Friday, October 23, 2009
Also, because Halloween is a time of the year when the faery mounds open and the faery people go trooping over human byways, this is a time for faery magic. Because I haven’t done much with the faery cards this year, (other than May Day/Beltane, which is the other big faery high day), I’ll demonstrate readings using the Fairy Ring oracle deck to see what Faery World energies are at work in your life this Halloween-tide. I’ll also pass out faery friends from the Froud deck, and, if there is some time left over, do other sorts of readings with the different faery oracles.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Now, to pick up on the previous idea of asserting the will to disrupt the bodymind’s stasis and establish a new regime: when we look at certain disciplines like Yoga, which have both physical and spiritual components, or when we look at traditional magic and healing practices, we can see that they often involve all sorts of actions which, by putting your through your paces, take you out of your homeostatic routines and force you to assert your will in ways both physical and mental, and large and small.
In the case of magic, different types of spells often require you to assemble special ingredients, and set time and space aside for little rituals; this can also involve repeating such rituals over an extended period of time. Magic rites have a transformative effect because even those spells which are intended to work changes in your outer world are a sort of self-enchantment: by acting on your bodymind they necessarily involve changes in consciousness.
As great sources of spells and rituals for self-enchantment, here let me plug my books “Tarot Spells” and “By Candlelight," which are designed to be nondenominational and provide simple rites and spells with anyone can do; for people who enjoy the ritual experience, there are added suggestions for things you can do to enhance these rites and spells. [I will add links to my books when I’m able to get around to it.] Of course, there are many other excellent ritual and spell books out there.
Furthermore, if you want to devote some time to spell casting, the spells you try your hand at don’t even have to apply to your larger goals in order to serve as acts of will. For example, your larger goal may be to lose weight or to quit smoking, but, as an exercise in will power, you could make a daily practice of doing spells to attract luck, promote prosperity, or send healing energy to a friend, or rituals to release stress or to honor your ancestors or the nature spirits—among the numerous other ritual actions that can serve as the basis for daily practice.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Consequently, when you want to cultivate will power, think of different things you can do to exercise your will. These acts of will don’t even have to specifically apply to the sort of changes you want to bring about. As an example, the Greens cite Robert Assagioli’s suggestion of standing on a chair for ten minutes a day, just to be doing something different enough to be laying down a new discipline. (This is also an example of how unusual actions can make a special impression on the bodymind--which is why shamans often incorporate outlandish acts and gestures into their practices.)
Some simple things that a person can do as daily practice might include taking the time to brew and drink a cup of healthful herbal tea (especially if, like me, you’re the kind of person who would climb over a mountain of herbal tea to get at a cup of coffee), or greeting the rising sun (possibly with the yogic “sun salutation” exercise), or giving up a regular TV program in order to do something more productive, or doing various other things that are good for you but which you normally wouldn’t take the time or have the inclination to do. You could also make a practice of daily spiritual devotions, little magical spells, or other types of simple rituals. Reframing attitudes can also be part of daily practice. So, if you get into negative feedback loops by dwelling on regrets, push those thoughts out of your mind and replace them with positive.
This business of asserting your will in things both small and large is also an area where the tarot can help. You can approach the cards with a question like, “What can I do as an act of Will?” Then shuffle and cut, and pull the top card, interpreting it as a card of advice rather than a card of prediction. Think about how the card’s traditional meanings and its graphic imagery suggest actions that you can carry out. (This technique of interpreting the cards in terms of what suggestions they have to offer is the subject of my book, “Tarot, Your Everyday Guide.”) Alternatively—or in addition—you could go through your shuffled deck to find the Magician, which has a lot to do with asserting the will as a way of attaining mastery in the world. The Magician’s tools are the elemental powers of Fire, Earth, Air, and Water, so look to the cards flanking the Magician to see which elemental forces are highlighted, then consider how these, along with the flanking cards’ meanings and imagery might suggest ideas for entraining your will. You can turn your reading into a tarot spell by envisioning yourself as the Magician, carrying out the actions you want to incorporate into your routine.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Probably most of us have faced learning challenges which, though initially difficult, were mastered when we were able to achieve a state of “flow,” where we really “got into it” and achieved an “aha” state of comprehension, where things started clicking. The Page that comes up in your reading denotes a mental mode to get into to confront certain learning challenges; if you can emulate that Page’s mode of learning and style of thinking and acting, things will come together for you.
One way to get into character is to think of learning challenges you have faced in the past, where things started falling into place once you either immersed yourself in the Page of Swords’ cutting, intellectual mode of investigating your subject; the Page of Pentacles’ hands-on approach to practical, first-hand experience; the Page of Wands’ eagerly inquisitive, communicative, multi-tasking approach to the subject; or the Page of Cups’ ability to open to the subject emotionally and find spiritual meaning in it. Drawing on these past experiences by evoking those memories as vividly as you can will help you re-capture the confidence and enthusiasm which accompanied your mastery of those situations. Also, when you try to step into the mode of one of the Page cards, (or any court card or other personality card), to accomplish a certain goal, try to adjust your thinking (for the time being) to alter your self image, so you can easily envision yourself thinking and acting like the characters you have chosen to emulate.
