Saturday, July 30, 2016


Bobcat Skull

     I often hike in the Sierra Nevada Mountains just to encounter stones. Some rocks, though resembling magnificent spires or edifices, confront the soul with a sublimely nonhuman order. Other stones covered with moss and humus seem as alive in their niches as anything else in their ecosystem. Though forever silent about human and natural history, some stones contain traces of a Native American presence that in the Sierra Nevada Mountains has all but disappeared within the last century or so, the mortars filled with grass, humus, water, sometimes even pestles. A vibration from eon's ago, perhaps from the beginning of time, permeates stones: Occasionally in the mountains I am so impressed by stones that I feel a crazy desire to worship them.
     The energies within stone and earth form the physical ground of being, which has existed far longer than the human race, far longer than any organic life on the planet. These energies establish the basic reality around which countless forms of life have surged forth only to pass away, enabling other forms to fill their niche. These energies are the bedrock of creation itself, but they also usher in the King of Terrors, for whatever tabernacles in physical form must perish. Because all form eventually breaks down, even the tallest mountains, the Gods of creation also force us to face the inescapable realities of suffering and death. The life-force is in a field of constant change, of creation and destruction, which allows the new to supplant the old in a never-ending cycle.

Pounding Stone with Pestle in Mortar (Foreground)

     The Gods of creation have birthed forms beyond the human race's ability to conquer or control, live volcanoes from the ocean's floor and vast mountain ranges and endless deserts. Tiny humans huddle on firm, flat ground as much as possible, often ignoring or forgetting the intimidating forms of nature, yet something within us longs for places with sublime natural forms that tower above us—for contact with another order of being, primordial and majestic, that humbles and amazes and reminds us of the inexplicable vastness of space and time.
     The soul needs to be fed as much as the body. As revealed by the Tree of Life, there are nine energetic states, or chambers, of the soul, each of which requires a constant influx of the corresponding energy of its vibrational state. The type of the energy of the womb of creation is very high, associated with the supernal sephira on the Tree of Life known as Binah. Since this state is on the other side of what the Qabalists call the Abyss, far beyond brain consciousness, the soul must be very still and calm to tune to this primal energy, as still and calm as rocks.
Pestle in Mortar
     The ancients fashioned Gods that represent the basic forms and energies of creation, from Ptah in Egypt, to Cronus in Greece, to Saturn in Rome. My soul opened to the energies of the physical ground of being after I had hiked many miles through the mountains, so impressed by rocks, large and small, that I recently invoked the ancient God Ptah. (More on that later.) Saturn is perhaps the symbolic form of the primordial Gods of Creation most recognized by modern human beings. Saturn's Greek name is Cronus, Father Time. Associated with the Grim Reaper, Saturn rules our subjective sense of time, including the sense of mortality. In a human being's short span of life, Saturn is the crucible that burns away trivial or artificial characteristics. Saturn's pressure keeps you focused on your own path even if you find that some goals force you to plod through great difficulties in order to establish inner wisdom and discipline—even though all the while fear and regret may accompany you. Known as the “greater malific,” Saturn, the most feared planet in astrology, demands that you accept your true nature, your higher self, and take control of your life, finding what must be done to avoid or solve problems. Tests and trials occur so that you know and accept your higher self and face obstacles with wisdom and courage. Saturn never promises success, but through discipline and perseverance, and by avoiding distractions and overcoming doubts and gaining knowledge and skill, you can earn mastery regardless of the outcome.
     Similar in many ways to Saturn, the ancient Egyptian God Ptah is the fashioner of the egg, who dreamed creation in his heart and called the world into being, his name meaning “the opener,” in the sense of opening the mouth to speak the Word. From chaos he fashioned the universe through harmonics and thought and established the harsh discipline of form. As the creator of form, like Saturn, Ptah is a God of restriction and stability and obedience to structures that serve individual or collective purposes. On the personal level also, Ptah is a God of planning and determination, of boundaries and limitations.

