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.

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

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.

 

Symbology in Tarot – Major Arcana Part VII

Today we will be discussing “The Hanged Man” and “Death.”

XII – The Hanged Man

In this card there is a man suspended from a T-shaped cross made of living wood (the Tree of Life) He is hanging upside down with a serene face because it is his choice. In this awkward position he can have a completely distinct perspective than the rest of us have of the same reality; precisely the halo around his head symbolizes the acquisition of new knowledge and wisdom. He wears red pants, the color of Passion and a blue shirt, the color of Wisdom. This is the ultimate card of surrender. When it appears, it means that there must be an obligatory pause in our activities.

Upright Hanged Man

When this card appears, there must be an obligatory pause in our lives to reflect about the course of events, what we have been doing and what we have not. If we do not take that pause voluntarily, the Universe will certainly oblige us to do so. As Biddy Tarot sagely said: “Something new is emerging, and you won’t be able to see it unless you allow the time and space to allow for it to come through.” There are times in our lives that we might feel impossibly stuck with a bad job, a bad home, a troubled relationship. etc, By stopping to “push forward like a raging bull” and taking a pause, you might be able to engage a new perspective to “free your spirit.”

Reversed Hanged Man

Reversed, this card means that you should definitely pause for your own good. Biddy Tarot said: “…you need to hit the pause button, but you are resisting it. Instead, you fill your days with tasks and projects, keeping busy and distracting yourself from the real issue that needs your attention. Your spirit and body are asking you to slow down, but your mind keeps racing. Stop and rest before it’s too late.” Occasionally it might mean that you are stuck because you encountered a lot of resistance to your plans or intentions. Even though you might not like it, loosen a little bit up and try another tactic. If you consider that the obstacles seem insurmountable at present, why not try the old tactic of “go with the flow”? Sometimes it is our only real option.

Note. This image titled Verdadero Gaucho Argentino was taken from Wikimedia Commons.

Philosophical significance

Desensillar hasta que aclare. This is a famous slogan used by the gauchos of Argentina and Uruguay in their long rides across the vast plains to herd cattle or to perform farm duties in distant outposts. It means “to dismount form the horse, take down the saddle and rest, until the weather clears up. It is not unusual to be riding in excellent weather in those plains without horizon when all of a sudden, the sky turns menacingly, ominously dark. Seasoned riders will immediately prepare the horses and people to weather the storm. By taking safe refuge under a tree? Wrong. Trees attract lightning and you might end up grilled. No, they set up camp away from the trees and they use their big ponchos to shield themselves form the pouring rain. And the horses? They do not mind the spontaneous shower to clean their big frames, but you have to tie their reins to your saddle. They need the re-assurance that their riders will go through the storm right next to them. Symbiosis horse and rider.

XIII – Death

This is the card that provokes the greatest consternation when it is pulled, including the OHHS and AHHs from the impressionable ladies, and a few men as well. The arrival of the armored skeleton in a white horse does not mean that you are having a sudden heart attack and noisily drop to the floor. It means that it is the moment of endings, mourning period and finally letting go of it. Before engaging in a new lifestyle, starting a new job or project, commence a new romance, we must let go of the past, usually in a rather traumatic way. It is the essence of Life. For all of us, medical practitioners, who have had the blessing of assisting and/or directing a childbirth in an Obstetrics Suite, we know that it is a violent and painful process that taxes the mother’s energies and the patience of all those present. But finally a new Life pushes through into the World to marvel us. The card shows the death of a powerful figure, the King, and how everybody reacts. In her guide, Meg Hayertz said: “Death has many meanings. Child faces it with wild-eyed curiosity. Maiden turns away from Death. Bishop greets death solemnly.” The same author also says that the sign of Scorpio loves it (sic) because we are fascinated with transformation; she says that we Scorpians always maintain a calm face in the face of change (true) In the background we can see the River Styx flowing towards the reign of Hades.

Death Upright

This widely misunderstood card is widely feared because we tend to react negatively to some symbols, especially those that remind us of our own Mortality. Yes, we will all die. There is no escape from it. But what really makes the difference in our lives is how we wisely utilize the time allotted to each one of us in this Valley of Tears. In certain moments of our lives we must pause and reflect (epitomized by the Hanged Man) and then consider how to terminate a certain period of our lives in order to then access another one. This Death pertains to a certain period of ours, not our whole being. There will be some upheaval, even some surprises but it is worth it.

