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Monthly Archives: March 2011

Nine of Wands: Strength

Thoth – Rider-Waite

Strength:

The Nine of Wands. Strength. Endurance. Perseverance. Stamina. Bravery. Admirability. Defensiveness. The Nine of Wands corresponds to the Sefirot of Yesod, which represents Crystallization and Solidification. This Sefirot is the sum of all those that came before it in a way that the other Sefirot are not; it directly receives energy from Tiphareth which in turn receives it from Kether, and also resolves the weakness of Netzach and the reaction of Hod. In the case of Wands, Strength represents the non-degenerate qualities of Valour; courage and bravery remain the same, but instead of emphasizing individual boldness, Strength emphasizes perseverance, endurance, and standing up for your beliefs, while at the same time harkening back to Virtue (Three of Wands) in terms of admirability, the silent quality of the suit of Wands. The Nine of Wands also resolves the swift movement and instability of Swiftness, which in many ways represents the quickly-fading blaze, by instead representing the massive, steady flame that serves as a beacon for those around it. In the case of Wands, Strength is the sum and essence of all that is Wands; it is the solidified and crystallized form of Fire, passion, action, and creativity, exemplifying both the outer and inner qualities of the suit of Wands. In the Naples arrangement, 9 corresponds to the essence of being; to show the qualities of the Nine of Wands is to show the essence of being of Wands.

The Nine of Wands shows all that is good about Wands; Passion becomes Strength, Courage becomes Bravery, Defiance becomes Defensiveness and standing up for oneself, the swift cycle of rapid change becomes a lasting beacon filled with endurance and stamina, acting as a role model and an admirable goal for those around it.

The Rider-Waite illustration shows a man with a bandaged head leaning on a Wand, with more in the background; he is clearly tired, but still he endures. This card emphasizes the essence of inner strength and passion that keep one going, even though he may become weary. The Thoth card shows a grid of eight Wands, with a ninth in the center of it. Strong but steady emanations come from the center of the Wands, and the central Wand is not overly different from the others; it shows balance between sun and moon, and is thicker to demonstrate strength, yet it does not separate completely from its fellows like the Seven of Wands does. It serves as an example for what the other Wands have become, and does not abandon them to individualism.

In a reading, the Nine of Wands commends the strength of a situation or your position in it, and tells you not to be afraid. It advises you to stand up for what you believe in, and to endure and persevere; you can make it through whatever might be coming your way. It might not be easy, but by embodying the qualities of Strength, you will win. It can advise you to serve as a beacon for others, or to find a beacon yourself and learn from them. Be passionate, but do not boast and cause situations that might lead to conflict; this card does not represent conquest. It is the culmination of an inner struggle that has resulted in spiritual strength that those around will admire. Reversed, this card shows that the energy of Strength is being blocked somehow; your stamina or perseverance is failing, you are losing confidence in yourself, or you feel like you can’t go on. Push onwards and you can achieve what you need to!

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Posted by on March 31, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Eight of Wands: Swiftness

Thoth – Rider-Waite

Swiftness: Rapid/Unexpected Changes/News, Fall, and Speed

The Eight of Wands. Swiftness. News. Changes. Speed. Conclusion. Fall. The unexpected. Sudden action. The Eight of Wands corresponds to the Sefirot of Hod, which represents intellect, structure, and weakness – as a response to the degenerate nature of Netzach. The inherent structure of the suit of Wands is actually not very structured; Wands are associated with fire, which is itself not inherently ordered. As such, the ‘order’ and ‘structure’ of fire and Wands is inherently fleeting (unless one’s power and passion blaze on for a long while), and passes by swiftly. The Eight of Wands represents this swiftness and the sudden change that can result from the energy of the suit. In the Naples Arrangement, 8 corresponds to Knowledge and Thought; it is the consciousness of the nature of Wands that define this card, and why its swiftness and speed come to the fore.

