Perception of Time

“We turned into the deep bed of a narrow street that ran between two sidewalks built high up off the ground. It had suddenly got dark; I heard quick, almost secret footsteps above me—I raised my eyes and saw a boy running along the narrow, broken sidewalk high above, as though running along the top of a narrow, broken wall. I recall the short, baggy trousers—like a gaucho’s—that he wore, the straw-soled cotton slippers, the cigarette in the hard visage, all stark against the now limitless storm cloud, Unexpectedly, Bernardo shouted out to him—What’s the time Irineo? Without consulting the sky, without a second’s pause, the boy replied, Four minutes till eight, young Bernardo Juan Francisco. The voice was shrill and mocking.”

Funes, el Memorioso. Jorge Luis Borges, Collected Fictions, translated by Andrew Hurley, Penguin Classics.

This image of Jorge Luis orges was located  at Wikimedia Commos,

Did you ever feel so bored that time slowed down to almost a standstill?

Did you ever feel so happy that time was flying away almost in a rush?

Of course, you did. The possibility of selectively perceiving time is wired in humans.

Interoceptive perception of time is a critical bodily function that processes a myriad of sensorial inputs from our immediate environment, our physiological functions, our memories of experiences and even our emotional baggage attached to those instances of living, all synchronized and fully integrated in our Central Nervous System to illuminate our path in the world, and even predicting the future.

Human awareness is inextricable tied to our perception of time. In an excellent article, Danielle di Lerma et al., researchers at the Department of Psychology from the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore of Milano, said: “Our consciousness, our ability to perceive the world around us, and, ultimately, our very sense of self are shaped upon our perception in loop connecting of memories from the past, present sensations and expectations of the future… Scalar Expectancy Theory (Gibbon et. al 1984) is one of the most accepted frameworks of time perception (Church, 1984; Treisman et al., 1990) A core tenet of SET is an internal clock with a pacemaker-accumulator component. Pulses emitted by the pacemaker are stored in the accumulator. and the amount of units stored in a finite span influences sample frequency and our time perception. A high pulse rate will store more units in the accumulator, therefore leading to overestimation in subjective perception, whereas a low pulse rate will produce opposite effects. Recent developments of SET included memory and decision-making components along with the pacemaker-accumulator unit, providing a more efficient neurocognitive framework for time awareness (Gibbon et al., 1984; Lui et al., 2011)”

This image of Aiale Carracis’ Allegory of Truth ad Time was located at Wikimedia Commos.

Perception of time is solidly rooted in our physiological matrix as not only bodily functions and emotions alter it, but also a state of physiological arousal can increase the pulse frequency of the pacemaker, creating overestimation of subjective time perception. The movements of our bodies and its sensory-motor integration in our cerebral cortex can distort our awareness of time, producing different outcomes. Recent neurophysiological studies have identified an interoceptive matrix located in the anterior cingular cortex (AIC) that receives input from small diameter sensory fibers from the Lamina I spinothalamocortical pathway, which receives sensory information form multiple organs and systems of our body to maintain homeostasis.

Friston et al. studied the interoceptive buffer, which processes and compares the actual information with previous ones to make rational predictions about the system’s functioning and thus optimize its efficiency, just like a “little internal chip” Considering that this buffer has small dimensions and can be easily filled up to saturation levels by incoming stimuli, Craig et al. proposed that: “ high rate of salient stimuli can saturate the finite dimension of the buffer, speeding up the sampling frequency, effectively slowing (Tse et al., 2004; Campbell and Bryant, 2007; van Wassenhove et al., 2008; Wittmann and Paulus, 2008; DroitVolet et al., 2011) the perception of time, which will appear to ‘stand still to the subjective observer’ (Craig, 2009). Contrary, when the interoceptive buffer is not filled up ‘large intervals of time in the objective world can appear to pass quickly’ (Craig, 2009)”

Recent studies of the AIC showed that in paradoxical situations where high rates of high salience stimuli can produce opposite effects, there is an asymmetric activation of the buffer. The parasympathetic impulses are processed by the left and mid insula of the AIC and the sympathetic impulses are in its right side. “According to Craig’s emotional asymmetry perspective, when we experience a dominant sympathetic arousal, stimuli processed in the right AIC speed up the sample rate frequency, accumulating pulses in the internal clock, leading therefore to overestimation of subjective time perception. Conversely, when we are engaged in a parasympathetic (e.g., affiliative) activation, stimuli are preferentially processed by the left AIC, leading to underestimation of time due to a lack of sympathetic activity.” There is ongoing research about the functioning of this interoceptive buffer, especially when it is overloaded with parasympathetic stimuli that foster a distorted time perception.

It has critical importance in pathological situations where there might be interference with the perception in time according to the person’s load of sympathetic or parasympathetic stimuli. Daniele di Lermia et al studied the following: “we hypothesized that depressive symptoms (Dunn et al., 2007, 2010; Pollatos et al., 2009; Paulus and Stein, 2010; Wiebking et al., 2015) and eating disorder tendencies (Pollatos et al., 2008), will interfere in a negative direction, while anxiety symptoms (Whyman and Moos, 1967; Pollatos et al., 2009, 2014; Dunn et al., 2010; Paulus and Stein, 2010; Yoo and Lee, 2015) and other sympathetic stimuli (Ogden et al., 2015a) in a positive one.”

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What do you think? Please tell us.

