Thursday, June 30, 2016


Lupine and Poppies near Oak Tree burned in Rough Fire, North Fork of Kings River

     When I was twelve, I sneaked out of the tent trailer at daybreak and strolled toward a prominent hill rising above the campsite. The hill had for some reason attracted me ever since we had arrived, perhaps because of its numerous flowers and towering trees or because I was curious about what I would find at the top. I had never left camp before without permission; I remember intending only to walk over to the hill to ponder its strange attraction for a few moments. When I stood next to the hill, however, I felt dwarfed, yet drawn even more to its mysterious otherness, so I started scrambling up the steep slope, telling myself that I would turn back before anyone knew I was gone. I kept climbing higher, though, keenly aware of the time, until I reached a ridge. I paused, catching my breath, believing that some truth was about to be revealed to me, but when I gazed up the hill, I noticed only more of the same: trees, flowers, rocks, as far as the eye could see.

Root of the Element of Earth

     Disappointed, I turned to head back, spotting a bird with a brilliant red head and yellow body perched about fifteen feet away on the branch of a dead tree. I had never encountered such a bird before, and I slowly edged closer, amazed that it didn't fly away. I stared at it for a long time, believing that no one else had ever encountered such a dazzling bird before because I had never seen anything like it on TV or in magazines or in my neighborhood. Perhaps because I was so still, contemplating the bird and my surroundings, I could feel my personality slip away. The flowers, rocks and trees suddenly seemed timeless, and I was aware only of being, of gazing at a magical bird. As I stared, I became aware that the bird was part of one vast mysterious Being. I thought at first that this Being was the mountain, which seemed to go on forever in every direction, but then I gazed up at the sky: This Being was the Earth and the sky. Perhaps It was the entire cosmos, a cosmos that was aware that the bird and I were conscious of each other.
     I felt terrified, thinking that human life was no more significant than the life of any other creature, plant or animal, each in its own way as aware as any other being, each a point of awareness within a Being that extended forever in every direction. Just as I was feeling like a grain of sand within this vastness, the bird suddenly flew away. I chased after it and found it again perching in another tree, still seemingly unafraid but wary enough to keep its distance. Again I stared until the bird vanished, and I knew I needed to head back to camp. What if most human beliefs and values were wrong? What if the whole human experience with its amazing art and science and philosophy was just one minuscule fraction of this vast Being? What if awareness itself, the inexplicable connection with birds, flowers, trees, was the point of existence, not wealth or power or status? That thought unexpectedly filled me with peace even as I scrambled down the slope. I knew I had realized something important, something that made human striving seem absurd, yet I also knew that the people I knew would think me insane if I mentioned it, and something in me sensed that I would forget the whole experience.

Path 11

     Decades later, as I watched the sun set behind a mountain, I involuntarily stopped thinking, and my self dissolved into the scene before me, the clouds pink and orange and purple. I suddenly had strange thoughts, “There is no history, no time. I have no self, only awareness of being. My being is significant as an awareness of Being itself, the world sliding into darkness as points of light pierce the sky.” As I thought this, I came back to myself, feeling a twinge of terror because everything I had identified with my personality and the whole of human experience had dissolved for those few moments. Again I felt the deep peace and mystery of Being, and I remembered my long ago experience with a magical bird (the western tanager).

Path 32
     At key points in my life, mystical experiences have shown me that being is enough, that in fact it is all we have. I have even learned how to lose myself in Being through ritual and meditation. However, if you have a chronic illness that is slowly destroying your digestive system, this mystical connection doesn't help much in a practical way in terms of healing. I have realized that I am only able to deal with celiac disease through occultism. In other words, instead of remaining in the oneness of Being, I must bring spirit down into the planes of form to heal my body and mind. I have emptied my mind innumerable times to let go of negative mental patterns, a process similar to dissolving the “pain body.” I have also mentally purified my chakras, the energy centers of the aura. Those practices are important for achieving peace and enlightenment but don't cure my chronic illness, which continues to plague me, gripping me like fate. In my current condition, I have to invoke powerful, positive cosmic forces to heal myself. In my case, healing means improving my condition to the point that I am able to digest fruits and vegetables and meats effectively. Now I am only able to digest yams and potatoes and a few meats such as boiled chicken without discomfort, and I am afraid that my digestive system will soon fail to do even that much. I realize that I will never again be able to eat anything with even the most minuscule amount of gluten, of course, but when faced with the possibility that my digestive system might be shutting down, that limitation doesn't worry me too much.
     Recently, I performed The Ritual of the Sun. (See previous post.) Those of you who have kept up with my posts know that after I went through a process of mental purification, I developed the ability to “see” with my mind's eye the illness and negativity in my aura and my body. After the ritual I have mentally scanned my body and have seen only light in my torso, whereas before within the past year or so I have only seen blackness in my digestive system. I began feeling hopeful again after seeing that light within me, which has motivated me to continue healing myself by invoking powerful spiritual forces. I decided to perform a Tarot divination with this query: “What will be the outcome if I try to heal myself through my spiritual practices?” The result was surprising.

