Mona Lisa Smile: On the Empress, the Third Card in the Tarot

Episode 84 · October 14th, 2020 · 1 hr 19 mins

About this Episode

This second instalment in our series on the major trumps of the traditional tarot deck features the Empress. As Aleister Crowley writes in The Book of Thoth, this card is probably the most difficult to decipher, since it is inherently "omniform," changing shapes continuously. In a sense, the Empress is variation itself. Her card becomes the occasion for a conversation about the less knowable side of reality, the one that tradition associates with the Yin, nature, potential, and -- controversially -- the feminine. This in turn leads to a discussion of white versus black magic, and how the two may not always be as diametrically opposed as we might believe.


P.D. Ouspensky, The Symbolism of the Tarot
Anonymous, Meditations on the Tarot: A Journey into Christian Hermeticism
Weird Studies episode 82 on the I Ching
Patrick Harper, The Secret Tradition of the Soul
Aleister Crowley, The Book of Thoth
Simon Magus, religious figure
Henri Gamache, The Mystery of the Long Lost 8th, 9th, and 10th Books of Moses
Solomon grimoires
Lionel Snell/Ramsay Dukes, English magician
Weird Studies episode 3 on Arthur Machen's "The White People"
Joséphin Péladan, French magician
Susanna Clarke Piranesi
Shawshank Redemption, film
Franz Liszt, musician
Twin Peaks: The Missing Pieces