Present Study: Taro Cards
THE NEW MASTHEAD FOR HUNA VISTAS makes its bow with this issue and without either the benefit of skill or artistry. It is supposed to suggest a grass house of the early days in Hawaii when na kahuna were still important people. If you admire the idea (if not the execution of it on the stencil), the grass house will remain safely empty. If you join Cigbo in making uncomplimentary remarks, a kahuna may materialize inside the house casting a little spell or something. That is an outrigger canoe on the water, even if the supports for the outrigger seem a bit long. Cigbo is entirely wrong when he insists that we of the HRA should have a “KATamaran.” If anyone can, and will, draw a better Hawaiian VISTA on a mimeograph stencil and send it to me, I will trace in the lettering and put it to use.
INFORMATION ON TARO CARD SYMBOL MEANINGS continues to arrive, some taken from books and/or courses, but some individually evolved. Everything is happily tossed into the pot, and there is, as yet, no telling what the brew will turn out to be. The distant lands are now reporting in. Several varieties of Taro pack have been mentioned, most of them new to me. For the present we will use the set designed by Waite and for sale by FATE magazine, whose address was given as the Clark Publishing Co., in the last issue of HUNA VISTAS.
SPEAKING OF FATE MAGAZINE (to which I subscribe), several of the HRAs have written to call my attention to an article on the cards titled, “Playing Cards Mystic Symbols Of Ancient Egypt.” It was written by Leigh Wakefield, who has nicely presented the current beliefs covering the Egyptian origin of the cards, but, of course, offers little real proof of the verity of his claims. The article is illustrated with a poor reproduction of two wall paintings from an unspecified date, but of the early period. The faces are, so far as I could make out, all drawn in profile, which was the customary way for flat surfaces in the early dynasties. As I pointed out in the earlier release, the Tarot Cards have full face drawings predominant. The article argues that the pips on our cards are deduced from Egyptian firsts, with the red and black symbolizing light and darkness as indicative of Set and Ra. That is all well enough, but we can make the various characteristics of the symbols fit almost any land or set of religious beliefs. The moon month and the 52-week year also fail to prove the Egyptian origin. Entertaining reading, but not convincing for our purposes.
MORE ABOUT PAK SUBU & “SUBUD” RELIGION has come to light in a very informative and entertaining book by Husein Rolfe, himself born in England, but of Syrian parentage. After being educated in England, he started to travel and became a Mohammedan. In 1950 he arrived in Java and soon heard of Pak Subu, one of many leaders of small religious groups, but also a believer in Islam, even if well saturated with the several current versions of religious systems borrowed from India. He tells of his initiation and regular attendance at the “exercises” over a period of several years. Pak Subu had evolved his own system and initiated himself, then his wife and some followers. The influx of a flow of “Power” could be started simply by having one who had been “opened” or initiated sit with one uninitiated for a time. The initiated met a few times a week for exercises which consisted of waiting for the “Power” to take over and begin to work changes of a mysterious order for personal perfecting of health and behavior. Some spoke in languages not familiar to them; some remembered passages from teaching perhaps touched in former lives (but not explained in just that way). Some jerked and postured and the author did such hearty dancing that he had to be given a whole room to himself at the exercises. He was healed of minor things and, in time, became an “opener” and also a healer, even of the uninitiated. A very important item in his healing practice was that he often picked up the symptoms of the ones healed. This became so bothersome that he gave up healing. (Pak Subu was not said to suffer in this way. In passing, it is of interest to recall that na kahuna of Polynesia had a regular ritual of cleansing which they used on the patients before healing them, and on themselves after bringing about the healing.)
