The following is an illustrated transcript of John Starr Cooke’s film Prophecy of the Royal Maze. This film is highly significant because John gives a New Tarot reading for the emerging Aquarian Age. John is introduced by his sister Alice.
Alice Cooke Kent: You are about to watch a film made by John Starr Cooke in 1976. This film represents his legacy to the people on Earth, for he knew he was soon to die. Since he himself would journey no further in this world, he wanted to leave for us some intuitive pointers for the way ahead. For the last turn of his life path, John had gone to Mexico, searching the peace and quiet which he found in the small village of Tepoztlan.
John was a magnetic figure, full of love and humor for all. As an energising catalyst, he gave unique encouragement to each individual through listening and loving. John had always been a seeker. He went from the Church of England to the Sufis of North Africa. From Pak Subuh in Indonesia to Meher Baba of India, always searching. He read Gurdjieff and Madame Blavatsky, Alice Bailey, Krishnamurti, Carl Jung. But John could never be a follower. And though he remained in loving contact with all, he continued on his individual path. While he was with the Muslim sect, he was stricken with polio in Algiers, and returned to California, anchored to earth by a wheelchair for the rest of his life. In the next turn of the path, he would search deeper rather than farther. Since he was a little boy, John was captivated by the strange symbolic figures in the deck of the Tarot.
The 22 Tarot trump cards are representation of fantasy images universally used by mankind. Down through the ages, instincts and hungers in the abstract unconscious can express themselves in us as symbolic personalities, in order that we may understand them. The Greek sculptured their gods, the African his mask, Hindus portray their deity, and Christianity uses its powerful symbol of the Cross. So, too, the Tarot cards have been envisioned and painted by many to personify 22 of the most universal archetypes of mankind, such as birth, death, victory, love. The cards change as cultural aspects in the world change.
At different times in his life John was given detailed instructions from the unconscious on how to paint three decks of Tarot, which you will see depicted in this film. After debating about its form, John decided he would give a direct Tarot card reading from his own, the New Tarot for the Aquarian Age. John, alas, did not live to see the film we are about to see. He died in August 1976. So, here was John’s last gift to the world, his Prophecy of the Royal Maze. Enough, sound the conch.
The Tarot means the Royal Way. The Tarot is comprised of 22 major trumps or Books. These trumps make up a single Book depicting the Royal Way through life.
John Starr Cooke: The Tarot means the Royal Way. The Tarot is comprised of 22 major trumps or Books. These trumps make up a single Book depicting the Royal Way through life. These trumps are, I believe, the most ancient pictograms in the world. Some say they are always brought from a higher continuum, when needed, to our plane of consciousness.
As man changes, these trumps change. The oldest extant that is known is the Atlantean. Then, in 1962 and in 1963, a new deck was dictated through the mediumship of a man named Given to a group in Carmel, California. It is this deck, the New Tarot for the Aquarian Age, that will be used at this reading.
Trump number 10 is called the Royal Maze and signifies destiny. On it, the noble eightfold path that the Buddha’s Dharma re-enacted, now taking the place of the older card called the Wheel of Fortune. It is a statement of realization, initiation’s crown centering it. This labyrinth can also be used as a map to find out where one is – here and now. Like the fingers – the five fingers of a hand – five stations point the way. Station one [A] represents the unconscious. Station two [B], the body, the physical form. Station three [C], the conscious. Station four [D], the ego. Station five [E], the mask or the persona. One enters the labyrinth with an in-card [the center – see image below] and one exits from the maze at the same place. Give me your hands and let us enter the Royal Maze together.
Life is in constant change. Like fish, we move through the maze seeking out our destiny, our Dharma. We enter a strange land in speaking of the Tarot. Five fingers make a hand and like hands we move through the maze. You’re a stranger in a strange land. The language you speak is only sensed – you’re far from home. If you think you are home, you’ll never get there. The day comes to each when he thinks he’s home, but he isn’t. But if you move one step more, would that put you home? Always take one more step, reach out and touch another and then another and another, love them, touch them. The future lies in your own hand.
Always take one more step, reach out and touch another and then another and another, love them, touch them. The future lies in your own hand.
