Tag Archives: Tarot of the Holy Light

Review – Foundations of the Esoteric Tradition: Tarot of the Holy Light Vol 2

Foundations of the Esoteric Tradition:
Tarot of the Holy Light
Vol 2

Author: Christine Payne-Towler
Senior Editor: Michael Dowers
Associate Editor: Christine Payne-Towler
Cover: Michael Dowers (Note: This is a provisional cover.)
Noreah/Brownfield Press
ISBN # 978-0-9673043-4-2

 Foundations cover


In honor of,
in answer to,
in anticipation of
the world community of Tarot.

With thanks to Sophia at every step.

 I have been a fan of Christine Payne-Towler’s work since it first crossed my radar. I recently had the chance to meet Christine in person, and she is a very down to earth, knowledgeable individual, with a great sense of humor. Her works include: The Underground Stream: Esoteric Tarot Revealed, The Tarot of the Holy Light (deck), and The Tarot of the Holy Light (Vol 1 – companion book). Where Tarot of the Holy Light (Vol 1) is the user’s manual for the deck, demonstrating the traditional assumptions built into the outline of the classical Tarots of continental Europe, the 296 page Foundations of the Esoteric Tradition: Tarot of the Holy Light Vol 2 deals with the esoteric background of this deck, and how to put these cards truly to work in your life. It traces the historical references that support Western Esotericism per se. It also helps the reader to put the Continental tradition, and its Alpha-Astro- Numeric (AAN) foundation, to work in an individual’s life.

In the beginning of the book is a list of illustrations, chapter by chapter, followed by Tarot deck citations. In his preface, Angel Lozada talks about reading Payne-Towler’s Underground Stream, followed by an in-depth interpretation of his astrological chart with her. A friendship formed, and he began studying the traditions of Tarot with her.  He notes that in working with the correspondences associated with the Tarot, Payne-Towler takes into consideration the Continental traditions that are often overlooked, and sometimes rejected. He sees her emphasis on influences from the Spanish Portuguese schools, as well as contributions from Protestant Masons.

In her introduction, Payne-Towler starts out by noting that the Tarot is esoteric by its structured and numbered categories. It can be used as a magical calculation tool in the absence of astronomical tables and special knowledge. She states that we need to keep in mind that the Church had a powerful hold on the transmission of metaphysical and theological subjects. We must work backwards through existing materials to define the root ideas of Tarot they were originally. What we see now is a series of clichés that serve to obscure the original template of the Tarot.

The discussion moves on to Jacob Boehme (1575-1624), a philosopher who lived in Bohemia. His works inspired esoteric groups such as the Rosicrucians, the Masons and the Martinists. The discussion of his work, and the influence it had on the esoteric structure of the Tarot, is incredible! Immense research has been done here – research that could act as the starting point for any student’s research. You have to be able to think to understand what is being presented – once you start thinking, the world opens up! One sentence stands out: “Tarot of the Holy Light is about the search for the precedents of Tarot’s unique outline, an experiment in thinking the way our illuminated ancestors did.” Payne-Towler also notes that all of the sources that she cites work within the Continental magical assumptions. The reader is gifted with the foundation that Payne-Tower comes from personally. I loved this section, because it states in no uncertain terms what she will and will not accept in working with the Tarot, its esoteric base, and its traditions. Her stated aim is to clarify core issues, and to understand the logic behind the intersection of Astrology, Alchemy, and Kabbalah.

Chapter 1 – Clairvoyance and Apprehending the Cosmic Body sets the stage, addressing the essential quality at the foundation of all esoteric traditions. It is this quality of magical imagination that is found in historical magi of every age. It is all about knowing your own energy body.

Chapter 2 – The Hermetic Cosmos talks about the mathematical matrix of Ancient Astrology, which Payne-Towler notes is the root source for the working vocabulary of the Western Mysteries. Here we get into the importance of birth charts, and how the planets as they transit our chart affect our lives. From the book: The specific goal of a Tarot Magus is to front-load the cards with these astral values so we can read our Tarot spreads at the greatest number of levels, granting us the most holistic insight into ourselves, our powers, and our times.

Aside: Payne-Towler did a very magical series of classes based on Foundations of the Esoteric Tradition that, in part, reviewed individual class members charts, showing how an individual  can use the movement of the planets to help them understand what is going on in their life.

Chapter 3 – The Alphanumeric Doctrine of Correspondences shows how our modern alphabet was influenced by ancient astronomers to carry numeric and astrological data within each letter. This presents a philosophical foundation for both the Hermetic philosophy and the Kabbalah.