Path 23

     Using the Celtic Cross spread, I first dealt The World, then crossed it with The Fool. I recognized deep significance there: The World is the last path on the Tree of Life, connecting The Foundation (Yesod) with The Kingdom (Malkuth). The Fool is the first path emanating from the Crown of Creation (Kether). In other words, the first was crossing the last, suggesting the end and the beginning linked in a never-ending cycle with all other paths in between. End and beginning, beginning and end together. The Ace of Pentacles, symbolizing the harmony of all levels of being within manifestation, occupied the position of the "Root Cause," sometimes known as the “Goal or Destiny,” the best that can be accomplished in existing circumstances. All the cards in the layout contained a highly personal meaning for me. Of these cards, I will tell you only that they were spot on, but one especially deserves mentioning: The Hanged Man occupied the position of “Current Environment.” The Hanged Man, targeted as a traitor by a group of people, resembles in many ways The Ten of Swords. (See previous post.) Both suggest paralysis and death but reveal the potential for transformation and enlightenment. A surprising card occupied the position of “Final Result,” the most likely culmination of the situation: The Two of Cups.

Two of Cups
Venus in Cancer
Zodiac in Chokmah

     The Two of Cups symbolizes optimal health. A man and a woman, representing on one level the masculine and feminine energies of the psyche, face each other in balanced polarity. A caduceus wand rises between them, symbolizing the energy channels of the aura. Two of the channels, one masculine, one feminine, snake around the primary chakras and rise up around the central channel to reach the third eye chakra, the fiery lion's head with wings in the position of the crown chakra, the point where the soul meets the divine. The caduceus wand symbolizes the potent energies of the life-force in balance and stands as the symbol of health on all levels of being: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. Hence, its use as a symbol for the medical profession.
     Since I have committed myself to healing an intractable disease through contact with positive cosmic forces, I next performed a ritual with the Two of Cups as the central focus. The decanate associations of the Two of Cups are Venus in Cancer. The Tree of Life correspondence is the second sephira known as Chokmah, associated with the zodiac. Using the Tarot Pentagram Spread (see previous post), I invoked the Egyptian Gods associated with Cancer and Venus: Khepera and Hathor respectively. In the process, I learned what I had been missing in my earlier attempts to heal myself.
     After experiencing the energies of these Gods, I realized that it is often difficult to heal oneself because love of Being and love of self, after long periods of suffering, often vanish. After invoking Hathor, the Egyptian Goddess of Love, I understood that healing begins with self-love, not a narcissistic egotism but a forgiveness of faults and a deep understanding and acceptance of one's being. Without that love, dark energy continues to occupy the aura and illness continues to return no matter how many times one eliminates the negative energy. To truly love oneself, one also feels love and compassion for all Being, for one is part of the other. Love provides the foundation for health. The Source provides the energies of transformation.

KHEPERA (Cancer)

Great Khepera, God of becoming,     

 spinning the cycles of life,
reveal the morning sun—
Show me the promise
of what I can become.
Transform me so that I live
in health and harmony
and create the life that I desire.
Let my inner light,
my higher self, shine
with the rising sun—
let me add my light
to the light of eternal Being,
serving thee and the one God
for the highest possible good.

HATHOR (Venus) 

Great Hathor, Goddess of love,    
Goddess of beauty, to whom
I have devoted my life, fill me
with thy light, fill my soul
with thy love so that I
may live in health and harmony,
knowing the abundance
and magnificence of Being,
knowing the beauty
of the Many within the One
and the One within the Many.
Let thy love banish all illness
and all negativity so that I
may add my love
to the love of all Being,
serving thee and the one God
for the highest possible good.

