Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Magic is Real or When Orishas Come Calling

One of the things I most like about Yoruba/Vodun (Voodoo) spirituality is that when their spirits come calling, they don't generally knock. There's no "gentle tapping at my chamber door." Nope, with them it's in your face Magic.

Like a rolling thunderstorm, Oya came calling Sunday morning. From what I've recently seen on Facebook, and from my own experience, a lot of confusing energies have been in play this week. Many are simply misdirected energies being redirected. This blog attempts to sort them all out.

Oya has many aspects (energy patterns): she's a warrior (destructive) goddess associated with fire, magic, wind and particular vortices such as tornadoes and hurricanes, as well as being a guardian of the Otherworld. She's not a member of Chrysalis' dramatis personae, at least not directly. More about that shortly.

A goddess with a complicated energy pattern, who is unfamiliar to most people, can prove difficult to "tune into." In fact, her energy can even be a little unnerving, if not overwhelming. As one becomes more centered and balanced, tuning-in becomes easier. That's why balance is continuously mentioned in Chrysalis Tarot circles and emphasized in the Little White Book. Chrysalis balance is achieved by practicing mindfulness, humility and keeping an open mind. We are living in times of unprecedented change, so it's important to discover your center now and train yourself to recover it quickly.

Erika Garnett is a High Priestess in the Ancient Egyptian Kermetic Spiritual system of Maat. She shared this insight with me, "When we experience Oya, she is telling us that all of our dreams are within our reach and can be manifested if we tap into our inner strength. The themes of fortitude, strength, instincts, self-confidence, courage, patience and perseverance will be important when Oya appears. She is also associated with the transforming of raw energy or sexual energy into a vehicle for creativity."

Erika is also a member of the Chrysalis Tarot Study Group. My Facebook friend and protégé Giuliana Ramirez recently started this group and it quickly blossomed like the lovely flowers surrounding Oya's headdress.

Oya is a goddess of transition. Specifically, the transition from the old paradigm of an unbalanced, disconnected, dead universe to the new paradigm of a balanced, connected, living universe.

Central to this transition is the return of the Shekinah, the energy of the Divine Feminine that's been in exile for the past 5,000 or so years. We cannot accomplish this transition without balance and justice and we cannot find balance and justice in monotheistic, male-dominated societies that sorely undervalue, and in some cases brutally oppress, half their members, i.e. their women. Erika touched upon one reason for this imbalance: fear and loathing of female sexuality (and human flesh in general) by the (male) architects of monotheism.

Let's imagine Chrysalis Tarot as a vintage sailing ship. Its figurehead (left) could well be Oya. Figureheads, which are mounted on a ship's prow, represent the spirit of the ship and beseech its protection and guidance. Oya's energy, the energy of transition and transformation, is the same energy abundant throughout Chrysalis Tarot.

To stretch this analogy, we regard Giuliana's Chrysalis Tarot study group like the flagship of a fleet tasked with the rescue and return of the Shekinah. Forgive the hyperbole, but Giuliana and the ladies of her study group could be likened to modern day avatars of Helen of Troy - faces that "launch'd a thousand ships." A puffed up spinnaker perhaps, but transitioning to this new paradigm definitely depends upon strong, empowered, self-confident women commanding the helm. Accordingly, we imbued Chrysalis Tarot with Divine Feminine Oya energy - a trait that sets it apart from other decks.

Interestingly, the figurehead pictured above came from a pirate ship. In the little tale I wrote a decade ago about King Arthur's return, the figurehead on the Mystic Rose, a medieval pirate ship from the Celtic Otherworld, is Ezekiel, also an archetype of transition and transformation. (The Mystic Rose plays an important part in the return of our "once and future king.")

Both Ezekiel and Oya personify the energy of Merkabah mysticism, also known as chariot mysticism. This is why Herne the Hunter appears on the traditional Chariot card in Chrysalis. He's a slayer of obsolete worldviews. The Corsair (a pirate) was inspired by my Mystic Rose book. He loves to plunder outworn worldviews!

(The beautiful Helen of Troy by Rossetti is displayed on the right.)

One of the most popular snowclones of Arthur Clarke's Third Law reads: "Any sufficiently analyzed magic is indistinguishable from science." That might not have been true of the old paradigm, but it certainly is of the new! Let's examine that bold claim more closely.

