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

Solve et Coagula

The Alchemist (detail) by Andrea Aste

Solve et Coagula is the preeminent axiom and Great Work of alchemy. It means “dissolve and coagulate,” the process of breaking something down and recombining it into a purer and better form – think the caterpillar and butterfly, for example. Tarot, especially Chrysalis Tarot, is spiritual alchemy, as is yoga, chakra clearing, meditation and Dark Night of the Soul shadow work, plus many other disciplines as well.

The painting (left) by Andrea Aste, multimedia artist, master alchemist and tarotist, depicts an alchemist – a laboratory scientist – in search of the goal of all early alchemists: the quest for the illusive Philosopher’s Stone, believed to be a substance that can transform base metals into solid gold. It’s called a “stone” because the mysterious substance is impervious to fire.

Perhaps from alchemy’s earliest days, or certainly from its recent past, this metaphysical art was recognized as an allegory for spiritual development. In this formulation, “Solid gold” is analogous in Chrysalis to the Higher Self and in other esoteric traditions as ascension, enlightenment or illumination, etc. Psychologist Carl Jung termed the alchemical process in humans, individuation – the fulfillment of one’s personal destiny or full potential.

We shall concern ourselves here, however, with a macro approach: the art of alchemy in world affairs and regard the Philosopher’s Stone as the agent of substantive societal change – as an agent of creative destruction, if you will. Spiritual alchemy, we assert, may be applied to the macro (humanity) as well as to the micro (a human being): by changing ourselves we change the world.

At this juncture, we might well veer off into some oblique, nevertheless interesting direction chasing a mosaic of esoterica and legend associated with Solve et Coagula: Hermeticism, Ancient Egyptian and Greek mysticism, Theosophy and Thelema, The Golden Dawn, Anthroposophy and Rosicrucianism, among others. Along the way we might expect to meet interesting people like Madame Blavatsky, Aleister Crowley or Hermes Trismegistus.

But of particular interest and relevance to this blog, we will instead choose to introduce occult scholar and artist Eliphas Levi (a pseudonym) along with his most maligned creation, Baphomet the Sabbatic Goat. This rather hideous looking art/creature serves today as an unofficial sigil and egregore for the destructive phase of the Aquarian paradigm shift now shaking the foundations of civilization like a Biblical earthquake.

You might immediately recognize Baphomet as the inspiration for the “Devil” card art in the Rider-Waite tarot deck. As you likely know, there is no “Devil” card per se in Chrysalis Tarot. We spurn the devil as imaginary, not as an existential reality, although the reality of evil in our world is indeed omnipresent often palpable: We have met the Cosmic Boogeyman and he is us. You might also notice the word “Solve” on Baphomet’s right arm and “Coagula” on its left, which evince Baphomet’s relevance to this thesis.

It is said that Levi was among the first to assign good and evil attributes to the pentagram symbol, which adorns his Sabbatic Goat’s head. The pentagram in this case points up and, according to Levi, is therefore good. Chrysalis considers a pentagram simply a symbol of the five elements, namely fire, air, water, earth and spirit, and revered by all ancient cultures primarily as a symbol of yin-yang balance or of the Sacred Feminine. Levi himself regarded Baphomet overall as primarily a symbol of balance – the equilibrium of opposites – and vigorously asserted that his image merely depicted the god/idol worshipped by the ancient Knights Templar.

Levi’s magnum opus is titled The Great Secret: Or Occultism Unveiled. He has been described as both the keeper of the hermetic tradition and the absolute renovator of esoteric thinking in Europe in the 19th century.

An association of evil with macrocosmic alchemical change does seem appropriate; there must be an agent of objectionable destruction (“solve”). The Hindu goddess Kali (left), for example, personifies in Chrysalis Tarot the cleansing energy of creative destruction as she restores balance to one’s life or the world. In other words, creative destruction appears to be the preferred cosmic procedure to usher in first-order change; examine the last 100 years of world history!

The “solve” phase, as we noted, is the destructive phase. On a seemingly daily basis we witness dark evil forces of destruction all around us: moral deprivation, incivility, divisiveness on par with barbaric tribalism plus institutional rot in both church and state, to name but a few. Callous destruction of a prevailing social order surely implicates evil. Even worse, this evil often comes cloaked in puffed up pomposity espousing ludicrous moral superiority. Frankly, it’s the conventional lust for power and control – truly satanic.

On an individual basis, the only effective way to mitigate destructive evil in the world is for the spiritually minded to increase dramatically their output of positive energy and raise their individual self-awareness; to have faith and believe in the metaphysical weight of both spoken and written word. It’s essential in efforts to raise individual awareness that we stay well informed of current events so to avoid becoming infected with a mass psychosis mind virus (a diabolical egregore).

Critical thinking requires cognitive dissonance and evokes self respect. The globalists, many of whom literally and admittedly mean to destroy Western Civilization, appear determined to replace liberal democracy and liberty with Marxist totalitarianism and tyranny. These destructive evildoers, some known, most unknown, are godless peddlers of fear and falsehood who are celebrated and encouraged daily by the corrupt corporate media.

