Magick

Practical magick.

Kabbalistic visualization for transformation

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Image by Orna Ben-ShoshanThere’s nothing like first-hand evidence to start to explain the powers of the sacred 72 names of God on one’s life. I was first introduced to this system of 72 letter combinations about 15 years ago during a kabbalah course, but did not realize their mighty power until I started working with them several years ago. These are truly life-transforming agents, a divine gift to humankind.

The mystical kabbalah is a large ocean of wisdom. It introduces us to many universal secrets about the internal nature or structure of the universe and places humankind as the crown of creation. Continue reading


Powers of the Sphinx, Part I: To know

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Processional Way of Sphinxes, Musée du Louvre, Paris, photo by Wally Gobetz

To know
To will
To dare
To keep silent

These nine words are amongst the most widely quoted in occult circles. One particularly hears them many times as a novice. They constitute a mantra known as the Powers of the Sphinx. References are made in the writings of iconic figures such as Éliphas Lévi and Aleister Crowley. Despite their apparent simplicity, each of the Powers of the Sphinx offers profound guidance for any occultist. Each covers a profound aspect of the practice of magick. This is the first in a series of four articles analysing the possible meaning and then considering the implication of each of these aspects in turn.

What does it mean to know something? When interpreting this first power, reference is often made to the famous inscription from the Temple of Apollo at Delphi: “know thyself.” There is obvious virtue in this idea, both in occultism and in life generally. Continue reading


Tarot court cards as creative archetypes

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Tarot, photo by Kristin AndrusWhen I bought my first tarot deck, I did not immediately connect to the Queen of Pentacles pictured on the Universal Waite box. She was calm and contemplative. She was still, and I was a 17 year old woman in motion.

I trusted that the decision to engage in tarot would awaken a journey of discovery, but remained fixated with the legacy of a great-grandmother who taught English. Grammy was the Queen of Pentacles, connected to teaching, but the lessons of reflecting on tarot through poetry and more have been part of my educational adventures. Continue reading


Angel Cards Reading: How they work and where you can find online tarot readers

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Detail from Temperance

In association with Kasamba.

Do you feel you are surrounded by guardian angels or spirits, and would you like to ask them about issues or situations that come up for you? An angel card reading may be just the thing. Angel cards fall into the category of tarot cards and a tarot reading advisor may be able to help you receive the answer from your angels and explain it in greater depth.

It works like this: You formulate an open-ended question, one that cannot be answered with a “yes” or “no.” Start with words like “how do I” or “tell me about” or similar discussion-type phrases. Your advisor may then ask you to pull a card or several from a deck, or she may lay some cards out in a spread. A spread is an arrangement of cards in a certain shape, where each position in the shape has a certain meaning. The meaning of the card that falls in that position is then related to its position in the spread.

Let’s say your reader is using a simple three-card spread: Past, Present, Future. She draws (or if you are sitting with her in person, she may ask you to draw) three cards from the deck. The first card drawn – let’s say it’s Archangel Michael, denoting strength – falls in the Past position. This would mean that in your past you exhibited strength, or the situation you asking about required strength. The next card drawn would relate to your present, and the last to the future, or perhaps the outcome of the situation.

Some spreads are even simpler – one card a day, for instance – and others may contain 10 or 15 cards in complicated shapes that give you abundant information about the issue. Readers usually know several spreads and after you discuss the question or issue, they might suggest a spread they think would work best to answer it. They might even get in touch with their own angelic guidance to find the best spread for you!

Detail from Judgement, Crystal Visions Tarot

One well-known authority on angel communication is Doreen Virtue, Ph.D. Her website Angel Therapy contains an abundance of information: a link to angel oracle cards, a page on how frequently seen numbers contain messages from the angels, her blog, videos, and so on. This is a do-it-yourself site for angel readings; it does not contain access to live online readers.

However, doing a Google search for “tarot reading advisors” will return many sites where you can find live online readers, such as Kasamba. Having an expert’s input may not always be necessary, but many times it helps to have an experienced reader talk about the messages in the cards and perhaps point out some angel angles you may not have thought of. The reader is also well-versed in lesser known angels and in all the nuances of how the angels work to help you.

Before you select a reader, read her profile carefully to get a sense of who she is, what her training has been, and how long she’s been a reader. See if you get a “connection” vibe. If possible, ask her questions before the reading to see how you interact and if the energy between you is good. Speak with several readers if you can before you call about the actual reading. Don’t forget to ask your angels for a sign to guide you. All this will ensure a better outcome in most cases.

Before the reading begins, sit for a time in quiet meditation on your question, asking your angels and guides to gather round you and the reader and to send clear answers or guidance. You might want to hold a crystal pertinent to your question or issue during the reading if you work with them.

As the reading is progressing, your reader may ask some questions. Answer them honestly. Most readers ask at least a couple of questions to clarify the information they are receiving from the angels. Remember that angels occupy a different realm and communicate in different ways than we do, so sometimes asking you a question is the only way a reader can get clear about what the angels may be saying. Sit back, relax, and enjoy and appreciate the divine guidance you are receiving.

Please leave a comment and let us know your experiences. Have you ever had an angel reading? What was it like for you? We’d love to know!


Alternative approaches to the Goetia

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Demon, photo by Orin ZebestLegend has it that the “Testament of Solomon,” which contains the original text of the Goetia, was left out of the Bible, because it was not considered to be inspired by Jehovah. The “Testament” is accredited to King Solomon, but the real author is unknown.

Solomon is said to have been the wisest person of his time (848-976 BCE). He was powerful, wealthy, and according to the text, was given a magical ring by the archangel Michael that gave him power over demons. When it was time to build the temple in Jerusalem, Solomon needed help, as it was forbidden in the Torah to use certain kinds of materials. His advisers told him to seek the advice of demons, as they were known to hold forbidden wisdom and would be able to give him the knowledge he desired. Continue reading


Chinese fortune telling, tarot, and divination

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I Ching, photo by Ross GriffHolistic Tarot, by Benebell WenOn page one of my book Holistic Tarot, I wrote, “I do not support fortune telling.” When I sat down to write my book, I made the conscious decision to state my position on that particular issue. I wanted to pull professional tarot practice outside the scope of anti-fortune telling laws that are still enforceable in many parts of the United States. More than that, my position comes from a definition of what fortune telling entails that might differ from Western perspectives, a personal definition influenced by the Chinese theory on fortune telling. I hope this article will provide context for my position.

While I wouldn’t dare assume that all Chinese metaphysicians think the same about fortune telling and divination, by general practice the Chinese metaphysical view seems to make a clear distinction between fortune telling and divination. In Chinese, 算命 (suànmìng) is fortune telling;卜筮 (bǔshì) is divination. Continue reading


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