This post doesn’t represent a completed project, but is rather the beginning of one. While leading a discussion group on the Sefer Yetzirah recently, I was struck by many of the astrological details in that ancient text. This led me to start seeking information on the use of astrology in traditional Kabbalah. This has been a frustrating search with many dead ends, but I have found some good clues and interesting places to start digging.
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The Western Mystery Tradition, Western esotericism, occultism — what are all of these things, and why are so many people talking about them? It can be tough to wrap your head around how much of our culture is steeped in ideas we call occult. Everything from religion to pop culture to (gasp!) science are heavily influenced by esoteric, occult traditions that have waxed and waned in dominance in the West.
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There are so many Tarot decks out there. There must be thousands, right? Tens of thousands? It’s not uncommon for collectors to have 80 or more decks. Once John Michael Greer showed me a huge crate full of dozens and dozens of decks that he and his wife had collected, and you’ll frequently find collectors with too many decks working to get rid of them on Facebook Tarot groups.

I really like Tarot. I have a few decks, but not as many as a collector. A deck catches my attention when it has an interesting approach to classic early 20th century esoteric Tarot themes, so when Taylor Bell showed me his new Sigil Arcanum Tarot, I was intrigued. This is not a typical Tarot deck – there aren’t even any people in it. Instead, it has a plain black background with vibrantly colored, abstract line art. You can tell right away that that the designs are inspired by the Tarot. They are mesmerizing.
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The Lovers is the 7th card in the Major Arcana, so it’s number VI, because we start counting at zero with The Fool. As I frequently point out during tarot readings, every six is about love in the Tarot. Sometimes it’s not so obvious, such as with the Six of Swords, and sometimes it’s too obvious, such as when the name of the card is “The Lovers.” For this breakdown, let’s take a look at the Rider-Waite-Smith version of the card.
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I am now booking live online Tarot readings! You can click here to book a reading.

These readings will be done via Skype using my spiffy new video camera, and I’ll be using a variety of decks. They will typically be five or seven cards, depending on the topic and how deep we need to go.

Book a Tarot Reading Today!

Reverend Erik and the Picatrix

Reverend Erik and a new book, using his new webcam

Working with Unusual Decks

Today a Tarot deck is a fairly specific deck of cards. It has around 22 Greater Arcana, from The Fool through to the World, and then 56 Minor Arcana including the pips and 16 Court Cards. However, Tarot cards aren’t the only cards out there being used for divination, insight, or other non-game purposes. Let’s look at a few such decks that I use and enjoy.
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MAB EP 46 – An Exploration of the Soul
My Alchemical Bromance

 
 
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In this episode of My Alchemical Bromance, Erik explores various interpretations and explanations of the soul in the wake of the death of his 19 year-old cat, Kublai Khan. This episode is personal, but hopefully it provides food for thought.

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Celebrating Winter Holidays

It’s the beginning of December, and in the Pacific Northwest, that means it gets dark really early and the Sun rises late. We have a lot of darkness this time of the year, and in Portland we make up for that darkness by celebrating a lot. My family isn’t religious, but we still celebrate Christmas in what I have always assumed is the traditional American way – a tree, a bunch of presents, The Night Before Christmas, big meals, shots of akvavit, and singing carols together. That’s how everybody does it, right?

But unlike my family, I am religious and I’m not Christian. What holidays are available to the modern pagan? I’m curious about how other modern pagans pick their Winter holidays, so I’m going to share some things that my friends and I have done or are planning to do.
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