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Blogs from Janet Boyer - PaganSquare - Join the conversation! http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/sacred-symbols.html Wed, 28 Jan 2015 22:49:21 -0800 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Using Symbolic Charms for Insight http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/sacred-symbols/using-symbolic-charms-for-insight.html http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/sacred-symbols/using-symbolic-charms-for-insight.html

I'm always on the lookout for symbols, stringing them together like mystical pearls--or, perhaps, like magical mala beads inscribed with sacred prayers, spiritual insight and everyday wisdom--begging for me to decode and apply their particular meaning for my life. 

If you think about it, everything we tell ourselves is a story--including the way we decode symbols.

Whenever we interpret a look, a conversation, a painting, a song, a thought or a situation, we're engaging in a mental narrative. Our perspective is unique to us, which explains why ten people viewing the same accident, crime or conversation will likely have ten different interpretations of what went down!

One advantage of symbols is that the majority of its meaning is lodged in the collective unconscious, just waiting to be mined by mythologists, Jungian analysts, art students, writers and those of us who crave meaning (and enjoy creating it).

Not only are there universal meanings to symbols, though, but also personal meanings ascribed by the individual. This explains why Tarot cards, which are full of symbolism, may have traditional keywords and meanings--but also have a distinctly personal interpretation at the same time. 

Let's take The Hermit card, for example.

 b2ap3_thumbnail_UW-Smaller19.jpg

Common keywords include Solitude, Searching for Understanding, Providing Wise Counsel, Withdrawing from the World, Needing to be Alone and so on.

But what if a Tarot enthusiast has a Dad who owned a hardware store--and one of her most fondest memories was of him holding a lantern during her first slumber party under the stars, in a tent?

Ah, well, that personal association opens up a whole new realm of information that the enthusiast can add to traditional keywords.

The same holds true for any symbolic oracular system, really.

So what's this about charms and symbols?, you may be wondering.

For years, I'd tag along to Michael's art and craft store with my husband. I longed to make crafts, but am not the "crafty type" (I can't seem to get my hands to do what my mind sees!). Not only that, I have severe tendonitis with a sprinkle of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome--rendering my hands numb at best and aching at worst.

I was particularly drawn to the charms.

For years, I'd wistfully sigh as I looked through all the funky metal charms. Dozens and dozens and dozens of them. So lovely! So varied! So...symbolic. I even went so far to ask my husband if he'd learn to make jewelry for me so I could create symbolic bracelets that "spoke" of various messages.

Needless to say, he wasn't interested! (LOL)

But then I got the idea to create a charm-based oracle that delivered relevant messages--but didn't require any jewelry making talent (thankfully)--nor repetitive hand motions that would exacerbate my condition. I asked my son if he'd be interested in helping me select the charms and come up with keywords and--YAY!--he agreed.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Charming-With-URL-500.jpg

So we looked through the charms at Michael's--as well as on Etsy--and came up with 60 or so charms that spoke to everyday issues and universal symbols. Those we couldn't come up with several keywords for? We eliminated them from our list of candidates.

On my personal Facebook page, I asked if others would be interested in such an oracle--and was surprised and delighted that many were! So we ordered the charms from various places, and Noah and I got to work on creating 6-10 keywords for every charm. I even associated each charm with a Tarot card, for those who used that oracle, as well.

We're now on our second run of the Boyer Charming Oracle, and I'm thrilled that others are using this tool for practical insight and decision making. Truth be told, I've been using our charms more than Tarot cards these days (although the two systems dovetail marvelously).

If you want, you can order your own set at CharmingOracle.com. But you know, you can make your own! Just go to your local Michael's, a craft store or an online shop that specializes in, or stocks, charms or beads (they're often used for making bracelets and necklaces). You can start small--maybe about ten charms or so--then add to your collection as funds and interest allows. Create your own keywords based on symbol dictionaries or common associations, as well as your own personal meanings. Ta da! You've created your very own charm-based oracle.

I recommend putting them in a bag made of a solid fabric (not see-through) so you can shake it up, put in your hand and draw the relevant charm/s for your reading. You can even use your charms with Tarot spreads; just draw a charm rather than a card. (I have a special secret Facebook group dedicated to our Boyer Charming Oracle. In it, we share tips and readings--and I upload new spreads to the database. If you'd like to be added, please friend me here, then ask me to add you to the group via PM). 

