Monday, June 30, 2008

The Sephirot, the Tarot, and a Small Anecdote

Learning the Sephirot is probably one of the most important things you can do for understanding the Thoth deck. The more you work with the Sephirot, the more the cards open up for you. I would actually say this is more important than learning the nuanced meaning of every card. Because once you figure each cards place on the Sephirot out, a lot of their meaning can be figured out just from that. I would say probably the two biggest knowledge systems for the Thoth deck are the Sephirot and Zodiac, with the former being more important than the latter.

"Qabalists have widely applied the cards of the tarot as keys to the Tree of Life. The 22 trumps (major arcana) are seen as corresponding to the 22 Hebrew letters and the 22 paths of the Tree; the ace to ten in each suit correspond to the ten Sephiroth in the four Qabalistic worlds; and the sixteen court cards relate to the classical elements in the four worlds.[9][10] While the sephiroth describe the nature of God, the paths between them describe ways of knowing God.[11]"

"The emanations of creation arising from Ain Suph Aur are ten in number, and are called Sephiroth (סְפִירוֹת, singular Sephirah סְפִירָה, "enumeration"). These are conceptualised somewhat differently in Hermetic Qabbalah to the way they are in Jewish Kabbalah[5]. See Sephirot for the Jewish conceptualisation.

From Ain Suph Aur crystallises Kether, the first sephirah of the Hermetic Qabalistic tree of life. From Kether emanate the rest of the sephirot in turn, viz. Kether (1), Chokhmah (2), Binah (3), Daath, Chesed (4), Geburah (5), Tiphareth (6), Netzach (7), Hod (8), Yesod (9), Malkuth (10). Daath is not assigned a number as it is considered either a false or a hidden sephirah[6].

Each sephirah is considered to be an emanation of the divine energy (often described as 'the divine light') which ever flows from the unmanifest, through Kether into manifestation[7]. This flow of light is indicated by the lightning flash shown on diagrams of the sephirotic tree which passes through each sephirah in turn according to their enumerations.

Each sephirah is a nexus of divine energy and each has a number of attributions. These attributions enable the Qabalist to form a comprehension of each particular sephirah's characteristics. This manner of applying many attributions to each sephirah is an exemplar of the diverse nature of Hermetic Qabalah. For example the sephirah Hod has the attributions of; Glory, perfect intelligence, the eights of the tarot deck, the planet Mercury, the Egyptian god Thoth, the archangel Michael, the Roman god Mercury and the alchemical element Mercury[8]. The general principle involved is that the Qabalist will meditate on all these attributions and by this means acquire an understanding of the character of the sephirah."

It's funny, I had a brief flirtation with Qabalah back in early high school, if I had known better I would have just stuck with it. I wonder if I still have that old book? I'm slightly reticent about the Qabalah now in this post-Madonna world, but whatever, "I needz ur knowluge gunz, knowz!"

Incidentally, I had incidence to use the tarot this weekend. I had arrived at a crossroads in the middle of Pennslyvania, both literal and figurative. And I ended up using the tarot to help me get perspective on the options available to me. I also made an offering to Odin there, leaving some coins at the crossroad juncture. 10 minutes later it was storming and pouring down rain(it had been pretty clear to that point). I also saw a ton of ravens, and everyone was walking their dog in front of me(I'd parked in a pet area on accident). I still need to get much much better if I'm ever to make proper sense of any of that, but I try. There's no sense in doing magic if you aren't going to bring it in on the major events of your life.

Friday, June 27, 2008

It could be awhile before I put another post up here, or it may be next week. I'm in the process of moving and things are duly disheveled.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Rune Letter of the Week: Gyfu

This week's rune is Gyfu. Meaning "gift". Gifts were a huge deal in viking times. Possessions and winnings weren't meant to be kept they were meant to be spread amongst your friends, because true honor was in keeping great company. Those that threw the best parties, and gave out the most of their plunderings, were honored and respected the most. It was not a culture of hording. In fact, the example we have in Beowolf of that is of the demon dragon that kills Beowolf being one who hordes gold and treasure. So yeah, give of yourself freely, life is too short to badger it all away for yourself. If you enrich those around you, you enrich yourself a hundred fold.

