Krista and I spent years delving into the mysteries of Qabalah as it relates to the Tarot. Along the way, we began to notice that some things didn’t make sense. The interpretations of some of the more “scary” cards, such as the 9 of Swords, Death and The Tower, just didn’t jive with the Qabalistic perspective. This is when we began to realize that the old masters placed “hidden things in plain sight.”
Many of the early writers on Tarot had taken vows to not distribute the secrets outside of their order, and yet they longed to bring this amazing wisdom into the light. So, to keep their vows they chose images for the cards that would mislead those who were not true initiates. In Magick In Theory and Practice, Aleister Crowley writes: “…whenever an Adept seems to have made a straightforward, comprehensible statement, then is it most certain that He means something entirely different.” Similarly, the images in the Tarot are not to be taken literally. If you understand the philosophy and teachings of Qabalah, then the image makes sense. If you haven’t done your homework, then it will lead you in the wrong direction.
A great example of this is the 9 of Swords.
This is a card that often strikes fear into the hearts of many – and for sure, its image looks sinister. Crowley labeled the card “cruelty” for good reason. If you read most of the books on Tarot, you would run from the room screaming when you draw this card. Nightmares, suffering, heartache, despair – the list goes on. But Crowley didn’t mean cruelty in the literal sense (remember his warning.) Continue reading
Although I have known about Napoleon Hill for many years, until recently I had never read any of his books. With its gold letters and black cover, “Outwitting the Devil,” stood out immediately. As soon as I touched the book itself, I knew I needed to read it.
Sharon Lechter, who edits and annotates this book, tells the reader that the manuscript had been locked away and hidden by Hill’s family for seventy-two years. They were frightened by the potential reaction to some of the subject matter, particularly around the topics of education and religion.
The premise of the book is Hill interviewing the Devil. In the book, the author ruthlessly wrestles secrets from the Devil on how the Devil manages to control 98% of all people. Whether or not the Devil is real becomes unimportant; what matters, is the conversation between the two.
There are many interesting ideas in this book, beginning with the idea that the Devil lays claim to those who drift in life. When asked to describe a drifter, the Devil replies with a list of twenty-five characteristics. At the base of these characteristics, however, is a simple, yet profound thought: a drifter is anyone who does not think for himself.
The Devil also gives Hill a description of a non-drifter, as well as how to protect oneself from drifting. These protections include doing your own thinking; deciding definitely what you want from your life; recognizing that time is your greatest asset; and more. One of my favorites is: “Analyze temporary defeat, no matter of what nature or cause, and extract from it the seed of an equivalent advantage.” How beautiful is that! When I read that, I recalled how 50 cents handled the attempt on his life, just as his debut album, Power of the Dollar, was about to launch. He turned all the negatives to his advantage, re-inventing himself to something more in line with who he really was. Rather than fear the shooters, he came out with his first song, “Fuck You”.
What I relate to in Hill’s philosophy is his emphasis on thinking, reason, and will. Both fear and love are the Devil’s tools, as both can override reason and will. Hill rates reason and will as above love in importance to anyone desiring freedom and self-determination. As for fear, Hill’s Devil claims that the six most effective ones are “the fear of poverty, criticism, ill-health, loss of love, old age, and death.”
A good portion of the book is spent on seven principles that can lead to spiritual, mental, and physical freedom. Although taken singularly, these principles may not be new. I was mostly struck by how much they made sense together, as well as some of Hill’s explanation of them. For instance, the second principle is mastery of the self. Not a new idea. According to Hill, part of self-mastery is controlling the desire to express loosely organized opinions. Today’s world is largely fueled by loosely organized opinions expressed through Twitter and Facebook. I can only imagine what Hill would think.
Was Hill really interviewing the Devil? Whatever the answer is, I do know that demons of the mind are as real as anything else is. In any case, I plan on heeding some of the advice in this down-to-earth and insightful book. I’ll get back to you if I happen to meet the Devil myself, along the way.
After many years of writing poetry, I finally decided to start self-publishing chapbooks created around a theme.
I decided to start with poems largely inspired by living here in Venice, California, for over 20 years. Many of these poems first appeared in the Free Venice Beachhead, the longest running collective, underground newspaper in the United States. This monthly, free paper features poems from a variety of people. Famously, it published beat poets Stuart Perkoff and Philomene Long.
