Monday, October 29, 2012

PBP 26: Visceral Realities: How I got started in Spirit-Walking

This is somewhat in response to questions I get on the reg', but also in response to an email that basically said:

Dusken, how did you get started on your path? And can you rec me books or sources that you used?

For some reason I thought I wrote up My Story before, but I think I didn't on this blog. The reason I call it Visceral Realities is an interesting one.

I think there are "levels" of belief. My "level" of belief in WooWoo depends on the day. There is a constant "belief" there for the astral, my guides, etc. But you might know what I mean when I say there's a difference between it being REAL to you, and it being TOO FUCKING REAL to you.

For instance, you can BELIEVE in aliens, etc. But if an alien legitimately comes to your house and tells you all this shit, then leaves--that's CONFIRMED BELIEF. It's on another fucking level mentally because it shatters your reality. I think humans have the capacity to BELIEVE anything. And I think you can wholeheartedly believe without doubt X Y and Z. But then other people, or events, CONFIRM without a doubt your beliefs, and your worldview is still shattered. Even from just the force of being right.

I mention this because my story of how I got to the astral/took on my path is a lot like that.

Our story begins somewhere in highschool. I DO know I was roughly 17. I don't remember much of middle and high school. I am told this is common, especially if you, like me, were the victim of consistent and constant bullying and Outsider-ing. I am almost glad I don't remember much.

What I DO remember was having panic attacks. I don't talk about this often on the blog, but I was pretty ill mentally at this time. I think it was a lot of stress and self worth issues I am just now beginning to handle. But I suffer from Hypochondria. Ever since I was small I've had it, I dunno where it came from, but I constantly think I have diseases, I have a deblitating fear of injections and needles, and I can go on benders where I get so stressed from thinking about the disease I don't have I create symptoms.

Anyway. It's much better handled now. But at the time my hypochondria spontaneously spawned panic attacks.

Lots of people don't know this, but though panic attacks have a TRIGGER in most cases (like crowds, species of animal, they often don't have a CAUSE. You get them, and then you keep getting them. The first time I got one I thought I was dying. Which, if you've have one, it can feel like.

If you haven't had one, a panic attack is an uncontrollable mental cycle that convinces you you're dying. Then you begin to freak out, your fight or flight response is triggered, your heart rate jumps, you hyperventiate, and sometimes you legit pass out from the bodily strain. The worst part is you are trapped in a PANIC CYCLE in which you then begin to FEAR having an attack because it's fucking terrifying. You live in fear of having one, especially in public. What will you tell people? So it goes. And because you fear the attack, you trigger more. That's the thing about attacks.

The point is, I developed them. At this point in HS I was identifying as Atheist. The catholic church burned me, bad, even though I never actually believed its theology. (I have memories of asking my mom HOW I was supposed to accept jesus into my heart. And she was confused. Because I told her I tried and nothing happened, repeatedly.) Anyway. So I was a mix of Atheist and Zen Buddhist. I was very accomplished at meditation and stilling the mind. So when I got panic attacks it was fucking terrible.

The point is they got worse and I went to therapy, which didn't help me at all. She didn't understand what panic attacks were. She gave me meditation papers, which does not help during a panic attack. This part isn't important.

What IS important is when I left her office one night under the full moon I had what you would call an experience of imminent Deity, I suppose. One minute I was looking at the moon, the next I felt the Universe rush in and break my head open. I had this crazy vision of a giant Goddess figure, embracing me and telling me it was time I came home. It shattered my reality. It was what you call Visceral/Shit got too real. I stopped identifying as Atheist, though it didn't come easy. I became less stressed. I got happier, less angry.

Eventually I bought a panic attack workbook and cured myself of the attacks. I haven't had any since. (If you also have attacks I can recommend you it. Once you break the cycle of fear of the next stop having them.) But the experience of imminent deity stayed with me. I researched. I looked into Paganism in my studies. Around this time I also went Vegetarian for ethical reasons. I found Wicca.

I bought the Wiccan books. It felt sort-of-right but not RIGHT-RIGHT. I found a Wiccan friend in class. We discussed magic. It was fascinating. I felt this path, whatever this was getting at--this is what I was searching for.

