Magickal & Virtual Egregores in the 21st Century

by John L. Steadman

The high tech, pyrotechnic sci-fi writer William Gibson, in his novel Idoru (1996) envisions a future in which a virtual media star, Rei Toei, or the “idol”, marries Rex, a rock star, and the two then create a virtual place to live in Tokyo, in an akashic-type locale known as The Walled City, constructed from inverted kill-file software codes.  Gibson describes the idoru as basically disembodied information, though her holographic persona is artificially intelligent and creative, and the presentation itself is beautiful in an otherworldly way, at least according to human standards of beauty.

If he [Laney, who works as a net-runner in the book] anticipated her at all, it had been as some industrial-strength synthesis of Japan’s last three dozen top female media faces…. the formula tended to be even more rigid, in the case of software agents- eigen-heads, their features algorithmically derived from some human mean of proven popularity.  [But] she was nothing like that.  Her black hair, rough-cut and shining, brushed pale bare shoulders as she turned her head.  She had no eyebrows, and both her lids and lashes seemed to have been dusted with something white, leaving her dark pupils in stark contrast…. the idoru smiled, lit from within…[i]

What is most fascinating about the idoru is that since she is a pure form of information, she affects the mind of the onlooker in different ways; one of the people at the table where she is sitting – a very basic, unimaginative man, to be sure-  sees her as only a big aluminum thermos bottle.  But Laney experiences a nodal vision which takes the form of a narrative; the narrative intensifies when he looks directly at her face.

He seemed to cross a line.  In the very structure of her face, in geometries of underlying bone, lay coded histories of dynastic flight, privation, terrible migrations.  He saw stone tombs in steep alpine meadows, their lintels traced with snow.  A line of shaggy pack ponies, their breath white with cold, followed a trail about a canyon.  The curves of the river below were strokes of distant silver.  Iron harness bells clanked in the blue dusk…Laney shivered.  In his mouth a taste of rotten metal.[ii]

Obviously, the idoru can affect all of the senses of the imaginative person who is in its presence; Laney sees a group of images that reflect historical events in the early dynasties of Japan; flight, privation and migration.  The description is very well developed visually.  And, additionally, Laney’s other senses are stimulated; he hears bells; he feels cold, and he has the unpleasant taste of “rotten metal” in his mouth (this is an interesting sensation; metal can rust, but it can’t really rot and so, there seems to be an almost organic quality to this taste).

For the magickal practitioner who is reading Gibson’s description, he or she will immediately think: egregore, and this is perfectly right.  Egregores are magickal constructs, “beings” if you will, usually created by magickal practitioners for specific purposes and then, deconstructed by the said practitioner when that purpose is accomplished.  However, it is important to understand two important facts about egregores: (1) these beings, once created, have an independent existence from the magickal practitioners who created them; and (2) over time, if the egregore is not deconstructed but rather, allowed to continue its existence, then it will grow stronger and more powerful.  In occult literature, this outcome is often perceived as undesirable, since the egregore will eventually reach a level of development where it can no longer be deconstructed; essentially, it ends up uncontrollable.  For example, Konstantinos, in Summoning Spirits (2005), argues: “Sometimes, creating an egregore can be dangerous…. the legend of the golem illustrates this possibility in an accurate, yet allegorical way…. I recommend…a very careful reading of the actual story before attempting this type of magickal creation.”[iii]   I would argue, however, that egregores do not necessarily become “bad” or “evil” entities, unless their creators are bad or evil men or women.  Indeed, I would contend that egregore can be more or less equivalent to the idoru that Gibson describes above, i.e. benign entities that are thoroughly real in every sense of the term except the physical, and which, in turn, evolve over time and actually “learn” and become more complex, viable beings.  In fact, these entities can ultimately become repositories of information which magickal practitioners, in turn, can access and experience, often as narrative, even though these latter practitioners did not create the entity and have no connection with it other than the basic connection of seeing or experiencing it.

