The Keys to Everything

•August 5, 2009 • 2 Comments

In a previous post I mentioned that there would be no booklet to accompany the Ra Horakhty Tarot, and that this blog would have all the information about the cards and layouts that are traditionally in a booklet.

A problem came up right from the get-go: organizing the data.

The other day I put together a great article on Key 13 – the Trump card known as “Death.” After setting it up on its own page under the Major Arcana I happily went on my way writing, researching, drinking coffee, only to find a couple days later that by setting it up in the “Pages” section of this blog, it didn’t register in the blogroll.

So, here’s the plan: each card that is written up will be posted, and the post will be added to the “Pages” section of the blog for easy reference. Hopefully that will help.

Oh, and I reposted the writeup on “Death” to the actual blogroll so that it will burn out to the feeds.


Key 13 – Death

•August 5, 2009 • 1 Comment
The Twenty-fourth Path is the Imaginative Intelligence, and it is so called
because it gives a likeness to all the similitudes which are created in like
manner similar to its harmonious elegancies.

“The Twenty-fourth Path is the Imaginative Intelligence, and it is so called because it gives a likeness to all the similitudes which are created in like manner similar to its harmonious elegancies.” – W. Wynn Westcott, The Sepher Yetzirah.

According to “Book T” – Time, age, transformation, change involuntary (as opposed to 18, Pisces). Or death, destruction (only latter with special cards).

The Imaginative Intelligence is represented in the Tarot Deck by the Trump Card known as “Death.” This path leads from Netzach, a state of development characterized by abstract though, material love, material sensuality and theocentric devotion to Tiphareth where bliss is characterized by detachment. Individuals who are dominant in the emotional world would rather die than give up their attachments. However, in order to grow an individual must let go of their attachments. To the emotionally centered person, this is Death.

In the 8 Circuit Model of Consciousness developed by Timothy Leary, the Fourth Circuit, the Socio-Sexual Circuit is analogous to the stage of development represented by Netzach. Leary postulated that the Fourth Circuit was triggered by a neurotransmitter called “oxytocin.” Oxytocin is an interesting little guy. It is the chemical of emotional attachment, and it is unique to mammals. It floods through mothers during childbirth, triggering mother-child bonding. It is also triggered by the high levels of seratonin present when two people are “in love.” This little chemical is responsible for our family ties and our social circles. The Fourth Circuit is also about religious devotion. Religion is another one of our social behaviors that binds communities together. If you think about coming of age rituals like batmitvahs, confirmations and dozens of other ceremonial bindings, they occur during adolescence – the time when the Fourth Circuit is imprinted.

When you consider the social binding power of oxytocin, think back to your first crush or your first love and feel that euphoric high. Now remember your first breakup — that devastating, soul-wrenching experience. People kill themselves or other people during breakups. The ripping pain is the root of violent divorces, powerful fatal attractions and operatic suicides. That pain is the power of the Death Card. Think of the pathos with which battered spouses defend their partners. That is the power of oxytocin.

If we take Leary’s cue and then apply that little neurochemical to religion then a big light is shone on the strength with which people defend their religious devotions. If anyone has ever experienced a “falling away” from the religion in which you were brought up, you will recall the numbing loss, depression and bewilderment of spiritual crisis.

So, after all that operatic pathos, why would the Adepts refer to this path as the Imaginative Intelligence? Because Imagination is how you create things. Create an image with the power of your heart, represented by Tiphareth, and fuse it with all the power of desire and emotional devotion from Netzach and you will create what you want.

Before you can do this, however, you must learn how to detach. You must experience the emotional patterns of letting go.

This is the lesson of Death.

Somewhere that’s Green…

•August 2, 2009 • 1 Comment

“Every 300 sheets of paper costs us a tree.”

I received an email from a colleague with the quote cited above. It made me think a little bit about publishing a physical deck of cards. Creating thousands of copies of a Tarot deck at at time when the word “Green” carries so many layers of environmental subtext could be seen as hypocritical as a vegan banging on a goatskin drum. I’m glad that I did my research before hand.

The Ra Horakhty Tarot will be printed on Casino Grade cardstock — I chose this for several reasons: 1) It sounds really cool and professional, 2) It is known for durability and quality, and 3) it’s made out of cotton.

