Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The 21 Faces of God – The True Origins of the Tarot

The Tarot is the poor cousin of the other esoteric disciplines such as alchemy, the kabbalah and astrology.  In the 20th century Carl Jung elevated alchemy to respectability and Gershom Sholem did the same for the Kabbalah while in astrology figures like Liz Greene, Robert Hand and Geoffrey Cornelius have written serious, scholarly work on the topic.

But the Tarot has found no such allies or towering figures to do its bidding.  Both astrology (Ptolemy's Tetrabiblos) and the Kabbalah (Zohar)  have foundational texts and alchemy has revered works like the medieval Aurora Consurgens which was attributed to Thomas Aquinas.  Newton was obsessed with alchemy and Kepler was known as a brilliant astrologer, but the Tarot has no such legendary figures to enhance its credibility.

The origins of the Tarot are in a Mamluk card game which arrived in Europe sometime around the early 14th century.  The major arcana of the Tarot were added to the original game in Italy in the 15th century and it’s in the major arcana, the 22 trump cards, wherein lies the transcendent power of the cards. The only prominent academic to write about the tarot, the English philosopher Michael Dummet, insisted that it had no esoteric meaning and though the prominent Renaissance scholar Frances Yates, took umbrage, no one of her caliber has ever taken on the challenge to dig deeper into the meaning of the major arcana.

We are left with 18th and 19th century figures like Etteilla, Antoine Court de Gébelin, and Éliphas Lévi and 20th century figures such as Arthur Edward Waite and Aleister Crowley to find some transcendent qualities in the cards.  This is were the confusion arises as these 19th and 20th century occultists focused on  Egypt and especially the Kabbalah as the cosmological backbone of the major arcana.  This was a crucial error and began a tradition of attributing to the Tarot whatever suited one’s fancy.

The main cause of this problem is the number 22.  The Hebrew alphabet has 22 letters and there are 22 paths connecting the Sephiroth on the Tree of Life and because of this occultists jumped on the connection and were sure that the Kabbalistic Tree of Life and the major arcana were correlated.  First off, this is mere coincidence, and secondly, there are really only 21 cards in the major arcana, The Fool being a liminal figure between the Trump cards and the minor arcana.  The prominent scholar of the Kabbalah, Gershom Sholem, was adamant that there was no connection between the Kabbalah and the Tarot.

One might as well try and connect the Kabbalah to Buddhism.  The Kabbalah and the Tarot come from very different linguistic, cultural and religious world views.  The major arcana of the Tarot are rooted in alchemy, Pythagoras, Plato, western astrology and medieval Christology.  Nonetheless, the Tarot has become a place where all ideas stick and while this has creative and psychological merit, it also takes away from the true meaning of the cards.

But maybe for just this reason, the Tarot is all the rage.  The Village Voice even went so far as to write, “New York is in the middle of a tarot revival” and goes on to describe how New Yorkers are in the grips of a Tarot craze and the The New York Times writes, “Tarot-deck sales in general are up 30 percent this year, after rising 30 percent in 2016 — the highest in 50 years,” and it goes on to explain how Dior is using Tarot images in it’s designs.

In spite of the lack of a great text or eminent figures to support it, the Tarot persists in convincing millions that within what appears as a mere game, there is something more - and there is.  The new documentary, The 21 Faces of God attempts to tap into the deeper meaning of the cards by exploring the foundational ideas of the of Western esoteric tradition and weaving the path of the cards using film, art, music and commentaries from figures like Joseph Campbell, Terence Mckenna and Carl Jung.

Monday, February 23, 2015

We're All Zombies

Night of the Living Dead (1968) - Directed by George Romero
"I have always liked the 'monster within' idea. I like to think of zombies as being us. Zombies are the blue-collar monsters." - George Romero

The most heinous thing a human can do is eat another human.  Fear of cannibalism along with the other two great taboos, incest and intra-family violence, are the bedrocks of human culture.  Without these taboos there is no human civilization, yet zombie cannibals are everywhere, from the most popular TV shows in the US and Europe to the most played PC games.   Everywhere we look there is a zombie dragging his feet looking for human prey.  The ubiquitous nature of this meme of semi-human creatures that survive only by breaking the most fundamental of human taboos is a clear indicator of a collective cultural pathology.

