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August 01, 2007

Baphomet, etc.


My ongoing investigations into places nobody can hear you scream lead me back to the Giger Tarot, more properly the Baphomet Tarot, the product of an off-the-wall Swiss occultist, Akron and H.R. Giger. Flea-readers may be unsurprised to learn I own a copy; mine was purchased at a hobby store in wind-swept, storm-tossed and becastled Lancaster in the darkest north of England. I am a collector of these things so could hardly turn it down but given the deck consists of repackaged Giger paintings and is limited to the Major Arcana its utility as a working tarot deck is strictly limited.


I found an interview with the delightfully creepy Mr. Giger on the subject of tarot and this lead to something yet more interesting; an awesome take-down of pomo anti-occultism.* Having come to a post-Hermetic phase in my thinking, I am nonetheless committed to the idea one needs to study something properly before attempting to improvise on one's own. Picasso, after all, could paint like a Master when the mood struck him. It seems the braintrust behind the Baphomet Tarot is yet another of today's tarot establishment arguing for feeling over proper study: All Jung (without having read, let alone understood, Jung) and against Crowley (without having read, let alone understood, Crowley).

Akron's desire to disenfranchise Crowley from his work is nothing new of course. As I've outlined before in several pieces the work of numerous pomos (Nicholls, Arrien, Greer, for example) has been focused upon minimizing the importance of occultists and claiming a superficial respect for the Tarot artist as archetypal eruptor. In this view, the occultist can never do anything more than burden naturally free images with a ponderous personal crust of obscurantism, intentionally indecipherable to most readers. The pomo, egalitarian as always, reacts against this elitist complication, by demanding that the occultist has no legitimate authority to tell others what the images mean, even if he has designed them with specific meanings in mind. Of course, the pomo habitually follows up this declaration of independence by peddling his or her own dumbed-down interpretations of what it all means to the very people who are supposed to be naturally gifted enough to figure that out for themselves.

Quite right. It is amazing how people who talk up a relativist line manage to conclude with lock-step, unvarying and utterly inflexible platitudes as their bedrock. I hear the words "healing" or "consensus" and I reach for my gun. Though in fairness Mary Greer is very nice.

* Sometimes called "newage"... to rhyme with sewage.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at August 1, 2007 09:33 AM


Isn't that the standard M.O. of deconstruction for anything? The creator's too close to his/her work to understand what it really means, so let some jackass who's a few generations removed obfuscate it all for you, in the most boring way imaginable.

Posted by: Chris Taylor [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 1, 2007 10:01 AM

Absolutely. We find the same problem in readings of treaties (thinking of the Geneva Conventions) to mean exactly the opposite of what they were written to do, various "Christologies" which totally disregard Christ's teachings and, of course, the much abused Constitution of the United States; though I think self-proclaimed Originalists are often guilty of the same bad behaviour they castigate.

So much for science. So much for scholarship. So much for words which have meaning.

Posted by: Ghost of a flea [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 1, 2007 10:11 AM

"Though in fairness Mary Greer is very nice."

In fairness, she really isn't.


She and Arrien, and others, conspired to do quite a job of distorting the history and meaning of occult Tarot. There was nothing fair about it.

Posted by: Tarotica [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 2, 2007 09:15 AM