Tarot Symbolism – That Monkey is always distorting my truth!

By Andrew McGregor

A little while back I wrote a post about what to do when you get lost in a reading or don’t know what a card means. This week it happened to me in pretty stellar fashion so I thought I’d share how I got myself out of the block.

I was reading for a client recently about how to deal with an institution. It was a reading all about advocating for their own rights in the face of being processed and not having their story heard. I am sure we have all run up against the machine of bureaucracy when trying to sort out problems with big companies. I get really frustrated when the person on the other end of the line says, “The computer won’t let me do that.” It may be true, but it sure doesn’t make me happy to hear it.

On to the Monkey business in this story

The Magician appeared in this reading to talk about actions to be taken to get the best results. If you look at the Magician in the Thoth deck you will find a monkey hanging out with him. You might have to look close in some variations as he is sneaking around in the background. Crowley, in the book for this deck, says of the ape that this little fella’s job is to distort the word of God. The Magician speaks the word of God and his primate cousin distorts it so that the truth is hidden. The whole business is like playing broken telephone.

I don’t often find myself stuck on a card these days. I ran through the common meanings that often surface with this card – exerting your will, balancing inside yourself, using truth and illusion to achieve your results, or the persons power to manifest things. BUT… the Monkey just kept staring at me. Perhaps its because Monkeys stole my lunch once but I just started to get a bad feeling about it. I tried to think it out to no avail, so finally I asked him straight out. The conversation went something like this:

“Okay Monkey Man is the client not being clear in their communication?”
“Oook, ook”
“Two ‘ooks’ for yes, one for no?” I asked.
“Ooo aaaahhhh”
“Okay I am on the wrong track, are their emotions getting in the way?”
“Haaa haaa”
Starting to feel a bit silly for talking to a picture of a Monkey I thought “Okay you are being too heady about all this.”
Out loud I asked politely “What do you have to say in this reading Mr. Cynocephalus Ape?”
In a charming voice the answer came “You are not hearing what I have to say, because they are not hearing what she has to say.”

So there it was, the institution was distorting the communication between my client and their service provider. This was something I knew about dealing with, and luckily, the card itself conveyed the solution. The magician is the master of truth and illusion, and as such, knows when he is not being understood. By accepting the reality of the broken telephone, the client could focus on checking the feedback loop to ensure accurate communication. It’s a perfect setting for asking the question like “Can you repeat back to me what you heard me say?” and other techniques like it to get the wax out of the ears, or in this case the institution out of the way, and get on to communicating as two people intent on finding a workable solution to the problems at hand.

Oooook Ooook…

Got some monkeyshines of your own to share? Jump in by posting a comment.


Desperate Planning – Thoth Tarot

By Odyn PenDragon

We humans (animals) tend to perceive structure (eye, ear, etc.), and from those, many tend to project from that a desire for some fantasy of “pattern”, and even further, the fantasy of “design”. Some passively accept this “design” model; but many others go further to then fantasize that there MUST BE A “DESIGNER”.

This Search-Desire for “A Designer” takes on many fascinating models, which unfortunately for many humans has produced the Fantasy of “A God”. Even my legacy-organization The Freemasons attempted a ‘renaming’ of that method by the term “The Grand Architect” — a desperate attempt to separate the “Great Designer” metaphor from the stupid ‘Control Freak’ monster they saw destroying the idea. But even they made a miss by clinging on to some ‘Grand Planner-Coordinator’ metaphor mixed in with some idea of centralized ‘control’.

Return to the ‘simplified’ method of ‘the’ YIN-YANG process: Enfolding & Unfolding. Sub-Atomic Processes enfold into Atomic Structure, and thereby unfold unto some ‘endurance’. Atomic Structure enfolds-combines into Molecular Structure, and thereby unfolds unto some further ‘endurance’ for those otherwise virtual sub-atomic ‘particles’. Molecules enfold into Cellular Structures, which even further unfold the ‘endurance’ of those very virtual sub-atomic ‘particles’ so deeply resident in the now growing complex structure. This “ladder” continues to cascade unto more complex structuring by serial enfoldings-combinations of the scale elements, and thus further unfolding of ‘endurance’.

Does this process describe “pattern”? Yes, according to our perception. Does this process describe “order” and/or “design”? Not necessarily ! The above described processes do not require any imaginary “Grand Planner”. Just because some “sentient being” perceives pattern and then projects a preconceived notion that such pattern MUST involve so-called “intelligent design”, is no proof of such a “Grand Planner”. It is simply proof of The Prover’s Obsession with their Model of Control. This all must, must, must make sense, yea?

This is where many make a miss in interpreting Atu III: The Empress. “She” is the Pure Happenings, which precede all considerations of the desperate attempts of all so-called ‘cognizant entities’ to make sense of the perceived patterns; and precedes the phase of Atu IV: The Emperor, who then attempts to configure his world as “Ruler” — ironically, “ruler” = “measurer”, “interpreter”. This newly-enthroned Emperor-of-one’s-own-empire MUST evaluate, coordinate, consolidate the vast array of otherwise non-sensical data into some semblance of order. The poor fool is now entirely dependant upon the ‘instructions-from-above’, to properly construct the empire.

