Atypical, Eh?

I like to joke that I’m the only whisky-drinkin’, pickup-drivin’, ball-cap-wearin’, blues-music-listenin’, guitar-playin’, fly-fishin’, alpine skiin’, kayakin’, art-and-poetry-lovin’, Monty-Python-quotin’, horoscope-castin’, tarot-card-readin’, ex-Mensan, half-Canadian geomancer you’re ever likely to meet! But seriously, those new to this blog might want to know a little more about the author than the “About” thumbnail delivers. So here it is.

For the record, I’m not your average All-American, sports-besotted, Budweiser-slurping “alpha” male who somehow went astray, just a married guy with a couple of grown kids and two grandchildren, a generic degree in Business Management, a past career as a legal and technical writer in industry, a long love affair with the outdoors, and an abiding interest in metaphysical exploration. The real question is “What made a middle-class suburban ‘hippie wannabe’ (I was too clean) with a truck-driver father and an honest-to-god Canadian-lumberjack grandfather turn into an esoteric philosopher or, more properly (with a nod to Marcus Katz), “tarosopher?”

Blame it on Marvel Comics, specifically Doctor Strange, “the Sorcerer Supreme, primary protector of Earth against magical and mystical threats.” (To be honest, reading The Realist, Paul Krassner’s counter-cultural “magazine of social-political-religious criticism and satire” at an impressionable age may have had something to do with it as well.)

That youthful encounter with singularly occult (for 1963) notions about time and space eventually led me to science fiction and fantasy literature, and to trying my own hand at writing speculative stories. I was an aspiring artist from an early age and wound up studying graphic design in New York City, an experience that drew me right into an appreciation for tarot-card art when first exposed to David Palladini’s Aquarian Tarot in Germany in 1970. Talk about a “perfect storm” of coincidences, since I stumbled on the protean astrology book, Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs, around the same time!

There is an abundance of erudite precedent for my life-path. French tarot writer Joseph Maxwell was a doctor and lawyer while also cultivating his profound cartomantic genius. Some of the founders of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and a number of its most prominent members were accomplished professionals, but all in traditional fields of expertise. It goes without saying that it’s difficult to make a reliable living solely as a thinker and writer on esoteric subjects, which in my own experience is confirmed by the fact that I’ve sold comparatively few of my modestly-priced tarot e-books even after announcing them online to tens of thousands of potential buyers. I recall Caitlin Matthews mentioning that she only receives a monthly pittance from her publisher even though she has several books in print. At least I’m not in the shoes of a long-ago co-worker who had to return to work after retiring from a previous job, grumbling “I feed the dog on what I make here!” If I had a dog under those circumstances, it would be skeletal indeed!

The second question is “Why bother if there’s no money to be made at it?” Since I’m comfortably retired, that’s never been my objective. I pay for the privilege of having a podium from which to offer my insights and opinions regarding various forms of divination and those who practice them. With almost 1,500 essays behind me (I’ll pass that milestone later this year), I’d say I’m getting my annual $18-worth out of the domain name. Some people like to hear themselves talk; I like to see myself think, and I’m equally fond of the words that I’m inspired to wrap around my thoughts. It’s not the fiction-writing of my teenage dreams (although derisive wags might protest “What is fortune-telling if not fiction?”), but it’s an opportunity to exercise my love of the English language while writing about my fascination with the mystical side of human experience. I hope you find something worthwhile in it!

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