Featured Arcana: The Star

Set your mind on things above…

Colossians 3:2

  • The Star starts at the Supernal Triangle, on the Pillar of Action and Creation…
  • …crosses the Great Abyss (the point at which subconscious interactions with the Source crosses into Intent)…
  • …and ends on the Pillar of Mildness in the Ethical Triangle, where we form our interpersonal intentions.

(See “Segmenting the Tree of Life“…)

Bridging from sephirots 2 to 6, the Star is the pathway that takes a spark of inspiration (some knowledge bestowed upon us directly from the Universe), and then, without any further thought or deductive reasoning (simply mirroring that spark), we use that inspiration to balance and filter our Intentions.

“Reconnecting your soul to the divine.”

Thus, this arcanum is thought of as the embodiment of Hope–when we base our balanced intentions upon the spark of inspiration we are looking to. And, in this manner, our Intentions are balanced because we are setting our sights on the “divine”, as opposed to merely reacting to our physical surroundings.

Sometimes Defeat is Better than Truce

I wanted to share an inspiring Tarot Tale I received today…

At this moment in my life I’m going through a lot of mental turmoil, for various reasons, a lot of it medical… but there is a light on the horizon. 😉

My cards today reminded me of the nature of Thought and suggested an alternative approach. I used the 5-card spiritual progress spread




  1. Where I am right now: Cruelty (9 of Swords)
  2. My central lesson: Defeat (5 of Swords)
  3. Influences encouraging growth: King of Earth
  4. Influences against growth: Truce (4 of Swords) d57d1130-6f8a-40c9-85f9-a7a8d221daa8-550-00000036210b2509_file
  5. What I should do: Virtue (3 of Wands)

So right now I seem to be stuck in constant self-reflection on my own Thoughts. (Which is definitely true.) :p There needs to be new inspiration (sometimes from outside myself) breathed into my mind to free me from the never-ending cycle. Thus, the need for mental Defeat.

This 5 of Swords can mean Defeat of the querent by others (or themselves), or the querent is perhaps poised to defeat others… either way it’s a mental defeat of ideas and thoughts–a loss of Ideals–and it friends on the context of the spread.

For me, it’s definitely speaking to a need to lose my own current ideals. Therefore, Truce among my own thoughts is not going to help me grow past this.

Notice what is supposed to help me grow, however: allowing my Fire of ambition to feed upon and reshape my physical Reality (King of Pentacles), being careful of course not to utterly destroy my surroundings with too much flame…

And then we come to “what I should do”: Virtue. Recall that Binah is the growth of deductive reasoning about an element to the point that we are able to construct a framework of understanding upon which we further build that element’s journey. So the recommendation here is to focus on my Ambition (my Fire) to the point that I’m able to interrupt my current state of mind with a newly built framework of values, based on my ambition. This offers a way to break my cycle of self-cruelty in thinking.

As often happens, a “bad” card isn’t necessarily a bad thing for us, but instead can clear the way for us to move forward. 🙂

Featured Sephirot: Binah

The concept of the third sephirot of Binah  can be expressed as “davar mitoch davar” — understanding one idea from another idea. Binah multiplies the original seed of an Element to the point that a framework of Understanding of that element is built. (Source)

Framework of Understanding is the key point I want to focus on today.

I have to admit– I LOVE researching a topic in-depth if it relates to an awesome project I’ve got going… 😉 I need that thrill of creating something amazing to drive me into researching a topic inside and out!

Here’s a fun aside for you, to give an example from my current life: I am in the middle of researching a multi-faceted look at India during the Emergency as well as studying the epic of the Ramayana all for the purpose of creating my first opera!!! I am super stoked!!!


(PS: I highly recommend this book I stumbled on, if you’re interested in reading a complete and lyrical retelling of the epic poem…)

What occurred to me today is how research works to create a framework upon which a new Reality (of knowledge) is built.