As a case in point, consider H. P. Lovecraft’s Great Old One Cthulhu.  This is a fictional entity, created by Lovecraft in the tale “The Call of Cthulhu” (1926).  Over the years since Lovecraft’s death, Cthulhu and the other Great Old Ones have achieved a level of independent existence and surely, they have grown in power and complexity, drawing energy not only from the countless fans and readers of sci-fi and horror and contemporary gaming culture, but also from a small but dedicated group of magickal practitioners who work with these entities in their magickal rites.  In the popular mind, Cthulhu is usually perceived as being “evil”; he is seen as a monstrous, humanoid creature with wings, sharp claws and teeth, and a face full of tentacles.  But is Cthulhu really a monster such as this?  And is he necessarily evil?  I am not so sure. Like the rest of the Great Old Ones, Cthulhu is rarely interested in humans or human concerns; his interest in humanity is essentially no different than the interest that most humans have in lower, insignificant life forms such as insects.  This attitude might be considered “evil”, but only from a human perspective.  What I find most interesting about Cthulhu and his peers, however, is that they tend to appear differently depending on the perspective and the cognitive level of the person who “experiences” them.  In fact, like Gibson’s idoru, complex egregores such as the Great Old Ones are best understood as experiences, as nodal visions, and even, at times, as narratives that play out the individual minds and the psyches of the observers.  Lovecraft makes this clear right from the onset in “The Call of Cthulhu.”  When Cthulhu’s sunken city R’lyeh resurfaces due to a disturbance in the Pacific Ocean, Cthulhu, momentarily free, is perceived in different ways by a group of sailors: some of them see him as a monster, snatching them up in his claws; others see him as only a vague, overwhelming shape- “A mountain walked, or stumbled”, as Lovecraft puts it.  And one of the sailors perceives Cthulhu in geometrical terms, i.e. as an acute angle that behaves as if it were obtuse.

Clearly, the affinity between egregores and virtual entities such as Gibson’s idoru demonstrates just how close the line between magick and science is becoming in the 21st century.  Skilled magickal practitioners have always possessed the ability to create virtual beings; the presentation is akashic rather than electronic, but the principle is exactly the same.  Scientists, however, are only now in the process of learning how to do this.   This circumstance is a good thing, since it indicates that the two disciplines, science and magick, will eventually become one in a not so distant future, just as they were in a not so distant past.  And as technology finds ways to bridge- at least electronically- the gaps between different dimensions and the diversity of worlds inside and outside of our solar system, magick will have to be there to serve as a philosophical and metaphysical underpinning, helping the scientist/magickian to interpret and understand rightly the wondrous things that are waiting to be discovered.

[i] Gibson, William. Idoru. New York, Berkley Books, Inc., 229-30.

[ii] Ibid., 230.

[iii] Konstantinos. Summoning Spirits: The Art of Magical Evocation.  Woodbury, Minnesota. Llewellyn Publications, 2003, 5.


John L. Steadman is the author of H.P. Lovecraft and the Black Magickal Tradition, a scholar of H. P. Lovecraft and western occultism and has been a magickal practitioner for more than thirty years. He is currently a college English professor at Olivet College in Michigan.

Tarot and Astrology Travels in Italy

by Marcia Masino

There are some “must see” locations for the Tarot and Astrology enthusiast planning a trip to Italy. My suggested itinerary will take you to Florence, Milan and Bologna with a stop at Garavicchio in the Tuscan countryside to experience the world-famous Tarot sculpture garden. I’ve also included an excursion to the world’s most famous zodiac cathedral in the hills outside Florence in the “gotta go there” category along with a Tarot themed restaurant, museum and rare bookshop.

Italy is regarded as the birthplace of the Tarot. The first recognised Tarot decks were recorded between 1430 and 1450 in Milan, Ferrara and Bologna. The oldest surviving tarot cards are from the mid 15th century and painted for the Visconti-Sforza family, the rulers of Milan. Cards are documented in a written statement in the court records in Florence, in 1440 for the first known time.tarot-and-astrology-travels-in-italy

Tuscany and The Tarot Garden

The Garden of Tarot is a sculpture garden based on the 22 Major Arcana cards created by the French artist Niki de Saint Phalle. Location – In the Italian village of Capalbio located in Garavicchio in the Maremma countryside Tuscany. St Phalle, along with love and collaborator Jean Tinguely designed and produced this architectural and archetypal masterpiece.

The sculptures and dwellings are huge, modern, recognizable, trippy, thoughtful and playful. They were made from soldered steel covered with cement then decorated with mosaics of ceramic, mirror and glass. The artist resided inside and worked on her sculpture garden for over twenty years.

