Today’s I Ching Hexagram for December 2nd is 55:Great Abundance

55: Great Abundance

Sunday, Dec 2nd, 2012

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A time of abundance comes into full flower when the powers of leadership and teamwork are at their peak. The situation is like that of the sun at midday — a high noon of clarity, insight and progress. Such peak periods can be brief. Whether this refers to a national cycle, a business boom or a period of abundance, it is important to bale your hay while the sun is shining.

During a period of abundance, it benefits one to show benevolence, to share the fruit of one’s good fortune. Think of good deeds now as a hedge against times of scarcity in the future. This reading bodes well for expansion in love, the raising of children and the nurturing of a healthy family or any close-knit group.

Today’s I Ching Hexagram for November 26th is 17:Following

17: Following

Monday, Nov 26th, 2012

 

 

 

 

Following brings supreme success. You may not be able to change the direction of the wind, but by frequently adjusting your sails, you can arrive at your destination.

Those who would acquire a following must speak the language of their followers. Those who would be loved must become the envisioned lover of their beloved. Those who would prosper must bend with natural forces and the pressures of society. In matters of principle, stand firm; in matters of style and taste, swim with the current.

In all human affairs, change is constant. In order to stay fresh, old ideas and patterns must continually be discarded in favor of new ones. Only by being adaptable to the demands of the time can the highest good emerge. Only by adjusting to changing circumstances can you prosper. Remain flexible, and you will gain the confidence of those around you. Bend and you shall not break.

Today’s I Ching Hexagram for November 5th is 4: Youthful Folly

4: Youthful Folly

 

 

Be on guard for careless or rebellious attitudes characteristic of youthful inexperience. Just as a youth requires instruction, this is a good time to focus on learning your lessons from a patient teacher or life experience. Is there some circumstance in your life that you failed to comprehend, perhaps because you could not appreciate its inherent complexities? Be respectful of anything or anyone who has something to teach you right now.

In order to be prepared for challenges, let education be a part of your life. Continually develop the strong mind and will necessary to carry you through confusing times. The wise realize that experience is a powerful teacher, even though we cannot be forced to learn, even from experience. Be a good student, one who delights in learning, one who nourishes his or her expanding awareness, one who is paying attention!

Examine your attitude for factors that limit your openness. Observe how you deal with the mistakes of others. You must let people live their own lives and learn their own lessons. Offer others your wisdom or advice, but only if the other person is receptive (when in doubt, ask). Otherwise, give up trying to convince him or her that you are right, which is only exhausting and counter-productive. If people are not receptive, let them go their own way — even into difficulty or dangerous circumstances. It is the only way they can learn right now — and without learning, no one can achieve success. This does not mean that you should not care — just that taking care of someone too much can be harmful. Live and let learn.

Today’s I Ching Hexagram for 30 ~ 53: A Steady Pace

53: A Steady Pace

Like an ancient old-growth forest — where the subtle play of light, texture and shadows is the product of a process measured in centuries and inches — most things of lasting value develop gradually, at their own pace. The ability to learn from experience — one of humanity’s greatest capacities — implies constant yet gradual progress. The combination of stillness within and determination without are the essence of this dynamic. Good things sometimes sprout quickly; the truly delightful take much longer.

The principle of gradual development applies also to human relationships. For love and marriage or any important partnership to endure, progress must be slow but steady: slow enough to allow for the bonds to knit properly; steady enough to keep moving in the right direction.

You can’t expect to have everything all at once. Development must be allowed to take its proper course and allotted time; events must neither be rushed nor manipulated, but allowed to unfold naturally. In this way, you will come to enjoy long-lasting relationships and achieve success.

Today’s I Ching Hexagram for October 28 is 52: Keeping Still

52: Keeping Still

 

 

 

Regular periods of keeping still are an important aspect of personal development and forward motion. The most restful person may not be the one who sleeps twelve hours a day, but the one able to grab catnaps while cruising 600 miles-per-hour at 35,000 ft. Learning to act when it is time to act, and to keep still when it is time to keep still, is the key to obtaining the peace of mind which helps you stay focused when clear focus is needed.

