Posts Tagged ‘tarot’
As a Third Degree Dedicant and Second Degree Initiated Priestess of the Sacred Mists Coven, I have spent many years studying, writing about, and thinking about the polar opposites that are Goddess and God, and of the manifestations of energy patterns in my world that correspond with the purest and highest of energies that are the Sacred Feminine and the Sacred Masculine. I see these patterns everywhere in the workings of man and of Nature, sometimes a combination of the Two, and other times a preference for One or the Other. No matter how polarized these energies may manifest in an individual situation, when I look at the overall picture I always see the dynamic balance that can happen when “different” is combined with “equal.”
A state of balance (or the lack thereof) has been a periodically intense part of my evolution and growth; when I have it, life itself seems effortless, and when I don’t have it, I seem to be surrounded by a brick wall stretching upward into the clouds, with footings deep in the earth below me. Why is it so easy for us to sense when we have balance, and why is it so difficult to attain if we don’t have it? My typical “language” for answering tough questions is the Tarot, and since this is a tough question, I pulled out several of my decks; here is what my cards told me about the concept of balance.
Both The Hanging Man and the Temperance card of the Major Arcana came to mind almost immediately; after all, the word “balance” is found in my keyword for each of these cards. But although both cards are a symbol or manifestation of balance, The Hanging Man is not Temperance; each card has a different feel to it. Could there be two versions of balance?
First, The Hanging Man. Besides balance, The Hanging Man is about voluntary and involuntary surrender; it is the archetype of sacrifice and initiation. The Hanging Man also corresponds to the element of Water, the planet Neptune, and the Hebrew letter Mem (which corresponds to Water, and stability and balance). It represents the Path between Hod (analysis, science and teaching) and Geburah (challenges, sacrifice and destruction, all of which release energy back into the system) on the Tree of Life.
The crossed legs of The Hanging Man represent the Cross of Hermes and this pose shows up on another Major Arcana card, The Emperor. This commonality reminds us that The Hanging Man, who has learned that surrender and sacrifice are the best tools, is in many ways the polar opposite of The Emperor. The Hanging Man also corresponds with The Fool, who seems to be surrendering to both the sun in the sky and the cliff beneath his feet as he commences his journey. The Hanging Man is also linked to the Death card, which is seen to be the next step after the voluntary surrender that brings his change of perspective, and The Moon card and illusion, another change of perspective.
The Hanging Man certainly values polar opposites, however it does not ask me to do anything with opposing forces but rather, to allow them to wash over me with the understanding that both comfort and discomfort have important places in my life. Many spiritual traditions teach us how to act, how to use intentions as a catalyst, and how to use our Will to manifest our goals; that is one side of the coin. A more difficult lesson to learn is that which shows us that those instances we most feel we want to control are the instances where we will be better served by surrendering. The cool thing about The Hanging Man is that he is not really hanging, he is balanced. By surrendering, he is in “suspension,” a state that can only be achieved by balancing opposing forces.
The Legacy of the Divine Hanging Man contains a symbol that illustrates this concept: an hourglass balanced on its side (the balance could not happen unless the hourglass was suspended with equal amounts of sand on each side). This is the kind of balance taught to us by our efforts to grow and evolve, for in order to practice our Craft well, we need to balance our focus between the inner world and the outer world, between receiving knowledge and sharing knowledge, between actively experiencing life and receiving glimpses of the workings of the Machinery of the Universe.
The Pearls of Wisdom Hanging Man represents cheerful sacrifice and surrender to the inevitable. It also refers to the deep emotional content buried in the subconscious mind that is made available to the conscious mind by the shock of altering perceptions. We are being told that despite feeling bound and restricted (or maybe because of those binds that restrict us), we are able to surrender to the entire event. We are emancipated from restrictions by surrendering to them, and we are freed from the fear of loss because we cannot act to prevent loss!
The Thoth Hanging Man seems to tell of waiting for something to happen, perhaps with a sense of fatalism arising from within (rather than from without, as portrayed by The Wheel of Fortune). It tells of the descent of Spirit into matter.
The Llewellyn Welsh Hanging Man tells of being detached and isolated, and reminds us that the silence of constraint brings deeper self-knowledge.
Out of the entire Tarot deck, The Hanging Man is the one card that represents true paradox. Think about it . . . who surrenders in order to win a battle? The Hanging Man does, and very effectively!
