The Kybalion: A Cornerstone Of Modern Day Hermeticism

Occasionally I get asked, “What do you believe?”  It’s a natural question seeing as how the majority of people are not familiar with Hermeticism or the Hermetic lore.

I sometimes answer very generally.  That we believe in the innate goodness of humanity, the practice of meditation, and the power of the individual.  But sometimes folks want to go deeper.  That is when I refer them to The Kybalion.

The Kybalion was written way back in 1908 presumably by William Walker Atkinson.  Mr Atkinson was a successful attorney in the late 1800’s who became seriously ill and then devoted himself to a study of mysticism and the esoteric.  Upon his recovery he is believed to have penned The Kybalion; a collection of the ancient wisdom he discovered during his time of study and convalescence.

The Kybalion is an interpretation and explanation of the Hermetic wisdom of centuries past.  It is written in a way that is easier to understand than The Corpus Hermeticum, having been composed in 20th century English rather than ancient Greek.  And, as much as I love The Corpus Hermeticum, I generally consider The Kybalion a much easier introduction to Hermeticism for the neophyte seeker.  Plus, The Kybalion is so densely packed with wisdom, I consider it my primary text for study.

If you would like to listen to a reading of The Kybalion, click on the video above.  It may be a little dry, but once this book is properly understood, “the doors of the Temple open wide.”  Let not the flame die out!

Why I Don’t Believe In Death

For many death means the end of a relationship.  For those on a Hermetic Path, it means the beginning of a new one.

I get some strange looks when I tell people I do not believe in death.  But, in all honesty I do not.  True, the physical body dies.  But, from my past experiences with friends and family members who have passed, the consciousness that makes up the person lives on.  You just have to be open to experiencing it.

My Story.

My attitudes concerning death and the afterlife were solidified pretty strongly when I was called back in 2001 to be the senior pastor at a small country church where the average age was 75.  Previous to that calling I had had some experiences with loved ones coming back to communicate with me in dreams.  But I thought to myself that those were only dreams and probably nothing more.  Then one day a lady who considered me her spiritual son (she had no children of her own) died unexpectedly of a heart attack.  Before I heard the news of her death I had a vivid dream in which she appeared to me and told me to be sure to go to church that Sunday.  She knew I had been missing church and told me to be sure to start attending on a regular basis; that something big was about to unfold in my life.  I awoke thinking I had better go to church and track this lady down, not knowing she had already passed the day before.  Two days later I arrived at church early and asked about my friend.  When I learned she had died the day before I had the dream, I knew something was indeed up.

When I was later called to become pastor of that same church, even stranger things began to occur.  With the average age of church members being 75, I found I was going to be called on for funeral services once or twice a month on average.  I would become all too familiar with death.  And, I would later discover, that some of the dead we buried simply refused to act the part.

One striking occurrence happened after we buried a lady who had grown particularly close to my wife.  She was a large lady who loved food and adored her coffee.  A few days after we buried her I was serving morning coffee to my wife.  She was busy elsewhere in the house, so I set her full cup of coffee on the dining room table.  A few minutes later my wife picked up her coffee (which had suddenly turned abnormally cold) and asked me why I had only given her just half a cup.  I told her it was full and hot when I set it down just a few minutes ago.  My wife (who is a gifted empath)  came to the conclusion that we were being visited by her deceased friend.  That was over ten years ago.  The visitations and coffee swiping have continued periodically ever since.

The Stories Of Others.

I share these few experiences not to brag, but to awaken people to the reality of life after death.  In my own investigations in this matter I have found that several people have had similar experiences with loved ones returning from beyond the grave for a variety of reasons.  One story a church lady shared with me really tugged at my heart.

She shared with me that a few years earlier her young daughter had died of cancer.  The lady was a regular church goer before her daughters death, but afterwards was so bereaved and angry at God that she refused to go back to church for a year.  Then, on the one year anniversary of her daughter’s death, she went to visit the grave.  Once there, she let her sadness and anger out and screamed at God for taking away her precious daughter.  Afterwards she fell to her knees sobbing.  When she looked up again preparing to leave, she saw her daughter standing with her at the graveside.  The daughter communicated to her not to grieve any longer.  She told her mother she was fine and happy in the next world, but it saddened her to see her mother in such pain.  She told her mother how much she loved her and assured her she was now safe and truly was in a better place.  After this encounter, the mother found peace and became a changed woman.  She kept the story to herself for several years for fear of ridicule, opening up only after a church Bible Study we did concerning questions of the afterlife.