Almost from the first years, Pak Subu had urged Rofe to take up the task of spreading the word of his religion in Europe and making arrangements to finance visits by the head and his immediate group to selected centers which were made ready. It was not until after several years had passed that this missionary project was undertaken. After visiting Japan and Hong Kong and starting small centers there, he arrived in England in June of 1956. A friend soon introduced him to the philosophies of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky. The followers of this combination of beliefs had lost their leaders and were ripe for something new which Rofe was eager to present in the form of Subud. There were four centers with 1,200 members to be visited in England and one or more in Europe. Bennett and his English friend, identified only as “Ronald,” seem to have led the groups into the Subud fold and to have financed the first visit of Pak Subu, after which the ball began to roll and visits were made in other lands, including the Americas. Centers were established and “openers” appointed. Bennet wrote his book, “Concerning Subud,” taking the opportunity to add what seems to have been a number of the beliefs and theories earlier held by his groups, giving Subud, with its mixture of several systems, a new and complex character. But basically, the “opening” and the exercises remained almost stripped of theories. One simply stood ready and expectant, with no long preparation and, despite one’s accepted beliefs, the “Power” took over and began its correcting and perfecting works. Several of the HRAs have been “opened” and have attended exercises regularly. About half of them write that they have been well pleased with the experience and the changes. The others have had little to show for their time and efforts.
ALL OF WHICH BRINGS US BACK TO “E-THERAPY” which Kitselman compounded after a fling at Ron Hubbard’s “Dianetics.” Mr. Kitselman is an authority on some phases of Buddhism, and it is to be guessed that he found the same elements in that religious system as did Pak Subu. Both men came up with an almost identical basic teaching, and the exercises were almost the same. In “E-Therapy” the candidates came to sit in a group and wait for the Higher Power and Intelligence, called “E” for convenience, to take them over just as does Subu’s “Power.” There was a similar response in which things were uttered and in which physical actions were often strong. One began to watch for the inner voice or hunch from the “E” telling what one should do. As it was difficult to know what came from “E” and what was imagination, some rather absurd things were done. In one instance, Mr. Kitselman was routed out of bed at 3 A.M. by an enthusiastic group member who was sure his “E” had commanded him to visit Kitselman at that hour.
There seems to be little doubt that suggestion plays a part in the automatic actions in Subud and E-Therapy exercise periods. It would also seem that one must be more or less sensitive in a psychic way. Perhaps the HRAs who have failed to respond to either form of initiation have been out of the Psychometric Analysis or Biometric degree level in which the natural psychics occur. This guess is backed by the P.A. readings taken of Pak Subud, Bennetyt and Rofe. They all have readings just above the 350 degree mark. One is led to suspect that spirits of a good and helpful nature may be playing the part of the “Power” and of “E,” taking over if one is sensitive and becoming very active as a guide” or mentor. In Spiritualism, mediums have spoken unfamiliar things, postured, contorted, jerked, sang and danced under the supposed influence of the spirits of the dead. In any event, healing and general good are reported by those who react.
H.R.A. Dr. N.S. Hanoka has out a booklet, “The Advantages of Healing” by Visible Spectrum Therapy.” The subject is well handled and dietary rules given. It is also of interest to those of us in the HRA who write and publish, as this is printed in India by Bharti Association Publications, Ghaziabad U.P., India. Copies may be ordered from Dr. Hanoka, 1587 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago 22, Ill., the price being $ .30 including postage.
ROUND ROBIN magazine, recently taken over from HRA Meade Layne by Riley Crabb, has taken on a fine new lease of life, gone back to the full 8 1/2 x 11 size, and improved in mimeographing quality. Illustrations are sometimes run by the offset process, and the articles are varied to cover a wide field of interest. All the latest news of occult thought and discovery is given, and Mr. Crabb’s approach to the complex field of the Flying Saucer puzzle is fully as sane and sound as Meade Layne’s when he pioneered that speculative field and offered the theory of materialization to give a working basis on which to try to understand the strange things appearing in our skies. Subscription price is $5 the year. The address: Riley Crabb., P.O. Box 548, Vista, Calif. (Yes neighbors of HUNA VISTAS, and Mr. Crabb and his delightful wife are valued friends as well as HRAs of long standing. They are, at this writing, traveling about lecturing, and striving to inject sanity into the field of Flying Saucers and general Occultism. The Saucer Lecture is to be had for $1 and is highly recommended. )
THE “ABERREE” for December came in mid November (Published by Alpha and Alice Hart. P.O. Box 526, Enid,, Okla. $2 per year) It specializes in giving readers all the latest in the very modern versions of metaphysical thought and invention. It kids many things delightfully. Good friend of Huna.
