Saturday, March 10, 2012

Come Join Me At My New Home

Last month, after having talked about it for little while and after having thought about it for much longer, I migrated this blog over to Wordpress.  Although Ill leave this blog up for both social (keeping track of and commenting on blogger blogs) and archival (I haven't converted all my internal links yet, so some of my old entries redirect here) reasons, I will not be updating it any longer.

Some of you have already followed me over, and I appreciate that greatly.  I hope that the rest of you will, too: it's been a lot of fun sharing my experiences with you all, and it's only getting crazier.

Come join the party:

-Satyr Magos

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Of Tradition, Synthesis, and Danger

[This is the first of a few posts to be double-posted as I transition to the wordpress account.]

You may have noticed by now, dear readers, that I cannot keep my mouth shut when I see people talking about things I have an opinion on.  And y’all know that I have opinions on nearly every fucking thing on this mad, spinning Earth.  But that’s what blogging is, right?  An opportunity to express our opinions?  Well, that’s one thing, anyway.  Unlike some of last soapbox moments, though, this is not a direct response to anything.  People write things, I read them, and it makes me think.(*)

I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a traditionalist.  I have never been invited to join a Lodge or Coven.  I had long disdained the grimoire traditions, and while I have come around on that issue in theory, the fact is (for reasons too numerous, and ultimately too obvious) that they will never be a major component of my practice.  It would be an oversimplification, but my practice could be fairly described as eclectic Wicca.

Nor am I a cutting-edge radical, disdainful of everything that has come before.  Hell, I didn’t even get into studying Chaos Magick until I started my ceremonial project.  Embarrassing as it is now, I didn’t really understand where the one ended and the other began; I just thought of Chaos as post-modern choose-your-own-adventure ceremonialism.  I know perfectly well that it’s a fucking bad idea to summon Goetic demons without the full pomp and circumstance: they’ll take that shit personally.  I know better than to mix and match traditions with no regard for the histories involved or the subtleties of difference in technique and emphasis.

My practice lies somewhere in between these two extremes.  I have pushed the Wiccan framework as far as it can go and serve my needs, and in doing so I have read about as far and wide as one can on the subject without ever being initiated.  I have moved beyond Wicca using shamanic techniques gleaned from Michael Harner, Gale Wood, Christopher Penczak, a few friends, a hand-full of workshops, and an ever-growing body of UPG—ever conscious of the deeply problematic elements of neo-shamanic practice, ranging from bad scholarship to appropriation of indigenous practices to outright “playing Indian”.  I have incorporated energy work with no parallel in any tradition I can find in print—Maya Heath’s Energies is the closest I’ve ever seen—but which a significant minority of the practitioners I’ve encountered in the world recognize as close enough to something they, too, did when they were young.  I’ve incorporated some of the Chaos techniques from my as-yet-incomplete survey—sigils in particular—and I’m working on comprehending certain portions of ceremonial arts as well—the evocation of spirits.

But, as you have already surmised, I am not content to merely reproduce the work that has been done before: I’m pushing forward in the directions that are most interesting to me, and where my native talent calls to be explored.  I’m experimenting with mask-making, and the particular sort of invocation and embodiment unique to mask-work.  Through my shamanic work, I’m engaging in congress with spirits the likes of which I have never seen addressed in anything I’ve yet read.  I’m experimenting with the use of sex, drugs, and music in my magic: this is fucking ecstatic work, folks, and sometimes I need higher octane fuel than I can (yet) get my brain to produce on its own.

RO (and all the others) is right to point out that yes, there are dangers.  When you mix traditions and tech—and I do both, for all my concerns about cultural appropriation and pissing of the various Powers That Be—things can go horribly awry.  But I’m with RO on the next step, too: do it anyway!  Magic has been a process of experimentation and syncretism for as long as people have been doing it.  Sometimes you’re going to botch.  Sometimes you’re going to piss off some people … or some spirits … or maybe even some gods.  People can be managed.  Spirits and gods can be propitiated.  Magical backlash can be healed.

