Occult Philosophy, Psychoterica, Self-Development

Words Cast Spells

A month ago, snowstorms hit the US hard. What happened in Texas was a tragic failing of infrastructure due to greed and short-sightedness. Here in the Puget Sound, we simply shut down for a day or two as is the norm for snow/ice in the Seattle metro area. We don’t get it very often and its safer and saner to just wait it out when possible. This time that was easy.

But the cold and snow brought with it some serious fibromyalgia and arthritis/joint issues for me. I’ve never really been the same since. However, I just successfully completed the end of 2 WEEKS of going to the gym/swimming pool. I’ve been losing weight, I’ve been active outside the house, I’ve lost my fear/anxiety over using public transportation and I’ve been seeing the Law Of Attraction successfully at work in my life which fits with having recently completed listened to Mitch Horowitz’s The Miracle Club: How Thoughts Become Reality.

I have mixed opinions about the Law of Attraction and “New Thought” in general and have skimmed enough of conversations to see where the controversy lies for me. I’m so anti-Guru Grifting, people making exploitive profits as life coaches/authors/seminar leaders. I don’t consider Mitch Horowitz one at all. He’s just a talented magician and author who I eagerly read on Medium and I found his take on magic and magical thinking to fit very well with mine.

But running across that picture I posted above hit hard today. I know several people who are in fact keeping themselves sick/depressed through toxic though. I know several others who are actively seeking transformative change like me. Most people I know are in between.

I do believe there is something to the Law of Attraction, quite a bit actually. Its something I will write more about in the future. I am discovering in my own life that I’m calling to me all kinds of amazing but overwhelming things and I’m having to slow myself down as a content creator because I’ve got opportunities that didn’t exist a month ago to get myself swimming and medical treatment for some conditions I’ve been struggling with for decades. Spending 3-4 hours out of the house 5 days a week is exhausting in mostly good ways. Everything I’m doing while I’m out there? I ~asked~ the universe to provide for me and to make affordable and it did. But it sure means less time at my computer, reading and writing.

… that might not be such a terrible thing though, in terms of the alchemy of my personal Great Work. So long as I don’t lose focus and momentum and things continue to unfold on this website and with the podcast and such. That is the biggest risk right now. One of my worst flaws is following a single passion obsessively to the detriment of the other aspects/interests in my life.

Words cast spells. I need to keep my words sincere and directed towards positive change in me and mine.

Lesson 7: The Twelve Zodiacal Signs in the Major Arcana

Welcome to Lesson Seven. You will notice that I am fond of using italics and boldface to highlight specific words. Anything highlighted can be considered a vocabulary word or concept that I want to bring special attention to. Boldface is a topic that I recommend doing further personal research about.

The Major Arcana as 3+7+12

Each of the twelve zodiacal signs combines one of the three modalities (cardinal, fixed, mutable) with one of the four elements (fire, eath, air, water). Twelve of the Major Arcana trumps are linked to the zodiacal signs; traits conventionally associated with each sign in Astrology are likewise associated with its paired tarot card. The other Major Arcana cards are paired to the seven classical planets and the three modalities.

The Jewish Kabbalists associated the three modalities, seven classical planets, and twelve zodiacal signs to the Hebrew alphabet in the same way centuries before tarot cards existed. We will delve more into that and the Kircher Qabalistic Tree of Life in Lessons 9 and 10.

Different Kabbalistic scholars associated specific planets, zodiac signs, and modalities to specific Hebrew letters according to their own opinions and personal truths. Likewise, I think tarot deck creators should assign the seven planets, twelve zodiacal signs, and three modalities to their Arcana cards according to their own insights and personal truths. Whatever a tarot author/artist creates as 22 Major Arcana cards to represent these 22 occult symbols makes for a valid esoteric deck.

What I’m presenting in this lesson is the way the 7-12-3 astrological trait system associates with the original RWS Major Arcana deck by Pamela Coleman and A.E Waite. This convention is prevalent throughout Major Arcana for many other tarot decks as well.

Each of the zodiacal signs has a planetary ruler. This basically means that in esoteric tarot, five of the classical planets (Mars, Venus, Saturn, Jupiter, and Mercury) each have a stronger influence or affinity for two of the zodiacal signs and two of the classical planets (Sun and Moon) have a stronger influence or affinity for just one of the zodiacal signs.

It’s a lot easier to create your own tarot deck and make these astrological associations to the Major Arcana as you please after you’ve mastered the way it’s all done by convention. I do think to that to create your own functional ~personal~ system of astrological, alchemical, and Qabalistic associations for the 78 tarot cards, you need to create your own deck from scratch.

Astrological Associations Of The RWS Major Arcana

NameAstrological
Attribution
Rulership/Affinity
O The FoolMutable Air (Modality)Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius
I The MagicianMercury Gemini, Virgo
II The High PriestessMoonCancer
III The EmpressVenusTaurus, Libra
IV The EmperorAries (Cardinal Fire)Mars
V The HierophantTaurus (Fixed Earth)Venus
VI The LoversGemini (Mutable Air)Mercury
VII The ChariotCancer (Cardinal Water)Moon
VIII StrengthLeo (Fixed Fire)Sun
IX The HermitVirgo (Mutable Earth)Mercury
X Wheel of FortuneJupiter Sagittarius, Pisces
XI JusticeLibra (Cardinal Air)Venus
XII The Hanged ManFixed Water (Modality)Taurus, Leo, Scorpio
XIII DeathScorpio (Fixed Water)Mars
XIV TemperanceSagittarius (Mutable Fire)Jupiter
XV The DevilCapricorn (Cardinal Earth)Saturn
XVI The TowerMarsAries, Scorpio
XVII The StarAquarius (Fixed Air)Saturn
XVIII The MoonPisces (Mutable Water)Jupiter
XIX The SunSunLeo
XX JudgementCardinal Fire (Modality)Aries, Cancer, Capricorn
XXI The World Saturn (& Earth)Capricorn, Aquarius

I am going to simply introduce the zodiac signs as they relate to the RWS Major Arcana and leave it to your personal studies to become more familiar with each of them as part of the “end of lesson” exercises.


The Zodiacal Symbols

These original 1909 RWS images are by Pamela Coleman Smith, found at Wikipedia and were scanned by Holly Voley for the (US-PD) public domain.

The symbol for Aries represents a face and horns of a ram. It presents itself in the original RWS as part of Emperor’s throne.

The symbol for Leo is a script form of the Greek letter lambda Λλ the first letter of the Greek word for lion (“leon”). It is depicted on the card via the orange lion.

The word Sagittarius means archer and its symbol is an arrow. The constellation depicts the centaur Chiron. This card doesn’t directly portray Sagittarius but rather draws on some shared themes about mutable fire and the sacred healer.

The symbol for Taurus represents a face and horns of a bull. Taurus isn’t explicitly portrayed in the Hierophant but has esoteric themes shared by the card.

The stylized M for Virgo has no explanation that I find satisfying but when I look at it and Scorpio’s symbol, I see yinyang polarity in those tails.

