An inspired collaboration between meditation magus Martin Faulks and artist and graphic designer Adam Jones, the Death of Hades contemplation deck is a reimagining of the emblem books of the Renaissance.
Each card features a central design hand-drawn by Martin following a deep contemplation. This was then passed to Adam, who carefully crafted the overall design of the cards themselves, allowing himself to be inspired by Martin’s insights and vision. Adam drew inspiration from his study of Renaissance works from the times of the great masters of the Hermetic revival.
WHAT IS AN EMBLEM BOOK?
During Renaissance Europe there was great interest in contemplation and the benefits this could have. In fact, so much so that specialist books were published. These contained beautifully intricate woodcuts, images specifically made for the viewer to meditate on. These books almost always took the same form, with each page having a central symbolic image accompanied by a motto or key to allow for full engagement. Sometimes these emblem books were simple moral lessons or riddles to solve, others were religious and designed to lead to great revelations or inspiration. Some very rare books had higher goals with Rosicrucian or Hermetic influences. These books aimed to lead those diligent enough to unlock the key to a transformative regeneration and allow the practitioner to apply their insights to their life.
Quite simply – As above, so below.
Now, several hundred years later, a deck of cards comes to light which is a continuation of this tradition of emblems for those seekers ready to grasp the key and unlock the mysteries.
HOW TO USE THIS DECK
Within these symbols is the key to unlock hidden wisdom found within.
The Death of Hades contemplation deck is a path of self-development that easily fits in your pocket but comes from your heart and soul. It is easy to describe how to walk this path but far harder to undertake. The goal is to use the cards to bring around inner change in how you think, act and live. You are seeking evolution in its most pure form.
Your work with this deck should be kept secret so that everything you think about, everything you contemplate, remains within. Let your actions be the true expression of your practice. Soon with diligent practice, those who know you will start to see something new, bright and positive shine forth. As you become more harmonious, powerful and successful in all areas of your life, this will speak more powerfully than any words you could say.
The more you keep to this discipline, the greater the results you can expect. Dedicate specific time to the cards every day, contemplate their symbols deeply, muse over the tale they tell you. Each card has a message for you, but what is it? Hidden before you is a lesson that will lead to a permanent raising of consciousness.
This ongoing process requests inspiration, which you can seek this in various ways. Included in the deck in a contemplation key to show you the messages the cards held for one practitioner, this may help you in the process, but be clear your lessons may not be the same. You can consider the story of the creation of the deck or the tale it hints at. If you cover up the mottos on each card, what do the images say to you on their own? What mottos would you write instead? Be creative and find your own way to explore the lessons the cards hold.
Make your primary focus on the first card. In time this card will pass on its lesson to you. When it’s correct, you will sense it. Be sure to act upon it as without the changes it calls for you will not be able to receive your next step. Be sure to make this revelation internalised; it must be your new way of being as only an evolved version of yourself can decode the next card and continue through the deck and down the path.
According to ancient myth, Hades, the God of Death and the Underworld, fell in love with beautiful Persephone when he saw her picking flowers in a meadow one day. So overwhelmed was he by his feelings he snatched her away by chariot to live with him in the darkness of the Underworld. Persephone was the daughter of Demeter, the Goddess of the Harvest, who started searching the Earth for her lost daughter. It was only through Helios (the Sun God) and Hermes (the Messenger God) she learnt of her daughter’s fate. Mourning for her daughter, she was overwhelmed and unable to undertake her duties. Crops failed year upon year, and many died as the Earth became an eternal winter. In response to this, Hermes was inspired to visit the Underworld to try to persuade Hades to let Persephone free. Upon arriving, he discovered that during their time together they had fallen in love. She did want to return to her mother but had also become linked to the Underworld and her husband. Indeed either of her own accord or more probably after being tricked by Hades, Persephone had tasted one pomegranate seed which, according to the laws of the ancients, obliged her to remain in the Underworld. In the end, a compromise was reached. Persephone would spend two-thirds of the year on the Earth with her mother, and one-third with her new husband. This is how the seasons were born and how the growth of crops explained.
This is where the traditional tale ends, with Persephone under the control of Hades, her kidnapper who found a way to keep her by his side. But what could happen next? What if Hades was to die? The ruler of the Underworld would be Persephone. What changes would come when Hell’s new Queen was the Goddess of Spring?
A HERMETIC ANALOGY
Hermetic teachings tell us that we all have a hidden higher nature, a duality. Our body is material, but our consciousness is divine. It is said that humanity was formed when the cosmic consciousness looked down upon nature and saw its own reflection within it. Nature itself felt this love and wrapped herself around the mind. Thus humans were formed with mortal bodies and divine awareness.
Reading this, you are aware that your mind is within a body but that you are not this body. You are in this material world but not of it. Perhaps sometimes you feel this, perhaps sometimes you forget it. It could be that you sense that there is far more potential in you than is being expressed. It’s as if you can remember a time when you had greater control, clearer vision and greater power. Every day we interact with the world, undertake our work, duties and pursue our goals, but why is it so hard to improve, to evolve? It’s mysterious that even the tasks we do every day happen but with little improvement, even after many years of practice unless we make a concerted effort. Lessons we learn from life seem so strong and important at the time but rarely do they stay with us.
Is something holding us back?
In a sense like Persephone, we have been taken to another place. We like her must eat, perhaps like her in some ways we have fallen in love with how things are. We are here under the influence of the rule of the materialists and the limitations of the material.
Could a time come when our higher nature is ready to take the throne?
The Symbolic Nature of Purple
Each set of cards comes in a purple velvet bag to keep them protected. But why purple?
Traditionally purple was considered a colour reserved for royals and throughout history there have even been sumptuary laws regulating who was allowed to wear purple cloth. In the 4th century AD, only the Emporer was permitted within the Roman Empire to wear Imperial or Tyrian Purple. This was due to the extremely expensive process needed to produce the deep colour involving the time-consuming process of collecting thousands of specific molluscs from a very small area. The expense of this meant even when the laws weren’t so restrictive, its use was kept to high priests, royalty and the ruling class.
So what better colour then for images pertaining to the rulers of the Underworld?
Furthermore, purple has long been associated with the higher planes, the spiritual dimension, the akasha principle. During visualisation the colour purple can be used as a way to strengthen spiritual senses, even assisting to access the higher self.
You also have the choice to upgrade if you so wish to a bag that has been hand-stamped by us! We’ve had the main design from the back of the card hand-carved in wood which is then heat pressed into the velvet leaving behind a ‘shadow’ (check out my videos on Giordano Bruno’s methods to learn more about the importance of a shadow for the Art of Memory). A rather time-consuming task but one I think you’ll agree is absolutely worth