Other Worldly Contacts: The Exception Or The Rule?

As a pastor, I encountered many other people who shared similar stories.  And I found that many tended to remain quiet about these experiences for years, opening up only after they found someone they could trust and confide in.  I now believe that these life after death experiences are far more common than most people realize and are probably more the rule rather than the exception.  In a world in which many church goers and senior pastors alike tend to live like functional atheists, these experiences tend to be written off as wild dreams, stress induced hallucinations, or the products of over active imaginations.  But, as one who has experienced these things first hand, I know they are real.

My Views On Death.

Which brings me back to my original point.  I can now openly say I do not believe in death, and I am reluctant to even go to funerals anymore.  I find that what we call death is not the utter destruction many people perceive it to be.  Rather, it is simply the changing of clothes.  When the time comes where the physical body is no longer fit for the soul to use, the soul leaves the body behind trading it for a spiritual body which is imperishable.  And, while the discarded body decays and rots, the soul and personality of the individual lives on in a new and transformed way.  For those who lack spiritual sight, it is as if the loved one is gone.  But, for those with sight and understanding, we find our relationships can continue in a new and vibrant way.  It is all simply a matter of openness and perspective.

How You Can Make Contact.

If one is open to the idea of life after death, there are some basic things you can do to keep the lines of communication open between yourself and the other side.  First, stop thinking in terms of death and destruction.  I find the dead do not consider themselves dead.  On the contrary, they consider themselves to be “super alive.”  From their perspective they can see and hear with amazing clarity and travel at the speed of thought.  To them, we are “the dead.”  So try thinking of your deceased loved ones in terms of being departed but not stone cold dead.  Think of them as being hidden temporarily from our view behind a veil.  Then accept that, at the right time, this veil can be lifted.

Secondly, pay attention to your dreams.  Perhaps one of the most common ways the deceased speak to loved ones is in the dream state.  The dreams may at first seem to be the product of too much food or drink before bedtime, but consider carefully the information conveyed.  Once carefully pondered, you will begin to see the deeper meaning of these dream encounters, and you will be able to feel the presence of your loved ones during both the dream state and throughout the next day during normal waking hours.

And finally, accept that contact with the other side is possible, but do not expect your home to become grand central station for ghosts.  Those who have passed can and do make contact with us from time to time.  But, it will probably not become a daily occurrence.   When they have something important to convey, they will drop by.  Accept these occasional visitations, but resist the urge to cling to them.  When it is time for the deceased to move on to other realms, they must go and move on with their lives just as we must.  In my own experience, I allow the spirits of loved ones to remain as long as they like (unless they start intruding too much into our lives) and when it is time for them to move on, we graciously let them go.  If I have something to say to them, I speak my heart as I would to any other living being.  But, I do not expect them to be there at my every beck and call.  We have our lives, and they have theirs.  Both need to be respected.

Conclusion.

As I see it, the main things to be considered in these life after death encounters are our own attitudes and world views.  If you are open to the possibility of life after death, you greatly enhance the possibility of experiencing it, in this life, first hand.  But, if you are dead set against it, even if an experience should happen to you, you would most likely explain it away and write it off using the first “rational” explanation that came to mind.  It matters not your religion or lack there of.  What matters is your heart and your own level of spirituality.  If you are open to the possibility of contact, then, when the time is right, they will come.  Accept them with an open heart and enjoy the experience.

“Love never perishes.”

 

 

 

My Intermittent Fasting Journey.

Last week I had a wake up call. Nothing serious like a heart attack or stroke…not yet anyway. But just a gentle nudge from nature that I needed to take some serious actions concerning my weight and my health. I was feeling unusually tired last week, and I noticed I was gaining weight again. So, I decided to remove coffee and sugar from my diet hoping that would help me turn the tide. I also decided to get into an exercise program to help accelerate my weight lose. That’s where the wake up call came in. I got down on the floor to see how many push-ups I could do. I was hoping to do 5 to 10 push-ups to start out with. I could barely do 1 push up. That was it. One push up and I was worn out. Clearly I was in the worst shape of my life. So I thought far more drastic action was needed to help me get a handle on the situation.

