Tag Archives: divination

Fortune-telling with 54 Devils

Playing Cards have been used for Fortune-telling longer than Tarot Cards

Over the weekend I came into posession of the book, “54 Devils:  The Art and Folklore of Fortune-telling with Playing Cards” by Cory Thomas Hutcheson of New World Witchery. You can purchase this lovely little book at a low price here.

54 Devils lays out Cory’s personal methods of divination using the cards of a standard poker deck. What sort of mystical, magical significance do playing cards have? Doesn’t Tarot work good enough? You might ask. Well, it seems that playing cards are a bit older than Tarot, giving them a longer time to be used in divination. Evidence shows that Tarot was used as a game, not for fortune-telling and definitely not ancient. Furthermore, the majority of divination systems share counterparts in the gambling and gaming world. Cards, dice, coins, and similar things all find their way into fortune-telling at some point. Both gambling and fortune-telling are overseen by random chance, or as she is called sometimes “Lady Luck.”

I recommend Cory’s book for anyone who wants to find the mystical in the mundanity of playing cards. It is a concise manual laying out the symbolism for Red and Black, Aces, the numbers, the face cards, the Joker, and of course, the four suits. While I realized that Spades, Clubs, Hearts and Diamonds are similar to Swords, Wands, Cups and Coins, the meanings attributed to them are slightly different.

My favorite part of the book was the collection of folk-wisdom in the appendix. Cory presents a story of a Soldier explaining the Biblical symbolism in a deck of cards, as well as how it may serve useful as an Almanac. Also included are two incantations first recorded by Charles Leland of “Aradia” fame. An old fortune-telling game played at parties comes next- it’s instructunes are presented as a rhyme, and meanings are different for men and women. Cory also includes card meanings recorded in a 1920’s book of Kentucky Superstitions, as well as a short fiction written by himself about the famous Aunt Carolina Dye giving a card reading in order to provide inspiration to the would-be-reader.

I’ve been wanting to read playing cards for a very long time. It’s easier to carry a playing deck than a Tarot deck. Plus, if I find myself in someone’s home or business and want to perform a reading, I will more likely be able to find a deck of playing cards. The best part of all is preparing to do a reading for someone who expects magic and divination to be a grand affair and pulling out a simple playing card deck. When their skepticism sinks in due to the seemingly ordinary cards, I invoke the 54 Devils and give them a “spooky accurate reading.”

FREE READINGS LIMITED TIME ONLY!!

If you want a free reading, to help my get some pratice in while I learn the playing cards, please contact me. I will not be doing this for very long, maybe just the next couple of weeks. I would also appreciate some feed back as concerns the manifestation of the prediction.

Email me at: thecuriocabinet@gmail.com

Isopsephia in Theory

isopsephia

Correspondence Chart written in the margins of a page in The Treatise of Solomon. The first row of characters shows Arabic numerals. The second row, the first 8 letters of the Greek Alphabet, which are 1-9. The third row represents 10-80, and the fourth row represents 100-800. The characters for 6, 90, and 900 had fallen out of use by this time.

by J.A.Doyle, 2130

Before the invention and widespread utilization of a specialized system of written characters used to represent numerical values, the Ancients most often turned to their written alphabet to illustrate the complex relationship of numbers and the cosmos. Prior to this, however, the Ancients arranged tiny stones into patterns to function as their visual calculator. The Greek word for pebble was ‘psephos‘, and it also stood for “calculation” (calculi itself being the Latin word for ‘pebble’). Eventually, the Ancients needed a better way than pebbles to display the more complex of mathematical formulas, and until the advent of the acrophonic system (“Roman Numerals”) and the later adoption of the Hindi-Arabic numerals, using an alphanumerical system to represent both sound and calculation was the best method. The Pythagorean school’s motto “All is number,” was taken rather literally.

The Greek Theurgists and Wonder-workers saw a deeper relationship between their alphabet, corresponding mathematical values, and the powers of the world. The Classical Hellenistic worldview of the Hermetic Philosophers included twenty four elements, called ‘stoicheion‘. First of all were the four ‘rhozomatoi‘ or ‘roots’ first expounded upon by the philosopher Empedocles, who suggested that it was from these roots that all things were created. The four roots were known as Fire, Air, Water, and Earth. Aritstotle later suggested a fifth root called ‘aiether’, or Spirit, which exists in the heavens and binds all things together. The latter parts of the twenty four elements include the seven ‘planetoi astres‘ or ‘Wandering Stars’ and the twelve figures of the ‘zodiakos kuklos‘ or the ‘wheel of living things’.

