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Paul Huson was born in London in 1942. He claims that one of his English ancestors, Alice Huson, was hanged as a witch in 1664, and indeed his own early fascination with the supernatural almost led to his expulsion from school. At 17 he went to the Slade School of Fine Art and was awarded a scholarship for post graduate work in Cinema Art. He left the Slade and went to America where he worked as an assistant director in the theatre and also held exhibitions of his paintings. In 1965 he returned to England to work as a set designer for the BBC and then left to become an art director in films, among them Otley and The ' Virgin Soldiers. In 1968 he returned to America where he took up his early interest in metaphysics. He designed his own Tarot pack and completed his book Mastering Witchcraft. He now lives in Los Angeles, writing and painting.



The Compleat Guide to Tarot Cards: Their

Origins and Their Usage

With illustrations by the author


Published by Sphere Books Ltd 30/32, Gray's Inn Road, London, WGiX 8JL

First published in Great Britain in 1972 by


Copyright © Paul Huson, 1971 Reprinted October 1972



This book shall not without the written consent of the publishers first given be lent, re-sold, hired out or otherwise disposed of by way of trade in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published.

Printed in Great Britain by Hazell Watson & Viney Ltd

Aylesbury, Bucks


For Olga and Carl

I spread before me now the forty cards, Yet 'tis not forty cards which here I spread, But forty of the god's superior To the deity Laverna, that their forms May each and all become volcanoes hot Until Laverna comes and brings my child; And 'til 'tis done may they all cast at her Hot flames of fire, and with them glowing coals From noses, mouths and ears (until she yields); Then may they leave Laverna to her peace, Free to embrace her children at her will!

C. G. Leland, Aradia, or the Gospel of the Witches



Talking Tarot-A Glossary of Terms

1. Reading the Cards

2. Where Did the Tarot Come From?

3. Tarot Sorcery

4. The Old Religion

5. The Devil's Picturebook The Fool

The Juggler

The Empress

The Emperor

The Female Pope

The Lovers

The Chariot




The Wheel of Fortune

The Hermit

The Hanged Man


The Devil

The Tower 218

The Star 223

The Moon 229

The Sun 237

The Judgment 242

The World 245

Appendix: A Note on the Minor Areana 251

Bibliography 252

Whether you know it or not, each time you pick up a deck of playing cards you are putting your soul in immediate danger of hellfire. So the church once said. The tarot was the medieval prototype for our present-day deck. Instead of hearts, diamonds, spades and clubs, it used cups, coins, swords and batons as symbols. In addition, it also contained a series of twenty-two mysterious picture cards called trumps. The main use for tarot cards, apart from simple gambling, was for telling fortunes. This was their true danger. Worse still, within the cards lurked devils disguised as kings and heroes. To quote a seventeenth-century moralist on this point:

The playe of Cards is an invention of the Devfll, which he found out, that he might the easier bring in ydolatrie amongst men. For the King and Coate [Court] cards that ive use now were in olde times the images of idols and false gods: which since, they that would sceme Christians, have changed into Charlemaigne, Launcelot, Ilec-* tor and such like names, because they would not secme to imitate their idolatrie therein, and yet maintain the playe itself.

This indicates the connection between playing cards and witchcraft. That witches practiced rites drawn from old pagan cults is becoming more and more a matter of common knowledge. That remnants of these old cults have boldly remained on display for all to see down the ages is not so well known.

Anthropologists generally recognize two fruitful places to search for such pagan remnants. First, within the contemporary religions, in this case Christianity. Here the gods and spirits of the old cults often will be found to have become rewoven into the fabric of the new, often as saints, like Saint Bride and Saint Nicholas, ministering angels, like Saint Michael, and demons, like the devil himself.

Second, they can be looked for in the field of folklore and apparently meaningless traditional games still played in outlying country districts. Many of these games now lack meaning, because they are the descendants of old religious customs; often the game may have dramatized some occurrence in a deity's life. It may have involved feats of strength on the part of the players or merely required that dice be cast or entrails be inspected. But the aim was always similar: to involve the players in the "life" and immediate intentions of the deity, whether seen as a god or simply as mysterious fate. Whether it was a Babylonian harus-picy, a gladiatorial match, a chivalric joust or a trial by ordeal, gods were always involved, manipulating the laws of chance, although, of course, they were only apparent to those who had eyes to see them. Any gambler can still tell you that today: the human players merely cast the dice; Lady Luck and her associates arrange the outcome.

Such ; thinking was the real danger to the churches, for it suggested that there were other powers than the Christian God in control. The word "sorcery" actually derives from the Latin sortilegium, meaning to cast lots. The old Semitic word for sorcery, naib> simply refers to card play.

The chief aim of this book is twofold: first, to teach the reader how to tell fortunes with tarot cards; and second, to explain where the cards originated and what they came to mean to those who used them most, the sorcerer and sorceress. Maybe we shall find that the old Puritan epithet "Devil's Picturebook" was not such a slur after all.

The Illustrated Key To The Tarot

The Illustrated Key To The Tarot

The pathology of the poet says that the undevout astronomer is mad the pathology of the very plain man says that the genius is mad and between these extremes, which stand for ten thousand analogous excesses, the sovereign reason takes the part of a moderator and does what it can. I do not think that there is a pathology of the occult dedications, but about their extravagances no one can question, and it is not less difficult than thankless to act as a moderator regarding them.

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