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Fox Sisters: pioneers of American Feminism

Spiritualism was a religious reaction to the “crisis in faith” that the Civil War produced across the United States of America, with millions of citizens seeking to reconnect with loved ones who died in that extremely bloody confrontation. It did not have a formal structure nor supervising hierarchy, for which women welcomed it as a spontaneous way to express their feeling, fears and hopes, without the castrating influence of the Patriarchate that dominated civic and religious entities.

In an era where women were excluded to the back of religious congregations and were prohibited from speaking loud and clear, let alone address the worshippers, it offered an uncensored and unsupervised channel for them to address critical social issues like abolition, labor reform, education of children, health reform, temperance. Spiritualism gave oppressed women a venue to express their opinions without the censoring gaze of the State or the Official churches; it gave them a human presence.

Spirituals affirmed that God gave the gift of talking to every human being, which enabled women to express their personal opinions and fight for a progressive agenda. Acting as inspired “mediums” and “trance speakers” they slowly but steadily gained confidence in talking before the public at large and they forever left the anonymity of their kitchens where they had been perfidiously relegated for many generations. They immediately clashed with the male-dominated healthcare institutions as they were branded of “quacks” and “illegitimate healers” by the envious professionals.

The religious movement, which was born before the Civil War and thrived during the conflict and its very traumatic aftermath, was paradoxically born in the Fingers Lake region of Upstate New York, where Mormonism and Millerism also started. Two young girls named Margareta “Maggie” Fox, 14 years old, and Kate, her 11 years old sister, were living in a farm in Hydesville, New York. In March 1848, they confided to a lady that lived next door, that they had been hearing a series of raps on the walls and the furniture lately. They invited her to witness the experience and under the guidance of Margaret, their mother, they huddled in the girls’ bedroom.

– “Count five,” said Margaret. Then the room shook five times.

– “Count fifteen,” ordered Margaret. The mysterious presence obeyed her command.

– “What’s our neighbor’s age?” she asked. There were thirty-three clear raps.

– “If you are an injured spirit,” she finally asked, “manifest it with three raps. It did.

Note. This image of the Fox Sisters was taken from Wikimedia Commons.

An excellent review article in the Smithsonian Magazine explained what happened afterwards with the Foxx sisters. “The Fox family deserted the house and sent Maggie and Kate to live with their older sister, Leah Fox Fish, in Rochester. The story might have died there were it not for the fact that Rochester was a hotbed for reform and religious activity; the same vicinity, the Finger Lakes region of New York State, gave birth to both Mormonism and Millerism, the precursor to Seventh Day Adventism. Community leaders Isaac and Amy Post were intrigued by the Fox sisters’ story, and by the subsequent rumor that the spirit likely belonged to a peddler who had been murdered in the farmhouse five years beforehand. A group of Rochester residents examined the cellar of the Fox’s home, uncovering strands of hair and what appeared to be bone fragments.

The Posts invited the girls to a gathering at their home, anxious to see if they could communicate with spirits in another locale. “I suppose I went with as much unbelief as Thomas felt when he was introduced to Jesus after he had ascended,” Isaac Post wrote, but he was swayed by “very distinct thumps under the floor… and several apparent answers.” He was further convinced when Leah Fox also proved to be a medium, communicating with the Posts’ recently deceased daughter. The Posts rented the largest hall in Rochester, and four hundred people came to hear the mysterious noises. Afterward Amy Post accompanied the sisters to a private chamber, where they disrobed and were examined by a committee of skeptics, who found no evidence of a hoax.”

There are many references in The Bible about human beings talking with spirits, angels, demons, etc., for which Modern Spiritualism found a fertile ground in the fervently religious, mostly rural communities of the New World. By the mid-1800s the preaching of Franz Anton Mesmer, an Australian healer, had spread all over the young nation. He claimed that everything in the Universe, including the bodies of all living beings, is ruled by a “magnetic fluid” that produces sickness when it is out of balance. He waved his hands over the body of the sick patient and supposedly induce a hypnotic state to restore the homeostasis and get rid of the pathogens. Thus, the verb “to mesmerize” came into being as it referred to a person that can hypnotize another person with a rather uncommon, even supernatural, mode.

The American population of the mid-nineteenth century was also influenced by the teachings of Emanuel Swedenborg, a Swedish philosopher and mystic, that described. After Life as a collection of three heavens, three hells and an intermediate staging ground where everybody went right after their death. Selfish beliefs and deeds pushed you closer to one of the hells while generous ones push you closer to one of the heavens. He claimed to have interacted with spirits in all levels. Seventy-five years later, Andrew Jackson Davis, an American seer nicknamed the “John Baptist of Modern Spiritualism”, claimed that Swedenborg had spoken to him in a trance and urged him to combine the philosophical tenets of Mesmer and his own to create a novel current that would better serve the needs of the American people.

The Fox Sisters had peripatetic lives, full of public demonstrations and excitement. Being national celebrities, Maggie, Kate, and Leah Fox embarked on a tour across the country, even presenting their act before the most rancid New York society. They carried their act in the parlor of the Barnum Hotel with 10 AM, 5 PM and 8 PM sessions that could accommodate up to 30 attendees who had to pay one dollar each. Leah set up a cabinet in the Big Apple where she set up regular office hours for her clientele, while the two sisters went on a national tour in major Eastern cities.

The Smithsonian article added: “On October 21, 1888, the New York World published an interview with Maggie Fox in anticipation of her appearance that evening at the New York Academy of Music, where she would publicly denounce Spiritualism. She was paid $1,500 for the exclusive. Her main motivation, however, was rage at her sister Leah and other leading Spiritualists, who had publicly chastised Kate for her drinking and accused her of being unable to care for her two young children. Kate planned to be in the audience when Maggie gave her speech, lending her tacit support.” Maggie confessed that together with her sister Kate they tied an apple with a string and manipulated it to resemble the clapping that supposedly spirits might make.

