Saturday, March 30, 2013

Happy Easter!

Almost every Easter animal under the sun.
Happy Easter! Here is a delightful picture that I saw on Facebook. It has almost every Easter animal that you could want. There are a few Easter bunnies, a couple of Easter chicks, a dog and a cat. Plus a lot of foil-covered chocolate Easter eggs. The only thing that is missing is the Easter Goat...or is that just something that observed in Thelemic circles?

Four mugs still available on Etsy

Celtic Knot decorated coffee mug available on Etsy.
Yes, it is time for one of those "pimp my wife's Etsy store" posts...because her business is helping pay for the groceries.

At the moment, she currently has four mugs available on Etsy, including the Celtic Knot decorated coffee mug.

The mugs sell really quickly, so if you see one that you like--buy it now; it might not be available later.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Between Light and Darkness

Are you going to evolve or not?
Welcome to the Tarot Blog Hop for Ostara 2013. If you are a hop reader, you might have just came from Joanna Ash's blog, or maybe you decided to start here considering that I am the cat herder for this particular Tarot Blog Hop. (The Master List for this Hop is the post that--in theory--went live just one minute before this post is located here.) As for my regular readers, I encourage you to read some of the other posts in this blog hop...just because I suggested the idea behind this hop.

If you are reading this on March 20th 2013, today is the Vernal Equinox. (And if you not pretend that you are.) Today is the day where night and day are equal; and for the next few months, the day will be longer than the night...

...provided that you are in the Northern Hemisphere.

If you are in the Southern Hemisphere, it is the nights that are getting longer.

The significance of today literally depends upon where you are standing, and how you are looking at it. The only thing that we can all agree upon is the fact that today, there is an equal amount of light (day) and darkness (night)--a pivotal moment in the Sun's dance between light and darkness.

(The reason that I am painfully aware of this is that I used to be the proctor for a bunch of Golden Dawn students in Australia--we can't even say that their pagan holidays are backwards from is more like a completely different set--much like the fact that Ancient Egypt had different seasons than we do in the North.)

So how does this relate to the Tarot?

About fifteen years ago, when I was doing the "take every class and workshop that is available at the local occult shop" cycle, I took a class from one of the local Tarot readers (Timothy). One of the things that he taught was that the Hope/Fear position of the Celtic Cross Spread should be laid out on its side. The position represents BOTH hopes and fears--and often, the same event was both a hope and a fear for the person who was getting the reading.

Example--a person wants a relationship, but fears the loss of freedom that comes with it. Another example--a person wants to become a successful business person, but fears that they will lose all their friends if they do succeed. Their greatest hope is also their greatest fear--it is probably this tendency that makes us human, and not angels.

Now, once you accept the idea that something can be ambiguous, a type of grey, rather than a straight-out white or black (good or evil), it opens up a bunch of possibilities for reading the cards...perhaps in an unacceptable can of worms manner if you really want there to be only one right answer to any question. Grok it enough, and you find yourself reading all cards in a neutral manner.

It also makes you look at some other things in a different light if you embrace the concept deeply enough. For instance, the whole concept of white and black magic fades into a strange type of grey. And one becomes very aware of the lemon-aid concept--when life hands you lemons, make lemon-aid. Some of my biggest defeats have turned out to be blessings in disguise, but only because I used them to grow. Mercury retrograde also becomes a source of amusement. It all depends upon how you look at things.

In light of that, I would like to share a Tarot spread with you--the "Dancing between Light and Darkness" spread. It is designed for those weird times where you are aware that you are in a grey, ambiguous situation, one which outcome will depend solely on how you decide to treat the situation--is it the end of the world? or is it a brand-new beginning?

It is a nine card spread, and I tend to lay out the middle row of cards first, left to right, before the final two cards (which I tend to add after reading the middle cards). The seven cards in the middle represent the energies of the seven classical planets, and the two final cards represent evolution and degeneration (increased spiritual development and descent into eventual extinction).

All seven of the planet cards are read both positively and negatively. This may seem strange for a couple of the cards. For instance, the Sun position looks on the surface to be completely positive...but being successful can cause stress (a loss of vitality) and limit your willingness to take future risks. Likewise, the Mars position initially may to be all negative, but occasionally you need to flush the garbage out of your life.

