L.V.X VITAE

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The B.O.T.A Tarot Review- Builders of the Adytum Tarot Online Store and Resources

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 BOTA_Tarot

Thank you so much for stopping by my review of the BOTA Online Store and its other resources. I will include links to find everything I am going to be reviewing throughout the article as well as general links at the end.

-Contents-
 The Back Story- How I found BOTA
 About BOTA as an Organization
 Other Resources they Offer
 Products and Recommendations
Using the BOTA Deck

-BACK STORY-

A few years ago I was in the business of collecting Tarot Decks in large numbers. I was researching every deck I could and purchasing or trading for it on Aeclectic Tarot. Someone had gifted me a subscription, which I cherished, and used ad nauseum. It was an obsession. I was at Borders during the height of this mania, and I saw they had a few sets of “Color Your Own Tarot” decks on clearance. Sadly, I only bought one because now they retail for $900 new. Anyways, I used the deck as a friendly project- I would have each of my friends color a card when we hung-out. This wasn’t a great idea as many cards were left unfinished and some of my friends weren’t so great artist or used mediums that ruined the cards. Eventually my car leaked and the entire deck was ruined and I threw it out. Fast-forward several years to a few weeks ago.

I had been on the hunt for a way to color my own cards because I am formulating my own course in Magick using a few different books and whatnot. I had purchased a copy of Donald Michael Kraig’s Modern Magick 3rd Edition and in the very beginning of the book it flat out tells you that you MUST get a tarot deck, and makes a few recommendations. It states that the best deck for the course is the Golden Dawn Magickal Tarot by Tabitha and Chic Cicero. It’s second is the BOTA Tarot and says that “If you can still get a black and white copy with the booklet that goes with it, do so”. I quickly went searching for both decks. I like the fact that the Cicero deck is already colored and done for you. I like that the BOTA Tarot requires you to color it yoruself. In my opinion, the decks would work perfectly together because you could use the Cicero deck while you completed the coloring of your own.

I went searching expecting to have to buy it from some obscure seller for a large amount of money. I was very surprised when I found that BOTA was very much alive and well, and its store had many hidden gems for people using the Tarot for any magickal path!

-ABOUT BOTA-

Builders of the Adytum is a Western Mystery Tradition School. It has chapters in California, New Zealand and Europe. All of its courses and correspondences are free and is able to operate based on dues and donations collected from its members. Adytum is greek for ‘Inner Shrine’ and because the schools teachings are based on the Holy Qabalah and the Sacred Tarot, we see that they are working toward building an inner shrine of sacred wisdom within each of us.

Their mission statement is “To hasten the true brotherhood of mankind and to make manifest the truth that love is the only real power in the universe.”

BOTA is a non-profit, tax exempt California corporation. You can apply for membership from their website, although you must be 21 and adhere to other constraints listed there. It looks as though they have plenty of regional activities and other resources for use.

-PRODUCTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS-

As I have mentioned, I thought that I was going to be finding a yellow aged copy of the black and white BOTA Tarot on eBay for many times the original cost. I am very happy to report that the BOTA Online Store has extremely reasonable prices. I am also very impressed at their choices. I think it is a great service to provide these tools to anyone who wishes to purchase them. I will get further into it a bit later as to their uses, but their products are not just for BOTA Initiates!

I will explain everything in full detail here, so excuse me if you feel I am being redundant, I just want to make sure I get my point across as far as certain things.

The first product I was very excited to see is a black and white download of the 22 Major Arcana cards for only $5.00. This is beautiful because they can be printed in any size, colored, and used for anything from book or journal covers to cards for occult enthusiast and magicians. I also think they are perfect to print on card-stock, color, laminate, and use for teachings and seminars or for videos. They can also be printed to serve as pages in a tarot journal. They can be pasted in, or printed and three-hole punched.

