But your ears thirst for the sound of your heart’s knowledge.
You would know in words that which you have always known in thought.
You would touch with your fingers the naked body of your dreams.

Kahlil Gibran

One of the joys of the Tarot is its paranoia. Each deck promises to be a book containing the universe in all its detail—the physical and the metaphysical: that which is, was, will be, could be, isn’t, and wasn’t—as long as you know how to read it. And as the deck connects to everything, so everything connects back to the deck; thus the world becomes a conspiracy of meaning.

I say this by way of a caveat. Nothing I’m about to say is definitive, or even wholly justified, but rather a record of trying to follow a thread, and then getting tangled in other threads, until the little web of etiologies and etymologies is strong enough to lift the searcher off the ground. And in the spirit of a kind of paranoia, I intend to find my way by going too far.


On a Boat with Captain Tres Henry

You’ve got permission to come aboard this podcast episode! My guest in this episode is Captain Tres Henry, who also joined me back in April. We discuss divination, destiny, magic, and reality. Divination is not just a read-only operation, and we discuss what this means for the diviner who is also a magician.

This is a nerdy episode. We build up a metaphor between computer programming, divination, and magic. We dive into the notion of randomness and how it is connected to free will and determinism, a topic also at the heart of my chat with Allen Drake. We discuss a number of other esoteric topics, but take some time to also discuss boats. Get ready to learn about rigging and masts and other sailor terms like that.

We also talk about the Captain’s two pieces of software, Urania and Georatio. The former is astrological software geared toward magicians, and the second is a geomancy tool.

I am also joined in this episode by guest co-host Matt Anthony, who you will doubtlessly recall as one of my co-hosts from My Alchemical Bromance. If you want to see what else Matt has been up to, check out his YouTube channel, Mattatarian!

This episode marks several important milestones:

  1. It is my first episode recorded on a boat!
  2. It is my first in-person recording in a long time. My last was with Alexx Bollen in October 2020.
  3. It is the last episode of season two! The podcast will return with season three in September.


The featured image for this episode is Zeegezicht met oorlogsvloot (1821) by Cornelis Ploos van Amstel. Original from The Rijksmuseum.

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Tarot is one of the most profound initiatic tools. The 22 Major Arcana cards reflect the inner alchemy process of consciousness expansion, and the different stages we must undergo in our personal transformation. These cards, when properly understood and channeled, can offer steps that can guide you through Soul ascension and growth.

One of the cards that has always fascinated me and found its way into my awareness is the Magician. Not only is it the first building block in Tarot, but it is also a well of symbolic and initiatic teachings.

In this article, I will lead you on a deeper dive into one aspect of this card, especially in its relationship with the four elements of matter, the Platonic solids—more specifically, the Dodecahedron. First, let us begin by taking a look at the beauty and importance of sacred geometry.


Armchair Harpsichording with Alexander Eth

Okay, stay with me here. You are going to have to hear this one to believe it, because my guest on this episode is Alexander Eth. That name is probably familiar, because Alexander is the host of the esoteric Glitch Bottle podcast, which covers topics we are all curious about: magic, mysticism, grimoires, necromancy, and other mysteries of our weird universe. Alexander is a classical ceremonial magician and researcher into grimoires.

Did wizards just make all of this up? Alexander and I talk about the modern renaissance of grimoire magic and what he’s learned from all of the amazing magicians, researchers, scholars, and translators he has talked to. Is there technology to trace? How much of it is innovation? I have been waiting for so long to have this conversation, and Alexander’s insights are fascinating.

In exploring this subject, we will discuss many of your favorite grimoires, well-known magicians both modern and historical, and a number of popular techniques. We discuss ritual implements, the history of such implements, and along the way we reveal that Alexander’s mind is a vast and impressive encyclopedia of magical goodies.

We also talk a lot about the nature of spirits. What are they? Why can we talk to them? How can we do it better? Why does it work in so many different ways? We ask these questions and then we absolutely try to answer them!

As a bonus at the end of the episode, Alexander and I share our pro tips on organizing podcast playlists. How can you spare your brain? Well, listen to the end and find out.

Anyhow, you can tell from the description, I suppose, that the episode had to be a long one. It also had to be a long one because this is an interview with Alexander Eth!! Enjoy!

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The Nine of Swords, heavy with difficult imagery, is the Tarot card associated with the Second Decan of Gemini, which covers 10° to 20° of that sign. In 2021, the Sun was in Gemini I from May 30th to until the morning of June 10th. The sign of Gemini is ruled by Mercury, and its second Decan is governed by Mars.