One of our members shared two recent charm reading she did with our oracle and I thought I'd share them with you to show how such a system can be both practical and illuminating (not to mention highly portable!). 

With her permission, here's Elizabeth's two experiences:

b2ap3_thumbnail_paper-plane-charm-cropped.jpg

Something happened last week that I thought might offer alternate insight about the paper airplane. I drew it and immediately thought "airmail, or a surprise note". My Tarot card that day was the Ace of Cups. That day I received a letter from an ex with whom I had not had any communication in 30 years apologizing for his part in our break-up and wishing me well. What an amazing gift! I immediately thought of that paper airplane.

This is a fantastic example of personal symbolism, especially since the keywords I made for this charm were of a different slant: Goofing Off; Not Taking Things Seriously; Trying to Get Attention; Minor Irritation; Horseplay; Mischief. (Tarot Card association: 5 of Wands).

b2ap3_thumbnail_teddy-bear-charm-cropped.jpg

Another day recently I was not feeling well. My job is just not one that I can "call in" on, so I was resigned to go in for the day. My card was the High Priestess, which I interpreted as meaning although I was not feeling 100% I could rely on my intuition and higher knowledge to muddle through, not necessarily my physical or mental strength. I then drew the teddy bear charm and knew I was being told that I needed to take care of myself. I of course ignored it. I worked all morning, and at lunch my partner said "you look like you don't feel well; I got this, take the afternoon off". I checked my schedule and miraculously only had 6 people on it instead the usual 18 or so. I remembered the charm, went home and took a long nap (I NEVER NAP) and woke up 1000% better. So there again, I should have listened to the charm!

The keywords we had created for the Teddy Bear included Children; Baby; Nursery; Toys; Collectibles; Security; Inner Child; Sleep; Innocence; Hugs, A Gift; Caring; Cuddling; Tokens of Affection. (Tarot Card association: The Fool). 

Like I said to Elizabeth, "When a child needs comfort or is sick, what do we usually see him/her snuggling with? A TEDDY BEAR! A great reminder for comfort, self-care and burying yourself under covers." And, of course, sleep!

Isn't that amazing? It goes to show you that you can create any symbolic oracle--such as one with charms--and receive practical insights for everyday concerns and decision making

What about you, dear readers? Have you ever created a symbolic system for insight? Do you have a dream dictionary? Or animal omen diary? Or do you prefer runes and Tarot? What are your thoughts on creating your own oracles--with charms, stones, sticks or other items?

P.S. You can like our Boyer Charming Oracle Facebook page at this link, or get more information at CharmingOracle.com.


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synerjay@atlanticbb.net (Janet Boyer) Culture Blogs Mon, 19 Jan 2015 23:30:54 -0800
A Halloween Divination Spread http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/sacred-symbols/a-halloween-divination-spread.html http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/sacred-symbols/a-halloween-divination-spread.html 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.

When it comes to spreads--positions for Tarot/Oracle cards, Runes or other divinatory objects--it's easier than you may think to create custom layouts based on holidays, stories, songs, sacred texts, deities or themes using symbols for positions. 

For example, I contributed a spread to the Shadow of Oz Tarot project that I called The Yellow Brick Road to Awakening Spread. I chose Toto, Scarecrow, Tin Woodsmen, Cowardly Lion, Field of Poppies, The Wizard and No Place Like Home as the symbolic positions for the spread. Toto represented Guardian Power, Scarecrow symbolized Innate Intelligence, Field of Poppies indicated area that the seeker was "asleep", and so on.

I've created many spreads like this over the years, and you can too! You're only limited by your imagination. There's no "wrong" way to create custom spreads as long as it serves your purpose and addresses an issue.

Not for the faint of heart (or spirit), here’s a Halloween Spread I've created to descend into the murky psyche while carrying the torch of truth. I used several motifs associated with Halloween to create the positions of my spread. First, the video version...then, the written one:

Halloween Spread

You can choose one card for each position, or multiple cards:

Ghosts: What is haunting me from my past? (Recurrence)

Bats: What is driving me batty at this time? (Irritations)

Graveyard: What needs buried right now? (Surrender)

Cobwebs: What is a source of confusion for me? (Uncertainty)

Wicker Man: What needs burned right now? (Purification or Removal)

Monsters: What am I afraid of right now? (Fears)

Jack O’ Lantern 1: What needs illuminated from within? (Awareness)

Jack O’ Lantern 2: What do I need to carve out time for right now? (Priorities)

Trick or Treat Bag: What goodies do I offer the world? (Gifts and Blessings)

What kind of symbols would you choose for a Halloween divination spread? What would each meaning be? What about Samhain?

