Tag Archives: tarot

Your WOD — Which Includes Ground-fighting Conditioner #4

wpid-20151023_070604.jpgHere’s your 3-Part Cabal Fang WOD (“Workout of the Day”).  Intermediate players add a weighted vest to Part 2 (I used a #10):

  1. 8-minute Blast.  As many sets as you can in 8 minutes of 10 Steam Engines, 10 Zombie Squats, 10 Staggered Push-ups, and 10 Pikes — take as few 12-second breaks as you need to finish, preferably none.  I made 5 full sets with zero breaks (PTDICE are great for generating workouts like this).
  2. Ground-fighting Conditioner #4.  Put on your MMA gloves and set timer for 10 minutes.  Shin or Knee Ride bag, face post, and punch “head” 10 times.  Slide leg over into mount and strike 10 times.  Body lock back and roll to bottom position.  Push up bag with one hand and strike it 10 times with the other.  Hip escape and advance back to Shin or Knee Ride and repeat as many times as you can before the timer beeps.
  3. Tarot Meditation.  Set timer for 10 minutes and dim the lights.  Stand up Tarot Trump XII “The Hanged Man” — lean it against something like a stack of books — and meditate on the image with eyes narrowed until the timer beeps.  Fully relax and experience the symbolism.

Everybody have a great weekend

A Tarot Meditation on VII: The Chariot

VII_150320At the beginning of March I began working through Donald Kraig’s book Modern Magick: Twelve Lessons in the High Magickal Arts.  Part of the program is completing a daily Tarot Meditation.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been a student of the Tarot since the 70s, and I’ve been meditating almost as long.  And I’ve meditated on Tarot cards before.  But it’s simply amazing the things you can find — even in terrain you think you’ve explored pretty darned well.

Last Friday I sat down to meditate on VII The Chariot.  I settled into meditation, taking note of the solar imagery and connecting that to the Solar Chariot myths found everywhere from Ancient Egypt to Denmark.  I relaxed and “sank into” the card.  Then, although I’ve looked at this card a million times in the last forty or so years, I noticed that the natural focal points of the image are seven in number.  That seemed curious and probably not coincidental.  Then, in my mind’s eye, I connected them with lines.

VII_Rev_150320The natural focal points on the card are the seven lowest Sephiroth, the ones just below the level of the Abyss.

The glowing square on the figure’s chest equates to the Sephira of Yesod, which is the vehicle through which all of the powers from the Sephiroth above are conveyed into the material world of Malkuth, which is the eight-pointed star on the figure’s forehead.  Note that the winged sun on the chariot itself equates to Tiphareth, the Christ point.  The figure can go nowhere without this power.

If you are familiar with the Qliphoth, the spheres are different.  And yet, to me at least, the overall message is strangely similar.

To me this card  symbolizes the maximum human attainment, the highest degree of achievement, the greatest victory short of attaining personal godhood.  But being upside down, it is also a warning.  It says that victory has its costs, difficulties and dangers.


Old Tarot, New Tarot

The Fool — by way of the Aeclectic Tarot website.

I’ve been using the Hoi Polloi Tarot since I bought it at B. Dalton Bookstore back in the 70s.  After almost 40 years of friendship, that old deck is very dear to me.

But it must’ve been sometime around 2001 when I realized that, while it is beautiful to look at,  there are issues with the deck.  It’s fairly faithful as Rider-Waite-Smith clones go, but the backgrounds are missing, and certain very symbolic details are different, such as the number of Yods and the colors of certain objects.  One example is The Fool.  In the RWS deck, the rose is white.  In mine the rose is red.

These differences and issues have surfaced several times before. I always gloss over them and move along with my old friend as before.

Then other day, while contemplating the Knight of Wands, it hit me that his tunic should not be green.  It was like a mallet to my forehead.  “Mitch,” the voice in my head said, “this is a test.”  But what kind of test?  Was the challenge before me to just relax and not be so uptight about details?  After all, I do struggle with being very driven and nit-picky.  Or was the test to realize that all tools wear out eventually and must be replaced, to remain focused on getting the job done rather than being sentimental about tools?