From the Chrysalis Tarot app
We may regard the spirals* on the image of the 7 of Spirals (left) as dynamic symbols of Oya energy. The bear represents you and me. We detect spiraling energy "rapping at our chamber door," but we can't see it. Still, it stiffens and inspires us. The old paradigm asserts there's nothing really there at all that is scientifically measurable or falsifiable and therefore, by definition, there is really nothing there at all - period. Hogwarts!

The new paradigm asserts that subtle, invisible energy permeates the cosmos; moreover that we ourselves are eternal energy beings, not merely hunks of matter somehow raised to finite lives. The new paradigm attests of a universe characterized by continuous creation (an estimated 275-million new stars are born everyday) We live in a conscious universe continuously learning about itself and ever increasing in complexity.

One of the primary instruments of this cosmic learning is Earth-bound biology that participates in a dynamic feed-back feed-forward loop: the bear, you, me and the cosmos. We all are connected by vibrating subtle energy flowing through everything.

As human beings we always have, and probably always will, personify or anthropomorphize recurring energy patterns that we can't see. This penchant applies to gods, goddesses, fairies, angels, spirits, satyrs, mythological and fantastical creatures, and magic dragons named Puff. They are all real because they all resonate. And we will continue to call this resonance magic, not because it's supernatural, paranormal or unscientific, but simply because it's far easier to convey that notion than a scientific one.

For example, had you rather commune with "subtle energy and recurring spatiotemporal patterns of the electromagnetic field oscillating at the far-infrared band," or with Oya, Pan and black unicorns?

Like all important philosophical questions, the above question cannot be reduced to yet another simplistic either/or, black or white proposition. It is rather a both/and proposition. Both/and propositions characterize the new paradigm, which will eventually be free of superstition, disabling beliefs and man-made religious dogma. To this end, Chrysalis seeks to nurture active imagination, intuition and critical thinking skills.

Oya's White Tiger Energy drives personal truth and assertiveness by empowering the soul and strengthening the will. It's the type of energy that rouses any self-respecting, open-minded bear from the cave's creature comforts. And by the way, the 7 of Spirals reminds you to question everything but stand your ground!

Anyway, isn't it high time humankind vacated caves altogether?

*A spiral is a 2-dimensional symbol for a swirling vortex that expands to infinity and contracts to singularity. In humans, the singularity is located at the heart of the body's auric energy field.

Oya - "What I destroy you no longer need."

Monday, November 24, 2014

The 79th Chrysalis Card and Sympathetic Resonance

Harvest Goddess
Holly completed her Harvest Goddess painting before we began work on the Chrysalis project. We thought about including this piece as one of our major arcana cards but considered Gaia a more suitable replacement for the traditional Empress card, although the resonant energy of both Gaia and Harvest Goddess is similar and sympathetic.

Gaia reminds us of our interdependence with the natural world and of the co-creative responsibilities we share regarding Earth's care and well-being. The Harvest Goddess, as a seasonal aspect (daughter) of Gaia, reminds us to give thanks for the abundant resources Mother Earth freely provides, resources that nurture and sustain our planet's biosphere and zestful mosaic of life.

The biosphere itself is only one example of an energy field that functions much like Chrysalis Tarot functions - as a dynamic feedback loop. Another of these energy feedback loop mechanisms important to Chrysalis is the Collective Unconscious. But perhaps the most important energy field is the one that interconnects and informs everything in the universe. This field is called prana, a Sanskrit word meaning "life force."

The pranic feedback loop is the mechanism by which the universe learns about itself and ever increases in complexity and consciousness. Yes, our universe is alive, and it is conscious!

Pranic energy runs through everything. It fills what once was incorrectly regarded as a dead, mechanical universe comprised almost entirely of empty space. Empty space is, in fact, a plenum full of pranic energy.

Prana also runs through the chakra system of the human body where it finds plenitude and resonance in the fourth chakra, also known as the heart chakra, and the mind chakra, also known as the crown chakra. Harvest Goddess' cornucopia of abundance proceeds from her heart, as does Storyteller's healing energy.

While it's true that pranic energy is "life-giving" energy, this concept is far better understood today than it was in the Vedic Age some 3,000 years ago. Pranic energy pervades everything, both animate and inanimate objects. It comprises over 99% of the mass of every proton, and consequently of every atom in the universe.

The interconnectivity of pranic energy is symbolized in the Storyteller art by fractal vines extending from the energetic orb she cradles in her palms. You could go so far as to assert that these fractal vines create an information network across all scales to connect subatomic packets (quanta) of oscillating energy, as implicated by quantum mechanics.

