Friday, September 30, 2016

August 24, 2016: Notus

Ooooh, today I threw The Hierophant from my Wild Unknown Tarot deck.  What a cool and powerful card!  This Hierophant is a raven, sitting on a black key, with a bolt of lightning coming down from the upper right corner of the card and striking that key.  Ravens are large, omnivorous, clever, and probably intelligent creatures.  Ravens are devoted to their families, and are pretty much monogamous (yet they sometimes cheat on their spouses!); they can mimic other sounds, and can even manipulate other animals to act in a way that serves their own purpose.  Talk about working within the system!  They play, and will even cross the species line.  In myth, the Raven is clever and tricky, true to his own needs and purposes but willing to talk others into working with him.  Ravens are known to take and hide items that they are attracted to, and this Raven is holding onto and protecting a key, a potent symbol of access to knowledge or wisdom.  The Hierophant is the guardian of knowledge and wisdom; he shares what he knows with others and learns from them at the same time.

Time to visit with my Elemental Guide of Fire, Notus.  Within myth, the south wind Notus was known as a very dynamic, stormy and dangerous wind, especially to those who sailed the seas.  Notus, who was said to dwell in the south, was a storm-bringer, the wind that brought the storms of late summer and early autumn.  To Notus belongs the hot winds of late summer, and the hazy/hot/humid dog days of August, as well as the boiling thunderstorm cells and the tropical storms and hurricanes.  He was feared as a destroyer of crops, both through the hot desiccating winds and the torrential downpours of his season. 

Notus appears to me as a curvaceous woman with fiery red hair and beautiful porcelain skin, dressed in reds and oranges and holding in her upturned palms a flat disk containing an eternal flame.  She has a playful spark in her eyes, and sometimes I fear her cleverness creates a joke on me, but thankfully she has yet to place me in harm’s way (although I have metaphorically singed a few eyebrows working with her in the past).  She is good at egging me on, mostly when I need courage but occasionally when I should not respond to a nudge.  Yep, cunning and clever, and sometimes a bit of a troublemaker.  I like her.


Thursday, September 29, 2016

August 23, 2016: Yin Yoga Spleen Meridian

August 23, 2016:

My Wild Unknown Tarot card for today is the dreaded Three of Swords.  In this deck, the Three of Swords presents a somewhat unconventional yet equally unpleasant image: the three Swords are bound together by a long red ribbon, tangled and wrapped around the blades to the point that it seems they will never be freed.  And those red smudges . . . blood?  Is the ribbon red because of those smudges?  The red of the ribbon and the black hole of the background are frightening, and they suggest pain and isolation, and maybe even betrayal (someone had to sneak up on those blades and tangle them up with the ribbon).  But I’ve recently been looking at Swords stuck into the ground as offering the concept of ownership, and if that is so, these three Swords, pointing upward, hint that things have gone out of control here.  Yes, there may be pain, and isolation, and maybe even betrayal.  But these are Swords!  If I own them, if I accept that this is an uncomfortable situation, and then grab the Swords and take control, I can slice away the ribbon that binds, and wipe off the red smudges.  I still have pain and isolation and betrayal, but actively attempting to sort things out might be a good next step.

I’ve already talked about the Summer/Fire meridians when I first started working with the Great Work and Haftorang, so I guess I will talk about the Winter/Earth meridians here.  They are the spleen (the Yin meridian) and the stomach (the Yang meridian).  First, the spleen.

Besides the element of Earth and the Winter, the spleen is associated with stillness, damp, worry, overthinking, transition and balance, and the subconscious and conscious mind.  The spleen is connected to digestion and fermentation, the reproductive system, and rhythms of all kinds.  The spleen clots blood and creates tissues of all kinds, and is said to turn food into energy.  The meridian begins at the big toe and travels up the inside of the ankle, and continues up the inside of the calf, knee and thigh and into the body, passing through the stomach, heart and spleen, and ends up at the root of the tongue. 

