9 of wands: golden dawn vs. equinox


9 of wands: golden dawn vs. equinox [I haven't left, I will see replies :)]

In Israel Regardie's Golden Dawn book, in Book "T" it has, as part of the 9 of wands description:

"Health good and recovery, yet doubt."

...but when it was reprinted (almost) word-for-word in The Equinox it becomes:

"Health good and recovery not in doubt."

Which is "correct"? Did I.R. introduce a typo into Liber T when he anthologised the G.D. papers? The Equinox version seems to make more sense.

edit: Wow, nearly 100 views and no-one has a theory yet. (I realize my sig used to say I had left forum and wouldn't see replies but this is no longer true and I have changed my sig now).

2nd edit: Wow, again. 180 views and no-one has anything to say? I realize it's a tiny, pretty unimportant matter, but still...



If indeed the fault was on IR, I think this is a high mark for AC, et al. Kudos to you for noting it. BoT is for me the only tarot resource I use, although I do have the IR GD works. I had not noticed this before but upon reflection on the RW and Thoth cards side-by-side, I suspect AEW also read that wording, for the 9oW image in the RW deck clearly demonstrates "yet doubt". However, the Thoth deck 9oW seems to burn with strength, no sign of doubt there.

Reading LMD's book on Thoth, it's not unusual for AC to bend, tweak and improve upon GD and other teachings. I have to say, when looked at from the Cube of Space perspective (B.O.T.A.), I still don't see "yet doubt" being a good fit.

Hopefully much wiser and vocal readers will weigh in and provide a solid answer to your query.


Quoting from the Wang book on Golden Dawn Tarot, which contains Book T:

Great success, but with strife and energy. Victory preceded by apprehension and fear. Health good and recovery, yet doubt.

I added the two prior sentences because all combined, this gives me the sense that there is a successful outcome but not without effort or worry. So great success needs a lot of work and there are challenges. The victory arrives, but not without some concerns whether it will happen.

And similarly, health will be good, even though there may be doubt along the path to healing.

Perhaps these are how Mathers saw the influence of the Moon in Sagittarius, causing some flux or doubts?

I think AC's definition should be taken on its own terms with the Thoth deck. Although Golden Dawn is a subset of Thoth Tarot in this forum, the reality is that the Golden Dawn tarot is the parent of the Thoth. Any changes made by AC were made from that basis; whether they are modifications or possible grammar changes. :)


I have to go with Crowley on this one. Regardie's version differs from Book-T and I don't believe it was a typo, he deliberately changed some things. If you look online for an electronic copy of Book-T (it's not hard to find), it says the same thing as Crowley's version from the Equinox.


Tarot card meanings are malleable, depends on the questions - the cards position in the spread, and cards next to it etc, and up to the readers' intuition and experience. The book meanings are reference only, which aid forming the readers' intuition with all those elements. That's just my opinion :)


I have a 1976 Weiser extraction from the 1912 Equinox Volume 1, Number 8, (titled Tarot Divination) in which the phrase "Health good, and recovery not in doubt" appears. In Liber Theta, Jim Eshelman rewords the statement by simply saying "Strength, power, vitality, health (regaining health)," which follows Crowley. My Falcon Press edition of The Complete Golden Dawn System of Magic is internally inconsistent: in one place it says "Health good and recovery, yet doubt." But right below that it says "Strength, power, health. Recovery from sickness" and under Extra and Brief Meaning of the 36 Smaller Cards it says "Strength. Power. Health. Energy."

The GD material is supposed to be verbatim, but there are many places where it seems Regardie's personal editorializing has crept in (or maybe that of editor Christopher Hyatt). Either that or Regardie's mind was wandering here.


I think that in any case of doubt, one should go back to the card itself and analyze the attributions themselves. They're the real "meat" while any interpretations, even Crowley's, are just that, and are subject to bias. Even if we reduce the card to its elements, how much each influence each element has, and what influence that actually is, is always subjective. However, by doing such "reverse engineering" on it, we can often see where each author was coming from, and why they made this or that decision.

In the case of the Nine of Wands we have Moon in Sagittarius at Yesod. On the face of it, the Moon isn't a very good match with Sagittarius. The former goes inward, is watery and internal while the latter is all about outward-forthing, is very energetic and very phallic. The Moon card Crowley describes as "witchcraft" and deception, but it also has many attributes in common with the Priestess, which shows off its better sides. But I suspect that here this seeming incompatibility is somewhat stabilized by Yesod, another Moon influence, as well as being in Atziluth as well as in the middle of the Tree. Since both AC as well as IR were working from the same Tree, Yesod connects to Art, the Trump of Sagittarius itself, which probably has a lot do with how this card was interpreted. Basically, you've got an archer with sticks, it doesn't take a lot of imagination to see where that would go.

So, taking all this together doesn't really give a very satisfactory answer, this is one of the more unclear Minors in terms of its attributions. I think it depends on how much of an influence each man saw the Moon as having, and what kind it has. The large and prominent sun at the top of the Crowley card leading up to sunny Tiphareth would suggest to me that Crowley glossed over the Moon, or saw it as a very positive influence.

Babalon Jones

As Yesod in Atziluth, combining Sagittarius-Art-the archer with Priestess-Moon-Diana Artemis (not Pisces-The Moon in its more unstable form), its a straight shot all the way from the foundation up the middle pillar. I don't see much ambiguity there, as even the lunar fluctuation is said to just be the strength of flexibility (a good trait for a bow or an archer), in a mutable sign which also gives that ability to flow.