Energy can be defined as oscillating or vibrating information at the quantum scale.

When the Chrysalis project first began, Holly and I were determined to emphasize the science of tarot as opposed to the esoterica. For example, Chrysalis Tarot as a holistic deck has a specific frequency, just as you yourself have a specific frequency. All objects vibrate and therefore have a frequency. The Earth's (Gaia's) frequency, for example, is 4.83 Hz. This is the resonant frequency of the cavity between Earth's surface and the ionosphere's densest layer. It's also the same frequency as the alpha waves that occur in the human brain while in contemplation or wakeful periods of sleep.

Fans of Chrysalis Tarot attest to sympathetic resonance with the deck's subtle energy (its frequency), its artistic themes and primary intentionality that combine spiritual transformation, healing and increased awareness (mindfulness). Many of our reviewers and fans write that Chrysalis "resonates with them" and go on to note its healing benefits. Holly and I can receive no greater compliment!

Not only does Chrysalis as a holistic deck have a specific frequency, each individual card has one too; some cards resonate more than others at different times and under different life circumstances. Simply put, this resonance is a function of depth psychology informed by the Collective Unconscious combined with color, intentionality and the unique energy of each card.

A Chrysalis reading, whether performed with one card or more, engenders self-examination. In turn, this leads to the triumph of true Self (butterfly wings) over ego. Tarot's journey - the Hero's Journey - is, in the final analysis, the triumph of true Self over its adversary, the ego.

The conscious act simply of realizing that we live in an interconnected, interdependent living universe is a great beginning. All Chrysalis Tarot cards build upon this underlying premise.

Toroidal feedback loop structure of the Mind-Heart Auric Field
In addition to the morphogenetic field we call Gaia, and to the archetypal field we call the Collective Unconscious, another important field that plays a vital part in how Chrysalis Tarot works is the Mind-Heart Field (left), the dynamic projection of electromagnetic energy from the body.

The larger of the two fields in the image is the auric field (aura), which can extend to 9 or 10 feet from the body. The distance the aura extends (strength and frequency) depends upon a person's physical and emotional well being, mood and present circumstances.

Positive emotions serve to increase the aura's strength and frequency. Negative emotions such as fear have the exact opposite effect.

Both fields, as well as the other energy meridians and substructures found in the body such as chakras, exchange information with other feedback structures in the local environment - other people, Gaia, the Collective Unconscious, and the entire universe - just as the word holistic implies. Energy, as we noted above, can itself be defined as vibrating information.

Any spiritual exercise that strengthens the resonant potential of one's auric field, such as contemplation, meditation, prayer, intentionality and active imagination, along with Reiki attunement, and Chrysalis Tarot to mention only a few, brings improved health, an increased sense of self and empathetic compassion with nature. This is a fundamental conviction in all energy-medicine modalities.

Nassim Haramein, The Resonance Academy:

From the warmth of our heart and hearth to yours, with and through the Goddess of the Harvest, we wish you a blessed Thanksgiving filled with love, laughter and good cheer.

Further reading: The Subtle Body: An Encyclopedia of your Energetic Anatomy

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Four Cornerstones of Chrysalis Tarot

(Note: We will post to the Chrysalis Tarot blog sporadically while our new companion book is being written. Thanks!)

We began publishing the Chrysalis Tarot blog in March and it achieves a milestone with this post. All 78 Chrysalis cards have now had the blog's attention. The complete list is located on the right side navigation bar. These are easy, direct links to whatever card you might be interested in.

But we won't stop with this post. In the coming weeks, we'll blog on ideas presented in the new Chrysalis Tarot companion book due out in 2015, as well as other subjects we believe Chrysalis fans will find interesting.

The Artiste (left) is dedicated to artistic creativity and expression, i.e. art, writing, dance, musical composition and the performing arts. As one of our "minor archetypes" (all Troupe members are minor archetypes), she represents the creative impulse of imagination and intuition, two cornerstones of the Hero's Journey in Chrysalis and the Chrysalis philosophy.

The other two cornerstones are represented by our final two cards.

Chrysalis Tarot is different in many ways and the Artiste underscores one of these differences: the absence of esoterica. With Chrysalis, there's really no need to look something up in a book. By this I mean there's no need to memorize how our cards should be interpreted and how to interpret our symbols. They either resonate with you or they don't.