An imbalance or blockage in this meridian can cause general stiffness, weakness or sluggishness, loss of appetite, or a distended abdomen.  Most of my favorite Yin poses help to keep this meridian in good working order, including all variations of Dragon, Sphinx and Seal, and my favorite, Cat Pulling Its Tail.  Yes, there is actually a Yin pose called Cat Pulling Its Tail!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

August 20, 2016: Regulus

My Wild Unknown Tarot card is The Devil.  This card has the image of a horned goat with a pentagram embossed on his forehead, standing with a black background and his four hooves glowing with orange and yellow light, as if the goat was walking through flames. The keywords for this card are negativity, materialism and addiction, but they are difficult to see in the image on the card.  Is this goat a representation of the worship or elevation of those things not meant to be worshipped?  Or does the goat on this card remind us all that while we are spiritual beings, we are also animals, complete with urges and needs and pleasures of the body.

Here is some information about the star Regulus, taken from the internet:

Regulus is the brightest star in the constellation Leo and one of the brightest stars in the night sky, lying approximately 79 light years from Earth (which makes it one of the closest, too). Regulus is a multiple star system composed of four stars that are organized into two pairs. Regulus A, a binary star, consists of a blue-white main-sequence star and its companion, which has not yet been directly observed, but is probably a white dwarf. The two stars take approximately 40 days to complete an orbit around their common centre of mass.  That is pretty fast! The primary of Regulus A is also spinning extremely rapidly, with a rotation period of only 15.9 hours, almost fast enough for it to spin itself apart.  Regulus is much hotter at its poles (27,212 F, or 15,100 C) than its equator (18,032 F or 10,000 C). This is because the star is so distorted (because of its rapid rotation) that it lessens gravity's strength, which then turns down the temperature at the equator, the researchers said Located farther away is the pair Regulus B and Regulus C and D, which are dim main-sequence stars.

The name Regulus is from the diminutive form of the Latin rex, and means Little King. Astronomers know Regulus as Alpha Leonis, but in times past it has been known simply as Rex. Regulus has also been called Cor Leonis, which means Heart of the Lion, the same name given to Richard the Lionhearted (although more frequently in French).  There is a great deal of mythology associated with Leo, perhaps the most common tale being that Leo was the Nemean Lion of the Hercules story. It is said that even in South America, some Peruvian Indians knew these stars as the Mountain Lion, whereas in China it was sometimes seen as a horse, and at other times as part of a dragon. Christians in the Middle Ages sometimes referred to it as one of Daniel’s Lions.


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

August 18, 2016: Venant and Dreams of Gaia Tarot

August 18, 2016:

I just found out that my Dreams of Gaia Tarot has shipped!! I’m so excited about this deck.  It is coming from Australia, so I don’t know how long it will take to arrive, and I am trying hard to exercise my patience muscles.  Soon, soon I will have this deck in my hot little hands.  I hope it lives up to my expectations.

My Wild Unknown Tarot card is The Sun, **the** Fire card, so I guess things are going well.  The Wild Unknown Sun card really depicts the basic meaning of the card: bright, golden, uninterrupted sunlight.  The image brings to mind noontime, warmth, and illumination, a light so bright that shadows cease to exist, at least for now.  Like our sun at noon, this light overhead will not remain in place and we need to take advantage of it while its position is auspicious.  This version of The Sun looks almost the same whether upright or reversed, reminding us that even when this potent light is not in our best interest, we can still glean benefits from it. 

Today I met Venant and oh boy, was that cool!  I happened to bring myself to my mountaintop Ancient Altar this morning, to do my morning meditation, chakra balance and Reiki application, and when I got to the top of the stairs, there was a tall, dark figure standing before the altar.  I froze, and then he raised up his hugely glorious wings as his tail flowed around his feet, and roared in greeting.  Flames spewed from his mouth, huge red and orange flames!  Then he turned his head a looked at me with orange, glittering eyes.  Wow!

