Huna Vistas Bulletin 2

Present Project: Tarot Cards

October, 1959

A CHANGE IN OUR MASTHEAD has been made for this issue of our magazine (with “I’m sorry” said in all six directions) from New Horizons to HUNA VISTAS and, if six letters arrive to say this name has been used by six other magazines, Cigbo is going to be spanked with a folded Confederate dollar bill. (He always has to take the blame, being little and never quite sure what is his fault and what is not.)

ABOUT 200 OUT OF THE 946 HRAs whose names have been on the lists since 1953 have responded to the invitation in the last issue to join up afresh and take part in the promising work of tearing apart the lore surrounding the Tarot Cards, then putting the good pieces together again to get something new, delightful, and possibly closer to the truth. While this is not a large mailing list for our “magazine,” it is fair, and it is bound to grow as the fun becomes fast and furious.

MOST OF THE ARRIVING LETTERS have been full of approval for the Tarot investigation, although some say the writer knows nothing of the subject as yet. HRA A.F. of California says flatly that she does not like the Tarot, but hopes there will be something else of interest in the releases.

HRA M.M., also of California, writes in part, “I can’t tell, even on rereading (the first issue) whether you are seriously planning a study of the Taro or whether it is merely one of your whimsical ways of starting a new group to further Huna. Please elucidate. I have had a couple of friends who interested themselves in Taro Cards, but I have never investigated them at all, so know nothing about how they are used or whether there might be some occult knowledge gained from their study. Please allow me a little fuller knowledge of your real intentions. I felt you were talking with your tongue in your cheek and were putting the ritual of the Taro meeting in the same category as Cigbo.”

WHAT IS IT THAT ONE SAYS when one tells a joke and no one laughs? One painfully explains, or one says, “Skip that one.” In all seriousness, I would like to kid off the boards most of the foolishness which is taken so seriously by lodge members and also the sucker bait stuff offered by the “course” peddlers who set out to “invite” the sucker in every possible way to fly into the web and receive the “secret, ancient and forbidden wisdom initiation” all for a donation to the Foundation for Sucker Bilking. To my admittedly distorted sense of humor, the imaginary Lodge, with Cigbo as Keeper of the Door and myself as “High Card” or Two of Clubs, adds up to fun, and I feel that with a study of the Taro undertaken in such a serious manner as I propose, we should take time out for a bit of relaxation and a few grins. The study now begun is part of the general Huna investigation which we have been carrying on for several years.

HRA G.H. OF CANADA WRITES, “I just can’t understand how you are going to make a CLEAN SWEEP (of current books and beliefs concerning the Tarots) and at the same time ask for opinions on the books which clutter the (Lodge) Room. Or do you want every fellow member to present material to which he or she has access? If so, can I mention THE EGYPTIAN REVIVAL or THE EVER COMING SON IN THE LIGHT OF THE TAROT by Frater Achad, and especially the chapter, ‘More Light on the Tarot Trumps’ and the UNIVERSAL TRADITION, which transcends what we call ‘Light and Darkness.’ Is the material ‘scant’ because it must be looked at only in the light of Huna since you say ‘Huna remains the standard measuring stick for use in an approach to all psycho-religious material?” Looks as if it is true that whatever any man may know, the human race knows more, and that it is only on a basis as broad as humanity itself that the structure of truth on any subject can be reared. Perhaps you think Huna is the Universal Tradition, but if so, dear LODGE SWEEPER, let us see what this ‘Initiation’ can do for us. For another thing, you will have to prove to me that ‘William James has not yet been equaled as a writer on psychology.’ Oh, the FOOL. Could it be that this is the end and not the beginning?”

