how to get your tarot published

After showcasing our timeline album over at IMGUR of The Mutational Alchemy Tarot a few people asked me to cover the publishing process from start to finish. I’ve seen a few Kickstarter projects asking for absurd amounts of money for low runs so in my opinion transparency is a good thing here. 

Publishing a tarot is easier than you might think, especially with the ease of access to resources via the internet. While in the past hand cut decks were popular, they are very time consuming and thus they are very limited in distribution, numbering between 15-100 copies. Large factories can handle tens of thousands of copies as long as you can pay for them, and offer a wide array of services like gilding and different paper types.

During Creation

The first thing you need to make sure of is that your art is of a high enough DPI, or resolution. The bigger the image the higher the quality of the final printing. 

mat-ptah
As you can see the art is MUCH bigger than the final card, this will help your final print quality tremendously.

If you are painting or constructing the images digitally you’ll need to make sure that you’re painting with CMYK in mind, the inks that a printer uses. The computer you’re using has access to a lot more colors than a conventional printer, and more than even some of the advanced industrial printers you’ll possibly be sending your images to.

If you are painting traditionally you will need a good working knowledge of cameras, lighting setups and have the equipment itself, either rented, borrowed or owned. If you don’t wish to deal with this you can also hire a photographer to take pictures of your work. Expect to shell out at least $20 per photo for the photographer’s time, if they are professional. Make sure you get a high DPI digital version, and not prints. You can put this images in a photo editing program to make adjustments later on or send them directly to the printer.

I shouldn’t need to mention this, but under no circumstances should you ever use someone else’s images in your work. Whether it’s the likeness of a celebrity or a photo you cut out of magazine and painted, it’s stealing. (see http://www.aeclectic.net/tarot/cards/heart-of-stars-tarot/ for an example of what not to do – this is literally a crime and could never be picked up by a publisher or printer legally) If you use photo manipulation please make sue the image has the proper creative commons release or is in the public domain. There’s nothing wrong with that and it doesn’t hurt anyone’s livelihood or infringe on their individual rights. If you put a likeness of your friend in the tarot, make sure they’re okay with it first.

Getting it Published

Finally when all of your images are done and they are in digital form, (JPEG with at least 300 DPI resolution.) what do you do now? You can send it to a local printer if they have the equipment to handle a tarot deck. Most printers in the USA do not – they will print a sheet for you and you have to cut it yourself. There is a niche market for such handmade decks. Other times you’ll find that the quality is lacking and it can get expensive testing one printer after another.

Tarot cards used to be exclusively hand pressed and painted, so it is definately a real option for one-off’s especially, and well done lithographic tarot can become extremely sought after.

"Look if the Visconti's can do it so can you" says the Pierpont-Morgan Bergamo King of Pentacles.
“Look if the Visconti’s can do it so can you” says Visconti di Modrone’s King of Cups.

A Publisher

Some go with the publishing route, but if you do this you need to widely publicize your work on the deck during its creation and target a niche audience that represents the common occultist – highly advanced or innovative decks will not do well and publishers will rarely take a chance with them. As an example, we wrote to two publishers before deciding it would be in our best interest to retain all ownership rights. US Games told us outright that while they could see it was based on the Thoth, the nudity would offend their customers. 

By Paul-in-London - http://www.flickr.com/photos/epaul_07/7169673527/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19852478
Definately not US Games customers. (By Paul-in-London – http://www.flickr.com/photos/epaul_07/7169673527/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19852478)

Llewellyn just ignored us despite writing to them twice. 

Small Local Printers and Hand Cutting

Our first real option after this lull of publisher rejection was offered by a student of m1thr0s’s, MythMath who already had a lot of experience making homemade games and had made playing cards before using a corner rounder. We had been working on the pack for nearly five years at that point and he wanted to get The Mutational Alchemy Tarot printed right away, and ordered some difficult-to-source poker paper to get it done locally. The paper was luxurious, durable and flexible but the images were noticeably off center. The printer wasn’t equipped to handle cards and it was extremely cost prohibitive. To make one deck would require an investment of $200, and I knew there had to be a better way, considering companies churn out decks for $15 a pop over and over again with few major problems with centering.

If you want highly professional service dedicated to tarot printing alone, on state of the art machines, you will have to go to Los Angeles, New York, or…Asia.

