The Enochian Tarot deck is based on the Enochian magickal system, a form of ceremonial magick. The deck has 30 major arcana cards instead of the usual 22.
Enochian is a name often applied to an occult or angelic language recorded in the private journals of John Dee and his colleague Edward Kelley in late 16th-century England. Kelley was a spirit medium who worked with Dee in his magical investigations. The men claimed that the language was revealed to them by the Enochian angels. The language is integral to the practice of Enochian magic.
The language found in Dee and Kelley’s journals encompasses a limited textual corpus, only some of it with English translations. Several linguists, notably Donald Laycock, have studied Enochian, and argue against any extraordinary features in the language.
Dee’s journals did not describe the language as “Enochian”, instead preferring descriptors like “Angelical”, the “Celestial Speech”, the “Language of Angels”, the “First Language of God-Christ”, the “Holy Language” or “Adamical” because, according to Dee’s Angels, it was used by Adam in Paradise to name all things. The term “Enochian” comes from Dee’s assertion that the Biblical Patriarch Enoch had been the last human (before Dee and Kelley) to know the language.
In 1581, Dee mentioned in his personal journals that God had sent “good angels” to communicate directly with prophets. In 1582, Dee teamed up with the seer Edward Kelley, although Dee had used several other seers previously. With Kelley’s help as a scryer, Dee set out to establish lasting contact with the angels. Their work resulted, among other things, in the reception of the Enochian or Angelical language.
According to Dee’s journals, Angelical was supposed to have been the language God used to create the world, and which was later used by Adam to speak with God and the angels, and to name all things in existence. After his Fall from Paradise, Adam lost the language and constructed a form of proto-Hebrew based upon his vague memory of Angelical. This proto-Hebrew, then, was the universal human language until the time of the Confusion of Tongues at the Tower of Babel. After this, all the various human languages were developed, including an even more modified Hebrew (which we know as “Biblical Hebrew”). From the time of Adam to the time of Dee and Kelley, Angelical was hidden from humans with the single exception of the patriarch Enoch who, according to the angels, recorded the “Book of Loagaeth” (Speech from God) for humanity. The book was then lost again in the Deluge of Noah.
The reception of Enochian started on March 26, 1583, when Kelley reported visions in the crystal of the twenty-one lettered alphabet characteristic of the language. A few days later, Kelley started receiving what became the first corpus of texts in the purported Angelic language. This resulted in the book Liber Loagaeth (“Book [of] Speech from God”). The book consists of 49 great letter tables, or squares made of 49 by 49 letters (however, each table has a front and back side—making 98 49×49 tables in all). Dee and Kelley said the angels never translated the texts in this book.
The other set of Enochian texts was received through Kelley about a year later, in Kraków. These are more important since they come with English translations, thus providing the basis for the Enochian vocabulary. The texts comprise 48 poetic verses, which in Dee’s manuscripts are called “Claves Angelicae”, or “Angelic Keys”.
Enochian magic is a system of ceremonial magic based on the invocation and commanding of various spirits. It is based on the 16th-century writings of Dr. John Dee and Edward Kelley, who claimed that their information, including the revealed Enochian language, was delivered to them directly by various angels. Dee’s journals contained the Enochian script, and the tables of correspondences that accompany it. Dee and Kelley believed their visions gave them access to secrets contained within the apocryphal Book of Enoch.
The Enochian system of magic as practiced today is primarily the product of researches and workings by four men: John Dee, Edward Kelley, Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers and Aleister Crowley. In addition, the researches of Dr Thomas Rudd, Elias Ashmole, Dr William Wynn Westcott and Israel Regardie were integral to its development.
The raw material for the Enochian magical system was “dictated” through a series of Angelic communications which lasted from 1582-1589. Dee and Kelley claimed they received these instructions from angels. While Kelley conducted the psychic operations known as scrying, Dee kept meticulous written records of everything that occurred. Kelley would look deeply into a crystal “shewstone” and describe aloud whatever he saw.
This account of the Angelic communications is taken at face value by most Enochian occultists. However, some of them have pointed out remarkable similarities to earlier grimoiric texts such as the Heptameron known to Dee. Such magical texts as The Book of Soyga (of which Dee owned a copy), the Pauline Art (Ars Paulina)(see Lesser Key of Solomon) and others including the magical works of Agrippa and Reuchlin probably also had an influence on the Angelical magical workings of Dee and Kelley. The system claims to relate to secrets contained within the apocryphal Book of Enoch.
The Enochian Tarot is also designed in conformity with the structure of the Magickal Universe, but not that of traditional Qabalism (i.e., the Tree of Life). It has been designed to conform with the structure of the Magickal Universe, as taught by Enochian Magick. The Major Arcana of the Enochian Tarot deck has 30 cards, each corresponding to one of the 30 regions of the Magickal Universe known as the Aethyrs. The Minor Arcana is divided into four sections, each corresponding to a Watchtower, which are each situated on a different cosmic plane of the Magickal Universe. In short, the Enochian deck closely corresponds with the structure of our universe as taught in Enochian Magick, and is therefore as valid as the traditional deck.
Name: Enochian Tarot
Creators: Betty Schueler, Gerald Schueler
Publisher: Llewellyn 2000
Deck Type: Tarot Deck
Major Arcana: 30
Minor Arcana: 56
Deck Tradition: Golden Dawn
Minor Arcana Style: Unique Scenes With Suit Symbols
Suits: Water, Earth, Air, Fire
Court Cards: King, First Senior, Second Senior, Third Senior, Fourth Senior, Fifth Senior, Sixth Senior
Strength is 23
Justice is 17