Category Archives: Off Topic

Get. This. Book.

I’m about to advise you to get this book. , Untold Tarot: The Lost Art of Reading Ancient Tarots But the deck in the image above isn’t an ancient Tarot. It’s a Lasenic Tarot, first published “between the Wars”, and full of Wirthy occult goodness. (From what I gather, Lasenic studied with Wirth.)

For you shoppers (and I hope you are here for something besides that!) the deck can be purchased at Pyroskin, the pouch is from Baba Studios,

Now, an occult deck by a strange and wonderful man is by all means worth study and contemplation. Lasenic certainly has my attention! (Karen Mahony once shared this gem at AT: “certainly many occultists hid everything (Madame de Thebes was killed by the Nazis, Lasenic was questioned about occultism by the gestapo and escaped – in what we now recognise as true Lasenic style – by EATING the charge papers when his interrogator left the room for a minute. The super-efficient Nazis could not cope with this and let him go – wonderful story and apparently true).”

But even the Buddha didn’t sit under the Bo Tree all his life. Sometimes we have to roll up our sleeves, put on our high boots, and wade into the poomp: the dirty dishes, the bills, the crazy lady across the street who hates your kids, the middle management guy who thinks he can grope the help, etc., etc. ad nauseam.

And that is where Untold Tarot comes in. This is the best book for reading TdM-type decks that I have come across. It’s an actual, pragmatic card reading manual. There’s a disturbing tendency in Tarot literature -old as well as new – to talk and talk but not give any useful information. You don’t see that in this book at all. There is no such mumbo jumbo going on here. It’s all useful and clear:

“The Fool shows you what you are not taking seriously, which will be the card he faces.”

There’s history, too, and it’s always interesting and relevant to reading the cards, never dry or tedious.

She separates this from GD/Crowley type reading. This has about as much in common with RWS or Thoth as Kipperkarten does.

If you feel the need to (at least temporarily) jettison elemental dignities, hermetic Qaballah, etc. and just want your Tarot to talk to you like your Lenormand does, this is the book you need.

I also want to add that even though it’s a paperback, the pages are stitched in. Better quality than I see with a lot of hardcovers! This book will stand up to years of constant referencing.

Caitlin has truly outdone herself this time, this is the pip-Tarot book I’ve been waiting for. Color me impressed! 😀


A Night Off With Mr. Ensslin and Mr. Wirth

…and Mr. Vodka and Mr. Tequila. So I will loosen up and talk about a sector of my life I don’t talk about much.

What is a Tarot but Majors and Minors? And what are Minors, but Pips? The Lenormand, arguably, is a reduced Pip deck.

The Majors speak in great depth, they resonate with Kabbalah/Qabalah, elemental dignities, Hebrew letters, gematria…but the Minors tell us about the world here below, what generally concerns us. “Will he ask me out?” “Is my job secure?” “Will my parcel arrive?”

But the most incisive, to-the-point Pip deck I have encountered is Lenormand.

I know that noobs want to shuffle everything together and read them in “intuitive” combinations. I am not suggesting that anyone do that. Oh HELL no.

But from what I understand, Continental readers lay the Majors and Minors out separately. The Majors for the deep, causative stuff, and the Minors for how it’s all effecting us here on the “meat wheel” (thank you, Mr. Kerouac*. You were a goddamn wino, but I love you for this. And On The Road. You crazy genius motherfucker. RIP.)

So, what better layout than a good old Majors-only Wirth, and a few Lenormand cards?

I asked about my (non-reading, it takes several streams of income to pay the bills these days, sadly. Oh, how I wish I was June Cleaver!) job. I can see things going wacky there. We make computer automotive parts (like those things that beep when you back up and there’s something you’re going to hit.) My line puts shock absorber pads on the metal shields that hold the little circuit boards.

