Decans have been everywhere in my occult life lately. First, there are the Picatrix Decans cards by J Swofford, then Andrew B. Watt’s incredible Decans series on his blog, and now my latest interview with T. Susan Chang. This has inspired me to perform my own year-long Decan Walk and share the results both here on the Arnemancy website, but even more thoroughly on the Arnemancy Patreon.

Patreon Special Offer

If you are interesting in joining along on this journey, I encourage you to become a supporter on Patreon so you can get access to exclusive articles and podcast episodes! And to sweeten the pot, if you join at the Neophyte level or above before March 30th (when the Sun moves into the second decan of Aries), you will get a hand-written letter or card from me, along with some sweet Arnemancy stickers!1

Take advantage of this special offer and become a supporter of Arnemancy on Patreon today!
Become a Patron on Patreon

What is a Decan Walk?

Every ten days, the Sun enters a new 10° arc of the sky, known in astrological terms as a decan. Each decan is associated with one of the classical planets, magical images, and a number of Tarot cards. A decan walk is a year-long exploration of each of the 36 decans, one every ten days. It is an undertaking that requires discipline while also teaching you a lot about Tarot and astrology.

A decan walk can take different forms, depending on what you focus on and how you approach the topic. I will be looking primarily at the 36 magical images of the Picatrix as outlined in J’s cards, as well as using this opportunity to explore the deep and intricate symbolism in the Dracxiodos Tarot by Greg Traw.

What Form will This Take?

The first day that the Sun moves into each decan, I will post some initial thoughts to Patreon so that members over there can discuss and ponder and ask questions. By the last day of the decan, I will have something posted publicly on the Arnemancy blog, as well as something posted privately for my Patreon supporters.

I anticipate the exact form of the decan walk will evolve over time, but the posting pattern should remain the same.

Does this sound interesting to you?


  1. Existing supporters at the Neophyte level and above will also be receiving this special bonus! 
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36 Secrets with T. Susan Chang
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“What the dickens are decans?” asks T. Susan Chang in this episode of the podcast. Susie joins me this time to discuss her new book, 36 Secrets: A Decanic Journey Through the Minor Arcana of the Tarot. We explore the concept of a decan walk, talk about Susie’s process, and then we dig into some specific examples of various decans, Tarot cards, and decanic images from the Picatrix and Agrippa. Please join us for this deep dive into Tarot, astrology, and the occult.

T. Susan Chang bought her first tarot deck at a Barnes & Noble in New York, where she moonlighted as a reader while working in academic publishing. After leaving the city, she took her practice underground for many years, re-surfacing in 2015 and taking up the systematic study of esoteric correspondences in tarot.

  • Along with deck creator Mel Meleen, Susie hosts the Fortune’s Wheelhouse esoteric tarot podcast, which explores imagery and symbolism in the Rider-Waite-Smith and Thoth decks.
  • She is the creator of the Arcana Case® for tarot decks, which can be found on her Etsy page, along with her line of esoteric perfumes.
  • She reads tarot in person at the Inspirit Crystal shop in Northampton, Massachusetts
  • Her online Tarot course, “The Living Tarot,” course can be found on her website.

When not engaged in tarot-adjacent activity, she teaches writing at Smith College, and writes occasionally about food and cookbooks. She lives in western New England with her husband, two children, and a variable number of chickens.

Also make sure to check out all the other times Susie has appeared on the podcast!

Support me on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/arnemancy
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The Magus with R.A. Priddle

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The Magus with R.A. Priddle
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Mr. R.A. Priddle joins me to explore the world of fraudulent ballooning magicians. No, not the Wizard of Oz, but rather Francis Barrett, author of that famous early 19th century tome of ritual magic, The Magus, or Celestial Intelligencer. Mr. Priddle, or Robert, as I usually call him, wrote his dissertation on Barrett and as I learned very quickly, it is actually not fair to label Barrett as fraudulent. He was instead a working, professional magician and teacher of magic, and his influential book was crucial for keeping alive many earlier occult secrets for later generations.

