Musings on Another Year

I just renewed my WordPress subscription (or, more accurately, I allowed it be renewed) for another year. Thus begins my fourth year of running this blog, and I thought it would be a good time for a quick review. I’ve covered a lot of ground over the past 36 months, in 1,170 posts. Some of the material gets updated in new entries as I encounter different opinions in books and online forums that cause me to amplify and occasionally modify my earlier observations (I’ve been called “Socratic” for this vigilance), but for the most part I try to keep everything fresh and original. I’ve spent a good portion of that time in “teaching” mode, but in general – as a creative writer – I just like the sound (well, the sight) of my own words, and I’m willing to pay for the privilege of seeing them in print. During that time I’ve attracted only 253 followers (I have no idea how that measures up to the norm), but if I’ve reached even one person in a meaningful way I feel that I’ve succeeded.

A little biographical background is in order. I’m a rather solemn (and a wee bit acerbic) Scotsman by ancestry and temperament, courtesy of my dour (but not entirely sober) maternal Canadian forebears who were descended from Lowland Scots, while my paternal roots lie in the Middle East by way of Germany. I like to say “I’m half-Canadian . . . my better half.” I’m also an AARP-certified “old guy,” so I’m doubly doomed (or damned)  to the role of curmudgeon. I’ve seen a lot of water pass under the bridge in the world of esoteric studies and practice, and I’m convinced that much of it should go straight to the waste treatment plant. The “next big thing” is seldom the eye-opening revelation its proponents seem to think it is, and the fact that the well-established foundations of the metaphysical arts are held in such low esteem by many contemporary writers and thinkers is a sad commentary on how far we’ve fallen from the “wisdom of the ages” in our rush to reinvent the wheel (and not incidentally sell a few books and courses to unsuspecting neophytes).

As a “married-with-adult-children” male, I suspect I’m an anomaly in the divination community, a small fraction of 1% of what is predominantly a female (or should I say “gender-fluid?”) population. For me it’s a calling, a life-long commitment and not merely a social-media phenomenon. Other than a semi-annual Lenormand Grand Tableau to get the “lay of the land,” I seldom read for myself any more, preferring to help others sort out their lives as best I can. I’ve considered myself a paid cartomantic professional in the public arena for the last seven or eight years, but I’ve been working privately in the field since 1972. In keeping with Aleister Crowley’s edict “The Magician ought therefore to make himself master of several methods of divination,” I practice tarot, Lenormand, Kipper, geomancy, lithomancy, I Ching, natal astrology and horary astrology, not all of them in a professional capacity. One of my main pursuits is creating innovative tarot spreads and sharing them here. Spiritually and philosophically, the closest I come to organized religion is modern (as opposed to “Spinozan”) pantheism; I often say that if a gun were put to my head, forcing me to adopt an orthodox creed, it would be Buddhism.

I’m also a lapsed or reformed Mensan, depending on your opinion of Mensa. I got tired of funding the opportunity to rub elbows with self-absorbed intellectual elitists in pubs, so I bailed out many years ago. At one time (back in the early ’70s) I put a lot of mental horsepower into exploring the complexities of the Hermetic Qabalah and psychological astrology, two largely antithetical disciplines; one is profoundly mystical and the other is predominantly Jungian with affectations of empirical legitimacy. More recently I’ve gravitated toward traditional “seven-planet” astrology, and horary in particular. As an early adopter of New Age concepts, I sense that much of the magic has gone out of the movement (which is now considered by many to be a relic of the past), and we’re left with a gaggle of entrepreneurs and opportunists clamoring for our dollars. Although I have an abiding interest in collaborative work, I’ve been pretty much destined for the life of a solitary practitioner.

For those involved in astrology, I was born on the Summer Solstice and a Capricorn Full Moon. I’m heavy on cardinal planets (mostly Water and Earth) with a powerful Scorpio Ascendant and its traditional ruling planet, Mars, elevated in the chart (in the 10th-House in “scientific” Virgo and conjunct the Midheaven) and peregrine (“wandering,” or making no major aspects and having no essential or accidental dignity). This combination has all the earmarks of a diagnostically-inclined “forensic technician,” and I spent a long career in the quality assurance branch of a technological company, sniffing out other people’s mistakes. (In traditional astrology, Scorpio, Virgo and Aquarius are considered the “scientific” signs.) After retiring, I brought those investigative skills to the full-time practice of divination, coupling it with a strong inclination for storytelling (as befits the “artistic” minor quintile aspect between Mars and the Venus-Mercury conjunction in Cancer). The intuitive sensitivity is there, of course, but it serves my more analytical bent and my objectives as a metaphysical explorer. It’s what makes me “half mystic and half mad scientist.”

If you’re new to this blog, well-met and I hope you find something of interest here (it’s best searched by category and not keyword). If you’ve been with me for a while, know that I plan to continue in the same vein for as long as I can conjure up new ideas. One exciting thing is that I have a renewed relationship with The Cartomancer quarterly international journal, and will hopefully have more essays published there in the coming year. My connection with the American Tarot Association has faded since I felt I wasn’t getting enough for my money, and I’m toying with the idea of joining Marcus Katz’ Tarosophy organization since I have a lot to share and must be a paid-up member to fully participate. However, I’m not much of a willing disciple of anyone (well, maybe of Aleister Crowley’s erudition if not of his rather lurid persona and lifestyle), so it remains to be seen how good a fit that will be.

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