The Golden Dawn or Thoth Method

Golden Dawn Spread

 

 

Difficulty: Complicated

Note: Tarot decks that use reversed cards such as the Rider-Waite do not work well with this spread, which was designed to be read using elemental dignity.

The Golden Dawn spread is best suited for use with the bifrost Tarot and especially the Book of Thoth, as these decks are meant to be read a certain way with the court cards. Princes and queens represent actual men and women connected with the matter, while princesses generally represent ideas; thoughts or opinions, and knights represent arrival or departure of a matter depending on the direction faced.

In this tarot spread, particular attention should be paid to a card's exact position in relation to its neighbours. Whether the neighbour cards bear the same energy (suit) determines whether a card is considered well-dignified or ill-dignified. Opposite suits ill-dignify each other, while other suits are considered friendly. Tarot cards of the same suit or element strengthen each other.

As with other tarot spreads, it is important to count the cards' tendencies, such as whether there is a lot of one particular suit or number pattern. The patterns reveal special messages. Having several majors present indicates higher forces at work, several cups suggest strong emotions, etc.

Card #1 represents the reader and the nature of the topic at hand.

Cards #2 & #3 are read in extension of #1 to further comprehend the nature of the topic.

The two sets of three tarot cards at the top of the spread represent chronological sets of events. The current path as it would unfold naturally is represented by cards #4, #8, & #12. The alternate path that could be taken is represented by cards #13, #9, & #5. However, if the reader gets the feeling these cards are telling them they go together, then the alternate path is to be considered an extension of the current path, and to be read chronologically in this order: #4, #8, #12, #13, #9, #5. Just keep in mind: this is only if the two paths seem particularly similar.

Cards #14, #10, & #6 shed light upon the psychological undertones of the current issue.

Cards #7, #11, & #15 represent the influences of karma and destiny beyond the reader's control. These cards suggest adapting to this, as fate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your Golden Dawn Reading

 


The Alternate Path
(or Extension of Current Path)
  Your Current Path
 

9 of Swords

4 of Cups

The Fool
 
The Emperor

Ace of Wands

5 of Cups
         
    The Querent    
   
The Chariot

The Wheel of Fortune                 

9 of Wands
   
             
The Psychological Basis   Karma

Page of Pentacles

The Last Judgment

7 of Cups
 
King of Swords

Ace of Pentacles

Knight of Pentacles

 

 

 

The Querent

cards represent the querent and the nature of the topic at hand. The first card (in the center of the spread) represents the very core of the matter, and the other two cards around it are added to it in order to further comprehend the nature of the topic.

 

 

The Wheel of Fortune

The four Living Creatures of Ezekiel occupy the angles of the card, and the wheel itself follows other indications of Levi in respect of Ezekiel's vision, as illustrative of the particular Tarot Key. With the French occultist, and in the design itself, the symbolic picture stands for the perpetual motion of a fluidic universe and for the flux of human life. The Sphinx is the equilibrium therein. The transliteration of Taro as Rota is inscribed on the wheel, counter changed with the letters of the Divine Name – to shew that Providence is imphed through all. But this is the Divine intention within, and the similar intention without is exemplified by the four Living Creatures. Sometimes the sphinx is represented couchant on a pedestal above, which defrauds the symbolism by stultifying the essential idea of stability amidst movement.

Behind the general notion expressed in the symbol there lies the denial of chance and the fatality which is implied therein. It may be added that, from the days of Levi onward, the occult explanations of this card are – even for occultism itself – of a singularly fatuous kind. It has been said to mean principle, fecundity, virile honour, ruling authority, etc. The findings of common fortune-telling are better than this on their own plane.

Divinatory Meaning:

Destiny, fortune, success, elevation, luck, felicity.

 

 

 

The Chariot

An erect and princely figure carrying a drawn sword and corresponding, broadly speaking, to the traditional description which I have given in the first part. On the shoulders of the victorious hero are supposed to be the Urim and Thummim. He has led captivity captive; he is conquest on all planes – in the mind, in science, in progress, in certain trials of initiation. He has thus replied to the sphinx, and it is on this account that I have accepted the variation of Eliphas Levi; two sphinxes thus draw his chariot. He is above all things triumph in the mind.

