Once the student understands the basic Qabalistic principles behind the Tarot and has studied the symbolism of each card, he or she is ready to begin using the cards in the techniques of meditation, divination, and ritual magick. Although many people think of divination as the primary use of Tarot cards, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn considers it the least important of Tarot applications. The Tarot's greatest use is as a magickal implement which can bring spiritual attainment to one who studies it. This is because each Tarot card is an astral mirror of the human mind. Meditating on specific cards helps tune the student in to different aspects of his/her own mind establishing a communication link between the conscious and the subconscious. In this manner, imbalances in the personality, which may have gone unnoticed but have caused problems, can be brought to the individual's attention by studying a certain card. These problems can be consciously addressed and spiritual progress may be furthered.
This brings us to the primary goal of the Magician who uses ritual objects such as wands, daggers, cups, pentacles and mystical illustrations such as Tarot cards in magickal ceremonies. The Magician employs various techniques to ascend through the numerous inner levels of consciousness and reality. The ritual objects already listed, along with ceremonial clothing and other consciousness-raising tools (incense, music, candles), all serve to attract the invisible forces they represent and to solidify the Magician's firm intent to create a sacred space, separate from the mundane world, where he/she can more easily attune with the Higher Self. The temple in which the magickal work takes place corresponds to the Inner Self of the Magician. The complex symbolisms that are used in ritual, such as sound, colors, numbers, words, images and ideas, all serve to focus the attention of the individual completely on the purpose of the work. The ultimate goal of the Magician is to work through the psychological parts of his/her soul in order to reach the spiritual—the highest unitary level of reality or Source which lies behind all others. The Magician does this by exploring all the levels of reality experimentally— working his/her way up the Tree of Life by way of personal firsthand experience.
Study, meditation, ritual, and astral traveling are all key elements to magickal work. The first part of this book has entailed the study of the Tarot. This is the reader's first step and one that proves whether or not the intent to learn is present. An enlightened intellect is a great advantage to spiritual development. Many people study only the Major Arcana of the Tarot and completely negate the importance of the Minor Arcana. While they think they know the all the "important" cards, they are actually working with only half of a Tree, concentrating on the Paths while leaving the Sephiroth completely out of the picture. The same is true for those who do ritual every night but never crack open a good occult book or bother to write down their results. A good Magician combines the drama of ritual with a good amount of book-work and study to involve both sides of the brain in the quest for spiritual development.
Meditation is the first step to ritual. True meditation is an Eastern idea, although the ancient Qabalists used similar techniques. It is the practice of silencing the inner voices of the mind. This may sound simple, but it's not. To truly relax and let go of the inner voice requires much practice, but the benefits from succeeding at it are great. Consider the mind as a pool of water reflecting the Divine Light from Kether ... the more calm the pool becomes, the better it reflects the Divine. Once the art of meditation has been learned, ritual work of any kind is greatly improved.
When doing any kind of ritual or serious mediation work, one should always employ a protection ritual of some kind. Whenever a person begins to study and practice any aspect of magick, his/her aura "lights up" on the astral plane, drawing elementáis or etheric entities like moths to a candle flame. To prevent this, a protection ritual should be done daily, to clear the air (so to speak) of uninvited energies. The best ritual for this purpose is the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram which commences with the Qabalistic Cross. This ritual should be practiced every day for a minimum of six months while the student begins learning Tarot. The LBPR (as it is known) is probably the most important ritual to know as far as practical ceremonial magick is concerned.
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