Monday, May 21, 2018

Tarot : The Magician

I have written here before about Pamela Colman Smith's own preferred method of understanding the tarot cards, which is to get into the position of the characters. What has only recently struck me is that other images in our cultural memory can also assume the same positions and thus be linked energetically. I have always had difficulty with the Magician, but not since I saw this comparison somewhere on the Internet.
Who'd have made this connection without seeing it? And who'd have thought the Magician energy would be the same as a young man going out clubbing? Bit obvious when you think that dancing is widely used in magical traditions!
I'm quite sure I've commented on how John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever was an early crush of mine, so let's have a sound track for such is my Will. I do like a hairy chest and what's not to love about little black briefs?

Friday, May 18, 2018

The X-Files

I am back at work and after initially being absolutely ridiculous they are now being better about making adjustments for me. Unfortunately the assessment they arranged was useless so I have been obliged to tell them that and tell them what I actually need to work a computer - I swear I don't go around looking for trouble.
Meanwhile they have a member of admin staff sitting with me to do my computing, which has the great advantage that my colleague who has an undiagnosed personality disorder is sooo jealous! Never mind - she's handed her notice in but isn't telling anyone and I happen to know she will hate her new job even more than she hates this one.
Actually I could have done with more time off, simply because I still have some box sets I didn't get time to watch. So I am starting a mammoth rewatch of the X-Files. It dates me precisely of course that it was very formative on me on its first broadcast.
I am in the middle of season one and I love the way Mulder comes up with his paranormal explanations for things - versus Scully's cold rationality. The moment he began a sentence with the words, 'Specialists in alternative life designs...', I was in love.
In retrospect of course it seems quite cosy and reminiscent. I'm even finding myself coveting an Apple Powerbook Duo again. Now if anyone can tell me where I can find the index card program I found so useful in Windows 3, life would be perfect.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Tarot: Before, During and After Decks

I am still in touch with my novice master from my Benedictine days and he recently commented that I've always had a funny attitude to authority. While I understand that he's been on the receiving end of that attitude, there's actually nothing funny about it at all: there is literally nobody more deferential to authority than me... as long as the authority in question is right! I seem to carry this attitude through into my magic and it's probably just as well I have never found my way into a coven. 
Several years ago a deck called the New Vision Tarot was published which consists of alternative takes on what is happening in the RWS deck. In true Hound style, while I rather liked it I disagreed with some of the interpretations because in my opinion they reduced the options in the card to only one. For example it allows us to see one possibility of what the Fool is walking towards but prevents the querent's imagination of what else he *could* be facing. 
The other side of this coin is of course the deck prompts some rethinking of what is happening in the cards and some irreverent interpretation, which is of course the sort of interpretation the Hound likes best. The perceived thoughts of the horse in the 6 of Wands are always revealing, for example. 
I see that there are now both Before and After tarot decks available. They seem to have exactly the same strengths and weaknesses as the New Vision Tarot. For example After's vision of the Fool hanging off a cliff by his fingertips is a common one but by no means the only one. I personally always think much of the point of this card is that the Fool is striding towards something he can see but we can't, but again this is my own favoured interpretation and it is good to be reminded that there are others out there. Similarly I would never have pictured the Fool having to catch the dog first, which is how he's pictured in the Before tarot - once again showing that the question 'What happens before/after this scene?' is one which really reveals a person's mindset. I'm not going to publish my own idea of what happened to the Fool before our snapshot of him, because now I come to verbalise it it is slightly too revealing and frankly rather embarrassing! 
The other shortcoming of this before/after technique is that in some cards there is no question: for example there is no question what happens next in the Tower - the Tower collapses and everyone dies. Of course in this scenario the alternative vision technique may still be helpful - for example the querent may see themselves as a rescuer who has not been able to get there in time, and of course what comes before the Tower can be very revealing indeed. 
Since I've deprived you of my embarrassing idea of what has happened before for the Fool, I will reveal that I have very tellingly always thought that the horse in the 6 of Wands is thinking, 'What a twat'. 