Ancient Pounding Stone with Rainwater in Mortars

     These days I appreciate the more frightful aspects of Saturn because as a teenager I experienced a great deal of confusion and fear about death. My grandmother passed away a year after my grandfather died, and soon after that my cousin and his girlfriend, both in their early twenties, were killed in a car accident. I was fourteen. The entire family was devastated. A few years later, my father died, three days before his fifty-sixth birthday, about a month after I turned seventeen. I remember seeing him laid out on a single bed in his best suit the day my mother picked out his coffin. His face was waxy and unnatural; I could tell that the embalmers had attempted to make it seem like he was just sleeping. That same day my mother opted to purchase a concrete vault for the casket that would purportedly survive fifty years instead of twenty-five—for twice the money.
     All my other deceased relatives, placed on display during visitation, seemed pasty and slightly misshapen, as if someone had replaced the real body with a poorly rendered, life-sized doll. Shocked by their almost real-life appearance, I thought that my relatives might want me to pretend that they weren't dead. Whatever the reason for their appearance, I found that I couldn't grieve openly; my formal clothes, the limousines, the hasty ceremonies, the flowery grave sites all felt unreal. The only time I experienced true grief was during my cousin's funeral when my uncle lifted from the coffin his son's hand and wouldn't let go. He and my aunt wept uncontrollably, which caused me to bolt, sobbing, out of the funeral chapel. After my father died, my surviving family never talked about death, and my friends avoided me, as if I might somehow bring death into their world.
     In the physical world, things fall apart. People suffer from defects and illness and pain. As someone who has experienced a chronic illness for forty-five years, I know that even people close to you often remain in denial about your illness or blame you for not overcoming your condition. They sometimes act like they would rather just avoid dealing with it and would prefer that you would just function normally in the social arena and in their presence. Like death, illness triggers the self-preservation instinct.
     Unfortunately I could not remain in the career that I had chosen because illness interfered at every turn, so I have suffered regret, partially because I could not live up to other people's expectations. Since people often avoid you when they learn that you have an illness, even one that isn't contagious, as I have grown older, I have grown more and more solitary and misanthropic. After a recent trip to the mountains, I realized that I needed to honor the basic energies of existence, which include suffering and death, and I needed, as a person with a chronic disease, to let go of regret in order to live a more abundant life.
     I have often wondered if people can truly experience all the
Pounding Stone In Shade
vibrations of the life-force if they are in denial about suffering and death. If we cannot grieve or suffer openly, if all hint of death and illness must be hidden from sight so we can pretend that they don't exist, aren't we shutting out the life-force? If we glorify youth and strength and ignore aging and illness, aren't we also ignoring the life force in all its manifestations? If we shut down emotionally when faced with suffering and death, can we truly live?
     We contact the subtle forces with both the intellect and the emotions. We cannot experience the life-force with the intellect alone. If we shut down the emotions, we cut ourselves off from the life-force on all levels. The soul starves.
     I invoked the God Ptah as a way to experience basic energies of the life-force and to accept the world and all it suffering. I also invoked Ptah to release my regrets. With regret also comes anger at the people who have stood in your way. I needed to release that anger as well.
     Afterwards, I realized that I have ended up doing what I have always wanted to do anyway—though with greater financial limitations than I had expected. I had once believed that a career would have enabled me to do the things I wanted—without recognizing that a career would have eaten up most, if not all, of the time that I needed in order to be a creative, politically active, spiritual person. I have discovered, however, that lingering regret can end up being worse than illness itself, but the emotional pain can also become a catalyst to grow into the person that you are compelled to be. 
     Since my ritual, I have felt free of anger and regret. In a moment of reflection, I understood that suffering and sorrow and limitation
Pounding Stone on Ridge
have helped me to grow as a person. Despite my illness, or perhaps because of it, I have developed the discipline to overcome obstacles and focus on what I need to do to accomplish my goals. With the help of Mars (Saturn on a lower arc), I have finally made a clean break. Why should I have regrets? Despite what others might have thought, I have fought to experience my true nature—and I have accomplished what my higher self intended me to do.
     I no longer feel any denial. I accept the world as it is.
     I also realized something else: My attempts to heal myself through spiritual practices has led to another important application of the Tarot Pentagram Spread—it can be employed as a way to experience the life-force on all levels of being, a way of self-transformation and self-initiation.

Tree of Life


     The ritual is simple. First, I choose a Sephira on the Tree of Life whose energies I wish to invoke and determine which cards are associated with it. Then, I lay down the central card representing the planet (and symbolizing the God) associated with the Sephira (except for Malkuth, the tenth Sephira representing the four elements, and Chokmah, representing the zodiac). Then I lay down the foundation cards (the Aces), using either the active or passive invoking pentagram. Next, using the decan correspondences of the related number cards (see below), I lay down the Major Arcana cards associated with the Sephira as modifiers on the points of the pentagram, first the Major Arcana card associated with the zodiac sign, then the Major Arcana card associated with the planet. Then I lay down the number cards that correspond to the Major Arcana cards.
     In other words, to invoke the energies of the third Sephira, Binah, I lay down the Major Arcana card associated with Saturn, The World, in the center of the pentagram, followed by the Aces and Judgement, the foundation cards, at the associated points of the pentagram: Pentacles with Earth, Cups with Water, Swords with Air, Wands with Fire, and Judgement with Spirit. Since I am invoking Saturn, which is associated with a passive, “feminine” Sephira, I use the passive invoking pentagram, moving from Earth, to Water, to Air, to Fire, to Aether (spirit), and back to Earth. Then, invoking the Gods associated with the astrological signs, I lay down the Major Arcana cards corresponding with the decanate (see below), first the zodiac card, then the planetary card, then the associated number card.
     The Tarot card The World, while associated with Binah, also represents the “terrible” 32nd path between Malkuth (The Kingdom) and Yesod (The Foundation): On this path I face suffering and death and embrace the reality of spirit in order to proceed farther in the Great Work.


