Tarot: Majors Above and Minors Below

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I was making coffee earlier, and because coffee makes magic things happen, I was suddenly struck with this analogy from nowhere, explaining how Major and Minor cards in Tarot relate to each other overall.  Try this on for size:

In many bodies of classical mythology, you have your humans living on the mortal plane, and then you have some pantheon of Deities inhabiting a higher, more elevated realm.  By way of examples, in Greek Mythology, you have Zeus and the other primary Goddesses and Gods headquartered atop Mount Olympus, while the humans run around way down below at sea level…in Norse Mythology, Odin and his fellow Deities reside in the lofty domain known as Asgard, and again, the humans are scattered about far below.  Deities and humans being what they are, the Goddesses and Gods are free to come and go as they please, entering the mortal plane at will, and stirring things up in human affairs as they desire…but the same is not true in reverse.  Humans can’t simply gate-crash their way into the godly realms.  In fact, it’s a pretty rare event when a human can even find the godly realms, much less travel there and gain entry.  For mortals in general, the godly realms are Invite Only, and those invites are about as rare as birds’ teeth.

So the point is that while individual cards do work together in readings, a convincing case can be made for the notion that outside of readings, when the cards are just sort of existing in conceptual space…the Majors are like those Deities, inhabiting some rarefied stratum of existence way high above, and going wherever they like, while the Minors are much more limited, and are largely confined to a more mundane realm somewhere far down below.  This goes hand in hand with the commonly trumpeted dictum that Majors represent big, cosmic forces, while Minors deal with everyday affairs…my coffee-epiphany just puts the notion into a more mythology-centric context.  I don’t know, it fits into my own brain real nice, anyway…

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Astrology/Tarot Mapping: The Magician

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The astrological symbol most often tied to The Magician is the Planet Mercury.

How well does this correspondence work…? For me personally, I like it pretty well, and I can see why people embrace it. In Astrology, Mercury symbolizes many of our active cognitive functions: thinking, reasoning, data-gathering through the senses. It’s also about communication, whether that be through speech, writing, language, symbols, math. The astrological Mercury is often connected with what we might call “Language Gods” from various mythologies, such as Odin, Hermes, Thoth… In fact, the name of the Planet derives from the name that the Romans gave to their version of the Greek God, Hermes, which name was…Mercury.

And check this out: our word for the middle day of the working week, Wednesday, comes from the Old English name for Odin, which was Woden (“Woden’s Day” –> “Wednesday”). And then look at the name for the same day in several of the Romance languages, and you see a certain pattern emerge: Spanish (Miercoles), French (Mercredi), Italian (Mercoledi), Romanian (Miercuri), Latin (dies Mercurii). Odin and Mercury congregate in that day-name, so now once every week, we quietly acknowledge the importance of the Language God concept as embodied in a name…which would probably please a Language God!

And I can see all of this in The Magician. He channels Divine Energy down into the mundane realms, and gives it specific form and effect via application of will and language. Naming and defining things often grants power – this is why in many mythologies and belief systems, it’s considered dangerous to hand out your true name like a modern-day networker would hand out business cards. You never know who might gain power over you…

Chiron Return Runes

IMG_4627After my exact Chiron Return happened the other day, and I had the great Odin dream that I posted about, I decided to scatter a few Runes to get some more info. Here’s the result (except the cluster of three in the center had all landed face-down). It looks to me like some seriously metaphysical stuff lies ahead, overall…

Runes are a great alternative to Tarot cards, by the way, and in my own view, a bit underrated in modern metaphysical circles.  They’re purely symbolic — they’re literally letters from the ancient alphabet that was used by some of the various seafaring Germanic tribespeople that we kind of lump together under the heading of “Vikings” — so they lack the pictorial allure of Tarot cards, but they’re also arguably more primal and more user-friendly for anyone with shamanic leanings.  Well worth investigating!

Happy Chiron Return to Me!!!

IMG_4607So for any of you who might be Astrology-minded, today marks my exact Chiron Return. Unless you manage to live long enough that your age hits the triple-digits, then the Chiron Return is pretty much going to be a once in a lifetime kind of event.

Interesting that mine happens on April Fool’s Day, too!

Chiron is associated with concepts that revolve around wounds and healing. During the Chiron Return period – which lasts for several months, all told – these issues can be greatly magnified.  Profound, sweeping changes and revelations can come through.

Last night – quite possibly even at the precise split-second moment when Chiron was hitting exactitude with the point it had occupied in the sky when I was born – I had a dream that I was visited by the Norse God, Odin.

Not that much happened in the dream. We chatted. We hung out. His Ravens were there. Wolves, too, and Sleipnir (= his eight-legged Horse). Odin is an incredibly complex figure. He and his brothers overthrew and killed their tyrannical father and then built the Earth from his carcass. Odin famously sacrificed himself to himself, manifesting the Runes, and he also gave up one of his eyes so he could drink from the Well of Wisdom.

In my dream, he told me, kindly but firmly, that it’s time for me to stop fucking around, and get busy. Like, in life. Now. And that was about it for the dream. But that’s probably plenty!

Oh, yeah, and I like to draw a Rune each morning to start my day. This morning’s Rune was Ansuz, which literally means…Odin #truestory

So Happy Chiron Return to me…

Mythology in Tarot

IMG_4535Like some kind of conceptual ore, Mythology is a rich vein of material that runs mostly hidden through the bedrock of Tarot. In many ways, you don’t need to know any of it in order to be a skillful, happy, and fulfilled Tarot practitioner…but it can seriously enrich your Tarot game if you do enjoy the study of it. If you know what to look for, you can find references in Tarot to Greek, Egyptian, and Norse Mythology (among others) without straining.

