Some of us are just lucky, I guess. I happen to know some of the people involved with an amazing, new Tarot deck. Or rather, what will be a new deck as it hasn't been published yet. Before talking about how I used this deck to help me make a positive, important decision in my life while learning more about myself, I want to describe this deck to you.
The deck is known as The Enochian Skrying Tarot, but that's like calling a formula one racer a "car." This deck is unlike anything I've ever seen before (and I have seen hundreds of decks and own dozens of them). The deck was created by Bill and Judi Genaw and two important and prolific members of the famous Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Chic and Sandra Tabatha Cicero. (Note: There is another deck, The Enochian Tarot by Gerald and Betty Schueler with art by Sallie Ann Glassman. It is fine deck in its own right, but is of completely different artistic style and focuses on different aspects of the Enochian system.)
The Enochian Skrying Tarot consists of consists of eighty-nine cards. That's more than the seventy-eight cards of a traditional Tarot deck. To explain why it has the larger number requires that I first explain the nature of this deck, for it is not one deck—it is two.
Take a look at any Tarot deck you own. If you don't have a Tarot deck, look at any deck of playing cards. Do you see any wasted space where you could fit an entire extra deck of cards? The answer to this riddle, of course, is the backs of the cards. The Enochian Skrying Tarot is the first two-sided Tarot deck.
On one side is The Enochian Watchtower Tarot. The Watchtowers are portals between this plane and that of the Enochian world. They are associated with the four magical elements. The deck has twenty-two cards for each element and are filled with information. The eighty-ninth card is a special uniting design known as the "Tablet of Union."
The other side of the deck consists of The Western Tattvas Tarot. This is based on the Eastern mystical tatvas system which uses symbols such as a square and a crescent to represent each of the magical elements. However, this deck uses the symbols of western alchemy: triangles with one point up (representing elemental Fire) or down (Water) or with a horizontal line across the a triangle that points up (Air) or down (Earth). A fifth design, a circle divided into eighths by straight lines represents Spirit. The symbols in this system can be further refined by putting them inside of each other. Thus, a downward pointing triangle inside of an upward pointing one represents Water of Fire. Put a third triangle inside of them (say one with a point down and a line across it to get Earth of Water of Fire) for even more precision. As with the other side there are four suits of twenty-two cards each. The remaining card features the wheel of Spirit by itself.
The Enochian Skrying Tarot is so designed that the symbols and images on each side of any card are related. You can learn more of the meaning of one side of the card by looking at the other side of the card. The Western Tattvas Tarot is both elegant and simple, while The Enochian Watchtower Tarot is packed with information. Each of the latter (excluding the Tablet of Union card) includes zodiacal, planetary, and elemental symbols as well as the traditional Tarot name, Hebrew letter and Egyptian deity where applicable. Of course the divine and angelic Enochian names, depending upon the nature of the card, are included. The book that will accompany this deck is in three levels, each teaching you more about different ways to use both sides of The Enochian Skrying Tarot, moving from beginner to advanced.
Another thing I would like to point out about this deck is that it is drawn using the flashing color system of the Golden Dawn. This system uses color opposites (such as red and green) placed in close proximity. If the colors are correct (as they are here), they seem to flash back and forth. This is not magick. It is a physiological phenomenon. For me, images drawn with this quality not only flicker and flash, but develop a three-dimensional quality similar to the posters from a few years ago where, if you relax your gaze while looking at a blur, an image in 3-D becomes obvious. Not all people see this 3-D quality, but if you look at the flashing colors for just a few minutes it can help induce an altered state of consciousness (ASC) which can help in skrying, astral travel, magick, etc.
The system of Enochian Magic was discovered by John Dee (1527-1608. For a list of his scientific work, see http://es.rice.edu/ES/humsoc/Galileo/Catalog/Files/dee.html). Although he had some minor successes in divination, he realized that he wasn't very good at it. He eventually came to work with Edward Kelley (1555-1595). Together they received communications from angels, starting with Enoch, which formed the Enochian system of Magic. This was basically lost until repopularized by the Golden Dawn in the late 1800s and Aleister Crowley in the 1900s. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, a flood of works, both new versions of originals by Dee and newer, derived works have been published. The Enochian system, in spite of its complexities and the alterations added to it by people over the ages, continues to gain in popularity. But the real key to the value of any magical system can be expressed in three words: "Does it work?"