The book, “The Lady Still Resides Here,” is now available on Amazon. If you are local, please come out to my book signing and celebration of poetry on January 31st, 2018. The event will be from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at Mystic Journey Bookstore, 1624 Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Venice.
The evening will begin with me reading and signing my book. Following this, there will be refreshments and an open mic for guests to read one of their own poems or one of their favorite poems.
Michael and I are pleased to now offer our unique Qabalistic tarot course privately, for one or two people at a time. In the late 1990’s, we developed our powerful system that combines the magnificent Tree of Life with the magical tarot cards. Since that time, Michael and I have gained a rich amount of experience, having read, combined, well over 50,000 people from all walks of life. Whether you are new to the tarot or a veteran of many years, our course can help you understand the energies of the cards, as well as teach you to read in patterns. Qabalah is particularly helpful in predictive work, (we enjoy playing with time!) as well as in advising seekers on how to work with the forces around them.
If you have never taken our course, our private classes require a commitment of seven weeks. Each class is two hours long. The cost of the course is $300. Refresher classes are also available for those of you who have already taken our seven week course. The cost for a single class is $50.
If you wish to study privately with us, go to our contact information and contact either of us.
To learn more about our system, I highly recommend the following video that Mystic Journey Bookstore created in 2014:
When I first came to Venice, I met a palm reader on the famous, Ocean Front Walk, whose name was “Mad George.” He was a colorful character, full of stories about his own life, as well as about life in Venice. I very much enjoyed his style of reading palms, as well as what he shared with me about my own hands. So, when I asked him for recommendations on palmistry books, he suggested I read Elizabeth Daniels Squire.
Squire was a journalist, nationally syndicated columnist, and award-winning mystery writer. She published two palmistry books: “The Fortune In Your Hand,” and “Palmistry Made Practical”. It is this latter book that I have chosen to briefly review.
First published in 1976, “Palmistry Made Practical is an overall, good study of many aspects of palmistry. Like many palmistry books, Squire begins by sharing some of palmistry’s rich history such as how the Indian tradition sees the study of hands and feet as the most important part of Anga Vidya; how in 4th century B.C. Greece, hand reading was well-known; and how a variety of famous people, such as Aristotle, had their palms read. According to Squire, the writer, Balzac, thought hand reading was the key to unraveling the intricacies of the human heart!
In this 249 page book, Squire covers everything from shape, to mounts, to lines, to markings, and more. There are little nuggets, too, that I enjoyed. For instance, she states that “In general, the shape of your hand indicates your approach to life while your mounts show the kind of energy you have and how you use it.”
Having read this book twice, I’m with Mad George! “Palmistry Made Practical” is a book for both beginners and intermediate students of palmistry. It is also enjoyable to read! I definitely recommend Squire for your own, metaphysical library.
In Sandra Shulman’s book, “The Nightmare, the World of Terrifying Dreams”, I came across Carl Jung’s earliest dream memory. At the age of 3 or 4, Jung dreamed of “entering a large, underground chamber of stone. Enthroned on a platform was a huge, upright object made of flesh, with a single eye at its head, gazing upwards. Although this fleshy pillar did not stir, the child was frozen with horror, sensing that at any moment it must creep from the golden throne towards him. Then he heard his mother’s voice somewhere outside and above, calling . . . That is the man-eater!” (pg. 106)
Oddly enough, I also recall a vivid dream from when I was around 4 years old. Although it is somewhat different to Jung’s, it also contained a single eye, as well as felt like a mythic world. In my dream, I was sitting before our black and white TV, which was turned off. Suddenly, a single eye appeared on the black screen. Frightened, I decided to run outside. Immediately, I found myself running in a field of wheat, moving in the wind. The sun was bright; but still, I felt the eye following me wherever I went.
Years later, I discovered that my astrological birth chart contains the mythic struggle of Demeter and Pluto, a struggle that has in some ways, played out in my life. That dream reminds me of this myth.
In my third article on trees in Venice, I highlight the Red Flowering Gum. I was particularly excited about being to photograph this vibrant tree at the height of its blooming this year. Here is a link to the article:
This second article in my tree series is a bit more personal. Published in the September issue of the Free Venice Beachhead, it is appropriate still for this time of year:
Here is the first in a series on trees in Venice, published in the Free Venice Beachhead. My hope is that other residents send in their favorite trees and stories.