Chapter 4 – The Kabbalistic Alchemists recounts the growth of Kabbalistic thought among the magical Christians of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. In this chapter the reader is introduced to the magic of the Tarot of Holy Light icon (which can be downloaded from Payne-Towler’s site ( , so that the reader can construct their personal chart in Tarot terms.

Chapter 5 The Cosmos In The Tarot discusses the interlocking traditions of the Tarot in a visual manner. In the Pips we see the development of the Alchemical implications of the Doctrine of Essential Dignities.

Chapter 6 The Seven Planetary Properties talks about Jacob Boehme’s insight into the Planetary Properties, showing their esoteric and theological fundamentals. We also see the alchemical interrelations of Astrology as they are projected onto The Kabbalah Tree, analyzing the astral body of the practitioner.

Chapter 7 Yoga of the Restitution examines the worldview and lifestyle associated with Jacob Boehme’s “Yoga of the Restitution”, complete with illustrations created by Boehme’s students. This is incredible artwork!

Chapter 8 Theosophic Spirituality or The Alchemy of the Restitution notes that the root to Boehme’s basic approach and vocabulary were adapted from the Agrippan synthesis, specifically the astro-healing model. This material was taken up by the Rosicrucian and Masonic movements that followed.  It is also interesting to note Boehme’s insistence on the development of visionary skills.

At the end of the book there is a bibliography and an index – both of which are helpful as a foundation for further study.

This is a phenomenal book, going deeply into the esoteric nature of the Tarot. It is well written, well sourced, and very easy to follow. Each time you re-read a section in this book, you will come away with more information. And, whether you agree with it or not, you will come to an understanding of the traditions behind the Continental system of Tarot. It is a wonderful companion to Vol 1 – Tarot of the Holy Light: A Continental Esoteric Tarot. It is a gift to find all of this information gathered in one place! And … Payne-Towler is generous with charts and images – visual cues to understanding this material.

© March 2016 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohbited without written

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Posted by on March 27, 2016 in Tarot


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Holy Light Tarot Classes!

Tarot of the Holy Light

Christine Payne-Towler has given me permission to share this with you in its entirety. An incredible three month class cover the different layers of her deck, Tarot of the Holy Light. I hope to see each of you there!

“Here’s the news about our upcoming 3-month webinar over October, November and December. Everything we are going to talk about is in my recent book, so participants will need to acquire their own copy. The Kindle version is inexpensive, complete (except for bibliography), and in full color. The black and white softback can be bought at, or else from me at (which helps me out if you are in the US or Canada).

The focus of our time together will answer the question, ”What are the layers of meaning in the Tarot of the Holy Light?” We’ll be looking at the Icon, the illustrations and the appendixes, which detail the system of signs/planets/elements inhabiting the cards. In the course of teaching to the deck, I’m simultaneously teaching to the traditions present in the early 1600’s. Therefore this class represents a way of encountering the older magical worldview that maps over to the Tarot outline. I intend to demonstrate the practical applications for all the features that a Renaissance magus would project onto the cards. Topics will include using the deck as a magical calendar, using the Horoscope Spread as a diagnostic tool, deriving personal remedies from the Doctrine of Essential Dignities, approaching the Shem Angels, and more.

The 8th of October makes a great day to start, because if we can meet every other Thursday we’ll manage to escape the holidays. I am proposing that we meet at 4:00 Pacific Time, which will mean the class crosses the dinner hour for some people. The software we are using allows for up to 25 people in the chatroom at a time, but I’m not going to expect every person to attend every class. Each episode will be recorded and therefore people can encounter the material in their own favorite time and situation. I’d like to give it an hour and a half each sitting, if participants don’t consider that overkill.

My charge for this class will be $50 per month per person, though couples can pay $75 per month if that will make it easier for both to attend. That makes $150 total over the 4th quarter of the year. Feel free to get in touch if you want to participate. My e-mail is, or you can find me on Facebook. Please tell your friends, since this letter and announcements in the ArkLetter and at FaceBook are my only forms of advertising. I will be happy to include people right up to the day we start, and possibly after as well. (Frankly, I hope this group continues into next year! But we shall see how it goes….)

Thank you for your interest, please let me know if you need more information before you make up your mind. I might be out of town this week with a family issue in Portland, but after than I’m home until class starts.

Blessings, I look forward to being with you soon!”

Tarot Arkletters

(c) September 2015 Bonnie Cehovet

Reproduction prohibited without permission of the author.

