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Christian Magic

2. Christian magic During the first few centuries of the common era, magic was identified with the paganism of the Greco-Roman world that gave rise to Christianity. These rival religions were competitors and paganism was seen as a threat. Efforts focused on suppressing the power and beliefs of paganism. Read More »


Numerology

7. Numerology "But thou hast arranged all things by measure and number and weight." Wisdom, XI, 20. The Art of Ramon Lull provides a convenient entry into the alphanumeric and image magic of the late Middle Ages. Blessed Ramon's devotion to letter combinations and strange diagrams seems very foreign to us and our culture. To judge whether such strange ideas might have influenced the Tarot designers, we must understand how the 15th century would have understood those concepts. We will begin with the association of numbers and letters. Read More »


Magic: a Dilemma for Christianity

3. Magic: a dilemma for Christianity While it is clear that paganism disappeared, it is equally clear that Magic did not vanish. As a result, the issue of magic always posed a dilemma for the Church. The dilemma could not be solved by crushing Magic because belief in supernatural powers was an integral part of the culture into which Christianity was born. Indeed, Magic was an integral part of Christianity itself. The old and new testaments are full of demons and angels, prophesies and miracles. 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 »


Albigensian Crusade

Part IV: Albigensian Crusade and the Inquisition The "problem" of the Cathari was solved by the Albigensian Crusade. Without going into irrelevant details, the Cathari in Provence (called Albigensians after the town of Albi) were preaching the downfall of the Church under the protection of powerful local rulers who were snubbing their noses at the Pope. When they murdered a Papal Legate, the pope went anaerobic and called on the rulers of northern France to intervene. Read More »


Iconology of the Early Tarot References

Anderson, M. D. 1963. Drama and imagery in English medieval churches. Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge. Read More »


Origins of Catharism

Part I: Origins of Catharism Were the Cathari direct descendents of the ancient Gnostics? Yes, sorta, kinda. The Medieval Manichee by Runciman (1947, Cambridge University Press) is a dated but classic treatment of the subject. The influence of Runciman's work can be seen in the fact that the book was reprinted in 1955, 1982, 1984, 1988, 1991, and 1996. The book is a real goldmine for the English-speaking reader because it provides a comprehensive synthesis of the earlier French and German scholarly studies. Read More »


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