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On the Magical Qualities of Number Seven

The specific sevens in a tarot reading can give us an understanding of whether the client is moving along a path of happiness, or standing still in procrastination.  For example the Seven of Water may indicate uncertainty in choosing our next steps; the Seven of Fire may reflect a renewed determination to stay on the course.  If there are multiple sevens in a reading, it could mean a pause in action is advised, as we shall make choices regarding what we want to do next.

Sevens bring along with them a lot of soul searching.  In evaluating our progress, we may find ourselves lacking, and it can be easy for us to be unkind to ourselves when we are not self-forgiving.  There can be a longing for more out of life.  Sevens indicate patience, review and introspection.  We wish to fully understand the truth of our situation and to gain clarity regarding our spiritual development.

Hence this is time for study, research, investigation through quiet observation and inner reflection.  By doing so we hope we can deepen our attunement to the Infinite and gain self-understanding on the meaning of life. 

An Elevator Speech on How Tarot Works

In a tarot reading, usually there is a tarot reader and a Querent (unless the tarot reader is reading for himself).  The Querent will ask questions and then the tarot reader will pull some tarot cards for the Querent, or sometimes ask the Querent to pull some cards himself, and answer the questions based on the meanings of the cards.

The rationale behind the tarot reading process is that all human being are interconnected on the collective unconscious level.  Imagine a super computer recorded all human experiences from the beginning of creation, our culture and history: the collective unconscious is similar to this super computer.  Sometimes I think of it as a very deep sea that I cannot see to its end.  It can be described by means of archetypes which are expressed in the images of the cards.  Since the reader and Querent connect to each other in the collective unconscious level, the reader is able to ‘read the mind’ of the Querent via the interpretation of the cards. 

How we think now will to a large extent determine our future, or destiny.  Of course in life there are factors that are out of our control, we call them fate.  Through the process of tarot reading, we are making our unconscious thoughts, conscious.  If they are positive thoughts, it will be good sign of a brilliant future.  Just work hard and go for it!  If they are negative thoughts, we are now made aware of such.  We can change the way we think, and choose our own destiny by walking a different path.

The Delphic Oracle: Reflections on Tarot Reading

On the Delphic Oracle
“In classic antiquity, an oracle was a person or agency considered to be a source of wise counsel or prophetic predictions or precognition of the future, inspired by the gods.  As such it is a form of divination.” Quoted from Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia.

The Place
One of the characteristics that most ancient oracles shared was that each was anchored to a specific place.  Usually there was a myth that said how the place was discovered, and what made each of them god for oracular activities.
Delphi was situated in a breathtaking landscape.  It was located in a rugged, mountainous area off the northern coast of the Gulf of Corinth, about 90 miles northwest of Athens.
She represented itself as the centre of the world, and displayed the omphalos, or the navel-stone, that Zeus had once placed there to honour this fact.  In ancient time when transportation was not easy, Delphi was a remote place that was exotic, which lend gravity to the act of making an enquiry.

Commercial Activities
Oracle could be considerable source of income.  Each visitor to Delphi had to provide a sheep for sacrifice before consulting the God, from which the priests received a choice of cut meat. 
Since the process of consultation at many oracles might consume days or even weeks, local hotels and taverns had a steady trade in housing and feeding visitors.  In other words, visiting a major oracle had plenty of other stuff to see and do.
The Pythian Games, held every four years at Delphi, rivaled the Olympics, attracted competitors and spectators from around the world.
Purpose of Visit
People came to an oracle hoped to experience a close encounter with the divine.  They wanted answers to their questions.
Criteria on becoming a Pythia
Pythia is a woman who was responsible for conveying Apollo’s words to people at the Delphic Oracle.
Plutarch was a priest served at the sanctuary.  One of his essays there was a character named Theon, who commented on the sort of woman that all Pythias should be:
(1)         She grew up in the home of poor farms.
(2)         She was truly virginal with respect to her soul.
Why should the god choose such girl to convey his words of advice?
Firstly being grown up poor carried without her skills or ability or expertise when she went into the oracular shrine.  Her inexperience of the world would free her from shaping her own ideas and thereby ruin her ability to be good transmitter of Apollo’s words.
Secondly, in traditional society a wife was considered with best quality if she was submissive to her husband.  The Pythia was considered by some to be bride of Apollo, celibacy that equated to exceptional purity was a prerequisite for such role.  This was not because engaging in sex was understood as an act of infidelity, but because sex – like defecation, urination and most other natural processes – was understood to pollute the body, and human bodies had to be pure when they interacted with the divine.  Interestingly, choosing a young virgin would work well, but choosing someone who was postmenopausal and therefore unattractive (in the eyes of ancient Greeks) would work well too.
The Nature of the Oracle
The words used to describe the process, in short, said Apollo ‘possess’ Pythia spiritually in order to delivery the prophecy.  There was archaeological evidence that the Pythia would inhale hallucinatory gas (ethylene) to produce an altered state of consciousness during which people could have out-of-body experiences, but remained lucid enough to answer questions.
Why should the god cause her to babble rather than speak clearly?
The enquirers who heard the oracles often came from a distant city, and carried Apollo’s words back home.  There, the meaning of the words might be debated.  Particularly in Athens, which had a long tradition of civic discourse, the correct interpretation of an oracle might be agreed upon only after lengthy discussion.  For debate to take place, oracles had to be open to more than one interpretations, they had to be ambiguous.
Reflections for a Tarot Reader
Like giving an oracle by the Pythia, we interpret the meanings of the cards.  In no way can the interpretation be truly objective, we say what we think is right.
Similar to the Delphic oracle, if one considers Tarot reading as an oracular process, such does not divest human individuals of all personal responsibility, nor their critical judgement.  Through one’s own internal debate the querent can significantly change what the cards meant to him and therefore their effect on his world.
Reference:
Johnston, S.I. Ancient GreekDivination.  Wiley-Blackwell: Chichester, 2008.
Katz, M. Hekademia Tarot Course notes class 4 on the Oracular Tradition.  Tarot Professionals Ltd, 2011.

