Wednesday, October 1, 2014

On Perspective, Yoda and Infinite Energy

The dragonfly in the upper right corner of The Acrobat suggests this card is about transformation, self-transcendence and gaining a fresh perspective. The youthful spirit of the monkey suggests this card is also about being keenly aware of your surroundings and transcending your comfort zone.

Tarot can be put to many uses. It can be a card game, a tool for divination, or a tool for self-development, self-awareness and spiritual growth. Chrysalis Tarot was created to assist with these latter uses. The Acrobat symbolizes how this can be accomplished: she symbolizes the authentic Self that soars above the illusions of ego.

Let's unpack that notion. First off, to say something is an "illusion" does not mean it doesn't exist only that it's not what it seems. Chrysalis Tarot's Hero's Journey itself symbolizes the struggle between the actualizing Self and the prevaricating Ego. Chrysalis constantly coaxes you to mitigate the illusions and allures of ego.

The Self, like the Acrobat's monkey, desires to smile, play and appreciate life in the present moment. Indeed, the monkey knows no other way. The ego on the other hand seeks to anticipate the future and control it. The Self is disposed to mindfulness while the ego is fascinated by adventurous mindlessness. To use tarot terms, the mindless "Fool" is on an ego trip while the "Hero," Chrysalis' designation for the "zero card," embarks on a pilgrimage of self-discovery.

The idea of mindfulness comes from Eastern philosophy. Alan Watts, who popularized Eastern traditions in the West, wrote: "The primary consciousness, the basic mind which knows reality rather than ideas about it, does not know the future. It lives completely in the present, and perceives nothing more than what is at this moment. The ingenious brain, however, looks at that part of the present experience called memory, and by studying it is able to make predictions. These predictions are, relatively, so accurate and reliable (e.g., 'everyone will die') that the future assumes a high degree of reality - so high that the present loses its value."

This tendency of ours to live for the future lies at the root of our anxiety. How can we overcome it? Well, we can use tarot to open a personal dialog with the Collective Unconscious, where the mythologies of past (below), present and, yes, an imagined future all merge (right). Myths are maps to treasure troves of wisdom. Chrysalis Tarot will open that conversation.

Imagine the scope of the communication from the Collective Unconscious to humanity through the imaginative minds of George Lucas and Gene Roddenberry; the wisdom of the ancients barely known to us because the limited perspective of our narratives, indeed our egos, filter the past to fit the preconceived notions about the present, as the next card illustrates.

Stonehenge echoes the lesson taught by The Acrobat: all is not as it seems. This megalithic monument, according to today's archaeologists, dates to 2,500 B.C.E. Evidence was recently found, however, that indicates Stonehenge is at least 5,000 years older, perhaps more.

When new discoveries like this are made I'm reminded of the 15-year-old exposé Michael Cremo and Richard Thompson developed in Forbidden Archeology, namely that the predominant narrative of human history and human evolution is significantly gaslighted. Like the dust mite, I suppose, there are some things we're just better off not knowing.

Setting aside the substantial body of evidence that indicates anatomically modern humans roamed the Earth millions of years ago, I'll focus instead on the antediluvian knowledge that appears to have existed on Earth a scant 150,000 years ago, but is considered forbidden. The reason is simple: dogma; in this case scientific dogma. Researchers who venture into anomalous domains are like religious heretics. They are marginalized, can't get published and don't receive grants or tenure. A prominent example is the suppression of Nikola Tesla.

Another example of this involves forbidden theories about sacred geometry and the Flower of Life design. This design found in diverse ancient cultures the world over from Egypt to China to Israel. The image (right) is of a 3D Flower of Life sphere from the Grand Temple in Bangkok, Thailand. Although ancient, this design is particularly relevant today because of its implications to theoretical physics. The geometric structure of spacetime itself can be expressed using this geometry.

This design, according to Nassim Haramein of the Resonance Institute in Hawaii, ".. represents how tiny discrete packets of energy organize themselves with the geometric structure of the fabric of the vacuum of space itself."

The term "vacuum of space" is an intentional misnomer since classical physics still considers "empty space" to be a vacuum. It isn't. Space is a plenum filled with tiny fluctuating packets of quantum energy. There's enough energy, for example, in one cubic centimeter of space to power our entire civilization for a day. The vacuum is an energy reservoir of colossal capacity. Infinite energy pervading the entire universe is how the vacuum is viewed by "New Physics."

As Yoda forewarned, "You must unlearn what you have learned."

The Ten of Mirrors is about learning how to just let things be. It's my fervent hope you're better at this than I am!

But it's true: everything is unfolding just as it should. There is order as well as purpose in chaos; now is the time for each person to gaze into his or her mirror of true Self and realize that the greatest responsibility we have as humans is to grow in knowledge, make the necessary revisions to cherished worldviews, and just to go with the flow, as it were.

The flow leads to a new world, an Aquarian worldview heralding science and spirituality as its unified centerpiece. By inference this requires the decomposition of scientific and religious dogma; a letting go of the prevailing and rigid materialist worldview, as well as the "correct beliefs" at the core of decidedly unscientific religious dogma. It requires a "new conception of god," as Anne Baring phrased it; a rational spirituality, if you will.