Do let me know if you try out my Halloween Spread with your divination tool of choice, as well as how it worked for you!

-- Janet

Ace of Pumpkins image from the Halloween Tarot by Karin Lee and Kipling West


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synerjay@atlanticbb.net (Janet Boyer) Culture Blogs Thu, 09 Oct 2014 03:13:10 -0700
Gun Violence: When Humans Become Mere Avatars http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/sacred-symbols/gun-violence-when-humans-become-mere-avatars.html http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/sacred-symbols/gun-violence-when-humans-become-mere-avatars.html

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

I can sympathize with her, but not because of America's gun violence, but rather, the attack on free speech by the PC left... (But that's another post).

Anyway, is it really the guns? 98% of the people around me have guns, and there's rarely any gun violence (and very low violent crime). That's because criminals know most citizens are packing heat.

What's changed over the years, in my opinion, is the de-humanizing of people via video games, movies and the internet. People become mere avatars--non-living symbols. Hell, look at how many people lurch around with their noses in devices--while walking, driving, eating at restaurants, etc. 

People rarely talk to one another anymore. They don't look in another's eye. Online, character assassination, stalking and bullying is rampant--not only because cowards hide behind anonymyity, but also because targets become mere avatars--symbols of what the tormentor doesn't like (not to mention, reactions against their own insecurities, fears and projections). 

What are your thoughts, dear readers? (By the way, I didn't post this to argue politics or gun control, but rather, discuss the theory that an increase in violence and bullying may be tied to the objectification of fellow humans--largely as a result of dwelling in a cyberworld rather than the "real" world). 

Note: I do believe it needs to be more difficult to obtain guns, that gun shows (and automatic weapons) should be outlawed and that those with psychiatric histories prevented from buying firearms.


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synerjay@atlanticbb.net (Janet Boyer) Culture Blogs Thu, 12 Jun 2014 07:42:50 -0700
The Evolution and Re-interpretation of Symbols (or, The Coffee Tarot Leaves Me Cold) http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/sacred-symbols/the-evolution-and-re-interpretation-of-symbols-or-the-coffee-tarot-leaves-me-cold.html http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/sacred-symbols/the-evolution-and-re-interpretation-of-symbols-or-the-coffee-tarot-leaves-me-cold.html

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…

Coffee tarot banner 500

Writing craft author Jessica Page Morrell (who I happen to admire and love as a writer—I have several of her books) jumped right in with public comments. Here’s a snippet of our public dialogue (you can read it in it’s entirety at the end of this post):

I don't understand how coffee links with tarot. Am I missing some connection here?... I don't drink coffee and I believe that the tarot deck needs to be richly illustrated. Sorry to be a naysayer, but I've been familiar with the tarot since my twenties and this concept leaves me cold. Why coffee? Why not fairy tales or some mythology with rich images?

I find it interesting that some users of symbolic systems—Tarot, Kabbalah, Runes, the Bible, Alchemy, etc.— get more than a little bent out of shape when an innovator (or curious “what-if?”-er) wants to reinterpret an archetype or symbol.

Who said that symbols must remain basic, stripped-down? Why can’t they be built upon or expanded laterally to increase their reach and import? Culture (and humanity) benefits from myths, stories and symbols, so repurposing “old” ones or even creating new ones would, by extension, enrich, challenge and inform our lives.

At least, that’s how I see it.

Back to our Coffee Tarot.

So far, three images are completed in watercolor pencils, with several others sketched out, ready to manifest under my husband’s hand. I thought I’d share our thought processes with you not only as a “behind the scenes” look at what goes into thoughtful deck creation, but also as an examination of our symbols—and how they connect with more ancient and/or traditional motifs.

Let’s start with the first card that we’re calling The Bean, our version of The Fool.

