Article

The Subtle Process, Part 2

Facing Rejection

by Christopher Penczak, edited by Tina Whittle

As magickal training (both in-person and online) is a subtle process, when it doesn’t go as we envision or plan it, it can catalyze powerful, usually difficult emotions. We can use these periods to deepen our practice and truly reflect. Resistance and adversity, opposition, is part of the crooked path. It is not the easy and broad path, but a narrow one, with thorns as well as flowers and the medicines are made from both.

Some start at the source of their own resistance. By our very nature, Witches chaff against most structure or authority. I often feel that way too, and that’s fine until you are asking for, and agreeing to, a specific training. You then have to enter with both open heart and open mind, committed to the process.

Many Witches, again myself included, don’t like to share. We are private, dark creatures on an often solitary path. But when joining a class or coven, we have to figure out what and how to share. It can feel very vulnerable and difficult. Often we think we are clever by revealing just enough, but if we hold back our moments of gnosis, it can appear to our teachers and mentors we are having very little insight with the material and need a lot more time living it.

If you ignore feedback and critique as “nitpicky” or have a habit of half following or even disregarding directions, you give the impression you are not fully participating in the process. Unless there is a compelling reason, your resistance can produce an unwillingness from your teachers and mentors to go onward. I know early in my music education, with dreams of rock and roll stardom, my composition teacher gave me some strong critique about songwriting. My band loved my songs! Why didn’t he? His job, however, wasn’t to love them and affirm, but to instead guide me towards better craft, and when I stopped automatically fighting him and started seriously considering what he said, I found my songwriting improved and deepened. In our system, the mentor and Teaching Assistant are closer to peers, encouraging with their feedback. Our Dean of Students holds the standards, and together with myself, assumes a more professor-like role, with more direct critique and the possibility of discussing the more philosophical and creative aspects if your experience opens that door. But we first need to know you did the work. You don’t have to redo or even respond to much of our feedback, unless we say something isn’t acceptable and has to be redone, but your response or lack thereof helps us better understand your approach to the work. Acceptable work isn’t stellar work, and we all benefit from revisiting past work.

We can face adversity and stop, or blame, or we can use it to gain strength and wisdom. Some leave and find another way, and that is perfectly valid. Others just stop and live in any wound that is triggered by the opposition, feeling justified in doing so. The ones who go on within the community after facing obstacles are the ones who pause to ask themselves if they should go on at each step, if they are truly ready and want to go on, and if so, question the reasons why rather than assuming the process is a formality and becoming shocked when their teachers don’t share in those assumptions.

In the Temple, some take the time between sessions to ask if I, or the Dean of our school, think they are ready to go on. They often ask other detailed questions about the workload and purpose of the new class or wonder how different it is from previous classes. Their intention aligns with the reality of the situation. They say “if” I’m accepted to the next class, not “when.” Those who navigate it best respond with honest inquiry, of self and staff. They may disagree, but inquiry and reflection become key. I’ve initially disagreed when I’ve been rejected from something, but it has been a catalyst for inquiry and evolution. Those who blame, lash out, or don’t even pause to ask “what could I have done differently?” demonstrate the reason why we were uncomfortable going forward.

I have also found great benefit at looking at the astrology of a moment of rejection and comparing it to my chart. Often I’ll be experiencing a hard transit or planetary return. One might also do a tarot reading, including the question “what am I not seeing about this situation?” In essence, following the advice of Temple of Witchcraft co-founder Adam Sartwell—“Am I thinking like a Witch?”—even around any rejection.

Rejection is a hard thing, and there is no one way to decline someone’s advancement in a program that will work for everyone. Believe me, we have tried, ranging from formal to personal and informal, as well as specific and information-heavy to minimalist and open to more inquiry. None satisfies everyone. And it’s hard to predict the best approach for anyone. But the response is also a barometer of the decision and the potential for the future.

When we frame magickal tradition as a family or tribe, then we reactivate wounds around rejection in other areas of our life. Yet we stress the Temple of Witchcraft as a magickal order, not family or tribe. Magickal bonds, those in the past described as Frater and Soror in the arts, is not what most today associate with the words “brother” and “sister.” Like the bonds of a trade guild or academia, one is not guaranteed advancement based upon personal bonds, even when there is professional kinship.

Sometimes we seek education in community for reasons other than education. Sometimes we are looking to belong, and once we belong, we begin consciously or unconsciously looking for deeper levels of insider status. We had one initiate who kept volunteering in hopes of getting into the “secret party” inner circle. If there are secret parties, then I haven’t made it to that level of the mysteries yet myself. Some make the mistake in thinking the work is an unspoken transaction, a quid pro quo for service. While we offer work studies and certainly try to help anyone devoted to community work, if you are not ready to go onward, doing volunteer hours in the hopes of gaining favor isn’t the best approach.

Sometimes students are looking for validation or recognition. Many come into esoteric education to tell you all about what they already know and equate it with what you are teaching, rather than experience the lessons with a fresh beginner’s mind or no expectations. They seek recognition without true change.

Some are looking for reward as a part of that validation, to get something tangible or intangible, such as the necklace gift at the end of Level Five. Some are in it for the beads. Often the real reward of good work in community is more work. That’s been my experience. Sometimes we are looking to gain authority to lead and have expectations on our future status. Rejection can clash with our self-image and future plans. Many of these intentions, though not all, can be rooted in truly good intentions, but nonetheless take us out of the moment and the work at hand. The ones who declare early in their intention to go through all the levels and teach often struggle more than the ones who take it one step at a time.

In the end, the purpose of spiritual education is education, the development and evolution of the self and testing of the skills we learn, inner and outer. Understanding our motivations and expectations, along with being able to clearly self-evaluate and process critique, is vital to our evolution. Any one path of education is not the only path. One teacher is not the only teacher. You are always welcome to study on your own, and make your own way, and that is just as valid. But when you work in community and within a system or school, it’s a cooperative process that doesn’t always conform to your expectations or wishes. It can throw unexpected kinks in the road, these being teaching moments in themselves, and that is the essence of the unknown on the Crooked Path.

Temple Astrolog: Sex, Magick and Gardening

written by Karin Ugander

The sun is now in the sign of Aries, the first of the fire signs. The sun is close to both the asteroid Ceres (goddess of earth, nourishment) and Venus (love relationships, magick). Together they create a wonderful cocktail of passion, sex, drive and enthusiasm. They also make a good aspect to Mars in Gemini adding even more passion. This energy can be used to give sparkles to anything from your intimate relationship to a creative project. Together this combination can help you to target manifest your goals and dreams.

Apart from love and passion being able to fill up the energy reservoir, Venus right next to Ceres can also make gardening and magick extra potent and strong. Ceres is all about feeling nourished and taken care of. Together with Venus all kinds of magick can feel extra fulfilling. We usually say that Fall is the season of the witch. With these aspects we certainly have an astrological transit of the witch going on.

Mars lets go of Ceres on the 7th of April, Venus on the 10th of April. The sextile between Mars and the Sun is until the 22nd  of April.

Is the glass half empty or half full?

Ceres is an earth goddess and a great provider of abundance when she is in harmony. When she’s not in balance she can instead point out where we are lacking in resources or energy. There is a saying “is the glass half empty, or is it half full?” How you choose see that glass depends on you. Can you see the good things in your life right now and appreciate them? Or do you only see what is missing?

The lacking feeling is more likely to hit people who are not  tapping into the deeper feminine and nourishing energy created by the Venus/Ceres conjunction. To help with that you can create an Altar for Earth or the Goddess Ceres. Some of her more traditional symbols are: plow, seeds, corn, pig, cornucopia.  But actually I believe that she is happy with all symbols of earth and growth. I have found that she likes flowers, crystals, seeds, mini animals to put on the altar. Most people find her very warm, loving and easy to make contact with.

This is not only creative and fun to do, it can also bring an anchoring, warm and comforting energy in times of change. If you have room for this Altar in your garden or on your balcony it is perfect! Working with the asteroid goddess Ceres opens up for further work with the other asteroid goddesses as well.

Knowing when to say no

Now when the Sun ( I, me) Ceres and Venus are joined in Aries (desire, will ) there can be an energetic or emotional hunger that is not easily fed. The more you give, the more is wanted and if you are not careful you can end up in bottomless spiral of hunger and expectations from others. Much like the Tarot card 8 of cups.

If you are usually a person more inclined to say Yes than No, be on your guard! And that goes for everything from giving the dog or the children too much treats or candy, to saying yes to your co-workers when you really should not.

This is amplified by us not having any planets going retrograde at the moment. No retrograde planets makes us less inclined to stop and think before we act. This circles around the theme of lust and desire.  Stop and think for a while  before deciding and ask yourself the question “Is this what I want, or is it what others wants from me?”

Ceres and Venus travels together until the 12th of April. Ceres and the Sun are joined together until the 21st of April when the sun enters into the sign of Taurus.

What kind of action?

Right now we have the wonderful asteroid goddesses Pallas Athena in Pisces (strategy, thinking) and Vesta in Virgo (devotion, home, protection) in opposition to each other. They pull in opposite directions and it can be hard to know what to do. Pallas Athena in Pisces is not so comfortable there. There her action driven energy is more aiming towards spiritual things. It becomes more soft and has a tendency to watch how things turn out, rather than having a practical approach. Vesta on the other hand, she is very practical and hands on in Virgo.

