THE WILLIAM BLAKE TAROT
of the CREATIVE IMAGINATION

 

Table of Contents:

***ED BURYN HOME***

Cover Page
Frontispiece [Suits Key-Phrases]
1 — TAROT AND BLAKE
2 — BLAKE'S SYSTEM
3 — THE BLAKE TRIUMPHS
4 — THE SUIT OF PAINTING
5 — THE SUIT OF SCIENCE
6 — THE SUIT OF MUSIC
7 — THE SUIT OF POETRY
8 — READING THE CARDS
9 — SPREADS
APPENDIXES

Apendixes

1–Reference Books
2–How the Deck was Created
3–Old Symbols for New Age
4–Artwork Notes
. . . . Triumphs
. . . . Painting
. . . . Science
. . . . Music
. . . . Poetry

APPENDIXES 1

Recommended Reference Books

Here is a short list of recommended reference books. All are available in inexpensive paperback editions (except *), and are in print or at least readily available. There are many other fine titles worth reading, which you will discover once you open the doors to these areas. In particular, there are dozens of excellent critical studies of Blake, but most are out of print, difficult to find, and /or expensive. Used bookstores are often the best source of these titles.

TAROT:

Tarot for Your Self: A Workbook for Personal Transformation, by Mary K. Greer. Newcastle, 1984. Arguably the best instruction book available on Tarot, formatted as a self-teaching manual.

Tarot Constellations: Patterns of Personal Destiny, by Mary K. Greer. Newcastle, 1987. Deals with the numerology of Tarot, plus a treatise on the Person Cards.

Tarot Mirrors: Reflections of Personal Meaning, by Mary K. Greer. Newcastle, 1988. Deeper reflections on Tarot as mirroring the soul.

The Tarot: History, Mystery, and Lore, by Cynthia Giles. Simon & Schuster, 1994. A critical interpretation of the history and philosophy of Tarot.

Tools And Rites Of Transformation (T.A.R.O.T.) Newsletter: Ed Buryn, Editor, PO Box 720, Nevada City, CA 95959. (The above listed books are available by mail-order here.)

BLAKE:

A Blake Dictionary: The Ideas and Symbols of William Blake, by S. Foster Damon. University Press of New England, 1988. If you were limited to one book about Blake, this is probably the most useful although not the most readable.

Fearful Symmetry: A Study of William Blake, by Northrup Frye. Princeton University Press, 1947. The rousing interpretive standard by which all Blake criticism is measured.

Golgonooza, City of Imagination: Last Studies in William Blake, by Kathleen Raine. Lindisfarne Press, 1991. Illuminating essays that cover a wide range of Blake’s ideas.

William Blake’s Theory of Art, by Morris Eaves. Princeton University Press, 1982. Insightful and inspiring treatment of Blake as an artist.

*The Princeton University Press series of William Blake’s Illuminated Books:

Jerusalem (1991)
Songs of Innocence and Experience (1993)
Milton, A Poem (1994)
The Early Illuminated Books (1994)
The Lambeth Prophecies (1994)

Although unavailable in paperback and somewhat expensive, this beautifully produced series is the best way to put Blake’s art in your personal library.

CREATIVITY:

Design Yourself! by Kurt Hanks, Larry Belliston, Dave Edwards. Wm Kaufmann, 1978. A "how-to" guidebook about finding ideas, solving problems, and using drawing as a tool for creativity and thinking. Profusely illustrated.

Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art by Stephen Nachmanovitch. Tarcher, 1990. Highly readable and inspiring study of the wellsprings of creativity, including many Blakean references and illustrations.

Symbols, Signs, and Signets by Ernst Lehner. Dover, 1950: A pictorial catalog of various types of symbols, which may give you some ideas for the Symbol Windows.

A Whack on the Side of the Head: How You Can Be More Creative, by Roger von Oech. Warner, 1990. A light-hearted and profound book about jump-starting your imagination for any reason whatsoever.

Re-Visioning Psychology, by James Hillman. Harper, 1992. A fascinating study that looks into the reality of the human soul and how it functions. This is a book of highly practical metaphysics.

Judge then of thy own self; thy eternal lineaments explore.
What is eternal & what changeable & what annihilable?
The imagination is not a state: it is the human existence itself.


APPENDIXES 2

How the Deck was Created

All the cards in the William Blake Tarot are original works consisting of lettered and painted collages of photocopies of reproductions of William Blake's art. Five years in process, the deck is a home-made graphic invention built from parts created two centuries ago.

The original works are approximately twice the dimension of the printed cards, painted with combination of watercolors, acrylics and art pencils. The colors of the individual cards are based upon and acurately represent Blake's own renditions of his works. However, approximately a fifth of the cards use previously uncolored works and in these cases my coloring seeks to emulate Blake's.

Users of the deck who would like more specific information about all the cards should look at my booklet entitled Artwork Notes for the Blake Tarot, provided here as Appendix 4. This identifies all the works and quotations used, an provides exact details of their modification.


APPENDIXES 3

Old Symbols for the New Age
by Ed Buryn

A paper presented at the First International Tarot Conference in Melbourne Australia, July 12, 1997

The idea of a New Age is, of course, not new. Many periods long gone were contemporaneously defined as such. Today's oncoming New Age, however, is more promising than most. It’s not just the onset of the millennium, for many critical indicators signal that our New Age is really unprecedented, warranted by everything from the end of the Mayan calendar and Harmonic Convergence to the prediction of revolutionary breakthroughs like nanotechnology, biogenetic technology, hydrogen fuel cells, quantum computing, and real-time translators.

For a more mundane example, how about just plain old data overload? With the exponential growth of information of every sort, as propelled by business, government, media, publishing, computers, and the internet, for the first time we will soon be deluged with more data than we can possibly process. When we reach this point, societally or personally, with too much to think about, we face a real danger of becoming anesthetized, paralyzed, or psychotic — especially because so much of the ever burgeoning data is also wildly contradictory.

However, as we near the limits of our rational abilities this may well stimulate a major awakening of our inner or intuitive abilities. In both the near and distant future we are likely to explore and greatly expand our imaginative minds and spiritual perceptions, which have enormous untapped power to reshape our personal and global realities. Albert Einstein said that "No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it." Obviously we need to develop magical consciousness to deal with the realization that scientific progress and material prosperity by themselves are not enough. We must become aware of other dimensions of life if we are to survive, let alone prosper. Buckminster Fuller said that "the more we master the physical universe the more prepared we are to transform to higher consciousness." Now is apparently the time. Those of us living in this amazing historical niche at the end of the 20th century, in what is being called a period of "extreme novelty," are about to experience the most profound New Age so far — the third millennium, the third wave, the third degree, the third rail, the Third Man, the three-ring circus, the three-star show, where we may well meet the three Fates, the three Graces, and The Trinity itself.

I agree with Terrence McKenna who said that "the future of communication is the future of the evolution of the human soul." In what promises to be a new psychic frontier working more intensively with symbols and dreams, these explorations in communication are unlikely to be mastered by teams of scientists and engineers equipped with colossal computers, or by corporations and governments unleashing unlimited funds. Many future breakthroughs will be advanced and experienced by unique independent persons possessing only an open mind and the courage to evolve. Individual consciousness will be the key to making "an evolutionary transition to a higher level of culture," which I think will be about the recovery of Soul.

From this point of view, it seems destined that Tarot, a multi-faceted metaphysical wisdom system that develops both intuition and imagination, will become ever more prominent. Inevitably, the future will emphasize the increased use and understanding of its archetypal and subliminal symbology as a powerful adjunct to the old establishmentarian approaches to reality-comprehension. Already, the so-called "new physics" suggests the possibility that such things as psychic powers may have an underlying physical basis, the understanding of which may profoundly change our view of the universe and ourselves.

In turning to the symbols and archetypes of the Tarot, we go back to old symbols from the Medieval and Renaissance periods onto which were grafted Romantic and Victorian interpretations. Many symbols have lost their original meanings or are less clear than they once were. For example, we note that most decks today employ symbols with outdated referents such as the court-card figures (kings and queens, et cetera), suit-glyphs such as swords and pentacles, and points of view based on ideas of secrecy and occultist methodologies. Because the new millennium will call everyone to seek new levels of intuitive and imaginative insight, it may well be time to revise our Tarot symbology and reconstruct some of our underlying assumptions about the tools of Tarot that will be used in our brave new world.

One of the reasons I designed the William Blake Tarot of the Creative Imagination was to introduce a new yet classically proven symbology based on universal truths that are eminently suitable for psychological and spiritual awareness. William Blake's art and ideas represent a tested vision of life that is eternal and yet fresh. Especially today, with our neo-Romantic renewal of interest in artistic, emotional, visionary, and transcendental views of reality, Blake's works blaze forth with extraordinary depth and ability to inspire. After all, Tarot cards are just colored pieces of paper; what makes them "work" is what Blake called "the Divine Arts of Imagination," which he also called "the Eternal Body of Man" that "manifests in his Works of Art."

