Crowley, the Thoth Tarot Deck and reversed cards.
1. If you read Crowley's original definitions on this tarot deck, a great many of them are affected by human bias (his!), tainted by his undeniably egotistical view of the World and hung about with many of the tenets and views of many members of the esoteric order, the Golden Dawn. However, the cards are also works of genius conceived and directed by one of the most experienced magickal minds of the last century
I would agree entirely about the overall relevance of the symbolism used. I admire Frieda Harris's artistic ability and her unique talent for translating Crowley's inner vision of the cards. This is in fact the one and only deck I have ever seen that in no way on any card jars my consciousness when I am working with it.
2. Some people apply the question of dignification purely to reversed cards. However as you're probably aware members of the Golden Dawn do not accept the principle of reversed cards. Instead, they use working principles between given elemental forces. This is a very and complex subject, which if you want I'll eventually write an article on! But briefly it works like this:
Cups and Swords are inimical as are Wands and Disks. Therefore if for instance a good Cup is preceded or followed by Swords the influence upon the Cup will be to slant it negatively. I do have to say however that I have not found this hard and fast rule of thumb as useful as interpreting the tarot cards themselves.
For instance, if I were to lay down the Ace of Cups followed by the Eight of Swords, I would feel that I was looking at a new (probably romantic) relationship, which would be beset by problems in the early days. If however I laid down the Ace of Cups followed by the Six of Swords, I would feel that my querent was moving out of a difficult time into a new and more promising relationship.
As an aside, Ace of Cups, Eight of Swords could also indicate the conception of a child in difficult circumstances - you would need other cards to support this.
© 2003 Jan Shepherd