The purpose of this website is to share my love and knowledge of tarot, especially esoteric tarot, with the world. It is also to contribute to making a better world in the small ways that I can. I am blessed to have gotten through 2020 with a modest fixed income, food and housing security, a loving and emotionally healthy life partner and excellent friends all intact. These are not things I take for granted. So many people have lost so much.
I hope you find my tarot content interesting and useful. I have all kinds of plans for more that will be published here for free ad-free access throughout 2021 if the Wheel of Fortune turns favorably for me.
Donations made in 2021 will go to helping people who are not as lucky as me, friends (and others who reach out) who are struggling financially as well as supporting two local LGBTQIA+ charities and a local food bank.
“You and I possess within ourselves at every moment of our lives, under all circumstances, the power to transform the quality of our lives.” – Werner Erhard
Once again, Medium brought a Mitch Horowitz article to my attention. I was clicking it just by the title alone: “Why the Best Spiritual Practice Is the One You Invent Yourself” and only noticed afterward who the author was. I really like how he described his anarchic magick as being a cousin of the chaos magick I learned it from reading a lot of Austin Osman Spare, Peter J. Carroll and Phil Hine. There’s at least one book from each of them on my bookshelves which survived the random purges of the last seven years to drive down my paper book collection and just work with pdfs and audio books instead. I should try and re-read them in 2021.
By synchronicity, the card I drew for myself today was the Thoth deck Magus. I wasn’t planning on doing a blog post though. I spent the early afternoon writing up the script for the second episode of Tarot Esoterica after catching up in social media after a two day hiatus for Xmas Eve/Xmas Day. I figured that was enough but then Mitch Horowitz inspired me. That’s another article I really recommend to my own readers.
I’m beginning to figure out my limitations as a tarot content creator; guaranteed daily blog posts are beyond them. Daily card draws for my personal tarot journal + reading/listening to a Medium article are going to almost always happen. It might be though that only when those two things make good bed partners on the same day that I’ll be writing here in Musings & Ramblings.
One of the things that had come up as I writing the script for a 10-11 minute talk on dualism and polarity (which has a different approach than Lesson 2: The Monad And The Duality ) was the way I stumbled across The Kybalion when I was a ten year old girl. I own a different copy of that same edition .
What the hell was a copy of The Kybalion doing in the Hawley Elementary School Library in Ft. Dodge IA in 1979??? Now, I was -that- kid, that year. The introvert who did spend as much time as possible in the library rather than the playground, peering at every shelf and pulling out things that were interesting. I have only a handful of childhood memories that go back that far but I do remember book nerdy little me getting this book off a shelf and feeling amazed by the look of the cover and having no clue what it would be about? I took it to a table and started to read.
Age 10 was also when I got my first AD&D books. They made a lot more sense but I pushed really really hard to understand the Kybalion and kept it as one of my “little secrets” I didn’t talk about. I had this sense that book wasn’t supposed to be THERE and hid it on a dusty back shelf nobody else would notice it. For reasons I wouldn’t be able to explain to this day, I didn’t ever try to check it out, I never mentioned it to school mates, teachers, the librarian or my parents. I’d just read it some of it during lunch period in my corner of the library whenever I could and then put it back on the shelf when it was time to go.
The Kybalion was fascinating and arcane for a school year. Then when we moved to a different neighborhood and I transferred schools, I completely forgot all about it for a really long time. Even when I discovered Wicca a couple years later, I didn’t remember anything about the Kybalion. I saw it or heard about it again after I was in college and went browsing all the used book stores in downtown Olympia WA looking for everything about tarot and the occult and ceremonial magick that I could find.
The second I saw another copy of the Kybalion though? I recognized it immediately. I immediately had a flashback of being that remembered being awe-struck and mystified (as in completely lost and bewildered) little kid trying to process its the lofty and obtuse language. That second copy has been with me for 27 years and I’ve grappled with it a dozen times.
I’d like to say that the Seven Laws of Hermetic Magic were the most influential thing I’d ever read but that’s not true. The greatest personal truth I learned about magick and being an occultist only indirectly relates. This personal truth is this:
Not all the rituals and grimoires and spellcraft in the world is going to be helpful in changing your life if your emotional intelligence and stress resilience are train wrecks. As above so below also means as below so above. Garbage in, Garbage out also means Garbage out, Garbage in. The most effective acts of magick and most effective magickal practices work from the inside outwards; magicians who de-junk and de-gunk the stuff inside their own brains to reduce their general shitheadism make the most successful practitioners. I’m not there yet, but I have the best of intentions.