We wrote extensively and presciently of this paradigm shift in the Chrysalis Tarot Companion Book: “Change is always stressful. On the magnitude of an age-ending paradigm shift, the changes we will face pose challenges no one alive today has ever faced. In fact, change of this magnitude last happened well over 2,000 years ago. Chrysalis Tarot was created in 2014 for this transition to the Age of Aquarius, not so much for the present Age of Pisces. It was designed to help endure and make sense of the turmoil of transition.” On the bright side, I believe the Aquarian Age presages a quantum leap in the evolution of human consciousness.

Referring to the Four of Spirals (left), artist Holly Sierra’s favorite card, we noted: “When paradigms shift and worldviews change, the adjustments bring about the difficult process of clearing. Clearing energy is one of the subtle energies the Four of Spirals symbolizes in a reading. It is the same renewing energy encountered at an organized spiritual retreat that encourages self -emptying. We call this multi-layered clearing energy regathering. Small, like-minded groups from all over the planet are regathering to celebrate the passion for truth and change.” You may be part of one.


The Zodiac divides The Great Year into the 4 elements (Fire, Air, Water and Earth). Each element contains 3 constellations or ages and each of these 12 ages lasts approximately 2,160 years (the precession of the equinoxes is imprecise). Accordingly, we are now on the cusp of the Age of Aquarius. By my reckoning, the now concluding Age of Pieces likely began around the time the Maccabees restored Jewish rule to the Holy Land c.141 B.C. for the first time since the Babylonians! Jewish rule in the Holy Land, considered by many to include the Axis Mundi, set the stage, so to speak, for Jesus and the Piscean Christian Era, symbolized by the fish.

© Toney Brooks, 2022

“Useful Idiots” (Updated and Republished)


A slight departure from our customary Chrysalis Tarot -focused writings, but one with a single yet important purpose; namely to shed some light on the agitating noise and manufactured disharmony we’ve witnessed since the 2016 election and shows no hint of subsiding.

As I’ve written, the world is experiencing the birth throes of a new paradigm – a new worldview or zeitgeist. This cultural revolution has been proclaimed far and wide for many years; it has been anticipated by those we call prophets – those who possess “eyes to see and ears to hear.” A search for “paradigm shift” on Google returns over 8-million hits. The emergent, nascent paradigm, whose characteristics we have only glimpsed, is influencing the events advancing global change. If you can’t articulate at least a rudimentary appreciation of this New Paradigm, making sense of current events is rather daunting. 

It remains to be seen if this new paradigm lives or dies. If it lives, it can usher in a new Golden Age. If not, the pain we will inflict upon ourselves depends upon how well we as a species – and as civilized nations – can command the inevitable winds of change. We’ll eventually make it to a new Golden Age, but there are two routes. Clearly, even those with the most stunted spiritual antennae recognize that humanity’s present course – the status quo – is unsustainable. And this mild assertion has nothing whatsoever to do with the scientific hoax known as a “climate emergency.”

Since the politics of the day is so incendiary, we turn to the politics of the past to make some useful points. This is where the somewhat sinister looking character pictured above enters the picture. He is one Saul Alinsky. He died in 1972 at age 63. As spiritual symmetries and synchronicities would have it, Alinsky’s story includes intriguing parallels to today’s slippery political landscape. 

Alinsky was born in Chicago in 1909 to Jewish immigrants from Russia. Wikipedia calls him an “American community organizer and writer.” He wrote a book in 1971 called Rules for Radicals, which is still considered the bible for community organizing. William Buckley once referred to him as an “organizational genius.” Among his disciples are Barrack O’Bama and Hillary Clinton, et al. Clinton wrote her thesis on Alinsky.

Let’s recount a few of Alinsky’s ideas that he termed “power tactics,” as outlined in his Rules for Radicals, and draw the obvious conclusions.

Here are 5 from his list of 13 (emphasis is mine):

  • Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counterattack ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, who then react to your advantage.
  • A good tactic is one that your people enjoy. If your people are not having a ball doing it, there is something very wrong with the tactic.
  • Keep the pressure on, with different tactics and actions, and utilize all events of the period for your purpose (think COVID-19).
  • The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition. It is this unceasing pressure that results in the reactions from the opposition that are essential for the success of the campaign.
  • Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.

No one can rationally deny that today our society is being polarized for political gain.

Alternatively, perhaps it’s simply better to accept legitimate change, adapt and then move on. America, by the way, also has a rulebook, along with a few suggestions for being a “good American.” It’s known as the Constitution. Dissent and civil disobedience are Constitutionally guaranteed civil rights we all cherish. Wanton disrespect and lawlessness, flames fanned today by Marxist propaganda, not so much.

16-kaliWe live in the Age of Kali, whose ongoing cosmic mission is change through creative destruction. “May you live in interesting times,” the sage cursed. Chrysalis Tarot fans are familiar with Kali, even if we sometimes don’t fully understand her intent or immediately recognize her footprints.

For those who are unfamiliar, Kali is an archetype. Like other archetypes, she resides in the human psyche. Chrysalis Tarot is first and foremost about “archetypal psychology” and the Collective Unconscious. Chrysalis does not promote fortunetelling. We designed Chrysalis to increase individual self-awareness and higher consciousness, as symbolized by Kali’s necklace of skulls, so we might make informed choices.