Notwithstanding this confession, which she would later recant, Spiritualism became an extremely popular religion, with as many as 10,00,000 adherents in its heyday. And it opened the doors of public discourse and civic engagement to many smart and committed ladies that wanted to voice their opinions about social issues dear to them.

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What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

 

Origin of Spiritism – Allain Kardec

Spiritism is a religious and philosophical doctrine that first appeared in 19th century France with the works of Hippolyte Leon Denizard Rivail, who wrote his books with the pen name of Allain Kardec. He discussed the nature, origin, and destiny of spirits plus their connections with the physical world. Initially he studied the acts of the mediums and their claims that they could talk to spirits; he considered then a fraud, but slowly he began to change his opinion and eventually became a believer.

Note. This image of Allain Kerdac was taken from Wikimedia Commons.

This file comes from Gallica Digital Library and is available under the digital ID btv1b8529781h, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=77972078

During his lifetime he assembled al the answers that the spirits provided him in what he called the codification, a unifying body of premises. There are three foundations:

  1. Science: study the world around us to discover hard data
  2. Philosophy: give meaning to the findings for humans.
  3. Religion: this critical knowledge must be used in or everyday lives.

Rather than an esoteric practice that has been derided in all the modern forms of entertainment like the cinema, Spiritism constitutes a moral doctrine that appears in almost all religions based on the belief that we all carry an immortal spirit inside our bodies, which can be considered as “a temporary receptacle” to be discarded. The disembodies spirits that wander around our physical world can have good or evil intentions. The believers in Spiritisms also adhere to the Theistic Evolution, which established that God works in accordance with the laws of Mother Nature. Thus, there would not be any mismatch between the theories of Creation and Evolution.

On April 18, 1857, Hippolyte Leon Denizard Rivail published Le Livre des Esprits, which is a collection of the answers provided by the spirits as relayed by the mediums in various seances along the 1850s. These players gave signs of a modern corporate unity as they defined themselves as the defenders of the “Spirit of Truth.” He did not proclaim to be “the author” but rather “the organizer” as he explained that he was just compiling and organizing the thoughts of spirits without prejudice.

The basic concepts enumerated in that book were the following:

  1. Monotheism: there is only One Supreme Being, the source of good and evil.
  2. Creationism: God created the Principle of Everything.
  3. Teachings of Jesus Christ: very valid as moral and ethics lessons.
  4. Survival of the Spirit: our bodies are just temporary receptacles.
  5. Reincarnation: these spirits jump from one receptacle to another.
  6. Plurality of Worlds: there are more than one physical world.
  7. Perfectioning of the souls; through the different reincarnations, the spirits become wiser and savvier.
  8. Power of Migration: the spirits can travel between different worlds.

The worldwide influence of Spiritism should not be underestimated as there is an International Spiritism Council that agglutinates associations from 35 countries. The most powerful one is based in Brazil where millions practice Afro-American religions and are influential in health centers, charity institutions and hospitals.

In a second article, we will discuss the American Spiritism of the 18th Century.

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What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

 

 

Does a Parallel Universe really exist? Part II

We have already started discussing in a previous article whether a Parallel Universe really exists, prodded by some material generously provided by our dear son Gian Luca. Continuing our discussion of the physical possibility that more than one Universe might exist along ours, we will now start discussing the ideas of some renowned physicists and philosophers, some for and others against that theory. We will rather take the time to expose other people’s ideas so you, dear readers, can eventually form an informed opinion. Of course this will oblige us to dig in this interesting topic in depth so eventually we all will learn something about it. Remember that nobody is born “knowing anything” except the uniquely distinctive  smell of our dear mothers’ flesh that we pick up on our way down from their vaginas along the inside part of their legs.

Muchas gracias Mamita querida !!!

Note. This reproduction of Jan Matejko’s Astronomer Copernicus was taken from Wikimedia Commons.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jan_Matejko-Astronomer_Copernicus-Conversation_with_God.jpg

Today we will discuss the theory of Dr. Max Tegmart, a Professor of Physics in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), that believes there might be four types:

a) Type I: it assumes that Space is Infinite. and we share the same physical laws of other universes similar to ours but at a distance so insurmountable that no messages of any kind can be interchanged with these realms. We can emit to and receive messages from the universes that can be reached by our best telescope, which at present is the NASA’s Hubble Telescope.

b) Type II: these parallel universes might be influenced by the inflationary pressures that might explain the expansion of our own universe. The Inflation and the Ekpyrotic Theories claim that this scientifically proven expansion is making communication between “us” and “them” much more difficult.

c)  Type III: this is the type of alternate universe we usually picture, which consists of a parallel version of ours, coexisting in different physical spaces. The Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics says that for every possible quantum option A in this universe, there is another universe in which the option B did come to fruition; it is called the wave function collapse.

d) Type IV: in this alternative explanation, those parallel universes obey to physical laws that are very different from the ones governing ours. Is this possible?

Scientists and philosophers have been debating lately which are the Laws of Physics that rule all these possible universes, without arriving at a clear, unified explanation. Dr. Stephen Hawking has sagely cautioned us that we should always take with a grain of salt any possible interpretation of every general law of Physics. He said:

“Even if there is only one possible unified theory, it is just a set of rules and equations. What is it that breathes the fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe?”

Note. This image of a very young Stephen Hawking was taken from Wikimedia Commons.