The poem for this week's rune:

"Generosity brings credit and honour, which support one's dignity;
it furnishes help and subsistence
to all broken men who are devoid of aught else."

There's only one poem, and it's the above. So this is a shorter entry than most. But it is a pretty cool rune. Another attribution to think about here is the crossroads. Hecate, Legba--perhaps this would be a good week to leave a gift for your favorite crossroads deity somewhere.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Alan Moore: Highbury Working

No Tarot Tuesday today, rather Tarot Thursday. A pattern of oversleeping. Completely sick with rest. Listening to these Alan Moore magical workings.

This is from the Highbury Working.

Worth finding.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Nightmares and the Dastardly Phobos!

How to Induce A Nightmare

1.Think about what it is that gives you nightmares.
2. Increase the sodium and spice before bed.
Take a Vitamin B6 tablet an hour or so before bed
As you fall asleep, tell yourself what you'd like to dream about.
5. Keep a Dream Journal

"PHOBETOR: God of Nightmares. Especially ones involving big hairy spiders, bloodthirsty rats, or slavering Bugblatter Beasts.
The brother of Dream Gods MORPHEUS and PHANTASOS, he specialises in dreams involving animals, and is also responsible for night-time fears and phobias. So if you suffer from bad dreams, it's PHOBETOR you need to talk to.

Just remember the name: Phobetor = Phobia. And if you're scared of him, you may be suffering from Phobophobia."

"Phobos (Ancient Greek Φόβος, "Fear") is the embodiment of fear and horror in Greek mythology. He is the offspring of Ares and Aphrodite. He was known for accompanying Ares into battle along with his brother, Deimos, the goddess Enyo, and his father’s attendants. Timor is his Roman equivalent."

At any rate. I've been having nightmares, and I use Phobos rather prominenetly in the version of the banishing ritual I have. Which may seem counterproductive, but I've kind of decided I like the rush of nightmares. That weird out of your brain sensation you get when you wake up and everything is vibrating with scariness. It's interesting to me.

Kenneth Anger's Rabbit Moon:

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Rune of the Week: Kenaz

This week's rune is Kenaz. It's one of the more mysterious runes out there. One of the meanings for it is "ulcer", but it's also associated with the flame of inspiration.

Ulcer is fatal to children;
death makes a corpse pale.

The Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem
The torch is known to every living man by its pale, bright flame;
it always burns where princes sit within.

The Icelandic Rune Poem

Disease fatal to children
and painful spot
and abode of mortification.

We do see some common threads here though. Note "death makes a corpse pale", "the torch is known to every living man by it's pale, bright flame". It burns "where princes sit within", it burns where naive ambition flowers? It's dangerous to those who aren't serious. It's tied with life and death. The mortal flame?

On Barbelith much of the discussion is around Kenaz as a creative inspiration. But there's something more dire here. When we consider that in order to learn the runes Odin hung himself from a tree with a spear through his foot, just to see the runes, and then gave up his eye to get the meaning of them--we began to see a kind of duality of knowledge. It doesn't come easy. Kenaz is an important life energy, but it can just as easily snuff you out. It's no child's game.

If we borrow slightly from the Sephiroth/Tarot from yesterday, we can actually find some illumination in the Ace of Wands.
Which is the visulazation I get from the these concepts pretty much to a T. Now if we consider the Ace of Wands to be an uncommunicable ideal, the way we can learn more of it's nature is to follow it down the sephirot, focusing specifically in on Tipheret and Malkuth . We do this because the Tipheret or 6, is the balance of the suit, emanating from the ace of wands, and Malkuth is the last point before it breaks apart. Sort of the high or low point of all the energies of the suit, the physical opposite of the spiritual Keter.

At any rate. The cards are 6=Victory, 10=Oppression.