Reenacting a particular Page’s mode of learning is a form of regression because it bends time and takes you back to a facet of yourself in your youth—one of your younger self’s ways of engaging the world. I have a theory that when we are able to effect positive forms of regression, this reactivation of an earlier self puts us in a state where we can recapture some of the benefits of the younger mind and body, which include not only rapid learning, but things like high energy and a faster, enhanced healing capacity. I have encountered the term “regression in service of the ego” used in reference to shamanic practitioners, and skillful regression is something of a shamanic, shape-shifting performance. In addition to the use of Tarot imagery, a person could use other hypno-suggestive cues, such as bringing out some toys from your childhood or engaging in activities or going to places that are associated with the positive experiences of your past. Even if you don’t have specific goals, you might want to indulge in this from time to time, just as a way to refresh your energy body.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Then, because September is the month we associate with going back to school, I will demonstrate a special Tarot technique for seeing what this new semester is going to bring. This is literal for those of us who are taking classes, but even if you’re not enrolled in school, we’re all students in the school of life. Along with this, we can bring in Tarot spells for getting the “school supplies” we need, and getting the most out of the semester’s learning experiences. I shall also pass out a bind-rune for mental potency.
If time permits, I will also demonstrate “The Dollhouse Oracle” which works on the principle that the features of a house engage many metaphors for different states of being. If time does not permit, I’ll make the Dollhouse Oracle the main feature of October’s meeting, which is Sunday, October 4th.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
For August 2nd's magical chat session, each person posed the request, "Please show me a Faery World influence that has been associated with my family ancestors," and then selected one image from the "Fairy Circle" Oracle by Mason and Franklin, and one from the Froud "Faeries Oracle." I use these decks because they depict actual faery entities--some from traditional culture, and some "revealed." (There are Tarot decks and others that use faeries in their illustrations, but I'm not aware of any others that present faeries as personalities you can engage with.) So, what are some ways that ancestors might have experienced some of these faery energies, and how can these past associations be of interest to us, today? I don't have time to elaborate on all of them, but here are a few of the categories that came up:
One way that people encounter faeries is as Nature spirits, some of which can be expressions, manifestations, and voices of the Intelligence of Nature herself. So, considering some of the cards that came out of the Fairy Circle deck, the appearance of "The Sea Mither" may indicate ancestors who made their living by the sea, or other coastal peoples who relied on the sea's abundance, while the "Woodwose," the sort of wild man phased into green man may indicate a connection with the deep woods or wilderness areas, and suggests a hermit-like escape to such places. Knowing that some ancestor relished such Nature World connections isn't necessary for cultivating a sense of kinship with Nature, but when enjoying a day in the woods or by the seaside, it enables you to spiritually reach across time to a kindred spirit mentor who can help open your intuition to special insights and messages from Nature. Two of the Froud images were "The Bright Mother" and "The Lady of the Harvest." These illustrate how the Faery World's intimate association with the Natural World's fertility and abundance is linked to Mother Goddess figures. I have recently been trying to learn more about how Goddesses are associated with the cult of the nymphs which exists still today among the Greeks and South Slavs, (Blum and Blum's book, "The Dangerous Hour," is a good contemporary source), but the relationship between goddesses and faeries is pan-European, and is one of the most ancient and deeply rooted forms of Nature religion. Knowing that your ancestors participated, (as all of our ancestors have done), helps us feel more welcomed into the Faery/Nature Mother's celebration of a world that is intensely alive.
Another way that humans have accessed faeries and fairy realms is through the portals of the mind, including through dreams and artistic inspiration. If certain faeries communicated with certain of your ancestors through dreams, creative work, or reveries, there's the potential for you to pick up their threads of inspiration and enchantment through your own dreams, creativity, or other imaginative exercises. I believe that two of our participants got "Laiste, Moon's Daughter," who is a guide to the imaginative realms. As Jessica Macbeth says in the Froud manual, "Laiste reaches into our deepest minds, opening long shut doors ...," and "she speaks to us in the language of symbols," so one is advised to pay attention to the symbols that pop up in dreams, as well as in the things of daily life. In relation to our topic, Laiste might put symbolic images in your path that connect you with the musings of past family visionaries. Another one chose "Penelope Dreamweaver" who "weaves tapestries in the mind with threads of light, color, and sound." It may be that Penelope will help you connect with the creative gifts of some ancestor that she also inspired.
When we look at traditional faery types, we often find them associated with arts and crafts, partly because faeries delight in the creation of beauty, but also, I think, because the often rhythmic motions involved in craftwork can put us into a meditative trance where we then become more receptive to faery inspiration. A "Fairy Ring" card that came up was Wayland Smith, the shaman-craftsman, which may well denote Faery World-Ancestor World connections that can be achieved through immersion in craftwork or other absorbing work.
One category that didn't come up was domestic faeries, (such as brownies), but this is an important category, because there is a long tradition of domestic faeries that attach themselves to generations of households and families, and connecting with them can help you find greater pleasure in what we call entropic work, (i.e. housework, yardwork, etc. that is never done), making such work a meditative exercise.
