Death In The Pride Tarot

© US Games Systems, Inc

“The Death card is a symbol of the alchemy of change. The embrace of inclusion, normalization and representation for LTGBTQ+ community is, in itself, a rebirth of a positive future for us all.” – Matt Hughes (Pride Tarot Guidebook, © US Games Systems, Inc)

Suggested Archetype: The Grim Reaper

Death has commonly been associated in Christian-based mythology as an animated skeleton since the early medieval period. 1800s English literature adopted the moniker for death as the Grim Reaper from a translation of a theologically-minded book called The Circle of Human Life. Skeletons often symbolize revealed secrets or the start or conclusion of a mystery. Looking at death as not simply an external force we’re struggling to avoid but an agent of transformative even alchemical change within us can be really empowering.

Primary Symbolism

The black armor: In tarot, black is a color symbolizing mystery and the unknown. When paired with white as it is here (black armor, white skeleton and horse) it represents Yin in polarity with Yang. Black or dark knights are easily associated with death, darkness, and the embodiment of our fears.

The field of roses: Red roses in the tarot represent concepts like passion, courage, action and the forces of Yang. They are also often a funeral flower and associated with grieving Aphrodite and a sorrowful or mourning Virgin Mary. The way they are sprawled on the vine in this card very much makes me think of death, decay, and rebirth.

The pale horse: Beyond the myth of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse, a grey horse being associated with death, kingship and sacrifice is found in a number of cultures. In this particular card, the author drew upon a famous painting of Robert E. Lee and his horse Traveler, a grey American Saddlebred who was legendary in his own right for his performance on the battlefield.

The rainbow flag: In the original RWS Death card, Death’s banner is black and has the white five-petaled rose that was the emblem of the House of York. The substitution of the Rainbow flag creates a new inclusive and more transformation-embracing narrative. Old paradigms and culture norms have to be destroyed, uprooted, discarded, and no longer tolerated in order to create more inclusive and equalized society. Death in this card is a catalyst for progressive, LGBTQIA+ embracing change.

Reading Death (In General)

Upright this card could mean something like:

  • Feeling fear, grief and regret during this time of change and transition is normal. Keep moving forward. Better things await you in the near future.
  • Dying is sometimes a metaphorical process of transformation and change. That is what is going on for you right now.
  • Find your inner courage to face letting go or ending the relationship in your life that is trapping you from wellness and being happy. Forgive yourself and the other parties involved, but leave the relatiuonship.
  • Don’t feel guilty over bringing some kind of situation or relationship to a decisive end. Look forward to the better times ahead.

Reversed this card could mean something like:

  • The central person in this situation is highly resistant to change and simply trying to convince them that its in their own self-interest isn’t going to be successful.
  • If you feel stuck, trapped, or hopeless right now? You are going to have to let go of a personal truth or belief that is at the root of this situation. Be brave and let people help.
  • Release the past, embrace the present, let yourself believe in a better future.
  • Reframe what is happening in a way that improves your mood and sense of objectivity and/or compassion.

Death In Questions About Relationships

You as Death Upright: There are some dramatic changes either going on or about to start in your life. Discard everything (and everyone) that is causing you obvious harm but rely on the people you can freely love and trust to walk with you through this transition. Don’t start new relationships with anyone outside this major life change, however, until you are on firmer ground.

You as Death Reversed: The question to ask yourself is “What do I need to feel joy?” and bring that into your life directly through your own actions rather than expecting a current or perspective person to do it. Romance yourself for a little while and see how that effects your relationships with others.

The Other Person as Death Upright: Don’t panic but this person might be a catalyst to some huge life changes for you. These changes aren’t automatically bad or dangerous but they could be scary or overwhelming. Look at the bigger picture of what is going on in your entire personal life as well as theirs to figure out what is going on for both of you in your shared relationship.

The Other Person as Death Reversed: This card suggests this person has unresolved grief, depression, or other emotional baggage to process through. They might be resisting self-development, possibly masking or using unhealthy coping mechanisms. A lot of important changes are going to need to happen in their life for them to be able to offer you what you most need out of a relationship with them.

Mostly it is loss which teaches us about the worth of things. -Arthur Schopenhauer

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

Love this article? Help me continue to provide original tarot content by using the button below. Include a comment that this is specifically for my work with the Pride Tarot and half your donation will be given the Lambert House.

Lesson 8: QBL: The Wheel of Fortune

Welcome to Lesson Eight. 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.

I use the following spellings to differentiate between three very different esoteric systems: Kabbalah as a type of Jewish mysticism that began in the Middle Ages, Cabala as a form of Christian mysticism that began during the Renaissance, and Qabalah as a form of Western occult philosophy that began with Éliphas Lévi and the Golden Dawn-era magicians. Qabalah is the only one of the three that includes tarot. When I’m talking about all three traditions at the same time or something general enough to be part of all three, I use QBL. Other writers use their own conventions.