Hell, some day you might even fuck up so bad that you have to step out of the game for a year.  Or three.  But you come back to it.  Trust me: you’ll fucking come back to it.

We’re hip deep in the forces of creation, y’all.  No matter what you’re told, there are no flawless systems.  Even when it looks like you’ve found one, you’re still going to have to adapt it to your own particular brain and body.  And even if you don’t, some spirit you get involved with is going to issue a geas or taboo that’ll fuck up your perfect tradition, rock your boat, and maybe even upset your whole damn world.  (Trust me on this one: if it’s happened to me once, it’s happened to me twice.)

(*) But rather than link to any of the inspirations for this musing in the text body above, I’m going to collect them here to make sure that none of this very interesting reading material gets missed.

RO has posted twice (at least) on similar subjects, and introduced me to some very interesting and important work being done in the Celtic traditions.  Jason Miller has also talked about his syncretism, personally, and recently more generally (though his snark about the issue of appropriation is grossly inappropriate).  Peter Alexander Vaughn has a couple posts that touch on the issues.

I’m sure there’s still something important that I’m missing.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

NY, NY: Checking In With My Goals and Keeping My Shoulder to the Wheel

So, I set myself a number of goals to have complete by the end of the New Year, New You project—almost exactly two weeks from today.  Up until now, I have been dong a fairly good job, even if there has been some last-minute completion, but let’s check back in:

1) Finish interpreting my own natal chart.  I’ve been working on it off and on for half a year, but my ego keeps getting in the way.  [Hahah.  No.]

2) Illustrated meditation on the Element of Earth and finish my meditation on the Element of Water.  [Oh, right.  I forgot about that one.]

3) Develop an outline for the new book of shadows.  [Uh … been thinking about it.]

4) Transport this blog to wordpress.  Blogger is getting on my nerves.  I hope this won’t irritate my established readers too badly, but there are just so many technical advantages to wordpress.  I wanted to use it originally, actually, but it was broken the day I decided to register my domain.  [WIP.  Any thoughts on improving the layout while it’s in beta?]

5) Successfully achieve astral projection.  [WIP.]

6) Complete (for the purposes of my survey of ceremonial magic, though not in any larger sense) my studies of Earth/Malkuth and Moon/Yesod. [Houston, we (may) have a problem.]

With two weeks to go, I haven’t actually gotten very far on these.  Ironically, this is in part because I’ve been working at the long-term master list from which it was derived from other directions.  But only in part.

My natal chart has been derailed by having too much work to do.  As much as astrology interests me, the fact is that it’s fairly tangential to everything, and it’s disproportionately time-consuming.  Because of the degree to which I’m an amateur, I can write an A paper in the amount of time it takes me to write a D natal chart. 

As far as the elemental meditations … I’d love to pretend that I’ve been too busy, or working on other things, or … But, no.  I just fucking forgot about them.  I should get back on them if for no reason other than that they’re fun.  Also, my newly stripped-down altar needs more pretties.

The Book of Shadows thing has gotten derailed by some of the same things that have derailed my ceremonial studies as a whole.  It’s not that I’m not thinking about it; it may be that I’m thinking too much about it.  More on that in a bit.

Migrating the Dream to wordpress is one thing that’s actually seen some action.  So is astral projection, though I doubt that I’ll managed “success” at the rate I’m going, it still counts for something.  The work speaks for itself.

Finally, we come to my ceremonial studies.  By one way of counting, they have ground to a complete halt: I haven’t opened Penczak’s High Temple of Witchcraft since I wrote the review, let alone made any progress through that rubric.  On the other hand, I haven’t exactly been idle.  I’ve been pawing through Donald Michael Kraig again, dabbled in some Israel Regardie, made myself some Mercury talismans, read the Arbatel in its (surviving) entirety, and performed the rite of the Stele of Jeu the Heiroglyphist (and a few less interesting things as well).  As my ceremonial studies shift from theoretical to practical, my methods are necessarily in flux and I find myself searching for, among other things, a new rubric that isn’t hip deep in the assumption that I’ve never cast a spell before in my life (sorry Kraig) … but which doesn’t assume I already know everything, either.

