These cards are of our Shadow energies: instincts and emotions from
that remote time when the Feminine held power, when humans held discourse with
Ereshkigal's Dark Realm, and all manner of magickal being existed upon earth.
With ancient names at the bottom and corresponding numbers above (subtract 11 for the
number of the Major Arcana card in more traditional tarots), each card opens a gate into
unexplored territory in the psyche. The images facilitate accessing psychic space,
providing entrance to the darkness of our natures, to the darkness of instincts of an
archaic past, to our heritage of power sucked from the bowels of the earth.
Here is the sign of the vulture, bird of Maat, the Double-Wanded One, Daughter of the
Dark, the higher power of the Moon, Dark Moon, Moon of Blood. Here is entrance to the
realm of Pluto/Ereshkigal, to the Backside, to the Nightside of the Tree.
While "regular" tarot cards depict the familiar world of ego-consciousness,
in this dark tarot each sigil evokes the ancient interdimensional shadow forces. Each
painting provides a means of positive integration/acceptance of potentially explosive
/corrosive dark material into the personality without shattering its fragile vessel.
The method of producing the images was to paint the ancient magickal sigil— probably
of Sumerian origin or older, resurrected by Crowley in Liber CCXXXI—of the Qliphoth of each dayside Path, then immerse in the energies for weeks or months via
Rather than ascending by way of Malkuth as in dayside explorations using Golden Dawn
techniques, one explores the underlying tunnels by projecting consciousness through Daäth—"the gateway of the manifestation of non-manifestation"—the entrance to
the Nightside of the Tree of Life.
Kenneth Grant has elaborated upon this in his Nightside of Eden, drawing upon
Aleister Crowley's Liber CCXXXI, "The Genii of the 22 Scales of the Serpent
and of the Qliphoth," speaking of "the Tunnels of Set", "a network of
dream cells in the subconscious mind", the "backside" of the Tree of Life:
the "Nightside" of consciousness as opposed to "Dayside" reality.
Thus we begin to integrate these archaic atavisms, the world of the
Nightside of the Tree, world of the Shadow, with emerging adumbrations of
whom or what we as humans might become through the inner alchemy
accomplished by treading the Path of the Shaman into the earth—the
Tunnels of Set—to have our bones replaced with
bones of gold, bones of silver, bones of steel.
The ultimate evolution of individual human consciousness into enlightened planetary
consciousness, the very survival of our life-web, depends upon our bringing into
awareness and positively integrating/ readmitting these potentially explosive/ corrosive
energies into our psyches.
Far from being "negative," or "dark" in any pejorative sense, years
of working with the concepts and energies of these rather beautiful labyrinthine tunnels
have brought the realization that though largely unacknowledged, long culturally
repressed, this shadow side of deep instinctual life remains for us a source of tremendous
When owned as the most relevant, alive, truly whole/ holy parts of ourselves, these
most basic "dark" life energies can be wonderfully daimonic, transforming us
into vibrant, creative, fully actualized human beings. It is only when they are denied,
cut-off, repulsed, repressed, that their darkness can become demonic, twisting, exploding
destructively into consciousness, swamping ego-rationality in mass psychoses, and in the
small daily horrors that assault us.
Yet working in this shadow-realm should not be undertaken lightly. It is inadvisable to
dive into these immense inner geographies until the magician's dayside consciousness has
become fully integrated, the ego-boundaries strong, for this realm of the Ancient Ones is
filled with terror, filled with power, and She, Goddess without a Face, The Faceless One,
Bearer of the Blood, is the dark repository of those mass primordial instincts ever
lurking behind our ego-generated illusions of individual humanity.
Emerging from the psyche disguised as archetypal dreams, fantastic nightmares, our gods
and demons are deep memories from that remote time when humans directly apprehended the
Ancient Ones—those great cosmological interdimensional Beings who are the essence of
the Universe. That awing comprehension rolled like a tidal wave across humanity's young
mind and newly developing sense of self-awareness, stunned consciousness into retreat from
mysteries too great to be contained within the nascent psyche.
Though the breakdown of the bicameral mind and isolation of right brain/left brain
function has allowed for technological development and civilization of instinctual life,
the gods no longer speak directly to us as once they did. Long ago we locked the gates
against this knowledge of a vast universe whose Intelligence cares little for our warm
Consciousness turned inward, retreated to worship of the safely distant stars. Sacred
sites were so aligned to focus the light of a single star upon darkened inner altars. The
great star Sirius was seen to rise with the Sun at the ancient feast of Lammas, and to set
with the sun at Candlemas, while the Pleiades set with the Sun at Samhain, rising with the
sun at the feast of Beltane. The Zodiac thus sprang into being as the universal template
of the Soul.
As consciousness evolved, the focus shifted, the sacred calendar was reckoned by the
Moon, the principal deities were feminine, the Great Goddess in her myriad aspects
reverenced above all. Woman was the source of life, the inheritance of blood reaching back
through the matriarchal line to the very dawn of humankind.
Patriarchal solar phallic consciousness developed as a necessary balance and
evolutionary step beyond the matriarchal realm and relative savageness of lunar-feminine
forms. The inheritance of blood passed through the father's line, great states rose.
Solar-phallic consciousness became exalted above instinctual lunar-feminine forms, nature
existed to be tamed, to be exploited, the Feminine in all her forms subdued, and
earth-based instinctual life sacrificed to soulless greed of blind technology.
In the dialectic of balance, the pendulum once more has swung and consciousness moved
up the evolutionary spiral. Our survival as a civilized race capable of reaching heights
of psychic/ spiritual awareness and transcendence depends upon our moving beyond mass
instinctual consciousness rooted in the tribe, the clan, the holy blood: Sangraal.
We spiral back to reclaim the potent forces that form our vital human core. Seeming to
recapitulate the older feminine right brain forms, we are in reality in process of
creating a higher-order synthesis.
By redefining these primitive energies of consciousness, we access and use the
primordial power coiled within our DNA, bringing about willed mutation of the species to
fully conscious, individual participation in and identification with the planetary Gaia.