Chrysalis Cosmology

“In ancient Egyptian culture, owls have long been seen as a symbol of darkness and supernatural wisdom protected from those who do not deserve to receive this knowledge. Their dark qualities were celebrated because they were said to link with the unknown mystery of the hereafter.” From Bird Watching by David Swanson.

In Chrysalis Tarot, a good deal of the symbolism represented in Janie Olsen’s art (left) is expressed on the Celtic Owl card; in traditional tarot this card is called The Hanged Man.

In fact, in our Little White Book. a guidebook we include with Chrysalis decks, I made this observation, “The unseen world remains dark to many because its reality if doubted or denied.” And therein lies the rub: materialism – the abject denial of God, spirituality and what Chrysalis terms the Unseen or Otherworld.

Chrysalis cosmology posits a duality known as Manichaeism: good vs. evil, light vs. darkness, spirit vs matter. Indeed, by definition as a tool for divination, tarot appeals directly to this Unseen World, a world that adds meaning to life.

Divination is distinct from fortune telling, which is a debasement of tarot. Divination invokes divine guidance and protection. It cloaks tarotists with an ability to best use their innate faculties of discernment and intuition – faculties materialists and other non-believers eschew and ridicule.

It’s useful, I believe, to revisit three basic beliefs essential to understanding Chrysalis Cosmology and to efficiently invoking Chrysalis methodology:

  1. Panpsychism. This is the belief that everything possesses some inherent degree of consciousness.
  2. Non-locality. This is the belief that consciousness itself is not simply an emergent property of the human brain but is rather what theologian Paul Tillich termed, “The Ground of All Being.”
  3. Interconnectivity. This is the belief that all things both in the seen world and in the Unseen Otherworld are interconnected. All cosmic information therefore is accessible. In her Celtic Owl art, Holly chose the Celtic Knot to symbolize this universal interconnectivity.

Around the same time we published the Chrysalis Companion Book, I put the finishing touches on an academic paper titled Evolution of Consciousness and the Emergent Aquarian Paradigm. My thesis was that the upcoming Aquarian Age will shepherd a quantum leap forward in human consciousness. I’ve long felt Chrysalis would play some modest role in that evolution. In the paper, I quote Indian philosopher and mystic Sri Aurobindo: “Man may help or man may resist, but the Zeitgeist works, shapes, overbears, insists.”

Zeitgeist is a fun word. It refers to the invisible agent or Daemon that comes to dominate a given historical epoch such as an astrological age. Carl Jung saw the advent of Christianity as one dominant theme in our present Piscean Age, which appears now to be in its archetypal death throes. The Daemon of the Piscean Age therefore would have been the Image of the Divine writ large in humanity’s Collective Unconscious, to tap Jungian terms. That “image” would include Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism and to a large extent Greek Philosophy. Humanity has made unprecedented advances over the last 2,000 years.

J.W. Waterhouse’s painting of the The Tempest came to mind when I penned the “death throes of our current Piscean Age.” Certainly the 20th century was haunted and traumatized by one version of the Apocalypse followed by another. Now firmly in the 21st century and staring down nuclear holocaust, we have suddenly become Miranda: We all beg our father to save the men at sea and still the sinister storm that has beset our times.

“Man may help or man may resist, but the Zeitgeist works, shapes, overbears, insists.”

We make life easier for ourselves and for the paradigm shift into the Aquarian Age when we discern and cooperate with the nascent Daemon rather than misperceive and resist it. Such a cooperative effort requires profound critical thinking and acute self-awareness. Too many are in denial. Too many are still asleep.

© Toney Brooks, 2023

Tarot and the Quantum World

quantum physicsThis clever cartoon is one of many from a book written to teach quantum physics to kids. I ran across it while searching for a suitable introduction to the quantum world for my grandkids. Let’s face it: when it comes to quantum physics, we’re all in the dark to some extent. The renown physicist Richard Feynman once admitted, “Nobody understands quantum physics.”

You’re reading about this here because without a basic understanding of quantum physics we will never understand how tarot actually works. Accordingly, many still cling to woo-woo magical explanations, insist upside down cards augur profound weightiness and allow superstition and codswallop to magnify tendencies toward confirmation bias.

