Path Death, Ego Death, Resurrection

I’ve been listening to Tom Campbell’s model of reality, My Big Toe, while purging the remodeled master bath and bedroom of old, now unused tools. Finally listening to Campbell is part of my recent rebellion lap around Buddhism and its theories. While cleaning my bedroom, I found an old fortune cookie fortune. It reads, “All things have an end.”

Earlier in the evening, I had decided to pull just one tarot card after sitting. The impulse flashed up as an imperative while I was brushing my teeth. My query formulation for the one-card draw was this, born of my knowledge-access frustrations around my current level of practice: “In the next 3 to 6 months, how should I contemplate and actualize in practice all the messages and signs I’m receiving?”

How My Path Will Actualize in 3 to 6 Months: Death

The card I turned up was major arcana Death. And the words in the manual, echoing almost exactly the fortune cookie fortune I had just found, leaped starkly forth: “All things come to an end.” This card means that a major karmic change is on its way, that nothing I can do will avert its coming, for it is certain, and that I should regard the transition that will be suddenly upon me as beneficial.

The message is to offer no resistance to the major change (an important ending) that is coming, but to meet it head on by shedding outdated beliefs, habits, attitudes, dogmas, and practice paradigms now. Out of this coming major karmic death will arise new life. I am to clear all mental clutter and complicating intellectualizing noise, sit in silence, and listen. The card’s message is to begin now to shed everything that has long been dead in my life. It is funny that this card turns up on a day I was “shedding” tons of material possessions from my bathroom, giving all to Goodwill.  I will receive the message I’m seeking from above by listening from a cleared and clean place.

I think I have drawn the Death card only one other time since I have owned this tarot deck. It is a chilling card to turn up. I decided next night to throw some clarifying cards around it. Death is associated with a hard, intense transition—a shock of loss that will be forced on me and that I need to accept and adjust to, go with instead of against.

What This Reading Is About: Queen of Swords Reversed

This was the hardest card to read in this spread in this spread, but here goes. This card is traditionally about having a strong concentrated mind and communication skills. It is about accepting no bullshit, about rebellion. The queen is disciplined and demanding. The eyes in the raven’s wings are both featured in and attending to the landscape of signs. Thus, we look to the outer world for signs of our inner progress, demanding answers. The card is saying, I think, that my concentration on signs has intensified my inner frustration rather than assuaged it, and I’m communicating that frustration to others, which I have been. It is enjoining quiet and delay of communications.

This card is not, however, in an advice position in this spread. So  it is not necessarily to be taken as advice, but instead is revealing what has been churning in me: that I’m  frustrated with my path, rejecting dogma, and basically putting all this rebellion on display. This queen stands up to bullies and authority figures. She rejects dogma. No bullshit! A companion of mine is pointing my blind spots out to me in a rational, sometimes critical way. Am I’m practicing discriminating wisdom? Will I behead him?

What This Reading Is Not About: Six of Disks Reversed

The Six of Disks appeared in my most recent tarot reading. There it was about manifestation: dreams, vision, and upcoming book. In reverse it indicates a Pandora’s Box: Once something begins manifesting, and escaping, it cannot be put back in a box. The card can indicate ambition and passion. This reading is not about any of this ambition to manifest. I take this to mean that visions, dreamwork, and author collaboration are not meeting with death due to overambition. The Death card is about my frustraton with my path stall-out, period. Good to know!

What to Do: Nine of Swords Reversed

This card features a temple of eternity. It signifies enlightenment. The black and white pillars are reversed from the usual left-to-right order, depending on which side of the threshold you stand. This card is about crossing that threshold but also remaining in the human world. In reverse, this card means “death,” but what appears as death is actually a passage into eternal life. This card, especially in a fourth position as it is here, warns against rushing and overthinking everything. I must remain human and maintain my human relationships, so one foot remains in physical reality, the relative. I need to remain grounded.

