The Checkmate Tarot Spread

A small business that has hired you to provide financial consultation needs advice on how to deal with a litigious company that’s pushing them out of business. A group of friends is preparing to take a long journey across multiple different countries, and they’re looking for some advice on what they’ll need to take into consideration for the trip. A group of alt-right folk have been causing trouble in the local pagan community, and your coven of antifascist witches needs to formulate a gameplan.

In situations like these, you might be looking for a tarot spread that’s a little more in-depth, something with a lot of opportunities to strategise, to simulate possible moves, to apply lateral thinking, and to come up with multiple adaptable approaches to a complex problem.

The Checkmate Tarot Spread is a new spread developed to satisfy those needs.

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In recent years it feels like there’s been a massive new appreciation for Tarot, both in terms of folk choosing to get Tarot readings and folk choosing to learn Tarot for themselves. On one hand, we could say this is the due to the rippling futureshock of the rupture of the twinned Aeon of Horus-Ma’at after the quantum detonation of 2012 and the emergence into solar cycle 25 which vibrates from the Summer of Love through to the morphically-resonant Gaian nightside waking-dreams of 16th-and-17th century court alchemists; on the other hand, we could say it’s just because Tarot is extremely cool and lots of occult and witchy folk are talking more openly about their practice and making it more accessible to get into it.

A few folk have asked me some advice about getting started with Tarot, how to interpret the cards, how to pick a deck, and so on: I wanted to make a wee guide to collect together some of the advice I’ve given and to make it easier for a wider range of folk to try it out for themselves.

Continue reading “HOLOGLYPHIC CENTRIFUGE IN ASTRAL ROTUNDA XXI: 24/7 Lo-Fi Musick of the Spheres”

“Who’s quoting this?”: Synchromystic Language, Narrative and Metatextuality in Hellier

In November 2019, the second season of Planet Weird original series Hellier was released through Amazon Prime, and then later free on YouTube. The crew comprises Dana and Greg Newkirk of the Travelling Museum of the Paranormal and Week in Weird, Karl Pfeiffer and Connor Randall of the Spirits of the Stanley series, and, joining the team as a regular investigator after an appearance in Season One, occult adventurer and researcher Tyler Strand. Their investigation runs the gamut of paranormal phenomena, starting with strange emails from a man seeing goblins outside of his house at night, to the Mothman sightings and Fortean phenomena of Point Pleasant, to a cipher that decodes the names of ultraterrestrials, to spooky caves deep in the country. Season 2 brings us connections to the ostensible clustering of the paranormal along the 37th parallel, rumours of rural cult activity, experiments in hypnosis and psi, meetings with occultists, and the evocation of the great god Pan in an eerie cave. 1

One aspect of the team’s investigation that deserves close attention is their attempt at communication with the unseen forces that appear to be orchestrating their initiation into the wider occult world, if the signs and synchronicities are to be believed. Throughout their investigation, the Hellier team appear to be in contact with something – the essence of which is so slippery and difficult to grasp that they simply refer to it as “the phenomena”. This phenomena appears to manifest through their sessions with spirit boxes and in charting synchronicities – but there is ample scope to consider it as being in some way tied to the narrative of Hellier itself, the way the crew talk about that narrative, and how the phenomena crosses the dividing lines between the team’s experiences, the show, and its audience.

In particular, language, narrative and metatextuality are recurrent themes throughout the series, most often literally in the sense of delving into various esoteric books, cryptic emails and ciphers, or attempting spirit communication through diverse means; there’s a more subtle current in the fact that many of the group’s paranormal experiences – and the production of the show itself – sidle up against the vagaries of communication, textual processes, and storytelling, some of which we’ll discuss below.

Note that there are spoilers for both seasons of Hellier in the discussion ahead!

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