Friday, June 22, 2018

My Daughters Again

Regular readers will remember that I have written about my Magical daughter's here. I sometimes use them as an example of how not to do magic, I created them as an experiment one evening. I know I have written about the magic of servitors here before, and personally I consider it one of the easier and most useful magics. You just create a being to do something you want doing and it's like having staff.
My daughters, however, are A Rather different kettle of fish from some of the Magical servants that you read about in the literature. For a start they seem to have taken on a life of their own and frankly spent their days going around creating absolute havoc for anyone I take a dislike to.
This week I had a follow-up appointment at the rheumatology clinic, my last contact with the nurses there having been to ask for a complaint form because their attitude is terrible. The night before I could feel my daughter's around. This may seem bizarre but I just know when they are there, have minimal control over it except to know that they will always turn up when someone has upset the family, and their presence is usually proved by trail of destruction and Chaos.
This week was no exception. A huge sinkhole opened up in the road that we walked along to work. Then when we got to work one of my colleagues was doing her absolute best to drive the one colleague who I particularly don't like, but is about to leave, into a nervous breakdown.
One thing I will say for my daughter's is that they are very good at developing new skills and this week had definitely been working on there I T skills. My least favourite colleague had ongoing i t problems all day as being driven up the wall by another colleague who will definitely be staying!
Then I went to my appointment. I saw the consultant who put me on the treatment I wanted to be on, but when she asked me if there was anything else, I told her that I wanted to be followed up elsewhere. When she asked me why, I simply had to tell her that it was because the nurses attitude stinks! She looked at me horrified and almost demanded to know problem was with the nurses so I gave her a blow by blow account of all the rude things they have said to me. She invited me to have a seat in the waiting room for a few minutes while she went to talk to them. Naturally I don't know what she said, but I do know that when I went to see them to be weighed they both had faces like slapped asses!
True to form, they were also having IT problems, couldn't even get onto any of their systems and certainly couldn't print me a prescription. So one of them hand wrote a prescription me excruciating detail about the side effects while I smiled at her sweetly. Through gritted teeth she encouraged me to use the nurse helpline if I needed to and I left to take the prescription to the pharmacy next door.
Will come as no surprise that when I got to the pharmacy the pharmacist would not dispense it because they do prescribed a medication that didn't exist has also failed to put any details about me on the prescription! So back I went, and I did convey the pharmacists message that in future they should not spill tea on their prescription pad.
All in all my daughters and I had a very successful day!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Tarot: other animals