The earliest Tarot cards, which date from the mid-15th century, were apparently used primarily for gaming. It was not until 1781, when Blake was 24 years old, that the Frenchman Antoine Court de Gebelin asserted that the cards were receptacles of the ancient Egyptian mysteries. This started what is sometimes called the 1st Tarot Revolution, because it turned Tarot from what had been a parlor game towards becoming, first, a divination fad, then a magical method, and finally a metaphysical system. Blake was apparently unaware of this occult revolution, which took place at the same time as the American Revolution, the French Revolution, and the Industrial Revolution). His uninvolvement in Tarot can be deduced from the fact that most of Blake's influences are traceable in his works, in references to books he was reading, and people that he met.

His Tarot ignorance is hardly surprising, for Tarot was unknown in England at the time, and there was no tradition, as in Italy, of the game of Tarocchi being played. Moreover, England and France were at war and there was little exchange of ideas. For another thing, the new magical view of Tarot was in its infancy, with scarcely any audience outside France. The few books written about Tarot were unavailable and untranslated until the late 19th century. The prevailing intellectual climate of the time supported a belief in a rational god and a clockwork universe, as propounded by Newton, Bacon, Locke, and other thinkers of the Age of Reason, and so there was little interest or room for the concepts of Tarot. Finally, England had long forbidden the importation of all foreign playing cards to protect the home printing industry. There were no Tarot decks produced in Great Britain, nor could any be imported. In fact, the Rider-Waite deck, the first Tarot in English, was not published until 1910.

Nevertheless, Blake mystically required a deep and comprehensive view of life, and thus began to develop his own spiritual system in accordance with his famous dictum: "I must create a system or be enslav'd by another man's." In effect, Blake deliberately set out to invent his own version of Tarot, or rather, what Tarot was eventually to become: a profound metaphysical tool for personal and spiritual development. In his many works of poetry and painting, Blake gradually defined a complex personal mythology in which godlike characters he called Zoas symbolize the divine aspects of the human psyche or soul. In the William Blake Tarot these archetypal figures and their mythic roles are depicted in what I call the Tarot Triumphs, which exactly correspond to the traditional Major Arcana, although many are renamed to reflect Blake's view of the Tarot concepts. As far as the workings of the psychical forces, especially in their forms of art activity, Blake defined these as being fourfold; and therefore in the William Blake Tarot these functions are represented in what I call the four Creative Process Suits, which exactly correspond to the traditional Minor Arcana.

By renaming the so-called Tarot Major and Minor Arcana as Triumphs and Creative Processes, I have intentionally discarded the idea of Tarot "secrets," for this is a reflection of a century-old, Victorian mind set opposed to the ideas of openness and spiritual equality. In fact, the term "arcana" (or secrets) was not applied to the Tarot until the mid-19th century (by the occultist author Paul Christian), and as another example, the traditional suit of Denier or Coins was not pictured as Pentacles (or "talismans") until even later. Focusing on nomenclature may seem trivial, but, in fact, reflects a serious view that the tools of soul transformation and the deepest powers of mind should not be reserved to an elite group of magicians for ritualistic purposes.

Only an open, overt, accessible, cooperative model of thinking and acting can induce the mass of people to strive to integrate themselves into an expanded, millennial view of the world. Openness to change and exposure to new ideas and new kinds of functioning leads to innovation and progress, to growing tolerance and appreciation of diversity and expansion of personal power. The opposite view, with its ideas of mystery and privilege, is closed and more likely to inspire fear and rigidity. The way we name and use our symbols is of great importance.

In the Blake Tarot, the four Creative Process Suits are named after Blake's four "arts in Eternity" — Painting instead of Pentacles, Science instead of Swords, Music instead of Cups, and Poetry instead of Wands. These evocative and action-oriented suit-names stimulate awareness of our godlike powers of creativity and healing through art. The prevailing suit names are less appropriate for open-ended interpretation. Pentacles represent talismans of protection around material concerns, whereas Painting focuses on the artistic depiction of the world and its people; Swords tend to suggest conflict and pain whereas Science suggests mental exploration and the search for understanding; Cups are enclosures or containers for our emotions whereas Music suggests the open expression of our passions; Wands are power objects whereas Poetry expresses eternal truths. In like manner, the Tarot Triumphs, which have historic overtones of the triumphal parades of the Italian Renaissance, suggest the magnificent stages of life through which our souls must pass, and the ways we can personally triumph in our lives. Personally, I find this more appealing and more pertinent than the clandestine mumbo-jumbo suggested by names that mean the Big and Little Secrets!

Another innovation unique to the Blake Tarot is the inclusion of an additional (or 79th) card with the dual numeration of 00 (double-naught) and (infinity-sign or lemniscate). Based on Blake's central idea of Eternity as the soul's true home, it represents a point of departure and return, a goal and a reminder of our spiritual reality and destiny. In one sense, all the other cards in the Tarot pack can be derived from, and grounded in, this new card.

Next, and equally important, is Blake's assignment of the elements to the four arts, which became my four suits. These are vital keys to understanding Blake's spiritual view of life, and for using Tarot as a spiritual system. Blake's use of the elemental correspondences is extremely precise and intentional. Although seemingly idiosyncratic, his use of the elements is, in fact, based on a definite spiritual understanding of how the universe works.

• Elemental Water is associated by Blake with the world of Matter because material things are mostly made of water or depend on it; for example, both the human body and planetary body are approximate 71% water. Water is the first element mentioned in the Bible. Blake asserts that matter (and everyday reality) is an illusion of the senses; although seemingly solid and permanent, our bodies and all material things are as fluid and protean in nature as water, when viewed from an eternal perspective. Painting is designated the art (and suit) of depicting the ordinary and practical matters of humanity. Blake specifically symbolizes the human body by clouds because although seemingly of substance, it only too soon evaporates and disappears when viewed from Eternity. Clouds and running water are used as symbols of element Water in the borders of the cards of the suit of Painting, which correspond to Pentacles.

• Elemental Air is associated with Mind, the intellect that, although insubstantial, is yet capable of roaming the entire universe; therefore Science is designated the art (and suit) for understanding how reason and logic seek to define and control our reality. Stars are used as symbols of universal Air in the borders of the cards of the suit of Science, which correspond to Swords.

• Elemental Fire is associated with Emotion, which to Blake is an overwhelming force neither material nor mental but one that sings to our souls; therefore Music is designated the art (and suit) for expressing how it feels to be human in all its joy and terror. In the Blake deck, emotion is described more as fiery passion than traditional watery sentiment. Flames and smoke symbolize elemental Fire in the borders of the cards of the suit of Music, which corresponds to Cups.

• Elemental Earth is seen as eternally everlasting and therefore associated with Imagination or Spirit, the prophetic voice of humanity that magically and everlastingly renews itself; therefore Poetry is designated the art (and suit) for speaking the beautiful and permanent truths that Imagination creates. Poetry thus represents the true ground of reality, which is spiritual in nature. The long-lived, ever-fruiting, and potentially intoxicating grapevine is used to symbolize magical Earth in the borders of the cards of the suit of Poetry, which corresponds to Wands.

The entire key to Blake's system, and part of its revolutionary appeal, is that elemental Earth unequivocally represents Imagination and Spirit, thus asserting the firm and solid belief that these are the only permanent forces in the universe, literally the ground of reality. The illusion of Matter becomes symbolized by Water, as mentioned before, and the emotions or passions become Fire.

One way of thinking about the assignments of the elements is that the Rider-Waite-Smith pack describes our everyday reality and its elements work well at that level, while the Blake deck looks beyond the physical plane to higher reality of spiritual substance. By the way, the Blake deck uses equivalency glyphs so that the standard elements can still be used as appropriate. In this standard scheme, as we know, Earth is associated with Matter or Pentacles, Water with Cups, and Fire with Wands. The association of Fire with Wands, in particular, can be thought of as representing our intense, fiery expansiveness and yearning for Spirit. When we shift our point of view to Blake's mystical vision, the way we see the elements is transformed by deeper insight. In particular, our yearning for Spirit, which was Fiery, now transforms mystically into Earth, representing the fruition of our yearning in the ground of reality, where only Imagination rules eternally.

There are many other new features incorporated in the William Blake Tarot of the Creative Imagination in the same spirit of combining the old and new, but I leave these to its users to discover and employ for themselves.

We can now reasonably say that after two centuries of intensive study and development by many artists and metaphysicians, Tarot is finally beginning to be recognized as a Western wisdom system comparable to those in the Oriental and Eastern traditions. Many of us here, for example, would agree that Tarot, after an extremely checkered and peripatetic history, has finally reached a high degree of practical perfection and clarity through myriad versions and changes. In fact, Tarot experienced periods of charlatanism, fortune telling, and fakery; it has a long and associated with Gypsies and the Devil. At the same time it has also enjoyed consorting with hippies, occultists, and magicians. And now it is being increasingly used as an intentional tool of higher consciousness, used by psychologists and analysts, by spiritual counselors and human-potential readers, and most importantly, by large numbers of ordinary people sincerely wanting to deepen and improve their lives.

