John Starr Cooke (March 1920 August 1976) was an American mystic and spiritual teacher who influenced the development of the counter-culture movement that emerged in San Francisco during 1966-1968. His teachings were based on the doctrine of “One consciousness”, which Cooke believed was communicated to him through a Ouija board, during the early 1960s. He designed three original decks of Tarot cards: T: the New Tarot for the Aquarian Age (1967, 1992), the Atlantean Tarot (1992) and the Medieval Tarot (1992).
You are about to watch a film made by John Starr Cooke in 1976. This film represents his legacy to the people on earth, for he knew he was soon to die. Since he himself would journey no further in this world, he wanted to leave with us some intuitive pointers of the way ahead.
For the last turn of his life’s path, John had gone to Mexico, seeking the peace and quiet which he found in the small village of Tepoztlan. John was a magnetic figure, full of love and humor for all. As an energizing catalyst, he gave unique encouragement to each individual through listening and loving. John had always been a seeker. He went from the Church of England to the Sufis of North Africa, from Pak Subuh in Indonesia to Meher Baba of India; always searching. He read Gurdjieff and Madame Blavatsky, Alice Bailey, Krishnamurti, Carl Jung.
But John could never be a follower, and though he remained in loving contact with all, he continued on his individual path. When he was with a Muslim sect, he was stricken with polio in Algeria and returned to California anchored to earth by a wheelchair for the rest of his life. In the next turn of the path, he would search deeper rather than farther.
Since he was a little boy, John was captivated by the strange symbolic figures in the deck of the Tarot cards. The 22 Tarot trump cards are representations of fantasy images universally used by mankind. Down through the ages, instincts and hungers in the abstract unconscious can express themselves in us as symbolic personalities in order that we may understand them. The Greeks sculptured their gods, the African his mask, Hindus portrayed their deities, and Christianity uses its powerful symbol of the cross. So too, the Tarot cards have been envisioned and painted by many to personify 22 of the most universal archetypes of mankind such as birth, death, victory, love. The cards change as cultural aspects in the world change.
At different times in his life, John was given detailed instructions from the unconscious on how to paint three decks of Tarot which you will see depicted in this film. After debating about its form, John decided to give a direct Tarot card reading from his own, The New Tarot for the Aquarian Age. John, alas, did not live to see the film we are about to see. He died in August 1976. So here is John’s last gift to the world, his Prophecy of the Royal Maze. - Introduction to the film narrated by Alice Kent.