Excellent article and video on the tarot by Alejandro Jodorowsky.
“The practice of cartomancy, or divination with cards, dates back several hundred years to at least 14th century Europe, perhaps by way of Turkey. But the specific form we know of, the tarot, likely emerged in the 17th century, and the deck we’re all most familiar with—the Rider-Waite Tarot—didn’t appear until 1909. Popular mainly with occultists like Aleister Crowley and Madame Blavatsky in the early 20th century, the tarot exploded into popular culture in the new age 70s with books like Stuart Kaplan’s Tarot Cards for Fun and Fortune Telling, and by way of cult filmmakers like Alejandro Jodorowsky.
Since its relatively recent popularization, “fun” and “fortune telling” have more or less defined most people’s attitude to the tarot, whether they approve or disapprove of either one. But for artists and poets like William Butler Yeats, T.S. Eliot, and surrealist director Jodorowsky—whose film narration is perhaps the most poetic in modern cinema—the tarot has always meant something much more mysterious and inspiring. “The tarot,” says Jodorowsky in the short film above, “will teach you how to create a soul.”
After studying the Major and Minor Arcana and the suits, and puzzling over the symbols on each card, Jodorowsky discovered that “all 78 cards could be joined in a mandala, in just one image.” Learning to see the deck thus, “You must not talk about the future. The future is a con. The tarot is a language that talks about the present. If you use it to see the future, you become a conman.” Like other mystical poets, Jodorowsky’s study of the tarot did not lead him to the supernatural but to the creative act.
And like many a poet before him, Jodorowsky explored the journey of the Fool in his 1973 film The Holy Mountain, a “dazzling, rambling, often incoherent satire,” writes Matt Zoller Seitz, that “unfurls like a hallucinogenic daydream.” Jodorowsky’s cinematic dream logic comes not only from his work as a “shamanic psychotherapist.” He also credits the tarot for his psychomagical realism. “For me,” says Jodorowsky in the video at the top, “the tarot was something more serious. It was a deep psychological search.” The result of that search—Jodorowsky’s singular and totally unforgettable body of work—speaks to us of the value of such an undertaking, whatever means one uses to get there.
Or as Jodorowsky says in one of his mystical pronouncements, “If you set your spirit to something, that phenomenon will happen.” If that sounds like magical thinking, that’s exactly what it is. Jodorowsky shows us how to read the tarot as he does, for psychological insight and creative inspiration, in the video above, addressed to a fan named John Bishop. Spanish speakers will have no trouble understanding his presentation, as he quickly slides almost fully into his native language through lack of confidence in his facility with English. (The video belongs to a series on Jodorowsky’s YouTube channel, most of them fully in Spanish without subtitles.) Selecting a translation on YouTube yields rather garbled results.”
A strange visual language developed from the 18th to the 20th century behind the closed doors of American secret societies. It’s a languae made up of all-seeing eyes, ominous skulls, hourglasses, arrows, axes, and curious hands holding hearts. Each of these icons was deeply symbolic for the thousands of people — mostly men — who participated in rituals of borrowed meaning, where ancient Egypt, biblical Christianity, and some homegrown amusements like wooden goats on wheels met the rise of American folk art. The American Folk Art Museum’s (AFAM) Mystery and Benevolence: Masonic and Odd Fellows Folk Art from the Kendra and Allan Daniel Collectionexamines this often hidden history through its arcane artifacts.
Mystery and Benevolence was curated by Stacy C. Hollander, chief curator and director of exhibitions at AFAM, and Aimee E. Newell, director of collections at the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library. It features over 200 objects recently donated to the museum by Kendra and Allan Daniel, who spent three decades buying up the once-secretive art. Installed in the museum, the objects are an exuberant display of the “golden age” of Masonic and Odd Fellows objects, when American decorative and folk art merged with the need for a sense of belonging in the new country.
“After becoming an independent nation in the 1780s, America was seeking to establish its own cultural identity; Freemasonry offered a source of images that resonated with the new nation’s values of equality and liberty,” Newell writes in the accompanying catalogue. “Freemasonry’s visual language and American style began to intersect almost as soon as victory over the British was declared, and continued to adapt as the nation grew and the fraternity evolved. ”
Much of the exhibition contextualizes this long-hidden art in the history of the societies, such as their charity work. The Odd Fellows, formed in 18th-century London, were organized as a benevolent group to support the sick, orphans, and those who died without money for a funeral. One of their mission statements is proclaimed in red and gold on a large wooden sign: “Bury the Dead.” There are also axes indicating how the Odd Fellows saw themselves as “pioneers in the pathway of life”; staffs topped with a heart in the hand were a reminder to be open to others.
Similarly, even the more ghoulish imagery had some meaning connected to charity, and selflessness. The skulls, hourglasses, and skeletons holding shields painted with the word “fidelity” were all reminders of mortality, and how one’s brief time on earth could be better dedicated to others. Reverend Aaron B. Grosh wrote in 1853’s The Odd Fellow’s Manual: “Only the good or evil of our lives will survive us on earth, to draw down on our memories the blessings of those we have aided, or the contempt and reproach of those we have injured.”
