The Moon and Stars with Ryhan Butler

Algol, Procyon, Antares! Exaula, Algafra, Caaddebolach! In this episode, I am overjoyed to welcome back astrologer Ryhan Butler, who discusses the use of the fixed stars and lunar mansions in astrological magic. Ryhan is great to talk to about this topic, because he can start off with very practical advice about elections and results based on his own experience, then launch into the history behind astrological concepts. We certainly learned this in his previous podcast appearance when we discussed astrological aspects.

When we were planning this episode, Ryhan characterized planetary astrological talismans as “special event” magical operations. Finding a good election for the planets is difficult, time consuming, and relatively rare. The fixed stars and lunar mansions, however, are very quick and easy to elect for, and lend themselves better to more immediate thaumaturgical needs.

The fixed stars and lunar mansions

This diagram shows the fixed stars, lunar mansions, and signs of the zodiac. It was created by Ryhan Butler himself!

After listening to this episode, make sure to explore the wealth of instructional material that Ryhan provides on his website, Medieval Astrology Guide, and check out his YouTube channel for regular updates on upcoming elections.


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Finally, finally, we have escaped the Martial Aries and arrived at the much more pleasing and comfortable first Decan of Taurus. This sign is ruled by Venus, and this decan runs from 0° to 10° Taurus, which in 2021 was from the 19th of April to the 29th of April. Each decan also has its own planetary ruler, and Taurus I is ruled by Mercury. This means that in this Decan, we have an interesting combination of Mercury and Venus.

As a reminder, my Patreon subscribers get a more in-depth look into my Decan Walk experience. I believe it will be helpful to share with my audience and supporters the nature of my experience – successes, failures, and everything else! If you are not yet a Patreon supporter and would like to get the full Decan Walk experience, you can sign up at this link.

The Five of Pentacles

Five of Pentacles in the Rider-Waite-SmithEach Decan is also associated with a Tarot card, and the card here is the Five of Pentacles. This is a notably shocking card, because in the Rider Waite Smith deck, the characters in this card are not having a good time. One is on crutches, the other struggling. They appear to be beggars or paupers, definitely down on their luck. And they are walking through heavy snow in front of a stained glass window that gives the impression of a church.

The church itself is lit from within. It would appear welcoming if there was a door, but instead our beggars are trudging along through the snow outside the building. Have they been refused entry? Does the church only offer temporary shelter? Why aren’t they inside where it is warm?

Fives are cards of renewed motion after the stasis or pause offered by the Fours. They don’t always indicate difficulty, but the renewed motion in the Pentacles suit does indicate that something in the material world is moving again, and it is apparently not easy. Something in the material world has failed. Perhaps money has run out, perhaps a change in location is necessary. Maybe our paupers are on the move because they finally had to face a material hardship that they were either unwilling or unable to face.

Unfortunately, life is filled with obstacles and challenges that we have to face and cannot run away from. This card is about that. The Five of Pentacles says that it’s time to stop dodging a problem in the material world. You can no longer avoid the hardship you’ve been trying to get away from. In fact, there is a message in this card that lets you know that the way to face this hardship is to go through it. You must have the long, cold journey through the snow. There is no stopping at the warm and inviting sanctuary, even if it would have you.

The First Face of Taurus

This Decan is ruled by Mercury, a planet associated with communication and moving very quickly. But Taurus is ruled by Venus, so perhaps there is something in this Decan about emotional communication. There are, of course, images associated with this card.

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Lenormand with Emily Rose

Lenormand with Emily Rose

“What the heck is a Lenormand?” I ask my guest in this podcast episode. Emily Rose joins me to answer that question and many more! Emily teaches Tarot readers and the mystically minded to read Lenormand like they’re talking to a friend. She has been reading Lenormand since she was 12 years old and currently reads for clients and teaches divination throughout the Pacific Northwest and online.

Emily tells us all about the history of Lenormand, and together we explore key differences and similarities between it and Tarot. This is an excellent opportunity to dive into the rich diversity of the field of cartomancy. Each system has its strengths and uses, giving both the diviner and querent new insights into questions and situations.