     Love and transformation are universal needs in this difficult time that we are experiencing as a species. Without love we can strive to eliminate problems and negativity but they will continue to return. Invoking the high spiritual energies of the Goddess of Love has helped me to manifest the love of self and love of Being that I need to truly eliminate negativity. The energies of Venus are unstable on the planes of form, but bringing down the highest spiritual love of the Goddess continues to have a positive, life-changing effect, especially as I continue to eliminate the negativity associated with chronic illness.

Saturday, June 11, 2016


Wind Poppies, North Fork of Kings River

     There is one place on earth, it seems, that knows what I need better than I do. In the shade of a flowering buckeye tree on the road above the North Fork of the Kings River, I suddenly sensed that I had to face a terrible illusion. I was not like some Buddha under a Bodhi tree, however. Over the years I have come to realize that peaceful vibrations in the river canyon allow repressed dimensions of my soul to surface. Sometimes I feel the nearly forgotten sense of freedom that I experienced by the river as a child or a sense of well-being so profound that I forget myself. Sometimes I hear a wise voice or experience an insight. Today, unexpectedly, I was feeling like a man with ten swords in his back. On the foothill road drenched with peace, I could not find a reason for the creeping sense of paralysis and despair. As I hopped over the stones, late spring flowers were dazzling me, so I couldn't concentrate on the cause of my unexpected suffering. Finally I plopped down, frustrated and perplexed, on a pounding stone by the the river.