Here we see a glimpse of the thing that’s hard for me: pick a thing and stick to it.  It’s a large part of what’s gone wrong with my daily practice.  I’m damn good at whipping it out and getting shit done.  I’m not so good at keeping on top of things.  This is why I take yoga classes instead of just maintaining a practice in home; after three semesters, I ought to know what I’m doing well enough to follow one of the countless routines on YouTube.  This is why I’m blogging instead of doing homework or sleeping.

In theory, of course, I could continue with the Penczak psuedo-GD structure, just adding bits and pieces to compensate for his failures.  Like, say, conjuring the planetary spirits using Kraig’s system in conjunction with Penczak’s visionary work, and/or making a Planetary Talisman like I did with Mercury.  After all, there are a lot of things about Penczak and his system that I do like.  But … I’m mad at him.  Which is absurd and immature, but there you go.  Also, I’ve absolutely run out of patience for his fluffy-bunny-bullshit, which essentially means that in order to use his shit I’ll have to re-write it from the ground up at which point I … may just be on to something.  But it’s also somewhat beside the point, because I’m this is the means, not the ends.

The ends, the actual goal, is this: to become a more competent and well-rounded witch.  To get closer to the Mysetery I can’t name, but whose call I can’t ignore.  To live well, and to die well. 

And what do I need to achieve those ends?  Work.  Every day, at least a little bit.  Keep the Sabbats; mark the Moons; struggle to do something, even a little bit, every day.

Nose to the grindstone.  Shoulder to the wheel.

Do the Work.  Let the serpent bite its tail.

On it.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Imbolc 2012 (Insert Clever Title Here)--Also Blackberry Mead

Imbolc—the Witches’ Sabbat where we huddle together in our cold, cramped apartments, relight our sacred fires, pray for the sun to come back soon and quietly acknowledge how glad we are that we’re not actually bound to the agricultural cycle anymore.  (Except for those of who are actually suffering from food shortage, but that’s a post for a social justice blog.)  Wait.  What’s that you say?  What the fuck?  It was fifty-fucking-four degrees Fahrenheit outside today.  How do you celebrate the desperate hope for the return of Spring when it feels like Beltaine outside?

Well, if you’re me, you duck off into the woods and celebrate like it is Beltaine.  Because why not?  Hooray, hooray!  Who needs to wait for the First of May?

Monday, I bottled my Imbolc mead, made from Pasiphae’s beautiful home-grown blackberries.  She gave me so many that, by the time I was done, I had somehow ended up with two gallons of mead.  I kept one and left the other with Aradia.  It turned out beautifully, and I can’t wait to share it with everyone at the local meat-up tomorrow.

Unfortunately, I can’t really share the recipe: it was too seat-of-my pants.  With the fruit-to-honey ratio I ended up with, it might be more accurately described as “blackberry wine”.  Also, I seem to have lost my notes.  If I were going to do it over again, this is how I would do it:

4 lbs honey

1 gallon ziplock of blackberries (with another waiting in the freezer)

Lavlin 1118 Champaign yeast

Yeast nutrient, pectic enzyme, &C.

Start by sanitizing the must using Campden tablets or the equivalent in your primary fermentation bucket, then add the yeast.  Because of the fruit, you’ll want to let this one sit longer than usual.

When you’re ready to rack, break out the second bag of blackberries, let them thaw, and throw them into your secondary fermenter (if you’re lucky, that’s a 2-gallon carboy; if you’re me, that’s dividing them between two 1-gallon jugs), and rack the mead onto them.  Again, leave them in there a little longer than usual.  Repeat as many times as you have blackberries.

Bottle in time for the festivities.

Monday, January 30, 2012

And in other news…

I feel like I’m always a few steps behind.  Especially lately.  I didn’t get my Dark Moon work written up until nearly a week after, and most of that only got done because I called in sick Friday.  Then I got a day behind because I always have trouble with my internet at home, and … blah blah blah.  Whine whine whine.

