Tarot as a Foundation

I was reading a recent post by Frater Acher over at My Occult Circle that discusses using the Tarot as a foundation for all of our spiritual work, and it got me thinking about my own relationship to the cards. When I look back now at the progression of this spiritual journey I’ve been on, Tarot has been there since the beginning and continues to function as a guide through every step of the way. The struggle to find a solid base to build from has been a consistent burden while I’ve gone from book to book trying to find the perfect teaching that will guide my next step. I’ve gone from Wicca to Ceremonial Magick to general Witchcraft and then back to Wicca, feeling dizzy from all the bouncing around and not realizing that what I was trying to find has been with me all along. I’ve confused my need for stability with a desire for new knowledge, and in doing so I haven’t been able to build a solid personal practice that is uniquely me because I’m constantly looking to others to fill that void. Both needs have their proper place in my life, but it wasn’t til now that I realized they both have different ways of being fulfilled.

Without being properly initiated into any magical group setting, the stability required to build a proper magical practice must come from internal sources rather than external structures. This is where Tarot plays such a crucial role in teaching me the basics of all magic, and even life as a whole. Regardless of the history and origins of the cards, I can’t  deny the significance and beautifully perfect system found within those 78 cards. They operate on so many levels that anytime I need advise, a word of encouragement, or even a slap on the hand, they always come through and I find myself aligned with the universe. Going even beyond the technical aspects of the cards, Frater Acher discusses that using Tarot allows us to test our assumptions and build relationships with our inner guides that will direct us on the correct path to chose. That’s something that no one book will ever be able to teach us. Most of the books written today, although insightful and educational, can only teach us based on another’s experience. In order to mature and build my own practice, I will need to search within, using Tarot as my guide. The knowledge acquired from books allows me to see what others have experienced and learn from their wisdom so that I may travel out on my own to create experiences unique to my life.

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Moving Along

The world of magic is vast, scary, and overwhelming at times, but even in the moments of frustration when I can’t seem to figure out what’s going on, I can still marvel at the energy present all around. The seeming coincidences that are reminders that I’m still doing something right at least. In my mind I think of the purpose for all of this, and wonder why I even care. Why am I not content to accept the world the way it’s been presented to me? People around me continue on with their lives, completely oblivious to the unseen forces that affect us day after day, minute by minute. In my studies so far, it would seem that in the occult there are no innocent bystanders. Once you’re in, and you peek through the veil, there’s a call to interact and be a part of this universal force that lies lies in the unseen realm.
I said I wasn’t going to buy anymore books for a while, after being continuously disappointed by recycled Wicca books, but I’ve decided to not let those books stop me from exploring. I know there are books of true wisdom out there, that aren’t watered down new age nonsense. I love the symbolism and practices of witchcraft, but because Wicca has become the catch-all term for anybody remotely pagan who wants to practice magic, there appears to be limited resources on practicing a true path of the witch. I’ve tried and tried to be content with Wicca as a religion and a complete practice, but my intuition is guiding me beyond those boundaries. I love Wicca, and I think it’s a beautiful expression of our connection with nature, the cycle of the seasons, and our intimate connection to the Divine, yet why won’t my higher self allow me to settle? In my heart I feel like being a witch is a lot more than just drawing down the moon, doings spells for a new car or lover, or attempting to celebrate these supposedly “ancient” holidays that usually have no relevance or historical validity. I see a lot of blogs on here written by people who claim to be witches or magicians and their practice is so genuine, built from years of practical experience, not learned from some Wicca 101 book.
I’ll continue to seek and find my own path somehow, because I trust that the spirits around me will continue to guide my way, it’s just a matter of me having the wisdom to see the world as it is, not the way someone else tells me it is.

