St Stanislaus

Photo by Ludwig Schneider

This piece is a mild mannered yet purposeful departure from our regular Chrysalis fare. Today, July 26, marks the anniversary of the birth of St Stanislaus, the patron saint of Poland.

Stanislaus was born near Krakow in 1030. Like St Thomas Becket, whose story is parallel to his in many ways, Stanislaus is remembered as a martyr who fought tirelessly against the evils of government corruption, a crusade that eventually cost him his life.

The Gothic stained glass window pictured (left) depicts Stanislaus. It’s from the Dominican Monastery in Krakow. As you no doubt noticed, the saint’s left eye is shown missing. Whether deliberate or not, this symbolism merits interpretation.

Last year an obscure poster on Reddit noted that left-eye symbolism appears currently to be in vogue in Hollywood, especially in The Conjuring Universe:

“First, The Conjuring. When the sheet rips open during the exorcism, it’s the demon’s left eye that’s exposed. In The Nun, the snake bites the priest in the left eye. In Annabelle – Creation, the mom has her left eye torn out. In Annabelle Comes Home, the babysitter’s friend’s dad is missing his left eye. In The Conjuring 2, Ed gets blinded when hot steam hits his left eye. And which eyeball is broken on the Annabelle doll? The left eye!”

Hollywood aside, One-Eye symbolism has been around for ages from Odin to the All-Seeing Eye of Free Masonry and the New World Order.

“The Supreme, invisible Creator of all things was called All-Father. His regent in Nature was Odin, the one-eyed god.” ~  Manly P. Hall, The Secret Teachings of All Ages.

Most notable for our own times is George Orwell’s magnum opus, 1984, a blueprint for elite control and censorship. Appropriately enough, nearly all editions of the book feature an All-Seeing Eye (“Big brother is watching you”).

“The [all-seeing] eye is symbolic of knowledge not perceived by the general public. The public can see the symbolism, but they are oblivious to the truth, ruined by prosperity and deceived by lies.” ~ From The Stranger Fiction.

Every day our media embroils us in lies. We must remain vigilant and resist group-think.

The positive symbolism of the Eye of Horus, which is spiritual enlightenment, has been coopted and corrupted by secret societies and a sinister global elite as the primary symbol of their power. Do not be deceived, this evil global elite is intent on destroying Western Civilization. America is squarely in their crosshairs.

St. Stanislaus, pray for us.

Our Magical Universe

The title of this blog, “Our Magical Universe,” was chosen to distinguish our universe from what’s known as a “deterministic” universe, which is the universe most hardcore materialists and atheists believe they live in. These people deny that we possess freewill and further assert the universe is driven entirely by the cosmic Law of Cause and Effect: every cause has an effect and every effect becomes the cause of something else. In other words, they describe a dead, computational universe not a spiritually vibrant living universe.

Scientific arguments support the atheistic thesis simply because science cannot (yet) account for consciousness, hence freewill. Around the time of Copernicus and Galileo the Church wisely decided it was best to leave science to scientists and in return scientists would then leave spirituality (and consciousness) to the Church. Since then, science has done a splendid job in its domain; the Church, not so much. Sadly, the Church, particularly the Western Church, stresses dogma and “correct beliefs” rather than individual spiritual growth. The Protestant Reformation was the result of the imposition of rigid dogma (and Vatican corruption, which is worse today than ever).

A few thoughts about fate and destiny. Fate is consistent with a deterministic universe; destiny is consistent with a living universe. Chrysalis does not believe in fate, which is a fixed, deterministic construct. We do, however, believe in destiny. Look at it this way: fate is a “done deal” and cannot be influenced at all, while destiny can be. Indeed, destiny is influenced constantly by human choices (freewill) and human agency – the freedom and ability to think and act for one’s self. Fate, by definition, is controlled by a Divine puppetmaster or by no God at all; Destiny, on the other hand, is controlled by humanity in both concert and cooperation with the Divine.

The Fatima Seers: Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta.

Today marks the anniversary of the Third Apparition of Fatima, which occurred on July 13, 1917, in a series of six apparitions made famous both by the “Miracle of the Sun,” witnessed by a crowd of 70,000 believers and non-believers alike, and by its terrifying prophecies and visions of Hell. During those 1917 apparitions, Mary predicted World War II – “a new and greater war,” just as Europe began to recover from the devastation of World War I. She also shared another prophetic vision with the three young seers: A vision of the Pope, along with other bishops, priests, religious and lay people, being killed by soldiers.

It would be incorrect to interpret this prophecy fatalistically. Pope Benedict XVI himself noted that the prophecy “is meant to mobilize the forces of change in the right direction.” Forewarned should be forearmed but it is abundantly clear that today the “forces of change” are not moving in the right direction. In fact, the apocalyptical path we are now on will destroy civilization as we know it.