Change of any kind is stressful. Change on the magnitude of an age-ending paradigm shift hasn't happened in over 2,000 years. Chrysalis Tarot was designed for the Age of Aquarius not the existing Age of Pisces, and for the transition. It was also designed to mollify change by explicating the new paradigm to "those who have ears to hear and eyes to see," as the prophet Jeremiah famously proclaimed.

The Ten of Mirrors is one of the most positive cards in our deck. It symbolizes an unbreachable barrier to waves of doubt and distrust seeking to dislodge your inner peace.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Metaphysics of Spirituality and Discernment

Tarot's Scrolls (Swords) suit represents the element of air. Human intellect is considered to be its primary correspondence. However, in Chrysalis Tarot intellect has two very different and distinct connotations.

The first refers to mental processes or activities of a rational mind. It represents the objective case, problem solving, intelligence, and the way a person interprets reality and deduces truth.

The second, yet equally important meaning of the Suit of Scrolls, is intuition. It refers to the subjective case, which gleans or induces truth via personal experience and supersensual, metaphysical inspiration and intuition.

Albert Einstein believed intuition is a neglected art: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." Chrysalis aims to address that imbalance.

In Chrysalis, we don't seek to define the meaning of tarot cards with great precision. First of all, it's not possible, and second of all, every card serves as a painted invitation to fire up your imagination and intuition and write your own definitions. The unconscious mind is a treasure trove filled with lifetimes of experiences and memories - you own memories, those of your ancestors and moreover of all humanity. Raising the unconscious mind to conscious awareness is another goal Chrysalis addresses.

Tarot is both a metaphysical pursuit and a spiritual exercise. To dogmatize tarot with sacrosanct, and in many cases arbitrary meanings, is not simply to misunderstand how tarot really works but to corral and diminish its efficacy - indeed, to trivialize it. As one Chrysalis reviewer wrote, "You will have to look into your soul to discover what these cards mean, and what they will mean to you is different from what they will mean to anybody else." And that is how it should be.

Once this simple premise is understood and accepted, all your hard work over the years will pay off. You can now easily draw Excalibur from the Stone of Destiny and begin your quest freed of dogma in earnest. In doing so, you extract the secrets of both the Suit of Scrolls and the tarot. As Chrysalis artist Holly Sierra observed, "When the future king draws the sword from the stone he prepares to sacrifice all for his personal destiny and that of his realm."

The keyword for the Six of Scrolls is consolation, an important but frequently overlooked spiritual concept, especially when discerning difficult decisions. Questions put to tarot cards frequently involve decision making dilemmas. Tarot helps you solve them.

Let's say someone is discerning whether to take a new job or perhaps move to a new city. The first thing to do is make a list of all the pros and cons. Ask family and friends for their insights and listen closely to their responses. Finally, sleep on the decision for a night or two.

I then recommend one, but no more than three, different Chrysalis Tarot readings on the nuances of the question at hand. It's silly to keep reading the same question over and over until you get an answer that pleases you. Chrysalis Tarot's strength is one of personal empowerment; it will not presume to make decisions for you.

You then submit your provisional decision, symbolized by the scroll held by the elephant (infinite wisdom). Any number of methods can be used to submit your decision for confirmation. Personally, I think writing it on a piece of paper and placing the paper with (or inside) your tarot deck is sufficient.

If your provisional decision is in accord with your personal destiny (your greatest potential) and best interest, it will be confirmed by at least one of three ways, all of which produce abundant spiritual consolation:

1. Consolation via synchronicity
2. Consolation via a strong, consistent feeling of peace concerning your decision
3. Consolation through a disinterested and objective party (usually unexpectedly)

If confirmation is forthcoming, it rarely takes more than 3 days to manifest.

Conversely, if insurmountable obstacles prevent your moving forward, or should you remain fretful about your decision, then humbly return to the drawing board. While the decision may be correct, perhaps your timing is off. You can, of course, go forward regardless, but expect stormy seas rather than clear sailing. Stormy seas sometimes are required to teach important lessons.
A replica of The Matthew, John Cabot's ship

Another thing to remember: Decisions reached in times of consolation that are free from perturbations (high anxiety) should never be reversed unless the situation dramatically changes.

One reason we often hear that, "the answers are inside you," is because your unconscious mind already knows what you are going to do. Afterall, it operates on a decision making program you helped it write, so it knows how (and why) you do what you do.

If you have a history of poor decision making, Chrysalis Tarot may be quite useful. It was designed to make you mindful of unconscious programming and break free of repetitious negative cycles by revising that programming.

Let say, for instance, the list of pros and cons you put together has more cons than pros, but in your heart you know your decision represents "the right thing to do." However, you can't articulate exactly why that's the case so gray clouds of indecision gather.

Remember, if you received consolation and were comfortable with your decision when you made it, then stick to it. Ignore the little voices in your head that create confusion.

Sometimes indecision still persists (left). You've gone over and over the list and still get the same result: five undesirable answers, one ambiguous answer (the scroll he's holding) and only one desired answer. Your feet want you to go one way but your heart has other ideas. Like this Seven of Scrolls satyr, you're split in half.