Saturday, May 12, 2018

The Imagined Country

I have been reading about children's TV series of the sixties and seventies which draw on the folkloric zeitgeist of the time. I mean The Owl Service, Penda's Fen and others of that ilk, which I was too young to see at the time, although I have seen some of them since.
These programmes also drew heavily on the fear at the time that the contemporary idea of progress was bringing the rural world to an end. This led to a romanticisation of the rural world.
This was all the rage when I was a child but has fortunately left me largely untouched. Even then I was a complete townie!
It is unfortunate that the romantic idea of the country as well as some rather fanciful ideas of British folklore and history after the Christianisation of the country tend to dominate in the modern witchcraft and Pagan worlds. The reality of much rural life, both now and in the past, is endless slog and precarious conditions - animals and crops simply never give you a day off, and these unromantic conditions were exactly what those who flocked into the cities at the industrial revolution were seeking to flee.
I suppose what I'm getting at is the ahistorical romantic view of the country, pseudo history and an imagined past, created in fear of the present. Even 'using' the country in this way is a form of colonialism and making these TV programmes means the world of technology invading the idealised country : the illustration shows the filming of Akenfield.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Tarot: Water

There is a tradition that the water glimpsed on the other side of the veil in the High Priestess card is the same water we see on every other tarot card which shows water. In the Major Arcana it next appears as a waterfall in the next card after the High Priestess before disappearing for a good few cards (update 13.5.18 - ignore this, there's water on the Chariot)  and reappearing in Temperance.
What does this water signify? I think I have an answer from another member of the Golden Dawn, Dion Fortune. These two ladies *may* have belonged to different schisms of the order, I haven't checked, but the obvious source for understanding the world of this tarot deck is the Golden Dawn tradition.
I found this quote in Patricia Crowther:
'The sound of that running water [at her husband's funeral] remained a mystery for some time, until the day I obtained a copy of Through the Gates of Death by Dion Fortune (Aquarian Press, 1957). As I held this book, it fell open at a particular page, where I read the following passage:
"When spiritual love is coming to us from the Inner Planes we have only to still the outer senses for a moment to hear it purling like a brook, a steady flow, coming to us all the time from the eternal and steadfast soul that has gone ahead to the Next Country. "
'Fortune calls it the" Brook of Love", or the "Communion of Love", and tells us that no psychic powers are needed for it to reach the mundane consciousness. She advises us to send back our own personal flow of love to our loved ones on the Inner Planes.' (Patricia Crowther:High Priestess. Phoenix Publishing, Blaine, Washington, 1998, p. 110)
So the water comes from higher planes - in my naughty way I'm going to gloss this as not only referring to love but generally to things of the higher planes. The cards on which it appears reference higher things (among others) and the cards in which it does not appear indicate the more 'mundane' tasks of the Fool's journey.
I know I have argued repeatedly here against these kinds of divisions but the world view here is that of the Golden Dawn, not necessarily my own. Many tarotists criticise this deck precisely because of that world view. Meh.
Have a sound track also stolen from another worldview. Vidi aquam: I saw water flowing out of the Temple, from its right side, AlleluiaAnd all who came to this water were saved, And they shall say: Alleluia, Alleluia.  To quote Wikipedia: 'The text refers to the words of the prophet Ezekiel (Ezekiel 47:1)[2], who saw the waters gushing forth from the Temple as a sanctifying flood that flows through the earth.' 

Monday, May 7, 2018

Tea Leaf Reading with Dame Hilda Bracket

May is Masturbation Month

It will surprise regular readers that I, an almost terminal non-joiner, have found an event that I want to join in with. With gusto. Frequently. Of course it's masturbation month.
I've written here before with my rather devastating brand of frankness about my use of porn and the fact I wank. In fact I've been wanking quite happily since my first time at the age of eight.
I'm celebrating the month by basically doing it more and watching more porn so I'm more aroused. Bit strange to be joining in like this!