Still playing with the bad boys from the wrong side of the tracks. I have to say I love this deck already. I miss it when I don’t have it with me (most days at work). So two days in a row I pulled this card. Hrm. Seems like I need to pay attention here.
The book that came with the deck says this Astaroth is not to be confused with the Syrian fertility goddess (I’m assuming Astarte). Confusion. Suckling drew on the usual sources (Mathers’s Goetia and Johann Weyer’s Pseudomonarchia Daemonum. I assume Waite was acquainted with Weyers’s work, along with the Lemegeton. Yet his Book of Black Magic, and Belanger’s The Dictionary of Demons and Gustav Davidson’s A Dictionary of Angels all say it is the same being/entity/deity. They describe this demon/angel with the same frightening appearance, carrying vipers in his hands, and with horrible breath against which the magician who summons him needs to protect himself with a special ring. I suppose offering Astaroth an Altoid wouldn’t be good form.
Be that as it may, the interpretation for this card is not as grim as the keyword “Misfortune” would lead one to believe. The book says, “Be patient and wait for better times.” Time to circle the wagons, now is not the time to keep pushing.
At left is the illustration from Collin de Plancy’s Dictionnaire Infernal of what Astaroth supposedly looks like.
According to Wikipedia, Ashtoreth (the Hebrew name for this ancient Phoenician goddess) is distinct from Asherah, with both being mentioned in the Bible:
The biblical Ashtoreth should not be confused with the goddess Asherah, the form of the names being quite distinct, and both appearing quite distinctly in the Book of 1st Kings.
Maybe Suckling mixed up his Ashtoreths with his Asherahs, thereby confusing Asherah for Astarte? I’m still not sure how he came to the interpretation of “Misfortune” for this one. I’m not seeing anything in his assigned characteristics that would lead me to that conclusion. I will have to research more and think about this.