Saturday, December 7, 2013

456,456 possible tarot spreads

There are 456,456 possible three card spreads in a standard 78 card tarot deck. I love the symmetry of this number. As the spreads get bigger so does the number of possible combinations.  But really as the spread is interpreted in all its subtleties the number is really nearly infinite. Each situation and question lends its own flavor to the reading.
Possible two card spreads- 6,006
After this the symmetry breaks down. There is something significant here.

Notes On My First Evocation

     A couple of days ago I worked my first successful evocation. I took to heart the imprecation that an armchair magician is one who always finds problems or reasons not to do a working and so never actually does one. It was a Thursday and more or less on a whim I looked up the planetary hours and saw that in 20 minutes it would be the hour of Jupiter. I decided then and there to do an evocation of a spirit of Jupiter. Astrologically it was less than ideal as Jupiter is retrograde right now and was within orb of an opposing aspect with the Moon. But he is in his exaltation (Cancer) and the Moon was moving out of the opposing aspect. I figured I would try it anyway.
     I didn't do any ritual washing nor did I change into any ritual clothing. I told myself that to meet with a spirit of Jupiter I had better wear a tie so I kept on the shirt and tie that I had worn to work that day. Looking in Agrippa's Three Books I chose Johphiel, the intelligence of Jupiter as my spirit. On a piece of paper I drew the kamea of Jupiter and then on the other side I drew the sigil of Johphiel, attached it to a string and wore it as a lamen with the sigil facing outward. Then on a larger piece of paper I drew the seal of Jupiter while repeating "from the office of Jupiter". I put the seal on my altar table with an obsidian orb on top of it, the incense burner behind that, and 4 blue candles on either side and slightly behind those. As I put each candle in its holder I intoned "Johphiel". I lit the charcoal for the incense so it would be hot and ready in time. Then I went through and turned out all the lights in my apartment.
     Before I went back into the room where the rite was to happen I paused for a moment in silence, cleared my thoughts, and then very deliberately entered the room. As I lit each of the blue candles I again intoned "Johphiel" then sat at my altar. I threw some grains of frankincense on the coals and meditated a bit to further clear my head and get into the mood of the working. I did the Bornless Ritual but haltingly and with the book on my lap for parts of it. (I really need to get that memorized better.) Then I recited the evocation from Miller's Sorcerer's Secrets again with the book open in my lap. I put the book down and then improvised my own based on that.
     After doing this for a while I heard a tapping noise on the other side of the room and gradually began to feel a presence. Although I was attempting to call Johphiel into a visible form in my stone, I felt that he was in the room, tall, near the ceiling. There were no other sounds, no voices, no figures in the stone or visible in the room. I went to throw more incense on the coals and dropped a grain on the seal of Jupiter. As I went to pick it up I felt the urge to stop, leave it and in fact put more on the seal around the stone, which I did. I made my petition to Johphiel and meditated a bit more trying to be receptive to any kind of communication but didn't notice anything significant. Then I gave the license to depart and meditated a bit more. After several minutes I suddenly felt the absence of the presence I had felt. It was almost like a source of heat or light was suddenly eclipsed or a constant sound suddenly stopped. I found it a bit startling and knew that the working was over. I snuffed the candles and put the nubs on the seal which I folded up and tied shut with the lamen and twine I had been wearing. The next morning I threw them into the river to dispose of them.
     Although I didn't get a full physical manifestation I still consider this a success. That night I didn't get any significant dreams that I remember and I'll keep my eyes open for blessings from Johphiel and Jupiter. It will be fun to explore this further.