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The tremendous wave of interest that followed publication, and then the movie, of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code left a lot of excitement, and some confusion, in its wake.
Many readers accept the novel's details as historic fact and want to know more about the Feminine Mysteries and their repression, about Sacred Sexual Rites, the "truth" about Mary Magdalene and Jesus, the extensive use of symbols in architecture and art, the roles of Freemasonry and the Catholic Church, the Illuminati and conspiracies, and the reality of an alternative European spiritual history.
From a "factual" point of view, there isn't a lot that can be authenticated. But, the lack of proof doesn't always mean that these ideas are wrong. The book was a powerful "wake-up call," stirring a lot of interest in these subjects and in Leonardo Da Vinci himself.
Da Vinci was a genius that many believed actually drew inspiration for his many "inventions" from real visions of the future. Whether he was indeed some kind of psychic isn't all that important. Nor is the question of his involvement in some kind of esoteric society or order that may still exist today. However, these questions are all interesting, and will no doubt be explored both in fiction and in "alternative history" projects.
What is important is that he left a record of extraordinary insight into the natural world and into human nature in the form of notebooks, sketches, and artwork. We have only to look at "the record" to confirm this. As a scientist, Da Vinci was far in advance of his contemporaries. His theories were based on careful and precise observations that were recorded in his notebooks. Had these discoveries been published in his lifetime they would have revolutionized sixteenth-century science and advanced thinking for generations after, in areas ranging from meteorology to astronomy, from hydrology to aerodynamics. Today's science and technology could have benefited enormously from Da Vinci's work.
There are his many "inventions" for us to see in his notebooks—inventions that were beyond the capability of his day's technology to produce, including many war machines and even a diving suit. There are his detailed representations of human anatomy. But even more enlightening are his paintings of people—representations showing visions of hidden reality. We see the excellent renderings of men and women in varying situations. But we also see "behind" the outer representation to an awareness of an inner world of psychological and spiritual dimensions. Even in copies and reproductions you can sense these inner dimensions.
For some bizarre reason, we too often believe that such knowledge had to be derived from "teachings" rather than a perfectly sensible conclusion that Da Vinci, and others like him, can directly perceive "more than meets the eye." Knowledge is not limited to academic descent. "Direct Perception" is the alternative. Why not believe that Da Vinci, and others like him, can perceive dimensions of reality hidden to most of us? Some are born with enhanced senses and skills; others have less than the normal complement. Spiritual history is filled with examples of extraordinary occult powers and visions, and these examples are not limited to ancient times. Jesus himself promised that "these things and more shall ye do." We build upon the past, and we—individually and collectively—grow and evolve to become more than we were, but still less than we can and will be.
We learn from geniuses and build upon their knowledge and their example. My particular example today is The Da Vinci Tarot, with its imagery drawn from Da Vinci's artwork and the many sketches and writings of his notebooks. It is from these that the powerfully evocative images of The Da Vinci Tarot were drawn in a project requiring more than ten years of scholarship and artistic production by two of Europe's leading artists, themselves authorities on Da Vinci.
A Tarot deck is not just a collection of seventy-eight pictures. Over centuries of evolution and esoteric development, the modern Tarot is a carefully constructed schema representing the hidden workings behind the apparent world we call "reality." Each image is a crystallization of energies and potencies, a kind of "sacred code" into which the Tarot Reader penetrates to receive visionary answers to properly stated questions.
This matter of "code" is itself an amazing leap in understanding. The idea of a Code is part of our understanding of life, as in the case of "the DNA code," and part of our new ability to interact directly with the physical world as in the cast of "computer code." "Code" is the structure of underlying reality. Through code we gain understanding and knowledge; through code we change circumstance with intended results. Code is the "great secret."
The images of The Da Vinci Tarot embody the truly "occult" perceptions of this Master Genius. Each card is an archetypal presentation of one living factor in our life drama. Together, in a spread or a sequential selection, these factors form a revealing story, or message from the Inner World. The Tarot becomes a "psychic medium," bringing prescient understanding for your unique situation. Each card is a "skrying tool," like a window into the converging forces that are about to manifest in your world—giving you time to move in new directions as this insight may suggest.
The Da Vinci Tarot is one of the most powerful, and beautiful, decks ever produced.
And the Tarot itself is now the Sacred Code that speaks directly to each of us as we are inspired by both image and tradition.
"Code" is more than one thing. It is not only the hidden structure behind "all that is," but is also the mechanism for bringing about change and giving direction to both natural and intentional change. It is, of course, Magick. And it is Science, and it is the Spiritual Vision that must lie behind Living Religion, and that should lie behind Political Action and all other Intentional Activities. Understanding Code and manipulating Code verifies our role as "co-creators" in this evolving universe.
The Da Vinci Tarot, like other esoterically valid Tarot decks, provides a "window" into the reality underlying any situation involving the "client" of the reading. The better this powerful relationship is understood, the better can the Tarot reading bring both understanding and the power of intervention, bending the movement of constant change to correspond to the willed intention of the client and the facilitating reader.
Unlike many other esoterically valid Tarot decks, the images of The Da Vinci Tarot are uniquely universal to the human spirit. Looking at any of the images is to see someone looking back. The particular artistic style provides a nearly three-dimensional rendering, but the genius of Da Vinci has imposed life and awareness into the images. They are truly magical and spiritual. They reflect the genius of the Master.
A genius is like a Biblical Prophet, a kind of "Divine Messenger" igniting sparks of the Divine Fire residing in each of us who comes into contact with the Messenger. Here, the Tarot Deck becomes a medium for that contact, a "bridge between the worlds." Since we are each masters in the making, it is less the message that is important, but the messenger and the contact point the messenger provides to open another window for the human spirit.
And, this is indeed the sign of true genius, of the true master, that even copies of the master's artifacts continue to transmit that energy to open doors and windows of the spirit.
For many, possession of The Da Vinci Tarot will be like owning a personal gallery and museum devoted to the Master's works. Perusing the cards will bring pleasure, inspiration and enlightenment. Meditation on the images may open further "the doors of perception" to the same realms from which Da Vinci drew his insights. This is the potential found working with "people of power"—those who have achieved higher consciousness while having the ability to manifest their insights in the physical world.
The Da Vinci Tarot is a genuine key to higher knowledge.
Carl Llewellyn Weschcke (Minnesota) was the owner and chairman of Llewellyn Worldwide, the world's oldest and largest metaphysical publisher. He played a seminal role in the rise of Wicca and Neo-Paganism in the 1960s and ...