Example: You have a good friend Johanna. She has been in a bad relationship for a long time. Now she calls you up and asks for help. She says that the situation is worse than ever before. Both Vesta and Pallas Athena are ready to step in but they have very different approaches. Pallas Athena in Pisces encourages you to asks Johanna if she wants you to pray and send healing to her to change the energies around her? Vesta has a whole different approach. She asks Johanna “When do you want me to come and help you pack your bags and get out of there!”

Another example is William. He is running out of money and is worried about the family finances. Pallas Athene encourages you to ask him if the wants you to read the cards for him? See how things are most likely to play out? Vesta says: “How about making juice from dandelions and sell to the local stores to increase your cash? I will come and help you”

Either way is better than the other but it can create a lot of frustration when not knowing what to do. My advice is to do both things, approach the problem from both a practical and a more energetic level. It may also be good to ask your friend or your client what kind of support they are looking for.

Highs and lows

This tension between Pallas Athena and Vesta can make us all pendle between a lot of hands on action, doing things, being practical to a more relaxed let’s see how things work out, attitude. Choosing either side over the other can make us end up in a place we don’t want to be this spring and summer. Action (Vesta in Virgo) without wisdom and thought is not good. All thoughts (Pallas Athena in Pisces) without backing it up with action will take you nowhere no matter how clear the analyze is. Balance in the key here and if you find it you will be much more at ease.

Vesta and Pallas Athena lets go of each other on the 18th of May. But they will meet up with each other once again in opposition in the same signs on the 18th of June.

Expand your knowledge

Jupiter (expansion, growth) in Aquarius is in a good aspect (sextile) to the asteroid goddess Juno (relationships, collaborations) in Sagittarius (knowledge, wisdom). This is a good time to learn more and expand your understanding of things. Don’t hesitate to ask questions and do deeper research. Buy books, go on classes and set off time for study. Experts and those more knowledgeable than you are also more inclined to help you right now.  This is a good time to work together with others in joint projects and collaborations. This transit is until the 18th of April.

Blessings! / Karin Spirit Talker Turtle Red

Karin Ugander (Spirit Talker Turtle Red) is a spiritual channeler living in the south of Sweden. In Scandinavia she is known for the AstroNumerology and psychic readings she’s been doing for over 20 years. Together with her husband Niklas, she runs KaniSkolan, a school of astrology, numerology, tarot, StarCode Healing, and natural medicine. They are also the founders of Alven Inner Ring tradition, a Scandinavian mystery school with roots in shamanism and magick. Karin loves to create magickal oils, flower essences and sigils she combines in her “Karin Victoria” sigil candles and flower sprays. In her spare time she likes to travel, walk in the forest with her dog, and spend time by the ocean. Karin is an ordained high priestess and graduate of the Temple of Witchcraft’s seminary program. Her work can be found on Instagram @flowerpowerwitch and @karinuganderofficial and she can be reached at karin@kani.se.

The Subtle Process, Part 1

by Christopher Penczak, edited by Tina Whittle

Witchcraft training is a subtle process. Witchcraft training online is an even more subtle process, and no easy feat for both teacher and student. By “subtle,” I mean that beyond the obvious binary of complete acceptable assignments or incomplete unacceptable assignments, there is no universal benchmark for everyone. Each student is unique and will respond to the material in their own way.

As a student in the Temple of Witchcraft, your own experience with the material is the first level of the process. Some do assignments adequately, while others might open a door into a deeper teacher, a myth, folklore, an entity, etcetera. How you present that to your mentor and the school staff might trigger questions to consider or suggestions to repeat something. You are not obligated to do so if the assignment was accepted. You can ignore the comments, or take them and keep what you discover private, but such comments are often an invitation to go deeper in follow-up homework, to continue a dialogue. If you respond with not only questions based on your first thought, but also with your own work, intellectual research, and/or mystical meditation and journey, another level of the subtle process is reached. Sometimes it will trigger a connection to another minister or mentor who has expertise in the topic, or, as in our large school of 200+ students, provide a reason for the staff to reach out and involve me more directly in the dialogue.

Some look at any comments, questions, or feedback as an indication they weren’t 100% right the first time, and people who are perfectionists get upset by this. They feel the staff is being unfair to them personally or protest that since the assignment wasn’t 100% clear to start, how could they know what we wanted? The lack of clarity is often purposeful, as we want to see what you do, how you interpret, and how you respond when confronted with an idea that is not your own, or confronted with your own imperfections, however gently. Through the process, we care less about whether or not a student gets it “right” the first time and much more about deeper personal inquiry, insight into self, insight into the material and philosophies, or evidence of a depth of practice along with the material execution of the exercises as instructed. We don’t tell a student they have to engage more deeply if it appears by their work they are doing their level best, but we look for improvements, shifts, and transformations that will be demonstrated in their reporting. Everyone goes through that process uniquely, and there is no way to teach that directly without having the student parrot back what they think you want to hear. That is why we don’t do letter or number grades, for people would attempt to tailor their reporting to what they think is an “A.” If someone does their level best, they usually pass a course, but might be asked to go deeper between levels, rather than jump back in. It’s not a race. It’s not a contest. It’s a lifelong pursuit of growth and learning.

Often outside of the classroom, through contact before or after events or in the world of social media, we can take observation of behaviors and statements as opportunities for teaching. What you learn in a class for an initiatory training should be integrated into your life, but it’s hard to do. We have a lot of separation there, so a subtle teacher will open the door and offer something when the moment presents itself, whether in person or online. How the student engages that—as it often comes as a surprise—can indicate how well the lessons are being integrated and provide an opportunity for the teacher to point out how things can deepen and evolve.

What we are looking for is deep engagement on all levels. Each student has an original way to express such things if they are experiencing them. Each lives them and embodies them differently. What is the best of one person’s ability looks different from the best of another’s. There is no universal objective standard. It’s a subtle process. It’s Witchcraft. Parts will always be hidden. Parts will never be codified, quantified, or overt. Parts of it should always be challenging. Otherwise, it is something else.

by Karin Ugander and Christopher Penczak

This article is part 2 of a two-part series.

The Quest of the Holy Grail

In the most esoteric aspect 41/5 is connected to a deep search of meaning of life. Why have I come here? What is my purpose? In our western society we can find important keys of understanding by looking at the Quest of the Holy Grail. This year of 2021 we all will benefit by looking at the Gail myth as chances are many of its aspects will play out in our world. As we enter the Age of Aquarius, the fixed air sign that is called the Water Bearer, we can look to the Grail Knights, Grail Kings, and Ladies of the Lake as different mythic Water Bearers. The jug, the vessel, we must bear in the New Age is the Holy Grail, and we must pour its healing waters out to heal the connection and communication of all things upon the Earth and beyond.

The more you work with the Grail, the more you realize it’s much more than a cup. It’s a combination of all the aces and within that collection is encoded all the initiations of the Major Arcana and all the numbers. In the stories, the Grail takes many forms. Beyond the cup and cauldron, it can be a lance that bleeds, embodying the mystery of the sacrificed king, wounded and no longer able to unite with the queen as the divine feminine. The Grail is a plate, platter or dish. Sometimes its the severed head of a prophet, speaking of the future to anyone who will listen. The Grail can be a stone, and is often compared to the emerald in the crown of the archangel Lucifer. In the Christian story of the Angelic War of Heaven, the gem is loosened and falls to Earth, kept by the angels who remain neutral in the war. In esoteric circles, this fall from the Archangel of Venus and the Morning Light initiates life upon Earth and plays a deep role in the mysteries of the Faery Races. In the Temple of Witchcraft mythos, we see the emerald divided – part taking shape as the cup of the Holy Grail and part becoming the Emerald of Hermes’ tablet. Other stories compare it to the lapis exilis, the stone exiled from paradise and equate it with the medicine of the alchemists, the fabled Philosopher’s Stone which the Elixir of Life. The Holy Grail is all of these things and none of them.

If we found the Grail would we know it?

In the Grail Myth a young and innocent knight is on the quest to find the Holy Grail. But when he finds it he fails to ask the questions needed and therefore loses it. He then spends many years trying to find it again. The changing forms and stories around the Grail making it confusing. What is it? How will we know it? What should we ask so we don’t fail?

Here I can’t help but think about the situation with the world and Covid-19. Is there some hidden gift in this awful situation that we risk not seeing? Some people have not been able to see their loved ones in a long time and that is very sad. But many are spending more time than ever with their families. Here in Sweden people are moving out to the country again. Farming more vegetables, reconnecting to the earth. They have started meditating, reading more, getting a pet, spending more time in nature and experiencing more quality time then ever. Of course there are challenges and deaths, but what if we are being offered something special here that we may lose again if we are not paying attention?

The question necessary to complete the quest is asking “Whom does the Grail serve?” That can seem like an odd phrase but, in essence, we are asking what is the purpose here, of the Grail, and whatis our purpose, in the scheme of things before us. What does the Grail do? And how can we participate in it? Service is key. We each embody the Grail, so whom do we serve? How do we serve the Grail in its service to all?

If the Grail is to play a role in our Age of Aquarius mythos, Aquarius is embodied by social consciousness to the group, the collective, as well as the individuality of the self. It presents a challenge to us living in the Age of Pisces mindset, where we are often told that being ourselves is to the detriment of the collective. Religious and social paradigms in the previous ages have required us to conform to established roles. Aquarius tells us the only way we can serve is by being our individual authentic self. Only when we bring our true self to the collective can we do the part that is unique and essential for us.