“Chaos magicians sometimes see their work from a psychological perspective; my path is spiritual,” wrote Mitch Horowitz on February 13th 2019. I really love his writing. Of course, since I do see my work from a psychological perspective rather than a spiritual one, his definition makes me (possibly) a chaos magician. Except I think I’m too eclectic for even that? I’m definitely a lazy ritualist and need to improve that at least a little even if I never go back to starting my day off with the LBRP and a self-made Invocation of the Sun ritual like I did during my peak years as a tarot reader and life coach.
… on the other hand, maybe if I -did- start my day off with the LBRP and a new Invocation of the Sun ritual that fit my 2020+ sensibilities? Maybe I’d have less fibromyalgia woes. (Then again, since I think possibly I got fibromyalgia from being touched by an angel, maybe not. Wow. Now -there- is a story for this blog some day soon.)
Maybe I’d find it easier to channel my desire to drop my weight by a hundred pounds into consistent acts of True Will if I did more rituals and put all my theorycraft into more active practice. Did some praxis and kept it up, every day.
I don’t feel an urge to go looking for a god of weight loss to pray to and invoke. I’d never become that much of a ritualist or spiritualist against. There is a whole lot of psychoteric stuff in the tool box to get me from being a morbidly obese theoretical magician to being a a healthier and happier one though. Don’t get me wrong, I’m actually better than average in the happy department. There’s just a lot of complacency and I get the feeling I’m supposed to Do Better. Be Better. Make Better. I am pretty sure dropping 100 pounds will add years, maybe even a decade to my lifespan.
Losing a hundred pounds in 2021 would make it a whole lot easier to survive the Bad Things Ahead if we humans don’t really and truly fix the things we broke or at least get close enough that the #Galactic Federation decides we’re “good enough” to save. I am hopeful and I’d really like to be around to see what happens for at least three more decades. Losing a hundred pounds would sure help make that possible.
I’ve actually put a lot of research into diet, exercise, nutrition. Theorycraft, just theorycraft. I can’t blame everything that 2020 took away (like access to swimming pools) excuse me not losing the weight in 2016-2019. I had total access to swimming pools, exercise machines, a dietician and everything else during those three years. I knew everything back then that I know now about why a person like me should be eating a flour-free plant-centric whole food diet as much as possible. I half-assed it in 2018-2019 and used Covid-19 as an excuse eat the Standard American Diet crap food for most of 2020.
The best weight loss practice might very well be the one that I invent for myself too. So lets see just what I can accomplish between now and Christmas 2021. Let’s be a helluva good modern magician for the next 365 consistent days and use that magick to transform me into a 235 pound woman by the time I turn 53 on January 3rd, 2022.
The first condition of success in magick is purity of purpose. -Aleister Crowley
I try to read one at least article on Medium every day, letting the site’s algorithms find things and sent them to me in a Daily Digest. I consider my subscription there worth every penny. There is almost always something in my digest that really catches my attention. Sometimes its directly related to tarot. More often, it is part of what I call psychotericism (metaphysics of the mind) or something of a more general spiritual/occult/mysticism/wellness theme.
The article talks about Murphy presenting the concept of mood and thought as causes of our circumstancesrather than symptoms of them as is a more conventional model. There’s a lot to this that I will be poking at later after the holidays and the launch of the website. I think I will listen to Murphy’s “The Power of the Subconscious Mind” after I finish Horowitz’s book which is also available on audio book though it might be a bit higher on the religious/spiritual spectrum than I am right now.
Today I finished recording and editing my first podcast episode of Tarot Esoterica. That was exhausting but a little daunting. I ended up talking a lot about my personal history as far as the occult and tarot were concerned. I only briefly touched on myself as a life long D&D-playing, fantasy/science fiction nerd. In a couple of days, it will be Christmas. I was given my first set of AD&D books (or was it a boxed set?) that day from a distant relative. I loved it to pieces. I didn’t have friends to play it with, so I went through it all, creating stories and maps.
At ten years old, I was convinced that I was going to grow up to be a “rich and famous novelist”. I threw pennies into the fountains at the shopping malls in Des Moines ever time we visited and I had such a clear vision.
…. I never wrote a decent novel and there won’t ever be anything rich or famous about me. However, I have a true talent for storytelling and world building. My closest friends would be able to tell you about the countless hours I spent doing TTRPGs and interactive fiction with them just about the minute I landed in Olympia WA and The Evergreen State College. The other parts of Laurel that came to life there (ceremonial magic, bisexuality, socialism) were probably downplayed by that to all of them.