Next, the Temperance card. Temperance represents synergy, which is also a form of balance; it is the archetype of the union of opposites. Temperance corresponds with Fire, the mutable Fire sign of Sagittarius, and the Hebrew letter Samekh (the tent post or support). On the Tree of Life, Temperance is the Path between Yesod (the home of the self and the life force; the bridge between the physical and the non-physical) and Tiphareth (the hub of the creation process, where energies harmonize and focus in order to illuminate and clarify). Unlike The Hanging Man, which is not about accomplishments, the Temperance card teaches us to cope with many different projects at the same time; the energies of this card offer a sort of freedom from stress, rather than from ties that bind.
Temperance has a connection to The Tower, which is also a card of extremes, however the energies of The Tower are a direct result of an imbalance rather than the balance to be found in Temperance. The World/Universe is about the unity and synergy that can result from the balance of opposites that Temperance brings us, and The Sun is about the personal vitality, enlightenment and confidence that can be achieved through a disciplined application of that balance.
The cool thing about Temperance is that it promotes both balance and equilibrium, but it also tells us that in order to attain and understand balance, we need to experience and understand extremes. We need to not only learn about the insight, illumination and expansion of The Sun, but we must also contrive to experience these extremes in our own lives. Likewise, the sudden upheaval, chaos, humility and blow to the ego of The Tower must be both understood and personally experienced in order to receive the insights offered by its devastation. Most importantly, we need to learn by trial and error, or by experiencing both failure and success, for it is only through knowing and understanding both that we are able to refine our perceptions of our world, and reconcile and unite extremes together in order to form balance.
The Legacy of the Divine Temperance card tells us that balance is fond by making continual adjustments and by getting the mixture right. It also reminds us that our hardships make us stronger and more refined.
The Pearls of Wisdom Temperance card reminds us that the process of tempering is connected to alchemic processes, of science combining with mysticism, of the irreconcilable being reconciled, in order to offer a vision of a future transformation. The image on this version of Temperance is partially blurred, reminding us that the union of opposites presented by Temperance is a temporary state.
The Thoth Temperance card, named “Art” by Aleister Crowley, tells us to “transmute all wholly into the Image of thy Will, bringing each to its true token of Perfection.” Crowley sees this card as representing the arts of magick and alchemy, and actions that are based on accurate calculations.
The Llewellyn Welsh Temperance card tells of both moderation and adaptation, and grace under pressure; and it tells of being a survivor. Now, that is interesting.
Temperance is indeed quite different from The Hanging Man, even though they both profess to manifest balance. It appears that I have found my two sides of balance, an outer and active version, and an inner and receptive version.
You can experience the two sides to balance, too. Try balancing on one foot; you will experience the kind of balance to be found in the Temperance card. This is active balance, and it can only be achieved by the imposition of equal yet opposite forces (gravity, and the efforts of your muscles to counteract that gravity). Then remember the last time you put on a life vest and floated in the deep end of a pool or lake, allowing the breeze and the currents to gently carry you here and there. In surrendering to the effects of the elements, you just may have experienced a moment of serene balance that never would have come to you if you tried to actively paddle to your own intended destination.
Perhaps by understanding the two sides of balance, we will be better able to manifest balance within our lives. What kind of balance are you looking for today?
Sacred Mists Degree Training
Sacred Mists Tarot Class
The LWB’s that come with the Gateway to the Divine Tarot, the Llewellyn Welsh Tarot, the Pearls of Wisdom Tarot, and the Thoth Tarot.
Next in out series of interviews is the very prolific author, Judika Illes! In today’s interview, Judika talks about her love of magic, her many books and her diverse background.
We would love to hear a little bit about your background Judika! Many of your books deal with magic from many different backgrounds and cultures, so I’d love to hear about your background and influences!
Well, I’m from Queens, one of New York City’s outer boroughs, which partially explains my comfort and familiarity with different cultures. Queens is reputedly the most ethnically-diverse place on Earth. I come from a fairly international family—I have relatives all over the place. I was the first person in my family to be born in the United States. I grew up with people from lots of different backgrounds, cultures, religions, and spiritual traditions, so I was raised to be tolerant and not make assumptions about people.
I think that personally I am a fairly good example of an urban magical practitioner. Magical practitioners from major urban centers like New York are constantly learning from each other, trading and sharing information, and evolving new traditions. The traditions I learned at home were mainly Central and Eastern European, but I was also heavily influenced by people who taught me African-American, Latin-American, Caribbean, North African, and East Asian traditions. Other influences on me include the great occult stores that flourished in New York City during my youth, before rising rents drove them out of business—great stores like Samuel Weiser’s Books and Magickal Childe, and all the botanicas and wonderful herb stores like Aphrodisia, which just closed recently. Growing up, there was also an unofficial but strong and distinct local New York style of magic, mainly an amalgamation of Western occultism and Puerto Rican traditions, especially Espiritismo—I’m very much a product of my background.
