Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Joy of Giving Tarot Spread

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Welcome to the December 2014's Tarot Blog Hop. Today's Blog Hop is all about a spread that this Hop's wrangler, Arwen Lynch Poe, wanted us Tarot bloggers to explore. Arwen said:

"Yule, Hanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Solstice, Winter. Whatever you call this time of year, it is a season of gift giving, gift receiving and sharing with family and friends for a majority of the world. Whether Papa Noel brings you a candy cane or the Winter Witch brings you switches, it’s a time of anticipation. The anticipation of what I might be getting and what I am giving are equal joys for me. To that end, here is a spread for each of us to do.

"The Joy Of Gifting

    What gift would you give the world if you could?
    What gift would you want from the world?
    What gift have you gotten that has brought you joy?
    What gift have you given that has brought you joy?
    What is one last thing you would like to share about this season?"

The Joy of Giving Tarot spread.
And here are the cards that I pulled for this post.

Knight of Wands, Hanged Man, Two of Cups, Three of Cups, the Sun.
1. What gift would I give the world if I could---Knight of Wands: A fiery passion and sense of purpose. Actually as a blogger, writer, and an occasional teacher, I give freely of this gift already. I tend to be a fire starter, and gasoline tosser. Of course, there are those who hate the fact that I am so passionate about subjects that they wish would simply go away. While I like to think that I ask questions that make people think---I know full well that my questions tend to just make people upset. Unleash the dogs of war, I say.

2. What gift would I want from the world---the Hanged Man: One of the things that I have sacrificed over the years is hope of making a decent income. In many versions of this card, the man is dropping or losing money. By choosing to be a writer, I gave up much more monetary better options. I would love to be somehow able to make up for that sacrifice (aka make decent money as a writer).

3. What gift have I received that has brought me joy---Two of Cups: I got lucky and found a woman that puts up with me and all my little quirks. And I recently officially married her. It is nice to have a partner, who understands me, or at least is willing to make the attempt. I am blessed in this regard.

4. What gift have I given that has brought me joy---Three of Cups: A few years ago, I had the opportunity to help start a Golden Dawn lodge here in Denver, Colorado. While it lasted, the experience of helping a group of people progress though the Golden Dawn system was very pleasing. Of course, all good things come to an end, and I am no longer involved in running a lodge; but it was fun while it lasted.

5. What is one last thing I would like to share this season---the Sun: I would like to share the knowledge that the darkness passes. Misfortunes and grief and depressions only last so long, then the Light returns, and things are renewed. Things will get better; it is only a matter of time before they do.

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Friday, December 19, 2014

That's a paddin! (Things not to say in Golden Dawn forums)

Go ahead---use those Bible quotes to prove that you are right.
Last night, I had an encounter with a troll on one of the Facebook Golden Dawn groups. In honor of this brave troll (he was proud to be Norse--which made him better than the members of the Golden Dawn), I present ten things to say if you want to get a paddlin' and booted from a group that I moderate (and yes, I do moderate a couple of Facebook groups).

1: I have never opened a book on Golden Dawn, but I know that Golden Dawn members are doing it wrong.

2: Golden Dawn Orders are the babysitters of the occult.

3: Aleister Crowley was (and will always be) the most important member of Golden Dawn.

4. Golden Dawn magic obviously does not work because none of the Golden Dawn members are lottery winners.

5. Golden Dawn, the magical Order, is the same as the Greek political party, Chrysi Augi.

6. Come join my vastly superior magical Order.

7. The magicians of Golden Dawn are nothing more than cry baby divas.

8. Master Magicians and Adepts are fighting with one another for the privilege to teach me.

9. Golden Dawn is the Satanist pawn of the SRIA Illuminati.

10. I know the answer to your question. It is in my expensive book that I have written---go buy it right now!  

And if this was not enough to inspire your trollish nature, and you want to go for the ultimate trolling status and that honorable banned trophy, watch this important instructional video by JP Sears. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Want to blog in the Tarot Blog Hop?

Are you a blogger? Do you blog about the Tarot? Do you want to be part of a community of Tarot bloggers? If the answer is yes to these three questions, you might be interested in becoming part of the Tarot Blog Hop.

What is the Tarot Blog Hop? The Tarot Blog Hop is a group of Tarot bloggers that do a blog on the same theme eight times a year for fun and community building. Each participant links their blog to a Master List (which contains links to all the bloggers doing a particular Hop), and to two other bloggers in the blog ring for that theme.

The eight times of year that the Tarot Blog Hop occurs is timed to the eight Wiccan/pagan holidays of the wheel of the year---not because the Tarot Blog Hop is particularly pagan/Wiccan, but because it was a convenient division of the year according to the Arwen Lynch Poe (the organizer of the Tarot Blog Hops).