Capricorn’s symbol, like Aries and Taurus, is meant to depict the sea goat it is based on. The Baphomet-style devil with the horned and tailed prisoners in the card is touches on some of the same themes.

Gemini has a stylized Roman numeral two for a symbol to represent the twins Castor and Pollus. In the RWS card, the two figures and the trees behind them have a shape that echoes Gemini’s symbol.

The symbol for Libra represents scales held by the Roman goddess Iustia. The image of Lady Justice captured in the Justice card can be traced back to Iustia. Libra is symbolized by the scales in her left hand.

Aquarius‘ symbol of two bars of rippling water plays itself out in the way the Star is pouring water from two matching vessels.

Two crab claws with yinyang harmony compose the symbol for Cancer. The same yinyang harmony shows up in the charioteer’s shoulders and the two sphinx. There is water in the background, a trait shared with very specific planets and signs.

Pisces‘ symbol is composed of two fish swimming in opposite directions. I’ve read that the crayfish upon this card is very symbolic of Pisces.

Last but not least, the symbol for Scorpio is a stylized M with a “stinger” tail. Death’s white horse and pose mimics that of the Page of Cups.

End of Lesson Exercises

Exercise #1
Using the astrology website of your choice, look up each of the 12 zodiacal signs and find 3-4 keywords that you feel fit the tarot are very well suited for each tarot card upright and another 3-4 that you feel are very well suited for each tarot card reversed. Add this to your tarot journal.

Exercise #2
Using the previous lessons on the classical planets or another resource, review what kind of qualities each of the seven planets represents and write out a couple of sentences in your tarot journal that link the planets to the a) cards they are associated with on their own and b) the cards they are associated with by rulership of astrological signs.

Exercise #3
Watch this short (~4 min) by gswarner called Recognizing Zodiac Correlations in Tarot Cards and write down the Court Cards that associated with different zodical signs and think about any similarities presented in the Major Arcana – Court Card pairs. You might want to pause for each set or watch it a couple of times.

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Authors & Bloggers, Mind Magick, Occult Philosophy, Thoth

Today As A Magus (1-2-2021)


Harris-Crowley Thoth Tarot; image is © US Games Systems, Inc.

So today’s Medium article is “The Psychology of The Magus” by Jennifer Moore which I discovered when I was looking for a picture of Magus #3 for my collection.  That is the one I happened to draw for today, synchronicitly.  I wasn’t able to read as carefully as I would have liked, my brain was too racing to get my own thoughts out about The Inner Magus and True Will and Weight Loss.

I have given myself the resolution to not eat grain-based food, candy, or soda for 2021.  I started by giving them all up on December 26th.  Today is Day 2 of 2021.  I am not throwing myself at eating X number of calories, trying to balance my Protein-Carbs-Fats or any other food alchemy at this time.  The ~only~ things I’ve established for myself are:

1. No grain-based foods, no candy, no soda
2. Potatoes and Legumes are my primary starches
3. I eat as much fresh produce as I can; condiments are okay.  

I don’t know how much weight I will or won’t lose.  I would LOVE to drop an entire 100 lbs. by my 53rd birthday (tomorrow is my 52nd birthday) but you know what?  I have not, in all the years I’ve told myself “I will lose a hundred lbs. this year” come even close.  I’ve lost 20, 30, even 40 lbs. over a 12 month period but always gained at least half of it back.  Most years, keeping myself between 320-340 lbs. has been my biggest accomplishment. 

I’m not doing it that way this time.  My weight is currently 330 lbs.  I’m at my average.  But in 2021, I would ~like to~ lose at least 31 lbs. and I would ~like to~ feel what it’s like to be 299 lobs again.  I ~plan to~ to get off my ass at least 3 times a day and take three short walks to get in at least 5,000 steps even on bad days.   

But what I AM going to do, not simply hope for and plan for? I’m going to abstain and from grain-based foods (which include all cereals and baked goods and pasta), all candy, all soda.  

Because this is my Will.  This is my Directed Intention that I’m being and going to continue to be magickal about: I am stating to myself and the universe that I will not eat these foods with the self-understanding that what I really mean is that I will willfully and by intention not eat these foods and if I fuck up?  Then I will willfully and by intention smack myself in the head, laugh, and go right back to NOT eating these foods.  I will walk a set path with grit teeth, determination, and accept my human fallibility but not define myself by it.

At the end of the day (or in this case, at the end of the year)?  The point should not be “Laurel weighs less than 300 lbs for the first time in 30 years!”.  That is just the pay-off I hope for.  The point will be “Laurel honed her True Will and mind magick to stop eating grain-based food, candy, and soda… and as a result of that and moderate daily exercise?  She lost weight.”

The point will be that I established a sandbox for shaping and strengthening my True Will in 2021.  It’s that I’m making a resolution that regardless of circumstances, regardless of what events happen and how I feel-think afterward?  I am not going to eat grain-based food, candy, or drink soda.  Not when I’m happy and celebrating, not when I’m sad/bad/mad.  I can drink juice, coffee, tea, water, milk, seltzer…anything else.  I can nom on potatoes with ketchup, I can stick a spoonful of peanut butter in my mouth.  I can let someone buy me a bunless hamburger with fries and ice tea when we go pick up fast food.  

Because I have stated my intention and created a resolution and now I do the magick of creating the reality I want.  I made this resolution and initiated this working with full knowledge that my Inner Demons will gleefully look at ways to sabotage my Inner Magus because that’s their job as my psyche-as-Adversary?  (There’s some psychoteric writing for the future).  The point is to Be The Magus who, like Solomon, masters the demons rather than being mastered by the demons.  2021 is going to be a Solomonic story, not a Faustian story, I have decided.  I get to triumph.  All it takes is me, via praxis, keeping to my resolution via True Will which I believe I can do.  

My BELIEF that I. Can. Do. This. Thing and my embracing of “This is gonna be so hard some days but totally worth it and I will say this and believe this and make this my reality” is the Mind MagickUsing affirmations, rituals, tarot card readings, every tool I draw on to program my brain into consistent follow-through day by day (hour by hour on the rough days)? That’s the Craft. Because if I can say and mean and follow through on something as challenging as “no grains, no candy, no soda” for the next 364 days?

Everything else I want to accomplish is possible and probable too.  But this is the sandbox and canvas for the microcosm of my Great Work for 2021.  It is something I do have control over, and only I have control over, which is what makes it so useful as a sandbox.  You, my readers, will get to watch as you please.  While I’m doing this mental alchemical Magnum Opus (a year of abstinence from grain foods, candy and soda) for me?  I am also sure that using my blog as one of the ways I hold myself accountable for thinking through and typing through this working will really, really help it happen. 

Typing about my inner demons when they manifest and start cavorting about to try and sabotage my work will really help me snap my fingers and say “no” with confidence and prove that my Inner Magus is stronger.

