Thursday, January 21, 2010

Neat Tarot artwork

I went over to the Llewellyn's blog this morning (I think it was to avoid doing my homework), and was reading a few of the recent posts.

In one post, Donald Michael Kraig talked about how much printer ink cost (something I complained about on Facebook recently), and how speakers at the conventions made their money doing back room sales (something that I suspected for a long while).

But it was another post by Barbara Moore that I found the most interesting. She was talking about a neat discovery concerning the artwork in the Initatory Tarot of the Golden Dawn deck. Turns out that the Empress, Emperor and the Hierophant are all parts of a single piece of artwork.

(Ok, I must admit that I did not notice this before she called my attention to it. Otherwise I would have mentioned it in the book review I did on the Initiatory Tarot of the Golden Dawn.)

Now, the question is: How does this affect the meaning of these three cards?

For those who have not listened to Pat Zalewski lecturing on this, the picture of a Tarot card is the most important part of the card. It is the ruling pivot that reconciles all the associations assigned to a card. If it wasn't important, we could get by with the symbols of the planets, signs, and Hebrew letters written on index cards.

Now in the back of my mind, these three cards have always been related since the first time I stepped in lodge.

The Emperor is the Imperator; the Empress is the Praemonstrator; and the Hierophant is the Hierophant (of course). The connection is that they are all dais officers.

(Attending lodge members will notice that we are missing the Cancellarius; this is not a big problem considering that in many ways that officer is a mixture of the other three officers. Therefore the entire unit here is Thoth, while the individual parts are more focused in their operations.)

Now, from a pure Golden Dawn training position, this idea is slightly wrong (the dais officers are represented by other cards); but on another level, this is a really neat bit about the artwork of the Initiatory Tarot of the Golden Dawn.

1 comment:

Andrew B. Watt said...

Maybe they're not the Dais Officers (since the DO's are represented by other cards), but in actuality the Secret Chiefs which the DO's represent.

In that sense, we have a sense of the inner, ascended functions of the Secret Chiefs — authoritative and yet working from tradition. Expecting obedience to necessary orders yet also in need of good servants who use their brains. I've yet to meet an Emperor who didn't need a whole passel of competent operatives to get things done; and Empresses more so. Hierophants are kind of a tricky case in that regard, but the flow or current or transmission of the unique tradition does matter.