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
 

King of Wands

8 of Cups

4 of Cups
 
Temperance

8 of Wands

The Empress
         
    The Querent    
   
The Hierophant

The World                 

9 of Cups
   
             
The Psychological Basis   Karma

7 of Swords

5 of Swords

9 of Pentacles
 
2 of Cups

5 of Cups

6 of Wands

 

 

 

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 World

As this final message of the Major Trumps is unchanged – and indeed unchangeable – in respect of its design, it has been partly described already regarding its deeper sense. It represents also the perfection and end of the Cosmos, the secret which is within it, the rapture of the universe when it understands itself in God. It is further the state of the soul in the consciousness of Divine Vision, reflected from the self-knowing spirit. But these meanings are without prejudice to that which I have said concerning it on the material side.

It has more than one message on the macrocosmic side and is, for example, the state of the restored world when the law of manifestation shall have been carried to the highest degree of natural perfection. But it is perhaps more especially a story of the past, referring to that day when all was declared to be good, when the morning stars sang together and all the Sons of God shouted for joy. One of the worst explanations concerning it is that the figure symbolises the Magus when he has reached the highest degree of initiation; another account says that it represents the absolute, which is ridiculous. The figure has been said to stand for Truth, which is, however, more properly allocated to the seventeenth card. Lastly, it has been called the Crown of the Magi.

Divinatory Meaning:

Assured success, recompense, voyage, route, emigration, flight, change of place.

 

 

 

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 symbolises. 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 symbolises 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 recognised 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.

 

 

 

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.

Reversed Meaning:

Truth, loyalty, liberty; but the readings vary and include mistakes, imperfections, etc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your Current Path

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

 

 

 

Temperance

A winged angel, with the sign of the sun upon his forehead and on his breast the square and triangle of the septenary. I speak of him in the masculine sense, but the figure is neither male nor female. It is held to be pouring the essences of life from chalice to chalice. It has one foot upon the earth and one upon waters, thus illustrating the nature of the essences. A direct path goes up to certain heights on the verge of the horizon, and above there is a great light, through which a crown is seen vaguely. Hereof is some part of the Secret of Eternal Life, as it is possible to man in his incarnation. All the conventional emblems are renounced herein.

So also are the conventional meanings, which refer to changes in the seasons, perpetual movement of life and even the combination of ideas. It is, moreover, untrue to say that the figure symbolises the genius of the sun, though it is the analogy of solar light, realised in the third part of our human triplicity. It is called Temperance fantastically, because, when the rule of it obtains in our consciousness, it tempers, combines and harmonises the psychic and material natures. Under that rule we know in our rational part something of whence we came and whither we are going.

Reversed Meaning:

Things connected with churches, religions, sects, the priesthood, sometimes even the priest who will marry the Querent; also disunion, unfortunate combinations, competing interests.

 

 

 

8 of Wands

The card represents motion through the immovable – a flight of wands through an open country; but they draw to the term of their course. That which they signify is at hand; it may be even on the threshold.

Divinatory Meaning:

Activity in undertakings, the path of such activity, swiftness, as that of an express messenger; great haste, great hope, speed towards an end which promises assured felicity; generally, that which is on the move; also the arrows of love.

 

 

 

The Empress

A stately figure, seated, having rich vestments and royal aspect, as of a daughter of heaven and earth. Her diadem is of twelve stars, gathered in a cluster. The symbol of Venus is on the shield which rests near her. A field of corn is ripening in front of her, and beyond there is a fall of water. The sceptre which she bears is surmounted by the globe of this world. She is the inferior Garden of Eden, the Earthly Paradise, all that is symbolised by the visible house of man. She is not Regina coeli, but she is still refugium peccatorum, the fruitful mother of thousands. There are also certain aspects in which she has been correctly described as desire and the wings thereof, as the woman clothed with the sun, as Gloria Mundi and the veil of the Sanctum Sanctorum; but she is not, I may add, the soul that has attained wings, unless all the symbolism is counted up another and unusual way. She is, above all things, universal fecundity and the outer sense of the Word. This is obvious, because there is no direct message which has been given to man like that which is borne by woman; but she does not herself carry its interpretation.

In another order of ideas, the card of the Empress signifies the door or gate by which an entrance is obtained into this life, as into the Garden of Venus; and then the way which leads out therefrom, into that which is beyond, is the secret known to the High Priestess: it is communicated by her to the elect. Most old attributions of this card are completely wrong on the symbolism – as, for example, its identification with the Word, Divine Nature, the Triad, and so forth.

Reversed Meaning:

Light, truth, the unravelling of involved matters, public rejoicings; according to another reading, vacillation.

 

 

 

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).

 

 

 

King of Wands

The physical and emotional nature to which this card is attributed is dark, ardent, lithe, animated, impassioned, noble. The King uplifts a flowering wand, and wears, like his three correspondences in the remaining suits, what is called a cap of maintenance beneath his crown. He connects with the symbol of the lion, which is emblazoned on the back of his throne.

Reversed Meaning:

Good, but severe; austere, yet tolerant.

 

 

 

8 of Cups

A man of dejected aspect is deserting the cups of his felicity, enterprise, undertaking or previous concern.

Divinatory Meaning:

The card speaks for itself on the surface, but other readings are entirely antithetical – giving joy, mildness, timidity, honour, modesty. In practice, it is usually found that the card shews the decline of a matter, or that a matter which has been thought to be important is really of slight consequence – either for good or evil.

 

 

 

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 Psychological Basis

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

 

 

 

7 of Swords

A man in the act of carrying away five swords rapidly; the two others of the card remain stuck in the ground. A camp is close at hand.

Reversed Meaning:

Good advice, counsel, instruction, slander, babbling.

 

 

 

5 of Swords

A disdainful man looks after two retreating and dejected figures. Their swords lie upon the ground. He carries two others on his left shoulder, and a third sword is in his right hand, point to earth. He is the master in possession of the field.

Reversed Meaning:

Degradation, destruction, revocation, infamy, dishonour, loss, with the variants and analogues of these.

 

 

9 of Pentacles

A woman, with a bird upon her wrist, stands amidst a great abundance of grapevines in the garden of a manorial house. It is a wide domain, suggesting plenty in all things. Possibly it is her own possession and testifies to material well-being.

Divinatory Meaning:

Prudence, safety, success, accomplishment, certitude, discernment.

 

 

 

Karma

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

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

6 of Wands

A laurelled horseman bears one staff adorned with a laurel crown; footmen with staves are at his side.

Divinatory Meaning:

The card has been so designed that it can cover several significations; on the surface, it is a victor triumphing, but it is also great news, such as might be carried in state by the King's courier; it is expectation crowned with its own desire, the crown of hope, and so forth.

 

 


 

 

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