Interestingly, William Blake’s works were widely considered to be madness, mysticism, mystery, and mediocrity, not only in his own time but long afterwards. It was not until the late 19th century that the poet William Butler Yeats began the process of deciphering Blake’s texts and restoring them to public view. Of course, this is the same Yeats who was a member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, from whence came the Rider-Waite-Smith deck and hence modern Tarot. Now, in the 20th century, after being explored intellectually by countless scholars and mystically by many artists and poets, Blake has exploded into our modern consciousness as a master spokesman of the soul's journey.

And so we see that Tarot and William Blake have been on separate but parallel paths since they both appeared at the same time. Now, in the William Blake Tarot, for the first time these two perfected systems are joined and deepened by each other’s insights and formative structures. I designed this deck as a blessed marriage between two compassionate and imaginative spiritual entities, one being the genius of Tarot and the other being the genius of Blake.

What is especially pertinent about Blake for Tarot is his stature as a master symbolist. He created more than 2000 paintings and graphics, and wrote more words than Shakespeare. Throughout the 58 years his working life from the age of 12 in 1769 to his death at the age of 69 in 1827 he was consistently focused on developing and refining his own symbolic universe. As a result, his symbols and words are never haphazardly used nor isolated from an intentionally meaningful context. Speaking of his own paintings he said, "I intreat . . . that the Spectator will attend to the Hands & Feet, to the Lineaments of the Countenances; they are all descriptive of Character, & not a line is drawn without intention, & . . . not a Grain of Sand or a Blade of Grass insignificant."

It is this quality of deeply meaningful and consistent use of symbols that makes Blake potentially the greatest Tarot artist of all time. Although the Tarot through the ages right up to the present day has attracted the skills of countless fine artists, and even some renowned artists such as Salvador Dali, none approach the stature of William Blake. Even though I have adapted and collaged Blake’s designs to suit Tarot, they form an uncanny and near perfect fit because they are all from his own parallel, harmonious, and contemporaneous system of thought. Blake was not just a great artist and poet but also a profound spiritual thinker and psychological mythologist. What we therefore have in Blake is the compleat painter, scientist, musician, poet, philosopher, and mystic — he represents the perfection of all the Tarot suits combined. He not only gives us mythic characters in a spiritual and psychological context, he illustrates them and makes them speak. The facial expressions of his figures, the exact placement of their hands and feet, for example, whether the left foot is forward or the right hand upraised, together with every gesture and sign, the clothing or lack of it, the physical interactions with each other, everything about the figures and their surroundings is always symbolic and charged with invisible yet highly accessible meaning. Only Blake has this supreme degree of intentionality that invests and informs every aspect of his images and his thought. And therefore I have renewed the old symbols of William Blake for our modern age, and I believe that he may speak even more clearly to the future in its great New Age: "Children of the future Age, Reading this indignant page; Know that in a former time, Love! sweet Love! was thought a crime."

In our growing materialistic quandary, Blake is a beacon of Imagination, showing us how to transform our personal realities. Blake was perhaps the first person to foresee and warn us about the dilemmas that would arise for a future world that dedicated itself to technological and political goals instead of pursuing artistic and spiritual vision. He tried to warn us that by embracing Industry we would sacrifice Soul. Blake believed that exercising the Imagination is the invoking of God, and there is no other god than the human Imagination. In this sense, he was a pagan, and for him the Ten Commandments symbolized spiritual tyranny. (He said, "He has observ'd the Golden Rule, Til he's become the Golden Fool.") Yet Blake loved the Bible because it was filled with Imagination, and he made Jesus one of his symbols of Imagination. Blake envisioned the human body and psyche as a metaphor for the universe, ruled by eternal powers he called Zoas, who in humanity symbolize the parts of the body and psyche. As above, so below. Blake asserted the values of mercy and forgiveness of sin, against those of obedience, judgement, and punishment. Blake believed that Energy or life force is holy, and by extension, that sex is sacred and beautiful.

Blake urged and pleaded with us to discover and use our Divine Imaginations, to awaken the latent powers of godlike creativity within ourselves, by throwing off our "mind-forg'd manacles." He knew his mission perfectly well: "I rest not from my great task! To open the eternal worlds, to open the immortal eyes Of man inwards into the worlds of thought." That is, to locate and expose the visionary promise in others and in himself. Blake teaches us to see the world symbolically so that we can discern the truth behind the seeming reality, which is this: we can reclaim our souls by recognizing that our bodies and senses are only material extensions of our vital spiritual essence. He maintained that by practicing the principles of the arts in our daily lives, we can heal and unite our divided psycho logical selves and thus break through into a vision of the exalted higher reality that he called Eternity. By way of example, despite his perennial poverty and lack of recognition, Blake was cited by his contemporaries as the happiest of men, who on his deathbed worked on his paintings, singing songs of praise and gratitude.

Here is an example of how the Blake Tarot works: I asked the cards what this audience needed to know about them, and randomly selected one card to suggest an answer. The card I drew was the Triumph Reason (which 'happens' to be the theme card illustrated on the cover of the book and the merchandising box). Numbered IV , this card depicts Urizen, Blake's mythic figure who symbolizes the reasoning Mind and corresponds to the Emperor in the traditional Tarot. Urizen kneels in his airy realm of sky, blocking the light of the Imaginative sun behind him, and reaches down out of dark clouds to assert his worldly control by wielding the calipers of his trademark compass. What does this card mean? First of all, its name literally pertains to giving us the "reason" behind the deck, which is to help us mentally understand ourselves and our world. Secondly, the card emphasizes one of Blake's primary messages, warning us that Rationality is the enemy of Imagination. Urizen's technology (which symbolizes our own fascination with technological cleverness) is powerful but devoid of spirit and heart. Blake asserted that revealing Error was the first step in casting it out; thus this card tells us that the Blake Tarot (of which this particular card is the lead or trademark image) can be a means for freeing our imaginations, in part by identifying what inhibits and threatens our imaginations: namely, the calculating, logical, scientific lord of the laboratory. Finally, I also interpret this card to mean that for Tarot to be accepted in the broader context of everyday life by millions of people, they will first need to understand in a "reasonable" way what Tarot really is, and why it works, and what it can do for us. Because we have been indoctrinated by Rationality, we require a rational reason to believe in Tarot even as a counter-rational force.

Particularly in the last few decades, Tarot has grown explosively even in the face of skepticism and widespread belief that it was only a fad, or really a fraud, or actually an outright fiend. But more and more new decks keep appearing every year, and sales keep going up despite its own publishers' disbelief. Year after year, people keep saying that the Tarot boom is about to bust, that the market is oversaturated, and yet Tarot keeps expanding in delightfully unpredictable and outrageous fashion. As a result, many of us believe that Tarot has at long last arrived. However, I don't agree. What I believe is that Tarot is only now about to arrive; that what has happened so far, amazing as it is, is just the beginning. Tarot for the 21st Century will be a mass phenomenon and a household word as a new age embraces its old symbols.

As for William Blake, the acclaimed but shadowy genius who "discover'd the infinite in every thing," a new dawning continues. His 200-year-old wisdom has been retooled for the 21st Century, and I'm letting him have the last word:

Re-engrav'd Time after Time
Ever in their youthful prime,
My design unchang'd remains.
— William Blake (1757–1827)


APPENDIXES 4

Artwork Notes

This booklet provides enthusiasts of artist/poet William Blake (1757-1827) with specific information about the creation of the William Blake Tarot as published by HarperSF and Aquarian (London) in November 1995. Herein are listed all the original works used, details of how they were combined, and descriptions of modifications made in the process.

For each card in the William Blake Tarot, the original work(s) are identified under the Image or Central Image heading; the figures in the images are noted under the Figure(s) heading; and the changes and coloring are described under the Commentary heading. In addition, for those cards containing quotes from Blake, the Quotation heading identifies their sources.

When referring to the coloring of a card, the word "derivative" means that I colored its collaged version to emulate Blake's own coloring of the work(s) cited. However, my coloring tends to be somewhat more vivid to accommodate the subsequent reduction and reproduction of the images in the deck. Nevertheless, these derivative colorings are reasonably accurate renderings of the originals, and can serve as valid representations of Blake's graphic works to observers encountering them for the first time.

"Original" coloring means that I employed my own coloring schemes whenever the Blake originals were uncolored, fulfilling the publisher's requirement that all the cards in the deck be fully colored. In these cases, my coloring schemes are attempts to harmonize with Blake's general coloring schemes.

I wish to make perfectly clear that I have deliberately retouched and/or modified ALL of Blake's works used in this deck. This was required for a number of reasons: to accommodate the images to the space allotted, to make them symbolically suitable as Tarot images, to improve their reproducibility, and, finally to avoid any complications of copyright. Even so, I have meticulously sought to maintain the integrity and intention of Blake's work at every step. In the final result, I believe that the William Blake Tarot accurately reflects the unique "look" and sense of spiritual purpose that characterizes William Blake's work.

