Grokking the Deck

The Ace of Swords from The Wild Unknown tarot deck by Kim Krans

Every once in a while I come across a tarot deck that demands my attention. The Wild Unknown deck is one of these. I resisted getting it for several years because I didn’t need anymore tarot decks. One only has so much storage in their house for such things, and a new deck means a new pouch for it and maybe even a new sparkly cloth for readings. It’s not just a deck, it’s an excuse to buy all the paraphernalia. Anyway, I finally broke down and bought it in June. I’m now not sure what I did without it, it is like having true second sight! Unlike many other decks which work on alchemical symbolism, archetypes, astrological associations and so on, the Wild Unknown functions for me on pure intuition. Oh, the other things are all there, but I don’t need them. I grok this deck and it seems to grok me right back. When it goes both ways, you know you have a winning tarot deck in your possession. So if you feel the call of one for years, it’s probably time to get it even if you have too many. If you feel the need to cut down and simplify, consider gifting an older deck you don’t use to someone else. It’s always good luck to receive a deck from a friend.

And that’s my tarot deck adoption message for today.

The Ace of Swords, which I pulled right before writing this entry, is telling me I need to meditate tonight to find clarity. Off I go to do that…

Of Miracles & Natural Order

One of the great questions of philosophy is, can a miracle truly occur? For some, it depends on how the term is defined. If a miracle is merely an unlikely occurrence, then the answer is easy. Yes. We all witness rare occurrences from time to time. From a sports team coming from far behind to win a championship no one thought them capable of, to accidents where someone narrowly escapes death. We often call these “miracles”, when perhaps they are more closely identified with chance occurrences with low probability.

More often we associate a true miracle when the laws of nature are broken. For instance, Jesus turning water into wine, walking on water, curing the sick, and his own resurrection from the dead. The Buddha was said to have the power of teleportation, the ability to duplicate himself, and manipulate the elements. The Prophet Muhammad was purported to manifest water, heal the sick and also had power over the elements. Today we also hear of modern day miracles which defy nature, such as shrines where people go to be healed or people claiming to see visions of God, saints or other types of entities.

So the question remains, do miracles really exist or are they just human projections on certain events? While we do have many reports of miracles, there are no proofs of miracles occurring to date. I think that’s a powerful statement in itself. There is no proof that has ever been recorded of a real, bonafide miracle.

Many theologians and theist philosophers, including Immanuel Kant, thought miracles didn’t matter. In fact, Kant though that miracles were actually a distraction from having faith. For Kant, miracles were the exception to the rule so it was better to not count on them in your life. Looking to the message of one’s faith was preferable to signs and wonders.

Philosophers such as J. L. Mackie and Michael Martin argue that interference with the natural order from God would prove that God wasn’t perfect. Why would God need to create miracles in the world if everything is going according to plan? Why would God play favorite and help some people and not others? Why would God let some people starve to death or be horribly injured, but save others from that fate through a miracle? Martin also suggests that somethings that appear as miracles to us, may not be God but anomalies that occur in nature that we simply cannot explain yet.

In Hermeticism, when one perfectly aligns themselves (the Below) to the Source Consciousness (the Above), they can achieve the Philosopher’s Stone.

I buy this. I think when we witness synchronicity, this has something to do with consciousness and quantum entanglement. It’s part of the natural order. I do not think a miracle has occurred. In fact, when I think of how magic, astrology and tarot work, I don’t think any of that is miraculous, but more of just how the world operates. I think our individual consciousness is connected to our higher-self or a higher state of consciousness, which may be thought of as our spirit. It’s the entity which keeps sending our soul on mission in the material world. Beyond that, I believe there is a collective consciousness that is societal which we all tap into on a planetary level, and a Source Consciousness which is singular, which all things in the universe share in as well. We share an archetypal bond and this is how things like astrology and tarot work and evolve over time. When we align with our higher-self and Universal Consciousness, we begin to notice synchronicities occurring in our lives. These may appear miraculous, but it’s merely part of the natural order unfolding.

Do miracles occur where the laws of nature are broken? I don’t think so, no. I think when they occur in sacred texts they are meant as metaphors to explain deeper truths. Does the death and resurrection of Jesus mean more if Christ was killed on our behalf as a sacrifice? Or does it mean more that Jesus was the perfect example to show us how to transform ourselves? The Christ story is the path we take to die to our old selves and be reborn as Divine spirits. It’s not about a physical miracle, but rather our spiritual reality if we choose that path.

