Tag Archives: Tarot

A friend who’s stopped reading Tarot cards, has thrown them away and turned to the church, told me I should stop reading my tarot cards in my bedroom, and that it attracts spirits. Can I have a second opinion from an experienced tarot reader? – Quora

The Ten of Pentacles

Well personally, if your friend had said that to me, I would reply to them: “You say that like it’s a bad thing?”

I think the most important thing is that if you value your friendship with this person, you should behave tactfully towards them, and simply not get out your tarot cards in their presence, or talk about your tarot-activities to them. They are on their own path, and it’s up to them to realize the truth for themselves, and maybe in the future they will realize the error of their ways and come to you seeking forgiveness.

As to whether your friend is technically correct or not, unfortunately I have to say this:

In the tradition with which I am familiar, Tarot DOES attract spirits i.e. good spirits! And, what’s more: it’s supposed to!

What I mean is that in my tradition, every Tarot divination begins with an appeal to a Higher Power to give guidance to the reader when interpreting the cards. This Higher Power may be characterized as “angelic” in nature… or depending on your point of view, it may also be characterized as a Gnostic or Pagan god, a manifestation of the actual God, or an Energy of a refined or higher spiritual vibration.

Those of a pseudo-scientific bent might characterize it as a recondite part of the Unconscious which is not understood by modern psychology… yet. In any case, the Tarot cards when properly used, unlock powers within your mind, which is the key to a successful divination – there is nothing superstitious about the cards by themselves.

However, no matter how you characterize the mechanics of how Tarot works – through good spirits, angels, manifestations of Divinity, Energies, psychological phenomena, etc – from the point of view of an overly dogmatic Christian, these are all “devils” or the work of Satan even if it is not true. It is unfruitful arguing with such people, so it’s often best to keep silent.


Source: Alex Sumner’s answer to A friend who’s stopped reading Tarot cards, has thrown them away and turned to the church, told me I should stop reading my tarot cards in my bedroom, and that it attracts spirits. Can I have a second opinion from an experienced tarot reader? – Quora

Leave a comment

Filed under Supernatural

More Books on Google Play

And following straight on from my last post, I’m pleased to announce that my other two novels, Taromancer and A Fairy Story By Any Other Name, are now on Google Play as well.

© 2013 Alex Sumner

A Fairy Story By Any Other Name

© 2014 Alex Sumner

Taromancer A Fairy Story By Any Other Name

Leave a comment

Filed under A Fairy Story By Any Other Name, Books, Taromancer

What’s your favourite tarot layout? – Quora

(A2A) For simple questions I use a fifteen card layout, like this:

Fifteen card tarot spread.

This is most appropriate for situations which can go one of two ways. The general principle is that in each set of three cards, the centre-card represents the main meaning, whilst the cards to either side influence how the first card is to be interpreted.

The cards on the right hand side indicate what is likely to happen if the Querent doesn’t attempt to change what he or she is doing, or intending to do. The cards on the left hand side indicates what will happen if he or she does change, or deliberately does something new. Moreover: the cards in the top-row represent the short-term future; whilst the cards on the bottom-row represent the long-term (i.e. what is likely to develop as a result of what happened in the top-row). Hence:

  • Cards 3, 1, 2 – the present – now;
  • Cards 4, 8, 12 – short-term future, no change;
  • Cards 5, 9, 13 – short-term future, change;
  • Cards 6, 10, 14 – long-term future, change;
  • Cards 7, 11, 15 – long-term future, no change (or what would have happened anyway).

(The numbers represent the order in which the cards are dealt.)

Apart from this, the rest of the interpretation is pretty conventional (i.e. observing traditional tarot meanings). One peculiarity though is that it does not necessarily used “reversed-cards” – however, cards to either side of each main card can be used to indicate whether it is “well-dignified” or “ill-dignified.”


Source: Alex Sumner’s answer to What’s your favorite tarot layout? – Quora

Leave a comment

Filed under Supernatural

Do you prefer The Hermetic Tarot over the Rider Waite tarot? – Quora

The Hermetic Tarot

The Rider Waite Tarot Deck

(A2A) I own both decks: for my own particular reasons I prefer using the Hermetic Tarot over Rider-Waite, and usually end up recommending it to others (I even bought a copy of the Hermetic Tarot as a Christmas present for my girlfriend!)