Consider the spine, which serves as a switchboard for all the nerves of the body that mediate movement. When the spine is kept flexible and healthy through proper rest and relaxation, active movement can always be undertaken without strain. When the spine is held erect in a balanced sitting posture, the inner balancing of meditation can take place.

Treat your innate spark of energetic vitality like a candle in the wind you are protecting, as your only light in a dark forest on a moonless night. Avoid external conditions that threaten to snuff out the flame, and be careful not to suffocate it with your own ambitions of worries.

Time out. Relax now, take your shoes off and sit a spell. Let go of thinking. Breathe and meditate on the breathing.

Today’s I Ching Hexagram for October 27th is 15: Humility

15: Humility

 

 

 

Humility is often rewarded in human affairs, just as the erosion of a great mountain fills the valley. It is the way of nature to fill the empty cup. Regardless of your position, humility is a positive and deceptively powerful attribute. If you are in a high position but are still humble, people will be drawn to you and the causes you espouse. If your position is lowly, humility will endear you to those of higher status. True humility is a virtue to which all should aspire.

The most successful and happiest people are those who know how to bring each situation into balance by reducing that which is too great, and adding to that which is too little. Such a person craves not power, but balanced and stable relationships. Humility is the virtue that supplies the balancing power, as humble people are not prey to the many illusions that grow out of self-importance. If humility is not natural to your disposition, make a conscious effort to develop a strain of self-effacing humor.

Today’s Tarot Card for October 26th is The World

The World

What has traditionally been known as the World card points to the presiding intelligence, called “Sophia,” or Wisdom, which upholds life on this and all worlds. A more precise title for this card might be “the Soul of the World,” also applicable as a symbol of personal empowerment and freedom. In most Tarot decks it is a female figure that has become our standard World image. She originates in Hebrew, Gnostic and Alchemical lore, and stands between heaven and earth as the Cosmic Mother of Souls, the Wife of God and our protector from the karmic forces we have set loose upon the Earth in our immaturity and ignorance.

Where the Empress energy secures and fertilizes our terrestrial lives, the goddess of The World invites us into cosmic citizenship — once we come to realize our soul’s potential for it. Just as the Chariot stands for success in achieving a separate Self, and Temperance represents achievement of mental and moral health, the World card announces the awakening of the soul’s Immortal Being, accomplished without the necessity of dying.

This card, like the Sun, is reputed to have no negative meaning no matter where or how it appears. If the Hermetic axiom is “Know Thyself”, this image represents what becomes known when the true nature of Self is followed to creative freedom and its ultimate realization.

Today’s I Ching Hexagram for October 25th is 45: Coming Together

45: Coming Together

 

 

 

 

The power of gathering together is represented by a rally, where each individual’s strength is magnified by the power of their community. History has shown that mass movements can bring about stable, ordered and durable conditions for the better. This hexagram may be pointing to an auspicious time for large undertakings. But the guiding force of your shared vision is essential to hold the forces of unity together, and keep them advancing toward a common goals and values.

Another image for this situation is that of a lake filling with water. Just as the fullness of the lake can bring good fortune to all in its sphere, it can also overflow, leading to calamity. Thus in a time of gathering together it is essential that precautions against excesses be considered along with efforts to advance along a clearly-charted course. Much of human misfortune comes from unexpected events for which we are ill prepared; when gathered together with others, we are both more powerful and, in some ways, also more vulnerable.

Any time of unified coming together is a time of great potential. But the potential can be both positive and negative. Everything is magnified when people unite around a central shared purpose. When many people unite behind a single goal or strong vision, it is wise to take personal precautions to protect your own reasonable self-interests, because these can easily be lost in the crowd.

