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Insight Articles and Blogs

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Art of Memory

8. Art of memory One of the most confusing aspects of magic deals with imagery. It will take several chapters to untangle all the threads. We will begin with the Art of Memory which Yates (1966) established as an integral part of the esoteric tradition. Yates also shows that Llull's Art contributed to this tradition, which helps tie this chapter to material presented earlier. Read More »


Catharism and the Trumps

Part III: Catharism and Tarot Okay, after a couple of dry historical sections--let's get down to the nitty-gritty! Is the Tarot actually Gnostic in origin? The answer is--it's hard to see Catharism as the sole or fundamental source of the Tarot symbols. It is possible that the dualist heresy was A source but essentially we have to reject the idea that the dualist heresy was THE source (or primary or fundamental, etc.). After analyzing what the Cathari believed, it just isn't consistent to think of the Tarot as a Cathar symbolic system. Read More »


Introduction to the Magic of Tarot

Introduction One of the most controversial issues in the history of Tarot is the extent to which magic and divination played a role in the design of the 15th century Tarot. Opinions are sharply divided and vehemently argued. On one side are those who side with Dummett (1980) and maintain that the Tarot was designed to play a game - plain and simple. Their strongest argument is that extensive treatises on magic written in the 15th and 16th century, such as Agrippa's De occulta philosophia libri tres (1531), never mention the Tarot. There is no smoking gun. Read More »


Confluence of the Three Systems

In this essay we will examine the most esoteric, interior architecture that connects Tarot to the historical stream of Mystery School teachings passed down and grafted together from most ancient times. Read More »


Awaken your inner psychic

The ultra-intuitive New Moon in Pisces is the stuff dreams are made of -- so pay special attention to your dreams this week!  Pisces awakens our intuition, making dreams more vivid and memorable.It's a great time to connect with your inner psychic -- the key is being able to interpret what those mysterious messages mean and how you can apply the lessons to your waking life. What are your dreams trying to tell you? Read More »


Iconology of the Angel Tarot Cards

IntroductionFigure 1 shows the Angel cards that have survived from the 15/16th centuries. The imagery is remarkably consistent across the cards, showing one or two angels blowing trumpets and figures rising from graves. Read More »


Catharism and the Tarot Conclusions

Conclusions This series of studies examined the hypothesis that the Tarot symbols are based on a Gnostic model. The evidence argues against any direct influence from the ancient Gnostics. Their elaborate myths are not evident in the Tarot symbols, their literature was lost, their concepts aren't preserved in the late Medieval literature. The symbols of dualism in the Tarot are more likely derived from proximal sources such as Neoplatonism and the dualism inherent in the Judeo-Christian tradition. 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 »


Dante

Part IX: Dante It occurred to me that as we progressed through this series of studies, it was difficult to see how the many threads were woven together. As the infrastructure of Catharism was violently disrupted, its remnants were transformed by the Spiritual Franciscans with their Joachimism and their institution of the Tertiaries and later the Confraternities. The Gnostic doctrine, inherited from the Bogomils, was supplanted by a Neoplatonic Apocalypticism. Read More »


Tarot Imagery

Part VIII: Tarot imagery In an earlier section, we briefly examined the hypothesis that the Tarot symbols are the product of, or were directly influenced by, Gnosticism in the form of Catharism. The answer was clearly No! A scholarly examination of Catharism uncovered doctrines that are in direct conflict with a number of the Tarot symbols, as well as with concept of any material expression of dualist dogma. Read More »


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