Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Border Crossings

To continue my thoughts on Halloween street life: Halloween is one of those mystical juncture points where the dimensions of time and space are shifting. The ancients believed that the boundaries separating the human world and the world of spirits became thin, so there was a lot of spiritual border crossing going on. It’s interesting to note that the modern American practice of Halloween gives children a chance to transgress ordinary boundaries, because they’re able to be out on the street after dark, they go right up to the front doors of houses they would not normally approach, and they dress up in costumes that allow them to act out their fantasies.

The impression this type of boundary crossing made on me is impressed as my first memory of Halloween: my parents, for some reason, were driving around just after dark on Halloween night. Too young to trick-or-treat, I was staring out the window, marveling that all of these strange looking people were all over the streets of Detroit at night. I could tell that they were mostly children, so it was all the more astonishing that they could actually be walking in the street at night, (and we lived on a busy road). At the same time, it wasn’t entirely clear to me that this crowd was made up of ordinary children and adults, and not some kind of magical beings.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Feng Shui of Halloween

With All Hallows Eve in sight, now is a good time to reflect on how so many different societies around the world, and throughout time, have had special holidays where people dress up in costumes and either parade around or have some kind of house visiting tradition—often with the idea that ancestor spirits or nature spirits joined in the festivities. Of course, due to local and historical variations and other particulars, these holidays may occur at different times of the year, and have different mythical associations.

For example, at Easter time in Sweden, little girls (and in some accounts, little boys) dress up as “Easter witches” and go from house to house begging for treats, (which they carry in a coffee pot). This is related to an old belief that the witches flew to “Blue Mountain” at Easter. I have seen photos of Swedish Easter decorations that have witches on broomsticks mixed in among the fluffy yellow chicks and painted eggs. This mixing of Easter decorations with what we consider Halloween decorations comes across as downright bizarre to an unsuspecting American.

But I digress. The point is, it seems less important that these different societies have a masking, house visiting, and parading tradition at a particular time of year, than that they have it at some time of the year. Ancient peoples recognized this as having a beneficial feng shui effect, because parading moves “chi” energy through the community, and house visiting brings the high energy benefits to individual homes. Having a group in high spirits adds to the energy flow, and even more energy is generated in societies where the maskers are expected to put on some kind of a performance at each house they visit. (As Gary Snyder says in “Practice of the Wild,” “Performance is currency in the Deep World’s gift economy.”) When householders reward the performers with little treats, it’s a fair exchange for the energy tonic they bring, and also affirms the importance of energy exchange and flow. Here in America, trick-or-treaters don’t put on a performance, though the ones who put more effort into their costumes are at least bringing more energy to the table that way, because they are putting on more of a spectacle.

I might add that by moving chi through the community, the ancients would have also seen this as benefiting the world of spirits, as well as the world of nature.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Spirit Helpers Converge

On several past occasions, including the October 5th session, I’ve talked about how psychic mediums typically see each person as accompanied by an assortment of spirit guides and other friendly spirits. I have made the point how, if this is true, whenever people come together in a group—whether as friends or as strangers—these companion spirits will be coming into contact with each other. Indeed, this gives our respective spirit guides a chance to hobnob with each other, share information, and even establish whether there are areas where they can offer mutual aid to the humans they’re looking after. Because the magic of Halloween’s Seasons of Spirits will still be going strong on Sunday, November 2nd, I will demonstrate a Tarot reading method for gaining collective wisdom from the visiting spirits of the group. This will involve a multi-person, multi-deck form of reading, so persons wishing to participate may bring their own decks if they like. Otherwise, I have an assortment of decks that people can use, and Dawne also lets people experiment with the demonstrator decks. (You can also use your own deck in the presidential prediction part of the session, or borrow one of mine, as we will make the election predictions as a group.)

So, I’m looking forward to seeing everybody—and getting some good energy from all those spirits—on Sunday the 2nd of November. In the meantime, you might want to check out the Llewellyn journal, which currently features an assortment of my Halloween Candle Spells (for use with special Halloween candles) at

P.S. Think about what a nice thing you're doing for your companion spirits when you drag them down to the Triple Goddess! It's like a super tonic for them, because they'll be getting more mystic blessing energy there than in the usual mundane surroundings!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Next Workshop on November 2nd

My next Triple Goddess visit is Sunday, November 2nd, and because it is so close to the election, I will demonstrate a very simple technique for predicting who will be the next president. Other than that, I’m still thinking. I may demonstrate how you can frame special readings with different types of decks, such as the Fairy Circle Oracle.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sacred Symbols of Royalty

Last month, I ordered a number of books through Mel-cat, Michigan’s e-library system, so I could do some research on royal families and rituals of royalty, in hopes of making some associations with the Tarot court. That is, in preparation for my presentation on Tarot court cards, I was wondering if royal ceremonial traditions could provide some insight into how these archetypes operate in our lives. Before I return my books, I want to share some interesting facts on the role of the royal Regalia, and how these objects are not mere props that the Queen poses with, but they actually go into the making of the monarch.

