A Tale of Two Tarot Decks

Arnemancy
Arnemancy
A Tale of Two Tarot Decks
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In this extra special episode, I will be interviewing two Tarot decks. I know what you are thinking: Tarot decks don’t talk. But what if they could? Well, let’s find out. My first guest this episode is an old and slightly crazy friend, my first edition copy of Robert M. Place’s Alchemical Tarot. And after that, I’ll be working with my second guest: the brand new Moonlit Hermit Tarot from J Swofford.

I will be using a Tarot spread made specifically for interviewing Tarot decks. When some Tarot people get a new deck, one of the first things they do is an interview spread. This spread can supposedly help a reader forge a deeper connection with their divination tools. However, this might not be a very old tradition. The earliest example of one of these spreads that I was able to find on the Internet is from the Æclectic Tarot forum, in a 2010 post from a user called FireRaven.

I have found a number of other spreads in various Tarot blogs and on other websites, but all of them seem to be derivative of the spread originally created by FireRaven.

Here are the six basic questions from this spread:

  1. Tell me about yourself. What is your most important characteristic?
  2. What are your strengths as a deck?
  3. What are your limits as a deck?
  4. What do you bring to the table? What are you here to teach me?
  5. How can I best learn from and collaborate with you?
  6. What is the potential outcome of our working relationship?

The Alchemical Tarot

I have a long history with this deck. I won it in a raffle back in 2003 or 2004. I knew I would win it before my name was drawn, which felt weird at the time. For many years it was my primary deck. I used it as a focus for Tarot meditation. When I started reading for others, I used this deck frequently. But very often, the readings were weird, uncanny, or strange. Sometimes strange things would happen while I was reading with this deck, so eventually, I stopped reading with it for others.

If you want to hear one spooky story surrounding this deck, listen to the episode! And, spoiler alert, below is a photo of my reading.

Alchemical Tarot interview spread

The Moonlit Hermit Tarot

This brand new deck was just published earlier this year by J Swofford. It is based on the Tarot de Marseilles, which is a different system than I am used to. It has 78 cards like a standard Tarot deck, plus 4 cards that were originally meant to represent the Goetic kings: Oriens, Paymon, Amaymon, and Egyn. This deck is available in the Arnemancy Shop!

I have only used it for a few test readings, so it is still very new to me. Will I need to turn to the Little White Book to interpret my interview reading? Listen to the episode and find out! Again, here is a photo of my reading.

Moonlit Hermit Tarot interview spread

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Group Mysticism with C.R. Dunning
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In this very special episode, C.R. “Chuck” Dunning, Jr., joins me to discuss meditation and mysticism in group practices. Chuck recently published a new book, The Contemplative Lodge: A Manual for Masons Doing Inner Work Together, which is a companion to his earlier book, Contemplative Masonry: Basic Applications of Mindfulness, Meditation, and Imagery for the Craft. While these books speak about Freemasonry, the techniques and insights come from Chuck’s decades of experience as a counselor, meditator, mystic, and magician.

Our discussion covers a lot of ground, but we focus on how group work can help enhance mystical and magical progress. We look at techniques ranging from Rosicrucianism to mystical Christianity to Freemasonry, including a few stopovers with old favorites like the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and Kabbalah. Chuck has a lot of wisdom to share, and I believe that his words and wisdom can offer a great deal of guidance to everybody, not just Freemasons.

As a disclaimer, I am the editor of The Contemplative Lodge. I have also known Chuck for over 20 years, and consider him an important teacher in my esoteric and occult work. My ongoing friendship with Chuck has only heightened my respect for his work. It is my belief that you, dear listener, can also learn a great deal from what he has to say.

Alchemical Cocktails

When I was just a baby esoteric type, I would frequent herbal shops to make homemade remedies—sorry to anyone who partook of one of those back in the day; I had no idea what I was doing, but at least I didn’t charge! Decades later, my study of cocktail and spirit history (the liquid kind, in this case) has me creating far more potent and delicious concoctions. In a lot of ways, modern craft bartending is a continuation of what healers, alchemists, and other “wise people” have been doing for centuries. So let’s ‘double, double toil and trouble’ ourselves with some booze alchemy.
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Arnemancy
Spirits and Bots with Heather Freeman
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In this episode, I am joined by Heather D. Freeman to discuss digital occultism in all of its glorious forms. We cover virtual ritual, WitchTok, bots, social media, familiars, spirit helpers, next generation Gardnerian Wicca, and many more fascinating topics.