In the story of Inanna, initiates say the goddess faced a similar question and also initially failed. The Queen of Heaven meets up with her pregnant and grieving sister in the underworld and fails to ask, “Sister what ails thee and how can I be of service?” Yet in failing this, Inanna undergoes death and resurrection, grows wise, and returns renewed through the gates of the underworld.

Some witches say “Everything serves the Goddess” meaning that every event and occurrence serves the greater pattern of fate unfolding, even if we cannot see it in the moment. Everything gets incorporated into the pattern. Our choices come in expressing our part more skilfully, more beautifully, and more consciously in cooperation with her.

The Hierophant as a Shaman

If we see the Ace of Cups as the Grail itself, it becomes very interesting. When we add the numbers of the Ace of cups 41, 4 + 1 = 5, we end up with the Tarot card The Hierophant. He is the teacher, guide, and mentor. There is a lot of misunderstanding and reinterpretation of the Hierophant today. Due to the depiction of him in the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, he is seen as the Pope, and we lay upon this card all the associations of the hierarchy of the Christian churches and their persecutions, patriarchy, and colonialism. Yet the term “hierophant” is ancient Greek, and means to show the holy mysteries. The hierophant was the chief priest in the Eleusinian Mysteries, working side by side with the High Priestess of those mysteries as equals. There is a structured mystery tradition implied, in opposition to the more wild and intuitive mysteries of the forest. In some tarot decks he is the Shaman and holds the keys to initiation and seeking to point back to the primal mysteries of the wild from which things like the Eleusinian Mysteries arose. To fulfil the true purpose of 41/5 we need to drink from the cup, or rather dive into the cup wholeheartedly to become initiated and embody the power of the Hierophant. If we fail our mission and don’t complete the transformation, we risk becoming a dysfunctional Shaman.

In his book Fire in the Head, Tom Cowan writes about the Grail Quest. He describes the wounded Fisher King like a wounded shaman stuck between the worlds. The Fisher King refuses to change, he is frightened and does not listen to the call. In all shamanic traditions it is well known that when the shaman returns after initiation or a strong vision, they need to make the necessary changes in their life for the transformation to be complete and the healing to take place. Without the changes and fulfilling his part of the deal, they become stuck in time.

What we can ask ourselves in a world of humans experiencing Covid-19, what will happen if we integrate and spiritually understand the transformation after lock-downs and the stand-still in many countries? Will we come out on the other side with a shamanic perspective, the Witch’s perspective, and abilities to look at the world with new eyes? Will we be able to connect in deeper and more meaningful ways? Will the Fisher King be healed? Or will we stop in the middle of the transformation and become dysfunctional shamans, dysfunctional humans stuck in-between?

Interesting in the Grail Quest, the Fisher King needs the knight who is seeking to help the healing process, and the knight has to be able to ask, “Whom does the Grail serve?” In some version, behind the Fisher King, in a secret chamber, is the older, wiser Grail King. It is the Grail King that the Grail serves. The questing knight, wounded king, and wise elder represent three stages in the initiation process. So if you have the capacity to help another along in the process, do so! If you can serve, serve. If you need help, accept help when offered to you. Always keep asking the questions of how you can serve.

On a spiritual level 41/5 holds you accountable for the Initiations and vows you have taken. On the positive side, if you have worked hard to embody that energy, but without any flow or tangible success, this may be the time when things start to flow in a good way. But if you have neglected or chosen to forget your obligations, this year can feel like a kick in the butt and you may be forced to make some changes.

The Romance of the Crusade

There is a certain romantic shimmer about shining knights riding off to a foreign countries in search for the Holy Grail. Saving virgins, doing apparently good deeds, and saving souls. Going to war with whomever stands in their way. The Grail is a light pointing to itself and is therefore very seductive. Many of these seemingly noble impulses lead to the greatest horrors of organized religion.

This 41/5 year, it could be that we will see people, companies, politicians, witches, and spiritual people going to war over what they consider their Grail, their truth or prize. Here I fear people following leaders with a lot of light, but not a lot of heart. If the Ace of Cup (41/5) is corrupted and the water is sour, the Hierophant (5), leader and guide, will be a false one. We have already done variations of this, with less skilful fake leaders and have to be on guard for those who will try it with more expertise.

The aces have potential for both great good and great bad and knowing which side is which is not an easy task. It is nice standing close to someone in thelight. It is easy to feel good, perhaps even chosen for acrusade or sacred task. But whenever there is a brightlight and many wanting to stand close we have to look out for elitism and “better than” mentality. If that creeps into an organisation or community we are headed down a dangerous road.

Summary

At its heart and core, 41/5 and the Grail are about Love and Hope. They are about deep healing and restoring what once was lost, about service to a greater good. Personally I am a big believer in small acts of kindness every day in various of ways. My hope for this year is hearts transforming into shining, overflowing cups of love, just like the Ace of Cups. And when they all connect, who knows what wewill find?

Blessings!

Karin Spirit Talker Turtle Red
& Christopher Penczak

Sources

Fire in the Head, Shamanism and the Celtic Spirit. Tom Cowan, Harper One, 1993

Numerology and the Divine Triangle. Faith Javane & Dusty Bunker, Whitford Press, 1979

Recommended Reading

King Arthur and the Goddess of the Land: The Divine Feminine in the Mabinogion by Caitlin Matthews

The Secret Tradition in Arthurian Legend by Gareth Knight

The Holy Grail by Malcom Goodwin

The Grail: A Secret History by John Matthews

The Grail Castle by Kenneth Johnson and Marguerite Elsbeth

Gwenevere and the Round Table by Wendy Berg

The Grail: The Celtic Origins of the Sacred Icon by Jean Markale

The Hidden Church of the Holy Graal by Arthur Edward Waite

Orders of the Quest, The Holy Grail by Manly P. Hall

by Karin Ugander and Christopher Penczak

This article is part 1 of a two-part series.

When we began looking at the year 2021 from a numerological and symbolic/mythic perspective we were struck by what the numbers said and the potential impact on people and the world. A most significant year in every sense of the word. The symbols lead us to the myth and legend of the Holy Grail, something that has influenced the Western world for centuries. In this article Karin guides us through the numerology of this very exiting year while Christopher guides us into the deeper mysteries of the Grail. We hope that you will enjoy the ride. Here we go!

2021 Looking at our Planet from the Outside

To understand the numerological energies of 2021 we begin by looking at 20 and 21 separately. The tarot card related to the number 20 is The Aeon. In some tarot decks it is called Judgment. On the card you can often see people rising from their graves, reaching for heaven and ascension. This is also one of the tarot cards with an angel on it (the others being 6 The Lovers and 14 Temperance/Alchemy). The Aeon speaks to the turning of cosmic months in the Procession of the Equinoxes. We say the dawning New Age is the Age of Aquarius, the Water Bearer.

A powerful symbol from our modern Grail mythos comes from the Glastonbury Zodiac. The Glastonbury Zodiac is a series of landforms around the Glastonbury area, depicting variations of the twelve zodiac signs. First envisioned by the artist Katherine Maltwood as a “Sumerian” Temple of the Stars in the British landscape dating back to ancient times, the reality of it defies modern convention, mixing age-old landscape features with the relatively modern to depict an esoterically coherent zodiac. Aquarius in the Glastonbury system is the Phoenix, formed out of the Glastonbury Tor. This mythic birdof rebirth holds the Chalice Well in its beak, conjuring the image of an illuminated heavenly bird pouring the healing waters of the Holy Grail upon the land to usher in the new Age of Aquarius.

In the Aeon we get a chance to step away a bit from our lives and look, make an evaluation of how we have lived and make new decisions. Number 20 is the letter T in our alphabet. The letter itself is like a stick with a small shelf on top, like a bird’s perch. In one sense working with number 20, weare the birds perched on top of the stick, looking down on our lives and our incarnation. Do we like what we see? What will we do with it? Will we continue as before, or will we take another path?

One of the challenges with the number and energy of 20 is if we step too far away, losing the connection to our lives and taking no responsibility. What does rainforest devastation have to do with me? Or on a personal level, what do my relationships have to do with me?

Perhaps this will be one of the challenges during the 21-century. Will we be so disconnected from life and earth that we take no responsibilities over life on the planet? Or, will we get a unique perspective, looking both backwards and forwards at the evolution of the planet (like we can do sitting on a high perch) and make positive changes for the continuation of life on this planet?

The Universe and the End of a Cycle

This takes us to the number 21, the tarot card of the Universe. This card represents The World, as it is called in the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, meaning our planet and the whole of creation. It is also the final card of the Major Arcana, a journey through the tarot.This signals the importance of this year. From the year of 2000 the Aeon card, 20, has met each and every one of the trump cards from the magician 1 (2001) all the way though to now the final card of The Universe 21 in 2021.

What does this mean? On a global plane we as humans will look at our world from outside. We can expect space programs to make big advancements. We will look at our place in the Universe with new eyes. A cycle of time is ending and something new is being born. In our cycle of the Procession of the Equinoxes, the Universe card embodies the new Earth, at the end and now beginning a new cycle, a new cosmic month after the Aeon card.

