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Elder Jabberwock
Join Date: 10 Jun 2011
Location: Where the wild things are
Posts: 9,055

Originally Posted by DerNarr View Post
Hey all, don't memorize characteristics, just focus on the astrological identity.

Here's the twist - IIRC (I gave away my copy of "Thoth" to a good friend) Crowley is a little ambiguous about whether or not he gives the astrological characteristics of the preceding sign in a sense where the characteristics of that sign are part of the profile, or whether or not he's being genuinely old school by referencing the long-term shift in the heavens where the constellations themselves have shifted relative to the solstices. Both the ambiguity of this and the old-school solid thinking (as in genuinely and deeply pre-Christian) are classic Crowley.

Soo... your call - is the Leo profile straight Leo, or do you see it as late Cancer + Early mid-Leo? If you opt for the latter, which is what is literally described, you get something interesting, a "cuspy" personality. These are very real things, I married and had kids with one, and all of my strong attractions have had some of this. A cuspy personality is always a bit on the outside looking in; a late Taurus craves the intellectual freedom of Gemini, an early Gemini craves the security of Taurus, etc etc. Don't just memorize the characteristics, think about the elements and the fixed/cardinal/mutable formula behind these personalities. And keep an open mind as to whether the court cards are communicating these archetypes AS archetypes or whether or not there's a clear reference to a real-world personality with an obvious sun/rising/gender reference - if that kind of literal divination is your style. Do what thou wilt, as the man said!
My purpose here wasn't to create a list of keywords for memorization - astrology is no more about piling up keywords than tarot is - it was to put some "meat on the bones" of the decans to show that there is an extensive and varied knowledge base behind them, well beyond what Crowley chose to highlight in his Minor Arcana interpretations, well beyond "Mars means action and Aries is pioneering: presto, an 'adventurer.' " It's interesting to see where that tradition aligns with the Thoth meanings and where it doesn't offer much insight. It was the Golden Dawn material from Liber T that Crowley was working with, and I can't see that he added much new to it. (Until I discovered that his General Principles of Astrology content was mostly ghost-written for Evangeline Adams, I never thought he was much of a "nuts-and-bolts" astrologer.) What was missing from both Liber T and the Book of Thoth was a comprehensive exploration of the astrological bases for the decanic assignments; they mostly "cherry-picked" what suited their purpose, although they did a reasonably careful job of it overall.

I think this table will be most useful when you can't quite put your finger on something about a court card that lies deeper within its astrological profile. And just maybe it will encourage tarot enthusiasts to explore astrology with more appreciation.
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