Wednesday, December 31, 2008


In addition to doing a card search to find out how your own Year Card will play out, (as discussed in the previous post), you can do a reading for the Year 2009 itself. Because 2009 adds up to “11,” the Year Card is “Justice,” and justice certainly is part of the change that a lot of people are hoping for. (If you use one of those alternate Tarot systems that assign the number 11 to “Strength,” you will be more likely to experience 2009 according to the principles you associate with that card.) Tonight you might consider shuffling your deck, locating the Justice card, and studying the cards that flank it to consider how you will see the principles of Justice expressed in your larger world.

I did my own reading, and got “The Wheel of Fortune,” “Justice” reversed, and “The Queen of Wands” reversed. The Wheel indicates that changes will definitely be felt, but the reversed Queen of Wands indicates that although there is a need for more creative solutions to our larger problems, including injustice resulting from so many different types of inequalities, creative people might not be able to make their voices heard—at least not to the extent that we might wish for, at least not so much in 2009—but let’s work to improve that situation! The fact that the Queen of Wands came up at all means that there are creative people with creative ideas out there, they just need to assert their presence.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I have been away from my blog due to end-of-semester stuff, followed by holiday preparations and entertaining. However, now that I’m getting back to things, I’ll continue to write about Tarot and Magic, even though I’m on winter hiatus as far as my workshops are concerned.

Here we are on the verge of 2009, and the New Year’s Eve is a time when people traditionally perform divinations to forecast the year ahead. A simple way to do this with the Tarot is to do a 12-card spread, with each card representing a different month of the year. However, this is also a good time to do a card search using your personal “Year Card.”

The Year Card technique links birth date numerology to the card numbers of the Major Arcana: you add the day and month of your birth to the current year, to find out which card will be offering special life lessons. For example, a person born on February 5th would add 2 + 5 + (2+0+0+9) to get 18, which is the number of “The Moon” card, (which can indicate something of a mystical year ahead). If you should get a number above 21, such as 25, you would add 2 + 5 to get 7. The basic idea of the “Year Card” is discussed in Mary K. Greer’s “Tarot for Your Self,” and she credits this and other numerological configurations to Angeles Arrien, (who uses the term “Growth Symbol” for the Year Card in her “Tarot Handbook.”)

So, to do a card search divination for the year ahead, figure out which card is your Year Card, and pose a question like, “What can I learn in the year ahead?” After shuffling and cutting in your normal, preferred manner, thumb through your deck until you find your Year Card, and look to the cards flanking it to tell you more about what sort of context the year 2009 provides for your growth lessons.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Collaborative Tarot

On the November 2nd session at Triple Goddess, I used the term “collaborative Tarot” to describe the activities we were doing. I believe I first encountered this term in Valerie Sim’s book, “Tarot Outside the Box,” where for example, she shows how multiple persons can develop a “collaborative story,” where they advance a plot by having each person draw a card in turn, using the actions and ideas depicted in the cards to build a narrative about some fictitious characters. She also uses the term “combination Tarot” for readings where you pose a question and then draw one card in turn from each of several different decks, and “interactive readings,” where more than one person contributes cards to be interwoven into a reading.

For those who weren’t with us on November 2nd, we did two collaborative/interactive exercises: First, based on the idea that when individuals come together, their personal spirit guides also come together and share information [see the post for Oct. 25], we asked the spirits for their collective wisdom. To do this with a group, you pose your request and then draw a card from your own deck and place it in front of you, (while your neighbors do the same); that first card will be a direct message from your personal guide or guides, and may provide some information telling you something about your guide or guides, or it could convey any other messages the guides want you to know. The next step is to draw two more cards: one for the person on your right and one for the person on your left. (In our case, because everyone was using a different deck that day, everyone ended up with three cards, each from a different deck.) So then, you consider the separate meanings of the cards you’ve been given, first in a general sense, but then you can also consider how a card that is a message from the guides of the person next to you may also say something about a life issue or spiritual issue that you and that other person share. Therefore, it is good if afterward you can compare notes with your neighbors to see if anything struck you about those cards which could point to some special connection. (Here, too, some past life issues can come into play.)

The second combined/collaborative exercise was to have a Halloween parade where nobody had to get out of his or her seat. Referring back to the concepts of energy movement I brought up in my post on the “Feng Shui” of Halloween [Oct. 29], where masked paraders move purifying and revivifying chi energy through a community, we let the Tarot cards do the parading, as a way of moving chi through our inner lives. To do this, you shuffle your deck and then thumb through it until you find an upright card with a human figure or other sort of being who is portrayed as moving to the right, the direction of the future. If you cannot find such a card in your deck, then the next option is to find a figure who is portrayed standing in such a way that he/she/or it could easily start moving toward the right. Then, each person passes that card to the person on the left, so the cards will be moving clockwise around the circle. Then, after a momentary pause for visualizations, the cards are moved to the next person, pause, and then again, going around the circle until your original card comes back to you. As for the visualizations, with each card you handle, you can visualize the figure in that card as a masker moving through the metaphorical village of your life, and think about how your inner world is refreshed by the movement of the energy and principles associated with that card. You can also visualize yourself as each costumed parader, in turn. So, for example, if you are passed a card from a deck which shows the fool in the Fool card moving forward, consider how you would costume up as that character, and what kind of movements and gestures you might make to act “in character.” Because, in traditional societies, the maskers are also expected to put on a little performance as part of the energy exchange, what sort of entertaining dance, skit, or other type of performance might you act out as that character? By the way, going through different decks to identify which characters are portrayed in forward motion makes for some interesting comparisons, because different artists will portray some of the same characters in quite different poses, which then makes for some distinct philosophical statements, while also bringing different nuances into your readings.