It’s all crazy now because we have seven lines that build these units, but our line that supplies them is being cut down to nothing. Machines we use are being shipped out. And they give us the shittiest people – currently we have a morbidly obese mofo there who only bathes when we make a complaint. He’s lazy AF and he’s got the personality of a moat – you know the moat was where the castle sewerage went. Before him, there was a psychotic lady. I had to put in a “hostile work environment” complaint to get her the f*** away from me. And that’s the easy part, I’ll get him out, too. But there will be another after him, and another…AAAARRRRRRGGGGGHHHHH.

We already lost a contract with Ford. I think we will lose another.

Everything is in flux there, in a really stupid kind of way. So I asked – in general – how it will come out. (I know everything up to this has been bitch-gripe-grumble-fuck. But the background is relevant to the cards.)

Again – Birds – Cat – Mice _ Fish – Ship

The Ensslin is not a regular Lenormand> When I first got it, I was inclined to substitute Cross meanings for Cat, but Jon St, Germain tells me that he uses it for nosiness and interference, and that works for me. (LOL, CATS.)

Stress and hecticness and gossip combined with nosiness leads to financial loss. A lot of talking and movement, but the shipment (or two, or more) is not made. Decision makers are dropping the ball in a big way. A lot of intrigue and talking and yammering, but no substance. Playing at work. Birds reflecting Ship, stress over a shipment (that should just HAPPEN, in a sane world. What is so hard about building shit, packing it, and shipping it out? I mean, if you have the machines to do that. Which we did – BEFORE THEY GOT RID OF THEM.), Cat + Ship, they have their nose in it (the shipment) but it’s all wrong. Mice take Cat (“SHUT UP”) but they shit on Fish (money).


Magician – Moon – Fool

Magician is a trickster. Sleight of hand, con games. The people at the top are losing for a reason – tax writeoff? IDK, but it’s intentional. The Moon, things are lit dimly, people get away with things in the shadows. (Goddamn weasels.) The Fool is an utter ass who thinks he knows it all – watch out for that croc, dude.

Synthesis: The ass is leading the head, like some kind of backwards snake. Failure in 3…2…

Mr. Dreidel says “do nothing”. So I will shut up and keep plugging.

*211th Chorus

The wheel of the quivering meat
Turns in the void expelling human beings,
Pigs, turtles, frogs, insects, nits,
Mice, lice, lizards, rats, roan
Racinghorses, poxy bucolic pigtics,
Horrible unnameable lice of vultures,
Murderous attacking dog-armies
Of Africa, Rhinos roaming in the
Vast boars and huge gigantic bull
Elephants, rams, eagles, condors,
Pones and Porcupines and Pills-
All the endless conception of living
Gnashing everywhere in Consciousness
Throughout the ten directions of space
Occupying all the quarters in & out,
From supermicroscopic no-bug
To huge Galaxy Lightyear Bowell
Illuminating the sky of one Mind-

I wish I was free
of that slaving meat wheel
and safe in heaven dead.
Jack Kerouac

On Our Now-Nazi Country, and Where We Go From Here

My facebook friend Joshua Ellis posted this in the wee hours.
Having a game plan is a tiny ray of hope.
Maybe we’ve got this. It’s on you, and it’s on me.
Are you in?

People started hitting me up last night long before the concession. Messages came through all night while I slept and this morning.

One friend suggested that perhaps I was culpable in some small way for this – me and people like me – for not just getting onboard the Clinton train unreservedly and unambiguously and putting my reservations and ambiguity aside until after the election. And today I am haunted by the idea that he might be right, that I could have done more.

But as I told him: “Have I ever given you the impression, in all the years you’ve known me, that this would be the way I’d handle that?”

Perhaps I could have done more, but I’m not sure I could have done any different. The only way I really matter in the world is that I tell the truth as I understand it. I might be wrong, my conclusions may be erroneous, but I never lie about them. That’s all I have.

And let’s face it, would anybody have really believed me if I’d done an about face after the primary and told you I had no doubts about Hillary Clinton? You would have known I was full of shit.

But that’s not what people were mostly asking me about in those messages. They were asking me variations on the same question: what do we do now?

I was not in any way exaggerating the consequences I believe this election will have on America. I think that unless something completely unforeseeable happens, this country is going to fall, or begin to fall, under this president. The only way I see around that is if Donald Trump completely reverses every position he claimed to hold during the election.

