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Introduction to Golden Dawn Qabalah

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If what you are after is something that will 'work well with tarot', then I would suggest dropping the Golden Dawn variants of both Kabalah and tarot: to 'make it work', they decided to alter tarot each, when there was already a form of letter allocation that appears more 'natural'.

So in that case, I would foremost recommend Mark Filipas's Alphabetic Masquerade.
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I'll second Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki's _The Shining Paths_ (features pathworking for every Major Arcana card).

There's also several books by former BOTA students. For meditation you might want to especially look at
_Living the Qabalistic Tarot_ by Amber Jayanti
_Tarot Awareness: Exploring the Spritual Path (Correspondences, Meditations, and Guided Visualizations)_ by Stephen Walter Sterling

With less Tarot but excellent experiential processes:
_The Complete Guide to the Kabbalah: How to Apply the Ancient Mysteries of the Kabbalah to Your Everyday Life_ by Will Parfitt (one of my favorites)

If you are interested in the GD Qabalistic system then it's really confusing to try and change in mid-stream unless that's what you're looking for. But, if you really want the GD Qabalistic approach then you could try the old standards (dry but deep):

_The Mystical Qabalah_ by Dion Fortune
_A Practical Guide to Qabalistic Symbolism_ by Gareth Knight

If you'd like your Qabalah in the form of a really trippy thriller then try the novel -
_Dante's Equation_ by Jane Jensen - very ambitious and truly amazing!

Mary K. Greer
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<<I would foremost recommend Mark Filipas's Alphabetic Masquerade.>>

I thought this sounded interesting, but it doesn't come up on amazon.com at all! Nothing of that title, nothing by Mark Filipas. Is it super rare or something?
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It's an e-document that Mark created a few years back. It used to be purchasable through his site, but he stopped distributing it in preparation for a revised offering... I'm not sure what its status is now.

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cool, thanks for the info
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You can find Mark Filipas' Lexicon Theory and Hebrew correspondences here:

http://www.spiritone.com/~mfilipas/M.../allusion.html
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According to Mark's paper: this theory "does not posit that the Tarot was designed with kabbalistic intentions. . ."

He goes on, "Nor does it suggest that the creators of such designs would have had to have been Jewish. What this theory does show is that a singular correspondence exists between trumps and lexicon; that the many alphabetic pursuits existing at the time and place of the early designs must be examined as potential influences; that both the Marseilles and Dellarocca patterns may have been intentionally designed as a Hebrew alphabetical sequence."

Mark posits that the Marseilles & 19th c. Italian Dellarocca patterns (especially the latter) had an aleph-bet intent. Regarding jmd's suggestion that this is the best source for Kabbalah & Tarot, this is not, in my opinion, terribly good advice.

Kabbalah/Qabalah is much more than simply the letters themselves - it is an entire mystical system, originating with the Jews and being co-opted as a Christian-magical concept - lending itself to a system of astro-alpha-numeric correspondences culminating in the Tarot. If you want to study a purely Hebrew Kabbalah then you'll find very little support for any connection to Tarot cards.

If you are interested in the Western Magical Qabalah, then the GD system is the most highly evolved, if controversial, manifestation. As a purely human made-up system, it's only as good as it is useful to your purposes and to your ability to work within it's parameters.

A few people have managed to wed the two forms of Kabbalah/Qabalah in their own practice but this usually takes a life-time's worth of dedicated study. Wald Amberstone from the Tarot School in New York is one of these people. Christine Payne-Towler (_The Underground Stream_) is one of the few people I know who has worked extensively and fluidly with several Tarot/Kabbalah systems. Mark Filipas' work with the Tarot & Hebrew alphabet is staggering and admirable but not fully convincing to me.

Mary
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There's an excellent article on the history and spread of Hebrew Kabbalah at:
http://shekel.jct.ac.il/~green/kg.html
which clearly shows that aspects of Kabbalah existed in Italy from the 14th century on. One factor against there being a connection between Tarot & Kabbalah in its creation was that there was no evidence for Kabbalah being in Italy before the mid-15th century. This article shows there is plenty of evidence.
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Mary (Teheuti) points precisely to the reason why I suggest that a good place to start, unless wanting a Golden Dawn orientation, is with Mark Filipas's Alphabetic Masquerade. Quoting from Mary's quote of Mark's work: "that both the Marseilles and Dellarocca patterns may have been intentionally designed as a Hebrew alphabetical sequence".

