Sunday, 30 December 2012

How the Hermit's Lantern of Truth Can Become a New Year Beacon


Last night before sleep, I was reading one of the wise books of our people, comparing the esoteric understandings that connect the Imperium with our world: ‘Occult tradition teaches us that entering the astral level allows us to create reality out of thought, even to leave behind artefacts for others to find. Beyond the doorway waits the lantern, a gift from previous hermits who have made this journey before him…’ (Rachel Pollack, The Shining Tribe Tarot).

I was moved to draw three cards representing this figure to understand this wisdom better, L’Hermite from the Marseilles Tarot by Alexandre Jodorowsky and Philippe Camoin The Inventor from the Steampunk Tarot, the Hermit from Rachel Pollack’s original Shining Woman Tarot (now retitled Shining Tribe Tarot.) I give these comparisons for the benefit of all who are not yet fluent in the Imperium’s tarot.  The conventional lantern of the Marseilles Hermit has become the glowing sphere of the Inventor in the Steampunk Tarot, while the Shining Woman’s Hermit has a Thoth-headed being with a staff who has to go within to find his lantern.

For all in the Imperium, the Hermit/Inventor is one of the ultimate creative Gods of the Machine, the one whom the ancients of both our worlds understood as Thoth/Tehuti/Hermes.  The kindling of the lantern happens only in the darkness and silence of meditation, which is why the Inventor is shown within his study.  All creation 
kindles in the laboratory of 'the astral plane,' where we receive the imprint of inspiration in our imaginations.

This commentary upon the Hermit card reminded me forcibly of the Guild of Artificer’s Manifesto that governs the whole of the Steampunk Imperium. Parts of this manifesto are read out in the intervals between our work, to keep us mindful of the wisdom that guides us:

The perfection of knowledge collected from the book of nature has ever been at the heart of all professors of the arts and sciences.  The pursuit of whatever gives a clearer light and unmystifies the truth is the lantern by which each lady and gentleman has made their way upon the path to wisdom.  Whatever gives promise of a greater or purer light has drawn inventors, engineers and practitioners of the many arts and sciences to expend their skills and energies to perfect a better beacon by which all beings may walk without stumbling.
                                      - From the Guild of Artificers’ Manifesto

Artificers and creators within the Imperium believe implicitly in the ongoing sacred path of technological and artistic discovery, for what we each create builds upon what has gone before us.  The idea that what each of us creates can become a beacon to others who are not yet born is a very potent one.  The continuity of what is truest within our creative imagination is the very cave we enter when we seek to give of our best for this new year that is beginning.  What lantern of truth burns within you?  Let’s turn to the source of wisdom to guide us onwards into this year. I asked three questions arising from this passage above, on behalf of us all:

What is the light of wisdom?
What is the skill that keeps that wisdom illuminated?
How do we walk without stumbling?

Drawing one card from the Gods of the Machine (major arcana), one from the Leagues (minor arcana) and one from the Legates (court cards), I continue the comparison of cards. The top line are from the Steampunk Tarot, the second line are from Rachel Pollack’s original Shining Woman Tarot  and from the Marseilles Tarot by Alexandre Jodorowsky and Philippe Camoin.

1. What is the light of wisdom?  - Cosmic Blueprint (or Shining Woman or the World) The Cosmic Blueprint shows the harmonious interplay of the four leagues that make up the Imperium which is the heart of the Machine itself. By transcending the limits, the light of wisdom can reveal itself as a dancing jewel which is both universal and also deeply activated within each of us.  The Shining Woman and the World both dance as androgynous humanoids, recalling the hermetic wisdom of Adam Kadmon or the Macrocosmic Man that is the archetypal potential of all human beings. While the World shows the four guardians of the universe in the shape of the four holy creatures,  Shining Woman has the whole universe within her so that it can be mediated to all.  In Cosmic Blueprint, this androgyneity and universality is shown in the emblems of Mars, Venus and Earth inscribed on its free-flowing mechanism.
          The Cosmos or Universe is a dancer and the light that it generates is the light of wisdom for us all.

