Thursday, January 28, 2016

Tarot Working, The Empress

I am finding that my experiences with the cards, so far, have been different with each one. I don’t know why I should be surprised by this. I guess I was under the impression that there would be more of a consistency to the experiences. After 4 weeks it is becoming apparent that each of them will interact with me differently. Which is how I introduce my experience with the Empress.
The Empress.
The Empress is hard for me to characterize. She didn’t come to me in the same way as the other previous three cards. There was very little direct contact. But from Friday morning after the lay down/pick up ceremony the world took on a singular beauty, the weather became unseasonably warm this week where I am, and I was the recipient of way more flirty attention from members of both sexes.  I also have renewed energy for a few projects that had drifted toward the back burner. It is really tempting to attribute these phenomena to a Venusian correspondence with the Empress but I think I’ll hold back just slightly to say that the Empress has these connotations that Venus seems to also have. I want to take the tarot on its own merits without trying to force it into other models, like astrology.
On a related, yet slightly off topic note, my magical practice in general has really felt more robust since the turn of the year with this week being quite accelerated.
By Wednesday I was feeling like I was getting slack because I hadn’t had a direct conversation with the Empress. I decided to get up early on Thursday morning, the last day, to try a scrying session before heading off to work. I lit the candle lantern and I sat with the Empress.
After a short time of calling I had an impression of a fountain and a basin of refreshing water behind her. And I saw her raise her robe slightly and her foot is a cow’s hoof. I ask her, “how can I use your energy in my life”. In response she appears to move as if settling a white mantle across her shoulders and two jets of white energy extend from the sides of her head resembling horns.
I ask, “what does your shield indicate?”
“Growth of the nation.”
Her head then changes to resemble an octopus with its tentacles on her chest and shoulders. Then it changes to a young woman with deer antlers. She opens her arms to me invitingly, like an adult to a child.
I ask, “what is your message to me?” In response she laughs and gestures toward the sky. I can’t tell if she is being dismissive or if she is indicating the sky.
I ask “what does your staff indicate?” She responds, “the ability to create.”
Then her image changes to a great monument, still in her form but large and stone. A pair of women’s breasts appear behind her as if a larger woman were standing behind the monument. Then her image splits into two of her and she tells me “I can go where I wish yet seem not to move.” Then the monument changes into a naga shape, a snake with a woman’s head, then turns back to the Empress on her throne.
I ask, “what are the lessons you can teach me?” She smiles with an excited expression on her face, stirs as if getting comfortable, but then says nothing.
I ask, “do you have any children?” She is quiet for a long time then says, “countless.” And as I get ready to ask another question I am suddenly hit with a strong need to use the restroom. With that the session ended.
The thing I found the most striking about my work with the Empress is how much influence she appeared to have on me outside of the context of the tarot card. I felt her in my entire world.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Tarot Working, The Priestess

My report on working with the Priestess.

As with the Fool and the Magician, I began the week by ceremonially putting down the Magician and picking up the Priestess. But unlike the Fool and the Magician, she waited for me to contact her first.

The first time I called her was relatively informal. From that call I received a very brief image of a nun in her room high in a tower. It is night and the room is lit with candles which gives everything a warm, toasty, golden brown color. Her habit was unusually wide and voluminous around her face. She gazed out the window into the darkness. All around her books filled the room on shelves and in stacks. I begin to wonder if this tower is the same as the Tower (XVI) but the vision ends before I pursue that line of thinking.

On Tuesday I had an opportunity to do a more formal concentrated meditation/scrying with the Priestess. I lit a candle and called to her calling her “Your Grace” and “Knower of All Things”. Soon the image on the card changed and I saw her bright pink heart beating in her chest, glowing with its own light. I could see her ribs and then heart behind them in the darkness of the interior of her body. She was holding the essence in the core of herself protecting it and keeping it alive.

I ask, “how can I use your energy in my life?” She raises her book and says, “knowledge”.

She appears to be trying to back away from me and recede into her veils.

I ask, “what are the lessons you can teach me?” At this her face appears to age rapidly and becomes a skull. The skull turns purple, it looks up and screams at heaven. Then it turns back to a woman and she chuckles, amused. Then her face slides between several people as we continue to talk together; women old and young, men with and without beards.

I ask, “how may I learn your secrets?” She holds her book open and says “Just look, it’s all out in the open. The tower extends as far underground as it does above ground.  Youth and age are the same. The flights of bids tells the weather.” Then, vehemently, she says “It’s all in the book!” At this my candle pops, punctuating her emphasis.

I ask her to be a constant presence in my life, to share her secrets with me, and to be my ally. Her eyes glow white and her face turns old and withered. Then it becomes a younger woman again and she looks away in sadness. I pour heart energy into her. Her eyes widen and she smiles. I tell her “our hearts are connected” and she smiles again.

I ask her to help me find the knowledge I need to meet my challenges. Then I give the license to depart and wrap up the session.

There were no other significant occurrences through the rest of the week to note.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Tarot Working, The Magician

Here is my report on The Magician.

Began on Friday morning by lighting candles and performing a little ceremony where I put down The Fool and picked up The Magician. As part of the exercise I pulled The Magician from every deck I own and put them all on the table with the candles. 8 Magicians; Rider Waite Smith Tarot, Thoth Tarot, Hermetic Tarot, Magickal Tarot, Tarot of the Holy Light, and 3 Tarot de Marseille Magicians. I closed the ceremony, put one of the Magicians in my pocket leaving the others on the table, and began my day. A short time later I was out walking and saw a flock of geese flying in formation, migrating south for the winter. As I looked at the flock it struck me that they were a symbol of The Magician as agent of transformation and change. And in my mind’s eye I had a vision of The Magician picking up items from his table and transforming them to gold with his wand. As he picks up each item, a knife, dice, he points his wand at it and changes into a gold coin which he tosses into his purse on the table. As he’s doing this he looks at me and says “wealth and poverty are in the judgments of others,” as he’s effortlessly turning random items to gold. And then the vision was gone.
Over the next 3 days I found it rather difficult to connect with The Magician in the informal way I’m most accustomed to. I was getting a little frustrated. With The Fool I felt that all I had to do was say “Fool” and he would be near, distracted and frenetic, but near. With The Magician I felt like there was more of a barrier between us. I was, however, trying and had a couple of very minor impressions that were very brief and tenuous to the point that I don’t consider them direct communication.