Heather is Professor of Art in Digital Media at the University of North Carolina Charlotte and creator of the Familiar Shapes podcast and short film. She is also an occultist, initiate of Gardnerian Wicca, and author of the forthcoming zine by Theurgical Studies Press, “The Piedmont Path: A Witchcraft Oracle of Contemporary North Carolina”.

Perhaps the element of this episode that delighted me the most is that it has been a continuation of conversations I have been having with other tech-savvy occultists like Tres Henry, Nick Chapel, Lailokens Awen, and others. There is so much to be exploring in this particular field, and we all benefit from having people like Heather blazing a trail.

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Arnemancy
Personal Daimon with Cat Rose Neligan
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In this episode, I am joined by astrologer, author, and artist Cat Rose Neligan. Cat incorporates astrology into her work coaching small business owners, helping artists, writers, musicians and all kinds of creatives to better understand themselves, identify their calling, and share their work with the world.

Cat and I discuss the personal daimon, a tutelary spirit with a long and varied history. Some associate it with the holy guardian angel, some with a protector spirit, but Cat has found that the personal daimon is perhaps more strongly connected with guiding us toward our destiny than anything else. She discusses methods of both contacting and working with your daimon, the daimon’s astrological associations, and other related topics.

Many listeners will be familiar with various aspects of this topic already. Socrates, for instance, is famous for having a daimon that spoke to him. Many of us have experimented with the techniques of the Book of Abramelin or the teachings of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Even the various helper spirit rituals of the Greek Magical Papyri might be related to this topic.

Cat’s work with the personal daimon has led to a book! If you are interested in this book, check out the Kickstarter campaign and lend your support! The campaign runs through October 31, 2021.

Links

Tarot Topics with Liz Worth

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Arnemancy
Tarot Topics with Liz Worth
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Tarot reader and author Liz Worth joins me for the first episode of season three! Liz is the author of seven books including The Power of Tarot and Going Beyond the Little White Book: A Contemporary Guide to Tarot. Her writing has appeared in FLARE Magazine, Refinery29, Chatelaine, the Globe and Mail, and more. She runs an online tarot school that welcomes students from around the world.

Liz and I discuss a number of Tarot-related topics, including questions about intuition in Tarot, the importance of memorization in Tarot, and the ethics of Tarot reading. It was a delight having her as a guest and I think this episode will give you, the listener, plenty to think about and consider in the world of cartomancy.

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Exploring West Marin County, California, one might observe the imprint of a particular artist without ever knowing the name “Ernesto Sanchez.” The seaside village of Bolinas is home to his outdoor piece “Emergence of Spirit” (sometimes called “The Lady of Bolinas” shrine), a nonspecific goddess not representative of any particular belief system, yet still fondly adorned with the prayers and flowers of admirers. In the town of Point Reyes Station, in front of the West Marin Pharmacy, one will find that the phone booth has been converted into a shrine, another Sanchez creation, with a mirror-mosaic encircling twin serpents and a singular eye. A short walk to the opposite end of town one will find the artist’s studio, with a window and yard open to the public, showcasing the art of Ernesto Sanchez.

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Season Three Trailer

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Arnemancy
Season Three Trailer
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The Arnemancy Podcast is back for a third season full of interesting guests, fascinating interviews, and strange history!

Join your host, Reverend Erik—that’s me!—on an exploration of your favorite topics, including Tarot, magic, the occult, and the history of Western Esotericism. This season, we welcome a bunch of new guests alongside some of your favorite returning visitors. We will be exploring modern applications of technology in magic. We will also take a close look at the works of Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa.

You can find the Arnemancy Podcast at arnemancy.com, as well as wherever you find the rest of your podcasts: iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, Google Podcasts—and now also on YouTube! Subscribe today at arnemancy.com/subscribe so you’ll be ready when season three’s episodes are released!

Support me on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/arnemancy
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On Thursday, September 9th at 6:00 PM Pacific time, I will be running a workshop for my Tarot and the Art of Memory series! Enroll now and strengthen your Art of Memory techniques!

If you are interested in taking this class, you will want to take one of my previous classes in the series. They are available on-demand here!

The Art of Sigil Craft

A sigil is but a word in a language so complex that it defies the boundaries of dictionary or thesaurus, a language so universal it relies on emotion and intuition, instead of equation. A sigil is an idea, more than it is a sentence. It is a wish and it is a command, but it is also an art. The art of sigil craft demands your patience as much as it demands your creativity. Concoct your meaning, divine your sentence, but then you must extract it from what you believe it to be, and abstract it into a form wholly unique. Solve et coagula. In this way, we encrypt our meaning into a form that may be impossible to decrypt.
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