I realised after publishing my last post, about the horses in the tarot deck, that I had completely missed one, namely the horse in The Sun card. I have always thought the horse looks slightly embarrassed at carrying the naked child, and given the right heart situation it may even be thinking how ridiculous the amount of drama that is going on is.
I can only conclude that I wasn't concentrating when I wrote that post, because I also manage to miss out one of the more obvious horses on The smith deck, namely the horse which appears on the death card. My excuse for this is that when I think of the death card I don't actually think of that card I think of the Marseille card which of course doesn't show a horse at all. Personally I much prefer the picture of the skeleton treading on parts of dismembered bodies!
But the RWS deck is not short of other animals. One of the ways they often appear is in the carving of the characters Thrones, and usually depicted some characteristic of the character seated on the throne or the personality aspect it depicts. For example the king of Swords has airy butterflies on the back of his throne. The bald-headed emperor on the other hand has rams on his throne, which not only depict logical aspects of his personality but also his character.
The two cards which represents the mid point and end of the journey before beginning a new journey, the wheel of Fortune and the world, both depict animals in their corners which are variously interpreted.
Otherwise animals in the tarot can be interpreted different ways. The dog, for example, often refers to humans faithful companion, and this is very much how the dogs can be interpreted in the Fool and in the ten of pentacles. That said, the dog in the fall is variously interpreted. In some decks the dog is exposing the Fool's bottom and genitals. This is part of the tradition of The Fool being an actual object of shame, and one old deck (I have forgotten which) shows two little boys actually playing with the man's genitals. I'm not making this up! So in One Sense the dog, far from being a faithful companion is a source of embarrassment and humiliation. The other hand I have always thought that he made the warning the walking over the precipice. In the moon card the dog once again plays a different role of howling at the moon, and so can represent a natural source of warning of that which is strange or unknown.
What is represented by The Animals in the tarot cards is sometimes fairly obvious, such as the lion in the strength card. Some of the other animals are not as easily interpreted and in fact maybe more hidden. The Bird ( I'm not sure what sort it is) hillside the woman in the nine of pentacles is very obvious. I smiled at her feet is not so obvious, and neither is the lizard at the feet of the King of Wands. Similarly the queen of Wands's cat is well known, but it can take people a long time to see the rabbits on the queen of pentacles card.
The animals on the tarot cards can represent personality aspects, they can represent warnings, and in fact all the things that animals can represent the World of symbolism and mythology.
Incidentally if this post reads strangely it is because I am writing it free app for voice recognition. My employers have cut up for Dragon software, and in fact are so impressed with if they're thinking of getting it for everyone in the office. This is of course a free version, and has the advantage that in future I can accept no responsibility for the content of anything I right here!
The final picture is one from the filming of akenfield, which I touched on in the recent posts about the imagined country. I neglected to comment in my original post that the camera man looks as if he had a lovely hairy back, and I have since found a picture of him from the front which shows that the front is at least as hairy. This picture has nothing to do with tarot and it's appearance here is purely gratuitous.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Tarot: The Horse

In my recent post about the Magician I wrote about a strange parallel to him in John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever. Now I have found another parallel and so am uncharacteristically surrounded by a veritable stable of horses, since horses aren't exactly lacking in the tarot deck.
I hadn't thought of all the horses having thoughts and opinions up till now. In my humble opinion the Knight of Wands horse has exactly the same expression as Princess Diana in her famous early-nineties interview.
The Knight of Swords' horse is far less coy and is almost the personification (or rather horsification) of the get-to-it energy of the Knights. I hadn't thought about it till today but the horse does the actual work in each of the Knight cards, directed by the knight, who is relatively inactive in comparison.
On the other hand both the Knight and the horse are at rest in the Pentacles Knight, which may go with the suit's heavy, earthy nature. It is however a contemplative rest while the Knight has a good look at his Pentacle. I wish I knew more about horses because I may then be able to make something of the colour.
I have a soft spot for the Knight of Cups's horse, which looks to me like it would be a gentle soul, but then you would be if you have to carry a man carrying a chalice full of water! In real life I'm frightened of horses, cows and other farm animals.
But the comparison which made me start this post was this one. It is unfortunate that the picture was taken in the Queen's stables, because I've always attributed some very sarcastic thoughts to the horse in the 6 of Wands!
In Marseille-style decks the Chariot is drawn by horses rather than the sphinxes in the RWS-influenced decks, and in the Jodorowsky deck I do love the way the horse on the right is winking!
Oh buggrit I've trodden in something...

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Differing Magics with Reference to the Book of Thoth Etteilla Tarot