Tarot, the occult, fantasy/sci-fi novels, sex and relationships with people of both genders singular and in groups, roleplaying games (especially the World of Darkness), progressive politics and environmental activism, these were the beautiful paints that I threw at the canvas of Laurel as a Young Adult during my College Years.
I was so ~sure~ that I was going to be a novelist, a game designer, to help build a sustainable community of organic farms and orchards with all my LGBT+ and Neo-Pagan friends. It all seemed so obtainable, so just within my grasp.
I was very young at 20-25. I was surrounded by equally young people. It was 1989-1994 and we were Gen X just starting to come into our own at a very expensive and prestigious liberal arts college. Not all of my friends were white. But most of them came from indulgent, upper-middle class families just like mine. Michael Osiris Snuffin probably has his own memories and interpretations of it all, because we lived together or in neighboring apartments for a good chunk of it; we made some really questionable relationship choices during those 4-5 years but never with each other. Ours was one of those soul-deep friendship.
So how the heck does all of this tie in with the Ace of Swords?
The Aces are the pip cards of raw potential. The Ace of Swords is about those “Eureka!” moments and being filled with inspiration, new ideas, new beliefs and experiences that leave you changed. Those years at TESC with Osiris were my life’s Ace of Swords experience. I loved my college classes and everything I was learning about the world. I was just so convinced that the United States was about to plunge forward with technology and progressive politics, that humanity as a whole was entering a new era of social justice and discrimination against women, people of color, indigenous peoples, third world nations, queers, lesbians, all that toxic societal awfulness was coming to an end….
…. I was very young in 1989-2004. I held my sword so high, I was so inspired. I wasn’t prepared for the relationship catastrophes that hit hard; I wasn’t prepared for what happened politically to the United States. I wasn’t prepared for the average American to reject all my personal truths about racial, gender, economic equality or for my entire generation to end up perpetuating the very forces we’d seemed so determined to thwart back then.
An Ace of Sword is a beginning. Beginnings are fragile. Ideas and idealism have to be tempered with actions and resilience because adversity is endless. That is what this card says to me today.
I am going to draw a card each morning from one of my 2021 decks and briefly talk about it. For over 80 days, I’ve just been doing daily cards for myself in a tarot journal.
In the RWS tradition, the 6 of Wands depicts a victorious leader and being lauded by a crowd. I’ve always liked that RWS motif but the Thoth card gives me a greater thrill and makes a sense of achievement (present and potential) really hit home.
Astrologically, this card is attributed what happens with Jupiter (The Benefactor) in the sign of Leo. Well-aspected Jupiter- and it is very well-aspected in Leo- is associated with prosperity, abundance, good fortune, benevolence. Leo rules the House of Pleasure (the 5th House) where our passions, self-expressions, creativity, romances and hobbies are to found. So from an astrological perspective, the Thoth 6 of Wands symbolizes a time-place where we have a lot to celebrate and shamelessly indulge in.
The geometric shape of the wands on this card always catches my eye. I love the way the six wands create those diamond shapes and how the flames are arrayed. My beloved friend Michael Osiris Snuffin attributes the nine flames via numerology to the sefira Yesod; he describes this as being there to give yinyang harmony to this card and it certainly feels surprisingly balanced and harmonizing for a card with so many yang associations (fire, Jupiter, Leo) going for it. Numerologically, sixes associated with idealism, family, love, and harmony.
Looking at it through the lens of Qabalistic tarot? All of the sixes in the Minor Arcana are associated with Tiferet, the sphere of the Higher Self associated with The Sun. Wands as a suit are associated with Olam Azilut, the world of Emanation (energies and archetypes). So this card expresses the qualities of Tiferet in Atzilut the same say as it expresses the qualities of Jupiter in Leo.
In a tarot reading, this card upright is generally very auspicious. It suggests that someone really invested themselves into something and is either receiving the outcome they desired or they will soon. Its a powerful, dynamic card.
Reversed? Instead of all this powerful yang energy flowing harmoniously, there is blockage because of hubris or ego. Elemental fire, planetary Jupiter and zodiacal Leo, Tiferet and Atzilut are ~all~ very Yang and when they pile together this way it is hard to have advantageous balance. Reversed, the Yang elements are taken to an extreme which easily leads to hubris and extreme narcissism and selfishness. So if the Thoth 6 of Wands Reversed appears in a personal reading for yourself? Chances are you need to take a deep breath and do some fearless self-inventory and start being more more kind, more compassionate, and especially more humble and charitable.
“The secret of all victory lies in the organization of the non-obvious.” – Marcus Aurelius