The next day, while performing the Qabalistic Cross, it hit me that the challenge was to do both.  If I was going to build a new house, would I throw away the antique hammer that I inherited from my father and replace it?  No, I’d just set it aside as a keepsake to use for hanging pictures an such. I’d go and buy a framing hammer for the new job.  As usual, the false tension of dualism is the enemy.

So I wrapped up the old cards in a scarf and put them in a pretty box to use on special occasions.  The new cards are necessary if I’m going to progress in my esoteric studies.  And I ordered a new Tarot deck.  It’ll be arriving in the mail soon.

It’s time to make a new friend.


The Tower (courtesy of Wikipedia)

The Tower (courtesy of Wikipedia)

Dim lights and set a timer for 10 mins. Lean card against an object such as a stack of books so that it is at or near eye level when you are in your meditative pose of choice (sit or recline any way you wish, as long as spine is straight and neither arms nor legs are crossed).   If you do not own a Tarot deck, pull up the image on the right with your cell phone and stand it up instead (make sure you change the screensaver settings to prevent your phone from going to sleep).  Take several deep breaths and relax. Regulate breathing to a deep and slow rhythm and droop eyelids slightly with eyes focused on the card.  As you sink deeper into your meditation, sink also into the image. Allow yourself to be fully present, as if you are standing inside the actual scene which the card depicts. Allow yourself to experience the thoughts, feelings, and emotions that attend the experience of being in that imaginary place.  When the timer beeps, open your eyes and slowly exit your meditative pose and state.  Record your thoughts and impressions in our journal, diary, or workout log.

Stacking a Magic Deck for Success

imageMake a deck of cards and write on them things you want to do on a regular basis that you never seem to do enough.  Resolve to periodically pull one out and get it done that day. After you pull it out and do it, put it on the bottom of the deck.

Just make sure you put things on the cards that you can get done that very same day.  Include things that are personal, professional, or spiritual that are immediately achievable.  No projects, no long term goals, just mini-goals you can quickly and easily knock out of the park.  This is your deck, so you can pull one out on a certain day of each week, each month, or as often as you like.

Because my cards contain actions that will push me to be the person I want to be, I call this my Tarot of Success.  But you don’t have to call it that.  Call it your Paper Drill Sargent, Deck of Mindfulness, Pack of Propinquity, or Trumps of Timeliness.  Doesn’t matter.

I made 28 cards out of a cut up red file folder.  But you could just as easily take an old deck of playing cards and write on them with a permanent marker, or use the flip sides of old business cards.  They don’t have to be pretty.

But you could make them pretty if you wanted to.  You could decorate and embellish them with artwork.  You could turn down the lights and sit before a candle while you write them out, anoint them with oil and pray your God to make them holy, pass them through the smoke of incense, or wrap them in a scarf and sleep with them under your pillow to charge them with the power of your dreams.

The Tarot of Character Development


Every writer has tricks and odd habits, idiosyncrasies and methods for starting a novel. Some outline like crazy, some not at all. Some like to base characters on figures from myth and fairytale. And so forth.

My favorite tool is the Tarot.

I start with an idea, a general plot, theme, and feeling that I want the reader to experience when the last page is turned.  I create a list of major characters and their relationships.  Then I get out the cards.  The deck in the picture is the one I bought with my allowance as a teenager in the ’70s, the only deck I’ve ever used.

I complete a reading for each major character using the Celtic Cross format. This process tells me where they’ve been, where they’re going, what’s vexing them, and so on.  I read as though I’m reading for a real person, and try to bring all my intuitive skills to bear.

Once that’s done, I revise the plot, theme, and message to incorporate all of the great detail gained from the Tarot process. At this point the characters take on a definite ‘life.’  The Tarot readings have a profound effect on the process, often taking the original story idea in a different direction than I had previously  envisioned.

I then clearly conceptualize the end of the book, the climax, the point at which everything comes to a head.  Starting at the end, I work backwards to create a detailed chapter-by-chapter outline, layering in the events, character interactions, and sub-climaxes so that they build toward the climax.

Next to each chapter in the outline I estimate how many pages it will take to relate the material.  I then add up the numbers and make sure I have enough to make a novel.

Once that’s done, I start writing at the beginning, at page 1.

Call me crazy, but I don’t think my methods are that unusual.  After all, the Tarot have been used for centuries to help unravel the personal stories of living people.  Why not fictional ones?