On a personal level we, like the tarot card of the Universe, have a chance to tie-up loose ends, to come to a conclusion in our lives, and hopefully learn what truly is important to have a meaningful life. How will we end this journey through the Major Arcana? Will we begin the new cycle on a higher level (with the tarot card The Fool as number 22) with increased awareness? Or will fall to lower frequencies (with The Fool as number 0) working our way up again?

Number 5, the Physical Activator

We continue our journey by adding the numbers 20 + 21 = 41 and we keep on adding 4 + 1 = 5. In numerological terms we call this 41/5. The year of 2021 is 41/5. In the world of numerology it is important where we get the final number from. There is a major difference, for example, between 14/5, 23/5, or in this case 41/5.

Let´s take a look at the number 5. The numbers 1, 5, and 7 are all activators, always on the go and up to something. They are inventive and ready for change. What differentiates 5 from the rest in the group is that the number 5 is a physical activator where as 1 is a mental activator and 7 is an intuitive activator. The number 5 needs to feel, touch, and create on the physical plane.

There is a radiating energy with the number 5, making it charming, attractive, and seductive. On the bright side we have entertainment, adventures, learning, fun, and romance. On the darker side we have, addiction, lies, deceit, irresponsibility, embezzlement, and laziness.

You can say many things about the number 5, but it is never boring. In Qabalah, 5 is the sphere of Mars, of Geburah, and deals with energy and often destruction. The fives of the Tarot embody this energy in the four elements, with the Five of Wands called Strife, the Five of Discs called Worry, the Five of Swords called Defeat, and the Five of Cups called Disappointment in the Thoth deck of Aleister Crowley and Lady Freda Harris. Hopefully your year won’t have only this darker side to it, and we’ll enjoy more of the charm and adventure. Mars is always necessary action that brings change. We can expect a year filled with activity. Probably not the same kind of activities we had going on before the pandemic, but still there will be many things to do and explore. If you find yourself bored, perhaps you have to look at your own unwillingness to participate in the things that areactually taking place this year.

People born with the life lesson number 5 have jobs like: artist, adventurer, scientist, researcher, travel agent, artist agent, scribe, teacher, journalist, musician, salesperson, and athlete.

The 5 as a Wakeup Call

In the StarCode Healing system we work with something we call the Rampsystem. It has 13 portals running 3 codes of awareness. Each of the portals explains different levels of consciousness. Each has its virtues and vices, its gifts and challenges. No portal or ramp is better or worse, they’re just different levels of creation. The Rampsystem has numbered gates, portals, and paths to it, not unlike the Tree of Life.

Ramp number 5 is called “The Bell”. It is a wakeup call. When we enter that place things are set in motion for us to move and awaken from our slumber. For some the wakeup can be to fall in love, have an outstanding meditation with clear vision, find salvation, have a god-like experience, meet real witches, or find a soul mate. For others it can be the loss of a loved one, a relationship break-up, losing job, or something happening from the outside, making change inevitable. Ramp 5 and the number 5 doesn’t have any valuation of one event being better or worse than the other. The power behind the 5 is change.

I Want This, or I Believe That This is What I Want?

With the number 5 there is a lot of desire. At the most basic level is wanting to touch, smell, feel, and be alive. On a higher level it is wanting to be loved, wanting success, knowledge, and perhaps even fame? Now the tricky part: What if the things I want, are not what I truly need, or the things that will lead me to happiness? Of course they can be, but many times they are not the same thing.

The Number 41/5 and Ace of Cups

When we add 20 + 21 we end up with the number 41. The number 41/5 relates to the tarot card the Ace of Cups. In many decks we can see the Ace of Cups overflowing with water: the sky is clear and beautiful. All seems to be well. But one does well to remember that all Aces in the tarot contain raw power, and the Aces have the power to be both good and bad. They initiate new beginnings, but they can lead to many different things.

The Ace of Cups is a manifestation of the Holy Grail. The Holy Grail is a mystery, but we can approach the mystery through the element of water, and find the holy cup or cauldron. Today, many think of the Holy Grail as the cup used by Jesus at the Last Supper, relating it to the Christian mysteries of sacrifice. It becomes a pivotal part of the later Arthurian myth cycles, where the land becomes blighted and the knights, to heal the land and the people, must seek the redemption of the Holy Grail. A vision appears at the Round Table explaining this mystery and the knights go forth on holy quest that is as much an inner journey as an outer adventure.

Arthurian tales straddle the line between the emerging Christian times and the ancient Pagan, and then set the older stories in the far more Romantic era of shining knights and fancy castles, where the historic reality, if there is one, is more of chieftain warlords and forts, but the connection to the Pagan past is important. Rather than the cup of Jesus, many believe the first Grail is the cauldron of the Goddess, the cauldron of regeneration and inspiration that King Arthur sought in the earliest poems about the Grail.

Today, the Grail in the form of the Ace of Cups, is one of the four magician’s tools, one of the four hallows of the Witch, along withthe wand, blade, and stone or pentacle. In other stories, the Grail takes the form of these tools, also embodies in the three other aces. The aces can seem wonderful and clear, as they are the highest and brightest ideals of water, fire, air and earth, but also represent our challenges to attain and embody those ideals.

People born with the number 41/5 in their name or as a life lesson number has a special glow to them. They stand out in a crowd. It is like they have a spotlight just for them, following them wherever they go. As a child this can be difficult because whenever something happens, and a lot of things happen around a 41/5 person, they often get blamed for it. With this Ace of Cups energy, they bring a sense of happiness and love, but when they fail to embody it, they reflect back to us when we fail to embody happiness and love, so many will choose to blame them.

On a collective plane this means that this year we will probably get even more obsessed with celebrities and famous people in the spotlight. We will become obsessed with the ideal, and can use media to deflect our own quest upon those already in the spotlight, rather than focus on our own journey. We may also become more addicted to reality-TV and documentaries. The shadow side is that we are equality prone to give the same people we admire the blame if something goes wrong and our expectations are not met. The key of these Grail teachings, and really all spiritual teachings, is to be able to then recognize the patterns within us.

If you are a teacher, public person, or the like, you can expect this year to become more intensive. The energy of 41/5 helps you to reach out to a bigger audience, but you also need to prepare what it means to be in the spotlight, both good and bad. Do your best to embody your ideals and live from them, but also realize you are human, on your own quest, and while you can inspire others, your path isfor you alone to live.

To Not Become Blinded by the Light

On a personal level the energy of 41/5 can make it hard to really see. You can become blinded by the light of a person, a project, or even an idea.You fall in love with them so much that you don’t see the reality of the situation, even if it’s not right for you. It’s when you fall in love with love, the kind of energy exploited by someone who seduces you and robs you blind.

This year we can easily project our wants and needs into our relationships and close environment. Just because I really, really want something to be true, doesn’t make it true. This year it is extra important to stay alert. My shamanic teacher told me, “the best way to have allies is to learn how to be a great one yourself.”This year of 2021 it is most certainly so. Remember to be an ally to the people close to you. If something doesn’t add up, start asking questions. If you get that aching feeling in your stomach that something is wrong, talk to your friends. Do some research. Don´t be fooled by appearances.

When the Heart Hurts and Shadow Training

In its fullest potential number 41/5 has a big heart connecting the powers between the upper, middle and lower world. It is the channeller giving advice and radiating love. When the Ace of Cups shows up in a tarot reading, or the number 41/5 in a numerology chart, they speak about a big opening. The heart is opening up and it yearns for a bigger flow of energy. Just like ramp number 5 it can be either a pleasant opening, or a more troublesome one.

People who are truly happy are usually pleasant to hang out with, but if you are experiencing loss or grief their happiness can be difficult to be around. Same thing if you are recovering from a painful relationship breakup. Seeing people being in love can be a very difficult thing. Thoughts like “Why is this happening to me?”, “What does he/she have that I don’t?”, “What have I done to deserve this?

It can also be in regard to success on different levels. “Why is he/she so successful?” “That should have been my thing!” All those emotions and feelings are many times not something that we are proud of having, but they are there and we need to acknowledge that if we want to continue to develop and help our hearts to grow. The acknowledgement of a hurt heart and the understanding that there’s something missing in my life, is many times the call of the soul asking us to go further and dig deeper.

41/5 and Fellow Travellers

As we journey through life we may have the good fortune to have fellow travellers with us on the path. Friends, family, fellow witches and healers. It feels good to have someone else close to you during challenging times. This year though, we may not be able to connect and “hold hands” in the same way.

One reason is that everyone is doing a lot of processing themselves in the most unexpected ways. One friend may suddenly divorce, another find a new job, move to another part of the country. Suddenly the well-known has changed and the pieces of our lives has changed to new positions. Remember, number 5 is a physical activator. But this also means that new people can walk into our lives as well. New neighbours, co-workers, partners to our friends.

In the Grail Mythos, we have the paradox of the Company or Fellowship of Knights from the Round Table, yet the reality that each on the quest for the Holy Grail must go alone. We have those who walk along side us for a time, but we will ultimately be challenged at points and feel quite alone in facing those challenges. On the other side, there is the fellowship of those who have attained the mystery of the Holy Grail, and even still, their a solitary nature to their fellowship.

What About Me?