Today’s I Ching Hexagram for Oct. 14 is 9: Small Influences

9: Small Influences

A gentle wind gathers the clouds, but still, no rain. Softer influences predominate as the power of subtle forces grows. This is a time for smooth and friendly persuasion.

In the ebb and flow of events, there are always ‘low tides’ — times when sweeping action is impossible or inappropriate, but when small matters can be attended to profitably, leading to bigger and better things later on. When the tide is rolling in, by all means, ride the wave; but when it is receding like it is now, focus on little things.

When the times are such that you cannot do much to affect large matters, persuasion and subtle influence can prepare the way for strength in the future. Use your intuition to chart your long-term course, but avoid bold actions for the moment, for they are unlikely to work. This is an excellent time to refine existing abilities or develop new talents.

Be wary of others’ intentions if they hold the upper hand in a situation. Examine their sources of power, so as to discover subtle influences you may be able to exert upon them.

TELLING THE STORY OF THE FUTURE: WORKING WITH DIVINATORY NARRATIVE

TELLING THE STORY OF THE FUTURE: WORKING WITH DIVINATORY NARRATIVE

by Melanie Fire Salamander

Let me put my cards on the table: Narrative and divination  are  two  of  my oldest obsessions. My first encounters with my narrative voice  came  early. I recall at four  years  old  retelling  the  story  of  Peter  Pan  all  in pictures, mostly stick figures, a narrative  impressive  to  my  mother  but unintelligible to any but myself without interpretation. (Perhaps Peter  Pan was my first muse; he’s certainly a pagan figure.) I got my  first  pack  of Tarot  cards  later,  when  I  was  13  years  old,  wandering  through  the multilevel  market  of  Crown  Center,  a  shopping  mall  in  Kansas  City, Missouri.

I began to teach myself Tarot by laying out all  78  cards  on  my  bed  and memorizing their meanings from the book. This  process  was  made  a  little harder by the fact my first deck was a Marseilles deck, and the book I  had, The Pictorial Key to the Tarot, by A.E. Waite, showed the Rider-Waite  deck. (I still recommend Waite’s book on the Tarot, if you don’t mind  his  formal prose and his harping on the  second-class  citizenship  of  divination,  in comparison to using the Tarot as a mystery key.) I had to  make  a  leap  of transfer in my mind,  imagining  the  Rider-Waite  cards  while  seeing  the Marseilles  cards,  with  their  medieval  images  and   nonrepresentational designs for the Minor Arcana. In retrospect, I’m amazed – the young mind  is an astonishing thing when focused.

So my first step with the Tarot was memorizing card meanings. An analogy  to writing might be memorizing  letter  meanings;  consider  too  that  letters originated as  pictures,  and  that  letter-systems  often  have  divinatory meaning, runes being an example. At first, when doing  a  reading,  I  would just call up my memory of each card’s meaning and spout it  out.  But  early on I realized that the  book-meanings  pure  and  simple,  parroted  in  all situations, weren’t what made the cards work. Once  I’d  internalized  those meanings and could bring them up “in my own words” – as I was told to  write the essays of my schooldays – I could play with  them.  And  intuition  came into that play. I realized soon that it was my own intuition  that  made  my readings useful: that the first thing off the tip of  my  tongue,  my  first idea, was the true thing. I’m not sure if I got this theory from a  book  or from my own deduction, but I recall it was an old  concept  by  the  time  I took a class in Tarot at college.

That Tarot class was of course not at the college. They didn’t  teach  Tarot at state schools in mid-Missouri in the 1980s. The class  arose  at  one  of those efflorescences of metaphysical community that  appear  now  and  again even  in  the  hinterlands,  a  sort  of  metaphysical  culture  co-op,  the Chautauqua Center. There I learned – duh! – that you  could  look  at  Tarot pictures, just the pictures, and divine from them. For a long  time,  I  had in cumbersome fashion used the pictures only as a mnemonic device,  to  call from memory meanings I’d  learned.  Now  I  discovered  that  even  with  an unfamiliar deck, I could look at an image and have a useful  meaning  arise. This divination from the pictures themselves was a revelation to me.