If you are a Tarot reader, you will be happy to know that Emily specializes in cracking our minds open and pouring in new Lenormand knowledge. In fact, I learned about Emily during her lecture at the Northwest Tarot Symposium 2020, which is what inspired me to invite her on the podcast.


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Aries III: Four of Wands

The third Decan of Aries covers the 20° through the 29° of that sign. This year, it lasted from the 9th to 19th of April. This Decan is ruled by Venus, which makes for an interesting combination since Aries itself is ruled by Mars. If you are familiar with the mythology surrounding these planetary deities, I am sure you are already thinking of many interesting implications even before we get to the Tarot card. That card, by the way, is the Four of Wands.

2021 has brought an interesting April to Portland, Oregon. There has not been enough rainfall. The temperature has been quite high, and during this Decan in particular it has been hot and dry. It makes me worry about this summer. Will we face wildfires as bad as last year’s?

As a reminder, my Patreon subscribers get a more in-depth look into my Decan Walk experience. I believe it will be helpful to share with my audience and supporters the nature of my experience – successes, failures, and everything else! If you are not yet a Patreon supporter and would like to get the full Decan Walk experience, you can sign up at this link.

The Four of Wands

Four of Wands in the Waite-Smith TarotThis card is so comfortable, especially following on the heels of the explosive confusion of the Three of Wands. In the Waite-Smith version of the card, the four wands are propping up decoration, perhaps for some sort of celebration. It’s easy to interpret this celebration as some kind of wedding; the two figures framed by the wands wear leafy crowns and appear to be celebrating together. However, they hold aloft three bouquets and aren’t even touching. Their colors don’t seem to indicate a wedding, either. What is happening in this card?

Fours are cards of relative stability after the expansive growth of the Threes. In the active elements like Fire and Air, these cards can be welcome places of rest. Here, we are presented with a card that is filled with emotion even as no big changes are happening. Perhaps this is a place where the querent feels happy, where things are secure, where a marriage of opposites produces something stable and long-lasting. The dynamic, ever-changing fire of the Wands stands still for a period.

The Decan for this card is ruled by Venus, and the sign for the decan is ruled by Mars. These planets are the equivalents of the Greek deities Aphrodite and Ares. Aphrodite is the goddess of beauty and love, while Ares is the god of war. These two had a troubling relationship. In the image for this card, we see a swarthy, smaller figure in a reddish brown cloak, next to a taller, fair figure in blue and white. Could they represent the tumultuous union of these two deities? If so, they are a warning that the stability of the Four of Wands is temporary. Change is still coming.

While working with this card, I meditated on the Four of Wands from the Dracxiodos Tarot. Here, I realized that the four wands were not just there to hold up a canopy of greenery – they were a gate. But where does that gate lead? Again, the suit of Wands is not a suit of sitting still. We are pulled onward into further change. Nothing remains the same, but sometimes you do get to take advantage of a rest stop.

The Third Face of Aries

A restless man, holding in his hands a gold bracelet, wearing red clothing, who wishes to do good, but is not able to do it.1

The image for this card is striking, and unlike the image in the Second Face of Aries, the Picatrix and Agrippa mostly agree.

If you would like to read the rest of this post, it is available through Patreon!

  1. Chang, T. Susan. Tarot Correspondences: Ancient Secrets for Everyday Readers. Woodbury, Minnesota: Llewellyn Publications, 2018. 67. 

Once, I won a game of Trivial Pursuit simply by having the U.S. Presidents memorized, in order, from Washington to Carter (I’ve since added on the more recent presidents to my memorized list), as well as similar lists for Kings of England and leaders of the Soviet Union. The question, as I recall it, was, “Who was the leader of the Soviet Union during the so-called ‘kitchen debates’?”

