The Magician and Channeling Down Energy


The Fool is totally intoxicated with spiritual energy.  It’s just pouring into him and he’s dancing with the pure joy of it.

The Magician, on the other hand, is directing that energy.  We see him standing there in his robes, one hand pointed to the sky and the other pointed to the ground.  On his table are the four elements of the Tarot: wands, cups, swords, pentacles, also known as ideas, emotions, energy, and material.

He serves as a reminder that we are not alone.  We are not limited to our personal resources, our bodies and minds, as incarnate in this earth plane.  There are other realms of being and there is an infinite amount of energy available from those realms, energy far beyond what we think we possess.

And you can take a very, very, simplistic approach to that.  You don’t have to be a Master Occultist with secret knowledge of the Astral Planes and how to manifest that energy onto the Earth Plane.  You don’t have to go Full Wiccan and set up a Magic Circle with white candles at the quarters. You don’t have to be a Theosophist with intricate explanations of how the universe works.

Just start with three simple facts:

1 – you exist;

2 – there’s another realm of infinite energy;

3 – you’re connected to it.

No matter how beaten up or beaten down we may be, no matter how physically and spiritually exhausted we are, we have access to all of the energy we need any time we want it.

Don’t get hung up on names for the other realm.  Call it whatever you like – heaven, the astral plane, the angelic realms, foreverland . . . whatever.  I personally like the phrase, “Spirit World,” because it’s descriptive short hand without trying to put it in a box of faiths, creeds, or religions. But call it whatever rings true to you.

Don’t get hung up on methods for contacting it.  There are about a zillion religions and philosophies out there and they all claim to have the EXCLUSIVE method for getting in touch with Spirit World.  Bullshit. Try to think of it the way the Tibetan Buddhists describe it: at the level of our core being we are all beautiful, unique, crystals. The Light will shine through each of us in a different way.  For some, that light may be Reiki. For others, formal religions. For others, Wicca. Look around, experiment, and you’ll find what’s right for you.

In the meantime, there are simple, well established ways to get started with expanding your connections to the other realms.  Prayers work for some people. Meditation for others. Simply sitting quietly in nature and letting their hearts open works for others.  Dancing and shamanic drum circles may be your path.

Personally, I like meditation.  Rajinder Singh has an interesting book on meditating on the Third Eye (or brow chakra) called, “Inner and Outer Peace Through Meditation.” and that can take you on a Magical Mystery Tour.

Or you might want to try meditations that are more heart centered.  Tara Brach has many, many FREE downloadable guided meditations here.

The path is always there, waiting for you, full of joy, love and energy.

The Wheel of Fortune and the Gifts of Karma


You’re rolling along doing great, happy as a clam, your life full of blue skies and smiles and – BLAM – you get fired from your job.  Or your girlfriend leaves you. Or even worse, you get fired from your job and get terrible, terrible reviews on your exit interview and you know your resume’ will be screwed up for years.  Or . . . wait . . . your girlfriend leaves you for a lesbian who ALSO happens to be your supervisor and fires you and they BOTH give you terrible, terrible reviews on your exit interviews and you know your resume’, your ego and your libido will be screwed up for years.

We’ve all had those moments when life suddenly turns to shit with no warning and for no discernable reason.  It happens to everyone. A rabbi named Harold Kushner even wrote a book about it called, “When Bad Things Happen to Good People,” that sold millions of copies.

Of course, you could also write a book called, “When Good Things Happen to Bad People,” but it probably wouldn’t sell as well.  Or you could write a book called, “When Good People Have Their Lives Turn into Shit Sandwiches and Then All of a Sudden Things Get Better For No Particular Reason.”

As the King of Siam said, “It’s a puzzlement.”

One of the reasons it’s puzzling for most of us is that we get that training from the time that we’re infants:  if you’re good, good things will happen to you. If you’re bad, no fruit cup for dessert and you stand in the corner.  It’s supposed to be a straight, cause and effect transaction that if you’re good you get rewarded, not kicked in the head.