Third Sephira, Binah (Understanding)
Planet: Saturn
Egyptian God: Ptah
Central Card of Pentagram Spread: The World, Path 32
Number Cards: The Threes

Three of Pentacles, Lord of Material Works:
Decan Correspondence: Mars in Capricorn
Major Arcana Cards: The Tower (Mars), The Devil (Capricorn)
Egyptian Gods: Horus (Mars), Min (Capricorn)

Three of Cups, Lord of Abundance:
Decan Correspondence: Mercury in Cancer
Major Arcana Cards: The Magician (Mercury), The Chariot (Cancer)
Egyptian Gods: Thoth (Mercury), Khepera (Cancer)

Three of Swords, Lord of Sorrow:
Decan Correspondence: Saturn in Libra
Major Arcana Card: Justice (Libra),
Egyptian Gods: Ma'at (Libra)

Three of Wands, Lord of Established Strength:
Decan Correspondence: The Sun in Aries
Major Arcana Cards: The Sun (The Sun), The Emperor (Aries)
Egyptian Gods: Hathor (Venus), Horus or Montu (Aries)

     Since I identify most with the Egyptian pantheon, as I lay down each modifying Major Arcana card, I invoke the associated Egyptian God. (Any other pantheon, of course, can be used, but to avoid confusion I do not mix pantheons). I have included many examples of invocations in previous posts, so I am only presenting an example here of the invocation of the central deity.

PTAH (The World)

Path 32
Great Ptah, opener of the way,
God of Creation and discipline,
let me accept change, let me accept the world
with its suffering and horror and death,
for I have grown from grief and illness,
for I have died and been reborn many times,
and I shall die and be reborn again.
Great Ptah, release me from regrets,
for I have grown from limitations
and illness and sorrow, for I have overcome
many obstacles to stand before you now
as the person my soul intended me to be.
In the name of Yeheshua I invoke thee.

     In order to establish balance at the beginning, it is best to to proceed up the middle pillar first, from Malkuth, the tenth Siphira, to Yesod, the ninth Sephira, to Tiphareth, the sixth Sephira. Tiphareth, or Beauty, is the sphere of equilibrium for the whole Tree of Life.
     Since in the Tenth Sephira the Tree of Life correspondence is “the four elements in Malkuth,” not a planet, I believe the main invocation card should be either the King or Queen of Pentacles, both of which contain symbolic references to all four elements. The Planets and Major Arcana cards associated with the next seven Sephiroth are as follows, in order:

Tree of Life, from The Mystical Qabalah

     The Tree of Life correspondence for the second Sephira, Chokmah, is The Zodiac. Since no one card symbolically represents the zodiac, and since the Kings are associated with the second Sephira, I have presented two possible options for the central invocation card: The Fool, Path Eleven, or the King of Wands, which of the four Kings contains the highest spiritual energy.
     Since the Foundation Cards of the Tarot Pentagram Spread, the Aces, are associated with Kether, the Crown of Creation, and the experience of Union with the Divine shall always remain a mystery, I have chosen not to include an invocation of the energies of The Crown, the first Sephira.
     In previous posts I have presented examples revealing the invocation of the energies of two of the Sephiroth: Tipareth, the Sixth Sephira (The Ritual of the Sun) and Chokmah, the Second Sephira (The Ritual of Divine Madness).

Tree of Life with Different Levels

     It is important to remember that the Tarot represents all of the archeypal energies that manifest in the material plane, which means that some of the cards symbolize adverse circumstances such as oppression, ruin, despair and cruelty, bondage, and poverty. In each case, however, the decan correspondences reveal the archetypal energies behind the adverse circumstances which can lead to growth. This is especially true in the fifth, seventh, ninth and tenth Sepiroth. As I have learned by invoking The World, in order to proceed in the Great Work, we need to honor the difficulties of life as much or more as the more positive experiences because adverse circumstances often help us to grow.
     As I have mentioned often before, opening to the spiritual dimension can lead to contact with malicious spirits. You must protect yourself by performing the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram at least once a day. Also, invoking powerful subtle forces can lead to a lack of balance. After moving up the middle pillar from Malkuth to Tiphareth, the best way to avoid becoming unbalanced is by invoking, within a week's time, the energies of the Sephiroth opposite each other on the Tree of Life:

  • Hod, the eighth Sephira – Netzach, the seventh Sphira
  • Geburah, the fifth Sephira – Chesed, the fourth Sphira
  • Binah, the third Sephira – Chokmah, the second Sphira

     If you ever find that you need to re-establish balance in your life, invoke Tiphareth again.
     If you are manifesting the vice of a sphere more than its virtue, you are probably losing balance and need to invoke the opposite sphere, or Tiphareth—or both.