The aspect of ‘weakness’ appears in the Eight of Wands in the form of fall; one who is passionate but uses up their energy swiftly will burn out early and will fade rapidly, going from someone to no one in a short span of time. In a similar vein, the Eight also then can represent conclusions, and the end of a period in one’s life. However, it is important to remember that these periods are not major, and the falls are not large – some of the Major Arcana hold those spots in reserve.

The Eight also is a reaction to the nature of Valour; the fall again shows itself, as one falls from grace and valour, and speed as well; the reaction to a perceived flaw in the nature of Wands will be swift, sudden, passionate, and grandiose; leading to a possible conclusion or sudden, unexpected change. In the vein of unexpected change, the Eight of Wands also represents news, particularly surprising news; this news could either be good or bad, but it will certainly be a change.

The Rider-Waite art shows eight wands falling from the sky to the earth, demonstrating motion (likely swift, as they’re falling), and very clearly the idea of a fall. The remind me of arrows in many ways, travelling swiftly from one place to another, like sudden, unexpected news. The Thoth illustration shows eight zig-zagging, energetic wands all emanating from a central point, illustrating the idea of spreading news. Above the wands is a rainbow, which is a representation of the cards role as a messenger.

In a reading, the Eight of Wands generally indicates a sudden change, piece of surprising news, or a fall from grace. It can also ask you to examine your current actions and whether or not a rapid change in direction is necessary, or to be wary of things that might bring you down. It can also advise you to act quickly to seize the day. Reversed, this card indicates that the swift energies of sudden change are present, but are blocked; is something holding you back from making said change? Are you denying the truth of something you’ve heard just because it came out of the blue? Are you trying to stave off a sudden change you feel is coming?

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Seven of Wands: Valour

Thoth – Rider-Waite

Valour: Individual Glory, Courage, and Defiance

The Seven of Wands. Valour. Courage. Defiance. Aggression. Glory. Individualism. Everyone for themselves. The Seven of Wands corresponds to the Sefirot Netzach: weakness, the degenerate, creativity. Anarchy. Like Geburah, Netzach has a sense of chaos surrounding it, but not the random chaos of first motion; it is ordered, degenerate chaos. The energy of the suit of Wands is frayed as it leaves Tiphareth and approaches Netzach, changing form. As such, the energy seen in Netzach is a distorted, twisted, degenerate form of the energy seen in Tiphareth; the anarchy of unity. In the Naples Arrangement, 7 corresponds to Bliss – in some ways in the sense of rapture and reveling in the quality of being, and lustful abandon.

When one takes the elements and qualities of the suit of Wands and uses and displays it with abandon, one reaches Valour. Valour in itself is not always a bad thing, and many might consider it very similar to Victory and Virtue; but there are key differences. Virtue is a set of passive characteristics, that others see in you without overly much action on your part. Valour is a set of active characteristics, its adjectives placed on you for your bold actions. Victory is triumph as a group, where the preceding elements of Fire come together. Valour has much of this energy, but is instead focused on the individual, not the group. The pride one has as a result of the Six of Wands is the result of group action. As such, the energy Valour represents is the more selfish, degenerate form of the triumph and acclaim of Victory.

As such, Valour represents courage, defiance, standing up for what you believe in (passionately), aggression, and glory (glory is different from pride in that pride is what you have in yourself; it measures self-confidence and assurance, while glory is how others perceive you, and measure your esteem in the eyes of others) – but in the sense of you as an individual. The group is not important to the concept of valour; only the individual. This fraying of the energy manifests itself also in that instead of one unified triumphant group, one has many glorious and brave individuals, and creates an environment of competition, like was seen in Strife (though this competition is not as negative as seen by Strife) – everyone for himself. Let the most valorous man win.