Of these seven wandering stars are the two luminaries the Sun and Moon, and the five planets capable of being seen with the unaided eye Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. The term “Seven Heavens” refers to the division of the sky into seven spheres that are the domains of the planets that reside within them. Beyond the Seven Heavens is the Eighth Sphere, the domain of the zodiac and the abode of the signs of Ares, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces. The zodiac encompasses the elliptic that the Sun passes through on his yearly journey through the heavens. Contrary to ordinary belief, the zodiac no longer corresponds precisely to the constellations of stars they are derived from, but rather functions as a 12-fold division of the heavens. In this way each of the four seasons contains three zodiac signs, but not the constellations themselves.

This was a component of the cosmology of the Hermetic Philosophers, an early periodic table of elements, if you will. The lingua franca of the philosophers of the ancient world was Greek. There are 24 commonly used letters in the Greek Alphabet, others symbols have come and gone throughout history. The Greek Alphabet is very much a composite system of foreign influence and the majority of the characters were originally derived from the 22 letter Phoenician Alphabet. The Greeks system was the first one to represent vowels, and these took on a highly mystical importance.

Now, with magically-minded people existing in a world with and alphabet of 24 commonly used letters and 24 elements comprising the known Kosmos someone was bound to correspond these with each other. Thus, the sounds and forms of words came to represent an element, a Planet, or a sign of the Zodiac. And since the letters corresponded with numbers, the sympathy between them also corresponds with the stoicheon. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1) The adoration of the ‘Logos‘, or the Word, Speech, Reason, is persistent throughout Greek thought and religion from the Classical Pagan philosophers up to the emergence of early Mediterranean Christianity and beyond. To speak is to change the world, and the world is contained within the word. Allen Moore, writer and occultist, has made apparent that he believes magic to be a system of grammar, a way of using language. His statement is not unfounded.

Now, we can be sure that the seven vowels of the Greek alphabet Alpha, Epsilon, Hta, Iota, Omicron, Upsilon, and Omega represent the seven planets known in Latin as Luna, Mercury, Venus, Sol, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. This is attested to in collections like the Papyri Graecae-Magicae, a melange of Greco-Egyptian Pagan, Jewish, Christian, and Gnostic rituals. The other attributes are more-or-less accurate, and with less apparent origins. There are no ancient references to the attributes of the other seventeen letters of the alphabet; however, contained within the Occult Philosophy of Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa is a chart which corresponds the twenty-four stoichieon with the Hebrew letters, Chieromantic signs, the Greek letters, and an old Roman alphabet. Therefore, by the 1500’s a European tradition of the use of the twenty-four stoichieon and corresponding Greek letters was established in occult philosophy and practical Kabala. Perhaps, then, this was not unknown to the author of the Testament of Solomon, which displays the use of Isopsephia,  and other subsequent grimiores of the Middle Ages and Renaissance periods.

Within the use of the alphabet to represent mathematics we find the Hellenistic occult technique of ‘Isopsephia‘, combining the word for pebble with ‘Iso,’ meaning ‘equal’, like the modern system of Numerology yet distinctly pertaining to Greek Mysticism and Language, its origins are in the teachings of Pythagoras and other Philosophers. There are many other similar alphanumerical occult systems, such as the Hebrew practice of ‘Gematria‘ (itself being a Greek loan-word meaning “earth-measurement”). It is even suggested that the Hebrews adapted the technique after they began to colonize parts of Greece. Though, there is even evidence to support and even earlier use of the alphanumerical technique in the writings of Ancient Mesopotamia.

The Greeks realized that when viewing a word or phrase written in their alphabet, it could also be seen as a collection of numbers due to their mathematical system. When each of these letters are combined through addition, a greater number is found. The mystics looked for words that added up to the same number to find secret connections. If two words or phrases are equal then it can be said that a sympathetic resonance exists between them. When that resonance is meditated upon its power is made manifest. One of the secret treasures of Isopsephia is to awaken the initiate to the realization that number, sound, and symbol are all at the foundations of the magic of the temple.

I conclude with a chart of the Greek Alphabet that will further illustrate the relationship between Kosmos, Number, Sound, and Symbol. Next time we will explore the practical applications of Isopsephia such as the arts of Contemplation, Magical Formulae, Talismanic Images, Temple-building, Encryption, and Secret Code.

