Sunday, December 12, 2010

THE ILLUSTRATED KEY TO THE TAROT By L. W. de Laurence





It seems rather of necessity than predilection in the sense of  apologia that I should put on record in the first place a plain  statement of my personal position, as one who for many years  of literary life has been, subject to his spiritual and other limitations,  an exponent of the higher mystic schools. It will be  thought that I am acting strangely in concerning myself at this  day with what appears at first sight and simply a well-known  method of fortune-telling. Now, the opinions of some, even in  the literary reviews, are of no importance unless they happen to  agree with our own, but in order to sanctify this doctrine we  must take care that our opinions, and the subjects out of which  they arise, are concerned only with the highest. Yet it is just  this which may seem doubtful, in the present instance, not only  to those, whom I respect within the proper measures of detachment,  but to some of more real consequence, seeing that their  dedications are mine. To these and to any I would say that  after the most illuminated Frater Christian Rosy Cross had  beheld the Chemical Marriage in the Secret Palace of Transmutation,  his story breaks off abruptly, with an intimation that he  expected next morning to be door-keeper, i^fter the same manner,  it happens more often than might seem likely that those who  have seen the Occult Pozuers of Nature through the most clearest  veils of the sacraments are those who assume thereafter the humblest  offices of all about the House of Wisdom.
By such simple  devices also are the Adepts and Great Masters in the secret orders  distinguished from the cohort of Neophytes as servi servorum  mysterii. So also, or in a way which is not entirely unlike, vi£  meet with the Tarot cards at the outermost gates—amidst the  fritterings and debris of the so-called occult arts, about which no  one in their senses has suffered the smallest deception; and yet  these cards belong in themselves to another region, for they contain  a very high symbolism, which is interpreted according to the  Laws of Grace rather than by the pretexts and intuitions of that  which passes for divination. The fact that the wisdom of God  (Nature) is foolishness with men does not create a presumption  that the foolishness of this world makes In any sense for Divine  Wisdom ; so neither the scholars In the ordinary classes nor the
pedagogues in the seats of the mighty will be quick to perceive the  likelihood or even the possibility of this proposition. The subject  has been in the hands of cartomancists as part of the stock-in-trade  of their industry; I do not seek to persuade any one outside my  own circles that this is of much or of no consequence; but on the  historical and interpretative sides it has not fared better; it has  been there in the hands of exponents who have brought it into  utter contempt for those people who possess philosophical insight  or faculties for the appreciation of evidence. It is time that it  should be rescued, and this I propose to undertake once and for  all, that I may have done with the side issues which distract from  the term. As poetry is the most beautiful expression of the things  that are of all most beautiful, so is symbolism the most catholic  expression in concealment of things that are most profound in  the Sanctuary and that have not been declared outside it with the  same fullness by means of the spoken word. The justification  of the rule of silence is no part of my present concern, but I have  put on record elsewhere, and quite recently, what it is possible to  say on this subject.















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