Questions on Death

I met a friend who shared with me her fortune teller told her when she was going to die.  This happened when she was a teenager and ever since the could not get this off her mind.  When she described to me how the fortune teller gave her judgement, by only reading her palm lines (which at that time her hands had not even grown to full adult size), without any knowledge on horary astrology, without checking her birth chart…I was one hundred percent sure that she had been fooled for so many years since the ‘fortune telling’.  May all positive energies and light be with her.

I have never been asked with questions about ‘will I die’, or ‘when will i die’ in my practice.  Phew!  Personally I do not wish to handle questions on death, because while the techniques of predicting death are reliable as an astrologer I could be wrong.  The stake is huge here and given the complexities there could be error with my judgement.

So how questions on death can be judged?  For example, when will I die?  There are broadly two steps: firstly to cast a horary chart at the time the question is asked, and then to check with the birthchart of the querent. This is not a fail-safe, but it does mean you must get it wrong twice to be in error with your judgement.    

In the horary chart what you do is to find out the significators of Lord 1 (querent) and Lord 8 (death).  Well-behaved charts will have an applying aspect between the two.  As ever, it does not matter which applies to which.  Any aspects can kill.  There are only two barriers that we cannot allow our significators to pass, i.e. (1) conjunction with the Sun and (2) station.  Forget about the antiscion.  Death cannot have the sense of the covert or hidden that antiscia can carry.  Lord 1 on 8th cusp, or Lord 8 applying to the Ascendant are not testimonies because they only show the querent is thinking about death.

In those charts where there is no applying aspect between Lord 1 and Lord 8, we must find another significator for one or the other.  This can be the Moon or the Sun as alternative Lord 1; Saturn, or the dispositor of the Part of Death for alternative Lord 8.  When you have found the aspect showing death, time it in the usual way (ref John Frawley’s Textbook on Horary Astrology).

After you get the result, double check the native’s birthchart.  I will employ the length of life technique as in Hellenistic astrology (I am still learning), without that one should search through years of progressions, profections and transits of the native.

This is a lot of work, I think this will take me a week to do all these in order to make a confident judgement.  Afterall, do you really want to know when you will die?  Although the idea of predicting death may seem off-putting, there are many reasons for people sincerely wanting to know.  The most common are when the querent has to make financial provision for the care of an elderly relative and when the patient is receiving treatment for a potentially fatal illness.

Does my wife has another lover?

A friend called yesterday just before my office is closing for Chinese New Year.

He has been worrying that his wife is having an affair with someone else as he felt the relationship has been cooling.  I quickly did a horary chart for him to look into the situation.

Chart data: 20 Jan 2012 18:20 Hong Kong, using Regiomontanous house system.

Here is my edited note to him after reading the chart.

I have done a horary chart for you – you know you are my special friend.
 
You are Lord 1 represented by the Sun and the Moon.  The Sun is in Capricorn, ruled by Saturn.
Your wife is represented by Lord 7 Saturn.  You are totally controlled by your wife at this minute, and you feel yourself powerless in this situation.  Sun is in his fall in Aquarius.
Saturn is in Libra in the fall of the Sun.  Saturn hates the Sun.  Your wife doesn’t like you so to speak.  The Sun and Saturn is making a partile square with the Sun separating from Saturn.  In simple term, at the moment you are walking a little away from your wife, but you are controlled by your wife and you love her so much.  On the other hand she doesn’t like you.
The Moon is about to perform translation of light by first square Mars and then sextile Saturn.  The Moon is a connector here bringing Mars to Saturn (your wife).  What is Mars?  Mars is Lord of 4th house or the turned Lord 10 of your wife i.e. either your wife’s career or your land properties.   It can be either of it – you will know better.  What does your wife think about Mars?  Saturn is in Libra in detriment of Mars.  She hates Mars.  So even she gets connected to Mars, she doesn’t like Mars (i.e. her career or your land property).
However we must see that Saturn is very soon going to change sign to Scorpio.  Scorpio is ruled by Mars, i.e. very soon she is going to like a lot and being controlled by her career or your land property.  Also by that time she will no longer hate you, because her Lord will have moved away from Libra which is in the fall of the Sun.
The Sun is going to change sign too in his 29 degree.  Sun is moving to Aquarius, rules and in triplicity of Saturn.  You will become even more loving towards your wife.
I don’t see there is any 3rd person lover in this picture.

I talked to him afterwards and he confirmed that there are indeed property issues that cause bitterness in the relationship.

I was so glad the result was afterall a positive one!  I would never want to scare people off.

Horary chart delivers very accurate result and not every time people are happy to hear.  That’s why in my practice I always say to clients not to ask anything they are not ready to uptake.  Very often they say yes before the consultation and then at the end they walk away with regret.  Obviously I can soften my speech but never can I say something just to please others.