Book Illustrations

The nine black & white line illustrations reproduced in the William Blake Tarot book that accompanies the deck are slightly retouched versions taken from For the Sexes: The Gates of Paradise (line engravings, circa 1818), a set that is a reworking of Blake's earlier set called For the Children: The Gates of Paradise (1793. The illustrations used in the William Blake Tarot book are as follows:

Frontispiece: Frontispiece Plate: "What is Man!" "The Suns Light when he unfolds it | Depends on the Organ that beholds it."
Page 7 Plate 6: "At length for hatching ripe | he breaks the shell"
Page 50 Plate 14: "The Traveller hasteth in the Evening"
Page 68 Plate 2: "Water" "Thou Waterest him with Tears"
Page 88 Plate 4: "Air" "On Cloudy Doubts & Reasoning Cares"
Page 110 Plate 5: "Fire" "That end in endless Strife"
Page 131 Plate 3: "Earth" "He struggles into Life"
Page 158 Plate 1: "I found him beneath a Tree"
Page 162 Plate 13: "Fear & Hope are – Vision"

Calligraphy

All the card titles, quotations, and other words used in the deck were hand-lettered, based on the various calligraphy styles used by Blake in his original works.

The Suit Glyphs ( , , , ) are also based on Blakean emblems.

Back Design (Verso of each card)

Image: Title Page of the Illustrations of the Book of Job. (Line engraving, circa 1825.)
Figures: Seven angels representing the Eyes of God (see published book).
Commentary: The border and the words on the original page were deleted. The cloud is slightly resized in relation to the angels. The entire image is the negative of the original (i.e., white on a blue background instead of black on a white background).

The Blake Triumphs (Major Arcana)

Borders of the Triumphs

Images: From Illustrations of the Book of Job. (Line engravings, circa 1825.)
Commentary: The image-filled borders of the Triumphs are the borders from the 22 plates in the Illustrations of the Book of Job, but with all the words deleted. The central images framed by the borders are deleted, and replaced by others selected for their Tarot significance. The original order of the borders is indicated by a small number at the top right of each Triumph card. The rectangular outline of each border has been thickened. The 22 border images were previously uncolored; their coloring is original to these cards. In the deck, the border of Card 0 is printed in black, the borders of the next seven cards (I through VII) are printed in gray, the borders of the middle seven cards (VIII through XIV) are printed in red, and the borders of the final seven cards (XV through XXI) are printed in blue. The coloring of the images within the borders is original to these cards. The new Triumph card 00/ — Eternity has no border, to signify its unlimited nature.

Central Images of the Triumphs

The central images (those framed by the borders) in the Triumph cards replace the original central engravings in the plates of Illustrations of the Book of Job. The new central images were selected for use in the Blake Deck from a variety of Blake's works, as follows:

00/ — Eternity
Central Image: Jacob's Dream. (Pen and watercolor, circa 1805.)
Figure: The Biblical patriarch Jacob. The image illustrates Genesis 28:12: "And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it." In Blakean terms, in this card, this represents Albion (Humanity) asleep on the Rock of Eternity.
Commentary: The coloring is derivative.

0 — Innocence
Central Image: Frontispiece to "The Dog" from Ballads by William Hayley (Line engraving, 1805).
Figure: Naked Innocence. In the card, he represents the fallen Tharmas descended into the world of Matter.
Commentary: The original image is slightly cropped to extend into the border at the top and bottom. The coloring is original to this card.

I — Magic
Central Image: The Fertilization of Egypt from The Botanic Garden by Erasmus Darwin (Line engraving, 1791).
Figure: The Egyptian God Anubis, who in this card also represents the fallen Los in his roles as Lord of Time and Conductor of Souls.
Commentary: The original image was cropped at the corners, and slightly widened to fit the border. A fourth rattle was added to the sistrum at the lower left to accord with traditional sistrums symbolizing the four elements. In the border, a dot-screen background was added to the flames on the altar. The coloring is original to this card.

II — Mystery
Central Image: Hecate (Color print finished in pen and watercolor, circa 1795).
Figure: The Triple Moon Goddess, Hecate. In the card, she also represents Enitharmon (the Emanation of fallen Los) in her roles as Pity and Ruler of Space.
Commentary: A donkey and owl in the left portion of the original image are cropped out, and the remainder of the image cropped to fit the border. The bat-winged figure is repositioned slightly to the left. A watery foreground is added. In the border, the two upper angels are repositioned, and some small details deleted. The coloring is derivative, except the background is considerably lightened so that the winged figures can be readily seen, and skin tone of the front figure is darkened.

III — Nature
Central Image: Bathsheba at the Bath (Tempera on canvas, circa 1800).
Figure: The Biblical queen Bathsheba with her first two sons. In the card, she also represents Vala (the Emanation of Luvah) in her role as Nature. (In Blake's detailed mythological lineages, the historical Bathsheba is listed as one of Vala's many daughters.)
Commentary: The left and right portions of the original image are cropped, deleting various pillars, the figure of a female servant at the left, and King David at the upper right. Roses at the right edge of the image are relocated to the left of the figures, replacing the servant’s extended hand. A third lily is added at right in place of a five-lobed flower. The coloring is derivative.

IV — Reason
Central Image: The Ancient of Days (Watercolor, pen, and gold paint, 1794).
Figure: Urizen. In the card, he represents the fallen Urizen.
Commentary: The original image is cropped to fit the border, except that the compass points extend into the border at the bottom. In the border, illuminations on the angel are cropped out, and illuminations below the cloud are moved to the top of the cloud. The coloring is derivative.

V — Religion
Central Image: Plate 10 of Europe, a Prophecy (Color print finished in watercolor, 1794).
Figure: King George III of England, attended by angels.
Commentary: The words in the original plate are deleted. The border is from the third state of Plate 16 of Illustrations of the Book of Job, a variation that affects the top border. The coloring is derivative.

VI — Knowledge
Central Image: Raphael Warns Adam and Eve (Pen and watercolor, 1808).
Figures: Adam and Eve with archangel Rafael in the garden of Eden.
Commentary: The coloring is derivative.

VII — Experience
Central Image: Plate 46 of Jerusalem (Line engraving finished in pen, watercolor, and gold paint, circa 1820).
Figures: In the card, a resigned couple represents Experience-weary Humanity.
Commentary: The coloring is derivative, based on Copy E.

VIII — Assessment
Central Image: This card is a collage using portions of two works:
(1) The Resurrection of the Dead; Alternative Design for the Title Page to The Grave by Robert Blair (Pen and watercolor, 1806).
(2) A View of St. Edmund's Chapel from The Life of Cowper by William Hayley (Line engraving, 1803).
Figure: Probably the archangel Michael. In the card, he represents the regenerated Luvah.
Commentary: The card image is a collage consisting of one angelic figure from (1), together with the Gothic arch from (2). The figure is a small portion of the original work in (1), and the coloring is derivative. The background behind the arch in the original work (2) is cropped out, and the coloring of the arch is original to this card.

IX — Imagination
Central Image: Frontispiece to Jerusalem (Line engraving finished in pen, watercolor, and gold paint, circa 1820).
Figure: Los entering the Door of Death. In this card, he represents the regenerated Los.
Commentary: The border of the original image is deleted. The top corners of the image are cropped as curves. The coloring is derivative, based on Copy E.

X — Whirlwind
Central Image: Ezekiel's Wheels (Chalk, pen, and watercolor over pencil, circa 1803).
Figures: The Biblical prophet Ezekiel and his vision of God with its "likenesses of four living creatures" in the whirlwind, with "rings full of eyes round about them four."
Commentary: The original image is slightly cropped at the corners to fit the border, and slightly extended at left and right to complete the curves of the Wheels. The figure of Ezekiel at the bottom is relocated into the fallen trees of the border. The coloring is derivative.

XI — Energy
Central Image: Adam naming the beasts, Frontispiece to A series of Ballads by William Hayley (Line engraving, 1802).
Figure: Adam naming the beasts. In this card, he represents the regenerated Tharmas.
Commentary: The words and brick-like border in the original are deleted. The upper corners are cropped, and the bottom extended, to fit the border. The coloring is original to this card.

XII — Reversal
Central Image: Plate 8 of The Book of Urizen (Relief etching finished in watercolor, circa 1820).
Figure: Urizen inverted. In the card, he represents the regenerated Urizen.
Commentary: The original image is slightly cropped at the edges to fit the shape of the border; Urizen's left foot extends into the border at top left. Several small details in the border are cropped out to accommodate the central image. The coloring is derivative, based on Copy G.

XIII — Transformation
Central Image: This card is a collage using portions of two works:
(1) Plate 26 of Blake's engraved illustrations to Night Thoughts by Edward Young (Line engraving, 1797).
(2) Plate 25 of same.
Figures: Time, as Death, whose enormous scythe "Strikes empires from the root," works on the same figures depicted in the 10 of Painting card. The blue figure of Time looks back, while the red figure of Time looks forward. It is the same figure, acting out the concept of Transformation.
Commentary: The card image is a collage consisting of most of the image in (1), omitting the words in the Quotation Window, together with a segment of the right side of the image in (2), collaged into the former text box or "Poetry Window." In the border, the spiders now depend from shorter and thicker strands. The bottom is extended. The coloring is original to this card.