Outcome: Judgment

This card signifies resurrection from death, specifically ego death, with a new body, as indicated by the phoenix rising from the flames on the picture. This reading is marking the death of the old path of practice and the rising of a new body. I have been having regular astral body experiences as I gave up on my main practices because they stalled. Perhaps the next few months will extend these themes. Dreamwalker mentioned that when one leaves his or her body, in shamanic terms, the event is “crossing the guardian of death. The arising of the second, body is “resurrection.” 

Postscript: Reinterpretation a Week Later

These cards were thrown right when my now deceased friend Terri unexpectedly entered hospice care after years of suffering uncomplainingly the assaults of cancer and chemo. My query for the tarot was specifically about my own path of practice for the next 3 to 6 months. When I first saw the Death card, however, I instantly thought of Terri. Now that she did in fact die 5 days later, plunging me  into the most profound practices of bardo connection with her for the next 49 days, I am reconsidering that this reading may be about her death and my intermediate-state practices piercing into the reality of death and the unreality of it as some entropic end state. The February to April bardo practice for Kory, Kerry’s friend, opened new terrain of the heart and the paranormal (a second body in which I travel, launching from hypnagogia). So soon I’m doing the practices again for someone who was my best friend in my formative years and someone who had meditated several times a day for two decades. She was the one who coaxed me into taking up meditation in 2010. The life interpenetration with her is profound. In short, if this practice does anything for real, then it has a high chance of success this go around. I know she was and is not afraid, but prepared. She was used to being formless and will remain calm and concentrated. She has a good chance of complete liberation, I’m confident. Maybe the cards are showing more ego death on my part via my complete immersion in her death.

Trumping Crazed Energies

Some have asked why I’m writing here less often. I’ve been scarce here for a number of reasons:

  • I’m keeping a private journal of my main formal practices, and it is not ripe for revealing to the public;
  • I’m in a stage characterized by “retreat” from interaction and more deeply into the quiet of my body-heart-mind;
  • I’m insanely busy at my day job;
  • I still need to post the rest of my Dharma by Dark Night journal; 
  • I suddenly lost interest in tarot and dreamwork, which is mainly what this journal is about, as it turns out; 
  • I’m trying to grapple with time pressure; 
  • I’ve been swamped with energies of people in crisis and needing support this week; and
  • Because I’m so open now, I am easily swamped with chaos and fear in the field.

And, with regard to the final bullet, boy, has that been intense since Trump was elected. It has been a wild ride. And I am still not carving out sufficient time for writing the dharma book planned. So this journal will be slow for a good while.

Last night, instead of doing only my advanced formal practice, I spent nearly 3 hours in ritual and meditation, calling on holy beings and protectors, doing guru yoga by allowing the Exemplary Being to enter my crown and descend through all the chakras, and sitting as the fierce and protective Mother over Little Jenny and other Little Ones near me and suffering and seeking. When this was over, I had the sudden urge to throw some cards.

Understand the Past: Page of Swords Reversed

The Page of Swords is a card of youthful power and fortune, symbolized by the red dragon tattooed on the girl’s body. Here it is reversed, signifying the inundation of negative energies and discussion of natural and political disasters. 

Understand the Present: The Six of Disks

This card features the archangel Gabriel, whose name means “Strength of God.” This angel is the Messenger and Seat of Mercy. He is the deliverer of divine texts and teachings. This card is about manifesting and integrating good deeds on this physical plane, especially through communication, writing, dreams, and visions. Gabriel heralds Mary’s pregnancy and blows the trumpet before Judgment; so he is about monumental collapse and monumental beginnings, sweeps of aeons beyond historic time. This very Earth and species are at stake in the people I’m now helping through crises. This is a Bodhisattva’s commitment: to stay, to envision, to communicate, to manifest. This card indicates spiritual gifts I already have yet need to earn through hard work for others in need. This is my life’s purpose.