The TwinStar Orders Us Around

In 2014 that taskmaster the TwinStar began pushing me hard to get the deck published en masse. Its urgent demands were something I knew could not be ignored, nor would it be overly difficult for me to obey them as it probably already had a printer lined up. You have to work with the TwinStar for a few years to begin to understand just how perfect it is in action and conversation – it’s never wrong, it always has your best and highest interests in mind, and it’s not worth arguing with it, as you will lose, badly! 

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REMEMBER WHAT HAPPENED THE LAST TIME YOU FUCKED WITH ME PUNY HUMAN

I started researching possible companies to self publish, and found Make Playing cards.com, which was very expensive at $15.00 per deck and while the colors looked good the paper stock was flimsy like a run of the mill massmarket deck according to other users. I uploaded all of our images and ordered a test copy to see if it was worth ordering a big batch. They wrote us back stating they had a policy against nudity! I couldn’t believe it. There was no other option in the USA for wholesale printing jobs.

Ali Baba and the Forty Tarot Factories

Asia was a labryinth, but m1thr0s and I absolutely wanted to get our cards printed in China for magickal reasons. Navigating the maze of trade liasons, importers, manufacturing companies and factories however, was daunting and indimidating. Sending thousands of dollars halfway across the world is even scarier, since it was a business loan and there was no way we could afford to do it again, especially since we wern’t sure if it would pay for itself. It was an investment in the long term for TAI itself, so that the website, annual taxes and licensing would begin paying for itself at least, and m1thr0s and I could gift the ownership of the MAT to TAI to help any future leaders of it.

I did some research and found out that dealing with factories directly was more cost effective, while the alternatives such as importers who go to factories on your behalf are more expensive, but supposedly more reliable. 

After reading an article on the topic of doing business in China I decided to seek out factories. I started on Ali Baba, the trade hub of the world for everything from handbags to 3D printing machines sold wholesale. I hung my signpost out that said I was looking for a publisher for high quality art cards with nudity “not porn”, hoping to avoid any surprises later on.

I got quite a few responses and had to take days looking at all of them, talking to agents about what I needed and what they were willing to do. I sorted them out by weeding out people who seemed to abrasive or hasty, people who didn’t represent the factory directly (they call these importers or trade liaisons, and while they can be very helpful I was trying to cut all of the extra costs to put everything into the decks) factories that seemed to focus only on poker cards instead of oracle and tarot, and finally I was left with my choice, Shenzhen Wanjing Printing Co. They had a very nice website on Ali Baba with lots of photos of their staff and factory, a very responsive and polite agent as well as lots and lots of details about what they could do. The pricing was up front and they took the time to give me quotes based on what I asked for, instead of just throwing a cheap number at me without any details on the weight of the paper and packaging options.

I was lucky in that I didn’t have to make any compromises, except for paying more than I would have going to another company. We got exactly what we wanted, from the neat tuckbox to the black bleed-to-edge border. We did have to resize each image very slightly to fit their template, which was a little bit bigger than what we had planned, although this was actually a plus. Everything cost about $5,000 for 500 decks. It can go a lot lower for lower quality paper such as the kind you find in mass-published tarot decks which are seemingly never more than 300 gsm. (ours are 350 gsm art paper)

sales9@wjplayingcards.com is the email address of our contact Fanny Yeung at Shenzhen Wangjing and they are the best. If you decide to use them tell them The Abrahadabra Institute and Izi sent you. They are very reputable and are used by big publishers as well. 

The team at Shenzhen Wangjing Printing Co. sent us this photo after I chatted with them about the art. Apparently they all love wolves and call themselves “The Wolf Pack” lol so I sent them pictures of the wolves I had growing up.

Even if you can pay for it, can you afford it?

We hadn’t been recieving very much financial support for our work on Abrahadabra even though people would come to us constantly with questions and requests for advice. This was very upsetting to our local busines advisor and she told us to stop doing it. We had to put the entire amount on the credit we had built carefully over the years. m1thr0s was on disability since he was hit hard with COPD around the time I was familiarizing myself with his work. I had been working on the deck for 5 years while doing customer service  and freelance on the side at very low paying jobs to support him and the entire Institute, so we didn’t have any savings to put towards it. There just isn’t enough time to work on these important scholarly subjects and work at a full time typical career job, that’s the bottom line, especially with m1thr0s needing more and more assistance physically at home due to his poor health.

