Two of Pentacles.
Nine of Cups.
Eight of Swords.
Four of Swords.
Check out the Tarot archetypes.
Adding action to fantasy helps to build imaginative skills. In a given sitting, try one or more of the following, or come up with something of your own. In the process, try to engage two or more of the five senses in your imagination.
Imagine eating a meal with at least three items and a beverage.
Imagine shopping for several items in a grocery store or mall.
Imagine riding a bicycle around your neighborhood.
Imagine playing fetch with a dog.
Imagine playing frisbee or catch with a friend.
Imagine walking or running along a path in your favorite park.
Imagine hiking on a favorite stretch of trail.
Imagine diving into the ocean or a pool and swimming underwater.
Imagine rolling a bowling ball down a lane several times.
Imagine having a snow ball fight.
Imagine driving the complete route to work or school.
Imagine being a quarterback and performing a successful play.
Imagine wandering through an abandoned house or castle.
Imagine exploring a cave.
Imagine climbing a tree.
The more you succeed at imagining physical activities, the more you will be able to go on symbolic journeys through the landscape of the Tarot. Imagining something you desire is often easy; however, the act of intentionally slipping into fantasy requires practice and discipline. The goal is to exalt consciousness, which sometimes occurs spontaneously, but to induce exaltation at will requires prolonged concentration. People who do it regularly often rely on sensory aids, such as incense, poetry, music, symbolic images, tools, and unusual attire, and perform rituals containing a dramatic structure and strange-sounding words from different languages. All of this helps to shift the mind away from normal reality and to tune it to a specific living image representing a powerful subtle force. In a religious ritual the focus is often on a particular figure in a drama that represents spiritual principle, the understanding of which inspires great emotion and elevates consciousness. Your desire, in other words, can be for more than a piece of chocolate cake or a new girlfriend--it can be for profound spiritual exaltation and revelation.
Invocation requires you to concentrate on a symbol or archetype until the force it represents inflames your very soul. The goal is to invoke powerful unseen forces into your sphere of influence, first using simple invocation as described here and working up into more advanced forms of ritual invocation. There are many obstacles, however. The conscious mind, for instance, contains a desultory flow of information that interferes with concentrating on the force behind a symbol. The goal of invocation is to still the flow of thought and focus intensely on a thing that can be deeply felt and visualized in the imagination--a living image that resonates spiritually within you.
Important symbolic correspondences in the Tarot.
Sometimes like a child your subconscious wants to see if you really want to play. Remember to give your subconscious time to work! Just relax and allow yourself to daydream. When you feel "in the zone," concentrate on a Tarot card that you find attractive or interesting. Scan it several times, starting at the top and moving down to the bottom, then try to recreate it in your imagination. Open and close your eyes several times with the card in front of you. Don't force anything. Relaxation is the key. Check to see if the image in your mind is like the one in the card, but don't become critical of yourself if it isn't exactly the same. After you have largely succeeded in recreating the image in your mind, ask the living image in the Tarot card what it wants to tell you. Again, don't force it. Listen for something in your mind that seems related to the card, perhaps something out of the ordinary, even if only a little. If you need to, read about the card, remembering that my interpretation is only one perspective, then figure out what the card means to you. Try to put it into words. You don't have to write them down or anything, just see if you can verbalize the meaning.
The main thing is to identify with the card. Have you ever been like the figure in the card in any way? Allow the memory to surface, and don't dismiss a memory even if at first it seems insignicant. Once when I was in the process of invoking the Two of Pentacles, I remembered my first camping trip with the Boy Scouts when I was thirteen, a memory which I nearly dismissed as irrelevant. With a chuckle I recalled the rumor circulating that day among the new Scouts in the troop. The older boys were going to drag the new scouts across the river, strip us down to our underwear, pour molasses and corn flakes all over us, urinate on us and then throw us into the freezing cold water--at midnight. That whole day I was sweating because I was keenly aware that teenage boys are more than capable of such sadism.