We will continue exposing the ideas and critiques of renowned scientists and philosophers in future articles of this series so we can study and ponder them together.

 Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

 What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.         

Superstitious American Presidents-Part II

Continuing our previous article on superstitious POTUS, we discuss the following:

IV—Ronald Reagan

On March 30, 1981, President Ronald Reagan suffered an assassination attempt near the White House that almost cost him his life. When he was referred to George Washington University Hospital, the physicians at the Emergency Room could not find his wound and he was bleeding to death. Fortunately, there was an intern who had served in the Vietnam War and recognized a tiny, jagged slit on the side of his chest as the entry wound (there was no exit wound) Reagan barely made it that day.

Note. This image of President Ronald Reagan was taken from Wikimedia Images.

Some days later, Merv Griffin (a TV entertainer, and media mogul) who was also a longtime friend of Nancy Reagan, called her and told her that his San Francisco astrologer had identified March 30 as a dangerous day for her much beloved Ronni. Nancy Reagan hung up and immediately called Joan Quigley, the astrologer. They immediately connected so well that Nancy decided to hire her for her counsel. She was not an ignoramus. As the daughter of a hotel owner, she lived in the tony Nob Hill neighborhood of San Francisco and was educated at Vassar College. She had published two books on Astrology and appeared on TV.

President Ronald Reagan considered this attempt as a wakeup call to pursue an aggressive social reform agenda domestically and to push the Soviet Union for its extinction. In the featured image of this article we show you the sarcastic mural of a left-over section of the Berlin Wall that our son Gian Luca took here years ago. But Nancy was totally submerged in gloom and bad thoughts, which tortured her. Ronald Reagan had his own amulet: lucky cufflinks, miniature gold calendar pages that marked their wedding date with purple stones. Nancy wanted to keep Quigley with a retainer fee and pay her by the hour: the astrologer demanded a U$3000 retainer fee (U$9000 at today’s valuation of the currency) and to be paid by the hour.

In a comprehensive New York Post article, Mary Kay Linge said: “The two spoke on weekends, when the Reagans relaxed at Camp David. Nancy gave Quigley the president’s proposed schedules—a stunning security breach—and the astrologer designated good and bad days for travel and public events. Soon she was weighing in on political questions too, like the most auspicious date for a State of the Union address.” In 1985 Quigley ran the astral chart of the incoming Soviet Union’s First Secretary  Mikhail Gorbachev and compared it to President Reagan’ s one: she found that there were “good vibes” between them. To cover this backstage maneuvering , there had to be an enabler: Michael Deaver, one of the three closest Reagan’s aides.

Before the President’s schedule was set, it had to be screened and vetted by the Astrologer Quigley and Nancy Reagan herself, while James Baker, Chief of Staff, looked the other way. This went on for the rest of Reagan’s first presidency. The second term brought Donald Regan as Secretary of the Treasure and he disliked Nancy Reagan. From day one, she plotted to have him fired and, after the Iran-Contra affair came to public light, she got her chance. As vengeance, he authored a book where he exposed the workings of Astrologer Quigley. Nancy’s reputation plunged in the public view, but she was never apologetic for defending her husband like that.

V—Barack Obama

The 44th President of the United States believed, since he first appeared in the Chicago political scene, that he had to shoot basketball hoops before any election. He confirmed that when he did not do it, like in Primaries held New Hampshire and Nevada, he lost badly to his opponents. He quickly reverted to his old superstitious habit before the Primaries of Iowa and South Carolina, which he handily won.

Note. This image of President Barack Obama was taken from Wikimedia Images.

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

Superstitious American Presidents – Part I

Many American Presidents had harbored some superstitious beliefs of various kinds. However, there are five that prominently stand out: William McKinley, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, Ronald Reagan, and Barack Obama. Here are their stories:

I—William McKinley

When McKinley, the 25th President of our dearest Unique United Sates of America (UUSA) was inaugurated for the first time on March 4, 1897, he immediately had two security booths removed form the front lawn of the White House. He liked to walk unaccompanied in the adjoining park every morning; his concerned family and friends obliged him to allow one Secret Service officer to shadow him. He was so popular that he was easily re-elected for a second term and was inaugurated again on March 4, 1901. But by that time the War with Spain had provoked a massive hysteria in the country and there were several threats against McKinley’s integrity.

Note. This picture of President William S. McKinley was taken from Wikimedia Commons.

When he was initially invited tp the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, in September 1901, his secretary took it out twice from his schedule; until McKinley ordered him to arrange for his appearance, this time with two additional Secret Service agents. The day was nice and there was an adoring crowd to greet him in Buffalo, which put POTUS in a particularly good, relaxed mood; moreover, he was wearing his “good luck carnation” on his lapel, offering him “protection.”

When a cute 12-year-old girl called Myrtle Ledger stepped forward and asked for his carnation, he resolutely took it off his lapel and gave it to her, saying: “I must give this flower to another little flower.” A few minutes later, a 24-year-old Polish Anarchist called Leon Czolgosz approached him with a bandage covering his right hand. Upon seeing the bandage McKinley shook his left hand instead, which gave Czolgosz the chance to use the concealed weapon under his bandage. He shot the President twice and was reduced by his security detail before shooting for a third time. As he was collapsing, the kindhearted McKinley said; “May God forgive him.”

McKinley was admitted to a hospital for emergency abdominal surgery, which went very well; but in that pre-antibiotic era, his physicians could not treat his gangrene. Before passing away, McKinley said: “Good-bye, all, good-bye. It is God’s way. His will be done.” He exhaled at 2.15 AM on September 14th, 1901, holding the hand of his beloved wife, Ida McKinley. He was the third American President to be assassinated in only 36 years.