Are you enjoying the Decan Walk series? Do you want to read more? My Patreon subscribers get access to all of my Decan Walk articles in full. 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 Nine of Swords

These last few Swords pips don’t really get any more comfortable. In fact, they get darker and darker. The Nine of Swords depicts a nighttime scene with the subject sitting up in bed, apparently wracked with anxiety, terror, or grief. The black, black wall behind them could be an endless quagmire of darkness, but the most important feature here is that there are seven bold swords hanging there. While the hilts are all visible, the points vanish off to the right somewhere.

RWS Nine of SwordsBefore we get too far into the meaning of this card, I would like to draw your attention to some interesting details in this card’s art. First, on the side panel of the bed in the lower left, we see an intricately carved frieze that seems to depict two figures either playing or fighting among some trees. Next, the bedspread has very interesting designs on it! The roses are easy to pick out, but the blue panels, if you look closely, are covered in needlework depicting a variety of astrological symbols. Mars, the ruler of this Decan, sits in the subject’s lap, while Mercury, the ruler of this sign, hangs down nearer the floor. But they are not alone; take a closer look and see what you can spot.

The anguish depicted in this card is very difficult – an uncomfortable image and a crappy feeling to experience. This is one of those cards that is awkward to explain in a reading for a client, just as much as it is troubling to deal with when reading for yourself. I tend to look at the Minor Arcana in sequences, and as a suit climbs from Ace to Ten, at the same time, it descends further through the worlds of emanations to material reality.

Through this lens, the Nine of Swords is about elements in the Intellectual Realm nearing the first stages of material manifestation. Here, the pure intellect of the Swords begins once more to mix with the other elements. Ideas face reality, and suddenly there is a reckoning. What is the cost of your current path? What do you need to destroy in order to create? Almost every act of creation ends up having a price tag, and sometimes that price is difficult to bear.

The remainder of this post is viewable to my Patreon supporters here.

Our Decan Walk has finally entered the sign of Gemini. The Eight of Swords is the card associated with the First Decan of Gemini, which covers 0° to 10° of that sign. In 2021, the Sun was in Gemini I from May 20th to May 30th. The sign of Gemini is ruled by Mercury, and its first Decan is governed by Jupiter.

Are you enjoying the Decan Walk series? Do you want to read more? My Patreon subscribers get access to all of my Decan Walk articles in full. 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 Eight of Swords

Well, I warned you last time that the Swords are not the most cheerful of cards. How could they be? They are all about pointy things that are crafted specifically to hurt people.

When you approach the Rider-Waite-Smith version of this card just on face value, it’s bleak. The landscape is marshy and barren. The sky is grey and colorless, and off in the distance is a craggy mountain topped by a castle that seems distant and uncaring. The main character is bound and hoodwinked and surrounded by eight swords, which are presumably sharp.

This card had me in a quagmire of writer’s block for a while. I couldn’t think of anything clever to say about it. I read the entry for the Eight of Swords in Coleman Stevenson’s Dark Exact Tarot Guide, which provided me with a burst of inspiration, but even that fizzled. It wasn’t until I pulled the card from the Rota Tarot deck and really took a look that it hit me: it’s the Hod trap!

I don’t believe I’ve ever written about it before, but there is a concept in Hermetic Qabalah that each of the sefirot has an aspect that acts as a challenge that you must conquer before properly assimilating that sefirah and moving up the Tree of Life. Hod is the sefirah of intellect, logic, memory, and knowledge – a good match for the Swords. The Eights are all associated with Hod, which makes the Eight of Swords a particularly hairy card when interpreted through the lens of Hermetic Qabalah. I have often mused that the challenge of this sefirah, which I call the Hod trap, is to be so bound up in the mind, so bound up in intricacies and trying to be smart, that you can’t move forward.

Once I realized this, I realized what I wanted to say about this card. It is indeed about being bound up in thought. It is not necessarily a card of self doubt. The dangers this card warns of could be quite real. The problem is that you can never have enough information to navigate those dangers. The Eight of Swords whispers to you constantly that maybe one more piece of information will be the bit that shows you the safe passage through all threats and perils. But it will never come. That’s the trap of this card, what you need to avoid.

The rest of this article is exclusively available to my Patreon supporters here.

Anything but the Kybalion with Nicholas Chapel

Nicholas Chapel is a Minneapolis-based ceremonial magician and professional hacker. He has been practicing magic for more than 20 years. While he graduated with a major in religious studies and a minor in philosophy, academia did not keep him; he landed instead in the world of IT, ultimately becoming a professional hacker on a cybersecurity red team.