The second and most important product is the Major and Minor Keys of the Tarot with Highlights of Tarot companion booklet. This includes all 78 cards in black and white (2 1/2″ x 4 1/4″), as well as the booklet Highlights of Tarot that details each card and the coloring key for each card. The deck includes two extra cards: The Pattern on the Trestleboard and a Tree of Life diagram. This is an amazing steal at only $13.00.

The third product is the poster called “The Tarot Tableau” and features all 22 Major Arcana cards, as well as small versions of The Pattern on the Trestle-board and The Emerald Tablet of Hermes. I believe this is to be used in their own courses, but it makes an amazing poster to color and frame and display in your study, or if you are a professional or aspiring professional tarot reader, it can be hung where you do your readings for others. It also makes a great gift.

I would like to at this time state that I purchased all of the items I listed above. I received them and unfortunately, my Tarot Tableau wasn’t in English. I emailed the organization, and they promptly sent an English version free of charge. I wanted to state this because while it is normal that humans make mistakes, it isn’t so normal for customer service to be so amazing and prompt. Kudos to the folks over at BOTA.

I was under the impression that the Minor Arcana Keys of the BOTA deck were scenic images, but they are not. These are pips style minors folks, so beware! I wouldn’t use this as a deck to read for others with anyway, as I will get to later, just know that this makes it even harder in my opinion.

Having purchased these items, I would like to attest to their qualities, positive and negative. First and foremost, I was very impressed with the booklet that came with the Keys. Highlights of Tarot is very good for a LWB (Little White Book) and it tells you exactly what color to color each part of each card. I think that while you can order JUST the deck for $8.50, the extra few dollars not only supports a fantastic organization, but it gives you a very valuable resources. The only way I would purchase the deck without the booklet is if I had a copy already. It is an absolute must.

The quality of everything is very nice. The Tarot Tableau Poster is on a nice stock and the card-stock for the deck is quite thick and they are cut to size pretty perfectly. None of the cards ‘stand up’ against the others and make shuffling awkward, if you did want to riffle these. I like the inclusion of the Tree of Life Diagram card, it’s quite handy. One thing that I absolute HATE about the deck is the card backs. They are an irreversible image of the corporations logo with the address. It’s like having a deck of beautiful tarot cards printed on the backs of business cards.

The packaging that everything comes in is phenomenal. The poster is rolled into a durable cardboard tube for safety and was packed well so the small amount of it exposed wouldn’t be damaged. The cards themselves came in a nice bright little box that perfectly housed the deck and the Highlights of Tarot booklet.

Besides the horrific card back ‘artwork’, the other negatives I could see from the products is that the booklet is a bit basic when describing the cards as far as divinatory purposes, which is fine because BOTA doesn’t seem to think that it should be used for that anyway (I may be incorrect in this assumption, so I apologize if I am). I think that pips style minors are a bit of a waste as well.

-HOW I’M USING THE BOTA DECK AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR OTHER USES-

As explained, I am not a member of BOTA, nor am I on course with them. I have purchased the deck to use towards my goal of being the best professional tarosophist that I can possibly be. In order to do this, I am incorporating a few different courses and books together for my curriculum. At the advice of a few of the text, I have decided that coloring my own tarot deck would be a great start in eventually designing my own deck. There is a practice in my tradition that there should always be a tarot deck inside the altar, or atop it when approapriate. This deck should be a ‘secret’ deck that isn’t seen by anyone else, and it is your personal tarot deck. This is usually done at one of the higher grades in magickal fraternaties, and I am nowhere near that level. In order to be practical and have the tools as well as learn the lessons from its creations before I embark on the entire journey, I decided that this would be the best way to do meet in the middle.

I will be performing what is called the “Tarot Contemplation Ritual” from DMK’s book Modern Magick. I will be editing the ritual and posting my own version here in due time. From there, I will take the card that was drawn and use it as my focus for the day. To begin I will only be using the Major Arcana. I will color the card in the deck and write a spread in my Magickal Diary about the card. Notes can also be added to the Tarot Diary at this time. It helps to do the ritual, record all ritual detail in the Ritual Journal, and copy notes about the card into the tarot journal for later use so that using your notes, a client doesn’t get to see your special, secret magickal journal- which no one should ever see, EVER!

