"What thou seest write in a Book, and send it unto the Seven Abodes that are in Assiah.

"And I saw in the right hand of Him that sat upon the Throne a book sealed with Seven Seals. And I saw a strong Angel proclaiming with a loud voice, 'Who is worthy to open the Books and to loose the seals thereof?'"

from Book T


For centuries the Tarot, an illustrated textbook of ageless, esoteric wisdom, has been used by occultists, mystics, and magicians for the purposes of divination and meditation. It has captivated the imaginations of many; from mere curiosity seekers and dabblers to famous artists, poets, magicians and psychologists. Although many people who are unfamiliar with the Western magickal Tradition think of Tarot cards as charming but strange devices for telling fortunes, the Tarot is in fact a complete and elaborate system for describing the hidden forces which underlie the universe. It is also the key to all occult science as well as a blueprint for unlocking the various parts of the human psyche. A comprehensive study of the Tarot is a task which is very nearly equal to acquiring a college degree in both psychology and theology. Each Tarot card is an astral mirror of the human mind. Each is also an astral mirror of the human soul.

The origin of the Tarot remains a mystery. It has been claimed by some that the Tarot has existed since the time of the Egyptians and even earlier, its knowledge dating as far back as Atlantis. Another theory says that the great esoteric minds that witnessed the burning of the library at Alexandria met in secret and decided to save the wisdom of the ages from being lost by hiding it in a game of cards. Still others say that the Tarot came from the Far East or from the Gypsies. As romantic as all of these stories may be, they remain to this day unencumbered by facts. To our knowledge, the Tarot was invented in the early 14th century and was used as a tool of instruction for those who did not know how to read. It was also used for gambling. However, by the 1800's the cards were almost entirely used for fortunetelling. The decks of this era were based upon what is known as the Grigonneur deck, which was owned by Charles VI of France. Many of the so-called Medieval decks are variations of this deck.

With the mid-1850's came an occult revival in Europe inspired by great esoteric thinkers such as Eliphas Levi. With this rebirth came serious study of the Tarot and continued Qabalistic associations to the symbolism contained therein. And although the exact origin of the Tarot remains a mystery, along with the unanswered question of whether or not its inventors intentionally placed Qabalistic symbolism into the cards, the Tarot itself remains untarnished. The fact remains that the two systems of Qabalah and Tarot are so strikingly similar in theory that they easily compliment and describe one another. If they indeed came from different origins, it would only serve to prove how universal is the Divine Truth behind them both.

With the nineteenth century came the full blossoming of what is known as the modern Hermetic Tarot based upon the principles of the Qabalah, the mystical wisdom of the ancient Hebrews. This Hermetic Qabalah was the primary focus of the teachings of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Founded in 1888 by a group of Qabalists, Freemasons, Theosophists and Rosicrucians, the Golden Dawn was formed as a magickal initiatory fraternity of men and women whose task was the study, teaching, organization and survival of the Western Mystery Tradition. This unique Order managed to develop a structured curriculum for the study of Western magick, at the same time unifying the various elements of Qabalah, astrology, Tarot, Hermeticism, geomancy, and Enochian magick. Virtually all of the best books on the subject of Western magick and mysticism were written by or, at the very least, influenced by members of the Order. S.L. MacGregor Mathers, Dr. W. Wynn Westcott, Dion Fortune, A.E. Waite, Aleister Crowley, Paul Foster Case and Israel Regardie were among the best known of the Order's members whose works are still highly sought after by today's practicing magicians. In fact much of the Order's teachings have been copied or used by authors, persons, or groups without any acknowledgment of their Golden Dawn roots.

Israel Regardie, V.H. Frater Ad Majorem Adonai Gloriam, is the connecting link, between the Order's past and its present. A deeply spiritual and magickal man, V.H. Frater A.M.A.G was committed to the Order's goal of preserving the Western Mystery Tradition. Therefore, in 1937, when it was apparent that the last remnants of the Stella Matutina, an off-shoot branch of the original Order, was atrophying, and a very real possibility existed that the Tradition would be lost forever, Regardie published the Stella

Matutina curriculum. In this manner he fulfilled one of two personal tasks for preserving the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and its knowledge. With this first step he preserved the knowledge. With the second step, he would resurrect the Order itself.

V.H. Frater A.M.A.G. waited another four decades after publishing The Golden Dawn to establish a valid initiatory branch of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in the United States. How the lamp of the Hidden Knowledge came into American hands is a fascinating example of magick and synchronicity. However, without divulging too much, we will present the facts here.

In 1977 a certain Frater S and his wife established an autonomous Golden Dawn temple in Columbus, Georgia, since there was no longer a functioning Order of the Golden Dawn. At this time Frater S began construction of the Vault of the Adepti, the powerful ritual chamber required for a valid initiation into the Adeptus Minor grade of 5 = 6. In 1980 Frater S and his wife began correspondence with Israel Regardie, who was quite interested in their work, and who provided Order papers and his own personal expertise for the project.

Meanwhile in California, a person we will call Soror M who had known Regardie from the early seventies, began an extensive program of magickal studies under Regardie's personal guidance. To this day, she remains the only student who was ever accepted by Israel Regardie for personal magickal training. In the early 1980's she too, established a working temple of the Golden Dawn.

And in the state of Tennessee, a person whom we will refer to as Frater E, a scholar and ceremonial magician, initiated himself through all of the grades of the Outer Order of the Golden Dawn. Around the early 1980's, he too began corresponding with Israel Regardie.