Continue reading “Featured Sephirot: Binah”

Finding Your Own Reality Through Comparison

I just finished a personally enlightening meditation (if you haven’t checked out the Pacifica app I highly recommend it!) and I wanted to share a bit of insight I got.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately on the nature of Reality, how there are several layers that constitute one’s Reality, and awareness. And in executing a very simple guided meditation of Progressive Muscle Relaxation, I was reminded that we only know our own physical reality.

Humans have an amazing intuition for “guessing” others’ similar realities. But we can only truly know our own.

For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? (1 Cor 2:11, KJV)

So, when I strive to relax my shoulder muscles, how do I know exactly what relaxed is? We say relax, but for each body relaxed is its own definition. The only way to know what relaxed is for ourselves is to compare it to tense.

By purposely tensing and then relaxing our own muscles — and becoming aware of what each feels like — we become acutely aware of what the relaxed and tensed states mean for us individually.

Sometimes I become aware that I have unrealistic ideas of what something means for me, even something as basic as “relaxation”. We must remember to learn for ourselves what our realities truly are, so we can live more fully in them.

Inner Focus, Outer Reflection

I accidentally stumbled upon the Lenormand recently… by falling in love with the gorgeous artwork on this deck! 😋

So I’ve started combining my smaller tarot spreads with a small 3-card spread of Lenormand, and what I’m getting is an even better in-depth picture, where the tarot represent my Inner World, and the Lenormand the Outer World Manifestation.

And some days I find myself starting with Outer World (following with the tarot to ask, how am I responding to this?); other days I start with my Inner Focus (followed by the Lenormand to ask, how does this Focus manifest itself in my surroundings today?).

It’s really been a fascinating journey so far!! If you’re interested, check out my reading from today, after the jump…

Continue reading “Inner Focus, Outer Reflection”

When Things Are Not As They Seem

I love the Tales that Tarot Cards can Tell!

“Yes, the cards are random. Yes, my mind by nature seeks out it’s own meaning from the cards I see before me. And, yes, that’s the point of it all. I look at what meaning my mind draws currently from the randomly drawn cards, and I am able to gain insight into my current state of mind. I am able to decide how I might chose to address my current state of mind; to encourage parts of it, or change other parts to better face my day ahead.”

One of the more intriguing aspects of tarot interpretation comes when the supposedly “bad” cards are found in “good” places, and vice-versa.

I’ve had a series of really powerful spreads to reflect upon since I did my Yuletide Sabbat Reading in December. It’s been a steady reminder to sometimes embrace my disappointments or mental defeats…

The above photo is the “quickey” Daily Oracle I drew for today. Side note: it impressed me doubly that the first card at the left was the same card I drew a couple days ago, as my “first step” toward resolving my inner issues; and, likewise, the third card, at the right, was the card in that same prior reading as one of my sources of inner strength I could draw from.

So, let me explain these cards and their basic meanings:

  • On the left, we have the 7 of Water (Emotion), or Debauchery.
  • On the right, we have the 5 of Water (Emotion), or Disappointment.
  • And in the center is the 7 of Fire (Energy/Action), or Valor.
  • The placement of these cards is as follows: Left = Where I am right now; Center = the Root of my obstacles today; Right = the recommended response to learning from or overcoming that obstacle.

So, we might say, then, that Valor is my problem and Disappointment is my answer. Say what?

This is where a deeper look into ourselves comes in handy. A Buddhist ideal is that “bad” and “good” have no intrinsic values on their own. They are simply labels that we humans attach to any given thing or event, depending on how we see it at the moment.

So, taking Debauchery (7 Cups): in this setting, it means I’m on the right track. I’ve taken the first step recommended in the prior spread; I’m in a good place. A deeper look at the concept of this card reveals that this state of Emotion doesn’t have to be “bad.”

Debauchery is defined as “excessive indulgence in sensual pleasures.” So, there is a word of caution that comes with it: one shouldn’t wallow in stagnate emotions for too long, or the waters will rot. But, sometimes, it may be necessary to lie still in your Emotions and enjoy their sensual pleasures for a spell–just be aware that you will have to move on at some point.