This is our editor’s favorite card – the Two of Spirals, which emphasizes the freedom of choice. Most tarot decks promote the ideals of individual choice and freewill, but not all have upheld the spiritual dignity of tarot. The informed exercise of free choice is likely our only salvation.

We sense an impoverishment of spirituality in today’s world; a foreboding of hopelessness amidst insipid vapors of evil as humanity blithely charges head first and helter skelter in the wrong direction.

I encourage Chrysalids to take out their decks and seek authentic direction – spiritual direction – from your Higher Self and the Divine. If you have questions or comments, please feel free to email me directly at:

“Our society today, which is fully enmeshed in the snares of relativism, demands we tolerate — and even affirm — that which we know is evil, all in the name of individual autonomy. Warnings of eternal punishment are no longer in vogue. Yet how can we claim the notion of Hell makes us too uncomfortable to discuss? Are we more cowardly than three small children who saw its horrors and were filled with resolution rather than terror?” ~ This is a quote from Kelly Marcum, who studied International Politics at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and received her M.A. from the War Studies Department at King’s College London.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this world’s darkness, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” ~ Ephesians 6:12

© Toney Brooks, 2022


This artwork (left) is by Italian tarot artist Patrizia Gambari, who lives and works in Vergato, a picturesque commune outside metropolitan Bologna. The painting is titled Hera. It caught my eye while browsing Morena Poltronieri’s Facebook page. Morena is director of the International Tarot Museum in Bologna.

In Gambari’s tarot schema, Hera represents the Empress just as Gaia represents the Empress in Chrysalis Tarot. In Greek mythology the two are closely aligned. Hera was an Earth goddess in early Greek mythology, a role which Gaia later assumed. In some accounts, Gaia was Hera’s grandmother. In the mythological Garden of the Hesperides, Gaia attended Hera’s wedding to Zeus. As a wedding gift Gaia gave the happy couple enchanted trees that would produce Golden Apples .

In Greek mythology, Hera represents the ideal woman. In Greek religion, she was guardian of the family and protectress of women in childbirth. At this difficult and dangerous moment in American history, I both invite and encourage meditation on Hera and her attributes. But rather than propound gratuitous political commentary (plentiful elsewhere), I will offer only additional artwork and its synchronicity to still the soul and salve the conscience.

Hera’s Roman counterpart is Juno, the patroness of Rome. In ancient times, the annual Matronalia was held in her honor in June, the month named for her and the reason we regard June as the most favorable month for marriage even today. Pictured below is Flaming June (1895) by Sir Douglas Leighton, one of my favorite paintings. June is fast asleep but brimming with energy.

Greek mythology was often featured on Black Figure Pottery, which dominated the Mediterranean pottery market for over 150 years. The piece below is now in the Louvre. It shows Hercules, come up to the Garden of Hesperides to pinch some Golden Apples.

The painting below is by Ricciardo Meacci (1894). It depicts the three Hesperides in their garden. The three are sometimes called Western Maidens or Daughters of Evening. In Roman mythology, they are Daughters of Hesperus, personification of the Evening Star. Their mission was to mind Hera’s orchard, to prune and water the trees. The apples would bestow immortality on anyone who ate them.

Protecting the Golden Apples was a job Hera gave to Ladon, a hundred-headed serpent-like dragon, who, according to Greek art, was for the most part friendly to humans.

We can glean the parallels between the mythological Garden of the Hesperides and the Biblical Garden of Eden; Zeus and Hera as types of Adam and Eve. In Genesis Eve was called the “mother of all the living” and Hera was called the “mother of all” by the Greek poet Alcaeus.

Our age-old dilemma dramatized in both the Garden of Hesperides and of Eden is self-evident: Ultimately, we each must decide what our source of Truth will be – the Creator or the Serpent.

Choose wisely.

© Toney Brooks, 2022

The Gaian Invocation

“There slumber in every human being faculties by means of which he can acquire for himself a knowledge of higher worlds. There remains only one question -how to set to work to develop such faculties for this purpose.”~ Rudolf Steiner in Knowledge of the Higher Worlds

The Chrysalis Theory of Tarot objectively differs from traditional tarot theory. When I was first introduced to tarot many years ago, the conventional belief held that each card had a unique, salient meaning and that an unidentified mystical force or forces arranged the cards in a particular order to address the querent’s question, thereby allowing the reading to be decoded, usually by someone skilled in reading tarot – a “tarot master,” of sorts.

The Chrysalis theory holds that tarot layouts are entirely random and that cards provide overall themes and meaningful symbolism to be interpreted rather than hard fast meanings. We assert that during a reading the querent’s consciousness enters into mystical communion with Universal Archetypes, personal Guardians and often Ancestors. We further assert that each card in the deck can manifest specific guidance for all querents, but that some cards will resonate more than others depending on current life circumstances and the issue at hand. In other words, tarot readings are fluid not fixed.