Humans must not only kill and eat plants and animals to survive, we must make sure they keep coming back so they can be killed and eaten again and again.  Life needs death;  we must kill to live, and eventually we all wind up as someone else's food.  This paradox lies at the core of the world’s religions and mythologies and the fear/repulsion of eating other humans is the keystone of our culture, without it we turn on ourselves and self-annihilation ensues.  The zombie meme is a modern myth pointing to a deep fear of self-destruction.

The great psychologist and mystic Carl Jung was asked if a myth could be equated to a collective dream and he answered this way, “A myth…is the product of an unconscious process in a particular social group, at a particular time, at a particular place. This unconscious process can naturally be equated with a dream. Hence anyone who ‘mythologizes,’ that is, tells myths, is speaking out of this dream.”

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Seven Pillars of the Matrix

“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.”
― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Contemporary baptized, corporatized and sanitized man rarely has the occasion to question his identity, and when he does a typical response might be, “I am product manager for a large retail chain, married to Betty, father of Johnny, a Democrat, Steelers fan and a Lutheran.”

His answers imply not only his beliefs but the many responsibilities, rules and restrictions he is subjected to.  Few if any of these were ever negotiated-  they were imposed on him yet he still considers himself free.

But is free the right adjective for him, or would modern domesticated simian be more apt?  He has been told what to do, believe, think and feel since he can remember.  A very clever rancher has bred billions of these creatures around the globe and created the most profitable livestock imaginable.  They work for him, fight for him, die for him, believe his wildest tales, laugh at his jokes and rarely get out of line.  When domesticated man does break one of the rules there are armies, jailers, psychiatrists and bureaucrats prepared to kill, incarcerate, drug or hound the transgressor into submission.

The Moral Hazard of Modern Banking: How Banks Create and Destroy Money

The Money Lenders by  Quentin Metsys - 1466
"I'm just a banker do doing God's work."  Lloyd Blankfein

Much has been said about both the moral hazard of banks being bailed out and people bailing out of mortgages. The major question raised was, would this ‘bailout’ contagion infect the integrity of our economic and political system?  But far more interesting and much less discussed are the mechanics of modern banking and their moral implications.

During the housing boom trillions were loaned out in mortgages creating a housing bubble and the eventual collapse of the financial markets. But where did all that money come from? The vast majority of people think that banks borrow money from the Fed or depositors at one rate, lend it at another and make a spread. This concept is completely false. Banks create money, loan it out, make their margin through compound interest, and destroy the same money that they created as it is paid back.

The Mechanics of Fractional Reserve Banking

The mechanics of modern banking are opaque, misunderstood and arguably dishonest. Modern fiat money, the dollar, euro, yen etc are all based on debt. For every dollar in existence, there is somewhere an IOU for the same amount. This is best illustrated with an example of a typical mortgage.

Imagine Jack wants to by Jill’s house for $100,000 and he has no money to buy it so he goes to his local bank and asks for a mortgage which is approved. The bank will ask Jack for a promissory note, an IOU, for the $100,000 and once he signs it, they open an account in which they create from nothing $100,000 for Jack in exchange for his IOU. That $100,000 is a liability for the bank, their asset is the IOU. The bank just ‘created’ $100,000 which is backed by the good faith of Jack to pay it back as well as the deed to the house he bought.  Now the bank loans that money to Jack, with compound interest. The interest is the fee the bank charges for monetizing the debt. Jill would not have wanted an IOU from Jack for the 100K, so the bank did him the service of converting his IOU into dollars, and for this service they charge him interest. As Jack pays down his mortgage principal, the value of the IOU will be drawn down as well, until all the money ‘created’ is destroyed, and the IOU is worthless.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Are Cats a Higher Life Form?

