Archive for the ‘Tarot’ Category

Today is Thursday, which means it is my day to pray to and worship Aphrodite (though truth be told, I pray to and worship Aphrodite much more often than just on Thursdays). Today I spent time meditating on the birth of the goddess, and then I offered my typical prayers, hymns, and offerings. When I was finished, it occured to me to do a tarot reading about my relationship with the goddess, so I sat down with my cards, I invoked Apollo as the god of oracles and prophecy, and I asked for the cards to reveal to me the nature of my relationship with the goddess, past, present, and future. This was the spread I laid out:

Ten of Cups (Reversed) Page of Wands (Reversed) Nine of Swords

(In case those links ever expire, those are the Ten of Cups reversed, the Page of Wands reversed, and the Nine of Swords).

Honestly, I’m not sure what to make of it. The first card, the reversed Ten of Cups, makes sense. After my initial contact with the goddess, which blew me away and filled me with warmth, light, and love, my continued spiritual floundering has left the fulness of spiritual joy represented by the Ten of Cups, that I feel can be available to me through Aphrodite, has been truncated and stunted. My own hemming and hawing, whatever my reasons, has kept me from having the joy in the goddess that I might otherwise have had. Nothing odd or unexpected there.

Its the reversed Page of Wands and the Nine of Swords that have me troubled. The Page came up ecently in an extremely important reading I did for myself, and at the moment I am sort of getting ready to embark on a path of (spiritual) action: a very definite journey of spiritual work that I think the Page represents. So why is he reversed? Am I doing something wrong?

And the Nine of Swords? What does that mean? That my Page-of-Wands journey is ill-considered and abortive and will lead to regret and hearbreak, at least as far as the goddess is concerned? Or is the whole thing a warning? Could it not be saying that my present quest is in fact corrupted and askew, but that if I do embark on it like I have planned, but then I let it fall by the wayside, if I am lazy about it, then it will end in sorrow and tragedy, and a possible loss of relationship with the goddess altogether?

In other words (because I know I am being cryptic and confusing), is the reading telling me something definite or conditonal? Is it warning me that my present course is distorted and cowardly, and will result in anguish, or is it warning me that if I veer from my present course–reverse the Quest, in other words–that it will lead to anguish? It seems a bit vague about something that is kind of important.

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The night before last when I had my “Great Plain” meditation, I also had an odd impression of sunlit carved standing stones on a green hill. More than once. It seemed more like the product of whimsical thought than anything else, but last night when meditating, I decided to investigate a little further.

The whole sequence was jumbles and discontinuous, so don’t get the wrong impression from the way I explain it.

After some centering exercises including “going to my room,” I was able to find myself among those stones, but no sooner did I get there than the sky grew dark, the trees withered, and the stones grew thinner, taller, and more frightening. There was also a crow, and the distinct presence of a dark figure behind one of the stones that I thought might be the God/god I had conversed with a few days ago. I wasn’t sure.

I was sure that this wasn’t what I was looking for, so I changed into a bird and flew- a strange feeling of detachment and flying as I focused inward, until I came upon the sunlit hill again. However, once again, the sky grew dark and everything turned gray. The crow was there again.

A third time I found myself in the form of a bird and flying- almost an ecstatic metitative state (though I think some of it was just the fact that my eyes were crossed, and that always makes you feel weird). Once again I came to the stones, and ocne again the sky was darkened, the stones changed, the raven/crow landed on them, and I had the impression of a dark figure.

For no real appreciable reason, I yelled out the name of Odin, not crying out to him to save me or anything, but more to request his presence. A large figure appeared, claiming to be Odin, looking like something out of a video game, ogre-sized with a horned helmet and a great beard. After a few minutes of conversation (I don’t really remember what we talked about), I decided that this was not in fact Odin or any other god, but the impression of the dark figure behind the stones was still there.

I spent the rest of the meditation in a focused state, rapid-firing questions about faith, religion, and reality at God or whatever, not visualizing anything and not getting any answers. The whole thing seemed strange and powerful, though, and I kind of had to decompress for awhile afterward.

When I did the Tarot layout the other day (with the Hanged Man as the end), the card that crossed me, i.e., my obstacles, was the death card. Of all its meanings, the ones I focused on were “end” and “corruption.” Funny that corruption has played a role in my meditative exercises- first with the face of God on the path, and now with the standing stones. Maybe I’m off the mark here. I don’t know.

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The Hanged Man

After my meditation experience last night, I did a Tarot reading with my wife, to inquire about what I should do about religion.  I don;t necessarily want to go into the entire card spread, but it was very interesting.  Most of the cards seemed to describe my situation in unique ways, and I was defintiely given insight.

The ultimate card, the one representing where all of this is going, was the hanged man.

According to the book we were using, the card represents Wisdom, Circumspection, Discernment, Trials, Sacrifice, Intuition, Divination, and Prophecy.  It seemed like a progression to me, leading to my ultimate goal.

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Lingering doubt.

On my mission, I first started to deal with the gospel in a serious way. As I did, there were things that bothered me. Granted, when I “got busy” with missionary work, I mostly just didn’t think about those doubts. Ultimately I was able to conclude that although I had questions that I was unable to get satisfactory answers for, since I had a general testimony of the truth of the Church, I could trust that God had the answers, maybe even just the missing information, and that in time all would be explained.