Which kind of gets back to Kenaz perfectly. A balanced state of the flame of kenaz defines that plane of balance which is victory. Victory is triumph. The adult surpassing the childish ways. Avoiding the death the poems warn of. Whereas Oppression, hits at the dualistic nature of Kenaz. Taken too much into it's extreme the heat of it's ideas are no longer triumphant, but are instead oppressive. The weight of them collapses and burns you down. This ties into what we know about worrying giving you an ulcer. The state of worry is if nothing else a state of oppression. So to a large extent what Kenaz is about is balancing between worry, which ends in death, and the burning ideas of life that we have as children. Kenaz is about finding the balance in your life between childish dreams and adult achievement. It's both the light which brings us into the world, as well as the one that snuffs us out.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tarot Tuesday: O. The Fool

I've started working with the tarot on top of the runes, and while I'm going through it at a much more rapid rate, I would like to add Tarot Tuesdays as a feature for this blog. So if you'll indulge me, the first card I'm dealing with today under the watchful eye of Hecate, is the Fool.

The Fool represents creative mania--the biforcated balance of opposing ideas held together under the silent tongue of the prophet, the Bachanalian. It intones the vulture Nekhbet. The dove of immaculate conception. Jesus and Dyonassus. The holy man. The accepted angelic. People like Marx with crazy flowing hair. The horns of Zagreas.

The fool bridges the gap between the great unconcepted and wisdom on the tree of life. Existing between the Crown and Wisdom, the Fool is the jester.

He stands jubilant ushering in spring as the Green man on top of the Nile, where the creative energy of the crocodile Sobek. Between his legs, under his sun, sit the silent intertwined babes of Hoor-pa-kraat.

The fool is the great cosmic glossolalia of the divine strained in through the mundane. It's deception, it's innocence, it's restraint of the highest degree, combined with all the inhibitions of a drunken escaped lunatic. In the fool is the universe and nothing. +1 and -1, the great zero.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

eGODS: Twitter, Grant Morrison, Ghosts.... oh my!

So twitter is something that I'm very into right now. You can follow me on twitter at Mercurialblonde. What's twitter you ask though? This is something I wrote on a message board in response to accussations that twitter was merely an extremely narcissistic blog:

"1. Twitter isn't really a blog. And if anything it's a less self-indulgent blog, because you're limited to 140 words.
2. I don't think the appeal of it is wholly in what you put into it, so much as what you get out of it.

It's more about tapping into a real-time ebb and flow of human existence strained through
particular demographics which sort of ghost in and out of your walk down the street. There's a sense where with Twitter, a free floating hyper-reality is created that's shadowing very closely and very quickly whatever the world is up to or thinking about without neccessarrily taking you out of the world and subsitituting one reality for the other, which is in opposition to say instant messaging. Instant Messaging is maybe more prone to complete substitution, but something like this is more something akin to cybernetics. It's a fusion of the technological and the biological. You're taking the technology with you, and existing both within and without it.

This is more about a community of interconnected life, than it is the sole bastion of whatever thoughts you have. I write...a couple blogs. And this would never replace them. "

Even now I'm dreaming up ways to incorporate magical acts through twitter, especially given the way it is set up seems especially conducing to that kind of thing.

As a bonus unconnected bit, here's Grant Morrison from an interview with....Newsarama I think? He's talking about his comic book Final Crisis, but here he's talking about the conception of gods he is pushing within the book. I think it's fairly useful to read, especially given how much talk is given on this blog to invoking various deities:

"When we decided to do a book about gods, we felt it was important to do think through what a ‘god’ actually is. Gods aren’t like souls, or ghosts, gods are much bigger and scarier than that.