I also totally agree that Kabbalah is indeed much more than the letters, and that in itself Kabbalag has naught to do with tarot. Those who therefore seek overlays are obliged to choose and select what they consider in each 'unalterable', and alter the other accordingly. With the GD, such has included a totally new allocation of planets to the double letters, the usage of a variant of the Kircher version of the pattern of the Tree of Life, and, for tarot, the interchange of Justice and Strength... and perhaps also these alterations were influential in Waite deciding to have neither the Bateleur/Magician nor Hanged Man mimicking in form Alef and Lamed (a point with which Waite would have been aware) by switching left and right (respectively) arms and legs.

What Filipas does is present the only (thus far) possible intrinsic connection between tarot and - as pointed out, not so much Kabbalah as such, but the letters of the Hebrew alphabet (or, if preferred, alef-beit). And that, for anyone interested, is quite an achievement. As, however, critiqued by kwaw and others, this does not mean that an alternative sequence may not have been also possible, even a sequence that reflects the GD's Tarot-order preference. If, however, an alphabetic sequence was in part used and reflected in tarot's order, than it would be the order as then presented in at least some decks (ie, perhaps not the Visconti-Sforza types, but perhaps these together with an alphabetic sequence birthing what has come to be known as the Marseille-type).

Of course, if what one is after is Golden Dawn, then Mark Filipas becomes at best an interesting excursion - one that nonetheless also adds credence to the letter-atouts correlation used by, for example, Falconnier and others, and also (save for the last two cards of the Fool and XXI) by Levi, Wirth, Lasenic and a host of other important Tarot works and decks. In other words, Mark Filipas provides a good basis from which to understand the as important and as developed overlays made by the major Continental (European) esoteric Orders who also overlay Tarot and Kabbalah (though, as should be obvious, in a different manner to the GD).

Importantly, however, it also provides a basis for beginning to understand possible intrinsic overlaps between Tarot and Kabbalah. Even the GD, it should be remembered, begins not with a full blown Kabbalah on which it seeks to overlay the cards, but rather takes as its first step the Hebrew letters as somehow corresponding to the Atouts (and it takes that from E. Levi), and then alters these for preferred overlay.

My response, then, to perhaps begin with Filipas was not for those who wish to work with GD preferences.... but to the more general comment by coyoteblack who also says that s/he is "more into shamanism then cermonial magic for now", and wants "a form of Qabalah that will work well with tarot".
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This thread is called "Introduction to Golden Dawn Qabalah," so shouldn't a change of subject to 'whether or not GD Qabalah provides as good a form of trump-to-Hebrew-letter association as another system' become a separate topic? Both are valid discussions but it does confuse the thread - especially when statement are made in general (as if to the thread topic) rather than to specific quotes.

Quote:
a good place to start, unless wanting a Golden Dawn orientation, is with Mark Filipas's Alphabetic Masquerade.
I think Mark's card-to-word examples are misleading. With the rare exception of a couple of images mimicking Hebrew letter forms in the Marseille deck (like the Magician and aleph - which is not there in 15th & 16th century decks), if you take away all letter evidence found solely the 19th century Dellaroca-style decks and confine Hebrew words to ones that are unequivocably the most direct word for an image on a card then you end up with only the smallest fraction of the evidence that Mark relies on. I think his material is a great starting point for further research on whether the Dellaroca deck was designed based on the Hebrew letters, but needs collaboration from someone else who is truly knowledgeable about the Hebrew aleph-beit.

As to how his material would make me a better Tarot reader or shamanic or magical pathworker/journeyer, I really don't see it.

OTOH, the BOTA (Case, Wang, etc.), Thoth, and Gareth Knight materials, that are GD-Qabalah-based, provide an excellent system that works extremely well for both personal journeying and deepening the meaning of a Tarot reading.

To continue off-topic: Can anyone suggest a really good book in English that explains and demonstrates the use of another system of Qabalah+Tarot for both pathworking and adding depth of meaning to a tarot reading?

Mary
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