With 41/5 being a high energy number people are going through big, fast shifts of energy and awareness. If you are the one making the “jump” it can be scary in the sense of feeling alone in a new place. If you are standing by someone else making a big jump in their lives, you can feel left out or abandoned. What about me? What about my hopes and dreams?

In the quest for the Grail, the “jump” is often embodied by a series of challenges. There is a questing beast that must be encountered and tamed. The taming is often through the showing of compassion as much as the skills of the warrior. The jump can be embodied by the chasm separating the questing knight from the castle. The bridge that connects the two sides is described as a sword, and the knights must walk the blade’s edge, often discarding the armor that would unbalance them or drag them down. Otherwise the knight must climb down into the abyss and brave crossing the water. There is an aspect of having to leave behind one’sold life to enter into something new, and be changed by that process. Before we do, we evaluate what we are leaving, and what we are hoping to find on the other side.

This year, I highly recommend spending time with the people who are important to you. Connect, talk, have fun, even if it is over the internet. When we go to school it is clear that our time together with our classmates is limited. Even if we keep contact later on, we all know it will not be the same. As adults we sometimes forget the winds of change and are lulled into believing things will always stay the same, but eventually they won’t. For many of us, life is about to change and the great puzzle holding things together is moving the pieces. You never know where you or your friends will end up. Some of our friends will have already made the leap, and they can inspire us. Others are not even thinking about the leap, and for a time, they can distract us. Not all distractions are bad. Everything is not so serious all the time. Other friends are peers, also at the edge, contemplating the leap, and even though we do it alone, it can be helpful to know others are doing it too.

Temple Astrolog: Nothing holding you back!

written by Karin Ugander

Spring is on its way and there is hope in the air. During the month of March there will be no retrograde planets and that is quite rare. When a planet goes retrograde it looks from our perspective on the earth like the planet is moving backward. The energy of the retrograde planet becomes internalized and has a slower feel to them. Now, with all the planets going direct it can feel like a fresh breath of air enters into our lives. Ideas feels not only possible but great! And that could sometimes be a challenge.

With no hindrance or natural hesitation, there is a potential risk of acting before you think. That you get a little bit carried away. Example: You wake up in the morning and decide quite spontaneous to finally redecorate your living room. You get rid of all the furniture and have someone come and pick them up for the dumpster, and while you are at it you decide to remove the floors as well. How hard can it be, right? And besides everything goes so fast! But a few days later you miss your favourite couch and you found out that the floors were not so easily changed. The ideas that pop up right now may be right on the spot but you may still need to think about the consequences a bit.  Don´t take the easy flowing energy to be a “go ahead sign” and go tearing down walls in your home on pure inspiration and enthusiasm. Of course this need for caution applies on all kinds of purchasing and sales as well. Overall this energy is encouraging and uplifting on all levels.

The first planet to go retrograde again is Pluto around the 27th of April.

Keep extra watch

If someone is, or has been in a difficult situation and has not been able to get out from it, now may be the window of opportunity to make a positive change. This is one side of the energy now being present. The other side is that there are lesser hindrance’s keeping a person from acting out as well. The lack of restriction goes both ways. The planet Mars (aggression, willpower) in the sign of Gemini is in challenging aspect to the asteroid Pallas Athene in Pisces (psyche, mental health) and that can bring out irritation and instability.

If you or someone close to you is in need of help, don´t hesitate to ask for it. We all need to keep extra watch right now and look out for the people, children and animals that are not able to protect themselves. The aspect between Pallas Athena and Mars is until the 17th of March.

Romance and Hope for Humanity

Venus the planet of love is right next to the sun (energy) and Neptune (romance) in the sign of Pisces (love, romance, inspiration). This is a wonderful time for romance, creativity and love. Take this great opportunity to give your romantic side a boost of energy. If you don´t have a partner it is still a good time to take extra good care of yourself. Treat yourself with a luxurious bubble bath, read a good book, watch a romantic film and eat some chocolate. Or any other things that helps you to not only recharge but fills your heart with romance and restores your hope for humanity. Yes, romantic movies and books can do that! Venus and Neptune travels together until around the 20th of March.

Don´t step on my Sandcastle

The opposite sign of the romantic and idealistic sign of Pisces is Virgo. She is firmly planted in earth and can sometimes have little patience with things like romance and daydreaming. Right now we have the goddess asteroid Vesta (fire, home, priestess) in the sign of Virgo opposite Venus, Sun and Neptune. There Vesta can help us if we get to carried away with our romantic daydreaming or enthusiasm with all planets going direct. But, there is no need to pop your partners pink balloons, so to speak. Or walk all over a beautiful built sandcastle. Even if you are a down to earth person and not romantically inclined, This is the time to play along and appreciate the effort and love behind.  There will be some challenging transitions coming later on. Take this chance and smell the roses.

When you want to smack someone in the head with your Broom

During this passage there may come a time when you want to smack someone in the head with your broom. Again we have the goddess asteroid Vesta in the middle of things. Vesta is in the sign of Virgo and there she is both very magickal and down to earth. To me she is a lot like Molly Weasley in the  Harry Potter Movies. She is the mother of Ron Weasley, Harrys best friend. She has a big family and jumps in like an extra mother for Harry when needed. She also got a lot of Magick!

Vesta is making a good aspect (trine) to both Lillith Black Moon (things we can not see) and Uranus, both in the sign of Taurus (earth, practical things). There Vesta can help us see things that others cannot. She can discern and filter energies and information that are hidden for others. If you are able to tune into this vibration it can feel like you are the only one having the glasses on and that others are being foolish. Hence the wanting to smack their heads. My advice is to practice a bit of patience and to remember that they may not have the same ability to look under the surface and see what is hidden. Take your time and make your point and hopefully things will work out fine.

Stay grounded!

Many times poorly made decisions are influenced by not being grounded and down to earth. With the Sun, Venus and Neptune in Pisces and Mars in Gemini and all the planets going direct it can be difficult to stay grounded. Mars in Gemini is quite fast, talkative and intensive. It is said that if you have Mars in Gemini you drive your car like a French car thief, fast and unpredictable.  This is a good time to recharge the protection bundles or items for your car. Drive extra carefully and be focused while driving.

Here is a list of stones to carry that are grounding and protective while driving. These stones does not only help to see in the physical world, but are also said to open up the inner vision and third eye. They are also great shamanic stones that can help in shamanic journeys or vision work. You can use them one at a time or all together, although the joint energy may be a bit overwhelming at first.

  • Tigers eye. Helps to see both backward and forward. Can be helpful to see back and forth in time.
  • Hawks eye. Helps to see both up and down. Can aid in seeing things with the right perspective.
  • Chiastolite. Gives protection from all the directions. Can help to balance and integrate the four elements and the four directions. A very protective stone. Here in the north it is sometimes called the Moose stone, or the Elk Stone, because it looks like the Algiz rune (Älgrunan as we say

in Swedish) drawn in the four directions and joined in the middle. A bind-rune sometimes also called “Skräckhjälmen” translated to english “Helmet of horror”. Despite its name I have found the energy of this bind-rune very calming and grounding to work with. It always works and is always a blessing.

I draw this sigil on the inside of my boots for protection when walking in the forest. When the kids were small I drew it on the inside of their outdoors clothing and shoes to prevent them from tripping or hurting themselves. I have also put it on our cases to keep track of our belongings when travelling.

Skräckhjälmen. Protection from the four directions. Stability and wisdom of the Moose /Elk. Staying grounded. It is believed to prevent accidents and thefts.

Blessings! / Karin Spirit Talker Turtle Red

Karin Ugander (Spirit Talker Turtle Red) is a spiritual channeler living in the south of Sweden. In Scandinavia she is known for the AstroNumerology and psychic readings she’s been doing for over 20 years. Together with her husband Niklas, she runs KaniSkolan, a school of astrology, numerology, tarot, StarCode Healing, and natural medicine. They are also the founders of Alven Inner Ring tradition, a Scandinavian mystery school with roots in shamanism and magick. Karin loves to create magickal oils, flower essences and sigils she combines in her “Karin Victoria” sigil candles and flower sprays. In her spare time she likes to travel, walk in the forest with her dog, and spend time by the ocean. Karin is an ordained high priestess and graduate of the Temple of Witchcraft’s seminary program. Her work can be found on Instagram @flowerpowerwitch and @karinuganderofficial and she can be reached at karin@kani.se.

By Christopher Penczak, edited by Tina Whittle 

pexels-andrea-piacquadio-3769714

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

If you are involved with any esoteric movement, the rampant conspiracy theory culture—its worst embodied by QAnon, which is all conspiracy with little esoterics—can’t be ignored. But to neutralize it and heal what it has led to, we must consider its occult significance and how we got to this particular manifestation.

I am not against conspiracy theories. I think they are crucial to the greater initiatory process. They are, however, an early stage, and how you handle them is a test. Unfortunately, most people are failing this test because the boundaries and containers of this process have either broken or never been established, a great blessing and curse of the Information Age. Getting caught up in a conspiracy is a sign of spiritual immaturity. Some of us pass quickly through this phase, or take a different tack and seemingly avoid it, but it is a very real trap and test, drawing many off the path of realization.