Virtue: Descrimination
Vice: Avarice, Inertia

Virtue: Independence
Vice: Idleness, Spaciness

Virtue: Truthfulness
Vice: Falsehood, Dishonesty

Virtue: Unselfishness
Vice: Lust, Lack of Chastity

Virtue: Devotion to the Great Work
Vice: Pride

Virtues: Energy, Courage, Disipline, Strength
Vices: Cruelty, Destructiveness

Virtue: Obedience
Vices: Gluttony, Bigotry, Hypocrisy, Tyranny

Virtue: Silence
Vice: Avarice

Virtue: Devotion
Vice: –

Virtue: Attainment, Completion of the Great Work
Vice: –


Tenth Sephira: Malkuth (The Kingdom)
The four elements: Earth, Air, Water, and Fire
Central Card of Pentagram Spread: King or Queen of Pentacles
Number Card Modifiers: The Tens

Ten of Pentacles, Lord of Wealth:
Decan Correspondence: Mercury in Virgo
Associated Major Arcana Cards: The Magician (Mercury), The Hermit (Virgo)
Egyptian Gods: Thoth (Mercury), Atum (Virgo)

Ten of Cups, Lord of Perfected Success:
Decan Correspondence: Mars in Pisces
Associated Major Arcana Cards: The Tower (Mars), The Moon (Pisces)
Egyptian Gods: Horus (Mars), Anubis (Pisces)

Ten of Swords, Lord of Ruin:
Decan Correspondence: Sun in Gemini
Associated Major Arcana Cards: The Sun (The Sun), The Lovers (Gemini)
Egyptian Gods: Ra (The Sun), Isis and Osiris (Gemini)

Ten of Wands, Lord of Oppression:
Decan Correspondence: Saturn in Sagittarius
Associated Major Arcana Cards: The World (Saturn), Temperance (Sagittarius)
Egyptian Gods: Ptah (Saturn), Neith (Sagittarius)

Ninth Sephira: Yesod (The Foundation)
Planet: The Moon
Central Card of Pentagram Spread: The High Priestess
Number Card Modifiers: The Nines

Nine of Pentacles, Lord of Material Gain:
Decan Correspondence: Venus in Virgo
Associated Major Arcana Cards: The Empress (Venus), The Hermit (Virgo)
Egyptian Goddess: Isis, or Hathor (Venus), Atum (Virgo)

Nine of Cups, Lord of Material Happiness:
Decan Correspondence: Jupiter in Pisces
Associated Major Arcana Cards:The Wheel of Fortune (Jupiter), The High Priestess (The Moon)
Egyptian Gods: Amun (Jupiter), Nephthys (The Moon)

Nine of Swords, Lord of Despair and Cruelty:
Decan Correspondence: Mars in Gemini
Associated Major Arcana Cards: The Tower (Mars), The Lovers (Gemini)
Egyptian Gods: Horus (Mars), Isis and Osiris (as Lovers), or The Merti (Gemini)

Nine of Wands, Lord of Great Strength:
Decan Correspondence: Moon in Sagittarius
Associated Major Arcana Cards: Temperance (Sagittarius)
Egyptian God: Neith (Sagittarius)

Eighth Sephira, Hod (Splendor)
Planet: Mercury
Central Card of Pentagram Spread: The Magician
Number Card Modifiers: The Eights

Eight of Pentacles, Lord of Prudence:
Decan Correspondence: The Sun in Virgo
Associated Major Arcana Cards: The Sun (The Sun), The Hermit (Virgo)
Egyptian Gods: Ra (The Sun), Atum (Virgo)

Eight of Cups, Lord of Abandoned Success:
Decan Correspondence: Saturn in Pisces
Associated Major Arcana Cards: The World (Saturn), The High Priestess (The Moon)
Egyptian Gods: Ptah (Saturn), Nephthys (The Moon)

Eight of Swords, Lord of Shortened Force:
Decan Correspondence: Jupiter in Gemini
Associated Major Arcana Cards: The Tower (Mars), The Lovers (Gemini)
Egyptian Gods: Amun (Jupiter), Isis and Osiris , or The Merti (Gemini)

Eight of Wands, Lord of Swiftness:
Decan Correspondence: Mercury in Sagittarius
Associated Major Arcana Cards: The Magician (Mercury), Temperance (Sagittarius)
Egyptian Gods: Thoth (Mercury), Neith (Sagittarius)

Seventh Sephira, Netzach (Victory)
Planet: Venus
Central Card of Pentagram Spread: The Empress
Number Card Modifiers: The Sevens