You know, it’s like every single word culture developed is own pantheon of Gods -which unsurprisingly all share similar traits, like the Greek goddess of Love is Aphrodite, while the Voudon goddess of Love is Erezulie and the Norse goddess of Love is Freya and so on. Now, what you have to understand is this: our primitive forebears weren’t stupid and when they talked about gods what they were describing were ‘eternal qualities’. In a normal human lifetime, we become possessed by ‘gods‘ every day. When we fall in Love, we are possessed by Aphrodite, when we are witty and clever we are possessed by Hermes or Thoth, when angry we‘re possessed by Ogun or Tyr or Ares. We tend to call such possessions ’moods’. but even when we are not personally in love or angry, there is always Love and Anger in the world and those eternal wells of Love and Anger and the other ‘big’ qualities of the human emotional spectrum are what our ancestors personified and called ‘gods’. The ‘god’ in this case, being the timeless quality of ‘Love’ or ‘Anger’ that we can all tap into for a little while.

No-one was really ever suggesting that there is a real woman you can touch called Aphrodite, who lives on Mount Olympus - but the sum total of every single human experience of Love is what the Greeks called Aphrodite and the Celts called Brigit and so on. I hope that makes sense."

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Rune of the Week: Raido

This week's rune is Raido. It stands for journey or travel. Which can be physical, spirtual, or anything. The poems are:

The Old Norse Rune Poem
Riding is said to be the worst thing for horses;
Reginn forged the finest sword.

The Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem
Riding seems easy to every warrior while he is indoors
and very courageous to him who traverses the high-roads
on the back of a stout horse.

The Icelandic Rune Poem
Joy of the horsemen
and speedy journey
and toil of the steed.

One of the more interesting points teased out over at Barbelith is that while on the one hand it is about riding, and a journey, it is also important to note the aspect of being a rider, which is to say when one rides a horse, they journey, but they are in control of the journey. And so while this rune is transitory in nature, it is controlled transition. Which is somewhat different from some of the other runes we've had so far

Though conversely, this rune can also be about being ridden if you take it in another way. If you are not the horsemen, you are the horse--meaning if you aren't the author of your own journey, you'll probably end up under the rails. And while there is a joy in this rune, in the riding, or the control of the journey, there is a misery here too in the aspect of being controlled through a journey. So as with other runes, like Thurisaz, there is a dual nature here in terms of outcomes, with both a joy and a misery. And in both instances victimhood seems to be punished, while heroism rewarded.

So don't get taken for a ride this week. Instead take the opportunity to go somewhere of your own making.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Thoth Tarot: Personal Experience 79 million

So the other day on a whim, I picked up some Thoth tarot cards and the Book of Thoth by Crowley. My aim here was that since runes are going to take a long time I can use and learn tarot alongside of it, and probably have one inform the other.

At any rate, here's a quick summary of the Thoth Tarot for the kids at home:

"Crowley originally intended the Thoth deck to be a six-month project aimed at updating the traditional pictorial symbolism, perhaps best demonstrated by the Rider-Waite-Smith deck; however, it was to span five years, between 1938 and 1943, as the scope of the project grew ever wider. Crowley and Harris were meticulous in their work; Harris painted some cards as many as eight times. The current printing of the deck actually includes two alternate illustrations of The Magus, each making use of markedly different style and symbols. Unfortunately, neither Harris nor Crowley lived to see the deck published; a follower of Crowley undertook the work of publication in 1969. This initial printing was of markedly inferior quality, and in 1977 Harris' paintings were rephotographed for a second edition; the current edition is based on a further update that took place in 1986.

The illustrations of the Thoth deck are rich in symbolism, based upon Crowley's stated desire to incorporate symbols from many disparate disciplines, including science and philosophy, as well as to draw on his extensive knowledge of various occult system (as described in detail in his Book of Thoth). For example, The Hanged Man and The Moon draw from Egyptian mythology, and the Princess of Disks holds a disk bearing the Taijitu. The pip cards in the four suits (Wands, Cups, Swords, and Disks) depict their objects in carefully-crafted positions; for example, the Four of Swords (which Crowley named "truce") shows four swords with their points toward the center of an imaginary square, suggesting a possibly tense peace. The card illustrations are uniformly stark and vividly illustrated throughout."

