From the archives: The magical Tarot through verse.

The Tarot is an excellent tool for understanding our psyche, personality and patterns which determine our inseparable past, present and future.

Poetry by Adam Donaldson Powell.

The Fool.

The cautioning crunch of air compressed between
boot and dust-ladened pebbles goes unheard as
Aleph the Fool steps naively onto the pavement.
Overhead, the spirit of ether condenses into
illusory nimbus formations which shield his
half-opened eyes from the apparition of Zelotziel.
He is neither a true believer nor cynic, but rather
an empty vessel longing to be replenished with
seductive impressions of colorful indiscretion.
I recognize in his fixed smile the arhythmic
and pained beating of my own lonely heart: a
reminder that nothing risked is nothing gained.
Sadly, the quest of the Fool lacks awareness
that Truth’s magical portrait will be unveiled
only after the snarled process is complete …
and that the Tarot’s mysterious paintbrushes
are inherently dualistic.

The Magus.

Seemingly employing nothing more than
air, water, fire and earth, the
Magician adeptly balances yin with yang
in swirling spheres of Mercurial energy.
His power to renew lay not in the
uncovering of mysteries, but in the
tempering of reason with understanding.
Truly, the angel Raphael appeals to all
who are enchanted by magic or change:
‘dare to strive … dare to succeed.’

The High Priestess.

The Priestess of the Silver Star
meditates upon the horn-shaped moon
with open eyes, and attunes her heart
to Gabriel’s mystical song of knowledge.
Her spiritual earnestness joyously
melts the shackles restraining the
collective unconsciousness’ reserves of
reflection, which then drizzle from
the starry sky like zillions of
particles of mirrored-confetti.
This magnificent cloudburst of astral
light illuminates an auric crown of
beauty about the mistress of the tides,
and intuition yields understanding.

The Empress.

Internal rumblings emanating from the
womb’s darkness signal the workings
of the archetypal Great Mother.
Her deep-rooted secrets define the
wonders of fertility and multiplication,
which culminate in fulfillment of
creative instinct and maternity.
Many are her names: Gaia, Rhea,
Juno, Isis and Pasiphae.
Truly, the powers of the daughter
of the mighty ones go unchallenged
in the world of science and men,
and will forever remain a symbol
for the art of unselfish loving.

The Emperor.

As the weary morning sun climbs the
rugged, red-gold horizon of Mars,
the Chief of the Mighty Ones
peppers ambitious sand drifts with
wisdom of soverignty and beauty.
A sudden flash of desert lightning,
illuminating the severe image of the
ancient ram-god Horus, is fate’s
reminder that growth and stability
are provided on the condition of
loyalty to the authority which binds.

The Hierophant.

The gentle, warm winds of Vau
whistle softly through cypress-
forested valleys obscuring the
Sixteenth Path of the seeker.
Obscurity caused by earthly illusion
is penetrated by rays of pure light
issuing forth from the merciful staff
of the prudent Shepherd of Souls.
To those thirsty enough to hear,
his unspoken counsel to preserve and
endure is imbibed solely from the
ever-filled cup of continuance.
Right action is to be taken at
the appropriate moment, and the
grace of the present holds the
treasures of the future.

The Lovers.

While the allure of the secret garden
lay in the promise of Paradise regained,
the strange fruits hanging from its
lowest boughs yield but bittersweet
marriage of affection and need.
Knowing that no entity is complete unto
itself, the Children of the Voice Divine
adjust their own shortcomings and
graces after the responses of those
they interact with.
Together, their diverse personalities
conspire to reach the more distant but
sweeter fruits of harmony, and in that
unity find divine love and realization
in an otherwise imperfect world.

The Chariot.

The Angel of Cancer protects industry
and advancement from the powers of Evil
by tempering severity with understanding.
At his disposal are thirteen vigilant
full moons, and a fanatical charioteer
called the Lord of the Triumph of Light.
Initiated souls distract not this driven
chauffeur with small talk, for he too is
a passenger of the enigmatic sphinxes.
Nay, no one rests easy on this whirlwind
carousel; guaranteed arrival is little
consolation for the bewildered in transit.


Over the heads of the righteous
hovers the pendulous blade of
the Daughter of the Flaming Sword,
magically balancing beauty and
soverignty with severe Truth.
Those blinded by self-confidence
mercilessly plummet into temptation’s
shameful abyss, whereupon adjustment
is sentenced and administered by
the impartial Lords of Karma.

The Hermit.

Many a fool and solitary hero
would dismiss the rantings of
the hermit, who acclaims the
virtues of discretion and reserve.
But even angels fear to sleep amid
the entourage of a leader who has
lost his way, and where all is not
necessarily as one would suppose.


No amount of glitter and glamour
or sleight of hand on the part of
the Lord of the Forces of Life
can outshine the passionate will
to succeed in the true believer.
Zealous onlookers egg our player
of the Wheel of Fortune on to higher
stakes, where both celebrity and
Russian roulette await those who
would test the flow of destiny.

Lust for Life.

Those who lust for life
recognize that challenges
are a means to victory,
and that linkage with
one’s archetype gives
persistence needed to
attain self-realization:
that most beautiful
jewel of them all.

The Hanged Man.

For those who would save
the world for personal
gain, the hanged man’s noose
is but a romantic vice.
But he who sublimates
himself to the Divine Plan
recycles the elements to the
accompaniment of Spirit.