I had more problems with the Male end of the Wicca paradigm than the female end. I still do. I don't really work with Gods other than my guide. I don't HATE males. I don't DISLIKE them on principle or anything. I just find a strong unnamed dislike of that 'energy' or physicality involved in male-ness. I don't know why, I have theorized it's tied up in both past life issues and my extremely bad fear of pregnancy and childbirth, coupled with my probably experience of rape in past lives. Anyway, despite that, I didn't want to be Dianic Wiccan or anything, rejecting that paradigm. I just had serious problems with a narrative of Fertility, when I really hate fertility as defined as male/female---> OMG BABIES.

So I branched out, found Green Witchcraft books. I liked it better. It was more grassroots and nature based. I felt Wicca had somewhat divorced itself from the natural world. (Note I am talking about book-Wicca. I realize initiated Wicca is completely and totally different, but it wasn't for me.) It still wasn't totally right though.

I think I kept looking. By this point you have to realize I am a mythology buff. Ever since I was small I read every mythology book I could get. I was extremely familiar with Greek mythology in particular. So I knew OF a lot of deities before I was even 'pagan' identifying.

I think I let the Pagan research fall to the wayside for a bit because I knew it wasn't RIGHT but I didn't quite know how to proceed or where to go from there.

Note at this point in HS I was an amateur. Gods didn't talk to me, I BARELY did experimentation with energy work and sensing. I had a few crystals and a really small 'altar' with basic Wiccan things on it. I didn't know K existed, nor what to do about it once I knew. I had never SEEN a Spirit or had weird things happen to me, even though I believed they existed.

That was roughly 4 years ago.

So never let somebody tell you you have to have innate feelings or some shit. As far as I know I thought I had 0 four years ago. So fuck that. If Spirits knock your door down, shit will happen. Skills be damned.

Anyway I DID amass a huge collection of Pagan books during this time. But you reach a point where you have to go beyond books, and that's where I stalled.

Fast-forward. It's the first day of my freshman year of Art School, in Philly. I am living in the dorms. I unpack my small altar consisting of a Bast statue, a little box, a few crystals and an altar plate. Across the hall is therosebell. She's the first person to meet me. Down the hall is who I call Druidchick, a hereditary Druid by family lines, with half a family of hardcore card-carrying Asatru. She also saw Spirits from a very young age as clear as if they were solid. My soon to be room-mate is an Empath with strong Shamanic tendencies, and an energy worker. My soon-to-be-friend has connections to crystals so strong she says she can hear them singing in different voices. I met all of these people within 2 weeks.

When the Universe fucking wills it, fuck coincidences. They will find a way.

The Universe gave me seasoned motherfucking people with abilities I didn't know existed. On MY floor. In my dorm. I mean, come on. I was the fucking newb. And it was a matter of time before my head broke open for the second time.

Within the first month therosebell gifted me with the pentacle I still have today, and Druid-chick gifted me with a hematite necklace that belonged to a Reiki Master because she said it was meant for me. I think the hematite is where everything began.

I took up energy-work again in part by helping my room-mate control her empathic abilities, which caused her mystery health problems that doctors could not figure out a source for. I can't explain to you how I learned to "rip", or what I call Psychic Surgery, which was my first method of healing--because it was like I held the hematite, wrapped around my hand, and I felt a distinct sensation of "ripping" of blocks from anybody in the surrounding area. Like I was just the holder, and it was teaching me through feel how to do this process. I eventually learned to get better and do it without the stone as well. So I think that was the beginning stage.

The next stage was becoming a pied piper for Animal spirits. My awareness was shit, you understand. But Spirits will not be deterred. I began feeling distinct cold spots in my room--ALL OVER my room. They had distinct edges. I knew enough about spirits to know they WERE, but not who or what they wanted. I asked therosebell and druidchick at various points. My roommate also had strong spirit-sight that began to kick in. Our room became host to Dogs, Cats, Rats, wild animals, once the entirety of the Chinese Zodiac, in order, including a dragon, and a lot of other shit I didn't even see. It become common to have cold spots 24/7. We got used to it. Druid Chick told me I could pick the animal spirits up and put them outside. I never realized I could 'do that' to Spirits. Somewhere between picking up ghost sheep and bothering therosebell I realized I was losing grip on my reality. Or what my reality used to be. I lived in a fevered state of half-insanity, which is kind of what happens when the Spirit World kicks down your door.