2. What is the skill that keeps wisdom illuminated? – 9 Leviathans (or 9 Stones,  or 9 Coins) 9 Leviathans shows two off-duty companions in their hydrofoil, enjoying the fruits of their personal time.  They refine their accomplishments by relaxing, enriching their skills by exploring their creative abundance.  Shining Woman’s 9 Stones rejoices in the flying of her hawk, an art that takes great concentration and craft, while the 9 Coins is ‘the wish card’ enabling heart’s desire.
          The skill that keeps wisdom illuminated in us is honing our innermost desire in a multitude of ways: by practicing the things that teach us poise, by rejoicing in the abundance of our skills. This makes the circuit to keep us well lit.

3. How do we walk without stumbling? – Lady of Airships ( or Gift of Birds or Queen of Swords) Lady of Airships steers by the winds with precision. She lays in a course and follows it, but if the winds sent her craft about, she can trim her dirigible’s rigging to keep afloat.  As the most outspoken of  the Legates, she doesn’t flinch from facing difficulty and her assessment goes to the heart of things.  She is always honest and astute. Shining Woman’s Gift of Birds is a bird-headed shaman with a flute. When danger strikes, she becomes a shadow dancer who follows her inspiration. Marseilles’s Queen of Swords is incisive in the same way as her sisters.  They each have the self-esteem to believe in themselves and what their senses show them, with unerring inner poise.
          We can walk without stumbling when we heed the truth that the lantern shows us. By pretending obstacles are not there, or by negotiating with them, we will indeed stumble. By raising our lanterns high, we can find our way, create new pathways through labyrinthine dilemmas and walk honestly as best we may.
          May the peace and blessing of the New Year give you opportunity to go within, find your lantern, refuel it and hold it high as we all face the uncertainties and potentials of the months to come!

Saturday, 1 December 2012


From Stricken Tower to Comet: Into the New Star Cycle.

At Solstice time this year, we witness the completion of a star cycle.  Rather than seeing this as an end of the world scenario, let’s focus upon what is leaving and what is coming for those alive during this transition. Since Solstice offers us the opportunity to return home to the heart of our hearth, let’s ask the cards to show us how to cleanse the way of the new phase  that is arriving, just as we would for a guest, and how to give it our best welcome.
                               What do we leave behind? 

10 Airships (Swords) is a graphic reminder that there are many things we leave behind and that need to go down, like the Imperial airship here. If we’ve been paying into ‘end of the world’ scenarios, then to understand that we are survivors who can look forward to doing things differently. Old grievances or sufferings that have not been assuaged should not be inflated or carried forward into the new phase. What are you glad to see the back of?

3 Leviathans (Coins) show that it’s not enough to pull together but then also sabotage any cooperation by criticism or faint praise. When the public good is continually undermined by those who cannot work well together, nothing is achieved. It becomes like the work of Penelope who fended off her suitors by saying she would make a decision only when her weaving was finished: she worked by day on the weaving and by night unwove it, prolonging the time by years. When self-sabotage or criticism are left behind, how does that change things?

3 Engines (Wands) is intent on its own speed and proficiency, its mastery and ambition, like any despot bent upon world domination. The technological advances we have made are mighty, but so has been the hubris.  Just because we can achieve a thing, doesn’t mean that we should, at least until we’ve understood the consequences. Leaving arrogance behind, we cleanse the way indeed. What gift does humility bring to the world?
                                                What do we welcome?

Ace of Engines (Wands) The first card of the new sequence is an Ace, rekindling the passion and the power to make a good beginning. The radiation of that power infuses everything, bringing a sense of innovation, asking us to find the courage and vision.  A sense of ignition and take off can help us attend eagerly with our life’s adventure.  What are your energies and enthusiasms inviting you to engage with at this juncture?