II—Franklin Delano Roosevelt

From an early age, Roosevelt suffered from triskaidekaphobia, i.e. aversion to the number 13, considered bad luck in most Western Societies as it marked the day that the Knight Templars’ hierarchy was burned at the stake by the French King Philippe II on Friday, October 13, 1307—an event we had narrated in a previous article. Roosevelt insisted on never having thirteen guests for dinner, on travelling on the thirteenth day of the month, stopping at the thirteenth floor of any building, etc.

Note. This image of President Franklin D. Roosevelt was taken from Wikimedia Commons.

III—Harry S. Truman

When Harry S. Truman, the 33rd American President, arrived in the Oval Office of the White House, he immediately hung his lucky horseshoe on the back of its door.

Note. This image of President Harry S. Truman was taken from Wikimedia Images.

We will continue this discussion in Superstitious American Presidents—Part II.

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

 

 

Symbology in Tarot—Major Arcana Part XI

Today we are discussing “Judgement” and “The World.”

XX—Judgement

This card shows the Archangel Gabriel blowing his trumpet to announce  Big Change. He is calling on all mortals to raise from their graves to face the Final Judgement. We see naked men, women and children rising from their resting places, arms outstretched and looking up into the sky. The mountain range in the background represents not only the unsurmountable obstacles we find in our lives, but also the impossibility of avoiding judgement in them. Meg Hayertz said: “By card 20 in the Fool’s journey of the Major Arcana, we have experienced nearly every major type of human experience. We are now able to accept a higher calling.” This card can represent a rite of passage but also the possibility that you are asked to make a critical judgement call at work, college, family, associations, etc. Temperance and Star reinforce the Judgement’s call for release and cleansing. The number 20 represents unity and reconciliation; the number 2 represents critical equilibrium and choice. Its astrological association is Pluto, the planet influencing profound transformations.

Upright Judgement

When this card appears, there ae two great possibilities. They are:

  1. Embrace a Higher level of Consciousness: you must rise to the occasion.
  2. Engage in a Life Changing Decision: you must recur to your Intuition and Intellect.

Biddy Tarot said: “You have reviewed and evaluated your past experiences and have learned from them. All the pieces of the puzzle of your life are coming together to form one unified picture of your life story. This integration has healed deep wounds, and you can now put the past behind you…This purging process will leave you refreshed and ready to take on new challenges.” You must also find spiritual comfort by sharing your experiences with others to support them in moments of need.

Reversed Judgement

This card calls for a period of pause and reflection. The Universe is calling you for a Higher Mission, but you are not listening to it. It could be that you are not willing to bear the sacrifices any major transformation entails or that you want to play it safe. Any major change in our personal or social parameters, is a little traumatic in the beginning, to say the least. But if you do not move, you risk exposing yourself to forces that will be out of control. You Inner Voice is talking to you loud and clear.

Note. This reproduction of Botticelli’s L’Annunziazione di Cestello was taken from Wikimedia Commons.

Philosophical significance

The Archangel Gabriel blows the trumpet to announce the return of God to Earth. In the Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam) this angel appears in their holy books. In the Hebrew Bible, he appeared to the prophet Daniel to express his views; together with the Archangel Gabriel, they protect the Land of Israel. In the Gospel of Luke, we find the story of the Annunciation: Gabriel appears to Zachariah and the Virgin Mary, foretelling the births of John the Baptist and Jesus. In the Quran, God sends Gabriel to meet many prophets, including Muhammad. The fact that this angel appears here gives more relevance to the message of change.

XXI—The World

This card shows a naked woman wrapped only with a purple cloth, dancing inside a laurel wreath, glancing sideways at The Past, but resolutely moving to The Future. She has two wands in her hands, representing a process that had started with the Magician and will end up in The World. The circular wreath represents a continuous cycle of completion and new beginnings. There are four cardinal figures in each corner: a lion, a bull, a cherub, and an eagle. They represent the four fixed signs of the Zodiac: Leo, Taurus, Aquarius, and Scorpio respectively. They also represent the Four Elements and Tarot’s Compass points.

Upright World

When this card appears, it means that a long-term project, i.e. a work project, a college degree, a partnership, etc., has come to fruition and it is time to celebrate. You are feeling satisfied with your great achievement, and it is time to celebrate. But do not get carried away by just rejoicing on your success. Do not rush forth yet. It is also time to reflect on your difficult journey and to rightly express your gratitude. Remember that there were many people that have supported you in so many ways. Not only look back to celebrate and express gratitude, but also tie any loose ends. It is dangerous moment too as you might lose focus and start goofing around. Beware.

Reversed World

You are seeking some kind of closure in a very personal issue. You must let go of the past and move on with our life. After some personal tragedy, to achieve an efficient closure requires a very personal touch; there are usually no ready-made formulas. In order to fulfill a big task you must segment your pathway and accomplish your planned objectives in a succession of small steps, one at a time. We do remember a poster that we had watched several years ago in the Argentine School of New York that stated: “There are no shortcuts for life’s greatest achievements.” For an unusually big project, you must prepare yourself to work hard and make many sacrifices; do not try to take the easiest pathway because it may be riddled with traps. But once you reach you major goal, you will feel an immense sense of fulfillment.

Philosophical significance

There are many representations of Women at the Top of the Universe but almost none In the Center of it. For a detailed discussion of this subject, we urge you to read our new book Emotional Frustration – the Hushed Plague where we fully tackle it.

