The ultimate system, reconciling magicians and astrologers. It has a well-identifiable heritage, beginning with the birth of Western tradition and continuing to be transmitted through what is called the Gold Chain of initiates.
There is no doubt that the Western Esoteric Tradition, as we know it, was established in Alexandria in the 1st century BCE. It was a fusion between the Greek Mysteries, some Egyptian cults such as Thot, thus associating the most occult aspects of the first religious civilization in the world.
Preserved by the initiates during the "dark days" of monotheistic intolerance and the ensuing persecutions, the knowledge of the Hermetic and Ogdoadic Tradition reappeared at the end of the 14th century under the impetus of the Greek initiate Gémiste Pléthon. The latter was a Neo-Platonist and Grand Master of this remarkable lineage. As theologian, he took part in the Council of Florence (Italy) organized to bring together the Eastern and Western Christian Churches. In fact, at the request of Cosimo de 'Medici (who was the political leader of Florence at that time), he organized the revival of the Platonic and Hermetic tradition. In short, it can be said that he organized the rebirth of the Western initiatic heritage. He entrusted the Sacred Mysteries and initiations to a circle of initiates led by Marsilio Ficino, who was the founder of the “New Academy” whose headquarters were in the Villa Careggi, near Florence. But the continuation of this Aurea Catena (gold chain) was not enough. It was also necessary to disclose secret teachings and entrust various hidden keys. The Tarot was an extraordinary tool that constituted the outward expression of hermetic doctrine while discreetly providing various practical information. In 1431, a priest named Bessarion was received in the circle of Initiates of Mistra. He studied with Plethon and was initiated to the secret hermetic doctrine. He became the archbishop of Nicaea in 1437. He also participated in the council of Florence. As it is clearly recorded by the historians of the Tarot, it was during the council of Mantua, which was held in the 15th century, that Bessarion, Nicholas of Cues and Pope Pius II secretly conceived the idea of a symbolic card game. It is obvious that what is now known as the “Mantegna Tarot” contains many esoteric keys that are openly Neoplatonic and Hermetic. This symbolic game was not then revealed to the people and its use remained limited to the Inner Order. However, this Tarot was never truly appropriate instrument for the teaching of a symbolic traditional knowledge.
During this same period, Bonifacio Bembo created a new series of 22 Major Arcana, which were added to the minor arcana that already existed. This Tarot game is today called the Tarot of Visconzi-Sforza. You should not be surprised to learn that Bonifacio Bembo, who designed this game was a Neoplatonist and a student of Plethon. Of course, the decision to use the 22 maps was related to Christian Kabbalah and was not the complete representation of the original system. The complete system remained hidden.
You should remember that the Tarot today used by esotericists is derived from the Tarot of Marseille and has been used mainly in three ways during the last centuries:
1- Like a simple card game, without any specific esoteric meaning;
2- As a system based on esoteric principles, for the purpose of divination;
3- As a set created to invoke specific invisible forces and generate energies present both in yourself and at universal levels. Each card represents a state of consciousness and a particular energy, which can be invoked and used in a ritual. The Tarot keys you use in divination are also talismans that are connected to older archetypes, they are symbols that can generate specific states of consciousness. However, the classic symbols commonly available in the Tarot of Marseille (or other similar game) limit the energy to which you could access as Theurgists.
On the contrary, the keys of the Aurum Solis Tarot help to connect to these powers in a more efficient and precise way. Their representations have been preserved in two ways: 1- within the inner Order and 2- visibly in a mysterious church in northern Italy in the city of Rimini. It was here that Sigismund Pandolfe Malatesta brought the remains of Plethon's body. Malatesta was a friend of Pope Pius II. It was under his direct protection that he renovated an old Gothic church, obliterating its Christian characteristics to give it a pagan and neo-Platonic appearance. This “Temple” is full of pagan symbols. Eight chapels (a significant number for the hermetic tradition), as well as 14 sarcophagi on the outer sides of the church are some of the symbols that we can mention here. One of these chapels contains the Sibyls (oracles). An extraordinary Planetary Chapel contains 7 planetary deities and the 12 zodiac signs in their pagan and neoplatonic aspect. The purpose of this Chapel was clearly to expose the traditional system of divine and sacred symbols, used in the internal order. It was a cosmological and theurgic system that allowed the practitioner to perform magical ceremonies, healing and divination.
It is the ultimate system, reconciling magicians and astrologers. It has a well-identifiable heritage, beginning with the birth of Western tradition and continuing to be transmitted through what is called the Gold Chain of initiates.
The Hidden Keys
Since the beginning of the Western tradition in Chaldea and Egypt, philosophers have used three numbers to describe the cosmos: 5 for the elements (4 + the ether), 7 for the planets, and 12 for the zodiac. Since that time, all astrologers, philosophers, theurgists and magicians agreed with this representation of the universe. The sum of these three numbers is 24 and not 22 as in the Exoteric Tarot. In my book titled “The Divine Arcana of the Aurum Solis” I explained the reasons why the Hebrew Bible tradition has removed these two elements: The Earth and the Aether. It is easy to understand the consequences that this entails for the inner balance. Each element, planet, and sign of the zodiac is associated with a specific deity, as well as a Greek and Hebrew letter or an Egyptian hieroglyph. Each card is associated with different names and sacred gestures that can be used in different ceremonies. Archaeological objects as well as texts from ancient literature testify to the validity and accuracy of these correspondences. This grouping constitutes all major Arcana.
As the modern esoteric tradition has discovered, the structure of the minor arcana is based on the four elements, giving four sets of cards. However, as any astrologer knows, the most significant connection at the occult level is between the elements and the zodiac signs, as we can see in the Temple of Rimini and in various manuscripts of that time. It is for this reason that the Minor Arcana of the Aurum Solis Tarot are composed of four sets of 12 cards. Each card combines an element of the series and an element corresponding to a zodiacal sign.
All these traditional correspondences are summarized in the tables that you can find in the booklet of the Tarot Deck (and this website) along with other precious information in the book “The Divine Arcana of the Aurum Solis.”
Song of Praise
Divination is an essential part of the use of the Aurum Solis Tarot. The Song of Praise provided below in its full form is used in many rites of divination. Two of them are given here on the website. Other information can be found in the booklet that can be downloaded from this page.
“Wind of the Spirit, radiant Holy Pinacle!
Life of the living, evanescent breath.
Your Glory is eternal and your passing presence is felt by all.
Go, announce the return of the wanderers!”
Sacred Greek Names of the Arcana
Atziluth: Athanatos, Iskuros
Correspondences of the Aurum Solis Tarot
Psychology classified by Tarot Trumps and Symptoms
"It is interesting to note that the dead body of Pletho was later exhumed by Sigismond Pandolfe Malatesta and taken to Rimini (near Venice in the Northeast of Italy). Today his body is in a sarcophagus which was interred in a wall of the Tempio Malatestiano. Malatesta was a friend of and under the direct protection of Pope Pius II. Hopefully it is clear why this repatriation was an important symbol for the Ogdoadic Tradition. In order to set the sarcophagus into the stone, Malatesta had to make sweeping renovations in this ancient Gothic church. The task required the construction of an entrance, including a triangular pediment in the antique style, as well as two symbolic vertical columns on either side. Inside, you find eight Chapels, which is a significant number for the Ogdoadic Tradition!
Excerpts from the book: The Divine Arcana of the Aurum Solis, Llewellyn Publications.