Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Five of Swords

I love swords, always have. As a kid I always wanted to be a knight of the round table, but my middle name was Merlin so I always got stuck with the wand.

Then there was Thundar the Barbarian! He had a bad ass sword and ran with a hot witch too. Then there was Star Wars....Awww yeah... need I say more?

Then I wanted to be a Nina! (with a light saber.) I even got to visit my aunt and uncle when they lived in Japan. They knew a real live Samurai, I even got a few tips, the story quickly evolved into "my special training" when I returned home. Shhhhhhhhhhhh...

Their so symbolic, and seem to be one of those universal things we all share as a species. I think almost every culture has one. They mean so many different things to so many different people.

Now days their mostly ceremonial, which is one reason why this card holds so much significance to me, our tradition employs five swords to open the temple. Reminds me of how I ran off with them in the Seven of Swords card and just like that one I have some feelings, repressed emotions and unexpressed frustrations attached to this one.

As healthy as it is to purge and as much as I would love to feverishly vent, I am oath bound against it. Sigh. So it will go in the private journal too. All I can say is that's me, those are my swords and that scene is so accurate it scares the crap out of me! But it is comforting to see how it stay true to what I have said about the swords in the past.

Never give up your sword, never.

Monday, December 29, 2008

The World

Um... Hmm... were to begin... well it's big... and round... mostly covered by water, third planet from the sun, and "Mostly Harmless". (If you understand that last reference then I really like you and you can suck on my towel anytime!)

But seriously, I like this card, the symbolism is pretty straightforward, at least to a primate like me. But for those of you who don't know the basics of it, the heads of the Bull, Eagle, Lyon and Man represent the elements Earth, Air, Fire and Water.

This is one of the cards we use in our first degree initiations, much like a Masonic Tracing Board, which has been a personal hobby of mine for many years and sparked a deeper interest in the Tarot.

We use this card to illustrate the basics; how the world is composed of these four primary elements and how our bodies * also composed of these same elements* contain our spirit or soul. We also use it as a Tracing Board for the Lodestone, which is a daily adoration exercise.

One of the more subtle symbols of the card always seems to be the Vesica Piscis, more pronounced in this earlier Tarot of Mareilles.

The deeper symbolism of the Vesica has been a recent study project of mine and has turned out to be essential to the higher degrees of my CraftWork.

I was really intrigued by these very earlier renderings found in the Illuminated Manuscript, especially these ones of Jesus, which I know will be of interest to at least one particularly Christian Ceremonial Magician I know.

Should my prior interpretation of the cards symbolism change when I consider this older depiction of Jesus? No, I think not, I think perhaps it validates it. Especially when you consider the *union* symbolism that creates the Vesica.

"The symbols of the wise are the idols of the vulgar, or else as meaningless as the hieroglyphics of Egypt to the nomadic Arabs. There must be always a common place interpretation for the mass of initiates, of the symbols that are eloquent to the Adepts" Albert Pike, Morals & Dogma.

So long and thanks for all the fish...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Holy crap! That's what it's called "Holy" crap. All I keep hearing about is the rapture. It scares me that mature, intelligent, educated people really believe this stuff, seriously.

This evening I was browsing the metaphysics section at Borders bookstore. I think it's funny and ironic that they place our section back to back with the Christian end of the religion section. And I think maybe they do it on purpose...

As I thumbed through books, I listened to two people talking about the rapture. They spoke about different Christian authors on the subject much the way we Pagans talk shop. One remarked how one author was "too warm and fuzzy" about the rapture.

It was the second time in my life I experienced a Christian who was looking forward to Armageddon. While serving in the military I often provided Pagan religious services, specially during deployments. While in Iraq most of the soldiers in my squad were Pagan-ish. Most had been to a sweat lodge ceremony or a full moon ritual or were open minded enough to hold an interesting conversation.

They gave us a new guy once, who spent every waking moment trying to save us. I had to give him direct orders to put down his bible and pick up his weapon. Inevitably, the subject came up again. It was a quiet, private conversation between a soldier and myself . The Christian jumped in about how this was a Holy War between "us Christians and the Muslims"

When I disagreed with him, he flipped out and assailed me with bible verses. He told me he couldn't wait for the apocalypse and the final judgment, so that when we were burning in hell, we would know that he was right, because we were infidels and that's what we deserved. Needless to say I had him removed from my squad that day.

So for some reason these two in the next isle decided to come slumming down in metaphysics. One, the women asked me if I saw any Masonic books, I pointed out a few and asked what she was looking for, mentioning that I was a Mason and would be happy to try to answer any questions she may have. Turns out she was looking for the conspiracy theory version of Freemasonry and was happy to point out the books that reveal all of our secret plans for world domination, persecution and the enslavement of the all good Christians.

