Teacher and independent scholar Ted Hand joins me in this episode for a deep dive into the angelology of Pico della Mirandola, followed by a crazy romp through the gnostic world of Philip K. Dick. It’s a dense episode, and (hold on to your hat!) it’s all connected! We follow Pico’s adventures through the Florentine Renaissance as he encounters translating superhero Marsilio Ficino, the mad monk Savonarola, and tragically doomed king Charles VIII, but our journey doesn’t stop there. In the late 20th century, our trip through gnosis and mysticism continues with PKD information that left me speechless! You’ll need your podcast safety glasses for this one, dear listeners.
Also, here’s where I was wrong: The Popes that Pico had to deal with are not Pius II and Alexander VII like I said, but instead Innocent VIII and Alexander VI. Who remembers their Popes? I’ll bet you don’t! Give me a break.
As the entire Internet already knows, T. Susan Chang has incredible oracular powers, so when I tell you that she’s here on the second episode of the fledgling Arnemancy Podcast, it’s probably a sign that we’re building great things. Susan is co-host of the incredible Fortune’s Wheelhouse podcast and the author of Tarot Correspondences: Ancient Secrets for Everyday Readers, released by Llewellyn at the end of 2018. She is a Tarot expert, and the kind of Tarot expert that an uncanny grasp on how the cards connect to each other and the complex web of correlations and associations that tie the cards into nearly every other aspect of Western occultism.
We dive into everything, from Agrippa to the Picatrix decans to planetary Tarot associations to Kabbalah to working magic with Tarot. We talk about psychology, divination, sortilege, and symbolism. When I invited Susan on the show, I promised that we could go full Tarot nerd, and we did. Full Tarot nerd.
The Rosicrucian movement began with three mysterious documents published in the early 17th century in Kessel, a city in the center of modern-day Germany. It was a movement that sprang from the Reformation, and it was steeped in esoteric lore, alchemical legends, and hope for a brighter and more rational future. The would-be Rosicrucians did not get their desired glorious future, however. The 17th century saw the eruption of the Thirty Years’ War and the death of millions through religious persecution, famine, and disease. However, the Rosicrucian legend survived and continues to have political and religious repercussions today. (more…)
Introducing the Arnemancy Podcast! Following on the heels of My Alchemical Bromance, this podcast explores esotericism, Tarot, magic, and the occult. In the inaugural episode, I visit Alexx Bollen of the Alexxcast in his foam-walled podcasting dungeon to talk Tarot. I do my first ever reading using Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot and the results are surprising!
(You’ll have to excuse us as we figure out some microphone stuff right at the beginning that I forgot to edit out.)
The magician in his robe is a timeless image. From ancient wizards like Merlin to medieval conjurers, all the way up to modern depictions such as Gandalf and Harry Potter, the robe is the magician’s expected uniform. Even various schools and traditions of modern occult study emphasize the importance of wearing a robe. It is practically required that any modern occult practitioner has at least one robe – unless you’re Meredith Graves, and then you can get away with a magical jumpsuit. I asked her about her ritual jumpsuits. (more…)
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. (more…)
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. (more…)
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. (more…)
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. (more…)
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.