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Naomi Ningishzidda  Naomi Ningishzidda is offline
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Join Date: 07 Aug 2011
Location: Olympia, Washington, USA
Posts: 72
Naomi Ningishzidda 

Yeah well I know the technical parts are not fun for a lot of people. However, even though as someone in charge of The Abrahadabra Institute I have to know the ins and outs of everything we do, I can assure everyone you don't need to know a thing about tarot to use the deck.

I was a newbie once too, sitting in the backyard with my mother, fascinated with her "Native American Deck". She was a lot more skittish about it than I am - she had some bizarre run ins with a Goetia summons gone wrong and had read too much Aleister Crowley which can quickly nauseate any female, let alone someone who is of part Jewish descent. It isn't so bad once you realize he is like this to everyone now and then. All I am saying is it is OK to just mess around with cards as if you were a child - this is where everyone starts and I don't think the deck makes a huge difference with the right attitude. Our deck is not meant to make anyone feel more secure as some decks are, but you have my word it isn't going to bite you or do anything harmful even if you abuse it. It will always meet you halfway and that is because of the intelligences it is connected to.

I found my Rider-Waite in a garbage bin, wrapped in plastic, behind Barnes and Noble. Kind of a bad omen but....I took to it because I couldn't afford any kind of tarot deck at the time - I just had my old decks, my main, Tarot of the Cat People and three decks I had picked up working at a metaphysical shop in Lakewood - Phoenix Cards, Medicine Cards and Osho Zen. So with the RWS you have to understand that AE Waite who was also a Christian, did leave out a lot of symbology which would be helpful. Crowley absolutely reams him in his writings. I wouldn't go so far, I don't really know what was going on with Waite (I understand Pixie fine, I'm also a "starving" artist) Although there is a common misconception among non-tarot people that it is "like the original tarot", my roommate's exact words the other day... RWS is a very young deck, created in 1910. The deck is absolutely saturated with yellow which makes it seem "friendly" and "earthy" (yellow is the traditional color of earth and sometimes Sol depending on the scale one uses) and the lines are very limited like a simple comic strip. It's quite attractive - who doesn't like reading those old comic books and looking at pop art? There are a lot of people who think it just looks like ugly pop art too of course - usually they are promoting the Thoth or something - different artist different magus. One of the worst mistakes of my life I made as far as advice goes is telling people I thought the RWS was a good deck for new readers. It just isn't true. It presents itself as one thing when it is actually another.

Yellow= Earth Element, Solar, Tiphareth "Feel good splendor"
Simple characters with little black dots for eyes (cute)


It doesn't threaten anyone. But if you start examining the RWS a little closer some sinister things start to appear. It's VERY old Aeon. I am not here to tell anyone what religions are good or bad for them but the dead and dying God is a different story altogether and it's all over this deck. It didn't turn out to be a friend for me.


It's necessary to examine RWS closely, and I would say that everyone should own it for historical purposes. It does adhere to most of The Golden Dawn. In the Golden Dawn one is expected to create a tarot deck as part of their praxis, and I think that is a very good idea. But I would never make the mistake again of telling people RWS is good for beginners.

I have a few problems with the nearly ancient Visconti-Sforza Morgan Bergamo pack, but it is mostly with the recreated cards which were lost, such as The Devil. They made the Devil Pan in the recreation and I think it is problematic. They went ahead and said that "This is how he might have looked historically" But when you examine The Devil in classical art from that period he is not a hairy bat werewolf creature with goat hooves and horns, like a maligned Pan the All-Father. He is a scaly reptillian creature. I'm not the one to say that the ancients know best, but in the case of the Visconti I am really inclined to admire it a lot.

Truth be told, I think there is no "one good beginner deck" but there is this "one weird trick"

Just memorize the Sephiroth, their properties, and the four classical Hermetic elements - you can read a deck of Bicycle playing cards if you do that off the top of your head. You'll also have a new appreciation for the small cards.

That might make a good article now that I think of it. "Make any deck a beginner's deck"

By the way I thought the best way to show the art would be to show the art process visually, so I spent all night uploading my scrapbook for The Mutational Alchemy Tarot, it might be amusing for you all to go through it. I know artists can be very weird about their working process and they don't take time to document them, but I did at least try some of the time.

http://imgur.com/a/BZlDy
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