Because I am keenly interested in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the Hermetic Tarot is my go-to deck, because it is an actual GD deck. It closely follows the designs specified in Book T, which is the Golden Dawn’s inner order teachings on the Tarot; it includes the astrological attributions of all 78 cards; and each card features divine and angelic Hebrew names which reflects the Qabalistic associations thereof. It is thus an ideal deck to complement Golden Dawn teachings.

The Rider-Waite deck, whilst not completely incompatible with the Golden Dawn, is not GD-specific, despite the fact that A E Waite and Pixie Coleman-Smith were both (at one time) GD members. The Rider-Waite deck is more generic in outlook. It is thus perfectly suitable for people who just want to use it for Tarot divination: the fact that it is fully illustrated in colour makes it especially suitable for giving readings to clients. So although I prefer the Hermetic Tarot, that’s not to say the Rider-Waite deck is not a good deck in its own right.


Source: Alex Sumner’s answer to Do you prefer The Hermetic Tarot over the Rider Waite tarot? – Quora

Leave a comment

Filed under Comment

How can you do a tarot reading on yourself? – Quora

(A2A) In the tradition with which I am familiar, it is unusual not to do tarot readings for oneself, because: firstly, Tarot is most importantly a tool for self-discovery; and secondly, you can only ultimately learn the real meanings of the cards through practice. A real Tarot reader ought to know what the Tarot cards mean without having to refer to the Little White Book all the time.

You can use any decent Tarot spread like the Celtic Cross, but you should Use ALL the tarot cards at once: don’t resort to the vile practice of removing some of the cards from the deck, and don’t interfere with the cards once you have dealt them. In other words, don’t resort to any of the practices that hucksters use to cheat rubes who come to them for fake readings. Be brutally honest with yourself – that’s how you achieve objectivity.

Whilst you may chose to go to another person to read your Tarot cards for you, I find the idea of insisting on someone go to another person for a reading is deceitful: it encourages slavish dependence at best, and charlatanism at worst.

Source: Alex Sumner’s answer to How can you do a tarot reading on yourself? – Quora

Leave a comment

Filed under Supernatural

Do you believe in tarot card readings? Have you ever had one? How do you believe that would work? Did you gain insight from the reading? Did you do it more than once? With different readers? – Quora

Tarot

(a2a) I rarely go to other people for Tarot readings (I’ve had about two in my entire lifetime) – usually it is me giving readings for them. So if I wanted a Tarot reading, the first person I would think of going to is myself. The cards make me think of things which I would not normally consider, and hence because I am forced out of my habitual thought-patterns, this helps to spark my intuition. The Tarot cards really work as Keys to Unlock my own insight, and stimulate my psychic awareness.

I also find that if I have a question bothering me, and I do a tarot reading on it once, that provides closure on the issue, whatever the particular outcome of the reading happens to be. I strongly advise against the temptation to attempt to have more than reading or consult more than one reader attempt to answer the exact same question – you would be losing objectivity by hearing only what you want to hear.

Source: Alex Sumner’s answer to Do you believe in tarot card readings? Have you ever had one? How do you believe that would work? Did you gain insight from the reading? Did you do it more than once? With different readers? – Quora

Leave a comment

Filed under Supernatural

I can’t afford to buy a proper Tarot deck. Can I make my own?

This too used to be on Quora.com but got taken down because they didn’t like me linking to an external website. 😦


I can’t afford to buy a proper Tarot deck. Can I make my own?

Alex answers:

It is theoretically possible to make your own tarot deck: I myself have done so. However, get this: the cost of finding an online company and getting them to turn my designs into a finished deck was approximately $45 – but that didn’t include any value placed on all the hours I had spent painting the designs, scanning them and editing them with Photoshop, etc. (I suppose could have cheated and just used pre-existing designs which are floating around the internet as pirated copies, but it would still cost me money to print them out).

Bear in mind however, that, Amazon is currently selling copies of the Rider Waite Deck for less than $20, so you must be really poor if you can’t afford that!

