Alice and The Pilgrim

C77“Alice” in this blog’s title could easily refer to the Alice of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Pilgrim spirituality certainly has a quirky rabbit hole quality about it; one never knows what to expect next. Pilgrim spirituality is also spirituality that requires extraordinary faith in the unseen world and an unquenchable sense of purpose that escapes easy explanation.

This faith may be interpreted as faith in one’s inner voice and instincts, in the Law of Attraction, in the ancestors, or in the Higher Self’s inexorable pull on your psyche. Alternatively, it could imply faith in the infinite wisdom of a hookah-smoking caterpillar. However contextualized, it’s faith in the mystical apparatus of synchronicity that guides The Pilgrim along her journey toward personal destiny and self-actualization.

Any attempt to define or dogmatize this faith only strips it of its beauty and sovereignty. There is a great deal of difference between religiosity and spirituality.

Our blog’s Alice is the nickname of a small town in central Australia officially called Alice Springs. In 1977, in the spirit of Doris Lessing, with four camels and her faithful dog, Diggity, Robyn Davidson began a 1,700 mile pilgrim’s quest from Alice Springs through the rugged interior of Australia’s Outback to the Indian Ocean. Against all odds, the pilgrimage took over 7 months and earned her the nickname, “The Camel Lady.”

In the less arduous interior journey of Chrysalis Tarot, The Troupe cards like The Pilgrim are there to remind us of the spiritual axiom that no one ever walks alone. The Troupe helps us allegorize our own spiritual progress and discover the underlying purpose of our quest, a purpose that often comes as a complete surprise. Pilgrimage spirituality assures us that we will meet the right people and receive the right inspirations along destiny’s road at the right time.

Davidson said she felt the trip work magic on her in strange and unexpected ways. ‘When there is no one to remind you what society’s rules are, and there is nothing to keep you linked to that society, you had better be prepared for some startling changes.’ (Photo by Rick Smolan/Against All Odds Productions)


“She [Robyn Davidson] was a good woman. She had a dream about a kind man who would help her find her way, then she met my father [Mr Eddie] near Wingellina. He knew that country and he helped her. When she wrote her book, Tracks, my father was in there.” ~ Jean Inyalanka Burke, 1945-2012

Mr. Eddie (actor Rolley Mintuma) is pictured with actress Mia Wasikowska, who played Davidson in the filmed version of Tracks, now available on Netflix. This is a link to the book, which I highly recommend.



robyn double mia wasikowska
(Left) Robyn Davidson with Diggity, her dog, in 1977 (photo by Rick Smolan). (Right) Mia Wasikowska is seen with the movie-version of Diggity at Ayers Rock in 2014.

In memory of storyteller Jean Inyalanka Burke.



Chrysalis Spirituality

21 - Psyche“The point is that you start with any image … Contemplate it and carefully observe how the picture begins to unfold or to change. Don’t try to make it into something, just do nothing but observe what its spontaneous changes are. Any mental picture you contemplate in this way will sooner or later change through a spontaneous association that causes a slight alteration of the picture. You must carefully avoid impatient jumping from one subject to another. Hold fast to the one image you have chosen and wait until it changes by itself. Note all these changes and eventually step into the picture yourself, and if it is a speaking figure at all then say what you have to say to that figure and listen to what he or she has to say.” ~ C.G. Jung

The process Jung describes in the above quote is called active imagination, the key to personal transformation. Active imagination produces a rich, fanciful dialogue between the personal conscious and unconscious minds. Via the unconscious, this conversation acquires a third party – the Collective Unconscious, which Chrysalis calls the Otherworld. It’s the divine cosmic realm of archetypes, gods, goddesses, demigods, angels, fairies, spirit guides including animals, and the ancestors. While transcendent, the Otherworld is in no way supernatural. The Otherworld is a spatiotemporal aspect of the natural world, albeit a mystical one.

PapaLegba appActive imagination dialog weds psychology, particularly archetypal psychology, with mysticism, the experience of liminality watched over by Papa Legba. In Greek mythology, this liminal threshold or boundary between worlds would be presided over by Hermes. Both he and Papa are liminal gods or archetypes.

The ultimate goal of active imagination is to enable you to synthesize an alternate reality that exists for the sole purpose of moving you toward your Higher Self, ultimate truth and personal transformation (telos). It is the Hero’s Journey of emergent Self that requires strength, an open mind and courage. You may need to overcome any disabling beliefs currently holding you back.

Jung calls this synthesis the transcendent function. It’s transcendent because it rises above both the conscious and unconscious mind. In Chrysalis, the root metaphor for this function or synthesis is personal transformation – the butterfly or soul as symbolized by Psyche. Both those words translate as butterfly in Greek. In this instance soul is a perspective or viewpoint, not an etheric substance. Conversations with the unconscious – the transcendent function – are cathartic and healing, as well as transformative.