The Devil Inside

“Gods suppressed become devils, and often it is these devils whom we first encounter when we turn inward.”

Joseph Campbell, Thou Art That: Transforming Religious Metaphor
The Devil, from Aleister Crowley’s Thoth deck

Today for my daily tarot card I pulled The Devil. I’ve learned to love this card because it’s a great reminder that we’re not just all connected through love and light, but also through shadow and darkness. One of my great lessons last year was that all the things that really irk and irritate me with others, are the things I do myself. I project my shadow all over others when I see the things, I hate in myself in their actions. It allows me to Otherize the shit out of it and distance myself from all the nasty cognitive dissonance I push deep down in my psyche. I don’t do that, they do that! They may or may not do that, but so do I. It’s how I’m able to recognize it outside of myself.

But that’s okay. We’re not creatures of pure love and light. We human beings are complex buggers. We’ve got a whole array of traits that range between delights and horrors. Sure, we all have angel light waiting to burst out of our hearts, but there’s a little demon in all of us too which also unites us. And I think therein lies the key for us to truly understand each other.

I this happens to you, see a doctor immediately

We’re all hung up on the light, but fail to understand the shadow. But lo and behold, that’s where all the shit flinging is located. The devil in me sees the devil in you. Because we refuse to acknowledge that it’s the devil inside of each of us that sees the devil in others, we persecute each other. In our own minds it’s, the superior Godbeing in me condemns the devil in you! The condemnation begins when we are divorced from our shadow, because we see ourselves as morally superior. The reality is, we’re being hypocrites.

When we are aware of our own shadow, we become aware of the shadow of others and how it came into being. We understand that the same pain, hardships and environmental forces that shaped us, shaped everyone one else. We all take on a different shape, but we all still have the bruises and scares made by those forces. Knowledge of this leads us to compassion and empathy, rather than condemnation.

We cannot embrace our Divine selves unless we embrace all opposites. A divine being is a whole being and contains both light and dark elements. Refusing to acknowledge the shadow and work with it, makes devils of us all.

“He’s going to lead you down the path of righteousness. I’m going to lead you down the path that rocks!”

Written in the Stars

I’m an Aries sun, Taurus rising, and Scorpio moon, thanks for asking!

A friend of mine went off again on how astrology is bogus and how people need to join the 21st century. The stars and planets cannot influence our reality, after all! I agreed with her, they don’t. And that’s the thing astrology downer types don’t get because they have no idea how astrology works. They get their knowledge from people who only have a passing knowledge of it themselves or from media. It’s sounds stupid to them (because it is) so they don’t research it any further. I understand this, I used to think astrology was bogus too for the same reason.

But this is like asking a random person to explain their religion to you. Most people know a couple of basics about it, but would score about 15% if you handed them a test. Many people think they know their religion, but really, they don’t. Some of the stuff they will tell you is way out in left field. I know this because I taught comparative religion for thirteen years and I had students do a research paper on their own religion to learn about it from an academic perspective. WAY too many didn’t bother to do the research part and handed me testimonials which reflected little knowledge of their faith (history, beliefs, rituals, holidays). Those who did the research were often surprised by what they learned.

This is to say, get you knowledge on a topic from and expert in the field who knows what they are talking about. And it’s also important to keep in mind that one source is not going to do it. Go to several sources, get a few opinions. Dig into a few books.

That said, I’m not an astrologer, so don’t take my words as expert knowledge. But my understanding is, no astrologer worth their salt thinks that the planets actually influence anything. They can’t. They’re just astrological bodies in space that barely affect us with their gravity, let alone control our fate.

Astrology works because the constellations and planets reflect human constructed archetypes on Earth. These archetypes are deeply rooted in the human psyche. Most humans share a connection to them. Through our history, the constellations and planets have taken on these representations encoded in our myths and stories. As the planets pass through the zodiac, they tell a story, teach lessons, hand out warnings, and so forth. Astrology is human psychology playing out. What happens in the stars isn’t their influence on us, it’s synchronicity.

Tarot works in the same way, though perhaps more personal.

I started following astrology about five years ago, but it’s only in the past three years that I started to take it more seriously. The people I pay attention to nailed 2020.