That leaves the category of more challenging faeries, some of which included the Kelpie and the Garconer (Glanconner), who are beings that can lead people into danger, and the Boggart, who may indicate disruptive forces in your home life. With those kinds of entities, one might want to think about different types of problems that get passed down through families, and whether it seems like some mischievious forces are trying to suck you in, whether it's following dangerous illusions or resurrecting old fears or arguments. However, when you can put a face on a problem, (even a face on a faery card), that can help you objectify it in a way that makes it more manageable. You can also do the Buddhist thing of taming chaotic energies by reciting the Lovingkindness blessing: "May all beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering, ... May all beings find happiness!"
Saturday, August 15, 2009
When scrutinizing a card spread for clues about ancestors, there are a number of things to consider. For example, readings that show group scenes may portray a clan or tribe, while strong personality cards may portray particularly influential individuals. For example, two different persons drew the Boudica card (depicting the warrior queen of the Iceni portrayed in "Celtic Messages"). In the context of these readings, it probably pointed to some very strong matriarch, who may well have been Boudica herself. In the way that the cards speak to multiple concerns, this may also be a call for these women to take on leadership roles. The cards can also reveal things about ancestral occupations, (with an implication that we can reactivate the related ancestral skills), so the person whose central card was the Magician likely was looking at a magician ancestor, while the person who got "Taliesin" likely had a bardic ancestor whose poetic inspirations she can tap into.
Some other things to look for are potential heraldic or totemic images. Our ancestors took these symbols very seriously, and we can find inspiration in them today. One person, who used Ciro Marchetti's "Legacy of the Divine" Tarot got the Knight of Wands as one of her cards. Now that I've had time to scrutinize that card, I see it has mirrored images of red dragons. As the red dragon is best known as the emblem of Wales, this may point to Welsh ancestry, (though others could have this as their totem, the red dragon also being a symbol of the Rhineland, and probably of other localities and families, as the dragon is a common heraldic symbol). By the way, we all have ancestors from more countries than we are aware of, as modern DNA testing services have been revealing. My memory has faded, but I think that one of the sisters pulled "the owl" and the other pulled "the dove," (again, from "Celtic Messages"), so both of them would have those totems in their family background, but for one, there may be currently more of a need for the owl's qualities of discretion, while for the other, the dove's love-bringing gifts may be more immanent.
Generally, any of the symbols that we pull out of these readings can be incorporated into our lives as a means of empowerment. Also, if a reading has a negative cast, you can send healing energy to your ancestors, as well as present family members, by turning it into a Tarot spell. Alter your family's collective dream of reality by adding some positive cards to the layout, then visualize these new energies transforming your family's belief system. For example, one individual, using the "Legacy" Tarot, got the "8 of Wands," the "9 of Swords," and the "Hermit," (if my notes from memory serve me correctly). This could indicate that an ancestor, beset by worries, became a wanderer in search of solutions, and this may have become something of a family trait. If she wants to reshape some of these energies, she could turn this into a Tarot spell by placing the "9 of Wands" on top of the "9 of Swords." By transforming Swords to Wands, we turn problems into projects. With the Legacy deck, this creates a very interesting graphic juxtaposition, because the man in the "9 of Wands" is holding a glowing crystal-tipped wand up to the right border of the picture space, while the Hermit holds a glowing crystal-tipped want to the left border. The two wands almost touch, suggesting the passing of a torch. Also, the progression from the "8 of Wands" to the "9 of Wands" shows a build-up of energies, and as the Hermit's number is "9," the mystical potentials within the number 9 are all the more highlighted.
For those of you who have been able to attend these sessions, if you can reproduce your readings at home, you can pull a lot more imagery out of them. It's helpful if you have the same deck you tried out at the shop, but it's also very edifying to reproduce your readings using different decks, to see what additional images pop out.
By the way, I apologize for taking so long to comment on the past session. I am only able to write on alternate weekends, because my other weekends are entirely given over to caring for my father.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
For now however, in considering how we should approach the scary faeries, I'd like to share some words from Rainer Maria Rilke. The following is from his essay, "The Dragon Princess," published in "Rilke on Love and Other Difficulties," edited by John J.L. Mood.
"We have no reason to mistrust our world, for it is not against us. Has it terrors, they are our terrors; has it abysses, those abysses belong to us; are dangers at hand, we must try to love them. And if only we arrange our life according to that principle which counsels us that we must always hold to the difficult, then that which now still seems to us the most alien will become what we most trust and find most faithful. How should we be able to forget those ancient myths that are at the beginning of all peoples, the myths about dragons that at the last moment turn into princesses; perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless that wants help from us."
Saturday, July 25, 2009
In keeping with this theme, we'll looking into some of the ethnic-tribal oriented Tarot decks, as there are some that depict scenes of life among the various European groups such as the Celts and Teutons, as well as Native Americans, various Asiatic cultures, and Africans. If you will be joining us on Sunday, the Triple Goddes has many sample decks availble, and lets us use them for these demonstrations. If you don't have a preferred deck of your own, you will likely be able to find something that you can work with, that will speak to some aspect of your ethnic heritage.
Friday, July 10, 2009
To better clarify what I mean when I use the term “archetype,” here is the definition I provided in the glossary of my book, “Tarot For a New Generation.”