There is most ~definitely~  some very deep delving into The Magus vs. The Devil coming in not too distant writing.  Remember that I believe the entire Major Arcana is there in our psyche all the time. We are never just one card, one archetype when it comes to the zodiacal or tarot archetypes. We simply draw on certain archetypal forces and play them out in what we say-do-feel differently at different times. Educating ourselves about the archetypes and then developing the True Will and magickal prowess to intentionally manifest a specific archetype in a specific way as part of our communication-actions-feeling is the endgame. Perfection in it is an illusion. Doing it most of the time and accomplishing most of what we hope for, getting better with practice? That’s being a good magician.   

Occult Philosophy, Self-Development

Card of The Day: The Magus (Thoth)

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.

© US Games Systems, Inc

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

Tarot Esoterica Podcast


Tarot Esoterica is my weekly podcast. I provide short introductory lessons about the occult philosophy and symbolism found in the same kind of tarot decks that I write about here on the website.

The tone of Tarot Esoterica is intended to be low-key, informative, and interesting. I babble about my own life experiences as a tarot reader and theoretical magician from time to time.

My goal is to strip out a lot of the lofty and outdated language in occult philosophy and esoteric tarot to present information from a very modern and psychological-based perspective. Some of the same content shows up in text format here on my website via Esoteric Tarot Lessons. The podcasts are scripted separately from the lessons, however. Both discuss the same topics but with different approaches.






Related Resources

Laurel’s Tree of Life collection on Pinterest

Linda Gail Walters & Realms of Personality

Lesson 5: Seven Spheres Above, Seven Spheres Below (Part One)

 A captive here on earth for the moment, I commune with the chorus of stars and they join in my sorrows and joys.”
― Gérard de Nerval, Selected Writings

In this two-part lesson, I will be introducing the seven classic planets of Western astrology and the seven chakra of Westernized Ayurvedic energy work.

I am not an astrologer and only work with the classic seven planets (and all other elements of astrology) as a tarot reader and theoretical magician. I have read a smattering of books on astropsychology and spiritual astrology and feel comfortable chattering about astrological archetypes even if I could never fully interpret my own natal chart.

I am not an Ayurveda practitioner and learned what I know about the chakras comes via mostly from the Theosophy Wiki and reading Wheels of Life: A User’s Guide to the Chakra System by Anodea Judith. I don’t know if I recommend the latter to someone interested in studying Ayurveda; it taught me enough to recognize the concepts and symbols of that esoteric system when they came up in books and conversations about tarot. The authors and I don’t always agree on the planetary or Qabalistic associations for the chakras; what I present are my own.

A Very Brief History of Astrology


Both Tropical astrology and Vedic astrology share roots in Babylon about 4000 ago. Hellenistic astrology originated during the Ptolemaic dynasty era in Egypt. A citizen of Alexandria, Claudius Ptolemy (c. AD 100 – c. 170) wrote a mathematical and astronomical treatise eventually called the Almagest.

“Mortal as I am, I know that I am born for a day. But when I follow at my pleasure the serried multitude of the stars in their circular course, my feet no longer touch the earth.”
― Ptolemy

The Almagest contained the Ptolemaic geocentric model which became the prevalent cosmological paradigm. It was as accepted then as the Big Bang theory is now. This Ptolemaic system served as the cosmological paradigm in European thought until Copernicus’ heliocentric model replaced it in the early 1500s.

It is from the works of Claudius Ptolemy (and other prolific Alexandrian scientist-philosophers) that horoscopic astrology began. With horoscopic astrology came the practice of attributing elemental, planetary, and zodiacal qualities in related fields, including Western philosophy and early Western medicine.

Spiritual astrology isn’t new. Many esoteric groups (including the Theosophists, Anthroposophists and Rosicrucians) considered the planets as metaphors for the evolution of the soul through cosmic cycles but those groups are topics for future lessons. AstroPsychology is what I have a lot more personal passion for and a topic I clump into psychoterica.

Why Talk About The Chakras?

Our seven Chakras are all situated in the head, and it is these Master Chakras which govern and rule the seven (for there are seven) principal plexuses in the body, and the forty-two minor ones to which Physiology refuses that name. – Helena Petrovna Blavatsky,

It is through Theosophy that Ayurvedic ideas and practices first entered western occultism in the early 1900s, overlapping with the Hermetic Order of Golden Dawn. Then in the 1980s the New Age movement hit and made pieces of Ayurveda (yoga, the chakras, etc.,) suddenly really trendy and mass market. Tarot decks began to appear that incorporated the chakras much more obviously as part of their imagery or companion books. A working knowledge of the chakra as they associate with the classic planets is really helpful.

Cultural appropriation (and misappropriation) is a hot topic in occult circles these days. My personal point of view is that massive amounts of appropriation (and misappropriation) was done by those late 1800s-early 1900s occultists who created the Western occult tradition as we know it. The Western occult tradition has included yoga, Aryuvedic medicine, appropriations from the Kabbalah, and tarot cards for over a hundred years now. I study, practice, and teach this tradition but acknowledge (and have great respect for) older spiritual paths and philosophies that much of it was crafted from. I try to trace back to original sources and cite them when possible.

The Symbolic Power of 7

I have read that of all the base numerals, seven (7) seems to fascinate humans the most because of a combination of cultural, historical, esoteric, and psychological factors. While I don’t have evidence of that either way, I can say that when it comes to the occult? Seven has a lot of very important associations for the classical planets. Here are those that I think are most useful for esoteric tarot.

SystemSunMoonMarsMercuryJupiterVenusSaturn
Symbol☽︎
DaySundayMondayTuesdayThurs,Wed.FridaySaturday
YinyangYangYinYangBothYangYinYin
ColorYellowWhiteRedViolet/
Indigo
BlueGreenBlack
Alchemical
Metal
GoldSilverIronMercuryTinCopperLead
Hebrew Letter (KBL)KafTavDaletReshGimmelPehBet
Hebrew Letter (QBL)ReshGimmelPehBetKafDaletTav
SefiraTiparethYesodGeburahHodChesedNetzachMalkuth
ChakraManipura
(Solar Plexus)
Svadhishthana
(Sacral)
(see next lesson)Vishuddha
(Throat )
Ajna
(Third Eye)
Anahata
(Heart)
Muladhara
(Root)
Color by
Chakra
IndigoVioletYellowBlueOrangeGreenRed
RWS Major ArcanaSunHigh PriestessTowerMagicianWheel of
Fortune
EmpressThe World

The way the chakras are associated with the planets in this chart is based on my personal opinion and does not match either the way it’s done by Whitcomb in The Magician’s Companion or by Judith in Wheels of Life. Work with whatever associations make the most sense to you.

Recommended Videos

There are no tarot journal exercises this time. Instead, I suggest watching these videos.

Astropsychology – The blending of Astrology and Psychology by Guru Jojo

What Is Theosophy? Part One by Alejandro Daniele

Ayurveda For Dummies – What is Ayurveda? by Charlene Ishani

Sanskrit Pronunciation of the Cakras (Chakras) by Manorama – Topic

Lesson 6: Seven Spheres Above, Seven Spheres Below (Part Two)



Lesson 6: Seven Spheres Above, Seven Spheres Below (Part Two)

This is just an introduction to the the concepts and symbols of the classic planets and the chakras. It is intended to give some basic information to prepare the reader for learning Qabalistic tarot and launching their own independent study. I have applied archetype titles to each of the planets. Most of are my own invention.

