Aah, Sweet Success!

I got this great feedback from a dear client and friend who carefully put together and worked with my sweet success jar. The sweet success jar is one of the most, er, successful spells that I have put together for myself. What's cool about it is that because it is a jar you have to keep working it regularly, and as anyone that does a lot of practical magic will tell you - money magic needs to be maintained rather than fired off sporadically in a panic when things get dire financially. I am totally jazzed to hear that someone else had such excellent results!

Here is what she had to say about it:

I wanted to update you on my results with your sweet success jar. When I first put it together I was bringing in $400-700 a month in income, which was just enough to cover my student loan payments and a portion of my business expenses. Now, just a few months later, I am bringing in $1200-$1600 a month! So that's obviously a huge jump. I am completely supporting myself as far as discretionary personal expenses, paying my monthly student loans, covering my business expenses, and able to put some money towards investing in myself through classes. This has taken a stress off of my husband, who even though he earns a fantastic salary still freaks out over every dollar that leaves the house - LOL. He's quit riding me about money, and even when I carry a balance on my credit card from one month to the next, he no longer worries about it, because he knows it will be paid off within a few weeks. Barring any unforseen setbacks, I will be able to travel internationally to participate in a spiritual convention that I have been hoping to attend.

Working the jar is actually one of the highlights of my day! I wake up, go to my prosperity altar, greet my spirits, light some  incense, dress and light a tealight. That's it...and it WORKS. If I need some extra cash to pay for something, I dress a candle and set it working on the jar, light some incense, and then ring a bell over the altar while calling to my spirits to bring in that amount. I kid you not, since adding that jar to prosperity altar, I will have the amount I asked for within 48 hours!! This has happened on multiple occassions. My jar sits on a plate with pyrite and my 6lbs lodestone (fed weekly with whiskey), underneath which sits my financial goals...and since the jar has taken up residence there, things have just been amazing.

SO, thank you so so much for sharing that work, and for trusting with the extra secret bit to make it really powerful. :) - Mrs. M


Strategic Sorcery blog vanishes (and reappears)

A rather worrying announcement from Jason Miller over at Strategic Sorcery follows. It really freaks me out to hear this can happen on blogger...

Dear Readers of Strategic Sorcery,
As most of you know, Strategic Sorcery mysteriously disappeared on the evening of Wednesday, January 19th. The blog was not locked or cancelled by blogger intentionally, nor does it appear to be a deliberate hack. It is a glitch that is effecting about 50 other blogs.
Strategic Sorcery will now be hosted at my own website. 
The new address is http://www.inominandum.com/blog/
Please take a moment and update your links and follow me at the new site.
A big thanks go out to the owner of this blog for helping me get the message out.  Thank you readers who have written in concerned about the situation. I am awed and gladdened by your support.
Thank you,
Jason Miller (Inominandum)


What's with "De heer" in front of your name?

I have been getting a lot of questions about the "De heer" appellation I added in front of Balthazar. I thought I should briefly explain. It sounds fancy but it's just Dutch for "mister"!



ESP research

The scientific community is outraged that what appears to be an otherwise respectable scientist has published research in a peer reviewed journal that suggests that there is evidence of extra sensory perception.

Outraged, I tell you!

The mere thought that he would even dare to publish such research seems to invalidate the entire peer review process, according to many of the critics of the research. A bunch of people have come out of the woodwork to chip away at the paper using the truly sorcerous art of statistics.

The consternation around this reminds me of institutional hysteria that scientists face if anyone even thinks of doing psychedelic research after Timothy Leary's dubious LSD research brought the entire area into ill repute.

Daryl J. Bem's research may well be a hoax for all we know but the establishment's reaction to the mere spectre of such enquiry is interesting. Most interestingly, from what I can gather reading that New York times article it seems scientists here in the Netherlands are leading the charge against Bem's paper.

OK, who loves those zener cards?

Many hours of fun were had with a home-made set when I was a kid. I was no good at predicting which card would be drawn when I experimented by myself but I discovered I was way better when someone else selected a card and 'projected' it to me. My best friend and I got so good at it that we managed to get into serious trouble at school for upsetting our class mates with our 'demonic' powers.

Ah those were the days - when a couple of metal records and home-made zener cards were considered enough evidence for devil worship.


The Three Wise Men

Nicolaj over at Speculum Celestae reminds us that today is the the Day of Kings, also observed as the Epiphany. This is the day that the three Magi; Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar - following some kind of astrological indicator, it seems, found and recognised Jesus.

It's a meaningful day for me because it is from the last Magi that I took my conjure name, changing the "s" to "z" so that it matches the numerology of my birth date. Also, the 'z', like totally, crackles with magic.

The entrance of these mysterious foreign magi into the nativity narrative always fascinated me. It struck me even as a child as a thoroughly magical inclusion in the story. Recently I was pleased to discover that Robert Conner in his stellar Magic in the New Testament makes a rather convincing case that the part about the star stopping above the place of Christ's birth seems to be an extract from a spell in the Greek Magical Papyri.

