The January 2013 issue of Attune Magazine for Tarot readers who know more than the basics, is out, and it looks very good. I only came across it via an invite from the editor Mary Nale on Google+.
Tarot magazines have a checkered history, for despite the popularity of tarot, no dedicated publication has prospered. Mary Nale may have discovered a way of reviving the genre, creating the magazine on Joomag, which is a free online digital website.
Occultists use magical mirrors to develop their psychic, clairvoyant and skrying skills, and the techniques they use are exactly the same as for card counting, pairing and elemental dignities in the Opening of the Key Spread. The key to understanding this is Kenneth Grant’s book Outside the Circles of Time.
Why is a website devoted to Tarot discussing a book, which the blurb says:
The Mystery of the Letters and The Tree of Life is an important new contribution to Thelemic studies. It begins with an examination and analysis of the “Class A” texts of the Thelemic canon, with special emphasis on the manuscript and symbolism of The Book of the Law.
The Mystery of the Letters and The Tree of Life is not an “introductory work” or a “beginner’s guide,” but a serious and challenging study of a complex subject.
Tarot readers need not apply! Having read the book a number of times (and I will continue to do so for a long time to come), Robert C. Stein’s book is probably the greatest modern contribution to our understanding of Crowley’s writings as they relate to Class A texts.
Stein expects the reader to be thoroughly acquainted with Thelemic literature, and he takes no prisoners in that regard. Tarot students, by definition, and by the OTO’s attitude, are clearly disregarded. Quite so. No riff-raff. Don’t get me wrong, if I had no interest in Tarot, I would still rate this book highly, but I am a student of Tarot, particularly Crowley’s Book of Thoth, and anything that helps me to understand that book is always appreciated.
Fortunately, last week I visited Atlantis Bookshop by The British Museum to pick up another book, and quite by chance The Mystery of the Letters jumped off the shelf at me, and I had to purchase it.
Now that I have got a few things off my chest, its time to explain to serious students of Tarot, particularly those who study the Book of Thoth, why they really should get this book. For no other reason, Stein has done a brilliant job of deconstructing Liber 231, which, in breadth and depth beats any other commentary out of the water. Of 250 pages, 74 pages are devoted to Liber 231. And what is the purpose of Liber 231? Quite simply it is an initiatory structure that references the Negative Confession found in Ancient Egyptian texts.
Liber 31 is of course the Book of the Law, Liber AL, and the number of Tarot references is astonishingly high. Robert C. Stein obligingly helps the Tarot Student by demonstrating how the structure of the Major Arcana relates to this important book; in other words, the whole chapter on Liber 31 is Tarot related. The fifty pages in this chapter increases the Tarot content significantly.
Liber AL – 220 or 31 or?
Robert C. Stein emphasizes the importance of studying source material, particularly when it comes to The Book of the Law, and again Tarot is significant, for an early title for the book is:
Liber L ver Legis as svb figvra CXX and delivered to LXXVIII (78) to DCLXVI (666)
Stein makes the point that the original numeration for Aiwass was 78, and then it was subsequently changed to 93 – 418.
And Tzaddi is?
For years we believed that Chapter 1, verse 57 of Liber AL says “but Tzaddi is not the Star”, which caused Crowley a lot of anguish, and resulted in him transposing the Star with the Emperor card. Going back to source, Stein demonstrates that the ‘glyph’ as he calls it, looks nothing like Tzaddi (see the video below), and if that is the case, then there is no reason to make the transposition. Solve one problem, and another is created, so Stein proposes an extra unnumbered card, Glyph, which he has associated with the Dragon’s Head and Tail, which fills an important gap in the astrological attributions, and nicely references the Dragon referenced in the Sepher Yetsirah.
Time to talk about the five stages of the Opening of the Key Spread. So far my focus has been on parts of the first stage, where the cards are cut into four piles, and the cards in each pile is analysed.
Until the context and reason for the other four stages are understood, this system will remain inexplicable, so I have created two videos that explore firstly Aleister Crowley’ views on what is required to really get to grips with this system. Then I deconstruct the five stages as they relate to the structure of Magical Societies that use the Tree of Life as their basis. Pretty much all do this, from the original Golden Dawn, the O.T.O., and the A.A. or Argenteum Astrum.
Using the OOTK to analyse magical rituals
While the Golden Dawn did not make the OOTK secret, its use and function has been shrouded in mystery – until now. The use and application is immense, as the OOTK allows practictioners to analyse rituals and grade initiation, and the capabilities and abilities of those taking part. It can be used to predict the outcome of a ritual, or it can be used to find out what went wrong in a ritual.
How Kosher is your Magical Society?
As well as internal investigations the OOTK is used to investigate other Magical Societies – their modus operandi, capability, functionality, and the levels of integrity within the members (in other words, do they do black magic?). Obviously an individual can do this before joining a Society.
No progress in your Magical Society?
If you are not progressing as quickly through the Grades of your magical society you can use the OOTK to find out who in the Society is blocking you, or you can find out if you have a weakness that needs rectifying before you get promoted.
OOTK as magic
A fascinating aspect of analysing the Magical Society is that the process of the OOTK reading changes the energy – this is not a passive process, so expect movement and change.
Mastering the OOTK for Magical Societies
Very few Tarot readers have the technical ability to analyse the Magical Societies in the way I describe, in part because I have not revealed how to use the other stages of the OOTK. However, I will be exploring the other stages in more detail.