The Tarot of the Old Path, refers to the art of Wiccan, or Witchcraft out of England. For those who are not too bound up mentally by christian propaganda, Witchcraft, is from the old English word Witch, which basically means "a woman with her wits about her", or Wise Woman, which to a misogynist, would be a burnable offense.
Eight consulting witches compiled this deck-Margot Adler, Lois Bourne, Patricia Crowther, Janet and Stewart Farrar, Aislinn Lester, Pauline Newbery and Kim Tracey, and of course, all coordinated by the author, Howard Rodway (and others he acknowledges) to form an attractive and accurate deck for divination by those who prefer a more Earth-wise deck Art form. This deck is published by AGMuller & Cie, Switzerland, but is easy to find in the US.
I think it would be an interesting and informative experience to compare these cards, along with many others and their interpretations with the Thoth Deck Tarot, so that you may see the subtle but effective differences and know that Divination can be done with any deck if one "Above all things, Know Thyself". I heard that readings are most accurate if the reader "likes" the deck, but I have found this not to be true to me.
Those of us whose Inner and Outer Self, share the same brain, can pick up a deck of playing cards and divine from them. So it isn't just really about the cards, it is about the Reader. If the reader doesn't feel comfortable with a deck, their own emotions will interfere with the reading and it will fail to be accurate. Thus, as an aid to better Divination world wide, I thought it would be fun to compare cards, and their definitions as supplied by the authors of said decks.
The Thoth Deck High Priestess-Key 2, is shown in a more ethereal style than that of the High Priestess of the Old Path, key-2; for once again, the Old Path is more of Earthly magic
depictions and the Thoth Deck is about the Supernal Triangle of the Tree of Life.
The Supernal is a very High Dimension of the Creativity Trinity, before form.
So Crowley wished to imply the vibrations of Higher Light (invisible light or Dark Fire) being woven into frequencies of visible light, thus the radiant and waves of energy being shown on the Thoth Deck Tarot card.
The Tarot of the Old Path High Priestess much like the Thoth Deck High Priestess, is dressed in a diaphanous gown, implying purity and virginity, as well as, the truth that visible light is but a veil, hiding the True Source.
The light depicted in the Thoth Deck Tarot, is the light directly above Tiphareth and before the Abyss. Known as the "light so bright none dare look upon it", much like the Sun. Thus all religions are based on the Sun-god, which is the entity of Tiphareth, the Sixth Sephira on the Qabalistic Tree of Life. This light also serves to remind us that Electric Male force and Magnetic Female force are combined to make light.
The Tarot of the Old Path shows the Silver of the Moon as the silver bracelet around the wrist of the Old Path Priestess, complete with arcane symbols. The Crescent of the Moon is shown in the upper corner reinstating the ancient symbol for the Goddess.
The Thoth Deck High Priestess, has her arms elevated in a Crescent shape, implying the Moon of the Goddess as well. The Moon is the planet attributed to this card, as it is both dark and light and controls the waves of tides, as the High Priestess controls the Electromagnetic waves of light. Silver is the metal attributed to the Moon.
The Old Path Priestess, wears a lapis lazuli necklace, promoting her clairvoyance abilities. She is also wearing a head dress of the full Moon. Her magic wand is ivory tipped with silver and blue crystal, all these symbols support Moon-Magic, as silver is attributed to the Goddess as well as the Blue of Water.
The Thoth Deck Priestess is surrounded in blue and silver colors and also wearing a Full Moon head-dress.
The symbols for the Goddess Diana or Artemis, also appear in both cards, as the Old Path Priestess stands on the edge of a magic circle (medicine circle) with her hand resting on a deer's head. The Deer is the sacred animal attributed to Diana.
