In this blog post I will explain an easy and helpful ritual template using 3 factors that when combined, make for an invocation, tarot spread, and talisman consecration all in one. This rite has potential for versatility in personal usage and adaptability, as one could just as easily use an Elemental/Planetary force, Saint, Angel, or God/Goddess of any pantheon for this. My choices of tarot decks are personally limited to the RWS decks and the Golden Dawn Ritual Tarot, though any deck will work just fine, as long as you are familiar with its symbolism and that it speaks to you at an inner level.
I must begin by heartily recommending the Cicero’s “Tarot Talismans; Invoke the Angels of the Tarot” for those with a bit of experience in ritual, especially those practicing the Golden Dawn tradition. If you are new to such things, “Tarot Spells” by Janine Renee will get you started in this usage of ritual and tarot, very practical for beginners and intermediate users alike. In these books you will find the explanations of how to use non-divinatory tarot in magical ritual that I need not completely regurgitate here, for they have been sufficiently explained and are a great tool to using the tarot besides the usual use.
So, I have recently gotten back into using tarot, as the symbolism contained therein is a great vehicle to focus your meditations, and more importantly, they can act as powerful talismanic imagery that can empower your rituals. Using the Tarot outside of divination can yield some surprising opportunities. Consider that the rich symbolism of the Tarot can be used as a vehicle for your desires, condensing your intents to subtle nuances of imagery that con be a focus during ceremony, an instant “translation” if you will.
I work with what I simply call ‘chosen spreads’. These are pre-selected tarot card sequences that embody your intentions for whatever ritual you’re doing. For example, choosing the Death card and composing a ritual around it will naturally be focused towards transformation, the willingness to sacrifice the illusion of material structure, and the ability to conquer fear of unknown changes. Combining this with other cards may make for a good symbolic sequence that represent your intention to make a big transformation in your life or to get past some troubling obsessions, etc.
Thus we see that this use of the tarot acts as a nice package for rituals where you can combine some simple candle magic and invocations. There are many possibilities for arrangements of such ingredients and those looking to experiment might like to start with an idea presented here.
The template I will describe here can be used with any appropriate tarot cards whose symbolism resonates with your goal. It must be noted however that the cards in this ritual are secondary to the invocation of your chosen entity.
So, after choosing a goal or intent for the talisman, choosing an entity (God, Goddess, Angel, Spirit, Saint, etc.) or specific force(Sephirothic, Planetary, or Elemental) to empower it would naturally be the next choice.
For this simple operation you’ll need:
- 1 White candle (representing the positive pillar of Jachin, the Universal Active force)
- 1 Black candle (representing the Passive pillar of Boaz, the Universal Passive force)
- 3 candles whose colors resonate with either your goal or the entity invoked to create the upwards triangle, OR…a string, rope, necklace, etc.
- 3 Tarot cards for the downwards triangle, one representing the Active Force of your intention, one for the Passive Form, and one symbolizing the ideal Outcome
- A visual representation of your chosen entity, or a depiction of its seal or sigil
- an object to be empowered as a talisman
As you can see, the set up is fairly simple, and if you are short on candles, this rite does not absolutely require them, which is nice. I just keep a nice stock of candles available to keep things interesting. As long as you have string, a tarot deck, and a small talisman, its all you will need. A simple drawing, artistically inclined you need not be, of the entity or sigil can be done on paper, as long as it is clear and direct.
Feel free to include your elemental tools or what have you, if you are so inclined to work with them during your opening and closing rites, or if you decide to work them into the ritual itself. This goes for any other regalia or tools of course. Your altar set up will end up looking like this:
The Key represents your talismanic object and behind it should be the depiction of the entity or its sigil. Number 1 denotes the Active Tarot card; that symbol which drives your intention and acts as the initial Force, number 2 denotes the Passive Tarot card; that symbol which gives your intention Form, and number 3 represents the Outcome card. As the Major Arcana generally uses wide symbolism of archetypes, these are a good fit for 1 and 2, while the Minor Arcana are more specific in their symbolism, so they are often a good fit for the number 3 position of the Outcome spot. However, this is only my opinion and feel free to use what feels right for you.