Do This: The Five of Swords

This card features luminous-eyed Athena, with her owls. The number 5 carries elements of suffering and challenge. And indeed there have been challenge and a frenzy of suffering in others that have created a field effect penetrating me to the point of inducing chills, weakness, and feelings of illness, all of which vanished with this 3-hour sit. This card, a 5, means I have to go into duality, so to speak, to retrieve the core of myself so that I’m not so easily swamped and tilted by the crazy energies of the field. I am meeting this challenge of working through my dis-ease and the suffering of the field of beings with intelligence, reason, strategy, and philosophy (stalwart Athenian). Key message of this card, and right on for current context of Fear everywhere, is this: Question all paranoia; invoke and give spiritual protection.

Envision Outcomes: The Seven of Swords

The raven in this card is holding an emerald in its beak, both the sun stolen from the gods and the color of the center of the rainbow, green, as 5 above was the center of the numbered cards. This card, and the whole reading in general, is about movement, deeds, and descent to the physical Earthly plane to guide others with reason. This is, like the other cards, about a Great Work, communication and transmission of knowledge and power. It is a card that tolls my life: To teach, to write. 

Uncovering Hidden Agendas in a Three-Tiered Organization

In my previous post I explained this new 15-card spread that I call “The Matrix.” Here I will record some, although not all, of the specific insights I gained when I put that template into use last night. In my reading, the three entities (rows) in the group I was investigating are  in a hierarchical relationship in an official organization. So the top row in the photo here represents the top of the hierarchy, the middle is the person occupying the second tier of power. The third is the official bottom (or, rather, the bottom for the reach I’m limiting myself to at this time). Because some of the questions concern beings who may be deceiving others up and down the chain, the results are complex. I may be unraveling it for weeks, although I have the general answers I was looking for, so maybe not.

My Five Questions

If you try this spread, then of course you can formulate questions specific to the situation you are reading. Here are the basic questions I asked of each row, the questions being represented by the 1-5 columns in the matrix:

  1. Who or what is this entity (significator)?
  2. What is this this entity’s true mission across planes of existence?
  3. What is this entity hiding (or, when I already knew what, then I asked why)?
  4. How does this entity truly regard the entity in the row above it?
  5. What is the takeaway of this row for me, my commitments, and my actions?
  6. Renumbering of the Cards

When the information is read across a row, it unfolds a narrative about that entity; when the information is read as a column, it implies much about the relationships involved.

First, I’ll renumber each card in this matrix for easy reference:

1     2    3     4     5

6    7    8     9    10

11   12   13   14   15

I’ll identify by number the cards thrown and interpret by entity (row).

 

Entity Row 1 (Top of Hierarchy)

I expected this row not to be all sunshine and daisies; however, it was darker than I expected.

Card 1: Three of Cups Reversed

This is the significator card for who or what this entity truly is. The quote that Marie White pairs with this card is as follows: “I must Create a System, or be enslav’d by another Man’s” (William Blake). And this is the top of the hierarchy I’m considering. The painting on the card shows a shady green earth scene with three streams (souls) of water falling from the heavens (source) to the earth (Tao), where they arise again as the manifestation of the tree in the foreground. The tree’s various branches are chaotic, however, some reaching up to the source and for other branches, and others reaching out and away from the structure. The three streams are three different paths to and from enlightened heart-mind. They are also eternity/timelessness: all that was, all that is, and all that will be. The card means that one has to know himself, his gifts, and use them to the best of his ability and allow others to follow their own paths. However, this card was drawn in reverse. This means that this entity has suffered some fall from grace in historical time, and the result is that it compares itself to others. In this case, the green is that of jealousy.

Card 2: Queen of Disks Reversed

This queen provides a safe Earthly environment to foster growth. Her tears are fallen stars, the souls of the nurtured here on Earth and under it. However, this card, moving out of the jealousy of the first card, is reversed. It indicates lack of stability, insufficiency, and financial weakness. So far, we have a picture of a group affected by a historical decline and diminishment, and its mission answers to this lack of relative power.