It is to be understood for this reason (a) that the question of the sphinx is concerned with a Mystery of Nature and not of the world of Grace, to which the charioteer could offer no answer; (b) that the planes of his conquest are manifest or external and not within himself; (c) that the liberation which he effects may leave himself in the bondage of the logical understanding; (d) that the tests of initiation through which he has passed in triumph are to be understood physically or rationally; and (e) that if he came to the pillars of that Temple between which the High Priestess is seated, he could not open the scroll called Tora, nor if she questioned him could he answer. He is not hereditary royalty and he is not priesthood.

Divinatory Meaning:

Succour, providence also war, triumph, presumption, vengeance, trouble.

 

 

 

9 of Wands

The figure leans upon his staff and has an expectant look, as if awaiting an enemy. Behind are eight other staves – erect, in orderly disposition, like a palisade.

Divinatory Meaning:

The card signifies strength in opposition. If attacked, the person will meet an onslaught boldly; and his build shews, that he may prove a formidable antagonist. With this main significance there are all its possible adjuncts – delay, suspension, adjournment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your Current Path

cards represent your current path as it would unfold naturally. These cards are read in chronological order from left to right.

 

 

 

The Emperor

He has a form of the Crux ansata for his sceptre and a globe in his left hand. He is a crowned monarch – commanding, stately, seated on a throne, the arms of which axe fronted by ram heads. He is executive and realisation, the power of this world, here clothed with the highest of its natural attributes. He is occasionally represented as seated on a cubic stone, which, however, confuses some of the issues. He is the virile power, to which the Empress responds, and in this sense is he who seeks to remove the Veil of Isis; yet she remains virgo intacta.

It should be understood that this card and that of the Empress do not precisely represent the condition of married life, though this state is implied. On the surface, as I have indicated, they stand for mundane royalty, uplifted on the seats of the mighty; but above this there is the suggestion of another presence. They signify also – and the male figure especially – the higher kingship, occupying the intellectual throne. Hereof is the lordship of thought rather than of the animal world. Both personalities, after their own manner, are full of strange experience, but theirs is not consciously the wisdom which draws from a higher world. The Emperor has been described as (a) will in its embodied form, but this is only one of its applications, and (b) as an expression of virtualities contained in the Absolute Being – but this is fantasy.

Divinatory Meaning:

Stability, power, protection, realisation; a great person; aid, reason, conviction; also, authority and will.

 

 

 

Ace of Wands

A hand issuing from a cloud grasps a stout wand or club.

Divinatory Meaning:

Creation, invention, enterprise, the powers which result in these; principle, beginning, source; birth, family, origin, and in a sense the virility which is behind them; the starting point of enterprises; according to another account, money, fortune, inheritance.

 

 

 

5 of Cups

A dark, cloaked figure, looking sideways at three prone cups two others stand upright behind him; a bridge is in the background, leading to a small keep or holding.

Reversed Meaning:

News, alliances, affinity, consanguinity, ancestry, return, false projects.

 

 

 

The Alternate Path

cards represent the alternate path that you could choose to take in lieu of the Current Path. However, if the cards that come up seem to indicate that they go along with the Current Path, these three cards should be interpretted not as an Alternate Path, but as a chronological extension of the Current Path (also read from left to right).

 

 

 

9 of Swords

One seated on her couch in lamentation, with the swords over her. She is as one who knows no sorrow which is like unto hers. It is a card of utter desolation.

Reversed Meaning:

Imprisonment, suspicion, doubt, reasonable fear, shame.

 

 

 

4 of Cups

A young man is seated under a tree and contemplates three cups set on the grass before him; an arm issuing from a cloud offers him another cup. His expression notwithstanding is one of discontent with his environment.

Divinatory Meaning:

Weariness, disgust, aversion, imaginary vexations, as if the wine of this world had caused satiety only; another wine, as if a fairy gift, is now offered the wastrel, but he sees no consolation therein. This is also a card of blended pleasure.