St. Phalle stated that her Tarot garden was inspired by a dream she had about creating a sculpture garden. Motivated by faith and her love for humanity, she saw the garden as an “esoteric stroll “and viewed the cards as philosophical trials of self awareness and connection with the Universe. For St. Phalle her large than life Tarot constructions created a direct encounter with the archetypal world and it’s potential to heal and transform those who interact with it.  It is truly a tour de Force and something the Tarot world has to celebrate from this incomparable Scorpio artist.

Address: Pescia Fiorentina, Capalbio (GR)Opening hours:1 April to 15 October from 2.30 to 7.30. Closed: Closed from 16 October to 31 March, one free Saturday per month in winter. Ticket Full euro 12,00, Reduced euro 7,00.

Florence – Il Tarrochi Restaurant

My favorite eatery in my neighborhood in Florence was, ironically, Il Tarocchi, or The Tarot. I received the first copy of the first Tarot book I wrote when I was living in Florence and we went there for a celebratory feast.  The restaurant has Tarot card paintings on the walls above the booths and good pizzas. Very authentic and you’ll find close-by Gelaterias  ( Gelato joints) too. I Tarocchi I tarocchivia dei Renai 12/14r.Florence 50125.

Hillsides of Florence- San Miniato al Monte

Known as the Medieval Astrological Church, with secret symbolism and mystical healing energy. The celebrated basilica was designed with underlying astrological context in 1018 – the 13th Century and is, some believe, dedicated to esoteric sun or solar healing. Think – The Sun Card and The Hierophant when you spend time there and of course the Three of Pentacles.

San Miniato’s relationship with the sun mysteries is profound and my advice is to visit with your head and your heart. The expected elements of arcane design are present in this space – the idea of the interplay of sunlight shafts that illuminate secret meaning within a sacred space through the use of occult symbolism only known to initiates, astrological characters, zodiac wheel and much more await your exploration. If you go with an open heart, you’ll feel the energy of the hermetic wisdom ensconced there and be touched by it.

One is greeted by a zodiac mosaic floor in the main entranceway of the church. A Latin inscription lies on the pavement nearby and when translated it states the time, date and names of the planets involved with a rare celestial event that the astrologically informed founders used for the date to set the mosaic onto the cathedral floor. It was a rare constellational astrological event of a new crescent Moon with the planets Venus, Mercury, Jupiter with Saturn hidden behind the Sun in the constellation of Taurus in May 1207. At sunrise in May the sunlight aligns with the Taurus sector on the zodiac pavement and illuminates it. For those who love an occult mystery this church is a must see.

Bologna – Tarot Book shop and museum. Museo Dei Tarocchi – Via Arturo Palmieri, 5 40047 RIOLA di Vergato, (Bologna) Italy.

Milan –  Tarot Museum Milan, il Meneghello Via Fara 12, 20124 Milano, Italy. Italian Artist Osvaldo Menegazzi has art, decks, rare items, and more at his shop. By appointment.

Best times for travel – April, May, September and October, avoid the summer months if possible. Each of the locations are places to savour so allow ample time to really engage with the energy each offers. You may find significant memories, dreams and thoughts are evoked by these very special locations and a second inspired visit may end up on the agenda.

Good Journeys or Viaggio Sicuro!


Marcia Masino is a certified Grandmaster of tarot and author of the tarot classic Easy Tarot Guide. She has lectured at numerous tarot conferences and is a popular speaker for the Lily Dale Assembly workshop program. Her articles on metaphysical subjects have appeared in Fate and on the Web at http://mmasino.wixsite.com/tarotbooks. She lives in Pickering, Ontario, Canada.

BestTarot

Online Dating Spell for the Perfect Partner

by Lilith Dorsey

Many of us have had to kiss a lot of frogs before we found the Prince, or Princess, of our dreams. I had one friend who was out at a restaurant with her online date and he got up in the middle of things and started to proposition someone who was sitting at the bar. Did I say there are a lot of frogs out there? Keeping that in mind, there are many things you can do to help improve your chances of finding the perfect partner online as soon as possible.

There are other things to consider too before we take the plunge into the romantic internet pool. Maybe, until now, we have been working on ourselves, building our empire, raising our children, finding ourselves, healing ourselves, or otherwise too busy to start looking for the right partner. We must take all of this into account as we ready ourselves for a big step into a wider world. That is why the following spell includes elements for finding honesty, communication, healing, joy, passion, and last, but certainly not least, love in your new relationship.