There were no books for this. None. But I DID have a wealth of experience in the form of the people I mentioned. I was fortunate. Others are not. That's why I write this blog.

We formed a sort of pagan-study-group, the people I met and me. They forced my soul growrth into over-fucking-time. I learned more by the day than I had my whole life. Consistently reality broke and repaired itself when I opened to what was POSSIBLE on this path.

I got comfortable with animal spirits. I accepted what Was. I began to work on "hearing" Spirits. I had a cat hang around and scratch me when I was trying too hard, or not enough. The astral wounds physically hurt here. I got better to avoid the pain.

Then 3 seperate people asked me if I knew about the giant white wolf following me around. I knew he was there, sort of, in HS. But the confirmation was my second dose of Visceral Reality. Of shit getting too real. I initiated contact. He wouldn't speak to me. I tried harder. He allowed me to get close, but never spoke. Frustrated, I accidentally dove into Shamanism, which by this point I had heard of. I felt the Siren Call and knew it was a matter of time because I was dragged headfirst into the path. The realization began to come over me. So I embraced it. One night I set up a ceremonial crystal circle and my roommate said "Okay, I'm going to go shower and you do whatever you have to do to contact your wolf. Because the tension in here is horrible." So I did. I shapeshifted. I went halfway insane and danced and prowled and entered trance, and I saw his memories from the inside out. We WERE each other. We established the connection. When she came back she told me I had wild energy, that I had wolf eyes. I felt right. I felt like this was what I was looking for forever.

I researched Shamanism. I found Harner first, then rejected him. I researched Academic things. I looked into Spirits and Totems. I found Lupa. At first Lupa said things I scoffed at. 6 months later I picked her up and realized she was completely right, and I was the one with the inexperience. I began to 'see' Spirits better. I helped a few with my friends. I met a few of my Guides and began working toward things.

Note--This all literally happened in about a 6 month period. In 6 months I went from 0 to reality breaking heavy fucking Shamanic path walking. You can see how I spent most of the time in a fever of some sort, learning everything I could.

Come December my Guide finally spoke to me. He told me his name. That was the second beginning of everything.

I remember I finally did a Self-Dedication ritual to Paganism for myself in February of that year. It was simple but meaningful. I knew there was no going back. It was right before my birthday, which is Imbolc.

We did a small Imbolc ritual in the dorms with illegal candles. The RA was told we were sacrificing small animals in the room by Druid Chick's Xtian roommate, despite the fact we slowly and carefully told her what we were doing and why and she seemed respectful and left the room to give us space. The RA was confused when we cracked baby jokes. She never apologized. I never forgot.

The next year, I progressed farther. I found Sedna. I researched deeper in Shamanic studies and healing, anything I could get my hands on. I actively put hands on people and used crystals for healing in ways I just 'knew' because of my Clair-sentience. I was shown how to do Soul Retrieval in a dream, and the next week I successfully used it to bring someone in a soul-coma back. She didn't remember anything from the time she was out. That was the third time reality got TOO REAL, visceral, and altogether terrifying.

At the same time it felt RIGHT. All of it. I NEEDED to do this because my soul screamed for it. I think around this time I experimented more with Journey. I became better at trance states. I saw crazy shit. I spent more time with my guide. I can't remember at what point I 'woke up' on the Astral proper, but it was year 2 or 3 for sure.

I spent time with Bast and Anubis. I read tons of academic books on all sorts of shit. Therosebell and I connected again and began talking about EVERYTHING spirit-related. I progressed, again, at hyper-speed. I put down the pagan books altogether because my UPG was giving me far more answers than that.

In year 3 I began to feel kinfeels again. My Unicorn side resurfaced. I began to think there was more to this than my head. I made a unicorn altar. Therosebell facepalmed because it took me so long. We kept a permanent house-altar that changed with the seasons. I conducted a few rituals. Shit got even more real.

During this year, at Imbolc, we had a few people over we hadn't seen for a giant ritual. We lit the whole table in candles. It was beautiful. We all went into the other room and hear a noise so loud and vivid we all swore somebody had upended the table and broken all of our glass in a single move. We ran into the other room. Nothing was touched. That was almost worse. That was the next time shit got TOO REAL. Visceral reality. The feeling that this is real. This isn't just in my head.

