In the beginning…

berashith bera

The Golden Dawn approach to Tarot leaves both the casual student and the adept scholar in wonder. The amount of information associated with the Tarot is encyclopaedic. Research and practice extends what passes as a simple divination tool far beyond the scope of the simple card readers of the middle ages.

So where would a beginner start to understand the Tarot?

Very simple: at the beginning.

The Tarot has three major divisions. Twenty-two Trumps, or Major Arcana; sixteen Court Cards, or Royal Arcana; and forty Pip Cards or Minor Arcana. The Court Cards and the Minor Arcana are similar to what you would find in a deck of playing cards: Knights, Queens, Kings and Princesses followed by 10 pip cards, all grouped into four suits.

TOL This diagram is a glyph called the “Tree of Life” from the hermetic school of Kabbalah. It represents the whole of creation from the first breath of God down to the roots of material existence. This diagram shows 10 spheres connected by 22 paths. This represents the process of involution (incarnation) and evolution. The 10 spheres represent states of existence and the 22 paths represent the transitory states between those states of mind.

Why did I go all into a discussion of Kabbalah, God and Creation and existence? Because from the Golden Dawn point of view the Tarot deck is a pictorial representation of the whole of creation and can be represented by the Tree of Life. Twenty-two Trumps representing twenty-two paths. Ten cards representing ten spheres. Four suits representing Four Worlds of emanation.

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