The Aquarian Age involves leaving the sign of Pisces and going into a new sign, that of Aquarius. The exact timing of when the Aquarian Age is coming is a matter among astrologers. Well, there’s much discussion about it because nobody can actually pinpoint when it will happen, but it’s more or less about the time of 2000. What does the Age of Aquarius bring to us now? A new teacher? A new teaching? Jesus Christ said watch the heavens, watch the stars, for my Second Coming. Now, what did he mean by that? I say he was indicating that this new age would bring his words finally to a point where they would be understood, for Aquarius symbolizes the brotherhood of man. Our outer dogma and churchianity can now be replaced by each individual and his awareness of the One Godhead within. For just as Moses’ laws initiated the Age of Aries and were enacted in the Age of Pisces, now Christ’s teachings in Pisces will be actualized in the Age of Aquarius. Previous to every age there’s a tremendous speeding up which indicates what will happen in the age to come.
Therefore, let’s draw cards right now to reveal to us what’s going to take place in the Age of Aquarius. Let’s witness collectively what might take place in the next, say, a hundred years. May we be guided by truth in this reading – may the Tarot reveal to us the future of humanity.
This first card is the Reacter. Now the Reacter is not the Actor, he’s a child being born. And this is what’s up to humanity, now evidently to be reborn. It certainly is a different trump than that used by the gypsies. The earlier trump [The Moon] was thought of as an evil trump, an evil omen. For thousands of years, birth had been a horrendous and difficult task. Well, in the Reacter card, one does not get the feeling that birth is or has been difficult.
Here is the transition to the Aquarian Age demonstrated. Look, all the doors and arches have been opened by this babe who has just learned to stand and move forward. He holds in his hand two keys with which he effortlessly opens those black and white doors simultaneously without effort. Now, how does he do this? Who knows? Through love? Through innocence? The Reacter card is an extremely intuitive one – he reacts without thinking and he reacts correctly.
Here’s the Atlantean trump… you see, we get the Moon again at the top opening a three-level pyramid. Down through the crack pour the other planets with the Sun held in the mouth of the Dragon at its base. At that instinctive time, this was one of the worst cards.
So, here too, in the Moon of the Medieval pack, it also represented insanity, sickness and death. The Moon, a reflection caught on the water below, drips blood of pain and agony while a dog howls and crustaceans grab with greedy cancerous claws lifted upward.
This new card of the Reacter is completely reversed. Now, a dual crescent Moon pours down a path of radiance. The silver crescents at each side are like parentheses around an intertude of life. One crescent symbolizing birth, just the beginning of the sunlight’s reflection on the Moon, while the other symbolizes death, the departing Sun. The two together form a circle, a bubble within which an individual life is enclosed. It’s important to stress that the Reacter is not the Actor or the Mind. Men’s thinking has made so many walls, so many barriers, that we have reached a point of closing doors, intellectually projecting too much, protecting too much. Something for men, this is happening today, is the present atomic age rise, we too, have opened the Moon’s path. The fact that we have landed on that Moon is not to be minimized – it is a new beginning. We have reached the Rosetta Stone of the Universe.
Men’s thinking has made so many walls, so many barriers, that we have reached a point of closing doors, intellectually projecting too much, protecting too much.
Well, now we come to the place of the unconscious or that which is done to us from the waters of the collective being. It is deep within each of us who are asking here of the future. And we get a card called Unity. In this Book, the man and the woman lie upon a circle. The man black, the woman white, symbolizing that man is moving into the unconscious and woman into the lighter side of the conscious. The woman reclines above holding his sexual symbol, a black rod in her hand; he, lying below, holds her unfolding white flower. Their hands and feet do not quite touch, yet they are longing to touch. They’re not facing each other, nor are they back to back.
Man and woman during the Aquarian Age are moved together as a unit. For he will discover within himself his part of the feminine nature in his own principle. She will discover, likewise, the male nature within her principal. They surround the circle in which are two huge winged whales perform an amazing dance. This could be an exemplification of the tremendous force of sex, the power of it, even between the most gigantic mammals. But the whales, the wings, show a light touch. Sex will not just be a depth bonding experience but a conscious light touch of celebration and play at the same time.
On either side of the two figures are two ladders. One can go either up or down. From the Moon’s symbols above to the wedding symbols below. Above, we see the magnetic Moon. This attracting power is exemplified by the four phases developing from the shadow of the Earth. In fact, the Moon’s phases, are mirror projections showing the balancings between Earth and Sun. Earth is the major feminine force of form. While the male force is the energising force of the Sun.