My last year at college my astral sight got better. I discovered more about my facets. (I met them in year 3). I began to puzzle out UPG and write it down. I made plans for a calender because I had long since rejected the wheel of the year. I researched other healing modalities and became interested in reiki and other sorts of touch healing. I looked into Chaos magick seriously and completely agreed with everything and incorporated it on purpose. I got more into Sigils beyond the 101, courtesy of my guide.

In January of year before I decided to write this blog for the PBP so others might learn from my story.

And here we are today.

I have forgotten a lot of junk, but that's the tale.

Unfortunately books by and large DIDN'T help me because it was not my experience. So I can just recommend Lupa and Penzack for general things because they rock, and the rest was Academic I rejected eventually anyway.

But hopefully this explains some shit to you guys.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Lessons in Gratitude

For those of you who read my blog for badass give no fucks Spirit shit, I'm sorry that I keep making touchy-feely posts. But they're going to go on for a little.

Because plenty of us talk about what we DO--but I have this need to talk to you about what I FEEL. Because Shadow Work is the foundation of my practice. The nasty, horrific, feeling-heavy, emotional, intuitive, baggage-heavy Work that decides how I live and what I do. I am completely different than I was 3 or 4 months ago.

I had graduated college and was looking for a career job. If you told me then "Dusken, in 4 months time, you will realize you haven't been happy in a long, long time. You will lose everything, and you'll completely transform yourself from the inside. You think you want a job, you think you want all of these things. But in 4 months, you will feel grateful. Endlessly, really grateful, for not having a job. You will feel grateful everything ended for you at once. You will emerge from your coffin realizing what you felt pretty much all the time, besides nothing, was anger. You were angry at everything, which is why there was no space left for anything else. You knew what you wanted, but not what you needed. In 4 months you will understand the difference."

I attended a Hindu fire ceremony on Friday night. It was part of the Navatrai, also known as the Nine Nights, which is festival for Durga widely celebrated in India. It was a beautiful and moving ceremony, and during, the woman told us to write down, on two slips of paper, indentically, a wish that we wanted to pass. She said it could be anything, like "I want to talk to my brother again, because we haven't spoken for many years."

Funny story--I knew I wanted to go to the Ceremony. But I didn't know if I could afford it. Then, the week of, I got an email. Because I am a member at my yoga studio, I would be going free. I like to think I'm not an idiot and took this as a sign. GET YOUR ASS TO THIS FIRE CEREMONY, YOU NEED TO DO THIS.

Anyway. The woman conducting the ceremony also said "Write as if it's already happening now. Write "I am excited and happy because for 5 hours me and my brother spoke today, and we cleared many things up and re-established our relationship." Then, she said, "But think closely on what you will write. The Universe will give you what you NEED; not necessarily what you WANT. You might want a Mercedes Benz, but maybe what you need is a tiny used car to get you on your life path. Asking the Divine like this is a lot like placing an order in a catalog. You can say oh I want this, this, and this--but things happen. Items get lost in transport, sometimes you get the wrong order and you have to send it back. You can place an order, but when and how it happens is not for you to decide. But know that what you need is coming to you."

I stared down at my blank slips of paper, and it really hit home for me, the lessons I have been learned in the past months since I graduated school. During the ceremony, I realized I was grateful. I thought I wanted a job, a life, to move, to get out. The Universe said, firmly, no. No job, no movement. Forced stillness. Forced psychological one on one time with myself. I can't blame the Universe. I am guilty of always running around like the rest of the Western world. I lost myself somewhere along the way. I lost myself in friendships, in work, in relationships, and in looking to the future and how to get there. All the time.

I thought I wanted wealth. A career. A relationship. I thought I wanted to move out, to get on with what I thought was out there for me. What I got was living with my parents, slowly building my practice and my crafts, fallout in the area of friends and everything else. I got 2 weeks straight of weeping, like clock work, curling into the fetal position and losing it. I got fights with my guide (repeatedly), fights with my parents, and a job in retail. I got anger, and misery, and resentment, and hate, and all of these emotions--and then, above all, peace. Standing on the other side of these hard months of shadow work, I feel again. I feel peace. I feel gratitude. For once, I realize I was masking all of these things because I saw WEAKNESS. FEAR. NEED. So I filled my psyche with anger. With concern for others. And one day I woke up feeling nothing. And for a long, long time, I felt nothing. But I was so used to the Nothing I forgot there was something else. I was so used to hating myself all the time, to improving myself, to being perfect for myself and others, that I forgot a pyramid without a foundation crumbles into dust.