Saturn (The Chthonic) …

Saturn is considered the most materially aspected and “severe” (Yin) of the seven planets. It often is put into polar opposition with Jupiter. It is the planet of tradition, dogma, boundaries, and stasis. Saturn is conventionally associated with a lot of darker and more fixed behaviors and attitudes. Saturn is esoterically earthy but primal. In tarot, it is most conventionally associated with the XXI World/Universe card.

… and Muladhara (The Root)

In energy work, Muladhara is located at the base of the spine and serves as the foundation for the channel for energy (kundalini) that flows up and down through the seven prime chakra. It is associated to qualities of earth (like Saturn): matter and our physical bodies, health, money and structure. It is visualized as red. Color is a property of light; light is a form of energy. Red has the lowest frequency of visible light and therefore produces the least energy.

The Moon (The Deep) …

As the Yang sun rules the heavens by day, Yin moon rules them by night. It has almost universal associations with the sea, darkness, mystery, childbirth, sex, love, strong emotions, prophecy, death, magic and folk medicine. Biased character traits such as being promiscuous, deceptive, dangerous and/or mentally ill are often applied to someone who supposedly has excessive “moon energy”.

The moon has no light of its own. Sunlight striking and reflecting off the lunar surface as it orbits around the earth creates the 29.5 day lunar day cycle. What I didn’t know for the longest time is that the duller reflection, that ashen glow? That is indirect sunlight reflected from the earth.

The Moon is directly depicted as the 18th card in the Major Arcana. Night, magic, mystery, death, time, secrets, insight, tranquility, reception, fate, deception, restoration, illusion are among the many qualities that are associated with the moon in both world mythology and tarot interpretation. The High Priestess is the Major Arcana that conventional esoteric tarot most often attributes to the astrological moon, however; zodiacal Cancer is attributed to the Moon Card. The RWS and Thoth decks, for example, are drawn specifically to represent this.

In astrology, the moon is associated with how we express our feelings, desires and needs. Its placement in a chart also reflects how we respond to the feelings, desires and needs that others express to us. The moon changes signs every 2.5 days, meaning it doesn’t remain in a single decan for even 24 hours. It transitions through all twelve zodiacal signs/houses in 27.5 days.

… and Svadhisthana (The Sweetness)

Svadhisthana is located in the lower abdomen centered between the navel and the genitals. Yin-natured, it is elementally associated with water (like the Moon). It shares all the same attributed qualities as the moon, including sexuality, sensation, pleasure, creativity and anything relating to the emotions and fear. It is visualized as orange, the hybrid of red and yellow.

In some esoteric systems (including my own), orange is associated with sexuality, freedom, artistic expression, emotional energy and the imagination. The moon can appear very orange when it first rises at night based (mostly) on the angle of view and what is going on in the atmosphere that night.

The Sun (The Luminary) …

In modern astrology, the sun is heavily associated with self and identity. Your “sun sign” represents where in the zodiacal wheel your the sun was located at the time of your birth. This is just one piece of information provided in a natal chart, which is worth having copy of as you explore esoteric tarot. The sun spends exactly thirty days in each of the zodiac signs/houses. Since in the Julian calendar we’ve got an average of 365.25 days ( 365 days in a  normal year, 366 days in a leap year) , the twelve months and the twelve signs/houses don’t correspond either chronologically or in metaphysical attributions.

Esoterically speaking, the sun is a nearly universal symbol of power, glory and divinity. It is directly depicted in the Major Arcana as the nineteenth of the Major Arcana. This card does have the planetary sun as a conventional direct attribute rather. It’s placement in numerical order next to the Moon helps emphasize their polar duality.

In alchemy, the sun represents the goal of achieving perfection in one world (physical, psychological, spiritual, etc.,.) or all of them. There is a not widely known concept in Western esotericism called apotheosis. If you are familiar with the story of Isis and Ra though you have at least encountered the idea. As a human magician, Isis tricked the old sun god Ra into revealing his True Name which she then used in a ritual of apotheosis to become a goddess herself.

… and Manipura (The Lustrous Gem)

Manipura is associated with very solar qualities like energy, fire, metabolism, empowerment, transformation, True Will and True Self. It is located in the region between the navel and the solar plexus (which gained its name from its radiating nerve fibers). When we are grounded, Manipura energy can be vitalizing and exhalating but unchecked it can explode and cause us to react and act in ways we will very much regret later.

Yellow is the most luminous of all of the colors on the visible spectrum. It is a primary color and its associations with the physical and archetypal sun are nearly universal. People generally associate it with happiness, optimism, and very value positive words.

Venus (The Lover)

In Hellenistic mythology and astrology, Venus is the ruler of romantic love, beauty and pleasure. This can be sexual pleasure, our sense of aesthetics, what kinds of foods we most enjoy or despise, our reactions to just about anything really. Venus is placed in opposition to Mars.

Relationships, especially romantic/sexual relationship are by far what querents ask tarot readers about. There’s a lot to learned from astrology and psychoteric books like Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus to help a tarot reader tackle relationship questions in both personal and other readings.

… and Anahata (The Unstuck)

It is appropriate that Anahata is located in the heart location. There are three chakra above, three chakra below, making it a symbolic mediator and the place to do the Great Work of synthesizing ourselves whole. Anahata is associated with joy, love, and compassion. Bringing this chakra (metaphorically or otherwise) into harmony with itself and the rest of our nature is no easy feat. Anahata is also where we store grief, regret, fear and other kinds of emotion based pain. Books, therapies and other tools specifically for healing the heart has become its own commercial industry.

Green has a number of associations with healing, nature, growth, harmony, wealth and fertility. I have read that it is considered the most restful and relaxing color for the human eye because it takes up the space in the visible spectrum and is the dominant color in that vanishing “natural world” our souls crave to return to.

Mars (The Mighty) …

Yang aspected Mars is the astrological planet of directed energy, action, aggression, competition, courage and confrontation.  It represents the survival instinct, athleticism and all forms of physical prowess.  When untempered, Mars becomes the Savage Beast archetype, the monster that destroys friend and foe alike.  Stripping our unconscious association of both Venus and Mars of direct association with gender is incredibly hard. It doesn’t help that their planetary symbols were adopted as general symbols for female/male. Our brains take us there every time we see the two symbol.

… and the Amygdala (Fight/Flight Reflex)

Mars doesn’t really have a good associative match to a chakra in my opinion.  Mars best represents what goes on in the amygdala, an almond-shaped cluster of nuclei located deep and within the temporal lobe of the human brain.  The amygdala  has a lot of control over memory, decision-making and emotional responses such as fear, anxiety, and aggression.  It is part of the limbic system.  

 Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ coined the term Amygdala Highjacking in reference to an emotional response that is immediate, overwhelming and out of measure with actual stimulus. This perfectly articulates unrestrained Mars energy to me.