“Archetypes are regarded as patterns within the mind that correspond to important human instincts and experiences; the Tarot is a collection of archetypal images: for example, the Hermit is an image designed to portray the archetype of the search for wisdom, the Empress is an archetype of loving nurturance, and so on. Archetypes such as Love, Wisdom, Justice, and the like tend to be almost universal, appearing in different cultures in recognizable--though culturally relevant--forms. Archetypes are especially significant to us when they operate through our personalities. For example, the High Priestess card relates to the facet of your personality that yearns to explore the mysteries of the universe, while the Emperor corresponds to the part of you that wants to build stable foundations and create order around you. In other words, you have a ‘priestess within’ and a ‘king within,’ as well as a wise elder, a fool, a magician, and many other characters inside of you that correspond to the main Tarot cards. Of course, some of these archetypes may be more active than others, or at different phases of your life.”
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Monday, June 29, 2009
The dream of flying as it involved one of Jung’s cases led to a tragic end, and I had long been concerned that Michael Jackson was on a similar trajectory. In the former case, Jung had been worried that a patient who had dreams of flying was headed for a trouble. (Note that this does not mean that everyone who has dreams of flying is in trouble.) It happened that the man had been involved in a tawdry business scandal, and Jung saw that in his dreams as well as in his hobby of mountain climbing, this man was symbolically “trying to get above himself.” One day while on a mountain climbing expedition, members of this fellow’s party looked on aghast as he simply stepped off the side of the mountain and plunged to his doom. (Unfortunately, he also took out the guy who was coming up behind him.) Because I saw similarities between Michael Jackson and Jung’s patient, I always feared that he would do something erratic, like step off a roof or balcony. The autopsy results aren’t in yet, but though it seems that his quest for ethereality might have done him in by ruining his health, at least Jackson didn’t go out in a more ghastly manner.
Now for just a few more words on the previous topic of Sacred Twinship, (though I am far from having exhausted this subject). In the context of a Tarot reading on twinning, we also have to consider the possibility that the Tarot can point to a “Spirit Twin.” The idea that each person has a kindred spirit who is like a personal counterpart in “Spirit Land,” is found in areas of Afro-Caribbean culture and elsewhere. This may especially be the case if “The Star” comes up in association with images of twinning. It’s also something to consider when using decks that bring in spirit or spiritualistic imagery.
Another thing to look for in these Tarot experiments is what they can tell us about healing, so the topic of the Double engages the interesting possibility of “Illness as Other.” The Other is the Shadow Twin. I ran across a brief allusion to the idea of “Illness as Other” when I was doing some research on a different topic, and unfortunately failed to note the source, and no other information was provided. However, as I ponder what this may mean, it may include the possibility that when you have certain physical or mental conditions, you have to make all kinds of accommodations for that condition, the same as when you have an important person in your life, you have to modify many of your own aims to accommodate that person. Furthermore, illnesses and other physical conditions are like sub-personalities, controlling many aspects of your life and shaping your fate. This would be especially true for bipolar persons—where there are two contending personalities--but it can apply to a lot of other conditions. For me as an Asperger’s person, I often think of Asperger’s as a form of spirit possession where you are the ghost that is trying to take control of your own body—and doing a clumsy job of it.
Now, in light of current events, I want to start a new post about the dilemma of “being captured by an archetype,” which is another condition which could be viewed as a form of spirit possession, or a form of twinship.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
As an alternative explanation, when Death is a flanking card, it could indicate that one’s alter ego is undergoing an extreme transformation, which could include getting down to the bare bones or dying away to make room for the birth of a new facet of the Self. I am also reminded of Rainer Maria Rilke’s writings on how our Death is always a presence inside us, and Heinrich Boll’s assertion that, “The artist carries Death within him, like a good priest his breviary.”
One more literary reference: in cases where the Death card comes up next to the Lovers, I’m reminded of Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ tale of “Skeleton Woman” in “Women Who Run with the Wolves.” Estes describes love as “a union of two beings whose strength enables one or both to enter into communication with the soul-world and to participate in fate as a dance with life and death” , and explains, “Because love always causes a descent into the Death nature, we can see why it takes abundant self-power and soulfulness to make that commitment” . She advises us to ask ourselves, “What must I give more death to today, in order to generate more life? … What must die in me in order for me to love?” .
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Because the Page of Wands has strong communicative qualities, it may indicate that she has a good line of communication from whichever side or her personality the Page was adjacent to, so she may currently be experiencing that anima or animus as a strong conversant in her head, when she engages in self talk. Here, we can pause to consider how one’s inner male might have a different voice and mode of conversation than one’s inner female. Think about it—if you are a person who carries on internal conversations, can you distinguish between male and female voices? (Because I carry on running conversations in my head, I assume that everyone else does, but am I wrong about this?) In the case in point, depending on whether the Page was closer to the male or female of the Lovers pair, that side might be dominating the inner conversation (like a little kid that interrupts a lot).
