Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Other Side of Darkness

The dark is done, the light is born: we have crossed into Winter. In the long dark of last night, I cast the Muzoracle. How might we navigate this time?

The keycenter, G# Ascending, energy moving upward from the Throat to Third Eye: being understood. The first position, Timbre under se: destiny at the Point of Inception. The second position: a Conductor of Strings over ti: mastery in the realm of feeling at the Point of Transition. The final position and axis of the casting, Improvisation crossed with a Minor Second of Woodwinds under me: creative response and conflicting ideas at the Point of Opportunity.

This casting can be pertinent to many areas of life. The first that comes to mind, though, is politics, especially those of the US. Every musical instrument has its unique timbre, its own sound determined by its shape; the Timbre card refers to becoming ourselves. That it occurs at the Point of Inception implies that the process is already underway: seeded in the dark, a new form is emerging. The very fact of where Sanders stands in the culture is visible proof of such an emergence — it is a hopeful time. 

The second and third positions address the how-to. First, in order to navigate the transition to the next level, we are required to become masters of our emotions. That doesn’t mean repressing them — they arise and must be honored — it means mustering will with regard to expressing them, and not identifying with and indulging them. This is a work: there’s a lot to be distressed and pissed off about. When is it effective to get in people’s faces, and when is it not? The I Ching advises that in a time of emergence, gentleness is in order:  “Everything must be treated tenderly and with care at the beginning, so that the return may lead to a flowering.” Sound advice, so to speak.

The final position speaks of improvising, of responding creatively, in the face of conflicting philosophies and ideas. Creative responding without reactive emoting: this is where the opportunity to fill our emerging form lies.

We have reached the other side of darkness — may it be light.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Full Moon Casting for 8/29/15

You are on the cusp of understanding: your mind has begun to comprehend what the heart and spirit knows. Remember your intentions regarding fulfillment — this new understanding is a support toward those ends. In order to move forward some things must be abandoned; intuitively you know what those things are.

Beyond the mundane challenges you face, there is a life lesson at hand. You are at center stage, all eyes are upon you, it is a moment to shine; and you are called to respond in an unexpected way, a way that may not at first be obvious. The path is clear when you ride the right horse: proceed calmly, with heart open and intuition fully engaged.

click for larger image

Casting notes. Under do descending, the point of inception, we find Theory; in the same position, we find the Nine of Cups moving upward from the point of intention. Under la descending, the point of governance, we find Editing in conjunction with the High Priestess. The axis of the casting is over ra ascending, the point of broad challenge, of karmic debts and payments; here we find Performance crossed with Ossia, with the Knight of Cups descending from the point of vitality.

The Muzoracle cards in this casting are all compositionals: a rare occurrence. Emotion and intuition loom large: the casting begins and ends in Cups, with the High Priestess at center. The necessary culling that Editing calls for is represented by the sickle-shaped new moon; this is echoed in the same moon/sickle at the feet of the Priestess. But the new moon is coming; the full moon is here, and we see it shining on the face of Performance. It crosses Ossia, the alternate passage; karmically, we are called to an “alternate performance.”

Further subtleties. This casting is in the key of D descending, and so resonates in the body primarily at the second chakra, the seat of creativity. The burgeoning understanding at position 1 seems miles away from the karmic call at position 3: they are separated by a major seventh, which is a long way. The culling at position 2 fills the hole. That culling is somber business in relation to this new understanding — positions 1 and 2 are separated by a minor third. Finally, there is a longing urgency between the culling at 2 and the karma at 3, as they are separated by a minor sixth.

Musically, though based in the key of D, this casting feels very much in the key of G; this “future is now” aspect reinforces the “already underway” qualities of position 1. It also brings the throat chakra into play, which resonates with Performance. The sweetness of the harmony at position 2 suggests that the culling at hand may include a sense of relief.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Muzoracle, Tarot, I Ching: Similarities and Differences

The Muzoracle is subtitled “The Tarot of Music,” and is sometimes described as “a musical cross between Tarot and the I Ching.” How exactly is the Muzoracle related to those two systems? What are the differences between it and them?

The Tarot deck is divided into two types of cards, the Major and Minor Arcana. The Major Arcana is made up of the 22 archetypal, pictorial cards most commonly associated with Tarot: cards like The Fool, The Empress, Death, The Sun, and so on. The Minor Arcana is made up of 56 cards divided into four suits, and includes numbered cards and court cards; those are the cards from which our standard playing cards are derived.

The Muzoracle deck is analogous to the Tarot deck in that its cards, too, are divided into two types: the 34 Compositionals and the 55 Harmony Cards. Honestly, though, the similarity between the two decks pretty much ends there. The Compositionals are based on musical concepts and directives found in musical composition: things like Melody, Tonality, Rhythm; slow down, get louder, repeat, pause. The Harmony Cards, divided into five suits, are the more archetype-driven cards in the Muzoracle Deck; but they are based on sonic archetypes, two and three note combinations that convey their meaning primarily through their sound rather than their images and ideas. The Harmony Cards also include their version of the court cards; in lieu of kings, queens, knights, and pages, however, there are conductors, soloists, and accompanists.

The similarities between the Muzoracle and the I Ching are even more amorphous, with one significant exception: like the hexagrams of the I Ching, the positions in a Muzoracle casting are characterized by underlying movement. Muzoracle mythopoetics are driven by something called The Harmonic Engine: all of the elements in a casting contain and are contained within other elements, which are all on the way to and from somewhere else. The workings of the Engine may not be obvious in a casting, and a theoretical knowledge of them is not necessary in order to use the oracle; nonetheless, the Engine’s action pervades the Muzoracle experience. There is a sense of things in motion that one can tap into and use, rather than some sort of fixed doom that one is sentenced to live out.

Indeed, it is this “lack of fixedness” that separates the Muzoracle from other divinatory tools, especially the Tarot. Each card in the Tarot brings a lot with it: those images, those terms, those numbers, its history of use as a predictor. Therein lies its power, and its attraction, and its potential for good use and misuse. The Muzoracle is not meant to supplant the Tarot, nor to pose itself as greater-than; it is simply different. Each position in a Muzoracle casting is defined by keywords, a sound, a place in a scale, a geometric shape, a color… a combination of abstract elements that fire the imagination and intuition. The relationship between querent and reader is more one of creative co-conspiracy than prophecy; the endgame is empowerment, a sense of choices one owns.