In the book “Symbol and Privilege: The Ritual Context of British Royalty” Ilse Hayden states, “The Regalia are sacra, a means of communicating gnosis, the wisdom essential to transform the Queen’s body natural into the body politic.” She describes how as Elizabeth entered Westminster Abbey for her coronation in 1952, the royal Regalia, which included St. Edward’s Crown, St. Edward’s Staff, the Sword of State, the Swords of Temporal Justice, the Sceptres of Mercy and Justice, the Orb, the Coronation Ring (which is the “wedding ring of England”), etc. were carried before her. This Regalia is carried by nobles who are entitled by heredity to perform this part in the ceremony, though the Regalia is described as though it were moving on its own. As Hayden explains, “The Regalia, like all sacra, were potent, infused as they were with a force powerful enough to transform the person of Princess Elizabeth into the Queen of England. They also had an effect on the Lord Bearers. Even though they were insulated on scarlet cushions, the inanimate pieces of the Regalia 'absorbed’ the identities of their Bearers. The peers who carried the Regalia became the Regalia.” So for example, the people describing the ceremony would say, “’With the Great Sword of State preceding her, the Queen …’ instead of ‘With the Marquess of Salisbury carrying the Sword of State preceding her, the Queen …’” Of course, this also means, “The Lord Bearers were as instrumental in transforming the Queen as were the Clergy.” (151-153).

So, the transformative power of the Regalia is something to think about if you read about the Grail procession in Parsifal or other stories about the quest for the Holy Grail. This is also something to think about in relation to the figures in the Tarot court: the swords, cups, wands, and pentacles they carry are not mere props,

This is quite an information intensive book, with Hayden explaining how the Coronation Theatre is a microcosm of spiritual and temporal powers. She also talked about how you can tell who the Queen’s closest courtiers are when they accompany her when she appears on the balcony to greet the public—which is why, when I was talking about Tarot court members in residence, I posed the question, “who is on the balcony today?”

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Spell Working Makes You Smarter

Last Sunday, I began our session with my definition of a spell as a “multimedia affirmation,” and I also suggested that because many traditional magical systems have you doing all kinds of different things, spell casting engages more areas of your brain. However, I don’t know if I explained that adequately.

So, if you look at the magic working practices of many different cultures, or in any number of spell books, including classics like “The Greek Magical Papyri” and Harry Middleton Hyatt’s “Hoodoo, Conjuration, Witchcraft, Rootwork,” working a spell often requires combining a number of different activities, such as saying affirmations or singing incantations, dancing or making various physical gestures, drumming, using scented oils (which work on the lizard brain and the amygdalae), drawing or painting images or modeling them in clay or other materials, drawing sigils, runes, or other magical alphabets, burning candles, doing visualizations, going in search of all kinds of ingredients, working with herbs and spices, going to unusual places that take you outside of your normal boundaries, and much more.

So, these types of activities not only engage the senses of sight, smell, sound, touch, (and sometimes taste), they also get the right and left hemispheres of the brain to work together, as well as the front and rear parts of the brain. (The forebrain, as you recall, we talked about in regard to “the frontal lobes supercharge,” and the rear brain is that older part that deals with motor movements and a lot of other stuff.)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Royal Communiqués

Thanks, again, to everybody who came out to see me today!

On the way home, I thought about how when we were doing the “royal family in residence” readings, a lot of people had either reversed Pages, or Pages that were not seeing eye to eye with their Kings or Queens. In addition to representing learning situations, the Pages of Tarot often also pertain to communications—especially the Page of Wands.

It then occurred to me that we can make some connections with astrology, because right now the planet Mercury, which rules communications, is retrograde, (that means it looks like it is going backward), and Mercury retrogrades are notorious for miscommunications. This retrograde will continue for a couple more weeks, I think. At times like this, it’s important to make sure that you are communicating clearly, and to do a lot of follow-up, to make sure your communications get through, because people are apt to mess up.

If Mercury retrograde conditions encourage people to get their communications garbled, then that would also be true for those sub-personalities in the psyche, as well as those brain functions that we can liken to characters in Tarot. So, for example, the Inner King (executive functions) or Queen (emotional functions) gives the Page (neurons and synapses[?]) some instructions to carry to the other parts of the psyche, but the Page gets mixed up and causes confusion. So, to avoid problems, you can listen to your thoughts or your intuition, but then look for corroborating information, to make sure you’re not misinterpreting what you sense or feel.