Reading #16: Pondering the Meaning of Dragons

Posted in Alchemical Tarot, Journal on September 19th, 2010 by Kristine Gazel

Lately, I called off my search for purity and acknowledged that we can never be completely pure – because of our humanity.

Or should I more modestly say: I can not.

Anyway; No one is flawless, after all we all carry a shadow, and If we are not willing to accept it it will show it self in funny and disturbing ways. So it has to be brought forth consciously:

“If you bring forth what is within you, what you will bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you”  The Gospel of Thomas, v. 70

I guess it would be more modest just to look at this “within” me. The greeks knew that too: “Know thyself” was written over the Oracle of Delphi.

So to know oneself would be wise, I think.

But then again, what is wisdom? And how can I plea for wisdom – Fool as I am? Maybe it is exactly in accepting that fact that I’m a fool? I know these things, but I still I surprise myself – and therein lies my folly – and perhaps also my wisdom?

And how is purity compared to wisdom? I decided to ask the Alchemical Tarot this question:
One card for Purity and One for Wisdom. Purity: The Still and Wisdom: King of Staffs.

I think the Still in this respect is a bit sterile, the process of becoming pure will be looong and it will happen in some sort of closed circuit, isolated from the lived life. Fire is involved, but it is definitively under control. This is a controlled and protected environment, where no failures are permitted; Everything will blow up if the process gets disturbed.

The thing is. Life is not that way. Things get broken.  Things will be disturbed and challenged.

And then Wisdom; A dragon. Who should have thought that, now?

The King of Staffs is a dragon and Dragons usually guard the treasure in the fairy tales. Here the treasure is the Fire of Feeling. Of being alive. Of Consciousness (think Prometheus),  and of Wisdom.

Wisdom lies in knowing that you can’t live life and can’t reach for fire without getting burnt in the process of being a live and in  the process of reaching for fire. You have to meet your own dragons and demons, you have to face the Monster. But if you manage to challenge the Dragon King, you will have earned the fire. It will be yours.

So what will it be? Unlived life in searching for purity or the burn in reaching for wisdom? Actually I”m beginning to think we can’t have both.

Images from The Alchemical Tarot, copyright Robert M. Place, are used with kind permission. Visit the Alchemical Tarot website.

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Reading #10: Creative flow

Posted in Alchemical Tarot, Journal on January 24th, 2010 by Kristine Gazel

January is near it’s end – Thank Goddess! – and I feel that it is loosing it’s grip on me. It is getting better, the Light is gradually returning. It is still freezing cold, though.

I’ve had valuable help from The Alchemical Tarot. Especially the Empress and The Lady of Vessels have been encouraging during this time that I do have difficulties with -  no matter how much I tell myself that it is a matter of view point, about how to deal with it. It just does not make it that much easier, I’m afraid.

So – it is comforting to work with the cards, to receive their messages and to reflect upon them in an every day context.

I now turn again to my favorite tarot deck to ask about creativity, how to get into this creative flow, that I really would like to, of writing. Lately I have experienced some sort of writer’s block. Like the spring of creativity is freezing too.

Again I do the the Little Cross and I get The Moon crossed by The Fool.

Diana is out with her dogs. Again a female figure, that is confidently in contact with the Unconsciousness. Diana is an aspect of the Great Goddess, and I guess a pristine and virginal aspect. She is representing the White Stone or the Albedo and she is  waiting for the Active part to make the process, the conjuction,  complete.

The Alchemical Tarot Study Group says:

Tarot wisdom: The Moon represents the night before the dawn. It is a time of patience, rest and reflection, in which the soft energies of the moon compel us to enter the waters of the unconscious, the heart of the mystery.

As the embodiment of the white stone, the Moon represents a level of mastery in which are in control of our actions, because we are conscious of psychological influences which remain unconscious to others. We have been purified, and now enjoy freedom of choice in our activities, and patient acceptance of the activities of others. As it says in the I Ching, ” strength is on the inside, and glad acceptance is on the outside.” However at this level there can be a coldness or flattening of the emotions, because we still need to fully integrate our libido, and so we wait for dawn.

And it comes as the Fool, blindfolded, and naïve. The Fool is the Prima Materia, the raw material of the process, the alchemist or the artist or the writer at the beginning of the journey, knowing nothing, but ready to begin.

The Fool is blindfolded to signify his ignorance of the basic principles of alchemy. He does not yet comprehend the prima materia, the first substance needed for the Work. It exists everywhere, but the Fool does not recognize it or realize its value. As a result, he risks stumbling about in darkness. The word “blind” derives from the Indo-European term bhlendhow, which means confusion and not knowing where to go. It is related to the word “blunder,” which comes from the Old Norse term blunda, to shut one’s eyes.

Tarot wisdom: The Fool shows us that everything we need to begin our spiritual journey, to initiate change, is within our grasp. We come into beginning with the raw material of transmutation ready before us. If we place our trust in a higher order, we will be guided through the dangers and darkness and into the light. We need only open our eyes and go forward with both awe and courage.

So the Fool is not aware about the Prima Materia, I think, because he is the Prima Materia. But he needs to believe in a higher order to be guided through to the process of change and transformation -  of him self to his Self.

Again it is a question of taking the leap. Because I already know what need to be known. I do however need the agent, or the action, of just starting out on the process.

How many ways do I really need to be to told this? Write – and I will be written.

However  -  since the Moon has to do with retreat and rest, there has to be a delicate balance between resting and acting,  like the balance between ebb and flow. The Fool will experience some ordeals on his journey, therefore he will need to know when to withdraw and recuperate.

Images from The Alchemical Tarot, copyright Robert M. Place, are used with kind permission. Visit the Alchemical Tarot website.

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