Coffee Tarot 1 400

Traditionally, The Fool gets the exciting privilege of being “Zero”. He’s neither beginning nor end (or is it he’s both beginning and end?)—the one that pauses at each of the other 21 Major Arcana card’s “stations” to experience its unique archetypal energy.

Notice that The Bean is shaped like (drumroll) a ZERO!

Ron and I also consider The Fool an archetypal birth portal. This unblemished, clueless soul was baptized in Lethes as he descended into Earth for his up-close-and-personal human experience. Lo and behold, what does The Bean also look like?

A vulva!

Also known as Vesica Piscis (“Vessel of the Fish”), yoni, Mandorla, this almond shaped symbol represents female genitals and was often used as a maternity charm. It’s also echoed in the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot’s World card.

In fact, before the 16th century, statues and carvings of naked women squatting, reaching down with both hands and opening up exaggerated vulvas were found all over British and Irish architecture (even churches!). Called sheila-na-gigs, such statues and carvings represented fertility and raw female sexuality.

With creation and birth also comes dissolution and death (or in the case of Goddesses like Kali, utter destruction).

Sheila 400

The Fool must traverse these ends of human experience, both literally and metaphorically. He’ll encounter forms of creative energy, beginnings and births— as well as destructive energy, endings and death.

And yet, there’s a masculine principle symbolized by the coffee bean, too, as well as an embryonic one, because it’s actually a seed. What is a seed, really? According to the Scott Foresman Advanced Dictionary:

1. The part of most plants from which a new plant grows; an embryo and nourishment for it inside a protective coat. 2. Bulb, sprout, or any part of a plant from which a new plant will sprout 3. A source or beginning, of anything 5. Semen; sperm.

I bet you’ll never look at the humble coffee bean (or The Fool card) the same way again!

And that’s the point of cross-fertilizing symbolic systems or even re-imagining new ones to expand on those of ancient times: to create (or expand) our intuitive “shortcuts” or cache of associations for:

  • Better decision making
  • Divinatory information
  • Spiritual insight
  • Personal meaning
  • Talismans
  • Affirmations/Meditation
  • Magickal work
  • Artistic inspiration

If it makes sense to you, and it works, no one can tell you it’s wrong—for any of the above applications.

Let’s look at another card from the Coffee Tarot, The Sun.

Coffee Tarot Sun 400

At first glance, this appears to be a simple rendering. Some may even call it “cute”. But let’s deconstruct its symbols that are so unconsciously embedded, you may not have given them second thought.

One of the first things we notice is The Sun’s heavy, half-opened lids. What is this a symbol for? Someone who is sleepy—not fully awake or at optimum strength.

Then there’s the crowing rooster in the foreground, long held as a symbol for waking up, sunrise and the start of a new day. But let’s look deeper, courtesy of The Book of Symbols: Reflections on Archetypal Images (Taschen):

Roosters—aggressive, lusty, strutting, gorgeously feathered—have engaged imagination in many ways, especially with their plangent, early-morning cries. It was an ancient belief that because evil spirits are most active in the darkness of night, the cock’s crow before sunrise dispelled demons and signaled the welcome arrival of dawn: “The bird of dawning singeth all night long; / And then, they say, no spirit dare stir abroad” (Shakespeare, Hamlet, 1.1.181-2). The heraldic crowing of the rooster that sounds things into existence or awareness, the fiery cockscomb reminiscent of brilliant rays and the cock’s fecunding power made it an emblem of the life-giving sun and illumination. The rooster was sacred to solar Apollo…

Here we discover that the rooster not only tangentially connects to the rising sun, but is also a sacred symbol of the Sun itself—as well as the archetypal associations that goes along with the solar disc and, indeed, The Sun card itself.

And what about that Styrofoam cup that the Sun is holding? Obviously, Styrofoam didn’t exist in ancient times, but cups did. So there’s the symbolic association of vessels, chalices and so on. But what could Styrofoam symbolize in modern times?

Well, how about “on the go” or “on the job”? After all, most people drink coffee at home from mugs or cups. Those who get coffee “to go” in paper or Styrofoam cups are usually away from home, or on their way to work, an appointment or some other destination. Not only are they “on the move”, but also in need of “staying awake”—especially if they have a long, or nighttime, drive ahead of them.

Humans tend to take the Sun (and nature) for granted, so the Styrofoam is a gentle reminder that this life-giving star rises and sets day after day, century after century, with wondrous regularity—independent of our actions or inactions—and without the need for caffeine.