Both m1thr0s and I are highly skilled artists, so I knew we would be able to sell them once they were published. I know a lot of occultists want to publish a deck but if your situation is fragile like ours usually is you shouldn’t dump everything into publishing a deck that might not sell. I knew all of these risks and the reality of the situation well before I started on the project, but after talking with others involved in the Abrahadabra Institute I knew it was important to have a graphical representation of the kind of ideas we are always going on about in a fun form factor. 

Shipping is very expensive from China for heavy boxes and you should expect to tack on at least a thousand dollars for every 500 decks. They initially wanted to send it to a port but I couldn’t get any of the ports here to explain how to pick it up, so the easiest option was by air with UPS. The best part of choosing Shenzhen Wangjiang is that they reassured us and guided us every step of the way, and we ordered everything sight unseen without sending a quality controller. This is very risky but I had to trust that since things were going so smoothly my spirit lodge helpers were managing everything as they always do. 

Marketing

m1thr0s is way more marketing savvy than I am having been the chief director of marketing at the Anarchist-Chaote publisher Loompanics for years before being hit with COPD. First he had us notify our clan at Abrahadabra, asking them to check out the deck and give us reviews at Aeclectic which one person did. The rest of our loyalists who had eagerly been awaiting the deck to hit purchased one and we rewarded them with signed cards from the first printed copy as well as free shipping. 

We posted ads on Facebook, Reddit and locally and received quite a response. A customer asked for us to do a video review and I did so using my smartphone which wasn’t hard. It’s pretty easy to do marketing like this, we could probably go harder at it by advertising in magazines and such but I don’t feel like it’s necessary at the moment due to selling them pretty quickly as it is. The biggest tarot site on the internet is Aeclectic Tarot so we felt like we should put the pack in the directory there, and generated quite a bit of activity surprisingly. Aeclectic tends to be a Rider-Waite crowd but it is inexpensive and important to register there as they are basically the only directory of tarot on the internet aside from Amazon. If you can’t afford anything else at least get on Aeclectic. 

Whether you are looking to publish your own oracle deck for personal use, or you are an artist looking to make a name in tarot, I hope this article has been useful for you. As always feel free to ask questions in the comments and support us by buying your copy of The Mutational Alchemy Tarot!

news update 1.26.2016

News update: UPS and Fedex both charge $90 for shipping the Mutational Alchemy Tarot to our extra long distance customers in AU, EU and Asia, sorry guys looks like we’ll still be using USPS and Ebay to handle international sales. It’s a 14% price hike at USPS across the board. I’ll try to come up with a value pack of some kind to make the S&H cost more worthwhile. 

In other news we’ve had a number of odd delays with the I Ching Beginner kits which I know a few people have been asking me about. The publisher switched distributors and the ISBN appears to have been mixed up with another good I Ching book, not the one we need. At first the new distributor  claimed they did not carry it, Princeton contacted me and assured me that they did, and gave me the ISBN, assuring me it was the Wilhelm/Baynes, but I now have a pile of another book that fortunately we’ll be using in the coursework this year anyways. We’re working with them to solve it. This set will be included in the first year coursework which we hope to release soon so when I do get them back in stock I’ll try to coordinate with our coursework and membership for those who would like to become Mutational Alchemists as well as masters of the I Ching.

Until then for those interested in what we are doing, Mutational Alchemy Essentials 001 is always a good start to see if we have what you are looking for.

http://abrahadabra.com/mutational-alchemy-essentials-001/

Header: Blue Racer Snake photo by Rick L Hansen for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Public Domain 2011

important information regarding shipping cost on the mutational alchemy tarot

International shipping has been a major concern for us as well as our customers, and continues to be a priority as we are recieving a lot of orders from overseas. (For those out of the loop on this, USPS no longer has shipping by ocean as an inexpensive option as in years past.)

We’re doing everything we can to keep the costs low. Ebay offers a small discount and they help evade predatory and abusive VAT-attached charges above our USPS baseline. The basic postal fee automatically adjusts based on user location, so all international orders are encouraged to go there, but they too draw from USPS prices and a price change recently has forced me to look at other shipping options. Our listings on Ebay may be adjusted in the near future due to the changes by USPS this week. However, you will still recieve the advantage of Ebay’s international shipping program which combats abusive VAT processes.

