December 18, 2015

Welcome to the Left-hand Tarot

This being the very first post on this blog, I thought I'd introduce myself and tell you a little bit more about me. My name's James. I live with my wife and two daughters in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, and six months out of the year I hate the weather. Not that there's anything I can do change that, but at least my wife bakes really amazing biscuits and cooks really awesome pork stew. Lemme tell ya, that really gets me through the winter months. I'm a professional cartomancer in the sense that reading Tarot is my profession and it's how I earn a living. I work online but I also offer readings locally via the business my wife and I run together.

I've been into Tarot for about 15 years. I started with a Rider-Waite-Smith based interpretation of the cards, and it worked well for me for a really long time. Me being who I am, I couldn't leave well enough alone, and I had to start tinkering. So the first big change I made was to replace the 22 trumps with the modern astrological significance of the 10 planets of the Solar System and the 12 signs of the Zodiac. That was fun and it worked well for me for a long time, but once I started hacking the Tarot to make it say what I wanted, I had to do more, so the next step was to change my interpretation of the pip cards. For that, I abandoned the RWS Tarot entirely and took my inspiration from the medieval numerology outlined by Henry Cornelius Agrippa in his Three Books of Occult Philosophy.

And again, that worked really well for me for a long time, but after ~10 years of Tarot, I was ready for a break and stopped reading the Tarot in favor of reading playing cards. This lead me to the next step in my Tarot studies which involved the use of the order-three Square of Saturn. I followed this method for ~5 years, and the Square of Saturn became a central fixture in how I read the cards. I'll elaborate on this more later.

The most recent change I made to my reading style was within the last year.

First, I wanted to come back to reading Tarot cards again. Reading with a deck of plain playing cards has its beauty, and part of that is that it tends to stay on topic. But then, 52 cards formed from one deck can't communicate the same things as 78 cards formed from two decks. I wanted the added nuance of the 22 trumps. When I returned to Tarot for the sake of the 22 extra trumps, I reworked those according to their position on a spectrum of chaos and order, with three layers to show how their influence is expressed. I'll elaborate on this later.

Second, I changed my numerology from what I learned studying Agrippa's Three Books of Occult Philosophy to what I learned studying Anton LaVey's Satanic Bible. There's more to it than that, but the time for revealing all my tricks will have to wait.

All of this is to say, I'm trying to create a new Tarot. Not a new Tarot spread, or some method of laying the cards out in a certain order. In the words of Anton LaVey, I'm not interested in "shuffling pasteboards to foretell a future that has lost any meaning." I intend to craft a tool for the spectacle of divination. A tool that will capture the imagination and aid the magician in the performance of both lesser and greater magic. I'm not content to use a system of Tarot composed in the language of the right-hand path. Don't give me an angel trumpet and tell me I can use it to play music written for a devil trombone. The Tarot is an instrument from the devil's orchestra and I intend to play it masterfully.

And that, dear reader, is the purpose of Left Hand Tarot: it is my place to talk about Tarot, divination, and lesser magic from a Satanic perspective. As long as I can remember to do so, my goal is to do an episode every week. The format is pretty lazy, too: I'm going to consolidate all the Tarot-related stuff that I talk about on my Google+ page from the previous week, make it into a blog post, and then do a video where I run my mouth about the exact same thing.

If you love what I'm doing, that's great. Leave a comment or buy a Tarot reading.

If you hate what I'm doing, that's great. Leave a comment or don't buy a Tarot reading.


But I am going to do it, and seeing as this is the Internet, you're welcome to come along for the journey no matter how you feel about my driving skills. See you there.