Forbidding visions of moon-parched
skulls with infra-red light glowing
from vulture-ravaged eye-sockets warn
the curious and the soul-dead against
that which does not concern them,
for admittance to the ever sacred
Fields of Transmutation and Catharsis
is by invitation only.
The well-oiled hinges on the gates of
Death never creak over human tragedy,
but rather rejoice at the prospect
of purification and recirculation of
mass and decomposing archetypes into
new forms of energy.
Tending this soil, so richly imbued
with essence of fertility, is an
age-less, cloaked gardener who works
in silence and darkness; and who,
from time to time, shakes his head
in bewilderment over the futility
and masochistic madness of those who
would resist transformation.


Sun-dipped arrows propelled from the archer’s bow
rain upon clouds of illusion with great moderation,
thus revealing a splendiferous prism of multi-colored
light gracefully emerging on the horizon.
Sadly, the wisdom of action and consequence symbolized
by this beautiful phenomenon escapes both dreamer
and planner – who, for all their brain-activity,
cannot see the forest for the trees.

The Devil

The dark one
Lurks not in
The shadows,
And not amongst
Your friends
Or enemies.
Beware, for
His evil lies
Within you,
And eagerly
Awaits release
By descendents
Of Pandora.
Beware of
The road to
Inertia and ruin,
So carelessly
Littered with
Temptation and
The self-centered
And worshippers
Of false splendor
Can expect
Little more than
Yes. Beware
Of darkness ..
And beware
Of mirrors …
But most of all
Of the devil
That you are.

The Blasted Tower.

We’re all match-stick architects,
forever building precarious
structures to contain and conceal
our inhibitions and fears.
With disaster a constant risk,
it’s little wonder we’re
paranoid and fearful of the
flaming element of surprise.
But don’t bother looking
often over your shoulder
or crossing your fingers.
And you may as well trade in
the garlic and crucifixes for
worry beads because, in
reality, each of us is
but a walking time-bomb.
By the way …
do you smell something
burning upstairs?

The Star.

From the still-warm ashes
rises the phoenix toward
the star of Tzaddi, and
in the calm that follows
that clamor of mighty wings
beating life into the ruined,
the soul and mind of Man is
rejuvenated by hope and faith.

The Moon.

Under the aspect of Pisces
the Goddess of the Moon
sheathes human perception
with delusory grandeur.
She appeals to dreamers
and masters of imagery,
who would readily intuit
without really seeing.
Her impressions serve as
guidance and her promises
are many, but he who mistakes
vision for truth courts folly.

The Sun.

the Angel of Healing and
Lord of the Fire of the World,
soothes broken Spirit with rays
of divine light beamed from
the eternal flames of the sun
to the heart-centers of the
Children of Paradise.
This infusion of divine luster
and peace radiates inner joy
with auric resplendency,
creating foundation for
contentment and success.

The Aeon.

The observers of the passage of time
and guardians of future challenges
seek out and further those initiates
of the Way who would use learning from
past mistakes to promote evolutionary
development by blending logic with
understanding of human nature.
There, in the wake of spiritual rebirth,
the now-experienced Fool attunes himself
to the eternal vibrations of the Source,
where he dances to the ageless tonalities of
the New Order, and exercises good judgment
in following the well-choreographed movement
prescribed by the masters of the Zodiac.

The Universe.

As True Will eclipses with the
night of Time our ritual approaches
the completion of a spiritual cycle,
where self-discipline and habit
have yielded autonomy and fertility.
Enslaved by our new-found freedom,
we willingly endure the momentary
darkness and await deliverance from
our perfect womb to unknown challenges …
in our next expression as the Fool

Suit of Wands.

From the gaseous, primal roots of
the flaming triangle is invoked
energy of the Divine, that life-force
giving rise to creativity and birth.
He who meditates upon this sacred
source of strength and virility finds
hasty solution to all inquiries.
But the restless heart that lacks
in concentration or enterprise
fails to unravel the tightly-wound
ball of thread veiling the lower
mysteries, and its fervent endeavors
are rather rewarded with barren
pursuits and endless false beginnings.

Suit of Cups.

In the blackness of Venusian
subconscious and magic dangles
a luminescent crescent moon,
kinetically poised in between
undefined poles of space and time.
Hypnosis lures the lover toward
lunar tides of joy and beauty,
where on a sunken peak of rock
and moss awaits the Lady of Waters
extending a silver chalice.
To him who would willingly fill
the sea-grail with his blood flows
the wine of splendor, and to the
nonbeliever the empty cup reveals
turbulence reflected in his soul.

Suit of Swords.

Don’t be fooled by appearances.
He who stands before you in
readiness with poised sword,
will strike if challenged.
By the severity of Saturn
and strength of Mercury,
he furthers advancement by
wielding victory over strife.
Don’t be fooled by appearances.
He is concerned neither with
emotion or reason, but the sport
of conquest through discipline.
Fear rather his mind and use of
the powers of air than his sword;
it is his mastery of these weapons
which will determine the outcome.

Suit of Disks.

Ruling over the world of
physical manifestations
and material power is
Jupiter, Giver of Fortune
and Father of the Sky.
The wise journeyman reaps
the harvest of his toils
in accordance with his
understanding of the laws
of nature and action.
Those less inclined to heed
celestial warnings gamble
with the elements and risk
loss to the disastrous
consequences of impatience.

Copyright Adam Donaldson Powell, from “Collected poems and stories”, 2005.

collected book cover

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