“The outward form of each symbol offers a different point of access, but in its context within the lexicon of the fraternity, deeper meanings are revealed to those for whom the symbols are signified,” Hollander writes in the catalogue. “In this, the art of fellowship is not dissimilar to the art of alchemy, its secret knowledge also protected by its practitioners.”
The Masons are the country’s oldest established fraternal order, with numerous lodges founded in the 18th century across the US. In one painting on view at AFAM, their most famous member, George Washington, stands proudly at a Masonic altar. The Odd Fellows soon followed and quickly gained an important membership of their own, as did other societies like the Knights Templar, Shriners, and Junior Order of United American Mechanics. All were mostly white, male, and protestant, albeit from across different economic classes.
The objects in Mystery and Benevolence are seductive with their strangeness and feel somehow accessible through the ordinariness of the materials. I remember visiting the Masonic Hall on 23rd Street in Manhattan, and the tour guide (a Mason) pointing out that all the grand architectural flourishes were fancy fakery. The Corinthian columns, the Renaissance murals, and the Gothic arches that adorned different meeting rooms were all plaster — beautifully painted, but mimicry of the exotic and ancient all the same.
Likewise, the objects in this exhibition are visually stunning, from a late 19th-century staff wrapped with a snake to a towering column topped with a globe. There are some truly masterful pieces, like an intricate marquetry table by James J. Crozier, yet for the most part, the artists remain unidentified and the closest an object gets to a precious material is in the application of some gold leaf on the edges.
These are rare artifacts of an occult culture, each a labor of love for their ritual purpose, not originally intended as art, but as a tool of connection through shared rites. The value of these pieces goes beyond their folk art status. They represent a clandestine history embedded within the story of the United States, where for decades a large percentage of its men would amble over to the local lodge after dark, have a drink (or several), don a scarlet robe, then ponder a skeletal memento mori — or take a ride on a wooden goat around the lodge room.
Venus and Uranus were in an exact conjunction at 27 Aries yesterday. This noteworthy event happens every 225 days, and brings a fresh perspective to our personal relationships. Breakthroughs are common – both good and bad – and can show up the week preceding and the week following the aspect. So yeah, this new week upon us could reveal surprises and changes that can be challenging (but illuminating in the long run). Change is in the air.
So, how was your weekend? Did any shifts or insights occur on Saturday? The area where 27 Aries resides in your personal chart is where you will feel the effects most powerfully.
I had a funny, related experience. On my way to an event I passed an easy chair and a television in the middle of a street. They look like they had been thrown there by a strong force (Aries). Venus rules comfort and pleasure (i.e. the chair) and Uranus rules electricity and television (i.e. the TV). I wish now I had taken a picture of it!
Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement. – Golda Meir
Sun into Gemini: May 20th at 1:31pm.
New Moon in Gemini: Thursday, May 25th at 12:44pm.
Mercury is Direct in Taurus.
Saturn – Uranus trine at 26 degrees (Sagittarius and Aries respectively) TODAY.
Venus Direct in Aries. Mars Direct in Gemini.
Silence of the Night, Reiji Hiramatsu
I’d say the big thing is this trine with Saturn and Uranus today. This is a harmonious connection between two complete opposites:
Saturn is reality, time, responsibility, history, discipline, commitment, stability, and the establishment. It is slow, solid change.
Uranus is revolution, invention, science, rebelliousness, genius, Change, disruption, electricity and awakening. It is sudden change.
So these two are having a friendly conversation today, which is interesting. If you have a duality in your life, you might find some common ground today. The main thing is that Saturn will INSIST on any changes you make being well thought out and solid. In my view, Saturn is heavier than Uranus and so those energies carry more weight, BUT they will have to find a compromise since Uranus will not be silenced.
A new physical reality comes into view.
A revolution with a solid foundation.
A path to making aspirations into realities.
This is a good day to set some goals ❤
This trine is also happening in the fire signs of Aries and Sagittarius, which brings guts, confidence, self esteem and passion. Creativity and adventure. Composers, artists, actors, musicians and performers are ignited by this energy today. Let your light shine.
Bob Marley inspired the lives of millions through his inspirational words and positive songs. Here are some of his most powerful words to live by.
1. “The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively”
2. “Some people feel the rain. Others just get wet”
3. “Don’t gain the world and lose your soul, wisdom is better than silver or gold”
4. “Love the life you live. Live the life you love.”
5. “Beginnings are usually scary, and endings are usually sad, but its everything in between that makes it all worth living.”
6. “Live for yourself and you will live in vain; Live for others, and you will live again.”
7. “Don’t worry about a thing ’cause every little thing gonna be alright”
8. “If she’s amazing, she won’t be easy. If she’s easy, she won’t be amazing. If she’s worth it, you wont give up. If you give up, you’re not worthy.”
9. “You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have”
10. “The truth is everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for.”
“Even after his death Bob Marley lives on through his messages to the world. He believed in equality, love and music and we can all takes these beliefs into our own lives. The next time you’re having a bad day or simply need some motivation, remember these quotes. Share with someone you know to send positive vibes their way.”