Years in the limited edition art world conditioned me to pick cotton stock for printing this deck. Cotton is acid-free – this means that the cards will not deteriorate over time. Much better for the consumer, and much better for the trees.

The other decision that has a direct relationship to saving a tree was the decision to not include a booklet with the deck. You will be able to view the card descriptions and the reading layouts here in the blog. A pdf version will be available for download from the website. One thing though – if you decide to print the booklet, please use recycled paper.

Flashing Colors and the Digital Medium

•August 2, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I painted the Ra Horakhty Tarot using Liquitex acrylics back in 1995, and even though the originals were stored in an area away from the damaging effects of sunlight, there was considerable fading, most notably in the blue spectrum of colors. This poses a bit of a problem when you’re dealing with a Golden Dawn style of tarot.

The Golden Dawn style of coloring a deck uses a technique called “Flashing Colors.”  Flashing Colors create an optical effect — they sort of vibrate or float when placed next to each other. Flashing colors are direct compliments of each other, which means they are chosen from opposite sides of the color wheel or the color cube; such as Blue and Orange, Red and Green or Yellow and Violet. When the colors are really flashing well people often experience a physiological response like nausea or vertigo. Complimentary colors have a direct effect on the brain similar to the effect of binaural beats in sound waves. Esoterically, the concept of Flashing Colors has to do with attracting certain energies. Complimentary colors represent the polar opposites of the same energy signature. For instance if Orange represents the Passive energy of the esoteric planet Mercury, then Blue represents the Active energy of Mercury. By using the two colors at the same time an Adept unites the Active and Passive qualities of Mercury.

The fading of the colors in the Tarot deck directly affected the way some of the cards Flash. Fortunately I’ve spent gobs of time during the last decade developing skills in digital art, and I’m able to correct the colors for the initial publication of the deck.

Book or no book?

•July 22, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I’ve had a few emails from people asking if there was a book planned to accompany the publication of the Ra Horakhty Tarot. It’s a good question, and the answer at this time is no.

The Golden Dawn approach to Tarot is encyclopaedic. Book “T” was originally not released until the Adeptus Minor grade(s) after a student had been thoroughly versed in several different symbol systems. At the simplest stage the Tarot synthesizes the symbols and energies from Kabbalah, Geomancy, Astrology and the Classic Elements. Each of these independent subjects of study are worthy of years of study. A casual Kabbalistic student may remark, “Okay, I get it. So the trumps represent the 22 paths on the Tree of Life, and the Minor Arcana draw from the 10 Sephiroth.” Such a statement would be the tip of the Kabbalistic iceberg.

Pat and Chris Zalewski published the monumental volume “The Magical Tarot of the Golden Dawn.” This is a very comprehensive volume that includes scholarly dissertations on the synthesis of the varying symbol systems in the Golden Dawn approach to Tarot. It is over 600 pages in length. I saw the original manuscript in the early ’90s — it was pushing 1200 pages and Pat’s agent at that time was of the mind to split the manuscript into two books in order to properly address the subject. Pat has mentioned on the GD forums that the GD Tarot is one area of study that is in need of expansion.

I have no desire to bore anyone, including myself, by adding another volume to people’s libraries that is merely another rehashed collection of existing published knowledge on Tarot. The Tarot is so much more than a psychic file drawer of associations — it is a living, breathing, interactive system that needs to be experienced not memorized.

In the spirit of interactivity, rather than write a book about the Ra Horakhty Tarot, after the publication of the deck I will be offering interactive online classes on the five pillars of knowledge as they relate to the Ra Horakhty Tarot and the Golden Dawn approach to Tarot.



More on Publication…

•July 22, 2009 • Leave a Comment

There are some great things going on regarding the publication of the Ra Horakhty Tarot — we have an estimated release date — September 15th, 2009.

The retail price is set at $24.99USD + shipping/handling. Each card measures 3.75″ x 5″ and each deck is printed on casino grade stock.