Notice that a nice little Hexagram is created by each object and that the Active and Passive triangles represent the Spiritual force invoked into the Talisman (a little Triangle of Art almost, it certainly serves to function as a direction of spiritual force via the theory of sacred geometry, the triangle being the shape that governs Form and boundaries) and the downward triangle is made up of the cards, that which represents descending Manifestation on the Material plane. So we have both planes symbolized here, the Above and the Below. It is important to have these things represented because you are making connections between these worlds.
After performing any openings, banishings, or circle castings/sacred space rituals, you’ll want to then insert a good Invocation here of your chosen entity. Make it good, for you are petitioning this force to empower both you and your talisman.
After the invocation, here you will want to do some focused visualizations. This is a key part of the ritual that should not be ignored. Assuming you are already familiar with the Tarot cards you have chosen, you should be ready to visualize how the forces represented by these cards will effect your situation when you achieve success. This is absolutely pivotal. However, I am not here to explain the many meanings of the Tarot as there are about a zillion other free online sources that do this, and so the newcomers will have to figure this out for themselves while the rest of us should be able to adequately apply the symbolism to their goals. However, writing a short paragraph for each card relating to how your goals resonate with the symbolism might be the key to anchoring the intention.
For example, in my own version of this rite, I used Saint Peter to petition him to empower a Key talisman so as to help me open new doors of positive opportunities. I may have added several things for a fuller setup, but the basic scheme is clear:
You’ll see that my tarot cards of choice was the Chariot, the Fool, and the 2 of Pentacles. A good example of the visualization technique is after the petition to St. Peter, I focused on the Chariot while visualizing the necessary ambition needed to start new ventures in my life and to get on the productive pathway to making changes. I then shifted my focus towards the Fool card and visualized the numerous possibilities that might manifest and that, if/when successful, I’d then have the required energy to start the journey. Lastly, I moved on to the 2 of Pentacles; “Harmonious Change”, and visualized a few different sets of outcomes that would be favorable to my situation, mostly including the necessary changes to both myself and my path that would now be accessible to healthy transformations.
While I did all of this, I felt comfortable enough with Saint Peter, having worked with him as a Patron, to vocalize my desires and narrate my thoughts during the process. I think it helps to “talk out” your concerns, especially when you are approaching an entity with a petition to change your life. Be comfortable enough to work these things out during the ritual or else your heart’s intention may be clouded and unclear, un-focusing your goal. This all comes with the proper preparation to any ritual, y’all should know this stuff already.
It is primarily important to understand here how the Tarot is acting as a vehicle for a symbolic translation of your desires, transmitted via the ritual to the entity. Rather than the usual usage of the Tarot for divination and choosing cards at random, you are choosing your own and focusing your own intentions through their imagery to condense the symbolism of your goals in mind. I prefer this use of tarot because of their widely accessible application of symbolism towards any situation you could think of. Provided you get down to some straight forward study on the chosen cards and have a clear idea of how they relate to your goal, this visualization process should be fairly easy. If it proves to be troublesome in any way, this probably means you need to reassess your intention and consider this as a much more potent operation than merely using them as a divinatory tool.
After all this, I had a slip of paper that summarized my goal, I read this out loud, and then burned it to ash in the fire of the candles. I then formed a triangle with my hands over the talisman, and while mentally approaching St. Peter, I vibrated the Tetragrammaton several times and lastly devoted my entire ritual to the One, the Most High God, done in His Name and for His glory alone. I thanked the Lord and St. Peter for attending my ceremony and closed in the name of the Trinity.
This last part is optional and can be adapted to your own tastes, or done away with completely, focusing the rite towards the deity of your choice. When done in a group, this rite has potential for some interesting additions and lends itself well to a variety of work no matter to what tradition you belong. Since I am cursed with the reliability on a Golden Dawn magical format, I would probably eventually follow this rite with a further consecration ritual, most likely the GD 0=0 Neophyte format, found within the pages of Nick Farrell’s “Making Talismans” or the material of Pat Zalewski or the Ciceros.
I hope those reading will find this rite easy to use and applicable to whatever pantheon or system you’re working with, and I also hope that it reinvigorates your use of the Tarot as it has done mine in my own magic ritual. Blessings.