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Here we have a legendary deck of the sacred Tarot. Produced by the European based Order of the Golden Dawn, this deck of esoteric divination benefited from the expertise and knowledge of two high profile members of the Order. The Golden Dawn Tarot was produced under the guidance of occultist and author Mr. Israel Regardie, along with the occultist and renowned artist Mr. Robert Wang.
There are a good number of Tarot formats, or ‘traditions’ that a deck can be structured in. The Order of the Golden Dawn upon publishing of this Tarot secured for the twentieth century the Tarot tradition classification ‘Golden Dawn’ which is an indicator and some might even go so far as to say a testament to the quality of this very popular and very accurate tool of fortune divination. With card interpretations based on those developed by S. L. MacGregor Mathers, Regardie and Wang produced a esoteric set of seventy eight cards, the Tarot archetypes and meanings crafted by Israel to reflect structure, symbolism, and the Hermetic tradition of the Golden Dawn.
The Rider Waite Smith deck also has its origins in the Golden Dawn as well, making for the members of their occult society yet another deck which has gone on to become a cornerstone of the Tarot. The illustrator who assembled the Golden Dawn Tarot with the help of Regardie was a fervent believer in the Order’s take on the sacred Tarot, that all decks of the Tarot were ultimately meant to be a teaching tool, an esoteric device that taught about the nature of the universe. To this day, the Golden Dawn Tarot is considered a lucky deck of cards to shuffle, draw and read from during periods in which one may be studying very hard in an academic or research endeavor.
The understanding of Elemental Dignities, a method developed so that the meanings of the cards could be determined from their relationship to neighboring cards came about at the same time the Golden Dawn Tarot was being released for the first time.
There are some very interesting aspects to this deck, such as the appearance of luminescence around certain figures or objects. For the most part, the symbols and figures used in this deck will be familiar to those readers using traditional decks. It is easy to use, would fit well into readings, comparative readings, journaling, story, meditation, ritual, or ceremony. Essentially every experienced reader who has spent time with this deck shows genuine appreciation for it and finds the flow of energy very natural and grounded. The correspondence with Source, i.e. Spirit is good and it remains good, or one could say that intuitive insight while one reads the cards remains consistent and does not fluctuate from one reading to the next, so on and so forth. For me I agree with this consensus, however I have thought about the structural, symbolism, and iconography arrangement that Regardie fashioned for this deck. The occult knowledge that is utilized in the design of any Tarot depends on the author, creator abilities and understanding. When reading the Golden Dawn cards I get the same sense from them each time, in that Israel Regardie purposefully held back on the avenues of enchantment when designing the deck. Likewise, despite having the knowledge and capabilities to invoke powerful elemental energies in the consecration of the deck, Israel purposely chose to arrange the enchantment of the deck in such a way that balance, grounding, clarity and attribution to meaning and divinatory anchors for each card worked together in a most precise and efficient manner. Knowing the background of the Order of the Golden Dawn Society it is well within the bounds of consideration as to whether or not Regardie planned the deck’s design to optimize the resonant energy of the cards. Evening out the enchantments in a configuration that produces resiliency combined with a reciprocal, intuitive essence throughout the deck.
The artwork and iconography is the classic by which many decks of the sacred Tarot are naturally compared to. The colors and the layered symbolism is quite similar to the subsequently published Rider Waite Smith deck. Thick card stock and the highest quality printing offers a durable deck of cards that can withstand regular use. If anyone is a collector of Tarot and Oracle decks then they have the Golden Dawn Tarot.