As I stumbled through my adolescence and early  20s,  I  also  developed  my narrative voice. I was one of those kids driven to write. I produced  poetry and journals and stories  for  teachers,  but  –  I  couldn’t  help  it –  I produced them on my own as well.  They  were  a  way  for  me  into  another country, the country of my mind, whence I was driven  as  so  many  children are  by  various  traumas,  and  whence  I  was  led  by  the  call  of  the imagination.

The border of the imagination is coterminous with that of intuition.  During my teens I was also obsessed with divination and the occult.  No  young  boy with his guitar could have been more  focused  than  I  was,  gleaning  from books that I found in the library and that  otherwise  appeared  nuggets  of Tarot, Western astrology,  Chinese  astrology,  palmistry,  the  meaning  of flowers, color meanings, love spells, the I Ching, magick,  witchcraft,  the wheel of the year, numerology, omen meanings, herbalism.

Where does this obsession come from? The lust for magick is  native  to  our species. As early as we can read ancient cultures’ writing,  that  early  we find spells and rituals. Divination is at  least  that  old  –  witness  the Neolithic inhabitants of North China about  5,500  years  ago,  who  divined using turtleshells heated with red-hot pokers, which they then analyzed  for crack patterns. Divination begins as the desire to read  the  story  of  the future, I think – it’s only later we learn to want to clarify  the  present. Magick begins as the desire to make the future turn out  the  way  we  want. Old desires among humans; old desires for me.

The desire to divine and to work magick also has something to  do  with  the powerless taking power. The ancients  rightly  felt  at  the  mercy  of  the tempests of the world, in a way we often forget to  feel.  That  uncertainty made them want to know and change the  future.  Children  too  feel  at  the mercy of parents, teachers, unintelligible world patterns it takes years  to fathom. As a child and teen, I had the same desire as the ancients, to  know and change the future.  I  read  deep  into  fairytales,  doing  comparative folklore at an early age, and found magick.

I wanted magick to be, so  I  did  it,  and  it  worked.  But  what  of  the consequences? However much I desired outcome, even as a teen I  sensed  that pulling on someone else’s energy made myself negative karma. So I never  did hexes and gave up love spells  early.  I  get  no  points  for  a  specially ethical nature: My morality was bounded by fear.  I  didn’t  want  the  dark powers to come and fuck with me. I was attracted to divination by  the  idea it’s the safest of the magickal arts – a debatable point. Perhaps I  doubted too much my right and ability to control the future.  If  so,  even  more  I needed to know that future, to prepare.

My first and best-learned divinatory tool  was  the  Tarot.  I  learned  the Tarot by doing reading after reading, telling futures  for  my  friends  but most especially for myself. Many teachers and books don’t recommend  reading for yourself, and I agree it’s easier to read for other people, but I  don’t see how I can disrecommend this approach, since that’s how I learned  Tarot. Reading after reading, I tried to see my future.

For myself, and I think for others, divination begins as a need to know  the story’s end. Do I get the editorship of the  school  paper?  Will  I  go  to camp? And always and repeatedly: Will my crush love me  back?  What  happens next? To me, divination feels inextricable from storytelling.

This is not a new idea. Reading a Tarot layout has often been considered  as telling a story. The relation between divination and narrative inheres  even in how we talk about divination. We talk about a psychic “reading”; we  talk about “telling” the future.

My premise goes a little further: that one  essential  type  of  divination, whether telling the future or elucidating the present, is a  narrative  act. That, if you will, besides clariaudience  and  clairvoyance  and  the  other psychic senses exists a sense of narrative, of how the story  goes.  Perhaps this sense is a subtype of intuition; I’ve  never  been  very  concerned  to pigeonhole psychic phenomena.  I  think  such  a  sense  may  be  useful  to consider on its own.