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Posted by on September 25, 2015 in Tarot


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Review – Tarot of the Holy Light App

Tarot of the Holy Light App

Version 1.2.2
Size: 25.9 MB
Language: English
The Fool’s Dog, LLC
© 2012-2013 The Fool’s Dog, LLC

Compatibility: Requires iOS 4.3 or higher. Compatible with iPhone,  iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.

THL main menu

I love the deck that this app is based on – inspired by the 17th century alchemical manuscripts, and evoking Sophia, the divine embodiment of the ancient wisdom of the Abrahamic tribes. My review of “The Holy Light Tarot” can be seen here – on New Reading holy-light/.

This is a Continental style Tarot, drawing upon astrology, Kabbalah, and alchemy. It is a joint effort from Christine Payne-Towler (founder of Tarot University), and artist Michal Dowers.

There are 13 built in spreads, and a free form option, as well the ability to journal your readings, and to share them via e-mail or Twitter. This app is easy to use for both beginners and experts. And added bonus that is of incomparable value is Christine Payne-Towler’s 251 page guidebook to the deck. There is the option to read with reversed cards, to read with Major Arcana only, and to zoom in and enlarge card details. There is an animated shuffle and cut, an optional voice prompts. The user can also customize their own card meanings and reading cloths.

The landing page shows the following links: New Readings, Draw A Card, Today’s Card, Explore, Journal, and Feedback. Clicking on New Reading brings the user to a page that presents a text box for the user to enter their question, followed by a choice of the following spreads: One Card, Past/Present/Future, The Spirit Spread, The Celtic Spread, Free Form Spread, The Zodiac Spread, Comparing Choices, New Love, Going Deeper, Relationship Problems, The Clue Faerie, Breaking Up, Achieving Prosperity, and Archetypes of Character. Below this are Settings, where the user may chose a Reading Cloth, Allow reversed cards, use a significator, use Majors only, draw cards from the top of the deck, draw cards face up, or go straight to the reading.

THL Chariot

The reading begins with options for shuffle and cut. Once the user is satisfied, they press on the blue star to continue. At the top right hand side of the page is the link to Draw, on the top left hand side of the page is the link to the menu. The next screen shows a deck – the user taps on the deck to place each card. In the upper right hand corner of the screen is a link with the options to turn announce cards off, edit the question, change the reading cloth, share the reading, and return to the reading. In the upper left hand corner of the screen is a link to leave the reading. In the lower left hand side of the screen is a link to read the spread. There is a link in the upper right hand with options, and a link in the upper left hand corner to go back to the previous screen. The bottom left hand corner brings up the reading, with upright and reversed meanings for each card. The lower right hand corner takes the user to the journal, where the user has the option to type in their own interpretation. The upper right hand corner of this screen gives the user the option to either share the reading, or to return to the overview.

THL Reading Cloths

Clicking on Draw A Card takes the user to a screen with an enlarged version of the card they drew. The card shows upright and reversed keywords, as well as a link to the full text from Christine’s book. There is absolutely no way that I can emphasize strongly enough how important this book is, and how in-depth it is.

Clicking on Today’s Card gives the user the same options as clicking on Draw A Card.

Clicking on Explore brings the user the following options: About This Deck, Cards, Spreads, Reading Cloths, The Book, Using This App, and Catalog of Decks (from The Fool’s Dog, LLC).Again, a whisper in your ear to refer to Christine’s book to your heart’s content! You will not find a better Tarot reference anywhere!

Clicking on Journal takes the user to a screen that shows the readings that they have saved. There is a link in the upper right hand corner to edit the entry, and a link in the upper left hand corner to go back to the menu. Clicking on the reading brings up the spread, the cards, and their upright and reversed meanings. In the upper right hand corner of the screen is a link to the following options: Share This Entry, Delete This Entry, Additional Comments, and Return to Journal Entry.

Clicking on Feedback brings the user a screen with the following options: I love it!, Comments, and Help me! Clicking on I love it! Allows the user to rate and review the app in the app store, e-mail it to their friends, or Tweet it.

Clicking on Comments allows the user to send comments to The Fool’s Dog, LLC.

Clicking on Help me! Brings the user a screen with the following options: Check the manual, check online FAQ, and Email tech support.

This app is very well done, and very easy to use. The deck is a moment in time all of its own! Continental style, with the best written LWB (Little White Book/Companion Book) that I have ever seen! You will not regret carrying this digital gem around with you!

© 2000 – 2013 Bonnie Cehovet

Reproduction prohibited in all venues without the written permission of the author.

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Posted by on September 25, 2013 in Tarot


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