So we’re immersed in a bit of a cosmic paradox, eh? Here we are, just out of the starting gate of a brand new year, eager to implement all the grand plans we’ve resolved to weave into the tapestries of our life stories in 2016…and along comes a series of astrological events that are the equivalent of STOP signs: a Mercury Retrograde (first in Aquarius for all of two days, then backtracking into Capricorn–in fact, all four Mercury Retrograde periods this year will occur in Earth Signs), starting today; also starting today, the Capricorn Sun conjuncts powerful Pluto, and this aspect seeks to destroy and rebuild foundational structures in our lives, individually and at the collective level (a legacy of the messiness that we’ve inherited in the past four years of the potent and painful Uranus-Pluto square, which I’ve written about here); and this coming Thursday, the 7th of January, will have benevolent and bulbous Jupiter, our Daddy Warbucks of the Zodiac, going Retrograde until the 9th of May (but not leaving the Retrograde shadow period until early August), making us feel as though our personal development is being curtailed, ill luck is prevalent, and cosmic resources are that much more difficult to access. (The opposite, of course, holds true if you were born during a Jupiter Retrograde: this is one of your luckiest times of the year!)
As the Executive Editor of Isis-Seshat journal, the quarterly publication of the worldwide Fellowship of Isis, I’ve decided that I want the Winter issue to focus on divination as the nexus of cultus, community, and culture. As the etymology of the word denotes, the purpose of divination is to reveal “the will of the Gods.” In our postmodern Western societies, of course, the concept has largely been divorced from its polytheistic impetus and has become co-opted by (or, if you prefer, degraded to) a secularist impulse for “fortune-telling,” largely for its entertainment value. Continue reading
It’s Imbolc, it’s the Feast Day of the orisha Oya, it’s the birthday of the sky-mother goddess Nut, it’s the eve of a super-auspicious full moon (in Leo, conjunct transiting Jupiter in Leo), and its the 11th birthday of my big kahuna Hawaiian import of a cat (Happy Birthday, Thor!). Needless to say, things have been buzzing in my home temple space with virtually round-the-clock ritual activity and will continue to do so for the next few days. While Chicago (a.k.a., Chiberia) has been hit hard with a snowstorm whose system began Saturday evening, resulting in 19″ of snowfall recorded in my Northwest Side neighborhood as of this morning, and spring seems very remote, I’m certainly counting my blessings. And since today is a Monday and that’s the day most sacred to La Santa Muerte, counting my blessings in a ritual context of weekly devotionals to Mi Flaquíta (My Skinny Girl) is the way to go, and I’d like to share more prayers and photos of my shrine dedicated to Her with you. Continue reading
Last night marked the end, in the Serbian calendar, of the “Unclean Days”–a period of time characterized by folk observances that reveal a commingled Pagan and Eastern Orthodox Christian sensibility. One of the major themes emphasized during this liminal 12-day period between the waning influence of the old year and the embryonic energies yet to crystallize in the new is the auspiciousness of performing divination.
Now, while my mother tells me that I had a great uncle in Serbia who performed divination by gazing into an old brazen bowl into which he read the shapes of a beeswax candle’s droplets in spring water, and my mother’s own mother told fortunes with a regular deck of playing cards as well as scrying in Turkish coffee grounds, I like to stick with the Tarot. But not just any Tarot deck–though, admittedly, like many Pagans, I have several at my disposal–my preferred one is the very first one to come across my petite priestess hands: a Marseilles Tarot deck given to me by my awesome Uncle Milan, my mother’s brother. During his 50 years of life (cut short by lymphoma) on this planet, he was an astute esotericist, Jungian psychologist, gifted viola player, and good-humored, pipe tobacco-smoking outdoors enthusiast. The Marseilles deck was his, given to me before my fifteenth birthday with a very knowing wink from his deep-set, coal-black eyes. Continue reading
The wallpaper on my work PC is a stunning 1905 painting by the German artist Emil Doepler. Entitled “Loki’s Brood,” I find throughout the course of any given workday that I completely lose myself in reverie as I look at Hel. It’s almost as if Her distant gaze, surely focused as it is on Other/Inner Worlds, mirrors my own as I gaze at Her and think on Her glorious Being. Is it possible to truly love—with all the inner reserves of affection and devotion that your heart is capable of squeezing out—a Goddess of Death? Continue reading
It all began in August of 2013, when I moved into my first-ever purchased home: a cozy condo in Chicago’s far northwest corner—a neighborhood, unbeknownst to me at the time, notoriously known for its ghastly history and stupendously huge mass paupers’ graves lurking beneath my very subdivision and a large swath of the surrounding area! Continue reading
Once again, she’d misread the sign. The sign outside St. Cornelius Catholic Church on Foster Avenue announced, in actuality, “Eucharist Adoration.” She, however, saw the ridiculously paired words of “Aquarium Addictions” instead.
She took a long drag from her clove cigarette and indifferently noted the single file of traffic-jammed vehicles ahead of her. She turned on the radio and turned up the volume of the car stereo two notches in response to the announcer’s promise that the first act of Wagner’s Siegfried would conclude after the commercial break.
These kinds of drive-by misinterpretations have been occurring with a frequency that was beginning to disturb her somewhat: “Trauma” instead of “Truman College” while zipping south on Lake Shore Drive; “Prior Experience” instead of “Panda Express” by the Lake Forest Oasis; and, most nonsensical of all, she managed to transform a billboard’s message of “Diamonds Are Forever” into “Demons Wear Burberry.”