XII Suspension Tank ( Hanged Man) is the only God of the Machine in this reading, so let’s attend to it carefully.  After the brilliant ignition of the first card, how can we read it?  This God suggests that we trust the process with maturity of outlook. Rather than rushing into the fray, we can take time to align with our destiny, stripping back the inessentials to mature this phase forward.  Our engagement must be deep and devoted. How does your devotion realize the gifts of this new phase?

6 Airships ( Swords) shows a party of people who’ve embarked on a new phase of their lives. Whatever foul-ups we leave behind, we commit to new perspectives and opportunities from a different standpoint. We do not have the option to jump ship to another planet: we have to find ways to live with the one we have. What if we ourselves are the envoys and messengers of what is arriving?  What seeds lie within us to germinate? Who will learn from us? What journey must you take to move forward in this new phase?
To sum up the theme of each triplet, we add up the pips of the League cards or numbers of any Gods of the Machine cards and discover that what we leave behind is XVI The Stricken Tower, while what we welcome is XVII The Comet, revealing how timely and natural is this transition. From the downfall of institutions that have served their term, we move into collecting the starlight.

                        What has to be cleansed?  What is arriving?

XVI Stricken Tower (Tower) The stripping away of illusions, old conditionings, ancient regimes of oppression are all pulled into the wake of the old cycle. Cosy security meets crisis as the breakdown starts. Behind the panic of economic melt-down and institutional collapse, the real spirit of the age is striving to transfigure itself. As the masks are pulled away, what face is left? What is struggling to emerge and be born?

XVII Comet (Star) was believed anciently to be like a great cosmic broom that swept away residues with its long tail. Here the Imperium scientist catches the sparkling dust in vast chambers to fuel this new phase. What arrives is invested with hope and aspiration of millions. Inspiration is what brings emotional expansiveness and a new tomorrow. Where are you being guided? What is the hope you keep ever before you?

May you have a blessed Solstice time!

Wednesday, 31 October 2012


                            SEMPITERNAM: ANCESTRAL WISDOM November 2012
XX The Regeneration Machine

Throughout the world, November is the month when many remember the Ancestors. From the Irish Samhain festival that opens the dark or winter half of the year to the Mexican Day of the Dead. In the Imperium, we also remember our teachers and forebears, all the guildsmen and women who created the vehicles of a bygone day, all the technomancers and engineers whose skill and ingenuity envisioned this day. In all the guild houses, the eternal flame burns for them, but not only during this month. We regard them as a power forever.
         The title of these writings is Sempiternam or ‘Forever.’ This word typifies the Imperium's sense of the Ancestors as an eternal source of wisdom.  The first  thing that any Apprentice is expected to do on entering the guildhouse as a beginner is to ask questions and to attend to the answers. The more skilful the question asked, the more he or she learns. Accordingly, this month I have decided to ask some questions for all of us so that the Imperium’s idea of ancestors may teach us, by allowing the cards to speak wisely in response we have a path for our feet.

1. Who are the Ancestors? Lady of Leviathans scans the smallest atoms of life in her scientific explorations.  She tells us that the Ancestors are everything and everybeing from the remotest galaxies down to the tiniest life-bearing rock of our own world.  This is not a notion that many subscribe to, yet the preservation of memory within every cell of matter is a scientifically verified fact. We are all deeply part of the universe as relatives of each other.

2. What do the Ancestors have to bequeath to us? 6 Leviathans shows some ladies and gentlemen sharing a delightful tea beside their wonderful leviathan.  Their joy in each other’s company is apparant.  The gladdening of any community is based upon our sharing generously with each other. Acts of kindness, the apportioning of resources in a wise way, the service and support that we lend to each other is the maker of community.

3. How can we honour them? I Technomancer invites us to become part of the machine, as he has done, suggesting that we see ourselves as a link in the chain of power that fuels life itself. By including those who bore us and taught us, we maintain our links with a line of wisdom that creatively brainstorms solutions to present problems. By making Ancestors central to our lives, we too share  in the innovative engagement of ideas that will support those who follow us.

