‘There’s magic in the world and I get to live it.’ This is what I wrote earlier today in connection with a gift I have received this morning. This one was truly very special, and given the circumstance, quite beyond perfect. It was prompted by an occasion connected with a magical task I have assigned last month to one of my cartomantic students, the brilliant and tenacious Ryan Edward. ‘A hard task’, he said, but by Jove, how he managed. Today I’m very pleased to see what materialized beyond the ritual that I have determined that he had to perform on the night of the dark moon in July. What can I say, when magic works, creativity is an understatement.
What I have received today is the end part of that ritual. A sigil for a sigil. I’m not at liberty to discuss the details of the event – it’s not my story to tell – but this I can say: Ryan has returned for me a sigil that encodes his experience with the dark night of the magician’s soul. He mounted the whole soul-work on the following full moon cycle, and I’m over the moon to realize that, indeed, all is illuminated.
The ‘sigil’ comes in the form of a collage: A page of ephemeris from the Farmer’s Almanac in the 1880s entangled with a magical text from Ovid in Latin (also from the 1880s), and resembling a rippling movement, the same that riveted and challenged Ryan while getting there, where ‘there’ is; The Moon in the center is a photograph from the 20s, and as Ryan informs me, representative of his own dualities as inscribed on wood. What we see here is a cut out of a cedar tree (we had a ‘cedar connection’). We note that the Farmer’s almanac also lists the full moon on that page, something Ryan observed only after he had mounted the whole thing on the most brilliant embossed leather cover of a book. Did I mention the word magic? Well, it doesn’t get any better than this.
But now to my own end, as I don’t devise special tasks for nothing. What’s in it for me, to put plainly – and bowing to my own teachers who have insisted that something must be in it for us when we do this sort of thing. What do I make of all this, Ryan’s sigil made expressly for me as part of a very rigid ritual? – as I don’t like to waste my time. His own mirror image of his experience, turned into a sigil as well, he has burned, so guess what, I’m sitting here with a very powerful piece of magic. Naturally I want to know. It’s lucky that some things we may disclose.
So here’s what I have divined for with the cards, as that is the part that I can talk about. I’ve used an interesting Italian deck for several reasons: firstly, because I wanted to honor Ryan’s Sicilian grandmother (it’s another story, but I’m feeling generous with the sharing of information). Secondly, because I’ve been teaching Ryan all sorts of divination with cards, from playing cards to tarot and fortunetelling cards. This deck combines the essential in all of them. Thirdly, the deck’s creator, one Docteur Marius, gives us the astrological planetary correspondences, so that we may get a sense of the magic of the farmers of old, so prominently displayed on Ryan’s own sigil for me (and here I should mention that we never talked astrology, even though, and now that I think of it, we could have).
I have formulated a very specific question, and one which I hope reflects working with sigils – something I adore. I did this in two steps. First, a question just for the trumps, or the major cards – this deck is quite something as there are only 3 male figures there, and for some reason I thoroughly like that – and then a follow-up question just for the pips for added information.
THE QUESTION (considering primarily the function of a sigil):
For the trumps:
Who can I petition with YOU (Ryan’s card), and for what purpose?
For the pips:
What will be visible in this working? (I keep the invisible to myself)
Oh, such glory. How I love this work. Here’s what the cards say:
‘You can use the Ryan’s sigil to petition The Devil. ‘For what purpose? ‘Why, (do you even have to ask)’ the World card says; ‘You can petition the Devil for ANY purpose. Just make sure that whatever you will you WILL it strongly enough,’ The Force says.
What is visible is the material structure (4 coins). The foundation of fortune.
Your loving rider (Knight of Cups) has only a loving cup to offer you, which you, in turn, multiply and share with the world.
More diligent students are waiting in the wings, as the Page of Clubs testifies.
Beh, as the Italians, like to say, I like this message. I do teach, after all. I teach in different settings and contexts, but I have to admit that I love teaching magic, as it engages the experiential dimension much more than the kind of teaching that I’m allowed to perform at my university. But may it all be worthwhile. Always.
Incidentally, I couldn’t help noticing all that emerald the World is wearing, mirroring the very ring I was wearing today. A talismanic emerald ring that I made for myself. I like this positioning already, and the emerald is the teacher’s stone par excellence. I think I’ll think about this connection some more in the future, when I’ll don my precious stuff.
Now, just one final point, as I like a bit of astrology.
Now, Mars in Sagittarius is all about Jupiter’s enthusiasm (Jupiter rules Sagittarius) and willpower, an eager driving force that relies on courage, confidence, enterprise, and leadership. Mars likes a challenging adventure, and in Sagittarius you can be sure that there’s no chance of boredom. Jupiter likes philosophy. Indeed the thinking Lucifer tempting everyone with knowledge has a long stellar history, so it looks like this is what the World invites me to: A Sun basking in posing the right questions! Oh, how I like that, as I can’t help speculating all the time. Mars can put a show of force like no one else, a show of crusading aligned with Jupiter’s love of faith.
I could go on, but as far as I’m concerned right now, this kind of a connection between a student and his teacher is living of the highest to the highest. To get others to realize how they can connect the part we call the Ego with the part we call the Self is one of the most privileged undertakings. I’m honored as a teacher to have such students who return the magic to me, and in turn return it to the magi of old. They would be very pleased with what we both have accomplished here.
There is magic in the world. May you all discover it.
Il Destino Svelato dal Tarocco.
Triste: Modiano, 1955.
For words of power and other unexpected offers, sign up for a cool monthly newsletter.