Ineffable Experiences and Effable Gender

After what let’s call a "heated debate" on the HHoL, I find I have something to say about the perennial problem of gender, and especially the gender binary, in occultism and mysticism. I’m not going to bury the lede here: they’re just not things. Genders, I mean. They can be important to people’s experiences, but they cannot be ascribed to things outside of our social context.

That’s basically the thesis. Oh joy.

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Golden Dawn Influence on the Waite Smith Tarot

I’ve been talking about tarot a lot lately, in the past few months I mean, on the Hermetic House of Life server. It’s always nice to have other people to discuss stuff like this with. One of the themes that tends to come up is this perceived gulf between people who use stuff like astrological symbolism in tarot reading and those who don’t. And generally, I feel like the gulf isn’t really there. The Astro information is just information, like anything else, and if you don’t know it, you don’t use it, and that’s fine. And if you know enough to say that the 2 of Wands might mean the time around the Spring equinox and that’s it, great!

What I’m here to write about today, though, is the Waite-Smith tarot and astrology. It’s not necessary to know astrology to use the Waite-Smith deck, but I think it’s important to acknowledge that astrology was instrumental in the design of the deck. And that’s my thesis for today: to fully understand the WS deck you do need to know how it uses astrology, even if you don’t really end up using it for readings. However, let me be clear now: you can absolutely use the deck without knowing any of this stuff. But it’s in there.

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Reading Genre: Hardboiled Fiction and Me

Long ago, when I was all hopped up on little sleep and theory readings, I tried to write a paper making the case that the most important genre marker of science fiction was not the nova that it introduces but the way it teaches the reader to read it as it goes. Now, I still sort of like that idea, but it’s too common in all texts to really work. I think my professor’s comment was something that boiled down to, “this is a very good paper, A, but the idea doesn’t make sense, don’t try to publish this.” Fair.

I’m telling you that because the way that a text shows you how to read it, and how to read the genre it is in, means a lot to me. And I think it’s important generally as well. I’ve written on genre a few times before, most recently in using genre theory to evaluate magic texts. But here, I want to talk about an experience I had with a novel and the general idea of reading using genre.

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Let’s Read! A Blow by Blow of a Reading for Myself

Here’s a bit of an odd one. I had the idea recently to perform a reading for myself. That, on its own, is less common than it used to be. I pull two cards every day to get a picture of what the day is going to be like, and beyond that I tend not to do much else. Or I haven’t in a little while. And so, the idea to do a full-sized reading for myself made me also think that it might be interesting to write about. You might wonder why the two thoughts came together. But, if I’m going to do something like that, something that I don’t do very often, I should take advantage of it and demonstrate how it works. See, it’s not like I can just annotate the readings that I do for other people to use as teaching aids. Those are private.

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Open to Tarot Readings!

Hello! I’m posting on a day I don’t, typically, to let you know that I am now open to tarot readings. You can find the information here, which includes a link to the form and some alternate ways to pay for the commission.

As you might notice, I will accept payment in two ways. You can pay me, which is, you know, the typical way. Or you can donate to an aid organization from the list I provide and email me with proof of that. At the moment you get a pretty hefty discount if you go that route, so please consider it!

4th of July vacay

I don’t actually celebrate the 4th very much anymore. Apart from reasons, it’s the anniversary of a death in the family that hits very hard.

So really for that reason, more than anything else, the blog is taking the week off from a formal post.

This is to provide the prerequisite cat photos.