Leave a comment

Filed under Supernatural

Quora Compendium: Tarot

Picture of Alex Sumner's version of the Ten of Cups

The Ten of Cups – “Perfected Success.” © Alex Sumner 2015

A compilation of various answers I have given on Quora.com relating to the Tarot.

How does the Tarot relate to the Tree of Life?

From the late 18th century onwards, occultists retconned the story of the Tarot to make it appear to have an ancient Egyptian origin, or to be associated with the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, or both. The way this has been done, e.g. by the Golden Dawn, does make for an appealing set of correspondences from the point of view of a modern occultist, but a very traditional Kabbalist might equally say “They’re not related at all. The Tarot is foreign to the Kabbalah.”

That being said, however, the basic scheme is as follows:

  • The four worlds of the Kabbalah – Atziluth, Briah, Yetzirah and Assiah – correspond to the suits Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles;
  • The pip cards correspond to the ten sephiroth, i.e. Ace = Kether, 10 = Malkuth, etc;
  • In addition the court cards are assigned King to Chokmah, Queen to Binah, Prince (Knight) to Tiphereth, and Princess (Page) to Malkuth;
  • The twenty two trumps correspond to the twenty two paths linking the sephiroth.

The Golden Dawn system uses the Athanasius Kircher Tree of Life, and gives “The Fool” as Trump 0, Strength as trump 8, and Justice as 11 (in older versions of the Tarot, Strength was 11 and Justice was 8, whilst the Fool didn’t have a number but was poked between the last two trumps).

Are Tarot cards and Ouija boards dangerous? Why?

An Ouija Board is not dangerous as long as you give it as much respect as a Medium would give her own gift of Mediumship. Now the thing about Mediums is that a real Medium spends years training up, typically through a development circle at their local Spiritualist Church, which is a nurturing environment in which they learn how to communicate with spirits safely, appropriately, respectfully, and with due consideration to the spirit itself and to the person on whose behalf they are contacting it.

Unfortunately, most manufacturers of Ouija boards don’t have those kind of scruples. They actively market their Ouija boards on the basis that scaring yourself witless is all part of the “fun” of using one. So ironically, although an Ouija board would not be dangerous to someone who knows how to contact spirits properly, it would be to everyone to whom the Ouija board maker wants to buy one.

Tarot cards are different: they are not actually intended to contact spirits per se in the first place. Instead they are keys to unlock the tarot reader’s intuition. Their meanings don’t create predictions which are set in stone, but indicate trends which one can buck with the benefit of Free Will if one is resolute. The only danger with Tarot cards is with people of a very superstitious nature – the kind of people who don’t realise that “bad” cards are actually warning cards – and hence are actually good.

What are Tarot cards used for other than Tarot readings, if anything?

  • Artistic inspiration
  • Meditation
  • Clairvoyance
  • Spell-casting
  • As symbols of spiritual progression in your initiatic course in life.

I can’t afford to buy a proper Tarot deck. Can I make my own?

It is theoretically possible to make your own tarot deck: I myself have done so. However, get this: the cost of finding an online company and getting them to turn my designs into a finished deck was approximately $45 – but that didn’t include any value placed on all the hours I had spent painting the designs, scanning them and editing them with Photoshop, etc. (I suppose could have cheated and just used pre-existing designs which are floating around the internet as pirated copies, but it would still cost me money to print them out).

Bear in mind however, that, Amazon is currently selling copies of the Rider Waite Deck for only $12.30, so you must be really poor if you can’t afford even that!

Is the Thoth Tarot in the public domain?

Can I use the imagery without an explicit license? My understanding was that the age of the work matters – Wikipedia says it was all painted by 1943, and first published in 1969.

No. In the United States, copyright for a work published after 1923 but before 1978 will remain in the images until 95 years after the date of first publication, or 2064. See: Copyright Basics FAQ

In the United Kingdom and other countries, copyright lasts until 70 years after the creator’s death. The text for the Book of Thoth will therefore be in the public domain in Britain in 2017 (Crowley died in 1947); but the images will remain in copyright until 2032 (Lady Frieda Harris died in 1962). See: Page on dacs.org.uk

Does any one believe in Tarot card reading? How does it work?