I am Feeling again. I am regaining the sense of connectedness I had when I was small, and all by being completely alone in my own head. For once.

When I tossed my slips into the fire, it was a message of gratitude. Of thankfulness. Of realization. And what I wrote was completely different from what I would have written before the Universe forced my hand.

During Thanksgiving, or Mabon, or Samhain, I would sit there and wonder what to give thanks for. I never could muster anything. I didn't really feel greatful for anything. Not because I was trying to be a dick, just because I couldn't feel thankful. It was really beyond my capacity. How could I be thankful for what I had when internally I was so miserable, all the time? (And I firmly think everybody has a threshold for suffering. I thought I knew what mine was, then I realized it could go deeper than I thought possible. ) Only through very conscious work with self-love, and self-worth, and all those things I scoffed at in those stupid feely self-help books years ago, am I beginning to externally feel. All those books aren't lying. It really does start from the inside and bleed out. You really can't love things right without thinking you're worthy to do it. It's the pyramid analogy again. Self-work and worth informs the power of everything else, and everyone else.

I guess what I'm saying is: though when the Tower happens, it sucks. When your pyramid crumbles you're going to feel like you're losing everything. But sometime, it will end. Really. I promise. And when you stand on the other side of that canyon, watching your old self on the other side, and you smile and wave, and turn to go, you will suddenly realize why you needed this. And then you'll wake up one day realizing you finally understand.

And thanks to the wise Hindu woman at that ceremony, for placing the final cap on my thoughts on my Shadow Work.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

PBP 25: Un-learning, Unearthing, Undoing, and Deep Shadow Work

I am making progress on my calender.

Below you can see figures (the male one is finished, the female one is in progress) representing my Guide and his waifu/she is also more or less a Guide for me. (The suit one is K, the female one is S) Making these figures, finally, is a process part of my calender project. I one day stared at my altar and realized "I don't feel a goddamned thing for this whole set-up, besides it being pretty." It had become a shrine to stuff I didn't do, instead of a workspace.

So I re-arranged everything, as part of my personal calendar duties. I am ripping everything I had apart in an effort to re-learn everything I thought things should be. Holidays, elements, guide relationships, what an altar IS. I am actively re-working all of these things. But, as I have begun to actively consider and re-work with those things, my psychology is entering the process as well.

I am developing a personal mythology based on the two halves of my 'soul'. One is Unicorn, which is my 'core' soul, and the other half is the Shamanic part of me, my Wolf soul. I finally realized this is a perfect way to divide up my year because my energy cycles through both "parts" of my soul with the seasons. So first I had to un-learn what holidays meant. I had to let go of the idea of trying to create holidays that others would celebrate with me. I had to let go of that idea because those holidays don't resonate with me, so it would be false to try and work with them for the benefit of others. I am letting go of pressures I put on myself to work this way or that way because I should.

I had to un-learn the fact society loves to tell us we're selfish for focusing on ourselves. The past 2 weeks has been another giant cycle of trying to let go of people and things that are causing me pain and strife. (dating back to end of my relationship in August, which I will admit is still earnestly affecting me.) It has launched a series of significantly deep and painful shadow work that is bringing to light things that pre-date even my college experience by years. It's unearthing attitudes I had about always serving others before myself, of trying not to 'rock the boat', of keeping quiet so as not to cause conflict even though I should have spoken my truth, and of severe self-worth issues that tie my self-feelings to my perceived wordly achievements. There is no easy, quick way to 'fix' any of these things. But they are, at the core, attitudes most of us have to actively work at undoing.