After dark that evening I was wandering around in the woods with some older scouts, one of whom was carrying a flashlight. Suddenly the light went out and the others scouts ditched me. I was alone in the woods on a moonless night, with no idea where I was. I called out but no one answered, and no one came back. So I listened for the river. When I heard the water rushing way off in the distance, I inched towards it, trying to avoid rocks and fallen branches. After what seemed like an eternity I came to an ancient out-house at the edge of the campground. I suddenly knew which direction to go and soon found the road that snaked between the campsites. After about twenty more minutes of searching in the darkness, I stumbled into camp. No one else was there. With a sigh of relief, I crawled deep into my sleeping bag and fell immediately into a deep sleep. The next morning I believed that I had somehow managed to avoid the humiliating initiation at midnight. I crawled out of my sleeping bag without the least bit of resentment or anger, eager to begin the new day, totally renewed by a good night's sleep, not even aware that the experience was actually my "initiation."
After the memory played out, suddenly I knew: That, for me, was the emotion evoked by the card. I concentrated on letting go of anger and fear and resentment and then focused on the feeling of renewal, imagining that I could summon that feeling of resilience and innocence no matter how harsh an experience might be. I sat down and wrote a poem about the experience. You might also consider drawing a picture or writing a poem or even a couple of paragraphs in order to summon the most powerful aspects of the experience back into memory.
The Four of Pentacles.
Allow yourself to relax and daydream. Imagine walking into the card, and identify an emotion associated with the figure. As I mentioned, it often helps to recall a time when you experienced the emotion yourself. For instance, if you have chosen the Two of Pentacles, Lord of Harmonious Change, can you remember a time when you were still so resilient as a child that you bounced back easily from a harmful situation? Recall the event or events clearly and the emotion that you felt. Let that emotion build in your stomach and heart until it seems to be overflowing. Then summon the appropriate corresponding color, as revealed by the Tree of Life. (Remember that each Tarot card description includes the corresponding color of the "path.") For instance, if you have chosen the Four of Cups, Lord of Earthly Power, to establish spiritual harmony, abundance, and magnificence in your life, you would imagine a ray of azure (a shade of blue) flecked with yellow.
Activate the figure. In other words, imagine that the character has come alive and is your ally. Imagine that the living image is filled with the corresponding color and emotion and pulse them back and forth between you and the living image until you establish one powerful connecting stream of energy. Imagine the emotion and color filling your aura and finally the whole room. When you feel that you have finished, allow the energy to subside, then thank the figure in the card and give it permission to return to its home in peace. If later you need to recapture the feeling, simply imagine the figure again and remember how you felt as the color and emotion filled your aura.
Positive affirmations add power to the invocation. I have suggested qualities to invoke for each Minor Arcana card, and it is better that you come up with your own affirmations based on the suggested qualities, or qualities that you wish to emphasize. For instance, for the Two of Pentacles, you might repeat, "I love the dance of life," or, "I revel in the contrasts. I dance with all the changes." You can probably come up with something better. Your goal is to make these cards your own in a meaningful way, and personal meaning grows when you put some creative thought into it. The more creative you are, the more meaningful the card, and the more effective the invocation. Looked at another way, the more meaningful the experience, the more effect you have on the genie--and the more effectively you manifest the energy in daily life. The ultimate goal is to link the force with the physical plane by manifesting the energy in your world in some way. In the case of the Two of Pentacles, even something as simple as dancing away the trauma or negative energy associated with a significant event in your life is one possibility, but any conscious attempt to manifest the energy shows the subconscious mind that you are actively attempting to make beneficial changes.
The astral light connects us through subtle currents. This is one reason that magical spells sometimes work. If you send out spiritual, mental or emotional energy on an "astral current" to another person, you can affect that person subconsciously or even consciously. That is one reason that you might think of a person just before he or she calls or writes to you. It is possible, in other words, to fill a living image from the Tarot with energy and then to send it to another person on an astral current by imaginining that the living image and the corresponding feeling goes to them (with their permission, of course). This is one way to affect another person positively with a Tarot archetype, remembering that the energy will come back to you....
You can follow the steps above when working with another person or a group, except that everyone participating needs to brainstorm about the archetypal and personal meanings of the card. Everyone should have the chance to share a personal experience related to the theme of the card, if possible, and you should all come to a general agreement about what the card means before activating the character of the card together, following the same steps listed above.