Death Reversed

Change is certainly upon you BUT you are resisting it. What for? You know that your spirit is loaded with expired paradigms, decaying statements, misinformation, something all too common in our Post Pandemic times. Oftentimes, we feel stuck, and we are unable to move forward. Before we can make any meaningful movement, we have to get rid of “some dead weight ” that we carry in our knapsacks. Inertia can paralyze our bodies, but we have to take that little big step in the right direction. A personal transformation occurs only a few times in Life. Let us get ready for it.

Note. This picture of the Buddha in Andar Pradesh, India, was taken from Wikimedia Images.

Philosophical significance

In the book compendium “Becoming Someone New, Essays on Transformative Experiences, Choice and Change” Evan Thompson wrote a chapter titled “Death/ The ultimate Transformative experience” where he claims that Death is the ultimate transformative experience because in general, we do not know how it will affect us before we experience it in our family or circle of friends. It is both:

  1. Epistemically transformative: you cannot fully grasp the significance of Death before it occurs to you or a person profoundly close to you.
  2. Personally transformative: such a brutal experience will surely change you.

We all reluctantly learn how to accept Death as an indissoluble part of the Life cycle that brought us in this Valley of Tears. A famous anecdote of Buddhism involves a grieving young woman named Kisa Gotami that went from house to house pleading for a medicine that would bring her dead infant son back to Life. Unable to help her but deeply moved by her desperation, one of the neighbors urged her to consult Siddharta Gautama (the Buddha) who was meditating under his famous tree. Siddaharta told her that there was a cure, but she would have to bring him mustard seeds from a household that had never experienced Death before. The poor woman knocked on many doors, but the answer was always the same. Death was there already. She finally accepted that it is an inevitable phenomenon for all of us, which should make us enjoy even more our time here.

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone

The Pagan Oath for Physicians

“I swear by Apollo Physician and Asclepius and Hygiea and Panacea and all the gods and goddesses, making them my witnesses, that I will fulfill according to my ability and judgement this oath and this covenant.”

The Hippocratic Oath is one of the oldest documents in the Western Civilization and it is also one of the oldest written expressions of Medical Ethics that we have. It has been steadily revised over the ages with many versions, including modern ones. The original version was written in Ionic Greek between the 5th and 3rd century B.C. Classically attributed to the Greek physician Hippocrates, it forms parts of the Hippocratic Corpus; however, many modern scholars refute this attribution.

Note. This image of Hippocrates was taken from Wikimedia Commons.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hippocrates_pushkin02.jpg

In its original form it reminded physicians to keep the “holy things” of medicine within the medical community, a precursor of the HIPAA guidelines in the USA. It also remarks the special position of the physician inside the community, which should make him respect vulnerable segments like women and young girls. It prohibits euthanasia, which was clandestinely practiced in Ancient Times, especially in the upper classes that had the sick pretension of choosing their right heirs by eliminating the “unworthy family members” like disabled children or baby girls.

Note. This image of a fragment of the Hippocratic Oath on the Third Century Papyrus Oxyrhincus was taken from Wikimedia Commons.

In its original form it reminded physicians to keep the “holy things” of medicine within the medical community, a precursor of the HIPAA guidelines in the USA. It also remarks the special position of the physician inside the community, which should make him respect vulnerable segments like women and young girls. It prohibits euthanasia, which was clandestinely practiced in Ancient Times, especially in the upper classes that had the sick pretension of choosing their right heirs by eliminating the “unworthy family members” like disabled children or baby girls.

One of the most surprising prohibitions is the use of poisons for criminal ends, something that happened when powerful rulers asked physicians to assassinate their political rivals or whomever was considered to be dangerous to the ruling powers. In the Middle Ages, the prevailing versions expressly condemned Abortion due to the grip the Catholic Church had on most European societies. In the more modern versions used in U.S. Medical schools that issue has been deleted from the oath.

In 1948, with the fresh memories of the war crimes committed by Nazism against large segments of the European populations and the Jewish people in particular, the World Medical Association (WMA) enacted the Declaration of Geneva. They were concerned that, given that the Hippocratic oath had fallen in disuse for the past few decades, many young physicians were not aware of the career’s ethics implications.