So, what were these doubts? I’m not going to go into them in a detailed list, because that would simply invite point-by-point criticism from well-intentioned members of the Church trying to refute my doubts. No thanks. Maybe I’ll deal with them in detail in future posts, but here I only want to talk about them generally.

First, I had problems that were doctrinal. Since the restoration, we in the Church have been “blessed” with so much new light and knowledge, answering all the great questions of religion (as an aside, I think that one problem is that the Church’s light and knowledge mostly answers 19th-century questions about religion, many of which modern people think are irrelevant, or they have found other answers for, or shifting theology has simply left those concerns in history’s dustbin). Anyway, I often felt that the “answers” just resulted in more questions. However, unlike the general unanswerable questions of Christianity that were broad enough to have many possible answers, the further light and knowledge revealed in this dispensation sort of tightened the focus. The questions were no longer as general, since we already had specific answers to the general questions. Now, we are left with new questions that tend to lead to weird answers. And when you try to answer them, you’re told it’s not important for your salvation. That’s, in my opinion, a huge smokescreen. “Do not look behind the curtain.” But I digress.

I also had problems that were scriptural. On my mission, I read all of the standard works, some of them multiple times. Over and over again, I enocuntered scriptures whose plain meanings seemed to directly contradict Mormon doctrine. Of course, there were always answers to these concerns, but to me they always felt like they were reaching pretty hard. Like they were meanings the scriptures could conceivably have, rather than the meanings they probably have.

And I’m not just talking about the Bible. Plenty of parts of the Book of Mormon seem, on their face, to directly contradict current LDS doctrine.

(As an aside, when I recently re-read LeGrand Richards’s A Marvelous Work And A Wonder, and I was boggled by the inconsistency in scriptural interpretation: when the plain meaning of a verse supports Mormon doctrine, it’s “clearly” correct, but when the plain meaning contradicts Mormon doctrine, we’re supposed to use attenuated interpretive methods that result in conclusions that often seem to be the exact opposite of what the scripture plainly says).

My third category of doubt had to do with blessings, specifically my patriarchial blessing. Without going into too much detail (perhaps I will in a future post), when I got my patriarchial blessing, it was awesome- it seemed to specifically answer some questions I had and to make specific promises about my future. And almost none of them were fulfilled. Sure, in retrospect I can look back on my life and apply my patriarcial blessing to it and figure out all the indirect ways that it really was true after all, but that is meaningless. That’s how tarot cards and divination work- they tell you vague things and then after the fact, you “realize” that they had presicted the future after all! All you have done is retrofitted your life to the vague promises made by the divination tool.

When I got my patriarchial blessing, I understood it in a specific way as making specific promises. Anyone who knew me at the time and read it came to the same conclusions that I did (or at least, they realized that I would clearly cometo those conclusions). Unquestionably, God, if he was the author of the blessing, knew how I was going to interpret it. Why then would he give me a blessing that he knew I would misinterpret and be disappointed by? And what’s the use of promises that you misunderstand when they are given, and you only realize that they were”true” after the fact. It provides you with nothing right now, and later on it provides you with nothing that a telephone psychic or a tarot reading couldn’t have provided.

What’s the use of promises that you completely misunderstand when given?  What good does that do you?  Sure, they make all kinds of sense years later, but it’s way more likely that you’re imposing your experiences into the vague framework of the patriarchial blessing.  So it isn’t even helpful as a kind of a “see, God had a plan for me all this time” reassurance later on in life because you’ve only seen what you want to see.

My final category of doubt was general skepticism. Can this really be true? I mean, really, really true? Am I going to die and then in fact, go to Paradise and then in fact be judged and resurrected by Jesus Christ and then in fact go tot he Celestial Kingdom for exaltation? Really? I mean, it sounded like a solid idea, but it seemed to be too removed from my own experience to always seem concrete and reliable. and so I had nagging doubts.

When I rolled up my sleeves and got intot he work, I was able to expel these doubts, sort of. It was more like I put them in a closet and forgot about them. Then, last summer, when I was questioning the truth of the Church, I decided to go back to that closet and see what was in there. and there was way more than I remembered. It all came tumbling out.

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You are the Emperor card. The Emperor leads the way into the world that The Empress allowed us to experience. He is the archetype of the Father who provides the organization and structure of the world. The Emperor is the government, and as such represents control. At this stage in The Fool’s Journey, there is no need to deviate from the status quo. By participating actively in society, we come to an understanding of social structure. The Emperor applies the laws and rules for us to follow. The Emperor is the first of the zodiacal attributions in the major arcana. He shares with Aries a creative energy and, at his best, responsibility for the subjects in his charge. At his worst he can become domineering and authoritarian. Image from the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck.

Take this quiz!

Interesting. I have always thought of the Knight of Cups as the card that most represents me. Probably this quiz only deals with the Major Arcana, so the Knight wasn’t going to be an option anyway. In any case, I may need to do some thinking about the Emperor.  Oddly enough, my wife took the quiz too, and she came up as the Empress…

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