I have a good friend who is very intelligent. She is a highly educated scientist and I would say that her IQ is in the 135+ range. But not only is she very intelligent, she is unselfconsciously intelligent, which is a refreshing trait in today’s self-congratulatory culture. Remember when athletes didn’t jump up and down like little girls every time they did what they were being paid millions to do? Thank God for baseball, nothing like a 95 MPH fastball up and in to shut up a blowhard. But back to cats.

My friend is not only very smart and unpretentious, she is a genuinely good person, you could say she is very kind, maybe the “most good” person I have ever known. She never makes grandiose statements, never gives big speeches, and her most common answer is ‘maybe’ or ‘I don’t know.’ So yours truly feels like a stupid, pedantic and evil human in her presence, but that’s another story.

She has a cat named Moshe. Moshe is a black cat with patches of white on his paws and neck. Moshe is a street cat, brought to my friend’s house as a lost kitten by the neighborhood kids. He is very wild and would just as soon bite or scratch you as purr in your lap. Moshe has something of Bulgakov’s foul mouthed, vodka swigging Behemoth. When Moshe bites me or scratches me, I usually give him a good swift kick in the ass, but we have, for the most part, learned to maintain a tense truce.

Now Moshe, like all cats, is very peculiar. He is fascinated by water, like many cats, and while eating is his biggest joy, there seems to be one thing that he enjoys more, and that is classical music. If Bach is on the sound system not even the shaking of his food bag will bring him out of the bedroom to eat. And he has a strange affinity for books. Don DeLillo’s Underground, a serious tome, was on the widow sill for awhile and Moshe always rested his head on the book as if he were pondering DeLillo’s Cold War America. Watching this, I made the comment to my friend that maybe her feline companion had been a member of the aristocracy in a past life, but probably due to some homicidal tendencies was brought to the world as a cat.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Gold Will Break Below $960 – It’s in the Script

As gold broke below the psychologically important level of $1,200 an ounce late in December of 2013, the mainstream financial media burst with headlines like this one from Marketwatch, "Gold’s Safe-Haven Role is Over".  The Nobel prize winning economist from The NY Times, Paul Krugman, penned a wicked missive on the ‘barbarous relic’ by invoking Keynes and the absurdity of miners going to “great lengths to dig cash out of the ground, even though unlimited amounts of cash could be created at essentially no cost with the printing press.”

The basis of a vibrant and dynamic society is an open and free marketplace where people ‘vote’ with their decisions on where to spend money, where to live, what to read, who to vote for, etc.  In the United States, a good example of what occurs when decisions are centralized is healthcare and education-  the key decisions are made outside the mainstream of the marketplace and the country ranks far below the rest of the developed world, even behind countries with considerably less economic wealth.  As central planning and regulations remove potential players and solidify the positions of special interests, the quality of education and healthcare has plummeted.

So what does this have to do with the price of gold?  Everything.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Vladimir Vladimirovich and the Grey Lady

Bill Keller, editorialist for The NY Times and former executive editor of the paper, has recently penned a strong attack on Vladimir Putin arguing that Putin’s leadership “deliberately distances Russia from the socially and culturally liberal West”, describing the Kremlin’s policies as “laws giving official sanction to the terrorizing of gays and lesbians, the jailing of members of a punk protest group for offenses against the Russian Orthodox Church, the demonizing of Western-backed pro-democracy organizations as ‘foreign agents’, expansive new laws on treason, limits on foreign adoptions.”

Keller, who during his tenure as executive editor of The NY Times argued for the invasion of Iraq and wrote glowingly of Paul Wolfowitz, makes no mention of Moscow’s diplomatic maneuvers that successfully avoided a US military intervention in Syria or the Russian asylum given to Edward Snowden.  Keller, who had supported the US intervention in Syria by writing, “but in Syria, I fear prudence has become fatalism, and our caution has been the father of missed opportunities, diminished credibility and enlarged tragedy,” also made no mention of Seymour Hersh’s stinging dissection of the Obama administration’s misinformation campaign regarding the sarin attacks in Syria.  Hersh’s piece, which drives grave doubts into the case against Assad actually having carried out the attacks, was not published in The New Yorker or in The Washington Post, publications that regularly run his work.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Sometimes a Man Stands up during Supper by Rainer Maria Rilke

Paula Modersohn-Becker.Rainer Maria Rilke, 1906

Sometimes a man stands up during supper and walks outdoors, and keeps on walking, because of a church that stands somewhere in the East.