On Tuesday I had some time to myself and so decided to try a more formalized method of contact. I sat at my desk with a candle and the Marseille Magician card propped up in front of me. I gazed at the card calling to The Magician. There was not much happening for several minutes until I had a vision of a pale, thin, male face emerging from darkness. It was brief but I was encouraged that he was close. I tried visualizing the symbol from Friday to encourage the vision, like I did with The Fool. I pictured a flock of geese in my mind and as I gazed at the card the implied Mobius of The Magician’s arms became the path of the flock of geese. And I saw a flock of geese flying in the formation of an infinity symbol over snowy pine trees.
I ask The Magician “why are you so hard to contact?” The geese disappear and then he shrugs.
I ask “how can I use your energy in my life?” and I see his hair swirl and he tells me “mixing”. I see his eyes brighten and he tells me, “seeing”. And then I see that he is turning his face into shadow, into darkness, and words flow out of his mouth carried on the current of his breath.
I ask “what are the lessons you can teach me?” I see his face distort and then resemble a lion. I don’t know how to interpret this. Appearances? Shape shifting?
I ask him to help me be more adaptable in my magic. He tells me that his table is the barrier between us which I take to mean that reliance on tools or stuff interferes with his influence.
He shows me a correlation between his wand and the numeral 1 but I didn’t pursue that line of thinking. Perhaps a little later I’ll see where that leads.
I ask how I can use the tarot in my magic. He tells me that just as I am talking with him now I can communicate with all the cards to seek advice in their particular area. He can teach magic. I ask about a working I had tentatively planned for later that afternoon. He told me it was better to wait and gave me a couple of reasons for it.
I asked if he could help me with spirit communication. He said yes but others could also be asked and I got a strong impression of The Moon card.
Then I see his arms moving and he tells me to keep moving, keep juggling.
At this point I was getting kind of tired so I told him to be at peace and I wrapped up the session, made some popcorn, and watched a movie.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Tarot Working, The Fool

Here are some notes on my work with The Fool.
I started by doing a little ceremony on the morning of the 1st in which I called The Fool, asking him to be present with me during the week and to impart to me his strengths and his wisdom. I was excited for the new year and the new project but I felt like I was also imbued with dynamism and energy. I attributed this feeling to The Fool. Then, as I was getting ready for my day I began to have strong feelings of wanting to escape and run from my responsibilities. I also attributed this to The Fool.
A little later I took my dog for a walk. At one point we passed a yard with a stone path. The way the morning sun hit it, it was beautiful, and it struck me as a symbol of The Fool. My dog and I continued on and I knew The Fool was with me. I had an impression of the beauty of the road, the path as a silken ribbon leading off forever into the distance. I took this as The Fool waxing poetic.
I asked him "how can I use your energy in my life?"
I heard the wind in the trees and my answer was call of the horizon pulling me forward into unknown lands.
I said to him "I am embarrassed to call you a fool."
Very strongly he answered "but I am a Fool!" and I had a vision of a jester in his hat with wildly rolling eyes. I laughed.
I said to him, "I feel unprepared for our conversation". Here I was with a dog on a leash having a conversation that I wanted to record by writing it down.
He said to me, "eh, you could have prepared for a day or a year and still not be prepared." Then his presence diminished and he said nothing else (that I heard).

The next day I tried a focused meditation but I couldn't quite get into it. I felt pressure from my responsibilities. After about half an hour or so I quit and I thought I heard faint laughter.

On Wednesday I tried a more formal ceremony to contact The Fool. I lit some candles, some incense, and set up my black mirror and the tarot card on the table. I called The Fool to come and speak with me. I repeated the word "fool" as a mantra. Soon the room seemed to get darker even though the candle flames didn't change. I kept calling and I got a response, The Fool said "I am here, I never left".
Building on my communication earlier in the week I visualized a path. Then I saw The Fool on the path ahead of me facing away so that I was looking at his back. But all of his back that I could see is shadow with bits of color, like patchwork in dim light. What I can see is his shoes, red, and the end of his red staff. They are in the mud, wet mud. And then I see that the path leads up a mountain.
I ask The Fool, "what's in your sack?"
He opens it and shows me that it is a big white egg.
I ask, "what the deal with the dog?"
He tells me that the dog is a goad, harrying him, keeping him moving. Their relationship is not always an amicable one but they have been together for so long that they are bonded.
The Fool seems restless, distracted. The card on the table seems to slide slightly to the right, though it doesn't actually move.
In my vision The Fool raps his knuckles against the shell of the egg in the sack and it sounds faintly like it cracks a little. He laughs nervously and wraps the egg back up in his bindlestiff. Then he turns resolutely toward the mountain but he hesitates. Suddenly he appears dressed very thickly in a dark coat as for winter.
I ask "why so dour?"
He gives me a dismissive "ehh...." and then he asks "where's the wine?" I was a little surprised but I went to my kitchen and poured us each a wine. As we had wine together I asked him to be a presence in my life but the vision had ended. I left him with his flame and wine until I went to bed.
I have really valued this week of concentrating on The Fool.

This morning I have transitioned from The Fool to The Magician with a small ceremony.