tarot and geomancy to extract meaning--a form of mediation on parts of an astrology chart.

For instance, in my birth chart, I have my natal Moon in the sign of Scorpio. Using the Tarot, the astrological position of the Moon in my birth chart can be depicted by the High Priestess (Moon), Death (Scorpio), and the fact that the moon is in the 20th degree of Scorpio with the Seven of Cups (the Minor Arcana associated with the third decan of Scorpio).

(A point of interest is that not only do I suffer a Moon in Scorpio, so did my mother and her sister, making an interesting familial dynamic.)

Stage one of this odd method--with Via, Populus and Rebis for Moon in Scorpio.
Now, my Moon is squared to my Mercury in Leo, my only planet in a Fire sign, which can be depicted with the Magician (Mercury), Strength (Leo), and the Seven of Wands (for the 21st degree of Leo which is in the third decan of the sign).

(Interestingly enough, my mother's Mercury is also in a Fire sign, that of Aries. If you ignore Pluto, it is her only planet in a Fire sign. By the way, the more I examine the charts of my relatives, the more such similarities I have discovered.) 

Stage two with Albus, Conjuntio, Fortuna Major, and Fortuna Minor for Mercury in Leo.
Now, taking the associated geomancy symbols for the planets and signs, I can further extend the symbolism by treating the geomantic symbols as part of a geomantic shield. (A geomantic shield is like a Tarot spread, but with geomancy.)

Adding and combining the points of the geomantic symbols (a standard procedure in geomancy), I end up with two more bits of information, the geomantic symbols of the Moon and Aquarius. Interestingly enough, one of the decans of Aquarius is sub-ruled by the Moon, so I end up with another symbol to add to the mix.

So I end up with another High Priestess (Moon), as well as the Star (Aquarius) and the Seven of Swords (another third decan card). 

Stage three with Via and Tristitia representing the dynamic of the Square aspect.
Now does any of this make sense? Maybe. Maybe not.

But I do exhibit a pattern of being argumentative when the (current) Moon is in Scorpio or in a Square aspect to that, especially when it comes to defending my ideals; and when I realize that it is once again that time of the month, I tend to wander off without another word rather than continue to abuse other people.

In the end, it does not matter if it is nonsense or not--what matters is that it allows me to examine parts of horoscopes from a different angle.

Blessed be.

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James Bulls said...

I'm never had much interest in HoGD apart from historical curiosity, but as it relates to foundational texts - If I understand correctly, I've read that Agrippa's Three Books are arguably the largest foundation of the HoGD - is that an accurate perception? And this might not be a question you can answer, but could you guess at how much Agrippa's Three Books influenced the Cipher Manuscript? Tarot / Cartomancy was pretty much absent from the entirety of the work (but geomancy and astrology were featured strongly.) #Curious

Mary Mourning said...

Interesting topic and one I don't know that much about. Thanks!

Inner Whispers said...

Ha ha, hilarious that our posts started out very similarly: same title (mix and match) and same short answer (ish) :D I've not used geomancy much, though I do find it intriguing. And astrology isn't something I combine much with tarot, except for things like significators or the occasional astrological oracle. Fascinating insight into your practice, Morgan :)

Vivianne said...

So do you interpret those cards, what do they say about you ?

M Juniper said...

Chart casting with tarot is an area I am exploring, the timing of your post was perfect! I haven't compared or combined with a 3rd system but reading my chart through the planet/sign/decans has been stimulating. It's great you had the family charts to pull through on all that...a bit like the epigenetics of astrology? Is there such a field!?

Tarot By Arwen said...

Sad for no monkeys but loved this in-depth and personal look at how you use your systems!