Review of the Ced Tarot
Tarot in Traditional Witchcraft has a strange relationship and many have wished for a deck which reflects the themes of this current. Sadly, those that do profess to be a Traditional Witchcraft Tarot fall somewhat short, expressing nothing more than an adaptation of the Rider-Waite deck with alternative names. In this, people fail to understand that the tarot itself is a system, and a complete one, that needs little improvement by alternating names or associations and aesthetics, without recourse to a living tradition. One such deck which respected the tarot, whilst represents a living tradition and complimentary system, is Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot deck. While not necessarily everybody’s cup of tea, much can be learned through working this tarot through the lens of a Thelemic worldview.
The Tarot as a Book of Magic
People often ask “what books can I read to understand the Traditional Witchcraft/Airts Compass”, and the simple answer is – none. That’s not to say that nothing can be gained from such pursuits, but the compass is a tool and technology and, as such, must be directly engaged. It is a tool that can only be understood through experiential interaction. For that reason, when people ask about books that provide insights into the function and use of the compass, I recommend the Ced Tarot.
There is a long tradition (well, about a hundred or more years, at least) of asserting the system of the tarot as a book. That is, the tarot enables a systematic experience of the cosmology and cosmogony of the hermetic and western tradition at its root, with archetypal revelation and a complete construct of the cosmos. In one regard, it can be read from 0 to 1, 2, 3, etc. in successive order as the journey of the hero, or soul, through the emanations. Indeed, many a Qabalist has done just that, overlaying the cards upon the paths and sefiroth of the Tree of Life. Alternatively, it can provide a story with each reading, with revelatory narrative that may guide or elucidate the querent’s situations.
What’s it all about (Alfie)?
Now, I won’t be the first to refer to the tarot as a book. As a matter of fact a good many eminent writers upon magic and the occult, including Eliphas Levi, A.E. Waite, etc., recognise that tarot is to be respected as a book in many ways. Furthermore, it is a tool that reveals its mysteries only in the using. No amount of writing can tell you what the tarot is about or how to use it in comparison to grabbing a deck and carrying out some readings.
At this juncture, I would like to add an imperative to anybody reading this with a sincere desire to learn and engage the mysteries – find your technique of reading and do it daily. Furthermore, record your thoughts, findings, etc., and keep a magical journal. This cannot be emphasised enough and it doesn’t even matter if you simply jot down a few things, such as LBRP to indicate you performed the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram. What you are creating is your own observable reference catalogue and it will be idiosyncratic, attuned to you alone. You will eventually be able to identify patterns, successes and failures, fine tune your work and know what days and hours to avoid, or whatever other purpose you wish to put this diary to. Seriously, it can’t be recommended enough – do daily things and record them in whatever manner suits your personality. Trust me, reflection will be revalatory.
Returning to our subject, the only way to understand the tarot is to get into it by literally working with card imagery. If you are new to tarot, I would also advise that you don’t go buy a book and read interpretations but build your own databank and references.
The Ced Tarot
The Ced tarot comes form the work of Griffin Ced and Rita Morgan of The Green Man Store in North Hollywood and Crone’s Hollow in Salt Lake City respectively. As the Witch Mother and Father of the Ced Tradition of witchcraft, the pair received gnostic mediation of the current into a living symbolism that works in unison with the tradition of the tarot. As a received transmission, the Ced Tradition unfolds within the tarot deck, operating as a complete compass of the airts, or winds, traversing the three planes, or worlds. Manifesting the images of the cards, working with both the Ced system and the Tarot as separate and complimentary traditions, Griffin had to employ an artist to realise the vision. Arnett Taylor was that artist who spent a decade with Griffin working painstakingly on each individual card, processing the the mediated gnosis into an expression of art which incorporates all the meaning and depth of both the Ced Tradition of witchcraft and the system of the tarot itself.
As an heretical path of witchcraft in its truest form, there are one or two cards in the deck which might be regarded as controversial due to imagery and content, as well as meaning and interpretation. This owes a debt to the realness of the Ced tradition and the hard truths which this system forces us to face and work with. There is little point spending our time avoiding those things that we may find uncomfortable because nature and life, with scant regard for our comfort, bears these truths in all their glory. As is often said, the true witchcraft is red in tooth and claw. That being said, this deck does come with a word of caution that some of the imagery and meaning inherent within the cards may not be as easy upon the reader as some tarot decks might be.
The Ced Tarot uses the traditional tarot format, remaining faithful to that system and tradition of magic, whilst incorporating some truly profound and subtle, yet complex, meaning and reference. As an exposition of traditional witchcraft, this deck deserves long study and becomes a firm friend and ally. If you are prepared to map the themes of the deck, its correspondences and relationships, apply the magics which operate upon each card as an individual as well as whole, then you will be amply rewarded. Utilising the Airts Compass, the deck maps out the cosmological patterning of traditional witchcraft through the gnosis of the Witch Father, Griffin, and Witch Mother, Rita.
© All Images Copyright Griffin Ced 2016