But life is full of ups and downs, and The Wheel of Fortune is a perfect illustration of that.  At best our ill fortune can seem terribly random and at worst it can seem just plain perverse. A turn of some invisible wheel over which we have no control.


As I’ve gotten older I’ve come to take a lot of comfort in the concept of karma.  When a stranger decides he doesn’t like me and he’s going to make my life hell it makes more sense to me to think that I must have screwed with him in a past life than to think that he  just doesn’t like my nose or my aftershave.

And if you really embrace the concept it can actually help you to get through some horrific times.  “Yes, this is terribly painful and I’m going through some serious suffering. On the other hand, think of all of the bad karma I’m burning off.”

I remember the first time I had a serious discussion about karma.  I was taking a tour of a Tibetan Buddhist Meditation Center and the woman who was the tour guide and who lived there said:  “When we get up in the morning we try to live virtuously and if we do that we accumulate merit, which is good karma. And then we consciously dedicate that merit that we’ve earned to anyone who is suffering or in need.  Which is also a virtuous thing to do so we accumulate more merit by doing it and then we consciously dedicate THAT merit to others.”

To which I replied, “Huh?”

It took me a few years to get it but the key words there are, “consciously dedicate.”  

When we encounter the bad times in life – as we always do – live them consciously.  Endure them with grace and dignity. Be determined to learn and to grow spiritually from them.  Consciously dedicate those bad times to earning merit.

And when we’re having good times in life, consciously dedicate some of that extra energy and fortune to helping others who are having hard times.  

Conscious living makes The Wheel of Fortune make sense.

Is There a Secret Path in the Tarot?


The answer to that is probably both, “yes,” and, “no.”

It would seem to me that it’s, “no,” if you’re looking for some clearly delineated path that involves going to point A, learning it’s lessons, then being prepared to move to point B because of what you learned at point A, then moving on to point C because of what you learned at point B, and so on.

In other words, starting at The Fool and learning it’s esoteric lessons which then enables you to understand the esoteric lessons involved in The Magician, which in turn gives you the knowledge to understand The High Priestess, etc.

Occultists have been chasing their own tails trying to find some sort of linear path in the Major Arcana at least since Victorian times.  Many of them linked the cards with systems of numerology or astrology. A.E. Waite was so determined to make them fit into his numerological scheme that  he actually switched the placement of the Strength and Justice cards so that they’d be in accordance with his theory.

And it IS kind of tempting to try to see some sort of a pattern.  At the beginning or the Major Arcana it actually looks like some of the cards fit together.  The Magician and The High Priestess certainly might be male and female energy in magic. The Empress and the Emperor seem to go together, at least in name.  But then that goes to shit because The Hierophant certainly doesn’t fit with The Lovers or The Chariot with Strength.

The astronomical cards are sort of grouped together, with The Star, The Moon, and The Sun in sequence.  But then the Judgement card gets thrown in between them and The World, which messes that up.

And that’s the deal with the Major Arcana:  if you squint your eyes and turn your head sideways you can see all sorts of patterns in them.  I’ve seen books where they were divided into thirds with each third being a separate path. Or where one card was linked to the card that fell four places behind it.  All SORTS of wonderful, creative schemes that pretty much seem to lead nowhere.

So I don’t think we can say that there is a path in the Tarot, at least not in the sense that the classical occultists like Waite and Levi and Crowley would have loved.  But if there isn’t A PATH there are some definite trails which we could call Doctrines.

The Fool, for instance, contains the truth of being intoxicated with the spirit world.  The Magician embodies the occult maxim of, “as above, so below,” and reminds us that we create on the astral plane what comes to be in the material plane.  The Wheel of Fortune is a perfect diagram of karma operating in our lives. The World reminds of the truth of rebirth and reincarnation.

There are a lot of truths contained in the cards and, taken together, they point us to a different way of experiencing the world and a different way of living.  To make a path out of them, though, we have to connect the dots ourselves. Ultimately, the path is in us, not in the cards.