The Chrysalis approach to tarot engenders self-examination, self-acceptance and self-awareness in addition to spiritual growth. In short, it is ~50% self-administered Jungian psychology and ~50% divine guidance. As a querent becomes more proficient – more self-aware; more spiritually mature – the psychology aspect decreases and the clarity of divine guidance increases. After all, this is what both Chrysalis and traditional tarot approaches seek to attain – divine guidance or divination.

We consider tarot to be a form of contemplative prayer. I hasten to add that divination is not fortune telling. It is “… a really beautiful aspect of spirituality. It asks us all to remove our egos, clear our minds and trust in the intuition [we all possess] to reveal and manifest the secrets of life, nature and the universe.”¹

To whom do we pray? What is divine? When using Chrysalis we invoke Universal Archetypes as well as the Higher Self, our angelic personal mediator and advocate. When we use the word divine, we implicate a Divine Other. We accede to each individual the right to define Divine Other; we are not religious dogmatists, nor is it terribly important how precisely the term is defined. What is important, however, is that Divine Other is seen as wholly separate from ourselves yet intimately accessible. It is at once both immanent and transcendent; within and without. When working with Chrysalis Tarot, we draw near Divine Other through Universal Archetypes. For this blog the archetype of choice is Gaia.

Chrysalis Art by Holly Sierra

The Gaia Hypothesis, later the Gaia Theory (scientific), was developed in 1972 by scientist James Lovelock. It states, “…that the Earth’s [biosphere] is maintained in a habitable state by self-regulating feedback mechanisms involving organisms tightly coupled to their environment.” The biosphere is defined as the Earth’s surface plus that portion of the oceans and atmosphere that accommodate life.

I believe Gaia’s “self-regulating feedback mechanisms” are today being heavily compromised and eroded by the prevailing emotional environment on Earth. I call this developing thesis The Gaian Principle, which the Gaian Invocation introduces. “An emotional environment is one that promotes emotional wellbeing and provides stability for the children according to their individual needs. A good emotional environment will provide the children with adults who will provide them with emotional support, understanding their feelings and showing empathy.”²

Are we as a society providing emotional stability for children? Are we promoting an overall healthy emotional environment tethered to reality? If you’re unsure, scan today’s headlines for clues. The free-floating anxiety we live with on a daily basis is off the charts. Even worse, this condition is being exploited by bad actors. One can sense dark forces hard at work.

Here’s a helpful piece on emotional wellbeing. The banner image of this blog is an illustration of the electromagnetic brain. This link is to an excellent book on this subject written by an acquaintance, Shelli Joye, PhD. The resonances brought about by electrical currents of varying frequencies in the brain can weigh significantly or even dictate on our daily emotional status. These resonances alone can cause “bad days” and feelings of malaise and hopelessness.

I believe it’s more important than ever to invoke Divine Other however you prefer to do so, as well as to take steps to safeguard your own emotional health. I highly recommend invoking Gaia for divine guidance and reading up on Lovelock’s Gaia Theory. There’s no reason to fret about some “catastrophic anthropogenic (man made) climate emergency.” That’s pure fiction and hubris; Gaia regulates CO2 on Earth.

Abstract Blue Cosmic Gaia by Santosam81 for Deviant Art.



On Tap: Symbolic and Abstract Art as supersensible gates to Higher Consciousness.

© Toney Brooks, 2022

The Dark Night of the Soul

Chrysalis Tarot Art by Holly Sierra

The Greek word for messenger is ángelos (angel) and the angel pictured on our Nine of Scrolls bears an important message for us. These troubled times are punctuated by free-floating anxiety that often morphs into devastating despair. Since our anxiety is likely to get worse – much worse – it may be somewhat cathartic to step back, meditate and focus on what is really happening – the proverbial “Big Picture.” Perhaps in doing so we will become less afraid of the unknown. In these times, fear is our greatest enemy.

I underscored cathartic above to highlight my intention of returning to the concept. Catharsis can be nuanced in many ways. In both psychology and spiritual formation the term implies releasing repressed fears, along with other unhealthy emotions, notably guilt, into the luminescence of conscious awareness where they can be properly examined.

In spirituality this process is called The Dark Night of the Soul. It is a controlled crisis, the painful death of an individual’s ego (symbolized by the tombstone pictured (above left) followed by a whole new understanding – a rebirth. The Dark Night teaches us how the Divine – not we ourselves – molds and shapes our lives – a completely new perception of reality. “It is He who has made us, not we ourselves.”

I described this process of self-emptying (kenosis) in the Chrysalis Tarot Companion Book: “The objective is to overcome the belligerence of ego by baring the heart to inspiration from the Otherworld. The unseen realm wills nothing for us; it simply wishes to be heard so it can guide us.” A hardened ego prevents us from hearing.