The real problem is that I’m sick.  And you, my dear readers, already know what the worst part about been a sick witch is.  You know that if you could fucking do something about it, if only you had the strength to … well, stand up, cast a Circle, and do something about it.  Cause it turns out that, no, our bodies aren’t just cars we drive around.  They are our prime materia.  Without them, we are nothing.  So, lacking the mojo to fix myself over the weekend, I stayed in bed a lot.  I drank a lot of fluids.  Sannafrid was kind enough to bring me soup and remind me that, yes, I have people out here in Indiana who give a fuck about me—which helped even more than the soup.  I think I’m finally to a point where I can conjure enough power to try to put myself back on track.  Of course, I’ve already missed the Day and Hour of the Sun, the hypothetically best time to do that.  Fortunately I’m more witch than magician, and I can work around that.

But, enough about that.

Before I got sick, I was finally making some progress on that whole astral projection thing.  During a fit of insomnia that preceded my dive from “struggling against being sick” into “not going to class because I was up all night blowing my nose”, I discovered that Donald Michael Kraig covers the subject in the concluding chapter of his Modern Magick.  For whatever reason, the method he describes worked better for me than any other I’ve tried, and I was able to achieve what Kraig describes as bilocation: ambling around my apartment, touching things to establish my sense of reality.  Which was fucking awesome.  If I could actually manage to pull it off every night (Have you notice I struggle with maintaining a daily anything?  Yeah.  Makes keeping up with my homework a problem, sometimes.) I would probably already be fully OBE. 

I even had an interesting experience just while circumnavigating the apartment.  When I pushed aside the blinds to place my astral hand against the window, I saw a giant something outside my window—big enough that all I really saw was an eye.  This startled me, of course, and I pulled back, letting the “blinds” drop, and then had a good laugh at myself.  Until something large slammed into the house Wards.  Not being entirely sure what was going on, I decided to perform my Pentagram Rite astrally, then went back to my body.  After which I went to sleep and nothing exciting happened.

I (sort of) managed it again last night while struggling with another bout of insomnia, only this time I kept crashing into things and breaking them.  Retreating back to my body, I descended to my Inner Temple, where I did a little bit of maintenance and chatted with my spirit guide/friend Tsu.  My mind must have still been unrully, though, because we got sucked through an open door into the Elemental Realm of Fire (a la Peckzac’s Outer Temple meditations.  Interestingly, I felt a lot better after we hung out in the fire for a while.

So, while I have been sick and busy and not quite up to healing myself, I haven’t been wholly inactive.  Which is good.  I need to stay active to go forward.

Finally, while sick, I spent some time working on one of my other New Year, New You goals: migrating this blog to WordPress.  As I have mentioned once or twice, I originally wanted to blog there anyway, but the site was down the day I tried.  WP is technically superior, easier to operate, and easier to customize.  And then there’s that whole thing with Google’s sudden changes to their privacy policies.  Heheh.  Yeah.  So, within the next few weeks, I’ll be moving.  I’ll keep this account “alive”, of course, to better show my love to all those people who live on blogger, but it won’t be active.

Which is sad, in a way: I broke 700 pageviews for the first time last month, and I have a very good time of making it to 800 this month.  I even have a few amazing people who comment regularly.  Comments or no, though, I love you all and I hope you’ll come with me.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

NYNY: Glamour and Self-Love

I haven’t made any serious attempt at glamourie in years.  I made certain uses of it in my younger days, of course: I had a damn fine Don’t Look At Me … but I never really managed the opposite effect.  It’s pretty difficult to tune your aura to “Hey Look At Me” when your self esteem is as bad as mine was back in the day. 

These days I don’t generally bother—not in a strictly magical sense, anyway.  Or, perhaps it would be more accurate to say that the magic I do isn’t, in the strictest sense, clamor.  The volume and sort of magic I’ve been doing for the past three years seems to have put a good shine on my charismatic aura.  The work I’ve been doing for the last six months has escalated that to a neon glow.