In Lesson 4, I stated that the classical Western elements are one of the most ancient and fundamental principles to esoteric tarot. I traced this principle back to 5th century BCE and Empedocles of Acragas. The oldest known inscription of the Tetragrammaton dates to 840 BCE and the Mesha Stele (Moabite Stone). The inclusion of the Tetragrammaton in Jewish magic, especially the inscribing of magical amulets was popular during the Second Temple Period (516 BCE and 70 CE) when there was generally a lot of syncretism going on with Hellenistic culture. Jewish Talmudic & Merkabah mysticism originated during this period;
Jewish Kabbalah appeared centuries later and with even more syncretism.

The Sefer Yetzirah, the foundational proto-Kabbalistic mystical text, was written somewhere between 400-900 AD. I am pretty certain that its author was influenced by esoteric philosophies outside of the Merkabah tradition, especially those originally spawned in Hellenistic culture. Non-Jewish cabalism surfaced during the Renaissance thanks to Giovanni Pico della Mirandola. Mirandola is attributed with being the founder of Christian Cabalistic philosophy. 

Until the 1850s, Christian cabalists worked with astrology, alchemy, gnostic literature, and many other occult practices but not the tarot. Tarot- tarocchi cards, in Italian- happened to use a lot of iconographic themes also favored by the Renaissance aristocracy and those they patronized. The first known occult scholar to believe (incorrectly) that tarot could be traced back to Egyptian mysticism was Antoine Court de Gébelin (1725 – 1784). He made a direct link between the 22 Major Arcana and the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet based on his experiences with Freemasonry and cabalism.

After 1780, several prominent occultists created their own tarot decks where they intentionally included cabalistic and/or Egyptian iconography and began to use tarot as part of ceremonial magic or other occult practices. The most famous of them was Éliphas Lévi, who published his system as Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie in 1854-1856. It was translated into English and published under the title Transcendental Magic its Doctrine and Ritual by A.E. Waite in 1896.

Left- the BOTA deck Wheel of Fortune © Builders of the Adytum; Right- the Universal Waite deck Wheel of Fortune © US Games Systems, Inc.

The Tetragrammaton

The Tetragrammaton appears in the RWS and BOTA decks upon the Wheel of Fortune card. The Wheel featured in these cards resembles the type of magical glyph favored by ceremonial magicians. In Greek, Tetra means four and a Tetragram is a word with four letters. The Tetragrammaton is a specific Hebrew name of God.  Hebrew is read from right to left, backward of English.  The Tetragrammaton has four Hebrew letters, Yod Heh Vau Heh. 

The tetra mytheme expresses itself in modern esoteric tarot over and over again. For example, we see it as the four elements, the four suits, the four court cards in each suit. Specifically on the Wheel of Fortune, we we see it as the Tetragrammaton and other symbols that all correspond to the four elements.

Here is how all the tetrads displayed on the RWS/BOTA style Wheel of Fortune associate with one another.

Yod יHeh הVauHeh ה
Sulphur.svg♒︎Mercury symbol.svg🜔
Leo (lion)Scorpio (eagle)Aquarius (man)Taurus (bull)
Aryeh kerub of fireNesher kerub of waterAdam kerub of AirShor kerub of Earth

Those alchemical symbols along the middle row are not the traditional ones for the four elements. Instead, they represent the Water of Dissolution (shares symbol of Aquarius) and the Three Principles of Alchemy (sulfur, mercury, and salt). A very interesting discussion on the alchemical glyphs upon this card and what would happen to them should the wheel be rotated is archived on the now defunct Aeclectic Tarot forum.

The Kerubic beasts have a long tradition in Jewish and Christian mythology. They are included, along with a number of other tetra mythemes, in the Conjuration of the Four Elements by Éliphas Lévi.

This will be concluding my first set of Esoteric Tarot lessons. The next set will be dedicated specifically to the works of Éliphas Lévi and everything he established that is the foundation of Qabalistic tarot.

End of Lesson Exercises

Exercise #1

Watch Ellen Goldberg’s Howcast video (~7 minutes) on the RWS-style Wheel of Fortune card then write your thoughts about the Wheel of Fortune card and all of this related esoteric lore in your tarot journal.

Exercise #2

Look at the Tetragrammaton Spread featured on the Tarot Club website. Experiment with doing it for yourself and write down any thoughts about the reading as well as the spread itself in your tarot journal.

Exercise #3

Using the big table of elemental associations from Lesson 4 as well as the table above, pick an elemental system or names for the elements that you really like and do a little bit more research on your own. Imagine how you would work them into a set of Aces for the Minor Arcana. Get creative and play with sketching or image editing your own set of Aces that use them.