Barrett led a life filled with interesting characters and dangerous adventures. He was an alchemist who experimented with hydrogen ballooning. He studied under Ebenezer Sibly, the 18th century astrologer famous for casting the natal chart for the United States of America. Barrett also attempted a translation of George von Welling’s massive tome, Opus Mago-cabbalisticum et Theosophicum.

Barrett’s legacy is also impressive. He influenced Eliphas Levi and Edward Bulwer-Lytton, thus becoming a major contributor to the 19th century occult revival. In addition, a talisman drawn directly from The Magus was carried by none other than Joseph Smith, founder of the Latter-Day Saints (you know, the Mormons).

I have a feeling that you will love this episode of the podcast. Mr. Priddle’s enthusiasm in exploring Francis Barrett’s life, work, and influence is infectuous. Barrett is an historical character worth examining, and I think you will agree that his work is worth a closer look.

Links

Support me on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/arnemancy

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You have been considering an email Tarot reading, but you don’t know exactly what to expect. Let me share with you my process in preparing a Tarot reading for email, and what you will receive in your email.

For each of these readings, I gather whichever deck of cards I’m using for the day, and sit down at my reading table with a print-out of your question. I perform these readings just like you are here sitting with me. However, since you will not be sitting here with me, I take a lot of notes. I sit with this process for a while, which gives me some time to mull over the cards.

After all of the note taking, I take a few photos of the Tarot cards. Next, I return to my computer, type up a document, and send everything to you!

What’s in the Email?

Each email contains the following:

  1. A write-up of the Tarot reading
  2. A photograph of the Tarot reading
  3. A nicely formatted PDF document with the photograph and write-up for your records

If you would like to read a sample Tarot reading, download a PDF using the button below. Hint: there is a special bonus for you in the PDF!

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The Magical Body with Misha Magdalene
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What do the grimoires say about ritual purity and the material world? In this episode, Misha Magdalene joins me to discuss the role of the body in grimoire magic. We begin by examining concepts of ritual purity in the Key of Solomon before exploring more concepts from gnosticism to Kabbalah. We discuss ritual purity as a way of connecting the spirit to the gross material world, as well as how to create a spiritual continuity from your ritual space to the divine. We also discuss how these concepts could be embraced by the modern neo-pagan and occult community.

Misha Magdalene is a multiclassed, multi-geek, multiqueer witch and sorcerer with a degree in gender studies and a slightly odd sense of humor. Their first book, Outside the Charmed Circle: Exploring Gender and Sexuality in Magical Practice, was published by Llewellyn in January 2020. They’re an initiate of multiple lines of traditional witchcraft, including Anderson Feri and Gardnerian Wicca, and have also been known to dabble recklessly in both modern ceremonial magic and grimoiric goetia. They live on occupied Duwamish territory in the Pacific Northwest with their polymath partner and two adorably destructive black kittens.

Links

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Marsilio Ficino with Dan Attrell
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I am joined by Dan Attrell, the massive mind behind the Modern Hermeticist YouTube channel, which includes the vast and ever-growing Encyclopedia Hermetica. He is currently working on his PhD in Renaissance history at the University of Waterloo. He has gone out of his way to share tons of his knowledge and learning with his impressive audience, and is also known for translating some amazing materials from Latin.

In this episode, we discuss Marsilio Ficino, and in particular Dan’s translation of Ficino’s De Christiana Religione, On the Christian Religion. We discuss many topics and themes in Ficino’s life, including the highest goal of mankind, the immortality of the soul, the nature of reason, the supercelestial world, and the question of whether or not there even was a Platonic academy in Florence. We also attempt to make some sense of the tangled historical events unfolding around Ficino’s life.

The Intermission and Beyond

We ran into a really bad recording problem in this episode. About 25 minutes in or so, Dan’s Canadian internet connection gave out on us! We had to pick up the conversation the next day. I filled in the gap with a reading from De Christiana Religione that Dan was kind enough to provide.

The background music during Dan’s reading is “But We Shall All Be Changed” by Matt Anthony. Thank you, Matt!