The satyr's animal half is hard wired, its human half is not. There's no doubt in my mind which door this satyr will eventually choose - and probably should choose. What's your best guess?

Sometimes the most courageous decisions we make involve great risks, hence great rewards. But such decisions often go completely against the grain. They seem to make no sense, yet we're drawn to them. In these cases, intuition and emotion always trump the intellect. You just have to set sail and hope for fair weather.

The moral of the Seven of Scrolls is to always trust your intuition and your emotions.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Yoruba Sacred Groves, Self-acceptance and Shadow Work

Chrysalis' Little White Book space restrictions did not allow us to explore unfamiliar symbolism on the pip cards. The Chrysalis companion book won't short shrift symbolism. This card is a perfect example of intriguing symbolism. The card's keyword is compassion, or selfless well-being.

Holly included symbology from the Yoruba people of Nigeria in the card art. Historically, the Yoruba maintained sacred groves just outside their villages. They believed the success of their culture and religious beliefs were dependent upon spirits of the forest who lived in the groves; one is represented by the figurine (left).
Over the years, and for lamentable reasons, the sacred groves were felled and ploughed under. The old gods and goddesses were replaced, sometimes brutally, by the new gods of Islam and Christianity. But today a remnant population remains along with one sacred grove outside the city of Osogbo. It is named Osun for both the goddess at the heart of Yoruba divinities and the river that winds through the grove. The Yoruba of Osun-Osogbo repelled an advancing jihad in the 1800s and also survived British colonialism and its misplaced evangelical religious zeal.

So, on the macro level this card symbolizes the struggles of "assimilated" remnant populations: the Yoruba, Celts, Basques, Native Americans, First Nations and Aboriginal peoples, to mention a few. The Three of Mirrors symbolizes their rich pantheons of gods and goddesses along with their love and high esteem for the Earth and its sacred mountains, rivers and forests; their ability to adapt and co-exist while maintaining the souls of their rich cultures.

The Sacred Grove of Osun-Osogbo
On the micro level or personal scale, this card symbolizes self-acceptance and the urgent need for all populations, remnant or otherwise, to view themselves through the mirrors of love, compassion and goodwill toward others. In a reading, the Three of Mirrors asks that we re-examine our own prejudices and priorities that may impede full spiritual awakening.

This blog just happens to coincide with the publication of Sam Harris' new book, Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality without Religion:

"..a true spiritual practitioner is someone who has discovered that it is possible to be at ease in the world for no reason, if only for a few moments at a time, and that such ease is synonymous with transcending the apparent boundaries of the self. Those who have never tasted such peace of mind might view these assertions as highly suspect. Nevertheless, it is a fact that a condition of selfless well-being is there to be glimpsed in each moment."

Like all cards in Chrysalis Tarot, the Three of Mirrors underscores the constant need to create conditions of "selfless well-being" in life.

One way to create conditions of selfless well-being is through recollection, which is the Four of Scrolls' keyword. This card is one of many "healing" cards found in Chrysalis Tarot.

The word recollection, once freed from religious dogma and superficiality, simply means understanding how you see yourself through your own eyes. Or perhaps just as important, to resist seeing yourself through the eyes of others. Recollection is meditation on self-acceptance designed to nurture self-esteem. The practice exemplifies the Socratic "life examined."

Here are four questions (one for each scroll) that may be used as meditation guides:

1. How can I become more humble and exercise greater humility?
2. Who or what do I need to forgive, and who do I need to seek forgiveness from?
3. How can I become mindful of negative thoughts and take steps to curtail them?
4. What contribution does Gaia wish me to make to the growth and complexity of cosmic consciousness?

Planet Earth, Gaia, like the cosmos, is a conscious living organism. She, like Osun of the Yoruba, is our mother. Each human mind symbolizes a jewel in her crown and represents an important circuit that contributes and receives information with the interconnectedness of all things through the cosmic feedback loop that drives the evolution of consciousness on Earth.

Quoting again from Sam Harris' new book: "Our minds are all we have. They are all we have ever had. And they are all we can offer others...Every experience you have ever had has been shaped by you mind. Every relationship is as good or as bad as it is because of the minds involved."

The Five of Spirals doesn't look much like a meditation card, but it is; notice the 12-petal mandala on the dragon's wing. The dot in the center represents unity. It is like the singularity at the center of a black hole, or the singularity designating the center of Self, which is the heart chakra. The secrets of the cosmos plus secrets of Self can be found at their respective centers.

These three cards, a 3,4 and a 5 from different suits, represent a dynamic, triangulated process, another step toward enlightenment. The Three of Mirrors teaches compassion, the Four of Scrolls teaches self-acceptance, and the Five of Spirals teaches, well, psychic cleansing.

These five spiraling fireballs symbolize the stuff that floats to the surface of consciousness during recollection and introspection. By summonsing these fireballs of repressed stuff to the level of conscious awareness - and the word summons is a fitting way to characterize it - you neutralize their energy. This stuff, you see, would much rather hang out in your unconscious mind where it can potentially foul up your life.

