This Tarot deck and book set, created by Casey DuHamel and illustrated by Deborah L. Shutek-Jackson, celebrates the lost Goddess of Christianity. The Magdalene Legacy Tarot: Lost Keys of the Madonna illustrates the Grail Mysteries as they have been represented throughout time via history, art, philosophy, and legend. The Magdalene Legacy Tarot is a 78 card Tarot deck that draws from the well of esoteric and hermetic traditions of ancient Judeo/Christian mysticism. It is one of the few modern Tarot decks available today that does not rely on the typical Golden Dawn/RWS system of correspondences, rather the deck is based on a continental hermetic system which predates the English occult fraternities by half a millenium. This ancient application sheds what today would be percieved as new light on the esoteric meaning of the cards. Most importantly, this deck celebrates the restoration of the Sacred Feminine long denied by Christian theocracy. Many find themselves alienated by their stringent Judeo-Christian faith and discover solace and balance in the spirituality and duality of Earth/Shamanic religions. The Magdalene Legacy Tarot endeavors to illustrate spiritual balance through the Grail mysteries of Mariamne e Magdala. She is Mary Magdalene: queen, beloved wife and mother, courageous partner, an integral emissary bringing the message of a revolutionary spiritual dynamic to her people, matriarch of a dynasty, and inspiration for timeless legends.
This deck consists of a 22 Major Arcana, 16 Court cards and 40 suit pips.
The Major Arcana employs the Gra version of the Sefer Yetzirah in its assignment of Cabalistic correspondences as well as its Numerology and Astrology, also utilizing the philosophies of Martinists/Rosicrucians Papus, Oswald Wirth, and Eliphas Levi. The deck pays homage to the first lady of Tarot, Pamela Coleman Smith by emulating the wonderful simplicity, yet psychic familiarity of her beautiful and capable artwork. The creators of this deck also grant an emphatic nod to Arthur Edward Waite as the creator of the most popular and usable Tarot deck of all time and recognizes his departure from the The Golden Dawn fraternity and entry into Freemasonry as pivotal in his occult career.
The images explicitly depict Gnostic Christianity as subtly illustrated by the early Italian and particularly French decks, however classic Waite is also employed for its meaningful card structure.
The Court cards are represented in the classic tradition: King, Queen, Knight, and Knave.
However, the Court of The Magdalene Legacy Tarot is uniquely multi-layered.
Firstly, the Court “families” in this deck are depicted as legendary royal Grail families – the mythological (or not) living legacy of the Sacred Union as it historically spans time, originating from the four “hotbeds” of Grail lore: France, Italy, Scotland, and England. These families are among a group known today as the Rex Deus and the Desposyni. The “bloodline” premise was first made popular in the mainstream by the theories presented in the best selling books Holy Blood, Holy Grail by Baigent, Lincoln and Leigh (1982), The Woman with the Alabaster Jar by Margaret Starbird (1993) and Bloodline of the Holy Grail by Laurence Gardner (1998). These clandestine concepts recently burst into pop-culture with the tremendous success of the book and movie The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown.
Secondly, each of three Court suits represents one of the three pivotal figures of the epic. The fourth suit represents the medium which unites all three figures. Each court card contains that figure’s religious correspondence and their “Magdalene” icon as consistently illustrated in classic Mary Magdalene artwork. There are four of these “Magdalene” icons: a skull, a cross/crucifix, an alabaster jar, and an open book.