Seven of Pentacles, Lord of Success Unfulfilled:
Decan Correspondence: Saturn in Taurus
Associated Major Arcana Cards: The World (Saturn), The Hierophant (Taurus)
Egyptian Gods: Ptah (Saturn), Osiris (Taurus)

Seven of Cups, Lord of Illusionary Success:
Decan Correspondence: Venus in Scorpio
Associated Major Arcana Cards: The Empress (Venus), Death (Scorpio)
Egyptian Gods: Isis or Hathor (Venus), Anubis (Scorpio)

Seven of Swords, Lord of Unstable Effort:
Decan Correspondence: The Moon in Aquarius
Associated Major Arcana Cards: The High Priestess (The Moon), The Star (Aquarius)
Egyptian Gods: Nepthys (The Moon), Sothis (Aquarius)

Seven of Wands, Lord of Valor:
Decan Correspondence: Mars in Leo
Associated Major Arcana Cards: The Tower (Mars), Strength (Leo)
Egyptian Gods: Horus (Mars), Sekhet (Leo)

Sixth Sephira, Tiphareth (Beauty)
Planet (in Classical Astrology): The Sun
Central Card of Pentagram Spread: The Sun
Number Card Modifiers: The Sixes

Six of Pentacles, Lord of Material Success:
Decan Correspondence: Moon in Taurus
Associated Major Arcana Cards: The High Priestess (The Moon), The Hierophant (Taurus)
Egyptian Gods: Nephthys (The Moon), Osiris (Taurus)

Six of Cups, Lord of Pleasure:
Decan Correspondence: The Sun in Scorpio
Associated Major Arcana Cards: The Sun (The Sun), Death (Scorpio)
Egyptian Gods: Ra (The Sun), Anubis (Scorpio)

Six of Swords, Lord of Earned Success:
Decan Correspondence: Mercury in Aquarius
Associated Major Arcana Cards: The Magician (Mercury), The Star (Aquarius)
Egyptian Gods: Thoth (Mercury), Sothis (Aquarius)

Six of Wands, Lord of Victory:
Decan Correspondence: Jupiter in Leo
Associated Major Arcana Cards: The Wheel of Fortune (Jupiter), Strength (Leo)
Egyptian Gods: Amoun (Jupiter), Ma'at or Sekhmet (Strength)

Fifth Sephira, Geburah (Severity)
Planet: Mars
Central Card of Pentagram Spread: The Tower
Number Card Modifiers: The Fives

Five of Pentacles, Lord of Material Trouble:
Decan Correspondence: Mercury in Taurus
Associated Major Arcana Cards: The Magician (Mercury), The Hierophant (Taurus)
Egyptian Gods: Thoth (Mercury), Osiris (Taurus)

Five of Cups, Lord of Loss in Pleasure:
Decan Correspondence: Mars in Scorpio
Associated Major Arcana Cards: The Tower (Mars), Death (Scorpio)
Egyptian Gods: Horus (Mars), Anubis (Scorpio)

Five of Swords, Lord of Defeat:
Decan Correspondence: Venus in Aquarius
Associated Major Arcana Cards: The Empress (Venus), The Star (Aquarius)
Egyptian Gods: Isis or Hathor (Venus), Sothis (Aquarius)

Five of Wands, Lord of Strife:
Decan Correspondence: Saturn in Leo
Associated Major Arcana Cards: The World (Saturn), Strength (Leo)
Egyptian Gods: Ptah (Saturn), Ma'at or Sekhmet (Leo)

Fourth Sephira, Chesed (Mercy)
Planet: Jupiter
Central Card of Pentagram Spread: The Wheel of Fortune
Number Card Modifiers: The Fours

Four of Pentacles, Lord of Earthly Power:
Decan Correspondence: Sun in Capricorn
Associated Major Arcana Cards: The Sun (The Sun), The Devil (Capricorn)
Egyptian Gods: Ra (The Sun), Min (Capricorn)

Four of Cups, Lord of Blended Pleasure:
Decan Correspondence: Moon in Cancer
Associated Major Arcana Cards: The High Priestess (The Moon), The Chariot (Cancer)
Egyptian Gods: Nepthys (The Moon), Khepera (Cancer)

Four of Swords, Lord of Rest from Strife:
Decan Correspondence: Jupiter in Libra
Associated Major Arcana Cards: The Wheel of Fortune (Jupiter), Justice (Libra)
Egyptian Gods: Amun (Jupiter), Ma'at (Libra)

Four of Wands, Lord of Perfected Work:
Decan Correspondence: Venus in Aries
Associated Major Arcana Cards: The Empress (Venus), The Emperor (Aries)
Egyptian Gods: Hathor (Venus), Horus or Montu (Aries)

Third Sephira, Binah (Understanding)
Planet: Saturn
Central Card of Pentagram Spread: The World
Number Card Modifiers: The Threes