In line with the question of how much suggestion plays a part in such things as E-Therapy, Subud and Scientology, an article by Art Coulter on page 6 of the ABERREE is well worth considering. I find in it the argument that whenever one person of a pair remains alert and mentally in command, while the other relaxes and remains open to outside influences, the element of suggestion enters in. This suggestion may be oral or silent, intended or not, but it is always there to some degree. Coulter points out the fact that when, in these therapies or initiations, the relaxed candidate becomes more and more suggestible, the outside guidance or control is unmistakably at work. The subject is told what to expect, and it is then the expectations are suggestively materialized. In this way the subject comes to see past lives, speak in strange tongues, posture or dance or what have you. The more open to subtle suggestion one may be, the greater the success of the process. If healing is expected, it may come. If one expects the “E” or the “Power” to tell one how to get along better with husband or wife, one does what one already knows should be done. The great power of suggestion is, according to Huna, increased as more and more mana is put into the work. Consider the following report.
HRA John M. of New York writes: “You will remember that some time ago I told you that I was taking up the study of hypnosis. … Whenever I hypnotize a subject who has a cold, I suggest to him that at the count of ten he will break out into a sweat, and as soon as the fever is sweated out, his head will fall on his chest and he will go into a deep sleep. I then send an extra flow of mana with the help of na Aumakua asking that they completely heal the ailment. It has worked every time so far. A few weeks ago I cut my middle finger on my right hand to the bone at about ten in the morning. During the noon hour I treated my finger with suggestion and the Huna prayer to na Aumakua. By evening I found that the cut was completely healed and not a mark showing, although fully half of the finger had been cut to the bone. Auto-suggestion has done wonders for me.”
“WATCHER ON THE HILLS“ by Dr. Raynor C. Johnson (Hodder & Stoughton, publishers in England. Price 21 shillings. A book store will order one for you if not in stock.) is now out, and is a significent and sympathetic study of mystical experiences either induced or coming as of their own accord. Not long ago a call for mystical experiences was made for Dr. Johnson in one of our bulletins and some HRAs responded. Most of the mystical experiences recounted and discussed come from common people rather than from the field of Religion, Yoga, Zen or Hypnosis. The study is very important as a help in trying to distinguish between our true mystical experiences in which we touch the realm of na Aumakua and sense the “perfect patterns” … and those brought up from the memory store by the Aunihipili to give what may be compared to dreams which are so vivid that they give the impression of reality. Suggestion or drugs can also produce these illusions. Like all of Dr. Johnson’s books, this one is delightful and most informative.
TARO CARD SYMBOLOGY – Initiatory Unit 3
CANDIDATES FOR THE THIRD DEGREE in the Ancient order of HRA Taro will now assemble in the imaginary LODGE ROOM. Cigbo has been busy (he confides) bailing out of jail those eager beavers, who have already begun telling fortunes with the cards. At the far end of the room will be seen three HRAs who accepted the invitation given upon closing the Lodge after the last meeting, and who have remained deep in meditation until just now. (Having, however, taken time out to write letters to Ol’ High Card to express their disapproval of making the preliminary clean sweep of such things as the Egyptian origin of the cards, the tie with the Caballa, and the assignment of astrological meanings to the cards. Some of the letters were so learned that, lacking a means of verifying statements, High Card was unable to decide what might or might not be part of the original Taro deal. The material will be preserved carefully for possible use when we finish our first series of initiations and are ready for an “Advanced Course.” Here is a little of the material in question, presented at this time just to satisfy your curiosity and to give the flavor.