Those students who have studied the Vault of the Adepts of Golden Dawn (RR et AC) will see the pattern behind the spread, and possibly the deeper layers hidden in the spread.

Happy Equinox everyone! Remember to keep dancing.

For those who are continuing with the Blog Hop, the next stop is Christiana Gaudet's blog. And if there are any broken links, remember that you can find the Master List for this Hop here.

Ostara 2013 Tarot Blog Hop Master List

It is time for another Tarot Blog Hop.
Hello everyone, this is the Master List for the Tarot Blog Hop for Ostara 2013. The Master List exists just in case, there are any broken links in the Tarot Blog Hop.

And why am I hosting the Master List? Because the theme of this particular round of blog hopping was my suggestion--dancing between light and darkness, and dealing with energies that can go either way (am I good? or am I evil?).

There is more about what I was thinking on my own particular entry...which should go live one minute after this one does. Happy hopping!!!

  1. Morgan Drake Eckstein   
  2. Christiana Gaudet
  3. Chloe for TABI
  4. Lynda
  5. Ania
  6. Chloe 
  7. Arwen Lynch 
  8. Sharon Cumming 
  9. Joy Vernon
  10. Vivianne 
  11. Koneta 
  12. Chloe for Celtic Lenormand
  13. Shonna Hill 
  14. Annick Van Damme 
  15. Aisling the Bard: 
  16. Krysten
  17. Joanne Sprott:…tarot-blog-hop 
  18. Alison Cross
  19. Joanna Ash: 
If you spot a problem with any of the links, drop me a line at

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Snow Day 2013 the second time around

Not a lot of snow here in the great fishbowl of Denver Colorado.
This morning I was awoken by a neighbor kid asking if I would like him to shove my sidewalk. I wasn't aware that kids still roamed neighborhoods looking for snow shoveling work. I told him, "No, I will shove it later." In part, this is true--and there was that hidden part of "I am so broke at the moment."

Of course, looking out the window right now, I am not even sure that I have to go out there and shovel. Well, at least, not the front. I still have to get the snow out of the passageway of death, that shaded section of the sidewalk that runs between the pottery studio and the house--the snow melts there, and then freezes making a passageway that only a Martian Ice Warrior can safely navigate.

So why so little snow here? Especially when up north of us, they got blizzard conditions yesterday. Well, I live in what I call the Denver Fishbowl--a small area that seems to not be completely connected to the rest of the weather in Colorado. Draw a circle on the map of Denver that includes the Denver Zoo and downtown Denver--and you have a zone that for some reason is a probably has something to do with the shape of the mountains to the west of us.

I have seen blizzards that nail everyone around us drop a mere inch here. Likewise I have seen severe rainstorms in the summer that only drown this area. It is like living in the fishbowl of a mad scientist...or maybe a mad weather witch.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Regulus and four other stars

Given yesterday's post, I do not want people to believe that I completely ignore the initiated version of late Victorian era astrology. I just happen to be very selective about what I play attention to.

As a regular rule of thumb, assume that the Tropical Zodiac is 24 degrees ahead of the Sidereal Zodiac. You can eyeball this without doing math. Or a full sign ahead if you are doing the initiated version; again no math needed. (If you want to do math, it is about one degree per 72 years from whenever you decide the origin year of the zodiac is.)

The most important part of the initiated version of astrology is the star Regulus, which Mathers allegedly instructed initiates to use as the starting point for the sign of Leo. (I have yet to see anyone produce a document that proves Francis King's claim.) Interestingly enough, I actually do a certain amount of work dealing with Regulus, thanks to belonging to a magical Order ruled by Regulus (to a lesser or greater extent) and the fact that Regulus is located at the midpoint between my Sun and Mercury.

(For those people who believe that my calling of BIORC as a magical Order a lie, just remember that BIORC is probably no longer a true Golden Dawn Order. BIORC is to Golden Dawn as BOTA is to AO--a descendant only in name by the best of standards; by the worst of standards, BIORC will always be a GD Order...make of that what you will.)

