The Tarot of the Holy Light by Christine Payne-Towler and Michael Dowers is an esoteric Tarot deck based on the contintental system of correspondences pre-Golden Dawn. The system taught via the deck and the two companion books can be used with any Marseille-style Tarot deck. Numerological, Kabbalistic (letters, sephiroth and Shem angels) and Astrological correspondences are included and described in-depth.
The production of the deluxe size edition of the deck is amazingly good quality with a smooth linen finish and just the perfect thickness of the cards for shuffling pretty much any way you like. Obviously, with the deluxe version (which is the deck reviewed here), you will get a larger deck. If you have smaller hands or struggle with shuffling larger decks, you may wish to go for the smaller standard version instead. See the image below for size reference compared to a standard Waite Smith deck.
However, I will say that bigger is probably better in this instance because of the intricate and detailed artwork by Michael Dowers. The artwork is a digital collage of old alchemical images. These images have been seamlessly composed, using a bright and beautiful colour palette that makes artwork really pop. I adore the artwork! You can view all the images in the video flip-through below.
Learning a New Language
Expect many delicious moments of weirdness on the journey of learning continental correspondences. This is especially true if you have Golden Dawn correspondences hardwired to your brain. (I do!) I’m currently studying the Hebrew Alef-bait from a Jewish point of view. Understanding the Hebrew letters from a Jewish point of view makes me appreciate the continental system that much more; It just seems to be a better fit with the Major Arcana.
The astrological correspondences are different to those of the Golden Dawn. There is also an additional system of dignities for both upright and reversed meanings in the Minor Arcana; Plenty to get stuck in with and geek out over for Astro-Tarot nerds, in other words!
Having worked with the Golden Dawn system of correspondences for the Shem HaMephorash in the past, I’m now readjusting and learning to include the Aces while excluding the 10s. The 10s represent the Grand Trine of their respective Elements. Hence, the 10s have no Shem angel associated with them in the Tarot of the Holy Light. There is a wonderful tip for working with the Shem Angels in the companion book which includes the Major Arcana cards.
You can get the in-depth meanings for each of the cards in the Fool’s dog app. (If you love this deck, you’ll definitely want to get the app too so you can carry it with you.) However, there many extras that can only be found in the companion book. I haven’t started volume 2, Foundations of the Esoteric Tradition, yet so can’t really comment on that other than to say I can’t wait to dive in. I’m especially interested in learning more about Jacob Böhme and his philosophy.
Tarot of the Holy Light Deck Interview
Describe yourself in three words or less. The Lovers
THL: Harmonising, choosing love
2. How would your best friend describe you in three words or less? 2 of Cups
THL: A loving friend
3. What gift do you bring? 7 of Swords
THL: I’m taking your ability to recognise and understand patterns to the next level. I bring you the gift of disciplined study so that you can achieve more, with greater clarity. You are being prepared for greater things yet to come.
4. What do you expect in return? The Sun
THL: That you keep nurturing your soul and remain self-generating when it comes to creativity. Look always to your own connection with Source instead of looking around.
Me: Why is this card Pisces in the Tarot of the Holy Light?
THL: Did you even listen to what I said?
THL: You’ll get over it soon enough. Keep studying!
5. How can you help me serve? Page of Disks
THL: I can help you stay focused on your studies so that you can begin to change things for the better.
6. Is there anything else you would like to tell me about yourself? Ace of Swords
THL: Expect some astounding insights!
Me: Thanks, I fully do based on what we have experienced together so far!
Buy the Tarot of the Holy Light
You can buy both versions (standard and deluxe) of the deck HERE, along with the companion books, a colouring book and a black & white version of the deck. If you are in the UK, you can also buy vol. 1 of the companion book HERE and vol. 2 HERE (affiliate links).