I can reveal the great secret of this test because until you experience it, words will mean nothing, but as in any initiation, if you remember them, they can be a map to guide your navigation. An initiate must come to the conclusion that even if all the conspiracy theories are true, so what? Does that meaningfully change my life? Is the most appropriate behavior at any given moment in my life the same if they are true or not? What do I have control over? What is my will? Should compassion and common sense govern what I do regardless? If conspiracies void meaning from your life, then there was little meaning to begin with. If you believe you have to be the one to unravel, prove, or stop a conspiracy, and that decision causes you to meaningfully abandon your life, friends, family, and vocation, then how much meaning did those things have for you in the first place? What is your relationship to your own ego? Is that the greater problem, with conspiracy a way to avoid greater intimacy?

If a conspiracy theory doesn’t urge you to be introspective and ask yourself hard questions like “Have I contributed poorly to the world, and right now, how can I do better?” and instead encourages a binary us vs. them mentality where you are absolved because you are a “good guy,” then you are failing the initiation of conspiracy. There are a lot of open conspiracies you don’t want to see or take responsibility for because they are so immense, but they are not hidden. They are simply so huge that we let them fade into the background. What are the conspiracies of racism, patriarchy, perpetual war, poverty, environmental destruction, prison industry, and queerphobia, and how are you seeking to solve them?

It is from these immense things that our fascination with conspiracy grows, and as a people, we have always had it—even the Sumerians lamented for the simpler “old days” before things grew corrupt. All people do. Mythically we long for the Golden Age of our myths. We know there is something “wrong” with the world, and since few acknowledge that, it must be more than what we can see ( despite the problems we can see being immense). The random pile of mistake after mistake is too much to process; we crave a simple explanation. There must be a reason, even if that reason is bad—global conspiracies, illuminati, alien reptoids, and evil satanic magicians. It has to be more than just be poor choices and collective guilt, or someone somewhere at some time would have fixed it. Conspiracies make order of the chaos and provide meaningful struggle, letting us believe we are the “good guys,” even though this belief is illusionary and prevents us from collectively owning the mistakes of our past.

In the modern age our challenges are a bit different than our ancestors longing for the Golden Age. We have access—in real time—to all the horrors, crises, and wars of the globe, where in the past, news traveled slower and was often restricted to a region. The current 24-7 information cycle can be overwhelming, feeding the global conspiracy narrative with a constant flow of disaster.

We feel more profoundly the separation of science, art, and religion. There is no unified worldview, language, or custom. This is a necessary growing pain for the Age of Aquarius, as plurality and self-expression are now key, but a hard one to navigate, leaving many internally divided with little education on personal synthesis. Part of our sense of the world being wrong grows from this. With the division of science from natural philosophy and the separation of complementary fields like astronomy and astrology, chemistry and alchemy, and modern and traditional medicine, we have lost touch with deeper meaning and the soul of the world and our relationship with it. Perhaps the hard sciences would not have advanced as far and as quickly if they had remained tied to the esoteric, but their quick advancement without clear forethought of consequences led to other problems—industrialization, environmental pollution, factory farming, and the military industrial complex. Now we struggle with nuclear capabilities and DNA modification. We live in a world where these technologies make it possible for everyone to be housed, clothed, and fed, eliminating the need for war, and yet we have war, crime, homelessness, and addiction. We are told it’s unavoidable.

When medicine becomes a for-profit industry running rampant, our trust in medicine and science diminishes. It’s hard to distinguish the genuine researcher and doctor from the CEO as they are all participating in the same system of profit, yet many doctors and nurses feel just as trapped by those systems as the patients; unfortunately, there is no easy model for breaking out of it while still continuing to serve. So people seek other paradigms, good and bad, in an effort to find help. When science seems to hold the answers but cannot answer why such things happen, we seek someone to blame.

This is what has led to the antivax conspiracy. If your child undergoes a distressing change and the only thing you can match to the time frame is vaccination, and with current vaccinations being so different from the parent’s own experience, there is distrust. Intellectually you can understand there is no accepted medical evidence linking vaccination and autism, but in this disconnected era, we seek myths to make sense of our circumstance. Why is this thing I can neither control nor understand happening to my child? While I’m not anti-vaccination, as a witch/herbalist/healer, I had a number of parents on my doorstep looking for answers in the early 2000s, seeking an esoteric solution since medicine wasn’t helping them. I had no answers, but the experience has had me following both the science and the people’s stories closely. Our Aquarian challenge is holding the separate strands of science and story, but our lack of personal orientation to the sacred makes it hard for us to find personal meaning. Many of our religious institutions run dry with platitudes of “God’s plan,” hinting at a meaning that often disregards what we do know and can prove.

When scientists dismiss and ridicule alternatives that actually help people, trust is diminished further. The anecdote takes on greater strength than the data as you might have greater connection to the anecdotal and no personal experience of the data. I credit homeopathy curing me of a recurring illness that modern medicine barely managed with multiple hospital visits. If a doctor dispassionately dismissed homeopathy based on lack of standardized evidence, I don’t mind because that shows they haven’t studied the underlying paradigm. If they are vitriolic about it, that concerns me. In either situation, a person is trying to use the criteria of one discipline to devalue another without understanding the basis. Imagine if we judged the criteria of the latest modern American medical journal by the standards of poetry, and dismissed it entirely because it didn’t conform to our lyrical expectation of a poem? Homeopathy is based on the unique expressions of illness in an individual as well as their past experiences. While a remedy might be a “cold” remedy, you can’t give it to a hundred individuals in a blind test without determining if they have expressed the cold in the same way, even if it’s the same virus. Times of day, sides of the body, mood, and sleep patterns all contribute to which remedy a skilled homeopath chooses. Homeopathy is an art as well as a science, and a skilled practitioner will ask personal questions about the illness, including a fair amount of invasive inquiries, to determine the right match of remedy to the individual. Any critique that doesn’t account for that is dismissing the operating instructions of the system. Imagine how effective pharmaceuticals would be if we dismissed the timing and dosing instructions or simply failed to swallow the pill?

If you are an expert who can’t help me, but I’ve told you something that has helped and you dismiss my direct experience without further inquiry, that’s a problem if we are to work together. I, like many others, have had bad experiences with modern medicine practitioners who refused to listen, and who chose be dismissive and judgmental of not only alternative therapies, but also my queerness and basic symptoms. Queer people want a queer doctor. BIPOC want someone from their own community and life experience. Many women want a female doctor, but the profession is dominated by straight white men who are often dismissive.

In a recent example, someone in my life experienced an accident—we asked the attending medical personnel if it could be a hairline fracture of the hip. That possibility was dismissed with no conversation. Ruled out by a simple test. One emergency room, lots of pain, several scans, three doctors, and a physical therapist later, it was the physical therapist who got them to all reconsider and low and behold—hairline fracture of the hip! How might that have turned out if the initial doctors had listened to the patient’s concerns?

Many dismiss personal experience in the emulation of the factory efficiency model. Get people in and out with the minimum of information necessary. This devaluing of expression has in turn devalued the arts. Entertainers who appeal to the most common denominator are greatly valued commercially, but true masters of music, art, and dance often languish in obscurity and poverty. The left brain/ right body paradigm grows dominant, adding to our intuitive sense of imbalance. Those who realize this often react by swinging wholly to the emotional, creative and yes, irrational, in an effort to offset.

Sadly, this irrationality in esoteric communities has caused many to dismiss the traditional nonrational methods of inquiry as irrational and insane. We culled what we valued from the ancients, taking philosophy, math, and logic from Pythagoras and Plato and their compatriots, dismissing their mysticism and mystery as the irrationality of their time. We have done that to all the great minds whose work has survived—all the way back to Newton, a practicing alchemist—and have given birth to a rational dismissal of the mysteries that informed our brightest ancestors. Many of their great contributions were intuited in some way.

Now we have a growing movement of Pagans who are dismissive of the very  concept of the ancient gods, advocating an environmental paganism rather than the paganism of art, literature, and ritual. Gods are just too far out there to be taken seriously by other religions. We have Witches advocating a Witchcraft free of operative magick and spellcraft. Spells that work? That’s insane. Such practitioners seek to dismiss the traditions, processes, and maps of occultism in favor of a pure animism bereft of past culture. True, occultists of the past had their problems, but no stream of wisdom is free of its problematic figures. We have magicians who believe magic can only be symbolic and intellectually psychological. Such people want to take the “woo” out of our craft to gain respect in the outer world and put distance between the irrational conspiracy holders.

This is entirely contrary to both my experience as a Witch and my reasons for being involved. While ecology, psychology, and reason are important to me, there is something more in my Craft, a poetic numinous essence that brings not only internal change but external phenomenon. While all things change over time, you shouldn’t hijack something already established. If you don’t want the “woo woo,” then Witchcraft, Paganism, and Magick are not for you. If you want to avoid spirits, gods, psychic phenomena, outrageous manifestations, and things that will from time to time go beyond logical expectations, magickal spirituality is not for you.

Trust breaks down in science over having the solution rather than creating a new problem, in medicine through taking advantage of our sickness, and through those in government taking advantage of it all to perpetuate their own power. We form a sinister view of the world and surmise it couldn’t have always been this awful. It was…just in a different way, with a different myth. Yet the times we harken back to as “good” are the stories and art of those who found the good within themselves and the world they lived in.

Pick a romantic era or ancient civilization you see as “golden.” The reality of that time would include more poverty and illness than you might imagine, possibly slavery or servitude that would make you wince, with ideals you take for granted today unrecognized then. Yet the gold shines forth for you now. What gold are you making and shining in your own world?