Of course, it helps that I’m pretty good looking.  The caricature I use as my profile pic is just that: I am neither as buff nor as overweight as I depicted myself; my beard (sadly) not so glorious, but my hair can be on a good day.  I love my tattoos and my piercings: two rings in each ear, one in each nipple; tattoos on my shoulders, under my collar bones, and between my shoulder blades, and another planned for the base of my spine when next I see my tattoo guy in KC, all of which I drew myself.  And, though I do say so myself, whether it’s drawing, typing, jewelry, making masks and talismans, performing magic, or wild monkey sex: I am damn good with my hands.  (Why, yes, I went there.  Did you think for a moment that I wouldn’t?)

I take care of myself: I pay outrageous amounts of money for high-quality, no-scary-shit shampoo and conditioner.  I use non-toxic hippie-made (literally: I’ve met the hippies) toothpaste, deodorant, and laundry detergent.  I eat as well as I can, given that I’m on the college meal plan—which, sadly, means that I’m eating way too many conventional and processed foods—and supplement it with multivitamins.  Until the last week or so, when the weather turned to shit, I walked everywhere, which amounted to anywhere from 3/4 mile to 4 miles a day—to and from the apartment, around campus, up and down the stairs (not to brag or anything, but I have fucking fantastic legs).  I’m taking a twice-weakly yoga class, which is doing wonders for me both physically and spiritually—my arms haven’t looked this good since I left Larryville and stopped doing jewelry 40 hours a week, and I walked out of class feeling more than a little godlike Tuesday and Thursday mornings.

Even in a burlap sack, I stand out in a crowd.  And the body I’ve been blessed with is well-emphasized by the way I dress.  My style has always been unique, and as a full time student, clothing and costume are … interesting.  For the first time in my life, I’ve got pretty much free reign in the way I dress: full time, all day, every day.  I can paint my nails in outrageous colors.  I can wear my kilt or my skirts or my robes or my Rennie gear whenever I feel like it.  I wore skirts more often than pants until the weather turned to shit … for some reason it bothers me more to get my skirts dirty.  The attention it gets me is overwhelmingly positive, and the people who are bothered by it are people I don’t need around.

This is the glamour I work in: magic to refine myself until I shine; costume which reveals my nature and draws those like me; radical authenticity to distinguish myself further.  (Though, I will say that failure to grok on the part of some of my audience is tempting my Scorpio nature to go into full-time information management mode.)  Pretty much the only thing I can’t get away with is the sarongs, which just have too great a likelihood of flashing “innocent bystanders”.  But … I have not always been so fortunate. 

From here, I find I must segue away from glamour and the NYNY project into the Land of Rant.  I enjoy costume. I enjoy costume for its own sake, and I understand it’s role as a tool of communication. But there are inevitable issues of privilege tied up in discussions of costume, which I feel need to be addressed.  And, in the grand tradition of the feminisms with which I identify, because the personal is political, I will do so in as personal a manner as possible.

Working in jewelry and retail, I have always been forced to keep my appearance within certain limits: my tattoos are all under the “t-shirt line”; my visible piercings are relatively discreet, and my jewelry “tasteful” (I made all my earrings myself, so of course I think they’re damn classy, but they’re also not going to startle anyone who doesn’t have a problem with any dude’s ear’s being pierced); of necessity, I have an entire wardrobe of costumes specifically aimed at looking the part of the competent craftsman.  I (not-quite-half) jokingly refer to these as my “normal people costume”.  Still, jewelry was a more forgiving industry than many.

Living with my grandfather after my failed life in St. Louis, I was forced to live in exclusively butch costume full-time. For almost a year and a half. For the first time in my adult life, I was back in both closets. I felt like I was living a lie. In a sense, it was good for me: it taught me that I can never live that way again. It led to bitterness, rage, and no small amount of drunk driving home from the nearest gay bar.

Leaving jewelry, I am moving into academia—a field which will I will be allowed many indulgences, but with its own strange pruderies. I can’t say for certain how well my gender variance will be understood: I don’t know for certain what institution I will work for in the end, and no one can say with any certainty what the Academy will look like by the time I’ve gotten my doctorate (there’s some fucking changes afoot).