Imbolic, February 2
Ostara (Spring Equinox), app. March 22
Beltane, May 1
Litha (Summer Solstice), app. June 22
Lammas/Lughnasad, August 1
Mabon (Autumn Equinox), app. September 22
Samhain/Halloween, October 31
Yule (Winter Solstice), app. December 22

The theme of the Wiccan Sabbat may or may not have anything to do with the the holiday that the Tarot Blog Hop occurring on them. The theme of the Tarot Blog Hop is chosen by the volunteer who steps forward to organize the Tarot Blog Hop of that holiday. The theme will always have something to do with the Tarot, even if it is only using the cards to talk about a particular subject. The wrangler (as the volunteer is called) also sets up and hosts the Master List which is used to help readers get past any breaks in the blog chain. 

Participants in the Tarot Blog Hop must have a blog where they write about Tarot (at least occasionally), must commit to participating in at least two Tarot Blog Hops per year, must agree to link their posts to the Master List and to two other bloggers,and must agree to commit on five of the blog posts in any of the Hops they take part in.

If this sounds like your cup of tea, send a membership request to the Tarot Blog Hop Facebook group. A group moderator will private message you to confirm that you have a blog, and agree to participate in two Blog Hops per year---upon confirmation, the moderator will approve your membership in the Tarot Blog Hop group.

Not a blogger and just want to stay informed about the Tarot Blog Hop? There is also a Facebook fan page for the Tarot Blog Hop for those who just want news about the Tarot Blog Hop.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Open Full Moon rituals in Denver Colorado

Founded in 1991, Hearthstone Community Church is a Wiccan church, in Denver Colorado, that helps pagan and Wiccan groups and individuals perform Open Full Moon rituals.

Hearthstone OFMs are held at the First Unitarian Church, 1400 Lafayette, Denver, Colorado. Doors open at 7 pm, and ritual starts at 7:30 pm. The rituals are held upstairs, and the Church is handicapped accessible (there is an elevator that goes up to the second floor).

Suggested donation--five dollars (to help cover operating costs and room rental).

Open Full Moon ritual dates for 2015

January 2
January 30
February 27
April 3
May 1
May 29
June 26
July 31
August 28
September 25
October 23
November 20
(December has no OFM ritual due to the date following on Christmas)

Hearthstone Community Church has a free monthly newsletter for Colorado residents that is also published on the HCC's Facebook page.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Thoughts on the EA Koetting arrest (Living God arrested)

On Friday, November 14, 2014, Matthew Joseph Lawrence (the real name of the black magic occultist E. A. Koetting) was arrested by the Washington County Drug Task Force (St. George, Utah) and sent to the Purgatory Correctional Facility. Both his vehicle and residence were searched, and he was charged with five charges of drug possession (cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana and other drugs), one count of possession of drug paraphernalia, and one count of restricted possessor of a firearm. The arrest came about due to information provided by a confidential informant. Lawrence and his roommate (who was also arrested) were sent to the Purgatory Correctional Facility with bail set at $31,174 each---I understand both made bail and were released. Rumor has it that Lawrence could receive ten to fifteen years in jail, due to Utah's law, and having priors.

News stories are here and here.

My regular readers and friends know that I am not fond of E. A. Koetting. I feel that he is a black hat marketer, and generally not the world's best representative of the black arts. And I made my feelings perfectly clear last year when he headlined an event sponsored by one of the Golden Dawn Orders---I could not reconcile the traditional Golden Dawn oath (which includes a clause about not doing black magic) with the idea that a highly advertised speaker was actually a well-known black magician.

Cartman from South Park reminds me of Koetting.
But I do have a couple of thoughts about this situation that might surprise you.

For instance, I have seen some fuss over the fact that E. A. Koetting is a pen name. Sorry, but a lot of occult writers write under pen names---it is nothing new. And Koetting's real name has been known for awhile. Get over the fact that Koetting is a pen name.

There has also been jokes made that Koetting works a day job---a carpet cleaner---again, get over it. I cannot name a single occultist, who does not have a day job. Even when you are charging big money for workshops and merchandise, occultism does not pay well. And yes, Koetting's day job is not glamorous. Well, none of my day jobs have been glamorous (minimum wage restaurant work, writer of forbidden taboo erotica, house husband). And for some reason, magic---even black magic---is not really useful for acquiring money without a path for the money to come though.

Now I will admit that I am appalled that Koetting got arrested---it makes all occultists look bad to a certain extent. It is probably worse because Koetting talked about avoiding cops and doing illegal things in at least one of his videos. If you are a Living God and know that you could be arrested, one would think that one would take steps not to be arrested.