The art on the Rider-Waite card emphasizes this cards aspect of defiance; a man is holding a wand defensively, seemingly fending off attackers from below. He holds the high ground, and keeps fast to his position. He has conviction. The Thoth artwork  is very similar to the art on the Six of Wands; the same grid of Wands is shown, but the steady flames of the Six have been replaced by small, short bursts – like the passionate short bursts of flame that represent passionate individuals who do not rely on others. Additionally, on top of the grid is a seventh wand, seemingly ablaze and about to consume itself, and dividing the grid as well. This serves as a warning; the valorous individual (the burning wand) will take down not only himself, but will divide others too.

In a reading, the Seven of Wands indicates the need to examine your individual sense of pride and possibly arrogance, or acting courageously and temporarily taking the glorious path forward. It can also ask you to consider what your strong beliefs are, and to find where you stand and hold your point. Reversed, this card asks whether or not there is enough individualism in you; have you been so subsumed in a group that you have no real individual identity? Have you been hiding? Is it time for you to step forward and use your courage?

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Six of Wands: Victory

Thoth – Rider-Waite

Victory: Triumph/Accomplishment, Group Pride/Acclaim, Lasting Order

The Six of Wands. Victory. Triumph. Acclaim. Pride. Nationalism. Accomplishment. Lasting order. The Six of Wands corresponds to the Sefirot of Tiphareth: Conscious Harmony. Whereas Kether is the original harmony of the Suit – the unconscious harmony – Tiphareth is the conscious harmony, which comes to understand that Chesed and Geburah are two sides of the same thing. This revelation brings about Tiphareth, which is in many ways like a toned-down Kether; if one looks at the Tree of Life, you can see that Tiphareth is the only Sefirot other than Chokmah and Binah that receives any energy of Kether. As such, after chaotic motion of Geburah, the light of Kether brings about realization and a conscious, explicit harmony to the Suit of Wands. In the Naples Arrangement, 6 is Experience; the Experience that brings about harmony.

The Six of Wands, then, is the combination of the Four and Five; of Completion and Strife, given a positive, enlightened spin. Conflict (Five) is brought to Order (Four) to bring Triumph and Accomplishment. Adversity (Five) comes together with Celebration (Four) to bring people together into groups, and the sense of Accomplishment (as a Group) and Group Pride rise out of this. Competition (Five) allows for the best to rise to the top, and Security (Four) provides for everyone else, giving everyone Lasting Order. Tiphareth restores balance and stability (as can be seen in the card’s meaning of Lasting Order) to the Suit of Wands and Element of Fire through experience and realization. As the center of the Tree of Life, the Sefirot of Tiphareth also represents the central balance of the suit, as all of the energies above Tiphareth flow into it, and Tiphareth flows into all below it (save Malkuth). As such, in many ways, Tiphareth represents some of the best the suit has to offer (the Sefirot Yesod performs a similar role). It is at this point that the previous elements of the Suit of Wands all come together: the power of the Ace and Dominion, the qualities of Virtue, the joy of Completion and the conquest of Strife.

As such, Victory represents group accomplishment, pride, unity, overcoming adversity, security, and permanence. In many ways, this card is a (weaker) and more stable version of the Chariot (VII). This card showcases many of the best aspects of the Suit of Wands.

The Rider-Waite art shows a very Caesar-esque figure, upon a horse with an ivy wreath upon his head and holding aloft a wand proudly, surrounded by others doing the same, illustrating and stressing the fact that this card is not about individual accomplishment, but rather that of a community or group. The Thoth illustration depicts six wands crossed in a grid, with a steady flame – not violent emanations any longer – burning in the squares of each, telling of strength through unity and stability. It is also interesting to note that the Wands with bird-like heads here are facing up now instead of down (like they were in the Five of Wands) – looking up to Kether’s influence.

In a reading, the Six of Wands indicates that you should be looking to those around you to help you overcome your mutual goals, and have a sense of pride in terms of where you are and what you’ve accomplished with those around you. Embrace your group identities and work with the team; through teamwork and passion you will overcome adversity and achieve victory, and one that will last. Reversed, this card asks you to look at how you may be focusing too much on your individual pride and accomplishments, and to instead look at how you fit in with the pride and accomplishments of those around you; maybe you have achieved a victory, but its effects will not be permanent, or you will have done it by yourself so that you will not have the joy of truly sharing your triumphs with those around you.