                                                      THE PRESENT
4. What happens when we ignore the Ancestors? Ace of Leviathans shows the protection of a great leviathan over a village community. When it is reversed, as here, it means that we become consumers who mismanage the resources we inherit.  This short-termism kills community and steals its assets. It devours the material and intellectual wealth that ancestral ingenuity has acquired without acknowledgement, leaving nothing left for those who follow.

5. What happens when we invite them back to our hearth? Navigator of Airships sits in front of his directional instruments in the cockput of his dirigible.  He suggests that this invitation and inclusion of Ancestors helps us acquire a sense of direction once again. We see proportionately and contextually, we have clear ideas of what is possible.  Further, he shows us that we can ask for help for he has, clearly displayed on his cockpit window, an AA or Automobile Association logo which helps drivers repair vehicles during their journey.  The ancestral championship of our cause underscores our journey indeed!

6. How can we strengthen the circle of life? IV Emperor sits in his personal airbourne vessel as he goes about the Imperium overseeing its workings.  He suggests that we protect our world humanely and responsibily.  Leadership and organization can bring order, but it is by authentic love that we bring strength to the circle of life.  By checking our connections with life, where its limits and boundaries protect us as well as where authority empowers us, we become clearer about our place in that circle.

                                                     THE FUTURE
7. What do the descendants want us to change?  5 of Submersibles looks through his bathysphere window with relief to see survivors of an underwater accident.  This card clearly speaks of us needing to understand cause and effect, to ensure that we gain wisdom from our mistakes before committing any more.  The descendants (and we all have descendants, even if we have no children of our body) deserve to have a good inheritance from us, but our disappointments and regrets often cloud the way.  We have power to change when we consider the next steps and their effect upon the future. For each of us, there are things we would have done differently, but rather  than being stuck in past regrets, let us each discover what would ameliorate our descendant’s condition.

8. What do  we bequeath to the descendants? 7 of Submersibles shows the discovery of an underwater city with all its wonders.  We do not wish to bequeath a fabled civilization that is no more, so it’s time to awaken from the day-dream of our personal self-deceivings.  What do you feel you would like to leave for those who follow you? How can you cultivate your imagination’s deepest gifts rather than stew in illusion? What collective vision do you have for the world to come?

9. How can we become good ancestors? XX Regeneration Machine shows a man and woman awakening from the machine where they have been healed or made new.  This deeply powerful card reveals the way in which we become good ancestors ourselves.  The recaptiulation of all that is worthwhile is the major gift of an ancestor whose vision is not just for the dead, nor only for the living but is able to change society completely, setting up a chain reaction that gladdens everyone. This regenerative effect is the core effect of this card: if what you envision regenerates and reinvigorates life then this will make you a good ancestor when your turn comes.

Here is the Awakening Spread from this God of the Machine for you to try for yourself:
         What needs to awaken in you?
          What gift does this reawaken?
          What do you choose to lay down?
          What becomes available as a result?

Wednesday, 3 October 2012


As an ambassador of the Imperium, Madame Hypatia has been giving thought to the estate of Europe which seems to have lost its vision of itself. As some countries consider whether they want to stay in the union or depart from it, this spread looks at the viability of its continuance.

Ace Submersibles

The two advocate cards are Ace Submersibles reversed and 8 Leviathans. We see the great submersible breaching the ice, but here it is reversed, giving it the appearance of a vessel sinking, not rising. The union seems to be reverting to a more selfish, less sharing entity.

8 Leviathans
The 8 Leviathans signifies hard work coming to a conclusion. The necessity that the Advocate cards reveal is for re-envisioning and a working together to reveal the possibilities. So many countries of the union have financial difficulty at this time that the shared wealth and concerted effort is beginning to count for little.

This time, I draw 4 pairs of cards and read these pairs together.

VII Triumph. Queen Submersibles reversed. XIX Solarium, 7 Submersibles
Navigator of Airships reversed, 6 Submersibles, 4 Airships, Queen Airships.