So while Jason is right to point out that we are frequently at the mercy of others’ perceptions, the degree to which he concedes the field is deeply problematic. Not all of us can afford to tailor our clothes, for example, nor are we all at equal ease within the roles to which we have been assigned. It is not just inappropriate, but outright harmful to assume that it is a moral failing—an overabundance of ego or self-image, as Jason frames it—to resist the assimilation represented by mainstream costume.  Some of us do not fit within it very well, and other simply do not fit at all.

Dark Moon 3/3: Tarot and Splat

I did three tarot readings over the course of the Dark Moon: one preceding each of my rituals, and one to give me an idea of what I need to look forward to over the next month. 

The first reading, concerning my performance of Lon Milo DuQuette’s banishing/invocation, was reasonably clear and positive. 

1/2 – Present position and current influence - 3 Disks “Works” / 2 Wands “Dominion” – Taking concrete steps, translating ideas into reality.  Crossed by willpower and a willingness to take risks.

3 – That which crowns it - Ace of Wands – New beginnings, willpower, decisiveness, opportunity for self-development.

4 – It rests upon this - 10 Disks “Wealth” – Becoming aware of one’s circumstances.  Awareness of one’s inner and outer wealth.

5 – That which is going out – 10 Swords “Ruin” –  Chaos, confusion, pain.  Mental implosions and collapse.  Who doesn’t love to see this on the outs?

6 – That which is coming in – 9 Cups “Happiness” – Meaningful experience, quiet happiness, joy that lets the heart overflow.

7 – The Querrant – VIII Adjustment – Objectivity, balance, karma, sober perception.

8 – Inner Influences – II the Priestess – Inner guidance, deep spiritual experiences.

9 – Outer Influences – VI the Lovers – The Chemical Wedding, duality and union of opposites, division and decisions.

10 – Conclusion – 6 Swords “Science” + XV the Devil – Perception, progress, openness, insight, thirst for power and encountering the Shadow.

The second reading I did concerned my performance of the Rite of Jeu.  The reading was less clear, but I chose to interpret it as a green flag nevertheless.  Looking back at the reading more closely, after the experience itself, I definitely feel like I made the right call.

1 / 2 – Current position and influences – XIX the Sun / XIV  Art – Bliss, joy, new birth, success, and self-development.  Crossed by the balance of powers, finding the right proportion, harmony, and healing.

3 – That which Crowns it - I the Magus – Activity, resolution, willpower, vital force, having the highest perceptions.

4 – It rests upon this - Knight of Swords – Discernment, flexibility, intelligence, striving toward new goals.

5 – That which is going out – 10 Swords “Ruin” – An intriguing repetition, and one which I could only view as auspicious.

6 – That which is coming in - 6 Disks “Success” – increase, favorable interplay of forces,

7 – The Querrant – III the Empress – Growth, creative potential, intuitive power, renewal, insight into the internal cycle.

8 - Inner Influences – XXI the Universe – Joy of living, being in the right place at the right time, resting in one’s center, being one in the beginning and the end.

9 - Outer Influences – 2 Disks “Change” – Change, mutual fructification, insight into the vital rhythm of growth and regression.  In a sea of big-mover cards, this one seemed a little strange.

10 – 9 Swords “Cruelty” + XX the Aeon – Worries, panic, nightmares, primitive fantasies of violence.  Transformation, new beginnings, spiritual development, being captured by the spirit of the new age.

The final reading I did over the dark moon was my usual monthly—switched to the Dark Moon for the various reasons discussed previously.  I might have done the reading at the depth of the moon, but I though I’d give the Stele of Jeu rite at least 24 hours to ripple out before looking to the future.

I had actually considered performing the rite again on Monday, but ultimately concluded that I was too exhausted to pull it off.  In fact, I didn’t actually give the monthly reading more than a cursory glance the night I laid them out.  Instead, I proceeded to promptly fall over.


1st House – Self, Viewpoint, the Mask - Queen of Swords – Wealth of ideas, presence of mind, independence, and quick-wittedness. 

