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Universal Belief in Magic

1. Universal belief in magic There are a number of things that we know about magic in 15th century Italy with a fair degree of historical certainty. We know, for example, that there was a universal belief in the efficacy of magic. So if one were to ask whether the Tarot designers and early card-players believed in magic, the answer is yes. Read More »

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 »

Doctrines of Catharism

Part II: Cathari Doctrine and Practice We have a great deal of information on Catharism because of the Inquisition--specifically set up after the Albigensian Crusade to stamp out the heresy. As always, one has to look at the testimony of accusers with a critical eye. Charges of immorality, for example, were not based on evidence but on the prevailing theory of heresy (Moore, 1975). Heresy was evil and unnatural and therefore was expected to show moral and physical symptoms. Leprosy was often taken as evidence of heresy. Read More »

Joachim of Fiore

Part V: Joachim of Fiore To understand the transformations that occurred in Catharism, we must pause to consider the strange mystic and prophet, Joachim of Fiore. Too "Catholic" for the occultist historian and too "heretical" for the orthodox, he appears more often in footnotes than in the text of history books. It has only been in recent decades that his incredible influence on the intellectual history of the Middle Ages and Renaissance has become the subject of scholarly research. Read More »

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 »


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 »

You'll finally begin to believe in...

Right now it's the perfect time to get what you want out of life! While loving Venus is in compassionate Pisces, you have the power to take control of self-limiting beliefs and achieve the happiness you deserve.Venus is "exalted" in Pisces, which means this spiritual sign amplifies the love planet's abilities to heal, forgive and nurture unconditional love -- and that includes love for yourself! But first you need to resolve any issues that are buried in your past and holding you back. Take the first step... 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 »

Numerology and Name Changes

The question of a name change and the potential improvements this might make comes up all the time. And rightfully so. After all, we all want to have every advantage available in this life. There is, however, one small problem. Read More »

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