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Crowley on Divination


My eyes must have passed over this quote (which predated the BoT by 30+ years) dozens of times without it really registering. But, on reflection, the art of reading tarot with skill and sensitivity (not to flatter myself, of course ) has always left me with a feeling of exhilaration akin to the experience of intoxication. I'm almost always energized, hardly ever drained by the act (even if inspiration and insight are hard - and time-consuming - to come by at times).

"All divination resembles an attempt by a man born blind to obtain sight by getting blind drunk." - Fra. P.

As usual, there is a lot more profundity to this seemingly "tossed off" pronouncement than meets the eye. Does it strike you the same way?
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It's an interesting book that is often overlooked in favor of his greater opus. Reading it, it appears that many of his ideas were half baked at the time, although written after the reception of the Book of Law.

This comment makes me think of Lust, and the line from the BoL "Be goodly therefore: dress ye all in fine apparel; eat rich foods and drink sweet wines and wines that foam!"
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Quote:
Originally Posted by closrapexa View Post
It's an interesting book that is often overlooked in favor of his greater opus. Reading it, it appears that many of his ideas were half baked at the time, although written after the reception of the Book of Law.

This comment makes me think of Lust, and the line from the BoL "Be goodly therefore: dress ye all in fine apparel; eat rich foods and drink sweet wines and wines that foam!"
Agreed, but it also comes across at first blush as a good deal more mean-spirited. The 1912 Equinox publication seems to be mostly a Golden-Dawn-infused effort, sort of Crowley's response to Waite's initiative in producing a semi-explicit expose of GD methods.
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Is the Tarot Divination a book on the Golden Dawn Tarot? If so, do you think Crowley got some of his ideas for Thoth from the time he spent with The Golden Dawn? What does the original Golden Dawn Tarot look like exactly, is it anything close to Thoth Tarot? Also, does anyone think Israel Regardie and Aleister Crowley collaborated on different ideas from The Golden Dawn Tarot while creating Thoth Tarot?
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Tarot Divination is Crowley's version of the Golden Dawn's "Book-T" manuscript. It appeared originally in his periodical The Equinox in 1912. It contains the GD's teachings on the tarot but it doesn't have any images of cards.

Members of the GD created their own decks based on Book-T so there really isn't an original standard. The images I've seen of cards that still exist are basically like the Golden Dawn Tarot published by US Games only with variations.

Crowley was definitely inspired by the GD in the creation of his own deck. To me, Crowley's Thoth Tarot is an infusion of Golden Dawn with Thelema. Frieda Harris' art is drastically different from the GD, but it's surprising how much similarity of content there is if you compare the cards side-by-side.

I don't know anything about Crolwey and Regardie collaborating, I don't remember seeing anything in Regardie's bio of Crowley, Eye in the Triangle, when I read it several years ago, but that's been awhile so my memory's not that fresh.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rubycon View Post
Is the Tarot Divination a book on the Golden Dawn Tarot? If so, do you think Crowley got some of his ideas for Thoth from the time he spent with The Golden Dawn? What does the original Golden Dawn Tarot look like exactly, is it anything close to Thoth Tarot? Also, does anyone think Israel Regardie and Aleister Crowley collaborated on different ideas from The Golden Dawn Tarot while creating Thoth Tarot?
They knew each other, certainly, and Regardie eventually "went over" to Crowley's side and was influenced by him. The Thoth is basically a Golden Dawn deck embellished with Thelema, although many other influences and symbolic language were thrown in, too. Crowley was hugely influenced by the GD in practically all things. He saw the worth of the initiatory system, but didn't like the secrecy, hierarchy and politics (which is why he eventually blew the lid off the whole thing). If you study the Thoth, you can easily understand any GD deck like the Hermetic but also the RWS. The system is the same, but used to say different things. However, Crowley and Regardie didn't collaborate directly on the Thoth (Crowley, at this time, had left all his teachers in his dustcloud, and probably didn't need help).

The Thoth Five of Wands tells, in a very basic way, the story of the Golden Dawn up to its disintegration (as well as proudly proclaiming who it was that caused that same disintegration).

I would recommend downloading the updated version of Book T from the College of Thelema, especially if you're going the Thoth route.

http://www.thelema.org/publications/books/LiberT.pdf

Also, 777

https://archive.org/details/Liber777Revised
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zephyros View Post
Crowley was hugely influenced by the GD in practically all things. He saw the worth of the initiatory system, but didn't like the secrecy, hierarchy and politics (which is why he eventually blew the lid off the whole thing).
But I am wondering if Crowley's A.A and OTO were much different from the GD in those respect (the secrecy, hierarchy and politics). If so, how?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barleywine View Post
But, on reflection, the art of reading tarot with skill and sensitivity (not to flatter myself, of course ) has always left me with a feeling of exhilaration akin to the experience of intoxication. I'm almost always energized, hardly ever drained by the act (even if inspiration and insight are hard - and time-consuming - to come by at times).

"All divination resembles an attempt by a man born blind to obtain sight by getting blind drunk." - Fra. P.
Interesting thought. Now that I stopped drinking wine every evening, my desire to read tarot has diminished immensely.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foolMoon View Post
But I am wondering if Crowley's A.A and OTO were much different from the GD in those respect (the secrecy, hierarchy and politics). If so, how?
Crowley developed the AA with certain aspects designed to deliberately counter some of the problems he saw developed in the GD, here he increased secrecy in some areas of AA work.

The OTO is different again and actively encourages 'politics' , in the higher degrees. Actually it is essential after a certain level.

All are hierarchical , Crowley specifically advocated hierarchical structures . I dont believe he ever had a problem with hierarchy itself, just the what he had perceived it had evolved into in the GD. Same with politics. He seemed to have no problem what so ever with secrecy ... as long as he was in on it .

If you look at the essential reason for his problem with GD .... it was actually an inner 'administration' one, compounded with a bit of mutiny, a rift between the 'English Lodge' and 'the Boss' and opposing views about how ones austere GD personality should be expresses 'outside of Lodge' .
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ravenest View Post
Crowley developed the AA with certain aspects designed to deliberately counter some of the problems he saw developed in the GD, here he increased secrecy in some areas of AA work.

The OTO is different again and actively encourages 'politics' , in the higher degrees. Actually it is essential after a certain level.

All are hierarchical , Crowley specifically advocated hierarchical structures . I dont believe he ever had a problem with hierarchy itself, just the what he had perceived it had evolved into in the GD. Same with politics. He seemed to have no problem what so ever with secrecy ... as long as he was in on it .

If you look at the essential reason for his problem with GD .... it was actually an inner 'administration' one, compounded with a bit of mutiny, a rift between the 'English Lodge' and 'the Boss' and opposing views about how ones austere GD personality should be expresses 'outside of Lodge' .
I would have thought so too. Almost all orders have some degree of politics and also hierarchy. But especially with the Migickal orders like AA and OTO, I would have thought secrecy is also essential for running the society due to the nature of the order i.e. Occult, Divination, Mysticism and Enlightenment.
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