As a former student political activist that had fought in the streets the brutal Military Dictatorship of Uruguay in the 1970s. we are well aware that some “doctors” were supervising the hands of police and military personnel in order to prevent them to use excessive force when they interrogated us. Sadly, many physicians and nurses were accomplices of the criminals that carried the Dirty War.  They are traitors , not only to the democratic institutions of what used to be called the “Switzerland of the Americas” (sic), but also to the noble profession they had certainly pledged to defend after they had graduated from medical school. After democratic institutions were re-established in Uruguay and Argentina, many of the torturers and repressors were duly judged by civilian courts. Now that almost thirty years have passed from these tragic events, some are “asking for mercy.”

But did they show us any mercy when they beat us, they kicked us, they kept us in awful miserable conditions of detainment that harked back to the worst jails of the Ottoman Empire, and , most gravely, murdered thousands upon thousands of our comrades and make their bodies disappear? The drama of Los Desaparecidos is still seared in the memory of all of those who, with big and little gestures, tried to fight Fascism in the streets of Montevideo and other cities of South America.

Ni olvido ni perdón para todos los represores y torturadores ya juzgados y condenados.

Que se pudran en la cárcel !!!

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think/ Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

 

 

Symbology in Tarot—Major Arcana Part VI

Today we will be discussing the “Wheel of Fortune” and “Justice.”

XI – Wheel of Fortune

In this card there is a Giant Wheel with four Hebrew Letters YHVH that mean “the one that cannot be mentioned” referring to Yaveh (God) In the middle level we can see the symbols for the four basic chemical elements: Mercury, Sulphur, Water and Salt. On the left side of the outer circle there is a snake representing Typhon, the Egyptian God of Malfeasance, and on its right side stands Anubis, the God of the Departed. On top of the wheel the Sphynx, symbol of Wisdom and Strength stands guard. In the four corners we have four winged creatures that give the needed stability to the whole ensemble during the continuous movements of Life itself. The four corners are buttressed by the four fixed signs of the Zodiac. The angel represents Aquarius, the eagle is Scorpio, the lion is Leo, and the bull is Taurus.

Upright Wheel of Fortune – It represents the Cycles of positive and negative developments, the pleasant and painful emotions, and the good and bad outcomes. As Life is in continuous flux, with bright and dark sides, we must learn how to manage our expectations and emotions, considering that there are always cycles of opposing interests. However, change is never totally random as it might seem at first sight; we can study the changes and identify patterns that can predict outcomes.

Our dearest mentor Biddy Tarot has magisterially defined this card: “the wheel is always turning, and life is in a state of constant change. If you are going through a difficult time, remember that it will get better from here. Good luck and good  fortune will make their return in time…it is also known as the wheel of karma, and it reminds you that ‘what goes around comes around’ Be a kind and loving person to others and they’ll be kind and loving to you.”

The wheel reminds us that oftentimes we face situations in our lives that are partially or totally out of our control, for which we have to accept our inevitable helplessness. We may have to follow that too often used but still wise advice; Go with the flow.

Moreover the presence of the wheel in our lives may signal your arrival at a critical juncture in your life, even a crossroads that will take your path to divergent ends.

Reverse Wheel of Fortune – This represents the absence of movement, of change, your life is at a standstill now. It could mean that there are strong negative forces that seem to be beyond your control; usually that is the case, but you have to ask yourself if you could not have done something differently for a different outcome. You can do nothing and accept that situation or you can try to improve it little by little; even small improvements might be better than nothing, especially in couples.

Note. This image of Joseph Schumpeter was taken from Wikimedia Commons.

By Image available for free publishing from the Volkswirtschaftliches Institut, Universität Freiburg, Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany. Copyrighted free use. – http://commons.wikimedia.org

Philosophical significance – One of the most provocative and still questioned precepts of XX Economics thinking is Schumpeter’s Gale, designed by Joseph Schumpeter, an Austrian economist, based on his profound study of Das Kapital by Karl Marx. In his 1942 book Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, Schumpeter proposed that: “the gale of creative destruction is the process of industrial mutation that continuously revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one.” Schumpeter studied Marx writings where he affirmed that Capitalism must keep destroying the old productive processes and invent new ones, in order to stay functioning in industrial societies. Marx and Engels predicted that the Capitalist agents , like apprentis de sorcier, would eventually lose control of their creation; that system of wealth accumulation in the hands of a few in detriment of the rest of the population would eventually be destroyed by its own contradictions. History proved that this tenet of Marxist theory was wrong  and, on the contrary, it keeps our societies so vibrantly beneficial for all of us.