I have used aspects of the Enochian system with varying degrees of success. Some people have called this system the most powerful magical system around. Although I performed numerous Enochian rituals, I never saw the proof of this supposed superiority. Nor have I seen any evidence of such superiority in reports I had heard from others. This all changed when I got the advanced copy of The Enochian Skrying Tarot.
After I went briefly through the book (or rather, I went through the manuscript for what is going to be the book that accompanies this deck) and got a basic understanding of what was going on, I decided to try skrying—which is sort of a combination of divination and astral vision or even astral travel—with the Enochian side of the cards. As I wrote, I have an advanced copy of the deck. It's not even at the "card" level yet. Rather it's still just color print-outs with several cards on a page. First I used a scissors to cut them from the paper, then I taped the appropriate back (The Western Tattvas card) to the proper front (The Enochian Watchtower Tarot). I mixed them up (Enochian side down) and pulled one out. From the back (the Western Tattvas side) I could tell that this card was "Air of Water." I interpreted this to mean the potential for sudden change in a new direction. When I turned the card to the Enochian side, I saw that it was card number thirty-five. The authors refer to it as "intense force," which certainly agrees with my concept.
AN EXPERIMENT IN SKRYING
The cards of The Enochian Skrying Tarot are designed so that you appear to be looking down on a pyramid with it's top cut off. This is the so-called "truncated pyramid" of the Golden Dawn. Since this was to be just an initial skrying to see what I might discover, I quickly dimmed the lights and performed the famous Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram (the accompanying book tells you how to do this, along with other rituals). I sat in a comfortable chair facing West (the direction of the element Water) and stared at the card.
At first, it appeared flat. But as I stared at it, the edges (which are the slanting sides of the pyramid) started to add dimension. The images on it, of a golden-haired person and the head of an eagle seemed as if they were starting to move (surely a trick of the light and my eye). Slowly, the card started to grow (or was it me shrinking?). I started to chant the Enochian names on the card: AABCO, OBGOTA, HTaAd. The top of the flattened pyramid seemed to shimmer. I experienced myself falling into it.
I felt as if I was flying, or rather floating, on big, puffy clouds. "Clouds are water and air," I thought, "a perfect example of this card." I floated pleasantly and peacefully for what seemed like hours. Of course, there was nothing to compare to so it may have only been seconds. I had been sitting in my chair, but it felt like I was laying down on the cloud. Without moving, I realized that I was now standing in a land filled with fertile trees and trickling streams. At first the sensation was like being in an M.C. Escher drawing: my sitting down was also my laying horizontally and also standing vertically. For a moment, I felt confused, but this quickly passed with the feeling of mist blowing past my face (air and water again).
For a time I wandered this beautiful place, never wanting to leave. I sat by a stream until I heard enormous wings flapping. I stood to see a magnificent eagle land before me. Its wingspread must have been nine feet and it stood curiously upright, on human legs. It was about seven feet tall. It looked at me, but I could not determine what it was thinking. As I looked into its eyes, they changed into human eyes and the head took on the shape of a young, virile man with skin and hair that was yellowish-gold. Somehow, I knew that it wanted me to ask it questions.
"What is the true, inner meaning of this card," I asked, "and how can I make use of it to improve my life?"
After landing, the creature had kept its wings tucked. Now it raised its left one, making a huge background, like a movie screen, for me to view the answer. On the right side of that screen I saw an image of a waterfall. From within it a hand thrust forward, carrying a blue pitcher covered with orange gems. It began to pour water from the ewer and had an inexhaustible supply. To the left side of the screen a whispy cloud formed. It was constantly moving and changing shapes as it was buffeted by breezes. A hand reached out from it and held an enormous, curling, ram's horn that reminded me of pictures of a cornucopia. But instead of food, it produced an inexhaustible supply of air. The air from the horn blew into the water from the pitcher. Bubbles formed in the water, growing to an enormous size, only to fall apart as they popped.
The newly-freed air from the popped bubbles was changed from when it came out of the horn. It had been combined with elemental Water and produced a balance that could actually help to stimulate life. But this meant little to me. "How can this help me?" I asked.