I couldn’t remember when the kitchen debates occurred. I couldn’t remember who was the leader of the Soviet Union, either. So I had to punt. I said, “Well, let’s see. The kitchen debates occurred between Nixon and the Soviet leader… but I don’t think that Nixon was president, and he was elected in 1968. So the debate had to have occurred when he was vice-president to Eisenhower, and Eisenhower was president from 1953 to 1961… and in the Soviet Union, Gorbachev was preceded by Andropov, and there was another guy in there but he only lasted a year, and Andropov replaced Brezhnev, and Brezhnev replaced Khrushchev, and he succeeded Stalin’s successor who only lasted a year, as well. So it was Khrushchev, and it was probably 1958 or 1959.”

I was right. We looked it up later: the kitchen debate occurred on July 24, 1959 between Richard M. Nixon (as vice-president to Dwight D. Eisenhower) and Nikita Khrushchev in Sokolniki Park in Moscow.

My opponents simply stared at me. In Trivial Pursuit, the expectation is that you either know the answer or you don’t. You don’t put together two lists of leaders and wrangle your way to the solution by a process of elimination like that. “That was … magical,” said one opponent, as I finished my answer.

Modern education assumes that the answer is always as close as the phone in your pocket or the computer on your desk. To the medieval, Renaissance, or early Enlightenment-era mind, though, the answer might be as far away as a monastery several counties (or countries) over, and an inconveniently long walk away. To travel to your answer wasn’t so useful as being able to place yourself in space or time on your own.

For these reasons (and not just winning Trivial Pursuit), it is useful for an occultist or memory artist not simply to memorize the sigils and names and abilities of various daemons and angels, but also to cultivate knowledge of real-world events, and to be able to quickly place them in time.

One of the easiest ways to do this is to memorize U.S. Presidents. The most senior officer of the US government has changed every four or eight years (with only a few assassinations along the way) since 1789, which creates a useful time-keeping device for the last two hundred thirty-two years. The continuity of that cycle is incredibly useful for when you can’t track specific events by year — you can narrow an event down to a simple four- or eight-year window even when your phone has a dead battery (or when you’re in the middle of a cutthroat game of Trivial Pursuit with your partner’s family, and winning makes you look good).

Learning the Memory Technique

For the purposes of memorizing the presidents using palace of memory techniques, it’s useful to imagine a U-shaped hallway, with each president’s portrait and name plate and years arranged along the outside edge of the U. To date, there have been forty-six presidents, which means that there will be fifteen on each of the three legs of the trip. This also means that Abraham Lincoln as the sixteenth US President will be just after the first bend in the hallway, and Herbert Hoover, as the thirty-first president, will be just after the second bend in the hallway. Since Abraham Lincoln presides over the US Civil War, and Hoover’s administration witnessed the start of the Great Depression, these help anchor the keystones of US history, as well — the American Revolution is at the start of the hall; the Civil War is at the first curve; the Great Depression and World War II define the second curve; and the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars define the other end of the hall.

The second thing that you can do, to cultivate memory of image, is go to Wikipedia and download all of the portraits of the US Presidents into a slide-show program on your computer. Duplicate the slide show, and make one the practice slides, with all the names and dates listed. Make the other the test, with no names or dates, and use it to confirm your progress. Most of the US presidents have distinctive facial features, hairdos, and weird stances that will assist you in memorizing them — Martin Van Buren particularly comes to mind when I think “weird hair.”

The occultist should notice that the more thoroughly they have this list memorized, the more easily events since 1789 get ‘slotted in’ to a chronology. You’ll find yourself thinking things like, “Oh, the British witchcraft law was repealed in 1959… Eisenhower was president. Oh, Aleister Crowley was born in 1875… Ulysses S. Grant was the president… and Harry S. Truman was president when Crowley died.” You’ll find that, over time, these sorts of conversations in your head help you weave a clearer context and content around your investigations of magic, occultism, and spirituality — and give you a clearer picture of politics, economics, and scientific development. All of these will help you become a more effective adviser, thinker and investigator, whether or not your phone is a dead in your pocket.