And his children say blessings on him as if he were dead.

And another man, who remains inside his own house, dies there, inside the dishes and in the glasses, so that his children have to go far our into the world toward that same church, which he forgot.

Selected Poems of Rainer Maria Rilke trans. by Robert Bly

Monday, November 11, 2013

From the Summer of Love to the Arab Spring

Those who believe that the world of being is governed by luck or chance and that it depends upon material causes are far removed from the divine and from the notion of the One.
— Plotinus

On May 27, 2010 the planet Uranus entered Aries and in December of that same year, in Tunisia, Tarek Bouazizi self-immolated himself after his electronic scale and the fruit he had bought on credit were confiscated from him by a corrupt policewoman.  That spark sent flames throughout the Middle East, toppling regimes from Libya to Yemen.  Uranus would make its definitive entry into Aries on the fateful day of March 11, 2011, coinciding almost to the hour with the earthquake and ensuing disaster at Fukushima.  Aries is the first sign of the zodiac and the most self driven while Uranus is the planet that represents revolution, innovation and change- together they make a radical, ego driven cocktail.

Uranus reflects many of the traits of the time it was discovered, 1781, when the American Revolution was in full bloom and the French variant was ready to boil over.  The last time the restless Uranus had passed through the cardinal sign of Aries was between 1927 and 1935, a time when two of the most revolutionary (Uranus), and megalomaniacal (Aries) leaders in history consolidated power.  Uranus will not definitively leave Aries until March 6, 2019, by which time the world will have undergone profound changes.  We cannot say with certainty whether another calamitous dictator will appear on the world stage, but, at least in the West, we are devoid of inspired political, cultural and spiritual leadership and someone with exceptional qualities could become the focal point of a world thirsty for meaning and direction.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Trayvon and the Matrix

The Trayvon Martin affair was one of the most important media events in recent memory.  The major networks spent endless hours of prime time discussing it, but what made the episode so exceptional was who benefited from the incredible amount of coverage.

At the heart of the story were two young men who both made poor decisions- one died, and the other almost wound up in prison for life.  But is this so exceptional in America?

In fact, it’s all to common.  Data from 2008 shows that more than four minors (under 18 years) were murdered a day in the US- four Trayvons a day.  Was it the racial aspect of the case that was so exceptional? Yes, but not for the obvious reasons.  More than 80% of interracial violent crimes are black on white, which would make one think it more likely that a black on white crime would galvanize the nation, but that wasn’t the case.

Most reasonable people probably saw the tragic elements as the most outstanding feature of the Trayvon/Zimmerman encounter.  Both young men let their pride get the better of them. If only Zimmerman had stayed in the car, if only Trayvon had not began an altercation. The story is filled with the regret of how we weave our own demise- true tragedy.  But the media wanted to make this a racially charged issue, but for whose benefit?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Infomocracy Dilemma: Revolution or Disengagement?

A very small yet conscious minority has come to the realization that the current world regime is one giant corporate infomocracy that needs to be terminated with “extreme prejudice”, disengagement being the weapon of choice.  The next revolution will not be carried out by mobs of angry people, guerrillas, terrorists or, god forbid, politicians.  It will be accomplished by a small (10%) militant minority that will simply unplug the matrix.

A Very Condensed Case for Revolution

An enormous, dictatorial corporate cartel is ruling the world through its proxies in government, banking, academia and media.  Our entire western culture has become an insidious farce with the sole purpose of maintaining the enslaved masses in their conjured up democracies, religions and histories.  Two developments have increased its control exponentially:  globalisation and the information revolution. 