Once the deck is completed, it will be wrapped in silk and only used for ritual purpose. This includes a divination as to whether or not a Grey Magickal working should be proceeded with.

I find this to be the most appropriate use of the deck of color your own tarot cards. I am not stating that this is the correct usage, nor am I saying that BOTA condones this. I am merely stating that for someone such as myself,or many of you who are coming form other traditions who might be creating your own deck someday, this is a perfect way to learn the cards, learn the symbology, and have a ‘test run’ before designing your own set. It also gives you a deck to use as an altar deck until said personal deck is completed.

Thank you so much for reading! I would appreciate if you would leave all comments, questions, or concerns below in the approapriate field, or you can always email me at fratergrant@gmail.com

-Links-

BOTA Homepage
BOTA Store
Donald Michael Kraigs Modern Magick 3rd Edition
Living Thelema

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Beginning a personal course of Modern Magick by Donald Michael Kraig

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.

For many years, since I can even remember, I have been interested in the study and practice of Magick. You can refer to other articles about my childhood and my magickal path in life if you would like more information or back story. I have studied for countless hours, and invested a lot of money into purchasing the text to learn. I started my magickal education within the pagan system called Wicca. It wasn’t long before I moved on to Hermeticism, Thelema, and Ceremonial Magick.

As stated, I have studied quite a bit on my own. This has done a few things, some negative and some positive. First, I learned that I had to take control of my own life and study and be as proactive as possible. This solitary approach has been very difficult. I had no one to lead me to correct information, to correct pronunciations, to the correct visualizations. Anyone who has ever studied the field of occult magick can attest that the information is never easily found or explained. It takes referring to many large (sometimes GIGANTIC) volumes and cross referencing to others. This has left a few blank spots within my education.

 

I have come across the name Donald Michael Kraig, and his work “Modern Magick” many, many times. I was very skeptical. First and foremost, the cover of the 3rd edition of the book is horrendous. It’s fake and gimicky with a computer generated figure practicing what is likely to be the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram (LBRP). Not only was this off putting, but the very name of the book left me skeptical. I didn’t want anything Modern, I wanted to learn the old ways! Little did I know how very wrong I was.

 

Fast forward to a few months ago. I was contacted by a friend who had moved to Portland. He has always been very interested in Magick, but wasn’t a very studious type. Living in Portland, he suddenly had access to many Thelemic temples and lodges. This exasperated his motivation and he wanted to find out as much as he could. He took a course online about banishings, but it left him less than satisfied. He did a search for courses in magick, and low and behold: Modern Magick was at the top of his list. He immediately called me after he downloaded it to his kindle and told me how great he thinks it is, and how he thinks that something so basic could really help me since I had been talking about the fact that I felt I had ‘holes’ in my education. I looked into it, and I was impressed.

 

I knew that I couldn’t use an electronic textbook for something like this. I am also trying to expand an already impressive physical magickal text library so I looked for the textbook on Amazon.com and I found that it was shipped and sold my the company. I had a credit from a mishap awhile back, and I used it to order the book. Amazon sent me a very small portion of the book to hold me over til the physical copy arrived. I devoured what they sent me in less than an hour.

 

I decided that I would in fact ‘take the course’, or begin at the beginning, and no matter how simple or redundant the information, I was going to complete the course from beginning to end.

 

I excitedly waited the next few days for the package to arrive. The book came in a very large box because I had ordered a few other items (a pair of bluetooth headphones for easily wearing to listen to podcast and run with music hands free. They have a myriad of uses for a writer and student such as myself. I will post a review with these later explaining such. I also purchased a hard case for my new computer as it is quite thin, and a felt computer pouch so that I could place the device into a backpack without worrying that pens would poke my ports or that lint would get stuck in one of them somehow). The book was severely damaged at the back, but I went ahead and began highlighting, underlining, and bookmarking. These are all things I use to retain the information and make it easy to find a specific spot in the text.