Given the importance of Regulus to both the Order I belong to, and to my personal birth chart, I have done a certain amount of research into the Four Watchers of the World--the four stars that the Ancient Persians believed guarded the world. (The quarter that they sit in, and the solar event that they correspond to, was established by the Persians in about 3000 BCE--by modern standards, the symbolism tends to make no sense, especially when looked at by people who do not really understand ancient astrology.)

The Four Watchers are:

Aldebaran, the Watcher of the East, corresponds to the Vernal Equinox (northern viewpoint), a red star called the Eye of the Bull, which nature is of Mars (and somewhat of Mercury, Jupiter, and the Sun). In 1980, it was located at 9 Gemini 31; in 1888, it was at 8 Gemini 14.

Regulus, the Watcher of the North, Summer Solstice, Heart of the Lion, nature of Mars and Jupiter. In 1980, it was located at 29 Leo 33; in 1888, it was at 28 Leo 16.

Antares, the Watcher of the West, Autumnal Equinox, the Heart of the Scorpion, nature of Mars and Jupiter. In 1980, it was located at 9 Sagittarius; in 1888, it was at 8 Sagittarius 12.

Fomalhaut, the Watcher of the South, Winter Solstice, nature of Venus and Mercury. In 1980, it was located at 3 Pisces 35; in 1888, it was at 2 Pisces 18.

And another star that I think that one should keep track of, if one is involved in esoteric Orders, is Sirius, the Dog Star, herald of the Ancient Egypt's flooding of the Nile (the start of the Egyptian year), nature of Jupiter and Mars (less so Neptune). In 1980, it was located at 13 Cancer 48; in 1888, it was at 12 Cancer 31.

For those people who worked with the methods of generating magical names from astrology charts, they might want to examine the use of these five stars to generate a name of power.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The biggest problem with the zodiac

The zodiac and the path of the sun.
Given the fact that sooner or later in the upcoming series of astrology posts, my dislike of Sidereal Astrology will come up, we just as well address the issue right up front.

According to Francis King, Samuel MacGregor Mathers came up with an idea that the true initiated zodiac began with the star Regulus. Some experts have insisted that King made up this fact. Personally, I do not care--others in the late Victorian era were also saying this (more or less), so we know that the idea was in the water before Mathers (allegedly) instructed Adepts that this was the initiated truth.

Now, some initiates of Golden Dawn have picked up the idea and poked at it to see if it works. Some say that it does; others say that it doesn't.

The upcoming series of posts concerns the Tropical Zodiac (the Sidereal gets at best a few mentions). Personally, I trained with the Tropical Zodiac; the Order that I was originally initiated in used the Tropical Zodiac. I have more experience using the Tropical Zodiac.

And I have a little problem with pretty much all forms of Sidereal use.

The claim for Sidereal Astrology (and magic, for that matter) is that it focuses on the actual position of the planets and constellations as they really exist in the sky. But more often than not, if you actually compare actual sky charts with the results, you learn that it is more or less lip-service.

Go ahead, look at these pictures of the constellations. Are you absolutely sure where one sign begins and other ends? And if you are--do the Zodiac Signs end up with equal areas of influence and space?

Any system that picks a point and then divides the ecliptic into twelve equal signs from there is not truly playing full attention to where things actually are. And it gets even more interesting when one starts to track how past generations viewed the constellations (for instance, Libra was originally a part of Scorpio).

I am sorry, but I believe that the Zodiac Signs were originally names for the twelve equal sections of the ecliptic arc--later a set of constellations were named after these sections. Yes, this makes me a bad Golden Dawn Adept--a non-believer in the greatness of all things Mathers. But it means that I can practice Tropical Astrology in a Golden Dawn context. (By the way, from a standard Tropcial chart, I can point out where the constellations and planets are--I do not need a Sidereal chart for that, nor does any other properly trained astrologer or magician.)

And if you do not think that it makes a difference (I presume that you actually believe that magic and astrology work...if not, why are you reading this?), just consider that in one system of astrology, I have a Virgo Sun, a Cancer Ascendant, a Moon in Scorpio, and my Mercury in Leo; in the other system, I would be a Leo Sun, a Gemini rising sign, with my Moon in Libra, and Mercury in Virgo. My friends will instantly spot the problem with one of these versions, as will a few of my critics.