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

Symbology in Tarot – Major Arcana part X

Today we will be discussing “The Moon” and “The Sun.”

XVII – The Moon

This card speaks of experiences that take place under the light of the Moon or in the Subconscious: dreams, trespasses, sexuality, animal instincts and fears, confessions, illusions crimes, etc. It shows two animals barking at the Moon :the Wolf represents the Wilderness, and the Dog the Domesticated Wilderness. The Moon is a conduit for our instincts and our animal nature; it also speaks of our intuition and spirituality but also our capacity for cruelty. There are two windowless towers that represent Entrapment and the Unknown; in the middle there is a Road of Life that leads to still unbeknownst directions, and the emerging lobster represents our mind that is starting its Conscious journey through Life.

Upright Moon

Meg Hayertz said: “the Moon, at its worst, codependent or abusive relationship patterns learned in childhood and other terrible certainties such as deep-set illusions of loneliness and expectations of violence, that reside in the core of our consciousness. If you have pulled the moon, you may be experiencing a crisis of faith or a dark night of the soul—but also your animalistic survival instinct and drive that will pull you through to meet the daylight.” The number 18 represents a journey into our vulnerability and the unknown, even some mystery of our life unfolding. The added digits give out 9, the symbol of positive thinking, success, and abundance. “Why do I always fall into these toxic sentimental relationships?” This card makes us reflect at some old patterns that might have been embedded in our Conscious and/or subconscious minds during childhood. Gently, explore your own inner self. This card is associated with Piscis, the zodiac sign of healing, intuition, intimacy, and boundaries. Its supporting card is The Hermit (solitude, reflection, and intuition) and the opposing card is The Emperor (stability but also rigidity, lack of fluidity)

Reversed Moon

This reversed card means that you are ignoring your Subconscious and you are not “listening  to your gut.” It’s time to wake up. It’s time to finally find some healing. Biddy Tarot said: “The Moon Reversed indicates that you have been dealing with illusions, fears, and anxieties, and now the negative influences of these energies are subsiding. You are working through your fears and anxieties, understanding the impact they have on your life and how you can free yourself from such limiting beliefs.”

Note. This reproduction of a statue of Selene, the Moon Goddess was taken from Wikimedia Images.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Luna_statue.jpg

Philosophical significance

Please read our previous article in this series titled Gravitational Influence of the Moon” 

XIX – The Sun

This card represents the Joy that the Sun naturally brings to all of us. If you have pulled this card, you may experience the same spontaneous, carefree joy that a child has with a new toy or experience. After a period of Uncertainty, the Sun comes out. It is time to enjoy our families, our marriage, our friendships, our successes, etc. The sunflowers represent growth, beauty, and spiritual accomplishments; the red banner is a symbol of vitality. As you are glowing with brightness, people will be drawn to you because you are a very positive influence in their lives. You lead by example. Biddy Tarot said: “it is calling to your inner child to come out and play.”

Upright Sun

No matter how hard the times you are going through may appear, you will eventually succeed to overcome them with bright positive energy taken from The Sun. And people will appreciate your positive, constructive attitude to solve problems at work, in your family, in your community, etc. You will be asked to share that bounty of positive energy with other people around you; you promote change for the good. In Numerology the number 19 expresses clarity triumphing over uncertainty; when we add the two digits, we obtain 10 , which is the number of endings and beginnings. The supporting cards are The World and the Six of Wands; the opposing cards are The Tower and the Nine of Swords.

Reversed Sun

When the card appears Reversed, it might mean that you are about to lose something that is precious to you. Watch out. Keep an eye out for trouble. Change, if necessary. Moreover, you might be working too hard and dedicating little time for family affairs or friends; relax, take time off and play with your loved ones as Life is very short. Perhaps you experienced too many setbacks lately and you are very depressed. This card always brings positive influences. Shake your torpor off and engage Life in full.

Note. This reproduction of a Face statue of Plato was taken from Wikimedia Commons.

Philosophical significance

In the Analogy of the Sun, Plato imagines a dialogue between Glaucon (his elder brother) and Socrates (narrated by the latter) where they claim that there is a clear analogy. Socrates claims that the Sun is “a child of goodness” whose illuminated rays shed light on the Truth, discarding the chaff from what is really essential to us. According to Plato, The Good sheds light on Reality, allowing us to see clearly, using not only our physical sense of vision but also our mind, for a fuller picture. The metaphor of the Sun is a good example of the interconnection of metaphysics and epistemology: the interpretations of our existence create—and are created—by ways of knowing. It also blends Plato’s rationalism and realism about universal truths.

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Don’t leave me alone.

Symbology in Tarot – Major Arcana part IX

Today we will be discussing “The Tower” and “The Star.”

XVI – The Tower

When this card appears, we should experience illumination and a release of our trapped energies. The card shows a tall tower perched at the top of a mountain right at the moment when lighting strikes the top of it, displacing the crown of chakra. Two persons leap, heads first and arms outstretched, from it in a clear sign of utter desperation. This destruction occurs when our ambitions and goals are built on false promises and the Energy form the Universe puts things in their rightful place. The twelve flames represent the combination of the Twelve signs of the Zodiac and the Ten points of the Tree of Life. In her great book Tarot for Beginners, Meg Hayertz said: “When something in your life isn’t working – a habit, a job or relationship—but we refuse to acknowledge the issues, we build an increasingly precarious tower held together by temporary solutions, wishful thinking or denial, if we neither take the initiative to dismantle nor restore the shoddy tower, it will inevitably come crashing down.” In Numerology, the number 16 means the release of stocked energies within us and the outflow of creative and loving instincts; when the two digits are added together, we get 7, which is the symbol of Spirituality.