 

The parts that were included immediately set out the basics: A dream diary, ritual diary, and a tarot deck. Being the good magician I am, I already had these basic items but I decided that because this was a special course, I decided that I should use a separate set of notebooks/journals/diaries for this.

I settled on using my favorite notebooks- Moleskine. I purchased three different colored three-packs of the Extra-Large, Square Ruled, Cashier notebooks. I did this so that I could have three notebooks of different colors for ease of use, all the same size and thickness for economic reasons, and that if I filled up the dream journal, I could replace it with a fresh notebook of the same color and size. I deviated from the author by using three notebooks instead of two. One is my dream log. The second is my ritual diary where I record all magickal rituals done. This generally includes divination and readings with Tarot done only for myself. All other readings for clients are kept in their own file in my Tarot binder. The third notebook I decided would be to take notes from the book. This way I would in essence have a boiled down and hand written copy of the book. This method always helps me retain information as well.

One aspect of the course that I find thrilling is the fact that at the back of every one of the twelve lessons, can be found a short and concise review of the information from the lesson. I knew immediately upon seeing them that I was going to actually do them. This is where things started clicking-

 

I was wondering how I could use taking this course to show my progression to myself and others. This would motivate me when I saw progress, and motivate others by knowing that they are not alone in the struggle for the truth. I had been considering also typing all of my notes and information from the dream and ritual diaries so that they could be stored on the cloud as well. Then it hit me- to save my poor right hand and some time, I could type my reviews! So here we are.

 

In closing, I would like to thank my best friend for recommending this book to me, as well as the author, Donald Michael Kraig. I look forward to filling in the spaces, as well as learning so much more than ever in a very easy and concise way. I am very grateful for people and authors like you who have such a gift and innate talent for being able to promulgate and broadcast ideas through whatever means, be it writing, movies, paintings, drawings, music, poetry, podcast, tweets, e-books. It is all art and it is all beautiful.

 

The author states throughout the book that his highest hopes for the text are that they will inspire us to DO magick, not just read about it. This, friends, is exactly what I am trying to do here. We have to get off of your proverbial asses and read, write, record, meditate, perform, and enflame theyself in prayer. I must do magick, not just theorize.

 

What follows are a set of post that contain my answers to the questions presented by Donald Michael Kraig in Modern Magick, 3rd Edition. I will also be detailing how I am going about completing the task of creating ritual garb and tools. The book can be found here on Amazon.

Love is the Law, Love Under Will.

Grant’s Esoterica

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PSYCHIC FAIR EXTRAVAGANZA

THIS FRIDAY– HALLOWEEN!

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My One-Woman Psychic Fair Extravaganza is back! Only this time, it’s a Two-Person Psychic Fair Extravaganza– my friend, super-student, and latest addition to the metaMarcy family Frater Grant will be joining me on the hotline.

For more about Frater, check out his website https://lvxvitae.wordpress.com
Frater’s talents and skill level are extraordinary, and he is super fun to talk to!

How it works:
Our phone numbers become an open call-in line. One or the other of us will do a 20-minute reading for you on a first come, first served basis. Share with your friends, and you can save $5. You can pay with PayPal, credit/debit card, or Venmo app.

PHONE: 860-823-8605 or 845-389-5617

COST: $25/20 minutes
HOURS: 10am to 5pm

You can also pre-book via email: marcy@metaMarcy.com or fratergrant@gmail.com

You may specify which reader you prefer, but due to time constraints and logistics and the fact that we are figuring this out as we go along, we currently cannot guarantee who you will get. Either way, we promise you will receive an amazing, bang-on reading.

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FRATER-AID!