Jung’s familiar quote, once the depth of its meaning is fully grasped, aids our understanding of destiny, the realization of one’s full potential. By raising the unconscious mind to the level of conscious awareness, we are able to free ourselves from the shackles of burdensome rationality and self-imposed limitations. We become the captains, not slaves, of personal destiny.



Review – The Chrysalis Tarot Companion Book

A wonderfully insightful look at Chrysalis Tarot by Bonnie Cehovet from her review of the new Chrysalis Companion Book.

Perspectives On Tarot

Chrysalis Tarot –
Companion Book

Author: Toney Brooks
Artist: Holly Sierra
U.S. Games Systems, Inc.
ISBN #978-1-57281-798-2

Chrysalis Tarot book cover

The “Chrysalis Tarot” is the 216 page companion book for the Chrysalis Tarot deck. The cover illustration shows a cosmic version of the Nine of Spirals, featuring Aeolus, Master of the Four Winds. The reader’s eyes are immediately drawn to Aeolus face, with the eyes connecting on both a real-time and a soul level. It is time for each of us to re-examine our own world view!

In his introduction, Brooks talks about how creating a Tarot deck is a transpersonal process, including imaginary conversations with the characters in their “dramatis personae”. In retrospect, he realized that perhaps those conversations, at least in part, were not so imaginary after all. The Chrysalis companion book is then not only about the Chrysalis Tarot, but also about his efforts to uncover the hidden realities…

View original post 604 more words

Cosmic Feedback

Rubik's_CubeI’ll use a Rubik’s Cube to illustrate the importance of feedback to the inter-connectivity of everything in the universe. It’s important to us because the prevailing worldview tends to undervalue personal introspection, especially if it occurs within a tarot reading or another misunderstood form of contemplation designed to engender self-knowledge and personal transformation.

As we learn about ourselves, we share the information with the entire universe. The universe, in turn, learns about us and, consequently, about itself. This also applies to universal archetypes we call gods, goddesses, spirit guides and angels, etc. Both the micro, in this case people, and the macro, the universe, consequently evolve in complexity and consciousness.

spiral-dynamicsYou could posit that in today’s worried world, it’s more important than ever to increase conscious awareness and knowledge, and to evolve a more rational understanding of how the world works and the co-creative role humanity plays in cosmic evolution. It’s important because our present way of living is unsustainable. A paradigm shift – a new worldview – is essential to the survival of our species, if not to the Earth itself.

To underscore this point, let’s say we give a Rubik’s Cube to a blindfolded person and ask he or she to make one random move every second, which is pretty fast. Probability dictates it will require around 100 billion years longer than our universe has existed before the cube could be ordered correctly by random chance.

Now let’s add simple binary feedback: someone who communicates either yes or no following each move. How long do you suppose it would then take to order the cube correctly? The answer is shocking: less than 5-minutes!

Evolution requires feedback; very little we see around us came into being by random chance. Without feedback, biology wouldn’t yet exist. Despite all our scientific understanding, physics still fails to account for biology.

Feedback, i.e. information, travels instantaneously throughout the universe on a vast network of vortices at the quantum level, vortices that connect everything. This quantum field, which is called, among other things, the vacuum, is known metaphorically as Indra’s Net. I refer to this in the Chrysalis companion book by quoting a passage from Stephen Mitchell’s book, The Enlightened Mind.

   The Net of Indra is a profound and subtle metaphor
for the structure of reality. Imagine a vast net; at each crossing
point there is a jewel; each jewel is perfectly clear and reflects all the
other jewels in the net, the way two mirrors placed opposite each
other will reflect an image ad infinitum. The jewel in this metaphor
stands for an individual being, or an individual consciousness, or a
cell or an atom. Every jewel is intimately connected with all other
jewels in the universe, and a change in one jewel means a change,
however slight, in every other jewel.

As we learn about ourselves individually, we grow in consciousness individually and collectively, as Mitchell noted. As we grow in consciousness, we approach our Higher Selves, the ultimate goal of destiny and personal transformation. As consciousness approaches the Higher Self, we comprehend our divine essence – our own divinity. We come to realize, and more importantly come to accept, that we are divine beings and that divinity is not a transcendent something “out there” but is “in here,” in the Psyche (soul).

Holistic consciousness, the next great leap on the ladder of human evolution, is the collective consciousness of the One. A reflection of the One that can be glimpsed in every jewel of Indra’s Net.

Holistic consciousness – the turquoise level on the spiral dynamics chart pictured above – stands in awe of the cosmic order. It sees “the big picture” and thinks in relationship to the collective other, not just the self. Turquoise views our world and the cosmos as a single dynamic organism with its own collective, divine mind.


Detail from Gareth Bate’s Jewel Net of Indra.

The previous blog in this series titled Spiral Awakenings.