The release date is estimated. A lot of things can occur between the time a project enters the proofing stage and the time the final print is shipped to the distributors. I’ve been working like a madman to ensure this date is met, making minor adjustments on the cards, running proof after proof to ensure all the hebrew is correct and that the CMYK color codes from the files match the printers specifications, and a whole bunch of other stuff. I’ve also requested a batch of decks from the first run to be set aside for signatures — each deck from this batch will be signed by the artist (that would be me.) These signed decks are only available pre-sale on the website

Three of the trump cards have been repainted for the release. After 14 years of sitting in a storage box the colors faded a bit. Most of the cards had some fading. It was simple enough to digitally tweak them, but three trumps just didn’t “sing” the way a piece of artwork should.

I’m not supposed to drop any hints on upcoming stuff, but I’m way too excited not to make some mention of things that are in the works. First, there is something really special about this particular tarot deck that to my knowledge has never been done before with a published Tarot deck. The news will break on the website sometime next week. Second, there will be a Limited Edition Collector’s Release. There is no release date yet for the Collector’s Edition, but it will be VERY special. There is lot of legal stuff regarding Limited Editions to protect you, the Collectors, by ensuring that the limited edition is, indeed, limited. At this point it looks like the Collector’s Edition will be limited to 100 signed and numbered units.

I’m getting ready to invoke a couple angels of healing to help out with the carpal tunnel syndrome that may occur from signing all those decks, so take advantage of the pre-sales at the website. All pre-sales, whether signed or not, are available at 10% below retail. ($22.50USD +shipping/handling)



•April 19, 2009 • 1 Comment

“The Twenty-sixth Path is called the Renovating Intelligence, because the Holy God (blessed be He) renews by it, all the changing things which are renewed by the creation of the world.” – W. Wynn Westcott, Sepher Yetzirah

The first thing that happens to me when I take time to retreat and work on projects is narcolepsy. I nap frequently, and then spend a little time beating myself up for lack of productivity.

Those of you who know me know that I have compulsive work tendencies. When I’m focused on a project, or more accurately, on an aspect of a project, the project drives me. This takes the form of 72 hour stints cutting a film trailer, 14 hour sessions working on software projects or week long periods working on a painting in a studio.

Compulsive, driven patterns like that can’t be sustained without periods of rest and rejuvenation. During periods of intense focused creativity, I keep as much fuel nearby as possible. The PiMag™ water and nutritionals from Nikken are essential, and almost automatic for me now. After a bout of intense creativity, though, my body pretty much shuts down and goes through a rejuvenation cycle. Knowing the necessity of rejuvenation mitigates the intensity of self-flagellation during the periods when I sleep more than usual.

The Renovating Intelligence is represented in the Tarot deck by the Trump Card known as “The Devil.” The path leads from Hod, a state of development characterized by rational patterns, to Tiphareth, the sphere of fifth circuit bliss consciousness. The Devil is a pretty scary image. It clearly represents the lens through which a concrete rationalist views fifth circuit adepts — with fear.

The Devil represents the natural unconscious patterns of rejuvenation in the body. Rejuvenation is triggered by the brain entering into very slow delta wave patterns. Delta sleep triggers toxin flushes in the liver, the release of the anti-stress hormone DHEA, and restructuring processes such as calcium replenishment in the bones. 

The Renovating Intelligence is unconscious, which is why a Concrete Rationalist views it with fear. Concrete Rationalists are often conciousness control freaks, locked into the beta-wavelength or “awake” state. Descending into deep delta-wave brain activity, or “dreamless sleep,” requires a complete release of the conscious state. This is worse than death to a concrete rationalist — it is Hell. 

The Devil card is dominated by an inverted pentagram, a symbol that strikes fear in many. It’s no secret that the Pentagram is a symbol of the 5 elements — Air, Earth, Fire, Water and Spirit. An inverted pentagram is seen as evil because it represents the four elements of Matter taking precedence over Spirit.

The interaction of material elements is the dynamic that creates and rejuvenates physical bodies. Equilibrium is automatically achieved when you let go of control and allow the elements and their own simple intelligences to interact. DHEA destroys cortisol, eliminating prolonged toxic exposure. Bones replenish depleted calcium. The liver releases the toxins it has filtered out of the bloodstream. The body is already built to rejuvenate itself. Matter taking precedence over Spirit has a place in the grand pattern of Life. Without it our bodies would not last very long.