Supposedly, this is one of the most well-known tennets of Ceremonial Magick, also used by many modern witchcraft traditions as the Witch’s Pyramid. I read somewhere once that it is also inscribed on the inside of the Great Sphinx, but I don’t know how factual that is. Still, it is a simple seeming yet elegant cornerstone of any magickal or metaphysical path. It’s deceptively simple, perhaps. There is a lot of behind the scenes action to fill in the gaps, at least from my perspective. Yet I think the idea is relevant to a great deal of the kind of work one can do with tarot, magick, witchcraft, shamanism, healing, meditation or almost any kind of mysticism or metaphuckery. One could easily look at each aspect of the Witches Pyramid through a Tarot-colored lens. For each of us, there is a specific card that really applies to how we relate to these ideas. How we put them into practice within our paths. I got to thinking about this recently. I know how the pieces fit for me, but it’s rather individualized. I wonder if that might be a possible key to understanding the journey better, if you know how you perceive it. I thought I’d explore it a little bit.
To Know… The High Priestess
For me, it mainly relates to the overall idea that “Spiritually… I need to Know The Answers to the Mysteries and Figure Out How The Patterns Are Woven, Because That’s How I Roll Beetches! Tarot is the path! Ritual is the Gateway! The Gods are the Guides! Nature is the Canvas! Drugs & Pathworking are the Catalyst! Philosophuckery is the glue that holds it all together! Magick is putting it into practice! Hooray! Music Brings It All Together! Let’s DANCE!”. For me, the image of the High Priestess on the Thoth Deck, with the filmy veils obscuring her face is a fitting image. The patterns weave in and out, coming to her, projecting out from her, in all directions. She is the at the seat of knowledge, but she is the vessel for it not the source of it. She does not call forth the energies that come her way. She receives them, embraces them, takes them in, filters them to a degree. She understands how the patterns are made, what transforms them, what makes them manifest. Ask her, and she will tell you. Maybe. The Mysteries? She knows. Will she spill the beans? Maybe not. I’ve found that you have to come to her. She will not come to you. Her veils and patterns are like water, and navigating it is not easy. No one key to the castle exists. It can’t be broken down easily. There is no one source. Bits and pieces drift about, seemingly unconnected. She knows how to transform them into something meaningful and powerful. To Know, through the High Priestess is about abandoning yourself to the current, catching what you can, and grabbing the life raft if it appears. And it may not for quite some time. Through the Hierophant, the Emperor, the Hermit, the World, Judgement or any other card, the process would be different. Water. Water. Water.
To Dare… The Star
The Star might be an unusual choice here, but it seems to work. To dare, for me, is to dare to hope. To dare to embrace what is possible, even though darkness abounds. The Hermit could apply, but the Star evokes that idea of water that I keep coming back to. It takes courage to find the pin points of light in the darkness, and open them up to let them shine. It’s not easy to look at a world full of ugliness and hate, and see the good that still exists. I am a pragmatic optimist. I know there is a dark undercurrent, but I strive to look for the redeeming qualities. The Star takes this on both gently and calmly, adding something of herself to the water. It takes courage to make the jump, but hope is what makes it possible. Possibilities are what has gotten me to where I’m at thus far. Small beacons of light to guide me along the path. A small glimpse of what could be, can make what seems impossible feel somehow less daunting. The Star is not swimming in the water, or drifting down stream. Instead, she waits on the shore, observing the reflected light from above, infusing it with light in places where it seemed none could flourish. She has the vision and the cojones to transform the water into something new, helpful, hopeful, useful, sustaining, enlightening. There is no need to fear. No need at all. Transcending fear is at the heart of the matter. I dare to go into this unafraid and unencumbered, just as she does, with my best amphora of stars and water forward. Through the Chariot, the Magician, Strength, or the Fool, again it would be a different process entirely.