Navigator of Airships
VII Triumph

VII Triumph shows two successful inventors enjoying a lap of honour through the city. The get up and roll of the triumphal chariot launched Europe but now it feels like a vehicle out of control. For a state that has the most rigorous bureaucracy in the world, with regulatory committees for nearly every aspect of life, Europe is singularly un-united. In the harnessing of its  chariot means, some members are pulling more and harder than the others. Here the Navigator of Airships reversed has lost his high-minded ethical championship and turned surly and selfish here.

Lady Submersibles

Like the Ace of Subs above, the Lady of Submersibles is reversed, giving us the sense of a sinking mermaid. In the classical world, Europe was centred around the Mediterranean or the Inner Sea, as it was called. Trade and exchange  was irrigated by this sea. The countries now suffering most doubt about remaining in the union are these Southern European states which today don't have the power and wealth of Northern Europe. The Lady of Subs reversed shows how generosity can run away with itself and become  indulgent like a doting mother who spoils her children.

6 Submersibles
This dining out attitude, with the misuse of subsidies and handouts, the fabled butter mountain of stockpiled resources, is typified by this reversed Lady. The corrective to this is shown in the 6 Submersibles, which counsels us to remember the older ancestral way of doing things. There is some risk of nostalgia-based looking-back in this, so we have
 to stress the importance of a proper reconsideration that is inclusive, or we just end up with tribalism.

XIX Solarium

XIX Solarium shows two children playing in the sunlight enjoying themselves without anxiety. This has been the state of mind in which some countries have entered the union, in a careless state of naivety, hoping for the prosperity and lack of responsibility of being under the larger umbrella state. One of the immediate issues of being part of a larger state is the loss of confidence or national identity that may accompany this.

4 Airships

The corrective to this attitude is shown in 4 Airships, which counsels a period of consideration before continuing down this road.  A little rest to take the temperature of the union would not be not a bad thing. Allowing the smaller  and more recent countries time to settle in is necessary for the health of the union. 

7 Submersibles

7 Submersibles shows the vessel discovering an underwater city. This seems like a direct reference to the myth of Atlantis which underlies the European dream and acts as a continual warning against hubris and illusion. There is no way that Europe is an ideal union, but to behave as if this were the case carries with it the seeds of its own destruction. Civilisations like the Mycenean island of Santorini came to grief.(Indeed, in the  next card of the submersible sequence, we see the underwater city's destruction!)

Lady Airships
Lady of Airships brings a strong mental focus that reminds us to use our streetwise stratagems In order to survive. What is the trajectory of the union?

Advocates added together 1+ 8=9 or IX The  Inventor who becomes the shepherd of this union. He suggests a need for a 'back to the drawing board' approach, when all the blueprints of this union are reexamined and rethought in a considered way.  As the spread stands, we have all the seeds of destruction, all the warnings are on the wall clear to read.

IX The Inventor
I see few cards here suggesting a working together, unless the vital VII Triumph can steer its way with better integrity or a sense of deep consideration and insightful planning can be brought to bear, we are set for an autumn of things pulling apart. The jury is not out yet. It's time for all European citizens to consider the fate of Europa.

Monday, 10 September 2012


The tetraktys (from the Greek tetras or four) was an emblem sacred to Pythagorus. Based upon 1 + 2 +3 + 4 = 10, it expresses the whole universe in one symbol. Here Madame Hypatia Tetraktys uses the Steampunk Tarot: Wisdom From the Gods of the Machine to look at the turn of the aeon and what the world may be dealing with until early Spring 2013. 

