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The Four Knights

December 11, 2012

Initiation and the Tarot


by Madeline Montalban

The knights of the Minor Arcana suits often represent the thoughts of men for whom the Kings stand in a spread. For instance, if the man represented by the King of Cups had you in his thoughts, then the Knight of the Cups suit would lie close to your own card.

Carrying this a step further, any Knight in a spread may also represent some thought-form of your own; one so powerful that it brings about action. Here is an example of the powers of thought when such thought is concentrated. My friends often joke about my “Bumper Spell-Book”, which is a name they have given to my vast collection of folk-lore and rituals, and which, for want of a better designation, are referred to as “magic spells”. My great oak chest is crammed with notes about them, and now and again I try one or the other out, to see if it works. If it does, I write it down in a big ledger as an example of what controlled, concentrated thought can bring about.

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It is the ability to concentrate that brings about an occult result. The diagrams and symbols drawn, the mantras recited and the incense burned are only methods of keeping the mind concentrated on what is being done. Thought itself is as fluid as water, and “runs away”, but frost crystallises water and make it solid ice. Ritual helps to “crystallise” thought into a power that can be felt.

Unfortunately for this process of using thought to bring about direct results, we have to use a lot of words that have fallen into disrepute, such as “magic”, “spells”, etc. But what other words are there for bringing about a physical result with purely mental equipment? In the art of making occult bricks without straw the skilled magician must be adept.

Note, too, that entertainers who bring rabbits and bouquets out of top hats are not magicians; they are conjurers – practitioners of the art of prestidigitation. They are in no way occultists, skilled as their tricks so often are. In fact, many of them decry occultism. The two things are simply not connected at all. True magic is the art of compelling things to happen. Conjuring is seeming to make things happen.

Continually to have depressed, pessimistic thoughts, or to brood about possible future troubles is, in fact, creating them for yourself through crystallising your own thought forms. When the Sword suit is prominent around your card in a spread it denotes this. So, to have uplifting and optimistic thoughts is to create future good things. But most humans find it easy to brood, and hard to think optimistically and creatively.

It is easy to believe the worst will happen; hard to credit that the best can be created for ourselves. Because of this trait in human nature all folk-lore is rich in rituals and spells that have uplifting shapes and symbols which help to elevate your mind.

Not all of them require special equipment. For instance, the old belief that, at the vernal and autumnal equinoxes, changing your furniture around brings luck, was actually the fore-runner of spring and autumnal cleaning orgies. Where now the “priestess” of the home works with apron and brush, the followers of more ancient faiths “turned their places out” to eject bad luck and prepare a place for new and better luck!

The whole of this homely magic spell centred around the idea that the angles made by the positioning of furniture could be lucky or unlucky. When we bear in mind that, in occult practice, certain shapes are said to be evil, it doesn’t seem so far-fetched that a couch or a bed in the wrong place could make an unlucky angle or shape! It has always appalled me, as an occultist, that the backs of dressing tables are so often placed to the window. True, this is said to give a better light on the face for make-up, but in ritual practice only the things meant to be exorcised, or cast out, have their backs to the light!

Here are a few simple folk-lore spells” you might like to try out for yourself at the next equinox (in early spring).

Knight of Cups. Represents a lover or his thoughts. So, if you want him to pay you more attention, move the furniture round in the topmost room of the house. This card has Venusian affinity, and Venus rejoices in high places.

Knight of Swords. Represents a treacherous man or his thoughts. If you suspect such a one affects you, move round the things in the cellar, or the lowest room of the house. (Saturn rules dark places.)

Knight of Wands. A helpful person, or prudent thoughts. If you need these in your life, switch the kitchen effects round, and put a bowl of yellow flowers where they catch the eye. (This card has an affinity with Mercury, and the kitchen is the housewife’s “office”.)

Knight of Pentacles. A new male friend, unknown to the inquirer. So here is your card if you want a new friend. This card has a Jupiterian affinity, so place a coin with a king’s head in your safe or cash-box, move that to a new place, and see what happens.

[It is virtually impossible in Britain today to find a coin with a king’s head on it. But the directions do not specify the coin’s country of origin. Also, the person depicted does not have to be a king. Jupiter indicates a male ruler, so a president can substitute for a king. A.T.]

Superstition? Or true occultism? Coincidence, or cause and effect? Try it for yourself, and find out whether these things are worth noting, or not. Also, if you are interested in hearing more about these old beliefs in future articles, write and let me know. But if you need a personal reply, please send a stamped addressed envelope.

[Prediction, April 1958]

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