XII – Justice

This card represents a System of Truth, Fairness and Law. The lady has the Scales in her left hand, balancing intuition with logic; in her right hand, she is holding a double-edged sword representing Impartiality. The little square in her crown means that there is clarity in her thoughts and decisions. Beneath her red cloak appears the tip of her white shoe, meaning that she is dispensing justice for human deeds.

Upright Justice – There will be a time when each and every one of us will be judged. So be very careful how you judge other people because it can backfire into you. If you have been wronged, be certain that there will be a just comeuppance. But if you wronged other people, expect a retribution, sooner or later. Moreover, try to learn the truth about other people before passing summary judgement on them, which is often wrong. Pay attention to a missed detail in your life that can have consequences if you keep ignoring it. The Buddhist concept of Karma is of paramount significance. In your loving relationships, treat your partner fairly and you will receive tenderness galore. If you try harder, you will find that partner that you always wanted for you.

Reversed Justice – It means that you are in a State of Denial, running away from the difficult problems you should be solving, or tying your best at least. You must act in order to enact meaningful change. It also means that you are unfairly blaming your partner for a misdeed, you are acting dishonestly in your work or career, or you engage in shady financial dealings that will eventually destroy your family life.

Note. This image of the Themis of Ramnous in Attica, sculpted by Chairestratos circa 300 BC, was taken from Wikipedia.

Philosophical significance – In Ancient Greece, the birthplace of all Western Modern Societies, the deme was the country district or village, as opposed to the polis, the big city, the city-state. It was there that the concept of democracy was born as all the men 18 years and older had to register in the local council for civic duty, including military service. It was also extended to mean “the commoners.” For the deme to work there had to be fair justice for all its members, without discrimination. In Greek Mythology the goddess Themis represented Justice; she was one of the twelve Titan children of Gaia and Uranus, and the second wife of Zeus. She was the physical representation of Justice, Divine Order, Fairness, and the Law of the Land. She was represented blindfolded with a scale in her hands. But she also represented the Social Order, without which no community could prosper. When Themis was ignored, then Nemesis, the winged deity holding a dagger, would set things right.

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

Interpretation of Dreams. Part II – The value of Symbols

In its beginnings, Psychoanalyses was more similar in organizational structure to “an eccentric cult” and its pioneering practitioners, including Sigmund Freud, were seen as dangerous professionals by the traditional medical establishment, as we have discussed in our new book Emotional Frustration – the Hushed Plague.

Didn’t you buy it yet? What are you waiting for? That your impossibly chatty neighbor does it first?

After the publication of his book The Interpretation of Dreams in 1900, Freud consolidated his operational grip in the still small but growing number of medical practitioners of the new discipline, even expelling a few for apostasy. Freud, an atheistic Jew, behaved like the messianic leader of a completely new religion. However, he was concerned that most of his followers were German-speaking Jews and that “his science” might not be able to cross into “the Austrian mainstream.”

In an excellent article, Sam Dresser, editor at Aeon magazine, wrote: “On February 27, 1907, in Vienna Sigmund Freud fell in love. The object of his affection was Carl Gustav Jung: 19 years younger than Freud, the young psychiatrist was already the young psychiatrist was already the clinical director of the prestigious Burgholzli Hospital and a professor at the University of Zurich. Jung had gained international recognition for his invention of the word association-test, and his practice was renowned for its gentle incisiveness. But when Jung read Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams (1900), he was startled by his theory and decided to talk with the man himself. And talk they did: for thirteen hours they plumbed the depths of the unconsciousness, the methods of psychoanalysis, and the analysis of dreams.”

Precisely the latter issue would eventually become the bone of contention in their prolific but at the same time agitated professional relationship, which ended in an acerbic, openly public rupture in 1913, after Freud published Totem and Taboo. Freud wanted to defend the core beliefs of the discipline, something he suggestively dubbed as The Cause, as it were a fanatical cult or political movement. Initially he saw in Jung, the son of a Protestant pastor and a distant relative of Goethe, as the perfect dauphin to succeed him, blocking the anointment of another old Jew. He believed that if Psychoanalysis ended up identified with Judaism, it would perish.

Note. This reproduction of a picture of Carl Jung was taken from Wikimedia Commons.

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

Jung had an extremely agitated personality, he considered himself as an intellectual heir of his famous ancestor, and , being raised in a Christian home, he was influenced by the Mystical aspects of the faith, including the dreams. As a young child, he once dreamt that God Almighty was discharging his feces on top of cathedral of Basel. Freud was willing to accept all that, as long as his favorite pupil did not question the central status of the Cause.