I started doing my own private research on diet and excercise, and I found a series of videos on YouTube by Dr. Eric Berg. In these videos Dr. Berg outlines his program of Intermittent Fasting combined with a simple Keto Diet which encourages a person to cut sugar and some carbs out of the diet. I had had success in the past with the Atkins Diet, but had never focused on Intermittent Fasting. I watched several hours of Dr. Berg’s videos and then last Sunday night I decided to put the program into action. I cut all sugars and many carbohydrates out of my diet, and added a simple 12-hour Intermittent Fast to my daily routine. It’s only been 3 days, but I can already see some results.

The major difference in Dr. Berg’s Program is the focus on Intermittent Fasting. In most weight lose programs people focus mainly on what kind of food you can eat, and that’s it. With Intermittent Fasting you focus mainly on your eating schedule. You see, most people tend to eat or snack during many of their waking hours. We eat when we are bored, we eat when we are stressed, and we sometimes eat just out of habit. And many people think this pattern of eating is OK so long as they are eating healthy foods and healthy snacks.  Turns out, this assumption is completely wrong.

In his videos Dr. Berg reveals that eating almost any kind of food spikes a person’s insulin level. Insulin is the hormone that converts sugar into fat. And when a person’s insulin level is high, the body is very busy converting blood sugars into fat, and storing the fat away in the body. Insulin also blocks the activity of another vital hormone we’ll simply refer to as Growth Hormone. Growth Hormones break down fat into energy and are responsible for much of our weight lose. But, when we are eating over the course of an entire day grazing our way through life, Insulin becomes the dominant hormone at work and the Growth Hormone is held back from doing its work. As a result our heightened Insulin levels cause the body to produce more and more fat and we gain more and more weight without fully understanding why. People will tend to fight the problem by changing their diet and eating healthier foods, but not by altering their eating schedule.  So they just continue to eat whenever they feel hungry, or bored, or stressed. This does not solve the weight gain problem, because the primary problem of grazing throughout the day continues, resulting in elevated Insulin levels and continuing weight gain. Over time the average person becomes overwhelmed with the situation and gives up in frustration. But here – according to Dr. Berg’s Plan – is where we can gain the high ground and begin making some healthy changes.

With Intermittent Fasting we begin to pay attention to not only what we eat, but WHEN we eat it. We stop grazing throughout the day and instead schedule time for a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner and cut out all snacking in between meals. This allows our body to raise our Insulin levels during mealtimes, and then gives the body time to lower those Insulin levels throughout the day so the Growth Hormone can get a change to do its job of burning away excess fat in the body. I started the program with a 12-hour fast and then worked my way up to a 16-hour fast leaving me a reasonable 8-hour window to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner in. Tonight I will be fasting for 18 hours leaving me time for only 2 healthy meals while at the same time giving my body a solid 18 hours each day to burn fat in. As of this writing I can tell by the metallic taste in my mouth that the fat burning process has begun, and so far I am feeling great.

The process of intermittent fasting, once you study it for a while, makes a lot of sense.  And it is a flexible program giving different people the option of using the program in different ways. Some people like me who have gained a lot of extra weight over the years will see the wisdom in at first cutting back to 3 meals a day (minus snacking) and then working their way down to only 2 meals a day to give the body a chance to do some serious fat burning. Others will want to take it a step further and cut back to only one meal a day, and still others will choose to maintain themselves at 2 1/2 to 3 meals a day, depending on their physical needs and weight lose goals. This program can be adapted to suit any body type and most any need.

I will be posting more updates as I progress along my journey. Please keep in mind that any dieting or fasting program carries with it some health risks as well as benefits.  So be sure to check this out with your own doctor before making any drastic changes to your diet or exercise routine, especially if you are already having health problems as it is. In my case I find this program makes sense and so far…it seems to be working.

If you are interested in Intermittent Fasting I encourage you to check out Dr. Berg’s YouTube Channel. I am also including an introductory video below. Thanks for taking the time to read this post. And, until we meet again, stay healthy!

Online Spiritual Direction

Temple of The Infinite Universe now offers Spiritual Direction online. What is Spiritual Direction and what is the benefit of doing it online?