Sunday night the United States Postal Service shifted their pricing matrix on a wide range of packages. Priority mail flat rate small is no longer the least expensive option for long distance international (UK, Australia, Asia) and in consideration of this we’re going to start using our own boxes instead of the USPS provided flat rate boxes. 

Here’s a rundown of the new and old shipping costs for single or double tarot pack:

Long Distance International Flat-rate (OLD): $25

Long Distance International Flat-rate (NEW): $30

Long Distance International Custom (OLD): $37

Long Distance International Custom box (NEW): $22

I will be contacting other shipping companies this week to inquire about their prices on custom box options so if you were planning to order the Mutational Alchemy Tarot you may want to wait a few days until I have figured out what Fedex and UPS says about this, as they may be cheaper.

I will keep our feeds updated on this matter so follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Google + if you prefer to recieve mobile updated. 

 

 

why chaos magick is so popular

Well ladies and gents, we’re at war; in a world so close to attaining perfection. The good news is we’re outnumbered one thousand to one. Since those odds are about the same as mediocrity to genius it is both a privilege and a tactical advantage to the elite few. At one time one might have been able to say Chaos Magick was merely a trend, but it’s held on too tightly in the only circles that matter in today’s occult world: the online ones. This is the alembic of ideas forming the world of Hermetics today and tomorrow, where the only accurate pulse of the occult can be taken.

The enemies of chaos magick are the enemies of the occult, and it’s all for the same reasons. They fear losing control. This is the very reason that Tantra seems to be dead or dying in most regions of the world, but it is actually on the upswing in practices such as Chaos Magick and to some extent American Buddhism and Taoism. Freedom and real Magick will never die, no matter how viciously it is attacked. It isn’t difficult to point to the attacks themselves, for our history as occultists is a litany of blame, isolation, betrayal and petty degradation.

The frivolity with which Chaotes treat Magick is the subject of some distress in those more interested in less modern paradigms, but this is a minor complaint considering that the true roots of Chaos Magick are ancient and legitimate. It is an advantage to Tantra that it is framed in the modern, as it stands to lose nothing and finds an audience it would have otherwise lost in the detritus Tantra has acquired, despite its gem-like core. This stands as a virtue in a time when belief systems which are rotten to the core but have acquired some gems, are held up as paragons of virtue by some misguided persons. Catholicism comes to mind, a Church which killed Giordano Bruno, a paragon of Hermeticism (Occult Science) less than five centuries ago. The Italian infestation still has not apologized for that, and even if it did, should any initiate ever believe these lying monstrous worms? Their doctrine of self-sacrifice and exalted misery stands in stark contrast to the axiom “There is no God but Man” and every line of the Book of the Law. 

Religious nicety worships at the altar of group-think, where Chaos Magick does not. Individuality is the ideal in Chaos, not social harmony in and of itself – though freedom is proclaimed as a guiding force towards natural social harmony just as promised to us by Crowley with Thelema. Individuality and anarchistic freedom are the religious virtue of the Chaote, if there is one at all. Diversity is fun – that’s the whole point. This is a good reason for Chaos to be popular with anyone, even if few people really understand or appreciate what freedom is.

This freedom extends to several sore points in the occult where it has been slow to evolve: the secrecy and subsequent stagnation within the orders, and the inessential trappings that have piled up in the traditions outside of the larger orders. The orders have become tombs of old knowledge, stagnating and unimpressive – easily revealed by any serious investigation. The great silence of the orders on current events and the larger discussion of the occult outside of their pet grimoires is strange. This tells us that they all hope if they just leave the Chaotes alone we’ll somehow go away. Chaos is in for the same ride – except it is far more wild and uncontrollable. If you criticize Chaos you cannot help but paint yourself as either irrelevant or afraid, if not merely ignorant on what it is.

Chaos is like Jeet Kun Do is to the martial arts. It’s a modifier, a hack, and it wasn’t quite possible before the founding of America and all that came with it. Freedom of speech – real freedom of speech, including the ability to criticize the most powerful man in the country without fear of penalty, and the complete security of freedom of religion which has been improving year after year with a steady victorious march. 

 

Kaos Star 002 by m1thr0s. The four-fold tree and hidden diamond makes for a Chaos Star one can sink their teeth into.
Kaos Star 002 by m1thr0s. The four-fold tree and hidden diamond makes for a Chaos Star one can sink their teeth into.

