January 27, 2017

Left-hand Tarot #31) Let's Talk Tarot

Follow me on Google+: https://plus.google.com/+JamesBulls
Order a Tarot reading: http://www.fiverr.com/jamesbulls

I haven't talked as much as I'd like about Tarot lately, so this episode of Left-hand Tarot is all about the Tarot. Let's dive in!

Card of the day? I think not. For my preferences, Card of the Day exercises are a sure recipe to over-dose on navel-gazing. I can only look at myself so much before I'm turned around in circles. I find that if I turn my attention outward toward other people and current events, I do a better job of understanding who I am in context to them and how my place in the world really operates. It's a bit of lateral thinking, but it's useful for me and that's why I typically don't do CotD exercise. Read more.

I'm a big fan of using set arrangements of cards versus free-form readings where you just lay down cards and say whatever you feel like. I think that structure provides definition which aids in the comprehension of the message. But having said that, not all arrangements are created equally and that's why I don't like to use the position of "final outcome." Let me tell you why. Read more.

Managing a sitter's anxiety is an important skill that every Tarot reader has to learn if only to get the sitter to the end of the reading so he she can pay you for services rendered. Other than that, it's also an important skill to learn because it's part of lesser magic: how to use all the tools at your disposal to modify another person's behavior and attitude. And other than that, it's also a good skill to learn for general conversational - learn how to defuse tension and you can get anybody through anything. They might even learn something important before the end of the reading. Read more.

January 26, 2017

Satanic Stupidity

So. Donald Trump is now president of the USA. Unless I misread the reports, his very first executive order was to start chipping away at the ACA. There are people who voted for Trump - and some Satanists among them - who are cheering this action based largely on the premise that if the state is subsidizing health care, they're perpetuating the survival of the weak and thus weakening the system as a whole. Okay.... you're welcome to support politicians who support the policies you support. That's cool. 

But me being who I am, I think you're looking at this the wrong way. Instead of looking at government policy and basing your support for it on the question of, "What do 'They' get out of it?," why not look at government policy and base your support for it on the question of, "What do I get out of it?" Because me being who I am, I think that mediocrity will persist no matter what policies are place. If you want to see a Libertarian-style, pure-voluntary, solo-virtuoso world - cool, go lobby for it. Maybe you'll even get what you want. 

But to be honest, I feel like supporting a Libertarian or Republican policy platform is against my self interests. I live in Canada now, but for 27 years of my life I lived in the USA and you may find this hard to believe, but I still care about my birth country for the sole reason that I may one day want to return. Or, you know, I have family who still live in the USA and I care about them. 

This is why it's important to me to support civil rights, oppose creeping fascism, and protest authoritarian policies: I am who I am today because of those damn, dirty, leftists who created the country in which I am able to speak openly, pursue whatever sexual passions I desire, and generally live without fear of the government coming to get me. After all, Satan was the original rebel who protested against the greatest authoritarian tyrant ever imagined - Yahweh himself. If I'm wrong, you're welcome to explain why you think so, but I didn't leave the authoritarianism of Christianity just to embrace the authoritarianism of Satanism.

Politically, I'm all over the map and I don't consider myself a Democrat. I'm an independent, and I support whatever politics and politicians support me. As it happens, Democrats more often align with my desires than Republicans, Libertarians, or anybody else so that's who gets my vote. The natural environment in which I live is pretty important to me, too, so if the Green Party wasn't run by a vaccine denier, they'd get my vote from time to time, as well. And if the other parties did more to prove why my life will be improved by voting for them, then they'd get my vote more often.

But you won't catch me casting a vote for a politician whose steadfast determination to repeal the ACA will impact the lives of my immediate and extended family. You know what I get out of Republican policies? Fuck-all. To be honest, I don't really care what 'They' get in life. I'm really only concerned with what I get. Because I love me, and I'm going to support the policies and politicians who increase the quality of my life. What do I get out of it? If I get nothing, you don't get my vote.