We must understand that everything – our thoughts, actions, memories, etc. – are pure energy. As Einstein put it, “Everything is energy and that is all there is to it. Match the frequency of the reality you want and you cannot help but get that reality. It can be no other way. This is not philosophy. This is physics.”

The mythic Hero’s Journey as explicated in Chrysalis Tarot is the spiritual journey to transformation called metanoia, a Greek word that implies dramatically changing one’s world view or Zeitgeist – the ‘Spirit of the Age.’ The ego is ill-equipped to deal with disorder of chaos and today’s dizzying change, much less the deception and manipulation that threatens our present age. The ego wittingly opens the mind to all sorts of nonsense and foolishness. The armor required to come to terms with today’s crazy world is to choose a spiritual discipline such as meditation, prayer, yoga, or tarot that will help you to evoke order from chaos and hear Divine guidance spoken to you from beyond this world.

A further note regarding energy. As Einstein noted, everything is energy, especially electromagnetic energy/radiation. The Earth’s magnetic field, for example, is weakening at what was previously thought to be 5% per century. In reality, it’s 5% per decade.

The magnetic North Pole is moving at an alarming rate of 25-miles per year. It’s wandering off toward Siberia. There are signs of a polar or geomagnetic reversal, a phenomena that has happened 183 times over the past 80-odd million years of Earth’s history.

There’s a reason I delve into electromagnetic energy in this blog about the Dark Night of the Soul. I’ve been developing a thesis I call The Gaian Hypothesis. We find ourselves, I believe, at a inflection or tipping point in human history, a concerning imbalance between positive and negative mindsets and unhealthy (electromagnetic) emotions such as fear, hate and anger.

Viewed as the monomythic struggle between Good and Evil, the evil is very close to overtaking the good on a global scale. This has far reaching implications for our species and planet. The Dark Night is the Atonement* encountered at the 11th Stage of the Hero’s Journey (see chart below). In order to return to our Normal or Ordinary World (12th Stage), we must become transformed into a better version of ourselves; into a greater awareness called higher consciousness.

Collectively humanity must endure a Dark Night of the Soul. Our guardian angel is Gaia.

More about The Gaian Hypothesis in our next blog.

  • Atonement means to cause to submit to or accept something unpleasant; to reconcile our consciousness with a Higher Consciousness. (Don’t dwell on the religious connotation of the forgiveness of sin. Regard atonement as positive affirmation not negative indulgence.)

Wetiko – The Mind Virus

“Indeed, it is becoming ever more obvious that it is not famine, not earthquakes, not microbes, not cancer but man himself who is man’s greatest danger to man, for the simple reason that there is no adequate protection against psychic epidemics, which are infinitely more devastating than the worst of natural catastrophes.” ~ Carl Jung, The Symbolic Life

The Native Americans called the evil spirit that invades the human psyche thereby causing negative psychic epidemics, Wetiko. We’ll return to this concept directly.

“Shatter the frozen sea inside us.” That’s how novelist Franz Kafka described what may be called a disabling belief system. The disabling beliefs that concern us here are those unconscious ones planted in our minds by bad actors who employ mind control techniques to manipulate individuals, groups and societies.

A significant portion of the adult population in America harbors disabling beliefs of which they are mostly unaware – beliefs that obscure truth. The common beliefs or thought forms among this minority impede their attaining higher consciousness and enlightenment for they no longer possess critical agency, having wholly succumbed to groupthink. It is self-evident that groupthink suppresses individuality and creativity. It obfuscates one’s sense of self and stunts spiritual growth.

“Man does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious,” wrote Carl Jung. In other words, we must summon these sinister and controlling programs from the darkness of the subconscious mind into the light of universal consciousness. Those experiencing at least some degree of cognitive dissonance and haven’t made up their mind on climate change, for example, should consider this in order to expose new ideas to reason, logic and critical thinking. (By the way, the carbon-driven “climate emergency” is the greatest scientific fraud in history.)

Many, perhaps even most victims of mind control, are simply unwilling to change. They are fearful of the inevitable pushback. They grew comfortable nursing their groupthink delusions and prefer not to be rattled. They have fully compromised their self-identity. Fair enough: examining one’s unconscious mind is at best disturbing and can even be painful. Chrysalis Tarot was crafted to engender introspection increase self-awareness.

Other people are different. They invoke the advice of Einstein: “Question everything.” Being told what to think is anathema to them, especially when things just “don’t add up.” They willingly risk being censored and gas lighted on social media and ostracized by friends and family. Only they can hope to attain true enlightenment, the “narrow path” that alludes to reality-based objective truth, e.g. only women have human babies, and not reality subjugated to false dogma demanding ‘correct’ beliefs.

“Gratitude and positive thoughts build on each other, creating a positive, upward spiral.” ~ Physicist Nassim Haramein

“Wetiko is at the very root of the collective madness and corresponding evil that we, as a human species, are collectively acting out on the world stage,” wrote artist Paul Levy. “Our sense of identity molds us, while we are at the same time the ones crafting our identity. What we don’t want is to let Wetiko forge our identity for us.”