Tarot, when used correctly, is a great tool for self-discovery, self-awareness and consciousness-raising. Obviously, my favorite deck is Chrysalis Tarot, not just because I wrote it but because Holly and I swept away all the quasi-religious and androcentric (male-centered) characteristics found in previous decks. We purged those superstitions and admonishments prevalent in the latter half of the 19th century when traditional tarot decks were first conceived.


In short, we sought to update tarot in much the same way quantum physics updates classical physics. I detailed this approach in the Chrysalis Tarot Companion Book. Briefly, quantum theory asserts (and also proves) that the world we live in is NOT deterministic, as asserted by classical physics. Free will does indeed exist; we create our own reality. Quantum theory further proves that everything and everybody in our universe is interconnected or quantumly entangled.

Jared Hodges’ art (above) illustrates another important quantum physics concept known as nonlocality, which describes the ability of objects – particles, people, planets, etc. – to instantly exchange information at great distances unencumbered by time via quantum entanglement . Classical physics strictly forbids such spookiness, as Einstein called it.

C03The Earth is surrounded by a dynamic field of information/energy called the Noosphere, an emergent property of Earth’s biosphere. In Chrysalis, we anthropomorphize the noosphere with the Greek archetype Gaia (left), the primal Mother Earth goddess.

All other Chrysalis archetypes are subsets of the noosphere and the collective unconscious, which are in turn subsets of a greater cosmic field of information known as the Akashic Field, among other names. Meditating on Gaia or on any other Chrysalis archetype (archetypes are self-organizing principles of shared information) sets into motion a consciousness-raising feedback loop (resonance) with that particular archetype.

It’s consciousness-raising for you and consciousness raising for Gaia too. Teilhard de Chardin, a Jesuit priest, philosopher and scientist who explicated the noosphere, taught that Gaia is becoming conscious of herself.

The chaotic ripple in time we’re all experiencing these days is what Teilhard termed the Omega Point – a world-changing spiritual awakening and paradigm shift. We created Chrysalis Tarot specifically to assist with the transformation to higher consciousness that this quantum shift entails.


© Toney Brooks, 2019

Making the Unconscious Conscious

PapaLegba appThe main goal of Chrysalis is increased self-awareness. You’ve heard many times assurances that “all the answers are already inside us.” We just have to coax them out. Tarot is one of many modalities people employ to achieve this highly desirable goal.

Increased self-awareness = spiritual growth and higher consciousness. This is one reason Chrysalis is widely recognized as a “spiritual deck” – one that promotes “active imagination.”

I recently ran across a piece that speaks eloquently to the quest of making the unconscious conscious and I would like to share it. The author is Doug Hilton, a frequent contributor to Quora.

To the question of how to make the unconscious conscious Doug writes:

The unconscious does it for you. We are the subconscious/unconscious, which does the data processing, and has no awareness.

What is conscious? It helps to direct our senses, by constantly providing feedback to the subconscious.

Being able to remember the exact sequence of events, cause and effect, is vital to survival. In theory, every bit of long-term memory has a sequence code, or something that performs the same function. If you are not consciously aware of something, then it cannot have a sequence code, and cannot be stored long-term. That includes thoughts, decisions, everything ever imagined, and data from out senses.

How we cope, with an ever-changing world? We make predictions, in order to make choices.

How do we evaluate all things, in order to make choices? Emotional value, which is determined by a combination of our genes, knowledge, experience, the environment, our emotional and physical state, and more. Google brain chemical reward. To a great extent, these chemicals determine human behavior, by determining emotional values.

In order to make predictions, the subconscious must run simulations for every choice. That includes every physical movement. It calculates the best outcome (highest emotional value), or least negative outcome (pain, fear, shame, humiliation….etc), and decides. The decision is passed on to conscious. At times, other choices are included, which gives the illusion, that the conscious is making the decision.

The subconscious is capable of mixing and matches a million bits of memory. Imagination needs regular exercise. Search the web for subjects, that excite your brain, because you will remember more details.

Absorb as much information, as you can. You will eventually be able to ask intelligent questions. If you can’t find the answers, then press your brain. If possible, become obsessed, with discovering the answers. They should be the first thing on your mind, when you wake, and the last, before falling asleep.

Your brain will eventually deliver something. If you continue pressing it, your imagination will be “on” full time. You’ll have inspired thoughts, inspired dreams, and inspired questions. You’ll see connections, that others miss.

jung unconscious
© 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