I think as part of your own Calender/personal narrative project, should you take one on, you're eventually going to hit a point in which you have to actively un-learn and undo something you once never thought about, took as truth, or just assumed Was. For instance, if you began Wiccan and learned the elements a certain way and never really questioned it, and then you switch paths/strike out on your own and discover your own mythos for the elements, you're going to have to un-learn that original idea, like a habit. Sometimes that isn't easy. The same goes for preconceived notions of Gods and what they 'are' and aren't to humans, the purpose of your calendar, etc etc. It can be a long process to un-learn things you once thought were truth or once took for fact. It requires a lot of self-analysis and mind-breaking. But creating my personal calendar happened to fall at the same time as this long (more or less grieving) process for me, and so I think if you choose to take this on, don't take it lightly. It will bring up all sorts of shadow issues you didn't think about. If you choose to go down the rabbit hole of personal narrative, you really will be going down the rabbit hole.

I am digging, deeply, into my own psyche to understand the subtleties of both the Unicorn and the Wolf. This goes beyond psychology, beyond what I have known of the astral thus-far. I can't structure a calendar around me (another idea society will tell you is absurd, which you will have to un-learn) if I don't, at the base level, UNDERSTAND who or what I am. I have to approach myself again with no expectations or notions, because clearly I was wrong in...well...whatever I thought. The creation of this calendar, the shadow work, the introspection into my soul on a deep level, and my new Astral journey that has just began...I think all of these are linked. I think if you begin poking into one of these things, the others may very well follow, and one should be prepared. I can't promise the process won't be long or arduous, but if you come out on the other side with a solid foundation of your personality and your narrative, I think it will eventually be worth it. (Though I am personally far from doing this as I stand now, and I recognize this.)

My advice for those who look to pursue this path which is tied to deep-knowing on your own personal UPG level is to take time for yourself. Part of deep-seated shadow work is letting yourself process. If you suddenly have to weep because something just came up in your mind, (for instance, if your Personal Narrative involves your Ancestors, and you just discovered something in research that just...gets you, for some reason) if you can, do it. The process of self-discovery is naturally linked to constructing the self based on the past you didn't deal with, and the future you want. If you never realized you never had a grieving period, really, for a family member, and it suddenly comes up now, unwarranted, during your process, honestly go with it. I believe these things come up repeatedly for a reason until we honestly and truly deal with them. For instance, if your Personal Narrative involves some form of sexuality or fertility, and you had a history or an event somewhere that really harmed you on a deep level in either of those areas (perhaps infertility issues, miscarriage, or assault) you can expect those issues to come up in the process of your work with your Deitie(s) if you have them, and your calender.

No, not bury them. That is not dealing with them, though some think it is. Dealing with it means telling yourself 'It's okay. I recognize this is a process, and I will take all the time to cry or get angry or anything else that I need. Because this is healthy for me to experience. Because I need to do this right now, and that's okay. This won't happen overnight, and I will be gentle with myself while it happens.'  You might be surprised how hard it is to tell yourself the above phrase. You'll think 'Am I crying too much? Am I taking too long during this period to be sad/angry/how long am I going to be sad about this? Are other people going to think I'm ridiculous that this is still affecting me?' and a thousand other things that try to trivialize your mourning period, or tell yourself you don't deserve this time, it wasn't a big deal, etc etc. The next time you have shadow aspects come up, try and repeat the above to yourself. Really try. Repeat it often, if something comes up for you. And remind yourself eventually there is an end to this period, and that end is peace.

Don't be surprised if you come out on the other side of a Personal Calendar/Narrative project with completely different ideas of how everything is run/how everything is than when you began. This is a shifting, organic process that focuses on active radical re-creation of ideas from things YOU think and puzzle out. It's endlessly exciting but also demanding. You will doubt yourself and your ideas, you will despair because nobody has made YOUR calendar before, and so you have an uphill road to walk. You will be endlessly enthusiastic to work on it, because every day is a new discovery. You're going to get stuck and frustrated when you try to figure out what's important enough to you to keep, and what needs to go. But when you finally have at least the structure, the vague form, the shadow of what you want, the feeling of rightness will outweigh all of the process.

This is all I can tell you from my current process. But I wish you the best with your un-learning, friends. The process is hard, endlessly hard, but gratifying.

(Sorry for the lack of cursing in this article. I realized I got serious business. Here's a bunch of cursing for you if you missed it.

Shit, damn, motherfucker, shit, shitting, fucking, fucking shit, fuck.

Thank you <3)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

PBP 24: Tarot Analysis Masterlist

Yes I am using ONE PROJECT to help my OTHER PROJECT.