If his name seems familiar, it may be because he is the author of the well-known 2013 paper, “The Kybalion’s New Clothes: An Early 20th Century Text’s Dubious Association with Hermeticism,” which served as important source material for both Sam Block and me when writing our articles about the Kybalion. However, like the rest of us, Nicholas Chapel is not here to discuss the Kybalion; we are here to talk about real occultism.

In this episode, we discuss the parallels between hacking and magic in several contexts. First, we look at the nature of hacking, malware, and information security from a magical context. Then, we dive into information in the occult, and how Trithemius, Agrippa, and other early modern magicians used cryptography and steganography in their work.

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Guest Appearances
Guest Appearances
Third Eye Sundays with Coleman Stevenson

This is a special episode in which I am interviewed about Tarot by Coleman Stevenson of the Dark Exact. This episode is part of the Third Eye Sundays Lunch Session series.

Each month, Third Eye Sundays welcomes a rotating panel of intuitive professionals (tarot and oracle readers, psychics, energy workers, etc.) as well as other creatives, counselors, and wisefolk to answer YOUR urgent questions live on Zoom!

Coleman is the author of three collections of poems: Light Sleeper, Breakfast, and The Accidental Rarefication of Pattern , several books about the Tarot including The Dark Exact Tarot Guide, and a book of essays on creativity accompanying the card game Metaphysik. Her writing has appeared in a variety of publications such as Seattle Review, Mid-American Review, Louisiana Literature, tarot.com, and the anthology Motionless from the Iron Bridge.

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

The powerful images of the Tarot are a perfect accompaniment to the Art of Memory. This class teaches how to use the Art of Memory in conjunction with the Major Arcana of the Tarot in multiple ways. You will learn how to use the memory seals of Giordano Bruno to memorize the Major Arcana and their occult correspondences. You will also learn how to use the Major Arcana to create a memory seal of your very own.

This class is excellent for both beginning and intermediate students of Tarot. Beginners will learn new techniques for memorizing and internalizing the rich meanings of the Major Arcana. Intermediate and advanced Tarot readers will learn techniques allowing them to enrich their knowledge of these cards through correspondences and image magic.

This class will be held on Monday, June 28th, 2021 at 6:00 PM 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!

If you want to catch up on Tarot classes, make sure to check out Tarot and the Art of Memory: The Minor Arcana, now available as an on-demand video!

Our next stop on the Decan Walk is the third face of Taurus. The Seven of Pentacles is the card associated with the Third Decan of Taurus, which covers 20° to 30° of that sign. In 2021, the Sun was in Taurus III from May 10th to May 20th. The sign of Taurus is ruled by Venus, and its third Decan is governed by Saturn. This is the last Decan of Taurus; next we move into Gemini and some exceeding cheerful Swords cards.1

Are you enjoying the Decan Walk series? Do you want to read more? My Patreon subscribers get access to all of my Decan Walk articles in full. 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 Seven of Pentacles

RWS Seven of PentaclesHere at the end of Taurus, our first earth sign, we come across another very earthy card. Of course, all of the Pentacles are cards of elemental Earth, but here we see it spelled out very plainly. The man in this card is a gardener or a farmer, and he has been working the earth. His plants stand before him, overflowing with sweet, sweet pentacles. However, he doesn’t look as though he is having a great time. He looks bored or exhausted. Apparently this card is hard work.

Sevens are cards about obstacles. When you are lucky, the obstacles are things to be confronted and overcome easily. Sometimes the obstacles exist in your mind or heart. But the Pentacles are never that abstract. This card is about an obstacle in the material world. Unfortunately, it is not an obstacle that can be pushed aside. The material world is not just about matter and space; it is also about time. This card speaks of hard work over time. It is about perseverance, endurance, and toil.

I don’t usually look at this card in a really negative manner, though. I usually read it as a card that promises, “You shall reap what you sow.” Hard work brings benefits and rewards. The cards around it could offer different messages, though, such as a warning that you will need to work hard even if failure awaits you. This is one of those aspects of the sevens; they present the obstacles or warn about roadblocks, but they do not tell you what awaits beyond them.

This card is also about getting your hands dirty. The work needs to be yours. Just as the farmer must pick up the spade and work until he is exhausted, so must you take a hands-on approach to your own obstacles. While this might seem like an annoyance, it also means that the fruits of your labor will be the result of your own efforts and endeavors. The machine is being powered by your own blood and sweat. It fits well with the nature of the suit of Pentacles.

Taurus III: Saturn and Venus

We are wrapping up Taurus, but here in the physical world, at least in my part of the world, it is still a very earthy time. Working in the soil doesn’t really get to stop, I suppose.

The rest of this article is available exclusively to my Patreon supporters here.

  1. They are not cheerful.