But the charges---I have mixed feelings about the actual charges. On one hand, getting arrested with a gun when you legally unable to own one, just makes you look suspicious. On the other hand, I am not really on board with the United States extended war on drugs. At the very least, I think that marijuana should not be illegal (the other drugs, I am not so sure about---honestly, I am not up on the research of how much damage they actually cause). I voted in favor of both medical and recreational marijuana---so in my mind, at least one of the drug charges should not even exist.

And are we really surprised that Koetting takes drugs? I think that we could have all made a fair bet on that one.

Besides, the usual offense that occultists seem to arrested for is sexual misdeeds. This incident looks almost positive compared to the normal offense. It could have been worse, much worse.

And before you ask, I am still not an E. A. Koetting fan---but no one should be surprised by that one.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Cypher lunch (What the Cipher Manuscript says and does not say about the Tarot)

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The theme of this Samhain Tarot Blog Hop is feasting with our honored ancestors. Out of all the ancestors that I could raise a glass of mead with, the one that I would like to have a discussion with the most is a spiritual and magical ancestor, and not a blood relative.

One of the spiritual and magical ancestors of all students of the Golden Dawn tradition is the creator of the Cipher Manuscript. The Cipher Manuscript is the foundational document of the entire Golden Dawn system---without the Cipher Manuscript, the Order of the Golden Dawn would have never existed. The Cipher Manuscript is an outline of the Outer Order Grade rituals and subjects of study, enciphered with a substitution alphabet. 

The most likely creator of the Cipher Manuscript was a Kenneth Mackenzie, Masonic scholar and occultist. Exactly who Mackenzie meant the rituals outlined in the Cipher Manuscript for we will probably never know for sure---but we do know that the rituals were not meant for Westcott and Mathers. Probably written sometime between 1860 and 1875, the Cipher Manuscript came into the possession of William Wynn Westcott after the death of Mackenzie in 1886. Westcott, with the help of his friend, Samuel Liddell Mathers, deciphered the Cipher Manuscript and fleshed out the rituals, creating a working Order in 1888.

A page from the Cipher Manuscript---part of the 2=9 (Theoricus) initiation ritual.
 One of the features of the Golden Dawn system outlined in the Cipher Manuscript is a Tarot scheme that has became a part of the way many people read Tarot, even if they have never heard of Golden Dawn.

Cipher Manuscript--Universe card description.
The first mention of the Tarot in the Cipher Manuscript occurs in the Knowledge Lecture outline of the Zelator Grade---it is a list of the four suits of the Tarot.

The second mention of the Tarot occurs in the Theoricus Grade initiation, a ritual where the initiate is shown a key of the Tarot. In this case, it is the Universe card, which is described as 72 circles around Queen Isis, who is also Sandalphon, who bears wands and has crossed legs; there is also a seven pointed star, and four Kerubim in the corners of the card.

Cipher Manuscript--drawing of the Judgment card.
The next initiation ritual (Practicus) introduces the initiate to two more of the Tarot cards. The first card is Judgment. Of this card, the Cipher Manuscript mentions that it "is much more than the last judgment."

Cipher Manuscript--drawing of the Sun card.
The second card introduced in the Practicus ritual is the Sun. Both Judgment and the Sun are roughly illustrated in the pages of the Cipher Manuscript.

Among the knowledge to be learned in the Practicus Grade is a system of "synonyms in tarot divination," a system of astrological correspondences that has made its way outside of Golden Dawn and is used by many Tarot readers, often without knowing that the system that they are using was a creation of the mysterious creator of the first draft of the rituals of Golden Dawn.

If you have ever used "Emperor is Aries; Hierophant (High Priest) is Taurus...," then you have used the system of correspondences that were first outlined in the Golden Dawn Cipher Manuscript.

Also included in this section of the Cipher Manuscript was a Tarot Lecture, talking about the four suits of the Tarot corresponding to the four worlds of the Kabbalah. The Lecture expounds for the initiate to "behold the true attribution of the Tarot--ponder it in thy heart--[reveal] not to the profane." The Lecture also mentions that the Keys of Strength and Justice need to be switched to correspond to the true attributions of the esoteric system of the Tarot, the true Book of Thoth.

Cipher Manuscript--drawing of the Moon card.
The next Grade initiation ritual (Philosophus) has three Tarot cards, all illustrated in the Cipher Manuscript. The first card is the Moon card, complete with crayfish.

Cipher Manuscript--drawing of the Star card.
The next card is the Star, which is Sirius, with Isis kneeling with water at her feet. There is a Tree of Life and the seven classical planets also on the card.

