Tarot and the All Seeing Eye

3rd eyeThe engraving pictured above is familiar to most everyone but few know what it’s about. Titled “The Flammarion Engraving,” the artist is unknown, but most likely was Camille Flammarion himself; the art was for a book he published in 1888. It depicts a missionary (a seeker of truth) who unexpectedly discovers where Earth and Heaven meet. More precisely, he came upon the liminal space (threshold) between them. That’s the stated objective of Chrysalis Tarot’s Papa Legba: to aid you in your discovery of liminality.

This blog is the third and final piece in a series about how tarot works. Many (quite wrongly) believe that tarot is something to be taught; that it is simply another decoding methodology, in this instance of randomly dealt cards. “This means that and if it’s next to that, then it means this and if it’s upside down, well then it means something entirely different.” Put bluntly, that’s just utter nonsense. It is, however, nonsense that quite a number of people successfully have turned into a profitable cottage industry constructed upon the twin pillars of medieval superstition and self-serving esoterica.

As long as tarot is identified primarily with woo-woo fortune-telling rather than with spiritual growth, it will never (and should never) earn anyone’s respect.


This is not to suggest that tarot doesn’t work – it most certainly does, as we all know. We suggest only that this is not the way tarot works and that true cartomancy, as opposed to woo-woo fortune-telling, is not comparable to, say, a Captain Midnight Decoding Ring. Not in the least! True cartomancy involves psychical communication with an unseen realm.

To glean meaning from tarot – valuable, useful, spiritually nourishing meaning – you first need to develop your innate intuitive skills and sow a fertile field for human imagination. You must, like Flammarion’s awestruck missionary, peer through the firmament that separates the seen from the unseen, the finite from the infinite, the known from the unknown, and become truly awe inspired.

We accomplish such an awakening not by consorting with rote definitions and fanciful gimmicks but by raising our Third Eye into consciousness and trusting our inner voice; by allowing ourselves to embark upon an astral journey like the lady pictured above and by contemplating energy patterns (chakras) that twist around the backbone of our being like a coiled snake – kundalini energy, which is female. The Third Eye is also known as the sixth chakra or indigo chakra. A Third Eye mandala is pictured below between two Chrysalis cards that invoke Third Eye symbolism.

Tarot employs what we might call speculative metaphysics or meta-philosophy, which is nonsensicalism to most materialists. Only those willing to peer beyond the veil can begin to comprehend the true nature of reality. At Chrysalis, we urge you to contemplate (not analyze) Holly Sierra’s extraordinary artwork on each of our cards rather than aspire to decode it.

The human psyche interprets symbols and archetypes via its personal unconscious – a realm of female energy symbolized by the moon and the serpent; the masculine conscious realm is symbolized by the sun and the raven. Archetypal symbols often mean different things to different people but always represent an initial spark of understanding that becomes the kindling of enlightenment.

Serpentine Apotheosis by Hakan Hisim

© Toney Brooks, 2018





CQ, CQ, Consciousness Calling; Come Back.

A statue of a Buddha head in the roots of a tree, Ayutthaya, Thailand

This Bing wallpaper image popped up on my computer the other day suggesting a direction for my second piece in a series on how Chrysalis Tarot works. You’ll recognize this Buddha art as the inspiration for Chrysalis’ Three of Spirals, “Contemplation.”

You may also notice that the blog’s title was inspired by the movie “Contact,” which starred Jodi Foster. I watch it at least twice a year. In shortwave radio communication, and communication in general, the term CQ identifies a “general call.” Anyone who hears the call can respond.

Chrysalis is based on the premise that consciousness is non-local, a term in physics used to denote “action at a distance.” Examples of non-locality are gravity, electromagnetism, and tarot, indeed any action not explained by one object’s physical interaction with another.

Action at a distance became weird, or as Einstein put it, spooky, when quantum physics and the strangeness of quantum entanglement were introduced. When two protons, for example, are entangled, they can be located at opposite ends of the universe yet still remain connected or correlated. If you spin one proton clockwise, the other will spin counterclockwise instantaneously, although the two are separated by gazillions of light years.

Chrysalis Tarot works because the entire universe is connected by whatever defines the ground state of the universe. In the terms of quantum physics, this ground state is known as the quantum vacuum or zero-point energy. In theology, the ground state is, obviously, God; Paul Tillich asserted that God was the “Ground of All Being.” In the metaphysics of Chrysalis Tarot, the ground state of the universe is consciousness. That’s right. The universe is conscious of itself and growing more conscious of itself by the second. And the speed of consciousness pays no heed to the speed of light.

consciousnessradioAnother metaphysical tenet of Chrysalis is panpsychism, which asserts everything is conscious. Such a view is not exactly groundbreaking news: panpsychism is one of the oldest philosophies around. Plato was a panpsychist. The Greek goddess Psyche was a panpsychist. As a Chrysalis archetype, Psyche represents personal transformation and the Universal Mind.

The human brain is analogous to a radio. It tunes to different frequencies. When tuned to its own frequency, it experiences self-awareness, a good thing (visualize a self-reflective Buddha under a bodhi tree staring at his or her belly). Well, it’s a good thing as long as it also tunes to other frequencies – other humans, intuition, dreams, ancestors and even protons on the other side of the universe. “Come back!”

Chrysalis encourages you to tune to and contemplate the frequencies of relevant archetypes as a means not only of increasing your own self-awareness, but also to better comprehend the true nature of reality. Your spiritual growth and wellbeing depend upon your willingness to soar beyond society’s imposed intellectual constraints, most notably its petrified dogmas and Earth-bound ideologies.

21 - Psyche

© Toney Brooks


When Archetypes Cognate


I know, I know, but let’s have a little fun. While the linguistics may be battered and bruised – cognate is not a verb – in this instance let’s suppose otherwise. Cognate (the adjective) means analogous in nature; of the same bloodline, specifically a female bloodline. Male archetypes, i.e. gods and demigods, would therefore arise from agnate bloodlines. We’ll return to these terms directly.

The purpose of this blog and several others to follow it is to explain how and why Chrysalis Tarot distinguishes itself from more traditional decks whose origins and schematics date to the turn of the 20th century when metaphysical worldviews were much different and far less sophisticated than today. For example, recall the days of the archaic “divine right” of kings, queens, emperors and empresses to rule; of the unquestionable spiritual authority of supreme religious leaders; of hocus pocus, spells and sundry other superstitious fiddle-faddle which, unfortunately, still pollute traditional tarotists and other metaphysical disciplines today.

Pierre Teilhard de ChardinWhat is an archetype and how to they cognate? Well, an archetype, in 21st century metaphysical parlance, can be defined as an integrated, anthropomorphized emergence of information defined as attributes that exist concurrently in the brain and in what is known as the noosphere, a concept developed by the great philosopher Teilhard de Chardin (left), who often was called the Prophet of the Information Age. The noosphere itself is cognate with the Akashic Record, which also is known by many other names, e.g. Jung’s Collective Unconscious, aether, astral plane, Indra’s Net, etc. In Chrysalis we refer to it simply as the Otherworld.

When you read using Chrysalis Tarot, you access a particular psychological construct located in the noosphere and also in your own consciousness. You do what shamans do: you access the astral plane, where the ones and zeros (the essence of all information) that comprise the eternal energy (consciousness) of your ancestors and archetypes exist. Gods and goddesses are archetypes; integrated information constructs. The more information the better.

What’s equally important is what you DON’T do. You do not access an objectified Divine Will or some other mystical source of preordained circumstance from which you have no escape. Such thinking epitomizes precisely the type of Sunday School spirituality Chrysalis Tarot seeks to debunk!

hathor by Sharon George
Hathor, by Sharon George
When archetypes cognate they evolve – they subsume and share attributes with other archetypes and grow in grace and knowledge. The consciousness of those individuals with whom they communicate, with whom they experience affinity, also evolves. Spirituality is fluid, not static, and cannot be codified. Codification of spirituality results in the entropy of spirituality, a.k.a. religion.

Throughout human history the most ubiquitous cultural archetypes have been the Great Mother Goddess and her cognates. Examples of  her ethereal offspring are Aphrodite, Ariadne, Isis, Hathor, Mary of Nazareth, Diana, Gaia, Freyja, Quan Yin, Chehooit, Kali, Ma’at – the list goes on and on ad infinitum: the cognation of divinities is timeless.

Traditional tarot proceeds from a masculine, monotheistic, abnate mindset that is uncompromisingly dogmatic and authoritarian. Chrysalis Tarot, on the other hand, is unabashedly feminine, polytheistic, cognate, free and self-liberating. Chrysalis was created to empower its users as well as to actively assist them with spiritual growth – to help them better understand themselves and the true nature of reality.

© Toney Brooks, 2018, first in a series

Contra Misanthropy; The Meaning of Peace — A Metapsychology of Liberation, part 2

Screenshot-2017-11-27 Contra Misanthropy; The Meaning of Peace — A Metapsychology of Liberation, part 2
The Apotheosis of the Slavs, Alphonse Mucha (1926)

We commonly see practitioners of various spiritual traditions—serious and learned practitioners, at that—who spend a lot of their time and energy in criticizing human social and political tendencies. There is no inherent problem with this, as an increasingly “spiritualized” perspective on psychology tends to reveal these and other outward behaviors certain occult interactions of the mind (see my article Politics as Counterfeit Spirit.) We do see, however, that many of these Gnostics and Yogis come to resemble the very things for which they criticize others.

Such criticisms often come along with name-calling, such as the now-infamous “sheeple” or just a sneering inflection applied to words like “humanity” and “people”. Terms and phrases are coined or co-opted for labeling a particular in-group, not just for the practical sake of distinguishing practitioners from non-practitioners or a spiritual family group, but to differentiate between people who are worthy of existence versus those who aren’t.

In so doing, these practitioners come to embody the very things about humanity which they spend so much time decrying: lack of charity, braggadocio, violence (social or literal), and bigotry. Just as we tend to become more like that which we love, we also come to resemble that we most hate.

The key factor, here, is a lack, or even rejection, of peace.

Peace has suffered a public relations problem ever since the failed hippy experiment of the ‘60s and ‘70s gave most Americans the impression that the word implies, at best, a shallow failure to recognize the necessity of strength and, at worst, utter cowardice. But there is no long-lasting spiritual or religious tradition in the world which does not hold peace as an ideal—however, representatives of these traditions often fall far from it.

It seems that to ignore peace is to reject spirituality itself.

We must rework our vision of peace to the individual rather than society. If social peace is even a possibility, it must come from individuals anyway, a fact which would-be revolutionaries all too easily forget. Peace is simply samarasa, the pinnacle of what we know in the West as equanimity. As with all virtues, it isn’t likely that we’ll suddenly find ourselves in full possession of it after a few weeks, months, or even years of effort, but cultivation of it is entirely within our abilities. We will all have our ups and downs, but steadiness of effort will carry us, as ever; progress, not perfection, is the watchword.

Peace and inner stillness do not mean lack of effort, but that effort is directed where it most needs to go without getting drawn out into petty distractions. It also does not imply apathy, for then no effort is directed at all.

The Stoic virtue of apatheia is a far different thing from the apathy of the slacker. It does not indicate lack of care or concern, but distance from unnecessary suffering. Pain is inevitable but, as the saying goes, suffering is a choice. That is to say that suffering arises from the engagement of consciousness with the fact of pain rather than the simple experience of pain. Pain is what the body and brain do; suffering is what the mind does when it won’t stop pouring over the pain, grinding its gears over the present situation rather than calmly taking the message of pain (namely: there is a problem) and finding a solution for it. Suffering therefore arises concomitantly with lamentation, whether it takes the form of fears or anger matters very little.

Equanimity is a skill which we develop through practice. Meditation is, of course, a major tool in this process, as it provides us with the intellective distance necessary to watch the workings of the mind and its habits. As we see suffering, despair, anger, hatred, and other unhelpful patterns arise, we can begin to also see—bit by bit, don’t worry—how we may stop them in their tracks, turning our minds to thoughts, words, and deeds which help rather than hinder.

Equanimity is poise, a stance whether of gymnastics or martial arts which allows us to remain calm and relaxed while observing, yet ready to act, explosively if necessary, at the very moment it is most necessary. Peace is activity with meaning rather than a mere reason or justification.

(Reblogged from Phalanx)

Halloween Disambiguation

8850-munch-the-scream-Many well-intentioned people conflate spirituality with religion, but the two differ considerably. Spirituality can be likened to a crystal-clear, free-flowing stream; religion, on the other hand, is the dam that arrests the crystal-clear flow and then seeks to define the brackish muck that collected behind the dam. Halloween can help to illuminate this point.

The word Halloween is a contraction of All Hallows’ Eve that denotes the evening before the Christian celebration known as All Saints’ (All Hallows’) Day, a festival invented by the church in the 8th century. But the rich history of celebrations on this day is well over 2,000 years old.

The ancient Celts celebrated New Year on November 1. The Celts, of course, were Pagans, a word that simply means country folk but has become a pejorative. The Pagan feast, which the church sought to eradicate, is known as Samhain (pronounced SOW-in). The word itself comes from an Old Irish term meaning summer’s end. Pagan feasts begin the evening before the feast day itself. Indeed, Samhain is still celebrated on Oct. 31-Nov 1.

Samhain calls attention to what is known as a “liminal” time – that betwixt and between separating spiritual time (eternal) from worldly time (temporal). It’s a time when ancestral spirits danced on the curtain separating the two. Liminal time is also associated with the hypnagogic state between wakefulness and sleep;  with out-of-body experiences resulting from deep meditation, and with bilocation, the ability to be in two places at once – to possess an earthly body and an astral body simultaneously.

Eight of SpiralsPropitiation of the ancestors, which the church vulgarized and anathematized as “ancestor worship,” as well as paranormal expressions of liminal time, are heresies. Hence the dam named “All Saints’ Day” was built so that this unseemly Pagan spiritual nonsense could be corked, codified and rendered respectful. This is what dogma (correct beliefs) does to living, breathing spirituality.

As a secular holiday Halloween is a joyous occasion, as are all holidays that sharpen our focus on kids and families. But there comes a time to “put away childish things,” said Saint Paul. You can do that by mitigating the brackish water of dogma and by not allowing it to morph into a self-satisfied entropy of your spirituality.

For adults, tonight is also a night to remember and honor our ancestors. It is a night to light candles, muster courage and venture behind the threshhold curtain; a night to experience the spiritual wonderment commonplace to our ancient pagan ancestors – Celtic, Greek, Roman, First Nations, Latin, Asian, Aboriginal, Egyptian, et al., but especially to the shamans of the world, masters of the ultimate liminal experience.

Politics as Counterfeit Spirit: A Metapsychology of Liberation, Part I


An astute piece about the toll political disputations and other group-think activities take on the psyche and essence of who we truly are (Higher Self).


Rise above the chaos and ego-obsessed Egregores, characterized by the dispirited fellow on the left!


I find it interesting to watch and listen to “political discourse” not because I care about the politicians or parties themselves but because of the patterns and forces which they reveal. Saying this is liable to bring accusations of disconnected or apathetic privilege from the impassioned Left or else of Satanic refusal to tow the Nationalist line from the effusive Right, but this is evidence of the selfsame patterning.

In the occultism of the West, we might speak of egregores: group-minds which take on a literal life of their own, directing human activities on a more or less large scale in line with their own survival and expansion needs rather than the explicit desires of the human agents themselves. These egregores, however, may be dealt with, tricked, trapped, or, more commonly, compacted with just like any other spirit-being. Such pacts, whether explicit or implicit, are more common than not.

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Happy Diwali!


Happy Diwali to our Hindu friends, Jains and Sikhs!

Diwali is the annual Festival of Lights that marks the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, reason over superstition and hope over despair.

The festival honors Lakshmi, the Hindu Goddess of Good Fortune. Chrysalis Tarot will offer up Lakshmi’s intentions via the intercession of Elpi.


Ancestors and Soul Loss

Soul Retrieval, by Sanda Cook

In metaphysics when we speak of soul loss, recovery or retrieval, we refer to a spiritual malady best described as an experience of isolation and brokenness that makes us feel, well, like a lost soul. There are many beliefs about soul loss and retrieval and many approaches to healing it. We shall concentrate on Chrysalis Tarot’s approach and the shamanic healing power of individual Family Constellations composed of ancestors.

Ancestors help us understand who we are and discern our purpose in this life.

Describing soul loss, psychologist Sandra Ingerman states, “There are many common symptoms of soul loss. Some of the more common ones would be dissociation where a person does not feel fully in his or her body and alive and fully engaged in life. Other symptoms include chronic depression, suicidal tendencies, post-traumatic stress syndrome, immune deficiency problems, and grief that just does not heal. Addictions are also a sign of soul loss.”

Water Naiad

Recovering lost fragments of soul and restoring wholeness most probably do not require spiritual or psychological counseling, let alone intervention of an experienced shaman.  Treatment will depend, of course, upon the severity of soul loss/fragmentation and correct identification of its cause(s).

However, in this exercise it will require that you task your imagination, the most effective healing tool we possess, to the matter at hand. The painting above by Russian artists Svetlana and Igor Anisiforov is titled Water Naiad affords perfect symbolism. Water is appropriate because it symbolizes higher wisdom; the unicorn symbolizes creative imagination; the castle is the abode of The Ancestors, and the moon symbolizes both personal and collective unconscious.

The fish symbolizes the dream world, the world you will allow your imagination to inhabit during this meditation. To enter it you need only to still your mind and tune to your family frequency – every family has a discrete frequency or vibration. It’s always there and available, but we seldom pay much attention to it. This is likely due to cultural biases against an active afterlife in an unseen world of dynamical information.

harameinFamily Constellations by definition presume the reality of an active afterlife. They recognize that our ancestors and ancient lineage determined who we are, physically and spiritually, and that any dissociation, isolation or fragmentation we experience likely stems, at least in part, from benign neglect of our ancestors.

In Chrysalis, we came up with the idea of an Ancestral Council Reading. We use the cards, mostly members of The Troupe, to represent individual ancestors to whom we feel closest. The cards then form the foci for the meditation.

An Ancestral Council Reading and a Family Constellation are effectively the same thing: by tuning into our family frequency, we engender a silent exchange of information heard only through faculties of intuition and creative imagination. It’s not at all difficult.

Maple Leaves
Maple Leaves by Svetlana and Igor Anisiforov

Soul loss is first and foremost about imbalance, therefore soul recovery is about restoring balance. In Japan maple trees are called kito, which means calm and restful peace – the primary attributes of balance and wholeness. These attributes are constant themes throughout Chrysalis Tarot. They also are attributes of Gaia, interpreted below by visionary artist Alex Grey.



Soul Retrieval: Mending the Fragmented Self by Sandra Ingerman.

Ancestral Connections

Talking ancestors. Anne Deon . annedeon.com
Talking Ancestors by Anne Deon
Since Chrysalis Tarot was published in 2014, it has been recognized and lauded as a healing deck. We focus chiefly upon 3 specific streams of healing energy: shamanic, Earth-centered spirituality and ancestral, although there are others, e.g. archetypal psychology.

The second and third streams are closely related; Earth or nature-centered spirituality is not just about looking outward into the natural world but also about looking inward. It’s about celebrating the spiritual connectivity to our ancestors by honoring them as an important key to soul recovery and healing – a portal for increased self-awareness.

Ancestral constellations are our guides to increased self-knowledge, a requisite to healing. The ancestors are much involved in our day-to-day lives, more so than we imagine. Ancestral energies affect synchronicity, dreams and decisions made by the personal unconscious mind.


With the harvest festival of Mabon rapidly approaching, we will celebrate special days of heightened ancestral awareness that will culminate on Samhain (All Hallows’ Eve).

Four of Spirals image from the Chrysalis Tarot App by The Fool’s Dog.)


For more on the healing power of Ancestral Constellations we recommend Connecting to our Ancestral Past by Francesca Mason Boring as well as the collected works of Bert Hellinger.

The Cycles of Time

FourScrollsBWThere’s a cute line in the most recent Pirates of the Caribbean film as Kaya Scodelario’s character explains to Captain Jack Sparrow that “horology” is the study of measuring time. You can imagine what Captain Jack thought it meant.

Horology is an interesting subject, particularly with regard to the study of cycles. As you know, the importance of cycles and cyclical time are stressed heavily in Chrysalis Tarot, astrology, history, philosophy and in nature (Gaia) itself.

This is the foremost reason Chrysalis evolved as an archetypal goddess/nature oriented deck crafted to steer minds away from its daily preoccupations with linear time so to appreciate the bigger picture.

Historical divisions of time are customarily divided into four distinct cycles with the fourth cycle nearly always pointing to crisis, as well as the transformation from an old order to a new one (Nine of Spirals, Kali, Phoenix and others) – in other words, a paradigm shift.


When designing Chrysalis we felt it was important to recognize that this fourth cycle was upon us and that a new, cyclical approach to tarot would be needed to prepare for the coming Shift; at least to understand, if not embrace, the gnawing feeling of global unravelling we see today.

An understanding of cycles and of cyclical time, which are manifest not only in human history but in our time-obsessed daily lives, are part and parcel of a profound evolution of consciousness driving this paradigm shift.


~ “The Fourth Turning” is an excellent book on the subject of cyclical time. http://amzn.to/2xOC9JC