I’m thankful for all your hard work, @Asenath_Mason. I’ve been avoiding tarot because there wasn’t anything that felt right for me. Whenever I had a reading it was always something like lets see what the angels have to say, lets consult with nature/vampires/cats etc
The Oraculum Leviathan was my first, & will likely be the only tarot deck I use. Thank you. Thank you. So many people tell me how beautiful your work is, & I agree. The colors happen to match my daily aesthetic as well. The Oraculum Leviathan feels like an extension of myself. I’ve had a lot of fun seeing how accurate each reading has been, it’s uncanny.
I went to my first tarot Meetup yesterday. Another reader there took a great interest in my deck, we were looking at the Five of Pentacles. He insisted the imagery was based off the Rider-Waite deck. I told him it was unique based off Bill’s vast well of knowledge & experience of & with the tarot. I said it’s a Left Hand Path deck & the only one featuring the Draconian Tradition. He still insisted the deck has been based off the Raider-Waite. He told me all decks are based off either the Thoth deck, the Raider-Waite, or the Marseilles deck.
Would you please help me understand all this? Not for his sake but for mine.
Well, it is based off of Tarot, the Major Arcana is the same and in essence has similar symbolism to the Tarot, but from a Left Hand Path perspective. The suits for the Minor Arcana are the same as Tarot, and have the same meanings. But you can do different magick with Oraculum Leviathan, as it represents some different energy. Its explained a bit here:
The Rider-Waite-Smith tarot is one of the most influential decks in occult history. It’s like how all modern fantasy can’t escape Tolkien’s influence. It’s symbolism and general imagery is considered today to be the gold standard off of which other decks are built. Crowley’s Thoth deck was, to my knowledge, heavily inspired by the Rider-Waite-Smith, though Crowley introduced some new symbols and such things in his deck.
(I am, of course, leaving out all of the history that came before the 20th century, such as the tarot de marseille, the origins of tarot, etc., but I’m not super well educated on the topic)
I haven’t studied the entire Oraculum Leviathan, but it looks like Asenath and Bill used the traditional tarot images and meanings as their foundation, and from there reworked these materials into something more in line with LHP aesthetics and philosophy. I don’t practice their system myself, but I do quite like their style.
There’s also a video up on the BALG channel where Orlee talks about the deck and some of its unique LHP characteristics. Here’s the link, if you’re curious. She talks about how they use the Lust card in place of Strength, a change introduced by Crowley in his Thoth deck, and what the differences are between the two cards. Orlee really knows her tarot, so if you want to learn more definitely check it out.
How could he even remotely think that it’s based off of the Rider Waite? Last I checked, RW has a card called Strength and a card called Judgement. Oraculum Leviathan uses Lust and Adjustment instead. So it would be more understandable if he said it was based on the Crowley Thoth deck, in that regard. Of course, there are similarities between RW, CT, and OL, but this is because these cards represent similar concepts, with OL being based on the Qliphoth instead of the Sephiroth, but it’s all one tree. Some of the art is somewhat similar, but all in all I’d say OL is very original, as no other deck is even remotely like it in existence.
I just checked the OL Lust card, and the chick looks hot, so does Orlee promoting it, but to me it looks like any other card from decks of goth looking girls with dragons and monsters, which I collect. Maybe you can instruct me in what should I see there, but to me it looks a lot less sexual and a lot less spiritual than the painting by Lady Frieda Harris
Lust, in the context of OL, and CT for that matter, is not literal lust, and is defined by Crowley as “not only strength, but the joy of strength exercised. It is vigor and the rapture of vigor”.
I can’t tell you what you SHOULD see there, as tarot is a very individualistic practice, and everyone can have different interpretations that work well in their own personal context while the interpretations of another would be inaccurate for someone else’s spiritual and psychological blueprint.
My personal interpretation of the card in the OL deck, is that it takes much more strength to ride the Great Beast, than to run from it or try fighting it, and takes even a stronger person to enjoy this “riding”; in a certain respect, I see it as a harmony between the human and bestial aspect of the soul/psyche, it’s a lot of power to wield, and most people aren’t able to handle it. Even having the STRENGTH to let go enough to work with the Chaos without trying to dominate it, and in doing, it works with you, and not against you. That’s my interpretation anyway. However, this can fluctuate from reading to reading, and from context to context. In short, it means internal strength, and the joy that comes along with using it.
That’s why I interpret Lust according to my knowledge of Babalon.
That sounds very LHP, but I still see a random gothic girl with a dragon. I would rather have drawn the goth girl riding the dragon or having sex with it in the position associated with Temphioth.
Edit to add: A lot of what Crowley’s Lust card means has to do with “The Vision and the Voice”, which is quoted by him in order to explain the card, and another portion of its meaning has to do with what Kenneth Grant explains in “Nightside of Eden”, which is somehow covered by the Draconian philosophy and I would have liked to see illustrated in the card, like having the girl controlling the dragon with bridles
Babalon riding the beast is the illustration of a sex position, as the female sphere of Geburah is in control (theoretically, supposedly). Kenneth Grant links that with OTO practices. All of this is linked with the siddhi of the tunnel (“training wild beasts”)
Edit to add: My dear @Mina , if you are not interested in sexual interpreations of tarot, we will gladly go somewhere else to discuss these things, but I think you could benefit from this conversation, as it somewhow answers your question. The tarot meanings come mainly from the Qabalah, which is something often forgotten. Waite conveyed the Qabalah in a certain way and so did Crowley. On top of that, there are the particular systems or artistic interests of the people who illustrate the decks.
Babalon riding the Beast symbolizes a lot of things, it could mean this verse:
II:70 There is help & hope in other spells. Wisdom says: be strong! Then canst thou bear more joy. Be not animal; refine thy rapture! If thou drink, drink by the eight and ninety rules of art: if thou love, exceed by delicacy; and if thou do aught joyous, let there be subtlety therein!
I recommend you to read the Temphioth chapter in “Nightside of Eden”, which features a more detailed explanation of what I mentioned, besides, in that book Kenneth mentions other sexual practices related with the tunnels. I recommend you to see the tunnels not as the demons who guard them, but as the whole structures
Nope. I said he based his assumption off the Five of Pentacles. He didnt see the rest of the deck… I’ve already seen those videos, I rewatched them and from what I’ve surmised it is as I previously understood it to be. There are similarities with some of the names and perhaps some of the imagery, but the Oraculum Leviathan not “based off” any previous deck. It is unique unto itself in that it is not only a Left Hand Path Deck, but the only one to feature the Draconian Tradition.
A simple yes or no would have sufficed, & I did ask Asenath Mason directly because Bill wasnt available.