Qabalistic Tarot: A Textbook of Mystical Philosophy by Robert Wang

Review by Michele Jackson

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This author’s purpose is to explain the link between Tarot and Qabala and to prove that Qabala can be applied to virtually any Tarot deck. The books starts with an introduction which discusses the development of modern esoteric Tarot thought and the Western Mystery Tradition as taught by Aleister Crowley and members of the Golden Dawn. The first chapter is an introduction to the Qabala. It is a fairly decent introduction, though it doesn’t go into a lot of detail and seems to presuppose some background knowledge on the part of the reader. The rest of the book discusses the Sephira and the Paths on the Tree of life as they relate to Tarot. Wang uses four decks to illustrate his book, The Golden Dawn Tarot Deck, Thoth, Waite-Smith and the Marseilles. He goes through every card in the deck, explaining how it relates to the Qabala and explaining the symbolism found on the four decks previously mentioned. Wang’s book is based on the Golden Dawn tradition and he doesn’t stray far from their teachings. I have recently read comments on the Internet concerning the accuracy of his work, but am not well versed enough in the subject matter to comment myself. I will say that this book is extremely dry and textbook like in style. I had to force myself to finish it. There is little here to excite the imagination. This book is not a book about how to read the cards, although it does provide a section in the back on divination, as practiced by the Golden Dawn. I would recommend this book to the intermediate to advanced student interested in the Qabala, though I think it would be helpful if the reader where already familiar with the basics before reading this book. I find it more useful as a reference book than a reading book.

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Qabalistic Tarot: A Textbook of Mystical Philosophy
Author: Robert Wang
ISBN#: 0877286728

Seven of Wands, Lord of Valor (Mars in Leo)
Angels of the decan: Mahashiah and Lelahel
This is Netzach in Atziluth, the influence of Netzach in the world of Pure Spirit. The position of Mars in Leo is one of courage and strength, but with threatening overtones: a fiery clash is certain, but victory in the fray is not.
It will be noted that the basic pattern was established with the Marseilles card which uses six crossed Wands and one central one. In adapting the design, Crowley again uses the wands of the of the three Golden Dawn Adepts, but crosses them with a very crude club to suggest that the battle in this card may be a disordered and disorganized one of uncertain results. Waite illustrates the idea of opposition and possible victory, depending on the amount of courage exercised.
The Qabalistic Tarot, pg. 101

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