The Greek Alphabet  

Characters

Name

Transliteration

Pronunciation

Value

Στοιχεια

Translation

Α α

Alpha

a

Father

1

Σεληνη

Luna

Β β

Beta

b

Vine

2

Κριος

Aries

Γ γ

Gamma

g

Get,

Yet before Ι or Ε,

Sing before Γ, Κ, Ξ, Χ

3

Ταυρος

Taurus

Δ δ

Delta

d

Then

4

Διδιμοι

Gemini

Ε ε

Epsilon

e

Set

5

Ερμες

Mercury

Ζζ

Zeta

z

Zeal

7

Καρκινος

Cancer

Η η

Eta

ē

Pick or Met

8

Αφροδιτη

Venus

Θ θ

Theta

th

Thin

9

Γη

Earth

Ι ι

Iota

i

Yet or Meet

10

    Ηλιος

Sol

Κ κ

Kappa

k

Sack

20

Λεον

Leo

Λ λ

Lambda

l

Light

30

Κορη

Virgo

Μ μ

Mu

m

Mouse, (μπ=Ball)

40

Ζυγος

Libra

Ν ν

Nu

n

Never

50

Σκορπιος

Scorpio

Ξ ξ

Xi

x

Ox, Kicks, Axe

60

Ηυδρος

Water

Ο ο

Omicron

o

Lot, Rote

70

Αρης

Mars

Π π

Pi

p

Pan, (μπ=Ball)

80

Τοξοτις

Sagittarius

Ρ ρ

Rho

r

Perro, Problems

100

Αγιοςκερος

Capricorn

   Σ σ ς

Sigma

s

Silver

200

Υδροηοος

Aquarius

Τ τ

Tau

t

Stop

300

Ιχθης

Pisces

Υ υ

Upsilon

y

Ü

400

Ζευς

Jupiter

Φ φ

Phi

ph, f

Phone, Fire

500

Αερ

Air

Χ χ

Chi

x

Loch

600

Πυρς

Fire

Ψ ψ

Psi

ps

Lips

700

Αεθειρ

Aether

Ω ω

Omega

ō

Tote

800

Κρονος

Saturn

Resources:

Theology of Arithmetic, by Iamblichus

De Occulta Philosophia, by Heinrich Corneilus Agrippa

The Greek Magical Papyri in Translation, by Hans Dieter Betz

Mystery of the Seven Vowels, by Jocelyn Godwin

Hermetic Magic: The Post-Modern Papyrus of Abaris, by Steven Flowers

Stoichia, by Polyphanes (http://digitalambler.wordpress.com/skills/stoicheia/)

Isopsephia Calculator, by John Opsopaus (http://web.eecs.utk.edu/~mclennan/BA/Isopsephia.html)

A Ritual of the Resurrection

Asphodel by Niko Leonardos 2013

Property of The Curio Cabinet and J.A. Doyle, the Wizard of Grand 2013. The public is free to copy, use and distribute as long as it is not reproduced for commercial gain, either privately or within a business. The Curio Cabinet and the Wizard of Grand are not responsible for any effects of this ceremony, real or imagined. To perform this rite is to acknowledge your personal responsibility.

This ritual is intended to connect us to the energy of the Vernal Equinox. A time of equilibrium, just before the scales tip in favor of the Light, we can internalize this energy of balance and shift. We often view the seasons as being separate from us, that the ground thaws and the tree buds outside of our selves. In truth, we change as the seasons change, we rotate along with the great Wheel of the Year, we join in the Resurrection of the Sun and the Earth in Spring. If we are going to change, anyway, it can only empower us further to acknowledge this transformation and embrace it. A wonderful way to embrace change is by marking it with a ritual or ceremony, to greet these powers of transformation in a sacred space. It can be performed by one person, or with a little editing, by a group.

Time: Good times for this ritual are March 20th (Equinox), March 25th (Lady Day), March 27th (Full Moon), and March 31st (Easter) in 2013.

Place: Anywhere peaceful, sacred space can be made indoors or, weather permitting, outdoors.

Garments: Preferably clean and fresh white, green, or soft, spring colors. Flowing robes are not prerequisites to performing ceremony and street-clothes will do just fine. Wear what you are comfortable in. Some people choose to perform in the nude, called “skyclad.”

Altar: The Altar should be set up in the East, to align with the direction of the rising sun. Cover the altar’s surface with a cloth. Gather symbols relevant to the ritual. Refer to the previous article, “Celebrations of the Vernal Equinox” for inspiration. My altar is decorated with a Crucifix from an aunt, an Orthodox icon of Christ raising the Dead, a statue of the figure Baphomet for balance, and a statue of the Hellenistic Goddess Kore-Persephone in honor of her ascent from the Underworld. Other than decorations, some specific objects are required, such as, a candle, a bowl of water, incense, an egg, and snake sheds (consider using a rope, necklace, twine or similar).