So what about a color for Mars then?  My personal favorite color association for Mars is sharp red with Saturn as more of a neutral brown.  The chakra system notwithstanding, red has both physical and esoteric connection to Mars.  We are taught to associated red with action, things demanding immediate attention,  blood, sacrifice, danger, courage, fire, passion and rage.  Brown by comparison is earthy like Saturn itself.  It is most often symbolically associated with strength, wood, structure, resilience, security and dependability. 

Mercury (The Messenger)…

Six of the classical planets has a conventional yinyang polarized pairing: Saturn-Jupiter, Moon-Sun, Venus-Mars. Mercury doesn’t participate in a dichotomy the same way; it is considered androgynous or gender-fluid. Mercury as a name also has the unique being possessed by a astrological planet but also the alchemical metal associated to the planet: Mercury as a planet and metal has a lot of association with the synthesizing principle and mutability modality described in Lesson 3.

Mercury is both a trickster and a magician archetype in the Hermetic tradition where it is anthropomorphized as Hermes Trismegitus. Books, science, technology, verbal and written communication, innovation, logic and rationality, reasoning, speech patterns, the intellect and anything dealing with cognition and the brain are the kinds of things that get associated with planetary and mythical Mercury. Apollo in his aspect as Hellenistic deity of music and poetry, prophecy and knowledge embodies many of the qualities associated with Mercury with other qualities more closely associated with the Sun. Likewise Athena, Hellenistic deity of reason, wisdom and crafts and be associated with Mercury for these qualities while others might be more closely associated with Jupiter.

… and Visuddha (Purification)

Located in the throat, the fifth chakra is all about sound, vibration and communication in every possible form, including the biochemical language of our cells and DNA. Visuddha is the realm of communication which relies on making connections and transferring information. Visuddha is associated with music, conversation, television, television, books, art and the Internet; these things cover almost the entire basis of how modern culture communicates.

The color blue has a lot of complex and contradictory association associated with it which is very apt. Qualities like wisdom, peace, serenity, stability and beauty are applied to blue. Scientific studies have found that being surrounded by it can lower heart rates, blood pressure, body temperature and improve sleeping patterns through the effect it has on the . pituitary gland, affecting our sleep patterns, and it can slow our breathing as well. Darker shades of blue can also associated with depression, mourning and qualities often more association to Saturn or the moon than Mercury.

Jupiter (The Benefactor)

Jove and Juno were the patriarch and matriarch of the Roman pantheon, more recognizable these days in mythology as Zeus and Hera. Planetary Jupiter as an archetype has a lot qualities associated with them. Among the many positives for Jupiter are prosperity, abundance, good fortune, benevolence, health and healthy offspring, education, self-awareness, mercy and prudence. When untampered, too much Jupiter energy turns to laziness, gluttony, indolence, rudeness, vindictiveness, neglect of responsibility and overindulgence in just about any pleasure. As the Yang-aspected polar opposite of Saturn which is all about restraint, Jupiter’s tendency towards overindulgence is hardcoded in.

… and Ajna (the Third Eye)

Ajna is located in the head at brow level. It is associated with both clear vision and accurate perception of truth, within and without. Ideas, idealism, knowledge both learned and born from intuition are all qualities associated to Ajna. In Aryuvedic medicine, it is associated with the pineal gland. The pineal gland uses information gathered the external light-dark cycle in order to produce and secrete the hormone melatonin. Melatonin in turn regulates a healthy normal wake-sleep cycle which modern medicine is linking as essential for overall wellness. Planetary Jupiter is also commonly associated with health and wellness.

It is suggested on Wikipedia that the color we call generally indigo (especially as a dye) is more purple than what Issac Newton had in mind when he originally wrote it into his papers about the seven spectral colors. I believe this is also true in the classic esoteric tarot decks and how it appears in a lot of contemporary rainbow iconography. I’ve borrowed an image that better conveys spectral (and esoteric) blue, indigo and violet.

Sahasrara (The Thousandfold)

Back in Lesson 1, I cautioned students to use the word correspondence a lot less frequently than most occult authors do. The seven classical planets and the seven chakra share a lot of qualities so they associate but they don’t perfectly correspond. If a specific tarot card has a specific chakra depicted in the art or on the border? Then it becomes a feature of the card.

I said above that Mars does not associate with Sahasrara very well. They don’t make a good pairing the way everything else in both systems does. What Sahasrara, the Crown chakra, associates well with is Kether, the crown sephirot in the Tree of Life glyph of Kabbalah and Qabalah.

Sahasrara represents a spiritual wholeness that mystics have spoken of and sought to maintain as a state of consciousness through human history. The crown chakra has no internal duality, it isn’t Yang or Yin. From a mystical perspective, it is the conceptual gate beyond which lies only divinity, the source of all manifestation aka the Monad.

Physiologically, Sahasrara is sometimes associated with the cerebral cortex, the grey matter of our brain divided into four lobes. Here, some of our most amazing mental processes take place such as those which determine our intelligence, personality, ability to plan and organize, motor functions, touch sensations and capability to interpret images and understand language. I personally find it easier to work with Sahasrara as the chakra of Mind rather than the threshold of divinity.

Purple-Violet (we’ll call them one color) is rare in nature for most of human history. It has a long association with spirituality, extravagance, grandeur, wisdom, pride, mystery, independence, the imagination and magic. I’ve read that purple-violet is the color that people have the most dramatically polarized reactions to, either loving or hating it.

And that concludes an introduction the classical planets, the chakras and related color affinity. Whew. From here? I will head into a brief introduction of the zodiacal wheel including the twelve signs and the twelve houses. Then I will introduce the Kircher Tree of Life glyph and start assembling the Qabalistic Tarot pieces together for each of the Major Arcana and the four suits.

My weekly Tarot Esoterica podcast covers a lot of the same topics as my Esoteric Tarot lessons so please check those out as well.

End of Lesson Exercises

Exercise #1

Separate out all of the Major Arcana from your deck; they don’t need to be put into a specific numerical order. Without looking at the chart in Lesson Five look at each one and write down which of the seven planets you would personally associate with that card and why.

Exercise #2
While the Major Arcana are still separated, go through them again and just look at how the seven spectral colors plus black, white, and grey are used in the RWS-based decks. Write down any thoughts.

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Lesson 1: Clarifying What Attributes And Correspondences Are


Welcome to Lesson One. You will notice that I am fond of using italics and boldface to highlight specific words. Anything highlighted can be considered a vocabulary word or concept that I want to bring special attention to. Boldface is a topic that I recommend doing further personal research about.

Attributes & Making Attributions


Everything that exists has at least one characteristic: a distinctive quality or attribute.
For example, some things that are my characteristics or can be attributed to me are that I am biologically female, my first name is Laurel, I have Capricorn as my sun sign, and Loracular.com is my personal website. I share the attribute of being biologically female with about half my species, being a Capricorn with a much smaller percentage, being named Laurel with even less and then I’m pretty unique in owning that specific domain name.