You can also become the living image the way a shaman might take on the form of a power animal or a ceremonial magician might take on a God-form: first by fashioning it in your imagination with all of its desired characteristics, then by mentally projecting it out into the room, then by stepping into it, either literally or in your imagination, and then by believing that you are the figure so much that you internalize its characteristics. Of course, at some point, you will need to step out of the costume, so to speak, and resume your identity after thanking the Tarot character for its cooperation!
Moving from the Personal to the Universal
The Tree of Life suggests an important aspect of basic spiritual experience: the microcosm corresponds to the macrocosm, or, in other words, the energy of the individual corresponds with the energy of the cosmos. The composite symbol of the Tree elegantly shows how the personal energy field corresponds to the universal energy field, or looked at another way, it shows how the mind of the individual corresponds with the great cosmic forces that we as humans can know. It shows how you as an individual have access to powerful spiritual forces. However, you are unlikely to make these contacts if you don’t do the following.
First, you need to relax! Lie down. Breathe deeply for as long as you can. Tense and relax all the muscle groups in your body, starting with your toes and moving all the way up to your scalp. Imagine all the stress of the day and the week and the decade draining out of you into the Earth’s lower mantle, where it totally burns away. When you feel cleansed, fill yourself with brilliant light. Repeat the process every day. I can guarantee that significant spiritual experience requires a fundamental shift of consciousness to a vibration different than what you normally experience. Living in a competitive consumer society you inevitably spend most of your time in the "surface" mind, comparing yourself to others in one way or another, never quite "good enough," never quite satisfied. You must get to a deeper level of the mind until the constant chatter of disatisfaction and anxiety vanishes. Sometimes nature, sometimes great art, and sometimes relaxation can do that for you. You often can't control nature or your response to art. However, you can, at least ideally, control your state of mind, so usually you have the ability to relax at will.
Purify yourself emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Cleanse your chakras, the energy centers of your aura, during meditation, eliminating negative energies. In other words, imagine that each energy center is a turning margarita glass and mentally wipe it out with a damp, white cloth until it is clean. This might require you to open old wounds and face your shadow and dump trash out of your head for hours, but at some point during the purification process, you might begin having visions of spiritual symbols and hearing a wise voice. This is the higher self communicating with your conscious mind. Purification leads to revelation.
Purify yourself physically. We all react differently to foods and drugs. Cut down on the booze and stop taking drugs, if possible. Be vigilant about what you eat--allergies or chemical sensitivities might be fatiguing you, lowering your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual energy levels. Remember, everything is energy vibrating at different frequencies, and you are attempting to increase the vibration of your personal energy field by eliminating negative energy. Other people might resist your efforts, and a change in diet will clearly reveal who is willing to work with you.
CLEAR YOUR MIND
The chatter of the surface mind is a major obstacle to spiritual development. Meditate for at least twenty minutes every day, dropping your mind into the void so that it is totally still for minutes at a time. Only then will the higher self be able, from the subconscious mind, to communicate with your conscious mind. Clearing your mind also makes you more open and sensitive to other people and beings, which makes you more sympathetic, especially towards those who are being harmed for one reason or another.
OPEN YOUR PSYCHIC SENSES
This is easier than you might believe. Most psychism is essentially a form of openness to spiritual, mental, astral and magnetic influences. If you have truly purified yourself and have learned how to clear your mind, you eventually sense what other people and beings are feeling and thinking. This comes through as intuition, images, ideas and emotions, voices, and physical sensations. In the case of a magnetic influence, for instance, you might even feel something touching your body or affecting your chakras. Only after you purify yourself can you understand the extent to which one being can know and affect another through the subtle senses. Also remember that you also need to remain grounded in the physcical world in order to survive, so it is best to find convenient times of the day or night to open the subtle senses.