THE LODGE SWEEPER REPLIED that he had said that all material worth its salt in evidence of verity will be brought back after suspicious inspection. The discussion is wide open and ideas and contentions are invited. For instance, I had never heard of Frater Achad and his books, and have written to beg the loan of the material so that I may be informed. He might be the ultimate authority on all of the truths surrounding the Tarot, for all I know. I contend that a “Universal Tradition” is not necessarily true even if it is generally believed. Once we all thought the earth was flat, but it turned out not to be. Yes, for me at least, everything has to be examined in the light of Huna. I have found no other system which includes so much so well, and if I find someone who says that the Taro does not allow the three selves of Huna, I shall pout and pack up my doll rags and go home. William James came the nearest to Huna, so to me, he is the very greatest. Besides, his degree reading is by far the highest of any person I have ever discovered writing in an exploratory vein about psychology. If anyone can find as inclusive and well-based a set of beliefs as those of Huna to use as a measuring stick, I want to know about them and will stand open to conversion, but if Frater Achad is to be the authority to offer a better measuring stick, I want to have him take off his mask and come clean as to his standing and as to the authority upon which he bases HIS authority. If anyone wonders why I am so suspicious, may I point to years and years of sorting clay feet to try to find shoes which are filled by feet worthy of the name. I am not a teacher and NOT an authority. I welcome all questioning of my opinions. If we are to get to first base in this investigation of the Taro, we must all exercise the greatest care in accepting the statement of anyone. (This applies, painful though it may be to him, to High Card in particular. Poor chap; he knows so very little and SUSPECTS SO VERY MUCH.) To make myself clear on the matter of “authority” let me say that if I learn in due time that someone has better proof of his favored beliefs than I have for mine, I will go over to his side. But if he simply says, “This is true because I say so,” then mine is the old “Retort discourteous”… whatever that may have been.

TARO CARD SYMBOLOGY – Initiatory Unit 2

THE LODGE will once more come to a state of disorder. The Door Keeper will close and lock all the doors so that no FIRST DEGREE INITIATE can escape. He will then pronounce the very secret and absolutely sacred password in his own unutterably bold manner. From beyond the locked door at the right comes “ME000OWL.” (The Door Keeper has accidentally locked himself out.) We all happily respond, “CIGBO!” The adorable High Card gathers up his flowing ceremonial robes, stumbles over the golden apron, recovers, and advances to the outer door. There he knocks his head thrice on the floor before the locked door, whispers the sacred password thrice, is helped to his feet by a late arrival who does not know the door is locked and who has just come in. Someone remembers that the Tarot Pack must be taken from the box and placed on the central altar, and performs the function in great haste. All of the seasoned First Degree members rise from the chairs they have managed to obtain and bow to what they imagine to be the four corners of something or other. The several new arrivals demand impatiently, “What’s this all about? What kind of a robe can we wear, and what is to prevent us from also being of the First Degree? We have paid the donation and expect the “Full and Confounding Secret in a SEALED Envelope by Return Mail.” Everyone chorus in answer, “They have donated! So be it. Let them in.”

The Lodge advertising agent begins handing out folders offering a Ph.D. degree for $5 and seven box tops from Tarot Packs. A dense silence becomes evident. The lovely girl in the white robes comes slow step by slow step from the shadows at the far end of the room. In her beautifully uplifted hands she carries a lighted candle. There is soft music and an intoxicating perfume fills the air. At last she arrives at the front of the room and mounts the platform, turns impressively to the altar and lifts the chimney of the lamp. The music becomes only a whisper. All is expectation. The drama of the return of light to the darkened world is being reenacted. She touches the candle flame to the wick. Nothing happens. Again she tries. Alas! The world must remain in darkness! The candle goes out. “For heaven’s sake,” cries the Lighter, “one of you Low Cards turn on the lights and shut off the phonograph. I forgot to put oil in the fool lamp this afternoon!” (Cigbo is heard scrambling away at top speed beyond the outer door. This may be blamed on him, or so he suspects.) High Card puts a cough drop in his mouth, and when the lights at last go on, stands, raises one hand and one foot and intones regally, “I declare this Lodge of the Ancient Order of HRA Taro open.”

UNFINISHED BUSINESS is, as usual, taken up by the Lodge. All committees which have done nothing at all have the chairman rise and lie happily, “Our committee REPORTS PROGRESS.”

No one has reported anything very new on the meaning of the symbology of the FOOL, or 0 card of the Tarot, but one member asks whether it might not be considered the end instead of the beginning card of the Major Trump sequence. As Zero is not larger than the number 21, the suggestion is sent back for better proof.

A Canadian member sends a booklet titled, THE EVOLUTIONARY HALLUCINATION, which argues that Topsey simply just couldn’t have “just growed” like it said in the book. When the “Fall” came and THE FOOL fell off the cliff into material life as the first mulligrub, someone must have stayed up high to hold the growth patterns over the evolving mass and guide the growth. This seems to be the Huna idea also. If there are no objections, the point will be considered well taken.