Shadow work is the most effective way to purge your psyche of accumulated dross. (The keyword for the Five of Spirals is shadow.) The Hero's Journey, a most harrowing personal pursuit, is, as anyone who uses Chrysalis Tarot has discovered, an exciting journey of self-discovery filled with joy and delight yet fraught with growth-producing challenges, opportunities and tricky crossroads.

But letting go of anger, resentment and other negative emotions, as well as undesirable traits, is only one benefit of shadow work. Another unleashes your creative potential; an integrated shadow is a great asset for creative pursuits. As psychologist Stephen Diamond wrote in Meeting the Shadow, "When we give voice to our inner demons...we transmute them into helpful allies in the form of newly liberated, life-giving psychic energy."

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Archetype of the Apocalypse and the Divine Feminine

Fear not.

This piece wasn't composed to raise alarm; as if we haven't already been sufficiently alarmed by events over the past few weeks! Most grasp the myriad dangers (and opportunities) that face the world today. We may have even become inured to the warning signs, not a good thing when the pressing need for change occupies center stage.

One feature I most admire about Holly Sierra's interpretation of Kali are the skulls, which are symbols of a higher state of consciousness. Raising consciousness is what Kali is all about. Holly wrote, "Having read that Kali is credited with creating the Sanskrit alphabet, whose symbols often appear on the skulls around her neck, I decided the skulls were a necessity!"

Signs of the time abound: the horrors in Ferguson, Missouri; the Middle East in general and Syria in particular; not to mention the repugnant news that the Vatican recently scurried its papal nuncio (ambassador) out of the Dominican Republic to avoid local justice. The nuncio stands accused of sexually abusing a number of Dominican children. (The story is here. The allegations are sickening.)

A case can be made that the disorder we witness in the world today, and have witnessed since Oklahoma City or even earlier, are psychic manifestations of the Archetype of the Apocalypse. The late Jungian analyst Edwin Edinger defines the Apocalypse as, "the momentous event of the Self coming into conscious realization...This is what the content of the Archetype of the Apocalypse presents: the shattering of the world as it has been followed by its reconstitution."

The previous two millennia have distorted the historical meaning of the word apocalypse in the collective psyche. The word actually means the uncovering of something previously hidden, not the catastrophic End of the World popularized, seemingly anticipated, by excitable religious extremists. What is being uncovered is a new Zeitgeist - a paradigm that heralds a more rational understanding of the nature of reality. We live in exciting times of unprecedented change. From Kali's unique perspective, our world is being picked up by the cosmos and set aright.

911 Memorial Park, NYC
Sri Aurobindo wrote, "Man may help or man may resist, but the Zeitgeist works, shapes, overbears, insists.” The word Zeitgeist refers to the Spirit of the Time or Kala in Hindu mythology. Kala is Kali's consort; Kali is the Hindu Goddess of Time and Change while Kala is Eternal Time itself.

When Kali appears in a reading she may communicate either microcosmic (personal) implications or macrocosmic (global) implications; her Third Eye indicates you'll need to use your intuition to figure out which scale. Kali most commonly appears in readings when something traumatic is about to occur on the world stage. In either case, she definitively confirms an element of stubborn resistance to change - a resistance that must somehow be overcome either at the personal level or collectively as a society. The Zeitgeist will "insist" on it.

We easily observe the negative/destructive aspects of the Archetype of the Apocalypse as they emerge on the world stage; some people and religious groups, as suggested above, actually identify with her destructive characteristics. A common meme among the more radical of these groups is barefaced oppression of the feminine. In civilized societies, that oppression may be more subtle, but it's still there. Indeed, it's ingrained in the current (soon to be old) paradigm.

The Muse (left) is perhaps the softest, gentlest, and most unassuming of all archetypes in Chrysalis Tarot, a role model for us all. The Muse's archetypal attributes are similar both to the Divine Feminine and Great Mother archetypes. Interestingly, Kali in her primal manifestation was identified with the Great Mother goddess. The Muse assumes a more personal, maternal role to gently inform your heart chakra.

The Muse appears in readings to help you face difficult times and make difficult choices. She herself is a wise teacher who informs with the reflected brilliance of the full moon and the mysterious darkness of the unconscious mind, as symbolized by the new moon. She is a true friend to the true Self and archenemy of the hyper-inflated ego. She communicates mostly through meditation or prayer.

The evolving Self seeks spiritual enlightenment; the entrenched ego seeks power and control. The Self thirsts for change and growth; the ego staunchly resists both. An enlightened, holistic world will require models of integration and forbearance rather than domination and control.

Speaking of entrenched ego ...

Actually, the King of the Forest card can be interpreted that way in a reading if ego has you in a headlock, but Chrysalis always prefers to focus on the light at the end of the cave, so to speak.

The LWB meaning of the Seven of Spirals advises the querent to hunker down and defend turf. Turf, in this instance, is a metaphor for your divine right to transformation and spiritual growth. The pilgrim seeker should always expect to be challenged by those who stubbornly refuse to abandon old and outdated perceptions and ways of doing things.

