Golden Dawn Three Card Examples
The Golden Dawn give examples using elemental dignities (pages 52, 53, Volume 9 Falcon version), which we shall analyse. Frater S.R.M.D interpretations is shown in bold, and then with extra comments.
“Very strong and potent in action. Very evil.”
An excess of Swords, indicating sorrow, instability, moody thinking. Absence of Fire – lack of action possibly indicating things are “all in the mind”. Absence of Water shows lack of feelings, while the lack of Earth shows no basis or practicality. The personal interpretation of cards supports the analysis of Elemental Dignities.
“Not quite so strong. Ruin checked and perhaps overcome.”
Fire upon Air causing sorrow and upset. Note how ‘friendly’ elements do not necessarily show a positive situation. The actions contemplated lack emotion and substance, and are thus unlikely to last long. Violent thoughts that have not considered the consequences of an action.
“Rather good than otherwise. It is bounty overcoming loss, like a piquant sauce which adds to pleasure. ”
Air and Water are friendly, but the passivity of Water is causing Air to be very uncomfortable. An Intellectual outraged at a placid, comfortable, unthinking lifestyle. Someone thinking of disrupting a satisfactory status quo.
“Medium strong. Evil. Sorrow arising from pleasure and through one’s own pleasures.”
Water and Air are friendly but have contrary natures. The Nine and Five are unable to make the Ten unhappy – someone who sees the good things in life despite the misery around him. Alternatively, we could take the Principal card being happy at dividing and ruling others.
“Death accompanied by much pain and misery”
Either a death, or the transformation of a difficult, sorrowful situation. A death triggered by sorrow or depression. Note that the absence of Fire suggests that a lack of effort may be to blame, or that if there had been some stability from Earth it could have been different.
“Recovery from sickness”
This is an interesting triplet. All three ruled by the Moon, suggesting fluctuation and change; a diagnosis confirmed by the lack of Earth. It is quite possible that we are seeing the healing influence of the High Priestess and Nine of Wands on a mental condition, since they are friendly to the principal. Alternatively, we see the sorrow of the Nine Swords being caused by conflicting demands from Fire and Water.
“An active woman, courageous and reliable with dark chestnut hair, and open fearless expression.”
Court cards are tricky, so it is easier to start with Elemental Dignities. Fire and Earth are friendly, but opposites. Although the Queen is the principal, since it gains energy from the Six Wands, it is quite possible the Fiery energies combine to squeeze the King. Perhaps we have a hyperactive woman who needs the calming influence of the King. The problem is the lack of any kind of empathy (Water), while no Air suggests that either the King does not have the intellectual capacity to deal with it, or is not sufficiently aware of the needs her.
“A rather fair man but very deceitful and malicious.”
A weak person who has no sense of direction, possibly depressed, a loser. The lack of Earth (practicality, grounding) and Fire (action) are telling.