A card is considered to be inverted or reversed when it is placed in a reversed position. If, for example, the card is placed vertically, its top edge will face the bottom of the spread. The card is read normally as part of the spread but carries an altered meaning.
The use of inverted tarot cards may seem intimidating, but they are not inherently bad. They simply represent a counterpoint to each card’s standard meanings. Consider the balanced energies of the yin and yang: each exists as a reflection of the other. There are those who choose not to make use of inverted cards. The introduction of any negativity to a reading is something they would prefer to avoid.
Why use inverted cards?
Inverted cards are a useful tool for understanding the context of a card’s position in the spread. Contrasting the inverted cards with their conventional counterparts can help understand the tone of the reading. Continue reading
I have had some interesting conversations with some insightful magicians, discussing the phenomenon of the dark night of the soul, and the feelings of desolation, despair and deep depression which can occur to anyone who is following the initiatory path of magick. There seems to be consensus that all magicians at some point retire from the world (and, in a sense, renounce it) to undergo the mystical rigors of the dark night of the soul while seeking union with the One.
Strangely, I seem to be one of the few who takes issue with this. I think that it has more to do with a mystical approach to the godhead than a magical approach, and there are also the issues of chronic or situational depression, isolation and despair that have really nothing to do with spiritual ascension. In clinical depression, removing oneself from the world is a common symptom, and strong feelings are often replaced with a feeling of numbness, stasis or apathy.
The real question then, is whether or not mystics and magicians experience the iconic dark night of the soul in the same way. Continue reading
“Clear off your desk,” she said.
I was in the office of my college newspaper finishing up an article. Earlier that day, my friend attended a poetry reading where I read a sonnet I had specifically written for her. She held a copy of it now.
My editor returned earlier than expected and caught us doing a different kind of work at my desk.
It was then I realized that I could seduce with a sonnet. That I didn’t want to be someone else’s muse. And that Yeats was right—writing was indeed a form of magick. I wanted to be the magician. Continue reading
By 2010 I’d been a practicing magician for some 15 years. I’d explored Paganism, Satanism, chaos magick, ceremonial magick, various forms of divination, and so on. I underwent the Abramelin ritual and was underwhelmed by the results. I felt I’d gotten as far as I could on my own, and I wanted to meet with people who were dealing with the same challenges I was. People I could talk to face-to-face, and share coffee with. I wanted to really feel like part of a community — an offline community. Much as I loved the online communities I’d found (the zee-list, chaoskaos, alt.magick.*, Irreality, etc.), I need to find people I could see. People I could learn from.
Whatever else I think of Aleister Crowley, I believe he was an exceptional magician, and many of his books remain the best ever written on practical magick. The Ordo Templi Orientis, the order he entrusted his legacy to, seemed a likely choice. I got in contact with my local lodge, and, after some months, finally met with representatives from that lodge at a pub. They seemed like good folk, and, after a few more months, I was in.
Entering altered states of consciousness has a dramatic effect upon a ritual. Everything becomes more profound, from the smell of the incense, to the colour of the candlelight, to the feel of your wand in your hand. The objective here is not to enter into a full trance, instead these three techniques allow the ritual magician to expand their consciousness while remaining active on the material plane. They are well suited to everyday practical magick. None of the techniques described here require the use of drugs. Continue reading