XIV — Forgiveness Central Image: Christ Ministered to by Angels, from Blake's illustrations to Paradise Regained by John Milton (Pen and watercolor over pencil, circa 1816-20).
Figure: Jesus, with attending angels. Commentary: The original image was slightly cropped at the corners, and slightly extended at the top and sides, to fit the border. The tips of the wings of the upper angels were extended to complete the image. A cloud-line in the upper part of the border was deleted to accommodate the central image. The coloring is derivative.

XV — Error
Central Image: Satan in Council, from Blake's illustrations to Paradise Regained by John Milton (Pen and watercolor over pencil, circa 1816-20).
Figure: Satan, with his acolytes.
Commentary: The original image was slightly cropped at the lower corners, and extended at the top, to fit the border. The coloring is derivative.

XVI — Lightning
Central Image: Plate 3 of Illustrations of The Book of Job (Line engraving, circa 1825).
Figure: Satan the Accuser, lording over the dying members of Job's family.
Commentary: Both the central image and the border are from the same work, the only such instance in the deck. The original plate is unchanged except that the central image is slightly enlarged to fit the entire window allotted for it. The coloring is original to this card.

XVII — Stars
Central Image: Milton in his Old Age from Blake's illustrations to L'Allegro and Il Penseroso by John Milton (Pen and watercolor, circa 1816-20).
Figures: John Milton "in his Mossy Cell Contemplating the Constellations," with Job asleep in the lower border.
Commentary: The original image is slightly cropped at the upper corners and lower right corner, and slightly extended at the lower left corner, to fit the border. In the border, some stars in the upper part are deleted to accommodate the central image. The upper angels in the border are interleaved with the figures of the constellations, creating small deletions in each. The coloring is derivative.

XVIII — Moon
Central Image: Malevolence (Pen and watercolor, 1799).
Figures: A Family watched by two murderous Fiends. In the deck, this represents the dark watery beauty and sexuality of the realm of Beulah, and the subconscious dangers of the traditional Moon card.
Commentary: The coloring is derivative.

XIX — Sun
Central Image: The River of Life (Pen and watercolor, circa 1805).
Figure: Jesus swimming with two children in the stream of Time, together with Atropos and St. John.
Commentary: In the original image, two large figures of sacred musicians at the left and right are cropped out. The sky at the top is extended to fit and interleave with the border. The river at the bottom is also interleaved with the flames in the border. A portion of the flames in the border is deleted to accommodate the central image. The coloring is derivative.

XX — Liberty
Central Image: This card is a collage using portions of two works:
(1) Frontispiece to Leonora by G.A. Birger (Line engraving, designed by Blake and engraved by Perry, 1796).
(2) Title Page of Jerusalem (Line engraving finished in pen, watercolor, and gold paint, circa 1820).
Figures: The butterfly form of Jerusalem (Albion's Emanation, called Liberty) is propelled across the night sky amidst forms of death, in response to the trumpet call of Judgement.
Commentary: The horse and two riders in the original of (1) are deleted, and Jerusalem from the bottom part of (2) is inserted instead. The words in the original of (1) are deleted. The upper corners are cropped, and the top slightly extended, to fit the border. In the border, the steps and platform at the bottom are deleted, along with sheaves of wheat at left and right. The lower cloud edges are deleted, along with slight illuminations on the upper clouds. The angels at left are moved to the right, and the angels at right are moved to the left. The coloring of Jerusalem is derivative; the coloring of the remainder of the image is original to this card.

XXI — Union
Central Image: Albion Rose; also called The Dance of Albion, and/or Glad Day (Color-printed line engraving finished in pen and watercolor, circa 1794).
Figure: Albion/Blake. In the card, he represents the regenerated Albion.
Commentary: The original image is slightly cropped on all sides evenly. The coloring is derivative.

The Creative Process Suits (Minor Arcana)

Symbol Windows of All Suits

Each card in all the Creative Process Suits contains a "Symbol Window" in which the user may write or paste personal symbols, if desired. Although neither suggested by nor modeled after them, the Symbol Windows are nearly identical to the graphical title blocks that Blake used beneath his six illustrations to The Triumphs of Temper by William Hayley (Line engravings, 1803).

Suit of Painting

Borders of the Suit of Painting

Image: The border motif of all the cards in the Suit of Painting are themselves collages derived from two sources:
(1) Clouds: From the border of the Title Page of Jerusalem (Line engraving finished in watercolor, circa 1820 [Copy E]).
(2) Waters: From a portion of Page 54 of Blake's engravings in Night Thoughts by Edward Young (Line engraving, 1797).
Commentary: The border of each card in this suit differs considerably due to differing selections and arrangements of the portion from (2). The coloring of the Clouds is derivative, based on Copy E, and the coloring of the Waters is original to these cards.

Symbol Windows of the Suit of Painting

The faint (screened) image in the Symbol Window of each card in the Suit of Painting is a small detail from The Last Judgment (Drawing, pen and wash over pencil, circa 1809).
In the deck, this design represents Form.

Number Cards of the Suit of Painting

The central images (framed by the borders) in the ten Number Cards of the Suit of Painting are selected from a variety of Blake's works, as follows:

Ace of Painting — Generation
Central Image: The Descent of the Angels to One of the Daughters of Men from Blake's illustrations to the Book of Enoch (Pencil drawing, circa 1824-27).
Figures: Two "Watchers of Heaven" and a "Daughter of Men."
Commentary: The card image is extended at the top and bottom to fit the border. The coloring is original to this card.

2 of Painting — Balance
Central Image: Antaeus Setting Down Dante and Virgil in the Last Circle of Hell (Plate 66) from Blake's illustrations to the Divine Comedy by Dante (Pen and watercolor, circa 1826). Figures: The Greek giant Antaeus transports Dante and Virgil across the chasm. Commentary: The coloring is derivative.

3 of Painting — Practice
Central Image: Three Falling Figures (Pen and watercolor, circa 1793).
Figures: Unidentified.
Commentary: The upper left and lower right corners of the original image are cropped out, and the upper right and lower left corners extended, enabling the image to be converted from horizontal to vertical format to fit the border. In the card image, clouds are added at the upper left and lower right as part of this reorientation. The coloring is derivative.

4 of Painting — Means
Central Image: Job and his Daughters from the "Butts Set" of Blake's illustrations to the Book of Job (Pen, chalk, and watercolor, circa 1821-27).
Figures: Job and his daughters, with dog and sheep flocks.
Commentary: The original image has been converted from horizontal to vertical format by moving the flocks of sheep from alongside the figures to the foreground in front of them. The dog was relocated from the lower left corner to lower center, and a lamb on the right was deleted. The original image is also slightly cropped at the top, and slightly extended at the bottom, to fit the border. The coloring is derivative.

5 of Painting — Hardship
Central Image: Job rebuked by his Friends (Plate 10, first state, prior to inclusion of border) from Illustrations of the Book of Job (Line engraving, circa 1825).
Figures: Job, his wife, and three accusing friends.
Commentary: The torsos, feet, and faces of the three friends in the original image are cropped out at the right, and the image is also slightly cropped at the left. The top and bottom of the image are slightly extended to fit the border. The coloring is original to this card.

6 of Painting — Assistance Central Image: Christian Drawn out of the Slough by Help from Blake's illustrations to The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan (Pencil, pen, and watercolor, circa 1824-27). Figure: Christian being assisted by Help. Commentary: The coloring is derivative.

7 of Painting — Patience
Central Image: This card is a collage using portions of two
images:
(1) (Top) Plate 8 of Jerusalem (Line engraving finished in pen and watercolor, circa 1820)
(2) (Bottom) Plate 92 of same.
Figures: (1) A daughter of Jerusalem pulls the new moon.
(2) Jerusalem (Liberty) patiently awaits the emergence of the Four Zoas.
Commentary: The original words on both plates are deleted (except "Jerusalem") and the two images joined. The coloring is derivative, based on Copy E.

8 of Painting — Discipline
Central Image: Dante and Virgil Ascending the Mountain of Purgatory (Plate 76) from Blake's illustrations to the Divine Comedy by Dante (Pen and watercolor, circa 1826).
Figures: Virgil and Dante.
Commentary: The coloring is derivative.

9 of Painting — Fruition
Central Image: This image is a collage using portions of four plates (top to bottom) from Jerusalem:
(1) Plate 75 of Jerusalem (Line engraving finished in pen and watercolor, circa 1820).
(2) Plate 83 of same.
(3) Plate 28 of same (first state, circa 1804-20).
(4) Plate 45 of same. Figures: Perhaps Albion and Vala, copulating on a water lily/lotus flower. In the card, they represent universal lovers.
Commentary: The card image is a collage consisting of the following graphic elements combined from top to bottom: the nine angels from Plate 75, the marginal clouds from Plate 83 (made horizontal), the embracing couple from Plate 28, and the fish from Plate 45. The coloring is derivative, based on Copy E.