A Divinatory Sense of Story

I do think this  sense  exists.  I  have  practiced  it.  That  is,  I  have practiced telling the future by considering what is going  to  happen  next, by feeling with my psychic sense the branching of  the  possible  paths,  by discovering outcomes following pure narrative flow. It’s  like  the  ability that I admired in my mother as a child, to predict how a TV show  was  going to end. The bad guy wasn’t going to kill the hero. The  hussy  wasn’t  going to wind up with the man. Certain narrative imperatives dictated  how  things went.

This rule holds true, I think, in our world that is not a TV show,  and  yet on some level is a show we all agree to play out, a consensus  reality.  The classic case I conjure is when a couple is, or is not, going  to  break  up. At the first sign of trouble, if you let your intuition follow the  possible paths of breakup or rejoining, you can discern a pattern. You  might  think: Now if they spend time apart, it will fix things. But if  she  doesn’t  move out, it’s doomed. Or: He’s never going to learn, but his boyfriend is  going to take him back at least once, maybe  twice,  before  they  split.  It’s  a sense of pure narrative, of how things go. It occurs for me not  as  images, or not only as images, but as a story.

Some  stories  have  only  one  possible  end –  the  characters  or   their adversaries are too rigid to admit more than one outcome. But  most  stories have many possible endings. To me, the future is not one eventuality  but  a multitude of branches leading outward,  some  more  likely  to  occur,  some less. The question becomes what branch is most likely, and if you  prefer  a different branch to prevail, what’s needed to switch. I think that  you  can sense the answers to these questions, and  that  by  asking  your  intuitive sense further questions you can clarify the tale of the future, or at  least the next few episodes.

Perhaps this sense is simply the result of worldly  experience.  It  doesn’t feel like that to me. It feels exactly as when I’m writing  a  short  story. Any halfway experienced writer of fiction can tell tales  of  stories  that, try as you might, don’t go the desired direction. Narration  has  a  certain logical flow, and you can’t make the river go backward. (Or  at  least  it’s very hard, and usually not worth the trouble.) In fiction writing, you  hone a sense of the correct next thing, what your characters can do  and  cannot, what the world might or might  not  hand  them.  The  predictive  sense  I’m describing feels very much like this sense of the correct next thing.

The sense of the correct next thing plays with, and against,  what  we  know of story structure from our experience as audience and sometime creators  of fiction, TV  shows,  movies.  We  know  many  Ur-stories,  their  structures starting as simple as Boy Meets Girl or Boy Meets Boy and the  like.  Pagans in particular steep themselves in mythology. The Hero’s Journey,  by  Joseph Campbell,  analyzes  the  structure  of  one  type  of  mythological   tale; Morphology of the Folktale, by Vladimir Propp,  analyzes  the  structure  of various Russian folktales, though unlike Campbell, Propp  does  not  concern himself  with  the  stories’  deeper  meaning.  With  or  without  conscious analysis, we take in story from the time we are children,  and  from  it  we learn  its  building  blocks,  basic  to  this  type  of  divination.  Basic narrative tropes can be seen as the lexicon of  this  divination,  as  Tarot cards are the lexicon of Tarot reading.

How to Use This Psychic Sense

In my experience, you can perform this foretelling  in  your  mind,  without props. This process follows the rules of pure intuition, in which  you  take the first answer that pops into your head. It  helps  first  to  clear  your mind. Ignoring your question for  the  moment,  bring  yourself  into  light trance by grounding and centering, clearing your  psychic  space  of  blocks and foreign energies and using whatever techniques you  prefer  to  enter  a meditative state.

Then ask a question about what will happen  next.  Phrase  the  question  as precisely as you can; ask the  exact  question  you  want  answered.  Having asked, note your very first reaction, before your rational  mind  alters  it to jibe with common sense. Often the answer will surprise you.