Online Dating Spell Bath

Take this bath before you begin your online dating journey, if possible. It is best performed during the full moon.

Ingredients

3 drops carnation oil
3 drops ylang-ylang oil
3 drops rose oil
3 drops sandalwood oil
3 drops myrrh oil
3 drops gardenia oil
Pinch of dill
1 cup Spring Water

Combine all ingredients in your bathtub along with enough warm water to make you comfortable. Sit in the bath and say the following words:

I seek happiness, honesty, love and joy, 

May the universe guide me to my perfect (enter here what suits you best!) 

As you soak in the water, envision all the obstacles to love draining away and washing off you. Then inhale deeply, and absorb the positive energy of new beginnings created by the herbs and oils in the bath.

Best of luck and love to you on your journey!

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Lilith Dorsey, MA is a magical practitioner/voodoo priestess with training in several traditions, including Celtic, Afro-Caribbean (Santeria and Vodun), and Native American spiritualties. Her traditional education focused on plant science, anthropology, and film. She owns her own magickal consulting business, Branwen’s Pantry, and is editor/publisher of Oshun-African Magickal Quarterly. She is also the author of Voodoo and Afro-Caribbean Paganism and The African-American Ritual Cookbook. She has a degree in anthropology from the University of Rhode Island and an MFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

The Causes of Magickal Power: A Brief Essay

by John L. Steadman

Among occultists, there is some debate about the actual causes of magickal power. There are three schools of thought in play here.  First, there is the theory that the source of magickal power derives from the extra-terrestrial entities that are the target of magickal practice. This theory is certainly the earliest theory and can be considered as the “traditional” view.  The rituals used by magickal practitioners prior to the twentieth century were derived from the grimoires and magickal texts of the 13th, 15th and 16th centuries in western Europe, and these practitioners commonly assumed that the extraterrestrial entities, whether invoked or evoked, as the case might be, served as the “causes” of magickal power.  This is evident when we examine the texts of some of the actual grimoires, such as the Greater Key of Solomon, attributed to the historical King Solomon who lived in the 10th century B.C.E., but likely written by one of Solomon’s followers in the 12th or 13th centuries.

In these prototypical rites, the magickal practitioner not only exhorted the various demons or evil spirits to bring about the results he desires, but went so far as to offer prayers and supplications to angels, archangels and even God himself to compel the demons to do so.   As the medieval practitioner, did this, however, he believed that he was working with real, empirically-existent entities- as ontologically real, in fact, as he was himself.  This belief in the reality of the entities was, of course, held by the early church; the Holy Roman Catholic Church cited doctrine that “proved” God, Christ, the Holy Ghost, and the various angelic and demonic entities were actually in existence; Ephesians 6; Colossians 2:17; Job 4:18; Isiah 45:7.  Similarly, the Protestant sects, from the earliest times, accepted the ontological nature of angels and demons.  As a case in point, the great New England divine Cotton Mather, chief apologist for the Salem Witchcraft crisis of 1692, firmly believed that the afflicted girls were possessed by actual devils, and he himself had an encounter with what he saw as a “good angel when he was in his thirties. But Mather was very careful to state that the devils which afflicted the girls in Salem, though real devils, were allowed to do so only by the permission of God himself.  And likewise, Mather’s contact with his own angel was allowable only through God’s will.

The second school of thought about the source of magickal power is the “inner” explanation.  With the advent of psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, and psychiatry in the early 1900’s, many occultists shifted away from the strictly “outer” explanation towards the belief that magickal power originates in the mind and brain of human beings themselves.  Accordingly, or so these occultists argue, the extraterrestrial entities are not real, objectively existing beings, but rather, personifications of specific qualities and psychic predispositions that reside within each magickal practitioner. Thus, when a magickal practitioner evokes Metatron, for example, an archangel of the sphere of Kether, who manifests in a cloud of blinding white light- much like a conventional image (caricature?) of God, the Father- this being is only a mental construct and has no reality outside the mind of the magickal practitioner.  The practitioner is, in effect, “seeing things”.  In addition, Metatron would be entirely invisible to the physical eyes of any objective onlooker, even though the power of this entity can still be used by the practitioner for his or her own ends.  Therefore, the magickal power has its source in the mental, imaginative powers of the practitioner; the devices used in the ritual, the trappings, the image of the entity itself, etc., are only symbols that allow the practitioner to access inner reservoirs of psychic energy.