Andrew B. Watt is an astrologer, artist, designer, artist, writer, speaking coach, and philosopher in western Massachusetts. You can find him at his website, Wanderings in the Labyrinth.

This guest article was made possible by the Arnemancy Patreon supporters. Want to help? Join us!

Continuing on the Decan Walk, we come to the second Decan of Aries, which stretches from 10° to 20° of the sign. This year, the Sun was in this Decan from March 30th to April 9th. In the Pacific Northwest, where I live, this is the time of year when the Sun is shining more and more, rain showers tend to be a little less frequent, and I complain a lot because the winter didn’t get enough snow again.

As a reminder, my Patreon subscribers get a more in-depth look into my Decan Walk experience. I believe it will be helpful to share with my audience and supporters the nature of my experience – successes, failures, and everything else! If you are not yet a Patreon supporter and would like to get the full Decan Walk experience, you can sign up at this link.

The Three of Wands

RWS Three of WandsContemplating this card during this Decan has been tricky for me. I know what the card means to me, but that wasn’t the challenge I faced. I contemplated the meaning of three-ness, its connection to the sefirah of Binah, its meaning as a vehicle of growth and generation. But I started to get swept away and overwhelmed with the number of associations and correspondences that one can encounter by looking at the Decans.

In fact, it wasn’t until I sat down to write this that I really realized that the overwhelming rush of expansion is part of the experience of this card. The Three of Wands is about looking outward, getting bigger, and expanding horizons. In the grand story of the Minor Arcana, this card is the first explosive burst of creation, after the creator becomes aware of itself but before anything truly comes into being as a result of that awareness. Though the Waite-Smith image of the card doesn’t reveal itself, there is chaos here – raw potential, unformed and eager, reaching for the horizon.

Some of this is present in the card’s image. The main character looks outward, just like in the Two of Wands, but they are not contemplative as much as they are commanding. Their fleet of ships sails away, toward the horizon and new discover. There is a possibility that the main character is a conqueror, since their right arm appears to be armored.

None of the threes are particularly stable cards. They all indicate change, with various degrees of control and purpose. This card is about a burning desire for more. Maybe it signifies greed to some extent, but to me it is about ideas taking hold, perhaps assuming a life of their own, and spreading into the world like wildfire or a conquering army.

The growth of the Three of Wands cannot last forever, though, as we will see as the Decan Walk progresses.

The Second Face of Aries

Agrippa and the Picatrix have very different things to say about the image associated with the Second Face of Aries. I’m just going to quote from T. Susan Chang’s Tarot Correspondences: Ancient Secrets for Everyday Readers, since it’s easier than having a dozen grimoires on my desk.

Here is the Picatrix image:

A woman dressed in green clothes, lacking one leg.

And Agrippa:

A woman, outwardly clothed with a red garment, and under it a white, spreading abroad over her feet.1

If you would like to read more, it is available through Patreon!

  1. Chang, T. Susan. Tarot Correspondences: Ancient Secrets for Everyday Readers. Woodbury, Minnesota: Llewellyn Publications, 2018. 67. 

Enroll now in my new class, Tarot and the Art of Memory: The Minor Arcana!

Learn how to use the fabled Art of Memory to memorize the Minor Arcana of the Tarot. This class introduces a method that once memorized, adapts quickly and easily to any standard Tarot deck. Learn how to use Giordano Bruno’s powerful seals to memorize the meanings of the Minor Arcana, including the court cards.

I’ve been writing and speaking about the Art of Memory for years, and if you have been following the blog or podcast, you have heard a short overview of my technique. This class will go more in-depth, discussing the theory behind using the Art of Memory for Tarot memorization and how this can influence your cartomancy practice.

This class will be held on Sunday, April 25th, 2021 at 10:00 AM Pacific Daylight Time. Enrollment is based on a sliding scale from $10 to $25. If you can’t make it, sign up for the Arnemancy newsletter to be notified when it is available for watch-on-demand later. Click here to enroll or use the form below!