Even though the discipline was born out of pure speculation after Freud interviewed patients in his Vienna cabinet and reviewed his clinical notes, Sigismund wanted it to become more scientifically solid, based on evidence and hard data. In 1906, Jung applied his word-association test to Freud’s theory of free association, a critical step in retrieving the swept-away memories we have in the attic of our Unconsciousness.

The majority of the psychoanalysts that had joined the Freudian movement were particularly attracted to his theory that our repressed sexuality is the epicenter of our unconscious desires and libidinal tensions. Jung believed there was much more. As we have discussed in our previous article about Enantiodromia, Jung considered that we have to carefully examine all the symbology of our dreams as it constitutes some kind of psychological compensatory mechanism for ignored attitudes, defects, bad instances, failures, frustrations, which are not only sexual by nature. In a previous article, we discussed the value of certain symbols like Alchemists’ signs in Jung’s opinion.

Note. This reproduction of a picture of Sigmund Freud (left) and Carl Jung (right) was taken from Wikimedia Commons.

In a great article of the Society of Analytical Psychologists, Marcus West wrote: “Jung saw the mind/body/feelings (or what he called the psyche) as all working together. Even negative symptoms could be potentially helpful in drawing attention to an imbalance; for example, depression could result from an individual repressing particular feelings or not following a path that is natural and true to their particular personality. In this way he saw the psyche as a self-regulating system with all psychic contents—thoughts, feelings, dreams, intuitions, etc.—having a purpose. He thought the psyche was ‘purposive.” There are three features of this process:

  1. Individuation: the dreams serve to develop one’s particular personality and self- awareness by drawing our attention to special features we have missed.
  2. Lack of disguise: while Freud believed that the contents of our dreams are disguised in puzzling parables, Jung believed that they do not try to hide.
  3. Symbology: in order to save time and efforts to our beleaguered psyches, Jung believed that our Subconscious uses symbols drawn from religions, alchemy, art, history, geography, etc. He believed that: “a symbol is the best possible formulation of a relatively unknown psychic content.”

Jung considered that a dream is a form of psychic compensation for a certain void. One of his patients was a very intelligent lady that suddenly became very shallow in her therapy sessions. He decided to address this issue in their next encounter, but the previous might he had a particular dream. He was walking down a road at sunset when he suddenly sees to his right a big castle; in the tallest tower there was a beautiful lady that looked down on him. He had to pull himself as far back as he could to check her features. It was none other than his patient. What’s the meaning?

West said: “the interpretation was immediately apparent to him. If in the dream he had had to look up to the patient in this fashion, in reality he had been probably looking down on her—the dream had been his compensation for his attitude toward her.”

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

Kabbalah – Part I Introduction

Since we started writing Madame D.C. -Three Voyages, we have been studying the ancient art and knowledge of The Kabbalah, which is one of the most exciting fields of so-called Esoteric Sciences. We must humbly confess that we are almost as ignorant as we were when we started, Thank God. We are introducing the subject today for our Supernatural, Superstition and She series ( like we had previously done for Astrology) with a transcript of a dialogue between two characters of that novel. On one hand, we have Father Mauro, a callous Catholic priest who is burdened with the task of pursuing a Dreadful Monster from Antiquity in the dark alleys of Venezia, and on the other hand Saul. a Jewish artisan of Cannaregio who gave him a timely providential refuge in his shop when he was about to be annihilated one very scary night. They spoke like thus:

-“What are all those folios? They look so old,” said Father Mauro to Saul, pointing at a stuffed bookshelf in his study after breakfast on Monday. As Father Stefano took care of the plumbing issue, he went to visit him.

-“Oh…those? They’re very ancient Kabbalah manuscripts,” Saul said, “they’re come from the defiant yeshiva of Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato—”

-“Really? How did you get them?”

-“Funny…As a payment for an extensive upgrade of all the golden mobilier of a late nobleman’s mansion in Lake Garda… His British widow dismissed them as credulous charlatanism—she wanted to get rid of the whole lot.”

-“Who was Luzatto?”

-“Mmm…He was a Talmudic scholar that openly taught the Kabbalah in the eighteenth century… He was persecuted and had to flee to Holland.”

-“Why did they criminalize his teachings?”