Three of Pentacles, Lord of Material Works:
Decan Correspondence: Mars in Capricorn
Associated Major Arcana Cards: The Tower (Mars), The Devil (Capricorn)
Egyptian Gods: Horus (Mars), Min (Capricorn)

Three of Cups, Lord of Abundance:
Decan Correspondence: Mercury in Cancer
Associated Major Arcana Cards: The Magician (Mercury), The Chariot (Cancer)
Egyptian Gods: Thoth (Mercury), Khepera (Cancer)

Three of Swords, Lord of Sorrow:
Decan Correspondence: Saturn in Libra
Associated Major Arcana Cards: Justice (Libra),
Egyptian Gods: Ma'at (Libra)

Three of Wands, Lord of Established Strength:
Decan Correspondence: The Sun in Aries
Associated Major Arcana Cards: The Sun (The Sun), The Emperor (Aries)
Egyptian Gods: Hathor (Venus), Horus or Montu (Aries)

Second Sephira, Chokmah (Wisdom)
Astrological Association: The Zodiac
Central Card of Pentagram Spread: The King of Wands
Number Card Modifiers: The Twos

Two of Pentacles, Lord of Harmonious Change:
Decan Correspondence: Jupiter in Capricorn
Associated Major Arcana Cards: The Wheel of Fortune (Jupiter), The Devil (Capricorn)
Egyptian Gods: Amun (Jupiter), Min (Capricorn)

Two of Cups, Lord of Love:
Decan Correspondence: Venus in Cancer
Associated Major Arcana Cards: The Empress (Venus), The Chariot (Cancer)
Egyptian Gods: Isis or Hathor (Venus), Khepera (Cancer)

Two of Swords, Lord of Peace Restored:
Decan Correspondence: Moon in Libra
Associated Major Arcana Cards: The High Priestess (The Moon), Justice (Libra),
Egyptian Gods: Nephthys (The Moon), Ma'at (Libra)

Two of Wands, Lord of Dominion:
Decan Correspondence: Mars in Aries
Associated Major Arcana Cards: The Tower (Mars), The Emperor (Aries)
Egyptian Gods: Horus or Montu (The Tower)

Friday, July 22, 2016


Tiger Lily


     About two years ago, I hiked alone through a high meadow near Tamarack Creek over fallen branches and tree trunks. Where few people had ever ventured, I found arrow leaf tansy and tiger lilies and columbine and spent the morning immersed in rivulets and flowers. After I rested on a rock and ate lunch, a few minutes later my heart started beating irregularly. My stomach felt like a stone that had lurched up into my chest. I thought I was dying of a heart attack and plopped down on a large, flat stone. I leaned back against a pine tree as water gurgled peacefully in the nearby stream until the AFib finally dissipated about forty minutes later. Without knowing it then, I had reached an advanced stage of celiac disease. My small lunch, which had contained gluten, had sent my heart into a frenzy. Many months later, after numerous experiences with AFib, I finally made the connection between gluten and erratic heartbeats, in time to avoid a blood clot or an actual heart attack. After eliminating gluten entirely from my diet, I have not experienced AFib for almost two years now.
     I returned to Tamarack Creek last weekend. After a winter of heavy snowfall, the tiger lilies were blooming more profusely than I've ever seen before. Over 7,000 feet above the San Joaquin Valley, where almost every inch of land has been cultivated and urbanized in the last century, over a mile from Highway 168, the meadow has remained pristine. Near the highway, however, ranchers have grazed cattle that have trampled a great many flowers, including some rare ones like gentian and little elephant's head, and logging roads snake down the mountain high above the creek on both sides, yet the meadow has managed to avoid molestation, possibly because of so many fallen trees and branches near its edges.


     After the Ritual of Divine Madness (see previous post), I returned to the meadow. During the ritual, I had become the Fool, the eternal child, resilient within fields of change and adversity, knowing long moments of inner freedom without negativity. As the Fool by the creek, for one day I experienced Eden physically and spiritually. Thanks to my ritual I returned to a paradise not of the id or the ego, but of the higher self, which feels the unity and divinity within all things. Because I also invoked the God Min during the ritual, I felt a surge of well-being and a greater sensitivity to the life-force: The auras of plants and trees were tuned to their surroundings. Tiger lilies, so abundant that their fragrance permeated the meadow, hovered above the rivulets and broken branches near waves of golden arrow-leaf tansy and columbine bobbing in the breeze, in a self-sustaining community, interconnected physically and spiritually, that will survive long after the human race has perished—if we leave it alone. Because of my ritual, I felt the life-force thrilling through me and through all the plants and animals in the forest.
     Back in the city, I realized how little I have been in touch with the life-force, which has as many names as there are civilizations. The life-force can't be found in our electronic devices, but you can't tear those devices out of my hands or the hands of most children and adults these days. The life-force does not exist in movies or TV shows, yet it's extremely hard to get me to avert my eyes for even a few moments once I start watching. The life-force is not in my car or or my furniture or my house, only the residues of human elemental energies. I began to understand why forests might seem like pure chaos to people who are only used to human order, why so many people have become terrified of the life-force as it manifests in nature, why in the past thirty years I have encountered in the wild only a handful of other people, most of whom were carrying fishing rods or guns.