At the top of the card in the Mediaeval deck is Cupid/Eros with a bow and arrow aimed at the heart of the lover who has little control over what is taking place. He’s swept away from the outside by his own unconscious, instead of seeing the feminine as a part of himself, which this new card is really all about.
In the Unity card, it appears that the negative possessive mother will not win out this time. Men and women will continue to create and have complete sexual fulfilment and enjoyment together. So be it, say I.
Man and woman during the Aquarian Age are moved together as a unit. For he will discover within himself his part of the feminine nature in his own principle. She will discover, likewise, the male nature within her principal.
The Renewer – but why should the Death card be here? Because it’s where it belongs on the station of the form, the body. And it follows first the birth card and then the procreating Unity card. Ideas of birth have advanced with the elimination of unknown fear and sex hang-ups have been dropped. Our conceptions of death, too, are changing. There are even seminars in the United States teaching acceptance of death. It’s a natural and inevitable function rather than a frightening, the less spoken about it, the better.
The idea of reincarnation is becoming more universal and yet there is still another step to come, the experience that we are all One manifesting.
The Renewer is nothing like the Death card of the Mediaeval deck in which the Grim Reaper is riding a horse, stalking the ground to whack people’s heads off in the sign of Saturn time. In the Renewer card, death is a masked being. Masked by a red cloth over his head. He’s standing within a crown which points to the fact that he’s an extremely important entity.
The man looks up and sees for himself the skull with the never-ending figure eight helix of eternity, circling his eye sockets, and knows that though he wears the skull of death from the moment of his birth, he too is eternal.
I always wondered why the woman was outside the crown, grieving, her head buried in the robe of Death. Woman is Earth and Mother. She emanates Space. Death is her son, Saturn. He vibrates from Time. But whereas she stayed silently in the background, her son usurped the throne of his father, the great Sun, and as tyrant holds sway over the powers of Death, feared by all peoples, but that is changing too. Just as woman was taught fear and birthing agony, and man lived never knowing when the death blow would strike, now they know that the only fear to fear is fear itself.
On the right of the card there is a desolate landscape where man has devastated the land, and the well which is forgotten and drying up. On its edge is the golden chalice – the Grail unused by man for centuries. Now the Earth Mother can leave the cloak and return to the Garden of Eden and lead man back to that eternal magnificent fountain which will fill both the dried cracked well and the glorious chalice. We will learn that once broken, the soap bubble of this ephemeral life we hang on to gives birth to eternal Being. The clouds of anxiety, which hide the Sun, can pour with rain, disperse, and the King of life, energy – the Sun – will shine forth with visible authority.
I personally don’t believe that two thirds of the world’s population is to be wiped out. Many prophets state that it is. Nor do I believe in the tremendous upheavals and destructions that some say will come. It all depends upon man. He must wake up. A new consciousness of death, a creative consciousness is coming in, however, and this I feel certain. The greatest mysteries of all – life, death, space, time – are revealed in the card of the Renewer.
The greatest mysteries of all – life, death, space, time – are revealed in the card of the Renewer.
And now we turn over the card placed on the place of consciousness, the Citadel. The Citadel means completed man and also symbolizes six of the great world religions. On the right of the Citadel, the magical wand of purity is descending to be rooted on Earth. Every religion is taught the descent of spiritual grace into the world. As a result, the black sword thrusts up to cut through ignorance, egotistical ignorance, and to recognize that all facets of the crown of salvation are really one. Both guarding and energising the Citadel, the lighthouse tower.
The tower follows the spine of man on which are six chakras, revolving wheels. These rotating spears control the central nervous system through the glands of the body. In the Citadel, these have been built up into a functioning whole. In complete contrast to the image in the Atlantean card which depicted the pyramid being burst asunder. At the base of the spine is the root chakra. In it, a closed book is seen. It is unopen. This is the sacred Quran of Islam with the symbol for Mohammad on its cover. The latest word must now be read in the new sense without dogmatism. Being the youngest of the religions, Islam makes the firm foundation that comes to black and white, yang and ying, male and female symbols of China’s sacred way, the Dao, in the place of the sexual chakra. Lying at the balancing pivot that energizes the entire physical body, this chakra is the secret of the strength behind Judo, Karate and other defence techniques.