Spiritual Direction is the art of being a guide, mentor, or companion to another person on the Spiritual journey of life. The Spiritual Director does not act as a superior to the person receiving direction. Rather the Director serves more as a fellow student along the way whose goal is to help the client make their own inner discoveries and come into a fuller understanding of The Divine, the Universe, and their connection to it all. The Spiritual Director does not force his understanding of things upon the client. Instead the Director helps to create a safe and secure environment where the client can feel free to discover the God/dess of their own understanding. Here Spiritual Direction done properly is not the same as evangelism which seeks to convert another person to an understanding of things which might be very alien to the person being “converted.” In Spiritual Direction we help the client come to their own conclusions, not our preconceived agenda. It should also be noted that Spiritual Direction is not the same as therapy. Therapy focuses on healing a person’s mind, and is engaged in with a licensed therapist. Spiritual Direction focuses on healing and facilitating the growth of a person’s spirit or soul, and is engaged in with a person who shares from their own life experience and who may not have a psychological license. The focus of Spiritual Direction is Spiritual not psychological. If the director feels the client might benefit from psychological counseling, he will make that recommendation to the client and encourage the client to seek the proper professional help.

In Spiritual Direction the focus is always on what is best for the client. It is a journey where the Director seeks to nurture the client providing any insights or encouragement that the client may need for continued growth. It is also a bond of trust where high ethical standards are demanded. At Temple of The Infinite Universe we vow to never take advantage of the client in any way, not to be judgmental, and to never reveal confidential information to third parties without the expressed consent of the client. We seek to help and not to harm.

The benefits of doing Spiritual Direction online will not be the same for everyone, but will differ among different people for different reasons. Some who do not have a church or temple home, who may be solitary practitioners or shut-ins, will see the benefit in being able to easily connect online. Others who have been forced out of their original church or temple home due to reasons of sexual orientation, or church gossip, or problems concerning addictions, or other negative factors will see the value in being able to connect with a person who vows to be open, accepting and non-judgmental. And still others may be in a religious setting that suits them just fine, except that they are not able to receive the individual attention they need from their spiritual leaders. In online Spiritual Direction the client can get that kind of individual attention just by asking for it. And, as stated above, we DO NOT SEEK TO COVERT PEOPLE. Our goal is in helping you become the best person you can be right where you are at.

To Learn More About Booking A Spiritual Direction Session CLICK HERE.

The Case For ExoTheology.

Many of us who were raised in a religious household were taught one fundamental truth which we thought would never change; that in the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth, and finally He created the human race in His own Image and likeness.  As a child of the 1960’s I never thought to question this account of our origins.  But now, as a student of the 21st century, I have begun to think that this childhood notion of Creation may be far too simplistic.

When I first had my own UFO sighting in the 1970’s I developed a strong interest in the UFO phenomenon.  Sometimes this interest became more of an obsession.  My imagination was fueled as to what might be out there.  I began reading several works on the subject of UFOs and also more mainstream scientific works such as The Case For Mars published by the Planetary Society in the 1980’s.  What I found in both areas gave me reason to rethink everything I had been taught to believe as a child.

First came the revelations that came out of the UFO literature, especially the works of Zecharia Sitchin.  These revelations included the speculation that human evolution was not the product of chance mutations and adaptations, but may have been guided by Extraterrestrial scientists who took the raw materials they found on planet Earth and used them to create a species in their own image and likeness.  At first I dismissed this theory as too far out.  But I could not help but wonder if there could be at least some truth in that theory.  What really gave me cause to begin rethinking my previous attitudes concerning human origins was the book The Case For Mars.  In this work mainstream scientists put forward their ideas on how the human race – using 20th century technology – could alter the environment of Mars to create a second Earth.  This gave me serious cause for reflection and reevaluation.  If Earth scientists could begin thinking of altering the course of evolution for an entire planet, how much more so could Beings from another world – using technologies thousands or even millions of years ahead of our own – have altered the course of our own planet far back in the remote past.  These Beings could have altered our world using techniques of planetary engineering, and they could have directly altered early humans through genetic and bio-engineering.  Suddenly the ideas and theories of Zecharia Sitchin did not seem so far fetched.

