12 Mar Carl Jung, The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and Tarot
Pulling out my Completed Works of Carl G. Jung (vol.1 – 21) + The Red Book (Liber Novus) seems to have taken me down a rabbit hole of sorts today and I am completely geeking out!
I love when Spirit (and woo) meets Science (and alchemy) in the most beautiful of ways: , psychology, the conscious, unconscious, dreams, history, philosophy, psychoanalysis and lore (legend). I love when it all comes together (conceptually) – it all just interweaves and comes together within a beautiful tapestry that just seems to make sense.
Did you know that W.B. Yeats, a highly respected Irish poet and one of the foremost figures of 20th-century literature – a pillar of the Irish literary establishment, who helped found the Abbey Theatre, and in his later years served as a Senator of the Irish Free State for two terms, co-wrote and worked with his wife, George, on a literary piece called, ‘A Vision,’ that was composed/compiled from his (and his wife’s) AUTOMATIC WRITING?
Did you know that Yeats was famously and intimately involved with the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn? Although the Golden Dawn’s teachings were greatly diversified by elements from the paganism of Europe and Egypt, the Judaeo-Christian basis of its core teachings of Cabbala and Rosicrucianism was central.
You may have heard of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in correlation to tarot?
Éliphas Lévi, in 1853, published Dogma de la haute magie, in which he first laid out his ideas tying the tarot to the ancient Egyptian teacher Hermes Trismegistus, the legendary author of the Hermetic magical writings. He then tied the cards to the Hebrew magical/mystical Kabala (which he spelled “Qabalah”). He identified the numbered cards with the ten sephiroth. The court cards represented the stages of human life, and the suits symbolized the tetragarmmaton, the four letters that made up the Hebrew name of God. The 22 trump cards were tied to the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet, and all of the Kabbalistic content earlier ascribed to each letter was plowed into the tarot cards.
Lévi used the Marseilles tarot deck, but grew increasingly dissatisfied with it. His early efforts to produce a new deck did not come to fruition, but Lévi did promote his project with an English Mason, Kenneth Mackenzie (1833-1886). Mackenzie, as a leader in the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia, taught tarot to the group of men who were to found the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (OGD), the organization most responsible for the modern magical revival.
S. L. MacGregor Mathers and his wife, Moina, collaborated on the Golden Dawn deck to go along with the order’s rituals, most of which he also wrote. He produced one original, which was given to each member as they reached the grade of Adapts Minor, who in turn made their own personal copy.
There are numerous decks that were published by former Golden Dawn members. Possibly the most important deck to date to come out of the Golden Dawn was that produced by Arthur Edward Waite in collaboration with Pamela Coleman-Smith (The Rider-Waite tarot deck). It was released in 1910 to accompany Waite’s The Key to the Tarot (later reissued as The Pictorial Key to the Tarot) and went on to become the most popular deck for divinatory purposes in the twentieth century.