Some characteristics associated with being a Capricorn include being ambitious, hardworking, persistent, stubborn and practical. It would be a mistake for me or anyone else to automatically attribute all of those characteristics to me simply based on my Sun Sign. If you expect a Capricorn to be those things? Chances are good that, after having a long coffee date with me, you would say I have those qualities. Human perception generally latches onto things we already think to be true. This phenomenon is called confirmation bias. Confirmation bias isn’t always a bad thing; it’s just an important thing to be aware of especially when it comes to reading tarot.

One of the characteristics that distinguishes a tarot deck is that they possess 78 cards. I’m biased to believe that all tarot decks should have exactly 78 cards divided into a 22 card Major Arcana and a 56 card Minor Arcana. I’m biased to believe that Minor Arcana should further be divided into four suits of 16 cards and that these suits should correspond to the four classic elements and be numbered Ace to Ten and then four court cards. It is conventual for divinatory decks with a different structure to be called Oracle cards.

So from now on, you can be assured that when I use the term tarot cards or a tarot deck I’m only referring to decks that have the structure above and you know that ~most~ tarot readers do the same which is why it gets to be called the convention.

Associations vs. Attributions

One of the first things that usually hits someone right in the face as they begin to read books about tarot is a deluge of titles, symbols, letters, numbers, musical notes, color scales, animals, and deities ascribed to each and every card. The reader might told that some are attributes and some are correspondences. Very convoluted explanations might be included that can be summarized as “Someone influential had an idea, wrote about down this way, we learned it this way and so now we teach it this way too.”

There is a huge difference in two things being associated together because they share some common characteristics and one thing being an attribute or characteristic of another. Unfortunately, this isn’t usually clear in the way that esoteric tarot has been conventionally written about.

Divination isn’t never the primary use of tarot cards in the Golden Dawn-style occult organizations. I believe the occultists of the early 1900s used tarot primarily as a way to:

  • teach/learn symbol systems and the Qabalah
  • for meditation (specifically pathworking which is Qabalastic)
  • for ritual work (ceremonial magic)

There is nothing wrong with those big lists that associate a wide range of things with each tarot cards. But for the most part those associations are pretty subjective and they definitely can’t be applied equally to all esoteric tarot decks. Don’t worry about memorizing them, especially if your immediate goal is to just read tarot for personal development or fortune-telling. I read and teach tarot for personal development. I personally use the word divination to cover both but some authors and readers associate divination more specifically with fortune-telling.

Examples Of Attributions & Associations


Imagine pouring yourself a glass of ordinary whole milk. From merely looking at it, you’d be able to describe milk as a white liquid. Milk therefore can be said to have the attributions (qualities) of being white and being a liquid. Therefore white and liquid are two qualities you can attribute to that specific glass of milk but attributing them to milk in ~all~ its forms would be a mistake. You can have milk that isn’t white (chocolate milk is brownish, strawberry milk is pinkish) and you can have milk that isn’t currently in a liquid state (like powdered milk).

Attributing the names The Loracular and Laurel to me is correct for present. I could, however, rebrand myself as something besides The Loracular in the future or legally change my name from Laurel to something else. Humans make a lot of associations of what attributes something possesses based on its name.

A mistake comes when someone starts to (consciously or more likely unconsciously) automatically apply characteristics to a person, place or thing based its name. My name tells you who I am but not what I am. There’s a diversity of things in a grocery store called milk. The attributes “contains 2% milk fat” or “comes in a plastic gallon container” is true for some milk products but not all milk products. Even associating the idea of milk with cows is limiting because we live in a culture that has expanded the concept of milk beyond that to include coconut milk, almond milk, etc. Even before that, lots of people worldwide didn’t have cows but they had goats and used goatmilk in corresponding ways.

Sometimes what we apply as a characteristic or attribution is subjective; it’s based completely on a matter of taste. For milk this could be literally how milk tastes to us either in general or at a specific time and place. If I handed you a glass of milk today and you sipped it, you might describe it as “refreshing”, “creamy”, “chalky”, “delicious”, “sweet”, or even “gross” and mean that sincerely.

Chances are though that if I gave an identical glass of milk to someone else who didn’t hear your response they would use a completely different words in their response even if they liked or disliked it equally to you. Both of you would be giving an opinion on how that milk tasted and even if those opinions contradicted each other, they would not be intrinsically right or wrong. You both expressed an opinion.

Every tarot reader is like every milk drinker. Even people using the same type of deck who lay down the same cards in the same positions in the same spread are going to make their own unique interpretation. A reader who’s invested in learning the “esoteric language” of tarot is probably going to have deeper insights, especially when it comes to readings about personal development and relationships with other people.

Keeping track of what is really an intrinsic characteristic of a tarot card, what is something conventionally associated with that tarot card, and what is someone’s personal truth or opinion about either is helpful.

I use/study/teach with RWS-style decks, the Thoth deck and the BOTA deck. Many of the things that A.E Waite, Aleister Crowley and Paul Foster Case include in their writings about their tarot decks are simply personal insights. They describe what cards and symbols represent to them based on their own subjective perspectives. Their personal truths may not resonate with you.

Likewise, take what feels right and leave the rest from authors who’ve written their own books about tarot in general or whatever specific deck they focus on. Use the attributions and associations that feel true whenever they feel true. Write down and research ideas you aren’t sure about. Put aside everything else; it might feel more relevant later. It might not.

Correspondences

So, a correspondence in esoteric tarot can mean one of two things, which is part of the confusion. In the first context, when I say that the suit of pentacles corresponds to the element of earth, what I mean is that is the suit name (pentacles) and suit symbol (a pentacle) is just a substitution the name and symbol for the element of earth. Suit names and suit symbols are a bit like brands and logos. You can brand your elemental suit as pentacles, disks, coins, worlds, anything that symbolizes what earth symbolizes as long as there is an equivalency, a correspondence.

Two cups of liquid corresponds to a pint of liquid, at least in the United States. I say at least in the United States because until recently? I thought eight fluid ounces corresponded to a cup of liquid anywhere. I was shocked to learn that in the UK Imperial measurement of system? A cup of liquid is nine ounces! Now, in both baking and tarot, its okay to be “close enough”. A picture of a cup or chalice is so easy to associate with the element of water that even if they are not identically the same thing, they can still be said to correspond.

Alchemy, Ayurvedic medicine, Chinese philosophy and astrology all have symbols and principles that filtered into the Western occult tradition and often get expressed either in the pictures on certain tarot cards or influenced the authors/artists of those cards. Western alchemy and astrology have a particularly long and entwined history together. Saying “the moon corresponds to silver” is just shorthand for saying “the way most astrologers metaphorically conceptualize the moon is equivalent for the way most alchemists metaphorically conceptualize silver“.

But there is a slippery slope in using the word correspondence too broadly in esoteric tarot. Sometimes the equivalency is really in the eye of the beholder. For example, there is now a conventional way to associate a specific Hebrew letter with a specific tarot card- or two conventional ways because Crowley swapped a pair in the Thoth deck.

I will delve much much more deeply into the symbolism of the Hebrew alphabet as it is applies to esoteric tarot in future lessons. For right now? Let me just say that it was when some occultists first began to conceptualize the tarot cards as representing the same concepts as the Hebrew letters represented in Kabbalah (a form of Jewish mysticism) the Qabalistic tarot tradition was born.