You may have noticed that on my recent post about drama in the tarot, Inexplicable Device said that he wasn't friendly with the tarot and proceeded nonetheless to give penetrating insight into the cards I had pictured there.
What I took from that was that different people have different magics and our individual magics may differ at different times of our lives. Sometimes people may think they don't click with a magic they may be good at. Conversely we may sometimes bark up the wrong tree and want to work a magic which isn't us.
A man once rang into the Hex Education radio programme and said that he kept doing magic out of books and it never worked. Eventually it transpired that when he drew something it just happened - but was dead set on working magic in someone else's way!
I feel this probably happens most in divination. For example I can never see anything in a crystal ball. On the other hand I'm dead good at tea leaves, and the fact other people tell me I'm making it up just proves I'm a natural.
I also can't read Lenormand or other fortune telling cards. I think there is a reason for this inability - it just isn't for where I am now, and to keep banging my head against that wall would be to refuse my tasks of this time, since a major one is always to listen to the universe's message of what is my place in it.
How do you know if a magical or divination method is for you? Well, just do it and see. Another divination method which I often see people say they would like to use but can't, is the tarot decks devised by the French hairdresser Alliette, who used the nom de plume Etteilla. The cheapest of these is the one called Book of Thoth.
I have pulled mine out of its box again, since I have rationalised my tarot decks as I now find it difficult to handle or shuffle the larger decks. I am left with RWS decks and this one. I am taking this as a message from the universe that these are to be my tools for now. I have read with it before and found it a wild roller coaster of a divination tool. Sure enough it's come straight to life in my hand - you have a relationship with your tools and it sounds almost as if I'm talking about a penis in my hand!
And as the universe's gift it certainly will respond! I don't understand his system but am just reading it the way I think seems right. It's very different from the way I am accustomed to read the RWS. Reversals are an integral thing. There are French keywords on each card - usually the exact opposite of how we would understand them now. I love that it conjures up a different era of divination. And what's not to love about getting the African Despot as your daily draw? In fact the structure is quite different, being based on a creation myth and not a hero myth.
I'm finding there are just a couple of tricks to it. You have to pull a lot of cards and read them in relation to each other. The deck also likes being read from right to left. No point fighting it, when you do it that way whole swathes of meaning appear.
And that is the right way to know if a magic is for you - if it works!
Picture credit: Tarot Museum, Belgium.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Tarot Architecture

This post will consist of some reflections on the architectural or built environment elements in the RWS tarot deck. It probably won't be rocket science for those who know their architecture, kabbalah or Masonry better than I do.
1. The two specialties of Colman Smith and Waite - esotericism and theatre design - merge in their tarot deck so that the architectural details take on both a magical and a dramatic function. For example the building in the 3 of Pentacles is both the setting for the action and contains much symbolism.
2. The first obvious source for the symbolism is the Masonic and Kabbalistic symbolism of the Golden Dawn, which has been influential on almost all the magical traditions which have followed, not least through the use of this tarot deck. For example the pillars in the High Priestess reference both Masonry and Kabbalah.
3. The other obvious source for the imagery is the world of Christian imagery, with its ideas of the heavenly city and the attendant imagery of houses and builders/buildings, which is the natural source for the Masonic imagery. For example Colman Smith would have been exposed to the Catholic images of Mary as a garden enclosed and as an ivory tower.
4. True to her theatrical background, buildings are often the'set' for the action in the card and frequently provide added meaning.
5. The pseudo-Mediaeval city which so often features provides much detail to the card's action, since it equates to safety and containment. The figures' positions show their relationship to the city, for example here the figure stands over the city, which equates to power and command.
6. The absence of buildings can indicate being out in the wild.
7. While the presence of buildings can also suggest being given the cold shoulder by their inhabitants.

8. The position of buildings also adds layers of meaning to a card. Some cards' action takes place inside the building and thus inside what that building represents, such as civilised society or safety. The charioteer, for example, is riding away from the city. The woman in the 8 of Swords refuses to look at the city behind her, usually for no very good reason.
9. In addition to forming the backdrop to the action in the cards, the buildings can also indicate actions. Pillars often form barriers to be traversed, in addition to the more esoteric meaning above.I particularly love that Pam has put gateways and bridges in several cards. One of them is here and I'd be prepared to bet that the figure won't turn round and look at the potential exit from his situation!
Image source
10. Significantly, given the time the deck was designed, the architecture of Pam's imagined world reminds me mostly of Arts and Crafts style houses of the time, and specifically Voysey.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Tarot: Hebrew Letters Attributed to the Trumps