All First Degree members will produce the illustrations which they received in the dear, departed NEW HORIZONS single issue, and will consider them.

THE GREAT SECRET of the Taro was hidden by a simple numerical code which, so far as High Card (acting as pro tem lecturer) can learn, has seldom been known, and NEVER given out in print.

THE CODE is simple “numerology.” One first changes the Taro card numbers (of the Major Trumps only) from Roman to Arabic like this: take THE HANGED MAN, No. XII and change it to No. 12. Now add the 1 and the 2 together and you get 3, which is the “value of the number,” to use the phrase from Numerology, XX is 20, and 2 plus 0 is 2, so that is a 2 value card.

Now turn to your sheet of illustrations on which THE FOOL appears at the left side. Note that on the sheet appear nine cards, set in three rows of three cards each. The top row has all of the cards of the Majors which add to the value of the number 1. The second row cards add to the value of 2, and the third to the value of 3. There you have the SECRET ORDER of what may be called the center section of the Major secret spread.

On the next sheet, with THE EMPEROR, No IV, at the top left, will be seen six pairs of cards, each pair adding to the same value or number. Note in particular the two paired cards which, by this method, are set together instead of being No. VI and No. XV in the order of the pack. These pairs are symbols, apparently, of contrasting good and bad in the item symbolized. In THE LOVERS we see the normal and ideal love in which the Aumakua hovers over and blesses the union. In THE DEVIL card we see the man and woman chained to the square block of the physical passions and presided over by lower forces. (We will come back to these meanings much later in other degrees.)

If the paired cards are set to the left and right of the center Spread of nine cards, one might guess that the nine center cards could stand for 9 planets in astrology, while the paired cards at the sides, numbering 12 in all, could stand for the 12 signs of the zodiac. The guess, however, is a bad one which has very little to verify it. The Sun and World cards, true, are in the center spread, but the Moon is with the pairs. There is nothing, actually, to indicate that any card stands for any astrological sign, decan of degrees or for any of the planets other than sun, moon and earth.

The books dealing with the Tarot Cards are filled with contradictory claims making the various cards fit in with an astrological scheme. This is perfectly legitimate ONLY if the cards are arbitrarily used as MARKERS to represent signs, planets and stars. If this arbitrary use of the cards as markers is accepted, horoscopes can be set up with them instead of using a chart and the usual symbols and numberings of houses, progressions and such. The cards, as has been noted, lend themselves admirably to this arbitrary assignment of astrological values, and one of our best handbooks to aid the amateur to read a horoscope was written by two of our seasoned HRAs, using ordinary cards for the markers.

Forcing the Tarots to fit the CABALA of the early Jewish rabbis is, in a similar way, unjustified except to use the cards as markers to indicate the several units in the long tortured mystical and theosophical system. It just happened that, with the Zero card counted in the Major trumps, the cards numbered 22, as do the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. This gives no more connection between the original Taro symbol meanings than does the fact that in the secret order of laying out the cards there are 12 units in the pairs of opposites symbolized. Papus and others, including the late Paul Case, built a series of “teachings” around the supposed connection between the Tarots and the Cabala. Others have built their set of “TRUTHS” on the unsound foundation of Tarots for Astrology. We have swept all these things out of the Lodge in making our first “clean sweep,” and should any lodge member wish to bring them back to make them a part of the dogma we are formulating, the pros and cons must be argued.

Frank Lind, an English occultist, in his small book, How to Understand the Tarot, puts it this way.

“Astrologers, Alchemists, Qabalists, Mystics, have all vied in trying to make the Tarot conform to their own system of belief. As Grillot de Givry rightly remarks, the agreement between the Hebrew alphabet and the cards of the Major Arcana does not go far. ‘It is quite impossible that the Tarot will be able to claim a Semitic origin.’ Gerard van Rijnberk gives a list of no less than twelve authorities upon the Tarot, who supply us with astrological correspondences between the twenty two cards of the Major Arcana and the signs of the Zodiac or planets. Since none of them is in complete argeement, it is clearly demonstrated that such an exact correspondence cannot be found. Perhaps the closest associations are between the cards and Numerology, though very little attention has been paid to this fact.” (He almost hit on the code?)

