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Exclusive Video Tarot Court Card Classes

 I'm really excited to announce that I'll be starting Tarot Court Card Deep Dive classes, on video, at my Tarot with Janet Substack (!

Check out my brief preview below:

Last modified on

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
The Oracle of Water: Abyss

Keywords: Darkness, Mystery, Fear, the Unknown, the Unconscious Mind, Alien

The crushing abyss is a realm completely alien and all but completely inaccessible to humans. It’s an environment we can’t possibly survive in, but one that can teach us a lot about ourselves and the universe.

The Abyss represents the unknown, unseen, and unexplored aspects of ourselves and our psyche. It symbolizes the dark, mysterious, and often feared parts of our inner world. When the Abyss appears in a reading, it may indicate that you are being called to confront and explore your inner depths, including your fears, shadows, and unconscious patterns.

This card can also represent a need for transformation and rebirth. Just as the abyss is a vast, dark expanse that can also hold the potential for new life and discovery, you may be entering a period of profound change and growth. The Abyss can symbolize the dissolution of old patterns, beliefs, or identities, making way for new possibilities and perspectives.

The abyss is a strange, mysterious place that could easily pass for being on another planet. It literally is a whole other world that exists right alongside our light and air-filled world. It represents the unconscious mind, which is even deeper and less accessible than the subconscious. If cards like “Mist” and “Swamp” suggest shadow work, then Abyss represents even deeper and darker shadow work. It is frightening and uncertain, but necessary.

In a spiritual context, the Abyss can represent the void or the unknown aspects of the divine. It may indicate a need to surrender to the mysteries of the universe and trust in the unknown which is an inescapable part of life. The Abyss can also symbolize the collective unconscious, not just the individual, representing the shared human experiences and archetypes that lie beneath the surface of our conscious awareness.

Life is born and thrives even at the depths of the sea, below massive amounts of pressure and at the mouths of toxic thermal vents. There is always so much more that is so much deeper below the surface than we realize.


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Those who contend that, historically speaking, marriage is a male-female phenomenon only are, in effect, wrong.

In fact, there's good evidence for rites of male-male bonding—a functional equivalent of marriage—across the Indo-European-speaking world.

Such a rite survives to this day among the Kalasha of what is now northwestern Pakistan, the only IE-speaking people who have practiced their traditional religion continuously since antiquity.


The Goat at the Heart

Being a mountain culture, the Kalasha are aigocentric: goat-centered.

Like the Celts of ancient Britain, Kalasha culture is transhumant. During the Summer, the young men take the flocks of goats up to the Summer pastures in the mountains and live there together for months at a time.

It's unsurprising that intense emotional relationships should spring up between these young men. When two of them wish to make a lifelong commitment to one another, it's time to enact the traditional rite of, in effect, blood brotherhood.


An Act of Mutual Adoption

Together, the two sacrifice a goat to Sájigor, the protector of flocks. (Here in the West, the Horned has always been patron of male-male bonding.)

Having slaughtered the goat, they roast its kidneys over the fire. They then feed one another pieces of the kidneys on the tips of their knives.

Then they suck each other's nipples.


Though pungent with symbolism throughout, it is this final act which articulates the rite's central meaning. Across the Indo-European world, the act of suckling figures as part of the rite of adoption.

The Kalasha rite of blood-brotherhood constitutes, in effect, an act of mutual adoption.


A Pan-Indo-European Phenomenon?

Nineteenth century travelers' accounts make it clear that this rite was once common among the cultural kin of the Kalasha, the so-called “Kafiri” cultures of northwestern Afghanistan, now—since its forcible conversion to Islam during the 1890s—called Nuristan, “land of light”.

In fact, British consul George Scott Robertson undertook the rite with Waigali warrior Shermalik, and wrote of it in his 1896 book The Kafirs of the Hindu Kush, though he clearly didn't understand the implications of what he was doing.

We may suspect that similar, parallel rites of male-male bonding once occurred across the Indo-European-speaking world. As among the Kalasha, traditional societies tend to be structured along lines of kinship; such rites serve to build ties between kinship groups, and are hence indispensable for long-term cultural stability.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

  20+ Double Pan Balance Stock Photos ...

What Magic Is...and What It Isn't



Belief in literal magic can be cruel.

When Lady N. was diagnosed with cancer, she wasn't worried.

She knew she was going to beat it. She believed in magic, you see.

All over the country, night after night, people of her lineage and tradition cast circles and raised cones of power to heal her.

They didn't work.

She had given her life to the Craft, but in the end, the Craft failed her. Her magic failed her. Even her gods had failed her.


A dear friend was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer is a cruel disease. At worst, it can end in the butchery of prostatectomy, leaving a man stripped of dignity, sexual function, and even sense of identity.

My friend is someone given to expecting the worst. He's not from a magical background, but in our conversations I've found myself, in effect, discussing the basics of magical thinking.

Your job now, I've heard myself telling him, is expectation management.

Expectation shapes outcome. That's the heart of real magic.

You've seen it; I've seen it. All the studies show it. If you expect a bad outcome, you're more likely to get one.

Fortunately, the converse is true as well.

Belittle it as magical thinking; dismiss it as self-deception. If a little self-deception can win you a better outcome than otherwise, then, me, I'm all for it.

Of course, there are no guarantees. You may get the bad outcome anyway, as Lady N. did.

But, in the end, that's not necessarily failure. There's magic, and there's magic.


When Old Lady Manygoats was dying of cancer, her family held a ceremony of healing for her.

They hired a ritualist to lead the ceremony. Friends and family converged from all over.

Last modified on

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
What Makes A Good Ritual?

Sometimes it can be helpful to question the very basics of our tradition. Today, I want to take a look at ritual. What is the point of ritual, and what does good ritual require?

Ritual helps us to mark time, celebrate moments in time and connect us to the greater cycles of life around us. They can also serve to help us change our consciousness, so that we can better see and feel these moments and cycles.  Ritual consists of words and actions that are designed to create an emotional/spiritual response, such as connection to the seasons, to nature, to the earth, to the gods, etc.

Ritual is rather pointless unless it moves us. True, sometimes we are just not our very best witchy/druid/pagan selves, and we sometimes go through the motions in order to keep up our practice. But for ritual that requires connection, the most important part of it is the feeling, the emotion. We must feel the actions that we perform, and the words that we say. A little drama in ritual – the good kind – performed without overdoing it can lead to a change in consciousness and a change in the self. Because isn’t that what you came to do in ritual in the first place?

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 Walnut | Tree, Nut, Species, Uses ...

Frank discussion of matters physical, and non-physical


Oh, the hazards of being male.

Prostate cancer has been much in the news since King Charles' recent (and courageous) revelation of his own diagnosis. Guys, this means you.

For biological men, chances are that we'll pretty much all get prostate cancer eventually, if we live long enough.

Chances are excellent, though, that something else will kill us first.

In a culture that, all too often, views men as expendable, it's unsurprising that many men are, in effect, at war with their own bodies. Really, this doesn't need to be.


Boss Warlock's Practical Guide to Prostate Health


Last modified on

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Let there be light!

The Minoans were a Bronze Age people, so obviously they didn't have electric lights. So how did they light their living spaces?

With oil lamps.

Last modified on

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