A brief article in the latest issue of The Cartomancer quarterly posed the question of whether anyone should feel inadequate for being a “one-trick pony” in the divinatory arts, only focusing on a single branch of the tree when the public seems to expect a well-rounded “gypsy fortune-teller” repertoire. This has me thinking about my own path to the miscellany of arcane skills I’ve been honing for more than four decades. Part of my quest has been driven simply by looking for new challenges, but some of the subjects I’ve pursued have been introduced by exposure to knowledge I never knew I needed or, for that matter, even wanted. None of these have a mercenary cast to them, they’re all methods for which I’ve developed a strong personal attachment.
My first love was modern psychological astrology, although tarot has always been my true calling and the discipline I’ve spent the most time with. But entering the on-line community of practitioners and theorists in 2011 slowly began changing that. At roughly the same time I encountered the Lenormand system of cartomancy and the techniques of horary astrology, both of which I embraced with considerable energy and enthusiasm. An interest in playing-card divination sprouted from the former, and a growing certainty in the superiority of traditional astrological practices arose from the latter. I began leaving the New Age behind and delving further into the history of our craft.
Geomancy had been an abiding interest of mine since the middle ’80s, and the appearance of new practical manuals for its use has renewed my fascination. This led to my own experiments with lithomancy, and ultimately astro-lithomancy as described in my earlier post. Cloistered self-reading with the tarot gave way to extensive involvement with creating and sharing my own complex spreads and methods, many of them based on esoteric number theory, astrological correspondences and qabalistic mysticism. Most of the results of my six years of effort have been presented here and occasionally published in various periodicals.
“Syncretism” – the blending of many different strands of symbolism into a unified whole (a skill that was demonstrated so brilliantly by Aleister Crowley in The Book of Thoth) – has long been one of my favorite concepts in metaphysical thought. The system of correspondences that was derived from the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn’s body of knowledge has already been mentioned. More recently, I’ve begun using dice to augment the testimony of tarot card readings because they share an identical odd/even, high/low motif with the cards of the Minor Arcana and can be similarly interpreted in accordance with both esoteric number theory and qabalistic Tree of Life associations. Here is my working model:
One spot: The beginning of something.
Two spots: A period of give-and-take.
Three spots: A period of growth or progress.
Four spots: A period of consolidation.
Five spots: A period of challenge or upset.
Six spots: A period of harmony restored.
Seven spots: A new direction or test.
Eight spots: A period of adjustment or anxiety.
Nine spots: A period of re-centering or reconciliation.
Ten spots” A period of rest and relative inactivity.
Eleven spots: A period of renewed trial and striving.
Twelve spots: A period of redemption or regeneration.
These meanings come primarily from the Tree of Life by way of Aleister Crowley, with minor input from Agrippa’s “Three Books of Occult Philosophy.” They aren’t related to the “lucky number” form of pop numerology.
Druidcraft – with which I have an ancestral connection through my Celtic roots – is next on my list, although I doubt I will adopt its more ritualistic religious aspects. I had previously dabbled in Wicca but, again, I’m not interested in a religion. A rendezvous with Kipper cards and other oracle decks may also be in my future, along with a more streamlined approach to natal astrology. Overall, it’s been a stimulating journey with a cast of memorable fellow travelers. As a another band of veteran trippers once observed, “What a long, strange trip it’s been!”