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Alienated From Our Food?

I just came out of my class on Social Class and Inequality, and so was naturally thinking about Marx and his argument that capitalism alienates the worker from their labor. I am, in case you hadn’t guessed, a Marxist in many respects, and I agree with his argument; the mass production of goods creates a disconnect between the worker and his product, as he doesn’t see the whole thing from start to finish, and also then in a society defined by one’s work, is then alienated from oneself.

I then, after my class, went to go get some food – and so started thinking about alienation. And food. Then realized that the chicken and bacon I was eating came from an animal – but we don’t see that. Most people (not all – kudos to vegans and vegetarians who do) don’t really think about where their food comes from, blinding themselves to the fact that their chicken finger was once (part of) a living thing. Or that their steak came from a cow. And most people, I believe, would be uncomfortable walking into a butcher’s shop and directly choosing what part of the animal they want to eat not only because it makes them queasy, but reminds them of where their food comes from.

So, next time you sit down to a meal of meat (and yes, fish is meat, I don’t care what anyone else says), take a moment and remember where it came from. Remember the animal that gave its life so you could eat it – and please try to finish it so that it’s life isn’t wasted.

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2011 in Philosophical Musings

 

The Libel of Blood at 326 Pages!

And with this, The Libel of Blood is now longer than The Light of Civilization! Over the past few days I made lots of progress. Yesterday I sat down and did a Tarot reading on why my writing had been so slow, and it was very enlightening. I put into place the advice the cards gave me, and have since written 22 pages. I have almost reached the point at which the book began, with the teaser at the beginning of the first chapter. Chapter 38 – what I just finished – was a rather confusing and hectic chapter to write, but I was proud with the result. Not only does it feature a death, Jak’s piloting skills, an awesome sword, a hijacked shuttle, and a philosophical discussion on the implications of advanced computers, but it also contains the one and only (re)appearance of Psy in the whole book – for all of twoish pages.

I also have planned out the rest of the book, which should go up to 42 Chapters and an Epilogue (which will be rather long, I think). Which means that all I have left to write are Chapters 39, 40, 41, 42, and the Epilogue! Then the editing process (and work on short stories) begins. Oh joy.

For now, though, I’m going to try to power through the rest of it. And for your enjoyment or torture, here’s Psy’s return:

*-*-*

I had seen that look before…

“No,” I said softly, looking at Derekk. He began to stand up straighter, and a small smile crossed his face. “Not now… I defeated you! You’re gone!”

“Inside your own head you will never again find us. But what makes others off-limits, Jakken Servidos?”

My head was ready to explode. “I can’t handle you all at once!” I shouted. Everyone quieted instantly. I pointed to Derekk. “Get him!”

“What?” Thyrak asked. “Are you okay – shit! Get him!” Thyrak immediately lunged at Derekk, tackling him to the ground.

“What the hell?” Triple-G said as Jarken joined the other Shortel.

“Psy… what’s he doing back? Why now?” Jarken said.

“We’re going to crash!” Danielle shouted and she curled into a fetal position.

Time began to slow. I was trapped on a damaged shuttle about to crash into a heavily armed and armoured ship piloted by the most evil being alive, while my lover had apparently been possessed by a psychotic evil psychic giant flying slug, and everyone in the tiny room we were in was panicking over one or the other. How could things get any worse?

A small smile crept over my face, and my fingers twitched. If I piloted the ship.

I ran up and threw Danielle out of the chair.

[…Omitted Content…]

The ship running relatively straight, I closed mye eyes and calmed myself. Like Kalkkis said – free your thoughts.