Card 3: King of Cups Reversed

This card is what (who) is being hidden by the entity. I had intuited days before finalizing the plans for this reading that if this card came up anywhere in the reading then it would represent specifically the entity for Row 2. So this development is fascinating for being perfectly in line with what I do know of the overall situation. Entity 2 is doing work for Entity 1 and elements of that work are secret and hidden. Entity 1 is motivated by a jealous restoration of former glory and power. The image on the card of Entity 2 is of a white-haired man half submerged in a pool of blue lotuses. This half submersion represents this person’s lack of understanding, or denial, of what is known by the Unconscious about the situation and his role in it.

Card 4: Ace of Cups Reversed

This card represents Entity 1′s regard for what is higher than he or it. This card represents the feminine, with its images of water, nighttime, and the moon. It is a sign of the Unconscious heart knowledge of our ancestors since beginningless time. It is the mark of an ancient bloodline, a lineage. Here, yet again, a positive card has fallen through time and met with reversal. Fear and misunderstanding have now blocked this most primordial of messages from reaching the Earth.

Card 5: Nine of Cups Upright

This card is yet another in the suit of cups, meaning love and compassion, and one among other 3s/9s and others bearing star images. This card’s position represents what this row’s other readings mean for me personally in terms of my future decisions, alignments, commitments, and actions. Here the Star in the upper background, three 3s, is eternity. The black and white checkering is the interweaving of dualities, yin and yang. As an Earth monkey, I’m one of the lone Stars that the Queen of Disks has wept to Earth. Between the black and white pillars is a stairway leading back to the heavens, Jacob’s ladder, back to the source. It is the path of the mystic. So we have the three path sources again, as in Card 1. The baboon as main figure on this card is the lion-hearted hermit in awe of the universe, the homeless child who has chosen a path other than that of conventional riches and commonwealth structures. Referring to the dream of all the characters in the Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Marie White writes:

[This card] reminded me of the scene where the dog pulled back the curtain and revealed that the great Wizard of Oz was really just an old man, and that everyone was capable of fulfilling their own wishes… . They [all the characters of Oz] are all you. Oz is on the inside, Kansas is on the outside. And you think there is a great magick that can save you or accomplish things for you or whatever, but in the end when you pull back the curtain, when you stand in front of the the High Priestess and pull back the veil, all you see is just a common monkey marveling at the world. And you realize that there is nothing else.

Alrighty then.

Entity Row 2 (Middle Tier)

Nothing surprised me here about this person, except that Card 8 is somewhat difficult for me to interpret coherently. That position is about what this person is hiding, and remember that I asked to be shown only what I need to know to make my decisions and commitments. 

Card 6: Eight of Swords Reversed

This card represents this second person, also represented by Card 3, King of Cups reversed, in his superior’s row. The image of the gate on the front says it all. There is paradise beyond the gate, and no lock upon it, yet it remains closed. The gate is a test, and the lack of opening is because this person is a prisoner of his own mind. His prison is an unsolved grief, self-inflicted suffering. All he has to do is walk through the gate by opening his heart the rest of the way. The reverse position of the card indicates inability to establish the will to open the gate. It signals weakness and chaos.

Card 7: Three of Disks Upright

As represented by the disks of the physical plane and the family on the front of this card, this person has become a master of his inborn gifts to benefit others as heirs to a greater gift. He cannot walk through the gate himself, but he manifests good for others by painstakingly creating works. His “heirs” will be successful at doing what he has been unable to: walk through the last gate to freedom.

