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Game: Qabalistic Eights

From: Julianus 
Subject: Game:  Qabalistic Eights
Date: Wed, 14 Jan 1998 18:35:44 +0000



             A game to be played with Tarot Cards

I don't know who came up with this game, but it is one of my personal
favourites and it is quite popular among the O.T.O. in the Midwest. 
It is highly entertaining, and is the best way I have yet discovered 
for learning all the various formal correspondences. Suitable for 2 
to 5 players of whatever Grade.


Basically, this is just the old card game of "Crazy Eights" played with
a Tarot deck. As in the profane version, your goal is to be the first 
to get rid of all your cards. This is done by matching one card from 
your hand to the last one put down. With regular playing cards you 
just match by number or suit, but with a Tarot deck you can match by 
Number, Suit, Element, Planet, Astrological Sign, Qabalistic 
Symbolism, etc. In fact the only limit is your own ingenium and the
willingness of the other players to accept your latest Revelation
(things can get very interesting late at night after everybody's had 
a few drinks... ) Qabalistic Eights seems to work best with the
Thoth Tarot (the Crowley-Harris deck) as so many of the 
correspondences are printed right on the cards, and there is a 
convenient reference in the form of Liber 777.

Naturally, there is no reason this cannot be played with any other 
deck as long as all players are conversant with the symbol system of 
that particular deck. It is poor sport to suddenly switch systems on 
people in the midst of the game.

Sequence of Play:

1. Shuffle and cut one Tarot deck. Deal 8 cards to each player. Place
the remainder of the deck face down in the middle of the playing 
surface and turn over the top card.

2. Play begins with one player (it doesn't matter who, though you may
want to make some rule about this,) takes one card from his or her 
hand and lays it on top of the starter card. This must match the 
starter card to be valid. There are no "wild" cards.

3. It is customary when playing a card, to briefly explain why it
matches the previous card. All players must accept the match as 
valid. One is allowed to cite reference works.

4. Play goes deosil (or widdershins if you're in the Black Lodge.) 
Each player must put down one card that matches the one put down by 
the previous player.

5. If the player cannot find a match in his or her hand, that player
must draw a card from the remaining unused deck (from the top, now!) 
A player must keep drawing until a match can be made. Passing or 
sitting out turns is not allowed.

6. Play continues in this fashion until one player gets rid of his or
her entire hand, thus winning the game. If all the cards of the deck 
have been drawn and no one has won, simply gather up all the played 
cards, reshuffle and continue to play (remember to leave the 
last-played card out.)

Example of Play:

We will follow a few rounds of a four-player game to give the reader 
an idea of the working of the game. Correspondences follow the Thoth 
deck, to which the reader is referred. Assume, if it be thy will, that 
the cards have been dealt and that the starter card is the Queen of 

P(layer)1: Three of Disks ("They're both Earth.")
P(layer)2: Atu XV, The Devil ("It's referred to Capricorn, an Earth
P(layer)3: Five of Wands ("It's Saturn in Leo, and Saturn rules
P(layer)4: Atu XX, The Aeon ("Like the Wands, it is referred to Fire.")

P1: Atu VII, Adjustment ("Because The Aeon is referred to the Hebrew
	letter Shin, which is 300, which reduces to 30 by Aiq Bkr, 
	and 30 is Lamed which is referred to Adjustment.")
P2: Ace of Swords ("It's the Root of Air; Adjustment is referred to
	Libra, an Air sign.")
P3: Ace of Disks ("Another Ace.")
P4: Atu 0, The Fool ("Because it_s referred to Aleph, which is 1.")

P1: Queen of Swords ("She's Air, like The Fool.")
P2: Five of Cups ("Because Queens are the Watery parts of the
P3: Seven of Cups ("More Water.")
P4: Four of Wands ("The Seven of Cups is Venus in Scorpio, this is Venus
	in Aries.")

P1: Nine of Swords ("And this is Mars in Gemini, Mars rules Aries.")
P2: Prince of Swords ("More Swords.")
P3: Six of Wands ("Because Sixes pertain to Tipereth, as do the
P4: Atu XIV, Art ("Because it is referred to Samekh, the Path on the
	Tree of Life that leads to Tipereth.")

... and so it goes 'til someone wins.

For simplicity's sake, I have not mentioned the occasions where matches
were challenged or where players had to draw cards to find a match. 
The reader may wish to lay out the cards used in the example above in 
order to see how the matches work, and to see if there might be other 
ways the matches could be explained.

As Trumps are the largest suit, they are the easiest cards to match. My
comrades have found this to be too easy, so we usually disallow 
Trump-to-Trump matches unless the cards in question also have other 
correspondences in common (like the Devil/Aeon match above.)  Aces are 
the hardest cards to match, and it may be a good idea to save your Aces 
until one player is close to winning. As can be seen in the examples, 
one generally relies on Elemental correspondences for most of one's
matches. Zodiacal and Planetary matches are next in frequency (one can
certainly use the various Dignities like exaltation, detriments, and 
falls to provide more matches.

Naturally, the more you know about the Tarot, Alchemy, Astrology,
Qabalah, etc. the better you will play. The goal is presumably to 
be able to match any given card to any other card. It is still
possible, however, for a bright Neophyte to beat a Magus if the 
Gods so will...

Note: considerations of "Strip Qabalistic Eights" are unsuited to an
elementary treatise of this type.

93 93/93!


"Nothing on the face of this earth -- and I do mean nothing -- is half 
so dangerous as a children's story that happens to be real, and you and 
I are wandering blindfolded through a myth devised by a maniac."                         
-- Master Li Kao

            *** John's Creeping Homepage of Doom ***

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