As an astrologer, I’ve found that the Golden Dawn Tarot Deck is one of the most accurate decks I’ve come across. It accurately predicts the movements of the planets and all the other celestial bodies at an extremely high level of accuracy. It is the perfect tool to aid in the study of astrology.
Welcome to the Ciceros’ Magical Tarot! Since I started this blog in 2011, my golden dawn tarot deck has been featured in the tarot page on the Golden Dawn website. I have received many requests for it, and I have decided to make it more available to people who want to buy it. You can now purchase the deck in print or as a PDF. The tarot is based on the Golden Dawn, and the cards are numbered in the traditional Golden Dawn fashion. Also, the Golden Dawn Magical Tarot is rooted in the Golden Dawn Qabalah.
Earlier this week I wrote about the Golden Dawn Tarot by Robert Wang and Dr. Israel Regardi, and in keeping with what has become a bit of a Golden Dawn Tarot week here on my blog, this will be a demonstration of the Golden Dawn Magic Tarot (or New Golden Dawn Ritual Tarot) by Chic and Tabata Cicero.
The manual is called New Golden Dawn Ritual Tarot: Keys to Ritual, Symbolism, Magic and Divination (2010). I’m considering the 2014 reissued edition. The guide also refers to the deck as New Golden Dawn Ritual Tarot, but the box says Magical Golden Dawn Tarot.
If you are interested in the modern ceremonial magic of Golden Dawn and Tarot, you should purchase this book and deck.
The introduction gives a brief history and overview of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and in particular how the Lamp of Hidden Knowledge came to be in American hands. In 1977, the temple was established in Columbus, Georgia. Then one appeared in California, another in Tennessee, and so on.
The text refers to Robert Wang’s book, Tarot of the Golden Dawn (1978), and states that it most accurately illustrates the McGregor Mathers deck. Just as Wang worked with Regardie on his version of the Golden Dawn deck, Ciceros worked with Regardie on the New Golden Dawn Ritual Tarot. We wanted a game that met the traditional symbolic and ritual requirements of the Golden Dawn magic system, they wrote.
In keeping with the prevailing attitude of occultists toward the Tarot, the Ritual Tarot emphasizes the use of the cards for spiritual realizations and considers divination to be the least important of the uses of the Tarot. Each card is an astral mirror of the human mind, and meditation on certain cards helps to promote self-knowledge in the appropriate area of the conscious or subconscious mind.
Like Wanga, Ciceros confirms the inextricable link between the Tarot and the Kabala. It is impossible to make an in-depth study of the Tarot without mentioning the ancient knowledge known as the Cabala. This mystical tradition is the foundation on which the modern Hermetic Tarot is based. Moreover, the Tarot is an illustrated manual of occult knowledge that has many parallels with the Qabala. Each atu, or key, is a window through which you can see a particular aspect of the tree of life.
The accompanying text is followed by informative chapters on the Kabbalah within the Hermetic Golden Dawn. I can’t say anything about its connection to the Jewish Kabbalah, but it might give you some food for thought.
The coloring of this game is very important. The works contain flashy colors and color scales of the four Kabbalistic worlds, the teachings of the Order, never before used in tarot decks.
The color scales refer to the four color palettes of the four Kabbalistic worlds (Yod, which refers to the element fire, is called the king’s scale, the first He to water is called the queen’s scale, Vav to air is called the prince’s scale, and the second He to earth is called the princess’ scale). Each of these four color palettes contains ten colors for the ten sefirot.
We do worry about the flashy colors when we get to the minors.
The Golden Dawn Ritual Tarot companion book is phenomenal. Take, for example, the high priestess entrance. The magical title of this card is Priestess of the Silver Star, and as the 13th card. The path is the longest in the tree. It corresponds to the Hebrew letter Gimel, meaning camel (hence the camel on the High Priestess card of the Thoth deck, and on the Priestess card of the SKT edition of Revelation).
The description of each card tells you what the card’s illustration shows, why, such as the crescent moon crown and stolistic water cup you see here, how to interpret the card in divination, and the kabbalistic correspondences. The high priestess is a form of Shekinah, the spiritual wife and mother, the text says. The corresponding keys are key 13 : Death and the Key 18 : The moon.
If you want to buy this game, buy the version that comes with the manual. (This is one of the best books I’ve found on deconstructing Golden Dawn symbolism in esoteric tarot decks. The presentation is clear, easy to understand and never becomes too pompous.
Like Vanga’s Golden Dawn Tarot or Lon Milo Duquette’s Tarot of Ceremonial Magic, you’ll either accept the art style of this deck as such and appreciate all the symbolism and scientific thinking incorporated into it, or you won’t, especially if you’re overly attached to 21st century digital fantasy art. We are used to the kind of life we were used to at the beginning of the twentieth century. In my opinion, the bright and intense colors of Cicero’s Ritual Tarot are better than Wangi’s Golden Dawn Tarot.
