Thread: Color Symbolism
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Mallah  Mallah is offline
Join Date: 01 Mar 2008
Location: Colorado USA
Posts: 1,229

I'm sort of revitalizing this oldish thread. Having studied Case extensively, I'll say that there is definately a specific meaning of all the colors in the RWS and especially the BOTA deck. According to PFC (Paul Foster Case) the BOTA deck's intention was to publish the things that Waite decided to leave out. This included color symbolism. Part of the original plan of the teachings of the Golden Dawn was to create your own deck, and PFC retained that in his own school by having your color your own...but to "paint by number" type instructions. I've seen some interesting coloring jobs on the BOTA deck that did not follow the prescribed colors...but those individuals will not learn the deeper significance that the colors show, when they are applied as PFC taught. Somewhere in the BOTA teachings, or maybe it was in one of Cases books, it says that the Waite deck is "fine for everyday use" (I paraphrase) but that for study and meditation, the colorized BOTA deck is the most "correct" version.

They all teach that there is a "hidden" deck that only initiates get to see. Personally I think that this "secret" deck is not so much a bunch of hooey, as it is astral. It's an internal, aetheric Tarot that exists within us, the LIVING tarot, and as you grow in insight and intutition you can "see it" and "access it" better.

I think that what PFC is getting onto with his "fine for everyday use" is readings...and shuffling. The BOTA deck, when colorized, is not really made for rough handling, shuffling, carrying around...not for readings...and they say so in the instructional materials..."don't show it to's for your own magical purposes".

In wanting a deck for readings that was closest to true in the color scheme, I considered the Albano, which supposedly has the BOTA colors, applied to the Waite images...and I find the colors to be really wonderful, and true to CASE in the majors (Case didn't really give a lot of detail for the minors, except the courts, and gave non-scenic pips).

While I love the colors of the Albano, I'm extremely dissapointed in the darkness, fuzziness and contrast of the reproductions, and the older decks (supposedly this is better in the older ones) are just too dear for my pocket. Much of the imagery is lost in the Albano.

So basically I find the colors "correct enough" in the Waite (and also the Universal) for "everyday use", and use the BOTA for other purposes....basically the exo- and eso- teric lines that PFC drew in the sand in the first place.

As far as the other symbolism differences between Waite and Case, probably 90% of it's more the same than different, when considering the Trumps. It's enough for me to know that in the BOTA the magician's table is on the other side, and the Sun and Death have been restored to the original TdM pattern. Temperance, there are actually TWO correct GD versions of this card, depending on the ritual, and Waite follows one and Case follows the other.

None of this makes any difference when doing readings for self or others, because usually the "higher esoterics" get glossed over in a divination, and the Waite "will do for everyday use.

I find PFC's teachings to be the deepest and most concise of all the Esoteric Tarot teachings...(for me)...and recommend the now available "Wisdom of Tarot" book which was the earlier form of the BOTA teachings. It's mostly the same information but more compact. PFC felt that we can only assimilate the information so fast, and so drew it out more in the BOTA school teachings (probably there was some motive involving hooking people for longer too...why subscribe people for a year when you can subscribe them for ten?).

It DOES take some time for the information to start to click when learning stuff like this...but when it does start to make sense, and you start to make the connections, there's nothing like it.
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