Card 8: Nine of Wands Upright

Here is another 9. This is what this person is hiding, but it is a somewhat difficult card to read in this context: It is about boldness, but the position is about what this person is hiding. He is hiding his boldness, his fierceness? Ambition? Marie White’s opening explication of the painting of the lady and the untamed tiger on this card is that they constitute “the Flame in the Hermit’s Lamp.” Card 5, my takeaway card from Row 1, mentions a similar lion-hearted hermit, so this connection is interesting in light of the fact that this card shows another wildcat, a tiger burning bright, and it indicates going it alone by way of the “hermit,” one who is alone in hiding. This person is a master of the self and can channel immense creative yet dangerous power. He wants to express himself and to be seen as a hero. He is harnessing both his genius and his shortcomings to fully be who he must be in this lifetime. “Great people can suffer greatly.” And power can both enlighten and corrupt.

Card 9: The Magician Upright

This card is how Entity 2 sees his superior, Entity 1. I’ve elsewhere done detailed readings of this card, so there is no need to do so here. The meaning in this context of the rest of this reading is obvious.

Card 10: The Star

This is my takeaway from this row, and it is a big one: the major arcana card the Star. The figure on this card is a woman simultaneously walking through a living earthly field of humanity at night and yet hanging suspended over it in crucifixion, a Mary-el feminine savior figure. This card is about the “black spot of death” that was there already at birth. Ultimate growth is into the death of the ego, and that death gives rise to the True Self. The woman wears a garment with a six-pointed star centered over her womb, potential. Six is another multiple of 3, which dominates this whole reading. What has been built on and of earth must pass through these three: Devil, Death, and the Tower. At least, if enlightenment is to be reached:

The ego, the conscious idea of self, riddled with mistakes, regrets, illusions, delusions, untruths as well as truths, ideas, illusions of separateness, illusions of needs or instincts, of human life, they are all blown away. The earth is blown away. The lie is exposed. And when that shell falls, when you find you cannot stand on that lie anymore, and you fall through the illusions that is self and life on earth and everything you know or knew begins to vanish and disappear, all will become black and empty and, then, alone will be a single light. That is the truth. That is home. It is one. It is the Star. In the blackness that was the Tower, the Star will guide you home. (Marie White, p. 56)

The Star arises for the multitudes of humanity. If I stand by and up for the truth, no matter how hard doing so may be, and no matter how brutally alone and crucified I am for doing so, grace will come. Grace will come. This star, like the others mentioned in Cards 2 and 5, encodes life-death-rebirth cycles, earth-heaven-earth cycles. This reading of an underlying holographic matrix is perchance the exposure of the chief lie:

In Buddhism, some old versions of the Bardo Thodol, also known as The Tibetan Book of the Dead, contain a hexagram with a Swastika inside. In Tibetan, it is called the “origin of phenomenon” (chos-kyi ‘byung-gnas). It is especially connected with Vajrayogini, and forms the center part of her mandala. In reality, it is in three dimensions, not two, although it may be portrayed either way. Many Western occultists associate this central chakra [the heart center] with the central sephirah, Tiphereth, in the kabbalistic tree of life. Christian kabbalists in particular associate this sephirah with love, healing, and knowledge.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hexagram 

Entity Row 3 (Immediate Tier)

I know this being best of the three involved. 

Card 11: Ace of Wands Reversed

Upright, this significator card is associated with fire, the sun, and the courageous heart of a lion. From early on, this person was wild, hot, kinetic, and powerful. But within he also possesses great courage, strength, and heart. He can provide for and illuminate others. His is a masculine energy, primordial Yang. Like his superior, he wants to be a leader, a hero. His life’s charge has been to harness and steer his intense energy and to focus it into achieving goodness. He does not yet know the full magnitude of his divine strength, and he will not know it until he has moved it, channeled it, through his currently oppressive earthly situation and claimed it for his own. His power is ancient and divine; it was passed down to him from his mother and father. His is a rare gift, embodiment of the divine spark. However, note the reversed position, which indicates that much of this person’s immense energy is currently wasted.