But frankly, the time has come when we must shift change into high gear. That is a goal we can only accomplish one butterfly at a time. As each transformed soul leaves the chrysalis and flaps its wings, change happens throughout the cosmic Web of Life.

Consequently, the energy of The Seven of Spirals, and the mighty bear as a spirit animal, is directed toward seekers of all stripes - to those making an earnest and honest effort to grow spiritually, seek truth and transform. To them this card says, always keep an open mind but also question precepts rigorously while politely defending your free will choices and personal boundaries. The bear brings the courage to stare down adversity.

If one resists the Zeitgeist and Kali from a hunkered down position of excessive pride or inflated ego, they will tweak your tensors. Kali's presence in today's world hails a rare opportunity to review, recollect and reflect upon all aspects of one's current view of reality, as well as ensure the ever irrepressible ego is mitigated.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Balance, Choices and the Divine Feminine

Anne Baring, author of The Dream of the Cosmos, tells of an encounter with the Divine Feminine in one of her three life-changing Great Dreams.

Baring dreamt she was caught in a net, which she later realized was symbolic of Indra's Net from Hindu mythology. Gazing into the sky, her entire field of vision was engulfed by a beautiful image of the Divine Feminine. The vision had a giant wheel in her abdomen that reminded Baring of the labyrinth at Chartres. Baring saw that she, too, had a wheel, but that hers was off center.

The vision indicated to her that she needed to center her own wheel, but didn't explain how to go about doing it. Indra's Net, by the way, symbolizes universal connectivity and interdependence, foundations of Vedic philosophy and, later, Buddhism.

Baring concluded, after spending years reflecting and writing about her Great Dreams and spiritual journey, that our world has arrived at a precipice, a critical juncture in the evolution of our species. We, like the sparrow on the Two of Spirals above, are confronted with a crucial choice. Will we as a species choose to continue living in nests of division and separation? If so, we put ourselves are at great risk.

Fractal: Indra's Net from
On the other hand, if we individually choose to center our wheel and actively seek interior balance, we can, and will, change the world. We also will be spiritually prepared for an interdependent future on the planet that we all inhabit.

It's easy to begin aligning your personal center with the Divine Feminine. Simply integrate the holistic worldview symbolized by Indra's Net. The holistic worldview must also integrate the long neglected principle of the Divine Feminine, which has been mostly absent from humanity's individual and collective psyche for thousands of years.

The Kabbalah teaches the Divine Feminine, the Shekinah, has been in exile. The Great Awakening will end that period of exile.

"The Net of Indra is a profound and subtle metaphor for the structure of reality. Imagine a vast net; at each crossing point there is a jewel; each jewel is perfectly clear and reflects all the other jewels in the net, the way two mirrors placed opposite each other will reflect an image ad infinitum.

"The jewel in this metaphor stands for an individual being, or an individual consciousness, or a cell or an atom. Every jewel is intimately connected with all other jewels in the universe, and a change in one jewel means a change, however slight, in every other jewel." ~ Stephen Mitchell, author of The Enlightened Mind.

We recommend taking a few minutes each day to still your mind and journey within to the center of your essence. There you will connect to the essence of all other things in the universe. You have the ability to respond, the response-ability to become a glistening jewel in Indra's Net. Visionary physicist Nassim Haramein often alludes to the Lorenz Attractor, known as the Butterfly Effect: "Become the butterfly that flaps its wings and produces a hurricane of change all over the planet."

Cards numbered 2 in tarot are about maintaining balance and making patient, well discerned choices. The bear gracing the Two of Stones is no exception.

It's springtime. The frozen lake crackles with melting sheets of ice adrift in emerging new energies. The King of the Forest himself emerges from his winter's nap to re-test his own balance.

Likewise, it's important that we maintain balance in a rapidly changing world. It is not easy to abandon the set of beliefs that views Earth as ours to dominate and exploit. Putting a new set of beliefs into practice that emphasizes compassion and Cosmic Oneness is also difficult. Even the bear is not sure how to tackle the daunting ascent to higher ground.

When we designed Chrysalis Tarot, we anticipated the difficulties brought about by the emerging energies of a paradigm shift and foresaw the trials and tribulations that normally accompany a sea change in thinking. Chrysalis is helping our devotees locate their divine center and balance their lives.

In coming days, there likely will be distracting moments of doubt and distress that require us to return to our center and reconnect with the universe to gain solace and glean understanding. This is easily accomplished if you previously aligned your center with Cosmic Oneness through yoga, meditation, tarot or other methods.

The Two of Mirrors is a reminder than unconditional love is the surest way to maintain your balance and center your life. No emotion resonates with a higher frequency more so than unconditional love. No emotion resonates with the Divine Feminine more so than selfless love.

If you draw the Two of Mirrors in a reading, be sure to take swan energy into consideration. As a spirit animal, swan can heighten your intuition and awareness, especially in changing times. The Two of Mirrors symbolizes the most reliable centering energy available. It impacts the Heart Chakra immediately and profoundly.

