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Insight Articles and Blogs

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Full Moon in Aries: Don't Get Burned

Some days it feels like I go from one disappointment to another. No matter how hard I try, I never seem to have the fire and passion needed to extinguish this drama in my life. Well tonight's Full Moon in Aries is going to change all that. Read More »


Iconology of the Lovers Cards

Introduction Six examples of the Lovers card have survived from the 15th/16th centuries (Figure 1). In the type B ordering, the Lovers cards are number seven.The imagery is quite consistent and shows a young couple with a cupid hovering above. One card shows three couples with two cupids. The last card (lower right) is a fragment but probably also had the typical Cupid above. Read More »


Kabbalah Influences

For the first three decades during which I was assimilating information about Tarot, I avoided the history of the Kabalah. Not only had it seemed too abstruse and foreign, but the teachings had apparently fragmented due to the many forced migrations imposed upon the Jews throughout their history. Read More »


The English School of Tarot

A number of histories have been written to clarify the people and events connected to the founding of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the most familiar of this century's Secret Societies and source of most of the Tarot decks sold today. Read More »


The Major Arcana Traditions

Over the years,friends have asked me in the course of compiling important minutiae of a comprehensible Tarot history, "Isn't this a bit too encyclopedic for the average Tarot user to care about?" Read More »


Transmission of Magical Knowledge to the 15th Century

5. Transmission of magical knowledge to the 15th Century Occultist writers often attribute the transmission of magical knowledge to secret societies. The claim has some basis if we consider the 16th to 20th centuries. However, it does not suffice to explain the transmission from ancient times to the 15th century when the Tarot was invented. There simply are not any secret societies that could have served the purpose (see separate article on Secret Societies and the Tarot) nor is there any hint of such a society in the hundreds of medieval manuscripts that deal with magic. Read More »


Ramon Llull

Ramon Llull Perhaps it would be well to step back from the generalities and abstractions about magic and consider an individual 'magician'. In the 15th century, Ramon Llull (1232 - ~1316) was considered one of the greatest minds of the late middle ages. His magical thought and alchemy influenced Agrippa and Bruno (Yates 1982) and this influence was still alive in the 19th century (Levi 1860). Read More »


Defining Magic

4. Defining magic The Church condemned magic. But what exactly was magic? The Church's position reminds one of the judge who declared that he couldn't define pornography but he knew it when he saw it. If one wished to preserve the cult of saints who performed miracles while damning the magician for almost identical acts, then one had to be extremely cautious and precise in defining exactly what was condemned and what was accepted. The dilemma was faced by drawing a set of fine distinctions concerning what was miraculous and what was illicit magic. Read More »


Iconology of the Early Tarot Conclusion

Our analysis of the early Tarot images confirms the documentary evidence that the Tarot originated in 15th century Italy. An excellent summary of the documentary evidence can be found at Collected Fragments of Tarot History. Read More »


Iconology of the World Cards

IntroductionFigure one shows the eight surviving World cards from the early Tarot. The modern viewer may be surprised to find that none of the oldest images correspond to the Tarot de Marseille card with a figure within a mandalora and four beasts. Read More »


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