#180 Paul Foster Case

Paul Foster Case was born on October 3, 1884 in Fairport, New York a small town outside of Rochester.  His mother was a teacher, and his father ead librarian of the town library. He learned to read earlier than most because of his mother, and exhibited exceptional musical talent. He began training in piano and organ when he was three, which later led to a position as church organist when he was nine years old.

When Case was seven, he began corresponding with the British author Rudyard Kipling about his “fourth-dimensional” experiences.  Kipling verified that these were actual states of being & soon Case found he was able to consciously manipulate his dreams.

It was at a charity event when Case was 16 that he met the occultist and architect Claude Bragdon. A question from Bragdon about the origins of playing cards started Case on his quest to discover the origins and uses of Tarot. He spent years doing extensive research and study, as well as meditation, on the archetypal images of the Major Arcana. He described his absorption in this task as being “guided” by an inner voice, and his discoveries on the Tarot were published before he turned 21. This  extensive work led to a meeting with Michael Whitty, the Praemonstrator of the Thoth-Hermes Temple of the Golden Dawn in New York City.

Case was invited in the Golden Dawn Order and initiated into the Second Order on 5/16/1920. Within one year, he succeeded Whitty as Praemonstrator, Latin for “one who prophesies.” This is one of the three governing offices of a temple and responsible for administering proper magical instruction and teaching, both in manuscript and mouth to ear. This office is also attributed to the Egyptian goddess Isis, Greek for “throne.”


He had difficulty with the Enochian system of sex magic because he considered it demonic.  In the meantime, members complained to the head London Order that Case was having a personal relationship with a soror (a sister or female member; males are fraters, brothers), Lilli Geise, whom he later married. Moina Mathers, wife of MacGregor Mathers the founder of the Golden Dawn Group in London wrote in response to their complaints to Case that while “there is an artist in you, which I recognize, and with whom I deeply sympathize, [but it] would probably [be better to ] choose to learn the Truth through the joy and beauty of physical life,” and asked him to resign his position, as his relationship was improper.

Thrown out of the Golden Dawn, Case formed his own occult school, the School of Ageless Wisdom, which failed.   He then moved to Los Angeles where he established the Builders of the Adytum and transferred his art into developing the BOTA Tarot, a  complete tarot with its own esoteric colouring system that the student must colour according to BOTA rules (see two samples of the Wheel of Fortune and Moon below).  They submit those works back to BOTA to be reviewed and corrected.


His first marriage was to Lilli Geise did not last as she died just a few years after they married. He remarried Harriet, who was with him when he died, on 3/02/1954 while vacationing in Mexico.  That is rather ironic as his ascendant in the Hyperion symbols is “Hispanic music coming from a loud speaker engages life fully.”

Some noticeables aspects  about Case’s chart is its high mutability — he has half of all his planets in mutable signs.  The rest are fixed and just one planet is in the cardinal element.  The the yod in his chart from Saturn in Gemini to Venus in Leo making their apex at the asteroid Psyche at 27 Capricorn (not shown on the chart above) in the second house.    This yod that has its corresponding head at the asteroid Stalingrad (now St. Petersburg, Russia) showing that his creation was part of all that was, and yet so very much a part of the time it was created.