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The Wheel Of Fortune In The Pride Tarot

© US Games Systems, Inc

“Gay bars, clubs, and discos have long been places of refuge and possibility in queer culture. A chance encounter may reveal the love of your life or end in heartbreak. Partying til dawn may bring euphoria or regret.” – Liz Blackbird ( Pride Tarot Guidebook, © US Games Systems, Inc)

Suggested Archetype: The Roulette Wheel

Life is all about taking chances and dealing with unexpected outcomes. Every day, we experience predictability and luck jumbled together in ways that bring good and bad to us all without any real regard for what is fair or sensible. Roulette, a casino game, means “little wheel” in French. Players may choose to place bets on single number, various groupings of numbers including odd or even, high or low as well as the colors red or black. The Wheel of Fortune is only one of a handful of Major Arcana cards that presents a concept without anthropomorphization.

Primary Symbolism

The disco ball: A disco ball has a mirrored surface composed of hundreds of small facets that reflect directed light to create a glamorous display. One of the best articles exploring where disco balls fit into the modern mythos was written by Emily Colucci in their LGBTQIA+-embracing blog, “Filthy Dreams.” I highly recommend reading it.

The chess board: The black-white checkered pattern of a chessboard is a perfect metaphor for yingyang and the concepts of dualism and polarity being inherent to human kenning of how the universe works. Chess is a game of strategy involving making calculated captures and sacrifices.

The shoes in northwest corner: Glamorous footwear is certainly part of gay culture. The image of simply the shoes and lower legs waiting on a sidewalk open up all manner of possibility. If the four pictures were viewed as scenes of a story that revolved like a wheel, however, this would most likely be the beginning. Those bearer of those shoes is off to have an adventure but not necessarily a happy one. Their fate seems uncertain by intent.

The friends in northeast corner: While the “shoes” depict a solo protagonist who might be taking risks waiting on a street corner for a promising stranger, this group of friends suggests there is safety to be had in numbers. Diverse in appearance, everyone in this section of the card seems to share camaraderie and a sense of group identity. It reminds the reader that some of the best- and most frustrating- experiences in our lives come from our interactions with our Tribe.

The broken bottles in southeast corner: This section represents the risks or consequences to individuals when they make bad choices consistent with the cards overall “nightlife” theme. Such consequences are generally short-term and may not be wholly negative.

The fire in southwest corner: Finally, we reach a cataclysmic conclusion where the outcome to decisions or action have heartbreaking or tragic consequences that could not have been predicted. The fire can be interpreted as metaphor for self-destruction versus the loss of property.

Reading The Wheel Of Fortune (In General)

Upright this card could mean something like:

  • It is impossible at this time to predict how this situation is going to turn out.
  • Trust your instincts and make the choice that brings the most obvious benefit.
  • There is no wrong choice, every action you take from here will bring a good outcome.
  • Assert your own independence and authority in this situation. Don’t let others take control.

Reversed this card could mean something like:

  • The best thing to do right now is stay calm and let events unfold around you. Don’t panic.
  • Some people are their own worst enemies; you can’t help in this situation even as badly as you want to.
  • Everything going on is outside your control and not your fault; forgive yourself and focus on triage.
  • Expect there to be some extra obstacles or challenges in your path before you get the success that you seek.

The Wheel of Fortune In Questions About Relationships

You as the Wheel Upright: There are a lot of events in motion in your life. Relationships are likely to be transitional and not necessarily what you expect or romanticize about. Be flexible and open-minded towards the needs of others without denying yourself the kinds of intimacy you want to participate in.

You as the Wheel Reversed: Circumstances beyond your or the other person’s control are probably going to interfere in any kind of meaningful relationship for the foreseeable future. Think about the entire situation and everyone involved to try and determine what those obstacles are and what it would take to resolve them.

The Other Person as the Wheel Upright: This person might have a lot going on in their life, especially a lot of chaos or bizarre circumstances. Pay close attention to what they say and do; are they living a lifestyle you genuinely want to participate in?

The Other Person as the Wheel Reversed: Right now, this other person has a lot of obstacles and challenges to face. They might be coming out of a relationship or life event that was very damaging or tragic. Ask yourself if both of you are prepared to be a good support system for one another. If they seem distracted or shy from commitment, be patient and don’t demand more than they want to give.

His success may be great, but be it ever so great the wheel of fortune may turn again and bring him down into the dust. -Gautama Buddha

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

Love this article? Help me continue to provide original tarot content by using the button below. Include a comment that this is specifically for my work with the Pride Tarot and half your donation will be given the Lambert House.

The Hermit In The Pride Tarot

© US Games Systems, Inc

“In my version of the Hermit, the forest symbolizes a light the place I come to rest and meditate.  My Hermit is leaning at the foot of a powerful healthy tree surrounded by nature.  His garment is connected with the roots of the tree in order to absorb the energy of the forest and nature, to become one with the universe.”  – Christine Zillich (Pride Tarot Guidebook, © US Games Systems, Inc)

Suggested Archetype: The Sage

According to Jungian psychology, The Sage represents the intrinsic spiritual aspect of personality found in the unconscious.   In literature, the Sage is often a mentor or an ally of the protagonist, who provides a mystical or philosophical truth that is recalled and drawn upon by the protagonist at the time of their greatest crisis.  The lantern that the Hermit carries in traditional RWS style cards can be seen as symbolizing that esoteric knowledge and/or mystical wisdom that the Hermit will freely share with those who seek them out.