The interconnectedness and interdependence symbolized by Indra's Net is little more than a philosophical abstract without a foundation of unconditional love. The two mirrors worn by the swans reflect your aura and intentions throughout Indra's Net and on to the edges of infinity.

Unconditional love forms ripples on the cosmic lake, which is always crackling with emergent energies. Every action, every gesture and every thought is another ripple that impacts the entire cosmos.

Indra and Indrani, The Cosmic Preservers
"Our species, it seems, is plunging ever deeper into madness and horror and stands poised on the abyss of self-extinction. Never has the birth of a new state of consciousness been more urgently needed." ~ Graham Hancock

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Pain and Necessity of Letting Go

We must be willing to let go of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. ~ Joseph Campbell

Letting go is one of the most difficult, if not the most difficult, process we encounter on the Road to Ascension called the Hero's Journey. Surrendering to the universe and just letting go is a scary idea.

Yet many cards in Chrysalis bear this message. We'll examine 4 of them. All are cards we haven't previously addressed in the blog. Since all our major archetypes have been addressed on these pages, we should take special note of the 3 majors who also point to the process of letting go.

They are Merlin, Bella Rosa and Ariadne. Whenever Merlin appears in a reading it's a reminder to let go and trust him. Bella Rosa reminds you not to hide behind a false persona and just to be yourself. I watched a movie last night, Divergent, that carried that same message. Frankly, I think I'd have been better off meditating on Bella Rosa for those 2 plus hours.

Ariadne reminds you to slay your inner demons (the dreaded Minotaur that plagues us all) and place your trust in her maternal care. She, Merlin and Bella Rosa are your trustworthy friends and guides.

The young lady in the Nine of Stones hears the call of her inner shaman and sets off on a new adventure. Her load is light; she carries no preconceived notions of how her new life will unfold. She has no expectations at all, just quiescent acceptance. She simultaneously is one with nature and the universe. She allows the energy of both to flow through her. She has surrendered and let go.

Before leaving on her journey, she neatly organized nine stones symbolizing completion of the prior life she's leaving behind. The stones represent mixed memories of joy, fear, loss, gain, regret, acceptance, blame, forgiveness, attachment, abandonment, selfishness, self-centeredness and control. The latter is probably the hardest stone to let go of; we all like to be in control of our lives. On a true Hero's Journey, such control is totally unacceptable. The Ravens will see to that if you don't.

This stunning image of the Ten of Spirals (left) is an example of cards as they appear on our Chrysalis Tarot app. As you can see, app cards are borderless on three sides. Unlike the printed cards, they  include keywords from the Little White Book, such as Crossroads on the Ten of Spirals

Another challenging aspect of the Hero's Journey are those inevitable crossroads you must face. This overburdened centaur has a huge question to answer before he's able to get on with his journey. Am I a conscious human being who makes free-will choices, or am I simply a beast of burden and a victim of circumstance?

In a reading, this card fixes your attention on a life-changing choice.

Like all cards numbered 10 in tarot, this one is about concluding one cycle before proceeding down the road of yet another cycle, or leg of the journey. In life, there's always another cycle characterized by linear beginnings and endings. Our centaur apparently bears the burdens of 10 such cycles, so the time for choice has certainly arrived. Man or horse; caterpillar or butterfly? Which shall it be?

If, say, a single cycle in human terms lasts 4 or 5 years, then 40 or 50 years would seems about right for our centaur. Personally, I was 45 before Ariadne tapped me on the shoulder and said, "it's time to let go." And I did. But it wasn't easy and never is.

Today time seems to be speeding up if not passing us by. We all intuit this. The world we live in is in the midst of humongous change. To understand what's happening to our sense of time, visualize yourself in a small rowboat paddling down a meandering river that is approaching a waterfall. Yikes! Would that we could row backward, eh?

This is analogous to an approaching singularity, or paradigm shift. We can graph what an approaching a paradigm shift looks like with the illustration I borrowed from special relativity (right). It depicts the speed of light as it approaches infinity. The chart makes the point nicely; something must reverse the flow of the river and start the paradigmatic pendulum swinging in the opposite direction. (For those who may be interested, the technical term is enantiodromia.)

The nexus facing the world today, in our opinion, are symbolized by the Chrysalis cards numbered 10. The dynamic of Chrysalis cards numbered 10 is restoration of balance.

Talk about a fellow who could use a paradigm shift!

The Ten of Stones personifies the material worldview. The sprite personifies the accumulation of stuff. Could his life possibly be more untidy, tangled up and complicated? For him, letting go looks to be far more difficult than for the shaman in the Nine of Stones, or even the centaur in the Ten of Spirals.

If you draw this card in a reading, don't be alarmed. This fellow is like Shakespeare's Puck.. He's simply showing you what can happen to souls stuck in a materialistic worldview. If that description applied to you, it's not very likely you'd be reading Chrysalis Tarot or this blog.

A Chrysalis readings is a process that leads to conversion. Conversion to what, you ask? Simply put, to the alchemical change that brings on a better understanding of how our universe actually works. This new and better understanding bids adieu to the burdens and entangled thinking of the materialistic worldview in favor of a holistic, spiritual living universe worldview. In quantum theory, everything in our universe is interconnected. Quantum theory merges scientific fact with secular spirituality.