 

 

 

The Fool

With light step, as if earth and its trammels had little power to restrain him, a young man in gorgeous vestments pauses at the brink of a precipice among the great heights of the world; he surveys the blue distance before him – its expanse of sky rather than the prospect below. His act of eager walking is still indicated, though he is stationary at the given moment; his dog is still bounding. The edge which opens on the depth has no terror; it is as if angels were waiting to uphold him, if it came about that he leaped from the height. His countenance is full of intelligence and expectant dream. He has a rose in one hand and in the other a costly wand, from which depends over his right shoulder a wallet curiously embroidered. He is a prince of the other world on his travels through this one – all amidst the morning glory, in the keen air. The sun, which shines behind him, knows whence he came, whither he is going, and how he will return by another path after many days. He is the spirit in search of experience. Many symbols of the Instituted Mysteries are summarised in this card, which reverses, under high warrants, all the confusions that have preceded it.

In his Manual of Cartomancy, Grand Orient has a curious suggestion of the office of Mystic Fool, as apart of his process in higher divination; but it might call for more than ordinary gifts to put it into operation. We shall see how the card fares according to the common arts of fortune-telling, and it will be an example, to those who can discern, of the fact, otherwise so evident, that the Trumps Major had no place originally in the arts of psychic gambling, when cards are used as the counters and pretexts. Of the circumstances under which this art arose we know, however, very little. The conventional explanations say that the Fool signifies the flesh, the sensitive life, and by a peculiar satire its subsidiary name was at one time the alchemist, as depicting folly at the most insensate stage.

Reversed Meaning:

Negligence, absence, distribution, carelessness, apathy, nullity, vanity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Psychological Basis

cards shed light upon the psychological undertones of the current problem.

 

 

 

Page of Pentacles

A youthful figure, looking intently at the pentacle which hovers over his raised hands. He moves slowly, insensible of that which is about him.

Divinatory Meaning:

Application, study, scholarship, reflection another reading says news, messages and the bringer thereof; also rule, management.

 

 

 

The Last Judgment

The great angel is here encompassed by clouds, but he blows his bannered trumpet, and the cross as usual is displayed on the banner. The dead are rising from their tombs – a woman on the right, a man on the left hand, and between them their child, whose back is turned. But in this card there are more than three who are restored, and it has been thought worthwhile to make this variation as illustrating the insufficiency of current explanations. It should be noted that all the figures are as one in the wonder, adoration and ecstasy expressed by their attitudes. It is the card which registers the accomplishment of the great work of transformation in answer to the summons of the Supernal – which summons is heard and answered from within.

Herein is the intimation of a significance which cannot well be carried further in the present place. What is that within us which does sound a trumpet and all that is lower in our nature rises in response – almost in a moment, almost in the twinkling of an eye? Let the card continue to depict, for those who can see no further, the Last judgment and the resurrection in the natural body; but let those who have inward eyes look and discover therewith. They will understand that it has been called truly in the past a card of eternal life, and for this reason it may be compared with that which passes under the name of Temperance.

Divinatory Meaning:

Change of position, renewal, outcome. Another account specifies total loss though lawsuit.

 

 

7 of Cups

Strange chalices of vision, but the images are more especially those of the fantastic spirit.

Reversed Meaning:

Desire, will, determination, project.

 

 

 

Karma

These cards represent the influences of karma and destiny that are beyond your control. They suggest adapting to this fate.

 

 

 

King of Swords

He sits in judgment, holding the unsheathed sign of his suit. He recalls, of course, the conventional Symbol of justice in the Trumps Major, and he may represent this virtue, but he is rather the power of life and death, in virtue of his office.

Divinatory Meaning:

Whatsoever arises out of the idea of judgment and all its connexions – power, command, authority, militant intelligence, law, offices of the crown, and so forth.

 

 

 

Ace of Pentacles

A hand – issuing from a cloud – holds up a pentacle.

Divinatory Meaning:

Perfect contentment, felicity, ecstasy; also, speedy intelligence; gold.

 

 

 

Knight of Pentacles

He rides a slow, enduring, heavy horse, to which his own aspect corresponds. He exhibits his symbol, but does not look therein.

Divinatory Meaning:

Utility, serviceableness, interest, responsibility, rectitude – all on the normal and external plane.

 

 


 

 

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