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"The Golden Dawn and Cabbalistic Tarot: Broken Trees of Life and Blood " in Tarot in Culture Ed. Emily Auger. Victoria, AU: 2011, Association of Tarot Studies

The founders of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn believed that the Tarot rituals they formulated in the late nineteenth century were based on the ancient cabbalistic text Sefer Yetzira as well as interpretations of that text made by Éliphas Lévi in the middle of the nineteenth century. However, an analysis of the Golden Dawn system, as described by Israel Regardie and Ellic Howe, reveals that its Tarot practices were not only far removed from the cabbalistic theories articulated in Sefer Yetzira; they were closely related to the magic, witchcraft, and paganism condemned by the rabbis in the hegemonic text of Judaism, the Talmud. Rather than dismissing the founders of the Golden Dawn as misinformed, I attempt to trace the antecedents of their formulations to esoteric trends on the fringes of mainstream medieval Judaism. Circles of German Hasidic Jews (1150–1250 ce) and then fellowships of disciples associated with the Spanish Cabbalist Abraham Abulafia (1240–c. 1291) attempted to bypass the safeguards constructed around the theory of Sefiroth through innovative practices. I show how these practices may have filtered through Renaissance sources, such as the philosophers Pico della Mirandola (1463–1494) and Guilo Camillo (1480–1544), to eventually influence the Golden Dawn system and Tarot ritual. A close reading of Golden Dawn manuscripts suggests that these medieval and Renaissance sources may have been obscured as the Order evolved and radicalized their magical operations into parameters condemned by the Talmud.   Read More

 

"The Influence of Medieval Rabbinical Commentaries on the Countess of Pemrboke's Psalm 58 in Ashgate Critical Essays on Women Writers in England, 1550-1700 Vol. 2 Ed. Margaret Hannay. Surrey: Ashgate, 2009

A close study of the Countess of Pembroke’s Psalm 58 suggests the influence of medieval Rabbinical commentaries on her translation. Her rendition of this Psalm raises the distinct possiblity that she was familiar with the classical exegetical interpretations of Rashi, the Radak and Ibn Ezra.   Read More

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