“If we have three levels in the Great Plan, 1, 2, and 3, we would have three levels in man, One High Self, incorporating male and female qualities, a ‘2’ level self of two selves, and a ‘body’ as the world is the ‘body of God.’ So we get a 6. Now we are told in Genesis, ‘Let us – the Elohim in the old versions, a plurality – make man in our image and after our likeness.’ If man is created in the image and likeness of the ONE, he must have the same qualities and attributes, only in a lesser degree. The Hebrew name given to the ‘creature’ made by God when ‘male and female created He them,’ is “Ish-Aleph” meaning ‘wedded or united to God, so one with God and also one with, and united to, all other beings. “Ish-ish’ in Hebrew is the ‘side’ of man that is wedded or united to him, the woman-self … Aleph, the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, one in value, is a silent letter – not sounded – so God must be man’s partner, his silent partner, giving man freedom to speak for him – ‘the mouth of God.’ But then we are told Adam is put into a ‘deep sleep’ so he does not speak the word of God very well. In the Egyptian ritual this ‘person’ was called The Speaker,’ who spoke for the gods.”)
Even before the Lodge is declared open, there is a rude interruption. Cigbo, the password, suddenly insisted that no meeting was legal unless the hat was passed. Having no hat, he rushed to pass his cigar box after which he announced that he, as the most important factotem, was asking donations so that he could spend what he did not pocket on a 200 foot high temple. When he saw that he was being cried down, he compromised and rushed out to wheel in a large man-size DOG HOUSE. He explained that it really was to act as a bomb shelter for Ol’ High Card when irate HRAs took after him. He invited those bailed out of jail to enter the house, but when none responded, went into it himself and took on the blame. Unfortunately someone had placed a mouse trap in the structure and Cigbo stepped into it. Suddenly reminded, all candidates gave the password loudly while some of the lady HRAs, hearing, “MOUSE TRAP!” levitated and stood on their chairs. The police woman who had arrested the fortune tellers and who was riding herd on them, came down from her chair muttering veiled threats to run the whole kit and kaboodle in for making noises to disturb the peace. Cigbo took fright at this and ran for the nearest door, cigar box falling open and thousand dollar bills being scattered widely. As all HRAs now have third degree matters in mind, and as none need money, the bills are ignored.
THE PACK IS PLACED ON THE ALTAR and the Lodge is declared to be in session. High Card seats himself gracefully on the roof of the dog house. The roof caves in. The nearest candidates fish out High Card, help pin up his torn robes of office, and then throw the remains of the dog house out through the nearest window. From outside comes a wail of anguish. Everyone again intones the password, and Cigbo comes limping in, looking accusingly about him. Someone drops a dime into his battered cigar box and he is pacified.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS is soon disposed of as nothing very new or different has been proposed by way of explanations of the meanings of the Fool card or of the three in the top row of the central spread. High Card offers to let anyone who wishes to do so to act as lecturer for the session and administer the 3rd degree. There being no response, the Lamp Lighter is called in from the foyer, where she has gone to buy popcorn, and all haste is made to light the lamp on the rostrum. There is still no oil in it. The house lights are turned up and the candidates settle more comfortably in their seats to catch a few winks while the lecture is given.
THE LECTURER INTONES SOLEMNLY “We now approach the HOLY Taro.” A voice asks, ‘Why is it Holy?” High Card clears his throat. “I don’t know.” He starts all over again. “We now approach the Taro.” He pauses but there are no more objections, although a few HRAs who have taken courses in the MYSTERIES OF THE SACRED AND HOLY TAROT squirm uneasily. The Lodge Sweeper hurriedly grasps broom and dustpan. He finds a few fragments of ideas supposed to be swept out for the time being, and disposes of them.
THE LECTURE OFFICIALLY BEGINS NOW
All candidates will take up the sheet of illustrations showing the nine cards of the Central Taro Spread. This sheet may be identified because it has the FOOL at the left side.
Locate the second row of three cards, II-High Priestess, XI-Justice, and XX-Judgment
Remember that these cards fall into this position because all three add to the same number value, that of “2.” Note further that they would fall far apart if placed in the order of the numbers at their tops. The special and secret numerical order now place side by side the card of the LAWs of life, the card of karma and the card of reincarnation. Nothing could be simpler.