Tarot is a subjective enterprise, a distinction that makes tarot an art rather than a science. Every card in the deck means something different to different people at different times in their lives. The interpretations and keywords we offer have been put there simply to point you in the right direction. In time, this teaches you to become your own Artiste - someone who appreciates that their own intuition and imagination when interpreting a reading are far superior to reams of written material explicating arcane symbolism.

When The Artiste turns up in a reading, she's there is to remind you of this responsibility. You must paint your own canvas; you can't look it up in a book or have someone else paint it for you. I'm reminded of this truism whenever I contemplate the Divine Child card (right). This card symbolizes Jungian individuation, which is another way of stating the idea that you alone can paint your canvas.

In the final analysis, you alone are responsible for your own spiritual growth. You make all the important artistic decisions.  Divine Child is the message and the medium.

Here's how C.G. Jung described individuation (emphasis is mine):

"The concept of individuation plays a large role in (Jungian) psychology. In general, it is the process by which individual beings are formed and differentiated; in particular, it is the development of the psychological a being distinct from the general, collective psychology. Individuation, therefore, is a process of differentiation...having for its goal the development of the individual personality."

To that we can add that the "development of the individual personality" parallels the process of self-realization - the destiny-driven goal of the Hero's Journey. That's why Jung was a staunch supporter of tarot's ability to plumb the Collective Unconscious and assist taroists with their personal growth and development and reach their fullest potential (destiny).

In other words, to paint your own unique butterfly with your own pallet (the individual) rather than attempt to paint by numbers (the collective). This distinction is hugely important. Chrysalis does not seek to manufacture clones.

The third cornerstone of Chrysalis Tarot is the art of letting go. As Yoda said, "You must unlearn what you have learned."

We live in a time of enormous change. We're discovering that our previous beliefs about cosmology are wrong. The same goes for physics, archaeology and biology. We're transitioning away from a mechanical worldview where everything is separated into collectives to a holistic worldview where things are connected and interdependent but also individuated. We're moving away from bleak materialism to a rational form of spirituality.

Among the realities that materialism cannot see or measure, and therefore discounts, are subtle energy and consciousness. The old worldview has myopically focused us on matter and neglected the energy field or force we once called spirit. We have failed to grasp the implications of the fact that 99.9999% of what exists in our universe is space. We have failed to come to grips with the quantum reality that empty space is not a vacuum but a plenum filled with oscillating energy we once called spirit and now call quantum foam.

The Sojourner is aware of all of this. As the King of Mirrors, he is connected to all universal truths. So are you. But to apprehend and comprehend new truths we first must let go of antiquated old ones, e.g. the Earth is not the center of the universe. We must "unlearn what we have learned" as Yoda said. Like The Sojourner and his trusted steed, we, as a species, find ourselves precariously balanced on the precipice of a new age that will be defined by change.

The fourth and final cornerstone of Chrysalis Tarot is discernment. We know that all the answers we ever need are already inside us and that we can access them anytime we want via the subtle energy field we call the Collective Unconscious.

We know this, and yet ego and emotions often cloud clear and rational thinking. Exercising discernment - making good decisions - is dependent upon our willingness to still our minds and hear the Music of the Spheres: to allow truth to resonate with us. Another word for this is mindfulness - being in the moment at all times.

I'm a huge advocate of daily meditation and chakra attunement. Yet with our busy lifestyles in our busy world of wired communication, I believe tarot is the most effective tool available to assist our decision making. But it must be understood and used correctly, otherwise it will merely echo the ego.

I prefer the word discernment to divination simply because the latter implies a decision has already been made. How disempowering is that!? The word discernment, on the other hand, implies that you yourself are empowered to make choices that affect your life.

A tarot reading primarily is a conversation with the Collective Unconscious about difficult choices. It is a conversation taking place beyond the noisy interference of the ego, although you remain fully aware and alert in a state of ordinary consciousness. In a nutshell, that's the difference between tarot and other forms of discernment that alter consciousness.

With tarot you commune with the numinous. Moreover, these conversations help you get to know and understand yourself better and engender self-acceptance. They reinforce the strengths and expose the weaknesses we all have. And they facilitate mindfulness.

In this context, The Companion card serves as a metaphor for listening to your inner voice. This is accomplished via the subtle energy of Chrysalis Tarot resonating in community with the Collective Unconscious. There is no single greater tool for self-realization. This is why we call Chrysalis Tarot "Transformational Technology for Everyone."