This is here the danger of Atu V: The Hierophant. This figure has the awesome responsibility to properly instruct the Young Emperor on how to construct and conduct His Empire. If this figure-head has been poisoned with some Dæmon of Deception, the Young Emperor is now summarily cursed with the same poison, and the Empire is summarily distorted into that configuration. And this Hierophant does not get simple pass for ‘misunderstanding’. To achieve the Role of An Hierophant is not a light matter, and to bring poison to all the Young Emperors is HIGH CRIME. The simple Emperion of one’s own Empire is the business of that Emperor. Manipulation by the Hierophant deviant to the success of an Individual Empire, in favor of some Trans-Empire Poisonous Imagination is, again, High Crime in the Hierophantic Art.

All the “Priests of Plan” are Criminals, in the opinion of this ‘humble’ Mad Wizard. To promote the deception of any necessity for some “Grand Designer” to the Young Emperor desperately constructing one’s empire, is a direct violation of the time-honored Hierophantic Art. The tools of some ‘basic coordination’, and some hints at self-acceleration are the principal instruments — and then watchful instructions as the youngling stumbles.
And by the way, I would go so far to say that the Genuine Hierophants might be watchful of the Abberants who would poison the Young Emperors, and maybe take a blade to the necks of those Pretend Hierophants who would so joyously corrupt the Young Emperors into some Blind Allegiance with Their Dæmon. To be very clear — the “false path” is any ‘belief’ in some ‘Controlling Deity’.



Tarot Symbolism: No one is here….


People in the cards of a Tarot deck serve to focus the attention. They may signify the querent, or other people in the querent’s life who have a say in the event which is under consideration. They may signify possibilities for the querent. Always, they help in understanding what is, or what has to be, in a given context.

Thus, it is utterly fascinating for me, when a card has nobody in it…!

In the Rider-Waite deck, there are just two cards with no one… the Three of Swords and the Eight of Wands.

All the Aces have a hand holding the symbol of the suit, signifying a start, a step to begin, a root for manifesting the power of the suit. Each and every one of the Major Arcana are peopled… yes, even The Moon has the unbirthed Man in the Moon! And according to the Tree of Life, what you don’t have is as important in shaping your perspective as what is in your face….

The Three of Swords holds a bleak vision, if we would go by our trained mind. A symbolic heart (and this is what makes it unconnected to any person) is pierced through by three swords of such overwhelming weightage that the mere visual can invoke pity. The background contributes to the bleakness… colourless, cloudy, lashing sleet. And the perfectly symmetrical symbolic heart hangs in the middle of nowhere, stabbed yet not bleeding.

In contrast, the Eight of Wands looks uplifting. Again, though our trained powers of observation, we see a bunch of eight wands up in the air… above our heads, as it would seem from the distant hills. They have apparent direction, but no apparent control exerted by any human. And also the height of their displacement makes the action of the flying wands disconnected from humans. The light in the scene is clear and strong, and the perspective is wide open.

To me, here is the connect….

Lack of people symbolises times when we have no control over the situation. It could be that we have taken some action earlier, and the consequences have been ripped out of our hands. Or it could also be that the basis of our action had been assumptions… which is a case of immaturity, and thus, we feel no connection to what is happening now. Else, and more significantly, it could be the moment when we have the opportunity to realise that we have  far greater creative powers over our lives than we are willing to believe.

Nobody has broken anybody’s heart in the Three of Swords. It is a heart one has imagined…. It is an emotional box that one has defined through preferrences and dislikes. It is what we ‘think’ is our heart, and not what actually is. Thus, what is injured is an idea, a perception…. and not love. When our hearts break…. it is really not our ‘heart’ breaking. Our capacity to love is divine. Nothing destroys the divine. But our assumptions and our desires to be treated in a particular way because we are comfortable with it form an armour of egg-shells… threatened at every turn. And what more exemplary proof of that threat than the sword!!! We are easiest hurt by the words of others, whereas we need to be mature enough to realise that people speak their truth, not ours. We are just as liable to poke at other people’s ideas of self-importance, too! So, with Three of Swords, we meet our emotional immaturity and we have the opportunity to be thankful that those prods could grow us up in a hurry!

The Eight of Wands talks about our desire to control our lives being wrested out of our grip, and we are forced to learn… trust. It is when we are at our most passionate that we have the hardest grips. Nobody knows better than ourselves! And particularly, up until the previous card of Seven of Wands, we were striving, battling, pitting and pitching… and winning. We know what to do, and we are good at how to do it, right? Wrong. No matter how much you know, the divine always knows more. Indeed, in following our passion, we have chosen to be in the flow, and then, there comes a moment when it is only the flow. Trying to regain control would be a mistake… a huge one. It would only speak of fear. Letting be, letting go, letting God… That is the Eight of Wands!

When one or the other of these cards appear in a reading I am participating in, I realise that the querent stands at a threshold of growth… where he is being made to (yes, perhaps even forced to) drop his self-image and let in his divine image of far greater potential than he could imagine.

No one is here. The divine always is!




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