The third school of thought provides a compromise between the strictly “outer” and strictly “inner” positions, arguing that magickal power has both an outer and inner dimension. Kenneth Grant, one of the proponents of this third school of thought, acknowledges that there are objectively real extraterrestrial entities present in any successful magickal rite, but he focuses his attention on the inner aspect whenever he describes the generation of magickal power.  Drawing on his knowledge of the East Indian Tantric texts, particularly the texts of the Sri Vidya sect, which he adapted freely for his own use in the Typhonian O.T.O., Grant pictures the awakening of magickal power in terms of the rising of a red dragon, or fire snake, which resides inside the body of the magickal practitioner.  The fire snake, also known as the Kundalini, lies coiled at the base of the spine.  During the course of a given magickal working, the fire snake ascends the spine and charges the chakras, i.e. specific power zones located in the human body.   As the fire snake rises, bodily secretions occur at each of the seven main chakras, the Sahasrana, Ajna, Visduha, Anahata, Manipura, Svadisthana, and Muladhara, respectively, and these secretions then manifest as magickal power once the fire snake begins its descent.  If the magickal practitioner is a male and is performing an act of sex magick with a female practitioner, then there are subtle energy fields in the body of the female, known as kalas, which are also charged by the rite and contribute their own essence or effluvia to the secretions at the point of the chakras.  And this, in turn, tends to intensify the magickal power generated by the rite as a whole.  Grant describes the process in the following terms.

In order to transform sexual energy into magical energy (ojas), the dormant Fire Snake at the base of the spine is awakened…the chakras..the lesser lights glowing and pulsating like stars throughout the ganglionic network of nerves which constitutes the subtle anatomy of man…become fully energized only when the Fire Snake arrives at their several loci during Her ascent…When the Fire Snake emits its luminous venom, it gushes over and permeates the entire body.  The overflow contains ojas, the magical current that electrifies the cerebro-spinal fluid in the region of the sushumna (spinal canal)…Finally, She attains the calm purity of Her lunar-sattvic essence as She reaches the brain, above the visuddha power-zone.  It is on Her backward journey that She collects these essences into One Supreme Elixir and discharges it through the Secret Eye of the Priestess. [i]

 

The Elixir alluded to in this passage is the combined sexual fluids of the magickian and the priestess, and the “Secret Eye” is, of course, the vagina of the priestess. The fact that Grant’s emphasis here is on sex magick, however, does not mean that the awakening of the Fire Snake and the resultant development of magickal power is confined only to sex workings.  Grant, in Aleister Crowley & the Hidden God (1992), makes it clear that the Kundalini can be fully awakened by ritual magick and, interestingly enough, by other methods which may or may not have any connection with the practice of magick at all.[ii]   In fact, Grant provides a list of methods for generating magickal power which includes such activities as listening to certain types of music, getting high on drugs or alcohol, and even aesthetic rapture induced by the contemplation of art objects, as viable alternatives to magickal rites.

The magickal practitioners who do not engage in sex magick and yet, adhere to the “inner/outer” theory of magickal power, hold views similar to those articulated by Grant, though they usually don’t describe the generation of magick power in terms of the chakras, kalas, sexual secretions, etc.  On average, magickal practitioners still accept the traditional theory that magick works on three “planes.” I am not sure that I accept this theory at all; I tend to hold a Quantum Physics view of magick, which I have articulated in my two books: H. P. Lovecraft & the Black Magickal Tradition: The Master of Horror’s Influence on Modern Occultism (2015) and H. P. Lovecraft’s Magickal Persona: The Evolution of an Occult Archetype (2016). Nevertheless, the theory of planes stipulates that there is a physical plane, an astral plane, and a mental plane.  According to this theory, human beings inhabit all three of these planes simultaneously.  In effect, the planes coexist around us, and we have three “bodies” that allow us to move between the planes. These are the physical body, the astral body (which is often equated with the “soul”) and the spirit itself- this “spirit”, presumably, is the purified body that returns to Heaven or to God after death.

Konstantinos, magickal practitioner and well-known author on occult subjects, elaborates on how a magickal evocation is enacted, at least in terms of the three planes, and how magickal power is generated.

In a magical evocation, your calling of the entity is done on the mental plane.  After it “hears” you, it either comes to the astral or physical planes, depending on the type of evocation you are performing.  The calling of the entity is performed on the mental plane because all magic begins in the mind, is powered by the will, and causes change.