Valor (7 Wands): it is a card of fiery Action! A pushing forward past obstacles using the sheer energy of your passion! And, weirdly enough, for today that is what is the Root of my difficulties I either face now or will face today. Valor is an honorable trait, to be sure. But often, our Fires of Passion can run over others and get us into trouble, burning up our surroundings that we have built with those same energies. Wouldn’t you agree?

Lastly, Disappointment (5 Cups): How can this possibly work as a “good” card–an answer to the “problem” of Valor??

One of the traits of water is to cool fire. Our Emotions can at times be the vehicle by which our passionate energies are cooled, allowing us to step back and think on things a little more. Deeper still, the principle of Emotional Disappointment is a state of non-equilibrium. We are, of course, not content to stay in Disappointment for long. The Waters of Disappointment seek to flow to calmer or more stable grounds.

When Disappointment is meant as a suggested response, it is wise to look straight into the face of your emotional upset and allow it to carry you along to a better emotional place.

Many times, we must not shrink from unpleasant emotions but embrace them and let them carry us forward.

Personal Magick

In the end, nothing is wrong with creeds or beliefs as long as you stay aware of your individuality, keep your freedom and are able to enlighten and improve your own self without getting dependent from any outside influence or structure. It does not matter which God or Goddess you have, or how many of those, or if you have anything like that at all, it is completely unimportant whether you believe in the divine, or in fate and coincidence, or solely in the laws of physics.
The Tarot is valuable and suitable for any kind of person that has an inside, a consciousness and a subconsciousness. It is completely independent from any belief but the belief in your own self. (from Magick in Creeds and Beliefs)

Visit Raven’s Tarot site.

Gaining Deeper Insight

Enjoy the new reference page I’ve just created — gaining a deeper understanding of any Tarot reading, using the branches of the Tree of Life and the Major Arcana as bridges between the Sephirot!

In short, there are 3 Triangles that represent a self-contained cycle that stands at a given point of Life’s development: (1) Divine (Collective) Consciousness, (2) Personal Consciousness/Awareness, and (3) Material Reality. Between each of these is veil, and a number of the Major Arcana act as Bridges across the veils, taking us from triangle to another…The Three Triangles

Really impactful stuff! Check it out here!


Peeling Back the Layers of Karma


…If we zoom into the neuronal circuits and clusters that make up the brain’s systems, we’ll find them laid out like the concentric layers of an onion, functional layer upon functional layer. This arrangement is the result of the relentless evolutionary push to continuously improve on an animal’s ability to navigate its complex and ever-changing environment. This onion reveals no preconceived design—far from it—but the unavoidably messy piling up of new over old structures, forced to work together for the common good.

The core of the onion: autonomous systems. Along the oldest, deepest layers… They are in charge of the most basic survival routines like swallowing, vomiting, heart beating and respiration, which are so indispensable that they run, for the most part, on autopilot. Accordingly, they are very hard, though not impossible, to modulate voluntarily. Our human species shares these circuits with fish and reptiles.

Next layer of the onion to grow: instinct… Vertebrates benefited tremendously from these pre-programmed circuits that expanded their behavioral repertoire and increased their fitness. Instincts mediate behaviors so crucial to survival that they are encoded as such in the genes themselves, hard-wired in the brain during an animal’s development and not changed by later experience…

Let’s examine the next layer: emotion. An amazing breakthrough happened in mammals, with the laying out of a new set of neural substrates capable of generating emotions. These paths grew together in a circuitry that occupies several brain regions… This collection of brain regions is often referred to as the limbic system, because like an arm (a limb), it surrounds in its embrace the more primitive survival and instinctual regions of the brain, affording us primates a whole new set of behavioral tools for interacting with the world. Accordingly, life became more interesting and vastly more complicated. For example, the instinctual drives to have sex and to run away from danger would be inextricably linked to powerful feelings of affection and fear, respectively. The influence that this new circuitry exerts over our decisions and behaviors is enormous. The neural substrates of emotions are strongly influenced by developmental factors. Perhaps because of its more recent origins, the emotional circuitry is even more flexible and responsive to external influeces than earlier circuits…