The conversion to a new worldview is alchemical because it implies a "personal conversation with the unseen numinous." Such conversations can take many forms: tarot readings, synchronicity, visions, dreams, ah-ha moments of enlightenment, etc. The conversation may begin with a thunderbolt that knocks you off your high horse, or a polite tap on the shoulder. Regardless, it is a clarion call to let go.

Sometimes letting go requires a mental reboot, symbolized by our next card.

The tiger in the Ten of Scrolls represents the same energy of surrender, except in this case the energy is being held captive. Actually, it's bottled up in a self-imposed prison because a lesson that hasn't been learned must be learned. Rather than a crossroads, it's a cul-de-dac. Accordingly, the cycle must repeat itself. Worse, it will go on repeating itself until the lesson is learned and something changes. The lesson is letting go of a mindset.

An example of self-incarceration could be someone who's very experienced with traditional tarot but still wishes to learn and benefit from Chrysalis, although they may not yet understand why. They resonate with Chrysalis cards, but are imprisoned by an old mindset.

Escaping this confinement requires a process known as kenosis, or self-emptying. It's quite  impossible for Chrysalis Tarot to add to a glass that's already full. A Merlin Moment is needed - letting go of preconceived notions about where you're going and how you intend to get there.

This brings to mind why we designed Chrysalis to be different. The Ryder-Waite deck's equivalent card, the Ten of Swords, depicts a deceased fellow lying face down in a violent tableau with 10 swords plunged into his back. This is an example of how the RWS system evokes linearity of time. The Chrysalis system evokes the cycles of nature. The tiger, although beaten down and forlorn, still has hope; the corpse is quite dead and does not.

The old linear worldview is ill but still alive. It calls to mind a fearful eschaton - the final ending. The analogue of this hopeless outlook is the bloodied corpse of the Ten of Swords elevated to macrocosmic proportions.

Its dogma (eschatology) emphasizes an apocalypse - the End of the World. This was the dominant worldview when RWS as well as its antecedent, The Tarot of Marseilles, were conceived. This was the dominant worldview for the popular Thoth Tarot, and this remains the dominant worldview today.

Chrysalis abhors fear laden dogma. In fact, Chrysalis Tarot itself is obviously a product of non-dogmatic thinking. It espouses a new, holistic worldview in which everything and everyone are interconnected and interdependent in an endless cycle of creation.

If one believes we're all interconnected, that individual is more likely to steward Gaia compassionately. Chrysalis' love of life and hope is apparent in the Lovers card (above) and throughout the deck. If one believes, on the other hand, that his or her race, religion or social class is exceptional and should reign, their attitude toward Gaia will be one of conquest and dominance, specifically conquest and dominance of nature.

The Chrysalis Tiger and the RWS corpse illustrate the starkness of the choice that confronts our world today. Humanity's dilemma is analogous to the centaur's in the Ten of Spirals: we can't continue like this.

David Suzuki, author of The Sacred Balance, wrote, "How you imagine the world determines how you live in it." Humanity is poised for a quantum leap in the evolution of consciousness that will manifest a Golden Age of Oneness imbued with the energy of the Tiger.

N.B. The alchemy of spiritual transformation, which is shamanic, is a dialog with transcendent other, regardless of how the word other might be defined. Such conversations are constructive, edifying and bring about an increase in consciousness. This will happen regardless of which tarot deck(s) you use. Decks that strongly resonate with you will yield the best results.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Three Holographic Gentlemen from the Cosmos

Physicist Michio Kaku observed that the cosmos is, "A symphony of vibrating strings." The symphony half of his statement was confirmed several years ago by NASA space probes (please catch the amazing video beneath the blog). The universe makes a lot of very strange sounds.

Kaku's use of the word strings alludes to a scientific concept known as String Theory. However, there's a more poetic route to the science of a Theory of Everything (TOE). It's called the holographic model of the universe. The Poet, The Illusionist and The Dreamer will help us explain it.

"The Music of the Spheres" is the science of poetry-in-motion, of the ground breaking discoveries that will lead to a unified TOE. A unified theory will unite the big things we observe in space to the tiny subatomic particles no one's ever seen. In other words, it will connect everything.

The reason a TOE is so important to everyone is because of the illusion of separateness and duality that separates me from you, us from everyone else, and humanity from the conscious biosphere we call Gaia. Whatever poetic theory is playing in the murky theoretical middle ground, that no man's land between outdated classical physics and quantum reality, the verses slowly move our understanding of the universe from the latter to the former.

When The Poet (above left) appears in a Chrysalis Tarot reading, he's there to help us discover the truth of the new reality. This Chrysalis mission to redefine reality applies not only to The Poet, but to The Dreamer and, paradoxically, to The Illusionist. Poetry, dreams and illusion connect us to the higher realm; the scientists who see visions are mystics: "The finest emotion of which we are capable is the mystic emotion. Herein lies the germ of all art and all true science." (Einstein) Groundbreaking discoveries begin life as illusions - a round Earth was once an "illusion," as was the heliocentric solar system.