The Tarot reader’s intuition does the reading: the cards themselves are keys which unlock that intuition. The Tarot spread challenges the reader to confront symbols that he or she would not normally consider – thus forcing the reader to think outside the box, and leading to insights of a psychic and even spiritual nature.

How do you become a paid astrologer or tarot reader?

Certification, and more importantly professional indemnity insurance, from the British Astrological & Psychic Society (or a similar body if overseas) is always a good start.

1 Comment

Filed under Supernatural

World Tarot Day 2015

It’s that time of year again when we celebrate World Tarot Day! And by “we” I mean Tarot readers as I wasn’t aware that anyone outside Tarotdom actually knows about this international holiday. Anywho, I look on my shelf to see how many decks I have and I realise that I have acquired five new ones since this time last year.

One of those was the deck I created for myself, which I have described in previous blog-posts, and which I now use as my default deck when I am at home.

The other four, however, are commercially available decks, so I shall review them here. Incidentally, by coincidence these all came from Watkins Bookshop, which is the best place for buying tarot decks in London, and which I have previously argued is the model for Flourish & Blotts in the Harry Potter books.

The Hermetic Tarot

The Hermetic Tarot – created by Godfrey Dowson, published by US Games Systems Inc

This is a Golden Dawn tarot, or rather “Stella Matutina” – a true Golden Dawn tarot, which is authentic in its depiction of the trumps, is yet to be published. The artwork is black & white line drawings. Given that the Golden Dawn was renowned for its sophisticated use of shades and hues, this might at first appear ironic, although I wonder if the whole point is that it is meant to be like the BOTA deck – to colour-in as one learns the King-, Queen-, Prince- and Princess- scales?

Nevertheless, I would say that the Hermetic Tarot is the favourite GD deck which I have in my possession – ranking ahead of the Robert Wang version. What I found helpful was that Godfrey Dowson included not only the proper titles of the cards from “Book T,” which aids enormously in card memorisation, but also the full astrological and elemental symbolism, as well as divine and angelic names where appropriate. Clearly a deck for use not just in divination, but in GD style magical-theurgical operations as well.

Morgan Greer Tarot

The Morgan Greer Tarot (English Edition), created by Lloyd Morgan and Bill F Greer, published by US Games Systems Inc

What strikes me first and most importantly about this deck is the artwork. This is clearly based on the Rider-Waite deck: however, unlike so many Rider-Waite clones the artist has gone and created new versions of all seventy-eight cards. The result therefore is bright and colourful (apparently the artist owes some inspiration to Paul Foster Case in this regard). Also, the cards dispense with a border so the illustrations go right up to the edge, making the cards seem bigger than they are.

Given its visual-appeal, this is a deck which I like to turn to when giving tarot readings for other people.

The Steampunk Tarot:
Wisdom from the Gods of the Machine

The Steampunk Tarot, created by John & Caitlin Matthews, illustrated by Wil Kinghan, published by Tuttle Publishing.

NB: This is not to be confused with the similarly named Steampunk Tarot, which is a different deck and published by Llewellyn. This one however is created by British writers and artists. Not that I am saying that this makes it inherently superior – but it is inherently superior 🙂

This is a rather ambitious project, in that not only is the deck a major accomplishment in itself, but the accompanying “little white booklet” is neither little (160 pages) nor, being fully illustrated, is it particularly white. The milieu of the deck is another universe entirely, where Steampunk is the prevailing world view: and in order to fully get to grips with this tarot deck, one almost has to mentally enter that universe as well! Fortunately, it turns out there is a direct translation to their analogues in conventional tarot.

Thus the suits are Airships (Swords); Engines (Wands); Submersibles (Cups); and Leviathans (Pentacles) – by analogy with the elements. The court cards are Captain (King); Lady (Queen); Navigator (Prince); and Messenger (Princess). The Trumps meanwhile have fantastic names such as “Technomancer,” “Cyborg” and “Regeneration Machine”: although it is clear from closely examining the corresponding descriptions that they have the same basic meaning as their regular counterparts (the cards mentioned are The Magician, The Devil and Judgement respectively). One unusual feature of the book is that the authors have created a mini-spread for each trump, as well as four general spreads (“blueprints”).