The fact that this is not entirely out of the realm of possibility is almost as unnerving as the likelihood that he won’t.

I think that the political reality is that progressives and liberals are going to be in a body cast for the next two years at least and probably the next four. With a majority Congress and a President and at least one Supreme Court nominee, the Republicans are ascendant. This election was a revolution, it turns out – just not the one that people like me were hoping for.

I’m gonna be really blunt here: I’m writing most of you political folks off now. Political activism only works if you can effect change, and the government is going to ignore you entirely now, because they know they can.

The dominant American voter base today are triumphant regressives who hate you. They do. They hate you. They did not elect Trump because they love you and simply think your ideas were well-intentioned but misguided. They want to punish you. They could not have made that any clearer. Do you really think they’re going to call their leaders to intervene at Standing Rock? Or be outraged when the next black boy ends up on the street face down? They are indifferent to the Natives and they hate and fear the black boys, and they will not stand in the way when these people are shoved face down into the mud. They might even get a boot on your back.

(The Libertarians probably won’t, but they won’t lend a hand, either. The Libertarians are pointless selfish shitheads whose only value to society is dealing weed and making DC Comics rich off licensed Guy Fawkes mask sales. You a Libertarian? Yeah, I’m looking right at you when I speak. Your candidate was a fucking carnival geek and so were you for voting for him. Go build a floating pirate island somewhere out of remaindered paperback copies of The Wealth Of Nations, and don’t forget to go fuck yourself as you climb aboard the SS Galtcock. Wankers.)

Ahem. Where was I?

So where does that leave us? Armed insurrection? Sheeeeeeeeeit. Most of you people throw a temper tantrum if the olive in your bacon martini isn’t free trade. Six hours in the mud in a secret camp out in the woods and you’d give the revolution’s position away by calling an Uber to roll bounce the fuck out. You’d go full Weathermen and let Tyler the unemployed MFA grad student try to wire up the bombs because his mixtape was lit af. (Spoiler alert: explosion and splattering noises.) You could use the Black Bloc as your footsoldiers, but that would only net you a decisive victory against Starbucks picture windows and anybody who happened to be downwind of them.

(Public service announcement, Black Bloc: it’s hard to effectively smash the state when the state knows you’re coming from a mile away by the reek of dirt weed and stank ass coming off your Crass hoodie. You know what Bakunin liked as much as collective choice? Bathing.)

But that’s a good thing, because violence begets violence, and hipster jihad would end very badly not just for Them but for Us. Robespierre’s severed head could have told you that with its last breath as it lay in the guillotine basket.

Where does this leave us then, if we’re politically neutered and we’re leaving those Blue Dawn fantasies abandoned at the Crazytown bus station?


It turns out that there’s a lot you can do to sabotage people by moving money around… or not moving it. It also turns out that most of the people who voted for Trump live in economically precarious places whose lifeline relies upon consumption of their goods by people in urban areas. Very few of them make anything anymore. They grow food and they sell each other Arby’s sandwiches. They’re angry because they feel like we’ve ignored them for a long time.

I think it would be deeply funny if we devoted our strict attention to them for a while.

Imagine what would happen if you stopped buying produce from grocery stores and only bought it from farmer’s markets in your own city, from local producers. Even better: grow your own food. It’s not that hard to automate that process and you can do it anywhere, even in the desert. Can’t do it in your own backyard? There are community gardens everywhere. Let’s turn the cities into places not only of consumption but production. Let’s grow our own food on a massive scale. Let’s cripple the farmers who voted for Trump, and then batter the Republicans for trying to sneak white-people welfare through under the guise of “farm subsidies”.

What else? Well, a lot of people are looking at ways to do basic universal income, and some of them are looking at decentralized, non-state-based ways of doing that. Some of them are more realistic than others, but let’s put some effort into solving that problem. Let’s get it working over the next four years.