-“See…The Jewish Kabbalah is a set of teachings to explain the relationship between an unchanging, eternal ‘Ein Sof’ and our mortal, finite world…It has been studied by many, not only Jewish scholars…Some of its tenets pre- date all the modern religions, forming the backbone of our social bodies… That precious knowledge had been transmitted orally by the patriarchs and prophets, becoming more popular around 10th Century BC—”

-“Fine…But why did it have to go underground?”

-“Our Jewish homeland was conquered many times…The Sanhedrin decided to hide it in order to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands.”

-“Only from the outside? Or from the inside too?”

-“Both….Our leaders feared that its unsupervised use by all the disseminated Jewish communities in the planet might lead to some dangerous ways…” The priest took a sip of his espresso. “What kind of wrong ways?”

-“They’ve always dreaded two bloody deviations—” The priest cocked an eyebrow. “Which ones?”

-“First, the emergence of a charismatic leader that might claim the Messiah’s mantle like Sabbatai Zevi had done in the seventeenth century… He agitated the masses with the fallacious promise of a new Millennia and the rebuilding of the Jerusalem temple… With the tacit complicity of all the Jewish leaders, the Sultan eventually captured him and forced his conversion to Islam.”

-“Aside from apostasy, what’s the other blasphemy?”

-“That there’s actually a duality in the Universe, a supernatural counterpart to God….One good system constantly fighting against the evil one—‘

-“And?” the priest asked, grinning. “What’s your opinion?”

-“God’s design gives us a choice—we must decide which one we follow.”

This article reminded us that the good folks of The Kabbalah Centre of Miami kindly gifted us a nice book in the Miami Dade Book Fair; we will contact them again to register in one of their classes so we can more appropriately write about this subject for our readers and fans across the globe.

Note. This statue of a Sleeping Lady sits at the coastal boulevard in Carrasco, Montevideo, Uruguay. It was used by our daughter Noël Marie to prepare the gorgeous front cover of Madame D.C.

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do yo think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

Women’s fascination with Vampire stories

-“Doctor…The best moment is when he’s ready to plunge his teeth into her neck.”

After more than 40 years of medical practice, we thought we had heard everything. How wrong we were. A few days ago, we were casually chatting about the latest streaming series with a lady patient, when the subject of Vampire stories came up. Slightly surprised that so many horror movies and series were shown during the sad times of this cruel pandemic, we asked her for her opinion with a tad of ingenuity.

She told us that not only she watches them but most of her girlfriends do the same. She explained to us that it was a harmless escapist relief for the domestic drudgery that the social isolation and safety requirements of the pandemic imposed on us. And the burden of keeping the household safe has fallen disproportionately on women. As a result, besides fulfilling their regular work and household duties, they have to keep track of the sanitary requirements of the national, state and county regulations.

Note. This reproduction of Edvard Munch’s The Vampire was taken from Wikimedia Commons.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Edvard_Munch_-_Vampire_(1895)_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg

Gothic fiction is a literature and film genre dealing with horror, death, and romance; the attainment of pleasurable terror is the major emotional endgame in these works. In a deviant variant of the prevailing Romanticism of the literature of the 18th century, the Gothic writers aim to engage their readers’ energies into reaching The Sublime; for that end, they use scenes of decay, death, and morbidity to shock our sensibility. The first known book in the English Language is the 1794 novel by Horace Walpole initially titled as The Castle of Otranto and later renamed as A Gothic story.

The unique emotional aesthetic of this genre was given by Edmund’s Burke’s 1757 A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful. In an excellent Wikipedia review article, they summarized Burke’s thesis like this: “the Sublime is that which is or produces the strongest emotion which the mind is capable of feeling; the Sublime is most often evoked by Terror, and to cause Terror we need some amount of Obscurity—we can’t know everything about that which is inducing Terror—or else a great deal of the apprehension vanishes.”

In a now famous retreat hosted by Lord Byron in a villa au bord du Lac de Genève in the summer of 1816, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Shelley, John William Polidori and the mad-bad-and-dangerous-to- know-poet himself engaged in a competition for the scariest ghost story. From that unique engagement, two major works of art emerged, which have a special resonance for the plight of women under the yoke of the abhorrent Patriarchate. Don’t you know that the latter still exists?

Note. The expression mad, bad, and dangerous to know was used by Lady Caroline Lamb to describe her secret lover George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron, commonly known as Lord Byron.