“I am Fire,” he said, “and Fire is me.  Now is the time for you to embrace the Fire.  It is time for action, action based on the will of the Divine; it is time to experience joy and passion as well as lethargy and apathy, and to make the extremes serve you.  You must learn to love your own nature, your own unique self, and you must accept that self exactly as she is, and you must love her with all of your being.”

I nodded.  “Okay,” I said.  He snorted, and smoke and a few small flames shot from his nostrils.

“You need to do better than that,” he replied.  Then he flapped those enormous wings and soared away.

Hmmm . . . guess I had better get to work.


Sunday, September 25, 2016

August 17, 2016: Separation, filtration and setlling

August 17, 2016: 

My Wild Unknown Tarot card today is the Seven of Wands.  This one is a bit less threatening than the Six of Wands, which I threw exactly one week ago, on August 10th.  The image on the Seven of Wands shows one wand, emanating a flame that lights up the surrounding darkness, surrounded by six other wands that are leaning against each other, as if spent.  There is interesting symbolism here, for in the Tarot the number 6 represents vertical and horizontal harmony, and yet the Seven of Wands, the next step from the Six card, has a solitary feel about it.  Harmony has weight to it, and thus its nature is to become degeneration; the Seven of Wands tells us to look around and decide if this is what we want.  If this is what we want, we need to actively stake a claim, draw a line in the sand and insist that the boundary is valid.  It is only by actively and deliberately owning whatever we want that we actually achieve it.

More on the Separation stage of the Great Work.  In an alchemic laboratory, this process of Separation happens by “inhibition” or “holding back,” or filtration.  A settling process could also be seen as Separation; after all, what does not dissolve into water will settle to the bottom of the container. 

The processes of Nigredo (Calcination and Dissolution) are meant to be unsettling.  This is how we break through the walls we’ve constructed in order to hide who we really are.  Needless to say, examining the pieces of the broken walls involves putting aside the ego; that is the only way to decide what is really worth saving.  The process isn’t over yet, not by far, so I need to choose carefully.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

August 16, 2016: Separation

August 16, 2016:

My Wild Unknown Tarot card for today is The High Priestess.  The image on this card is a white tiger, sitting serenely with that inscrutable look cats can get, a rainbow hewed crystal ball between her paws and a waning crescent moon in the sky.  Cats are mysterious creatures; anyone who has ever lived with one knows this.  They are predators, and yet they are devoted parents and loving companions.  But they seem to see things or hear things that aren’t there; they seem to know things that we can’t even imagine, never mind sense or perceive the presence of.  Even in repose, eyes half closed, gazing gently off into the distance, we can tell that she knows . . . she just knows.

I don’t throw this card very often, so there is some important message here.  The HP is the number 2 card of the Tarot Majors, the number of balance, polarity, tension, cooperation, and keeping secrets.  This number offers the concept of comparison, and comparison just might be important today.  Part of the process of comparing two items is understanding their differences.  This leads me right into the next stage of the Great Work, Separation. 

Yes, I am glad to move away from the first two stages of the Great Work, but I can’t allow myself to think this stage is a break from the discomforts and difficulties of Calcination and Dissolution.   Some assume the stage of Separation as merely an intellectual exercise. Yes, my job during the Separation process is to explore and fact-check my beliefs and to learn to understand my emotions, but this is by no means just an intellectual or analytical exercise.  The hard part is doing this kind of exploration in an unconditional, non-judgmental way.  Rejecting certain legitimate feelings as bad or wrong, or rationalizing the beliefs that are uncomfortable to explore objectively, will very likely send me right back to Calcination.

Separation offers me the chance to view my experiences with an open mind and without the need to judge them as good or bad.  Intuition rather than fear or ego can guide me if I allow it to, and when there are no judgments to be made, fear cannot take hold.  In the end, I just might learn that I have more of an ability to change myself that I thought I had.  Is this the hidden information guarded by The High Priestess?