Now this is all pure speculation based on theories that have been around for a few years now.  What I am trying to do in the course of this article is not to try to prove or disprove any theory, including the theory of Special Creation or Ancient Astronauts.  But what I feel we must do is raise serious questions about everything.  What if the Ancient Astronaut theory is correct and we find it can be proven after we make contact with Extraterrestrial races who were involved in the process?  What if human scientists are able to show a genetic link between races of this world and races of other worlds?  What would be the impact of these revelations on our religious and social institutions?  Would we bow down and worship the alien creators as our ancestors once did?  Would we go bat-shit crazy and start destroying everything we could not accept?  Or would we take it all in stride and intelligently begin to reexamine our myths and legends about our world and our species and learn to accept the new visitors as brothers and sisters rather than as gods or demons?  I prefer the third alternative, but realistically we should probably expect to see a combination of things go down under those extreme circumstances.

This is why I feel it is of vital importance that we open our eyes to the emerging field of ExoTheologyExoTheology is the art of asking questions about religion and Spirituality in the light of new scientific advances and discoveries in space exploration.  And, in attempting to understand new paradigms, Exotheology is going to be an important tool for us to use.  If it comes out that aliens actually did have a hand in creating our species, what does that say about the concept of a God; a Supreme Being from Whom all things emerge?  Would it mean there is no God, just funny little grey guys running around in flying saucers?  Or, would it mean that the Supreme Being allows lower but still advanced beings to participate in the process of Creation?  I think this second attitude is probably more correct in my own way of thinking about these things.  If there are aliens, who created them?  Other aliens perhaps?  And who created the other aliens?  Still other aliens?  Or is there a Divine Mystical Source that chooses to create in stages giving His/Her children the power to create and co-create on their own?  If this is true, then the Biblical story we were all taught to believe as children could still be seen as being basically true, but just overly simplified so as to be understandable to a pre space-age civilization of primitive hunters and shepherds.  We could still maintain our religious myths and legends, but at the same time leave room to update them in the light of new discoveries.  I feel this is the wiser option, but to be able to do this, we must become teachable so as to accept the radical new realities of the 20th and 21st centuries.  I have a feeling that, as much as we have already been through, we ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

When it comes to topics like ExoTheology, most people ignore it to focus on more important things like baseball, football, and hockey.  But, if we are to become adults in the New Age, we have to open our minds to new ways of thinking.  We don’t need to mindlessly accept every fantastic theory that comes our way, but we do have to give it all a far shake.  It was once believed that the Earth was flat and that the Sun and the stars all revolved around us.  Now, most of us know better than that.  Today we are faced with another fundamental question; are we alone in the Universe?  Most of humanity has come to the conclusion that we are not alone.  How does this new understanding impact our religions, our societies and our culture?  That is where disciplines like ExoTheology are going to play an important role in the months and years ahead.

A Real Witch School For Correllian Wicca: Witch School International

Witch School International.  Also Known As Correllian Educational Ministries. 

Harry Potter had Hogwarts.  Little Wyatt on the Charmed series had Magic School.  But where does the real life student of the Esoteric go to study Witchcraft and Wizardry?  It may come as a surprise, but there really is an established school of Witchcraft that practically anyone with a computer connection can join, and it’s been around now for over 10 years.  I joined as a lifetime member back in 2015 when it was known as Witch School International.  Today it has gone through a few changes and is coming to be known as Correllian Educational Ministries.  But it has the same web address, the same courses and the same mission; to help average muggles who want to learn the Correllian Nativist Tradition of Wicca begin their Wiccan Journey.

The school is really neat in that it allows students to study at their own pace.  I’m still working on my 1st Degree; a study I had to set aside for 2 years due to family health problems, but have now picked back up once again in earnest.  There are a wide variety of courses to choose from such as Tarot, Advanced Symbolism and Druid studies…and that is just for starters.  You can also enroll in programs to become a priest or priestess in the Correllian tradition.   The First Degree level takes about one year of study.  After successfully completing the course work the student can then become initiated into the order if they so desire.  Initiation is not mandatory;  a person can take the program just for the benefit of learning more about an established branch of  Wicca without being initiated into the craft.

The Correllian Nativist Tradition of Wicca is interesting in that it was the first school of Wiccan thought to embrace the internet as an educational tool.  This openness has led to the tradition being spread all over the world reaching out to interested people from all races, creeds, nationalities, and all walks of life.   The Correllian tradition makes no claims to exclusivity.  They see themselves as one branch of paganism among many, and they seek to bridge the gaps between different schools of Wicca and Paganism so that all can unite peacefully for the greater good of all.  You can become a Correllian and still practice other faith traditions.  So long as one does not violate the Wiccan Rede and shows respect for Correllian practices, one is at liberty to live their life as they see fit.  All in all it is a pretty laid back and easy to practice tradition.

