This is not really a beginner topic but it is one that many people have asked me about. When magicians talked about something being ‘contacted’ either a lodge, a deck or a span of work, what they mean by that phrase is that whatever it is, is has a direct connection, contact or bridge to inner contacts, beings or inner places.
When I say ‘inner’, it does not mean inside you or part of your own psyche, rather it means they are situated in the non physical realm and are beings, people or places that exist independently. A contacted deck is a tarot deck, usually of individual design, where the images are depictions of these inner beings, contacts or places: they provide a visual clue, connection and bridge to these beings. Think of them like pictures of saints or deities. The images in a contacted deck usually have various details, accompanying objects depicted, correct landscapes and so forth. This gives the magician keys to work with that being, as well as an understanding of the power itself.
The image does not always need to be ‘orthodox’, something which is a by product of the human obsessive compulsive need for detail. But they do need to convey the relevant information and have basic key imagery that informs the magician of their power. These images act as filters as well as doorways to these beings and the more magical dressing the image has, the more likely it is that the filter becomes too cluttered. For example, in Kabbalah (particularly the westernised magic version) an angelic being is known by its function (one filter), name (another filter), colour (yet another filter) objects of use (i.e. sword etc, another filter) and so on. The image itself without the lettering and name can be a powerful way to work with a contacted image.
A contacted deck, if it is balanced, will have angelic and demonic beings, land beings, deities, land powers, inner and outer constructs (temples for example) and various human manifestations. Used together with a properly mapped layout, it is possible to not only use the deck for divination, but also for magical learning and communication.
During the 1990’s, going into a card in vision was a popular magical teaching and does have merit, and can be a very good way to learn about a power, place or being. But I also have found over decades that working in divination with a contacted deck allows you to get to know the contact beings and places in a very informal way. Working with readings, meditations, or leaving an image out around the house and talking to the image allows you to become far more accustomed to that power/being on a day to day basis.
If you work in visionary magic with these beings, also working with a deck helps you to connect deeply with them and to also understand their wider function.
As you use the deck for magical readings, you will slowly begin to see how they operate in different situations, which is something that is impossible to ascertain just by working in vision with these contacts.
When you work in vision with an inner contact (which is usually a priest/adept that was once alive) or an angelic or land being, you are approaching them on their own turf, seeing how they operate in the inner worlds and what their powers are when it is static. When you work with them through divination in contacted decks, you begin to see how their power changes and what their range of functions in the manifest world is: you get to see them in action in our world through how/when/where they appear in divination readings.
There are a small amount of contacted decks out in the world at present, but the ones I am aware of are no longer commercially available. That does not mean that there are none available, it just means I am not aware of them. There are so many tarot decks in general that come on the market on a regular basis, that I lost track of ‘what is what’ years ago. So if you are looking for a contacted deck, look carefully. I tend to use my own that I made for myself, and I am also working on a current contacted deck with a couple of artists.
Things to look for when searching for a contacted deck
Some contacted decks work through interfaces of mythology: i.e. the images are all from one mythical pattern or tradition. The strengths of such a deck are that you can immerse yourself in that tradition which will give you a strong foundation for work. The weakness is that the range of contacts is limited to ones that will or can operate through that particular interface. Some decks that will claim to be contacted are actually self psychology decks, designed for ‘exploring yourself’: I personally consider that to be spiritual masturbation for a fee.
Some contacted decks work heavily with magical systems like Kabbalah, the Golden Dawn or Goetia and again they have strengths and weaknesses, like everything in the world, there is no one perfect ‘product’ that will do everything. If you are working within those traditions, such a deck will be useful providing it is properly and knowledgably done. There are a lot of commercial books/decks/courses of such magical systems that are gibberish at best. But within those traditions there are also very good skilled magicians/groups that do provide contacted work/decks etc.
If a contacted deck is done badly or ignorantly, it can create doorways for parasitical beings to connect with you. These are low level beings who will quite happily masquerade as whatever it is you are trying to contact in return for the chance to suck off your energies. It is a very common problem and is the inner/energetic version of ticks/fleas etc. Most of the time they are harmless but can exhaust or drain a person. Usually you can spot them if a contact connects with you, presents themselves in grandeur with stereotypical imagery (like out of a whimsical magic book) and tells you what you want to hear, then chances are it is a fraud. Inner contacts and particularly angelic, demonic, or land beings often appear in very bizarre forms and are extremely powerful. They will not answer your innate questions about getting laid or getting a better job: they are the powers that keep our universe going!
Sometimes decks are done from a purely artistic aesthetics angle, so they may look astonishing but actually not work very well at all, as there is no real inner connect there. Sometimes you get decks that are not very visually pleasing, but they have enough of the correct elements to make them work deeply and powerfully. It is all about trial and error which is also a major part of the magical learning process itself.
Signs you are getting it right
If you are working with a deck that you think is contacted and is actually is, the beings and places that are portrayed in the deck will begin to appear clearly in your dreams and will show or tell you meaningful information (not fluffy new ageisms or meaningless obscurities, or exotic sounding names) and they will also appear in your visionary work. You will begin to see them in historical depictions and you will know if the depiction is not quite correct: the mistakes will scream at you. The way they appear in readings will take on a specific pattern and will make magical sense: you will be able to trace their actions/effects in older mystical texts.
Sadly one of the down sides of the glut of magical tomes that have appeared on the market over the last few decades, is that often these books are written from other books, which were in turn lifted, usually without any direct understanding or experience, from other books. Writers add in their own pet theory that is again not grounded in long term direct magical experience, and sadly these mistakes become ‘gospel’. This makes things much harder for magicians in their early/mid phases of development, as it is hard for them to differentiate between a writer who knows their stuff and a writer who is bullshitting. Only time and experience will enable a magician to learn the difference.
Cassandra’s work can be viewed here; http://cassandrabeanland.weebly.com/paintings.html
Stuart Littlejohn’s work can be viewed here; http://www.theinnerlibrary.org/the-magical-art-of-stuart-littlejohn.html