2nd House – Finances, Communication - IV the Emperor – Willingness to take responsibility, initiative, pragmatism.  Clear structures, consolidation, realizing plans, perfectionism.

3rd House – Daily Experiences & Immediate Influences - XIV Art – Finding the right proportions, balance of powers, harmony, overcoming differences.  Resolving conflicts, joyful and productive work,

4th House – Home-place, Family, Land & Roots - Knight of Disks – Firmness, sobriety, perseverance.  Responsible position.  Enjoying what has been achieved.

5th House – Pleasure, Hobbies, & Lovers– 4 Swords “Truce” – Sham peace, temporary retreat, calm before the storm, isolation, building up one’s strength.

6th House – Work, Illness, Duty, & Routine - Prince of Swords - Good ol’ P of S is fighting himself.  He’s working too hard.  Unlike the other knights and the other princes, his chariot is drawn by no noble steed: rather, it is drawn by miniature versions of himself.  He is at odds with himself, unable to choose a direction, unable to focus.  He is the proverbial chicken running around with his head cut off.  He needs to focus.

As I write this, I am skipping class in favor of nursing a cold.  I have been putting off homework in favor of other homework.  I’m fighting the urge to play social dominance games with one of my professors, and not quite sure that I’m keeping up on the long-term projects I should be working on.

Not good.  Need to turn this shit around.

7th House – Partnership - Queen of Wands – Healthy sense of self-assurance, initiative, impulsiveness, independence.  Equality, mature relationship, the Tantra of love, heartfelt warmth.

8th House – Taboo, Crisis, Sex, Death & Taxes – 2 Swords “Peace” – State of balance, relaxation, serenity, compromise.  I’m really not sure how to read this except as “no worries”.

9th House – Higher Perception, Journeys, & Movement – Knight of Swords – Versatility, discernment, flexibility, intelligence.  Steering toward new goals while inspired by ideas.

10th House – Recognition, Career, Ambition, & Status – 8 Wands “Swiftness” – “Ahah” experience, sudden resolution to problems.  Innovation, electrifying ideas, favorable developments, foreign business deals, advanced education, taking quick action.

11th House – Friendships, Groups, & Social Activities – 5 Disks “Worry” – Helplessness, fear of loss, frustration at nothing working out.  Having a negative influence on each-other.

12th House – Secrets, Hopes, & Fears – XIII Death – Parting, natural end.  Confronting transience.  Beginning of a fundamental change.

+2 – XXI the Universe / 0 the Fool – Completion, joy of living, being in the right place at the right time, resting in one’s center.  Crossed by original potential, creative chaos, new beginnings, starting off into the unknown.

So … that’s five Major Arcana, five court cards, and four minor arcana.  Four swords, three disks, two wands, no cups.  (Seriously?  No cups for my doulble-Scorpio ass?)

The World and the Fool at the heart of things tell me that although it may not look like there’s much going on at first, there’s some big shit afoot.  This impression is reinforced by the Death card (even if it is in the 12th House).

I feel confident that XIII, XXI, and 0 must be related to my resumed and escalated magical practice.  In particular, these are all things that are supposed to happen when you invoke the agathos daimon.  And I’m going to keep doing it: I want to die and be reborn: I want another initiatory experience.

The overwhelming presence of the court cards tells me that people are going to be very significant this month. Not terribly surprising, given the nature of academia.

The only “bad” card I see is 5D in the 11th House, though the Prince of Swords isn’t one of my favorites.  I’m a little concerned about that 5D, actually.  I’m always nervous about things going awry in my very small circle of friends: I don’t’ have any to loose.

I’m also concerned about 8 Wands in the 10th House.  That could be really good.  Or it could be “shit goes crazy”.  Not that these things are in any way mutually exclusive.  One wonders how it relates to IV in the 2nd House.  I hope this means that I’ll manage to get my hustle started up.

2 Swords in the 8th House confuses me, of course.  I don’t really have taboos.  But how can “peace” be a crisis?  Or does my more optimistic interpretation above actually float: that there4 is no crisis this month?