How much does membership in Witch School cost?  You can pay $5 per month or pay yearly for $29.99.  Lifetime memberships are also available.  The minimum age to begin study is 13; there is no maximum age.  I’m 56 and loving it!

To learn more about The Correllian Nativist Tradition you can check out their OFFICIAL WEBSITE HERE.

To jump right in and check out Witch School CLICK HERE!

 

Correllian Wicca.

This week I am going to be focusing on Wicca in general and Correllian Wicca in particular. I first learned of Correllian Wicca about 10 years ago from Rev. Don Lewis-Highcorrell. His is a family line of Wicca which was handed down to him by his mother and grandmother. Family lineages in any esoteric field of study are very strong for the seeker as they are derived not out of theory alone, but come out of a living, growing tradition. This is one reason I find Rev. Don to be such a valuable teacher; he encourages the student to grow and explore the themes he teaches, each in her or his own way. He expects the student not just to learn the craft like an indoctrinated parrot, but to take the lessons taught and organically mold and reshape them to fit her or his life needs and experiences. His is a personal experience of the Wiccan journey, and he encourages his students to make it their personal journey as well.

It was through Rev. Don’s teachings that I slowly became aware of my own family background in the occult. Unlike Rev Don’s family where witchcraft was taught openly within the family unit and handed down from one generation to the next, my family experience in the esoteric was carefully concealed, mainly due to social pressure to fit in and the anti-witchcraft laws that were on the books in many places around the world until the 1950’s. Due to these pressures and others, my grandmother did not teach us openly, but she did give hints and clues as to her true family background. She had a crystal ball, which I have inherited, and with it she delighted her grandchildren by throwing a veil over her head and doing playful spiritual consultations. We, of course, thought it was all for fun. Later, when I learned to recognize the clues and gained the ability to reconnect with her beyond the veil, I began to learn the fuller truth. I now wonder how many other people there are who come from a similar family background and who are completely unaware of their rich family tradition. More than a few is my guess.

Below is an introductory video by Rev. Don Lewis. If you are interested in learning more about Wicca, Witchcraft, and Magic, Rev Don is a great place to start. You can find his videos on YouTube (MagickTv) and find out if you like his teachings. If so, you can find his Witch School series here at our Temple Book Store.

Three Styles of Religious/Spiritual Leadership

Over the years I have seen several different styles of leadership within religious and spiritual organizations.  I’ve broken these down into 3 main categories which I will list here, each illustrated by a Tarot card.  Not everybody will fit neatly into these categories as most of us are a mixture of different leadership styles.  However a person will tend to favor one style over another, especially during times of stress in which a person will suddenly “default” to their main category setting.  Here then are the three main leadership styles that I see in most religious/spiritual organizations.

The King.

The King/Queen is all about power and keeping order.  A leader operating out of the mindset of the King/Queen will have no problems making their authority felt.  Indeed they may rather enjoy making their power felt.  Anyone crossing this kind of leader will be in for a hard time.  I have seen leaders who fall into this category treat their followers like children and berate them publicly without regard.  They lay down the law with no concern over who in the organization may be hurt, so long as it protects themselves and their organization as a whole.  A person operating out of this mindset will not be the most self reflective sort.  Instead they will be quick to point the finger of blame at other people, even when it turns out they themselves share at least some of the blame.  Would be reformers who come up against this type of a leader had better be prepared to fight to the figurative death if needed, because the King/Queen will have no problem screaming “Off with his head!” when it comes down to it.  The King/Queen is more concerned with property and titles than they are with people and is the least spiritual type of leader you will see in any religious organization.  This style of leadership is best symbolized in Tarot terms by the King or Queen of Swords reversed.

The Priest.