How does one defend against Wetiko, against its lies, deceptions and disabling beliefs? By rejecting the false-self and asserting our own true nature, which is spiritual in essence. By remaining positive in a pernicious sea of negativity.

Levy advocates developing your innate creative gifts: “For once we connect with our calling, find our authentic voice and express our creative nature, Wetiko has no place to stand.”  

In addition to Paul Levy’s excellent piece on Wetiko, which is here, writer William Hubbard, from whom I borrowed this blog’s title, also penned an informative and interesting article on Wetiko that can be read here. I highly recommend both to you.

To “shatter the frozen sea inside you,” I also recommend meditating on this Chrysalis card, particularly this symbolism. Herne’s right hand, the one holding his sword, points to three stars. That’s part of the constellation Orion, an asterism known as “Orion’s Belt. These three stars point to a dimmer star called Sirius, which was hugely important to the Ancient Egyptians.

In addition to meditating on Herne the Hunter, I invite you to research Orion’s Belt and Sirius and see what you come up with. Please share your insights in the comments section and please consider subscribing to the Chrysalis Tarot blog by entering your email address below. WordPress will never spam you.

© Toney Brooks 2022, Chrysalis art by Holly Sierra.

The Banality of Evil

The title of this blog, The Banality of Evil, is a phrase coined by philosopher Hannah Arendt while covering the trial of Nazi official Adolf Eichmann. She notes that evil does not come from a Cosmic Boogeyman but rather from actions normalized by unthinking and uncaring robotic human beings. Good and Evil exist in our world side by side, ofttimes in precarious balance. Whenever evil overtakes good bad things like world wars and natural catastrophes that threaten human existence are more likely to occur.

I believe we find ourselves at such a bifurcation point today. Humanity today can easily slide into tyranny and authoritarianism – into abject existential evil – or alternatively we can bring about a higher level of consciousness that eschews conflict between nations.

Snow Spirit (above left) lived during an age we know very little about – the Paleolithic or more specifically the Upper Paleolithic. It’s a epoch that ended around 12,000 years ago at the same time the last Ice Age ended. The world of Snow Spirit ended suddenly and violently. There are two theories why. Almost overnight our planet warmed by as much as 15 degrees and sea levels rose by 300-400 feet. All the wooly mammoths, mastodons, and other large mammals went extinct, a layer of soot called the Black Mat that dates to this catastrophe blanketed the world.

The first credible theory is that a comet hit Earth, but no crater has been found. The second theory holds that a giant CME (Coronal Mass Ejection) from the Sun caused a humongous solar storm and was responsible for the destruction. As you might have guessed, Chrysalis favors this latter theory.

Geologist Robert Schoch described it this way: “Plasma hitting the surface of Earth could heat and fuse rock, incinerate flammable materials, melt ice caps, vaporize shallow bodies of water creating an extended deluge of rain, and send the climate into a warming spell. The release of pressure that follows the melting of thousands of meters-thick ice sheets can induce earthquakes and even cause hot rock under pressure to melt and erupt to the surface as volcanoes. The world was in chaos…”

Chaos. Disorder. These are words indelibly affixed to existential Evil.

Until around 1954 students were taught civilization began in Mesopotamia some 6,000 years ago. We were taught Ancient Egypt was the crown jewel of that civilization, a civilization that built the Giza pyramids and Sphinx around 2,500 BCE. We were taught civilization had then progressed gradually one step at a time forward through human history, a theory called uniformitarianism. The Bible stories about a Great Flood and Plato’s account of Atlantis were myths, we were told.

Archaeologists then discovered the Sphinx was actually built before 10,000 BCE. The ruins at Göbekli Tepe were discovered, ruins that date to ~9,000 BCE. There’s another site in Turkey that even predates Göbekli Tepe. Clearly there was an advanced civilization that had been leveled by some cataclysmic event during the Upper Paleolithic. The floods produced by this Biblical 300-foot rise in sea levels, let alone the “fire in the skies” – constant lightning strikes spawned by horrendous solar storms – would have wiped out most life on Earth and altered the face of our planet. Forever.

Perhaps Snow Spirit was present at that time. Perhaps, through Chrysalis artist Holly Sierra, she has presented herself to us today as a motherly warning. Remember, consciousness is nonlocal and timeless; knowledge of these events linger in our subconscious minds.

From the beginning, Chrysalis was intended to be a prophetic tarot deck. We foresaw this upcoming paradigm shift and the concordant opportunity for unparalleled advancement – a quantum leap in the evolution of human consciousness and rational spirituality. Among the Cadre of Evil opposing us are those who engender chaos: staunch materialists. These lost sheep worship political religions like Marxism, fascism, communism and socialism. They speak of globalism, a New World Order and Great Reset.