Card 12: Queen of Wands Reversed

This mission card is another wands card, indicating a powerful magick-user. Again a wildcat figures, as the Queen holds a jaguar cub, jaguar being the spirit of the jungle, here the inner jungle of hot excess energy. This feminine figure is a shaman, a nagual, a shapeshifter who travels to and through multiple worlds. The jungle is the inner dark forest one must traverse alone to gain control of internal energy and to turn it to magick. (My dreams for many weeks now have been about my walking through a dark forest alone, by the way.) The queenly figure on the card is the master of internal flame, “the flame in the temple of your body,” which echoes the flame-in-the-hermit’s-lantern mention earlier, as well as the lone Star that lights the space where the Tower structure was. Hers is the embodiment of powerful shapeshifting skills. Note again the reversed position of the cards: This means that this being’s current situation is not conducive to his growth. Use of his powers is being discouraged. He has goodwill without sanctioned opportunity to exercise it. Hence, his current mission is to successfully shapeshift and walk cloaked, or invisible, between worlds.

Card 13: Eight of Disks Upright

The question posed here was why this person is hiding what he is hiding. Again mentioned in the explication of the painting on this card is the Sun and the Lion, masculine energy symbols. I must pass between the the fierce riddlers, the sphinxes of immortality and demon Ammut, “not heavy and not dark … [but] light, radiant, shining, a Star, your body filled with the Sun” (White p. 123). The Sphinxes will strangle me if my answer is wrong. The answer is “Man.” Why this person is hiding what he is hiding is to keep the peaceful white lamb between the the otherwise devouring opposing forces. The riddle that has perplexed me is not a lie; it is a sacrifice on his part, for a greater good. If I understand well that the answer to the sphinx’s riddle is “man,” humankind, then this is my destiny: “The sun inside will become the flame in the lamp of the Hermit” (p. 123). In other words, this person is freeing me to go forward alone, meaning unbound by what has so far bound others involved. My internalization and embodiment of the Sun will enable me to be that lone Star in the darkness where the Tower structure once stood (Card 10).

Card 14: Knight of Disks Reversed

This card, indicating how this person sees Entity 2, is easy. This card shows Gautama Buddha as a child, Siddhartha, sitting on the powerful tiger of his destiny (another tiger echoing Card 8, which is Entity 2′s hidden aspect). The card is in reverse, indicating that Entity 3 sees Entity 2 as a holy one, albeit one who is looking outside himself for answers and fulfillment, doubting his own ability to walk through that gate. The child’s extreme deprivation or indulgence has prevented him from overcoming root doubt.

Card 15: The Lovers Upright

This is my own takeaway card for Row 3. Another major arcana card, the Lovers, indicates a union of minds, acceptance, love, perfection, peace. On the Tree of Life, the Lovers is at center: the Sun, the heart. “Love is the center and love is divine” (White, p. 30). So I’m not alone, after all. This third being is illumination and protection, and he is always already right here. Correspondingly, the hexagram on the belly of the rising Star, my takeaway card for Tier 2, and the transcendent hexagram in the Nine of Cups, my takeaway card for Tier 1, are at the center of the Vajrayogini mandala and represent the heart chakra, which is the center chakra and the center of the Kabbalah Tree of Life ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hexagram ). So all three of my takeaway cards are about transcendence yet union by way of the heart.

The sheer number of repeated images across this entire reading is fascinating: hermits, solitary lights (suns and stars), burning energy, dark jungles, and wildcats. I have new caution about Tier 1, new sympathy and acceptance toward Tier 2, and confirmation about Tier 3.

All is well. 

The Star

The figure on this card is a woman simultaneously walking through a living earthly field of humanity at night and yet hanging suspended over it in crucifixion, a Mary-el feminine savior figure. This card is about the “black spot of death” that was there already at birth. Ultimate growth is into the death of the ego, and that death gives rise to the True Self. The woman wears a garment with a six-pointed star centered over her womb, potential. Six is another multiple of 3, which dominates this whole reading. What has been built on and of earth must pass through these three: Devil, Death, and the Tower. At least, if enlightenment is to be reached: “The ego, the conscious idea of self, riddled with mistakes, regrets, illusions, delusions, untruths as well as truths, ideas, illusions of separateness, illusions of needs or instincts, of human life, they are all blown away. The earth is blown away. The lie is exposed. And when that shell falls, when you find you cannot stand on that lie anymore, and you fall through the illusions that is self and life on earth and everything you know or knew begins to vanish and disappear, all will become black and empty and, then, alone will be a single light. That is the truth. That is home. It is one. It is the Star. In the blackness that was the Tower, the Star will guide you home.” (Marie White, p. 56)