Sunday, September 18, 2016

August 15, 2016: Archangel Raphael

August 15, 2016: 

It has been a hot and humid couple of days, but I’ve not allowed temperatures in the mid to upper 90’s and humidity at 80% to stop me.  Yes, I’ve slowed down, and I’ve hydrated myself often, but I still spent two days immersed in my beloved garden.  All is well there, everything is holding up despite the burning sun. 

My Wild Unknown Tarot card is the Three of Wands; another Fire card.  The three Wands on this card create a triangle, point down.  Fertility, anyone?  That triangle is one of the symbols of the womb and the Chalice of the Goddess, and that is what this card brings to us.  The background of the card is pretty null, vertical lines with an off-white background, but the inside of the triangle is filled with beautiful rainbow colors, just like The Star of the Wild Unknown Major Arcana!  Here is creativity in a really supportive environment; here, in this symbol of potential, is a vision of what may be, what could be manifested tomorrow!  Exciting!  And the vision is right on the card, in that triangular portal to the future!

A bit about Archangel Raphael.  Raphael is the Archangel of Healing, full of compassion for people who are struggling physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually.  But Archangel Raphael does not just heal humans; he also heals animals, and our world.  He is associated with compassion, joy and laughter.  People go to Raphael for assistance in overcoming addictions, in finding love, and for safe travels.  The symbol most associated with Raphael is the caduceus, and he is a patron to those in the medical professions, counselors, pharmacists, and patients, as well as to travelers, young people, and those in love. 

Archangel Raphael appears in the Book of Enoch.  Once the Fallen Angels are removed from Earth, Yahweh asks Raphael to restore the Earth.  Raphael was given the assignment to preside over every suffering and affliction of humans, and he was given the power to heal the Earth of the maladies of mankind.  Islam sees Raphael as the angel who will announce judgment day; Raphael is seen as a master of music who is able to sing praises to God in many languages. 


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

August 10, 2016: On to the element of Fire

My Wild Unknown Tarot is the Six of Wands.  Okay, okay.  I see the suit of Wands as representing the element of Fire, so here we go.  The traditional meaning of the Six of Wands is traditionally known as the “Victory Card,” and the LWB with the Wild Unknown Tarot offers victory as one of the keywords for the card.  However, the image on this card is not traditional, and at first glance it is somewhat confusing.  Here we have darkness and a disorganized pile of six Wands; that darkness begins to lighten as we move upward on the card, until we reach a rainbow!  Rainbows usually appear at the end of a dark and tumultuous storm, and they tell us that we have survived the rain and wind and bolts of lightning.  Sounds like a victory to me.  The other keyword offered for this card is “rising up,” and for sure the rainbow at the top of the card appears to be separating the darkness from the clear sky above the rainbow, clear sky that is accessed by rising up out of the darkness and confusion at the lower end of the card. 

This is a perfect card for today.  I have felt stuck, not sure what direction I should be moving to in this Great Work process, or if I should be moving on at all.  I have asked Haftorang where he thinks I should go next, and despite the fact that I felt East/Air should be next (Fire to me is spiritual in nature, and it needs Earth, Water and Air in order to be in balance), I am being told that Fire is next.  Haftorang explained that expression needs to come before perception.  Once he explained this to me and I accepted his reasoning as valid, things seemed to begin moving again.

If I am working with Fire, that means I am working with the Watcher named Venant, associated with the Royal Star of Regulus.  Regulus (“little king” or “prince”), Persian name Venant, Vanant or Wanand (also associated with Vega, Altair, Corvus, Sirius and Procyon), reaches dominance at the Summer Solstice, and is found in the constellation Leo; it is associated with the Archangel Raphael, and nobility, ambition, great power, alertness, leadership, sudden downfall, accidents and violence.  Metaphysically, because I associate the element of Fire (heat, Summer, daylight) with the direction of South, I to place Regulus in the Southern quarter.  There is another interpretation for this that would place Regulus in the direction of North, but that interpretation is not a part of my practice, so I will stick with the Regulus/South interpretation.  This star predicts success within your chosen field, even fame, however it also warns of the good possibility that you will be tempted to take revenge.  The warning is to be listened to, for if you give in to the temptation, all that you have strived for will turn to dust.


