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Inspiration & the Predictive Tarot

March 22, 2017

by Tony Willis

As we saw in the previous article, the Golden Dawn’s handbook on the tarot assigned a keyword to Trump 6 in the tarot, the Lovers, that is found nowhere else in occult literature. The keyword is Inspiration and it refers particularly to the type of inspiration that has such an impact on the mind into which it flows that its result is a physical action. On account of this, the G.D. text contains the expression “motive-power”, signifying that the inspiration is an impulse to action on the material plane.

The Lovers card is endowed with this meaning by the G.D. because the Order aligns it with the 17th Path on the Tree of Life, a path that leads from the realm of Understanding to that of Harmony. The idea is that a beam of energy descends from the sphere of Understanding and penetrates the central sphere of the Tree of Life, whose function is ever to seek equilibrium. The energy beam transmits a concept that, if acted upon, will restore harmony to the life of the person in whose mind the process is being enacted. The image the G.D. chose to depict the event was of the Greek hero Perseus descending, drawn sword in hand, to rescue the North African princess Andromeda from a sea monster, symbol of inertia born of fear.

The G.D. text is careful to distinguish between the inspiration represented by the Lovers and that associated with the Magician, the Hierophant and the Hermit. It is a distinction of vital importance to occultists for whom the principle “magic is the science of causing changes in consciousness’’” is a key tenet. However, to the average tarot reader, not to mention the average person, the distinction means precious little. For that reason the G.D. interpretation gained no foothold in the world of tarot divination.

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Another factor for its non-acceptance may have been that, in the French school of tarot established a generation or two before the founding of the G.D., Inspiration was recognized as a meaning for Trump 5, the Pope, In conjunction with the symbol of the Pope, emblematic of the link between the Divine mind and the human mind, inspiration indicated a hunch or presentiment.

     05 II     r-w-hierophant

Even people who have never themselves had a hunch know what one is. They will have met the idea in t.v. crime dramas, where lead detectives are forever having hunches that, when followed up, lead to a breakthrough that solves the case. This meaning at least can be of use to the exponent of the divinatory tarot, and therefore one occasionally comes across delineations of the order:

Sometimes,this Trump presages a forthcoming inspiration which, if followed, can lead to a way out of present difficulties or to financial gain.

Otherwise, the idea of inspiration strikes a dumb note predictively. One hears it rarely in connection the the Pope (or Hierophant), and outside of a G.D. Temple, never in association with the Lovers.

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