Cups (element Water):
A) French Merovingian Family of Clovis the 1st, ca. 500 AD (direct descendants of Sacred Union, first of his pagan French dynasty to convert to Christianity)
1) Pivotal Figure: Mary Magdalene (Jewish royalty/tribe of Benjamin, sailed on water to ancient shores of southern France to escape persecution and save unborn child, embodiment of the Gnostic Christian Sacred Feminine, wife of Jesus)
a) Religious Correspondence: Chalice, Grail Cup, Sacred Vessel
b) Magdalene Icon: Alabaster jar of spikenard, device most associated with the Magdalene
Disks (element Earth):
A) Italian Medici Family of Lorenzo de Medici, ca. 1500 (industrious Renaissance dynasty with familial papal links)
1) Pivotal Figure: Jesus (King of the House of David, God made manifest on Earth in the Christian tradition espoused by the Nicaean Council of 325 A.D., spiritual Christed genius, husband/consort of Mary Magdalene)
a) Religious Correspondence: Disk/communion wafer emblazoned with the Chi Rho
b) Magdalene Icon: Cross/crucifix – constant theme in Magdalene art
Staffs (element Fire):
A) Scottish Sinclair Family of William, 1st Earl of Caithness, ca. 1450 (Templars, builders of Rosslyn Chapel)
1) Pivotal Figure: John the Baptist (fiery evangelist, co-messiah, possibly first husband of Mary Magdalene, venerated by the Templar Knights, beheaded by Herod, cousin of Jesus)
a) Religious Correspondence: Long stemmed cross as walking staff representative of John the Baptist
b) Magdalene Icon: Skull – constant theme in Magdalene art, representative of the Baptist’s beheading, possible clue to first marriage between Baptist and Magdalene
Quills (element Air):
A) English Windsor Family of Charles, Prince of Wales, ca. 1995 (present day English monarchy) Close lingual relationship between “Wind-soar” and element Air
1) Unifying medium: Gnostic gospels (recently discovered omitted scripture which details a very different chronology of the life and circumstances surrounding John the Baptist, Mary Magdalene and Jesus, his family and his teaching)
a) Religious Correspondence: Quill pen or stylus symbolizing the writing implement used to inscribe ancient Gnostic text
b) Magdalene Icon: Open book – constant theme in Magdalene art possibly representing her own gospel and involvement in the creation of Gnostic scripture
The Pip Cards
The suit pips are cards (2 through 10) consisting of "semi-illustrated" yet fascinating corresponding geometric designs; the aces are more elaborate and symbolic. This system conforms to the French Tarot tradition as fully illustrated numbered suit cards did not come into being (with rare exception) until the age of the Victorian English hermeticists (specifically Freemason Arthur E. Waite). The “unillustrated” system therefore “forces” the reader to reach into his/her own astro-alphanumeric psyche. We draw heavily from the philosophic well of the little known French occultist Eudes Picard in the creation of our pip cards.
Stylized single word meanings (upright and reversed) are present on the pips as an added divination aid. Some single word meanings on the cards may differ from what is presented on the scans in the book. These single word meanings were developed from a comparison of continental and Victorian (RWS) divinatory meanings. Some were identical, some were similar, and some were the exact opposite. We felt it important all meanings should be presented so the reader can intuitively attune him or herself to the meaning that is relevant. There is no reason why two intuitive systems can't be intertwined especially when one system gave birth to the other. Besides, those single word meanings were worked in a way to lead to a numerological puzzle within the pips and whoever figures it out and cracks the code wins the 500th deck, the last deck in the limited edition, with a special certificate and a lovely set of silver scallop shell rosary beads bought by Casey DuHamel during her visit to Rennes-le-Chateau!
The suit order does not follow the traditional hermetic ordering of Wands, Cups, Swords and Pentacles. The suit names are as follows in this order: Cups, Disks, Staffs, And Quills. This is the order found in many European/continental Tarots, but the sequence was originally assigned to the MLT for very specific reasons.
Cups (Cups): represents The Holy Grail, Mary Magdalene
Disks (Pentacles): represents Jesus
Staffs (Wands): represents John the Baptist
Quills (Swords): represents the Gnostic scripture and secret gospels that unite the above three
Quills as Swords are a natural as Swords’ element is Air. On the etheric plane, Swords represents higher intellect. This is properly symbolized by a Quill pen. On the mundane plane, Swords can represent problems, misuse of power. An old saying states “The pen is mightier than the sword.” This holds true both positively and negatively as a pen can be far more damaging, yet infinitely more aspiring.