Why do evocations work?  Why do entities feel compelled to come to the magician when called?  To answer this question…. When a magician stands in the center of the circle, he or she is able to invoke the power of Divine Providence.  In the Opening by Watchtower, a vortex of power descends upon the magician, which the magician can use to empower the ritual he or she is performing.  Since this power comes from God, the magician can in effect command Holy Energy, granting him or her Divine Authority.[iii]

This is a very interesting statement.  According to Konstantinos, the magickal practitioner calls the entity in his mind; this part of the theory conforms to the “inner” view regarding the causes of magickal power.  But then, the entity answers the call; this, in turn, conforms to the “outer” view.  The  entity, thus, is a real entity, since it can travel on its own volition between the astral plane and the physical plane,  and when the entity manifests, particularly on the physical plane, it’s ontological reality is confirmed.  Konstantinos’ discussion of the vortex of power and the “Holy Energy” is interesting as well; here, he rather sounds like Cotton Mather, essentially arguing that the power of magick is given, or “granted”, by God.  The medieval magickal practitioners, mentioned previously, would certainly concur with this view.

[i] Grant, Kenneth, Cults of the Shadow, New York, Samuel Weiser, 1976, 64-95.

[ii] Grant, Kenneth, Aleister Crowley and the Hidden God, London, Skoob Books, 1992, pp.97-8.

[iii] Konstantinos. Summoning Spirits: The Art of Magical Evocation. Woodbury, Minnesota, Llewellyn Publications, 2005, 111-112.


John L. Steadman is the author of H.P. Lovecraft and the Black Magickal Tradition, a scholar of H. P. Lovecraft and western occultism and has been a magickal practitioner for more than thirty years. He is currently a college English professor at Olivet College in Michigan.

9781578635870

Sharing the Sun

by Ivo Dominguez, Jr.

This past Winter Solstice I was asked to take on a central role in a ritual for the return of the light at the last moment. The person who was to embody the Sun was ill and could not attend, and of those present I was the best option available. I had just gotten over a bad cold and was not at my best, but given the stress of 2016 we all felt that the hundred or so people that would be attending really needed this ritual of hope and renewal. One of the attendees was a friend who has a profound connection to Solar Deities, Apollon in particular. She offered to give me a boost of energy which I gladly received.

We exchanged a wholehearted embrace and I felt myself fill with the power that brings the day, warms the soil, and promises Spring to come. I thanked her, though she had her doubts about whether or not she had given enough. I assured her that she had given me exactly what I needed. That evening the ritual went well, healing tears were shed, the light of the reborn Sun was spread from candle to candle, the joy of communal strength grew, and merriment followed with music and singing late into the night. I thanked my friend again for her assistance. She told me that she felt stronger and better after having shared energy with me. She was both puzzled and concerned that I had not taken enough of the energy that she’d offered. I explained what I had done, and in doing so realized that it was a technique that I should share.

sharing-the-sun

The chances are that if you’ve had training or exposure to one of the many energy healing modalities, you know that it is better to draw upon the power of life, the universe, the Divine, or whatever else is considered a wholesome source of power rather than to drain your own reserves, your batteries. It does take a certain amount of your own power to start the process, once begun you have access to far more than you used. There are situations that do call for personal energy instead of energy drawn from greater sources, but they are few and far between. For example, sometimes if a person is in a weakened or exhausted condition, they may need an infusion of human life force so that they then have enough to begin processing more universal energies. Another example is when someone is borrowing power to do spiritual work, because the energy also contains information and guidance from the donor.

When I received the gift of energy from my friend, my focus was on getting a sample of the energy and a sense for where to look for more. Your temperament, training, and instinct guides where and how you draw energy from the universe. Over time these habits and reflexes can serve you well, but can also limit your options.  There are also times when your mental or emotional state hampers your access to the familiar, but the unfamiliar sidesteps the roadblocks. Every person, even those with many similarities, has a unique set of ways in which they draw in power. By carefully observing another person raising and moving energy, you can learn where and how they draw in energy. Think of this as like getting directions to a wellspring, or a scent to follow back to the feast, or a tuning fork with the note you need to sing a song, or a temporary member’s key to open the door.