Ten of Swords, Lord of Ruin
Sun in Gemini, Sun in Tiphareth

     Why was the Ten of Swords haunting me so much? Perhaps because I have noticed a strange thing happening due to my blogs: People in Fresno, CA, if they know me at all, flee from me in absolute terror. It would be amusing if it weren't so disconcerting. Either a person who tells the truth scares the bejeebers out of people in Fresno, or, what is more likely, someone is spreading horrible rumors about me. It's almost as if someone in Fresno has become a negative extension of my blog persona, pretending to be me and threatening people. In grocery stores, old acquaintances have dashed away from me in panic. One man even shadowed me out to the parking lot to see if I had damaged his car, which I found troubling because I have never once even considered harming anyone's property. I suspect that a border-line sociopath whom I unfortunately knew many years ago (and possibly some of her friends) might be spreading lies about me, making people think I'm a monster.
     In the river canyon, raw emotions surface and I sense currents of thought and emotion. It was possible that my subconscious was showing me that whatever is actually happening is turning me into
Six of Wands
Jupiter in Leo
Sun in Tiphareth
the figure in the Ten of Swords once again. (Quick note: If you are idiotic enough to have unjustly ruined a man's reputation, giving him nothing to lose, you will inevitably fear him for a long, long time. A man with nothing to lose is truly a man to fear and might strike at any time. Truly, though, if you are one of the people running away from me, you should instead be fleeing from the people spreading the lies because, believe me, they would stab you in the back a hundred times without remorse if they targeted you. At any rate, those responsible for spreading the lies are the ones making you afraid, not me.)
     The great irony is that I have never threatened anyone. I have never wanted to harm anyone. I have only wanted the truth to be known. Really, if I devoted any time to hurting people, would I ever get anything done, especially now that I don't have much energy? My spiritual and creative life would die on the vine. I wouldn't be able to focus on writing or composing music or painting pictures or performing rituals: Vengeance doesn't suit me. I am only able to remain a spiritual and creative person because I have continually let go of negativity: I have forgiven, innumerable times, anyone who has harmed me, and based on my experience, I know that you no longer need to harm someone you have truly forgiven.
     As I meditated by the river, I knew that I was also envisioning the Ten of Swords because of my illness. Because of celiac disease,
Wheel of Fortune, Path 21
(Associated with Six of Wands)
my digestive system seems to be shutting down. I feel like a fifty-six year old person with an eighty year old body. This is, of course, a continual source of physical, emotional and mental discomfort. I envision black energy within my digestive system whenever I scan my body with my mind's eye. I purify myself mentally on a regular basis, but the blackness keeps returning. I have never been able to shake this negativity (just like over the past thirty years I haven't been able to shake, it seems, whoever continues to stab me in the back). Throughout my life I have experienced periods where I have slowly spiraled down into a chasm because my illness kept getting worse, and nobody could identify the problem. In each period, if I did not somehow alleviate the illness to some extent, I crashed, and, yeah, I crashed more than once in ways that other people noticed. From personal experience, I know that many people blame you for your physical illness, even for heart disease and cancer. They believe that you must have done something wrong to deserve your illness. Celiac disease is a genetic disease, which for me has led to extended periods of digestive system dysfunction and atrial fibrillation, yet even some of the people closest to me have attributed my “failings” to a poor mental attitude, so I also carry with me feelings of guilt and shame as well.
     Over the years I have continued to identify different food allergies until I have finally discovered the main cause. Because of celiac disease, I also have leaky gut syndrome and irritable bowel syndrome, for instance, and my stomach can no longer efficiently
Strength, Path 19
(Associated with Six of Wands)
digest anything, especially not chewy meats or anything with fiber, which includes, unfortunately, most fruits and vegetables. The cause of this disease is not in any way psychological, as many of my doctors over the years would have had me believe, but it does affect me psychologically. Since foods containing gluten are toxic to my system, I have inevitably experienced bad psychological reactions, including brain fog, fatigue, and severe depression. (I also have a strange compulsion to speak truth to power, possibly because of all the cognitive dissonance I have experienced over the years due to the disease—See previous posts.)
     By the river, I understood one thing, at least: My old story is dying. It was never big enough for me anyway. The challenge, of course, is creating a new story that is large enough, a difficult task for me to imagine by the river since The Ten of Swords kept reappearing in my mind's eye. It came to me then that I have reached a point where negativity could actually kill me. I could imagine that at some point in the near future I might just give up. I knew then that I must focus on powerful, positive energies that cleanse and renew me. Sitting on a pounding stone by the river, I realized also that collectively we are reaching a point where humanity could devastate the planet: Purification and renewal are universal needs in these troubled times.
     There was another reason that I was envisioning the Ten of Swords in my mind's eye: The Sun in Gemini, the decanate
Six of Swords
Mercury in Aquarius
Sun in Tiphareth
correspondences of the card. In other words, behind the blackness in the Ten of Swords is The Sun, which on the Tree of Life is associated with the sphere of healing and equilibrium, the Christ-center, known as Tiphareth. My soul was showing me that I needed to banish the negativity in my life represented by the Ten of Swords and invoke the healing energies of the source of all physical life, and the Sun behind the sun. I became certain that my new story has to focus on invoking powerful positive forces and letting go of illusions and negativity.
     By the river, I also realized that I cannot avoid my own mortality anymore. My father died three days before he turned fifty-six, which means that I have lived, at this point, three months longer than he did. My father had heart trouble and had gone to the doctor for tests before he passed, but the doctors couldn't find anything wrong with him, which suggests that he too might have experienced atrial fibrillation from celiac disease. As a member of the Great Generation, my father believed that finding a decent job and providing a good home for the family was the meaning of success. My father grew up on a
The Magician, Path 12
(Associated with Six of Swords)
