Most Eastern esoteric paths espouse that a practitioner of any esoteric art should proactively cultivate and strengthen the personal Qi, or life force, because when you do any form of intense metaphysical work, you’re drawing from that pool of personal Qi. If you’re not mindful of replenishing that Qi, then the constant weakening of your life force from the occult work that you do (this includes divination) can cause physical and mental health concerns. So to maintain optimal wellbeing–and that’s physical, mental, and psychic-spiritual wellbeing–cultivation practices are necessary.
The Metaphysician’s Qi
Divination, ceremonial ritual, mediumship, channeling, pathworking, spell-crafting, astral journeying—these practices are believed to exhaust a lot of your personal life force, and so as a metaphysician, you want to establish a routine practice of cultivating and strengthening your Qi, or life force, to maintain your wellbeing. Otherwise, you can become more susceptible to illness, both of the physical and mental variety.
Taking measures to cultivate and strengthen personal Qi is a practice everyone and anyone can benefit from, much like how everyone and anyone should be mindful of nutrition and physical exercise. However, the nutritional needs of your everyday office worker is very different from the nutritional needs of an Olympic swimmer. So we can make the comparison here of an occultist to the Olympic swimmer, because it’s considered an out-of-the-ordinary lifestyle, and so your nutritional needs– in this case psychic-spiritual nutritional needs– will be different from the average person.
Let’s cover six ways a metaphysician can cultivate Qi:
Andy Matzner, author of The Tarot Activity Book (2013), is a licensed clinical social worker, psychotherapist, and tarot card reader. His book features creative activities with the tarot for mental and emotional wellness, designed to help facilitate self-awareness and personal transformation.
The approach to the tarot we’re adopting today is that of a tarot life coach and counselor. How can we work with the tarot archetypes in a way that brings out our creativity?
In this episode of Sightsee the Tarot, I share with you one of the activities from The Tarot Activity Book: working with a tarot card as your teacher, mentor, or guide.
This is an advanced esoteric tarot course that will walk you through a 21-card Pyramid Reading designed to be a spiritual experience. The reading and purpose is built upon the Four Directives of the Magus: to know, to dare, to will, and to keep silent. The Four Directives and the blueprints to your inner temple divined through the Pyramid Reading will pave your Threefold Path of Wisdom: mastery over alchemy, astrology, and theurgy, and to understand their significance to the study of esoteric tarot.
A modified version of this course was first presented at the October 2018 UK Tarot Conference in London. This course was first offered as part of the Tarot Summer School 2019 lineup at the Tarot Readers Academy.
Four pillars frame the historical construct of Western esotericism and reinforce the capacity of your inner temple. Working with the Golden Dawn astrological correspondences for the Major Arcana, this course will focus on The Hierophant, Strength, Death, and The Star as the four cornerstones that will unlock your destiny for material success (Earth), your glory (Fire), your spiritual path (Water), and the path of your personal growth, the life lessons to learn (Air).
You will then work through a twenty-one card Pyramid Reading to create a blueprint and map of your inner temple. Any time at any point of your life path, when you feel lost, dedicate some time to going through the steps of the Pyramid Reading to get your blueprint and map.
Discussion of the Four Pillars and each step of the Pyramid Reading will orbit the Four Powers of the Magus (or Four Directives to the Magus) that signify “the fatal science of good and evil . . . guarded by the four figures of the Biblical sphinx, the Cherubim of Ezekiel” (Eliphas Levi), which are:
1. To Know (an intelligence illuminated by study)
2. To Dare (an intrepidity which nothing can check)
3. To Will [or To Do] (a will which nothing can break)
4. To Keep Silence (a discretion which nothing can corrupt and nothing intoxicate)
Your inner temple is designed and built upon these Four Directives, and when constructed in accordance with your higher purpose, yields material success, personal glory, conviction in a defined spiritual path, and transcendental personal growth. The eventual purpose of the magus is to master the Threefold Path of Wisdom: alchemy, astrology, and theurgy, which converge and culminate with the tarot.
The Tarot de Marseille, Rider-Waite-Smith, Thoth, and my own deck the Spirit Keeper’s Tarot will be showcased, so you’ll be able to follow along with a deck from any of these systems.
