Thursday, January 28, 2016

Tarot: The Tarot of the Animal Lords: focus on Death

The focus of my character sketch for “The Tarot of the Animals Lords” is XIII. Death. The card depicts a foggy day, shrouding the landscape in mist. A raven stands at the entrance of a cave. In one hand, he holds a scythe, and with the other pats the crown of a skeleton lying beside him. In front of the raven is a chameleon resting near his feet.

 In the outline of the story that I created from my character sketch, I focused on Raven and his deeds. The other four cards I used complete the story (in order) were XV. The Devil, XVI. The Tower, VII. The Chariot, and VIII. Justice, respectively. In my opinion, each of these cards reflected many of the facts of the Death card. 

 Raven gloats that he is now the Ruler of the Land. Through stealth, he has vanquished all of his rivals. As he talks to his spy, Chameleon, Raven muses on how he united with Goat to do more mischief. He ponders his next move to keep his power intact.

 The scene shifts to The Devil. In a cavern with their backs to the rising moon is a goat and a toad. The standing goat is patting the toad, which squats behind him. The rocky cavern is empty except for these two figures.

 Goat is waiting for Raven to arrive for more plotting of mischief. He muses how they pulled the key log from Beaver’s dam, and sent him to his death. As Goat wonders what Raven will do next, Toad agrees to meet with Chameleon. Since Chameleon is a double agent, he will find out if Raven is plotting against them. 
 As Major Arcana cards, Death and The Devil fit together, since we are all in bondage to death. The Devil shows people their limitations, fears, and beliefs that hold them back. Moreover, Death is the biggest fear and limitation of all. For me, Death reflects the positive aspects of The Devil, as a final release from our fears.
The next card, The Tower features a beaver being flung over the falls as his dam breaks. Flying over him is a raven. The rush of water and flying logs reflects the beaver’s doom.  In this scene of the story, Beaver screams, “Help! Raven did this! Help!”

Both The Devil and Death are reflected in The Tower card. Death in the form of the raven flying overhead is the cause of the dam breaking. (Ravens are traditional symbols of death.) In the Tarot, The Tower comes after The Devil to break The Devil’s hold on us. The dam in The Tower reflects the holding power of certain beliefs. Once Death comes, the dam breaks and everything floods out. The suddenness of the flood washes away any limitations that we may hold.
 Next in the story comes The Chariot. Over the mountains, a crested crane rides a mute swan. As they fly towards the plains, the sun is rising. Standing on the swan’s back, the crane is aloof as he eyes the vista below him. In the distance are migrating swans.

In my story, Crane hears Beaver’s cries, and races to help. It is unsure whether he will arrive in time or not. If he does not, he still will be a witness to what has happened to Beaver.
 In the Major Arcana, The Chariot is movement. For me, The Devil, The Tower, and The Chariot reflects the several states of Death, which can be both sudden and gradual. The Devil holds death to a single instance, whilst The Tower shatters death completely. Whereas The Tower is sudden change, The Chariot is steady, the mid-point between the two extremes of inertia and discrete movement. Meanwhile, both Death and The Tower push forward to overcome The Devil’s active inertia.

 The last card in the story is Justice. This card depicts a barn owl, standing on a cliff’s edge, with a sword and scales. As day dawns over the mountains, a tern flies over the owl’s head. In nature, barn owls are known as voracious ratters. Moreover, they are often found in church yards, and have become associated with death. Because of this, I connected Justice with Death.

 Owl looks down at the scene of Crane’s rescue of Beaver. She decides to send Tern to Raven to ask him, why Beaver? As Justice, Owl will go down to deal with Raven, since she is equal to him in power.
 One aspect of Justice is dealing with unlawful death and administering lawful death. Moreover in Justice and Death, the owl’s sword and the raven’s scythe act as the same in conducting their respective duties. Both are impartial in what they do, and do not favor anyone. 

What I learnt from doing this character sketch is how the cards flow into each other, telling a story with relative ease. Death was the focus of these other four cards, with each highlighting a facet of this Major Arcana card. Also within each card were elements that related to the others in the group. The Chariot and The Tower are both about change, whilst The Devil is contained by Justice. Together, these cards weave an intricate story of intrigue and power.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Shadow Animals: Nahualli and Heyoka

My blog at Witches and Pagans features the following:

Shadow Animals: Part Three
In my series on types of Shadow Animals, I am introducing two terms that may seem unfamiliar to many Pagans: “nahualli” and “heyoka.” People may have heard these terms as they are common to New Age beliefs. Nahualli and the more familiar “nagual,” are often discussed in New Age Toltec writings. I prefer nahualli as defined by Caelum Rainieri and Ivory Andersen in their discussions about Aztec religion. The common usage for heyoka is to denote “crazy energy.” However, this Lakota term also refers to the person, a sacred clown who is touched by Wankan Tanka (the Great Mystery). To the Lakota, the heyoka holds the sacred duality of the universe.

