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
 

6 of Swords

10 of Disks

Knight of Cups
 
The Lovers

5 of Wands

Princess of Disks
         
    The Querent    
   
The Fool

The Devil                 

Princess of Cups
   
             
The Psychological Basis   Karma

Knight of Swords

3 of Wands

8 of Swords
 
8 of Disks

The Moon

Ace of Swords

 

 

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 Devil

Capricorn

With thy right Eye create all for thyself, and with the left accept all that be created otherwise.

Blind impulse, irresistibly strong and unscrupulous, ambition, temptation, obsession, secret plan about to be executed; hard work, obstinacy, rigidity, aching discontent, endurance.

 

 

 

The Fool

Air

In spiritual matters, the Fool means idea, thought, spirituality, that which endeavours to transcend earth.

In material matters, it may, if badly dignified, mean folly, eccentricity, or even mania.

But the essential of this card is that it represents an original, subtle, sudden impulse or impact, coming from a completely strange quarter.

All such impulses are right, if rightly received; and the good or ill interpretation of the card depends entirely on the right attitude of the Querent.

 

 

 

Princess of Cups

The Princess of Cups represents the earthy part of Water; in particular, the faculty of crystallization. She represents the power of Water to give substance to idea, to support life, and to form the basis of chemical combination. She is represented as a dancing figure, robed in a flowing garment on whose edges crystals are seen to form.

For her crest she wears a swan with open wings. The symbolism of this swan reminds one of the swan in oriental philosophy which is the word AUM or AUMGN, which is the symbol of the entire process of creation. She bears a covered cup from which issues a tortoise. This is again the tortoise which in Hindu philosophy supports the elephant on whose back is the Universe. She is dancing upon a foaming sea in which disports himself a dolphin, the royal fish, which symbolizes the power of Creation. The character of the Princess is infinitely gracious. All sweetness, all voluptuousness, gentleness, kindness and tenderness are in her character. She lives in the world of Romance, in the perpetual dream of rapture. On a superficial examination she might be thought selfish and indolent, but this is a quite false impression; silently and effortlessly she goes about her work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your Current Path

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

 

 

 

The Lovers

Gemini

The Oracle of the Gods is the Child- Voice of Love in Thine own Soul; hear thou it. Heed not the Siren-Voice of Sense, or the Phantom-Voice of Reason: rest in Simplicity, and listen to the Silence.

Openness to inspiration, intuition, intelligence, second sight, childislmess, frivolity, thoughtfulness divorced from practical consideration, indecision, self-contradition, union in a shallow degree with others, instability, contradiction, triviality, the "high-brow".

 

 

 

5 of Wands

Saturn in Leo - Strife

This card is referred to Geburah of the suit of Fire. Geburah itself being fiery, it is a purely active force. It is ruled also by Saturn and Leo. Leo shows the element of Fire at its strongest and most balanced. Saturn tends to weigh it down and to embitter it. There is no limit to the scope of this volcanic energy.

The symbol represents the wand of the Chief Adept, showing that the authority is derived from the superiors; were it not so, this card would be thoroughly disastrous. Moreover, there are also two wands of the Second, or Major Adept. They have the head of the Phoenix, which gives the idea of destruction (or rather purgation) through fire, and the resurrection of the energy from its ashes.

 

 

 

Princess of Disks

The Princess of Disks represents the earthy part of Earth. She is consequently on the brink of transfiguration. She is strong and beautiful, with an expression of intense brooding, as if about to become aware of secret wonder.

Her crest is the head of the ram, and her sceptre descends into the earth. There its head becomes a diamond, the precious stone of Kether, thus symbolizing the birth of the highest and purest light in the deepest and darkest of the Elements. She stands within a grove of sacred trees before an altar suggesting a wheatsheaf, for she is a priestess of Demeter. She bears within her body the secret of the future. Her sublimity is further emphasized by the disk which she bears; for in the centre thereof is the Chinese ideogram denoting the twin spiral force of Creation in perfect equilibrium; from this is born the rose of Isis, the great fertile Mother.

 

 

 

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).

 

 

 

6 of Swords

Mercury in Aquarius - Science

Tiphareth shows the full establishment and balance of the idea of the suit. This is particularly the case with this card, as the intellect itself is also referred to the number Six. Mercury, in Aquarius, represents the celestial Energy influencing the Kerub of the Man, thus showing intelligence and humanity.

But there is much more than this in the symbol. The perfect balance of all mental and moral faculties, hardly won, and almost impossible to hold in an ever-changing world, declares the idea of Science in its fullest interpretation.

The hilts of the Swords, which are very ornamental, are in the form of the hexagram. Their points touch the outer petals of a red rose upon a golden cross of six squares, thus showing the Rosy Cross as the central secret of scientific truth.

 

 

 

10 of Disks

Mercury in Virgo - Wealth

Mercury rules this card in Virgo; and this may imply that the acquired wealth, being inert, will be dissipated unless put to further use by devoting its power to objects other than mere accumulation. The disks, or (as they have now become) coins, are arranged on the Tree of Life, but the Tenth coin is much larger than the rest; the image indicates the futility of material gain.

