Linda Falorio is a well-known name even in Russian occult circles and her “Shadow Tarot” is still very popular choice for “dark” individuals, working with qlipothic side. We decided to talk with this magnificent person.
“I am truly astonished by the subtlety and complexity of these designs. Arrayed before me, as they flash triumphantly from the lucent depths . . . You are indeed a High Priestess of Typhon—and a methodical one at that!” – Kenneth Grant to Linda Falorio.
Could you please describe how the idea of Shadow Tarot came to you and what it was like to channel these visions into the manifestation. What was your experience in progress of creating the deck?
I have always felt that my life was to be intimately bound up with the Tarot. We initiated contact with Kenneth Grant in 1980 or 1981 which began nearly 30 years of exchanging letters – I have a “bankers box” full of our correspondence waiting to be sorted.
Sometime around 1982 Kenneth invited us to join in his new magickal group working, “The Nightside Project.” This magickal working sought to reify the 22 major arcana providing entrance to the Tunnels on the “backside” of the Tree of Life, based upon Aleister Crowley’s “Liber 231” and Kenneth Grant’s book, “Nightside of Eden”.
There were at least a half-dozen artists working together on the project. I believe I am the only one to have actually reified all 22 Tunnels and then of course gone on to reify the minor arcana using the fixed stars of the Ancients and the demons of the “Lesser Key of Solomon, Goetia” to facilitate entrance into their forbidden realms.
What is so-called dark side for you?
That which lies in shadow, that which comes out only in darkness, the mysterious scratching at the windowpane, the lurker in the closet, the bogey-man under the bed waiting to devour, the unexplained, embodiment of all our deepest fears and longings.
We’ve heard that your art was very appreciated by Kenneth Grant. Could you please describe your relationships with him? How you two came in touch? What important, bright or special could you remember about Mr. Grant?
Throughout our relationship, Kenneth was always very generous and kind – more than he needed to be, really, especially since we were not members of the Typhonian Order.
When we visited Mr. Grant in his study, with the portrait of LAM hanging on the wall behind him, in London in 1992, Kenneth was a perfect gentleman, offering us whiskey and cognac even though it was only 10 am – of course we accepted!
Kenneth was also very intrigued by my work on gematria and English qabalah in “Liber CXV The English Qabalah” based upon values found in “The White Goddess” that I had published in 1978. Grant had begun using it himself and refers to the “Liber CXV” in his “Nightside of Eden.”
It seems to us that Mr. Grant almost single-handedly created the whole flow of modern so-called “left hand path” and a lot of young occultists are currently working in “setian”, “ qliphotic” or “anti-cosmic” paradigms. Sometimes they don’t even know about the roots of this tradition. What advice could you give to them, what can you say about the true understanding of the dark side and magickal work connected to it?
No one wants to hear this because it is a lot of trouble and the impulse is to dive right in, but it is very important for the magickan to make the K&C of the HGA before beginning any dark side, qliphotic workings. The Sacred Magic of Abramelin would be a good start along with the dayside rituals described by Israel Regardie. It is also important to be proficient with banishing rituals, both awake and especially when asleep and in dreams.
In the same way, I don’t think anyone really wants to take the time to pick up all the threads that weave into the “setian,” “qliphotic” and “chaos” inspired paradigms that many of us are currently working. It might be easier to suggest that alien rays are illuminating our planet, causing us to see things in a certain way that had been very rare until this moment. My favorite book on the subject is Kenneth Grant’s “The Magickal Revival”.
Could you tell us something about your current magickal practices & art plans? Will we see in the future something as complex and beautiful as “The Shadow Tarot”?
I am very interested in ancient, alien-inspired religion, ritual and art in all its many forms. This is something always lurking in my mind, finding those deep and forgotten connections.
I do have some specific long-term projects in mind. I am considering contacting the Goetia demons guarding the portals to the Nightside in their infernal realms and creating a series of paintings of these experiences. I may also resume a magickal working began long ago, before The Shadow Tarot consumed me, of exploring the Nineteen Calls or Keys obtained by Dee and Kelley during their Angelic Conversations as described in Aleister Crowley’s account of scrying the 30 Aethyrs, “Liber 718 The Vision and The Voice” and reifying these experience as images painted on canvas.
For 2016, I am planning to collect the experiences, written and artistic productions of the many individuals all over the world who have worked successfully with the Shadow Tarot. Their work is totally amazing, creative and inspired, deserving to be recognized and published in a beautiful follow-up and expansion on the Shadow Tarot as a resource for others on the Path.
What is the most strange/powerful/and/or transforming experience that happened to you recently?
As you may imagine, these kinds of things are always happening to me! After so many years, I tend to take what others find strange, transforming and explosive in stride. Life can be transforming if you look deeply enough into even the simplest event and there is power everywhere to be found. The trick is to not be constantly overwhelmed by the beauty and terror of existence once you have tapped into it.
How a simple (as s/he thinks for himself) man or woman who feels “the calling” could start practicing magick? What are the typical traps on unguided way of individual?
I had good advice from a psychic reader many years ago – “try little things, see what works”! And that is very good advice. Take things slowly. Beware of power trips, beware of dire oaths and rigid rules, beware of demands made for large sums of money or demands to cut off contact with friends and family. Depending on who you deal with, it can be dangerous! I have even seen people “disappeared”! There are tons of books out there, promising one thing and another.
For those on any path, but especially a solitary path, Crowley’s “Book 4” is an excellent place to begin, then branch out from there into things that are of interest. Groups may be harder to find, depending on where you are. Of course, when I began to pursue my interests, there was very little published material available and of course, no Internet! Now there are Internet groups, but there is no substitute for meeting face to face to receive the magickal transmission.
It is known to us that you have Master’s Degree in clinical psychology. How does it seems to help to/distract from magickal worldview (or maybe you integrated one of those paradigms into another?)
Magick and psychology fit together for me. I was on the magickal path long before I decided to pursue a degree in psychology to help me understand what I and others were experiencing in the psychic realm. I was one of the first members of The Spiritual Emergence Network – a group of enlightened psychotherapists working to help others who were experiencing psychic and spiritual events outside the mainstream paradigm that labeled them “crazy” instead of recognizing that they were in a difficult transition. In my work as a psychotherapist, I used psychic and magickal techniques along with psychological, including tarot, palmistry, astrology, even hypnosis and ritual.
Could you tell us about your last activities? What are your current interests in life and art, who or what are inspiring you?
The same things that have always interested me – the unfathomable plutonic forces of nature and the universe, alien life forms and energies as they intersect out planet, the Nommo, the Star People; the egregore of earth as expressed in “Mary” sightings and appearances, the goddess Sekhmet and Santa Muerte; what it means to be human, whether humanity is evolving, and if so, toward what …