And her friend started in on me, and our Satanic rituals. And it really went south from there. It was close to getting physical. My children were with me, and this guys calling us devil worshipers. It's scary what these people believe. It's so insane, their so insane, scares me. I wish I could surrender my free will and let someone else do it all for me. I would be so nice to believe in the rapture, it must be nice, to not have to take responsibility for all the damage we're doing to this planet, and to each other, because Jesus will fix it all....

Someone let him know, his disciples have taken care of all the judgments for him.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Yule Tide


Wow I had a great yule this year. This was the scene at our house just before the Oak King (me) beat the crap outta the Holly King, and took my rightful place on the throne to rule once again.

Sorry I haven't kept up on my blog lately, I got carried off by the Yule tides, busy doing services for the prison, Coven and yesterday at the Unitarian church. Who know they were Pagans?!?!

But wow, it's been a really great couple of days. I love Yule, you can celebrate the holiday season with all the feels of Christmas, but withOUT all the Christianity. It's what I love most about being a Pagan, all the holidays. All the celebrations, the food, fun and family, without the religious dogma.

So I've already got started on the spring cleaning, getting ready, gearing up for my first book. I wrote the Auguris a while back, and self publish it for Coven use, prison services and workshops, but close friends have been pushing me to expand on it *written explanations* chapter by chapter and I am finally gonna go for it. So here's another prescription from Magna Rota, the Wheel of the Year


To merry times the wheel now turns
In coven hearth the yule log burns
Jingles ward misfortune spurn
The rooster calls for the suns return
Merry vigil all mothers night
So tolls the bell at first light
Now comes the time for joy and mirth
As we hail the suns rebirth
Farthest light from farthest sun
the battle now has begun
Roll the wreath and burn the wheel
let vows beneath the bough now seal
Beset the wren birch rids in hand
Depose the old king for his last stand
Hail & wassail with evergreens & ale
Bury the bird and let the oak king prevail!
On Turns the Wheel.

Text Copyright Joseph Merlin Nichter 2006

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Two of Swords, from the Joe Tarot

The subtitle for this post is "proof of life". Yes I am still alive, I had not realized how long it has been since I have posted. I have taken my own advise and unplugged myself quite a bit more and more often, apparently there is this whole real world out there, outside the matrix...

I love the holidays, LOVE the holidays. One of the many things I love about being Wiccan is all the holidays, not only do we have more, ours are really cool.

Yule is always fun. We enact the battle of the Oak and Holly kings in the most creative ways. This last Mid-summer the battle was conducted in a professional wrestling theme. We had the big title belt we had our managers talking trash, and our announcer "Leeeeetss Geeeeeet Readyyyy To Rrruuuummmmbleee!!!!!"

I was The Oak King and I got my ass handed to me. The Holly king out weighs my by over sixty to seventy pounds. It was a massacre. I have had six month to prepare and plot my revenge! MooHoo Haa Haaaahahahahahahahha!

So I have had my eye on these wooden swords for some time, waiting for the excuse to buy them, and then along came Yule. Ahhhh perfect for the battle. I dug out my trust wood burner and spent most of the day working on the mighty Oak king (me) sword. I am pretty proud of my first attempt.

The hardest part was burning on the curved surface of the handle. I included a before sword and and after sword. The crazy stick figure is my personal version of the Ogham Few "Doo-er" meaning "Oak" and an oak leaf on the opposite side of the blade.

Once I get that Weeny the Holly kings sword done I'll varnish them and post another pic.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

King of Pentacles

This first thing that comes to mind when I look at this card is my Dad. Not my real father, that's another card. But my step Dad. I have posted about how I adopted my *step* daughter here and here.

There is a common theme of the step father being some horrible abusive alcoholic. In my life it has been quite the reverse. My real father was a drug addict and an alcoholic. He routinely chose drugs and booze over my mother and me.

My mother wanted more for herself and much more for me so she left him and a few years later met *my Dad*. This guy worked a full time job, a part time job, went to night school, worked odd jobs on the weekends, kept the lawn mowed, and still found time to teach me how to tie my shoes, aim when I pee and throw a football at me. He has always been there for me, still is.

This card is about the Pentacle, King of earth. That's my dad, the most grounded man on the planet. His foot in the bulls head represents his quiet strength. The armor reminding me that although he has always been a very happy and peaceful man, underneath those robes he's a warrior.

The growth of vegetation and the grapes are fitting, my father has always worked the lands of our family home and now works in wineries. Every Mabon, which they fittingly call *the crush* he sends me a few bottles of wine.

The earth is our foundation, and he laid the foundation for me. Teaching me how to be a good man, by example. I am sure if I had not had such a bad father, I would not appreciate my Dad as much as I do. I would not value fatherhood as much as I do, I would not value my children as much as I do.

My Dad, the King of Pentacles.