Our conspiracies become part of a larger exterior mythology, but the initiate applies them internally. To be able to articulate your sense of “wrongness” to the world is the great shock to awaken you to the possibility of something greater. Occultists believe ancient initiates were shocked by some secret at the moment of initiation to catalyze their worldview: “Osiris is a black god.” “The realm of Persephone is full of light.” “The gods are not real!” You are given a secret history of the world, a secret theology. We still do this today in good initiatory models.

The supposed logic that proves the “reality” of conspiracy theories is the same shock. Your world is not what you thought. The secret history is clear. The dissatisfaction with what is should spur you to make what you see, but changes start internally. To keep this awakened view, we need a practice and the commitment to apply that practice in a disciplined way. Meditation, ritual, martial art, psychotherapy, contemplative prayer, etcetera: all are possibilities. True application leads to discernment, and discernment is the key to learning what you can use and what you cannot use in conspiracy theories. Conspiracy without internal practice leads to illusion and delusion, fantasy fulfillment, and paranoia. It’s what we see in the QAnon crowd.

We will never make conspiracies go away, but we can—and must—use them to make meaningful choices within and with our communities. We must find the gold of our age and continue to fix what we see as wrong in the world and what is wrong in ourselves. The world will always have periods and places of awfulness—it’s the separation before coagulation for alchemists. If things are never broken apart, they cannot be purified, healed, and reunified. The Golden Age is an active, not static, process. The call to the Golden Age is the alchemy of the world.

Initiation becomes inoculation. The Age of Aquarius is an age of individual initiates working cooperatively, as compared to the Piscean formula of dispensation from clergy to congregation. Priesthood can create patterns, hold technique and myth, and provide place and context, but everyone must do their part. No one can do the work for you. There are no saviors or scapegoats in the new aeon. Initiation is not solely the transmission of the temples, but also the initiations of life that utterly transform us. Everyone can be your teacher, your initiator, if you let them.

Don’t be naïve and think conspiracy is only on the “other” side, while your side is truth. Conspiracy is on all sides, and none are immune even after the inoculation of initiation, hence the repeated “booster shots” of elevation deeper into the mysteries as one passes through degrees or climbs the Tree of Life. Conspiracy can be a gateway, a guardian at the threshold of change, or the archon imprisoning us. Which will you choose?

Temple Astrolog: Seriously, again?

written by Karin Ugander

Are people, conflicts and things that you thought you were done with reappearing in your life? Does some parts of your life feel like a soap opera going on repeat? Are you thinking “will this never end”? Well you are not alone. The stars and numbers right now are suggesting that we are in a kind of crossroad where it is important to re-confirm what you stand for, what kind of life that you want to live and your core values.

Mercury retrograde is over (se previous post) but this repeating pattern where things can feel like they are going backwards will continue. This could mean that you have to breakup with someone again, step out of the broom closet again, speak up for someone or something again and so on. Imagine it like when you are editing a text on your computer but forget to hit the save button. If you like your changes that you have done (and worked hard for) to become permanent, now is the time to use the save function and re-confirm what you want and who you are.

Venus and Pallas Athena got you back

Two goddesses that can help you to see clear and be brave are Venus (goddess of love) and the goddess asteroid Pallas Athena (goddess of wisdom and strategy). They are together at 25 and 26 deg. in the sign of Aquarius. With these goddesses together you may feel a strong need to show the world who you are, edit your FB or Instagram account to make it more real to who you are today. Perhaps change your work profile?

My only advise on this is to check these changes with trusted friends and allies before going public. After all, Pallas Athene is the goddess of planning and strategy and she helps us to take calculated risks and choose the path for the best success on all levels. Many times it is not a matter of if, but rather when, or how? This aspect can make your head say one thing and the heart another and it could be difficult to find a good balance between them. This is where your trusted friends and allies that knows you comes in.

Restlessness and pushing too hard

If this aspect with Venus and Pallas Athene does not find any healthy expression it can lead to restlessness and irritation. You may even feel like it is your family, relationship or surrounding limiting your life and expression. Before you go that way, do a serious check in with yourself if that is true or not?

This restlessness is amplified by Venus/Pallas Athene making a hard aspect to Mars (willpower, sex ) in the sign of Taurus (stubbornness, willpower). It can also make you push for change too soon, or too hard. The idea (Aquarius)  that you´ve got may be great, and your analysis may be on the spot,  (Pallas Athene) but that does not necessarily make the people around you ready for it just yet.

If not dealt with carefully this can put a lot of tension on your relationships. Everything from having too high expectations on your children and teenagers to wanting your partner to digest new ideas too quickly.

Venus and Pallas Athene are travelling together until around the first of March when Venus is moving into the sign of Pisces. Pallas Athene and Mars keeps on struggling with each other until around the 19th of March. By then they both have changed signs, Pallas Athene to Pisces and Mars to Gemini.

Hecate, guardian of the crossroads

The asteroid Hecate is right now located exactly on the asteroid Pallas Athene at 25 deg in Aquarius and right next to Venus. Hecate is among other things a guardian of the crossroads in life. When we are at the crossroads we must choose one of the paths to continue on. This is one of the signs telling us the importance to re- confirm the choices we have made in our lives. Hecate is also a great healer. This asteroid is often strong in the astrological charts of physicians, midwives, spiritual healers, witches, psychics and mediums. Even if it can be both confusing and tiresome to have to re-do things, it can also be a great healing. “No, my choice of work, life partner or way of life was not a coincidence, no one made me do it, it´s me”

Hecate is a brave and strong goddess to have as an allied. What is important though when working with Hecate is that you are utterly honest and true. If you are, then you have found a true source of strength and justice. If you are not honest and try to play tricks, you can be the one ending up with a backfire. If we look at this from a global and collective view, world players like countries or global companies could be facing some kind of backfire for not being honest. This also applies to famous or public people.

Looking from the other side

But what if we look at this constellation from the other side? What if you feel that the choices that you have made in the recent past is not you, not what you want, not who you want to be? Then this is a good time to redirect your life accordingly to your heart and who you truly want to be.

Creativity and gifts from Hecate

With many placements in Aquarius: Saturn, Mercury (finally direct) Jupiter, Pallas Athene, Hecate and Venus there is a great creative energy flowing in. Specially the meeting of Mercury (intelligence) and Jupiter (expansion, luck)  can create great sparkles to build upon. Have pen and paper ready at all times, record on your phone, write on napkins. If you are a healer, herbalist, magician or the like, Hecate in this placement can bring you gifts of gold. Be sure that you are ready to catch and record.

Hecate moves forward into the sign of Pisces around the 3rd of March.

Other things to consider

Uranus, the planet of change and rebellion is now in a Square (challenging aspect) to Saturn (planet of time, restriction) in the sign of Aquarius. This creates a tension between the old (Saturn) and the new (Uranus).

During the year of 2021 Uranus and Saturn will square each other 3 times. February 17th , June 14th and December 24th.  During this whole year they will be sticking close in aspect. This creates a collective energy that can be felt like a pressure that is hard to define, some may feel it like a strange filter constantly being there. Since it´s not going away any time soon we all need to find a way to deal with it. More about that in upcoming Astrology blogs.

Blessings! / Karin Spirit Talker Turtle Red

Karin Ugander (Spirit Talker Turtle Red) is a spiritual channeler living in the south of Sweden. In Scandinavia she is known for the AstroNumerology and psychic readings she’s been doing for over 20 years. Together with her husband Niklas, she runs KaniSkolan, a school of astrology, numerology, tarot, StarCode Healing, and natural medicine. They are also the founders of Alven Inner Ring tradition, a Scandinavian mystery school with roots in shamanism and magick. Karin loves to create magickal oils, flower essences and sigils she combines in her “Karin Victoria” sigil candles and flower sprays. In her spare time she likes to travel, walk in the forest with her dog, and spend time by the ocean. Karin is a high priestess and graduate of the Temple of Witchcraft’s seminary program.

You can find Karin Ugander at Instagram @flowerpowerwitch and @karinuganderofficial

written by Karin Ugander

Change of events? Unexpected twists and turns? Right now we are in a passage where you might be redirected by Spirit. In different phases and places we are more or less open to take another road. So what can we do to navigate in the best possible way? Let´s take a look at the stars and see what they have to say.

Mercury retrograde and time to reflect

A few times a year it looks as if Mercury is moving backwards in a retrograde motion. Every planet does this, but through time we have all learned that Mercury retrograde can be extra good to watch out for. Mercury influences a lot of things that we in our society is dependent upon. Things like communication, transportation, telephones, deliveries and all sorts of devices. When Mercury is going retrograde all of these things can be troublesome, delayed,  misplaced and just simply messed up!

It is said that Mercury retrograde is not the best time to buy or sell things, especially if they are expensive or very important. Same thing with signing contracts. But, if you still need to do it during this period, check everything extra carefully and read the fine printed details.

There is a good side to Mercury retrograde as well. Mercury rules thinking, inventing and connecting things, both in our outer and inner worlds. During Mercury retrograde we all get a chance to re-do things. Rewrite, edit, go back in time, understand and connect things that we have missed.

Mercury (the Greek god Hermes) is a messenger of the Gods. He is also one of the few beings that can visit the underworld and still return back up alive again. This is very interesting because connecting with Mercury, especially during Mercury retrograde we can also go deep into new territory.