Content for the course sourced from: The Emerald Tablet of Hermes (Isaac Newton, trans. 1680); Alchemical Catechism from The Hermetic and Alchemical Writings of Paracelsus (A. E. Waite, trans. 1894); An Introduction to Astrology (William Lilly, 1852); Astrology Theologized: The Spiritual Hermeneutics of Astrology and Holy Writ (Valentin Weigel, reprinted from the Original of 1649 in 1886); Transcendental Magic: Its Doctrine and Ritual (Eliphas Levi, 1854; A. E. Waite, trans. 1896).
Closed captioning provided on all videos for the Deaf and H/H.
• To understand the four pillars of Western esotericism.
• To attain a deeper understanding of the Four Directives to the Magus (that become the Four Powers of the Magus).
• To divine and reveal a map (the Pyramid Reading) for how to achieve material success, glory, how to advance on your current spiritual path, and how to grow in plenitude at any given moment of your life.
• To understand the Threefold Path of Wisdom (alchemy, astrology, and theurgy) and its significance to the study of esoteric tarot.
Module I. Introduction
The Four Pillars of Western Esotericism
Overview of the Pyramid Reading Workbook
Module II. The Four Pillars
Pillar of Earth: Your Material Success
Pillar of Fire: Your Personal Glory
Pillar of Water: Your Spiritual Reflection
Pillar of Air: Your Personal Growth
Module III. The Transcendental Path
Completing the Blueprints of Your Inner Temple
The Threefold Path of Wisdom
8 videos with a total run time of 2 hours
50 minutes lecture
1 hour of guided tarot reading (each operation preceded by 2 minutes of meditative invocation)
70-page workbook in PDF format (print at 8.5″ x 11″ standard US Letter)
How To Order
I’m going to give step by step instructions on how to order the course and get access to download all the materials for yourself.
Send the tuition cost noted above via PayPal to the e-mail address email@example.com. Yes, it’s going to say “James Zhang from Castro Valley.” That’s the Hubby. Also, this is the preferred method of payment. (~or~)
Only if (1) and (2) are impracticable for you, pay by ordering me an Amazon Gift Card, sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Direct link to Amazon gift card orders here.
When you send payment, please include:
Your name or a name identifier for me to reference you by, (~and~)
Your e-mail address, so I know where to send your ordered course materials to.
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Once I receive your payment as the purchase order, your course materials will be delivered to the e-mail address you specified within 2 business days.
If you don’t receive the course materials in the e-mail inbox specified within the two business days, then something went wrong. Doh! Please email me at the below address asap.
DELIVERY NOTE: So far I’ve been good about getting the course materials to you in less than 48 hours from when I receive the PayPal payment, so if that time has gone by and you haven’t received anything from me, first check your Spam folder. Second, check to see the e-mail address associated with your PayPal account. I may have sent it to that account if no e-mail was provided in the notes section of the transfer. If still nothing, then something went wrong somewhere, so contact me at the above e-mail addy ASAP so we can get things squared away.
Tarot and Astrology: The Pursuit of Destiny by Muriel Bruce Hasbrouck was first published in 1941. We’ll be working with the astrological correspondences for the cards as covered in the text. Since a copy of the book can be difficult to source, a great alternative reference source is Tarot Correspondences by T. Susan Chang. Links to both books are provided below.
In this episode of Sightsee the Tarot, we’ll be journaling through the tarot keys corresponding with our date of birth. Through analysis and self-reflection prompted by these cards, we’ll be answering six questions for ourselves:
What are the main attributes of your personality?
What are your natural strengths?
What are your natural weaknesses?
What is your one major character flaw?
What gifts, talents, or skills do you have to contribute to the world?
What is your life purpose?
There are two supplemental handouts you’ll want to download and have on hand while you watch the video. The first is the “Six Journaling Prompts” worksheet and the second is “The Tarot Keys to Your Birthday” reference tables. There are three (3) versions: one keyed to the RWS tarot, one to the Thoth, and one to my SKT deck. Download the version corresponding with the deck system you’re using. If you’re using a TdM deck, then I recommend working off the Thoth reference guide.