Shooting Stars

     As I stare at my computer screen, I realize that in this information age, it has become so easy to lose the knowledge about how the life-force manifests within ourselves and the creatures of the Earth. So many are obsessed with the body but know nothing about the subtle energies of the aura or the chambers of the soul. So many are aware of cartoon super-heroes but are unaware of the Gods that personify powerful natural forces.
     After I performed the Ritual of Divine Madness and returned to the meadow, I realized that the metaphor of rebooting and reformatting my personality that I used in the previous post was wrong. I wasn't creating a new identity—I had instead returned to something like the self I had known many years ago—my spiritual life-force, undistorted by social conditioning. I retained the knowledge and wisdom that I have gathered over the past fifty-six years but felt free of decades of negativity.


     It became clear to me why I had never fully discovered the knowledge of the life-force within me. As a child I was regimented in the public school system for nine months of the year but had three months of freedom every summer. When not playing sports or hanging out at the mall during summer vacation, I was watching TV or going to the movies. Inevitably, during the last half of the summer, I spent less time with friends and more time watching TV. In fact, the TV was on all the time, even during meal-times; I was socialized year-round to become a productive unit of labor and a spendthrift consumer. When I grew up I was going to buy, buy, buy junk food and clothes and cars and furniture and houses. I would go to college just so that I could get a great job and afford so many awesome things.
     Money is a type of human energy but does not contain the life-force. Cars have a type of power but not the power of the life-force. Clothes and furniture and houses accommodate our needs and reveal our status in society but do not contain the life-force. For decades, in public schools, at home, at malls and amusement parks, at the movies, in college, I was starving for the life-force.
Larkspur near Rock
     When I was growing up, by the end of each summer vacation I was bored to tears. I lived in a comfortable middle-class home, but by the end of summer I felt an incredible emptiness, except when I was reading about art or creating something. My father, fortunately, took the family on camping trips that sometimes lasted a week. Those camping trips exposed me to a completely different order of life. I at first believed that humans are more special, more intelligent than any other creature, that nature was simply a playground and a kingdom to conquer. Even though over the years I began to recognize the sentience of plants and animals, I had become so brainwashed that I did not even notice the beauty of flowers and trees until my early thirties. As I was growing up my social conditioning slowly disconnected me from the life-force in all of its beauty and diversity, so I could not experience the divinity in nature—I was not even aware that I have a higher self (known also as the soul) because I did not recognize the life-force in myself; I had not experienced my own divine core, so I could not connect with the divine subtle forces within nature and the cosmos.
Tiger Lilies
     I have since my teenage years felt more than a little compelled to escape my social conditioning due to illness and a gnawing sense of emptiness, but since my first experiences with Afib, I have felt an especially keen desire to break free of social constraints and leave my society far behind. I have no desire to “break bad”; on the contrary, I want to be free of negativity, without inner conflicts or chronic physical pain so that I can pursue ideals of beauty, truth, justice, and harmony. Due to my rituals, I may have finally succeeded, at least to a degree. I still feel greatly fatigued at times, and negative memories continue to surface now and then (but with less force). I don't claim to have totally healed my mind or my body, but for the past few days, I have felt free the way I sometimes did as a child, except now as an adult, I don't feel a ubiquitous fear of the unknown or the weight of parental and societal expectations. I don't need to maintain even a tenuous connection to the herd. After a long stretch of illness and spiritual dullness, I feel as magnificent as a tiger lily, and I can glimpse spiritual magnificence in other people once again as well.
     After my recent rituals, I feel sometimes that I am at a place in consciousness where the soul meets the divine. However, I suspect that few people understand what I'm saying because so many are cut off from the life-force. Most people probably just consider me crazy. Some people have made me feel less than worthy, but I realize that the more I let go of negativity in my body and mind, and the more I invoke powerful subtle forces, the more I feel healthy and free. I know, though, that with a chronic illness, feeling positive about myself is not going to happen 24/7.