It's often said that yesterday's science fiction is tomorrow's science.

Defining reality is a difficult task in today's world where so many alternative versions of reality compete for attention. What is the truth of reality anyway? This group touts their truth, and over there another group insists that theirs is the only true reality. Well, the definition of reality changes, and it is changing yet again in our times. A new holistic paradigm is emerging to herald the end of arbitrary distinctions, divisions and the illusions of separateness, the modern scourge. The new paradigm or worldview is a first step toward re-capturing a collective sense of our meaning and purpose.

Please take another quick look at The Poet's image. It's quite lovely, of course, as are all Chrysalis cards, but in reality it's a flat, two-dimensional painting. Yet we easily discern the rabbit appears closer than the man. Although our eyes only see 2-dimensions, our brains conveniently compute and add depth, the third dimension. Extra dimensions are vitally important when interpreting the Chrysalis Tarot Troupe, as we shall see. 

Adding the third dimension to two-dimensional information is analogous to the way a hologram works. We all remember marvelling at Princess Leia's holographic plea in Star Wars: "Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope," as well as the virtual reality simulations on Star Trek's fun-filled Holodeck. A basic familiarity with holograms is useful in coming to terms with a new reality. And holograms are relatively easy to understand.

To the naked eye, a piece of holographic film resembles nothing more than a blur of scrambled nonsense. It's impossible to discern coherency, or presence of an intelligible pattern. But once you shine light on the film with laser light, the illusion of a three-dimensional image appears, as R2 D2 is demonstrating above. 

Holography plays a role when reading Chrysalis Tarot cards since the Chrysalis architecture is holistic. The holographic model explains how everything in the universe is interconnected. Let's invite The Poet's rabbit to escort us down the rabbit hole. There we can explore the depths of the holographic model of reality.

When you run across the term "holographic universe," regard it as a metaphor; the universe is quite real. It's not a projection, at least we don't think it is. But the metaphor is still useful since it allows us to perceive the universe a different way - as an interconnected whole with seemingly magical properties.

Let's say our holographic film is the picture of an apple. Now let's cut a large snippet out of the film. If we direct lasers at the snippet, we will still see the entire apple in 3D. We can continue snipping away and yet each smaller piece of the original film reproduces the entire image of an apple holographically.

The universe is greater than the sum of its parts, but contains the whole in each of its parts. And all these parts exist in an ocean of vibrating energy. The universe is not empty space.

When The Illusionist appears in a reading, he may, like all Troupe members, represent an aspect of your personality, another person, an ancestor, a spirit guide, an outcome, or he may have come to deliver a personal message that only you can make sense of by relying upon your intuition. The Troupe have one goal in mind: to escort you on your pathway to higher consciousness.

They accomplish this goal by somehow making certain you read the right books, meet and interact with the right people, ask the right questions. But most importantly, that you nurture an insatiable desire to grow spiritually and mentally.

In readings, The Illusionist cultivates what's known as transpersonal experience. Non-ordinary consciousness expert Stanislav Grof, speaking of transpersonal experience, notes that "The feeling that all boundaries are illusionary, the lack of distinction between part and whole, and the interconnectedness of all things are all qualities one would expect to find in a holographic universe."

The Dreamer  (Knight of Mirrors)
The Dreamer is a messenger from the unseen Otherworld, part of the universal hologram of undivided Oneness. As such, he is called a liminal figure. That is to say, his magic carpet glides effortlessly between the visible and the invisible, between the old reality and the new, and between all corners of the holographic universe without him batting an eye. Liminal characters like The Dreamer are betwixt and between.

As you see, The Dreamer is thoughtful, reflective and mindful. He is always thinking, always contemplating. He's an active dreamer, one who creates his own reality and then helps you create yours. His tiger Spirit Animal symbolizes the powerful, resonating energy of the Vision Quest.

When this card appears in a reading, it reminds you that positive emotions are essential to attracting your heart's desire. Positive emotions vibrate at a higher frequency and resonate with other high frequencies. The Dreamer wants and imagines all good things for you. He himself resonates the power of the moon and the tenacity of the tiger.

The holographic model of the universe is one easily embraced by Neo-Pagans, taroists and others who intuitively grasp the interconnectivity of all things. Now science is proving that reality. The holographic model explains virtually all paranormal and mystical experiences. These include near-death experiences; archetypal encounters with the collective unconscious, which is the hallmark of Chrysalis Tarot; non-ordinary states of consciousness; lucid dreams; shamanism and shamanic journeying; energy healing; the placebo effect; psychokinesis; out of body experiences, and, of utmost importance to tarot, synchronicities.

We'll reflect upon these non-ordinary phenomena of consciousness in the Chrysalis Tarot companion book (June '15) When The Poet, The Illusionist or The Dreamer visit a reading, they come to request that you contemplate your own belief system and worldview. Other cards such as Herne the Hunter and The Corsair add emphasis to the request.

The reality of a holographically organized universe lends substance and beauty to the sage symphonies conducted by the The Poet, The Illusionist and The Dreamer. Their mystical, musical poems are the lyrics of illusion - the mystical Music of the Spheres. Listen.