In part two, Dan and I begin by talking about Aristotle and Plato and their reception in Medeival and Renaissance Europe, but then we get a few tangents, and then we spend time with our favorite mad monk, Savonarola!

Notes and Things to Look Up

Links

Support me on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/arnemancy
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Marginalia with James Russell

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Marginalia with James Russell
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Dr. James Russell joins me for the third episode in my series on the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili. Dr. Russell is a book historian in Phoenix, Arizona. He completed his doctorate at the Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies at Durham University in the UK. James is interested in how material texts shape spiritual experiences. Focusing on early modern esoteric and contemplative literature, he studies the traces readers have left behind in books and manuscripts in order to reconstruct the reading experiences of the past.

Marginalia in the Buffalo copy of the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili

Marginalia in the Buffalo copy of the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, what Dr. Russell describes as a “DVD menu”.

In his dissertation, Dr. Russell wrote, “Instead of merely being viewed as an art object, the HP was a text in which readers engaged extensively with both word and image.”1 We discuss the HP as a used text as evidenced by its marginalia, like a “humanist activity book” filled with pen-and-paper intellectual games, whether or not the author intended it to be.

James also leads us through an exploration of several of the commentators of early editions of the HP, including two alchemists, a botanist, and Pope Alexander VII. This conversation opens up so many new avenues that make this remarkable book worth exploring and enjoying.

When James first approached me, he mentioned The Book that Nobody Read by Owen Gingerich. Gingerich attempts to trace the influence of Copernicus’s De Revolutionibus using marginalia. I was also a fan of Gingerich’s book, so I knew right away we would have plenty to talk about. Please enjoy this episode and don’t be afraid to write in your books!

Links

Citations and Resources

Here is a list of sources that Dr. Russell used in preparing his notes for the interview.

Primary Sources

  • Le Tableau des riches Inventions…dans le songe de Poliphile (Paris: Guillemot, 1600).
    This is the openly alchemical 1600 edition of the HP
  • D’Espagnet, Jean, Enchiridion Physicae Restitutae (Paris: Widow N. de Sercy, 1642, 3rd edn).
  • Nazari, Giovan Battista, Della tramutatione metallica sogni tre (Brescia: Pietro Maria Marchetti, 1599). English translation: Three Dreams on the Transmutation of Metals, trans. Doug Skinner (Glasgow: Magnum Opus Hermeticum Sourceworks, 2002).
    A very HP-like alchemical allegory
  • Quintilian, Institutio oratoria, ed. and trans. H.E.Butler (London: Heinemann, 1963).  

On Marginalia:

  • Barney, Stephen A., Annotation and Its Texts (Oxford-New York: Oxford University Press, 1991). 
  • Jackson, Heather J., Marginalia: Readers Writing in Books (Yale University Press: New Haven and London, 2005)
  • Jardine, Lisa and Anthony Grafton, ‘“Studied for Action”: How Gabriel Harvey Read His Livy’, Past & Present 129 (1990), pp. 30-78.  
  • Sherman, William H., Used Books: Marking Readers in Renaissance England (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007).  

Other Secondary Sources

  • Doody, Aude, Pliny’s Encyclopedia: The Reception of the Naturalis historia (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010).   
  • Eco, Umberto, The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana, trans. Geoffrey Brock (London: Vintage Books, 2005).  
  • Fierz-David, Linda, The Dream of Poliphilo: The Soul in Love (Dallas, TX: Spring Publications, 1987).
    A Jungian reading of Poliphilus and Polia as Animus/Anima
  • Freud, Sigmund, The Interpretation of Dreams (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999)  
  • Heckscher, William S., ‘Bernini’s Elephant and Obelisk’, Art Bulletin 29 (1947), pp. 155-82
  • Jung, Carl, Psychology and Alchemy (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1953) 
  • Kenny, N., The Palace of Secrets: Béroalde de Verville and Renaissance Conceptions of Knowledge (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991).
    On the author of the 1600 alchemical edition of the HP
  • Painter, George D. The Hypnerotomachia Poliphilo of 1499: An introduction on the Dream, the Dreamer, the Artist, and the Printer (London: Eugrammia Press, 1963).
    An introduction to the HP which highlights the pagan nature of the text
  • Poe, Edgar Allan, ‘Marginalia’ in James A. Harrison, ed., The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe Vol. XVI, (New York: AMS, 1965) pp. 1-178.
  • Priki, Efthymia, ‘Elucidating and Enigmatizing: the Reception of the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili in the Early Modern Period and in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries’, eSharp 14 (2009), pp. 62-90 http://www.gla.ac.uk/esharp Accessed 21/08/2011.
  • Rhizopoulou, On the botanical content of Hypnerotomachia Poliphili https://doi.org/10.1080/23818107.2016.1166070