After succeeding at clearing your mind, strive to focus the mind during meditation on one thing for a long time. Meditate on a single symbol or archetype for as long as you can so that you become single-pointed at will. Visualize the symbol or archetype and fill it with personal energy until the corresponding energy comes through. This requires that you exercise willpower and discipline. Study music, art, literature, science, mathematics, other languages, or do yoga. Take long walks in nature, learning about the flora and fauna. The more you choose to focus, the more you will be prepared for higher states of consciousness through the creation of astral forms.
Review the subtle forces of the zodiac.
Symbols and archetypes in the imagination form a bridge to higher states of mind. Through the imagination, you can become the Christ, Mars, Jupiter, Mercury, Venus, or any other archetype for that matter. If you effectively tune your mind to the energy that the archetype or symbol represents and allow yourself to become that energy, you connect with the corresponding energy in the cosmos. This is where the magic comes in: because everything is connected, the energy of the cosmos channels itself into the archetype or symbol in the imagination and then pours itself into your heart and mind during what sometimes ends up being a transcendent experience.
For example, during the Eucharist, you concentrate on the figure of Jesus and all that he represents and tune your mind to divine compassion and love. In the process, you connect with that energy in the cosmos, which then flows into your mind. Another way to look at it: if you effectively create Jesus and everything he stands for in your imagination, the archetype becomes a channel for the Christ consciousness. The same is true for Osiris or Apollo or Venus or any other God or Goddess.
Remember, before and after any spiritual work, you should do a banishing ritual.
The Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram.
Tarot rituals create spiritual connections. The more often you invoke, the more easily you tune your mind to the energy of the archetype until eventually ritual is no longer necessary. After enough effective invocation, just thinking of the archetype summons its meaning and energy into your mind.
Sounds easy. However, you might not take that first step anytime soon because first you have to become famous or make a million dollars or save the world or become CEO of a multi-national corporation. Maybe you just want to find a decent job. Or maybe you feel like you’re just not good enough. You’ve done too many bad things to other people. Or you have too many responsibilities. There are a thousand and one excuses….
Most obstacles can be eliminated if you relax, purify yourself, clear your mind, and focus, exercising the discipline it takes to prioritize so that you can devote a few minutes a day to meditation or invocation. The only true way of changing your world is by changing your mind, not someone else's.
But it is always important to remember that you are a conduit of forces, not a creator of forces: You are opening your aura during invocation to bring energy from the highest level of divinity into the physical plane through your sphere of sensation. In other words, you are aiding divinity, not bringing energy into the world for your own selfish ends. As a co-creator with the Source, you allow the energy to manifest for the highest possible good. So, whenever you invoke a force on any path of the Tree of Life, you need to first invoke the highest level of divinity through the God-name, which is included for each path in the list of correspondences. As you perform the ritual, vibrate the words out loud (if you feel comfortable doing so), or in your head using what is called “The Great Voice," so that your whole aura seems to vibrate with the sound, the premise being that all matter is the vibration of energy: By vibrating the divine names you are tuning your mind to the highest vibration.
The twenty-two connecting paths have one God-name, each associated with a level of energy, or force of divinity, and an astrological or elemental correspondence associated with the way the energy manifests in our sphere of sensation and the world. Each sphere, on the other hand, includes four names associated with the way the force manifests in the four “worlds,” or planes: The name of God (Atziluth), the name of the Archangel (Briah), the name of the Angelic Host (Yetzirah), and the Astrological Correspondence (Assiah).
Like the Magician in the card of the same name, you are continuing the primal act of creation by bringing the highest divine forces down the planes to manifest first in your sphere of sensation and then in the world. You are a channel for divinity, not a sorcerer who acts solely for his own benefit. It is an axiom that nature fights the magician tooth and nail--if he or she tries to use forces for selfish purposes instead of bringing energy down the planes from the highest level of divinity. You protect yourself by opening your heart and mind to divine knowledge and working for the highest good.
The Basics of the Ritual Pentagram Spread.
Using a basic Pentagram Spread to invoke Jupiter.
Using the Advanced Pentagram Spread with modifiers.
Advanced Ritual: The Supreme Invoking Ritual of the Pentagram.
Make your own game board.
Paths and Thrones: A game for two players.
The Hero's Journey: A game for one or two players.