Unlike many java junkies… (Ha!)

But, on a less-happy note, Styrofoam is a dangerous product that harms the environment. In fact, I believe it’s been banned at most, if not all, convenience stores. It’s indicative of the throw-away zeitgeist that gives little thought to the future cost of modern disposable lifestyles. And, arguably, this is what’s often associated with the masculine/male principle (also indicated by the Sun) in its detriment: consumerism, dominion theology, plunder and advancement at any price.

Let’s look at one more image from the Coffee Tarot, our as-yet unnamed version of The High Priestess:

Coffee Tarot HP Sketch 400

Echoing the two pillars in the RWS High Priestess card, one cylindrical storage shelf will be dark wood and the other light. The checkerboard patterned floor echoes the black/white duality theme (to learn more about the High Priestess symbolism, see my post here.) Instead of a pomegranate veil, our barista enters a curtain made of another type of seed: the coffee bean!

What kind of fruitfulness hides behind that beaded curtain? Is it a storeroom? A place for secret recipes?

There’s the rub: like the Rider-Waite-Smith High Priestess, she tells us nothing. Whether her lips are sealed or she has our back to us, we don’t know the secret she holds…or guards. Either we become initiated into the cosmic coffee shop to find out for ourselves—or we decide that some mysteries are just not worth the effort to pursue, let alone fully understand. (Thus, pushing us towards The Hierophant, the exoteric religious figure who’s more than willing to dole out dogma, pre-recorded answers and rules for living…)

As you can see, something as mundane as coffee can be used to portray complex, profound archetypal messages just as easily (easier?) than intricate, labyrinthine symbols often found in religious, spiritual or mystical art.

What about you, dear reader? Does the idea of a Coffee Tarot “leave you cold”? In your view, can mundane objects be appropriated to convey psychological, mythological and/or spiritual meaning?

What title would you give to our version of the High Priestess card? Secret Recipe? Hidden? Backroom? Mystery?

Symbol Challenge

Look around you. Pick an everyday item to be used as a theme for a hypothetical Tarot or oracle deck. How would The Fool be portrayed in your system? The Magician? The Emperor? The Hermit? Death? Do share!

Public Facebook Dialogue in Its Entirety:

Jessica: I don't understand how coffee links with tarot. Am I missing some connection here?

Coffee Tarot: Because several have already done fairytale decks, as well as decks spanning various mythos. We've already done a snow-themed Tarot (ourSnowland Deck) and my husband's working on his Cosmic Flux Tarot. I've also scripted a Christmas Tarot. We like to push the boundaries of where Tarot can go, rather than do what has been done many times before.  And, many Tarot enthusiasts LOVE coffee!

Jessica: Frankly, I'm still puzzled. I don't drink coffee and I believe that the tarot deck needs to be richly illustrated. Sorry to be a naysayer, but I've been familiar with the tarot since my twenties and this concept leaves me cold. If you'd like to erase my comments, feel free.

Coffee Tarot: No, it's OK. There are literally hundreds of Tarot decks on the market (possibly thousands). If you don't like coffee--and are more of a traditionalist when it comes to Tarot--it stands to reason you wouldn't like this deck. My work tends to draw fire from traditionalists who don't like anyone messing with the status quo. But it's my path, my calling, my passion.

Jessica: I think tea would be a more natural link, but then again, I don't think the deck should be about a substance, but rather a spiritual awakening or something similar.

Coffee Tarot: Both tea leaf reading and coffee ground readings are forms of divination. Tarot readers/enthusiasts are a diverse as any group, including our choice of beverages. Jessica, we're using "mundane" substances (like snow or coffee) to demystify Tarot and thus make the archetypes more accessible to the masses. Some people bristle at traditional iconography, and most Tarot books are dry, ponderous and irrelevant to modern living/challenges. I'm a Self Help (Mind/Body/Spirit) author above all, but I use "mundane" items/topics as a way to get my foot in the door (and crack open an otherwise closed/clouded mind). It is a means TO a spiritual awakening (hopefully). My work isn't traditional, and neither are our decks. That's the way I like it.

Jessica: I know about the grounds for divination and no one has ever called me a traditionalist until today. All good.

