This article, “Pop Arcana 1: The Comic Book of Thoth” by Erik Davis over at Hi/Lo Brow is a highly recommended read. It starts as a history of the underappreciated contribution of Pamela “Pixie” Colman Smith to the Watie-Ryder-Smith deck of tarot cards, and on its way to the conclusion, takes you through a quick history of the modern disposition and role of the occult. Warts and all.
“…On the one hand, secular historians (and most of the better-informed adepts) recognize that the forms and even the content of much of today’s ancient or traditional lore are modern reconstructions rather than unbroken currents… But this insight is often deployed for no other purpose than to expose the fantasies that, more often that not, “authenticate” occult claims through appeals to hidden tradition. It does not bloom into the more interesting (if more disturbing) conclusion: the occult is now.“
The above quote is also useful in emphasizing that magick and occult traditions are not ancient or medieval mythology, nor are they necessarily a wooly scam. Rather, they are a set of tools that can be employed by the individual in being a participant in the world around them today in a very level-headed and way. “Pop Arcana 1:” is worthy as a piece of both history and rhetoric, and the fact that it’s a great read gives you no excuse not to read it.
originally posted here.