To me, this answer comes as “just knowing,” or as a voice. My related  sense of the branching paths of fate arises as a feeling, rather than as a  visual tree or roadmap. Your mileage may vary. If  you  do  get  information  as  a psychic voice, you’ll need to learn to  differentiate  among  inner  voices, filtering out leftover parental injunctions and emotional reactions to  hear the voice of true knowing or of a specific psychic guide.

Often you’ll get an answer, and want  more.  What  I  do  then  is  continue asking, making the questions as precise as possible  and  noting  always  my initial reaction, before rationality muddies the waters. But if  you  get  a clear answer to a question, stop asking that question!  Don’t  poke  at  the same thing again and again trying to change your psychic  hit.  You’ll  only confuse the information and chase away your psychic sense. If  you  want  to make change, do magick.

To further hone your psychic narrative sense, keep track  of  the  questions you ask and answers you get. Track how best  to  ask  the  questions.  Which preparations work for you, which merely distract you? Do  you  have  a  best time of day or month or best frame of mind  for  psychic  clarity?  To  help check your answers, get other like-minded people to ask the same  questions, if you can, and note their answers. Cross-check the information as  well  as possible. Over time, you’ll begin to see patterns, and from  those  patterns you can determine your most useful way of getting answers.  In  relation  to specific questions, comparing answers with  other  people  will  show  which fates are most marked and which are most malleable or undefined.

Everyone’s psychic sense is different, and  the  sense  I’m  describing,  of narrative flow, of “just knowing” what comes next, may  not  work  for  you. This process of asking questions and recording answers will pay off  anyway, if you keep at it. Asking questions and tracking answers  can  help  sharpen any psychic sense that is natively yours.

Psychic  abilities  are  multitudinous;  your  answers  may  come  in   many different ways. You may receive images in your mind, either literal  psychic photographs of the future, or symbols requiring interpretation.  Dreams  may give you information literal or symbolic. Or you  may  get  answers  in  the outside world – if your  phone  rings  just  as  you  ask  a  question,  pay attention to what your caller says. Or a raven might  suddenly  wing  across your line of sight, carrying for you a specific meaning. Your answers  might come as all of the above, or in other ways.

You can also use the narrative  sense  I  describe  in  combination  with  a divinatory tool such as the Tarot or a pendulum,  whatever  you’re  used  to and most comfortable with. Turning a reading of any kind into a story  is  a good way to make sense of it for yourself and your querent.

To show the psychic sense of narrative at work with  the  Tarot,  suppose  I ask the question: What will Widdershins’ next few months look like?  I  draw three cards: the Empress, the Nine of Pentacles  and  Justice.  The  Empress for me is a sense of unlimited potential,  burgeoning  life,  fertility  and promise for the future. The  Nine  of  Pentacles  is  abundance,  a  satiety almost to smugness. Justice conveys that what is  right  will  prevail,  and also that as much effort as Widdershins’ staff puts in, that much  will  the paper thrive.

The narrative sense comes in as I draw links  between  these  cards,  making from them a kind of flow-chart. I  feel  moved  by  this  psychic  narrative sense to put the Empress and Justice before the  Nine  of  Pentacles.  These two feel like beginnings to me: the Empress the  opening  door  and  Justice Widdershins’ staff  passing  through,  with  hope  and  effort.  Then  comes abundance, a full-fed sense – I hope not smugness!

The psychic narrative sense thus  draws  paths  between  the  shining  Tarot forms, as footpaths between stations of a ritual.  The  order  in  which  we take our initiations can matter a lot; here the narrative  sense  speaks  to that order.

By itself or in combination with other divinatory forms, a psychic sense  of what naturally comes next can help tell and change  the  future.  Myself,  a child who grew up in dreams, making stories, I feel great harmony in  having the future tell itself just as the stories I write tell themselves.  Is  not life a set of stories that we all tell each other? The campfire  flares  up, a log falls, and all around is darkness. But the stories go on.