In some other fine points of interpretation, if the Page of Wands were upright and to the right of the Lovers, it might indicate that the individual’s animus is good at communicating a plan for her future that involves new experiences. If the Page were reversed and to the left, it might indicate the person’s anima is communicating something from the past. However, a reversed Page could also bring some confusion or misinformation into one’s self talk. The 8 of Wands may indicate that the inner male or female is good at organizing her energies to get things done, or, if reversed, that side of the personality might be a factor for disorganization, or involved in some kind of a retro movement.
Friday, June 19, 2009
The woman is on the left side of the card, and holds a vessel, which could be a wine jar, but resembles illustrations of the vase of precious dew that is iconographic of Kwan Yin, goddess of mercy. The left flanking card is the Queen of Wands. When a flanking card in a twins reading is a court card, it may denote a distinct personality through which one of your inner Twins archetypes expresses itself. So if the Lovers says something about a person’s inner male and female, the anima and the animus, this person’s inner woman is identified with the active, creative energy of the Queen of Wands. The Queen of Wands is noted for the visionary power of her ideas, and her ability to kindle a creative fire in others. Wands are primarily associated with fire (though in some systems, air), so it may be that the vessel held by the woman in the Lovers provides nourishing moisture to prevent the Wands’ expression of heat from being too harsh.
The man in the Lovers card is to the right, and flanking him was the 9 of Cups. When a flanking card doesn’t represent a personality or Major Arcana archetype, but a Minor Arcana portrayal of some objects, it likely represents a resource that one of the twin selves provides. Because the 9 of Cups can represent fulfilled wishes, it may show that this person’s animus plays a supportive role, nurturing her dreams. To appreciate how these two Selves may be in harmony, consider how this reading might have been different if the Lovers had been flanked by court cards with characters who were looking off in different directions, showing they don't see eye-to-eye, or cards portraying other images that would be at odds with each other.
If you would like to do a Tarot reading to get information specifically about the relationship between your anima and animus, you can do this by posing the request, “Please tell me something about the relationship between my inner male and female,” while shuffling your cards. Then, thumb through the deck until you come to the Lovers, and take note of how the flanking cards may inform your inner masculine and feminine selves. (Actually, I believe, like Clarissa Pinkola Estes, author of “Women Who Run with the Wolves,” that we have a whole tribe of inner males and females, but the Lovers card can tell you which ones are particularly present for you at the present time.) Note: in some cases, if you have a deck that portrays the Two of Cups as a man and woman coming together, and you get to that card first, it can also tell you about your anima and animus; being a Minor Arcana card, the flanking cards would show you how their energies are being applied to more mundane concerns.
Friday, June 12, 2009
I’ve had after-thoughts about one reading, where a male participant used “The Mythic Tarot” by Juliet Sharman-Burke. His central card was the Knight of Swords, which although not a Major Arcana card, features a picture of the Dioscuri, the young male twins that the Greeks and Romans associated with the sign of Gemini. The figures in this card ride together on a single horse, and they are moving to the right. This would suggest that the querent has got two masculine-identified twin selves harmonized and working in tandem as he goes into the future. I don’t recall what the right flanking card was, but the left flanking card was the Page of Wands, which features an illustration of Phrixus, the boy who rode a magical golden ram, (it could fly), to Colchis. In this card, the figures are moving toward the left. Interestingly, there are subtle references to doubling in this card. When a person rides an animal such as a horse, ram, or whatever in the Dream World of Tarot, that animal can be seen as a twin-self, a side of that person which is more in touch with the Animal Powers. In the original story, Phrixus had a sister, Helle [light], from whom he was parted when she fell off the ram as it was flying over the ocean. He subsequently also parted with the ram, which was sacrificed and became the golden fleece, (which became the subject of a quest).
In this case, there seem to be inner re-alignments involving the pairing and unpairing of different facets of the Self, with a progression toward somewhat more mature masculine energies, because Phrixus and Helle were children, while the Dioscuri were young men—and the energy of Gemini, generally, has an inquisitive, experimental “teenage” quality. Separating from the younger and feminine aspects may well have involved a certain sense of loss, and the sacrifice of the golden fleece may pertain to a diminishment of that youthful sense of inflation, that high flying exuberance of golden youth. Nevertheless, the energies being experienced are still fairly youthful, (though in the Mythic Tarot, these are expressed through the Knight of Swords warrior mode). In a middle-aged person, this could mean re-experiencing the intellectual life of youth, (which for some of us was in the Hippie era). The third card, which I can’t recall, may have indicated where these re-aligned energies are being directed.
Note that there is also a lot of Zodiac symbolism, as the ram applies to Aries, the Dioscuri to Gemini, and the horse they are riding on could apply to Sagittarius. (Last Sunday, the full moon was in Sagittarius, in opposition to the Gemini sun). This could mean that areas in this person’s life that are governed by Aries are currently becoming less of a focus, while he has got matters in the opposing signs of Gemini and Sagittarius working in tandem. There might also be a timeline involved, moving from Spring (Aries) to Summer (Gemini).