And then let’s cut them off. Because if it’s not government run it doesn’t have to be for everybody, any more than Mormons have to share their food stocks with hungry non-Mormons if they don’t want to. (And to be fair, they often do.) So let’s give money to people of color and homeless people and people we like, and let the rest of the country slowly realize that the vast majority of that welfare they despise so much, that Daddy Trump is going to get rid of, actually goes into their own communities, not to black welfare queens.

Let’s double down on automating jobs while we’re at it. Let’s spend our savings on solar panels for our houses rather than bling and artisanal food, so we can finally kill the Appalachian coal economy for good. Instead of getting rid of our cars completely, which is unfeasible, let’s downsize to scooters and motorcycles and create cheap ridesharing systems so that when we need to go to IKEA or Costco, we just rent a truck for fifty bucks once a month to do it, which is still cheaper. Let’s cripple the oil companies.

Let’s make a deliberate decision to support people who by choice or by necessity leave the wage economy and try to make a living creatively. Consider them beta testers for the new economy that’s coming. Stop telling them they’re unrealistic. Thinking that the traditional model of employment is going to endure is the actual unrealistic thing.

Most of all, let’s turn our back on the bullshit American Dream that we’re all going to live lives of luxury and prosperity any day now. Stop investing in corporations and start investing in people. Don’t buy real estate as an investment, because protecting that investment often leads you to unintentionally inflict a lot of horror on other people. Buy a house to live in it until you die. Invest in fixing it up not to flip it, but so that your children have a beautiful place to grow up in and live in and pass down to their children.

Stop buying new cars – you don’t need one and the five year warranty ends up costing you more in interest and full coverage insurance alone than if you bought a used car and paid a mechanic to get it into perfect condition. Hell, spend your weekends learning to fix your own car with a Chilton’s manual and YouTube sitting next to you.

Learn to build your own furniture. It’s cheaper and fun. Be okay with having cinderblock bookshelves and pine tables. Build makerspaces to share resources and knowledge. Cook your own food. Fix things that break instead of replacing them.

Stop giving a shit about looking prosperous. Stop acting like a temporarily embarrassed millionaire. It’s scary, but you’ll dig it after a while.

And let’s protect each other. If Trump outlaws abortions, let’s figure out ways to get women to safe places elsewhere they can have it done. Let’s start sending people across the border to buy medicine cheap for their friends and families. Let’s start building underground railroads to help queer kids get out of their hateful small towns and into places where they will be not only accepted but celebrated. Let’s volunteer to protect our Muslim friends and our black friends and our trans friends and their places of worship and community. Let’s abhor the fact that we might need to watch out for a lot of our lady friends and keep them safe from being grabbed by the pussies, but let’s do it anyway.

To paraphrase Batman: We’re not going to kill the people who last night chose the path our country is on now, but we don’t have to save them, either. We can save the people who need and deserve saving, though, now more than ever, and by doing so, we can save ourselves. Because they are us.

The time for dank memes and shitposting is done. The time for hearts and minds is done. We’ve lost those. The time for hitting the bricks and getting our hands dirty and organizing ourselves not to protest or petition but to just get shit done is at hand.

Start today. I am. Channel your fear into decision: I’m not going to wait until tomorrow to jump in the game anymore. It’s my turn to play.

You will ward the darkness off with your light. You will earn your place in history. You will be heroes, forever and ever.

Right now, it’s time to kick out the jams, motherfuckers.

Are you in?

Get Yourself Sane

One can’t be an effective reader while putting on an act.

And by “act”, I don’t mean dressing all boho. I mean being FAKE.

If memory serves, it was the Scots who called prognostication “the tongue that cannot lie” – even if it means being burnt in a spiked tar barrel, as was said to be the fate of the Brahan Seer. Whether this actually happened or not is debatable, but the point is that while there are a lot of liars out there calling themselves “readers”, real readers are not bullshitters. We learn to read cards, you pay us to read cards, we tell you what the cards say.

