I have fond memories of the countless hours I poured into content for this website during October-December of 2020. It was such an obsession and I was working hard towards the goal of being ready to teach online tarot classes. I had eight decks selected for the year to really focus on. Tarot Esoterica podcasts were going to happen every week. Esoteric Tarot Lessons were going to happen twice a month.
The really good news is that I haven’t lost my passion for esoteric tarot. I’m still spending quite a bit of time reading, writing, and listening to others about tarot-based topics every day. There has just been a couple of big changes.
For two months, I’ve been going to the gym/swimming pool on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings. This is a 3 hour outing. Then on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I’ve been going to the dermatology clinic downtown for UV light therapy in a big tank. This is a 2-3 hour outing. I’ve lost weight, I’ve shrunk a clothes size, I’m in better physical health.
I’ve also weathered through a complete depression side of my normal Bipolar 2 cycle in weeks vs. months this spring. I’ve dealt with some unexpected arthritic pain developing in my wrists, gotten a beautiful King Charles Cavalier spaniel named Sissy, and managed to keep up (mostly) with daily social media on Twitter (as the Loracular), Facebook (as Laurel to ~100 friends and family). There have been consistent posts from me at both Cult of Tarot and Tarot,Tea & Me – including a personal journal at CoT devoted to deep delving into Qabalistic Tarot by doing some critical analysis of specific authors and texts so far, but paving the way to start writing up something major of my own.
What I haven’t been doing is teaching tarot in lesson format to others. I’ve also really slowed down on getting Tarot Esoterica episodes written, recorded, and posted. Those morning hours now devoted to being out of the house are one of the biggest factors to that. Tarot Esoterica #14 script has been written for over a week but I just haven’t found a good window to record it, when I have the quiet, privacy, and spoons all at the same time to make it happen.
My current plan, however, is to make a huge push over the next 28 days to get a lot of Tarot Esoterica done and finish off the series specifically on Eliphas Levi’s Doctrine & Rituals of High Magic done dramatically fast, starting with some heavy lifting on it tomorrow.
And then, rather than tackling Wirth or Waite or Crowley, I’m going to instead jump to Dion Fortune and the Mystical Qabalah and then modern authors who’ve published books on Qabalistic tarot since the 1980s forward.
The Pride Tarot articles are going to end with the Major Arcana. Blog posts on more general tarot-flavored esoterica and psychoterica are going to become much more consistent come June.
At least that is the plan for now! I will take a look at things again around Samhain and make adjustments from there.
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.
Carl Jung introduced the concept of The Shadow as an element of human psyche. He taught that The Shadow consists of those parts of ourselves we subconsciously choose to repress or hide. We begin this process of stashing them under our metaphorical bed in childhood but they aren’t gone, only condemned to an internal netherworld where they shapeshift and become what I call our inner demons. Adversarial to our wellness, our inner demons- when left unacknowledged and untempered- surreptitiously turn us into own worst enemy. I will be writing a lot more about inner demons and how to successfully temper them throughout 2021.
Shadow Work is a collection of psychoteric techniques to temper The Shadow into a form where all those inner demons are discovered and slowly infused into a more sustainable, authentic, realistic self-perception and personality.
One of the popular Shadow Work techniques is using self-analyzing writing prompts to write in a daily journal. One of the people that I enjoy following on Twitter, Ashley N. Jackson@iamshwee published her own Shadow Work 31 Day Journal last month. I told her that I would use it myself (I’m now at Day 120 of keeping an active Tarot Journal- my longest success at that) for all 31 days, starting on Sunday the 17th. My weeks start on Sundays, end on Saturdays for completely personalized reasons 🙂
The 31 Days of Shadow Work Calendar
While the work itself is private, I’m going to list the Thoth tarot cards I drew each day in association with each of those prompts 🙂
Day One: Am I in love with illusions and fantasies or truths & realities?The High Priestess (Upright)
Day Two: Have I forgiven myself for my flaws, failures, and limitations?The Tower
Day Three: Do I live mostly in the past, present or future?Page of Swords (Reversed)
Day Four: Am I afraid of being alone? If so, what am I avoiding in myself? 8 of Swords Interference
Day Five: Do I easily allow myself to be happy or does it take a lot to make me happy? The Magus
Day Six: When I make a mistake, do I accept it or do I heavily judge and criticize myself?Knight of Wands
Day Seven: Do I tend to overload myself with other people’s burdens/pain?Queen of Swords
Thoughts So Far
Incorporating a daily Shadow Work prompt into my morning journaling fit in smoothly. I liked the way it provided a topic for me to write about. It was a perfect format for me to incorporate my personal card for the day into (which is separate from the one I do on Twitter for the Twitch streamer community).
I found the choice of topics (Love, Self-Love, Mindful, Solitude, Happiness, etc.,) to be interesting. If/when I make a calendar of my own, I would probably create just seven that would be in association with the classic planets + days of the week. This is just the occultist geek in me; there’s nothing wrong with the broader range of them that Ashley picked.
The questions themselves were well-scripted to be useful for a wide audience. I think they’d be perfect for someone who was just getting their first taste in doing shadow work journaling. I found myself on certain days using them as a launch pad for a deeper, harder question. For example, I absolutely let myself be happy and it doesn’t take a lot to put me there- and if that was true in 2020 despite the pandemic and everything else? Then I expect 2021 to be even more so (it is so far). But I was able to take that question and write about my gratitude to the life circumstances and special people that have brought above average happiness into my life over the last 2-3 years.
So I can say that so far? This 31 Day Shadow Work Calendar has been a rewarding experience. Best of all, it gave me the opportunity to delve a little into something psychoteric and blissfully apolitical for this blog, which I’m thrilled about. The days since the Inauguration have been so wonderfully normalizing. I want this trend to continue.
I highly recommend reading it. She calls it Spiritual Bypassing, the rejection of letting yourself feel any sort of negative emotions. I am using my own verbage for it. And I don’t like the word fake. I think its just excessive, it is what happens when you create a yinyang duality out of yourself and try to banish the darkness (yin) and have only light (yang). It isn’t sustainable, not even for a little bit. You will be just as out of balance as you are when you let yourself drown in grief, fear, depression, anxiety and all those dark emotions.
Human beings need their light and their darkness. We need to let ourselves have bad moods, bad days, outrages, moments of shock and paralysis and let other people around us have them too.
Just not all the time.
Just not excessively.
UberPositivity, the stuff that too many self-identified lightworkers try to perpetuate in themselves and others? It is unsustainable and it becomes the stuff of jokes, snarks and memes by the more jaded types. UberNegativity is just as bad. And that is the point. Extremism in approach is harmful and unsustainable for us regardless which pole the gravitation is towards.
The fun (and exasperating) part of mental alchemy is learning how to temper challenge with acceptance, sorrow with joy, change with stability, chaos with order, serenity with outrage and on and on. I’m imperfect at it to be sure. But that is okay. That is the message that Vanessa Bennet is making and I’m supporting. Its okay to be not okay, as long as “not okay” isn’t the default mode.
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