10 of Painting — Delight
Central Image: A Sunshine Holiday from Blake's illustrations to L'Allegro and Il Penseroso by John Milton (Pen and watercolor, circa 1816-20).
Figures: Jupiter and Juno, angels and townspeople in a vision of life-enjoyment.
Commentary: The original image is slightly extended at the bottom to fit the border. The coloring is derivative.

Person Cards of the Suit of Painting

The central images used in the four Person Cards of the Suit of Painting are selected from a variety of Blake's works, as follows.

Angel of Painting
Central Image: The card image is a collage using portions of two works:
(1) The Graphic Muse, Frontispiece to An Inquiry into the Requisite Cultivation and Present State of the Arts of Design in England by Prince Hoare (Line engraving designed by Joshua Reynolds and engraved by Blake, 1806).
(2) Plate 18 of Illustrations of the Book of Job (Line engraving, circa 1825).
Figure: The Muse or "Theory" of Painting, according to Sir Reynolds.
Commentary: The card image combines the graphic-arts tools (palette, brushes, and engraving tool) from the lower border of (2), deleting the words at the bottom of the page, with the entire image from (1), except for deleting the word THEORY in the scroll held by the muse. The coloring is original to this card.

Child of Painting
Central Image: Venus (Design 25) from Compositions from the Works Days and Theogony of Hesiod by John Flaxman (Line engraving, 1816).
Figures: A child on a dolphin.
Commentary: About two-thirds of the original work is cropped out at the left. The lower left banner held by the child is an element added from another portion of the work, replacing the back of Venus, who reclines on the dolphin’s head in the original work. A few more waves are added, from other portions of the work, at the bottom, to extend the image to the border. The coloring is original to this card.

Woman of Painting
Central Image: The Awards of Athene (Pen and watercolor, circa 1780-5). The original work is a horizontal lunette-shaped pen and ink drawing with a gray wash on the figures and cerulean blue wash in the background.
Figures: Athene offering wreathes to emblematic women representing the arts of Painting and Sculpture.
Commentary: The card image is a rearrangement of the constituents of the original work, and also adds some new elements. The two women in the foreground were originally further left and right, and two additional figures in the original work are cropped out at the left and right. The cloud in the background and the cloud being painted on the easel are not in the original work. The ovoid shape of the original work is suggested by the curvature of the arch at at the top. The coloring is original to this card.

Man of Painting
Central Image: This image is a collage using portions of two works:
(1) Enoch (Lithograph, circa 1807. Blake’s sole lithograph.)
(2) Baffled Devils Fighting from Blake’s illustrations to the Divine Comedy by Dante. (Line engraving, 1827).
Figure: An emblematic man who represents the art of Painting.
Commentary: The card image is a collage consisting of one figure from work (1), whose surrounding rays are formed by collecting the rays from other portions of the same work; collaged together with the “waves” from (2). The figure from (1) is a small portion of the original work; similarly, the waves from (2) are a small portion of the original work. The coloring is original to this card.

Suit of Science

Borders of the Suit of Science

Image: The border motif used in the Suit of Science is a collage based on details of various plates from Jerusalem (Line engravings, circa 1825).
Commentary: The border motif of all the cards in the Suit of Science is based on depictions of stars in various plates of Jerusalem. The border of each card in this suit differs slightly due to individual variation in coloring and details. The coloring is derivative, based on Copy E. Symbol Windows of the Suit of Science The faint (screened) image in the Symbol Window of each card of the Suit of Science is collaged from portions of the border of the Frontispiece to A series of Ballads by William Hayley (Line engraving, 1802). In the deck, this brick-like design represents Structure. Number Cards of the Suit of Science All the central images used in the ten Number Cards of the Suit of Science are selected from The Book of Urizen, and their coloring is based on copy G (Color-printed relief etchings, circa 1815).

Ace of Science — Intellect
Central Image: Title Page (Plate 1) of The Book of Urizen.
Figure: Urizen writing a book with his right hand and illustrating another with his left hand.
Commentary: The words on the original plate are deleted. The coloring is derivative.

2 of Science — Reflection
Central Image: Plate 26 of The Book of Urizen.
Figures: A begging/praying boy and his dog at a doorway.
Commentary: The coloring is derivative.

3 of Science — Jealousy
Central Image: Plate 21 of The Book of Urizen.
Figures: Enitharmon and Los with their son Orc.
Commentary: The coloring is derivative.

4 of Science — Repose
Central Image: Plate 12 of The Book of Urizen.
Figure: Urizen drifting "upward into futurity."
Commentary: The coloring is derivative.

5 of Science — Division
Central Image: Plate 28 of The Book of Urizen.
Figure: Urizen snared in the Net of Religion.
Commentary: The original words in the plate are deleted. Two small clouds above and to the right of Urizen's head are relocated to the left. The flower growing from Urizen's head has an added blossom on the right side of its stalk. The coloring is derivative.

6 of Science — Passage
Central Image: The card image is a collage using portions of two works:
(1) Plate 13 of The Book of Urizen.
(2) Plate 23 of same.
Figures: Above, Enitharmon (as Pity) "divides the soul"; below, Urizen carries a Globe of Fire.
Commentary: The card image is a collage consisting of the central image from (1), together with the main image from (2). The original words are deleted from both plates. The coloring is derivative.

7 of Science — Lamentation
Central Image: Plate 27 of The Book of Urizen.
Figure: An emblematic figure strikes an ambiguous pose.
Commentary: The coloring is derivative.

8 of Science — Restriction
Central Image: Plate 22 of The Book of Urizen.
Figure: Urizen, manacled and seated.
Commentary: The coloring is derivative.

9 of Science — Despair
Central Image: The card image is a collage using portions of two works:
(1) Plate 2 of The Book of Urizen.
(2) Plate 8 of same.
Figures: Mother and infant above, the fetal skeleton of Urizen below. In the deck, this represents Hope hovering above Despair.
Commentary: The card image is a collage consisting of the main image from (1), together with the main image from (2). The original words are deleted from both plates. The circle of light enclosing the lower figure is extended to touch the right hand of the matron in the upper part of the image. The coloring is derivative.

10 of Science — Defeat
Central Image: The card image is a collage using portions of three works:
(1) Plate 6 of The Book of Urizen.
(2) Plate 10 of same.
(3) Plate 5 of same.
Figures: Three upside-down, serpent-girdled figures flank two spirit-heads in the flames.
Commentary: The card image is a collage consisting of the main image from work (1), together with four small birds from work (2) and one larger bird from work (3), placed above the lower figures. The birds are small details from their respective plates. The coloring is derivative.

Person Cards of the Suit of Science

The central images used in the four Person Cards of the Suit of Science are selected from a variety of Blake's works, as follows.

Angel of Science
Central Image: Vignette on the Title Page of An Introduction to Natural Philosophy by William Nicholson (Line engraving, 1787).
Quotation: Quis: Basin: Demonstret: translated: "Who would demonstrate the foundation?"
Figure: None, suggesting that the angel of Science is sequestered in an "ivory tower."
Commentary: The original image is slightly cropped at the left and right; the cropped portions were reproduced and added beneath to extend the clouds to the border, also converting the image from horizontal to vertical format. The coloring is original to this card.

Child of Science
Central Image: Vignette on the Title Page of An Introduction to Mensuration by John Bonnycastle (Line engraving, 1782).
Figures: Two boys study a diagram illustrating the Pythagorean Theorem.
Commentary: The right half of the original image is cropped out, along with slight cropping at left; the bottom is slightly extended to fit the border. The suggestion of a bush has been added at the right, replacing the elbow of a cropped-out figure. The coloring is original to this card.

Woman of Science
Central Image: The card image is a combination of portions of two works: (1) Plate NT509 from Blake's watercolor designs to Night Thoughts by Edward Young (Pen and watercolor over pencil, 1795-7). (2) Plate NT504 from same.
Figures: Three "Newtonian Angels" with compass and telescope.
Commentary: Plate (1) is slightly cropped at the left and top, and Young's text is deleted from the Poetry Window — which is instead filled with only the shooting-star portion of Plate (2). The coloring is derivative.

Man of Science
Central Image: Newton (Color print finished in watercolor, 1795).
Figure: Isaac Newton measuring Ratios on the ocean bottom (as far from God as possible).
Commentary: The original work is cropped at the left, right, and top to fit the border. The polypus has been moved slightly closer to Newton's left foot to be inside the frame. The coloring is derivative.

Suit of Music

Borders of the Suit of Music

Image: The border motif of each card in the Suit of Music (except the Angel of Music) is a collage derived from two works:
(1) Flames: From a portion of Plate 20 of Jerusalem (Line engraving finished in watercolor, circa 1820).
(2) Smoke: From a portion of Plate 6 of same.
Commentary: The Flames and Smoke in the plates have been reoriented from horizontal to vertical format. The border of each card in this suit differs slightly due to individual coloring variations. The coloring is derivative, based on Copy E. The border of the Angel of Music card consists only of (1) above.

Symbol Windows of the Suit of Music

The faint (screened) image in the Symbol Window of each card in the Suit of Music is a small detail from the border of A View of St. Edmund’s Chapel from The Life of Cowper by William Hayley (Line engraving, 1803). In the deck, this wavelike design represents Vibration.

