The Major Arcana

Most tarot decks in use today, including the Rider-Waite, contain a standard number of 78 cards, which is then split into two sections: the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana.  The word “arcana” itself means “a deep or profound secret.” It is thought that each of these cards contains symbolic imagery revealing a powerful hidden… Continue reading The Major Arcana

History & Origins of the Tarot

There have been countless tales told about the origins of the tarot, but undoubtedly the most popular of these was that it originated as a simple card game in late medieval Europe. Known as Les Tarots in Frances, or Tarocchi in Italy, this accounting of the roots from which the cards sprang states that it… Continue reading History & Origins of the Tarot

Prima Materia

The Prima Materia, or First Matter, is a difficult concept to define. It has been said that the First Matter is both everything and nothing. According to D. W. Hauck , “It is the primal One Thing that existed before time, as well as the primordial chaos that contains all possibilities.” It is said that… Continue reading Prima Materia

Plato

Of all the Ancient Greek philosophers, Plato was the one which had the most influence on subsequent ideas around the role of rhetoric and philosophy. A student of Socrates, he went on to found a school called The Academy, and was known for skepticism about the value of rhetoric. This skepticism or mistrust of rhetoric… Continue reading Plato

The Archetypal in Astrology

According to Richard Tarnas, the archetypal is the spiritual and energetic. It was originally experienced by human people as “Gods” and “Goddesses,” and described in terms of mythologies. The archetypal is about the essences and qualities that transcend the human. These ideas were later expounded upon in Ancient Greece, with the philosophies of Plato and… Continue reading The Archetypal in Astrology

The Dance of Sulfur

After the Bellows Breath, you may want to follow up with another practice called the Dance of Sulfur. Sulfur is a yellow powder which the alchemists believed symbolized the active masculine principle of fire. It was often used in laboratory alchemy in the form of sulfuric acid (also known to them as vitriol). The Dance… Continue reading The Dance of Sulfur

Bellows Breath

Bellows Breath is an active meditation that can be used to increase conscious awareness and raise energy in the body. Practitioners of Kundalini Yoga may recognize this as what they call the “Breath of Fire.” It can be used to release stuck energy in the body, oxygenating the blood, and expanding lung capacity. HOW TO… Continue reading Bellows Breath

Roasting Cinnabar

A good Calcination ritual to start with is known as Roasting Cinnabar. This meditative process is related to the work done by alchemists in the laboratory, working with real chemicals. In this process, alchemists would would roast the mineral known as “Dragon’s Blood,” or Cinnabar, which is a red-colored sulfide of mercury. When roasted over… Continue reading Roasting Cinnabar

Calcination

There are seven operations in the process of alchemy, the first of which is calcination. This is the process of burning through the dross of the ego we have built up over the course of our lives, so that our true self may be released and expressed. This is not an easy experience to go… Continue reading Calcination