Everything I said about the great occultists, historical or modern having a lot of interesting personal insights that you should filter into your own paradigm as best fits you? This very much applies to what everyone says about how specific tarot cards should be associated with specific Hebrew letters and astrological planets/sign. I am happy to teach you the most conventional associations- and I call them associations not attributions or correspondences.

As for the keywords that almost every LWB offers for the tarot deck it is included with?
Every experienced tarot reader can rattle off a quick list of traits and concepts they personally apply to every card in their favorite deck based on:

  • what they perceive by looking at the card image
  • what they learned by reading about tarot and catalogued in their brain as true
  • what they discovered through journaling, pathworking and doing lots of readings

End of Lesson Exercises

If you don’t yet keep a tarot journal? Start one now. This can be in a paper notebook, a google doc or any format you prefer. How private or public you keep it will be completely up to you. Here are a couple of exercises to do between now and when you read the next lesson in this series.

Exercise #1
Go through the lesson and write down every word or phrase that I italicized in your tarot journal. Do you feel confident you know what they all mean? If not, look them up in online dictionaries until you do feel confident.

Exercise #2
Find at least one good online article or YouTube video about the explains a)confirmation bias b)personal development and c)fortune-telling to your satisfaction and write about what comes to mind about them and reading tarot cards.

Exercise #3
If you don’t already own your own paper version of a RWS-style deck? Consider purchasing one. I personally use the Universal Waite but anything that has an art style based on the RWS will work just as well.

Lesson 2: The Monad And The Duality

©2021 The Loracular.com; you may distribute or use as you please so long as this attribution is given.

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Lesson 2: The Monad And The Duality

Welcome to Lesson Two. You will notice that I am fond of using italics and boldface to highlight specific words. Anything highlighted can be considered a vocabulary word or concept that I want to bring special attention to. Boldface is a topic that I recommend doing further personal research about.

Milk As A Microcosmos

Before we get esoteric, I want to talk more milk. Specifically, I want to take milk and break it down to its most basic elements for you to show science and metaphysics often talk about the same principles simply with different words.

Food and beverages have three macronutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. These macronutrients provide calories (energy) and we humans need all three of them to physically function and maintain good health. Ordinary unflavored milk is primarily composed of water, fat, proteins, and lactose. Lactose is a disaccharide sugar; aka a kind of carbohydrate.

Uncontaminated water doesn’t have fat, protein, or carbohydrates in it. Humans depend on water to live but water doesn’t provide us with energy.

Now water is a chemical compound whose molecules each contain two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. Hydrogen is the chemical element attributed with the symbol H and the atomic number 1. It makes up about 75% of the universe. Hydrogen is everywhere and it is probably the very first material THING that was created during the first when our universe had its Big Bang or otherwise sparked into existence.

But before there was Any Thing, even a single atom? The universe was The Monad: the totality of all things without form or void. Now imagine what it was like for ancient mystics and philosophers to intuitively know that something like the Big Bang had happened to create first hydrogen and then everything else. They just didn’t have the technology to prove it or the precise language to articulate it the same way.

To borrow someone else’s math about water and correspond it to milk? The average volume of a drop of milk is  0.05 mL; you get about 20 drops of milk per milliliter . So that would mean there are over 1.5 sextillion molecules in a drop of milk and more than 5 sextillion atoms. My brain can’t grasp numbers that big very well. And yet, at the tiniest fraction of a second, at the creation of creation, the universe was that small. All of creation began as a dot, a point, that expanded. Science says so now; many world religions and/or philosophical systems have always so said so too. The Jewish Kabbalah says so and esoteric tarot, which is firmly rooted in a Westernized version of it best called the Qabalah says so too.

The Monad no longer exists in material reality- it didn’t exist for an entire second after creation. It is just an esoteric concept for us now. The Monad never had polarity or duality, never had a single atomic bond. It was a Whole. A Perfection without any kind of opposed electrical charge. Duality came into manifestation with atoms and molecules.

Polar Duality In Science & Metaphysics

“Everything is dual; everything has poles; everything has its pair of opposites; like and unlike are the same; opposites are identical in nature, but different in degree; extremes meet; all truths are but half-truths; all paradoxes may be reconciled.” — The Kybalion.

“In Chinese mythology, Yin and Yang were born from chaos when the universe was first created and they are believed to exist in harmony at the centre of the Earth. ” – Mark Cartwright

Now hydrogen has the molecular formula of H2; it is a molecule is formed of two hydrogen atoms bonded together. A hydrogen atom is composed of a single negatively charged electron, moving around the positively charged proton which is the nucleus of the hydrogen atom. A nucleus is basically the center and most important part of any object, movement, or group. This is science.

Look at the picture and read the caption. See the correspondence?

Yingyang as a fundamental Chinese esoteric concept dates back beyond 3rd century BCE. The same concept expresses itself in a number of other traditions but yinyang is my personal favorite for a lot of reasons.

I’ve made a list of other polar dualities that are very commonly associated with one another in esoteric tarot. It is a terrible mistake to place a value judgement of one column being “bad” and the other column being “good.” As a species, we’ve gotten ourselves into a terrible mess. False equivalencies and other related fallacies are deeply tucked into the human collective subconscious. Out perceptions search for information that reinforce our personal truths to us. This leads to preferences and bias which in turn leads to bigotry and discrimination.

Law of Duality: Any concept or force may be divided into two totally opposite concepts or forces each of which contains the essence of the other. Opposites can be defined only in relation to each other. – Bill Whitcomb, “The Magician’s Companion”

YINYANG
EarthHeaven
ReceptiveCreative
Negative Charge (-)Positive Charge (+)
PassiveActive
MoonSun
LeftRight
BlackWhite
ColdHot
FormForce
NightDay
SpiritMatter
WomanMan

Using The Law Of Duality Wisely

You might have noticed I didn’t include any value-based examples on the list below. There’s no bad/good, evil/good, wrong/right, despised/cherished or even you/me and us/them. All of these things are definitely polar dualities too. They are also the concepts that create bias and because of something called The Law of Association in occult philosophy, the more often we include those ideas in our chat about duality, the more we apply them to everything else we are chatting about. It is just how the human brain works.

Binary code (zero and one), electrons and protons (negative charge, positive charge), yin and yang? They just are, neither a better thing or worse thing than the other. The same goes for every other duality too.

Mastering the ability to strip value judgements and bias from how we think, act, and feel is one of the true Keys of Wisdom.


In future lessons, you will see me use the terms Yin-aspected or Yang-aspected a lot. In this context, aspect making a mental attribution of Yin or Yang as a quality of whatever we are talking about. It is very common in tarot (and a lot of other subjects) for us to talk about things being masculine or feminine. I won’t be doing that. I’m only going to talk about Yin and Yang aspects or affinities: which side of the chart above something is conventionally placed. I’m only going to suggest you practice using this methodology too.

