Tarot History from South Africa

The several things that struck me most profoundly as both an “independent historian” square peg amid academicians and Theosophical believers and as a Church of Light member at this international conference:

  1. “Western Esoteric Traditions” might be the labels of academic press series, which includes all my own books BUT: none of the younger European scholars like that label one bit. Participants from (either by origin or present residence) Denmark, Sweden, Austria, Greece, France, Brazil, Cuba, the US, the UK, Russia, Italy, Bulgaria, Switzerland… ALL seemed to prefer “Global Esoteric Studies.”
  2. I brought this up to Simon Magus, a speaker who followed me the same day, that as an American, every schoolchild knows Atlantic is East and Pacific is West, so all this “East-West encounter” framing strikes me as Eurocentric. He replied that his scholarly focus is on ancient Egypt which has been simultaneously worshipped as the cradle of Western Civilization and the epitome of the Mysterious East, since… forever. With our Church of Light ancestry in Hermetic Alexandria, caring about West versus East seems beside the point– it was a place where they met.
  3. Not only is our remote spiritual ancestry in North Africa, in Egypt, but more recently (1887) Max Theon relocated to Algeria and letters from Burgoyne to Johnson indicate some sort of initiatory relationship with an Arab or Moor there. Algeria is quite far west, Theon is a Polish Jew and his wife is an English former Anglican nun, but are their teachings Western or Eastern? [And when Theon’s disciple Mirra Alfassa, a Turkish/Egyptian French Jew, became the partner of a Bengali in “Integral Yoga” in Pondicherry, were their teachings Eastern or Western?] Global Esoteric Studies makes a better home for future writings about them so I hope it catches on. And therefore am pleased to find Africa the home of a blog that is friendly to our Tarot legacy.

It will take me weeks or months to sort out all that I saw and heard participating in a virtual conference and I promise to write up a report eventually, but meanwhile I have learned of a blog with extensive Tarot information including on Zain. Stay tuned for further background.