Here's my tarot entry masterlist. I am doing them all on tumblr for ease of posting, and will permalink to them here.

They will be added as they are completed.

The Fool
The Magician
The High Priestess
The Empress
The Emperor
The Hierophant
The Lovers
The Chariot
The Hermit
The Wheel
The Hanged Man

Monday, October 1, 2012

78 Days of Tarot: Sample Post & Resources for your study


In case you feel you need some sort of template or starting point, I did a sample analysis of my Magical Forest Fool Card today.

This is fairly extensive, so feel free to take what you want from my layout.


Day: 1

Card: Major Aracana: The Fool (0)

Tarot: Magical Forest

Visual Card Description: A cartoonized pig in a red cloak (with fur trim, almost like a King’s robe) is carrying a bag around a stick. He holds a white rose in the other hand. What looks to be a toy or mechanical dog is following him, seemingly of its own accord. He approaches the very edge of a cliff face and shows no sign of stopping. There are mountains in the background, as well as a sun high on the horizon.

Free association: (Keywords that come to mind on first glance): Adventure, Jovial, Child-like, Reckless, Confidence

Rider-Waite/Traditional Associations: The Fool represents innocence and freedom. He is the completion, the infinite, the potential that humans have before conditioning, before living a fully human life. He is the other side of The World, the last of the Major Arcana.

From 78 Degrees of Wisdom (a book of tarot): For the Fool no difference exists between possibility and reality. 0 means a total emptiness of hopes and fears, and the Fool expects nothing, plans nothing. He responds instantly to the immediate situation. Other people will receive his complete spontaneity. Nothing calculated, nothing held back. The Fool gives his honestly and love naturally, to everyone, without ever thinking about it. {Page 17}

Meaning from the lwb (little white book that came with this deck): Dreamy Little Pig sets out, urged on by his own nature and instinct. “I’m setting out to seek my fortune,” he told his mother when he left home and embarked on the great adventure of his life. He follows his own dream, and for this reason he looks up towards the sky and pays no attention to where he places his feet.

My interpretation: I think visual description is important because before I tried to write what the card was visually, I never noticed before this deck’s Fool wrapped in what resembles the attire of a King. That lends an entirely new meaning to this card for me. This deck does many things differently than any other deck I have used before, and symbolism choice is one of those things.
The decision to make the dog a toy deliberately interests me. To me, this Fool is young. A child at heart, but in so many ways more wise than many. I wonder if his cloak means he was once a King in the past, and renounced his title to seek his ‘fortune’. If you notice the description doesn’t mention what Home is, or fortune. Maybe, having completed the circuit of Worldly fortune, or having enough money or land, he sets out to seek a Spiritual fortune in the world. To me this definition adds layers upon layers to the idea of The Fool.

The backdrop of Mountains is interesting. To me, Mountains are a place of solitude and hermitage. When the great prophets of the past wanted to look deeply into themselves, they secluded themselves in caves, or climbed peaks to be away from the World at large. Perhaps the Fool seeks particularly this inward journey of the ascetic.

I will also cover choice of animal. Interesting, the Pig is synonymous with greed in many cultures. Pig is an insult for one who enjoys worldly pleasures and foods, for instance. But pigs are also highly intelligent creatures, interesting thought to be smarter than dogs. (Funny this artist paired both together.) I think perhaps this choice is reflecting, again, the world turned inward, and also a showcase of a sharp potential untapped.

General resources for your days of study:

I will be referencing the book 78 Degrees of Wisdom by Rachel Pollack, because I feel it is excellent and delves deeply into the narrative behind the cards.

Also interesting is The Tarot: History, Symbolism & Divination by Robert Place.

For generalized meanings I actually really like psychic-revelations, because they break each meaning down into areas of influence and also cover reversals.

There’s also of course’s tarot meaning database.

If you want to seriously study Tarot and are curious about the schools of tarot interpretation (Rider Waite is just ONE type of idea for Tarot) check out this guy’s youtube videos. I am linking you to part 2 of a several part series, detailing in depth each respective school of tarot interpretation, with deck examples. Those studying the Thoth (Systems Based) or more Historical decks will find more use out of non-strictly Rider-Waite based interpretations and sources.