Binary & Beyond

I mentioned that binary code corresponds very well with yingyang. In a binary numbering scheme there are only two possible values for each digit: 0 and 1. Yin and Yang. A binary digit (better known as a bit) is the smallest unit of data on a computer; each bit has a single value of either 1 or 0. Just as binary code is at the core and omnipresent in computer technology, archetypal symbolism that corresponds to yinyang is at the core and omnipresent in how humans perceive and interpret reality.

But reality (esoteric or exoteric) isn’t written or perceived ~exclusively~ in binary. For example, there are trinary and quadric elements in play as well and they are just as essential to esoteric tarot.

End of Lesson Exercises

Exercise #1
Watch the YouTube video from The Nemeton on The Monad – Divine Metaphysics (~20 minutes) which provides a mystical perspective on the same topic. Just write down your own thoughts in your journal. It brushes into a lot of topics (Gnosticism, Kabbalah) that will appear in discussed in future lessons. It is okay if it all doesn’t make sense right now, write about what does.

Exercise #2
Go through each of the Major Arcana cards of an RWS-based deck and note any kind of Ying-Yang polarities you spot in the images in your tarot journal.

Exercise #3
Pick a pairing off the list in the chart where you feel a bias towards one column or the other. Try to write a paragraph in your journal where which you compliment and criticize them equally.

Lesson 3: Trinary and Triplicities

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Lesson 3: Trinary and Triplicities

“The Law of Synthesis, I can tell you but little. It is the law governing the activities of the Spiritual Triad, and the conditioning law of monadic living.”- Alice Bailey Daily

Welcome to Lesson Three. You will notice that I am fond of using italics and boldface to highlight specific words. Anything highlighted can be considered a vocabulary word or concept that I want to bring special attention to. Boldface is a topic that I recommend doing further personal research about.

The Magick of Mixing

Colors exist for us because of the way our eyes absorb light. If you mix black paint and white paint together, you get a mixture that is a shade of grey. The esoteric in me was absolutely fascinated when I began to play with image editing programs in the early 90s (back when the Internet was still NEW) and paid attention to RGB codes and Color Theory for the first time. Black has the RGB value (0, 0, 0) and white (255, 255, 255) which just emphasizes them as polar opposites. Where the RBG values extend equally between the two absolutes at (128, 128, 128) is grey.

There are three primary colors in nature: Red, Yellow, Blue. A primary color can’t be created by mixing other colors like I suggested mixing up some gray. We will just skip over the topic of whether or not black and white are colors for now; that answer depends on the context and who you ask. For now, just accept that red, yellow, and blue are assigned the quality of being primary colors and they can be mixed together to create other (secondary) colors. Smarter people than me should explain why web color is RGB and not RYB.

Both Black-White-Grey and Red-Yellow-Blue are examples of triads. There is a slight difference to each of them though. Black and white start binary then form a third component from themselves. Red, yellow and blue are trinary from start to finish.


The Dyad is asleep in the Monad. Awakened, it unfolds into the Triad so that the Tetrad is completed in the Decad. All things come from this and return to it again.” – Asa

In my own brain, I label RGB type triads as trinaries or trinities. Then I label black-white-grey style triads as modalities, borrowing from astrology. Most triads in esoteric tarot are modalities. They are what happens when the Law of Polarity is mitigated by the Law of Synthesis.

Many expressions of this kind of modality correspond well together. Creating a lasting synthesis out of a duality is typically the goal in esoteric systems. Sadly synthesis is usually fleeting lasts for reasons that I will talk about later.

Modalities In Esoteric Tarot

SystemYang AspectYin AspectMedian
PhilosophyThesisAntithesisSynthesis
AstrologyCardinalFixed Mutable
Hebrew Shin (Fire)Mem (Water)Alef (Air)
GnosticAlphaOmegaIota
AlchemicalSulfurSaltMercury
Egyptian/ThelemicOsirisIsisHorus
Electric ChargePositiveNegativeNeutral
Guna (Ayurveda)RajasTamasSattva
HorizontalRightLeftCenter
Vertical AboveBelowCenter
GenderMaleFemaleNon-binary/Gender Fluid
Common Modalities in Esoteric Tarot & Elsewhere

The Core Esoteric Modalities

Of everything on the chart above, the most essential to learning esoteric tarot are the astrological modalities. Fortunately, basic astrology has become so mainstream you’ve probably already got a pretty good idea what they are.

The Cardinal modality is associated with beginnings, actions, initiations, leadership and other similar Yang-aspected traits. Shin (Qabalah), Sulfur (Alchemy), and Rajas (Ayurveda) all correspond to the concept of Yang aka the dynamic force. The cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn) form the main axis on the zodiac wheel.

The Fixed modality is associated with security, stability, sustainability, containment and other similar Yin-aspected traits. Mem (Qabalah), Salt (Alchemy), and Tamas (Ayurveda) again just address the same archetypal concept and so its okay to say they all correspond to the concept of Yin aka the static form. The fixed signs (Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius, and Taurus) fall in the middle of the four seasons and by convention possess a lot of traits associated with the season itself.

The Mutable modality is associated with change, adaptability, flow, closure, transitions and other temporary or synthesizing traits. Alef (Qabalah), Mercury (Alchemy) and Sattva (Ayurveda) all correspond with astrological Mutability. The mutable signs ( Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces) are often associated with meditation, spirituality and philosophy.

One Final Topic…

I will simply be using the terms male/female/neuter or masculine/feminine/hermaphroditic when talking about polarities and modalities. As far as contemporary metaphysics is concerned? Polarities and modalities are conceptual. Think of yourself as a complex script of qualities that correspond to what the massive binary code strings for even the simplest computer programs look like as streams of 01011001011010s. Human beings are made up of a myriad of Yin aspected and Yang aspected qualities that make us too complex to be described so simply.

I believe that the ideas of both gender and race are social constructs with lots of biased and subjective associations misapplied as stereotypical attributes. How does this relate specifically to tarot? I direct you to books like Queering The Tarot written by my Twitter friend Cassandra Snow to explore that topic more deeply. For the time being, I simply avoid talking about the duality of female/male and feminine/masculine as Yin/Yang.

End of Lesson Exercises

Exercise #1
Watch this short (~5 minutes) YouTube video by Cinder Block Studios to see why there’s a debate over if black and white are colors. Write in your journal 2-3 things that you positively and negatively associate with black, white, and grey.

Exercise #2
Pick a religious or mythical trinity of your choice. Write them down as the top of three columns in your tarot journal and think make short lists of characteristics associated with each one that demonstrate either the black-white-grey or red-yellow-blue principle.

Exercise #3
Watch this video (~11 minutes) by Jonas Čeika – CCK Philosophy and decide if you feel comfortable with how it explains what social construction really means. Then draw a card at random from your tarot deck and write a paragraph or two about whatever social construct this specific tarot card brings to mind.



Lesson 4: The Four Elements And Quadrant Based Systems

©2021 The Loracular.com; you may distribute or use as you please so long as this attribution is given.

If you like what I do? I will happily accept your financial patronage. $5/mo is the cost of a Twitch Tier 1 monthly sub (and they keep half) but if you donate via this website, it all goes directly to me.