The world is entering the final acts of a great social, political and economic shift.  The international currency regime, the keystone of control,  is peering into the abyss; the middle east is being turned upside down; the bankrupt United States government is fighting several wars and maintaining more than 560 military bases in over 120 countries.  The insatiable greed and desire for world control have created a breach in the system.  People are becoming aware while their masters scramble for control as the chaotic climax approaches.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Carl Jung and the Origins of Alcoholics Anonymous

In 1961 Bill Wilson, founder of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), wrote a letter to the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung to thank him for his role in the founding of AA, a fact Jung was not aware of. In the letter he explained that in the 1930’s a wealthy American alcoholic, Rowland H., desperate for a cure for his affliction, went to Switzerland to seek out the help of the famous Dr. Jung. After a relapse, Dr. Jung had to tell Rowland H. that he would no longer be able to treat him, that he was incurable. The weight of the statement caused a profound shock on Rowland H., especially since it came from none other than Carl Jung. When Rowland H. pleaded for some solution, Jung told him that on very rare occasions alcoholics of Rowland’s dimensions had been ‘cured’, but only by a profound spiritual transformation, a rare occurrence.

Rowland H. joined an evangelical organization called the Oxford Group, found the spiritual experience he needed, and was saved from his alcoholism. He then dedicated himself to helping other people overcome their addiction to alcohol through ‘spiritual conversion’. One of these men was a friend of Bill Wilson’s, who once freed from his compulsion to drink, brought the message to his still drinking friend Bill Wilson. Wilson was cured almost immediately, and soon after having his last drink, he read William James' Varieties of Religious Experience, which confirmed for him the nature and meaning of his own spiritual conversion. These two elements are the first two steps, and the most important, in the twelve step program: accepting that you are hopelessly within the grips of alcohol, and that only a higher force can save you. Here is a link to Wilson’s letter to Jung.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

What QE3 Will Look Like

The recent financial fireworks in the US and in Europe have made it clear that QE3 is close at hand.  The third installment described herein is much more than just another revving up of the printing presses, as it will involve a paradigm shift intent on restoring currencies and maintaining the current  power structure.

It's an all too common mistake to see the central bankers and their mainstream media propagandists derided as incompetent fools.  These “fools”control the money and the message and it's their game to lose.  Most pundits think the powers that be have lost control and can do little more than kick the can down the road. They are wrong.  We are about to witness one of the greatest orchestrated events in human history; a monumental sleight of hand that will restore economic prosperity, keep the masses happy and most importantly- maintain the parasitic elites in power. 

Tin Hats or Tin Men

Mainstream sources deride conspiracy theorists as simpletons unable to  deal with the complexity of the world;  the tin hat crowd are in need of a “God” or “bogeyman” to explain the evils of the world.  The sophisticated academics and journalists tell us that history is the product of countless interests fighting for limited resources. The cabal of bankers is nothing more than a mirage conjured up in the thirsty imagination of simpletons.

If one wears a shiny tin hat then the problem, and the solution, are very different: the 1%  crowd have created an enormous pyramid scheme supported by magnificent lies preached from schools, televisions, governments, churches, newspapers, universities and the like.  The mission is to wake up their brothers and the whole misbegotten scheme will melt into a sea of crisp consciousness.

What is is not in doubt is that the world reserve currency is nearing the end of its viability at least in its current form. The only other two options, the euro and the yen, are in as bad or worse shape.  The end game has arrived for the current monetary system which began with Bretton Woods in 1944. The sub prime crisis, the Fukushima earthquake and nuclear disaster and the PIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Greece & Spain) were the final nails in the coffin of the dollar reserve system. 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Who's Afraid of Ron Paul?

Congressman Ron Paul
Bankers, War Mongers, Drug Dealers, The New York Times, The  Military Industrial Complex, the Neo-Cons, The Wall Street Journal, The DEA, Organized Crime, The CIA, the FBI, The FDA, The Department of Education, The Federal Reserve and the IRS.