Frater Aid is almost in full swing! The point of this project is to make an easy transition from Omega and then to the Readers Studio Tarot Conference in New York City. Below is the link to my etsy shop where you can pre-order readings (there are only 10 available so act fast) at a highly discounted rate. This not only allows me to have more experience in terms of reading, but the money goes towards the fact that I get to further my career and knowledge even further! If you have no questions or would like to simply donate an amount, click the donate button at the bottom of the page.

 CLICK THIS LINK TO SEE THE ETSY PAGE CALLED “GRANTS ESOTERICA”

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CLICK THE BUTTON BELOW TO DONATE TO THIS AMAZING CAUSE!

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I am availible for phone readings as well. Please text or call (845)389-5617

I am also on thumbtack, a professional service finder. Below is the link and you can check my credentials and learn more about me.

Grants Esoterica

Reading for 8/21/2014

1. 3 of Pentacles
2. Wheel of Fortune
3. IX The Hermit
4. XVIII (18) The Moon
5. XIII (13) Death

“Holy shit, this is going to be a big one!” and I knew it beforehand too. I just found out that one of my best friends

Read 1,2,3,4,5,6

4 Being the middle is the card that I usually focus on. Because this is a reading for myself, I choose to look at it from the prospective of the Hermit. In order for me to give the most accurate reading on myself, I have to type it like I am giving it to someone else. The Hermit in this case means that maybe you need to start learning, because while my quest for mastery has led me to a place where I’m not sure what to do, and the advice is to find a place where you can find a new beginning. If I look at it toward my own life, I see many similarities especially in the fact that it almost all comprised of major arcana cards. I think that the fact that the three of pentacles is the furthest and therefore most is very true to the nature of the past of the client. I take this to mean that maybe you have been looking for something or some project to work on. In this case, it might be your creative career, or it could be something that you are actively willing to look at and make sure that

