Last week, I wrote about the concept of mutual reception in astrology and how using it, we can create pairs of linked cards in the tarot minors. I described two of the pairs then, and this week I’ll go through the remaining six!
Mutual Reception in the Tarot Minors
I sat down recently and tried to figure out if any cards in the tarot minors create a situation of mutual reception. If I didn’t miss anything, eight cards do so. That creates an interesting situation in which pairs of cards are linked by their planetary rulers and thus can be contemplated together, as though they’re linked in some way.
Eruption at the End of Things: the Tower Sequence in the Tarot
I was thinking about how the Lovers card is an expression of Gemini and brushing my teeth when this sequence dropped into my head, almost fully formed.
These three cards — The Devil, The Tower, and The Star — are in order, and what’s more remarkable about them is that they are two Saturn cards bookended around a Mars card. And with that, an entire sequence, a narrative, forms around the three cards that is worth investigating to increase our facility with reading with and meditating on these cards.
Stage and Ground: Scenic Tarot and the “Open Reading”
Open reading is a concept that, as best as I know, comes from the Marseille tradition. There’s much more to it than this, but you can think of it this way: looking at the way the cards are oriented on the table, do they look forward or backwards? Where are the obstructions? Taking in general patterns visually is how I might try to define it.
Now, the thing is, a lot of figures in Waite Smith decks are in scenes, which is to say, their facing can’t be taken on its own. They face certain directions to convey certain information already, and so while you could call attention to many figures facing backwards, some of them may or may not fit in with the overall "open reading." This essay is an attempt to test out certain possibilities for using the Waite Smith’s famous scenic composition to recreate a kind of "open" reading through distance.
The World is a Forest, Not a High Rise
This essay is on ontology, and anyone who’s spent five minutes talking with me knows that I don’t really care for that much. I find it, at best, irrelevant, and at worst actively pernicious, backing people into corners that they must then act from. Trying to figure out where something comes from, if it’s a constant, is much less useful than figuring out how to interact with it and how we tend to think of it.
However, this post is, as I said, just that. It’s not that I don’t have ideas about the spiritual ontology of the world, I just don’t prioritize them so much. This is more common than you might think: anthropologists have recorded some indigenous groups saying that they do technically have a creator god somewhere, but they’re not usually prayed to — to the point that many won’t know the god’s name. Now, please, keep in mind that’s some studies of some groups, not a blanket statement about all indigneous peoples. I’m just pointing it out to demonstrate that while I may be a crazy person, I’m not that crazy.
Basically, the problem for me with many contemporary religious, magical, and Hermetic conceptions of the source of all things, the capital g God. The Big Boss, is that, well, it’s a god, a Big Boss. This isn’t exactly rare. In fact, it’s fairly common. So when I say to you that I don’t find it satisfying, I’m not exactly criticizing anyone who does. This essay probably won’t change anybody’s mind. But all magicians should practice thinking with multiple world views when they get the chance, right?
Review: The Magical Tarot of the Golden Dawn (Aeon Books 2022)
I recently acquired the new deck, The Magical Tarot of the Golden Dawn, and I’ve been fiddling around with it since. I think it’s finally time to see what I think of it!Continue reading “Review: The Magical Tarot of the Golden Dawn (Aeon Books 2022)”
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.
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.Continue reading “Golden Dawn Influence on the Waite Smith Tarot”
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.Continue reading “Reading Genre: Hardboiled Fiction and Me”
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.