Friday, January 23, 2009


Last Sunday I blogged about remaking ourselves, our society, and our larger world, so I was really pleased to hear Barack Obama talking about remaking America in his inaugural speech.

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


Our nation is currently in a liminal state as we make the transition from one presidency to another, at a point in history when both a great many anxieties and expectations hinge on it. Liminal phases can be times of danger, but they also have a great deal of magical potential.

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

Reversed Cards: The Human Condition

Hi Folks! Llewellyn’s Online Journal is currently featuring my article on “Tarot Card Picture Searches: Discover Meaningful Themes in Tarot Art Images.” My previous article on “Tarot Card Tracker: A Versatile Technique for Tarot Discovery” can also be viewed.

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.