The cards definitely had a very weird charge to them when I opened the box. I actually had sort of anxious moment as I was opening the box for the cards and tearing off the wrapping. So there is something here. I don't know a lot about Tarot yet, but I did shuffle the deck and pull out a card that I felt pulled to.

It was this one:
Oh yeah. The art is amazing and incredible. I haven't looked at every card yet, but the ones I have seen are so trippy. You get lost in them. Incredible work.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Banishing Werewolves is SO Metal.

The above images are from Alex CF's piece "Lycanthropy Research Case".
The images come courtesy of MAKE.

This is what I want for Christmas mom.

Here's a very interesting breakdown of the Lesser Banishing Ritual courtesy of Benjamin Rowe for the kids to try at home.

Odin is of course, way freaking metal. This is a kind of fun encapsulation of Odin-lore courtesy of Manowar:

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Rune of the Week: Ansuz

This week's rune is Ansuz. And let me tell you. I am glad for it. Thurisaz was a miserable rune, and I'm just grateful to have made it through the damn thing. I almost don't even care what Ansuz is. Just so long as it's not Thurisaz.

Ansuz means both God and Mouth(think, in the beginning there was the word). This is a very magical rune, in the sense that words are the foundation for all magic, and this rune has a very close relation to words. Here are the poems:

Estuary is the way of most journeys;
but a scabbard is of swords.

The Anglo-Saxon Rune Poem
The mouth is the source of all language,
a pillar of wisdom and a comfort to wise men,
a blessing and a joy to every knight.

The Icelandic Rune Poem
Aged Gautr
and prince of Ásgardr
and lord of Vallhalla.

This is a rune that is closely associated with Odin obviously, and it's a useful rune to think about when opening discussions with the divine because of it's meaning. This is a rune for telling stories. So probably the best way to honor this particular rune is to gather some friends around and engage in some spirited story swapping. Some other helpful aspects of this rune are wisdom, clarity of thought, and comfort. It really is the perfect rune to come out of the traumas of Thurisaz.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Mind/Body Non-Dichotomies And Other Bedtime Stories...

This is something I wrote on a message board about the whole mind/body thought process people have. So many people want to change their minds, and think they can do it without any change in the body, like the two aren't the same thing. Like two minds with the same body, are not the samebody. Anyways. I think it's an interesting point for the purposes of this blog, and I wanted to share it with people who may not read message boards(message boards are the new/old salons, I'm slightly baffled why people have not caught onto this. Especially advertisers. I'm suprised every brand doesn't have a message board on it's website. I feel like every website almost should have a message board, just standard...anyways. That's a diffrent rant). So yeah.

Oh yeah. So the context was in response to a guy who was wanting to gear his artistic craft towards consciousness transformation(which was obviously of great interested to me) Here it is:

"The body obscures nothing. It's only because you seperate it from the mind that you feel that way. But just think about in terms of biology and how the nervous system is setup. The body is in charge of input and output, the brain is in charge of responding to and managing those impulses. If anything obscures it's the mind. But as I said, the two aren't seperate. The conception that they are is why you got blockage. Manipulating your senses is manipulationg your body AND mind. Consciousness steps in time with body, and context is framed coexisteningly. Your brain doesn't literally go like "MOVE ARM!" There's an interdependent relationship between the eyes seeing a fastball coming right at you, the reaction, to raise your glove to catch it, and the recollection of like movements. All of that happens at almost the exact same moment, and you can't say any of them are leading the way. Is the eye controlling the body because it sees the ball? Is the mind controlling the eye, because it knows what a ball is, is the arm controlling both by it moving up to catch it fast enough?

The only reason I'm fervent on this point, is because you say you are interested in altering your consciousness. But you don't understand how consciousness is built, how it works, or how it relates to the body. And what's worse you actively deny those associations to such an extent, that the only consciousness changing you experience will be fleeting, and your version of consciousness will end up less like the Buddha, and more like the Badu. "