Primary Symbolism

The art style:  I have seen Zillich’s style described as “abstract expressionist” and “abstract cubist”.  For me, there is a fascinating mix of hard edges and color depth to the watercolor of the Hermit.  I had to spend a lot of time really looking at the card to make out the shape of The Hermit itself and rely heavily on the Guidebook to tell me what is being depicted on the card.  Rather than this being a criticism, it’s actually a compliment to how the artist is portraying that concept of “intrinsic spiritual aspect” to me.  I didn’t so much analyze this card as intuit it.  

The firefly: The radiant sphere that is to the left of the hermit is described by the artist as being composed of dancing fireflies that embody illumination and the metaphysical “lightness” of light.  It took me a while but I was able to see the head, antennae, stylized wings, and light organ of a single large firefly once I knew what to look for it.  The way the big fireflies’ right wing connects to the Hermit’s forehead suggests two different things to me.  First, that the firefly is imbuing the Hermit with enlightenment.  Second, that this firefly might a thought form, an egregore created by the Hermit. 

The hermit’s robe:  The hermit is wearing a robe of red-brown that darkens and deepens as it presses against the tree himself until it becomes almost indistinguishable from tree bark.  The way the robe is shaped doesn’t make logical sense to me which makes it ideal for personal contemplation.  I think the coloring, especially the patch of lightness directly under the big firefly (and what are probably a small swarm of little fireflies) is done very purposefully.

The tree: Intuitively, I went looking for photos of the sacred fig or bodhi tree which are associated most notably with the Buddha but also many other spiritual seekers throughout that region of the world.  I feel confident this is the tree or type of tree that is being presented in the picture.  Leaves of the tree appear to be resting against not only against each side of the fireflies’ wing attached to the hermit’s forehead but across their throat where the Vishuddha chakra is said to reside.  This chakra is associated with communication and self-expression. 

Reading The Hermit (In General)

Upright this card could mean something like:

  • The time you are spending alone and away from others is exactly what you should be doing for your own self-development and wellness. 
  • The person in the reading this card represents is someone to respect and trust; listen carefully to what they advise.
  • If you are feeling a lot of stress, anxiety, or depression then it is probably time to make some major life changes and move away from self-sabotaging habits. 
  • Adding a daily activity like walking outside, journaling, prayer, or mindfulness exercises can help you feel more resilient, creative, and physically well. 

Reversed this card could mean something like:

  • You might be self-isolating too much and need to reach out more to others.
  • Patiently wait for others to come to you regarding in this specific situation.
  • Don’t let others guilt-trip or shame you into obliging their desires at the cost of your self-worth. 
  • Be mindful not only of your own needs and desires but those of other people, especially people you love and/or live with.

The Hermit In Questions About Relationships

You as the Hermit Upright:  If you are naturally an introvert, you need to be really certain this other person can accommodate your need and current lifestyle.  If they are already exhausting to be around this will only get worse with time.  Talk to them honestly about how you feel.

You as the Hermit Reversed:  Is there is something about this relationship that makes you incredibly unhappy but you might not be ready to talk about the details? It is essential that you confide in someone you trust about what is really going on (or what you are afraid might be going on).   

The Other Person as the Hermit Upright:  This person is probably naturally introverted and inclined to do a lot of things alone.  Don’t worry about how much time they spend away from you; be adaptable to their moods.  Focus on making your time together pleasurable and intimate. 

The Other Person as the Hermit Reversed:  If this person has suffered a recent catastrophe or previous loss of some kind, be prepared for it to take them a long time to recover.  Patience and social distance might be what they want and need from you for the foreseeable future.   Pushing at them to be more physically or emotionally available will probably cause them to retreat even further. 

“Consciousness is a born hermit.”
― George Santayana

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Court Cards, MBTI Personality Types, Uncategorized

Linda Gail Walters & Realms of Personality

Jung’s theory of psychological or personality types attempts to categorize people in terms of their primary mode of psychological functioning. I like the definition of psychological functioning being a person’s ability to make and achieve goals and it covers individual mental/emotional wellness, social skills, beliefs and behavior. There are sixteen personality types created by the MBTI questionnaire which I think can be very aptly applied to the sixteen court cards. The ~specific conventional names~ for these 16 personality archetypes don’t necessarily suit my tastes, especially for every deck I work with. But taking the general traits applied to each personality archetype and applying them to the Court Cards with whatever relateable archetype name best suits seems to be an incredibly powerful psychoteric tool.

