Symbolically Speaking

Exploring the symbols, metaphors and archetypal patterns found in myth, pop culture, literature, astrology, religion, psychology, Tarot, art and history--and why they matter.

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Janet Boyer

Janet Boyer

Janet Boyer is the author of Back in Time Tarot and Tarot in Reverse, as well as the co-creator (with her husband, artist Ron Boyer) of the Snowland Deck and Coffee Tarot . She is currently working on her third and fourth traditionally-published Tarot books--Naked Tarot (Dodona Books, 2014) and 365 Tarot: Daily Meditations (Dodona Books, 2015). As a respected, trusted Amazon Hall of Fame/Vine Reviewer, she's penned over 1,200 published reviews that have also been featured in print magazines and other online outlets. In addition to being a Tarot teacher, author, deck creator and professional reader, she is also a frequent radio guest (and former host), essayist, short story writer and homeschooling Mom. Her hobbies include cultivating flowers, tending biota, watching retro TV on DVDs (60s + 70s), trying new recipes (she's an award-winning cook), serving as a Patron of the Arts, photography and reading (especially mysteries/suspense). Visit Janet online at JanetBoyer.com.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

Halloween ace of pumpkins 400

Symbols, both ancient and contemporary, can be a treasure trove for creating fresh divination positions for layouts. Even symbolic shapes have informed tried-and-true spreads; the Celtic Cross and Horseshoe Spreads spring to mind.

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Gun Violence: When Humans Become Mere Avatars

A Facebook friend shared a map and article about gun violence in America. She lamented that she's "always dreamed of living abroad and never has that desire been greater than now".

Gun map 500

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Janet Boyer
    Janet Boyer says #
    Good point, Ted. I wonder, though, if other countries are as wired as the U.S.--including availability of wireless technology, acc
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    I think you are on to something, Janet - but there must be another factor involved which we have not identified, since video games
The Evolution and Re-interpretation of Symbols (or, The Coffee Tarot Leaves Me Cold)

My artist husband, Ron, and I are creating another Tarot deck. As avid coffee drinkers (especially me) who enjoy the creative benefits of the caffeine rush, we decided to bring to fruition an idea whose time had come: The Coffee Tarot.

Within 12 hours of launching our Facebook page, we had over 100 fans. But not everyone was thrilled with a java deck…

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Paula Tague
    Paula Tague says #
    Coffee's not my beverage of choice, but I don't really see a Dr Pepper deck coming out any time soon. I am imaginative enough, ho
  • Janet Boyer
    Janet Boyer says #
    Thank you, Paula! We have so many ideas, but it's really a time thing--especially since Ron has a full-time (non-artsy) job.
  • Terence P Ward
    Terence P Ward says #
    For me, Tarot is the Budweiser of divination, in that it was what I first experienced, and since I didn't care for how it tasted,
  • Janet Boyer
    Janet Boyer says #
    LOL Brilliant, Terence! If Caffeina isn't a goddes, she darned well should be. I almost gave up on Tarot, too--until I created
  • Janet Boyer
    Janet Boyer says #
    Oops, sorry for the repeat URL, Terence. http://janetboyer.typepad.com/blog/bit-tarot/ is the correct URL for all the BIT Snapshot
Hunab Ku: 77 Sacred Symbols for Balancing Body and Spirit

"In Hunab Ku, you'll find seventy-seven images of home-multiple ways to view or earth and ourselves. These images, like the Hunab Ku itself, measure and move us and encourage us to embark upon our own sacred journey. The Hunab Ku lies at the very center of these images, reminding us to balance our intentions, to center our understandings, and to become more conscious of what ancient wisdom continues to teach all of us today." -- From Hunab Ku: 77 Sacred Symbols for Balancing Body and Spirit

b2ap3_thumbnail_hunab-2-300.pngHunab Ku is an ancient Mayan symbol that represents the joining of opposites. Hunab means "one state of being" and Ku means "God". Masculine and feminine, analytical and intuitive, objective and subjective, yang and yin, conscious and unconscious, external and internal-the Hunab Ku speaks to the abyss between opposing forces and, in fact, serves as a bridge between them. The archetype of the Hunab Ku is the "space between" that reflects oneness with God and the unity of all things.