farm during the Great Depression and survived WWII, then moved out to California with my mother in the late nineteen forties. He slowly edged from the lower class into the middle class by finding a slightly better job every few years. By the age of fifty, he had attained what he considered success but died a few years later; in comparison, several of his siblings survived into their late eighties and early nineties. In his struggle for upward mobility, my father worked most of the time, and I never got to know him as I was growing up. He was always stoic and viewed disease merely as an obstacle to overcome. Perhaps because of my father, in my old story, I believed that I should be able to overcome negativity through sheer willpower in order to attain success. I even believed subconsciously that success itself would save me from negativity. That story still haunts me. I have to let that go as well.
     Had he lived longer, my father probably would have considered me a failure. But in this economy, my failures probably would have
The Star, Path 28
(Associated with Six of Swords)
occurred even if I had at one point landed a decent job. Many of the men I know, myself included, have found themselves over-educated and underemployed with temporary jobs that do not provide pensions or health care. Several of these men have worked for a corporation for over twenty-five years only to end up with a quickly exhausted severance package, and they are now scrambling for work as independent contractors. Another worked for thirty years without a pension; just when he was thinking about retiring, his company took away thirty thousand dollars in sick pay that he had accrued. Needless to say, a few weeks later he submitted his resignation.
     As I sat alone, humbled by a wild river, I felt very alone with my own mortality. I realized that I had
Six of Cups
Sun in Scorpio
Sun in Tiphareth
accepted the illusion that if we become successful or famous we will never feel alone again. Gazing at the river, I knew that was pure nonsense. I have to banish the negative energies from my life and renew myself. I know better than anyone else what I need to do. The people I love can do nothing to help me. I can only do this myself.
     I knew then that I have a choice: Stay as positive as possible or give up. In my old story, I focused on the negative. The negativity bias refers to the notion that, even when of equal intensity, things of a more negative nature, such as unpleasant thoughts, emotions, or social interactions and harmful or traumatic events, have a greater effect on one's psychological state and processes than do neutral or positive things. In other words, something very positive will generally have less of an impact on a person's behavior and cognition than something equally emotional but negative. I knew that I would have to overcome this bias or perish.
     When I got home, I realized that I already have the spiritual
Death, Path 24
(Associated with Six of Swords)
tools to overcome this negativity. Working with the Tarot over the years I have discovered that you can work with adverse cards to banish negative energies and then invoke the associated positive energies through a ritual that I have devised with Tarot Cards that I call the Tarot Pentagram Spread. I have based the banishing and invoking rituals of my Tarot Pentagram Spread on extremely effective banishing and invoking rituals known respectively as The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram (LBRP) and The Supreme Invoking Ritual of the Pentagram (SIRP), both of which have been used by adepts for many years.
     My spirituality has grown out of suffering: I have had to struggle with negativity every day, so I am no stranger to mental purification techniques, which include The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, a ritual that cleanses me and keeps me balanced despite illness and associated problems.
Six of Pentacles
The Moon in Taurus
The Sun in Tiphareth
Without this banishing ritual, I doubt that I would have survived as long as I have. In addition to keeping me spiritually balanced, it has protected me from malicious spirits and demonic forces. (See previous posts.) At one period in my life, for instance, when I was under attack by a powerful malicious spirit, I began using the LBRP regularly. One night, as I was beginning the banishing ritual, I heard what sounded like a cross between a shriek and a howl slamming the roof above me with the force of a sonic boom. At that moment the air outside was still and no airplanes were flying over the house. That entity has not bothered me since.
     (For many of you, I realize, we are wading into a jungle with huge spiders, bizarre flowers and strange winged creatures. Some of you, I'm sure, are beginning to question my sanity. However, I long ago pledged to speak my truth in this blog even if everyone considers
The High Priestess, Path 13
The Moon
(Associated with Six of Pentacles)
me insane. My goal now is merely to share a ritual that has helped me immensely in banishing negative energies and invoking positive forces. If you don't believe in that “hocus pocus,” you are excused.)
     As I mentioned, one of my Tarot Pentagram Spreads is based on the Supreme Invoking Ritual of the Pentagram. This ritual, which
can be dangerous in the hands of neophytes, invokes powerful cosmic forces. Before I continue, I should warn you: When you contact a sephira, or sphere, on the Tree of Life, or the God it represents, you allow its entire spectrum of energy, from the positive to the negative pole, to pour into the soul. For instance, with Mars, who represents Geburah, the fifth sephira on the Tree, you contact the positive virtues of strength, courage, and discipline, as well as its vices on the negative end of the pole: cruelty and destructiveness. If you do not know how to handle the energy, the vice of the sphere can dominate your personality. Also,
The Hierophant, Path 16
(Associated with Six of Pentacles)
it is always possible that malicious spirits and demonic entities might take notice that you are becoming more sensitive to the spiritual dimension and start wreaking havoc in your life (as they did in mine). Occult work takes courage and commitment. Once you open that door, you must perform the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram at least once every day.
     My negativity has tended to heighten the vices of the spheres of the Tree of Life. I have for the past twenty years traveled back and forth on the paths between Netzach to Tiphareth, from Venus to the Sun, and from Tiphareth to Geburah, from the Sun to Mars. I am
probably more prone to experience the vices of each sphere because of my chronic illness (so don't be surprised if you, gentle reader, have encountered a little cruelty in my blogs). Contacting the powers, I believe, is the way to live an abundant life, but as I mentioned, the powers contain both balanced and unbalanced energies. Adventurers in the unseen must learn how to harmonize those forces within themselves, which is the work of a lifetime.
     If I have not scared you off by now, I would like to share a powerful ritual that banishes the negative energies in the Ten of Swords and invokes The Sun and other positive energies in associated Tarot Cards.