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
If you have multiple Tarot decks, you might want to look through them to see which have good images of twinning or doubling. The Rider-Waite-Smith deck utilizes such images in the Hierophant, Lovers, Chariot, Strength, Devil, Moon, and Sun, (as well as Minor Arcana cards, like the Two of Cups). However, not all decks—even RWS spin-offs—bring in the same images. On the other hand, some decks may use images of doubling or twinning in novel ways, as in the case of Hanson-Roberts’ nursery rhyme-themed “Whimsical Tarot,” which features Jack and Jill in the Temperance card. In fact, in preparing for Sunday, I got out a number of decks and asked them to edify me on the theme of twinning; when I shuffled and went through the Whimsical Tarot, the first major “twins” card that came up was Temperance (Jack and Jill), flanked by the Two of Cups (the Owl and the Pussycat) and Two of Pentacles (Jack Sprat and his wife). If you come across any interesting new images in other card decks, I would like to hear about them, because I’m not able to keep up with all of the Tarot decks that are out there.
We’ll also get into the theme of “double fortune,” which the Chinese tie in with the symbolism of the twins, and also with the number “8,” which they describe as “the luckiest number,” (and have different ways of doubling it numerically). You might want to look at the 8s in your Tarot decks, to see how they are portrayed by the artists. Knowing the Chinese associations, we can talk about how some of the more negative traditional Tarot associations can be transmuted, and how 8s cards with positive images can be used in Tarot spells.
Back to the sign of Gemini, you don’t need to know anything about astrology to appreciate the twins symbolism. However, if you happen to be familiar with your personal horoscope, this can add another level to your Tarot reading. If you have had your horoscope done, take note of which of your astrological houses are ruled or over-lapped by Gemini, and which (if any) of your planets or points are in Gemini, because in the way that the Tarot holographically casts light on many different areas of life, the twins cards also offer insights into what’s going on in the areas of your life that Gemini presides over. Furthermore, in line with the double fortune theme, take note as to whether Jupiter or Venus make friendly aspects t your planet Mercury (ruler of Gemini), the cusp of your Gemini-ruled house(s), or any planets you have in Gemini.
Food for thought: the Gemini twins were known as the Dioscuri, and were very important deities in ancient times. (Why would people pray to twins? It’s understandable that people would pray to Venus for luck in love, and to Mars for luck in war, but what sort of human needs would they address the Dioscuri for?) When a number of the old gods were converted into catholic saints, the Dioscuri became the twin doctor saints Cosmas and Damian, patrons of healers. (How can we engage the Sacred Twins in healing issues?) In Santeria, Cosmas and Damian are identified with the twin Orishas known as the Ibeji. They are patrons of children, and people also believe they can double their luck and their money by honoring the Ibeji.
Saturday, May 30, 2009
I’m thinking about starting with the Spinning Basket divination, which I can do for individuals as they arrive. Because I do these demonstrations for purposes of teaching, and because we also want to draw on the collective wisdom of our spirit mentors, others are invited to kibitz. Also, in the shamanic belief that we can alter our own dream of reality, and that other people have a role in constructing our reality, we typically conclude individual sessions with the basket by inviting our friends to add extra symbols of luck to the arrangement.
Then, by way of demonstrating a simple magico-hypnotic induction for better health, I’ll pass around some grape juice. Last Sunday the TV news show “60 Minutes” did a feature on resveratrol, a substance in grape juice and wine, which switches on an anti-aging gene. Some folks may remember my “dark chocolate induction” for influencing brain modules involved in the stress response, so this will utilize similar principles, with the grape juice.
After that, I will demonstrate a Tarot technique for learning how the archetype of the Sacred Twins is active in your life.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
This reminds me of an interesting real life case of making connections, and it involved mice. Some years back, but not too long ago, there was an outbreak of hanta virus in the West, with many of the incidences on Indian reservations. The disease control authorities were initially unable to identify it and figure out what was going on. However, a number of elders recalled a similar outbreak in the past, and they noted that it had occurred in a year when there had been a lot of rain, a lot of pinyon nuts, and a lot of mice. As it happens, hanta virus is borne by mice, which proliferate when abundant rains produce a larger crop of pinyon nuts. We often make fun of old peoples’ rambling reminisces of things that seem trivial, but here’s a case where the memory of a bunch of little environmental details pointed to something significant.
This also reminds me of something my brother, a retired police detective said: it is usually the little, throw-away type details that crack the cases. The “Myk the Myomancer” card would obviously be a good talisman for someone who is in the business of noticing little things and making connections, such as a detective or researcher.
This card is also self-referential, being relevant to the Tarot and other types of Oracles, for here, too, we are looking for patterns that can provide explanations and help us make predictions. Whenever we find images in the cards that relate to other little things that are going on in our lives, this is a delightful affirmation of the holographic nature of reality. Among people who believe in fairies, it is commonly claimed that Fairy World energies are involved in helping to generate little coincidences, and in prodding us to notice them.
Monday, May 11, 2009
So, the book I was citing is “Mapping Human History: Genes, Race, and Our Common Origins” by Steve Olson, [pp.46-47]. Olson himself was citing the work of Yale statistician Joseph Chang, whose computations revealed that just about anyone who lived before a certain date and was successful in having a line of descendants is likely an ancestor to everybody else in the world. The quote I had referred to was this: “If a historical figure who lived more than 1,600 years ago [i.e. before 400 A.D.] had children who themselves had children, that person is almost certainly among our ancestors. Everyone in the world today is likely descended from Nefertiti … from Confucius … and from Julius Caesar …” This crosses racial boundaries, because there was so much travel and interchange among widely different peoples in the ancient world, due to the Silk Road, the expansion of the Roman and other empires, etc. Olson states, “… if 800 years ago our ancestors included even a single European, African, or Asian, then 1,600 years ago our ancestors included most of the adult population of all three continents.”