If you study the pictures of the cards and read the guide texts, you will get the most out of this game. This is how you will learn the key 7: The chariot is the key to the Merkabah vision, the vision of Ezekiel. The sphinxes embedded in the tarot images are the guardians of the mysteries, and if you see one in the deck, you see a potentially auspicious access to your higher self. Here, in Key 10, the dog-like cynocephalus or monkey at the bottom of the wheel symbolizes the animal or lower self (you’ll recall the monkey at the bottom of Key 10 in Wang’s Golden Dawn Tarot).
Here, key 8 represents power and key 11 represents justice. The tail of the lion in the force forms a snake, representing the Kundalini. So the 8 key is used to activate the energy centers of the body. Key 9: The hermit is the magician of the voice of light and the bearer of light. Justice is represented in this card by the goddess Maat. The hanged man, the water baptism card, is the archetype of the resurrection of the murdered God.
Above you can see the two versions of Key 14, the facilitation cards that are in this deck. This was to fulfill the requirements of the Golden Dawn ritual, or the Golden Dawn portal ritual. In either case, you will see how the naturally opposing energies in the physical body are consciously manipulated to create the balance necessary for communication with the Sacred Angel Guardian.
When activated at their respective positions on the Tree of Life, the 22 Great or 22 Paths form the winding path of the Serpent of Wisdom.
The minor arcana represent the stationary and static energies of the Sephiroth, as opposed to the active and mobile paths of the Trumps. These are 56 immutable characteristics of the human psyche inherent in each of us. The 16 court cards represent the personality; the aces are facets of the divine within.
The interpretation of the two-ten cards is connected with the 36 decans, which according to the manual have their origin in Egypt. Aces are not assigned to a deanery because Keter is the main influence in them.
The illustrated cards represent a branching of the four-part model of the Tetragrammaton and the four Kabbalistic worlds.
Colors play a role, and a very important one at that, in the symbolism of the Golden Dawn Tarot. The miners are illuminated by flashing colors, as mentioned earlier.
The flashing colors refer to a specific color combination of the minor arcana. For example, the color of the sticks, which correspond to fire, is red; the hearts (water) are blue, the swords (air) are yellow, and the pentacles/discs (earth) are black. Each color gets a first color and an extra color (according to the color wheel theory), so you get two blinking colors. They are called flashing colors because, according to the ritual theory of the Golden Dawn, when you look at or meditate on a pair of complementary colors, they change places, back and forth, as if they were flashing.
So the sticks (fire) are red and green. The cups (water) are blue and orange. The swords (air) are yellow and purple. Pentacles/discs (earth) – black and white. The first color is the base color and the second is the loading color.
The text describes the color of the stems as the great masculine force, dynamic and vital, and the color of the calyces as the great feminine force, pleasant and fertile. The color of the swords is the son of the first two, and the color of the pentacles is the daughter. The Son is the domain of the intellect, of communication, but also of pain and suffering. The girl is the domain of worldly affairs, business and money.
The bright colors, sharp contrasts, and full canvas fill with minimal negative space bring life and a sense of being alive to these cards, while the naive pencil and watercolor style often found in other Golden Dawn occult decks seems flat. While it doesn’t showcase the talent of Lady Frieda Harris in Crowley’s Tot, the Ritual Tarot is perfect for supporting your psychic development. And of course, it’s the best card game you can find.
Study, meditation, rituals and astral travel are key elements of magical work and the optimal use of the Tarot.
At the end of the text you will find instructions for some basic rituals, from the little pentagram exorcism ritual to ritual baths to consecrate your game.
There are also sections devoted to self-discovery in the Tarot. The major arcana corresponding to your sun sign reveals your key to individuality. I would add to this the contemplation of the Lesser Arcanum, which corresponds to the decanus of your birth sun. The Ascendant sign in Major reveals your most important personality. Complete this study with the minor arcana corresponding to the decanal line of this ascendant sign.
The chapter on divination presents the same fifteen-card layout that Wanga often refers to. The five actions to open the key (OOTK) are also explained in detail.
The new Golden Dawn Ritual Tarot, written by Cheek and Tabitha Cicero, will enrich you whether you are a beginner or a seasoned tarot reader. I wouldn’t call this deck an advanced tarot deck, because the manual is very well written – it takes you by the hand and leads you through a complete esoteric tarot education. However, much of the knowledge it provides can only be gained through practice, so the game is also aimed at experienced practitioners.
Finally, I want to talk about the production value of the deck published by Llewellyn, which I won’t go too deep into because there’s nothing to say about it. I don’t like the thin cardboard box that frays in the first week, and it’s the same early 2000s Llewellyn packaging I showed here in my review of the Mystic Cats tarot deck. However, the contents of the game and book are so priceless that the packaging is easy to forgive.
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