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Healing and the Dark Night of the Soul

The Nine of Scrolls is one of the most important cards in Chrysalis because it represents the agony some spiritual seekers experience on their journeys and teaches a difficult lesson.

But like all Chrysalis cards designed to challenge us, the Nine of Scrolls places great emphasis on personal empowerment and healing. We dig our own ruts, and then we dig our way back out of them. C'est la vie.

This angelic messenger appears to have tried almost everything. She's now at her wit's end and clings to the ninth scroll, the symbol of her last remaining hope. The Ninth Scroll represents the Dark Night of the Soul - despair entombed by irrational fear.

In tarot, the Dark Night of the Soul is a minor arcana card rather than a major because not every seeker who embarks on the Hero's Journey must endure this level of suffering. Why is that?

The Hierophant of traditional tarot would probably answer that question with holy platitudes: "It's a mystery," he might say. Or, "God draws with crooked lines, my child." In Chrysalis, the Hierophant is cast as the Divine Child. Her or she symbolizes your unrealized potential and inner voice. The Divine Child answers questions with direct language, "Stop the blame game. Stop blaming God, or Aunt Hilda, or your parents, or your circumstances and accept personal responsibility for your own well being and spiritual growth."

Indeed, the blame game often walks hand in hand with prolonged periods of intense loneliness and despair. A controlling ego can usually be spotted in this noxious mix. We all know what motivates a controlling ego: Fear. And not just any garden variety fear, but fear of true Self, as strange as that sounds.

Fear of Self is the imprisoning fear of letting go, pure and simple. It plays nanny to "I, me and my." The Hero's Journey allegorizes this spiritual contest between Ego and Self, as we discussed in last week's blog featuring The Acrobat.

In spiritual circles, we often hear this contest of Ego vs. Self described as an agony, e.g. Dark Night of the Soul, the Agony in the Garden, etc. The word agony comes from the Greek agónia, a word that describes the feelings an athlete endures before a contest - great fear, anxiety, dread, etc.

For seekers, the dark night persists until ego finally admits defeat. That significant event is followed by a period of sublime joy and realization that you're not the person you've always thought you were; your true Self is vastly different, vastly better and now made whole.

Ironically, the ego itself actively pursues higher consciousness for obvious reasons. It doesn't want to relinquish control. But the ego can never attain higher consciousness. Some people get that, others don't. The more stubborn the ego, the more difficult the trials.

Many healing cards in Chrysalis focus on the lessons of letting go utilizing three principal themes: shamanism, meditation and unconditional forgiveness. These healing themes help true Self overcome ego. The three major arcana cards that underscore these themes are: Papa Legba (shamanism); Golden Flower (meditation), and Ariadne (forgiveness). Shamanism, in this regard, refers to communing with the Collective Unconscious, the linchpin of tarot.

Ariadne, for example, is like a "Get Out of Jail Free" card for those suffering the Dark Night of the Soul. When you face the minotaur, you learn to forgive yourself. That's the first step.  Forgiveness of others costs nothing except perhaps a piercing wound to the I-Me-My ego, and that's a welcomed piercing for souls in search of higher consciousness and spiritual transformation.

The Eight of Mirrors embodies all three of the aforementioned healing themes: shamanism, meditation and forgiveness, which all mirror selflessness, this card's keyword.

The enlightened shaman pictured (left) probably guided an initiate up the Mountain of the Eightfold Path and is returning to assist someone else. Alternatively, he may symbolize the cyclic ascent to the mountaintop that is a never ending process. Mircea Eliade called it the "myth of the eternal return."

Interestingly, the Dark Night of the Soul is triggered by the Divine Child when the time is right. It's something that will happen only when your psyche is ready and deems it necessary to outclass the last ramparts of ego.

The spiritual virtues of the eightfold path as envisioned by Chrysalis Tarot are: selflessness, truthfulness, harmlessness, mindfulness, respectfulness, goodness, peacefulness and righteousness. All of these virtues engender healing and interior balance, which are requisites for transformation.

When we allow ourselves to step away from the metaphors and focus on science, we learn that psychological and emotional healing are functions of subtle energy.

What we call higher consciousness is itself a function of resonance with that same subtle energy, which pervades the cosmos. Resonance is accomplished by acts of attunement, i.e. unblocking and aligning the body's energy meridians (chakras). Every card in Chrysalis Tarot is imbued with this "attunement" intention and visually portrays and engenders subtle healing energy.

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 through a cosmic feedback loop driving 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 your 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."