The chakras flow then moves to the brow. The place with the Third Eye. Here, a joyous Serpent standing on its tail symbolizing the risen Kundalini energy of Indian Hindu religion, the oldest religion extant in the world today. At the throat, a creative mystical couple of Tibetan Buddhism is in perfect embrace symbolizing harmony. This is the center from which instant beauty and form manifests. It is the center of the perfected spoken Word. In the heart center flames the Christian torch, agapē of light and love. Christ’s statement, love thy neighbor as thyself, may be more correctly read as, light up thy neighbor as thyself. In the heart, thy neighbor is known to be thyself. The Lion of Judah whirls round and round at the solar plexus, his tail clutched by his teeth. What an ironic position for the King of beasts. How religious laws have ripped man during the Age of Pisces and traditional obedience. Tightly held secrets, dogmatism must be released, a thing of the past. Awake mankind, be one with the radiating white light beaconing that Citadel’s entire lighthouse.
Let’s go back to that Atlantean deck. Obviously, it was destined for the pyramid in Atlantean times to be wrecked by the planetary forces that had formerly held it together. Forced conditions controlled through stern, instinctive dictatorships existed, and were dispelled, lest they gained complete control of the form, the development of Earth’s potentials. Their entire continuum was scattered over the ocean of the unconscious and submerged as we see in this card. Who escaped the destruction, the essence of male and female, were placed in a sub-marine time capsule to await a new state of being.
The Mediaeval deck contained a similar message. Here, the intellect attempted to reach a zenith of collective power. But, as in the tale of the Tower of Babel, Jehovah’s lightning struck to separate man from a united whole into many races, many tongues and creeds.
Both the Mediaeval and the Atlantean deck demonstrate the misuse of egotistical power. It may come as a surprise to some, but consciousness has to do with a feeling nature rather than the analytical mind of the mind itself.
Consciousness is a subjective rhythm, a melodious space flow and harmony with the drum beat of time. The fact that the Citadel’s six tiers are in the order given is a hint that there is only one song for all. The six chakras aligning man’s body dictate his bodily function through his nervous system and glands, into an individual integrated whole. So, too, the six great religions, which up to now dictate through might and right, must join together as beads on a single string into one world body. Moral integrity shall become an individual responsibility. You can’t cheat yourself. The only true revolution comes from within. The Citadel is within each person, a stronghold not to be denied. We need no longer be subject to anyone. You are your own Citadel. Be it.
Moral integrity shall become an individual responsibility. You can’t cheat yourself. The only true revolution comes from within. The Citadel is within each person, a stronghold not to be denied. We need no longer be subject to anyone. You are your own Citadel. Be it.
The Reverser – perfect. The Reverser on the ego. Neither male nor female, but both at once, the androgyne reverser stands upon a desolate desert. Reversal was the subject of the whole new teachings of the Carmel dictation, symbolized by the improbability of reversing the entire River Nile, and the Reverser was known as the key card of the New Tarot. The Water Bearer was another name for Aquarius. The feet of the former angelic Temperance card seldom touched the ground and the water she poured from one pitcher to the other, she conserved, rather than pouring it down into the Earth. Now the Reverser stands firmly grounded. An alchemical vessel for the continuous transmutation between water and fire. Into the androgyne’s open right hand rains virginal water, while from the left hand pours down spiritual fire. The Reverser correctly channels flow. This fire could also be a warning of future annihilation unless we each work on our own inner development and pour it into service, where it slows down and changes the whole sandy field.
We’re all parts of One Being. The desert sand. We are all small equal grains of sand. Each is the part of One, the sand, the desert. Sand has always been an impersonal life symbol. Therefore, in this card, we all get back to that complete reversal of working for the greater whole, rather than for the egocentric competitive, “I have to get better than you,” or any other selfish or scientific aggrandisement. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Well, man set foot on the Moon in 1969. Can man change from increasing his technical knowledge for further material aggrandisement and turn back with gratitude for what he already has? This beautiful, beautiful Earth was looked at objectively from the Moon for the first time. Will he continue to appreciate what a glory it is? A great living organism. Was not that when this big reversal actually began? The Reverser is the new returning to I am that I am. The Christ spirit knocking at every door.