The Sun, Path 30
The Sun
(Associated with the Six of Cups)


     The Ten of Swords, known as "Lord of Ruin," appears on the surface to be one of the worst cards in the deck. However, hidden symbolic associations within the card reveal positive elements that make the figure in the card a possible ally. In the number cards all the adverse cards contain hidden, positive forces, and all the overtly positive cards imply a negative condition as its polar opposite. For instance, even a positive card such as the Ten of Pentacles, known as "Lord of Wealth," implies that the negative condition of poverty has been overcome.
     In the Golden Dawn system of correspondences, the suit of Pentacles represents the element of Earth, the suit of Swords the element of Air, the suit of Cups the element of Water, and the suit of Wands the element of Fire. Also, in the system of Golden Dawn correspondences, each number card of the Minor Arcana, from the Twos to the Tens, is assigned ten degrees of the zodiac, called a decan, or decanate, each of which is ruled by a planet. The number cards are also associated with the ten sephiroth (spheres) of the Tree of Life. For instance, the Aces (or Ones), described as the roots of the powers of the elements, are all assigned to Kether, the first sphere on the Tree; the Twos to Chokmah, the second sphere; the Threes to Binah, the third sphere; and so on down to the Tens in Malkuth, the tenth sphere.

Astrological Associations of the Spheres (Sephiroth):

  • ACES, Sphere 1, Kether: the first swirlings 
  • TWOS, Sphere 2, Chokma: the zodiac
  • THREES, Sphere 3, Binah: Saturn
  • FOURS, Sphere 4, Chesed: Jupiter
  • FIVES, Sphere 5, Geburah: Mars
  • SIXES, Sphere 6, Tiphareth: The Sun
  • SEVENS, Sphere 7, Netzach: Venus
  • EIGHTS, Sphere 8, Hod: Mercury
  • NINES, Sphere 9, Yesod: The Moon
  • TENS, Sphere 10, Malkuth: the four elements

     The meaning of each number card is derived from its element, the combined planet and sign of its decanate, and its location within a sephira. The Ten of Swords, “Lord of Ruin,” is associated with the element of Air since it is in the suit of Swords, with The Sun in Gemini, and with the four elements in Malkuth (the tenth sephira on the Tree). All of these associations color the meaning of the card.
     As I mentioned, for the Ten of Swords and the other adverse cards, one can banish the unwanted energies, then invoke the hidden, positive energies of the card. In the Ten of Swords, the bright yellow light of the sun peaking through the clouds suggests that dark nights of the soul in the material realm can also lead to greater spiritual awareness. The Sun is associated with the source of all life and with enlightenment. On the Tree of Life, the Sun is associated with the Christ center, Tiphareth, the sephira of sacrifice, healing, harmony, spiritual inebriation, and the awakened higher self. The zodiac sign Gemini symbolizes the mortal and immortal aspects of the self, the mortal dying to be reborn in the spirit.
     After I perform the LBRP and the SIRP, I use the following process, step by step, to lay down the cards as a way to first banish the negative energies in the Ten of Swords and then to release the positive energies of The Sun associated with the card. Of course, I use the pentagram, which many people unfortunately associate with evil, in my Tarot spread. The pentagram is a five-pointed star with several important esoteric meanings. First of all, the pentagram can be drawn in one continuous motion, suggesting its unity of form, but unlike the circle, which has no beginning or end, one can begin drawing the pentagram at any of its five points, each of which has various symbolic associations. The pentagram reveals the unity of Earth, Air, Water, and Fire, and the fifth element of Spirit, or Aether. This also reflects the esoteric doctrine that four visible states have their root in a fifth, invisible state.
     Like the circle, the pentagram establishes boundaries. In order to invoke any spiritual energy, a boundary must be established for the appropriate energy to manifest in a concentrated form. The pentagram is also used to banish unwanted energies so that desired energies can then be invoked in a purer state. As a five-pointed figure, the pentagram stems from the sephira, or state of being, represented by the fifth sphere on the Tree of Life known as Geburah (meaning “power” or “severity”). Geburah restricts and controls energy on all levels of being in the same way that a combustion engine controls force so that the engine will run and the vehicle will operate. In other words, the severity of Geburah restricts force in a harmonious and productive manner when used effectively in ritual.
     So it is appropriate that the pentagram is a figure representing the most harmonious force in the cosmos, the Christ-force. This is so because the elements and the letters of a familiar name of God, also known as the Tetragrammaton, are positioned on the points of the star to reflect this symbolic meaning. The Tetragrammaton contains the Hebrew letters Yod Heh Vau Heh, the unpronounceable name of God that people pronounce as Yahweh, or Jehovah. Reflecting how manifestation occurs down through the planes of force and form, Yod represents the element of Fire, Heh represents Water, Vau Air, and final Heh Earth, Fire and Air being active planes of force, Water and Earth being passive planes of form. Each of these elements is associated with a suit in the Tarot, Fire with Wands, Water with Cups, Air with Swords, and Earth with Pentacles. To continue the association chain, in simple terms Fire represents the spiritual plane, Water the mental plane, Air the astral plane, and Earth the background energies of the physical plane.