Upright Tower

In her great webpage, Biddy Tarot said: “expect the unexpected—massive change, upheaval, destruction, and chaos. It may be a divorce, death of a loved one, financial failure, health problems, natural disaster, job loss or any event that shakes you to your core, affecting you spiritually, mentally, and physically. There’s no escaping it.” What can you do? Get out of the way, do not interfere with the self-destruction. The positive attitude is to re-focus on your priorities and re-build what is needed. After this traumatic experience, you will grow much stronger, wiser, and resilient.

Reversed Tower

When this card appears, you are undergoing a significant personal transformation and upheaval. While in the Upright Tower, the catalyst for transformation process is external, in the Reversed Tower that catalyst is internal. You are instigating this radical change because you want to make a full aggiornamento of your perceptions, opinions, stands, etc. Sometimes it might mean that you are putting up an active resistance tot that change, which will be totally futile as it is inevitable, unstoppable. The fiercer that resistance, the bigger the upheaval will turn out to be. A lost cause. Consider this similar to the tolling of the bells, announcing some great radical news.

Philosophical significance

Ever since Antiquity, almost any human culture has had a figure of Destruction and Transformation. In Hinduism ,the Goddess Kali, also known as Dakshina Kalika, is considered to be the master of death, time, and change. She emerged from Lord Shiva himself and is considered as the ultimate manifestation of Shakti—the primordial cosmic energy that moves through our whole Universe. She destroys the Evil in order to protect the Innocent. She is also considered as the mother of all living beings. In a very well researched Wikipedia article, they said: “ her most well-known appearance is on the battlefield in the sixth century Devi Mahatmyam. The deity of the first chapter of the Devi Mahatmyan is Mahakali, who appears from the body of sleeping Vishnu as  goddess Yoga Nidra to wake him up to protect Brahma and the World from two demons, Madu and Kaithabha. When Vishnu woke up, he started a war against the tow demons. After a long battle with Lord Vishnu, the two demons were still undefeated; Mahakali took the form of Mahamaya to enchant the two asuras, When Maidu and Kaithabha were enchanted by Mahakali, Vishnu killed them.”

XVII – The Star

This card shows a naked woman, symbol of Vulnerability and Purity, kneeling at the end of a small pool, with a container in her Left hand (the Subconscious) and another one in her Right hand (the Conscious) to pour water one hand to the Earth in order to maintain the Fertility Cycle and on the other one to the Flowing River to prod creativity and dreams. Water falls in five rivulets to the dry earth, symbolizing the five seasons. The foot standing on ground symbolizes her Practical Sense and the one standing on the water symbolizes her Feminine Intuition. Above the girl there is a large bright star , which symbolizes Our Core Values, and seven smaller ones representing the Chakras—spinning bodily disks of energy that should stay open. Meg Hayertz said: “it helps u believe in miracles and allows us to connect with the magic of every day. The ibis in this card represents the Egyptian God Thoh. As the God of thought, language, and magic, Thoh reminds us of the power of our thoughts and words. The things we name are potent. Naming our ideals can breathe life into them. Our experience is rich with beauty and meaning.” Open yourself to other people around you. YOU ARE INSPIRATIONAL. In Numerology the number 17 represents quiet, certainty and subtle strength. The combination of those two digits gives 8, which is the symbol of strength. This card is associated with Aquarius, the Zodiac sign that inspires other with its Idealism.

Upright Star

After the destructive upheaval represented by the Tower, you are now back to your basic core beliefs and feelings, that innermost part of you that makes you truly unique amongst other human beings. Biddy Tarot said: “The Star brings renewed hope and faith, and a sense that you are truly blessed by the Universe. You are entering a peaceful, loving phase in your life, filled with calm energy, mental stability and more-in-depth understanding of yourself and those around you.” It is time to revisit your old beliefs, values, acquaintances and at the same time take the opportunity to thank all those who have helped along the tortuous roads of Life.

Reversed Star

You have lost faith and hope in the Universe. You are overwhelmed by the sensory input and noise from the maddening crowds; as a result you cannot move or act. Biddy Tarot said: “Where is the Divine in you now? Look harder and you’ll see it. The Divine is always there” She asserts that we are vessels for the Divine and sometimes that conduit might falter, but it always remains physically in our spirits. Let us unclog our spiritual hose and continue sprinkling the gardens of the Universe. It might also mean that you are being a little bit naïve about the power of your beliefs in the real world. Are you relying too much on your ideals and not take action to make them a Reality?

Philosophical significance

It is not a casual occurrence that this card has an ibis atop a tree on its right-hand side. In Ancient Egypt, the Thoh deity was represented as a man with the head of an ibis (and sometimes even a baboon) It was the god of the moon, wisdom, writing, hieroglyphics, science, music, art; sometimes he sat in judgment of the Dead. It maintained the harmony of the Universe as one of two deities (the other being Ma’at) that stood at the side of the Sun god Rah. It was a respected arbitrator of the fights between the gods and it protected the arts of magic plus the skills of writing.