NOW, IN THE LODGE, all First Degree members may consider themselves initiated into the SECOND DEGREE. What you have just [been] told concerning the secret order of the Tarot Spread must never, no NEVER, be divulged to anyone who has not donated to the non-profit Cigbo Foundation for the Betterment of Scratching Kats. That is, unless one happens to feel like it and has a good friend whom one hopes to coax into the HRA fold to be further initiated and enlightened. All joshing aside, (go way Cigbo!) this is a very great and valuable bit of information in so far as the lore of Taro Cards may go. I once, soon after falling almost accidentally upon the “code,” started to speak about it to an English recluse in Honolulu, who made a meager living telling the cards and casting horoscopes. I was brought up standing by his shocked, “But where did you get that? It must never be mentioned! Are you an initiate also?” I said that I knew nothing of initiation. “Then what,” he demanded, “is the meaning of the HERMIT?” I said, “The Guardian Angel lighting the Path for me!” He almost wept. “Please never divulge what you have by accident found. It is the most sacred inner secret initiatory lore.”

ALL OF THIS, Initiates of the Second Degree of HRA Taro, brings us back to the very burning question put to me by our very seasoned occultist HRA in Canada who asked what good this proposed “Initiation” was supposed to do us. I am like the Bishop who said to the children of a Sunday School class, “Is there anything any of you children would like to ask me?” One small boy raised a hand and said eagerly, “Yep. Just how many legs does a caterpillar really have?” The Bishop pondered, turned slightly pink …. and had an inspiration. Beaming, he turned to the class and said, “Would any little girl like to answer this little boy’s question?”

Frankly, I do not know. What good does any genuine or fancied answer to the vast question of Life do us? Perhaps none at all. Perhaps with all the difference between feeling that we zero off the cliff with the FOOL and fall into the abyss of oblivion, and stepping with confident understanding across the border when we pass and meet the golden future on the “other side.” I have had a wonderfully inspiring letter recently from HRA H.F. in Chicago, who was desperately ill a few months ago in San Francisco, and for whom I worked daily with might and all my “main” to call down HELP. He wrote, “When I was so very sick in San Francisco, I died in the hospital. I was medically dead. I was revived and came back, set going again like a tired old clock, wound again and oiled. A good many people have had this experience, but few bring back any recollections, possibly because of traumas, or because their minds could not retain what they experienced. But I have a vivid and authoritative set of recollections and, without detailing them. let me say that what’s in store passes understanding. It makes one impatient to get back there.”

So what good does any “occult” information do any of us? I humbly submit that anything that we can accept as reasonable and therefore rational, helps us in the joyous task of living now, and in approaching the “transition to the other side” which I increasingly believe to be one of the most beautiful and rewarding experiences, after a life of inquiring living and searching for valid materials.

Yes, I BEAR WITNESS daily, hourly, joyously to the endless KINDNESS of na Aumakua, and of that UNKNOWABLE which encompasses us all and upholds us. I give thanks for each tiniest ray of Light which I find in the heavy darkness which surrounds us. To me, such are the benefits of this initiation.

The ORIGINATORS OF THE TARO found much LIGHT. This is self-evident. They left us the symbols on the cards. We have but to look at them and weigh the truth of what they found and endeavored to pass on down to us. Tradition tells us that they entrusted to gaming cards the symbolic truths, knowing that, in the hands of the unenlightened masses, the Light would be preserved for posterity. The time seems to have been the thirteenth century, or it might have been the twelfth. The place may have been Spain. Or there might have been an earlier origin in India or even in China. We do not know. But we can read clearly the messages they left for us and hid behind the number code to preserve it from tampering.

INITIATES OF THE SECOND DEGREE, reach out and take your dear heritage from the past. Consider the center spread of the Taro. Look at the three cards standing in a row, all with the value of ONE. They give us the beginning, middle and end of a span of many lives during which we evolve … grow from grade to grade.

HERE THE PICTORIAL MESSAGE IS VERY CLEAR. Consider the card called THE MAGICIAN. Here is a man with a hand reaching to heaven for the Guidance and consciousness and substance and force needed to begin life at the lowest levels. The hand pointing downward shows where we begin, at the bottom, to evolve. That we evolve soon as male and female is indicated by the design of the rose and lily of the lower levels. Happily we go two by two.