There is also an ongoing conceit that the universe is entirely mechanistic – in the sense of technology from late 19th century science fiction. Most notable however are the cards themselves. The artist has re-imagined an entire 78 card deck whose visual cues are entirely divorced from conventional decks, and has done an amazing job in doing so.

The Transparent Tarot

The Transparent Tarot, created by Emily Carding, published by Schiffer Publishing

NB: this is not to be confused with the similarly named Universal Transparent Tarot which is a different deck and published by Lo Scarabeo. The creator of this deck, Emily Carding, however is British, and not that I saying that this makes it inherently superior …

Seriously though: what both decks have in common is that the cards are printed on transparent plastic, such that superimposing two or more cards upon one another can generate new layers of meaning. What sets Ms Carding’s deck apart, however, is that her tarot features completely original artwork: whereas the Lo Scarabeo version is a ham-fisted derivative of the Rider-Waite.

Thus, although Ms Carding keeps each card in itself to a minimalist aesthetic, the act of combining the cards produces a thankfully uncluttered composite. The very nature of the cards necessarily invites the reader to delve into a more personal interpretation of the symbolism.

The deck also comes with a 280 page book (again no LWB!), as well as a handy white tarot cloth (essential really, in order to show the artwork of the cards off to maximum advantage).

Leave a comment

Filed under Supernatural

How To Create Your Own Tarot Deck, part two

This is a sequel to a post I wrote last year. So I finally went and did it: I put my money where my mouth is, and used one of the sites mentioned in my previous post, makeplayingcards.com, to convert a set of tarot cards I had designed into an actual deck. It will not be commercially released, for two reasons: firstly, it is far too derivative of other well-known decks, so there would be a rights issue if I tried to do so; and secondly and more importantly, I don’t claim to be a great artist.

Copyright Alex Sumner 2015

Tarot trumps. Copyright Alex Sumner 2015

The Majors and the Court Cards I created from the BOTA deck, which is deliberately printed black and white for the purpose of colouring in – as one learns about the colour correspondances of the Tree of Life. I didn’t paint the actual cards, but large scans thereof, which I then re-scanned once finished. The pip-cards, on the other hand, were mostly done with Photoshop (except for the suit of Cups). Incidentally, the pip-cards on the BOTA deck are a bit of a let-down compared with the art-work of the rest of the deck. I ended up photoshopping scans of the Rider-Waite: not only re-colouring them, but also altering the background imagery to suit my own particular interpretation of the symbolism.

Copyright Alex Sumner 2015

Wands. Fire. Atziluth. King Scale. The Spiritual Experiences of the Sephiroth.
Copyright Alex Sumner 2015

Cups. Water. Briah. Queen Scale. Archangels. Copyright Alex Sumner 2015

Cups. Water. Briah. Queen Scale. Archangels.
Copyright Alex Sumner 2015

Copyright Alex Sumner 2015

Swords. Air. Yetzirah. Prince Scale. Choirs of Angels.
Copyright Alex Sumner 2015

Copyright Alex Sumner 2015

Pentacles. Earth. Assiah. Princess Scale. The Gods as they are ensouled in the material universe (or in other words, “the Planets”).
Copyright Alex Sumner 2015

Ten out of the seventy-eight cards ended up being original compositions, not based on any pre-existing tarot card. For the back, I printed the text of the invocation used in the Golden Dawn at the start of every tarot reading, for the practical reason that if I put it there, I wouldn’t forget it!

Copyright Alex Sumner 2015

Back view. Copyright Alex Sumner 2015

I have to say that the emotional satisfaction of getting this project completed – which is no small thing, subjectively speaking – is the exclusive advantage of this method of acquiring a new tarot deck. It is neither a costly nor timely method. Quite apart from the effort in trying to assemble all the images necessary, the website I went with, makeplayingcards.com , outsource their manufacturing and distribution to China. Not only did this add considerable time to the shipping, I discovered they stopped work over the Chinese New Year period, which of course is a major holiday for them.

1 Comment

Filed under Supernatural