Saturday, September 22, 2012

Oh goody Purification

Hi and welcome to this stop on the Autumnal Equinox Tarot Bloghop. If you are a hopper, you probably came from Christiane's post. If you are one of my regular readers, you are probably coming here from the Big Bang Burger Bar where you nourished yourself on the veal burger...hey, it could be true.

Today's topic is purification...and to a lesser extent, the Tarot and alchemy.

On my property, there are currently three compost piles. And at least one of them is about to grow larger as I rake more leaves into it. This year was not a good year for my compost piles--it was just too darn hot and dry for them.

One of the things that non-gardeners may not realize is that a compost pile requires a delicate mixture of ingredients. It has to be the right temperature, the right moisture level, the right mixture of organic material, the right amount of circulation; otherwise it either burns or stinks to high heaven.

Even when it looks like it is going ok, things can still be wrong. For instance, I have a black walnut tree on my property; a black walnut tree produces a chemical that many other plants find toxic (for instance, rose bushes do not like black walnut trees), so I have to be careful where I use the results of the decomposing black walnut leaves.

Having a compost pile really puts you into direct contact with the process of purification. If you do it right, you end up with something that your garden will thrive on. Do it wrong, and all you made is a big old mess.

Now, in my profession--I am a writer by trade (woe be me)--there is a stage in the process (or at least, my personal process) where everything that one has written reads like pure sewage. One needs to leave the writing sit for awhile when it gets to that point to create some form of distance between oneself and the writing, especially if one is hoping to wrestle the good bits out of the rubbish of your latest draft.

While dealing with compost piles and my horrible drafts, I tend to think about the process of purification. Especially now that I am doing make-up work on the subject. It is the closest that I get to lab alchemy--I have cats and a god-daughter; I am not about to use dangerous chemicals around them.

Now, one of the modern things that occultists have done is attempt to associate alchemy with the Tarot. There are many ways to do this. But I am a Golden Dawn member, so I have to work with the Golden Dawn version of this arrangement. Now, the best known version of Tarot to alchemy is Pat Zalewski's version--perhaps merely because he actually published his version.

Now in his version of alchemy to Tarot correspondences, he uses a 3-7-12 system. Therefore, the process of alchemy is not assigned to a single card.

On the three scale, purification is assigned to Last Judgment. On the seven scale, it is assigned to the High Priestess.

The twelve scale is touch more complex--for purification is divided into three parts: Separation (Filtration and Distribution) assigned to the Lovers; Circulation and Digestion assigned to the Chariot; Fermentation and Corruption to Death.

So we end up with five Major Arcana that could indicate purification if they came up in a reading...more if we open the door to other assignment systems. Of course, given the fact that Tarot reading is such a personal art, I lean towards two cards over the rest--Judgment and Death. I might remember that the High Priestess is also involved, but I better have a muse whispering in my ear to remind me of that fact.

Then again, I need a muse to remind not to dump fresh cut grass into my compost pile, and not to shred my rubbish drafts.

(For the one person who will be curious--no, I do not have one of these composting barrels; I want one--I just can't afford one at the moment.)

For those of you who are continuing with the Mabon Tarot Bloghop, the next step is Joanne Sprott's blog.


CosmicFaery said...

Thank you for this interesting post! Love your thoughts on writing and editing alchemy ;) And my compost bins have suffered this summer, because it was too cold and wet ;(
Must check out the Golden Dawn book on Tarot Alchemy, sounds fascinating, just my cup of tea ;)

Tarot By Arwen said...

Duuuude! I came for monkeys but got compost. WTH! :D Seriously this was an excellent post.