The action, dynamism and brilliance of Tantra pairs very well with Western culture, which also values individuality, freedom and innovation. Tantra failed in the East due in part to a betrayal on its own soil – the aversion to the world in India – the world which Godhead created, and in China, the fear of analytical study in Taoism which “made the great miss” and failed to apprehend Science because of its pet preferences.

It remains to be seen if Tantra’s second wind in this millennium will hold – Chaos magicians make all kinds of mistakes in their thinking today, so much so that one often hears of someone “being attracted to” “considering themselves akin to” or “reading about” Chaos Magick rather than going all in and stating that they are definitely a Chaote. 

The weakness in Chaos Magick is this illusion that it is something entirely new – that it is not in fact founded on the shoulders of giants and a rockbed of steel as far as practice goes. In this it is dangerous because newcomers can flounder without much needed guidance. The ordeals that we know are consistent enough that we can consider them to be real and unavoidable in the human condition. Crossing the abyss is one such ordeal, but there are others, less formally marked.

When push comes to shove you want more than a cool looking chaos star in your pocket, and for some there is little else they take away from Chaos Magick except for the freedom. In that sense its usefulness is limited. It remains to be seen if the movement will progress or stagnate. 

Beyond that the threats to Chaos Magick and Tantra are as real as they ever were 500 years ago in Europe and Asia, within those regions. In America it enjoys immense security with the US Constitution and prevailing attitudes bearing the hallmarks of The American Enlightenment. It holds the key to unlocking the basic inhibitions that tear at the axiom “There is No God but Man”. 

 

the mutational alchemy tarot: sephiroth spread

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Sephiroth spread with astrological correspondences and Da’ath by m1thr0s. Background photo by Izi Ningishzidda on location at The Abrahadabra Institute, Olympia, Washington, Winter 2014.

To many people the Sephiroth spread seems large and intimidating, but it’s important to remember it’s the same size as the Sword and Shield or Celtic Cross. Sure, you need to memorize a little Hebrew and the ordering of the Sephiroth to pull this one off from memory, but it’s not that hard. I started using this spread spontaneously after my studies required that I memorize the ordering of the Sephiroth for pathworking. Don’t be afraid to play with Kabbalah and the Sephiroth. Let m1thr0s and I tell you as a Jew you are welcome to it and don’t let anybody tell you it is anything less than your human inheritance if you want to claim it. 

On this handy sheet which you are welcome to print out, the Sephiroth are denoted by their classical planetary attributions from antiquity. The symbols m1thr0s created to represent the astrological signs are very important and have their own secrets. For example, the symbol for Terra or Earth has points that are at a 23.5 degree angle – the same as the axis of the Earth in relation to the sun. It’s also got a vesica pisces in the center, the universal symbol of unity and the vagina and it’s a symbol for the swastika, a traditional symbol of the goddess Kali. The little dot in the center resembles the eye of Siva or the All-seeing eye.

When m1thr0s put all of these symbols and meanings together in one killer talisman for Earth, I was really fucking impressed. I immediately disposed of all of the concept art I had done on the astrological signs and gave it over to him. I also love how Ma’at or Saturn, at Binah, The Sorrowing Great Black Mother looks like a huge pregnant lady opening her arms to give the viewer a hug. 

So when you start this reading you’ll decide whether or not to do Earth Ascending or Heaven Descending. These are the two fluxes. Earth ascending tends to be violent, unstable and chaotic, like the Kundalini Shakti, while Heaven Descending is steady, ordered and logical like Mercury or Logos. We’ve numbered this chart in the Heaven Descending order, as it is more common. You may want to use Earth ascending for help in attacking a difficult problem or situation which requires shaking things up. Just reverse the chronological order for Earth Ascending.

A note about Da’ath: You can cast Da’ath first or last. I usually cast it last. It’s not a Sephiroth so it doesn’t get a number, but it is important. Think of it as like a non-Sephiroth that acts as the seat of God, or if you like, the Cosmic Vagina. It’s called the Seat of Knowledge and it can also be thought of as the fruit of the tree of the knowledge. 