On Aldus Manutius and the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili

  • Barolini, Helen, Aldus and his Dream Book (New York: Italica Press, 1992).
  • Casella, Maria Teresa, and Giovanni Pozzi, Francesco Colonna. Biografia e opere. Vol. I Biografia (M.T. Casella), Vol. II Opere (G. Pozzi) (Padua: Antenore, 1959).
  • Cruz, Esteban Alejandro, Re-Discovering Antiquity through the Dreams of Poliphilus (Oxford: Trafford, 2006). 
  • Fogliati, Silvia and David Dutto, Il Giardino di Polifilo: ricostruzione virtuale dalla Hypnerotomachia Poliphili di Francesco Colonna stampata a Venezia nel 1499 da Aldo Manuzio (Milan: Franco Maria Ricci, 2002).
    This is the 3D reconstruction of the HP

  1. Russell, James Charles (2014) `Many Other Things Worthy of Knowledge and Memory’: The Hypnerotomachia Poliphili and its Annotators, 1499-1700, Durham theses, Durham University. Available at Durham E-Theses Online: http://etheses.dur.ac.uk/10757/ 

I am now enrolling studients for a new class, The Other Trithemian Art: Secret Codes and Ciphers of the Magicians. This is a four week course that will teach you how to use codes and ciphers to enrich your magical practice. For a full description, read the class page.

Since this class will involve extra one-on-one teaching to help with the math and difficult concepts, enrollment is very limited! You will want to sign up early to reserve your spot. Also, until January 31st, you can use code EARLYWEB to get 30% off!

2021 Forecast
2021 Forecast
2021 Forecast with T. Susan Chang and Andrew B. Watt (Part 2)
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This is the second part of the 2021 Forecast episodes! Once again, I am joined by my two very amazing friends, cartomancer T. Susan Chang and astrologer Andrew B. Watt! In this episode, we cover July through December of 2021. You can find part one here.

2020 was a rotting radioactive carcass, belching toxic fumes out of a larger burning radioactive carcass, and when Andrew and I did our forecast last year, we were far too optimistic, even when the cards and charts showed us some scary stuff. This time, hopefully we are all more realistic.

Note that there are two special treats for you accompanying this episode:

  • All of us are offering a 20% discount on readings through January 5th with the code BIGFLUSH-20 and you can find links to all of our divination offerings below.
  • There is a PDF document with charts and cards that goes along with this episode and part 2. You can get access to it by becoming a Patreon supporter of the Arnemancy Podcast, the Fortune’s Wheelhouse Podcast, or Andrew B. Watt.

T. Susan Chang

T. Susan Chang bought her first tarot deck at a Barnes & Noble in New York, where she moonlighted as a reader while working in academic publishing. After leaving the city, she took her practice underground for many years, re-surfacing in 2015 and taking up the systematic study of esoteric correspondences in tarot.

  • Along with deck creator Mel Meleen, Susie hosts the Fortune’s Wheelhouse esoteric tarot podcast, which explores imagery and symbolism in the Rider-Waite-Smith and Thoth decks.
  • She is the creator of the Arcana Case® for tarot decks, which can be found on her Etsy page, along with her line of esoteric perfumes.
  • She reads tarot in person at the Inspirit Crystal shop in Northampton, Massachusetts
  • Her online Tarot course, “The Living Tarot,” course can be found on her website.

