Monday, December 6, 2010

Hermetic Pathworking with Tarot

Focusing on the Pagan path now, I think that my days of summoning Goetic demons and communing with the wondrous angelic beings of the Enochian watchtowers are over (for now). However I couldn't help myself going back to the world of Hermetics from time to time. I feel that it fills a void in my Pagan spiritual practice in that it offers a more systematic approach in exploring the macrocosm - i.e, the worlds above and beyond the material, or the levels of consciousness beyond the normal waking state. While Paganism keeps me in awe with the world around me, Hermetic practices like pathworking keep me in awe with the worlds beyond.

The school of Hermetics offers a couple of cosmological diagrams (mental-maps) that help the mage traverse the otherworlds. Also, the tarot cards are seen as components of the Universe. One of the things I love to do with the tarot is lay them out on their appropriate places on these cosmic maps, contemplating on the significance of each card as they're being laid, and then meditating upon the completed diagram as a whole. It is not only remarkably enlightening, but also quite a fun thing to do - like solving a magical jigsaw puzzle. It is quite akin to creating mandalas.

Technically this can be done with any standard 78-piece deck, but for the images below I used the Tarot of Ceremonial Magic by Lon Milo Duquette. These are an ugly bunch of cards I should say, but they are just so wonderful to use since the important hermetic correspondences (Thelemic) are jam-packed into each card. I didn't have to flip through a book of correspondence tables and was able to complete the cosmo-diagrams with just a bit of rudimentary knowledge, thanks to the detailed attributions printed in each card.

The Enochian Watchtowers
The four watchtowers represent the immediate forces at work in the material plane. I placed my cardboard Table of Union to indicate the positions of each watchtower on the Tabula Recensa. The ace of each suit embodies the elements, while the four court cards represent the sub-elements. The rest of the cards of the minor arcana are assigned to a ruling planet and a decan of a zodiac sign, and are laid out in the Great Cross of each watchtower.

Watchtower of Water

Watchtower of Fire

Watchtower of Earth

Watchtower of Air

The Zodiac
Above the world of the elemental forces are the celestial spheres. The minor arcana, not including the court cards and the ace, are assigned to each sign of the zodiac. Each zodiac sign ,whcih comprises 30 degrees of the zodiacal circle (360 degrees) is assigned three trumps each, with each trump assigned to a decan (10degrees), as well as a ruling planet and a pair of Goetic spirits (for night and day),

Astrological arrangement of the Tarot, each of the 12 zodiac signs are assigned three cards of the Minor Arcana.

The Kabbalistic Tree of Life
I tend to believe that while the Enochian watchtowers and the zodiac show the structure, the  the Tree of Life shows the process. In other words, the previous cosmological diagrams are maps, while the Tree of Life is a flowchart.

The World of Atziluth

The World of Briah
The World of Yetzirah

The World of Assiah

The Major Arcana laid on the paths of the Tree of Life, according to the correspondences of Thelema.

Basbasan Nawa!


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