The Star arises for the multitudes of humanity. If I stand by and up for the truth, no matter how hard doing so may be, and no matter how brutally alone and crucified I am for doing so, grace will come. Grace will come. This star, like the others, encodes life-death-rebirth cycles, earth-heaven-earth cycles. This reading of an underlying holographic matrix is perchance the exposure of the chief lie.

In Buddhism, some old versions of the Bardo Thodol, also known as The Tibetan Book of the Dead, contain a hexagram with a Swastika inside. In Tibetan, it is called the “origin of phenomenon” (chos-kyi ‘byung-gnas). It is especially connected with Vajrayogini, and forms the center part of her mandala. In reality, it is in three dimensions, not two, although it may be portrayed either way. Many Western occultists associate this central chakra [the heart center] with the central sephirah, Tiphereth, in the kabbalistic tree of life. Christian kabbalists in particular associate this sephirah with love, healing, and knowledge.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hexagram

This card is from my personal Tarot, the Mary-el Tarot by Marie White. Feast your eyes on her amazing art here: http://mary-el.com/.

Tarot Spread to Reveal a Hidden Matrix

Below is a 15-card spread that I adapted from a much more general 15-card spread from the Aecletic.net forum, where I’m not a member but an occasional lurker-miner. First I’ll discuss some circle casting and preliminaries. Then I’ll describe the spread. In a separate post, I provide photo and text results of my first use of this spread in my next post.

Casting a Circle of Power, Protection, Support, and Guidance

Last night was a full moon. I took some pressing questions I had about a group I’ve been involved with to the Mary-el Tarot. I’ve never before done any reading on anyone in this group. I began by cleaning the entire room and my altar. I refreshed representations of the four elements (I brought the space myself). I bathed, but on clean garments, lit a beeswax candle and frankincense incense, and added lavender oil to purified water.

Because this reading impinged on secrets held or shadows cast in a multidirectional relationship network, I first cast a circle of impenetrability and protection. I was selective about the only two allies I called into that circle: unquestionable benefactors, heavy-hitters. Also, mindful of moral integrity and the consequences of going forward with such a reading, I asked these benefactors to show me only what was for my highest good for me to know at this time, nothing more. This measure is always wise when you do not have outright permission to pry into others’ secrets and shadows. You have the right to know only what affects you directly; idle curiosity comes with significant risk and issues.

Three cards (but mainly one) ended up being difficult to interpret, but the rest of the spread was clear, consistent, and frankly unsurprising. I went into this ritual and divination to gain information I need to make informed decisions about certain present and future commitments I’m facing. Without it, I was in the dark as to others’ agendas (except for my intuitive suspicions).

Laying Out the Cards

The layout is simple, although the results are complex: Make a matrix of 15 cards, with 3 rows of 5 cards each. Each row, in my adaptation, represents a person or a somewhat transpersonal “entity” in a network (this latter entity could be, say, “management” in a business organization).

Each column represents the same question (approximately) posed for the particular person and, for some questions, his or her relationship to the row above him or her. The first row entity’s relationship is to beings on other planes of existence, in my particular reading. Here is the basic template of entities (rows) and questions (columns):

1  2  3  4  5

1  2  3  4  5

1  2  3  4  5

Shuffle, cut, and concentrate on each question in turn. Lay the first five cards out and interpret them fully before laying out the next row. Do the same for the third row.

Comment or communicate through the Questions tab if you use this: I’d love to hear how this spread worked for you.