One of them was Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818) and the other one was Polidori’s The Vampyre (1819). In those times, women were not supposed to have the wits to discuss philosophical issues, let alone design books dealing with them. Mary Shelley had to hide behind her husband for 30 years before acknowledging her authorship. Polidori’s book was based on an earlier unfinished story written by Lord Byron titled The Burial: a fragment, with the story of a not yet dead character. The best version of Vampire lore—Bram Stoker’s Dracula—was published in 1897.

Why would modern educated women feel that irresistible attraction for Vlad Dracul? We might dare to suggest that, like their sisters of the nineteenth century, these ladies feel trapped by the constrictive corset of quaint social norms from the Patriarchate. Moreover, the added financial, labor, and cultural burdens of this pandemic have irked them so much that they are more receptive to the forbidden charm of eroticism. They are tired of “the same old” in workplaces, social reunions, beds.

To pick up any clues, you might want to pay more attention to your wife’s watchlist. If there are too many horror series, it might be time for action. Without any prejudice, you might want to pre-emptively avoid her jump from a virtual fantasy into the meatier world of Les Liaisons Dangereuses.

Imagine if in a very casual, anodyne encounter with a total manly stranger in the elevator, she starts craving for le frisson from the parsimonious physicality of his feral kissing down her velvety neck…

In our book Emotional Frustration – the Hushed Plague, we cautioned distracted men:

A nugget of Wisdom. You just found out that your wife is having an affair.

Not with an ex, a colleague, or a friend. The swipe-to-the-right kind of guy. What should you do? First try to de-familiarize and de-institutionalize your bond.

If the issue is a waning flame, why not fire it up ? On the spur of the moment call the baby-sitter , make a dinner reservation, and pick her up at work with a bouquet.

Booking a kinky room with mirrors galore in a tawdry motel is optional.”

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

The Mystic Wanderer – Part IV

-“You’re on a quest….I know—I can read faces.”

This commentary was uttered gently but unexpectedly by a fellow student in a course of literary craft in Miami Dade College – Wolfson Campus in 2014, during a brief class break while we were seated next to each other in the front row. As we imperviously kept the conversation going on, she looked at us intently without saying anything. Then, out of the blue, she uttered those words.

She was (and, God bless her, most likely still is) an educated and smart lady that had just arrived from a trip to Mongolia where she had painstakingly recorded their children’s stories. We cannot remember her name but her facial features were seared in our memory. She decided to undertake that perilous trek totally funded with her own financial means because she felt that someone had to do it before that precious cultural heritage would be lost forever in a few generations. She explained to us that the Mongol people relied much more on oral traditions rather than the written records; however, with the onslaught of the digital revolution reaching as far away as their nomadic yurts, the elders feared that the chain of transmission could be broken due to their youngsters’ distractions.

She told us that in her frequent trips to the Far East, she had occasionally come across a guy in the street that had our same absent look, as if he was somewhere else. Or trying to reach another destination than the physical location where he was standing. We explained to her that we wanted to write novels and essays, which she liked. But she warned us that no commercial or academic success would ever totally satisfy us. She told us that we would never leave the road to settle down in comfy places. We looked at her in silence and bewilderment, but we respected her firm diagnosis.

Now we are fully convinced that she hit it on top of the nail. We are, and will always be, on a quest. Discovering new places, talking to different people, sharing the joy and sadness of Living with them.

Note. This reproduction of Peter Bruegel’s The Peasant Dance was taken from Wikimedia Commons. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pieter_Bruegel_d._%C3%84._014.jpg

We have always been avid readers and loyal fans of Thomas Merton, the French – American mystic, poet, writer, social activist, and inter-faith collaborator, who just only happened to be a Trappist monk with a checkered relationship with hierarchy. Not surprisingly, like the great thinkers and movers of the Catholic Church like Saint Francis of Assisi, he was admired and reviled at the same time (can this be possible?) by his superiors in the order who resented his growing popularity all over the world. On December 10, 1968, while he was attending a Red Cross conference in Thailand, he was found dead in his cottage room, presumably due to an electrocution(sic) However, he had a clear laceration in the back of his head and he did not have an autopsy; ever since, many journalists have claimed that he was murdered by the Usual Suspects due to his opposition to the Vietnam War. We will write about him, his works, his influence, and also about the 2018 book detailing his demise.

Note. This image of the Reverend Thomas Merton was taken from Wikimedia Commons.

By The Merton Center: http://www.mertoncenter.org/Poetry/griffin.jpg, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18293738

Man on a Quest.

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What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.