  1. Ruling Power or Energy.

    Kether.  Neither wholly male or female, it’s transliterated as “Crown”, and the brilliant white gold light of Kether represents the highest you can go on the tree, the “star” of the yuletide tree you put on the top of your evergreen for the holiday. It’s not the absolute highest, that doesn’t begin until you go even higher into Ain, Ain Soph, and Ain Soph Aur. These are on the map where Abrahadabra is concerned. (Abrahadabra Grid Proofs, The Abrahadabra Institute, m1thr0s www.abrahadabra.com, The Book of Mirrors) but we don’t address them in this spread. Consider them to be acting through Kether which is synonymous with the all-good well-wishing Will of Heaven or The Dragon. The position of Kether will tell you what the primary energy of the situation or person is. It dominates all of the other cards in the spread and if it’s a bad card of any sort, examine “afflictions” elsewhere in the tree. Otherwise it may indicate the need for a major change in thinking and behavior. When in doubt, remember you can ALWAYS cross a card you don’t understand, with another card. You can also do an I Ching reading in order to solve any confusion.

  2. The Wise All-Father, Logic 

    This position can illuminate the logic and rationality of the person or situation, and also signify one’s atttitude towards men and career relationships. Chokmah is called Wisdom in English. It also represents the grey All-Father and is the top commanding Sephiroth of the male pillar. The energy here is powerful and wise of course, able to discern between things and manifesting perspective from the Yang side of universal energy. Bright, logical, thinking, communicating active warm and passionate energy resides here. A good symbological representation for it in the archetypal library of humankind is Mercury or Logos. It can represent males in the situation or in the person’s life. Adventure, plans,  fun and technology are all ruled by this Sephiroth. There is a chance it is talking about a marital proposal. He also rules over words, while Binah rules over sound. It can talk about the relationship to society and to males, and looks at the big picture that can be difficult to see in the sandstorm of emotion and detail. Ouranos, also known as King George, is the ruling planet. This planet is all about eccentricity and futuristic ideas. He’s the guy that guides us into a better place, the world we can only dream of. All in all you should trust this guy because he has a better way of doing things, but emotions can often blind us to what is correct dharma. Chokmah is the aspect of the masculine side of universe that walks besides us when we are afraid or facing a challenge that requires thoughtfulness and courage.

  3. The Understanding All-Mother, Emotions 

    This position can illuminate deep seated emotions influencing the person or situation especially in relationship to loved ones. Binah is called Understanding in English, she’s the Great Black Mother in the East. We know this because in Kabbalah she’s the “mother of mothers”, as the mother to the Shekinah or personification of the wife/house of Hashem. This also applies to the Sanatana Dharma concept of the overarching Devi principle who stands above all Devis. Also known as The Sorrowing and the Great Sea of Binah. She’s the All-Mother and is associated with learning and teaching. Life itself is precious as it teaches and she grows. She is always virgin and whore. This is the last of the three supernals, forming the squat triangle that is called The Cave of the Ancients. Stillness, peace, justice, emotions, dreams and intuition are ruled by Binah. There is a Jewish saying that says “The mother understands what the child does not say” This position can reveal emotional issues in the subconscious or problems with women or ideas about women. It can also reveal hidden injustices. Saturn, her ruling planet has long been associated with justice, karmic repercussions and the gods of time, as a woman it is closely associated to the goddess Ma’at. Binah is the feminine aspect of universe that is with us to support us when we are suffering, either emotionally or physically, especially where there is injustice or sorrow.

  4. Generous, Helping and Kind Actions, Relationships 

    This position can advise how to rule the situation. Chesed is properly translated as Merciful-Benevolence, but it’s often given other titles like Love, Mercy and Kindness. It’s got an alternate name: Gedulah, which means Majesty. He is the ruler and is signified by a scepter, where Geburah his partner is signified by a sword. A good deity association is Elohim or any of the thunder-related sky gods, Rudra, Zeus, etc. It’s the middle part of the male pillar and there is also a saying to go with it and its partner, Geburah, Severity. “A turn of severity must be followed by a turn of kindness”. Chesed is all about stability and joy, taking care of things as they are and preventing misery and displeasure. If afflicted it may mean someone is being too lenient, or laws are not strict enough, but it can also mean tyranny and overstepping one’s bounds of authority. Its ruling planet, Jupiter, is bombastic and not interested in the small stuff. Its energy asks us to ignore details that arn’t important and forces us by its sheer size and presence to pay attention to “reality”. The magick of Jupiter can offer extreme joy and pleasure or it can draw our higher selves away from the task at hand. It’s also associated with sex and reproduction, but in the physical sense, down to genes and DNA, and not past lives and karma.

