The Golden Dawn or Thoth Method

Golden Dawn Spread

 

 

Difficulty: Complicated

Note: 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 dignities.

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 spread, particular attention should be payed to a card’s exact position in relation to its neighbors. Whether the neighbor cards bear the same energy (suit) determines whether a card is considered well- or ill-dignified. Opposite suits ill-dignify each other, while other suits are considered friendly. Cards of the same suit strengthen each other.

As with other 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 will reveal special messages. Lots of Majors indicates higher forces at work, lots of cups suggest strong emotions, etc.

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

Cards #2 & #3 are used in conjunction with #1 to further comprehend the nature of the topic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your Golden Dawn Reading

 


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

The Hanged Man

4 of Swords

King of Cups
 
9 of Cups

The Hierophant

5 of Cups
         
    The Querent    
   
The Fool

The Moon                 

2 of Pentacles
   
             
The Psychological Basis   Karma

Queen of Pentacles

King of Swords

10 of Wands
 
Knight of Swords

3 of Swords

2 of Cups

 

 

This spread is set up to 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 spread particular attention should be payed to a card's exact position in relation to its neighbors. Whether the neighbor cards bear the same energy (suit) determines whether a card is considered well- or ill-dignified. Opposite suits ill-dignify each other, while other suits are considered friendly. Cards of the same suit strengthen each other.

Also it is important to count the cards' tendencies, such as whether there is a lot of one particular suit or number pattern. Patterns reveal special messages. Lots of trumps means higher forces at work, lots of cups means strong emotions, etc.

 

 

 

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 2 cards around it are added to it in order to further comprehend the nature of the topic.

 

 

The Moon

The distinction between this card and some of the conventional types is that the moon is increasing on what is called the side of mercy, to the right of the observer. It has sixteen chief and sixteen secondary rays. The card represents life of the imagination apart from life of the spirit. The path between the towers is the issue into the unknown. The dog and wolf are the fears of the natural mind in the presence of that place of exit, when there is only reflected light to guide it.

The last reference is a key to another form of symbolism. The intellectual light is a reflection and beyond it is the unknown mystery which it cannot shew forth. It illuminates our animal nature, types of which are represented below - the dog, the wolf and that which comes up out of the deeps, the nameless and hideous tendency which is lower than the savage beast. It strives to attain manifestation, symbolized by crawling from the abyss of water to the land, but as a rule it sinks back whence it came. The face of the mind directs a calm gaze upon the unrest below; the dew of thought falls; the message is: Peace, be still; and it may be that there shall come a calm upon the animal nature, while the abyss beneath shall cease from giving up a form.

Divinatory Meaning:

Hidden enemies, danger, calumny, darkness, terror, deception, occult forces, error.

 

 

 

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 summarized 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.

Divinatory Meaning:

Folly, mania, extravagance, intoxication, delirium, frenzy, bewrayment.

 

 

 

2 of Pentacles

A young man, in the act of dancing, has a pentacle in either hand, and they are joined by that endless cord which is like the number 8 reversed.

Divinatory Meaning:

On the one hand it is represented as a card of gaiety, recreation and its connexions, which is the subject of the design; but it is read also as news and messages in writing, as obstacles, agitation, trouble, embroilment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your Current Path

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

 

 

 

9 of Cups

A goodly personage has feasted to his heart's content, and abundant refreshment of wine is on the arched counter behind him, seeming to indicate that the future is also assured. The picture offers the material side only, but there are other aspects.

Divinatory Meaning:

Concord, contentment, physical bien-?tre; also victory, success, advantage; satisfaction for the Querent or person for whom the consultation is made.

 

 

 

The Hierophant

He wears the triple crown and is seated between two pillars, but they are not those of the Temple which is guarded by the High Priestess. In his left hand he holds a sceptre terminating in the triple cross, and with his right hand he gives the well-known ecclesiastical sign which is called that of esotericism, distinguishing between the manifest and concealed part of doctrine. It is noticeable in this connexion that the High Priestess makes no sign. At his feet are the crossed keys, and two priestly ministers in albs kneel before him. He has been usually called the Pope, which is a particular application of the more general office that he symbolizes. He is the ruling power of external religion, as the High Priestess is the prevailing genius of the esoteric, withdrawn power. The proper meanings of this card have suffered woeful admixture from nearly all hands. Grand Orient says truly that the Hierophant is the power of the keys, exoteric orthodox doctrine, and the outer side of the life which leads to the doctrine; but he is certainly not the prince of occult doctrine, as another commentator has suggested.