To Will… Strength
This is kind of a given with me. I’ll make it happen, but I’m not going to be too showy about it. It’s more natural, more organic, and happens out of love just as much as self-interest. The Magician exerts his will in a bright blaze of perfect precision, control, and admirable skill. It’s amazing just to watch him… He’s like the Jimi Hendrix of the tarot deck. A skilled artist, and charismatic showman. His confidence is infectious, and a bit sexy. The Chariot exerts his will with force and speed that can make up for skill if the situation is right. Git’er DONE! BAM! The Chariot doesn’t need to think it over or plan for it. The Magician plans for his audience to a degree. He’s a bit more calculated than the Chariot. The Chariot just does it, and is almost unstoppable. Yet Strength works her will differently. She takes firm yet gentle hand. Guiding, rather than forcing. It’s no more or less effective than those other two putzes, but it’s kinder, more diplomatic, and almost empathic approach. “I understand that you are frightened. I don’t want to hurt you, but you must listen to me. You will not bear your fangs to me. You will submit and we will discuss the matter civilly, and I will ask you only once. Do you understand?”. The Chariot would have simply run the lion over. The Magician would have played the part of lion tamer, with a vicious crack of the whip, and a great stage presence. “STAND DOWN, FOUL BEAST! STAND DOWN!”. Strength thinks about it, considers the variables more carefully. But unlike the Magician, it’s not about attention or validation. “Look…”, rather than “LOOK AT ME!”. She may have to work a bit harder at it, or take more time with it. But, she will get things done. It will be on her own terms, and opposers would be best to heed her warnings. With the other two, you don’t get a warning. A gentler approach doesn’t make her a push over. Her will is just as strong, and her aim just as true. She makes things happen, but gives them a chance to do so more organically of their own accord. She will push when circumstances call for it, but understands quite well that her hand is not always needed. I embrace this idea, but I have no choice. It’s just how I happen to be wired. I’m looking at this for Magickal work in particular. It’s not always needed, but sometimes it is. I’d rather reason with my enemies than smite them, but if they’re smitten for a smite’in… I’ll give em’ a taste.
To Keep Silent… Temperance
I’m about to use a word that makes a lot of magickally inclined folks cringe… Muggles. It’s a good word! It works! If you don’t like it, may unapolagetically angry bears face rape you thrice times! A pox on your house! Just a small pox, not a big pox or a pox involving chickens. Cock Pox, anyone? Muggles… Hmmm… We’ll call them the Mun-Danish. Folks that just aren’t ready for this jelly, and couldn’t quite fathom of all the delightful possibilities in their current existence. Their world is strictly limited to the mundane, physical, material world and they don’t have much curiosity beyond that. People embrace what they are ready for, and if you’re not ready for it, it’s no big deal. That’s the beautiful part of human existence… there is something for everyone. Yet the process is deeply personal on so many levels, that much of it is best kept under wraps. Not everyone is ready for the conclusions one has reached through years of study, work, and discipline. They must reach that point on their own. It loses something if we treat it without some sense of reverence and wonder. Disclosure is everything. Although I’m quite open about certain parts of my path, I’m quite tight lipped about others. If I sense that I could make someone uncomfortable, it’s better not to burden them with it. Tarot is easy for me to talk about. Many of the more open-minded Mun-Danish are pretty curious about it, or think it’s kind of cool. Magick is something I only bring up in Magickal Company since most Mun-Danish are either too skeptical, traditional, or frightened to understand or embrace it. Paganism is tricky… It’s largely a matter of semantics. I can say I’m a monist or a panentheist without evoking images of crazed Satan worshippers dancing naked under the full moon around a virgin sacrifice. I like to be able to talk amongst my peers, or share my experiences with those who might benefit. I look at it intuitively, and try to strike a balance between being an open book, and being enigmatic. It’s not always easy. It’s a delicate balance that takes practice. Sure, the HP and the Hermit are good at keeping their mouths shut, but I’m a bit of a blabber-mouth. I talk too much when I’m enthusiastic about something. Articulating myself is no problem! Yet I do so with great care, and sometimes it is a fight. It’s about water also, exerting some control over what you have. The water goes up… the water flows down… a mobius strip. You can take a drink, but it’s not going to taste the same to someone else.