There are certain psych disorders that interfere with one’s effectiveness as a reader, and a big one I want to talk about here is the Martyr Complex. You’ve all run into them: those pagans who are always screeching about the evil Christians and “never again the burning times!”, those rubber room feminists who accuse every male who answers a simple question of “mansplaining” and paint all men as “the patriarchy”, or worse, “rapists”.

I run into these types often. Here is one who apparently collected over $27,000 from 374 backers and didn’t produce the goods, and is now attention whoring all over facebook and playing the victim. All the while blaming everyone but herself and libeling at least one friend of mine that I know of, which I don’t take kindly to.

This person is not a reader. This person is a fake. Don’t be this person. Study, practice, and above all – Be Real.

That is all.

Settling in, mulling things over

I long ago came to the conclusion that america acts like a big filter that dumbs everything down. Recently, this was reinforced by something totally unrelated to Lenormand: I moved last month, so I’ve been digging into feng shui resources, googling, talking to people, hauling out the books. Although I’m a little skeptical that putting the bed directly under the ceiling fan will result in “cutting energy”, making people fight with their housemates, I arranged the place according to specs anyway and I’m glad I did. What you end up with is an uncluttered, easy-to-clean living space with a relaxing ambience and some interesting little characters here and there:

Now, in feng shui, (unlike Lenormand, in spite of continual yammering online to the contrary) there are pretty clearly defined schools, and different sources will tell you different things, adding subschools and whatnot, but very basically, they are these:

The Form School, which is the oldest. It’s exactly what it sounds like, taking form into account. For instance, if you live on a hillside, you want the higher ground BEHIND the house, for support. If the higher ground is in front, every time you go out the front door, you’re going to see “OBSTACLE”, which can be detrimental on a psychological level, even if you don’t believe in “blocked chi”. So that makes a lot of sense.

Next you have the Compass School, which came later. It utilizes those bagua maps, you divide your living space into sections according to the compass directions and they correspond to career, love, etc. So if your finances aren’t so good, the idea is to look at that part of the house, make sure there’s no dust, clutter, or pointy things, and maybe put a cure there, like a faceted crystal or a nice jade plant. It’s actually more complex than that, but you get the idea.

The third school, which started maybe forty years ago, is called the Black Hat School, or BTB (Black Sect Tantric Buddhist). It was invented by Grandmaster Lin Yun and brought to the US in the 80’s and uses the bagua, but not the compass. The bagua is oriented to the entryway. No matter which direction the main door faces, the BTB bagua will always be placed with the center of the facing wall being considered as the Fame and Reputation area (which is the south area in the Compass School.)

Now, I am not here to diss Tantric Buddhists. AT ALL. I’m sure it was an act of compassion to devise an easier, more “intuitive” feng shui school for people who are confused by the older, more traditional schools. And although I don’t use BTB, I’m guessing it works as well as the others.

The problems come in when you tell blissninny american new agers, many of whom can’t read a compass, but are irresistibly drawn to things like feng shui, that something is “intuitive”. A quick google will turn up a lot of writing where people interpret that as “Do whatever you wanna do!” Once you haul your TV and your office into the bedroom, it’s not feng shui anymore – not even BTB feng shui, which is not devoid of complexity – and putting wind chimes and Pu Tai figurines all over the place doesn’t change that. (I can hear the new agers screeching now: “DON’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO WITH MY HOUSE!!!!!” lol)

Are you seeing the parallels to Lenormand yet?

A tradition from across the ocean – no, wait, scratch that, they do it to Native Americans too:

Remember those Robert Bly “Men’s Weekends”?

…and a few of us trying to study it. In peace.

And always, always, a bunch of new agers try to muscle in so they can SHIT ALL OVER IT.

To borrow a phrase from Doktor Howl, “They are the people of the flattened DNA helix. We must leave them behind, if there is to be any hope at all for our species.”