Readers Studio 2019 was the first time I’ve ever attended a conference as an attendee only, with no presentation obligations. And it was fantastic. I’m not sure I ever want to go back to presenting. It was that fantastic.
Maybe other presenters are different, and less vain, but when I’m scheduled to present, I spend a lot of time focusing on me. How do I look. Do I know my stuff. Will my PowerPoint slides work. Will there be a tech malfunction. Pray to gods there are no wardrobe malfunctions. How do I look. Do I know my stuff. What do people think of me. Is my presentation good enough. They’re gonna realize I’m a total fraud. How do I look. Also, how do I look.
This time, I didn’t think about me at all. I dressed comfortably, didn’t even bring more than the pair of shoes I wore onto the plane, and 100% of my attention was on learning and mingling. I had a blast.
For day job work reasons, I couldn’t make it to Thursday’s Divination Day, and boy do I regret it! I heard it was phenomenal and I’m really kicking myself for not having the chance to attend.
For the Foundation Reading on Friday, my partner was my good friend Ethony. She gave me the reading I totally needed and since we’re close, I asked a legit question, meaning you know, you don’t skimp on the truth, the facts, and how you’re really feeling. And Ethony’s reading was amazing!
It was really cool to get to observe her reading style. I don’t know if she realizes it (I think she does) but she channels most of her readings. You can literally see her change state. Something Ethony-but-not-just-Ethony comes through, and when she’s done, something leaves her eyes, something returns, and she’s chattering like good ole’ Ethony again. It’s so fascinating.
Her master class was early Friday evening. She channeled and shared with us the Thirteen Muses of Tarot, but I’ll just share the one I felt an immediate connection to as the muses were being revealed to us: Brujula, the Muse of Transition Readings, who is a compass and guide at our crossroads. Ethony also showcased thirteen beautiful card images depicting the muses. The reading I did during Ethony’s master class was really powerful.
At the breakfast roundtable on Saturday morning, Al Juarez talked to us about telling time with the tarot. A roundtable discussion is when the moderator, in this case Al, moderates everyone n the room to share their insights into the given topic.
Some of the really cool things I learned at that roundtable about telling time with tarot:
Charge a tarot card based on the question at hand. That charged card becomes your significator. Shuffle the deck and proceed to distribute the cards into 12 card piles representing the twelve months. The card pile you find the significator in will indicate the month that the queried event will happen.
Gina Thies shared a really cool point: develop a system for tarot divination that covers the who, what, where, when, and why of a matter. The card or cards you pull for the “when” will help you with telling time.
Saturday morning was George Koury’s master class on the Peter Pan method of reading, which reveals your life purpose. George is a psychic, medium, and angel communicator who descends from a family line of psychics and mediums. He commands a powerful, yet nurturing, gentle, compassionate presence.
So, How do you deduce your own life purpose? Start by asking the question: What did you love to do as a child? The answers you brainstorm in response to that question can help point you toward your life purpose. I loved that!
Next was a master class with Sasha Graham. Her presentation was titled, “The Magician’s Secret and Seven Sacred Cornerstones of Constant Magic.”
Sasha is the real deal. We had such a powerful, magical, but also impressively informative master class with her. In one of her writing prompts: “My heart’s work is…” I can’t even believe what I blurted out onto paper. Even now, reading it back to myself, I giggle nervously.
Should I share it? Bah. You know and I know I want to. Why front. Okay here it goes:
The prompt was: “My heart’s work is…” and as soon as she said go, you had to write. Your pen could not leave paper so if you just didn’t know what exactly to write, you were supposed to write “I have more to say” and just keep writing that until you actually have something original to put down.
So, funny enough, most of journaled my page was “I have more to say.” But then every so often, I’d blurt something out. By the way, just so you know, I totally took these master class prompts and sessions seriously, and when she said go, I went. I entered a trance state and did my thang.
On Sunday morning, we revisited our Friday Foundation Readings and this time, applied the techniques we learned during the three master classes. That meant identifying which of the 13 tarot muses came through in my reading (Ethony’s master class), what the cards might reveal about my life purpose (George Koury’s), and how to see the unseen in this reading spread (Sasha Graham’s).