Thus the stage was set for the resurrection of the Order of the Golden Dawn. The three persons mentioned above, Frater S, Soror M, and Frater E, did not know each other, except through the key player in this story, Israel Regardie.

At the Georgia temple, work on the Vault continued for a couple of years since it was, by definition, an ambitious and extensive task. Then in 1982, when construction of the Vault was nearing its completion, arrangements were made for V.H. Frater A.M.A.G. along with Soror M to meet with Fraters S and E in


In June of 1982, this auspicious meeting took place and all the important players of this drama were brought together for the first time. Then on the day of Corpus Christi, June 26, 1982, Israel Regardie, our Very Honored Frater A.M.A.G. performed the ceremony of the Consecration of the Vault of the Adepti. On that same date, he initiated Soror M into the grade of 5 = 6. On the following day, He initiated Frater E into the Adeptus Minor grade. In addition, he also initiated one neophyte.

This event marked the re-establishment of a valid initiating Second Order in the United States. This also marked the only occasion where V.H. Frater A.M.A.G. personally initiated anyone into the Order. Regardie's own wishes were for the Hermetic Order of Golden Dawn to remain a relatively small but accessible group of magicians who would keep the original goals and workings of the Order alive. Letters and documents within the Order show that he personally detested the idea of schisms or exploitation of the Order's name that would naturally occur if large numbers of people got involved. Since Regardie's death in 1985, it has become vogue for some occultists to claim that they were "personal students of Israel Regardie." We can assure you that if V.H. Frater A.M.A.G. were still alive, many people would have a lot of explaining to do.

The branch of the Golden Dawn which Regardie founded in this country has succeeded to an amazing degree in keeping the special magick of the Order alive. Not only has the current of energy that the Golden Dawn represents been preserved, and contacts on the inner planes re-established, but in fact there are now a number of Adepts adding their own magickal experience to the Order's body of knowledge. (During the Spring Equinox of 1988, the Centennial Celebration of the Golden Dawn was held at the Los Angeles Temple of Soror M.) There now exist many temples in several states and in Canada under the guidance of a genuinely established Second Order. These temples do not openly advertise or solicit members, depending instead upon personal contacts for further growth. As the old saying goes, "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear."

This brings us back to the Tarot. The original Tarot used by the Golden Dawn was based upon S.L. MacGregor Mather's research and subsequent drawings of the cards. Second Order members were required to copy all the cards by hand and use them in their magickal work. Many of the most popular Tarot decks of today (including the Rider-Waite deck and the Thoth deck by Aleister Crowley) are based upon Mather's originals, although the symbolism in both cases was altered to reflect the personal visions of the respective creators. In 1978 a Tarot deck published by artist Robert Wang came the nearest to illustrating the descriptions given in the Golden Dawn manuscripts.

After several conversations with Israel Regardie, who expressed dissatisfaction with existing Tarot decks, we began work on The New Golden Dawn Ritual Tarot. We wanted a deck that would fulfill the traditional symbolic and ritual requirements of the Golden Dawn's system of magick. It was also decided that this deck would incorporate both the flashing colors and the Color Scales of the Four Qabalistic Worlds; teachings of the Order which had never before been utilized in a Tarot deck. Shortly before his death, we visited Regardie for the last time at his home in Sedona, Arizona. After viewing several of the sketches for the Major Arcana that we had brought to show him, Regardie was impressed with the project and wanted to commission it. We discussed the various ways in which a student could use this deck and its eventual employment in the initiation ceremonies of the Order. After a wonderful stay in Sedona, we returned home. Regardie died of a massive heart attack ten days later on March 10,1985. Regardie's death was an enormous emotional blow to us, however, work continued on the deck for another four years until its completion.

The New Golden Dawn Ritual Tarot is the result of much hard work and dedication. This deck is intended to be of use to anyone seeking a reliable Tarot which follows a verified tradition. This book will explore all of the symbolism that went into the making of each and every card as well as the Qabalistic principles behind the deck. Chapter 1 will focus on the fundamentals of the Qabalah, the different patterns formed on the Tree of Life, and how the Tarot relates to the Qabalah, as well as its astrological and elemental correspondences. Chapter 2 will characterize in detail the cards of the Major Arcana. Chapter 3 will deal with the Minor Arcana (minus the Royal Cards). Chapter 4 will concentrate on the Court or Royal Cards. The original Order description of each card from manuscripts by S.L. MacGregor Mathers is also provided. Chapter 5 gives practical ritual techniques for using the Tarot as a tool for spiritual attainment, as well as methods of divination.

This deck was designed with two versions of the Fourteenth Key, the card of Temperance, in order to conform with the requirements of Golden Dawn Ritual. The cards of the Minor Arcana make use of the Order's flashing colors in a consistent fashion so that even a beginner can immediately grasp the elemental energies inherent to the card. This rapid method of perceiving elemental information serves to stimulate the reader's psyche (which deals in symbols and colors) and can lead to greater esoteric awareness. The Color Scales of the Four Worlds, described in Chapter 1, are shown in the background of each card of the Minor Arcana. This has been done to provide the advanced Hermetic student with an easy way to explore some of the more difficult and inaccessible teachings of the Golden Dawn, using a format that makes meditation and ritual work on the Color Scales much simpler.

We hope that the student and the Adept alike will benefit greatly from the continued use of this deck.

"Inheritor of a Dying World, we call thee to the Living Beauty. Wanderer in the Wild Darkness, we call thee to the Gentle Light. Long hast Thou dwelt in Darkness—Quit the Night and Seek the Day."

From the Neophyte Ceremony

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