Mage: the Awakening

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I am in the midst of my creative and emotional breakthrough. Because I have spent so long thinking about a few specific ideas, I have quite a vast lake of pure idea. I need to change these ideas into actions. Think the Ace of Swords into the Ace of Wands.
     Last night, I had a tarot lesson that has already changed my life and the way that I will be reading the tarot for people in the future. I will expand on this in another post, as I think it deserves it.
     I have also realized that something I really really enjoy has been missing from my life- gaming. No, not video-gaming. I hate that shit, unless its with my gameboy, and even then I still really only enjoy a few games. These games are any Zelda, Pokemon, Trauma Center, and Animal Crossing, in case you were wondering. No, the kind of gaming I am talking about is the good, old fashioned table top role playing game. I begun with Dungeons & Dragons of course, but eventually progressed to White Wolf games, as they had a certain flavor that D&D didn’t have. D&D could have been anything I wanted it to be, but my immature mind couldn’t see past the usual hack and slash, dungeon diving chronicles that most people played. WW games were perfect for me- LOTS of reading, story, and awesome powers. The chronicles were character driven, not weapon stat driven. I played Vampire the Masquerade frequently throughout highschool and I knew that I wanted to play more WW World of Darkness games. By the way, don’t worry, I’ll include a short dictionary at the bottom for those who are benign to these acronyms.
     I have always wanted to play one of WW’s WOD games called Mage: the Ascension. The reason that I have never purchased a copy or played was that I had always heard it had a horribly broken rules system, and that it was very complicated. This actually drew me in more, but knowing the players in my group would never be able to understand or read that much, I let it go. Until now. I have had this feeling brewing inside of me for sometime now, and I really really really want to play Mage. I could of course settle for a cheaper game, or one that requires less reading, or one that more people know, but due to my circumstances, I think that Mage will fit perfectly into what I need right now. That’s what roleplaying is- a fun way to explore certain sides of yourself.
     The only problem to playing Mage is that there are a few different versions. I will try to explain this without getting too much into WW and the WOD, and all of their fucked up bullshit that goes along with it. The Old WOD had Mage: the Ascension. It came in first edition, second edition, and revised. When WW introduced the ‘end’ of that world, they revealed a whole new World of Darkness- and that is where Mage: the Awakening comes in. Therefore, my choice is between M:tAs 2nd Ed., M:tAs Revised, and M:tAw. I have been researching for days and I have decided that the newest of them, M:tAw is the perfect fit. There has recently been a kickstart fund raising program for what is called M20, or Mage: 20th Anniversary Edition. When this editions arrives it will obviously be my first choice, as it will have updated rules and setting, and in essence take the best from both worlds. However, I don’t want to wait what could be over a year for this to become available- its in the early stages of development. Even though the book is completely written, they haven’t commissioned artwork or begun working on layout at all. Therefore, I have decided to go for Mage: the Awakening.
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One of the deciding factors for me was the fact that the books, even though a bit more expensive- are easier to find, and I have found a torrent file that has almost every single M:tAw book in existence. The books are also available from DriveThruRPG.com, making them extremely easy to find. I also have a decent laser printer that I can provide a few table copies of the core rulebook. I think for myself that I will begin by purchasing physical copies of these two books and then after reading the PDF’s of some of the more highly acclaimed supplement books, decide if its worth it to either hunt them down on Amazon or eBay, or have them printed through the POD services over at DriveThruRPG.com.
Another huge factor for picking The Awakening was that it had a tarot deck made for it, which is now extremely rare and out of print, and it was complete and workable. By this, I mean that it had 78 cards, and that it could function as an actual tarot deck. This meant that whomever commissioned the deck, likely one of the head writers or even the producer himself, had a good amount of knowledge on the tarot. This, to me, means that they had more ‘real’ magic in them than the original writers. Also, because of M:tAs focus on techno-magic and Matrixy plot lines, it felt a lot more cyberpunky and thought up, whereas M:tAw draws much information from real magick. I use the words magic and magick differently. Magic is illusion. It is fake, fun, whimsical, but most of all, not real. Magick however is used to denote real world magick- ceremonial or even shamanic in nature. The fact that M:tAw has a book called “Keys to the Supernal Tarot” also shows that the writers were very inventive in mixing the real world with the game. Below is a picture of an ad for that book:
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From this image you can see that it uses the 22 major arcana as a way to run a chronicle. This is really enjoyable for me. Fortunatley, this book isn’t rare and I already have the PDF for it. Whats great about the PDF library is that many of the books only have one or two good chapters. This way I neither have to pay for books with only a sliver of good material, but I also don’t have to lug around or keep the books around. This is important because RPG books are BIG and heavy and bulky. the M:tAw core rulebook is over 400 pages long, and its almost A4 sized! Below is a picture of the cover of the corebook:
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The tagline for Mage: the Awakening is “A Storytelling Game of Modern Sorcery” and features the pentagram over a picture of a broken stele, tablet, or talisman from Atlantis- one of the concepts of the game I am not very familiar with as of yet. As you can tell, I’ve done some research and I am happy to finally make a decision on which game to choose. I should also remember my own plans to purchase and play M20 when it arrives on the scene in print for a few reasons: it is going to be quite expensive. I’d imagine around $60. This way I wont spend that much money on M:tAw.
If you have any questions or are interested in playing, please feel free to contact me at: fratergrant@gmail.com or visit Omega Institute for Holistic Studies in Rhinebeck, NY. I am in the cafe everyday except Wednesday and Thursday, from 1 to 9 PM. Now, I must get to reading my core rulebook. I will close with a few images of sigils and art from the game, as well as the promised dictionary of acronyms.Good evening, and as always, 93!
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WW- White Wolf. The publisher of WOD games
WOD- World of Darkness
D&D- Dungeons and Dragons
nMage- Mage: the Awakening
M:tAw- Mage: the Awakening
oMage- Mage: the Ascension
M:tAs- Mage: the Ascension
M20- Mage 20th Anniversary Edition

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