OF COURSE, WE TAKE THE HUNA CONCEPT of The Laws, of Karma and of Reincarnation. The artist who drew the HIGH PRIESTESS put the word “TORA” on the half hidden scroll of the LAW. That is Hebrew. Our dogma makes it read “TARO” to indicate that the LAW is GUIDANCE administered by na Aumakua to instruct us in the doctrine of NON-HURT.
The cross on the breast of the Priestess is a plus sign to indicate her sex. Behind her is a backing veil drawn to hide the inner or higher levels, and on the veil are pictured ripe fruits, these indicating a fullness of growth and ripening or GRADUATION in the Aumakua realm. The illlars are black and white, or male and female, indicating the association of male and female at union is completed in the step up to the Aumakua state from that of na Auhane. The High Priestess reveals the LAW of proper living which is that of LOVE and Mercy, the feminine side. Her crown is a union of sun and moon, male and female, but with the new moon at her feet, she retains her femininity even in the complete UNION.
THE JUSTICE CARD, numbered Xl, is brought back to stand in its proper place beside the High Priestess. The male figure of the card holds a scales in one hand and a sword in the other. He symbolizes the stern and unbending law of “As ye sow, so shall ye reap.” This is a modified “Karma” because the High Priestess adds the Law of MERCY to the matter and gives us the chance to obtain FORGIVENESS FOR SINS OF HURT when we repent and HAVE MADE AMENDS. (That is the doctrine of the great kahuna, Jesus, not the warped and endlessly-stretched and solidified Hindu doctrine which allows NO forgiveness and no remission.)
The JUSTICE figure is the male member of the Aumakua pair. The pillars behind him are alike in color, symbolizing the state which is often assumed and in which the Union is too complete to be called one of two Selves. His crown has three points and a square. The points remind us of the three selves which make the whole man. The square repeats the evidence that the physical is included in the picture of the whole man.
THE JUDGEMENT CARD numbered XX, is brought back to its proper place to show the laws under which we live. This is the card of survival after death and of reincarnations, not of a judgement of sinners before sending them on to heaven or hell. The angel figure with wings is the UNITED Aumakua Pair supervising the reincarnation processes. The horn is a male symbol and the cross is again the plus sign of the female. The drawing shows flames as a part of the headdress of the Aumakua, the flames symbolize the LIGHT, which stands for the Aumakus PARENTAL PAIR IN FULL UNION.
THE VAST NUMBER OF INCARNATIONS demanded by the stretched and warped doctines of India are, like the warped idea of Karma, much worked over by Huna. Reincarnations need be only enough in number to allow the Aunihipili and Auhane to learn their lessons and to graduate or step up from one level of experience to the next when ready. The Aunihipili, or physical world, is an animal one and subject to all the dangers and accidents of the physical. But, even though a person dies in childhood, he reincarnates in a new body and continues his schooling. In the card picture is seen a family arising. Loved ones keep together as incarnations follow one after another – the LAW of LOVE and Mercy assures this.
THE SWORD of the JUSTICE CARD figure seems to suggest that the enforcement of the Law of Justice rests with the Aumakua and that HE holds the power and administers justice. This contradicts the idea that only the First Cause is free of the control of this law and that the first beings created as spirits of highest degree were given the task of administering this fine justice, while all angels from the highest down to the lowest were weighed in the karmic balances.
The MOUNTAINS in the background of the JUDGEMENT card are the symbol recurring often in the major Tarots, indicating the “path” or course of life leading upward as growth and evolutionary progress are made. In the TEMPERANCE card, number XIV, it is fully indicated, a path running upward to the two peaks, one peak for the female and one for the male half of the Aumakua Parental Pair. Behind the twin peaks the sun is shining, repeating the symbol of the LIGHT which indicates the Aumakua.
In the HERMIT CARD, numbered IX, the Aumakua is symbolized as an old man who has reached the end of the “path” on the top of the mountain. In his hand he hold a lantern, again the identifying symbol of the Aumakua.