I came home with lots of goodies! Liz Westwater of West Star Health & Healing gifted me with her Angels Sing spray, which is a magical blend of angelica root, gemstone-infused water, and so much more. It smells divine!
By the way, next year’s lineup of master class presenters is going to be so much fantastic. I’ve already marked it in my 2020 calendar to attend. Will I see you there?
Learn more about Readers Studio at the Tarot School.
The Gill Tarot, created by Elizabeth Josephine Gill and first published back in 1991, has been reprinted by U.S. Games earlier this 2019. The tarot community declared, “We want a reprint of The Gill Tarot!” and U.S. Games obliged. Yay!
I received this deck as a Conference gift, which the publisher gave to all attendees at Readers Studio 2019 in New York, New York.
Before actually seeing the cards in the deck, I assumed I wasn’t going to love it, that this wasn’t going to be for me. (You know what they say about what happens when you ass-u-me…yep, so true.) But I am loving it. I mean omigosh, that Empress card! That Justice! That Death card! Temperance! How do I even count the ways I love the artwork here!
There’s a retro flashback-to-the-90s tarot art style going on here, which I just adore. I really miss the days of tarot art before the whole “let’s-photoshop-the-shit-out-of-everything” high-def digital fantasy art movement that’s now taken over the tarot world.
The prominence of the Arabic numerals on the pip cards makes more sense when you’re working with a Qabalistic approach to the cards, which is in line with Gill’s original intentions for the deck. To start, Gill designed the four Minor Arcana suits based on the four kabbalistic worlds: Atziluth with its essence of Fire for the suit of Wands; Briah with its essence of Water for the suit of Cups; Yetzirah with its essence of Air for the suit of Swords; and Assiah with its essence of earth for the suit of Disks.
To initiate your understanding of the design, Gill recommends that you lay out the court cards, all the Kings in a row, left to right as Wands, Cups, Swords, and Disks respectively. Then below it, all the Queens in a row, left to right as Wands, Cups, Swords, and Disks, then below that the Princes and then below the Princes, the Princesses. Then when you study the grid layout, you’ll better understand the cosmological movement of power.
Each numbered pip, corresponding with a sephirah from the Tree of Life, marks a particular stage of the querent within the four kabbalistic worlds, and when you study and understand that courts grid, you’ll understand the exact positioning of the querent at any given moment in time and space.
When 10 shows up, for example, you are in a position of discernment but are more susceptible to the vices of greed or avarice, and the suit of that 10 will tell you which of the kabbalistic worlds and what corresponding life lessons you’re going through.
The 9 cards indicate something important pushing out from your subconscious, yearning to be known and acknowledged, where the virtue to be gained is independence, but the vice you’re currently more susceptible to is idleness.
The 8s mark a juncture point of mental functions, with the virtue being honesty and the vice being dishonesty. The 8s indicate the forces of communication at play. And so on the numbers go until we get to the Aces, where the A cards indicate the alpha and the omega. You’ve struck the root cause of what’s going on with you.
How you prefer to read tarot decks will determine how you feel about the keywords in The Gill Tarot. If you’re unwilling to syncretize the system of interpretation you’ve built up to this point with this specific deck of cards, then the prescribed keywords here can be distracting.
However, if you’re willing to meet the deck creator at a merged, integrative place, then these keywords are effing amazing. Seriously. This deck reads beautifully if you will allow it to do what it needs to do. I don’t know how else to explain it without sounding crazy, but if you try to exert complete dominance and control over these cards, it can be cumbersome. But if you yield to them and let the keywords and color symbolism do the heavy-lifting for you, it’s such a powerful deck.
The simplicity and child-like innocence of the art style fools you into believing it’s a simple deck, but it’s not, oh not by a longshot. You don’t realize how deep, well thought-out, and full this charming deck of cards is until you surrender your preconceived notions and let these cards do their work.
In an earlier photograph for the deck look-see, you’ll note that the card back design is non-reversible. That’s because Gill does not intend these cards to be read with reversals. While the key numbering in the Majors is RWS, the vibes you get from the deck art are definitely more Thoth. There is a winsome magic to these cards that I can’t fully explain to you in words, that you simply have to experience for yourself.