He is rather the summa totius theologiae, when it has passed into the utmost rigidity of expression; but he symbolizes also all things that are righteous and sacred on the manifest side. As such, he is the channel of grace belonging to the world of institution as distinct from that of Nature, and he is the leader of salvation for the human race at large. He is the order and the head of the recognized hierarchy, which is the reflection of another and greater hierarchic order; but it may so happen that the pontiff forgets the significance of this his symbolic state and acts as if he contained within his proper measures all that his sign signifies or his symbol seeks to shew forth. He is not, as it has been thought, philosophy - except on the theological side; he is not inspiration; and he is not religion, although he is a mode of its expression.

Divinatory Meaning:

Marriage, alliance, captivity, servitude; by another account, mercy and goodness; inspiration; the man to whom the Querent has recourse.

 

 

 

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.

Divinatory Meaning:

It is a card of loss, but something remains over; three have been taken, but two are left; it is a card of inheritance, patrimony, transmission, but not corresponding to expectations; with some interpreters it is a card of marriage, but not without bitterness or frustration.

 

 

 

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 3 cards should be interpretted not as an Alternate Path, but as a chronological extension of the Current Path (also read from left to right).

 

 

 

The Hanged Man

The gallows from which he is suspended forms a Tau cross, while the figure - from the position of the legs - forms a fylfot cross. There is a nimbus about the head of the seeming martyr. It should be noted (1) that the tree of sacrifice is living wood, with leaves thereon; (2) that the face expresses deep entrancement, not suffering; (3) that the figure, as a whole, suggests life in suspension, but life and not death. It is a card of profound significance, but all the significance is veiled. One of his editors suggests that Eliphas Levi did not know the meaning, which is unquestionable nor did the editor himself. It has been called falsely a card of martyrdom, a card of prudence, a card of the Great Work, a card of duty; but we may exhaust all published interpretations and find only vanity. It expresses the relation, in one of its aspects, between the Divine and the Universe.

He who can understand that the story of his higher nature is imbedded in this symbolism will receive intimations concerning a great awakening that is possible, and will know that after the sacred Mystery of Death there is a glorious Mystery of Resurrection.

Divinatory Meaning:

Wisdom, circumspection, discernment, trials, sacrifice, intuition, divination, prophecy.

 

 

 

4 of Swords

The effigy of a knight in the attitude of prayer, at full length upon his tomb.

Divinatory Meaning:

Vigilance, retreat, solitude, hermit's repose, exile, tomb and coffin. It is these last that have suggested the design.

 

 

 

King of Cups

He holds a short sceptre in his left hand and a great cup in his right; his throne is set upon the sea; on one side a ship is riding and on the other a dolphin is leaping. The implicit is that the Sign of the Cup naturally refers to water, which appears in all the court cards.

Reversed Meaning:

Dishonest, double-dealing man; roguery, exaction, injustice, vice, scandal, pillage, considerable loss.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Psychological Basis

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

 

 

 

Queen of Pentacles

The face suggests that of a dark woman, whose qualities might be summed up in the idea of greatness of soul; she has also the serious cast of intelligence; she contemplates her symbol and may see worlds therein.

Divinatory Meaning:

Opulence, generosity, magnificence, security, liberty.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

10 of Wands

A man oppressed by the weight of the ten staves which he is carrying.

Divinatory Meaning:

A card of many significances, and some of the readings cannot be harmonized. I set aside that which connects it with honour and good faith. The chief meaning is oppression simply, but it is also fortune, gain, any kind of success, and then it is the oppression of these things. It is also a card of false-seeming, disguise, perfidy. The place which the figure is approaching may suffer from the rods that he carries. Success is stultified if the Nine of Swords follows, and if it is a question of a lawsuit, there will be certain loss.

 

 

 

Karma

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

 

 

 

Knight of Swords

He is riding in full course, as if scattering his enemies. In the design he is really a prototypical hero of romantic chivalry. He might almost be Galahad, whose sword is swift and sure because he is clean of heart.

Divinatory Meaning:

Skill, bravery, capacity, defence, address, enmity, wrath, war, destruction, opposition, resistance, ruin. There is therefore a sense in which the card signifies death, but it carries this meaning only in its proximity to other cards of fatality.

 

 

 

3 of Swords

Three swords piercing a heart; cloud and rain behind.

Divinatory Meaning:

Removal, absence, delay, division, rupture, dispersion, and all that the design signifies naturally, being too simple and obvious to call for specific enumeration.

 

 

 

2 of Cups

A youth and maiden are pledging one another, and above their cups rises the Caduceus of Hermes, between the great wings of which there appears a lion's head. It is a variant of a sign which is found in a few old examples of this card. Some curious emblematical meanings are attached to it, but they do not concern us in this place.

Divinatory Meaning:

Love, passion, friendship, affinity, union, concord, sympathy, the interrelation of the sexes, and - as a suggestion apart from all offices of divination - that desire which is not in Nature, but by which Nature is sanctified.

 

 


 

 

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