They believe the universe is random and that everything is either matter or energy. For them consciousness doesn’t exist; the spiritual realm is but a childish illusion. Control and absolute power season their sinister dreams of global domination.

Negativity by Nyrn-Aeh for Deviant Art

Humanity today is set upon a crossroads – a tipping point. “The Ten of Spirals (top right) beckons you to listen to your inner voice and trust your instincts and intuition. Doing so will produce a Moment of Truth when you can declare, “Enough!” Whether you pray, meditate or contemplate, the time has now arrived to do so – incessantly.

Pray that humanity will escape the horrors and tyranny that threaten us. Eschew these dark forces. Renounce the demonic negativity that seeks to manipulate us all: fear, hate, confusion, division, narcissism, manipulation and mind control. We don’t have a great deal of time remaining! Armageddon is at our door.

Theosophists note the square root of 1% of a population can neutralize negative manipulation and effect positive change. In America, that’s 1,800 people. This is known as the Maharishi Effect.

© Toney Brooks, The Ides of March, 2022

A Goddess For Our Times

From The Greenwood Tarot by artist Chesca Potter

In this follow up piece to my previous blog featuring Snow Spirit (Elen of the Ways) we offer a glimpse into the goddess traditions of Old Europe, the mysticism of the Magical Forest, our ancient ancestors and why they matter to us today.

When I first contemplated this topic, I asked Holly about her inspiration for Elen of the Ways, pictured in the gallery at the end of the blog, and she shared this:

It seems to me that Elen often assumes a shrouded quality. As with other forest creatures she appears furtively and unexpectedly. One will find themselves in a sunlit glade and sense some movement there and quite suddenly, she will come into view; dappled in sunlight, as fresh as spring and then, just as abruptly, she disappears! 

When Holly first displayed on Facebook her image of Snow Sprit, a.k.a. Elen of the Ways, at the time I was researching what we refer to as The Paleolithic Period or Early Stone Age. This period lasted over 2.5 million years and ended around 12,000 years ago. Holly noted in our correspondence that she perceived Snow Spirit as a Paleolithic goddess, a synchronicity that captured my full attention.

We know very little about Stone Age religion, let alone paleolithic goddesses. What we do know has been inferred partly from the period’s rock art and cave paintings. Clearly, the religion of early hunter-gatherer societies was shamanism. Snow Spirit as crafted by Holly is a woman shaman – a shape shifter – appearing in her goddess aspect with her animal familiar.

Paleolithic shamans were healing women who would isolate themselves in the forest to hone their spiritual connection to Mother Earth. I personally believe that Snow Spirit’s theophany to Holly (a manifestation to a human of a god or goddess) is to help us not only to heal ourselves but also to regain control of our conscious minds, which is being severely tested today. There is an existential threat to our own civilization: a pervasive, even psychotic disconnect from reality, a disconnect that is decidedly wicked and decidedly destructive. (More on this topic in future blogs.)

The Greenwood Tarot, Holly’s inspiration for Snow Spirit, was reimagined in 2003 as The Wild Wood Tarot by its original author. Elen was once again presented as The Ancestor, a major arcana card symbolizing spiritual instruction. I think it’s important to remember that our ancient ancestors lived in the Paleolithic period, whether in Europe, Africa or in some other part of the world home to early civilization and that we still are very much interconnected with them and their gods via nonlocal, omnipresent consciousness.

The rock art pictured above comes from Chad in Northcentral Africa where some of the most important African archeological sites were discovered. The gallery below presents The Wild Wood Tarot’s depiction of The Ancestor, Holly’s Snow Spirit sketch and The Watcher from Chrysalis Tarot representing woman shamans and the wise benevolent Spirits of the Forest.

Interestingly, Holly’s Snow Sprit is accompanied by a wolf. Accordingly, we might infer that Wolf is Snow Spirit’s spirit animal or familiar¹ and be inspired to wonder how Wolf’s spiritual attributes align with what I’ve written here about shamans and spiritual consciousness. By the way, all spirit animals are our protectors, however Wolf, like Snow Spirit herself, is our supreme protector. Snow Spirit is indeed a goddess for our times. We need all the protection we can get.

¹ “Animal familiars are fellow travelers on this earthly plane. Nothing more. Nothing less. Certain spirits will return to us time and again because we are as familiar to them as they are to us. We are drawn together. Perhaps they are connected to a higher existence and were sent here to keep an eye on us and keep us company. Perhaps they are spirits which were drawn to us and our myriad possibilities. Or perhaps they’re just exceptionally aware animals.” – Claire,

© Toney Brooks, 2022

Whispers of Snow Spirit

Elen of the Ways, a.k.a. Snow Spirit © Holly Sierra

Snow Spirit is an enigmatic goddess who has traveled eons to make her presence known to us in these troubled times. In Platonic parlance an eon, in addition to being a very long period of time, points to a power existing from eternity; an emanation or phase of the supreme deity.