In fact, Anubis — the jackal-headed God shown here, alongside his mother, the glorious Goddess of Nighttime and Magic, Nephthys — appears outright on the Wheel of Fortune card in the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot, the most widely-used deck in the world. The second most popular pack of Tarot cards, the Crowley-Harris Thoth deck, is named for another Egyptian God…

Elsewhere, the Greek Goddess and eventual Queen of the Underworld, Persephone, is often cited as a correlation for The High Priestess, while Odin, the King of the Norse Pantheon, is widely associated with The Hanged Man. These are just a few of the most prominent examples. Other Deities from various bodies of World Mythology can be seen in many of the other Tarot cards.

So do you use Mythology very much in your Tarot practice? Do you know it but not really draw on it? Do you keep track of the Goddesses and Gods who correspond with the Planets, whether for use with Astrology or for Tarot? Or if you don’t know much about Mythology, is it something you’d like to learn more about?

Odin’s Day

IMG_4022It’s Wednesday…so here’s a fun Wednesday fact… Did you know that Wednesday is named for Odin, the King of the Norse Pantheon of Deities? An incredibly complex and compelling figure, Odin is, among other things, a God of knowledge, magic, war, language, and certain aspects of the afterlife. He has as familiars a pair of Ravens, a pair of Wolves, and an eight-legged Horse, and he also has in his possession a magic Spear and an enchanted Armband. A constant seeker of wisdom, Odin gave up one of his eyes as the price for drinking from a sorcerous wellspring of knowledge, and he engaged in a ritual in which he gored himself with his Spear, then hung himself on the great World Tree for nine days and nights, and at the conclusion of this ordeal, the Runes – an ancient alphabet that represented the birth of written language into existence – appeared on the ground below him. His name in Old English was Woden…so, Woden’s Day then —> Wednesday now. Happy Odin’s Day, everyone!

The Personal Myth Spread

What are the details of the Myth that you're starring in right now...?
What are the details of the Myth that you’re starring in right now…?

What if you were the main character in a Myth? Imagine your life story being recast in archetypal form, like you were a figure in some tale out of something like Greek or Norse Mythology, or Egyptian, Aztec, Slavic, Yoruban…you name it. Your life is a hero’s journey… But exactly what tale is it??

Here's Atalanta, priestess of Artemis, immortalized in bronze by Paul Manship in 1921 for her prowess as a huntress, her devotion to her Benefactress' ideals, and for her unparalleled foot-speed...what attributes of yours will be cast in metal by some admiring craftsperson??
Here’s Atalanta, priestess of Artemis, immortalized in bronze by Paul Manship in 1921 for her prowess as a huntress, her devotion to her Benefactress’ ideals, and for her unparalleled foot-speed…what attributes of yours will be cast in metal by some admiring craftsperson??

1 = Hero. This describes you in mythic terms. Orpheus was a great musician. Atalanta was a speedster, and a “woman in a man’s world.” Odysseus was a thinking hero, relying more on wisdom than on pure brawn. Heracles was brawn incarnate, and operated as a bit of a monster-slayer… So what kind of hero are you?

2 = Benefactor. Many great heroes have had Divine support in their various campaigns: Jason most likely would never have gotten his mitts on that Golden Fleece if not for the Olympian aid of the great Goddess of Wisdom Herself, Grey-Eyed Athena…while Perseus would have been tapped out before his own quest ever got underway if not for the interventions of both Athena and Hermes, the brilliant Messenger-God. So which Mythic Figure or Archetype is your patron, guiding you and watching your back?

3 = Magic Item. King Arthur had his magic sword, Excalibur. Wonder Woman has her golden lasso. There are Odin’s enchanted spear, Zeus’ thunderbolts, Thor’s hammer, the tridents of Shiva and Poseidon… There’s Hades’ Cap of Invisibility, and Idunna’s apples of youth, and Frey’s magic boat that always finds a friendly wind, and can be folded up and put away in his pocket when not in use… What are your magic implements? Are they weapons? Is it clothing? Is it books or plants or transport? What’s up with your magic paraphernalia…?

4 = Road Ahead. What is the nature of your quest? What are you attempting to do or learn? What is your overriding, defining mission? Oedipus was trying to escape a dark prophecy. Inanna and Persephone were both forced to descend into the Underworld. Paris wanted to steal beauty. Stephen Strange sought to become the greatest sorcerer in the world… What’s your own hero’s mandate?

Perseus was sent to kill Medusa, whose gaze turned the living to stone -- who's your nemesis, or the monster you were born to confront...?  Image by Wilhelm Janson, 1606...
Perseus was sent to kill Medusa, whose gaze turned the living to stone — who’s your nemesis, or the monster you were born to confront…? Image by Wilhelm Janson, 1606…

5 = Nemesis. A hero can often best be evaluated by the quality of their greatest enemy. Holmes has his Moriarty, Batman his Joker, and Little Red Riding Hood her Big Bad Wolf. The children of Derry had Pennywise the Clown. The Roadrunner has the Coyote, and the Spy In Black and the Spy In White have each other over in the pages of “Spy Vs. Spy.” Who do you have as a dark reflection of yourself? Who’s your arch-foe? What monster were you put on Earth to slay (or die trying)…?

Do you need a hand plotting out your own Personal Myth?  I’m not the Oracle at Delphi, but I’d be happy to run this spread for you…  Book a private reading with me today!