Number Cards of the Suit of Music

All the central images used in the ten Number Cards of the Suit of Music are selected from Blake's watercolor illustrations to Poems by Mr. Gray (Pen and watercolor over pencil, 1797-8). Each of the original illustrations featured a text box or "Poetry Window" that featured lines of Thomas Gray’s poetry. In each card of the Suit of Music, Gray's lines in the poetry window are replaced by thematic quotations from Blake, emulating lyrics to Music.

Ace of Music — Passion
Central Image: General Title Page of Poems by Mr. Gray.
Quotation: "The desire of Man being Infinite | the possession is Infinite & him-self Infinite." — from There is No Natural Religion.
Figure: Genius rides a swan in flight.
Commentary: The original design is slightly cropped at the left to fit the border. The coloring is derivative.

2 of Music — Contraries
Central Image: Design 4 of Ode for Music from Poems by Mr. Gray.
Quotation: "Without Contraries is no progression. | Attraction and Repulsion, | Reason and Energy, | Love and Hate, | are necessary to Human Existence." — from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (3).
Figures: John Milton, arch-poet, and Isaac Newton, arch-materialist.
Commentary: The original design is slightly cropped at the left and right to fit the border. The coloring is derivative.

3 of Music — Exuberance
Central Image: The card image is a combination of two works:
(1) Design 10 of Ode for Music from Poems by Mr. Gray.
(2) Design 2 of Ode for Music, above. (3) Same as (2) but its mirror image.
Quotation: "Exuberance is Beauty" — from The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (10).
Figures:
(1) A winged seraph named Fame.
(2) A bird singing (at right.)
(3) A bird singing.(at left).
Commentary: The original image of (1) is slightly cropped at the left and right to fit the border. The coloring is derivative. The tendrils in images (2) and (3) are slightly trimmed, and made to join from a common stalk. The coloring of (2) and (3) is original.

4 of Music — Musing
Central Image: The card image is a combination of two works:
(1) Design 3 of The Triumphs of Owen from Poems by Mr. Gray.
(2) Design 5 of Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College from Poems by Mr. Gray.
Quotation: "And I wrote my happy songs | Every child may joy to hear." — from "Introduction," Songs of Innocence.
Figures:
(1) The Bard with eyes closed, musing upon a melody on his harp.
(2) A boy in a tree hands down a nest of young birds to a girl, both musing on Nature.
Commentary: The original image of (1) is slightly cropped at the left, with the tree trunk and grass of (2) collaged into the image at the right. Two other boys (and background trees) are deleted from (2) to accommodate the image of (1). The coloring of the portion from (1) is derivative; the coloring of the portion from (2) is original.

5 of Music — Melancholy
Central Image: Design 8 of Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard from Poems by Mr. Gray.
Quotation: "Whate’er is Born of Mortal Birth | Must be consumed with the Earth | To rise from Generation free; | Then what have I to do with thee?" — from "To Tirzah," Songs of Experience.
Figure: Thomas Gray’s "unletter'd Muse" tracing words on the gravestone.
Commentary: The original design is cropped at the left, right, and top to fit the border. The coloring is derivative.

6 of Music — Pleasure
Central Image: The card image is a combination of two works:
(1) Design 1 of A Long Story from Poems by Mr. Gray.
(2) Design 2 of Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College from Poems by Mr. Gray. Quotation: "...we cannot experience pleasure but by means of others." — from Annotations to Lavatar’s Aphorisms on Man.
Figures: A nude youth and four damsel dance round a running boy.
Commentary: The original design (1) is slightly cropped at the right to fit the border; while only the boy, reduced in size, from design (2) is placed in the circle of (1). The coloring is derivative in both images.

7 of Music — Fancies
Central Image: Design 10 of The Progress of Poesy from Poems by Mr. Gray.
Quotation: "To Me This World is all one continued Vision of Fancy or Imagination." — from Letter to Reverend Dr. Trusler, 1799.
Figures: The poet Dryden receives gifts from "Bright Eyd Fancy."
Commentary: The original design is slightly cropped at the right to fit the border. The coloring is derivative.

8 of Music — Discontent Central Image: Design 6 to Ode On a Distant Prospect of Eton College from Poems by Mr. Gray. Quotation: "Clouded with discontent & brooding in their minds terrible things" — from Milton a Poem (20).
Figures: Creatures representing Misfortune lurk next to unsuspecting children at play.
Commentary: The Poetry Window in the original design is slightly widened (the young girl’s airborne ball is slightly moved to the right). The bottom is slightly extended to fit the border. The coloring is derivative.

9 of Music — Happiness
Central Image: Design 3 of Ode on the Spring from Poems by Mr. Gray.
Quotation: "He who binds to himself a joy | Does the winged life destroy | But he who kisses the joy as it flies | Lives in eternity’s sun rise." — from Several Questions Answered.
Figures: The personification of "the Purple Year" awaking to Zephyrs and "Hours suckling their Flowery Infants."
Commentary: The original design is slightly extended at the top and bottom to fit the border. The coloring is derivative.

10 of Music — Sublimity
Central Image: Design 5 of The Progress of Poesy from Poems by Mr. Gray.
Quotation: "Peace & Plenty & Domestic Happiness is the Source of Sublime Art." — from Letter to George Cumberland, 1795.
Figures: A winged boy and dancing maidens with "many-twinkling feet."
Commentary: The original design is slightly cropped at the right, and slightly extended at the bottom, to fit the border. The coloring is derivative.

Person Cards of the Suit of Music

The central images used in the four Person Cards of the Suit of Music, just as in the Number Cards, are all from the Blake's watercolor designs to Poems by Mr. Gray (Pen and watercolor over pencil, 1797-8). Each of the original illustrations featured a Poetry Window that quoted lines of Thomas Gray's poetry. In each Person Card of the Suit of Music, as in each Number Card, Gray's lines in the Poetry Window are replaced by thematic quotations from Blake, emulating lyrics to Music.

Angel of Music
Central Image: Design 1 of Ode for Music from Poems by Mr. Gray.
Quotation: "Like as an angel glitt'ring in the sky, | In times of innocence and holy joy; | The joyful shepherd stops his grateful song, | To hear the music of an angel's tongue." — from Song ("Fresh from the dewy hill...").
Figure: A winged seraph personifying Music.
Commentary: The original design is slightly cropped at the left and right to fit the border. The coloring is derivative.

Child of Music
Central Image: Design 7 of The Progress of Poesy from Poems by Mr. Gray.
Quotation: "Piping down the valleys wild | Piping songs of pleasant glee." — from "Introduction," Songs of Innocence.
Figure: A piping youth clad in a wolf’s skin.
Commentary: The original design is slightly cropped at the left to fit the border. The coloring is derivative.

Woman of Music
Central Image: Design 3 of The Progress of Poesy from Poems by Mr. Gray.
Quotation: "Loud & more loud the living music floats upon the air." — from The Four Zoas (5).
Figures: A Grecian maiden by Helicon’s inspirational spring, amidst "The Laughing flowers."
Commentary: The original design is slightly cropped at the right to fit the border. The coloring is derivative.

Man of Music
Central Image: Design 1 of The Bard, A Pindaric Ode from Poems by Mr. Gray.
Quotation: "Music as it exists in old tunes or melodies... is Inspiration, and cannot be surpassed; it is perfect and eternal." — from A Descriptive Catalog of Pictures (5).
Figure: The Ancient Bard, "Who Present, Past, & Future sees."
Commentary: The original design is slightly cropped at the right, and slightly extended at the bottom, to fit the border. The coloring is derivative.

Suit of Poetry

Borders of the Suit of Poetry

Image: The border motif of all the cards in the Suit of Poetry is based on the grapevine border from Enoch (Lithograph, circa 1806. Blake's only lithograph).
Commentary: The original grapevine was modified to fit the shape of the cards. The border of each card in this suit differs slightly due to individual coloring variations. The coloring is original to each card.

Symbol Windows of the Suit of Poetry

The faint (screened) image in the Symbol Window of each card in the Suit of Poetry is a small retouched detail of the calligraphy in Cain Fleeing from the Body of Abel in the Illustrated Manuscript Copy of Genesis (Pencil drawing, circa 1826-7). In the deck, this calligraphic design represents Prophecy.

Number Cards of the Suit of Poetry

All the central images used in the ten Number Cards of the Suit of Poetry are selected from Blake's watercolor designs to Night Thoughts by Edward Young (Pen and watercolor over pencil, 1795-7). Each of the original designs featured a text box or "Poetry Window" that featured lines of Young's poetry. In each Number Card of the Suit of Poetry, Young's lines in the Poetry Window are replaced by quotations from Blake, representing the theme of Poetry.

Ace of Poetry — Inspiration
Central Image: Plate NT344 of Blake's watercolor designs to Night Thoughts by Edward Young.
Quotation: "I come in Self-annihilation & the grandeur of Inspiration | To cast off Rational Demonstration by Faith in the Saviour | To cast off the rotten rags of Memory by Inspiration | To cast aside from Poetry all that is not Inspiration" — from Milton a Poem (43).
Figures: A six-winged cherub inspires the kneeling Poet.
Commentary: The original design is slightly cropped at the left to fit the border. The coloring is derivative.