Several different tarot authors including Mary K. Greer and Janet Riley have created systems that associate the 16 MBTI Personality types with the 16 Court cards.  Each authors system does it a little differently.  The system I use for matching was created by Linda Gail Walters who tragically died before her book Realms of Personality: The Jungian Personalities of the Tarot Courts was complete enough to be published.  I work off a copy of an article she had published on her website circa 2012.  Her website is down but it and this article are still available via the Internet Archive Wayback Machine. I have merely taken Linda’s work and adopted it into my own, finding her associations more compatible with how I do them than the work of others such as Mary K. Greer and Janet Riley who have published their own systems for matching the Court Cards and the MBTI Personality Archetypes.

I get the naming conventions for the MBTI Personality Archetypes used below from with one exception; I call ISTJ by The Analyst, not The Logistician.

Court NameMBTIArchetypeElemental Title
King of WandsENTJCommanderFire of Fire
King of CupsENFJProtagonistFire of Water
King of Swords ESTJExecutiveFire of Air
King of PentaclesESFJConsulFire of Earth
Queen of Wands INTJArchitectWater of Fire
Queen of CupsINFJAdvocateWater of Water
Queen of SwordsISTJAnalystWater of Air
Queen of PentaclesISFJDefenderWater of Earth
Knight of WandsENTPDebaterAir of Fire
Knight of CupsENFPCampaignerAir of Water
Knight of SwordsESTPEntrepeneurAir of Air
Knight of PentaclesESFPEntertainerAir of Earth
Page of WandsINTPLogicianEarth of Fire
Page of CupsINFPMediatorEarth of Water
Page of SwordsISTPVirtuosoEarth of Air
Page of PentaclesISFPAdventurerEarth of Earth

Strength In The Pride Tarot

© US Games Systems, Inc

“The Strength card is about patience, resolve and perseverance but also illustrates the power of compassion and love.  I used a dark-skinned mermaid to calmly facing the deep to represent fluidity and inner strength.”  – Stanley Morrison (Pride Tarot Guidebook, © US Games Systems, Inc)

Suggested Archetype:  The Modern Disney Heroine

Ariel.  Belle.  Jasmine.  Pocahontas.  Mulan. Tiana. Merida. Moana.  Each Disney heroine has a unique story and they are now wonderfully diverse in culture and appearance.  Regardless of their backstory, these young heroines are all strong-willed, curious, fallible, resilient, loyal, and brave.  Most of the time they have at least one animal companion and face down multiple obstacles collaboratively with allies in order to complete a quest.  By the end of their story, they have matured and overcome at least one character flaw and forced a companion to do the same.  

I honestly can’t think of a better literary or historical person that represents to me that within all of us that Strength embodies.

Primary Symbolism

The oceanic theme:  I believe the artist wanted to symbolize fluidity and transformation by filling this card with sea creatures.  It makes me think of the freedom of swimming but also the mystery and dangers associated with the sea.  

The lionfish: On the traditional RWS card, the heroine is taming the lion with compassion, tempering its ferocity.  The lion represents the savage or “shadow self” aspect of the psyche, brought into harmony with the heroine to be their ally rather than their enemy.  It has not lost its intensity or potentially destructive power but for now, it will only unleash in defense of the heroine it loves. 

The orca:  Orca are sea predators but like the lion, this one is the loyal companion of the heroine.  “The Lord of the Ocean” is a title supposedly applied to orcas by certain indigenous cultures which brings to my mind the way the Western Occult Tradition uses the title of “Lord” for all of the Major Arcana.   Orcas travel in large family groups and will use complex cooperative hunting tactics which have made them a symbol of family, protection, and community. I also feel respect and even a little dread looking at the facial expressions of both the lionfish and orca, a glimpse into the darker side of Strength or perhaps as a warning of what happens when strength is replaced with outrage and violence.

The lemniscate symbol: I am including a link to a very good article on the leminscate in RWS-style tarot at TarotArts.  I think the author, William Toro,  does the topic great justice.  Specifically, applied to Strength?  It represents them as equal to the Magician in command of their True Will and ability to apply it in magick: to consciously create change in themselves and their environment.  

Reading Strength (In General)

Upright this card can mean something like:

  • Take charge of the situation but do it with empathy and goodwill; not aggression.
  • You can trust those you’ve helped in the past to help you in the present so long as you ask.
  • It is time to find or grow your personal LGBTQIA+ “tribe” and let yourself support and be supported by new people.
  • Do not back down or let this problem/obstacle intimidate you. Find your passion and resilience to fight for what you want and need.

Reversed, this card can mean something like:

  • Back away from any relationship that brings you too much outrage and pain.
  • It might be time to make the Serenity Prayer your new mantra.
  • If you are feeling depressed or hopeless it is time to find something to ignite your passion and motivation. (A clarifying card can help pinpoint “what”)
  • There is trouble ahead that is going to make you either really upset, scared or angry. Prepare yourself now so you can have better resilience when it hits.