The book is in a box somewhere in the chaos that is my home after the recent move so I can't get into any more detail without looking at his exact argument but what I can say is that he does comparison and there is a rather disturbing copy-and-paste quality between the two ancient texts. If you haven't heard of this book you should make the effort to check it out - it totally baked my noodle.

Blown minds aside, the special role of these three characters symbolically and magically in relationship to the bible seems something worth thinking about and celebrating today.


The Greater and Lesser Mysteries

The role and difference between the major and minor arcana in the tarot is something that has interested me for a while. That difference is something I have struggled with, contemplatively and practically. It wasn't until recently after a new technique tumbled out of this struggle that I found that I have been able to frame my take on this as a coherent idea in some way. Maybe this of value to my readers.

My tarot perspective has been far more influenced by Paul Huson's historical and mystical take on the tarot than by any of that tacked-on qabalah. This concern has to do with my own idiosyncratic mission to sharpen my tarot as a practical real-world divination tool and brutally divorce it from its more recent application as meditation/psychological/self-exploration device. While those applications are perfectly valid of course - for me - in many ways they have muddied the divinatory accuracy of the tarot system itself. Instead of gleaning useful information about real-world happenings, it seems, one is more likely to discover inner perspectives or subjective symbolic patterns that might be meaningful in spiritual or psychological sense but tend to be less clear cut with regards to real-world events. Your mileage may vary of course.

Back to the majors and minors for a moment - how does one usefully and distinctly interpret these two types of cards?

Clearly they are 'supposed' to be different - both in function and interpretation. Yet, practically, during an average tarot session they tend to be read in a very similar way. Sometimes the minors seem to repeat ideas from majors and one is inclined to interpret both a minor and major of a similar character almost identically. This duplication seems awkward. The functional difference between the two parts of the deck is rarely addressed cogently within any structured tarot system that I have seen and certainly not in in any tangible way that is directly applicable as a reading technique. Rarely are the differences described in anything other than broad philosophical terms. Often the word 'archetype' gets thrown at the problem. At best the the majors are said to emphasise a particular concern. Having disabused myself of semiotic hall of mirrors brought later to the cards with assignment of qabalistic values, I have continually attempted to construct, frame or decipher the value and meaning of the majors in contrast to the minors within the context of a robust if personal tarot divination system.

One evening I lay soaking in the tub after doing a particularly puzzling reading for myself and something struck me. What does it actually mean when we say some of the cards are trumps? Why are they called major and minor arcana? 

Trumps. Mysteries. I rolled these concepts around in my my head like two cool, round pebbles in a gurgling stream.

What if the cards are suggesting the emergence of a kind of mystery, or by association, some sort of riddle in our experience? What if we are looking at large and small riddles? And a riddle of course poses a certain conundrum; asks a certain kind of question. Macroscopic riddles vs microscopic riddles or mysteries.

I don't mean during a reading either. I mean in your life.

What if a major arcana card is announcing that you are about to grapple or are currently grappling with a particular unanswered cosmic question, a mystery, which is taking the form of a series of events - indicated by another order of cards in the pack: the minors?

From this perspective whenever a major arcana (appropriately then called a trump card) emerges in our story we are being asked to attempt to answer one of the twenty two big questions that we get asked endlessly throughout our life by that cheeky sphinx called Time. The major arcana card DEATH, for instance, would not necessarily be the arrival of an answer in a reading so much as it announcing the arrival of one of the great questions in our life. A living question that asks that we negotiate, over and over again with a great conundrum - the greater mystery of death, endings, termination, expirations, collapse, destruction and obliteration in this instance.

And when one of the twenty two great questions gets asked that question filters the entirety of an experience (whatever that experience displays as), through the mystery of that question. In the case of DEATH it might be asking us in a million different flavours, styles and guises: "human, what is dying, termination, expiration, collapse?" What does it mean in this scenario, or this one or this one?

Twenty two cosmic koans that simultaneously drive and define any possible human experience.

By contrast then the minors would be the fifty six configurations of our mundane experience. Fifty six sets or scenes - like the scenes on the pips of the Rider Waite. And in this way fifty six possible configurations in which the twenty two major questions might infinitely pose themselves in the manifest world - so doing displaying as the minor mysteries.

Twenty two raw forces that ask to be known over and again; each moment arranging events in a novel pattern that we might discover their faces anew.

Practical Application: a tarot technique 

I hear you thinking - what on earth is he going on about? First he complains that the difference between the majors and minors has only been described in vague philosophical terms and then like the Fool he leaps off a cliff into pure abstraction! And right you are, theory should be validated by practice.

To this end the idea above can be applied within the context of an actual reading in several ways. Firstly by forming two distinct orders of interlocking interpretation neatly divided by the majors and minors. More than that it suggests a very handy interpretative device that makes use of that distinction - allowing us to add greater subtlety nuance and depth to any card's meaning and resultantly the reading as a whole.

This is done by taking the idea that a major is either of kind of macroscopic lens through which the minors are read, or conversely, that it is a force that expresses through a minor. How does this look practically?

Stay tuned for the next instalment of this post in which I will give the core technique that I have been playing with as well some spreads and other launching points for working with the ideas presented above.