Cipher Manuscript--drawing of the Tower card.
The final card illustrated is the Tower, which the Cipher Manuscript associates with the tower of Babel. A downward symbol of Mars, a regular Tree of Life, and a Tree associated with the Qlippoth (evil inclined astral shells) surround the broken tower and falling figure.

At the end of the Philosophus ritual, the Cipher manuscript comes to an end. And while the Cipher Manuscript gives the "true" astrological correspondences to the Tarot trumps, there is a lot that the creator of the Cipher Manuscript does not tell us.

For instance, we are only shown the "true" depiction of six of the trump cards. One of the things that I would love to conjure the ghost of the creator of the Cipher Manuscript, and ask of it is "What do the rest of the Tarot trumps look like?" While later leaders of the Golden Dawn tradition have fleshed out the reminder of the Tarot deck, we have no idea what the original creator of Golden Dawn had in mind for the rest of the Tarot deck.

Likewise, we have no idea of what the rest of the rituals of the tradition were originally meant to be like---the additional rituals that we have were created by other people. Nor do we know what other sections of Tarot study that the creator of the Cipher Manuscript meant to include in the system.

Quite frankly, the creator of the Cipher Manuscript left more unfinished than finished when you actually look at the whole of the system. Nevertheless, without this slim outline, the tradition of Golden Dawn and its way of reading the Tarot would have never happened.

And I am not the only student of the Golden Dawn tradition that would like to ask the creator of the Cipher Manuscript a few dozen questions. I am merely one of the pushy ones at the front of the line.

Happy Samhain!

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Happy Halloween! (Halloween Kitty)

Happy Halloween! says Witch Kitten.
Happy Halloween! And so we end another happy holiday season with loads of candy catnip, costumes, and cats being cats.

Poor kitty eaten by a pumpkin.

Lolcat is not amused by Halloween.

Try a fun sized Kit-Kat.

Angel Cat is ready to trick or treat.

Bat Cat tries to look scary.

Franken-Cat is not sure about his costume.

Witch Kitten brews up some Halloween magic.

At midnight, witch kitties will fly on their magical broomstick.
The recipe for scary Jack-o-lanterns.
Grumpy Cat voices her opinion of Halloween.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Animal Cat (Halloween Kitty)

Goat Cat surveys his forest.
Some cat owners fantasize about having other animals, so they dress their cats up as other animals. This trend completely ignores the fact that cats are the best animals on the planet, and that humans should be thankful that cats choose to live with their human pets servants. Put an end to the insanity and wake up to the fact that the best animal is a cat. Now go get your cat some tuna and catnip!

Another Goat Cat.

Sheep Cat.

Teddy Bear Cat is so sweet, sweet as honey.

Chicken Cat wants to lay an egg in your shoe.

Frog Cat has his eye on you.

Dinosaur Cat is so cute.

Tiger Cat is so sad.

This Tiger Cat says "Smell my feet."

Duck Cat will not swim.

Bat Cat wants your blood.

Bunny Cat waits for Easter.

Mouse Kitty protests your costume choice.

Lion Cat shows off his inner awesomeness.

This cat is dressed up and labed clearly as being a cat.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pirate Cat (Halloween Kitty)

Pirate Kitty steals your ahhhs.
 Cats and kittens just love to dress up as pirates. Ok, maybe not. But there are sure a lot of pictures of pirate cats on the internet. I am not sure if this is because of the behavior of cats---kitties are natural pirates---or just the fact that people love pirates. We all played pirates as kids, didn't we? Maybe it was just me. Anyway, no matter what the reason---here are some pictures of pirate cats to brighten your day.

Oh, how our definition of Pirate has changed.

What is a pirate without a parrot?

Pirate Kitty has a toilet paper roll leg.

Pirate Cat watches out for the red dot.

Plunder your living room, your kitchen, your office, your bedroom...

Pirate Cat wonders why all the rum is gone.

Perhaps the cutest Pirate Cat of all.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Detective Cat is on the case (Halloween Kitty)

Sherlock Cat is on the case.
 Cats are natural detectives. Or at least, my cats are. They must examine all the evidence brought into the house, touch all the doughnuts, see if things are breakable, and interrogate me about what I was doing outside of the house. With a dog, you can get away with murder---with a cat, you are guilty until proven innocent.

Hercule Poirot---ze famous cat-detective.

The treatment I get every time I return to the house.

Good cat cop, bad cat cop.

Hard boiled detective cat.

Isn't the dog always the guilty party?

A cat murder is no problem.

Clearly, this was a suicide.