Of course, if we admit past lives, then we are also ancestors to ourselves.
For the greater part of human history, our ancestors have believed in fairies and other types of Nature spirits, house spirits, etc., and have tried to cultivate good relationships with them. Among them, a number of those ancestors will have had a special rapport with different fairies, including individual fairies and tribes of fairies. Consequently, when certain fairies come up when divining with the Froud Oracle, the Fairy Ring, or any other decks that represent fairy types, we might consider, as an additional level to the interpretation, whether we are reactivating an ancient relationship—whether through ancestral or past life connections—and how that might also pertain to ancestral and past life issues that might be making themselves felt in the present.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Sunday, April 5, 2009
However, I forgot to mention that you can help the process of manifesting lucky surprises in your life by arranging little delights for other people. This is a way of priming the pump for magic, because you are affirming the fact that you can take charge of reality by generating surprises. Find clever ways, even if small, to create surprisingly pleasant experiences for the people in your life. For those who participated in today’s session, you might think of ways that you can activate imagery or information from your Tarot reading or spell, or from other things that came up in today’s session. (For example, you could entertain your family with a little drumming.) The Tarot can also help you with suggestions. You could ask the cards, “What can I do to arrange some special surprise?” and then do a card search to see what the Page of Cups is gesturing toward, or just do a regular reading for suggestions, [such as I describe in my book, “Tarot Your Everyday Guide”], taking your cues from the cards.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Sunday, March 29, 2009
In my October 25, 2008 entry, “Spirit Helpers Converge,” I discussed how psychic mediums have observed that we are accompanied by spirit guides, and if that is true, when different people come together, that also enables their different spirit guides to come together and exchange information. When I talk about us being accompanied by our spirit guides, I understand that as an extra-dimensional connection. I don’t actually think that we drag our spirit helpers along behind us. In other words, it’s not like when you see a mother of three children who has her kids in tow as she goes in and out of the shops in a mall. So, we’re not actually dragging the spirits along wherever we go, in that sort of manner. However, because of their concern for us, they maintain a psychic connection which allows them to be more present for us when there is a need, or when special conditions amplify that connection.
When we go to a place such as a bookstore where other people are going to think, read, and talk about spiritual and metaphysical things, and where the shopkeepers have done a lot to create the right kind of ambience with incense, music, crystals, and other beautiful things and sensory delights, our psychic connections are indeed very much heightened. On top of that, we are interacting with other people whose connections to their spirit mentors have similarly been energized. Not only do all of these otherworldly openings make it easier for our spirit friends to communicate with us individuals, they also make it easier for them to communicate with each other. So even if the spirits are, in a sense, communicating through connections across Time and Space, they are at the same time very much present—with you there in the same room, and hobnobbing with each other.
When, on previous occasions, I have put people through that little spirit greeting ritual where you turn to the persons on either side of you and say, “Hi, I’m So-and-So; I greet you, and I greet your friends in spirit,” that sends energy around the circle, and it’s also a genuine way of recognizing the Spirit World, to further enhance communication. A good reason for energizing this spirit-to-spirit connection is that spirits aren’t all knowing, but different spirits do have access to different pools of knowledge. So, let us say that two individuals, Joe and Mary, don’t know each other, but happen to be present at a spiritually elevated gathering. It may be that one of Joe’s spirit guides knows something that will be useful to Mary’s spirit guides, in helping them assist Mary. The more that spirits are able to help humans, the greater a blessing it is for them, as well, because it is actually more difficult to earn good Karma in Spirit Land than it is in the human realm, (which is why, from the Buddhist viewpoint, human incarnations are the most advantageous).
Friday, March 20, 2009
I’m very encouraged that the President has sent the Iranians Noruz greetings, (for their New Year on Spring Equinox), with an offer to turn a new leaf in diplomatic relations. [A good link for things that Iranians do to make the year ahead auspicious is http://www.farsinet.com/noruz/haftsinn4.html]. It is likewise encouraging that the Secretary of State is talking about hitting the “reset” button on U.S.-Soviet relations. As I believe I mentioned in a previous post, it would be nice if we could just redo the 21st Century, to make it more auspicious.
As the Sephardic saying goes, “Let us say auspicious things, so that we will hear auspicious things.”
If you would like to hear and see some auspicious things, come on out to see me at the Triple Goddess on April 5th, (from 1 to 3 p.m.), when I will resume my first-Sunday-of-the-month sessions in Tarot magic and discovery, as well as other seasonal enchantments.