Arrow-Leaf Tansy, Tiger Lilies

     Due to my social conditioning and my chronic illness, I have searched a long time for health and freedom. Long before my recent rituals, for instance, I chose not to be ruled by a symbol system. I pick and choose the symbols from various cultures that I need in my spiritual work. Identifying with the symbol instead of the spiritual force has led to untold madness, with cultures forcing each other to adopt their symbol systems through oppression and violence. A symbol system does not contain power until people connect with the subtle forces that the symbols represent; people who are forced to worship a symbol are unlikely to connect with its power. Using the secret name of Christ to invoke the Egyptian God Min through the Tarot card The Devil, as I did in The Ritual of Divine Madness, might seem more than a little mind-bending to some people, but it is this very act of breaking free from the tyranny of symbol systems that leads to greater freedom. Connecting with spiritual principle and spiritual forces is essentially what matters, not any symbol system, not Christianity or Buddhism or Hinduism or the so-called “dead” religions that we consider myths. Authentic spirituality for me is about the soul aligning with the divine spark and connecting with the forces of Being. Myth, which is about all that any religion amounts to, is merely one way throughout history that people have used to achieve those ends. The unseen forces do not change, only the symbols.

Tiger Lilies by Rivulet

     Stepping away from the herd does not mean ignoring laws and values. Once I had the Vision of Harmony and understood my own divinity and the divinity within nature, I understood that my soul is a tiny thread of consciousness in one vast tapestry of energy. Everything is connected. I shrink from the thought of harming anyone or anything because I am part of who or what they are; I would be harming myself by harming another. Until every person internalizes that simple spiritual principle, laws that prohibit harming others must stay in place, and we will continue to label unbalanced acts as sins. A person who internalizes spiritual principle would not dream of harming or killing another, except in self-defense. That is why I have said that the only true sin is having a value system that cuts you off from knowing all the vibrations of the life-force because that also cuts you off from knowing the interrelationship of all things. The lack of inner awareness of the life-force and spiritual laws leads to harmful and horrific acts, not weak social laws. Lack of empathy, which stems from an ignorance of the divinity of nature and the self, can lead to mass starvation and genocide.

Path 17

     The Nine of Swords, Lord of Despair and Cruelty, clearly reveals what happens when a person is cut off from the life-force. Swords pierce the higher energy centers of the aura, and the person lies in black despair, the swords pointing straight out, suggesting how a miserable person projects cruelty outwards at others. Due to my chronic illness I find it difficult to remain positive, so in this ritual I first banish the Nine of Swords.

Nine of Swords
Mars in Gemini
Moon in Yesod

     Then I invoke The Lovers with the Active Invoking Pentagram, specifically the two great Gods associated with the card: Isis and Osiris. I also invoke Horus, who is the son of Isis and Osiris and is associated with Mars, since the decan correspondences of the Nine of Swords are Mars in Gemini. Mars can shake up your life and cause despair, but I am using the positive energy of Mars through the God Horus to burn away negativity.

Modifiers for the Ritual of Paradise Regained

     The Lovers shows the alignment of the divine core with the soul and the masculine and feminine energies of the manifested personality. In terms of the microcosm, or individual, the sun is the divine spark, the angel is the Evolutionary Personality (or soul), and the man and the woman represent the duality of the masculine and feminine energies within the incarnated personality. The Number Cards associated with Gemini (the Eight, Nine, and Ten of Swords) emphasize the mortal side of the self. The Lovers, the Major Arcana card associated with Gemini, reveals the immortal side, in a state of paradise regained.
     This ritual contains only a few modifiers but is powerful in its simplicity. I have included examples of improvised invocations below.

ISIS (The Empress)

Great Isis, Goddess of healing,
Goddess of beauty, Goddess of nurturing,
Path 14
Goddess who knows human suffering,
Goddess who resurrected Osiris
and conceived Horus, Great Goddess,
look favorably upon me now,
help me align my body, soul
and divine core so that I know
divinity within all things,
so that I know paradise regained,
so that I live where soul meets
my divine core and the divine forces
of nature, so that I am healed
in body and mind and soul
and know the beauty of the cosmos.
In the name of Yeheshua, I invoke thee.

OSIRIS (The Hierophant)

Great Osiris, God of the Spirit World,
Path 16
God of the the brilliant Crown,
the thousand-petaled lotus,
God who knows suffering and death,
resurrected God, heal me,
resurrect me so that I know
the harmony of paradise,
so that my divine spirit aligns
with my soul and my body
and divine natural forces.
Let me let go of negativity
so that I may be whole again.
In the name of Yeheshua, I invoke thee.

HORUS (The Tower)

Path 15
Great Horus, God of the higher self,
one eye the sun, the other the moon,
burn away what does not serve me.
Consume all disease and negativity
so that I may live where the self
meets the divine spark—my spirit
connected to all Being. Let the Sun
of spirit shine through the soul,
manifesting in this world so that I
manifest harmony in the world,
serving thee and the Source
for the highest possible good.
I am resurrected in thy light.
In the name of Yeheshua I invoke thee. 

     It bears repeating that Yeheshua is the secret name of Christ, the Hebrew letters Yod, Heh, Shin, Vau, Heh associated with the points of the pentagram. Since I use the Tarot Pentagram Spread in the ritual, Yeheshua is especially powerful in the invocation of the Gods.