On movies, morals, and reading cards

Jean Harlow in “Red Dust”, 1932


Greetings from puritanical America, where Europe has been dumping her religious fanatics for centuries and gay marriage is actually considered controversial in entirely too many circles. If you’re a card reader, you might be more enlightened than most – we’re fringe people, after all, and tend to be more accepting towards people of different sexual orientations, races, and religions other than Christianity. But sadly, there’s narrow-mindedness in the community, as well. First I’d like to talk about movies, though. There’s a reason for this. 😉 Read on:

We probably all grew up watching old movies, and movies made between 1934 and 1968 were made during the enforcement of the Hays Code. The Hays Code, if by some chance you don’t know of it, was a puritanical list of things that weren’t allowed in movies, like race mixing, lampooning clergy, and “excessive or lustful kissing”. Any behavior deemed to be immoral had to be presented in an unsympathetic manner, and the characters had to be punished, which made these movies utterly predictable for the most part. You knew that any “immoral” character would be dead or jailed by the end of the movie. It didn’t matter if it was a psycho killer or just someone stepping out on their spouse, they were doomed.

Pre-Code, however, tells another story. Sometimes things caught up with people, sometimes not. A lot like real life. The characters are usually well drawn, and you can often sympathize with them and the things they do. Marlene Dietrich cheats on her husband and goes on the lam with her little boy in Blonde Venus (1932), but you can see WHY. You WANT her to make it, and if she’d ended up dead or jailed at the end, it would be too depressing to ever watch a second time. Good people can do bad things if they have good reasons.

Sometimes people have to make a buck.

Same with Jean Harlow, there at the top of this post. In Red Dust she’s got a heart of gold, and she lands Gable in the end, even though she was hooking in Saigon prior to that. I’m not sure what my all-time favorite movie ending is, Harlow landing Gable at the end of “Red Dust”, or Harlow landing Gable at the end of “China Seas”. 😀 In “Red Headed Woman” (also 1932), on the other hand, she has NO heart, wrecks a marriage, attempts to kill a man, has multiple affairs and uses sex simply to get ahead. In the end, she’s got a filthy rich old husband in Paris and a young lover. She’s neither dead nor jailed. Sometimes things happen that way. The movie is hilarious though, one of those things you have to see to appreciate.

So what the hell is all this doing on the card blog, you ask? Very simple. Chances are the movies you grew up with were code. Very old movies have always been hard to catch without putting some effort into tracking them down. If you don’t hunt for them, you probably won’t see many, if any at all. How many hours have you spent watching code movies? What you see again and again gets ground into your head, and you have to do a little housecleaning from time to time by thinking about it rationally. (And I know this well, I grew up in TEXAS, and I’m there now. I do a LOT of reflecting and brain-cleaning. 😛 ) There’s lot of moralizing by otherwise good people in online card reading groups. It’s AUTOMATICALLY assumed that the married guy somebody’s asking about IS JUST USING HER FOR SEX AND DOES NOT CARE, that the Snake is the OTHER WOMAN, that naturally poly people are ASSHOLES, and the world is full of DIRTY BIRDIES WHO MUST BE STOPPED. Sounds like a code movie to me. If you’re reading this, you’re probably a nice person – that stuff is for harpies who snoop in their mens’ cell phones, not you! Don’t fall in with that kind of thinking. The world is more complex than that. The CARDS are more complex than that – read them and see what they say, don’t twist them to what the current, dry Bible-thumper culture would have you say.

If you don’t do that kind of stuff (and a lot of you don’t, you’re awesome) just do the world a favor and don’t let it go unremarked if you see it, OK? Thanks.

If you go pro, you’re going to get all kinds of clients and you won’t approve of everything they’re doing. But the fact is, they’re consenting adults and it’s their business, so it’s key for us to keep our personal standards for ourselves and read their cards. If they wanted a sermon, they could get that easily enough without paying for it. They called YOU and spilled their guts to a stranger. Maybe they have good reasons for the things they’re doing. Maybe not. I’ve had a few who were so dishonest and oblivious to others feelings that I felt kind of repelled, but most are just very human, and for the purpose of reading cards, it doesn’t really matter.

The world is kind of like pre-code movies, and nothing like all those code movies that got ground into our heads at an early age. And this is a GOOD thing. 😉 Now loosen up, you’ll feel better. I leave you with Miss Clara Bow: