The Ace of Cups contains complementary concepts to the Ace of Swords. The Ace of Cups works with the watery nature of feelings and emotions, aspects of experience which often make little or no sense to the analytical nature of the intellect.
While feelings and emotions can't be "cut through" in a meaningful manner, they can be "cupped" and held - allowing one to develop a relationship to what they are directly experiencing.
This is a different type of energetic than the "cutting action" of the intellect. While a sword works through swiftness, a cup simply sits there and maintains an empty space that water can settle into.
For me, this card evokes the Taoist concept of "actionless action", the value of "not-doing" to pave the way for new insights to just spring up and emotions to settle.
The Ace of Swords is another card that can be helpful in interpreting Key XI, Justice. The symbol of the sword can be used to represent the analytical aspect of Intelligence, which I often refer to as the intellect.
The sword of the intellect is particularly deft at cutting and separating — analyzing — the tangible aspects of experience. This strength, however, is not without its limitations.
When it comes to the realm of feelings and emotions, often symbolized by water, it can seem like there is nothing for the intellect to "cut into".
The fluid nature of emotions illustrates that there is indeed "something there", just nothing solid and defined for the sword of our intellect to cut into.
Today marks the beginning of Fall, and the Autumnal Equinox. It also marks the shift from Virgo to Libra. Within the language of the TAROT, the card known as Justice is tied to the zodiac sign of Libra.
As the card indicates, true Justice represents a balanced approach to Intelligence. This theme is carried through the balancing of black and white throughout the card, in both the tessellated floor and the two pillars in the background.
Even the figure of Justice shows a balance of forces. In her right hand, she holds a sword, symbol of the analytical aspect of Intelligence. This is complemented with the scales in her left hand which can be interpreted as a nod to the intelligence of the heart, which works in a more analogical, synthetic manner.
True Justice represents a balancing of forces, the human aspect holding a stance of quiet strength where one's animal nature can relax and rest in a sense of safety.
Some of you who have been following my posts might be wondering what the deck of cards known as the TAROT has to do with understanding the Universe - even in the realm of "Mystic Physics."
After all, isn't the TAROT just a deck for divination? According to art historian and artist, Robert Wang, there may be more to the TAROT than meets the eye. According to Wang:
"The Tarot is a system of enlightenment, a system whose ultimate aim is assisting the individual in understanding his relationship to the Cosmos. It is not a game; it is not primarily for fortune-telling."
This statement fanned the flames of my curiosity surrounding the TAROT, encouraging me to explore this pictorial "book without a binding" in greater depth.
Key X, Wheel of Fortune, serves as the planetary companion to Key IX, The Hermit. Within the context of the zodiac, the Wheel of Fortune can be interpreted as communicating the idea of "cycles within cycles".
Once one has looked out over the field of "prima materia", a clearer idea of what one wants to create (and what is possible at that moment) will naturally develop.
Which journey one chooses to embark upon will set up a new cycle, with new adventures that gradually spring up from the initial seed of intention.
Summer is winding down with the coming shift from Virgo into Libra. Although it may seem unusual to associate the figure of a Hermit with Virgo, there is an Alchemical significance to this sign that can easily be overlooked.
The sign of Virgo can also reference the "prima materia" of the Alchemists — the "virgin material" of creation. From this perspective, key IX, The Hermit, can be viewed as looking out with wisdom over a field of pure potential.
The light he holds can be interpreted as the light of the heart, which he can use to help him illuminate the path that he will create, slowly and methodically with each step of his journey.
The concept for "Mystic Physics" sprang forth from a passage that I read in a memoir by Andre Vandenbroeck, entitled Al-Kemi. In this book, Vandenbroeck shares details from his experiences with R.A. Schwaller de Lubicz.
While the writings of Rene Schwaller are considered controversial within the field of Egyptology, Vandenbroeck puts a decidedly different spin on this enigmatic persona.
From Vandenbroeck's perspective (and based upon his personal encounters), Schwaller was more of an Alchemist than anything — completely shifting my perspective on his (Schwaller's) writings.
One quote that stuck with me was Schwaller's claim that "all science lies between the numbers One and two". This simple quote piqued my curiosity and led me to explore even older works focusing on Pythagorean Number Theory.
Although it has taken me close to ten years to digest certain aspects of Vandenbroeck's work, it does appear that Schwaller's comment regarding the relationship between science and number (or Science and Number) does have more than just a bit of merit.
To understand this mathematics of wholes, the concept of "Geometric Sectioning" can not only be a potent metaphor, but visualization tool as well.
By starting with an initial "whole", and sectioning it out, all manner of figures (concepts, objects, or entities) can be created, with complementary opposites arising simultaneously with the figures.
This is one way to explain the "world of opposites" we appear to inhabit. Since everything we experience has a perceptual element to it, it only makes sense to explore the nature of perception itself, along with the "cutting" power of our intellects.
While most people are familiar with the additive method of producing the "Whole" or "counting" numbers, there is another way to visualize this progression — using an altogether different process.
These numbers can also be produced by taking a Geometric Approach. By using a process of division (separation), the whole numbers can extend from an initial "Whole". One unusual side effect is that odd and even numbers arise simultaneously, perfectly paired with one another and held in relation to the initial Unity.
While the Eastern model of the Universe posited by Taoist philosophy is still actively applied within a wide range of disciplines including Traditional Chinese Medicine and the martial art of Taiji, a similar model found within the West has all but been forgotten.
I will be the first to admit that this is not surprising in the least — especially considering that I too would have overlooked this model as well without my previous exposure to the Eastern thought streams of Taoism and Zen.
The Western model of the Universe bears a striking resemblance to the Eastern model, particularly when the graphical depictions of the two models are placed side- by-side with one another. Just as the Eastern model of the Universe can be traced back to the Taoist philosophers of Ancient China, the Western model that we shall explore is often credited to the Hermetic philosophers found throughout Europe, the Middle East, and Egypt.
Both models can be interpreted as beginning with the concept of a “Great Void”, an Unbroken Whole from which the phenomenal universe naturally arises from. This concept of Unbroken Unity, representing the One Absolute, can be viewed as the initial state of Intelligence, Consciousness, or Perception that is the True Nature of the Universe.
The Taoist model begins with the idea of Wuji, often referred to as “the Great Void” from which all existence emanates forth. While it can be tempting to interpret this concept as a “void in space”, or physical emptiness, things get much more interesting when this concept is viewed from more of a psychological perspective.
Rather than representing an “absence of physical objects”, the idea of Wuji can be thought of as the “absence of concepts”, allowing for a form of emptiness that is truly Absolute in its nature.
Mutual Causality in Buddhism & General Systems Theory
Joanna Macy's book takes on the subject of linear causality head-on by introducing the concept of "mutual causality" that underpins the teachings of the Buddha, while drawing correlations from General Systems Theory.
Under this model, cause and effect arise simultaneously and can be thought of as two complementary aspects of the same event. For individuals seeking a different perspective on themselves, others, and the world around them this book articulates a unique perspective that is immanently practical for understanding how we perceive the events of the world.
"The Universe" was my first foray with writing in first person as an inanimate object — and it shows. Notice how the beginning starts more as an explanation than an exposition by The Universe:
"Whether they realize it or not, when most people speak of “the uni- verse”, they are actually speaking of the physical universe, the world or cosmos that they have gradually become familiar with through their different senses. Most human beings filter their experience through the five senses: taste, touch, smell, sound, and last but not least, sight. Each of these senses enables individuals to draw different insights not only about the world around them, but about themselves as well - if they so choose. "
"The Point" is the second installment in a series of writing experiments, this time told from the first-person perspective of a point:
"I am a point, and contrary to what some people say I do exist — just not in the way that most people are used to thinking of existence. Except for Plato, Plato is one of those rare human beings who really “got it” - along withEuclid.
However, now I am getting ahead of myself. As I said previously, I am a point and I do exist, don’t let the fact that I have to keep reminding myself of this diminish your belief in me."
"The Dot" is a brief writing experiment with writing in 3rd person — from the perspective of a dot. As the dot states:
"I am a dot, and let’s get one thing straight, right off the bat — I'm not a point. However, if you insist on calling me a point I can’t say that I really care, after all that is your problem if you don’t understand the difference between
a point and a dot. "
I wrote this paper a little over a year and a half ago to illustrate the relationship between 1 and 2, which naturally gives rise to 3 in Pythagorean Number Theory, which can be interpreted as being based upon "wholes".
By beginning from a holistic, instead of fragmentary approach, towards Number an altogether different perspective on mathematics appears to arise — one that is primarily Geometric, instead of algebraic in its Nature.
If the Universe is taken as a Whole, in the form of The Absolute, this dictates the use of division, instead of division, to create "all these separate things" (the 10,000 things of Lao Tzu and the Taoist philosophers) instead of addition.
Although fragmentation arises, everything is held in reference (measured proportion) to the original Whole, creating a web of perception similar to the concept of "Indra's Net" as described by Alan Watts in his lectures.
Just a quick note to let everyone know that I have made several updates to the site. Perhaps most importantly, there is now a functional side-navigation for people who aren't logged in — which is the bulk of visitors at this point! This should make it easier for all of you to browse content and find articles and information that you are interested in viewing!
All the best,
Founder, Animative Education
Today marks the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress in 1776, resulting in the holiday being known in the United States as Independence Day.
This document is unique in that it explicitly stated that all men [now humans] are created equal. As we are seeing today, this value is a difficult one to uphold, not only in our present era, but throughout history as well.
While the framers of this country have not been without their foibles, the truth of the matter is that "we the people" still have much work to do.
For this year's fourth, how can each of us help make this ideal a reality for all people. Put another way, how can we grow this nation so that it can realize the spiritual goals commemorated on this day more than two centuries ago?
David Bohm - On Fixed World Views
After watching the movie, "Infinite Potential", last weekend, I've been refreshing my perspectives and taking another look at "Wholeness & the Implicate Order".I find Bohm's writings fascinating, not only are they depthy, but it appears that he took great care in explaini Read more…
Wholeness & the Implicate Order
Bohm's work was invaluable as a reference for my first book, "Science & Perception". Almost 3 years after first being introduced to his writings, I am still going back to this book and finding new insights and inspiration.
I find Bohm inspiring , not only for his depth and range, but also his perspective on the role of science as a discipline. Somehow, even after reaching the pinnacle of scientific thought, Bohm managed to keep a certain humility about him (at least as evidenced by his writings).
This is one of the things I enjoy about his writings, although they can take time to go through and are often highly technical, he never loses his humanity, nor forgets that he is writing for a human audience.
Let My People Go Surfing
Yvon Chouinard's story is another book that I keep coming back to again and again. Those of you questioning whether you can build a multi-million dollar corporation and still keep your soul will find inspiration in Chouinard's account.
This doesn't mean that things have always been easy - they haven't - and Chouinard admits that. It does show that one can build out a business with integrity - and even have fun while doing it!
Chapter 0 is where everything starts, the zero, or starting point for the entire book. The "Friday Group" is immediately plunged into a heated discussion over the Nature of the Universe and the role that Perception plays in modeling the world.
An apparently simple question (puzzle) stumps the group — not due to the answer, but simply because a WAITRESS posits a question (puzzle) that no one in the GROUP can answer (solve).
Chapter 1 explores the idea of the Universe in much greater detail, positing that the Universe is actually infinite in Nature. This idea of infinity is closer to the idea of boundlessness, rather than "extremely big" or "extremely small".
Since this conception of the Universe contains *everything* by definition, it is also boundless — making the idea of anything "outside of it" impossible (once again, by definition).
This chapter covers the concept of the "Mutual Arising of Opposites", borrowed from and inspired by the Taoist sages, as well as Alan Watts in greater depth.
I continue with additional graphic means of description and experiments that you can do with a simple pen and paper to understand how we (may) give rise to the phenomenal world through our mental models.
After looking over this Appendix recently (June 2020), I will be the first to say that this Appendix needs some updating. The Absolute is actually absolutely continuous AND discrete - as being The Absolute it subsumes all pairs of complements.
While this may be somewhat difficult to grasp (after all, it only took me another 2 1/2 years to articulate after publishing the book), if something is absolutely continuous, then it has no break points or points of discontinuity.
Paradoxically, this also makes The Absolute absolutely discrete, as it is exactly One Thing due to its Unbroken Nature.
Appendix II focuses on the "Rules for Exegesis" when interpreting holy books. I found this reference invaluable in helping me shift my vantage point and perspectives across the multiple authors and works (to say nothing of the characters) while writing and editing "Science & Perception".
All is Mind…
The notion that the world is populated by Ideas is a Platonic concept that I find particularly intriguing. Under this model, even the concept of an "object" just represents another Idea.These insights indicate that the Universe is more mental than physical in its Essential Nature Read more…
Why is storytelling so important to me? It's quite simple, really. I believe that we create our world through the stories we tell about ourselves, others, and the world around us.Try as we might, none of us can escape the power of stories. If you find yourself disagreeing with me Read more…
Science & Perception - Author's Perspective
Although it is coming up on 2 1/2 years since I first published "Science & Perception", I feel that the ideas it contains (and the path it follows) are more relevant than ever.Some people say that we are living in a post-truth world, and that simply isn't so. We are living a Read more…
Working with Love
Happy Valentine's Day everyone! Today is a time when I typically take time to turn inward and reflect on the many people that I am grateful for wandering their way into my life. Participating in an ongoing practice of gratitude has been one of the simplest ways for me to actively Read more…
Four years ago this past fall, I had the opportunity to partake in a Yin-Yoga Teacher Training course led by Biff Mithoefer at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York. This course focused as much on the philosophy of teaching, however, as it did on class construction.One of th Read more…
Love & Hate
Whether a side-effect of information overload or a methodical assault on our psyches, there appears to be a deepening divide that is threatening to split our country in two. Some people would say that this has already happened. I would say that, while the split widening, it hasn' Read more…
Rabbit, rabbit! Welcome to the first day of February! Even though this month is traditionally associated with groundhogs, I figured that I would give the customary first of the month shout-out to our long-eared friends who share a similar propensity to burrow.Like rabbits and gro Read more…
The Engineering Mindset
Over the past several years, I have had a significant number of people take notice of my mindset. I pretty much took these comments in stride until a friend of mine who teaches entrepreneurship and business echoed these assertions, saying, "people don't think like you do."That co Read more…
After more than 20 years of creating web-based applications for small businesses and budding entrepreneurs, I have decided to focus my skills towards education and curriculum design.As someone who has structured and taught undergraduate classes at the university level, I have lon Read more…
Writing, like any other artistic effort, requires its practitioners to step beyond their comfort zones and try new things. Last July, I had the opportunity to explore the writings of several Turkish authors at the behest of a bridesmaid in my brother’s wedding. She recommended Read more…
Everyone is overloaded with information — at least that is what many people tell themselves. And while it is true that individuals have access to more information than ever before, I tend to believe that the information itself is rather innocuous. For it is the myriad of messag Read more…
Symbolism, like movement, has the potential to illustrate concepts that are difficult to describe through language. Most people are familiar with the saying that "a picture is worth a thousand words", yet few, if any of us ever think to apply this principle to symbolism.1The temp Read more…
Storytelling with Significance
Tomorrow marks two weeks since I began blogging again — this time in the form of the online journal that you are now reading. My goals in this endeavor were twofold:1. To embark upon a consistent posting practice for marketing and communication.2. To find out what would happen Read more…
The Three Characteristics
Even though I was originally brought up in a Catholic household, Eastern philosophies — most notably Buddhism (Zen) and Taoism — have continued to color many of my experiences as an adult. When I was living in Boston, Massachusetts I would frequently participate in the weekly Read more…
Poetry & Prose
Over the past month or so, I've been thoroughly consumed with editing my second book. While issues such as spelling and general punctuation are relatively simple to fix (at least once they have been found) clarity still remains the most challenging aspect of writing for me.One of Read more…
After purchasing several books on the TAROT, one might think that I would have had a pretty good handle on what this mysterious little deck of cards entailed, however, nothing could have been further from the truth. It seemed that every page I turned, and each book I purchased, b Read more…
The Magic of Movement
It's difficult to believe that I've been teaching movement for more than 28 years. Throughout this time period I have instructed undergrad classes in martial arts, self-defense, stress-management, and yin-yoga. I even did a stint as a Volunteer Assistant Coach for Penn State Wome Read more…
Unity, the Universe & God
Last week, I began delving into my own, personal journey in relegating the concept of God with my professional training in science and engineering. As I delved more and more into the history of science, I found that many people who created the tools that modern science uses (math Read more…
My first introduction to Hermetic Philosophy occurred approximately 9 1/2 years ago, through books such as The Kybalion and Fulcanelli's Le Mystere de Cathedrales. The former book proveds a cursory overview of the principles of Hermetic thought, whereas the latter provides a uniq Read more…
A friend of mine suggested that I separate meditation out from my Monday journal postings on movement — even coming up with the idea of calling it Thoughtful Thursdays. In typical fashion, I adopted her suggestion, however, I couldn't resist creating a riff from her suggested m Read more…
July 31st of this year marked exactly 10 years since I made the commitment towards my writing practice. This was several months after my father had passed and the day of my 40th birthday. All I knew was that I needed to write.Somewhere over the course of the past 34 years (I had Read more…
Trident Booksellers resides in an old, weathered brick building on Newbury Street in Boston's Back Bay. I had finally settled into my writing, sitting at one of the community tables, when I heard a voice exclaim, “That’s a good book!”. I looked up from my writing and saw th Read more…
Seven years ago, while I was living in the Venice Beach area of California, I had the unique opportunity to teach martial arts on a paddleboard. My classes were particularly popular with several teenagers — primarily due to their lack of fear in looking silly or stupid. But tha Read more…
The Utility of God
July 19, 2019 started out with the cat, who was most definitely no longer a kitten, waking me up with her meowling at 5:35 a.m. Only today was different, since her voice was extra-loud. Needless to say it was shaping up to be a very long day.I arrived at the local coffee shop in Read more…
The past several weeks have been pretty bumpy. I usually like to do a "deep dig" several weeks before my birthday and with so much focus on finishing The Spring of the Leaf, I found it incredibly difficult to sit down and reflect on things.Perhaps it was because I was more focuse Read more…
After a long hiatus, I have decided to write a blog once more — this time in tandem with a podcast. Each of these formats have their own advantages and disadvantages. The written form allows readers to take a brief respite from the minutia of daily living, while the audio versi Read more…