Photo by Marc Zimmer on Unsplash

Working my way through stacks of saved magazines and newspaper clippings, I reached a 1997 copy of Yoga Journal. It fell open to a centerfold that seemed for a moment like the very essence of serenity.

I had never heard of Charles Belyea, and despite the fact that I know…


Esoteric emblems: C.C. Zain’s Church of Light (l) and Paul Foster Case’s BOTA (r)

Tracing the history of Tarot so far, we have looked at three stages: the “Historical Tarot,” from around 1450 to 1750, the “Esoteric Tarot,” from 1750 to 1880, and “The Makers of Modern Tarot,” 1880 to 1925.

A Quick Recap

During the Historical period, the Tarot trumps appeared mysteriously in Italy and were…


Graphics created by the author

What is “Self-Synchrony”?

Briefly — that feeling you have when:

  • Decisions seem obvious
  • Actions seem natural
  • Life seems to flow rather than flounder

I can’t tell you how to get there — everyone has their own path. But I can offer a visual aid that I thought of one day…


The toy typewriter pictured above resembles one I played with probably in first grade. You turn the dial to a desired letter and press down to print it (the keys don’t actually work).

Before that unit, I had a rubber-stamp alphabet that could be used to put words on paper…


Hexen 2.0 Tarot, in a public reading about global futures.

I’m still trying to fathom the extent (and intent) of Suzanne Treister’s Hexen 2.0 project, but I’ll tell you what I’ve figured out so far. Beginning with — these comments from a 2013 New York Times review of the Hexen installation, then showing at a New York gallery:

The British…


The Fantasy Satires

New Trump Project Restores True Meaning of “Great Books”

Photo by Naomi Hutchinson on Unsplash

It’s often overlooked that Donald Trump — though not a “humanitarian” in any usual sense of that word — is indisputably a “humanist,” cut from the Renaissance mold. …


So far in “Makers of Modern Tarot” . . .

The Golden Dawn arose as the most influential secret society of the late 19th century, then fragmented in the early 20th century — undone to a great extent by the opposing personalities and theories of two men. …


The Jack Spicer Tarot deck, created by artist Robert FitzGerald in 1969 (Granary Books)

Briefly: The Beat movement flourished during the 1950s, beginning in New York and spreading to California, where it converged with what’s now known as the San Francisco Renaissance. …


From Vogue: Runway, May 12, 2017

To be honest — I did not see this coming.

And that’s because I failed to notice when the Dior/Tarot convergence got started in 2016. And as turns out, much has happened since.

But let’s start with a genuine milestone in Tarot history: the 2018 resort collection, in which Dior’s…


Pamela Colman Smith’s illustration, the Waite deck (l); Lady Frieda Harris’s illustration, the Crowley deck (r)

From its beginning in 1888, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn had grown steadily. And its diverse creative personalities had maintained an uneasy truce. (Catch up here.)

But like most secret societies, the group was always full of intrigue — and rife with disagreements over matters of interpretation and…

Cynthia Giles

Writer at large, Ph.D. in interdisciplinary humanities. Persistently curious! Creator: “The Constance Project,” and Dreamfish Press. cynthiagiles.com

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