I am that which I am seeking. I don’t have to try to show anyone anything except that which I am. Each of us is an individual lens. A hawk as it turns and wheels between the Sun and the Earth. The same marvellous being that is in every other person. It’s an understanding that the One is manifested through everything and you cannot separate and say, “I am that One.” For truly I am that One. We are Legion.
I am that which I am seeking. I don’t have to try to show anyone anything except that which I am.
Now turn up the final card. On the place of the persona this will show the outward manifestation seen in the world. The Feeler. Here, the great Earth Mother from the Renewer Book has withdrawn her head from Death’s cloak and revealed herself as she is – the Feeler. Again, all signs point to an immense change in man’s appreciation of the feminine. Behold, the empress of the universe, the Feeler. Reaching out of the night to all beings with compassion and understanding.
Crowned by the glyphs and the goddess of love, Venus, she will never say no to love, demand nothing, give all. This is true oneness and expression. One with all that exists through inner oneness with all parts of oneself. Recognise the Feeler shall change the world in the Aquarian Age. The snakes of life around her ankles symbolize the poles of the sexes. Feminine and masculine, love and will, leading her forever forward, as she walks with outstretched arms full of vibrant strength. The Feeler is the Prime Mover.
Behold, the difference between this present book of the Feeler and its ancestral trump in Atlantean times, the indomitable Mother Stern. Menacing, Mother Stern sits upon her throne, the pyramid, with authority controlling even the Sun in her left hand. What enormous power, what austerity.
Now compare this with the example from the Mediaeval time. Here, the Empress has become subservient to her Emperor. Fearful and immobile on her throne. Here, she is guarded by his shield, by his sword. Now, as the Feeler, she has left her throne behind her and reaches out to touch all of her manifestation. To grace it with her love, with her hand, and warm it with her heart. Her hands shine through the starlight, seeking other hands, other beings. All space emanating through her fingertips.
Behold, the empress of the universe, the Feeler. Reaching out of the night to all beings with compassion and understanding.
Now, we’ll draw the out-card. The result of all that we have been speaking about in this prophecy for the Aquarian Age. The Virgin. The Virgin card was the World card in the Mediaeval deck. Card number 21, the last card. Today, she still represents the World. The totality of the Earth. Yet, the Virgin is a completely new virginal Being. Virgin mattered in the ultimate sense. Neither masculine nor feminine, just beingness in motion. The Virgin eternally dances with the energy created by the poles of power – positive and negative grip between her toes. Her unseen masculine nature leaves the dance and keeps the balance while she twirls around his axis. Ribbons are held in both of her hands. Obviously, the Virgin is in perpetual motion. For Being will never stop. The ribbons will never fall.
As the World in the Mediaeval deck, she was surrounded by the four fixed signs of the Zodiac. The male cross, and in the previous Atlantean deck the female cardinal cross, surrounded her. I think it very pertinent that in this, the Aquarian rendition of the cards, the four corners contain the mutable cross of the Zodiac. Love and gratitude for all that is given to us is represented here by the 22 roses, which surround her. Gratitude for all that is given to us by life. Love for all, the whole.
The Virgin is a grand card. She symbolises Being and a new definition for God of the creative principle. For the word is not a noun. It is a verb. The verb “To be.”
This reading for the future is indeed full of promise. Five fingers make a hand. You are no longer a stranger in a strange land... May the blessing of the imperishable Brotherhood of Being rest ever upon thee in peace eternal.
We are all Being together. The whole universe is Being. All moved by the great force of eternal light, the Royal Maze, the Royal Way of the Tarot is a never-ending meaning for all of us. This reading for the future is indeed full of promise. Five fingers make a hand. You are no longer a stranger in a strange land. You’ve centered and found the language you have sought. You’ve solved the way to speak. Truly the Royal Maze conceals no secret. Secrets are a thing of the past. No secrets remain once the secret is known as motion. Why be threatened by love? Why be unwilling to give yourselves to another? To all others? Love, for there the future lies. Love, for the future is in your own hands. Understanding is given. We are Legion. May the blessing of the imperishable Brotherhood of Being rest ever upon thee in peace eternal.
A note on terminology which is ever-changing according to the dictates of the times: ‘mankind’ is humankind. There are references to ‘Man’ and ‘Woman’ but also the word ‘Man’ used alone signifies humankind as in “As man changes, these trumps change.”