The Tarot by S. L. MacGregor Mathers c1888

June 29, 2009


Its Occult Significance, Use in Fortune-Telling, and Method of Play, Etc.

“To enter, within the limits of this short treatise, upon any long inquiry into the History of Cards is utterly out of the question; and I shall therefore confine myself to examining briefly into what relates to their most ancient form, the Tarot, or Tarocchi Cards, and to giving, as clearly and concisely as possible, instructions which will enable my readers to utilise them for fortune-telling, to which they are far better adapted, from the greater number and variety of their combinations, than the ordinary cards…”

Download ‘The Tarot’

The Tarot by S. L. MacGregor Mathers, c 1888; Is one of the earlier writings on The Tarot. Samual Liddel Mathers was born in 1854.

Unlike many back then and even now, Mathers dedicated his entire life to the Western Mystery Tradition and to the magical way of life. He was not only the Chief of the Second Order of the Golden Dawn, he was the author of almost all of the important Golden Dawn teachings and documents. Much of what we know of the Tarot comes from Mathers and his wife Moina.


Mathers has been much maligned by authors such as Crowley. Even many modern authors have portrayed a negative view of him. However, many of these authors had connections to organizations that broke away from Mathers and the Golden Dawn.

S.L. MacGregor Mathers, in many ways, remains somewhat of a private individual. No one really knows how he died. Violet Firth (Dion Fortune) claimed it was from the Spanish Influenza of 1918, but at best this is probably just a guess on her part. Moina Mathers claimed he was coherent right up unto the time of his death and that exhaustion from years of work with the secret Chiefs of the Third Order was responsible. It is very peculiar indeed that no body or grave site has ever been located of MacGregor Mathers, and there is no cause of death on his death certificate.
Whatever Mathers was or has become, in our minds, his work lives on in the life and Light of the Golden Dawn.

Here is a list of some books and material Mathers authored:

Practical Instruction in Infantry Campaigning Exercise (1884) (French)

The Tarot: A Short Treatise on Reading Cards (French)

The Fall of Granada: A Poem in Six Duans (1885) (French)

The Qabbalah Unveiled (1888) [Originally in Chaldee, but he translated the seventeenth century version of the Kabbala Dunatta by Knorr Von Rosenroth from Latin.

Egyptian Symbolism (Published in Paris)

The Grimoire of Armadel (French)

The Tarot, Its Occult Significance and Methods of Play (1888) (French?)

The Key of Solomon the King: Clavicula Solomonis (1889) (Hebrew)

The Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage (1896) (French)

Astral Projection Ritual Magic and Alchemy -(Credit) Original Writings of the Golden Dawn Volume #1

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