I am delighted to announce that I have had a resolution of a query I have had with tarot for ever. I see that I wrote about the difficulty four years ago and have only come to any resolution by the chance discovery of a website today.
The problem has been to find a system of Hebrew letters attribution for the Major Arcana. A major reason for this problem has been my own insistence that aleph should be given to the Magician because his body forms the letter's shape (as opposed to the Golden Dawn's insistence that the Fool should be aleph - apart from my own stubbornness that their system was wrong, the Golden Dawn attributions otherwise made sense). This of course left me with the problem of where to put the fool. And I was not comfortable with the way McGregor Mathers arbitrarily placed him at position 20.
I have been delighted to find the website of Mark Filipas. I don't buy his theory that the tarot was created as a sort of Hebrew ABC but I think his attributions are spot on. He also uses mediaeval Hebrew to explain the connections and places the Fool right at the end. The only difficulty with the Rider Waite deck is that he's using the Marseille deck and of course Justice and Strength are the other way round.
What is the importance of this? I maintain the tarot started life as a game but one built on the world surrounding it, and a part of the world was the kabbalistic world view which underlies the philosophy eventually connected to the tarot when it became an occult tool. Filipas makes the point that the world view can also be seen in the chess set. For the reader the underlying meaning of the Hebrew letters provides an insight into the reading, as well as having a magical power in their own right.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Tarot: Drama and Facts

This post was inspired by a post on somebody else's blog (which I'm not going to reference) about a book which claims to set in opposition the drama with which we surround ourselves, and cool rational facts about our current human situation. I am also not going to reference the book because I haven't read it and would end up being critical of what various summaries I have read, say what the book says.
I feel the main constituency for the book is people perturbed by the hysterical ranting so prevalent in our media - rich world, that the environment is doomed, all of the money in the world will shortly be in the hands of two people and then the only thing we will have to look forward to is the impending Armageddon which will probably be next week anyway. Of course I'm a queen and drama is second nature. I'm also cynical enough to think that no amount of trying to balance out drama with facts will stop some clown creating another disaster at whim.
Nonetheless this opposition made me wonder what tarot cards would represent the dramatic world view and which would represent the cold rational factual world. I thought I knew this anyway but was in for a surprise when I actually pulled some cards.

For a start I thought that if cards indicating cold rationality would be anywhere it would be in the suit of Swords, which of course represent thought. But I was surprised to find that the archetypal drama queen cards were virtually all in Swords, not in Wands where I had naively expected them to be. True of course some are in Wands and some in Cups and none in the doughty Earth-element Pentacles. I was even more surprised to find that there weren't more in the Major Arcana, at least in my opinion. Perhaps it says more about my own approach but I personally don't consider Death or Judgement to be drama cards - in fact I noticed that I was seeing almost all the events of the Major Arcana as things which just happen and not cause to make a song and dance. On the other hand I did see much more drama in the relatively pedestrian events of the Minor Arcana. As usual you think you're setting out to get to know the tarot but it shows you yourself.
So where is cool, rational, factual thinkin represented in the tarot? Certainly not where I expected and I wonder whether all of my opinions in this post are indicative of my own inner world, since I found that the cards I think indicate rational thinking also indicate power and authority. All four kings, for example. I was surprised to find that three of the cards I picked are Pentacles, suggesting that the tarot is saying that if you want to think rationally you have to have both feet on the ground. I also tried out another hunch I had that since there are hints in the RWS tarot of the alternative suit attribution of Swords to Water and Cups to Air (see the Knight of Cup's helmet for example, there would be a hidden resource of empirical thinking in the Cups, but they proved to be a reservoir of watery emotion.
I am genuinely surprised by this and will no doubt be revisiting it. Oh and apologies for the way the post is set out if you're reading on a computer - inserting photos always upsets blogger and I don't like having photos on a line to themselves. Sigh. This one is probably better looking in mobile view.