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

August 9, 2016: Son/Knight cards

August 9, 2016:

Now here is a message: The Wild Unknown Son of Pentacles.  Oh, I can feel the steely determination in this one!  The image shows the head of a young stag, bowed with effort, with a waning moon in the dark sky.  This one kind of feels like that moment just before you realize that the end is in sight, when you need every ounce of fortitude you can beg, borrow or steal so that you can see things through to the end.  Here is the challenge that will allow the Son of Pentacles to eventually lead, and to perpetuate the species.  Right now he needs to focus on the task at hand without allowing himself to be distracted, even if he is exhausted.

Two days in a row, I have thrown a Son/Knight card, and maybe a short detour to explore the Knights might be in order.  I see the Court Cards as presenting expressions of the essences of the suit; most of the time the King presents the most masculine or outer manifestation, the Queen presents the most feminine or inner manifestation, the Page presents the youngest and least prejudiced (and sometimes the least pure) manifestation, and our Knight presents the purest manifestation.  The element I assign to this rank depends on the deck, and since I am presently working with The Wild Unknown Tarot, I am assigning the element of Air to the rank of Son.  The beliefs of the Knights are pure, unadulterated by the need to serve and protect or be mature and balanced.  They are fierce, loyal, and very willing and able to fight for a cause.  The knights of old tended to be mercenaries, loyal to their lord and willing to fight in order to manifest the lord’s desires or mandates, even if they personally did not agree with what they were fighting for.  The Son of Pentacles is striving to manifest in the physical world; yesterday’s Son of Cups is focusing inward and striving to understand his feelings, emotions and visions.

Now comes two questions: Is it time to move on?  Where do I go next?


Monday, September 12, 2016

August 5, 2016: Water and Dissolution, Water meridians

August 5, 2016:

Nice!! The Nine of Cups today.  The image on this card is not quite what you would expect.  There is a waning moon in the sky, a mostly blue background, with the beginnings of predawn red at the top of the card.  Nine Cups are lined up along the edges of the card, all upright.  The feeling I get from this card is one of serenity, of having what I need to maintain that serenity, and of anticipation of what I will be able to experience because of that ongoing serenity.  Bliss is one of the keywords for this card, as well as the awareness of our blessings, and the nice thing is that we are just barely at the dawn of the day these energies are available to us.

Family vacation is officially over today, and everyone who is renting a place will be departing.

I’ve been thinking about the element of Water as well as the concept of Dissolution.  Water can change a solid into a liquid!  Drop a sugar cube into water, and the sugar becomes a part of the water; there is an important lesson in that.  Something from the physical world gets immersed in or infused with emotions?  The physical thing (or its representation in the mind) becomes a part of my emotions.  That is important to remember; after all, I have enough emotional baggage already and I think I will be more conscious of this. 

Also, Water can exist as a solid (ice), a liquid (its natural state on our planet), and a gas (steam).  That makes this element pretty cool!

Let’s compare our Water meridians, the kidney meridian and the bladder meridian.  They are both about cold, fear, water, death and renewal, willpower, and contraction.  There are major differences in purpose: the kidney filters and the bladder holds; the kidney regulates and the bladder excretes.  It seems to me that these two are really connected to each other.  After all, filtering toxins does not help unless those toxins can be excreted.  Like all meridians, there is a general direction.  The kidney meridian is the Yin meridian, and it begins in the lower body and moves upward; the bladder meridian is Yang, and it begins in the upper body and moves downward.  This makes sense, as excretion is an active process that works better with gravity, while filtering and regulation involve some discernment, which is more mental or passive in nature, and thus the focus is upward, toward the brain and the mind. 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

August 4, 2016: Water and the bladder meridian

The family went kayaking today.  Since kayaking is about Water, let’s talk about the other Water meridian, the bladder meridian. 

