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
 

Page of Cups

Death

9 of Wands
 
10 of Wands

3 of Cups

The Hanged Man
         
    The Querent    
   
Queen of Wands

King of Wands                 

Temperance
   
             
The Psychological Basis   Karma

Knight of Wands

7 of Swords

The World
 
The Fool

Page of Pentacles

Queen 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.

 

 

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.

Divinatory Meaning:

Dark man, friendly, countryman, generally married, honest and conscientious. The card always signifies honesty, and may mean news concerning an unexpected heritage to fall in before very long.

 

 

 

Queen of Wands

The Wands throughout this suit are always in leaf, as it is a suit of life and animation. Emotionally and otherwise, the Queen's personality corresponds to that of the King, but is more magnetic.

Divinatory Meaning:

A dark woman, countrywoman, friendly, chaste, loving, honourable. If the card beside her signifies a man, she is well disposed towards him; if a woman, she is interested in the Querent. Also, love of money, or a certain success in business.

 

 

 

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.

Divinatory Meaning:

Economy, moderation, frugality, management, accommodation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your Current Path

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

 

 

 

10 of Wands

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

Reversed Meaning:

Contrarieties, difficulties, intrigues, and their analogies.

 

 

 

3 of Cups

Maidens in a garden-ground with cups uplifted, as if pledging one another.

Divinatory Meaning:

The conclusion of any matter in plenty, perfection and merriment; happy issue, victory, fulfilment, solace, healing.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

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).

 

 

 

Page of Cups

A fair, pleasing, somewhat effeminate page, of studious and intent aspect, contemplates a fish rising from a cup to look at him. It is the pictures of the mind taking form.

Divinatory Meaning:

Fair young man, one impelled to render service and with whom the Querent will be connected; a studious youth; news, message; application, reflection, meditation; also, these things directed to business.

 

 

 

Death

The veil or mask of life is perpetuated in change, transformation and passage from lower to higher, and this is more fitly represented in the rectified Tarot by one of the apocalyptic visions than by the crude notion of the reaping skeleton. Behind it lies the whole world of ascent in the spirit. The mysterious horseman moves slowly, bearing a black banner emblazoned with the Mystic Rose, which signifies life. Between two pillars on the verge of the horizon there shines the sun of immortality. The horseman carries no visible weapon, but king and child and maiden fall before him, while a prelate with clasped hands awaits his end.

There should be no need to point out that the suggestion of death which I have made in connection with the previous card is, of course, to be understood mystically, but this is not the case in the present instance. The natural transit of man to the next stage of his being either is or may be one form of his progress, but the exotic and almost unknown entrance, while still in this life, into the state of mystical death is a change in the form of consciousness and the passage into a state to which ordinary death is neither the path nor gate. The existing occult explanations of the 13th card are, on the whole, better than usual, rebirth, creation, destination, renewal, and the rest.

Divinatory Meaning:

End, mortality, destruction, corruption also, for a man, the loss of a benefactor for a woman, many contrarieties; for a maid, failure of marriage projects.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Psychological Basis

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

 

 

 

Knight of Wands

He is shewn as if upon a journey, armed with a short wand, and although mailed is not on a warlike errand. He is passing mounds or pyramids. The motion of the horse is a key to the character of its rider, and suggests the precipitate mood, or things connected therewith.

Reversed Meaning:

Rupture, division, interruption, discord.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

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.

Reversed Meaning:

Inertia, fixity, stagnation, permanence.

 

 

 

Karma

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

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

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.

 

 


 

 

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