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 with us some intuitive pointers of the way ahead.
For the last turn of his life’s path, John had gone to Mexico, seeking 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 energizing 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. When he was with a Muslim sect, he was stricken with polio in Algeria 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 cards. The 22 Tarot trump cards represent archetypes operating through humanity. Down through the ages, these cosmic forces can express themselves in us as symbolic personalities in order that we may understand them. The Tarot cards have been envisioned and painted by many to personify 22 of these archetypes that express through the functions of our physical life such as birth, death, victory, love. But, as John Starr Cooke has said, “their sacred purpose was forgotten and few realized that they described a path or that they contained a teaching, a way of life.”
Over vast periods of time, Tarot’s imagery changed as humanity changed. As such, the ‘Book of T’ also known as the ‘New Tarot for the Aquarian Age’, was delivered into the world by John and his colleagues in the early 1960s. A young Ralph Metzner (1936–2019) said this new Tarot “represents a kind of consciousness-map. A series of markings to guide the spirit in its quest for the light.” (See his Introduction in T: The New Tarot by John Starr Cooke and Rosalind Sharpe)
At different times in his life, John was given detailed instructions on how to paint three decks of Tarot which you will see depicted in this film. After debating about its form, John decided to give a direct Tarot card reading from 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.
Here is John’s last gift to the world, his Prophecy of the Royal Maze, as narrated by Alice Cooke Kent.
John’s last words on Prophecy of the Royal Maze film:
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.
– John Starr Cooke, August 1976