THEN COMES THE “WHEEL.” It repeats the story. On one side of the wheel we descend as part of the lower kingdoms, becoming in time animals, and eventually ascending with the turn of the WHEEL as men who have an animal body but play host to a unit of Auhane consciousness. Above the wheel sits the Sphinx, and in it is repeated the symbol of the animal body and the conscious mind host. But in the Sphinx also is symbolized the Aumakua, always making the mold into which the lesser brothers grow. The sword is that of Aumakua power and authority. In the four corners, if you will, may be symbolized the other great spirit levels whose entities help create and make the perfect patterns in aka substance so that we may grow into them more perfectly with every revolution of the Wheel, if we consider it as one of many incarnations.

THE ULTIMATE GOAL IS THE “SUN” … the end of the progression. It symbolizes the Aumakua as the Father and the Mother, straight rays for one, curved rays for the other, but conjoined. The message is repeated in the child mounted on the white horse and carrying the winding banner. In older cards, the child is replaced by a pair, a smiall boy and a small girl, arm in arm. Here is the ending in which we graduate from one level to the next, the Auhane now joined with its mate, and the two being joined in the mystic rite of “the marriage which is made in heaven.” They become an Aumakua pair, and theirs is the task of guiding the white horse, which can stand for the Aunihipili and Auhane pair coming up from the grades to learn the next level lessons of living. For us, this is enough. Beyond the level and experience of the Aumakua we cannot see, and it is, indeed, far enough ahead to take all the strength of our limited vision. It is goal enough for our needs.


A great kahuna once stressed the most important growth element when he said, “But the greatest of these is LOVE.” We grow by obeying the attraction which pulls microscopic life units together to make cells, and then organisms, after which a love attraction begins to show, and man and woman begin to draw close together. Love becomes more and more perfect and after the necessary living experience, it becomes the soul of UNION. Look at the card pair of THE LOVERS, where the union is taking place without fetters. Then look at the chained pair locked together by lower attraction but held apart by their inability to love unselfishly and completely. Note the upraised hand of the DEVIL, with the fingers separated to give the curse of apartness or separation, under which, no matter how they try, the pair cannot come to blend in perfect love to become na Aumakua …. not yet, but some day in the far ahead time to come. If the artist had understood, she would have drawn the hands of the Aumakua, hovering above the perfect lovers, with two fingers extended close together to give the blessing of union in contrast with the curse of separation symbolized in the hand of the Devil figure. We see how the story is repeated and repeated in the various cards.


[This] has been claimed by many to go back to early Egypt. In his book on the Tarot, The Fainted Caravan, Basil Rakoczi argues that the Tarot was, as the Gypsies (he says) claim, preserved fragments of the ancient Egyptian Book of Toth (or Hermes). The Gypsies, it is explained, call Toth “Tarosh,” or “Tahoti,” and from those names comes “Tarot.” I have gone through the Mead translation of the “Thrice Greatest Hermes” original and have failed to see how, without stretching the point too much, anyone can show the card symbols originating there.

In our last release I pointed out the fact that “Taro,” is a word which, in the Polynesian dialect of the Hawaiian na kahuna, names the Aumakua in its office of making the future for the lower pair of selves and acting as guide. The meaning of “Royal Road” assigned to the Hermetic writings does not appear in the Huna meaning given Taro (Kalo: the sound of T being K and r being 1 in modern setting down of sounds).

Court de Gebelin is said to be the first to make a study of the origin of the Taro, and it was he (discounting the supposed Gypsy claim) who announced that the Taro came from early Egypt. There is some confusion as to claims that one or another of the scholars discovered and copied Tarot Card designs from temple originals in Egypt, but these designs, when compared to genuine pictures preserved to us from those far days show too many signs of being fraudulent. Most of them, as they appear on the cards, do violence to the very set custom of drawing used at that supposed time in Egypt. (Full face was for statues, profiles for drawings.)

To make matters worse, the cards with the Egyptianized drawing of the symbol pictures are numbered with HEBREW LETTERS! This is preposterous. In addition, certain very modern astrological signs were placed on the cards. The early Egyptians had their own very well standardized system of numbers and numbering. They used lines of vertical straight marks for everything up to ten, or used a star for five, and for higher numbers they had a good set of glyphs …. and they had possessed these long before the time of Moses.