Foundation Cards: The Four Aces and Judgement

     These five states have as their root a fifth state represented by the Hebrew letter Shin, which signifies the spiritual Aether, the root of manifestation. When Shin is positioned in the center of the God name Yahweh, a new word is created: Yeheshuah. This is a secret name of Christ—down through the years it probably morphed into the name Jesus. Shin is positioned at the top of the pentagram to show how the other four elements manifest harmoniously from the root energy. One can draw a star that moves from the most active energies of manifestation to the most passive in one continuous motion, beginning with Aether at the top, moving to the lower right point (Fire), then to the upper left point (Air), then over to the upper right point (Water), then to the lower left point (Earth), then back to the top.

Ritual Order of Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram

     The Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram starts with the Earth element in the lower left hand corner of the pentagram and moves toward the apex, the element of Spirit, or Aether, then to Fire, Air, Water, and back to Earth. So for the Banishing Ritual of the Tarot Pentagram Spread, I first envision a pentagram on the table. Then I lay down the card with the unwanted energies in the middle of the pentagram, in this case the Ten of Swords, and then use foundation cards that represent the root of each element to banish the unwanted energies. I first lay down the Ace of Pentacles in the lower left hand corner. I place “Judgement” at the top of the star, the Ace of Wands in the lower right hand corner, the Ace of Swords in the upper left corner, the Ace of Cups in the upper right corner. Then I tap each card in the same order, saying the name of each card, making sure that I complete the pentagram by tapping the Ace of Pentacles again. Then I say, "The Pentagram is complete." During the process of laying down the cards, I imagine the black energies within myself draining into the magma under the earth. I take my time, making sure that all the negative energies have drained out of my system and have burned up completely.
Spirit Invoking Rituals of the Pentagram, Active and Passive

     Then I pick up the five foundation cards (the Aces) used for the banishing ritual, putting them in a pile, and place The Tarot Card known as The Sun over the Ten of Swords. I shuffle the foundation cards and then place them in order for the active spirit invoking pentagram. Before laying out the cards, I visualize a pentagram on my alter or table. Since I am invoking active spiritual energy, I start with the Fire element and move toward the Air element, placing the Ace of Wands in the lower right hand corner and then the Ace of Swords in the upper left hand corner, continuing with the Water element and so on in a continuous motion until I complete the pentagram. Then I tap each card in the same order, saying the name of each card as I do so, making sure to tap the Ace of Wands in the lower right point a second time to complete the pentagram. Then I say, "The Pentagram is complete." (If I am invoking passive energies from a card in the suit of Pentacles or Cups, I start with the Ace of Pentacles in the lower left hand corner and move toward the element of Water in the upper right hand corner, placing the Ace of Cups in the upper right hand corner and continuing until I complete the star.)

The Sun with Foundation Cards

     When it comes to laying out the cards, I have found that a little advanced planning is always helpful. For instance, I arrange the cards in a small deck in an order that enables me to perform the ritual without worrying about their order and placement, especially if I am using a lot of modifiers. I often, for instance, make separate piles, one for the primary card and the foundation cards, with the primary card on top; one for the zodiac modifiers; one for the planetary modifiers; and one for the number cards--all in the order of placement. The type of invoking pentagram I am using, either active or passive, affects the lay out of the cards since I will either be starting with Wands in the position of the Fire element in the lower right hand corner and moving to the upper left-hand corner, or with Pentacles in the position of the Earth element in the lower left-hand corner and moving in the opposite direction. This may all sound extremely complicated, but mastering the basics is not difficult once a person develops a familiarity with the cards and the pentagram. I have discovered that this layout helps with memory and concentration, both of which are extremely important in invocation and in the Great Work in general, especially when it comes to the more advanced rituals.

Elemental Triplicities of the Zodiac Cards

     Tarot modifiers add power to the invocation—like any symbol in a ritual should. All modifiers should be related in some way to the card that is the primary focus. Having worked with the cards for a number of years, I have internalized the meaning of each card in the layout. Before I begin laying down the Aces as the foundation cards, I choose the aspects that I want to emphasize, which requires me to examine all of the cards within the deck associated with The Sun, in this case four number cards associated with the sixth sephira, Tiphareth, and the number cards with decan associations, the cards with associated zodiac signs, and the cards with associated planets.

