Guest Post: Speaking with the Self by Michael Coorlim

October 6th, 2011

Michael Coorlim is a freelance author, poet, artist, web developer, and online journal editor. A postmodern mystic and Taoscordian monk, he reads the Tarot, throws the I-Ching, is a lucid dreamer, and does modern shamanistic journeywork.

We’re bombarded, throughout the day, with a massive amount of sensory input – far more than our conscious minds can cope with. We have filters in place to sift through the data that our senses deliver to us, and these filters are shaped by our cognitive bias. We’re delivered the information that correlates most closely to what we already believe to be true; it’s those neural pathways that run the most efficiently. A lot slips through, but much of this is gathered by the subconscious mind, and while the ego goes about its day the subconscious mind is always active, always correlating, always turning things over. It passes us the conclusions it reaches about what we’ve missed in subtle ways – dreams, insights, and hunches.

Divination lets us provide the subconscious with a more direct medium to communicate to us. The tools we use – runes, cards, dream journeywork, shamanistic trance – give it a personal symbology to use as a means of communication. All of the divinatory methods are abstract enough that we can let the subconscious mind drift us to the correct interpretations based on a thousand small cues not significant enough to pick up on consciously, if we keep an open mind about it and let it lead us to where we need to go.

I’ve relied on divinatory messages to have conversations with myself for years. It’s one way that the eternal self, the soul self, has to pass along its wisdom and insights, and there’s much to be gained from open ears and an open mind. When we read for another our ‘inner detective’ is working overtime, picking up on infinite details that we miss, both physical and spiritual, material and energy. The skill of divination is the skill of interpreting these messages that our inner self is sending to us.

What to Do When Things Do More Than Go Bump in the Night by Wulfelm

October 4th, 2011

My first magickal teacher in the mid-1990s taught me that when dealing with the spirit world it was important to realize that there was nothing out there that I couldn’t handle. She said that if a person approached traveling the astral or faring forth to Otherworlds with fear, they would be far more likely to have an unpleasant experience. This advice has served me very well over the years and is good as far as it goes, but what my teacher neglected to tell me was that there were a variety of entities out there that could and would cause me a great deal of grief if given the opportunity. Admittedly, if you don’t go looking for trouble, if you approach all you meet (on this plane and others) with respect, and you believe that you can handle what comes your way you will tend to do better than if you are constantly skulking through life filled with fear, but it doesn’t mean that you won’t encounter difficult people or entities. Moreover, assuming that you can handle whatever comes your way, especially if you have no real training in working with difficult, fearsome, or even gruesome enemies, can be a detriment.

My Ecstasis workshop is intended for those who, through no fault of their own, end up in awkward, frightening, or even dangerous magickal and psychical situations. The first part is a literature review of what’s out there on the subject and will hopefully give the participants an awareness of what’s good, bad, and mediocre. The second part is a discussion of some of the entities frequently encountered on this plane of existence – most of the time when we encounter something it is because they have either stumbled onto us or we have stumbled onto them. This part of the workshop will help give you some sense of who has shown up unexpectedly in your bedroom at night after following you back from the Dreamtime. The third part gives some practical suggestions for warding your home and making protective (and inconspicuous) amulets. Participants are encouraged to bring a pen and some paper so that they can take notes; nothing else is required to attend the class.

Guest Post: How I read the Tarot by Shannah Lessa Wojtyska

October 3rd, 2011

Besides being a skilled reader, Shannah Lessa Wojtyska is also a member of Terra Mysterium

Consulted for centuries as a path to personal enlightenment, Tarot informs, expounds, and most effectively, provides a means of illuminating that which is inherently known but sometimes hidden by a self-imposed obscurity. Like its sister art, Astrology, Tarot facilitates the acquisition of self-knowledge; it is a wonderful tool which provides insight and brings clarity to the meaning of the time.

I’ve been reading tarot for over thirty years, starting on the divinatory Hermetic path when she was gifted her first Rider-Waite deck by a friend at the age of fourteen. Interestingly enough, it was the Tarot which sought me out; not the other way around. And as they say, it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship – a kinship, really – which has lasted a lifetime.

My divinatory approach to reading for others is an empathic one; I view the cards as a tangible part of the consultation, but not the single source of information available at the time of the reading. The symbolism provided directly through the cards and layout certainly sets the tone, but an open and compassionate connection to the client makes the reading and its information all the more accessible – and valuable.

In my view, Tarot is a quite versatile tool; I use several different decks and layouts for various purposes. The Rider-Waite is, of course, a beloved deck; in fact I still use today that very first deck I acquired in my youth. The Medieval Scapini deck is my current favorite; it has a darker, richer personality – providing answers that are not always sympathetic or gentle, but more refreshingly direct, realistic and ultimately workable.

For me, Tarot has always been a mirror through which the current snapshot of time is reflected in a unique, sometimes revolutionary way. Looking into the cards is a gracious and intelligent approach to looking into oneself for answers. And in my experience, it is in direct communication with the Self that the best, right answers are most often found.

Guest Post: On Tarot Divination by Kat O’Connor

October 2nd, 2011

Kat O’Connor is a witch and a spiritual artist simply by virtue of her inescapable and all-encompassing spiritual worldview. By day she cleverly plays the part of a social media marketer and digital designer; by night she is an itinerant photographer and a performer with Terra Mysterium performance troupe. She contributes to Food in my Food: Ecstatic Experiments in Whole Foods Cooking.

I am a Scorpio ascendant, which likely colors my perception of tarot. As I see it, the tools serve simply to hold a mirror up to yourself. The cards shine a light on what’s there, and perhaps even seen, but having it all laid out in an orderly fashion, patterns begin to emerge. Most often, in my experience, it doesn’t show you anything that you don’t already know, even if this knowing has gone unnoticed until now. What it does is provide a birds-eye view, a map of sorts, so you can see where the path is going, farther ahead than just around the next bend.

The tools can be used to organize the chaos into something clear enough to make a decision on, as it brings this knowing, and its significance, to the surface. It focuses our awareness, brings our intuition into the conscious level. What did we forget that we knew? What significant details missed our grasp? With all these seemingly unrelated pieces laid out side-by-side, relationships and patterns begin to reveal themselves. Where you have been shapes where you are going.

Is this mystical or psychological? I don’t know; and for practical purposes it doesn’t matter, as long as it works. Perhaps “mystical” and “psychological” are artificial compartmentalizations of a single unified force of nature. It seems likely; I’m often reminded (by my cards, where Justice is re-envisioned as The Web) that we’re not as separate from the Web of All Things as we tend to think we are.