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reversed cards

To: alt.tarot
From: (Nigel Cooper)
Subject: Re: reversed cards
Date: Fri, 12 Jan 1996 09:33:28 GMT

On 10 Jan 1996 21:36:58 GMT, (George Leake)

>In article <4cen3o$>,
> wrote:
>> It has seemed to me that the Thoth deck, unlike some others,  doesn't lend
>> itself very well to reversed readings. Any opinions out there? 
>> Thanks!    Linda
>***I haven't checked the rest of this thread, but there seems to be
>consensus that the Waite-Rider deck was the first deck to really use
>reversals, and that perhaps either Papus or Eliphas Levi suggested it in
>their writings

S.L. MacGregor Mathers, in his "A Short Treatise on Reading Cards",
originally published in 1888, provides reverse meanings for both the
major and the minor arcana.

A.E. Waite in "The Key to the Tarot", published in 1910, makes mention
of Mathers' pamphlet, stating that it was mainly devoted to fortune

telling.  Of his own work, Waite clearly indicates that "The key to
the Tarot", is only intended as a guide to those that wish to use the
deck for fortune telling.  He also makes it quite clear that his
"rectified tarot", is not merely intended for fortune telling but has
a much deeper purpose, but that he can't go very far into that purpose
because of various oaths that prevent disclosure of occulted
knowledge.  It is as if Waite produced his tarot and in reluctantly
acknowledging that it would be used for fortune telling, provided a
book of instruction for such a purpose.

The Golden Dawn Book T, as revealed by Aleister Crowley in "A
description of the Cards of the Tarot", published in 1912, clearly
makes no reference to reverse interpretations but instead makes
reference to dignitaries.  I am not sure when Book T was put together,
but I assume that it was the current thinking of the Golden Dawn at
the time of the authoring of Waite's tarot deck.

From the above evidence I would suggest that the Waite/Coleman-Smith,
(Rider Waite), deck was never designed to be used with reversed
meanings.  Operations with that deck are supposed be with the use of
elemental dignitaries, which was standard Golden Dawn practice.  I
would also suggest that the use of reverse meaning was a standard
fortune telling practice, (may be gypsies etc), that had been used
ages before Waite included it in his book.  (Ages:  Technical term for
I don't know how long, but probably a long time).  Further;  Waite
only included reverse meanings in his book as a fob to those who would
use the deck for fortune telling anyway.  Possibly the inclusion was
also intended to prevent the uninitiated from looking too deeply into
the true, occulted, nature of the deck.

There again, I could be wrong.
~ Nigel    /
          /    Be aware
         /      Magic happens here

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