The Priest (here symbolized by the Pope card) is decidedly more spiritual than the King, but is still pretty much concerned about maintaining power and control and can be obsessed by money and material matters as well.  The Priest is all about conventional structures and religious traditions.  The Priest will favor structure and tradition over new ideas or innovative solutions to problems.  Like the King, the Priest too will make his/her power felt when things come down to it.  But the Priest will be far more likely to step out of the way and sacrifice himself/herself for the greater good of the institution.  The Priest has the powers of self reflection that the King often lacks and will be more likely to admit fault and accept blame when it is appropriate to do so.  Whereas the King considers himself/herself to be the highest authority within the organization, the Priest places himself/herself under the control of the God/dess of their understanding.  And, if they feel they are  wrong in any given situation, they will be far more likely to admit it and make amends.

The Shaman.

The Shaman (here represented by The Hermit card) is the most Spiritual leader of them all.  He/she is also the most unpredictable leader of all.  The Shaman does not take his/her orders from the institutions or from the traditions of humanity.  Rather The Shaman is directed by the Realm of Spirit, and if the directives of Spirit come into conflict with the world of human rules and regulations, then so be it.  The Shaman will come down on the side of Spirit no matter how difficult it may be or how ridiculous  it may seem to others.  Think of the Prophets of old who flew in the face of social norms in order to make an important point.  This is the way of the Shaman.  The Shaman learns from the world of Spirit, and will carry out the instructions of Spirit to the best of his/her understanding.  If the Spirit wills for the community to carry on the way it has for decades, that will be the way the Shaman directs.  But if the Shaman believes a radical departure from normal activities is what the Spirit wills, then the Shaman will be the first one to begin burning the old structures down and building up new ones.  Not to say the Shaman is always the revolutionary.  Far from it.  In some communities Shaman have maintained structures that have lasted for thousands of years.  But when Spirit says it is time for a change, then the Shaman will come across as the radical.  In Western societies we tend to favor the leadership style of the King and the Priest.  The role of the Shaman is usually regarded with great suspicion, and Shamanic like leaders generally find themselves persecuted by their more conservative peers.  Yet the Shaman is invaluable in reminding the faithful of any organization what it is like to be truly led by the Spirit.

Each of these leadership styles has it’s own strengths and weaknesses.  Plus there is more to their individual personalities than what I have detailed here.  This is just a rough sketch of each leadership type, and most actual leaders will exhibit qualities of at least two and perhaps all three of these categories.  In closing I would also like to add that one leadership style is not necessarily better or worse than the other.  In actual practice we need a blend of all three leadership types in order to protect, defend and reform our religious and Spiritual organizations.  In a perfect world The King, The Priest and The Shaman would work together and learn from one another for the good of their community.  But, in an imperfect world such as the one in which we currently live, there tends to be an awful lot of fighting  and fussing between them.  Hopefully, in the end, all will work out as it should.

 

The cards used to illustrate this post are taken from The Tarot of Marseilles.  You can order this deck or others by clicking the link below:

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Tarot Card Interpretation: The Fool.

 

The Fool can be seen as the adventurer; the pioneer just setting off on a new venture.  In the minds of most people The Fool indicates folly, which is one possible interpretation.  But The Fool can also represent someone who seems foolish on the surface because they do not fear going against the grain of society.  In this light the Wright Brothers could be considered “fools” because they believed so firmly that they could find a way to fly, they dedicated a large chunk of their lives and fortunes working to make that dream a reality.  Now to us, the Wright Brothers were visionaries.  But back in the early 1900’s, many people probably considered them wack jobs…right up until the time they flew at Kitty Hawk.

So sometimes The Fool can be a wise person; someone who is “right” ahead of their time.  And this in itself can be dangerous ground to walk.  But The Fool walks it with wild abandon.  And this is one reason we call The Fool a fool; he/she takes risks that most sane people would avoid.  Sometimes the risk pays off as in the example of Kitty Hawk.  And sometimes the risk does not pay off as in the example of the many brave pioneers of powered flight who threw themselves off of cliffs thinking their artificial wings would cause them to soar like birds, only to crash like a brick to the ground below.  Yet, The Fool takes the risk.  Sometimes after careful and wise consideration; and sometimes without a second thought, which can be very foolish indeed.

There are other positive qualities about The Fool to consider as well.  The willingness to do difficult tasks, and do them with a sense of humor and good will.  Also having the ability to make people laugh and even to poke fun of themselves.  But the main keyword I hang onto is the adventurer; the person willing to try to make the difficult doable, and the impossible possible.  These are the people who drive all human industry, and without them we would still be living in the Dark Ages.  All Hail The Fool! 🙂

 

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