The Mayans constructed several detailed calendars and these calendars reflected cycles of the Earth and humanity itself. After each cycle of 5,125 years, the "universe takes a deep breath and begins again", and according to the Maya Long Count Calendar, humanity is posed on the edge of a great unfolding of balance and understanding. Many have called this the Age of Aquarius, but the Mayans called it the Age of Itza-Age of Consciousness. Some interpretations have set the winter solstice of 2012 as the time marking a gateway to the galaxies where Hunab Ku-the great mover-will pulse and fill us all with intelligent energy.

b2ap3_thumbnail_hunab-1-300.pngAuthors Karen Speerstra and Joel Speerstra have presented 77 sacred symbols that create an interactive system for learning, healing, and meditation. These 77 symbols are archetypes that are universal, arising from the collective unconscious. As visual metaphors, the symbols reflect, like mirrors, the patterns that are deeply embedded in each one of us. These archetypes bypass the rational mind, arrive on the wings of synchronicity, and invite us to journey inward. Archetypal symbols like those presented in Hunab Ku can explode us into different dimensions of understanding, restoring balance, energizing creativity, and promoting healing if we but allow them entrance.

In the book, the 77 archetypal images are organized into groups of seven color palettes, each reflecting the seven chakras. Eleven archetypal symbols are associated with each chakra, depicting the energetic pattern of the image as it relates to the seven energy vortices and their corresponding issues, gifts, and challenges. The lower chakras--represented by red, orange, and yellow-connect to the physical side of life. The upper chakras-represented by blue, indigo, and violet-connect us to the spiritual side of life. In the center likes a field of green which connects to both the heart chakra and the Hunab Ku. This area marks our central union with one another and joins the images of the body and the spirit.

There are several ways Hunab Ku can be read:

* Conventionally, from beginning to end, as a mini ancient art history tour
* One color group of eleven images at a time
* As an oracle where you ask a powerful open-ended question and then turn to a random page
* Roll dice and generate random numbers for different types of intuitive readings
* Use a pendulum to dowse the Hunab Ku symbol for numbers/images that speak to your questions

Hunab Ku is an unconventional book that serves as a spiraling labyrinth of archetypal consciousness. The physical images span from Red 1 Great Bear (Solitude) to Green 39 Hunab Ku (Lover). The spiritual images span from Green 39 Hunab Ku (Relationships) to Violet 1 Unicorn (Unity). So one could move down a path towards the center (39) and then move back out towards the world again by passing through numbers 38 through 1.

b2ap3_thumbnail_hunab-3-300.pngHere are a few symbols from the book:

RED

Scorpion (Conflict)
Womb (Gestation)
Ouroboros (Unconsciousness)

ORANGE

Mother (Intuition)
Water (Movement)
Giant (Control)

YELLOW

Star (Inspiration)
Twins (Androgyny)
Wheel (Change)

GREEN

Dolphin (Addiction)
Healer (Wholeness)
Phoenix (Hope)

b2ap3_thumbnail_hunab-4-300.pngBLUE

Teacher (Knowledge)
Sound (Vibration)
Magician (Journey)

INDIGO

Moon (Dreams)
Wise Old One (Rest)
Chalice (Quest)

VIOLET

Scarab (Manifestation)
Double Spiral (Infinity)
Crown (Reward)

For each symbol there is a re-drawn color plate of a petroglyph, artifact, figurine, carving, wall mural, etc. These archetypes are from diverse areas such as the Americas, Africa, British Isles, Babylon, India and beyond. For example, Under Mystic (Violet 8), there is a picture of a stone labyrinth (1200 CE) from Chartres, France. For the Serpent (Red 7), there is a picture of the Great Serpent Mound (c. 1000 BCE) from Ohio, U.S.A.

b2ap3_thumbnail_hunab-5-300.pngFor me, one of the most fascinating elements of this 330-page book is the symbol readings in the back. Each of these readings is comprehensive, combining a series of archetypes for an incredibly accurate and insightful reading. There's an Insight Reading, Work Reading, Rainbow Reading, Courage Reading, and The Bard: Telling Your Story. The authors provide easy to read charts if you want to generate numbers by throwing dice or by assigning number values to the letters of your name, for example.

Frankly, I am amazed at the depth of this book. It "speaks" profoundly on so many levels. 