In this case, “supreme deity” alludes to the Great Goddess, mother to all the Mother Goddesses throughout history, of which there are many. Every culture has had it’s own. Even Islam, a rigidly monotheistic culture, worshiped Al-Lat. Her name means The Goddess. Al-lat was a moon goddess, the wife of Allah, moon god to the Arabians.

In Judaism, the feminine presence of God who dwells among us is called The Shekinah, translated as “caused to dwell.” It was the Glory of the Shekinah who led the Israelites out of the desert. In Jewish mysticism she is said to be “in sorrowful exile” going on now for 2,500 years or so.

We mention The Shekinah (a.k.a. the Divine Feminine) 8 times in the Chrysalis Tarot Companion Book. Here’s my personal favorite:

“The exile of the Shekinah finds its cultural analog in the separation
of the cosmic soul (Psyche) from human conscious awareness
(ego). This is a predictable consequence of a materialist worldview
that insists upon the primacy of matter and pigeonholes consciousness
as a mere function of matter—specifically, a function of the gray
matter inside the human skull.”

In Chrysalis, we believe (1) in panpsychism – everything in the physical world possesses some degree of consciousness; (2) in non-local consciousness – that consciousness exists independent of the brain, and (3) that consciousness is the timeless and eternal Ground of All Being – a metaphor for the Absolute or the Great Goddess.

Artistic interpretation by Velizar Simeonovski

It’s little wonder that in these days the Great Goddess chooses to come to us from a cave in Southwestern France 13,000 years ago as Snow Spirit.

The Upper Paleolithic culture of that time was called the Magdalenian Culture. The actual engraving (shown in this link) in Trois-Freres cave is androgynous. Since the cave was re-discovered in 1914, the logical assumption at the time was the engraving depicted a male sorcerer in the form of a therianthrope (part human, part animal) as shown in the artistic interpretation on the left.

Holly’s drawing of Snow Spirit corrects this error – the Magdalenian Culture was matrilineal and matriarchal and accordingly they would have evolved female deities and female shamans.

You can learn more about the Magdalenian Culture and Magdalenian Girl, whose skeletal remains rest at the Field Museum in Chicago here.

The incarnation of Snow Spirit we’re most familiar with is Elen of the Ways, a Celtic Welsh goddess. Here’s what mythologist and artist Judith Shaw wrote about Elen:

“Elen of the Ways is She who guides us on these paths of change. Like so many Celtic Goddesses, She is elusive, shimmering, changeable. She endures through the ages, shifting into what each time needs Her to be. She is an antlered goddess who rules the Ways, the Roads, the Passages of human life, both physical and spiritual.”

I personally believe that restoring Elen and Snow Spirit to conscious awareness will help guide and protect our journey through the murky corridors of the present paradigm shift, which is becoming murkier with each passing day. Paleolithic goddesses are enigmatic because we know virtually nothing about them. We are able, however, to infer and intuit certain characteristics, attributes and symbology as well as glean their whispered messages – consciousness is timeless.

For example, the Paleolithic Magdalenian Culture existed on the cusp of the Mesolithic or Middle Stone Age. Magdalenian Girl’s fragile world was changing as radically as ours is today. Her own paradigm shift and its lessons for us will be the subject of our next blog.


Forensic bust of Magdalenian Girl, The Field Museum, Chicago, by artist Elisabeth Daynes

© Toney Brooks 2/2/22

Chrysalis and the Spiritual Dignity of Tarot

Holly Sierra and I, co-creators of Chrysalis Tarot, were thrilled back in 2014 when the Tarosophy Tarot Association announced Chrysalis as recipient of its prestigious Deck of the Year award. Tarosophy places great emphasis on the spiritual dignity of tarot, so for us this recognition was both humbling and immensely gratifying. From its inception, we aimed specifically to make a worthy spiritual contribution to tarot’s growing body of work.

When we first placed Chrysalis on the drawing board, neither of us had heard the phrase spiritual dignity of tarot. We simply had hoped to accomplish our spiritual goals for Chrysalis within the context of the age-old mythology and spiritual teaching called The Hero’s Journey.

Analogous to the Hero’s Journey is the Quest for the Holy Grail, a universal legend symbolizing self-transformation, the personal metamorphosis that inspired the name Chrysalis. Mythologist Joseph Campbell called the grail legends the foundational myths of Western civilization. The grail quest is a quest to discover the Authentic Self. The Hero’s Journey allegorizes this struggle that occurs between the authentic (spiritual) Self and the ego, the ultimate self-sabotager.

We sought also to create a deck well suited to the emerging worldview or paradigm shift that’s been unfolding for some 25 years and is now (2022) at a tipping point. This shift traces its shallow roots to the Neo-Pagan and New Age Movements; its deep roots to the turbulent social upheavals of the ’60s that advanced civil rights, women’s rights and ecology, epitomized in Chrysalis by the Green Man and Gaia archetypes.