The bladder meridian begins at the inside of each eye and travels over the head (and through the brain) and the back of the neck; it then splits into two branches and continues downward, with one branch right next the spine (and through the bladder) and the other branch taking a detour to the back of the shoulder before continuing downward outside the inner branch.  The two branches reunite at the back of the knee and continue downward, circle the ankle, and end at the tip of the little toe.  This meridian is about expanding and contracting emotions, death and renewal, holding and resentment, fear and cold.  The bladder gets its energy/fuel from the kidney, and its purpose is to store and eliminate fluid waste.  Imbalances can cause headaches, runny noses or nose bleeds, eye, neck or back pain, and bladder issues, as well as tight muscles along the back of the knees and in the calves. 

This meridian seems very much about emotions and feelings and visions, specifically focused on either holding onto these experiences and on getting rid of those it determines to be non-essential.  I get the feeling it is the holding part that I am to deal with as I work through the Great Work this time.

My Wild Unknown card today is the Four of Swords.  The image on this one is a lamb, all curled up and serene, beneath four Swords hanging point-down above him, with a brightly-glowing third eye chakra.  What a powerful image!  This tender, untried youth is resting below four Swords hanging precariously above him, and yet he does not appear frightened.  He is alert, so he knows those Swords are there even though he does not even spare them a glance, but he is not even prepared to run should they come loose.  Perhaps his stillness is part of his protection.  It is as if he is keeping those Swords up there with his serenity, his stillness, his awareness of what is going on around him, and his belief, his mental force . . . his Will!


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

August 3, 2016: Dissolution

More about Dissolution.  The alchemical process involves dissolving the ashes created by Calcination into water.  This water takes on magickal properties, it becomes an elixir.  The word “elixir” is from the Arabic “ Al-iksi,” which literally means “from the ashes.”  Symbols of Distillation are lakes, floods, underground streams, quicksand, reflecting pools, tears, melting, menstruation, fish swimming on the surface of water, as well as glass vessels, clay pots, cauldrons, and other womb-like vessels. 

It is interesting to me that yesterday when we went swimming, the ocean was filled with seaweed.  We never see this kind of sea weed in Cape May, and never any seaweed in this amount.  Walking through the water, the seaweed clung for a moment and then was washed away by the wave, as if the seaweed was the ashes of Calcination that clung for a moment and then were dissolved into the water.

These first two stages are also known as the Black Phase, or Negredo.  This Phase creates the death of old habits, attitudes, relationships and attachments, those things that we no longer need.  Often, these things reside in our Shadow, the place were those parts of our personality that don’t fit with our conscious presentation all reside.  These consciously rejected traits group together within the realm of Shadow and become a “splinter personality” that is seen as a dragon.  To defeat that dragon and prevent it from taking control of my life, I need to bring it out into the light, I need to examine it and tame it. 

This is a dangerous process.  In chemical alchemy, this Phase creates noxious and even lethal fumes, and explosions caused by overheated containers.  So, too, is there danger in the process of defeating that dragon!

My Wild Unknown Tarot card for today is the Mother of Wands.  Here we have another snake coiled around a Wand, only this time the Wand is laying horizontally within her coils.  She is the Wand, rather than supporting the emanation of the Wand.  And just to prove the presence of strength, fertility and optimism within her, our snake is also coiled around eggs!  She is awareness and protection, she has already proved to the male of her species that she is worthy of reproducing, she is strong and confident that her strength will be sufficient to stay the course and guard her offspring.  She is the mother of creativity and new ideas, and she is guarding them carefully!

This card is reminding me that while I can’t predict the outcome of each of the steps of the Great Work this time, I’ve done this before, with good results.  I need to continue learning, continue processing what I’m learning, and I need to continue being aware of messages that are presenting themselves. 

I am finding that Satevis is way more mellow than Haftorang.  She is always around, drifting through my consciousness, but she just “is.”  I have found that when I become aware of her, there is some important information waiting for me.