Science and Magic with Tres Henry

Today, occultists and practitioners are fortunate to have the aid of modern tools like computers to aid in their studies. In this episode of the podcast, I am joined by one of the creators of such tools, Tres Henry. We discuss not only the role of software in magic, but the balance between rational science and mysticism. We also discuss geomancy, maintaining magical balance, and the responsibilities of a magician.

Tres Henry is a magician, software engineer, and tinkerer who has worked in the tech industry for over twenty years. He is now bringing all of that nerd power to bear by creating digital tools for magicians. Two that you may have heard of are the astrology software Urania and online geomantic tool Georatio.


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Aries I: The Two of Wands

Beginning a Decan Walk is its own kind of experience. There are so many things you can focus on, so many avenues to explore, and a multitude of approaches. I have chosen to combine a few different approaches. For my own personal exploration of the 36 Zodiacal decans, I am following the rituals put together by my friend Andrew B. Watt, which he is distributing on his Patreon page.

However, I am also giving my Patreon subscribers an inside look into my Decan Walk experience. Since this is my first foray into one of these year-long explorations, it’s not responsible for me to claim that I can lead anybody through it. However, I am a practitioner with many years of experience and I believe it will be helpful to share with my audience and supporters the nature of my experience – successes, failures, and everything else! If you are not yet a Patreon supporter and would like to get the full Decan Walk experience, you can sign up at this link.

Most of what I will share about this experience will be my insight into the connection between the Decans and the 36 Minor Arcana of the Tarot with which they are associated.

This is the first segment of the Decan Walk, Aries I. It covers the first ten degrees of Aries, is ruled by the planet Mars, and is associated with the Two of Wands.

The Two of Wands

Wands are the suit of elemental Fire, and as such they deal with the most abstract, energetic, and creative force in the Tarot. These cards are about imagination, creativity, and beginning. Fire is an active element, and like real fire it can have a destructive side. This card, however, holds pure potential.

Two of WandsIf we look at all of the 36 Minor Arcana associated with the Decans as one story, this is the beginning. In the Two of Wands, the motive force behind pure creation has reflected upon itself and has created a second from nothing. With two, you can generate a third, and all of creation – the entire story of creation – cascades out of it.

In the Waite-Smith card, a man holds a globe in his hand and looks out over a vast landscape. He thinks about expansion and creation. The globe in his hand represents the final form of creation that we will eventually reach at the end of the suit of Pentacles. It is interesting that these cards are far away in terms of Tarot, but only about six months away in terms of the Decan Walk itself. But let’s not jump too far ahead!

While this card doesn’t necessarily indicate action, it is definitely the coiled spring of the Minor Arcana. From here, all potential springs and can either be realized or wasted. I have always seen this character as an ambitious merchant more than a conqueror, and as a merchant he appears ready to take a risk. Ahead of him is opportunity, and he is about to burst forth to carry out his plans. Will he succeed? This card isn’t about that – it is about the power and will to act.

The plans being pondered by the man in the Two of Wands will quickly begin to be realized. There is a rocky road ahead, with both successes and failures, obstacles and triumphs.

If you would like to read more about this Decan, you can find the rest on my Patreon page!

Astrological Magic with Joshua Proto

In this episode, I am joined by my friend Joshua Proto (he/they) for a conversation about astrological magic. We discuss a variety of interesting topics, such as spirit-based astrology, how to get started with astrological magic, how to overcome “election paralysis”, and more. Later in the podcast, we drill down into the philosophy of astrological magic, discussing topics such as the golden chain of existence and the concept of ensouling matter through magical ritual.

Since 2014, Joshua Proto has created over 100 astrological talismans according to traditional sources like the Picatrix, Three Books of Occult Philosophy, and the oral teachings of select Tibetan and Newar Buddhist Tantras. Josh frequently helps clients find talismanic and ritual solutions to a variety of astrological and magical problems through his website and offers training and workshops around practicing astrological magic.


Josh also says, “Send me an email with the subject ‘Planetary magic’ and you’ll get a special gift once what I’m planning at goes live!”

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