Although not New Age per se, the secularity of Chrysalis dovetails with several New Age Philosophy tenets, most notably holism and humanism. Creating a definitively secular deck was another of our goals; we dared not burden Chrysalis with dogmatic religious frameworks, iconography or esoteric symbolism. Neither did we want to create a deck that bowed to archaic institutional hierarchies that represented absolute civil and spiritual authority; in Chrysalis all spiritual paths are equally valid and respected; personal responsibility is paramount. Chrysalis is not about conformity of dogma or “correct beliefs,” but rather about questioning all beliefs and using innate critical thinking skills.

Chrysalis abhors patriarchy, even hierarchy. We strove for overall balance between our deck’s yin-yang energies without social stratification (one reason for replacing the “court cards”). We pushed the envelope to accomplish a masculine-feminine balance and promote personal spiritual empowerment. For example, when we refer to “the divine” in Chrysalis we generally refer either to the divine feminine or to the androgynous divine child within. The Divine Child (pictured above) is both an Otherworld archetype and a Chrysalis major arcana card.

In Chrysalis, the Otherworld is the name we gave to the abode of archetypes, ancestors, faeries and myriad other benevolent spirits, including shamanic spirit animals. It’s corollary is often called the Akashic Field.

We engage this Otherworld via 22 major tarot archetypes and other archetypes unique to Chrysalis. This extended family includes our replacements for tarot’s traditional court cards, an ensemble of medieval troubadours we call The Troupe. Members of The Troupe, who are also archetypes, variously represent spirit guides and ancestors along with the querent’s personal characteristics and personality traits. They also can symbolize helpful individuals, often strangers on their own journey who the querent might meet along the way. All Troupe members have personal spirit animal attributes known as familiars illustrated on their cards. Totems or spirit animals also are found on Chrysalis cards.

Morgan le Fay as The Sorceress

Otherworld engagement via archetypes, an aspect of tarot renowned psychologist C.G. Jung found fascinating, is accomplished through shamanic-style communication between the Collective Unconscious (the Otherworld) and the personal unconscious mind. Information streamed from the Otherworld resonates during a tarot reading and is interpreted intuitively – tarot is not an exercise in code breaking. Chrysalis regards the 78 tarot cards as symbols of multivalent potentialities that mean different things to different people at different times in their lives.

Archetypes of the collective unconscious have resonating frequencies and are quantumly entangled with the personal unconscious; the stronger the querent’s personal bond with a particular archetype, the stronger the resonance. As Nicolai Tesla wrote, “[We should always] think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.” Everything in nature vibrates on a specific frequency, including the Otherworld archetypes.

In adapting Chrysalis to the new connected-universe worldview, we first had to identify this worldview’s salient characteristics. First and foremost, it’s characterized by belief in a living, interconnected and interdependent universe. In this living universe, we become co-creators and function as biological circuits (feedback loops, if you will) connected to a vast Web of Life, as Fritjof Capra termed it. Capra’s Web of Life includes everything in the cosmos; everything is energy, including matter and information.

Secondly, the new worldview is both spiritual and material as well as scientific. It provides a groundwork for a new rational spirituality. Although this notion places Chrysalis at odds with classical Newtonian mechanics, it is complementary with quantum mechanics and the New Science of unified physics. This New Science of unified physics is both holistic and holographic. It views contemporary notions of a dead-universe separated from reality as a dangerous illusion, a fact sadly borne out by human history.

Thirdly, Chrysalis emphasizes the importance of healing through selfless compassion. Having compassion and empathy for others, as well as for ourselves, provides a powerful instrument for healing. Moreover, compassion and empathy unite us rather than separate us. Tarot cannot assist with personal transformation unless it also helps heal a broken psyche. To that end many Chrysalis cards evoke healing and Chrysalis is often described as a healing deck.

Among the many changes Chrysalis makes to traditional tarot, a schema well over 100 years old, is the elimination of limiting belief structures and strictures that engender fear, anxiety or negativity. All pose significant stumbling blocks to self-transformation and healing.

Any self-transformation modality is, by definition, a dynamic spiritual enterprise. To claim spiritual dignity, it must therefore afford spiritual efficacy. It cannot lay legitimate claim to spiritual efficacy unless it’s friendly to beginners and readily accessible. That is a tall order for tarot, which at least today remains an esoteric system tethered to the existing patriarchal, dead-universe (material) worldview. Tarot, however, is constantly evolving and gaining greater awareness and acceptance among an increasingly enlightened public starved for rational spirituality in a living universe.

The Tarosophy Tarot Association aims to make tarot a widely accessible wisdom tool for personal empowerment and personal growth, a goal Chrysalis Tarot wholeheartedly supports and emulates.

© Toney Brooks, 2015, 2022; Chrysalis Art © Holly Sierra