Her interest in tarot is wide-ranging and passionate, and has included:

  • Setting up 78 Spotify playlists for those interested in card-appropriate music
  • memorizing astrological correspondences for the minor arcana while swimming laps
  • writing tarot haiku and spells
  • maintaining a sprawling Card-of-the-Day-tracking database (complete with elemental, astrological, and kabbalistical frequency and percentage pie charts).

She attempts to learn Hebrew approximately once every 15 months and has been known to spontaneously arrange her pancakes into a Tree of Life formation.

When not engaged in tarot-adjacent activity, she teaches writing at Smith College, and writes occasionally about food and cookbooks. She lives in western New England with her husband, two children, and a variable number of chickens.

Andrew B. Watt

Andrew Watt is an astrologer, poet and artist living in western Massachusetts. He works in textiles, wood and words to produce objects for practical magic and mysterious practicality, and seeks the honest wisdom found in the life of an artisan.

Other Links

Support me on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/arnemancy
Listen on Podcrypt

2021 Forecast
2021 Forecast
2021 Forecast with Andrew B. Watt and T. Susan Chang (Part 1)
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The new year is upon us! Once again, I have invited friends to help me try to forecast the future. Here is the exciting part: I am joined by my two very amazing friends, T. Susan Chang and Andrew B. Watt! Together, we create a forecast for 2021 using astrology from Andrew and Tarot cards from Susie.

2020 was a rolling pile of crap, set aflame in a giant dumpster painted like a TARDIS, and when Andrew and I did our forecast last year, we were far too optimistic, even when the cards and charts showed us some scary stuff. This time, hopefully we are all more realistic.

Part 1 of the Forecast covers the first half of 2021, from January to June.

Note that there are two special take-aways from this episode:

  • All of us are offering a 20% discount on readings through January 5th with the code BIGFLUSH-20 and you can find links to all of our divination offerings below.
  • There is a PDF document with charts and cards that goes along with this episode and part 2. You can get access to it by becoming a Patreon supporter of the Arnemancy Podcast, the Fortune’s Wheelhouse Podcast, or Andrew B. Watt.

Andrew B. Watt

Andrew Watt is an astrologer, poet and artist living in western Massachusetts. He works in textiles, wood and words to produce objects for practical magic and mysterious practicality, and seeks the honest wisdom found in the life of an artisan.

T. Susan Chang

T. Susan Chang bought her first tarot deck at a Barnes & Noble in New York, where she moonlighted as a reader while working in academic publishing. After leaving the city, she took her practice underground for many years, re-surfacing in 2015 and taking up the systematic study of esoteric correspondences in tarot.

  • Along with deck creator Mel Meleen, Susie hosts the Fortune’s Wheelhouse esoteric tarot podcast, which explores imagery and symbolism in the Rider-Waite-Smith and Thoth decks.
  • She is the creator of the Arcana Case® for tarot decks, which can be found on her Etsy page, along with her line of esoteric perfumes.
  • She reads tarot in person at the Inspirit Crystal shop in Northampton, Massachusetts
  • Her online Tarot course, “The Living Tarot,” can be found on her website.

Her interest in tarot is wide-ranging and passionate, and has included:

  • Setting up 78 Spotify playlists for those interested in card-appropriate music
  • memorizing astrological correspondences for the minor arcana while swimming laps
  • writing tarot haiku and spells
  • maintaining a sprawling Card-of-the-Day-tracking database (complete with elemental, astrological, and kabbalistical frequency and percentage pie charts).

She attempts to learn Hebrew approximately once every 15 months and has been known to spontaneously arrange her pancakes into a Tree of Life formation.

When not engaged in tarot-adjacent activity, she teaches writing at Smith College, and writes occasionally about food and cookbooks. She lives in western New England with her husband, two children, and a variable number of chickens.

Other Links

Support me on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/arnemancy
Listen on Podcrypt