I’ll leave you with a quote from the deck creator, which you’ll find in the opening passages of the Introduction:
“To be useful for spiritual searching, a system must offer a mirror in which one can see oneself . . . and it must be a guide to lead the seeker. There must also be a living, growing dynamic bond between the seeker and the object of study. Without that, nothing arises except the accumulation of information and an increase in vanity, based on a view of oneself as a being imbued with great amounts of mystical knowledge.”
This guided tarot reading and journaling session will connect you to the Pillar of Healing power that the Queen of Pentacles rules over. Connecting to the Pillar of Healing through this meditative exercise can help to bring you some relief and calming to the physical aches and pains you’ve been suffering from.
Essentially, you’ll be invoking the Queen of Pentacles for the divine gifts she rules over and using energy healing techniques and guided meditation to help placate any physical pains or discomforts you’ve been feeling.
Your Tarot Court: Read Any Deck with Confidence (Llewellyn, 2019) by Ethony Dawn is your one-stop comprehensive modern guide to the tarot courts.
This book will transform the way you work with the courts, ignite a genuine excitement for these cards that are otherwise seen as the most difficult cards in the tarot deck to work with. This is your handbook on how to approach the tarot court personalities as your allies.
An ingenious yet simple paradigm for mastering the court card archetypes is presented here. Henceforth, when the Page of Wands appears, think: Peter Pan. When the King of Pentacles appears, think: Manager. King of Swords? Scientist. Queen of Cups? The Mystic.
How do these archetypes play out in specific situations? Your Tarot Court delves into the exact ways a personality like the Knight of Cups, a Romantic, would approach a work and career situation, or in a relationship– how to interpret the Knight of Cups to predict timing in tarot– how to work with astrology and the courts in a reading– and how to spot the Knight of Cups Romantic archetype in pop culture today to further deepen your comprehension of this card.
First, if you’ve pre-ordered the Spirit Keeper’s Tarot deck, Vitruvian Edition and have heard nothingat all from me, no updates, nada, just crickets, then I think you need to get on the SKT newsletter mailing list ASAP. =)
I’ve been sending out periodic updates about the deck’s design progress, production status reports, free downloads, and more via the SKT newsletter, but you need to voluntarily sign up for it. I don’t automatically put you on the list just because you pre-ordered. You have to put yourself on the list.
If you’re not up to date and want to be, then click on the below link to review all past issues of the newsletter.
I’ve worked with Tori Hartman’s Chakra Wisdom Oracle cards since 2014 when it was first published, and the oracle deck is lovely. So I’ve been greatly anticipating the release of Chakra Wisdom Tarot. The Chakra Wisdom Tarot presents a fresh, contemporary, and innovative Western interpretation of the Eastern chakra correspondence traditions.
An understanding of Hartman’s interpretive approach might help lend context to both the Chakra Wisdom Tarot and her previous Chakra Wisdom Oracle cards. Hartman is a psychic and she approaches cartomancy as a magnifying tool for clairvoyance and claircognizance. A near-death experience over 20 years ago awakened clairvoyant and claircognizant abilities within her, transforming her life purpose. Since then, she has been a teacher of the spiritual and metaphysical arts. Once you understand the defined scope of Hartman’s approach, her cards and even her chakra interpretations make a lot more sense.
In the first grouping of cards, color-coded red for the First Chakra, as it’s referred to in this deck and book set, or Muladhara, relates to “The Route Taken.” These 11 cards center around the theme of family beliefs and shifting old ideas (per the guidebook). The element is Earth and in terms of planetary correspondences, Hartman attributes the First Chakra to the Sun, which is a provocative interpretation.
There are many surprising assignments in the deck, which I appreciate because they push the limitations of my preconceived notions. For example, the Ace of Cups is assigned correspondence to the root chakra. While that may be a significant divergence from my classical understanding of the tarot and my native Eastern metaphysical practices with the chakra systems, it’s certainly groundbreaking and revolutionary. I like when deck creators walk toward the cutting edge, and Chakra Wisdom Tarot certainly does that.