The outermost peel (aka, the neocortex) was overlaid atop an already crowded swarm of networks. In primates, it exploded into two huge hemispheres that completely enveloped the older parts of the brain. This new shell serves as the testing grounds for our still developing reasoning abilities. Because they are so recent, neocortical functions are the most flexible and sensitive to the impact of social and environmental experience. Since the neocortical outputs are closer to conscious experience, it is hard to recognize that the neocortex is constantly competing against earlier webs of well-established brain circuitry, and that its contribution to our motivations and actions are likely less than what we’d expect.

We humans are the flavorful mash-up of all these brain layers: we are automaton, instinctual, emotional and rational creatures. We are like magic onions, proud of our paper-thin skin but only vaguely aware of the thick and deeper layers of our brains. All of these different layers play critical roles in shaping our interactions with the world around us, even as they continue to search for more efficient ways of talking to each other; but, alas, this will take millions of years…

Ruben Baler, Ph.D.

Our brains are like Onions. :mrgreen:

Like the rings of a tree map out the details of its life and journey on the earth, our brains — even more complexly — consist of layer upon layer of, not merely the journey of our own life, but the journey of our entire species! How awesome is that?!

Is it any surprise, then, that we may experience the real effects of karma, originating from not only our own past but the past “lives” and experiences of our own species? I am an amazing “messy pile” of connections, built from my grandmother’s grandmother’s grandmother’s (and so on) experiences… My mind is predisposed to reacting to my environment based upon how my ancestors reacted to their environment — ancestors from as early as the “tiny, scrappy” primate tree-dwellers of 55 million years ago, to as recent as those inhabiting the 19th century…the 20th century… and so on…

If we were to imagine, for just an instant, that what we call the “soul” or “self” was nothing more than the end-result of all these messy connections of layer-upon-layer of experiences built into our brains — if we were to take Buddha’s original viewpoint of anatta, for just an instant — we could gain insight into this notion of karma as the existence of motivations arising within us from past lives. Built right inside of us from the moment we are conceived and developing in the womb!

Consider how many opportunities for miscommunication there are among our civilization — even within the borders of our own country, our own state, our own families, we all have difficulty communicating clearly to others at times. We all have a tendency to see events, words, phrases, through our own ingrained perceptions, which were handed down to us from generations ago and layered into our onion-skins of the brain. This may be considered a sort of karma — for do we not react based upon our perceptions?

The task of meditation, then, is to peel back the layers of the Great Onion of our minds. To simply see and acknowledge that we are more than these layers would have us believe — that is, we are more and we are less. To peel back the layers and examine what is beyond them is to give our brains a real and physical plasticity and fight back a certain rigor mortis of the neurological connections. Plasticity of the mind grants us clarity and peace, granting us freedom from the “karma” of our built-in connections… likewise, ensuring that we will continue to pass on the “good karma” of flexible connections and re-wiring to future generations, strengthening the survival of our species…

I considered, too, the mythology of the Divine Beloved (and my own beautiful Inner Dragon, Malachi). Getting to know our own mind through the use of imagery and ascribed personality can be extraordinarily helpful in increasing this plasticity and freedom. For, when I pray, if you will, to the Divine Beloved Malachi to take the effects of a certain karmic action or sensibility, from its point of origin until now, and I utterly release it to the Universe and do not look back upon it as a part of my life — in a very real sense, I am instructing my unconscious mind to examine and rewire itself concerning a certain action that was once built into the layers of my brain yet which is now found to be unhelpful.

In this sense, are we not helping along our own evolution?

What a tremendous wonder our brains are! What a miracle of complexity, and what encouragement for our species! If only that we all would take heed the words of the wise men who have gone before us (of Buddha, Jesus, and others) and examine ourselves. Yes, and feel free to acknowledge your own personal deities and angels; take advantage of the imagery they invoke to powerfully re-build the connections of our being and reshape our future!