  5. Restrictive, Punishing, Just and Warlike Actions and Karma. 

    This position can advise on what actions to take. Geburah doesn’t mess around. She is the Law and Management. She’s red like blood and has Mars in the palm of her hand. This planet carries out the orders of Binah above her in the name of justice. What causes sorrow must be eliminated. This is far more complicated than one would think, as we can see from the state of the world today. Geburah can be set against the querent, representing a challenge, but it can also be benign. The reasoning of Geburah rules the chaos in Hod below and it also regulates Tiphareth. This area of the tree can indicate past karma influencing the situation, or some injustice being perpetrated that must be answered for eventually. It can also have to do with war and conflicts, soldiers or trials. There is a connection with the feminine as well. Even though Binah is the mother, Geburah can be considered the womb, where Chesed is the consort father. Geburah is also the proper seat of the Prince of Darkness which is probably why it’s been earmarked as the secret entry to the underworld by Satanists. The reason for this is not only the womb connection but that fact that it’s ruled by Mars, so it can be depicted as a knight in a chariot going to battle. The chariot is the uterus. Crowley depicted this scene on his Chariot card, as a golden knight decorated with the stars of Assiah.  Geburah is associated with the transition from spirit to the physical world, Karma and past lives in a newborn. 

  6. The Future to Be, True Will, Higher Self, Good Direction 

    Tiphareth translates as Beauty and it connects to all of the other Sephiroth with the exception of Malkuth. Many of the attributions spouted about Tiphareth are merely incorrect assumptions, mostly perpetrated by Cabalists (Christian Kabbalah practitioners.) It is called The House of the World to Come in the Bahir, and represents a perfected and complete world template which Malkuth is bound to follow. It is also the throne of light, so that adherents of Luciferianism may find it interesting, but since Lucifer is associated with the moon in the Greek language it is more properly the domain of Yesod, which may be considered the Alembic that filters the data from Tiphareth to Malkuth.  The position will indicate the current aspect of the energy and information coming from Kether that is at play in the situation, relationship or activity in question. Consider that this position is always positive no matter how weird or bad the card seems to you, it is basically good in this spot. For example, if you get Debauch you may need to live it up a little more in your life. 

  7. Endurance, Challenges, A Journey, Romantic Relationships,Trials

    Netzach is associated with the planet Venus and translates as “Victory”. I used to keep getting “bad” cards here and I thought I had an affliction in Netzach, but it was just a failure to comprehend that this sephiroth is all about the current challenge that needs to be addressed. Consider that it’s the quest given out by Tiphareth in order to achieve its splendid state. It can especially address problems in romantic relationships as it is ruled by Venus. Love is often a key to winning the war revealed here.

  8. Art, Creativity, Scholarly Pursuits, School, Non-Romantic Relationships

    Hod, is properly associated to Mercury and is defined by its orange and electrical energy. Ritual, art, religion, scholarly and intellectual activity are constants here. The act of creating a representation of invisible concepts is the property of Hod.  On the tree Hod represents the left thigh and Netzach the right. 

  9. Tomorrow, Spirit Manifesting, Entheogens, Possibilities

     Yesod is called Foundation, which is important to us in the sense that Malkuth isn’t the Foundation of Man. The procession of the Aeons marks the steady progress Man is making towards the glorious future of Tiphareth where everything will be perfect and ecstatic. This position will indicate actions or events that are coming into being. Right now they are only present in the intimations from fate or they are on the horizon about to come into being. The card here will indicate something that is already happening or will happen very shortly. 

  10. Present Circumstances and the Physical Reality

    Malkuth is finally the present enviroment surrounding the querent and is a matter of fact summary of things as they stand in the relationship, activity or venture. It also represents the querent’s physical self but not the higher self. Remember the entire Sephiroth is YOU. 

  11. Mystery, Knowledge, Magick

    The mysterious non-Sephira Da’ath called the Seat of Knowledge can be placed at the beginning or at the end of the spread. It can be a hidden ally or power, and the card will tend to be magnified in this area. If it’s afflicted, consider flushing Da’ath by actual banishment rituals of one’s choice, especially helpful would be the TwinStar ritual or the Da’ath hack.