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

 

Symbology in Tarot – Major Arcana Part VIII

Today we will be discussing “Temperance” and “The Devil’”

XIV – Temperance

This is the card of Artistic endeavors, Alchemists’ dreaming and Metaphors of poets: it allows us to flourish emotionally, creatively, and spiritually. Everything flows in the same direction. It shows a winged angel, both of masculine and feminine genders, that is pouring water from a silver cup to a gold cup, epitomizing the power of artistic creation that tries to make the Impossible possible (not always possible) The right balance of elements is shown by the position of the angel’s feet. One of them is on land (we need to stay grounded) and the other one is on water (we need to go with the flow) In the background there is a winding path that represents the journey of Life, and the golden crown represents our Higher Purpose in this Life. In Numerology the number 14 symbolizes Stability, and the combination of the single numbers gives 5, which is the quintessential symbol of change and upheaval.

Upright Temperance

This card  brings balance, patience, and moderation to our lives. It shows that we must keep our composure in stressful situations; we must “keep our cool.” If possible, we refrain from being stubborn and try to take “the middle road” or at least make honest attempts to understand other people’s opinions, even if we do not agree with them. It epitomizes the basic tenet of Alchemy: to combine different elements to create something altogether new. The most common example is a successful couple relationship: one individual plus another individual have a romantic bonding that is much more than the sum of the two. When this card appears, it means that we are in the right path: we are learning at a good pace, enjoying the process fully.

Reversed Temperance

After some excesses, it is time to restore the equilibrium in our lives. It could be that there was splurging on food, drinking, sex, shopping, etc. It does not mean that you have to engage in Abstinence but rather that you have to show Moderation. Something might be “off in our lives” and we should change our lifestyle. It is a warning sign “to hold our horse’s rein and dismount” before real harm happens to us.

Note. This reproduction of Piero del Pollaiolo’s Temperance was taken from Wikimedia Commons.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Piero_del_Pollaiolo_temperance.jpg

Philosophical significance

This word derives from ancient Greek; one possibility is sophrosne, which means “self-restraint”, and the other one is enkrateias, which means “control over oneself.” Plato included temperance as one of the four cardinal virtues of the ideal city. In his Meditations, Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor, and Stoic philosopher, wrote that it separates us humans form the rest of the Animal Kingdom. The ability to control our desires and impulses differentiates us from other creatures driven by instinct only. Humans have the capacity of domesticate our appetites and not allow them to control our volition. Thomas Aquinas, the great Christian philosopher wrote: “the temperate man does not shun all pleasures, but those that are immoderate and contrary to reason.” Blaise Pascal wrote the temperance is the right balance between the two extremes of “wild desire” and “abstinence.” Immanuel Kant wrote that the critical role of the Arts and Sciences in our societies is to promote Rationality in our dealings with each other; as a result there will be temperance in the physical outcomes. Charles Darwin argued that, in order to create a harmonious set of societal relations, there must be some level of personal restrain of our animal impulses.

XV – The Devil

This card shows a representation of the Devil that is based on an earlier deity called Pan , which represented the natural beauty, lust, playfulness, the pleasures of the flesh. It was such a popular image of the Pagan iconography that the Christian missionaries decided to add the intimidating goat’s horns to scare the faithful away in the Fourth Century, a time in history when the new religion had to compete with older beliefs. When this card appears, we must ask ourselves: what is wrong in our lives? Are we stepping over social rules for our pure enjoyment? Are we harming someone, especially those persons that are closer to us? The Beast has a hypnotic stare that mesmerizes its victims. The two human victims have loose chaining around their necks, which means that they are being manipulated via their greed. The devilish influence is changing their physicality, as they are growing tails. The Beast is doing the Vulcan salute with his right hand and is holding a burning torch in his left one. In Numerology, 15 means Antagonism and the sum of the two numbers gives 6, the symbol of lovers. Even the happiest of couples, have the potential of conflict in their lives.

Upright Devil

This card represents our darkest side, all the negative forces within our spirits. Biddy Tarot said in her magisterial narrative of this card: “You may be at the effect of negative habits, dependencies, behaviors, thought patterns, relationships, and addictions. You have found yourself trapped between the short-term pleasure you receive and the long-term pain you experience.” When this card appears, we must pay attention to some core beliefs that could have been mistaken or outdated under the present circumstances. This card is a powerful beam of light that illuminates a darker side of ourselves. It is a golden opportunity to correct what is truly necessary.

Reversed Devil

When this card appears, it means that, before undertaking a new journey in your life, you must get rid of some excessive ballast that could slow your boat’s progression. It could be a toxic relationship, drug or alcohol abuse, bad career choices, etc. Also it might mean that you have to face adversity and manage your stress and anxiety. Or perhaps you are hiding a terrible secret from your loved ones? Clean your act. Moreover, you should practice the Buddhist technique of detachment to appreciate a better perspective in an old problem or challenge. The time to change is right now.

Note. This reproduction of Caravaggio’s David with the head of Goliath was taken from Wikimedia Commons.

Philosophical significance

Ever since the Holocaust, social scientists, social activists, politicians, journalists, media influencers, etc. have been trying to understand why certain human beings commit these unspeakable atrocities on other people. This is more relevant than ever in our times when Ukraine has been invaded by barbaric Russian forces intent on harming thousands of civilians to coerce the defenders into surrender. There are:

  1. Broader concept of Evil: it picks any broad state of affairs, vengeful action, or character flaw. It is divided in turn into natural evil (i.e. a hurricane) and moral evil, which requires the action or default of moral agents.
  2. Narrower concept of Evil: despicable actions in a limited context.

Some evil skeptics have questioned its use due to the following reasons:

  1. It brings an unwanted metaphysical concept that implies the Supernatural.
  2. This concept is useless because it lacks explanatory power.
  3. Could be wrongly used causing harm to innocent people.

We will continue discussing the various implications of the Concept of Evil in an upcoming podcast.

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us. Don’t leave me alone.