Order of Modifier Placement in Pentagram Spread

     As I mentioned, I first place the card that best represents the ritual purpose in the center of the pentagram, in this case The Sun. Then I lay out the foundation cards, the Aces and Judgement, at the points of the pentagram, following the order of the Active Spirit Invoking Pentagram since Air (symbolized by the suit of Swords) is an active element. To review, I start with the element of Fire in the lower right hand corner, move to the element of Air in the upper left corner, continue over to the element of Water in the upper right corner, then down to the element of Earth in the lower left hand corner and so on until I return to the element of Fire. Then I tap each card, ending with the Ace of Wands and say, “The pentagram is complete.” Next, I lay out the modifying cards following the same order. The modifiers are placed as follows:

1) a card at each point that signifies an associated zodiac sign
2) a card at each point that signifies a related planet
3) an associated number card at each point

Determining which modifiers work best when invoking planetary energies is simply a matter of determining the related sphere of the planet on the Tree of Life, in this case, Tiphareth, sphere number six, and the decan associations of the number cards.

Tarot Correspondences

      I choose all the number cards associated with the sixth sephira and the Major Arcana cards with associated zodiac and planetary signs:

Wands: Strength (Leo), The Wheel of Fortune (Jupiter), the Six of Wands (Jupiter in Leo)
Swords: The Star (Aquarius), The Magician (Mercury), the Six of Swords (Mercury in Aquarius)
Cups: Death (Scorpio), The Sun (in the center of the pentagram), the Six of Cups (Sun in Scorpio)
Pentacles: The Hierophant (Taurus), The High Priestess (The Moon), the Six of Pentacles (Moon in Taurus)

     When laying out the modifiers, the zodiac card is placed first on the Ace, followed by the planetary modifier, then the number card.
     After laying down all the cards, I invoke the Egyptian Gods associated with the astrological signs and the sephiroth of the Tree of Life, knowing that the Gods from culture to culture are variations of each other. For instance, Mercury is the Roman version of the Greek Hermes and the Egyptian Thoth. Mars is the Roman version of The Greek Aries and the Egyptian Horus. I stay with one pantheon in order to avoid confusion. Fortunately I also have statuettes of Egyptian Gods in my ritual space that resonate with the Tarot Cards and create an association chain of spiritual principle. Since I have invoked each God more than once before, I feel no anxiety about contacting their energy. As I invoke each God, I say a little prayer focused on the theme of cleansing and renewal and living in the higher self (or living in enlightenment.) The prayers have a powerful cumulative effect, which has had a life-altering, positive effect on me. I have included a few examples below.


Strength: Sekmet
Wheel of Fortune: Ma'at
The Star: Sothis, the Celestial Isis
Magician: Thoth
Death: Anubis
The Sun: Ra
The Hierophant: Osiris
High Priestess: Nephthys



Great Thoth, God of wisdom,
God of magic, God of healing,
Heart of Ptah, tongue of Ra,
cleanse me, purify me,
heal me completely so that I
may live in my higher self,
knowing the dance of life,
the harmony and magnificence
of the eternal Source, so that I
may serve thee and the one God
for the highest possible good.


Great Sekhmet, Goddess
of Fire, whose breath
created the desert,
daughter of Ra, consort of Ptah,
divine arbiter of Ma’at
in the Hall of Judgment,
Great Goddess, cleanse me,
purify me, reveal thy light,
reveal how to remain open,
how to attract and radiate joy,
so that I may know
the magnificence of Fire
and live in my higher self,
serving thee and the one God
for the highest possible good.


Great Anubis, God of the Underworld,
great guide of souls through the dark,
renew me in this difficult time,
let all negativity drain away,
transform me so that all darkness
dissolves in the light of a new day,
let me die to my old self
so that I live in my higher self,
serving thee and the one God
for the highest possible good.


Great Goddess of harmony,
abundance, and magnificence
in the world of the spirit, 
consort of Thoth,
cleanse me and renew me
so that I may live in harmony
with all of creation, so that I
may balance my energies
and thrive in my higher self,
serving thee and the one God
for the highest possible good.

     The last part of the ritual for me has the most impact. After performing the ritual once, I have maintained a much more positive focus. If you do this ritual, please do not forget to perform the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram at the end—something you should do without fail at the end of any ritual.