Tell us about what inspires you to write Judika. Your books are great sources of information for anyone interested in metaphysics. How do you go about compiling and researching all information that needed to complete the books that you write?
What inspires me to write is my love for my topics. I am so blessed and privileged to be able to write about subjects I love, like spells and witchcraft, saints and spirits. I enjoy the researching process- that part is fun and I would do it for myself, whether I was published or not.
Writing itself is difficult, but I feel an obligation to my material, to preserve it and also to present it in the clearest possible way, so that readers can share in my passions. I love divination, for instance, and I want other people to love it, too. My motivations aren’t entirely unselfish—I think that there’s greater safety for my community of magical practitioners and fortune-tellers if the greater public really understands what it is that we do. Historically, it has been dangerous to practice these arts, as it still is in some places today. I hope that my writing helps dispel fear and misinformation.
My research derives from a combination of personal exploration, learning from books and learning from other people. By nature, I’m a fairly shy person, but I’m a fearless researcher. I contact perfect strangers, if I perceive that they have information needed for one of my books or if I need someone to teach me something or explain something to me—I’ve made some wonderful friends this way.
Do you have “other” interests or hobbies?
Oh, yeah, lots—although whether I have time to devote to them depends on my writing schedule. I love beading and cooking. I read a lot just for my own pleasure: history, mysteries, comic books, art books. I love music. I like to watch movies. I tend to accumulate stuff- I’m an avid collector, especially of witchcraft-themed items like postcards and dolls. I love traveling. Given the opportunity, I’d do all my own field research, if I could.
What’s in the future for Judika? What projects do you have coming up?
My next book, The Encyclopedia of Mystics, Saint, and Sages will be published in November 2011. It’s another thousand-page encyclopedia, this one exploring saints, holy people, and miracle-workers from many spiritual traditions. It’s a practical work, similar to my Encyclopedia of Spirits, containing information regarding how to venerate and communicate with a wide variety of saints, as well as information on how to determine which saints are most compatible with you and helpful for your own particular problems and issues. I’m also in the process of updating my website and, hopefully, doing some more teaching. Having spent much of the last ten years alone in a room writing, I really appreciate opportunities for personal contact. I have some new classes in the works that I’m very excited about.
Is there a book that you would like to write, but haven’t done so yet?
I would actually like to write some fiction someday—I have a few novels turning around in my head that haven’t made it onto paper yet. I also have several half-completed books. The Encyclopedia of Spirits was initially going to incorporate saints and angels alongside Pagan spirits but the manuscript grew too big. The easiest way to trim it was to delete these categories with the hope that someday they would have their own books. The Encyclopedia of Mystics, Saints, and Sages will be published in November and hopefully the angels will one day have their own encyclopedia, too.
I began my writing career with a large work on fertility that remains unpublished. That manuscript contains a chapter of magic spells. A publisher rejected the book, but liked that chapter, which evolved into my first published work, Pure Magic: A Complete Course in Spellcasting. I would very much like to eventually publish my fertility book.
I wanted to let people know about your musical background..can you tell us a little about that?
I know that’s something we share, Bernadette! My first true loves were music, magic spells, and divination and they remain so today. Some of my earliest memories involve listening to music on the radio and eventually I became a disc jockey. I started off hosting a blues show, but also did standard rock programs and would sometimes fill in for the country and jazz hosts. My taste is eclectic. As with the magical arts, I love and appreciate many styles of music. I was the first female music director of WRSU-FM, the radio station affiliated with Rutgers University. In terms of the craft of writing, the writers who have influenced me the most are the music journalists of the ‘70s, who wrote with clarity and humor and were not afraid to wear their passions on their respective sleeves. When I was eighteen, my career plans involved these musically-oriented paths, but free-form radio was in its death-throes, as was that sort of music journalism, so I ended up on different paths, although, who knows? Radio has evolved and I may return to it someday. The urge to share music with other people spills out of me on facebook, where I’m constantly posting music news and sharing youtube videos.
How do you feel about the pagan community today?
I try to approach people as individuals, regardless of their background. I think that we are blessed to live in a spiritual renaissance and that we should be ever-vigilant to preserve hard-won liberties. I think that it’s crucial that we cultivate tolerance for each other.
Any advice for aspiring pagan writers?