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Mercury Retrograde? No Problem!

 

When the symbol of Mercury runs backwards, many people run for cover!

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Pythagorean Numerology Conversion Table

In the Pythagorean system of numerology, each letter of the alphabet is assigned a number 1 through 9. The numerology grid of the Pythagorean system is pictured above.

All double digits are combined into single digits, except for the Master Numbers 11, 22, and 33. So if I were to calculate my name, Janet, the result would be:
 
J=1
A=1
N=5
E=5
T=2
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14
 
1+4=5
 
Thus, the name Janet would be a 5 name in the Pythagorean system of numerology. 
 
Here's the vibrational correlations between numbers and letters according to the Pythagorean Grid: 
 
Number 1: A,J,S
Number 2: B,K,T
Number 3: C,L,U
Number 4: D,M,V
Number 5: E,N,W
Number 6: F,O,X
Number 7: G,P,Y
Number 8: H,Q,Z
Number 9: I,R
 
There are various elements to numerology with regards to names. For example, the numerical value of the consonants of your name is known as your Persona Number. This is the “face” you show to the word…your presentation. The Personal Number is akin to the Ascendant in Astrology. 
 
The numeric value of the vowels of your name is known as your Soul Number. This number describes your inner being—aspirations, yearnings, goals, and motivations. This number is akin to the Sun sign in Astrology.
 
In future posts, I'll cover what each number value means. 
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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Virginia Fair Richards-Taylor
    Virginia Fair Richards-Taylor says #
    Oh yes, the Chaldean numerology is used pretty much the same as the Pythagorean form.You can find charts all over the internet, an
  • Janet Boyer
    Janet Boyer says #
    So sorry for the delay getting back to you, Virginia! Oh, that makes sense (about 9). I appreciate the info!
  • Janet Boyer
    Janet Boyer says #
    Hi Virginia! Does the Chaledean system assign numbers to letters, as well, which then determines certain name "vibrations"? I'd lo
  • Virginia Fair Richards-Taylor
    Virginia Fair Richards-Taylor says #
    I never found that the Pythagorean system worked very well for me, but when I discovered the "Chaldean" system, it started working

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Creating Intention Mandalas


Mandala is a Sanskrit word for "circle" and is a sacred, symbolic diagram used for contemplation. In Buddhism and Hinduism, mandalas usually include images of Buddhas or deities. Yantra is a Sanksrit word for "instrument", and is meant to inspire inner visualizations, meditations, and spiritual experiences. However, since the two terms are often used interchangeably, the word mandala usually refers to any circular image or diagram.

You can create your own mandala for meditation, as well as for a specific intent. For example, perhaps you'd like to allow prosperity and abundance in your life. Or, maybe you'd like to be more courageous and learn how to speak up for yourself.

Click here for a full-size blank mandala template that I've created for you to print and use.
 
Creating A Mandala With Intention
 
Step 1: Gather the medium/s you choose to use for creating your mandala. You can use crayons, watercolors, chalk, colored pencils, etc.
 
Step 2: Find a quiet spot, and consider something that you'd like to allow into your life. Breath deeply, from your belly, slowly inhaling to the count of 5...then exhaling to the count of 5. Do this several times until you feel calm and centered.
 
Step 3: Working from the center, draw, paint, or color how you feel about what you want to allow in your life. There is no wrong way to create a mandala. This process is a personal one, and for your own empowerment, growth, and peace.
 
Step 4: After completing your mandala, place it in a prominent position where you'll see it often. You could buy thin magnetic strips with sticky backing to hang it up on your refrigerator or metal cabinetry. Or, frame your mandala and hang it on a wall. This will remind you of your intent, and help you focus and allow what you are wanting to bring into your life.
 
Examples Of Intention
 
Here are some intentions for creating a mandala:
 
*To allow joy
*To surrender worrisome circumstances
*To allow love into your life
*Self-acceptance
*For world peace
*To allow abundance
*For gratitude
*To release anger and bitterness
*For working through grief
*To welcome the job of your dreams
*To connect with the Divine
*To learn to say NO
*To culivate a compassionate attitude
 
Many blessings to you as you create a mandala for intent!
 
My husband, Ron, created the mandala above. Click here to see the larger version.
 
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