Strength In Questions About Relationships

You as Strength Upright: You are in a really auspicious place in your life to have great relationships, even with people that are struggling with their own inner demons. Just be prepared for a long and interesting adventure if the partner or prospective partner can be described that way.

You as Strength Reversed: You are at a time and place in your life where you need to focus on having a better relationship with yourself. Tackling the parts of yourself that are self-sabotaging your happiness has to happen before you can be truly successful at long-term relationships with other people.

The Other Person As Strength Upright: This person is in a very auspicious place in their life as far as being in committed relationships with them but pay close attention to and respect their commitments to others such as family, friends, work, a church or coven, other polyamorous partners, etc., because those other relationships are going to remain something they very much care about. The more you both share in other positive relationships together, the easier your own relationship will be to maintain.

The Other Person As Strength Reversed: This person is struggling with someone who has a lot of anger and abusive behavior. That other person is not treating them with the respect and empathy they deserve. Take a moment to consider if the source of this toxicity is actually you. If it is or might be? The best thing you can do for this relationship is tackle what is making you lash out and stop.

“We do not have to become heroes overnight. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up, seeing it is not as dreadful as it appeared, discovering we have the strength to stare it down.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

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

Love this article? Help me continue to provide original tarot content by using the button below. Include a comment that this is specifically for my work with the Pride Tarot and half your donation will be given the Lambert House.

Psychoterica, Self-Development, Thoth

January Shadow Work (Day 7)

The Shadow & Shadow Work

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.

New Era Elements, Tarot Spreads, US Politics

The Descent Into Dissent

This is political. This is also about psychic weirdness. This is about asking a good question that is unfortunately the wrong question. This is where I am today.


© US Games Systems, Inc.

From my private journal on Monday 1/4/2021

(7:50 am) I woke up at 2:30 am with a panic attack and certainty that I should ~not~ try and start streaming on January 20th.  I could not get back to sleep.  I did everything I could to calm down because I was practically hyperventilating.  I am proud of my strategies and they helped: 4fold breathing, LBRP, hot shower, hot chocolate, listening to more Queering The Tarot audio, while laying with eyes closed, and then getting up at 6:30 am.

But I still feel off and weird and anxious, even after some relaxing time on the tarot forums.

Signifier: Is this about -me/health or about Nation/politics (?) ~ 9 of Worlds~ 

1. What is going to happen on February 20th: 14. Temperance 

There is going to be an inauguration that will take place without domestic terrorism, martial law, or anything outside of the reasonable norms.  The Inauguration will go ~fine~

2. How is this going to happen: Son of Water (Prince of Cups)

In this case, Prince of Cups represents Biden-Harris/team; the energy of the 16 archetypes that they have right now and are bringing to the table is The Mediator (INFP)

{{skips notes typed to self from 16Personalities on the INFP; you can read them there}}

So the Inauguration is not the issue.

3. Why is this going to happen: 2 of Earth (Change) :
For all of his posturing, his threats, and the media attention, Donald Trump is not as dangerous as I think he is.  He does not have the power, he is crazy, and he’s not as popular as I’m being told he is.  Good things -are- coming.

4. What is my role in this? 9 of Water (Despair):
This is about me.  This is me having a panic attack because I don’t think I will be ready in time.  This is simply about me feeling stage fright over that stream and there ~might~ be some asthma/health stuff between now and then, I might not feel great that day.  Okay. 

images from the New Era Elements tarot are © US Games Systems, Inc.

I really do hope my reading about the Inauguration on the 20th is right; I really -want- things to go smoothly and we see CHANGE.

I want Joe Biden to hold to the archetype of the Mediator! I want an administration that brings what INFP brings to the table.

…But with hindsight, I understand perfectly fine that whatever you want to call my panic attack/voice telling me that I should not try to become a Twitch streamer in 3 weeks? The flash of something VERY BAD happening on Capitol Hill relating to the presidency… it wasn’t about the Inauguration specifically and that even will (hopefully) be exactly what my cards promised: Temperance Incarnate.

I was given a warning and time to prepare myself mentally/emotionally by the Powers That Be about yesterday.

11-6-21 The Capitol Breach

Yesterday? Capitol Hill law enforcement allowed Trump supports who commit an act of domestic terrorism as part of an attempted Insurrection involving senators, congressmen, and those tourists.

When it began, I was feeling ~jubilant~ over democratic wins in Georgia, in crowing about Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and a little bouncy. But I also felt ~compelled~ to start watching Congress deal with the Electoral College. It had been years since I had C-Span on. But I felt a compulsion, an urgency to watch C-Span & C-Span2 with Twitter open and I was listening to each speaker and adding names to a list: those who were interfering in Biden’s lawful nomination and those who were not. I was very political activist mode and feeling empowered and self-righteous…….