THE STANDARD TAROT CARD comes down to us with pictures drawn of things as familiar as a Catholic priest, and with Roman numerals identifying the cards in a manner widely used in Europe in the middle centuries. The secret number code uses Arabic numerals, and these were also known, perhaps better in Spain at that period because of the invading Moors and their influence on European schools of learning.

Mixed with the pictures of things common to the Europe of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, however, we find in such cards as are illustrated in the books such very Egyptian things as the Sphinx and the crocodile. One may well ask if they were in the original drawings, or if they were borrowed in much later times from the spurious designs imitating things Egyptian.

Unfortunately, the word “Tarot” is the only one to come down to us in whatever original language may have been used. The titles are always, in modern times, in European languages.


[It] also includes some of the work of the 3rd degree, which is mainly concerned with the meanings of the central spread cards. All those who have gone along this far are entitled to belong to the 2nd degree, whether they agree or not to what the lecturer has set before them or whether or not a single thing has been understood. In this Lodge we are democratic, if nothing else. Anyone wishing to argue points or suggest other or better ones is invited to do so.

THE TAROT CARD PACK we are using (as the best available at this time) may be obtained, together with the book originally written by Waite, post paid for $5 from CLARK PUBLISHING Co., 845 Chicago Ave., Evanston, Ill. All HRAs who plan to learn the ins and outs of telling fortunes with the cards, later on in our discussions, will want the pack and the book. The book goes as far as any toward giving the divinatory significance of the cards, but keep in mind that you will be given a radically different method of laying out the cards and of peering into the future a la Old High Card, when we get that far along. High Card has used this method (of his own invention) for many years, and has always guaranteed the future to be as he has foretold it or to tell it all over again if it does not come true.

HOME WORK FOR CANDIDATES FOR THE 3rd DEGREE might consist of making a meditative study of the cards of the center spread as shown in the illustration, and seeing what symbolic significance appears, always watching for indications of the “laws” under which one lives and evolves, or for indications of the beginnings and endings. In contemplating the paired cards which flank the nine cards of the center spread, look for a symbolic statement of the good and bad or right and wrong conditions or ways of living and working. Look for contrasts in life in terms of physical success and spiritual unfoldment into understanding. We will discuss the probable meanings in the next issue of HUNA VISTAS.


Psychometric Analysis, ($3 plus 12¢ sales tax in California only) is now ready. Announcements are being sent out very slowly, but orders may be placed with me at any time now. The book suggests that groups of five be formed, all of the members to learn to make the P.A. (Biometric) readings and then to be able to check back and forth for accuracy. Everything needed to make a training biometer (except a pendulum) comes with the book, special tapes and charts being under the dust jacket.

ILLUSTRATIONS OF THE LESSER ARCANA of the Taro Cards have been printed by offset for us, and are enclosed on two sheets with this release so that all may see what the full pack (which we will use) is like. KEEP YOUR ILLUSTRATION SHEETS. We will be discussing them constantly as we go along. [CLICK HERE for a .pdf copy of these pages.]

THE LODGE WILL NOW BE CLOSED. Someone will gather up the cards, and Cigbo will unlock the doors to allow members to escape. All    members who insist on believing and forcing others to believe in the validity of the Egyptian Tarot symbols or the Hebrew letter significance may remain to be lost in thought in the Lodge Room until next session. MFL

Here is a suggestion

For a temporary set of Taro Cards, get 78 pieces of heavy white cardboard of the size illustrated here: 3 by 4 3/4 inches which is the size of the standard Taro pack, then cut and paste on your illustrations. They are smaller than the card and you can write in meanings on the margins to help later in telling fortunes or explaining Huna or inner meanings to friends. If your cards curl, paste a piece of paper the same size as the illustration on the back of the card. In this way light index cards can be used.

Shuffle this set by “pouring” the cards together without bending them. Pour so they fall well past the pasted on parts or the edges will tear off pasted bits. Awkwardy but it can be done with practice. Always do all the shuffling yourself and play safe. So far as I know, this pack is not now for sale in countries outside the U.S.A. English and foreign friends of Cigbo, (he asks me to remind them) can send International Postal Reply Coupons to help with the job of scratching. MFL

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