People are constantly writing to me, telling me what book they think I should write next—sometimes describing these books in great detail. And what I always tell them is that if you can “see” a book that doesn’t yet exist, then maybe you’re meant to be the one that writes it. That’s how I began my career—I perceived a need for a book and I could “see” the book that would fulfill that need. If you can see it, then you can write it. This is a good time for spiritual publishing, so don’t wait. If you have a book in your head, put it down on paper. Just write it— it’s easier to fix or embellish something that already exists, rather than agonize over words in your head. My other word of advice is to consider the format in which you would like to present your work. If you hope to actually publish something in book form—whether in a traditional book or an e-book—then don’t post too much of the actual work on the internet: save it for the book itself.
This interview was such a pleasure to do! Judika’s books have become the”mainstay” of anyone who is interested in the study of spells and magic. I refer to her books on a daily basis!
Here are just some of her many books:
Symbolic Archetypes in the Native American Mural at the Mission Dolores
Tucked away behind the baroque wooden altar of San Francisco’s oldest standing building, the Mission Dolores, is San Francisco’s oldest known mural. Painted in 1791 by the indigenous Native Americans of the area, the Ohlone; it was partially preserved from the ravages of time by the wooden reredos which was placed over it. The mural depicts a series of geometric designs and swirls which are broken by two yellow circles, one at either side of the mural; each containing a pierced heart. The heart on the right is pierced by a single sword. The heart on the left is pierced by three spears or nails in an image inexplicably reminiscent of the classic Three of Swords card from the Sola Busca and Rider Waite tarots, which form the symbolic base of most modern tarot decks. The Three of Swords, one of the few cards within the Rider-Waite deck not to feature a human figure of any kind: is a card of loss, of betrayal, and of injury to the spiritual heart and passion. And though it is unlikely that the designers and artists of the mural had the tarot specifically in mind; the symbol’s presence in a church hints at a subconscious and spiritual meaning which the symbol of the pierced heart embodies and which mankind recognizes at its deepest levels.
Read the rest of this entry »
Lets take a look at today’s card-The World:
We see a woman who is surrounded by a wreath made of Laurel which is a symbol of protection, peace and purification. Her legs are crossed which represents overcoming obstacles (the crossroads). The figures in the four corners of The World card represent the four fixed signs of the zodiac, Leo, Taurus, Scorpio and Aquarius. This is symbolic of all the stars coming into alignment for me. Today, my focus should be on world issues or world events, encounters, and gatherings; travel, change, or physical concerns; organizations, risks, and new opportunities; but also any restrictions, walls, or blocks that I may have.
Eventually I’ll surmount any limitations or obstacles that I may have and come out on top. It’s time to realize what my goals really are and to start to count my blessings. My obsession (or preoccupation) with the past is hindering my ability to see what is really going on, but no matter how bound you’re feeling now, you can still break free. Things can change for me. Lessons of the past should help me- NOT hinder me, if I have learned my lesson well!
Let’s take a look at today’s tarot card-The Tower. I am using the Rider-Waite/Smith deck today. There is a tower that is being struck by lightning from above. Flames are shooting out from the top of the tower as well as coming out from it’s windows. There are two people falling down from the tower with a look of fright on their faces. At the very top of this card, there is a crown that looks as if the lightning bolt knocked it off the tower and is in the process of falling down.
How does this card apply to me today? What can I learn from it’s messages?
I look at the bolt of lightning, and I think “ego”. Sometimes ones ego needs to be knocked down a notch or two. Lets look at the fire that is so prevalent in this card. Fire is about transformation and cleansing. When a forest burns down, the growth is cleared away for new growth! What needs to cleared out of your life? What changes do you need to make now, not later?
Maybe your in a relationship that really needs to end now. Is it really fulfilling to you? Do you find that you or your partner tend to be volatile? Do you tend to argue all the time?
Today’s Tarot card-The Wheel of Fortune
Look at the imagery of this card. I am using the Rider-Waite deck today, so I see an orange wheel with Hebrew and English letters on it. The word “Taro” is spelled out. There are four “beings” surrounding the wheel at each of the four directions. An angel, a dragon, a bull with wings, and a lion with wings. Note that all four images here, all have wings. There is also an image of a devil, a sphinx and a snake hugging this wheel. Take notice of the fact that all four of the “guardians” are taking notes.
The main thing that comes to mind here, with The Wheel of Fortune, is CHANGE! This can be a good thing or bad. What I mean here is this: If things are great for you now, make sure that that you prepare for anything possible. Don’t get too comfortable because you should be prepared for any issue that may come around. Change is inevitable. Life is cyclical and is always changing. If things are a bit rough for you now, know that things will get better for you! If you have a problem with change, then this card’s lessons may be hard for you to swallow, but will happen non the less. Remember, what goes around, comes around. If you are prepared, then you should be able to meet all of life’s changes and challenges. Read the rest of this entry »