Expanding Your Reach

A brief article in the latest issue of The Cartomancer quarterly posed the question of whether anyone should feel inadequate for being a “one-trick pony” in the divinatory arts, only focusing on a single branch of the tree when the public seems to expect a well-rounded “gypsy fortune-teller” repertoire. This has me thinking about my own path to the miscellany of arcane skills I’ve been honing for more than four decades. Part of my quest has been driven simply by looking for new challenges, but some of the subjects I’ve pursued have been introduced by exposure to knowledge I never knew I needed or, for that matter, even wanted. None of these have a mercenary cast to them, they’re all methods for which I’ve developed a strong personal attachment.

My first love was modern psychological astrology, although tarot has always been my true calling and the discipline I’ve spent the most time with. But entering the on-line community of practitioners and theorists in 2011 slowly began changing that. At roughly the same time I encountered the Lenormand system of cartomancy and the techniques of horary astrology, both of which I embraced with considerable energy and enthusiasm. An interest in playing-card divination sprouted from the former, and a growing certainty in the superiority of traditional astrological practices arose from the latter. I began leaving the New Age behind and delving further into the history of our craft.

Geomancy had been an abiding interest of mine since the middle ’80s, and the appearance of new practical manuals for its use has renewed my fascination. This led to my own experiments with lithomancy, and ultimately astro-lithomancy as described in my earlier post. Cloistered self-reading with the tarot gave way to extensive involvement with creating and sharing my own complex spreads and methods, many of them based on esoteric number theory, astrological correspondences and qabalistic mysticism. Most of the results of my six years of effort have been presented here and occasionally published in various periodicals.

“Syncretism” – the blending of many different strands of symbolism into a unified whole (a skill that was demonstrated so brilliantly by Aleister Crowley  in The Book of Thoth) – has long been one of my favorite concepts in metaphysical thought. The system of correspondences that was derived from the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn’s body of knowledge has already been mentioned. More recently, I’ve begun using dice to augment the testimony of tarot card readings because they share an identical odd/even, high/low motif with the cards of the Minor Arcana and can be similarly interpreted in accordance with both esoteric number theory and qabalistic Tree of Life associations. Here is my working model:

One spot: The beginning of something.
Two spots: A period of give-and-take.
Three spots: A period of growth or progress.
Four spots: A period of consolidation.
Five spots: A period of challenge or upset.
Six spots: A period of harmony restored.
Seven spots: A new direction or test.
Eight spots: A period of adjustment or anxiety.
Nine spots: A period of re-centering or reconciliation.
Ten spots” A period of rest and relative inactivity.
Eleven spots: A period of renewed trial and striving.
Twelve spots: A period of redemption or regeneration.

These meanings come primarily from the Tree of Life by way of Aleister Crowley, with minor input from Agrippa’s “Three Books of Occult Philosophy.” They aren’t related to the “lucky number” form of pop numerology.

Druidcraft – with which I have an ancestral connection through my Celtic roots – is next on my list, although I doubt I will adopt its more ritualistic religious aspects. I had previously dabbled in Wicca but, again, I’m not interested in a religion. A rendezvous with Kipper cards and other oracle decks may also be in my future, along with a more streamlined approach to natal astrology. Overall, it’s been a stimulating journey with a cast of memorable fellow travelers. As a another band of veteran trippers once observed, “What a long, strange trip it’s been!”

2 thoughts on “Expanding Your Reach

  1. Reblogged this on Lost Dudeist Astrology and commented:
    Another superb article from you!

    While your experiences are not identical to mine, they are sufficiently similar that I resonate with what you are saying. Astrology is my home, and while it is not science it is dangerously close. (I started in science early in life.) Tarot and Numerology (and Runes) are “friends” and, while I can claim a basic grasp of the symbols (maybe more), I cannot say “how” they work.

    Astrology I understand: “we” (not just humans but all living things) are governed by repeating cycles and patterns. Science is beginning to grudgingly admit this with “fractals” and similar ideas, but what I call “mechanistic atheists” (who base their ideas in Newtonian mechanics while ignoring that Newton was an astrologer) never will.

    While I think “traditional” astrology is “interesting,” unlike Robert Hand (and others) I have no plan to abandon the modern work in favor of returning to the traditional. Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, as “higher octaves” of traditional planets have important messages to bear to us IF we are willing to listen.

    And, like you, I like the 20th century “psychological” work (I presume you mean Rhudyar and others, typically related to C. G. Jung). I particularly like Grant Lewi’s work, aimed at the unsophisticated in a day when computers were not available. He keeps “things” simple yet expresses sophisticated ideas.

    One last thing: while most of my studies have been paper-based (since the 1970’s) in the past, like you my own knowledge has “exploded” with my entry into the online world of astrology in 2008. I have no doubt that exploring the viewpoints of the many mystics, both beginner and expert, on WordPress has amplified my knowledge and depth of understanding. (Reblogging a few thousand articles will do that, I suppose. 🙂 )

    Thanks, again, for a GREAT article!


  2. Thanks for your intelligent observations. Astrology will always be “with me,” but I haven’t had much chance to practice natal work, sequestered as I am here in the hills of rural southwestern New Hampshire. Horary is quick and highly structured, and produces results in the lost-item cases I prefer. It can also be done on-line since it operates from the time I learn the question, and from my own location. On-line card reading I don’t trust because it cuts the seeker out of an active role in handling the deck, resulting in the cards tapping my own subconscious and not the client’s; it’s just not how I think tarot “works.” I learned the psychological approach to astrology quite thoroughly, but even then I was focused on the personal and social planets more than the trans-personal. I think I’m going to have to update my astrological software since I’m moving back into it using traditional character-analysis methods (humours and temperaments).


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