When my friend gave me energy, I took in enough to sample it and followed it back to its source. Then I listened to the song of the energy and sang it in my mind as well. I drew upon the source, and the stream of power that came forth replenished both of us. That evening during our Winter Solstice ritual I had the energy and insights that I needed to do the work. By the next day the connection had begun to fade.  If I wanted to keep that connection, I would also need to commit to a regular honoring of Apollon as the way that I borrowed arose from my friend’s connection. Sometimes keeping a new access point to energy is simply a matter of knowing that it exists and adding it to your repertoire, and sometimes it involves making changes to your practices.

Just like sharing the Sun at the Solstice, where each receives a spark to light the way and to pass to others, the sharing of energy can lead to more for all.

Blessings, Ivo


Ivo Domínguez, Jr. has been active in the Wiccan and the pagan community since 1978 and has been teaching since 1982. He was a founding member, and past High Priest, of Keepers of the Holly Chalice, the first coven of the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel a Wiccan Tradition. Ivo is also one of the organizers for the New Alexandrian Library. You can find him at http://www.ivodominguezjr.com.

Ivo’s books

Practical Astrology for Witches and Pagans | Casting Sacred Space

Sagittarius Love Spell Oil

by Lilith Dorsey

My sister is a Sagittarius, my brother-in-law is a Sagittarius, my niece is a Sagittarius … and I’m an Aries. You can see how the Holidays are a fiery and exciting time at our place. The astrological Sun sign of Sagittarius is given to those born between the dates of November 22 and December 21st.

Taken by Lilith Dorsey at the What's Your Sign? Mural Project in NYC. This project was created by Love Heals, the Allison Gertz Foundation for AIDS Education.
Taken by Lilith Dorsey at the What’s Your Sign? Mural Project in NYC. This project was created by Love Heals, the Allison Gertz Foundation for AIDS Education.

Sagittarius is a fire sign, and in matters of love they are known for being caring and romantic, but also silly and optimistic. In a relationship they like to be casual and allowed their freedom. This fiery sign is known for it’s great ego which can sometimes turn to stubbornness. Relationships if you are a Sagittarius can be hard, and dating a Sagittarius can be even harder. The following Love Spell Oil will help bring you love and joy in your relationships. The oil contains sunflower to bring you a sunshiny love and healing; rose to channel and focus your passion; bergamot to give you a sweet romantic blessings; clove for spicy sensual delights; and lavender for focus and spiritual blessings. Everyone deserves a good love story so lets get started on yours.

Ingredients

3 drops Sunflower (Helianthus) oil
3 drops Rose oil
3 drops Bergamot oil
1 drop Clove oil
1 drop Lavender oil
¼ tsp. Sweet Almond Oil
Glass bottle

Place the Sweet Almond oil into your glass bottle it will serve as the base oil. Into the bottle place the Sunflower oil, the Rose oil, the Bergamot oil, the Lavender oil, and the Clove oil. Rub the bottle of oil between your hands to charge it with your magical energy. As the bottle goes back and forth imagine love coming towards you and blessing your life. Wear the oil daily for help with love. You can also use this oil to anoint a piece of turquoise, which is a power stone for Sagittarius. This will help to focus your love magic.

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Lilith Dorsey, MA is a magical practitioner/voodoo priestess with training in several traditions, including Celtic, Afro-Caribbean (Santeria and Vodun), and Native American spiritualties. Her traditional education focused on plant science, anthropology, and film. She owns her own magickal consulting business, Branwen’s Pantry, and is editor/publisher of Oshun-African Magickal Quarterly. She is also the author of Voodoo and Afro-Caribbean Paganism and The African-American Ritual Cookbook. She has a degree in anthropology from the University of Rhode Island and an MFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

The Power of Tarot Symbolism

by Marcia Masino

I recently received an inquiry from a woman who asked, “Do you have to know the Tarot to do the Ten of Wands meditation you described in your blog? A brilliant question.  She’d read the visualization instructions from my June, 2016 post and felt moved to perform the meditation because she related to the ideas I presented. However, she was concerned it wouldn’t be effective because she wasn’t a student of the cards.