In the underworld, and in other worlds different from our ordinary reality, things are not necessarily working in the same way. It can be upside down, it can be a mirror world from ours and it can be very strange. But, if we take it slow and give ourselves time to relax, we might just find a new perspective, a new idea or even a new truth when we ascend back into the world again.

Old friends

This Mercury retrograde is taking place in the sign of Aquarius. This is the third of the air signs. It is connected to thinking, planning, constructions of the mind, friends, groups and organisations. During this retrograde old friends and communities may come back to you. People from your past may return, if not in person then in your heart or mind. If and when they do, take your time and reflect for a while on your journey in life. Where you are now compared to where you were then. This could also be a great time for sending healing to yourself or a situation back in time.

Conflicts and unhealthy communication

During this particular Mercury retrograde it is important to be extra aware of the flow of communication on platforms and social media (Aquarius) . As a parent it can be good to check in with your children or teenagers that they are okey and that they are not involved in a difficult situation.

If you are a public person of any kind, or has an open social media account, you need to be prepared that things may get more turbulent than usual and that you may need to block and say no to unhealthy flows of communication.

To summarize this, we are all working through past relationships and situations. Some may be painful, some may be more of a sentimental nature. They may not be connected to a romantic relationship, they could just as well be connected to work, friends, groups and communities. My advice, is to let this energy flow through you, but don´t get caught in the web of things. If you feel the same way about reconnecting again after the Mercury retrograde is over, then do it. If you don´t, then bless what has been and everyone involved  and move forward in life. Mercury retrograde is from 31st of January until the 20th of February

Spirit sets another course

Right now the Sun, Mercury (communication, connection) and Pallas Athene (wisdom, strategy) are joined together in the sign of Aquarius. There they make a good connection (big trine) to the north node (where we are supposed to go) in the sign of Gemini. Interestingly Gemini is one of the signs that Mercury rules. This constellation can help Spirit to step in, and redirect your life.

The Sun, Mercury and Pallas Athene also make a good aspect (sextile) to the south node (karma) and Juno. This can help us with letting go of the things that we don´t need to carry around anymore. Specially things connected to relationships (Juno) related to karma (south node) and past lives.

This is a good time for doing regression therapy, working on past lives, doing ceremonies for letting go and cutting the cords that binds and holds you back.

You may also not feel any of this heavy load and feel no need to break free. Perhaps you just wake up with a new sense of wonder and feeling a lot freer and more happy. If this is the case, then just spread your wings and fly on! The rest of us, We may need to help Spirit help us!  towards a new direction and a happier and healthier life.

Oracle time!

Now is one of the passages in life when consulting an Oracle can be of importance.  Personally I work with many different tools for talking with spirit and looking at time, both past and present. My oracle tools work in different ways. They may say the same things, but in different ways and also in different rhythms. Some have wider windows to look through and a slower pace, some have smaller windows but a faster speed.

Stars and Numbers show patterns and cycles, they follow one kind of rhythm. They may not always be so clear when Spirit redirects your life on an instant moment. Immediate changes like that are usually more easy to see in the stars after the change has taken place.

Reading Tarot, Lenormand cards, bones or reading in coffee (or “reading the tea leaves” as you say in English), has another rhythm. My personal experience is that they are faster to tell unexpected fast changes and when Spirit is stepping in, taking charge over things. Best is, if you have the possibility to do both things. Both consult the stars and numbers, and also a traditional oracle.

Because things can change fast, I recommended that you do your readings with shorter intervals than usually. If you normally read the cards for yourself each quarter, you may want to change that to once a month. If you do it once a month, perhaps change it to every week or every day? If you are intuitive yourself, you will probably feel when the winds are changing.

If you are working as an Oracle reader of some kind, be prepared for more clients in need of readings, and be prepared for unexpected things showing up in your readings. A very happy part of this Oracle energy wave is that it is an excellent time to pick up and learn an oracle! Or dig in deeper into the mystery of the Oracle that you already use.

Symbols and signs in life

Spirit has a way of communicating things that are important. Signs, symbols and synchronicity can pop up in our dreams, on the daily walk or through other people. And it seems like the more we are aware and awake, the more this language of Spirit talks to us.

This energy with unexpected changes is with us for a while and will reach a peak in the beginning of July when the South node is conjunct Juno at 10 degrees in Sagittarius.

Recommended Reading:

Robert Moss: Sidewalk Oracles. Playing with Signs, Symbols, and Synchronicity in everyday life. New World Library, 2015

Brightest Blessings, and may the Oracle be with You! / Karin Spirit Talker Turtle Red

Karin Ugander (Spirit Talker Turtle Red) is a spiritual channeler living in the south of Sweden. In Scandinavia she is known for the AstroNumerology and psychic readings she’s been doing for over 20 years. Together with her husband Niklas, she runs KaniSkolan, a school of astrology, numerology, tarot, StarCode Healing, and natural medicine. They are also the founders of Alven Inner Ring tradition, a Scandinavian mystery school with roots in shamanism and magick. Karin loves to create magickal oils, flower essences and sigils she combines in her “Karin Victoria” sigil candles and flower sprays. In her spare time she likes to travel, walk in the forest with her dog, and spend time by the ocean. Karin is a high priestess and graduate of the Temple of Witchcraft’s seminary program.

You can find Karin Ugander at Instagram @flowerpowerwitch and @karinuganderofficial

The Personal Impersonal

By Christopher Penczak, edited by Tina Whittle 

the personal impersonalThe occultist knows the fundamental forces of creation, mediated by the gods and spirit entities, are impersonal. They embody impersonal forces, cosmic and terrestrial, but provide a way in which we can interact with them. The priest/ess from the perspective of religion knows these forces are immensely personal and develops relationships with individuals, communities, and the world. They are real, individual beings whom we love, and who can love us and care about our lives. The adept knows both and neither of these things are true.

Recently I shared a post from an astrologer author I love, Rob Brezsney. I like his realist optimism, explored in his book Pronoia (which should be far better well-known). The post’s theme illustrated this type of mystery, the paradox of the union of love and anger and how we must stop hate without becoming hateful. The admittedly challenging graphic was one of a red Devil figure hugging Trump. The post didn’t mention either. My share generated a lot of comments, almost none on the content of the posts but all on the graphic, which is a mystery teaching in itself. The union of pictures AND words is a key to the mysteries. Combinations, particularly unlikely juxtapositions, should make you think. But we live in a world of reactions, with most people thinking the world a stage rather than a classroom. In truth, the stage is just a different classroom.

Most comments were Witches saying Lucifer (not Satan) would reject Trump because of his evil, and a few who implied Trump was too virtuous for Lucifer to embrace. In essence, it was making the Devil figure conform to their own personal expectations and bias. Ironically, wouldn’t a Devil figure do the unexpected? Instead, this Devil was doing exactly what they would do based on their beliefs about Trump and their assumptions that a cosmic metaphysical entity would agree with their human view.

As a priest and a person, I understand the identification with the powers and gods, but as an occultist, I find it interesting when we project our human view onto fundamental powers. If such personal views were the view of the powers, our world would look very different than it does, yet it doesn’t.

In most magickal theologies and myths both good and bad, Lucifer is the light bearer. The function of the bearer is to bring divine light and all that entails into darkness. It’s not personal. You might have to work to find the light or find your own spark of the light, but the light is not a reward nor is the darkness a punishment for moral behavior, no matter how noble or reprehensible. The divine powers do not partake in human tribalism, but we as priest/esses and people channel them towards our human goals. The storm rains on everyone who is outside within the sphere of its influence. The garden of the virtuous doesn’t get one level of rain and the garden of the repugnant get another. The air is available to breathe by all—the liar and the wise woman and everyone in between. Night follows day. There is not a different schedule of dawn and dusk for the pious.

Yes, yes, I can hear you thinking that I’m taking comments on a hot topic meme much too seriously, that people’s comments don’t reflect their deep metaphysical reflections…and yet they do. What we say off-handed often indicates what we believe and how we operate on a deeply rooted level, where we take instinctive action when we are not asked to think deeply and reflect.

One of my greatest concerns in observing the growth of Paganism, Witchcraft, Magick, and Metaphysics is increased tribalism and othering, often rooted in divine relationship, spread through internet meme graphics. The cosmic and impersonal nature of the forces—which take on the personal ONLY when brought through humanity, be it an individual or group—is being forgotten. It’s become easy to assume the manifestation through you or your group is THE manifestation. That leads to righteousness and dogma, rather than philosophy and theology. This can lead to delusion and all manner of problems for a practitioner, group, and community. This can even lead deeper into theological ideas that if the gods agree with us and the world doesn’t reflect that, then there must be other gods and forces opposing them, and they too have their clergy serving them… is this sounding a bit familiar? Haven’t we done this familiar dance? This battle was a big theme of the Age of Pisces. How can we manifest it differently in the new aeon of Aquarius? Theologically thinking the cosmic powers are in conflict is like thinking gravity is in conflict with electromagnetism. They are both necessary for the fabric of reality and operate impersonally until you have a personal experience with them.

The occultist needs to be a priest/ess to bring the concepts into the heart, into life. The priest/ess needs to be an occultist to seek understanding of different models of the fundamental nature of consciousness and the cosmos. We all have to learn that it is personal and impersonal, simultaneously. In that paradox is where true mystery is found.

X