The Thoth Deck Priestess , has the bow of the Huntress, Diana, across her knees which serves a dual purpose in the Thoth Deck Card as it is also attributed to the sign of Sagittarius, that is the Temperance card and is the lower extension of the High Priestess. The Paths of Samekh (Temperance), and the Path of Tau (The Universe) plus Gimel, the High Priestess, all can be considered aspects of the Same energy and make up the devotional Middle Pillar on the Tree of Life. The Thoth Deck High Priestess is a Path, as a matter of fact, She is the first Path called Gimel (Camel) to come from the potential of the Supernal Triangle to the Ethical Triangle (the "actual") and is the state of conscious energy that carries one across the Abyss towards truth. Thus the camel image on the Thoth Deck Card.
The Old Path Priestess, also has a black cat,woodland animals and a snake about her feet. Snakes in Wiccan philosophy depict "keeper of secrets" while also symbolizing purity of mind and purpose. This purity is also supported by the Unicorn in the background. The birds, and butterfly flying about, all may imply the spiritual purity as well. The birds are sacred to Isis and the butter fly is a universal symbol for the Soul. There is an inverted triangle over the head of the Old Path High Priestess, which is a Goddess symbol , as well as , the symbol of the Supernal Triangle (top triangle) in the Qabalah Tree of Life. The positive, white and negative -dark forces of the Moon, are shown as black and white crescents in the upper corners.
In the foreground, is the herb lore of the Old path, showing opine flowers that are associated with the Moon.
What is interesting to note, is that the Goddess Ariadne, the caster and weaver of spells is represented by the cobweb in the corner. Implying the Weaving technique attributed to the High Priestess of the The Thoth Deck Card as well. Indigenous peoples would call both the Old Path and Thoth Deck High Priestess, Spider Woman, the one who has woven a Universe out of crystalline Light and consciousness.
The Thoth Deck High Priestess also shows the woodland fecund fertility of the High Priestess, as various plants beneath her feet. The Pineapple being the symbol for wisdom and clairvoyance, as it represents the Pineal gland.
As you may come to understand, both cards emphasis many of the same characteristics, but with different symbols.
The Tarot of the Old Path, also shows the beginnings of a river flowing in the back ground.This is "Grandmother River" to various indigenous peoples, who is the beginning of the Flow of Consciousness , this flow will end in the Star Card of the Thoth Deck and in the Tarot of the Old Path.
The Divinatory meaning of the High Priestess of the Old Path:
- A wise woman, who is an oracle, being prophetic and gives sound advice.
- a person of great perception and intuition.
- a positive, serene, guiding force, such as a teacher.
- physic abilities, called Divya Sidhis, in Sanskrit-meaning "magic abilities"
- One who is cool and avoids emotional ties or emotionally in control.
If thrown upside down, would indicate cruel and vindictive in nature. Shallow, lack of foresight. etc. a reversal of the positive meanings. Shallow, lack of foresight. etc. a reversal of the positive meanings. The Qabalistic Thoth Cards, do not use different connotations for upside down cards. That is just considered normal handling of the cards. Hence, in the Thoth Tarot, the surrounding cards indicate if a card is ill or well dignified.
The Divinatory meaning of the Thoth Deck-key 2- Priestess:
- Represents the second marriage of the Prince who is no longer of this world, the spiritual bride of the just man, He reads the Law, she gives the Divine meaning.
- insights into the inner mysteries of life.
- Balanced relationship between emotions and sexual energy.
- Balanced judgment through intuitive awareness.
- The Inner knowing of the heart, the receptive mode of feminine consciousness.
- having the gift of knowing the collective past, present and future. Prophecy.
- A need to ignore illusions, delusion and abstractions of the physical world in order to tune into the Inner Wisdom.
- The Independence inner "knower"
- The archetypal .feminine receptive mode of consciousness of heart felt knowing..
- There us upside down meaning to Thoth Deck Tarot. Negative connotations are supported by accompanying cards.
There is so much more to these cards, the Thoth Deck Priestess has been fully covered in my past blogs----be sure to look them up!
Thank you for your interest, comments and supportive donations. May you live long and prosper!