Coffee Tarot: Oh, by "traditionalist" I mean anyone who feels that Tarot must be "richly illustrated" with mythological, religious or fairy-tale type illustrations. ::smile::


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synerjay@atlanticbb.net (Janet Boyer) Culture Blogs Tue, 27 May 2014 15:33:28 -0700
Hunab Ku: 77 Sacred Symbols for Balancing Body and Spirit http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/sacred-symbols/hunab-ku-77-sacred-symbols-for-balancing-body-and-spirit.html http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/sacred-symbols/hunab-ku-77-sacred-symbols-for-balancing-body-and-spirit.html

"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. 

If you're fascinated by the world of symbols and archetypes-as well as chakras, energy, mythology, art, sacred geometry, oracles, anthropology, and spiritual evolution-this beautifully illustrated and exhaustively researched book will take you on an amazing journey through both outer and inner worlds. 


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synerjay@atlanticbb.net (Janet Boyer) Culture Blogs Tue, 08 Apr 2014 11:59:17 -0700
Mercury Retrograde? No Problem! http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/sacred-symbols/mercury-retrograde-no-problem.html http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/sacred-symbols/mercury-retrograde-no-problem.html

 

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

Striking fear in the hearts of many, Mercury Retrograde heralds a time of email glitches, power outages, miscommunication, lost paperwork, snags with fine print and so on. More about that, and what Mercury Retrograde means, in bit.

Now, the truth is, I thrive during Mercury Retrograde periods.

Yes, you read right. And surely, I’m not the only one.

I have tons of energy during Mercury Retrograde periods, getting craploads of writing done.

But even if you're not like me, you can still successfully navigate these dreaded periods and use them to your advantage.

The term "retrograde" means "backwards". Obviously, no planet actually goes backwards. However, from our perspective here on Earth, all of the planetary bodies (except for the Sun and Moon) appear to move backwards. Imagine that you're driving down the road parallel to a set of railroad tracks. A train is speeding along to your left, and you pass the train. It appears to be going backwards, but what is really happening is that you are going faster.


Mercury SmallMercury is a mental planet and governs all forms of communication--including writing and speaking--as well as methods of communication such as computers, phones, faxes, and the mail system. Yes, it’s true that messages often get lost during this time and misinterpretation abounds. In fact, it's a good idea to check all the fine print in legal documents during this time, as well as back up computer files.

Mercury is the Roman equivalent of the Greek god Hermes. Both were considered trickster gods, so couple this mischievous nature with messages and communication and you can guess what may happen! Some examples would be leaving a message on an answering machine, only to have the recipient's child accidentally erase it. Or, addressing a letter to your beloved aunt who lives on the other side of the country…but accidentally writing your own zip code instead of hers!

For those of you who like to talk behind people's backs, a Mercury Retrograde period may find you accidentally emailing the person you're dishing on rather than your best friend who was the intended recipient. Ouch.

Despite the fear that often surrounds Mercury Retrograde periods, it’s possible for us to work with the energy by taking the time to tie up loose ends. Consider Merc Retro as an opportunity for course correction—or for “do overs” for rectifying mistakes, sloppiness, mediocrity, offenses or poor decisions from earlier in the year.

To get the most out of Mercury retrogrades, concentrate on activities beginning with the prefix “re-“. Here are some examples:

RepeatRe-do
Re-write
Re-pair
Re-call
Re-examine
Re-new
Re-decorate
Re-schedule
Re-view
Re-organize
Re-negotiate
Re-think
Re-address

If you focus on these types of tasks, slow down, take extra care and release your expectations of perfection or things going “right”, I think you’ll find that you’ll not only survive Mercury Retrograde periods, but also complete or achieve more than you could imagine.

Below are Mercury Retrograde periods for 2014:

  • February 6–28
  • June 7–July 2
  • October 4–25

-- Janet


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synerjay@atlanticbb.net (Janet Boyer) Culture Blogs Thu, 06 Feb 2014 07:04:09 -0800
Pythagorean Numerology Conversion Table http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/sacred-symbols/pythagorean-numerology-conversion-table.html http://witchesandpagans.com/pagan-culture-blogs/sacred-symbols/pythagorean-numerology-conversion-table.html

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
-----
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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synerjay@atlanticbb.net (Janet Boyer) Culture Blogs Tue, 28 Jan 2014 17:44:05 -0800