Preparation: Allow yourself at least 1 hour where you will not be disturbed. It is quite jarring to be in the middle of ceremony only to hear the phone ringing in the other room. You want to create an environment where the “supra-natural” can occur. Take a shower or a bath. Allow yourself to relax in the water. As you scrub your body, imagine that the troubles, worries, responsibilities, and other psychic rubbish clinging to your aura is washed away. After you feel clean, exit the shower, pat yourself dry and put on fresh clothes. Wherever you have decided to perform the ritual should also be clean and fresh, free of clutter. Kindle the incense if you have it and take a moment to be silent. Focus on why you are doing this ritual, how you would like to connect to the balance of the Vernal Equinox, what you desire to happen in celebrating the Resurrection.

The Wizard of Grand's Vernal Equinox Altar 2013

The Wizard of Grand’s Vernal Equinox Altar 2013

The Ritual

You approach the Altar and light the candle upon its surface. Holding your arms out in exaltation, you say, “Blessed be, O Illuminating Flame! Impart the powers of Aries the Ram and the Vigor of the Emergence of Spring to this Ritual of the Resurrection.”

You approach the Altar and take up the water bowl with both hands, holding it aloft. You say, “Blessed be, O Lustral Waters! Impart the powers of purification and consecration as I mark this space as sacred.”

Holding the bowl in one hand and dipping your fingers into the water with the other, you walk in a clock-wise fashion around the room while sprinkling the blessed water. Stop at the cardinal directions of East, South, West, and North. Returning to the Altar, you replace the water and take up the incense. You say, “Blessed be, O Holy Fume! Impart the powers of protection and consecration as I mark this space as sacred.”

Holding the incense in your hand, you walk clock-wise around the room while wafting the smoke throughout. Stop at the cardinal directions to honor and welcome them with the smoke of the incense. Returning to the Altar, waft the incense over your body and over the Altar, paying close attention to any icons or statues you have. Replace the incense. Take a moment to imagine the circle around you glowing with light brought by your ritual acts to purify and protect the space.

Hold out your arms slightly and proclaim: “I, (state your name), have created this sacred space for the purposes of celebrating the Vernal Equinox and to take my place in the Resurrection as the Light of the Sun increases and the Green Kingdom of the Earth reemerges. I have assembled the sacred symbols, the Egg and the Serpent.”

You first take up the egg, focusing on the symbol. Within one egg is the potential to begin new life. Within an egg are the nutrients needed to support a life. What life comes from inside the egg must eventually break free of the shell, on its own, to breathe and grow. What in you seeks to break free of its shell to breathe and grow? Hold the egg in your hands, press it to your chest at heart-level (not too hard, though!). As you feel your heart-beat through the egg, turn your attention to the heart-beat of all life on this planet and in the Universe. Your heart-beat is not so different than the pulse of a far-away star.

Now, setting the egg down, you take a moment to focus on the symbol of the serpent. Tune into the serpent energy. Shifting, slithering, shedding, transforming, above and below the ground. Move your body like a serpent. Take deep breaths and let them out in long, drawn-out hisses. Evoke the serpent energy within you. Imaging colors of greens, golds, bronzes, and reds shifting throughout your aura. As you dance and hiss like a serpent, shed the aetheric forms of yourself that you no longer need, the forms of yourself that restrict your growth. The snake must shed its form to grow bigger and more powerful.

At this point, you take the serpentine symbol and the egg together. You begin winding the serpentine symbol around the egg, loosely so the egg does not crack. When you have finished, place it back on the Altar. This is the Cosmic egg of Orpheus from which all of Creation, and most importantly, Phanes, the god of Light, emerges.

Ophis et Ovum

You refresh the incense, breathing in the perfumed air. You center yourself again, closing your eyes for a moment to visualize the Cosmic Egg in your mind. The Serpent coiling about the Egg squeezes tighter and tighter in the darkness of Chaos. Eventually, the coils put too much pressure on the Egg and it cracks. From the cracks come a burning whiteness, filling Chaos more and more with every beat of your heart. The darkness within your mind turns to brilliant light. The light floods out from your mind into your aura and permeates your being. This is not physical light, but the mental and spiritual light that fuels us. Feel this light purify you with its burning whiteness. Offer up anything to the light that does not serve you, allow your Self room to grow.

You open your eyes, still holding the visualization of the light in your mind, focusing on the flame of the candle. You stand back and reach out your arms in exaltation. You say, “I, (state your name), have gathered the sacred symbols and performed the sacred rites. I have resided within the Egg of Life, I have danced with the Serpent of Wisdom, I was present when the Light of Creation emerged from the Cosmic Egg. My heart-beat is the pulse of a star. I rise with the light of the Sun, my emergence is as the rebirth of the Green Earth.  I have gathered the sacred symbols and performed the sacred rites. I am resurrected in Body and Spirit. So Mote it Be. Amen.”

