W. B. Yeats | Tattwa cards

Strange Flowers

Along with Aleister Crowley, Arthur Machen, Gustav Meyrink and Bram Stoker, Irish poet W. B. Yeats was an adherent of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. One of the occult order’s practices was the use of Tattwa cards as a means to clairvoyance, derived from Hindu philosophy. This set of cards was created by Yeats himself and is held at the National Library of Ireland. Like the artwork of Hilma af Klint which we saw recently, their abstraction was no mere formal exercise. Instead the radically reduced symbols were expressive of elemental truths (literally, in this case: each card represents a single element – water, air, earth, fire and ‘spirit’ – or combination thereof).

Yeats Tattwa 1
Yeats Tattwa 2
Yeats Tattwa 3
Yeats Tattwa 4
Yeats Tattwa 5
Yeats Tattwa 6
Yeats Tattwa 7
Yeats Tattwa 8
Yeats Tattwa 9
Yeats Tattwa 10
Yeats Tattwa 11

Further reading
Louis XI and the stolen umbrellas
Augustus John | portrait studies
Lady Ottoline Morrell | photographic portraits

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