…. and then that turned to shock and rage. NOTHING got done from 11 am PST to 11 pm PST by me except tweeting more in 12 hours than I had since joining Twitter in mid September, talking briefly in Discord to friends and watching the news feeds…

9-11 was a terrifying heartwrenching day. 9-11 was a worse personal experience for me as a human being and clairsentient. Yesterday, the Capitol Breach? It didn’t scare me to the core the same way. It. PISSED. ME. OFF.

And I’m still angry. I am outraged on the behalf of a dozen different groups most especially the all-black janitorial staff left cleaning up the mess left behind by racist good ol boys who’d been allowed to waltz in, had been invited in by President Trump who was throwing a hissy fit because Vice President Trump rejected joining him in treason and was, in fact, going to do his job at the end of the electoral college count and announce Joe Biden as the lawfully elected president of the United States.

I won’t be starting to teach tarot on Twitch.TV on January 20th. I ~might~ start teaching tarot on Twitch.TV on February 7th or 14th but I’m no longer going to advertise. Because I don’t think right now is at all the right time for me to try and pull in a diverse community of tarot readers/occultists together and manage it.

I might be way too busy being an Anti-Fascist and fighting MAGA. I might be too busy writing and spellcrafting. I would ~really~ like to raise money via tarot content creation to support causes like local charities and food banks. And trust me, if people end up donating to me via this webpage, I will gleefully use that money to help people. But I think right now? I need to just help people- and I need to be more political activist and a magician who would make Jonathan Strange and Mr Norell proud.

Because they used their magick for their country. They used it to fight a war.

The War For Democracy (And Democratic Socialism) in the United States really, truly, utterly began yesterday. 1-7-21 was the beginning. And while I’m sure I’m sounding a bit bonkers, talking about wielding magick like I was Harry with a wand. No, it doesn’t work that way. But magic, especially psychoteric Mind Magick is potent stuff and both sides are using it. Most of those using it would never call it magick.

Donald Trump and Ted Cruz aren’t half as dangerous as Josh Hawley. And yes, oh yes, the papers (the ones people like ME read) are full of outrage and want to see them all punished. Lots of people are angry, the mood in the country as its being presented ~seems~ to assure things are going to only go better for my ideological side from here but I’m not going to assume that. Instead? As a humanitarian, an activist, and a magician, I’m going to do everything in my power to push my society HARD-LEFT because the HARD-RIGHT will KILL.US.ALL and I’m done living a life where I don’t fight to stop them.


My time as part of a Twitter-mob yesterday was long. Let me end this blog entry with a few posts from myself. The first was the one that was most heard, reposted and imo, the most essential for us as a nation

You don’t have to share ~my~ flavor of politics to agree with this one. You only have to live outside of the MAGA reality and believe they are fundamentally wrong about the US election stolen from Donald Trump and want to see his attempts to steal it from Joe Biden be punished to the fullest extent of bipartisan and nonpartisan law.

“Sedition is not conservatism. The rest of the GOP has a moral and ideological imperative to punish them all and ensure this never happens again. The cost of failure to do it themselves will be much higher and the window to act is short.” – TLoracular

(on the claims that the Trump-supporting Capitol breachers were antifa)

“… everyone knows that the Far-Left was way too busy celebrating the GA/Senate win and talking about what that meant to be doing anything else at that time and place.. right?? You guys are just selling headlines, right?? @WeAreSinclair : – TLoracular

(on some people trying to promote themselves/their brands in the middle of everything else going on)

“please. Give us at least 12 more hours of just be seethingly outraged and not in the mood for wellness industry capitalism waving verbal snake oil.” -TLoracular

“What is making all of us (right, left, and center) so CRAZY over Trump+TrumpCult is they aren’t just lying like normal politicians, they -are- delusional and believe their bullshit; even Pence/McConnell realize how screwed they are tonight and don’t know what to do.” -TLoracular

“They mislearned the lessons of 9-11. They forgot that we only gave up so much out of fear of terrorism and the Bush administration got all the cooperation.

Today, THEY were the terrorists…. and it will be the Biden administration that gets all the cooperation.” -TLoracular

(on the death of the white female capitol breacher who was shot by law enforcement)

“We’ve lost hundreds and thousands of unarmed people of color because scared/angry cops pulled triggers when they shouldn’t have. Those who protested were brutalized MORE.

Maga-folks? The POTUS invited you onto Capitol Hill today. He said it would be wild. You made it so.” -TLoracular

The Messenger (Hierophant) In The Pride Tarot

“The Messenger asks you to lead by offering truth and elevating the voices on the unheard.”  – by Christy C. Road (Pride Tarot Guidebook, © US Games Systems, Inc)

© US Games Systems, Inc

Suggested Archetype: The Caregiver

In post-Jungian psychology, the Caregiver archetype is applied to people who, at their core, are compelled by empathy, compassion, and a desire to help others.  This is the aspect of human nature that is motivated by goals that protect and nurture families, communities, and societies. 