Read more at animal-wisdom:shadow animals nahualli and heyoka

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Fairy-wren: Discover the Deeper Truth

Often seen in people’s gardens, Fairy-wren (Family: Malurus) is usually looking for a tasty Insect. Shy in nature, Fairy-wren is however tolerant of people. Popular in Australia, people regularly see Him in parks hopping about.

Despite his brilliant blue colors, Fairy-wren is difficult to see in the undergrowth. Since Male Fairy-wren is more cautious than the Female Fairy-wren (who has drabber feathers), He leaves promptly when an intruder approaches. If Fairy-wren spies a flying Insect, He hops straight up to snatch it, and then dives back to safety in the nearby bushes.

Fairy-wren’s family arrangements were confusing to many scientists. They thought He was socially monogamous but sexually promiscuous. However what they mistook for Female Fairy-wrens were the non-breeding Males. In Fairy-wren’s small group, there is one breeding pair – the dominant Female and her Partner. Because Fairy-wrens live long lives, They often form lasting family bonds. In their territories, Female Fairy-wrens will nest several times during a season. The non-breeding Males will help to raise each brood, and defend their area. When these Fairy-wrens are about four years old, They will leave their home nest.

Then, scientists uncovered another unique aspect about Fairy-wrens. Mother Fairy-wren teaches her unborn Chicks a special call. She sings to Them whilst the Chicks are still in their shells. Scientists believe that this call is the Fairy-wren’s version of a last name. A Chick that does not know this call is usually a brood-parasite such as a bronze-cuckoo. When that chick fails to answer, the Fairy-wren Family then abandons the intruder.

Fairy-wren teaches that things are not always what they seem. The boldly colored Male hides in the underbrush. When with his small family, He can be mistaken for a Female if He is not breeding. His family being ruled by a Female is unusual as well. Fairy-wren insists that you look beyond the surface to discover the deeper truths. However, He does caution that the deeper truth maybe staring you in the face, without any probing.

Teachings of Fairy-Wren Also Includes:
Having Strong Family Bonds
Being Bright and Beautiful
Dynamic Female Leadership
Science Notes:
1. Members of the wren family called the Troglodytidae. The wrens of Australia, New Guinea and New Zealand are not related and are not wrens. They belong to their own families. The New Zealand wrens are the Acanthisittidae, an ancient bird family. Meanwhile the wrens of Australia and New Guinea belong to the Maluridae Family, which includes fairy-wrens (Malurus), emu-wrens (Stipiturus) and grasswrens (Amytornis).

Photo By JJ Harrison ( (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

(Revision of a 2008 blog entry.)

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Norse Runes: Runic Energies: Popular Culture

Fehu:       The TV Western, “Bonanza” is set in Virginia City, Nevada during one of the richest silver strikes in the U.S. The wealth of the Cartwright family is their ranch, The Ponderosa. 

Thurisaz:    “The Untouchables” (1956) with Robert Stack is riddled with Thurisaz energy. Treasury Agent Elliot Ness strives to bring justice to Prohibition Ear Chicago. Each episode depicts murder and brutality against innocent people.

Ansuz:     Yoda of “Star Wars” taught many generations of Jedi Knights from Ben Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker to Luke Skywalker. He was also the head of the Jedi Council.     
Raidho: The TV Western, “Rawhide” depicted the lives of drovers as they herd cattle along the Sedalia Trail (from Texas to Missouri). Each episode opened with the sight of the cowboys urging cows to move along the range.

Kennaz:    “Hell’s Kitchen” with Master Chef Gordon Ramsey is about choosing the best chef to run a new restaurant. Each week, Ramsey gives the chefs tasks to prove their skill and mastery in both cooking and running a restaurant.

Gifu: O’Henry’s short story, “The Gift of the Magi” tells of two poor newly-weds who struggle to give the other a gift of meaning. They sell their most prized possessions to give the other their loving gift.

Wunjo: Throughout the years, “Alvin and the Chipmunks” have brought children joy in their antics. Adults are amused by the high squeaky voices of the trio, and smile at their adorableness.

Hagalaz:       Moby Dick, the White Whale, terrorized the seas by destroying whaling boats. In “Moby Dick” by Herman Melville, this whale smashed the boats carrying Captain Ahab, his pursuer. Finally, Moby Dick killed Ahab and nearly all his crew by throwing his whale body on top of the craft. 

Eihwaz:         PBS “Frontline” presents controversial issues such as NSA spying for national security. The objective of the series is to have people think about these issues. They do that by presenting various points of views for their viewers to consider.

Perthro: The TV science-fiction show, “Quantum Leap” presented a protagonist trying to return to his own time and life. As he struggles to get home, he is forced to “leap” from time period to time period, and into the lives of different people. The “jumps” were completely random.

Berkana: The TV show, “Shark Tank” features investors willing to sponsor inventors. Each episode, several inventors present their ideas to the investors for consideration. A lucky few get funded for their work by the investors.

Othala: The legacy of Gene Roddenberry is the “Star Trek” franchise. Each show, movie, book, and comic presents his optimistic and hopeful view of the future. Furthermore, millions of people have responded to his vision by becoming ardent fans.