Of course, one's preferred policies are often influenced by one's chosen religion. It's common knowledge that broken Christian beliefs have a largely negative impact on political policy, but I think it's also worth looking at broken Satanic beliefs also have a negative impact on political policy.

If your religion leads you to disregard human rights - even though you yourself benefit from them - then you're doing it wrong. Don't support a system that works against your self interests. Support for and defense of human rights is what permits us to speak openly and to criticize the powerful without fear of illegal punishment and censorship. Satanism could never have emerged in a country like Saudi Arabia, North Korea, China, or even Russia where human rights and freedom of expression and religion are routinely suppressed. Don't deliberately blind yourself to the fact that the very system your religion may encourage you oppose is the very system which makes it possible for you to do so.

If your religion motivates unity through opposition to a convenient enemy, you're doing it wrong. Your success in life isn't dependent on somebody else's failure, especially when there's no need for you to make an enemy out of somebody who has no impact on you whatsoever. And if your opposition to said hypothetical enemy is because you don't like what they're saying, then you've got very thin skin. Nobody's sorry if this imaginary enemy hurt your fee-fees. Get over it. Unless your religious organization is willing to bring a defamation suit against this hypothetical enemy, then nothing they're saying can really be so terrible. Grow up.

If your religion creates a cultural climate which frequently demeans feminism as "women who deny their femininity and hate men," you're doing it wrong. Feminism isn't about denying womanhood or hating men - it's about choice. If you enjoy sex without guilt or shame; freedom of choice in how you manage your most intimate affairs; the liberty to express your sexual preferences without feeling pressured by societal expectations for how you should really be acting; and most importantly, being treated equally under rule of law - then feminism is for you. For men, feminism means we can talk about enjoying ass play in the bedroom, expressing our feelings, and being free to dress as we see fit without being shamed for not being a "true man." There's more beyond that, but if you can't see it then you're really not looking and I don't know how to make you see it.

If your religion protects the power of the most powerful no matter how badly they've abused the system to get where they are, you're doing it wrong. You who read this aren't separate from the world in which you live. If the corrupt have stolen their way to the top, chances are excellent that they took something of yours on the way. If you can't recognize the dangers of corruption and entrenched power with no checks or balances, then I don't know how to show you that you're going against your own self-interests.

If your religion encourages you to define people who accuse and oppose violators of the social contract as whiners and weaklings, you're doing it wrong. Speaking as a Satanist, I don't think there's anything more Satanic than accusing the guilty and those who've negatively impacted my quality of life and opposing them to prevent it from happening again. Satan isn't the "quiet observer who just figures out how to merely survive." If you don't support people's choice to accuse and oppose the things that make their life worse for them, then Satanism isn't the religion for you. 

If your religion is obsessed with punishing criminals but turns a blind eye to criminals in places of power, you're doing it wrong. Be consistent in your accusation and opposition: if it's worth implementing mandatory drug tests to make sure that welfare recipients aren't using government money to buy steak, lobster, or meth (incidentally, it's not worthwhile - Google it), then it's worth prosecuting every banking CEO who crashed the world economy. If you think that social parasites at the bottom of the social strata are more deserving of your attention than the very real criminals at the top of the ladder, your sense of self-preservation is out of alignment and should be re-calibrated.

If your religion is lead by an opaque inner circle whose members are never revealed and are protected from criticism by multiple layers of secrecy, you're doing it wrong. Hidden leadership protected from criticism is a recipe that has always produced poor results. We don't accept this kind of secrecy from our governments and elected leaders, so we shouldn't expect this kind of secrecy from our religious leaders, either. If we've learned anything in an age of Wikileaks, it's that un-accountability and secrecy breed criminality.

If your religion motivates you to shun members who criticize your religion, you're doing it wrong. It's a bad look for Jehova's Witnesses, and it's sure as shit a bad look for Satanists. Internal criticism and debate are necessary for organizational development and furthering understanding of what it means to be a Satanist. If you can't discern between constructive criticism and trolling, then you're deliberately ignoring the reality in which you live.

And speaking of deliberately ignoring reality, let's talk about Satanists who equate the definition of Satanism with an immutable and universal fact. I mean - this isn't like we're arguing about the numeric value of pi. That's a fact and can't be changed. Likewise, nobody's arguing about the date when LaVey founded the CoS, the verbatim content in his books, the factual history of his promotion of the CoS, etc. Those are facts.

But the definition of Satanism isn't an immutable, scientific fact: it's a religious/philosophical label determined based on an individual's interpretation of a particular mythic entity.

It's a fact that the myth of Satan existed before LaVey. It's a fact that LaVey was the first to codify a religion and philosophy called Satanism. It's a fact that "the Satanism of the Church of Satan" (verbatim from the CoS website) provides a clear definition for what it means to be a Satanist.

But it's also a fact that people other than LaVey have been talking about Satan for a lot longer than the Church of Satan has existed. It's a fact that the mythical personages of Satan, Lucifer, and others have been inspirations for poets, writers, and thinkers for as long as they've existed.

It's a fact that the very word Satan is from Hebrew/Judaic religion and theology - and that the very concept of a "Devil" from which the literary figure of Satan was adopted by LaVey came from Zoroastrian-influenced Christian ditheism. When you're using another religion's bogeyman as your mascot, it's absolutely pretentious to think that you can claim exclusive ownership of how that mascot's name, image, and attributes are used by other people.

If you were Edward Kelley or John Dee and invented an entirely new deity - let's say, Choronzon - then you'd have a much stronger argument for exclusive ownership of said deity since that specific name never before existed in anybody else's religion. But when you choose a mythical personage that's been around for literally millennia and lift it completely out of its native mythology - then no, we can't possibly expect anybody to respect our desire that all people who call themselves Satanists adhere to our beliefs or else don't call themselves Satanists. That's like standing in a row-boat in the middle of the Pacific and shouting that the entire ocean belongs to you.

Or if you're really creative, you could argue that what Anton LaVey created with the Satanic Bible and his subsequent efforts to codify Satanism are much like the Nicene Creed. So the argument goes, Christians are Christians because they all emerge from the ecumenical councils of Nicaea. This is a problematic argument for three reasons:

First, the councils of Nicaea weren't conducted until at least 300 years after the alleged life and death of Jesus Christ. This means that for about 300 years there were multiple groups of people all practicing what they called Christianity but more than a few of them not agreeing with one another. Such was the motivation for Emperor Constantine to organize the councils of Nicaea: he was tired of the infighting and wanted a unified vision, so he used his power to bring the leaders of the splintered and separate visions of Christianity to the bargaining table where they debated their respective approaches and eventually came to agreement. So not only does this argument ignore the reality that there were multiple visions for what defines Christianity (just as there are multiple visions for what defines Satanism), but it also ignores the fact that in this argument Anton LaVey is neither Emperor Constantine nor one of the many church leaders who all assembled at the multiple councils of Nicaea.

Second, the argument to compare the work of Anton LaVey to the Nicene Creed is fundamentally broken since not all Christians accept the Nicene Creed. Such Christians are called non-trinitarians, but very few Christians outside of non-trinitarian faiths ever make the argument that non-trinitarians aren't Christians. And you know - if the Christians can agree that you can be Christian even if you're not a trinitarian but Satanists can't get past the stumbling block, then Satanism has a long way to go - about 1,600 years to go, but who's counting?

Third, if all Christians are Christian because the churches of which they're members descended from the Nicene Creed, then this implicitly supports and approves of people founding new Satanic organizations which are minimally based on the core tenets of Satanism. What this argument says is that the actions of the Satanic Temple wouldn't necessarily be a problem so long as the Satanic Temple shared the same source literature. The House of Belial? The Grand Old Order of Baphomet? The Black Lodge? The Pack of Coyote? Under this argument, the potential for the emergence of splinter groups which follow the core tenets of Satanism is limitless, and I somehow doubt that's an outcome that critics of the Satanic Temple want to see since they often care a great deal about the integrity and power of the Church of Satan.

People like myself who are members of the Church of Satan have chosen for ourselves what we believe Satanism to be, and for a large part this has been hugely successful in the marketplace of ideas. That's a fact. We choose for ourselves to follow what LaVey laid down because we see the value in it. Satanism as codified by Anton LaVey works for me - I don't feel the need for anything else, and I'm not threatened by how anybody else practices.

But that's our interpretation and our opinion on the concept of Satanism. Nobody's allowed to rewrite the objective, factual history of LaVey, the Church of Satan, and what emerged from it, but there is absolutely no basis for claiming that all others must follow the "one true Satanism." It's preposterous. I mean... that's like Christians claiming that there's only one way to be a true Christian, and that's an argument that's soundly rejected by the vast majority of people. 

Regarding Satanists who say that they can't stand the Satanic Temple because it spreads lies, all I can say is that if it's not bad enough to deserve a defamation suit, then it's just words, words, words. Grow a thick skin and stop getting your feelings hurt because somebody said something mean about you. As Oliver Goldsmith said, "Be not affronted at a joke. If one throws salt, it won't hurt unless you're raw." Such Satanists waste their time getting triggered over the issue. The Satanic Temple isn't wasting time trying to soothe a wounded ego when the Church of Satan says something bad about them - their leadership pushes on with its own agenda and gets shit done. You may not agree with their idea of what it means to "get things done," but they're showing up and - last I checked - accomplishing real things in the real world that affects real people is what really counts. If as an organization we place a greater emphasis on album release parties, curated art shows, book releases, nude witch revues, and so on, good for us. That's our prerogative to do so. But it's absolutely childish to complain about what the Satanic Temple is doing when it no way at all impacts our ability as an organization to conduct the events which we have made a priority.

Regarding Satanists who say that they oppose the Satanic Temple because of the harm they do, I challenge you to present evidence. What is your proof that the Satanic Temple has harmed either you or the Church of Satan? Please - elucidate your thoughts and say for everybody to hear how the Satanic Temple has made a victim out of you. How are you being oppressed by the Satanic Temple? The Satanic Temple has no power to publish items in the Black Flame; define canon literature; elevate members in the hierarchy; appoint leaders; change established rituals; or dictate organizational priorities. If you are such a Satanist who feels this way, I want to know all the reasons why this has made a victim out of you. Tell me about your wounded feelings. Enlighten me to how your worldly success has been withheld from you by Lucien Greaves and other members of the Satanic Temple.

If you're such a Satanist as I described above and believe that the damage the Satanic Temple is doing to the Church of Satan is that they're diluting Satanism and undoing the work of the Church of Satan, then you're deceiving yourself. The only organization the Satanic Temple can dilute is itself. History remembers the successful. If you're worried that history will forget the Church of Satan because it's allegedly not successful, then what will you yourself do in order to make it successful? Attacking the Satanic Temple and persistently working to de-legitimize its choice to call itself Satanic is nothing that history will remember. History remembers the successful. Make successful choices.

So all of this is to say, I'm not opposed to criticizing the Satanic Temple. I've got a few of my own complaints about them myself. For starters, they simply don't interest me because unless I missed it, they've contributed nothing new to the world. If they contributed something exciting to the body of religious and philosophical Satanism that didn't already exist, I might be more interested. For that reason, I don't feel like I can support the Satanic Temple.

What's more, I oppose their test of radical inclusion. I oppose all private religion in all government places, therefore I don't feel like I can logically support an organization which uses state- and federal-level RFRA style laws to insert private religion into government places. If this test of radical inclusion works, then religious plurality in government places is protected and we still have private religion in government places. If it fails, then this strengthens the position of existing private religion in government places. For me, neither outcome feels like a victory and this is why i prefer to support organizations such as the Freedom From Religion Foundation which are already working toward the goal of removing private religion from government places without inserting private religion into government places. For that reason, I don't feel like I can support the Satanic Temple.

The Satanic Temple is also a purely rational and skeptic organization. There's no room for mystery in their practices, and they've soundly condemned the use of greater magic for anything more than theatrics. There's no requirement in the Church of Satan that members practice greater magic or to ascribe any supernatural power to greater magic, but the choice is there. I want to be able to make that choice and indulge in the fantasy of ritual and greater magic. For that reason, I don't feel like I can support the Satanic Temple.

The Satanic Temple is also deeply concerned with morals and ethics. Such is their choice. But I find it difficult to support an organization whose commitment to honesty and ethical responsibility would deny my choice to use lesser magic for selfish ends. Professionally speaking, I'm full-time self-employed as a Tarot reader. I accept that there's some magic to Tarot, but I also accept that there's a lot of showmanship and deceit involved, too. If I wanted to feel guilty about my profession as a Tarot reader, I'd be a Wiccan and make a promise to myself that I'd "harm none" and work to avoid punishment under the "three-fold law." But I'm not a Wiccan - I'm a Satanist - and I fully embrace the use of deceit and manipulation to improve the quality of my life. For that reason, I don't feel like I can support the Satanic Temple.

There are many interpretations of Lucifer, Satan, and all the other infernal names which we use to invoke the presence of our dark, carnal selves, and while I don't agree with how the Satanic Temple operates as an organization and a religion, I'd be blind if I refused to see the principles of accusation and opposition present in their actions. They're not Satanic according to my definition of the word, but then - we're not debating the value of pi, are we? I've got mine, they've got theirs, and history will remember the successful. LaVey often spoke about how the first 100 years are the most difficult. We're half-way to his 100-year finish line, but there's too far to go to afford standing in the middle of the race-track and trying to block other runners. If we're as good as we believe ourselves to be, we'll effortlessly outpace the ideological competition.

January 13, 2017

Left-hand Tarot #30) Intuition is Over Rated

Today is Friday the 13th. Perhaps you're worried that it's a day of ill omen? And perhaps you're an idito. As you may or may not know, Friday the 13th is only an unlucky day if you're a Knight Templar, because that's the day when Pope Innocent II had them all arrested and put away. If you're not a Knight Templar, then Friday the 13th is just as ominous as Thursday the 12th and Saturday the 14th. Read more.

This isn't specifically about Satanism, but as many parallels as there are between Gardnerian Wiccans and frequently just other-Wiccans, it's hard to not see the same kind of relationships between Satanism (as codified by Anton LaVey) and Satanism as it's developed outside the Church of Satan.

One of the fundamental conflicts that exists between members of the Church of Satan and other people who practice Satanism is a lot like how the Gardnerians never adopted or even acknowledged the Wiccan Rede. There's such a divide between other-Wiccans and Gardnerians that the two frequently don't reconcile. Likewise, there's such a divide between CoS-Satanism and other-Satanism that the two just don't connect.

Also interesting to me in this discussion is how so-called "traditional witches" (the definition changes all the time) typically don't believe in a policy of "harm none," or believe in a principle of spiritual retribution. Magic is as magic does, and there's no grand, cosmic balancing force to see that everybody gets an ultimate reward or punishment. Satanism, Witchcraft, and Wicca are cultural contemporaries, so it's fascinating to see where they diverge, where they conjoin, and where they separate. Read more.

Oh, yeah - this too: I did a 90 minute interview with another YouTuber who wanted to talk about Satanism, greater magic, ritual, Tarot, and the Illuminati. Check it out!

Dear Intuitive Readers: I know it's very trendy right now to just lay cards down on the table - as many cards as you like, in any configuration that comes to mind - and then just look for an answer, but please remember that for those of us who prefer the analytical approach using set positions and assigned meanings in a Tarot reading, trying to respond to your request for second opinions is like trying to find Waldo:

This is what it's like when somebody throws a mess of cards on the table,
says nothing, and just expects you to figure it out.
Let's pretend that Waldo is the sitter: "Hi, I'm having relationship problems with Wanda. I feel like Odlaw is coming between us, and I don't know what to do about it." Then let's pretend that the image above is the cards laid on the table. Waldo, Wanda, and Odlaw are all definitely in there, but it's going to take a very long time to find them. Answering Waldo's relationship question would be a lot easier if Waldo, Wanda, and Odlaw were highlighted in the image and were plain to see. This would make it much easier to see the connections and give a useful answer, because the way it is now - just hunting around for Waldo, Wanda, and Odlaw - it's a complete mess.

So if you're one of those people on the interwebs who's posting pictures of a a whole mess of Tarot cards and asking for a second opinion, please remember that you're going to get more and better answers from the other readers (and the other professionals like myself who do this full-time) if you do the bare minimum amount of work and tell us which cards are assigned to which actors. You're welcome to use a free-form, fully intuitive approach to the cards, but there are a whole lot of readers (myself included) who won't be able to help you with it.

Now, seeing as I posted the above text as a short rant in a Facebook community for Tarot readers, I thought it only fair that I offer a free reading so that other readers can get an idea what I'm talking about. It's very easy to fall into the solipsistic trap of thinking that everybody reads Tarot the same as you, but the reality is that there are a lot of readers - much like myself - who don't claim to have psychic abilities, who don't rely on intuition, and who devote a lot of effort to the performance of a Tarot reading. So with that in mind - if you're reading this on my blog - you're welcome to skip to the end of the video and watch me give a sample of my reading style. There's some other discussion there, too, but you'll have to tune in live to find out.

January 07, 2017

Left-hand Tarot #29) Welcome to 2017

Read my blog: https://lefthandtarot.blogspot.ca
Follow me on Google+: https://plus.google.com/+JamesBulls
Order a Tarot reading: http://www.fiverr.com/jamesbulls

Welcome to 2017. I'd like to say, "Let's hope it's a good one!," but given current events I'm feeling skeptical.

So, there was an article in the news talking about how there's all this bad blood between the Church of Satan and the Satanic Temple. Speaking for myself, my sole and only issue with the Satanic Temple is that from everything I've seen, they're idealists who encourage nobility and honor, whereas I'm a pragmatist more concerned with personal success and achievement (even if that means using lesser and greater magic for ignoble or generally dishonorable ends.) Maybe somebody will tell me if my perception is wrong, but it's difficult for me to support a Satanic organization which would put the same kind of idealist, humanist expectations upon me that I might find in churches of the right-hand path. As for Satanists who complain that the Satanic Temple is making a mockery of Satanism, clearly they haven't met Chaz Stevens. I'd also say that they've clearly forgotten how much Anton LaVey enjoyed pulling pranks and being an all-around joker. Read more.

I'm sure there are people out there who'll disagree with me - this is the Internet, after all - but what's wrong with not being a massive, gaping asshole? Seriously... Call it "political correctness," call it "treating people with respect," or whatever you like, but what it boils down to is: How does it serve you to be a social cancer? Sure, go after people who deserve criticism and mockery - I don't have a problem with playing the accuser or standing in the role of the opposer - but from a lesser-magic perspective it's worth remembering that loudmouth shittery closes way more doors than it opens, and you'll never know what you didn't find behind all the doors that are permanently shut to you because you have a problem with people getting equal treatment under law. Remember that part from the Rules of the Earth? "When walking in open territory, bother no one. If somebody bothers you, ask him to stop. If he doesn't stop, destroy him." If your measuring stick for what qualifies as somebody bothering you includes people protesting herd mentalities such as racism and sexism (which are specifically condemned in the Satanic Scriptures), then it's probably best that you don't go outside. Like... ever. Read more

So, elsewhere in the world there are Christians who are so worried about their God's delicate feelings that they feel the need to deface non-Christian displays. This past Christmas, a man in Florida had a Satanic display erected on city property next to the Christian display, and by the end of the season the display had been vandalized at least eight times. Much like the "Everybody Draw Muhammad" events hosted around the world, Satanic participation in public displays of religion (or lack thereof) isn't for the sole purpose of having pluralist representation, but also for the purpose of exposing the true level of Christian tolerance. I'm sure we'd all be a lot happier if Christians weren't defacing public displays, but Christians defacing the monument is part of the reason it's there. Let everybody see what True Christians™ are made of, and then nobody will be surprised when their congregations continue to shrink and become less and less relevant. Read more.

"Satan translates to mean "opposite," lest the Satanic Bible be forgotten. The essence of Satanism is what tips the balance and starts the pendulum swinging in the other direction." -Anton LaVey (The Devil's Notebook)
If we are to assume that the full weight of the government at federal and state levels combined with widespread (though not quite majority) sentiment among voters is a useful metric, then the world in which Americans are living is thoroughly racist, sexist, and authoritarian.

The above quote from Anton LaVey is one of several which I could cite which usefully describes his fluid attitude to opposition: whatever is the popular, establishment, or most-commonly-accepted position is the point against which the Satanist polarizes him or herself in order to best play the role of the accuser. Get it? Opposition isn't fixed - it's dynamic and shifts depending on the weather and the landscape.

Speaking for myself, there are some positions which I'm not willing to compromise, but LaVey made it clear in his writing that he was ambidextrous in his opposition. LaVey's brand of Satanism - his words, not mine - emerged during the cultural revolution of the 1960's, and he described several times how he adopted authoritarian positions because that's what was opposite the free-love, anything goes, hippy-dippy attitude of the day.

With a fluid attitude like that, I wonder that if LaVey were still alive today he'd continue with his political and philosophical gymnastics and adopt a position like what we've seen from other activists flying the black flag? Perhaps LaVey was a visionary ahead of his time and I'm just not smart enough to appreciate his perspective, but I don't think I could swing back and forth like that.

Still, in a time when I've witnessed intense animus from CoS members toward other Satanists, it's worth remembering that the Doktor himself would have laughed at their rigidity. According to everything that I've seen, LaVey was a world-class joker and would have been called a troll in his day. I find it difficult to believe that he wouldn't be adjusting his sails to ride the prevailing wind to the most bombastic and outrageous destinations possible.


Anybody else experienced this? I've read Tarot for years but only in the past year this happened: I've met somebody else who reads Tarot (or claims to read Tarot) who says, "I'd love to give you a reading!" This person then shuffles; lays out the cards, and then smiles at me expectantly: "There you go! I gave you a reading!" Uh... no, actually you didn't give me a reading - you asked me to give myself a reading and let you sit in on it. Is this a Tarot trend that's only started showing up, or has this kind of thing happened to others? This is so baffling to me because it has never entered my mind that such a thing is appropriate. To me, this is really rude and I struggle to understand how somebody would think this is okay.

Did you know that I only get paid for about half the time I spend working? #3 is so true. I charge $100 / hr. and when it comes to my online work, only half my time is spent doing actual Tarot - the other half of the time is spent responding to new client inquiries, following up with existing clients, and doing the work to set up tomorrow's pay-check. Read more.

I don't entirely agree with this statement about universal knowledge - somehow, I think there are a few things that would be left out - but in many ways, I agree: the Tarot is a 78-page book which can be shuffled into potentially billions of different combinations (3.10500033948e+20 possible 10-card combinations exist, and it increases exponentially), and time devoted to the study of a well-informed system of cartomancy can yield great results. Read more.

And last in this episode, I picked up this spread from Camelia Elias on her blog on Patheos, and I thought it was okay. She's got a really different reading style from me, which is fine, but me being who I am it's difficult to refrain from giving a piece of my mind. To my eyes, this was heavy on the mumbo jumbo. Take a look:
  1. Anchor (subject of the reading)
  2. Pretends (how the subject deceives you)
  3. Hides (what the subject hides from you)
To my eyes, it's probably easier to just use a Johari window: arena (known to all); secret (known to the subject but not to others); blind (known to others but not to the subject); and hidden (unknown to everybody.) Add an anchor card to characterize the subject of the reading, and perhaps another to describe the general atmosphere and voila - you've got something amazing. Read more.