Magick

Practical magick.

The etymology of tarot

By Psyche | May 15, 2013 | Leave a comment

Recently  I posted a list of my top five foundational books on tarot – books that give a solid grounding in tarot’s history and practical use.

Ankh-f-n-khonsu commented:

I’m no tarotist scholar, and I found Decker’s article in Gnosis (#46, Winter 1998) convincing and enlightening. However, I was left unconvinced that there was no connection to esoteric Egyptian tradition. Tony Bushby…suggests that 22 Hebrew characters were ‘occulted’ in the Egyptian Book of Thoth/God, and that ‘tarot’ is a plural form of Torah. [...]

In tarot’s fairly well documented history (letters, accounting ledgers, early examples of tarot cards and “regular” playing cards, etc.), there is absolutely no suggestion whatsoever that tarot cards were intended for use as anything other than an innovating card game. Serious tarot practitioners know this, it’s the occultists who resist reading anything in depth outside their genre – and I say this as an occultist myself! (Probably because occultists have invested so much in the mystification of tarot they figure it’d be a shame to stop now.) Continue reading


Top 5 chaos magick books

By Psyche | May 13, 2013 | Leave a comment

Detial from Liber Null, by Peter CarrollThere are some books that are required reading for the dedicated student, and this list represents my top five books dedicated to chaos magick – books that defined chaos magick as a distinct field of study and practice.

Liber Null & Psychonaut, by Peter Carroll1. Liber Null & Psychonaut: An Introduction to Chaos Magic, by Peter Carroll

Liber Null, first published in the late 1970s by Ray Sherwin, is the handbook for the Illuminates of Thanteros, the first group dedicated to chaos magick. The IOT was conceived of as a new kind of order based on meritocracy, and Liber Null serves as an introductory text to what was then a new approach to magickal practice.

New Falcon published Liber Null and Psychonaut together in 1987. Psychonaut expands upon themes raised in Liber Null, and contains the much maligned pseudo-scientific approach to catastrophe theory, but it does have its moments, defining and reframing magickal theories for a new generation of occultists. Continue reading


Love is the Law: Philios, True Will and the Great Work

By Kara Rae Garland | May 10, 2013 | Leave a comment

I do not believe in sin as typically described by the various sects of the world’s major religions. In my heart, there are two kinds of sin: sins against humanity (abuses of human rights) and sins against yourself. It is with the latter that the following missive is primarily concerned, heavily informed by Thelema, New Age philosophies and Modern Satanism.

A sin against yourself is something that only you can judge. You sin against yourself every time you do something that goes directly against your True Will. When you do not live up to your honest potential, when what you do holds you back instead of propelling you forth, even if that thing is refusing to forgive yourself for past mishaps, I believe you are sinning against yourself. (It should be noted that I do not feel this applies to normal, natural, healthy periods of stagnation, contemplation and plateau states.)

I used to think that the concept of True Will was malarkey. No one I spoke with could tell me what True Will was or how to discover it. I kept asking and wondering what kind of person doesn’t know what he or she really wants in life? But then I took a good look at the society around me, and I saw that we tie ourselves into secret knots all the time, constantly confusing ourselves about what we want and what is best. Continue reading


Tarot and the myth of bad cards

By Psyche | May 8, 2013 | Leave a comment

My day job allows a certain amount of freedom when it comes to listening to music at work. Most people have headphones, and once upon a time the majority would have been listening to Pandora.com, but it’s been a while since they disallowed Canadian listening due to licensing constraints – a shame, because I found many new bands via their ingenuous Music Genome Project – music I then later bought, as with Napster in the days of yore. But I digress.

Sitting at my cubicle, work is where I listen to podcasts when my mp3 player starts to seem repetitive. Late December and early January I was on vacation, and so, behind. I recently caught up and finally listened to the latest Tarot Connection episodes.

In episode 67, host Leisa ReFalo and guest Roger Tobin tackled the subject of “difficult cards” from a variety angles, specific “difficult” cards for the client and for the reader; cards which might seem scary for a client unfamiliar with their meaning (Death, the Devil and the Tower are common examples), and cards which are challenging for the reader to interpret, either because they’re still unclear on the meaning, or even simply because they don’t often turn up during a reading (we all have cards like this). Continue reading


Tarot and Sharing Bad News

By Psyche | May 1, 2013 | 1 comment

Earlier we looked at the role of “accuracy” in tarot, particularly in comparison to fortune-telling. A key point to take away from this is that, in reading for a client or even for oneself, the main goal of any divinatory reading is to provide information that is useful to the querent.

Whether or not the future is set can become irrelevant when the cards clearly foretell disaster for the querent. When the cards spell doom, deciding how to relate that to the client can be tricky. Changeable or not, it’s rarely something a querent wants to hear, and depending on who the querent is it can be more detrimental to share this information than not.

Consider the following case, reported by Austin Osman Spare in a brief essay, “Mind to Mind and How” (reprinted by Fulgur in Two Tracts on Cartomancy):

I was telling a friend’s fortune, and could ‘see’ that he would die within a few months. Naturally, I did not tell him so, but what I did advise him was to at once put his affairs in order and that in a few months there would be a very great change in his affairs, of which not much could be said. Meantime, there was great happiness for him, though he was to guard against accident. He was happy for the few months that he lived.

This is a drastic case, and it matters little whether or not it is objectively “true” – it is instructive nonetheless; the cards don’t always describe “nice” things.

Naturally, had Spare plainly stated what he had “seen” it would have greatly alarmed and upset his client, and likely make him miserable or frightened for the time that remained. There are some problems tact can’t solve and which no amount of delicacy in describing what was seen is possible.

There were a few alternative options that Spare might have considered. He could have refused the reading – even after laying out the cards, perhaps claiming a headache or some more mystical malady that would have incapacitated him and prevented him from continuing the reading. Or he could have simply reshuffled the cards, saying the message wasn’t “clear,” rather than describe what was initially drawn.

However, for such a drastic reading, neither of these would have been particularly useful for his client. His may not put his affairs in order, instead he may have simply carried on as usual and not even considered living life with an eye for happiness had Spare not specifically recommending doing so.

Reading for another is quite a responsibility, and – more often than we’d like – the message the cards relay isn’t about a rosy new relationship just around the corner or sacks of money arriving in next week’s post. Sometimes it is about divorce, losing one’s job, discomfort – and, yes, even death.

The story Spare related represents a fair presentation of the reading with an eye to providing useful information, if not strictly an accurate depiction of what the cards described. It is in handling these difficult subjects that a reader really begins to understand the nature of hir responsibility to hir client.

First published on Plutonica.net 1 January 2008.


Page 3 of 3312345...102030...Last »