Although we did these things as part of a Halloween-themed session, the shared spirit wisdom exercise is something that could be tried by any persons who get together as a group, and the card parading could also be done anytime, though it might be especially good for other occasions when people dress up, such as Carnival.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Feel Free to Ask Questions

Now that I won’t be having any more magical chats until April, I’m ready to immerse myself in writing projects. However, if anyone wants to contact me with questions and comments, you can click on the “comments” links at the end of the posts.

As the folks who come to these chats/workshops know, I demonstrate Tarot techniques by going around the table and trying to point out a few things about each person’s cards that come up, in relation to whatever reading activity topic we’re exploring. Unfortunately, on last Sunday, November 2nd, I was pressed for time because car trouble made me late, and then I had another engagement afterward, so we didn’t get to discuss more about the collaborative spirit guide readings. If you were there, and you remember which cards you got and would like more clarification, please respond, and I will venture some opinions. As this is something of a public forum, you don’t need to provide your name or personal information, and I will try not to say anything that might be deemed embarrassing.

However, there is an important point that I forgot to make on Sunday, and that is that when we have these public demonstrations, I’d like to encourage everybody to chip in with any observations you have about other peoples’ readings. As I pointed out that when a group comes together, their spirit guides come together too, don’t be shy or feel that you’re interrupting, because you may be receiving a cross-communication from the spirits. I think that everyone will appreciate having that extra insight.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Spiritual Orientation to a New Presidency

So, we have a new president, and it isn’t the one the group predicted on Sunday. I believe that our predictions were influenced by the wave of good feeling that McCain’s “Saturday Night Live” appearance created, because he was very funny. Although McCain didn’t win, I still think it would be a good idea for any future candidates to try to get on SNL just before the election.

On Sunday, we also talked about how the Tarot (as a visual symbolic language) can be used to signal the Spirit World, including through little blessing and orienting rituals. (I used the Kabbalistic terms, singular Kavanah, plural Kavanot, which are gestures to gain spiritual assistance in focusing one’s intentions.) Some cards that can be used to gesture to Spirit are the Star, which represents Spiritual Forces and help from Spiritual Sources, and the Ace of Cups, which can serve as a symbolic offering of spiritual nourishment, (just as drink offerings were and are ubiquitous in the ancient world and in cultures that celebrate connection to Spirit).

If you would like to express a wish for spiritual refreshment to be directed toward the President Elect—or to anyone you think might need it—you could lay out a 3-card spread with the Star, followed by the Ace of Cups, followed by whichever card you think would be a good Significator (stand in) for your subject. As I mentioned Sunday, I have had both the King of Wands and the Hierophant come up in my earlier predictions of an Obama win. I use Wands and Cups to represent Democrats, Swords and Pentacles for Republicans, and the Emperor for the incumbent. Of course, if some other card seems more suggestive of whomever you want to send your good wishes to, use that. As you lay out the cards, visualize yourself backed by your Spiritual Forces, offering a goblet that’s overflowing with lovingkindness to the person with whom you wish to make this spiritual connection.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Presidential Predictions

Sunday, as a group, we performed the Tarot technique for predicting the next president, and as I recall, the results were 8 to 4 in favor of McCain. That goes against the polling predictions, but maybe he was enjoying a bump in popularity due to his previous night’s appearance on Saturday Night Live. A number of people may have been thinking of him warmly, thinking, “McCain’s a good sport, he’s willing to make fun of himself.” This presidential race has sure been a merry-go-round ride, with one fellow riding high the one moment, and the other the next. With any type of prediction technique, don’t despair if the cards or whatever aren’t favoring your candidate, (or get too complacent if they are), because as Yoda said, “Always in motion is the future.”

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.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Next Appearance: October 5th, 2008

For out next session, I’m thinking about doing something with the Tarot court cards, to divine which members of the “royal family” are “in residence” in different peoples’ lives on this occasion. Although a person may have a certain court card that he or she regularly uses as a Significator, as modern people, we have so many sub-personalities, out of our need to wear many hats and be many things to many people, that we probably act out all 16 court card personalities at different times.

The idea of seeing which personalities are “in residence” is based on the historical practice of kings, queens, and other members of the royal family to make royal progresses, visiting all of their castles, as well as the homes of other members of the nobility. Even today, Queen Elizabeth spends different parts of the year at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, Balmoral, Holyrood House, etc. Whenever she stays at a different place, they fly her standard to show that she is “in residence.”

Other activities planned for October 5th may focus on “enchanting the brain” as a form of spell breaking, and will include the dark chocolate induction. (Even if you’ve been through it before, it can't hurt to reinforce your ability to invoke the awesome magical powers of dark chocolate.)

Also, because there are still some defiant ragweed plants out there that have not yet succumbed to the rain or the cold nights, I’m thinking about a ragweed immunity spell for those who may need it.