Hear What St. Paul Saith

“St Paul in Prison” by Lars Justinen

A Chrysalis fan once asked, “Is Chrysalis anti-Catholic?”

The official Chrysalis position on this question is that our deck works perfectly well alongside all religious beliefs; it prefers no particular religion to another. We are, however, decidedly anti-dogma, which I’ll go on to explain.

However, the church’s position on tarot is worth noting: The Catholic church, as well as Christian fundamentalism in general, condemn not only Chrysalis, but all forms of what they pejoratively term divination or, even worse, New Age. The church has always feared what it fails to understand and then demonize it. But our minds are not mired in 15th century thought, are they? They shouldn’t be.

Chrysalis is tarot designed to help its users fulfill their personal destiny. Jung called it individuation. The Buddha called it the process of becoming. In other words, Chrysalis teaches how to listen to one’s Higher Self, which itself is divine. You are not able to accomplish this unless you can think critically for yourself, trust your inspiration and inner voice, develop your innate intuitive talents and reassess all dogmatic beliefs, many of which are disabling. Dogma, whether religious, political or cultural, instructs you specifically WHAT to believe; indeed, what you MUST believe in order to be a good ______ (e.g. Catholic, liberal, useful idiot).

5 - Divine ChildThere can be no enlightenment – no fulfillment of personal destiny – unless one refuses to become a marionette to some dogma. As Einstein said, “Question everything.” Dogma stifles free thought by depicting it as a bad thing. Dogma considers its tenets beyond question.

In the spiritual quest to align personal consciousness with Higher Self (or God, the gods or whatever else you wish to name the unseen metaphysical reality that is greater than the whole), certain religious doctrine, as opposed to dogma, can inform the spiritual journey. For example, Paul wrote to the Philippians (2:13) that God gives us the “desire and the accomplishment.” This is a beautiful spiritual lesson that implies several things.

First, that we must be our own spiritual directors: We ourselves, not priest, hierophant or politician, must intuit, interpret and discern the manifest desire that hails from beyond. This is the lesson of the Chrysalis Divine Child, which abides in us all. Second, we must sublimate the personal ego and surrender it so to be guided in the accomplishment. Paul’s ultimate teaching here is about accepting personal responsibility and exercising free will in the quest for spiritual growth and then NEVER relinquishing it, lest we lock up our minds with debilitating chains of weighty dogma.

Paul was literally chained to a member of the Roman Praetorian Guard for all hours of the day while imprisoned in his quarters awaiting a trial that, according to Christian tradition, led to his eventual execution – in this case in point, to his own personal destiny. Paul wrote his famous letter to friends in Philippi from prison, as well as letters to the Ephesians, Colossians and Philemon.

Actually, the art pictured above is Joan Miro’s “Constellation Awakening at Dawn” (1941) not “Cipher and Constellation in Love with a Woman” as stated in the graphic.

© Toney Brooks, 2018

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