Call of the Goddess

pentagramIt’s been almost two months since I decided to put witchcraft aside and continue expanding my studies, but I can’t ignore the yearning in my heart to return to the path that pulls at my heart. Last night I pulled out my Tarot cards to receive any welcomed advice from them, and they were eager to answer me. The first card I pulled was the 4 of Swords, and I immediately realized that it was time to put all these worries to rest. A spiritual path can have moments of confusion, but my mind shouldn’t be cluttered with the stresses I’ve been carrying around lately. My next step was clear, knowing that I have to lay it all on the table and give up whatever is weighing me down. The next card I pulled was the 8 of Wands. This card has always been a difficult one for me to read, but in referencing my Tarot book the keywords “momentum” and “flow” stuck out to me. I then realized that once I lay all these worries and thoughts aside, only then will I be able to flow with the current of my path leading me forward. I pulled the third card, and there She was.. the Queen of Cups. Now I know that there are so many ways to interpret the Court cards in the Tarot, and I see the validity in most of them, but the Queen of Cups has always been my direct connection with the Goddess. I can’t explain it, it’s just one of those personal things, but I always know she’s around when I pull that card. I immediately felt at peace, knowing that she’s been with me all along, and that I never was too far away from home. My studies in magic and hermeticism will most definitely continue, but I just need a little more paganism back in my life.

New Levels

chakrasThis is sort of a response to Sy Calaelen’s video called Magick vs. Witchcraft and for those of you who are unfamiliar with her work, she has an amazing insight into all things occult and she’s been a huge inspiration for me on my path. If you’re reading this Sy, you’re the best!

I’m currently in a state of transition. More of a shift in consciousness to be more accurate. I recently decided to put a stop to everything I was doing spiritually and just take a break. I took a weeklong vacation to spend some quality time with family and just let everything that was clogging my mind to just sort itself out, well that was the expectation. A few days after returning to work and trying to get back to normal, I began to look over my spiritual life and really see it for what it was. I looked at what I thought I believed, and the practices associated with those beliefs, and started to see that the “spiritual” person I was attempting to be was just a reflection of all the outside influences in my life. Whether direct or indirect, I was starting to see that these influences were dictating to me the path I should follow, instead of me finding who I was deep within and allowing my true self to connect. It wasn’t until I stepped back and evaluated myself that I came to realize there is something growing inside of me that is way bigger than any box I could put it in.

One of the thoughts that kept coming to mind was my idea of what witchcraft is, and how the practice relates to me. For almost two years now I have spent so much energy tirelessly studying witchcraft and Wicca, only to still feel spiritually unsatisfied. Upon my reflection of the meaning of witchcraft, I started to gain a clear picture of what it was that was holding me back. Witchcraft is a magical practice for the mundane, and its uses lend itself to finding love, gaining wealth, and basically helping to solve life’s little problems. I have no doubt that witchcraft is a powerful tool and a beneficial practice, as I have personally experienced its positive effects in my own life, but what happens when we don’t need money or a new job, and we’re happy with the love in our life, or at least content with all of these things? And this is where I was left thinking, not that I couldn’t allow witchcraft to be a part of my life, but that in order to truly grow spiritually I need to expand my horizons to greater knowledge and wisdom.

Enter in.. Hermeticism. I find it very interesting that one of the first books I ever read after starting my exploration of paganism was ‘The Kybalion.’ This book has probably affected me more than any other book I’ve read because of its simple and pure philosophies about magic, God, and the Universe. ‘The Kybalion’ is not pagan specific, and doesn’t adhere to any specific religion, but gives such a strong foundation to all hermetic philosophies. I’m now beginning to explore the world of magic as it pertains to the Western Mystery Tradition, and I feel like witchcraft was the gateway for me to dive deeper into my occult studies. Even now as I’m just beginning to step through that door, I’m gaining a better understanding of witchcraft through the eyes of magic and I can already see a lot of the influences that helped create modern Wicca. I haven’t completely left these two things behind, but they are definitely taking on a different role in my life as I venture forward into the unknown. My only goal is spiritual ascension, and I will follow the path that I need to get there with the guidance of my higher self.