My mind cleared, and immediately I could feel the mental presences of those around me – Mikhail, Triple-G, Danielle, Jarken, Thyrak, Derekk… and Psy. His image appeared in my mind’s eye; the gigantic, floating, translucent blue slug who had haunted me ever since I had left Earth.

“Psy! Leave him and never come back!”

Jak – you assault us on my own territory. We are wounded.

“You have five seconds to leave his body.”

And why should I?

I hesitated, then swallowed. “Because then I will join you… after I am dead.”

I felt a wave of shock and surprise emanating from the slug-thing. You would do that for this pathetic worm-thing?

“Yes,” I said calmly. “He is not yours.”

There was a pause, during which I sensed much thought. If that is truly your choice, Jak – then you are not who I thought you were. You and this one shall never see me or my influences again while you live – but once you have both left this Space, he shall be ours.

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2011 in Writing

 

Five of Wands: Strife

Thoth – Rider-Waite

Strife: Conflict, Adversity, and Competition

The Five of Wands. Strife. Conflict. Adversity. Frustration. Disagreement. Competition. Struggle. Disharmony. The Five of Wands corresponds to the Sefirot of Geburah, and is the first card that can really be interpreted as negative. The Sefirot Geburah corresponds to upset – essentially, the destruction of the balance of Chesed. As such, the four Fives – all of which correspond to Geburah – are primarily negative cards, and represent the stable energy of their suit being destroyed – and the destruction of stability (particularly the “good” stability of Chesed) is rarely positive. In the Naples Arrangement, 5 corresponds to motion – those actions matter can take once it has come into being. These motions, however naturally upset the previous state of stability and balance, and so Geburah also represents to the first strong appearance of chaos and disharmony, particularly among Wands. The passionate energy of Fire and Wands is shifted from the realm of the positive to the realm of the negative. In particular, the Five of Wands represents a form of chaos in the form of conflict and disagreement; the opposite in many ways of “order.”

The Five of Wands has the distinction, as I said, of being the first “negative” of the Wands. The previous harmonious energy of Wands is thrown off and upset by the motion of Geburah, and so the suits energies now relate to its unstable aspects. As the suit of Passion, situations and individuals charged with the energy of Wands often have strong feelings about things and are very stubborn, and so often might come into conflict, which is the word that best describes this card. When many diverging opinions move (Geburah) and come together, all backed up by passionate and driving wills, discord, disagreement, and competition all will come to the fore, and it is in situations like these that the energy of the Five of Wands is revealed.

A second aspect of the Five of Wands – though related to the first – is the idea of frustration and adversity. Why can’t others see your point of view? Why is this so difficult? With regards to adversity, this card primarily refers to struggles and frustrations with regard to the actions of others, as opposed to the hassles that characterize cards like the Eight of Swords, Interference. Interpersonal conflict leading to conflict, competition and feelings of annoyance and frustration define the Five of Wands: the coming together of passionate, opposing wills.

The art on the Rider-Waite card shows a group of men fighting and struggling against each other, and I believe covers the meaning of the card very simply and with little need for explanation. The Thoth illustration shows, like many of the other Wand cards, crossed wands (signalling strength and passion) on a field of flame. Notice that the emanations coming from the wands are much more subdued than those of the previous cards, and the bright yellow background contrasts greatly with the darker reds of the main picture, signalling opposition. The birdlike heads of the upper back wands also seem to me to be menacing, threatening the wands below them.

In a reading, the Five of Wands asks you to review your current situation with regards to opposing, negative relationships with others; are the causes of your frustrations the actions of others? Is there discord in your group of acquaintances or coworkers? How is competition playing a role in your life? The idea of competition here is the least negative; sometimes from competition and strife, stronger individuals emerge. But sometimes not. In reverse, this card indicates perhaps a lesser disagreement between people, or that you feel like being argumentative but manage to hide it. It could also be that while you feel like you’re in a competitive and strife-filled environment, others don’t – or perhaps others see the environment as that way and you don’t!

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2011 in Uncategorized