123 is the destiny   – what needs to fulfilled & manifested
456 is fate             - what cannot be changed
789 is free will       - what is changeable
10 is the Significator – the theme or central topic
10+6+8  – the hidden triad of possibility.
 1+5+9  - the wider view  

           THE SPREAD                                     THE CARDS CHOSEN

                 1                                         2 Airships

                2  3                          VIII Engineer + 8 Submersibles

            4   10   7               Lady Leviathans + 8 Engines +O Apprentice

             5  6   8    9        Lady Submersibles + 7 Engines +XV Cyborg + XIV Spirit Level

Lady of Submersibles

 The triad of Fate reveals the two Ladies of Submersibles & Leviathans (Cups & Coins) and 7 Engines (Wands): here is a potential community dreaming that begins to speak up for others or to utter what is not being said. The ladies are explorers who set out to discover the state of things, while 7 Engines has a similar ability to stand up for those with no voice.  This powerful combination is already at work in our world.
Lady of Leviathans

7 Engines
 The triad of Free Will is entirely made up of Major cards, revealing that the most profound help is available: a combination of Apprentice, Cyborg and Spirit Level (Fool, Devil and Temperance) suggests that a new demography is struggling to emerge: in an information age, we can no longer be blinded by facts or enslaved by ideology, but we seek to steer events with an enquiring mind, open imagination and a desire to bring balance. 

XIV Spirit Level

0 The Apprentice

XV The Cyborg
 The triad of Destiny  with 2 Airships (Swords), 8 Submersibles and VIII Engineer reveals that what the world is seeking to manifest is to call a truce, to end hostilities that involve continual attrition and to begin to listen to the voice that makes us strong.  This involves reassessing our options, considering new values and solutions, finding alternatives to the old methods. 
2 Airships

8 Submersibles
The hidden triad, with 8 and 7 Engines & Cyborg (Devil) shows a revolutionary mobilization of resources to break through the stalemate of fear or the slavery of scapegoating.  What we are putting up with is coming to a head.  The possibilities can go two ways: into revolution and protest or into a dialogue where we draw upon cards 1,5 & 9 wherein the peacemakers make a bridge. If we just behave as if we are individuals, then the negative potentials of the hidden triad obtain: if we look through the systemic and community viewpoint of the peacemakers, we won’t get bogged down with resentment but be inspired by group vision.

VIII The Engineer

8 Engines

The centre card, 8 Engines (Wands) can gear suddenly into acceleration.  Timeliness, whirlwind synchronicities and looking at the short-termism that afflicts the world is at the heart of things here: this card indicates a gap of opportunity in which change can be brought to the world.   Essential communication is needed to optimize the most useful scenarios for change.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Sempiternam | August 2012

Dear Readers,

Apologies for the lack of a forecast during July. My extensive sojourn in the Imperium necessitated a leave of absence.  This forecast arrives earlier, as I shall again be away on ambassadorial business during much of August.
The ambassadors of August are VI The Explorers and 8 Submersibles:

The Explorers
8 Submersibles

Choices and reassessments are the twin features of August: you may need to commit more strongly or to revamp your commitments.  Given that this month is one in which is hard to settle to anything and often a difficult one to begin something,  mergers, contracts and agreements are not well situated, and you would be best advised to reconsider your options.  If others are slow to reciprocate to your ideas or if you feel ambivalent about engaging, it is worth asking yourself, where are your energies best bestowed?  However, for getting away with your best beloved, this is a good month to seek alternative locations.
Lady of Engines

1-8 August - Lady of Engines encourages you to engage more deeply with your joy of life. Rather than seeing life as puzzle, begin to write your own life script with enthusiasm.  What is arising in your book of life? Run with it now.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Sempiternam | 22 - 30 June 2012

Captain of Submersibles
22-30 June

Captain of Submersibles trains his glasses upon the light of an arctic dawn as a whale rejoices in the sunlit waters. This person is compassionate, a diplomat, someone who can bring support and a generous outlook after the depredations of the Cyborg’s reign. This feels like a counsel headed up by this person. For yourself, this may be experienced as a need to make space or a wider toleration in your life. Who is depending upon your support? What is your loving duty here? Who needs to be included?

The Advocates prepare the way for the II The Aviatrix who guards the mystery of the Machine. Like the Isis of the ancient world, she spreads her protective wings over the mystery of life. She heralds a transition that will make us all look more closely at the nature of life itself. Behind the veil of consciousness lies a deeper knowing. What do dreams, intuition and your innate intelligence show you?