January 07, 2017

Left-hand Tarot #29) Welcome to 2017

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Welcome to 2017. I'd like to say, "Let's hope it's a good one!," but given current events I'm feeling skeptical.

So, there was an article in the news talking about how there's all this bad blood between the Church of Satan and the Satanic Temple. Speaking for myself, my sole and only issue with the Satanic Temple is that from everything I've seen, they're idealists who encourage nobility and honor, whereas I'm a pragmatist more concerned with personal success and achievement (even if that means using lesser and greater magic for ignoble or generally dishonorable ends.) Maybe somebody will tell me if my perception is wrong, but it's difficult for me to support a Satanic organization which would put the same kind of idealist, humanist expectations upon me that I might find in churches of the right-hand path. As for Satanists who complain that the Satanic Temple is making a mockery of Satanism, clearly they haven't met Chaz Stevens. I'd also say that they've clearly forgotten how much Anton LaVey enjoyed pulling pranks and being an all-around joker. Read more.

I'm sure there are people out there who'll disagree with me - this is the Internet, after all - but what's wrong with not being a massive, gaping asshole? Seriously... Call it "political correctness," call it "treating people with respect," or whatever you like, but what it boils down to is: How does it serve you to be a social cancer? Sure, go after people who deserve criticism and mockery - I don't have a problem with playing the accuser or standing in the role of the opposer - but from a lesser-magic perspective it's worth remembering that loudmouth shittery closes way more doors than it opens, and you'll never know what you didn't find behind all the doors that are permanently shut to you because you have a problem with people getting equal treatment under law. Remember that part from the Rules of the Earth? "When walking in open territory, bother no one. If somebody bothers you, ask him to stop. If he doesn't stop, destroy him." If your measuring stick for what qualifies as somebody bothering you includes people protesting herd mentalities such as racism and sexism (which are specifically condemned in the Satanic Scriptures), then it's probably best that you don't go outside. Like... ever. Read more

So, elsewhere in the world there are Christians who are so worried about their God's delicate feelings that they feel the need to deface non-Christian displays. This past Christmas, a man in Florida had a Satanic display erected on city property next to the Christian display, and by the end of the season the display had been vandalized at least eight times. Much like the "Everybody Draw Muhammad" events hosted around the world, Satanic participation in public displays of religion (or lack thereof) isn't for the sole purpose of having pluralist representation, but also for the purpose of exposing the true level of Christian tolerance. I'm sure we'd all be a lot happier if Christians weren't defacing public displays, but Christians defacing the monument is part of the reason it's there. Let everybody see what True Christians™ are made of, and then nobody will be surprised when their congregations continue to shrink and become less and less relevant. Read more.

"Satan translates to mean "opposite," lest the Satanic Bible be forgotten. The essence of Satanism is what tips the balance and starts the pendulum swinging in the other direction." -Anton LaVey (The Devil's Notebook)
If we are to assume that the full weight of the government at federal and state levels combined with widespread (though not quite majority) sentiment among voters is a useful metric, then the world in which Americans are living is thoroughly racist, sexist, and authoritarian.

The above quote from Anton LaVey is one of several which I could cite which usefully describes his fluid attitude to opposition: whatever is the popular, establishment, or most-commonly-accepted position is the point against which the Satanist polarizes him or herself in order to best play the role of the accuser. Get it? Opposition isn't fixed - it's dynamic and shifts depending on the weather and the landscape.

Speaking for myself, there are some positions which I'm not willing to compromise, but LaVey made it clear in his writing that he was ambidextrous in his opposition. LaVey's brand of Satanism - his words, not mine - emerged during the cultural revolution of the 1960's, and he described several times how he adopted authoritarian positions because that's what was opposite the free-love, anything goes, hippy-dippy attitude of the day.

With a fluid attitude like that, I wonder that if LaVey were still alive today he'd continue with his political and philosophical gymnastics and adopt a position like what we've seen from other activists flying the black flag? Perhaps LaVey was a visionary ahead of his time and I'm just not smart enough to appreciate his perspective, but I don't think I could swing back and forth like that.

Still, in a time when I've witnessed intense animus from CoS members toward other Satanists, it's worth remembering that the Doktor himself would have laughed at their rigidity. According to everything that I've seen, LaVey was a world-class joker and would have been called a troll in his day. I find it difficult to believe that he wouldn't be adjusting his sails to ride the prevailing wind to the most bombastic and outrageous destinations possible.


Anybody else experienced this? I've read Tarot for years but only in the past year this happened: I've met somebody else who reads Tarot (or claims to read Tarot) who says, "I'd love to give you a reading!" This person then shuffles; lays out the cards, and then smiles at me expectantly: "There you go! I gave you a reading!" Uh... no, actually you didn't give me a reading - you asked me to give myself a reading and let you sit in on it. Is this a Tarot trend that's only started showing up, or has this kind of thing happened to others? This is so baffling to me because it has never entered my mind that such a thing is appropriate. To me, this is really rude and I struggle to understand how somebody would think this is okay.

Did you know that I only get paid for about half the time I spend working? #3 is so true. I charge $100 / hr. and when it comes to my online work, only half my time is spent doing actual Tarot - the other half of the time is spent responding to new client inquiries, following up with existing clients, and doing the work to set up tomorrow's pay-check. Read more.

I don't entirely agree with this statement about universal knowledge - somehow, I think there are a few things that would be left out - but in many ways, I agree: the Tarot is a 78-page book which can be shuffled into potentially billions of different combinations (3.10500033948e+20 possible 10-card combinations exist, and it increases exponentially), and time devoted to the study of a well-informed system of cartomancy can yield great results. Read more.

And last in this episode, I picked up this spread from Camelia Elias on her blog on Patheos, and I thought it was okay. She's got a really different reading style from me, which is fine, but me being who I am it's difficult to refrain from giving a piece of my mind. To my eyes, this was heavy on the mumbo jumbo. Take a look:
  1. Anchor (subject of the reading)
  2. Pretends (how the subject deceives you)
  3. Hides (what the subject hides from you)
To my eyes, it's probably easier to just use a Johari window: arena (known to all); secret (known to the subject but not to others); blind (known to others but not to the subject); and hidden (unknown to everybody.) Add an anchor card to characterize the subject of the reading, and perhaps another to describe the general atmosphere and voila - you've got something amazing. Read more.