2 of Poetry — Individuality
Central Image: Plate NT399 of Blake's watercolor designs to Night Thoughts by Edward Young.
Quotation: "Every Mans Wisdom is peculiar to his own Individiality." — from Milton a Poem (4).
Figures: The Poet looks in the mirror and writes; his Muse prays to another mirror.
Commentary: The original design is slightly cropped at the left and right to fit the border. The coloring is derivative.

3 of Poetry — Creativity
Central Image: Plate NT341 of Blake's watercolor designs to Night Thoughts by Edward Young.
Quotation: "I must create a System, or be enslav'd by another Mans | I will not Reason & Compare: | my business is to Create." — from Jerusalem (10).
Figures: The Poet receives inspiration from three angels.
Commentary: The original design is slightly extended at the top and bottom to fit the border. The coloring is derivative.

4 of Poetry — Harmony
Central Image: Plate NT379 of Blake's watercolor designs to Night Thoughts by Edward Young.
Quotation: "Love and harmony combine | And around our souls entwine | While thy branches mix with mine | And our roots together join." — from Song ("Love and harmony combine...").
Figures: The elderly Adam and Eve stand by "Pleasure’s sacred Stream."
Commentary: The original design is slightly extended at the top and bottom to fit the border. More leaves are added on the branch at upper right. The coloring is derivative.

5 of Poetry — Strife
Central Image: Plate NT508 of Blake's watercolor designs to Night Thoughts by Edward Young. Quotation: “Thou art a Man | God is no more | Thy own humanity | learn to adore | For that is my Spirit of Life | Awake arise to Spiritual Strife.” — from The Everlasting Gospel. Figures: Lucifer in combat with an elephant-like creature. Commentary: The original design is slightly cropped at the left and right to fit the border. The coloring is derivative.

6 of Poetry — Cooperation
Central Image: Plate NT217 of Blake's watercolor designs to Night Thoughts by Edward Young.
Quotation: "...Gods are visions of the eternal attributes, or divine names. | They ought to be the servants, and not the masters of man..." — from A Descriptive Catalog of Pictures (3); plus "Cooperating in the bliss of Man obeying his Will | Servants to the infinite & Eternal of the Human Form." — from The Four Zoas (126).
Figures: An angel hands a book to an upward leaping man.
Commentary: The original design is slightly cropped at the right to fit the border. The coloring is derivative.

7 of Poetry — Boldness
Central Image: Plate NT386 of Blake's watercolor designs to Night Thoughts by Edward Young.
Quotation: "The times require that every one should speak out boldly; | ...every man should do his duty, in Arts, as well as in Arms, or in the Senate." — from A Descriptive Catalog of Pictures (14).
Figures: The Poet literally faces up to "threat'ning Death."
Commentary: The original design is slightly cropped at the left and right to fit the border. The coloring is derivative.

8 of Poetry — Swiftness
Central Image: Plate NT134 of Blake's watercolor designs to Night Thoughts by Edward Young.
Quotation: "Time is the mercy of Eternity: | without Time’s swiftness | Which is the swiftest of all things: | all were eternal torment." — from Milton a Poem (24).
Figure: The Poetic spirit speeds through "Boundless Creation."
Commentary: The original design is slightly extended at the top and bottom to fit the border. The coloring is derivative.

9 of Poetry — Powers
Central Image: Plate NT512 of Blake's watercolor designs to Night Thoughts by Edward Young.
Quotation: "We were plac'd here by the Universal Brotherhood & Mercy | With powers fitted to circumscribe this dark Satanic death." — from Milton a Poem (22).
Figures: Jesus ("the true vine" — John 15:1), with loving human souls.
Commentary: The original design is slightly extended at the top and bottom to fit the border. The coloring is derivative.

10 of Poetry — Prophecy
Central Image: Plate NT474 of Blake's watercolor designs to Night Thoughts by Edward Young.
Quotation: "In futurity I prophetic see, | That the earth from sleep | (Grave the sentence deep) | Shall rise and seek | For her maker meek: | And the desart wild | Become a garden mild." — from Little Girl Lost, Songs of Innocence.
Figure: Ezekiel's vision of "Circle in Circle, without End, inclos'd!"
Commentary: The original design is slightly extended at the top and bottom to fit the border. The coloring is derivative.

Person Cards of the Suit of Poetry

All the central images used in the four Person Cards of the Suit of Poetry are selected from Milton a Poem (Relief etchings and white-line engravings finished in watercolor and gray wash., printed circa 1808-9). The coloring of the cards is derivative, based on Copy B.

Angel of Poetry
Central Image: Plate 21 of Milton a Poem.
Quotation: "Angels stand round my Spirit" — from Letter to John Flaxman, 1800.
Figure: Los as Angel and Blake as Poet in the act of uniting into One Being.
Commentary: The quotation is inserted at the top of the original image. The coloring is derivative of Copy B, but the figure is unclothed as in Copy A.

Child of Poetry
Central Image: Plate 29 of Milton a Poem.
Quotation: "I found them blind: I taught them how to see." — from On F & S.
Figure: William Blake in a moment of poetic epiphany.
Commentary: The quotation is inserted at the top and bottom of the original image. The coloring is derivative.

Woman of Poetry
Central Image: Plate 45.of Milton a Poem.
Quotation: "To go forth to the Great Harvest & Vintage of the Nations" — from Milton a Poem (45).
Figures: The Human Form Divine flanked by harvest figures representing Bread and Wine.
Commentary: The word "Finis" on the original plate is deleted. The coloring is derivative.

Man of Poetry
Central Image: Title Page of Milton a Poem.
Quotation: "To justify the ways of God to Man." — from Milton a Poem (Title Page). This is Blake's paraphrase from John Milton’s Paradise Lost (1:26).
Figure: John Milton as the naked Poetic Hero stepping into Self-Annihilation.
Commentary: The words on the original plate are deleted, except the quotation and the word "Milton." The coloring is derivative.

Table of Contents:

*** ED BURYN HOME ***

 

Cover Page

Frontispiece [Suits Key-Phrases]

1 TAROT AND BLAKE
—About This Deck
—The Creative Imagination
—About William Blake
—Blake and Tarot

2 BLAKE'S SYSTEM
—Introduction
—The Four Zoas of Albion
. . . . [Chart 2-1]
. . . . [Chart 2-2]

—The Back Design of the Cards

3 THE BLAKE TRIUMPHS
—The Borders of the Triumphs
—The Cycles of the Triumphs
. . . . [Chart 3-1]
—The Eternity Card

00/'-Eternity

—The Soul's Journey
—The Cycle of Matter

0-Innocence
I-Magic
II-Mystery
III-Nature
IV-Reason
V-Religion
VI-Knowledge
VII-Experience

—The Cycle of Awakening

VIII-Assessment
IX-Imagination
X-Whirlwind
XI-Energy
XII-Reversal
XIII-Transformation
XIV-Forgiveness

—The Cycle of Spirit

XV-Error
XVI-Lightning
XVII-Stars
XVIII-Moon
XIX-Sun
XX-Liberty
XXI-Union

4 THE SUIT OF PAINTING
—Characteristics of the Suit
—The Number Cards

1-Generation
2-Balance
3-Practice
4-Means
5-Hardship
6-Assistance
7-Patience
8-Discipline
9-Fruition
10-Delight

—The Person Cards

Angel of Painting
Child of Painting
Woman of Painting
Man of Painting

5 THE SUIT OF SCIENCE
—Characteristics of the Suit
—The Number Cards

1-Intellect
2-Reflection
3-Jealousy
4-Repose
5-Division
6-Passage
7-Lamentation
8-Restriction
9-Despair
10-Defeat

—The Person Cards

Angel of Science
Child of Science
Woman of Science
Man of Science

6 THE SUIT OF MUSIC
—Characteristics of the Suit
—The Number Cards

1-Passion
2-Contraries
3-Exuberance
4-Musing
5-Melancholy
6-Pleasure
7-Fancies
8-Discontent
9-Happiness
10-Sublimity

—The Person Cards

Angel of Music
Child of Music
Woman of Music
Man of Music

7 THE SUIT OF POETRY
—Characteristics of the Suit
—The Number Cards

1-Inspiration
2-Individuality
3-Creativity
4-Harmony
5-Strife
6-Cooperation
7-Boldness
8-Swiftness
9-Powers
10-Prophecy

—The Person Cards

Angel of Poetry
Child of Poetry
Woman of Poetry
Man of Poetry

8 READING THE CARDS
—Principles of Divination
—Using the Suit Key-Phrases
—Interpreting the Number Cards
—Interpreting the Person Cards
—Making Correspondences to Other Decks (Using the Suit Glyphs)
—The Symbol Windows

9 SPREADS
—The One-Card Spread
—The Three-Card Spread
—Blakean Spreads
—The Fourfold Vision Spread
—The Creative Process Spread
—The Reunification Spread
—Inventing Your Own Spreads

APPENDIXES