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Over four thousand years ago, the Sumerians built the world's first cities near the fertile floodplains of ancient Mesopotamia, or Babylonia, as it would later become known. Their sophisticated civilization was so influential that elements of Sumerian culture, including their mythology and alphabet, would survive for millennia.
Traces of Babylonian myth can even be found in the Hebrew Scriptures and, according to Golden Dawn Adept and Tarot artist Sandra Tabatha Cicero, the powerful deities and mysterious incantations of this ancient culture can also be seen as the very root of Western Ceremonial Magick. Babylonian Tarot is beautifully original in concept and design, yet faithful to tarot tradition. The only tarot deck based on the Sumerian mythos, it includes five extra cards-one Trump and four court cards-yet retains the traditional zodiacal, elemental, and planetary associations. The accompanying guidebook includes detailed descriptions of each card, as well as instructions for using the deck in magick and divination.
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Both Chic and Tabatha are Chief Adepts of the Golden Dawn as re-established by Israel Regardie. The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, of which Chic is the G.H. Imperator, and Tabatha is the G.H. Cancellaria, is an international Order with Temples in several countries. The Ciceros have written numerous books on the Golden Dawn, Tarot, and Magic, including Self-Initiation into the Golden Dawn Tradition, The Essential Golden Dawn, Tarot Talismans, and updates, annotations and introductions to classic Israel Regardie texts such as The Philosopher's Stone, The Middle Pillar and A Garden of Pomegranates.
― Introduction ―
Babylonian Tarot is based on the cosmology and legends of ancient
Mesopotamia which is Greek for "the land between the
rivers." Even older than mighty Egypt, Mesopotamia was the
original cradle of civilization located in the Fertile Crescent valley
between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers―an area now occupied
by modern-day Iraq. Archeologists divide Mesopotamia
into two sections: Lower Mesopotamia, which stretched from
the river delta at the top of the Persian Gulf to what is now the
city of Baghdad, and Upper Mesopotamia, which extended
from Baghdad through Eastern Syria to the foothills of the Taurus
Mountains in southeastern Turkey. It was in Mesopotamia,
or Babylonia as it is often called, that the world’s first cities
appeared during the fourth millennium B.C.E.
The city of Babylon has long been the primary symbol
for all of Mesopotamia. The Biblical stories suggest only
negative connotations of the city―hardly an unbiased account.
Ironically, many elements of Babylonian spiritual beliefs,
practice, and mythos have found their way into the Hebrew
Scriptures in such stories as the creation of the universe
and the Great Flood.
Fortunately recent archeological discoveries
have given us a more accurate and balanced description
of a vibrant and deeply religious people.
The Fertile Crescent was the home of the ancient Sumerians―
the builders of the first civilization in Mesopotamia.
Their culture eventually outlasted them and became the basis
for all later Babylonian civilization. The Sumerian way of life,
style of writing, and religious customs were preserved in the
Tigris-Euphrates river valley throughout ancient times by
the kingdoms that followed--the Akkadian, Babylonian, and
The gods and goddesses of the Sumerians were adopted
by successive Babylonian civilizations and although the names
of these deities were often altered, their basic characteristics,
personalities, symbolism, and cosmology changed little.
The Babylonians were an agricultural people who worshipped
the natural forces of the universe that ruled the skies
and governed the fertility of the earth. The relationship between
gods and humans was compared to that between parents
and children. There were cosmic gods, underworld gods,
city gods, and gods of nature.
There were also personal gods
who were thought to favor specific individuals. Oftentimes
the functions of these different classes of divinities overlapped.
Certain gods were thought to be in charge of both
cosmic forces and their earthly counterparts―the cities of
Mesopotamia―whose existence was maintained by the surrounding
It was considered the duty of humanity to carry out the
gods’ will on earth, implementing a divine order that would
secure the prosperity of the land and its people. The gods
were honored with great temples that were the cultural and
economic centers of the city-states. A city itself was considered
the property of its primary deity, and the temple was
the deity’s earthly abode. It was in service to the gods that
the Babylonians conceived many of their most important
contributions to civilization, including writing, which developed
from the need to keep track of temple assets. Every
human endeavor, whether for peace, war, agriculture, or
commerce, was performed for the benefit of the gods, whom
the Babylonians depended upon for every aspect of their
Below the realm of the celestial gods was the realm of
spirits, both good and evil.
Magical incantation developed as
a method of appeasing friendly spirits and driving off malicious
ones. As a result the practice of magic played a very
important role in the religious expression of Mesopotamians.
The average Babylonian employed the services of astrologers
and magi (hereditary priest-magicians) for divination,
healing, blessing of amulets and talismans, purification,
cursing, warding off evil, etc.
Private homes usually contained shrines to the owner’s personal god or goddess, where
prayers and sacrifices were made to attract the deity’s favor.
It is these most ancient deities and spirits of "the Land between
the Rivers" that are the subject of Babylonian Tarot.
The deck is comprised of eighty-three cards divided into
two sections, the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana. The
Major Arcana consists of twenty-three Trump cards. The
Minor Arcana contains sixty cards which are divided into two
groups―the pips, which are the small or numbered cards,
and the court cards.
Seventy-eight of the cards represent the traditional cards
of the tarot with zodiacal, planetary, qabalistic, and elemental
attributions that correspond with those of modern Hermetic
decks such as the Golden Dawn Magical Tarot. There are
five additional cards in this deck, including one extra trump
(the card of Genesis) and four extra court cards. As in most
other decks, the four court cards of the King, Queen, Prince,
and Princess correspond to the four elements of Fire, Water,
Air, and Earth. Babylonian Tarot includes a fifth court card,
the Kerub, which represents the element of Spirit.
There are four suits: Wands, Cups, Arrows (comparable
to Swords), and Disks (comparable to Pentacles). In general,
Wands indicate Fire, great energy and dynamic power; Cups
denote Water, creativity, fecundity, and pleasure; Arrows indicate
Air, intellect, communication, mental faculties, and sometimes
trouble; and Disks suggest Earth, material or worldly affairs,
business, or money. A complete listing of attributions for
every card is given in the appendix.
The Babylonians provided us with humanity’s earliest
written records of social, intellectual, and religious expression.
Theirs was a long and rich history of human innovation
and advancement, progress and set-backs, hopes and fears,
successes and dreams. It is this rich source of knowledge that
inspired the creation of Babylonian Tarot, correlating many of
the major deities and legends of Mesopotamia to the wisdom
of the tarot. Although perhaps not as well-known as emissaries
from other pantheons, these heroic gods and goddesses
are nonetheless every bit as fascinating as their later counterparts
in Egypt, Greece, and Rome.
The Fertile Crescent stills
yields a rewarding harvest for those who wish to cultivate its
Sandra Tabatha Cicero
First Day of Nisan (Vernal Equinox, 2004)
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Book Description Llewellyn Publications, 2006. Cards. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110738707163
Book Description Llewellyn Publications, 2006. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0738707163