These disks are inscribed with various symbols of mercurial character except that the coin in the place of Hod (Mercury) on the Tree is marked with the cipher of the Sun.

 

 

 

Knight of Cups

Pisces

The Knight of Cups represents the fiery part of Water, the swift passionate attack of rain and springs; more intimately, Water's power of solution. He is clothed in black armour furnished with bright wings which, together with the leaping attitude of his white charger, indicates that he represents the most active aspect of Water. In his right hand he bears a cup from which issues a crab, the cardinal sign of Water, for aggressiveness. His totem is the peacock, for one of the stigmata of water in its most active form is brilliance. There is here also some reference to the phenomena of fluorescence.

The characteristics of the person signified by this card are nevertheless mostly passive, in accordance with the Zodiacal attribution. He is graceful, dilettante, with the qualties of Venus, or a weak Jupiter. He is amiable in a passive way. He is quick to respond to attraction, and easily becomes enthusiastic under such stimulus; but he is not very enduring. He is exceedingly sensitive to external in fluence, but with no material depth in his character.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Psychological Basis

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

 

 

 

Knight of Swords

Gemini

The Knight of Swords represents the fiery part of Air; he is the wind, the storm. He represents the violent power of motion applied to an apparently manageable element. He is a warrior helmed, and for his crest he bears a revolving wing. Mounted upon a maddened steed, he drives down the Heavens, the Spirit of the Tempest. In one hand is a sword, in the other a poniard. He represents the idea of attack.

The moral qualities of a person thus indicated are activity and skill, subtlety and cleverness. He is fierce, delicate and courageous, but altogether the prey of his idea, which comes to him as an inspiration without reflection.

 

 

 

3 of Wands

Sun in Aries - Virtue

This card refers to Binah in the suit of Fire, and so represents the establishment of primeval Energy. The Will has been trans mitted to the Mother, who conceives, prepares, and gives birth to, its manifestation. It refers to the Sun in Aries, the Sign in which he is exalted.

The meaning is harmonious, for this is the beginning of Spring. For this reason one sees the wand taking the form of the Lotus in blossom. The Sun has enkindled the Great Mother.

 

 

8 of Swords

Jupiter in Gemini - Interference

The number Eight, Hod, here signifies lack of persistence in matters of the intellect and of contest. Good fortune, however, attends even these weakened efforts, thanks to the influence of Jupiter in Gemini, ruling the Decan. Yet the Will is constantly thwarted by accidental interference.

The centre of the card is occupied by two long Swords pointed downward. These are crossed by six small swords, three on each side. They remind one of weapons peculiar to their countries or their cults; we see here the Kriss, the Kukri, the Scramasax, the Dagger, the Machete and the Yataghan.

 

 

 

Karma

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

 

 

 

8 of Disks

Sun in Virgo - Prudence

The number Eight, Hod, is very helpful in this card, because it represents Mercury in his most spiritual aspect, and he both rules and is exalted in the sign of Virgo, which belongs to the Decan, and is governed by the Sun. It signifies intelligence lovingly applied to material matters, especially those of the agriculturalist, the artificer and the engineer.

One might suggest that this card marks the turn of the tide. The seven of Disks is in one sense the fullest possible establishment of Matter - compare Atu XV - the lowest fallen and therefore the highest exalted. These last three cards seem to prepare the explosion which will renew the whole Cycle. Note that Virgo is Yod, the secret seed of Life, and also the Virgin Earth awaiting the Phallic Plough.

The interest of this card is the interest of the common people. The rulership of the Sun in Virgo suggests also birth. The disks are arranged in the form of the geomantic figure Populus. These disks may be represented as the flowers or fruits of a great tree, its solid roots in fertile land.

 

 

 

The Moon

Pisces

Let the Illusion of the World pass over thee, unheeded, as thou goest from the Midnight to the Morning.

Illusion, deception, bewilderment, hysteria, even madness, dreaminess, falsehood, error, crisis, "the darkest hour before the dawn", the brink of important change.

 

 

 

Ace of Swords

The Root of Air

The Ace of Swords is the primordial Energy of Air, the Essence of the Vau of Tetragrammaton, the integration of the Ruach. Air is the result of the conjunction of Fire and Water; thus it lacks the purity of its superiors in the male hierarchy, Fire, Sol and the Phallus. But for this same reason it is the first card directly to be apprehended by the normal consciousness of Mankind.

In nature, the obvious symbol of Air is the Wind "which bloweth whithersoever it listeth". It lacks the concentrated Will of Fire to unite with Water: it has no corresponding passion for its Twin Element, Earth. There is indeed, a notable passivity in its nature; evidently, it has no self-generated impulse. But, set in motion by its Father and Mother, its power is manifestly terrific. It visibly attacks its objective, as they, being of subtler and more tenuous character, can never do. Its "all-embracing, all-wandering, all-penetrating, all-consuming" qualities have been described by many admirable writers, and its analogies are for the most part patent to quite ordinary observers.

 

 



Card meanings quoted from The Book of Thoth (Egyptian Tarot) by Aleister Crowley
Card images conceived by Aleister Crowley and executed by Lady Frieda Harris
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