My Journey into Magic so far…

Contemplation is something I do quite often. I’m a thinker. I always have been and I don’t expect that to change anytime soon. I look back over my life and evaluate where I’ve been, things that I’ve experienced, and every once in a while wish certain events would’ve happened a little differently. But since I began this journey not too long ago, I can honestly say there isn’t anything I would change about my life up until now. Even those events that I used to wish could be different, I can see that those were the most important of all in leading me to where I’m at now.

As a young boy, I can recall telling my mom I had psychic powers, and I also believed I could speak to animals. I can remember every year wanting to be a witch for Halloween, only to be ridiculed and told that only girls could be witches. I usually settled for being a “warlock,” which in my 10 year old mind was the only word I knew to describe a male witch. Growing up in a strictly Christian home, it makes me wonder where all these notions came from, and why I believed these things about myself. I’m of the belief that anybody can practice the Craft and there are no “naturally born” witches, but can there actually be something within us that calls us to the Craft even at such a young age? I have always been an outcast and way ahead of my years, so I wonder if these ideas were my natural reaction to feeling left out and just a way for me to feel powerful. I try to be open-minded and not too critical of these experiences, and maybe it’s not my place to question, but I’ve encountered so many memories of these early magical experiences that I can’t help but give them some attention.

As I grew and learned that these magical “fantasies” had no place in the real world, I let them go only to have them return these many years later. I’ve encountered many authors who describe coming to the Craft as a feeling of returning home, and I can totally relate to that now. It’s a return to those innocent beliefs that I held as a child, untainted by the influences of a modern society. As an adult I do understand that many of those beliefs originated from the ignorance of youth, but I now feel that the true magic of Witchcraft is realizing that there actually is some greater force out there who embedded these beliefs within me. I say this not to try to prove anything to anyone, or claim having some kind of special powers granted to me. Finding the Craft has allowed me to return to a place within that was closed off from the world a long time ago, a place where my true self has waited for my arrival. I believe that once we find that place, we are forever changed, and there is no turning back.

The Witch’s Pyramid

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Originally written in my journal on Jan. 12, 2012, when I was just a few months along on this path:

Beginning at “To Know,” this is a charge to learn, to understand why you live the way you do, and why you believe the things you do. Many people are going to question my path and I need to be knowledgeable of it. Only a fool follows blindly. And this is a path that treasures knowledge as the seed of power. Once you know, you can dare to follow. What “To Dare” means to me is making a conscious decision to apply what you know to your life. In my own life I feel like I’ve reached this stage, but it takes courage to dare. It takes guts, and a drive to live as a witch. No more passive attitude that lets the days pass by. It’s time to grasp each moment and treasure it. If it’s a bad moment, question the lessons to be learned. If it’s a happy and positive experience, dare to have an attitude of thanksgiving towards the God and Goddess.Thank them continually for the blessings in your life. Even in those bad moments, be thankful for the lessons you’ve learned. Once you dare to live your life as a witch, you can begin “to will” for change. You begin to see the world in a different light and you begin to will this new found power towards making a better life for yourself and those around you. Walking as a witch, you feel the connection with the universe and your will begins to align with the energies around you. I believe that our will is a gift and that to will harm on any other creature is to defile not only that gift, but also the Source that bestowed it. When we connect with the universe the seed of energy planted within us begins to grow and develop, as does our divine will. As we feed our energies back into the world we create a cycle of giving and receiving that creates change. This is magick. Will is energy. And in doing magick, it is essential that we remain silent. I feel this is so because our conscious mind directly speaks through our mouths. When we speak, our words carry vibrations that have a direct effect on the environment around us. Our conscious minds are not able to fully grasp the energies of magick, as we are usually focused on the mundane. It is when we silence our conscious mind and begin to listen with our spirit that we begin to attune with those energies. As a witch, learning to listen with your spirit allows you “to go,” and to ascend to a higher level of living. A life of power, of love and light, and to achieve a perfect balance with the universe. Ultimately this leads to the perfection of ourselves within the Source, and through many lifetimes, becoming one with the All. And until that perfection is attained, the spiral continues…