In the card, THE MOON, numbered XVIII, our reproduction is bad because of the blue color on the background of the picture, but in the original a path is seen to wind into broken far hills. In contrast to the HERMIT card of arrival at the end of the upward path, the MOON card symbolizes the very start of the upward growth, the way being beset by the animal natures and marked by a male and a female tower, showing that the journey is one involving man and woman, so that they may eventually learn the perfect love which allows the complete UNION.
As has been pointed out, the paired cards set side by side by the number code, give us always the contrast between the ideal state and the imperfect. The HERMIT is the ideal state at one end of the “path” while the MOON is the difficult beginning in which the crab striving to come up out of the water has much to overcome. The crab moves as easily backward as it does forward, and was chosen by the card designer to symbolize the many false starts and backslidings as we endeavor to progress.
STRENGTH, numbered VIII, falls under the code beside THE STAR numbered XVII. As pairs of opposites, their contrast makes sense. In the STRENGTH picture we see the two peaks united as ONE. The figure 8 lying sidewise over the head of the figure indicated a long period of progression (rather than an “eternity”). The Aumakua in the feminine aspect is symbolized. She overcomes the lower animal urges of the Aunihipili and the end of the path is near. But, in contrast, THE STAR figure has behind it one poorly formed far mountain and in the sky, stars lacking shape and meaning. The water being poured into water and onto the land is wasted, symbolizing the low and middle mana wasted because none is sent upward to the Aumakua. There is a bird sitting on a tree at the right, symbol of “spirit,” in this case the Aumakua watching and waiting until such a time as knowledge is gained and the proper beginning of progress can be started.
THE HIEROPHANT, card number V, paired with TEMPERANCE, numbered XIV, repeats the symbol of the mana and its proper use. In fact, the Temperance card might well be made to trade places with the card, STRENGTH. If so exchanged, the contrast would be perfect, for the angelic Aumakua of TEMPERANCE illustrates well the perfect way to use the mana. Note that three lines in the drawing of the water being poured from one cup to the other can indicate our three grades of mana. The flow is first up to the Aumakua and then back, the result being contact and Help and Guidance which will be needed to tread the long “path” to the mountain top. The figure holding the cups is identified as an Aumakua by the circle of the sun (LIGHT) on the forehead. The triangle, point upward, on the breast again reminds us that three selves are needed to make up a whole man.
THE HIEROPHANT repeats the card of the HIGH PRIESTESS, but in this case with a male figure, the male half of the Aumakua. Again we note that the pillars behind him are of the same color, not indicating a separation of the two parts of the Aumakua. The crown has three rings and three upright pieces at its top, symbolizing the idea that the knowledge of the fact that there are three selves is a part of the mysteries. The right hand is lifted to show two fingers united, indicating the final UNION of na Aumakua. The cross held in the left hand has three bars, sym1bolizing once more the three selves. There are three crosses also on the long tab falling in the front of the robe. They do not show in our illustion, but are on the original. The two figures kneeling before the Hierophant appear to be male, but the robe of one is decorated with a lily the other with a rose, so we see that they must be man and woman – a symbol of the fact that we progress two by two instead of one by one after initiation into the meaning of the mysteries. If we look for a contrast between the cards of TEMPERANCE and the HIEROPHANT, we see it in the finished evolution of the Temperance Aumakua and the humble approach to the very beginning of knowledge shown by the Aumakua waiting to act as guide to the two kneeling figures. The kneeling figures may be thought of as the simple worshipers of churches who still do not have the needed knowledge to progress without an earthly pastor.
THIS COMPLETES THE INITIATION for the THIRD DEGREE, as well as starts the work of the Fourth. By now it will be seen how well the number value code opens the secret symbolical meaning and how very “pat” these meanings appear, once they are explained in Huna terms.
All candidates will now awaken and put on the decorative cape of the Fourth Degree for a moment, before the pack is returned to its box and the Lodge is closed.
The next issue of HUNA VISTAS will be mailed after Christmas to give you all time to get Christmas celebrated and out of the way. As I will not be able to send you individual greetings, please let me wish each of you an early MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY NEW YEAR. May the Season be blessed by all good things for you, and may your growth and progress along the “path” be entirely satisfactory.