Many modern Caregivers are activists.  Jennicet Gutiérrez is the specific model for this card according to the Pride Guidebook.  They are a founding member of the Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement.  In a conventional RWS style deck, the Hierophant is a mystic who connects the Divine and serves as its voice to the rest of humanity.  The Messenger might likewise be a mystic but could also simply be a humanist whose humanitarianism and caregiving for marginalized people isn’t attached to a spiritual belief system.  The inspiring role the Messenger plays within our psyche- religious or secular- is something to seek out and manifest.

Primary Symbolism

Jennicet Gutiérrez: In 2015, Jennicet was invited to the White House to attend a Pride Month event being hosted by President Obama.  When they interrupted his speech to cry out ” “President Obama, release all LGBTQ immigrants from detention and stop all deportations!” the President angrily snapped “You are in my house!  Shame on you, you shouldn’t be doing this…Can we escort this person out? You can either stay and be quiet or we’ll have to take you out.”   Jennicet was booed and ridiculed as they were taken out.

Jennicet wrote about the incident, as did others

The podium:  The Messenger is on a platform slightly above the crowd with a lectern-style podium and three microphones in order to be better seen and heard.  Lecterns are traditionally used by teachers; pulpits are traditionally used by preachers.  The Messenger is serving all those combined roles.  I don’t think it was intentionally symbolic of the synthesizing principle for there to be three microphones but it is very fitting. The Messenger often being someone who is all three things: public speaker-teacher-spiritual leader.   Three is a powerful number in esoteric tarot that plays out multiple times in this card.

The crowd with signs:  The central figure is surrounded by a mono-hued crowd with signs that support their message. They are there to listen to a message they already believe in.  The coloring (or lack of it) suggests the while each person there is an individual, they are also a collective.

The yellow sky:  In esoteric tarot, yellow is a color associated with the Sun and Yang-traits along with the planetary Mercury and communication.  It is also associated with empowerment, the intellect, and achieving clarity.  Taken together, this symbolizes The Messenger as a dynamic force of change and transformation who is accomplishing their goal.  

The three figures: At the very bottom of the card, there are three figures who do have color.  Their backs are turned to us, lending them androgyny.  Two have the same black-white hair as the speaker (which is very yinyang) and create another trinity through that.  The position of these two corresponds very well with the two acolytes on a conventional RWS Hierophant card. 

Between the other two figures mentioned above is a third.  This one has red hair and is wearing a purple shirt with ACAB (All Cops Are Bastards) on the back.  This is a very antinomian image, representing that even if the crowd is a collective?  Each person there is also an individual with their own personality and personal truths.   

Reading The Messenger (In General)

Upright this card could mean something like:

  • You need to sincerely and honestly talk about what is going with all the people involved in the topic of the reading
  • Do not let others shame you into silence; be vocal about people and causes that matter to you.
  • Even if its not obvious right now, the things you are doing and saying in your everyday life are appreciated and helping people.
  • The person this card signifies in your reading is sincere. They have the best of intentions and genuinely want to help others from a place of compassion and goodwill.

Reversed this card could mean something like:

  • It might be time to focus more on self-care and your own wellness than trying to help other people.
  • Don’t let your desire to help other people turn into an obsession or compulsion.
  • If you are in a situation where you are being abused or taken advantage of, you have to find the strength and courage to leave.
  • Try to keep an open mind and unbiased perspective and listen to other people; truths are relative. 

The Messenger In Questions About Relationships

You as The Messenger Upright:  As a compassionate person it is probably second nature for you to want to help people who are struggling.  You work really hard to provide for the people you love. This can be exhausting and sometimes goes unappreciated.  The best thing you can do for this relationship is to find the right overall balance between what you give and what you receive. 

You as The Messenger Reversed:  The things you need for your own security, happiness, and wellness are not going to come from this relationship any time soon.  This other person and you have very different priorities and expectations. For this to be a good relationship for you both, there would need to be a lot of adjustment on both sides of the fence.    

The Other Person as The Messenger Upright: This person is very compassionate and driven to take care of people or a cause that matters to them.  There’s a chance that their profession or vocation (being a doctor, activist, teacher, minister, etc.,) is going to make it a challenge to be in a romantic relationship.  As their partner, you will need to be extremely patient and selfless.  As long as you share in their vision and feel the same commitment to the same people as they do?  This could be the most engaging and profound relationship of your life.

The Other Person as The Messenger Reversed: Codependency is an obsessive over-reliance on a specific person to meet our needs.  It shares many of the same symptoms as alcoholism and drug addictions. This card reversed suggests that either the other person (or both of you) are suffering from codependency; this relationship won’t really improve and become healthy and sustainable without fixing that.  

Whenever you have truth it must be given with love, or the message and the messenger will be rejected.  Mahatma Gandhi

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

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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.