Her traditional Tarot knowledge was very limited, she could tell a Wand from a Pentacle, could identify some of the Major Arcana and understood that the cards relate to people, life circumstances, spiritual themes and past, present and future. Her concern revolved around the meditation helping her if she didn’t know all the relationships between the intricate card symbolism and interpretive meanings. The woman’s intuitive self recognized the significance of the visualization; she wanted to do the practice without learning the entire Tarot.

the-power-of-tarot-symbolismThe visualization exercise I described focused on the idea of self empowered choices when handling burdens and this felt very relevant to her current life circumstances. She was unable to release the beliefs that no longer helped her and manage those that served her best and higher self. In truth is that not the challenge we all face?  The opportunity to chose which burdens she carried and how to release others appealed to her. The idea of choice was revolutionary; as was engaging with the psyche aspect of the Tarot visuals as a pathway to a better life.

Yes, you can participate in creative Tarot visualization without a full understanding of the nuances of a card’s symbolism. When a Tarot image “speaks to you” or resonates with you it is a sure sign that you are meant to create an imaginative dialogue with it. Another reason to contemplate a specific card is its appearance in a helping placement in a reading’s layout.

I told her to go for it. What she didn’t know was that the Tarot symbolism will teach her what she needs to “know” about the card via the pathway of meditation. A person may not consciously comprehend all the symbolic card meanings (who does?) However, through the contemplation practice the individual’s soul will present knowledge in the best way for her to understand it’s messages. This experience parallels how the cards function during a reading as well as how symbolism appears in a significant dream.

My blog’s focus was on the Ten of Wands, a challenging card that depicts an overburdened figure bent with care. Who would want to meditate on that image and why? Contemplation of a perceived negative card is really the courageous ability to face a test and remove obstacles. By facing the imagery, choosing to take back her power and realigning with her best self my reader is inaugurating a positive future unencumbered from resistance and destructive beliefs.

In my book, Best Tarot Practices, I include empowering meditations for a number of the undesirable cards. This practice requires looking at the chosen card, then following my instructions to interact with the character and scene. By performing (or even reading about them) you can start the process of turning a negative into a positive. Simply focus on a negative card that appears in your spread or as in this example, your attraction to the image.

Contemplation of a negative card is less traditional than the classical utilization of positive Tarot imagery to evoke and or invoke a specific spiritual power. In the early Florentine Renaissance, a scholar named Marsilio Ficino developed a contemplation method to alleviate his own suffering of “saturnine” depression. Ficino used uplifting positive images as talismans and a therapeutic tool to “cure “his self-described melancholia. He taught the elite members of his Hermetic Academy that harmonization with the refined aspects of our spiritual nature can be achieved by viewing and interacting (creative imaging) with beautiful images.

Renaissance artist Sandro Botticelli was a member of Ficino’s Academy and would’ve understood the value of inner harmony and self cultivation when he painted his Primavera masterpiece with allegorical characters’ familiar to Tarot students. He included figures of Mercury (The Magician) Venus – The Empress, The Three Graces aka the Three of Cups and also alludes to The Lovers in his painting. No doubt his intention in part, was to capture the elevated qualities of those planetary Tarot figures as both talismans and for therapeutic contemplation. I believe the influence of Ficino’s esoteric teachings and the creation of the first Italian Tarot decks may have experienced some cross pollination since both happened at the same time, place and within the same elite group.

Ficino’s arcane practice of utilization of images to attain spiritual knowledge and well being still exists today. Many of the early 20th Century Tarot decks as well as the modern packs have symbolism designed with this experience in mind. The technique is a threefold process; first you chose the image, then you merge with it in meditation (my Best Tarot Practices book features meditations for all the Major and selected Minor cards as well as the Court.) The third stage is when transformation occurs as the harmonious energy aligns with your nature.

The Tarot symbols are a soul sourced universal and archetypal language that connect you with the spiritual aspect of your subconscious or the Divine Mind. You do not have to know their meaning to have a meaningful meditation experience. However, as you explore symbolism and visualization you will discover significant aspects of yourself while attaining a better understanding of the Tarot. Ultimately this is a way for you to open the path to the universal mind, a plane of consciousness that once tapped facilitates soul purpose, gifts of the spirit and alignment with the Higher Power of your own understanding.


Marcia Masino is a certified Grandmaster of tarot and author of the tarot classic Easy Tarot Guide. She has lectured at numerous tarot conferences and is a popular speaker for the Lily Dale Assembly workshop program. Her articles on metaphysical subjects have appeared in Fate and on the Web at http://mmasino.wixsite.com/tarotbooks. She lives in Pickering, Ontario, Canada.

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