From out of the woods, a strong, healthy woman came walking. She came to a fork in the road and her temperament changed. She seemed tentative, as if she didn't know which way to go. For a moment, the combined water from the pitcher and the horn washed over her. Her wavering tentativeness was replaced by an image of confidence. "I can go either way and get to where I'm going," she said. Then, with a look of firm concentration on her face, she strode off down one of the paths without looking back.
I smiled at the eagle/human creature, thanked it for its message, and blessed it. Then I closed my eyes and focused on the feeling of floating on the cloud. Once I had that feeling, I focused on the feeling of sitting in my room facing west. When I knew I was firmly back in my starting position, I opened my eyes. I was home. Finally, I repeated the banishing.
WHAT IT MEANT TO ME
The way I interpreted my skrying vision was that by meditating on this card I would be empowering myself to achieve my goals, make better, more confident decisions, and improve my ability to concentrate. Perhaps the most intriguing part was the comment, "I can go either way and get to my goals." I took this to mean that sometimes we can be left with difficult decisions because we have made up our mind that only one way will work—and that one way doesn't resolve the problem. So using this card for meditation or skrying could also help open me up to new possibilities without being stuck or fixated on the way I think things are supposed to be. What an incredibly helpful card this was!
But, and this is a big "but," how do I know this wasn't just my imagination? One of the things I had always liked about the Golden Dawn system is that they had a "trust but verify" attitude. How, I wondered, could I verify that what I experienced was not just my imagination?
I went through the book that accompanies this deck, a book which I had just skimmed, for clues. There just didn't seem to be anything. So I went more slowly though the book and had a shock. A century ago, an original member of the Golden Dawn, Mrs. H. M. Rand (known as "Vigilate"), had skried into the same area while using the truncated pyramid on the Water Tablet. Although there were differences in details, the main message was so similar that I was amazed: "...it seemed to affect the brain, producing a vague waving motion which prevented fixity of thought and definiteness of idea, loss of the power of concentration."
PUTTING IT TO PRACTICE
With this verification, I was now ready to make a practical test. At my work, I had just become eligible to participate in a retirement plan. I would be able to deduct some of my pay before taxes. This means that the taxes I would pay each year would actually be lower, but my paycheck would be smaller. Frankly, I was living check-to-check and I could ill-afford to have money deducted. But by the same token, I had just turned forty and I needed to have something to retire on. I didn't know what to do, and the time I had to make my decision was rapidly ending.
So before going to sleep that night I looked at Card 35 and chanted the names on the card. I closed my eyes and continued calling the names as I drifted off to sleep. That night I had a remarkable dream. I found myself running through the same fertile land as in my skrying. But everything was different. It was dark, and a powerful lightning storm had come upon the land. I was getting drenched by the rains and pushed by the winds. The pushing forced me to walk, and then run through the trees. I saw a huge, ancient oak in front of me. Now, even though I know that being under a tree during a lightning storm was unsafe, for some reason that old oak meant safety to me. I ran toward it as fast as I could.
Suddenly, the figure from my skrying landed in front of me. It was surrounded by a pure golden aura that lit up the sky. Its wings were spread wide, blocking my way. "Why did you stop me?" I asked, while panting and bent over with my hands on my knees from the run. For an answer it merely gave me a look which I knew meant "stay there!" and lowered its right wing. At that instant, a lightning bolt came down and hit the tree. The trunk split exactly in two, as if it had been cut by a fine knife.
When I awoke, I first wrote down the dream in as exacting detail as possible, so I would never forget it. But the meaning was quite plain to me. The wind and rain forcing me to run was the card's way of telling me that I had to move fast. Up until this time, I had thought that I would have to make the full deduction from my pay or nothing. The split tree made clear that I had become fixated on that idea and that it was not true. In fact, I could simply split the deduction in half, put one part into my retirement fund and keep the other the normal way.
The next morning, that is exactly what I did. As a result, I still have enough money to live on comfortably and I'm starting to build up a nice retirement nest egg. I have no doubt that my work with this card has changed my life. Now I just have eighty-eight more cards to work with, not to mention the other side.