As for Mathers, I suspect that he embraced the idea of the Regulus marking the start of the Zodiac (with Leo being the first sign of the Zodiac) because it allowed him to have a Sun in a Fire sign (Sagittarius, instead of Capricorn), and it allowed him to claim that everyone outside of the Order of the Hermetic Students of the Golden Dawn were doing astrology wrong. And Mathers liked being the smartest person in the room.

Aries to Leo along the ecliptic.
Leo to Scorpio, plus Ophiuchus.
Scorpio to Pisces.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Smashwords Read an Ebook Week

Yes, I am involved in the creation of this ebook.
It is "Read an Ebook Week" until March 9th 2013 on Smashwords.

This time around, I have three ebooks discounted during the annual Smashwords promotion.

Five Reasons Why Magic Fails is 50% off (promotion price $1.50--normally $2.99).

Golden Dawn Rituals--Volume One--Neophyte Ritual (0=0) Three Officer Version is 75% off (promotion price $1.50--normally $5.99).

And the first volume of the pagan/Wiccan friendly children series that I am doing the covers for, Meet Turtle Monkey is 50% off (promotion price $1.50--normally $2.99).

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Book review: Submerged (Cheryl Kaye Tardif)

As most of my regular readers know, I am a writer. What they might not know is that writers have a tendency to dissect books that they read; it is part of our search as professional readers (because you have to be a reader to be a writer) to find the perfect formula for writing the perfect book.  Not so thay we can copy that book, but so that we can write the perfect book that lays within ourselves.

Towards this quest to find the perfect book within ourselves, we tend to collect books that we consider examples of a perfect book written by someone else. Tonight, I am adding another book to my small collection of perfect books.

Submerged (by Cheryl Kaye Tardif) is an good example of a perfect book. The cover is perfect for the story that it advertises. The pacing is perfect with just the right amount of new information being given, and new questions being placed in play. The chapters are the right size--just big enough to satisfy, yet short enough that one is tempted to read just one more chapter...and then another. The symbolism used supports both the plot and the characters. Submerged is a good example of a perfect book.

(I wish that I was as good of a writer as Cheryl is.)

My only concern with it is that some of the culture references might age quickly, and I am not sure if that can be helped given the speed that our culture changes at.

Submerged is a hard book to put into a category. It is about half romance, half suspense, and a quarter supernatural (yes, math is not my friend); it also a tale of addiction, fall, and redemption. I quite enjoyed reading it.

If you didn't already guess, I am giving this book five stars and two big thumbs up. This book is going to be enjoyed by both regular readers and those picky writers.

Submerged is available on Amazon.

[Disclosure notice: This review is based on a pdf that the author provided me. As for the Amazon link, it is just a regular link because I live in Colorado, therefore I can't be an Amazon Associate.]

Friday, March 1, 2013

Plan for March and maybe June 2013

This month, I will be once again attempting the Ultimate Blog Challenge (writing 31 blog posts in 31 days). I made a half-hearted attempt to do it in January, first here and then on my writing blog. The first attempt was not a complete failure; I did learn some important lessons doing the UBC.

The most important lesson that I learned was that I needed a posting plan to actually accomplish the UBC. And today, I thought that I would share my projected plan with you.

Over the next month, possibly two months, I am going to be doing a series of related posts on some of the astrological studies that I have been doing lately. These posts will be periodically interrupted by some of the usual stuff that you have learned to expect from this lunatic with a soapbox. Plus I plan on starting to do book reviews again on this blog. So I am not sure how long it will take to finish off the series of posts that I plan on doing...they might end up running until the end of April.

In the series, I am going to be examining the "birth charts" of the original Golden Dawn (and some other charts), various aspects of the charts, and the symbols of the zodiac degrees--mainly. Hopefully, one will be able to tell why I am fascinated by this line of research. And if not, you can just blame the whole series on me being a lunatic with a soapbox--after all, that is what people normally blame my behavior on.