Sunday, March 1, 2009
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Like Halloween, Mardis Gras enables people to experience “the principle of the Fantastic,” which can be a way of remaking oneself. If a person suffering from some sort of malaise gets out and takes advantage of seasonal feasts and fasts, especially the ones that allow you to dress up and frolic in fantasy costumes, it’s like hitting the “reset” button for the body-mind. After the highs and lows, the person returns to a reinvigorated homeostasis. I think this is worth experimenting with if you are trying to get out of a rut, but you don’t need to indulge in alcohol, which is dangerous to yourself and others, because you can try better, high energy outlets, such as dressing up in costume for singing, parading, dancing, and theatrics. In traditional societies, all of those high energy activities were also a way of reinvigorating the earth and putting on a performance for the gods and spirits—as I have remarked in previous commentaries on the Feng Shui of Halloween.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Sunday, February 1, 2009
Because “The Fairy Ring” Oracle (by Paul Mason and Anna Franklin) has eight cards representing the old pagan festivals, one of the techniques that I have demonstrated at the Triple Goddess is how to use this deck to see what sort of fairy-world energies you can experience at different times of the year. So, if you happen to own that deck, you can see what you can expect from this Candlemas-tide by shuffling, thumbing through the deck until you find the “Imbolc” card, and then looking to whichever cards are flanking it to get an idea of what late winter/early spring has in store for you.
In my own case, I got “The Blue Hag [of Winter]” on the left, and on the right, the fairy Habetrot, (who is a spinning hag, but in this deck, pictured in green and bordered with flowers). That certainly makes a statement about the transition from deep winter to the re-greening of the earth, and offers some philosophical insights into the crone energies in one’s life, and how a winter hag might make the transition into a summer hag.
Time to light a candle. If I may quote from my book of candle spells: “May this candle fair and bright, cheer us all through winter’s flight. Bless us through snow and storm and rain, until the Spring has come again” [“By Candlelight, Rites for Celebration, Blessing, and Prayer,” p. 140].
Friday, January 23, 2009
Continuing to think of ways to magically remake the 21st century, if we look to world wide folk magic practices, a common theme is “opening the way.” This is a term associated with American Hoodoo candle burning practices, as well as in the ritual magic of many Afro-Caribbean traditions. The same term is used in auspicious ritual practices involving the elephant god Ganesh in India, because as a very powerful animal, the elephant is an opener of the way. Now as it happens, we are turning a new page in history at the same time part of the Asian world is celebrating the start of the Year of the Ox, (which officially begins on January 26th). Therefore, we might consider the ways a powerful animal like an ox is also an opener of the way. Applying this to our current socioeconomic conditions, how can we meet the challenges of the 21st Century and create a space for new social, technical, and intellectual innovations--and even wonders—to unfold when we haven’t cleared out the problems of the 20th—and in many cases, still the 19th—Century?
Also, in China and other countries that use the Chinese animal zodiac, there is an opinion that you can make the most out of each year by acting out the qualities of that year’s animal emblem. So, to make 2009-2010 auspicious, we would be well advised to emulate the ox’s penchant for hard work, simplicity, consistency, and patience. Hard work seems to be a necessary course of action given the world’s economic condition, and even people who are out of work might find ways to do some hard work at home or in a volunteer capacity as a way of magically priming the pump for employment. Here I am reminded of the German saying that “patience is the medicine of the world,” the African saying that “hard work is the medicine for poverty,” and the Mexican saying that “consistency creates miracles.”
Sunday, January 18, 2009
As a magical goal for 2009, let’s think about how we can re-do the 21st century, which had gotten off to such an inauspicious—not to say disastrous—start in 2001. To help set the mind on the idea of change that brings renewal, one could do a Tarot meditation by laying out The Emperor, Justice, Judgment, and The World, while thinking about how our new president and government leaders can implement the larger ideals of Justice (which is the Year Card for 2009) in a way that quickens all of us to remake ourselves, our society, and our larger world. (If you use a Tarot deck that assigns the Number 11 to Strength, use Strength instead of Justice, while thinking about how the greater principles of that card apply.) By the way, magical numerology is at work in this spread, because it consists of four cards, the number of The Emperor, representing the president, the government, solid foundations, and things that are realistically do-able. Also, if you add the four cards’ numbers: 4 + 11 + 20 + 21 = 56, and 5 + 6 = 11, the number of Justice, which again, is the Year Card for 2009.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Picking up on my New Years Eve post, where I discussed JUSTICE as the Year Card for 2009, but mentioned that it came up reversed in my predictive reading, I want to emphasize that that doesn’t mean that we won’t see Justice as part of the change that many of us are looking forward to, but simply that we might not see its fullest expression.
In reference to the political situation with a new president, it is to be expected that he won’t be able to accomplish everything he wants in his first year. In reference to the greater human situation, very seldom does a group or individual feel satisfied that all of their demands for justice or other conditions are met, because human society requires a lot of compromise. Reversed Tarot cards therefore better reflect the human condition than the upright expression of the cards.
If you choose to reverse your cards, it can seem that the reversals come up more frequently than the uprights, and this is frustrating because it makes interpretation more complicated, with a great deal of ambiguity. However, in real life, seldom does anyone achieve the sublime perfections of the Magician or the High Priestess, or the states of happiness denoted by the Sun and the World, or even the skillful personal qualities denoted by the different court cards. This doesn’t mean happiness and other attainments aren’t possible, simply that complications are part of the natural flow of human life.