“With politicians like these,who needs terrorists?” Ron Paul

Ron Paul is neither a big man nor a loud one and his polite demeanor effectively disguises a vicious fighting spirit. No other politician in recent history has been the been lone dissenter on so many congressional votes.  From Mother Teresa to Gaza, only one man dissented: Ron Paul. He transcends party lines, confusing the mass media who are not sure whether he is a radical left wing peace nick or a John Birch Manchurian candidate.

Right or Left?

“We can achieve much more in peace than we can ever achieve in these needless, unconstitutional, undeclared wars.” Ron Paul

As shocking as it may seem to The New York Times, Fox, The Wall Street Journal and CNN, The Constitution and The Declaration of Independence actually call for a peaceful, free Republic unencumbered by Government.

What other member of Congress is for ending the war on drugs, phasing out Medicare and Medicaid, making Social Security optional, legalizing prostitution, ending The Fed, halting all aid to Israel, lowering taxes, and closing all American military bases abroad? How do you define Ron Paul within the current political spectrum? You can’t. He simply doesn't fit into any of the convenient labels available for the two party charade. The Ivy Leagued Wall Street/Washington nexus doesn't know what to make of man who is against two of the most dreaded things in life: war and taxes.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Bankers & Fools

After a tense week with world markets teetering on the edge of collapse Angela Merkle finally met with her French counterpart Nicholas Sarkozy and they ended the seventh month chill in their once cozy relationship. According to  The Independent, they faced a serious impasse regarding bank haircuts in the "déjà vu all over again" Greek financial crisis. Sarkozy fought tooth and nail to guarantee that the largest holders of Greek debt, the French banks, wouldn’t get a clipping. Merkel made a valiant effort to demand accountability from the banks but she finally caved in, giving great comfort to the second largest holders of Greek debt: the German banks.

According to the Financial Times, French banks are holding $53 billion in Greek debt, Credit Agricole alone is $30 billion invested, while German banks are holding $34 billion. Colloquially speaking, Frau Merkel and Monsieur Sarkozy know who their daddy is.

Follow the Money

One key question is missing from the discussion of the Greek sovereign debt crisis. Imagine a close friend is moaning non-stop about a debt owed to them that looks like it won’t be paid. Worst of all they borrowed the money from someone else in order to lend it! Most attentive and caring friends would make that most indelicate but necessary of inquiries. Who did you borrow the money from?

We are blessed to have a corporate media so polite  that they don’t burden us with these embarrassing questions. Where did the French and German banks get the $87 billion to lend the Greeks? They would have you think that these are the deposits of hard working Europeans, small businesses, corporations and maybe even tax revenue from governments. This is not the case. Banks use their assets as reserves against which they either “create” money to lend or borrow "created" money  from central banks, in this case, the European Central Bank. When buying government bonds, which supposedly have no risk, they use maximum leverage and actually have no reserve requirements.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Fake Bull Market: A Dollar Mirage

José Tomás
The SP 500 hit an apocryphal low of 666 during the financial crisis  in March of 2009 from which point it has surged to more than double in price in about two years. This bull market is one of the most robust in  US equities history; its only rivals are the end of the roaring 20’s and the late 1990’s.

There probably couldn’t be two more diametrically opposed moments in US history as the to late 1990’s and the post financial crisis period. The late 1990’s were a period of massive innovation, relative peace, budget surpluses and low unemployment. The US military was resting on its laurels after a swift, definitive victory over Saddam Hussein and the once ominous Soviet threat had disappeared, mired in a decade of decay. Microsoft, Yahoo, Oracle, EBay and the like had made advanced technology once again part of the America brand after the 1970’s and 80’s when it seemed Japan would overtake the US as both the world's dominate economy and innovator. But the nineties were a lost decade for the Japanese and saw a serous decline in their economic power relative to the United States. The 1990’s were the culmination of an American century and victory in the Cold War;  the long, sustained bull market made sense.

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