This is only a partial review; I'll be working with this deck often in the time to come, and I'm sure in the process I'll be learning a lot more about it which will help me provide more depth and breadth in future posts. But I can already say that I'm intrigued and even excited by the Enochian Tarot now that I've had a chance to look it over and pull some cards, and I am looking forward to the journey onward!
The Enochian Tarot was created by Gerald and Betty Schueler, illustrated by Sallie Ann Glassman (as I've already mentioned), and published by Llewellyn. In the accompanying booklet the Schuelers mention that there are roughly three branches of Enochian magic: that of the Golden Dawn, of O.T.O (Ordo Templi Orientis), and a third derived from the studies of the Schuelers themselves, which accounts for some small inconsistencies in the layout. This deck is fashioned, naturally, after the latter.
The deck itself is structured not unlike a traditional Tarot deck, though there are clearly some major distinctions. There is a set of 30 Majors, called "Aethyrs," that correlate with the planes of the ethereal realm where different angelic beings reside. Each card has a lesson and a unique energy, and while not arranged entirely parallel to the Fool's Journey (though there is definitely a path of sorts), there are certainly cards that carry energies very similar to the Majors in a more traditional deck. There are 56 Minors divided into four suits that correspond to the four Watchtowers, or elements (fire, earth, air, water). However these Minor suits are arranged very differently from traditional Tarot, and feature the hierarchy of beings associated with each of the Watchtowers. There are seven "court cards" in each, comprised of a King and six Seniors (these relate variably to feminine and masculine energies). Then we have the Higher and Lower Sephirothic Cross Angels, Kerubic Angels, Archangels, Ruling Angels, Lesser Angels, and Demons. (Are you entirely lost yet?)
I love decks that require study, and this one certainly does. At this point I have the sensation of standing at the precipice of a new adventure, like a spark of quiet excitement, and I'm looking forward to what I will learn with time. This deck was originally printed in 1989, and was reprinted in 2000 (I have the 2000 reprint). It comes with a sturdy booklet - somewhat grander than a LWB - that contains a brief introduction to Enochian magic and the system itself, plus card meanings, spreads, and even rituals. I would recommend acquiring a more complete book because the card meanings themselves are really only presented as keywords, which isn't a lot of sustenance when learning a new system. But it does give you something to start with! The card backs are deep red and feature an Enochian seal, which is almost reversible. These cards are meant to be read both upright and inverted, and meanings for both orientations are included in the booklet.
Last night I was shuffling the cards, getting a feel for them, and asked, "What will my experience be like working with this deck?" I pulled II-Babalon ("Arn" Aethyr).
|Enochian Tarot - Babalon|
G. and B. Schueler/S.A. Glassman
The booklet describes this card as carrying feminine energy, which corresponds to the image on the card of a female figure sitting on a throne. With the moon-like shape above her head there is almost a High Priestess quality to the depiction, yet it's much more than that. Babalon is a triple-aspected mother goddess, and she incorporates sexuality, motherhood, and mystery into her complex, deep folds. There are layers of both the Empress and the High Priestess here, and in fact it is Babalon who is featured on the Lust card in the Thoth Tarot. The keywords given for Babalon are: "intense bliss, intense joy, happiness, harmony." It feels like a beautiful embrace, welcoming me warmly into the journey of working with this system.
This morning I felt pulled to draw a daily card from this deck rather than my standard 3-card Lenormand draw. I mixed the cards around on my bed, and drew one: IV-Cosmos and Chaos ("Paz" Aethyr).
|Enochian Tarot - Cosmos and Chaos|
G. and B. Schueler/S.A. Glassman
This card is very closely related to the Lovers card in traditional Tarot. Its keywords are: "good relationships, attraction of opposites, lovers." The energy is both masculine and feminine, which of course we would expect! So why Cosmos and Chaos? They are the female and male aspects of the creative principle, and interestingly (in light of my previous draw), Babalon is considered the female consort of Chaos (at least according to Thelemic teachings). So the depiction shown in the card may well be Babalon and Chaos enmeshed in each other's arms. In many traditions it is said that Chaos existed long before creation (Cosmos) and thus it is the great abyss out of which all order is derived. Rudolf Steiner, the Austrian philosopher and esotericist, said in a 1907 lecture:
Genius is like a fresh spark; it is out-of-the-ordinary just because a union there takes place between the Cosmos and the Chaos; thereby a new thing arises not connected with the laws of evolution that come from olden time. It enters in from other worlds like a Divine spark. Genius is the marriage of the past with the present, of the Cosmos with the Chaos.
Cosmos and Chaos exist as separate yet intimately connected aspects of existence and creative energy. They come together, and through their union a third entity - a spark of knowing, a relationship, creative brilliance - is born. A beautiful, not wholly unfamiliar, concept. And indeed, the cards were entirely clued in to my reality on this day! After six weeks of separation, my husband is coming home tonight, and I am utterly excited, counting down the minutes until his arrival.
This deck is intriguing, mysterious, wonder-ful, and yes, challenging. I'm quite ready for the voyage. As I work with the Enochian Tarot over time I'll continue to post about my experiences, a review in parts, if you will. ;-)