And now, you take as much time as you need to rest in this state. When you are ready, walk counter-clockwise around your sacred space and pause for a moment in each cardinal direction, thanking those who reside there. Stand straight and imagine the excess energy built up in the ritual leaving your body though the soles of your feet on the ground or your palms to the sky, dispersing into the air. Snuff the burning candle and use it again during a meditation when you wish to reconnect to this ritual. If you divine for yourself, either through tarot cards or another method, now is a good time to do a reading. Many ceremonies are also followed with a feast or meal to help ground the participants in “mundane reality” following the trip into the realm of the sacred. Think about preparing the egg used in ritual as an act of communion by either frying it up with some toast or incorporating it into food another way. Otherwise, dispose of the egg by burring it in your yard. You can also try to test your luck and balance the egg on its end.

When you perform this ritual, please feel free to share your experiences with us in the comments section! Thank you and Blessed Vernal Equinox!

Revelation of the Bee

For a few years, ever since I heard about the extremely frightening and mysterious fact that honey bees are disappearing off the face of the Earth, I have wanted to know more about them. I generally do not get along with the Insect & Arachnid empires. In fact, Spider Goddess is my most feared and important Animal totem. What fear had been reserved for kthonic goddesses like Hekate, Persephone, Hel and others in ancient and not-so-ancient times is mine for Spider. I have learned much from her and have much more to learn. However, I digress. I’m talking about the Bees.

Yesterday at my-day job I was cleaning out the garbage cans. I mean scrubbing them from top-to-bottom inside-out. Standing next to the little gazebo for the Ice Cream Shop next to my store enjoying the few moments of bright sunshine during what has otherwise been a chilly start to Spring in West Michigan, a little buzzer quite like the one depicted to the left landed on a wooden plank only a few inches away from me. It just sat there, poked out its super-long tongue and rubbed it with it’s front feet. It was the first honey bee that I had seen this year and it was as if GOD appeared to me in the form of the Bee.

Now, for the past few weeks I’ve been studying up on the mythological representations and religious dealings with them. In my far away fantasy land of Ancient Greece, there were the Melissae, bee priestesses that have been identified as priestesses of various gods and goddesses. Among some of them are Demeter, Artemis, Dionysus, Aphrodite as well as aspects of certain goddesses just called Melissae. Some stories say Melissae was a nymph who took care of the infant Zeus. Meli means honey in Greek. Mead was the first intoxicant brewed by humans (but probably fermented naturally on its own). The Melissae on Crete were beekeepers. History shows that after the fall of Crete, the mainland Greeks did not carry on the art of beekeeping.

Bees kinda scare me but fill me with awe. I think that they are my favorite insect. And how dependent on them are we? So much! They pollinate most of our crops and without them we would have to do the nearly-impossible task of pollinating them by hand. The honey bees give us is so nutritious. My partner’s 100 year old Greek Grandmother eats plain Greek yogurt and honey on top all the time.

What’s really cool about honey to me is that it begins as nectar secreted by the flower (which anyone who has stared at certain flowers for a while has probably realized that they are not-so-secretly genitalia). Then, the bee comes along and seduces the flower (or is it the other way around). The bee takes in that nectar and processes it inside it’s body. When it gets to the hive it throws all this up for the baby-bees to eat. Bees are truly Alchemists.

They are also Oracles, or at least the helpers of humans acting as Oracles. Some sources say that the Oracle at Delphi was a Bee Oracle before she became Apollo’s, which kind of contradicts the whole Python thing… but perhaps the Oracle gained her sight from Bees, not the serpent. It is said that Apollo gained his foresight from three bee-goddesses, the Thriae. Even a Greek heros has been identified with bees and the mantic arts, Trophonios. There is a really interesting Spirit-worker named Dver that works with Trophonios in her oracles during the Dark-half of the year, reserving the Light-half for Apollo and Delphic-style oracle.

In my opinion, Bees. Are. Awesome. In days ahead of me I want to make some sort of tool that acknowledges all of my animal spirits. Represented would be Fox, Cat, Snake, Spider, and Bee. I feel like I’ve been having static-y Divination sessions lately. Maybe I should turn to Bee for mantic assistance?

Well, like the bee dispatched by the Queen in her chamber, I too must go out into the wilds to find myself some sustenance. I think a Gyro sounds great. Maybe some honey-soaked Baklava to honor the Bee after?

Blessed Bee!