The “tower” in the image symbolizes the human ego, which is in constant tension with the Higher Self. They are inversely proportional; as ego decreases Higher Self or spiritual awareness increases. This transformative experience is described as spiritual growth, awakening or enlightenment, which are essential to seeing things clearly – to being able to think and reason clearly and critically. Not to be a Useful Idiot married to an ideology rather than to reason.

The Bible calls to mind the theological doctrine of eschatology. In metaphysics, as opposed to religious dogma, this doctrine refers to the study of, and reasons for, profound changes that precede a cosmic evolution of consciousness or paradigm shift. You cannot separate eschatology from paradigm shifts or the evolution of consciousness. Eschatology – the theology of End Times – is a macrocosmic (universal) absolute that informs microcosmic (human) understanding.

The old paradigm, the current dominant worldview, is fading away; the perigee of its demise represents what is often called the “End Times.” What worldview will replace it? The Alinsky-style totalitarianism of a New World Order with problems so humongous that only Big Government can solve them? May God forbid it! 


Two thousand years ago there was another birth – another paradigm shift – that gave name to what we now call the “Common Era (CE).” Back then, before the present era became common, the eschatology of John the Baptist, a Jewish prophet, was apocalyptic.

The eschatology of Jesus, another a Jewish prophet and John’s cousin, was about the coming of a “New Kingdom” (a new paradigm). Paradigm shifts always reconcile and reset what’s known as the tension of opposites. A tension of opposites, say freedom vs. slavery, is like stretched rubber band. And most of us live somewhere in the middle, to paraphrase Morrie Schwartz.

It is not my intention to preach yet another facile Sunday School lesson by making references to John and Jesus. I’m a spiritual naturalist, after all, who considers organized religions to at best be a harvest of instructive metaphors and mythologies, not of literal, absolute truths. I wish simply to remind the reader that at its core, the situation today in America and the world is spiritual in nature and far more complex than the threadbare left vs. right political polemics or sectarian religious zeal one might believe.

“In political parlance, a useful idiot is a term for people perceived as propagandists for a cause whose goals they are not fully aware of (such as Marxism) and who are used cynically by the leaders of the cause.” ~ Wikipedia

On a positive note, one name being given to the New Paradigm is Re-Enchantment.  The best primer I’ve come across on the subject is titled, “The Re-Enchantment of the World,” by Morris Berman. It’s available inexpensively in mass market paperback. 

In 2022, I’ll begin a new series on the metaphysical aspects of re-enchantment and how Chrysalis Tarot might be useful in understanding and perhaps in transitioning to this new world view. 

N.B. For additional insight into the term “Useful Idiots,” I recommend this piece from an excellent Word Press blog called Sheeplywolves. 

© Toney Brooks, 2017, 2021

The Paradigm Shift and Bitcoin

Botticelli’s Primavera is probably one of the most recognizable paintings in the world. It is emblematic of the paradigm shift that birthed our Modern World. Primavera calls the Uffizi Museum in Florence her home. The painting’s timely theme is the arrival of spring, which is one reason it headlines this March blog. Actually, this article is as much a macroeconomic newsletter as it is a Chrysalis blog. We’ll turn to the news and editorial sections directly.

But first, to reacquaint you with Primavera we start on the left side of the painting with the first of the nine figures in the orange-grove party scene. Carefree Mercury, the messenger of the Gods, seems preoccupied in a world of his own as he announces, “Spring has arrived!” by pointing to transient clouds. The Three Graces frolic merrily in a circle in front of Venus, the Roman goddess of love and beauty who occupies center stage as Cupid aims his arrow from above. Flora, the fertility goddess of spring and youth, wears a garland of festive flowers, a floral dress and sprinkles rose petals on the ground.

These last two figures suggest one reason this artwork is particularly relevant to Chrysalis. Flora is depicted being transformed from the nymph on her left by Zephyr who marries and transforms her. (The Medicis, a wealthy Florentine banking family, commissioned this painting as a wedding gift.) Zephyr, who personifies the west wind, hovers above the nymph to symbolize the transition to springtime. Today, Primavera recalls to mind a paradigm shift to those better days we know as the Italian Renaissance, a movement that began in the 15th century and transitioned the Middle Ages into the modern world of enlightenment. Nothing escaped change.

The paradigm shift which Chrysalis was conceived to prophesize is the shift from the modern world to whatever comes next. Future generations will define it. But lets not bog ourselves down in murky modernization theory.

The goddess Flora has a sister named Fauna, as you likely guessed. Fauna is the fertility goddess of wildlife and the woodlands. In Chrysalis we conflated Flora and Fauna to beget Gaia, who oversees all life in Earth’s biosphere. In fact, Gaia is both a goddess and a scientific theory, as we detailed in the Chrysalis companion book. Gaia Theory posits that she maintains optimal conditions to support life in Earth’s biosphere.

All life on earth contributes information and energy to Gaia’s feedback loop. For reasons sufficient unto herself, Gaia presides over the transitioning of our society to green energy. We should embrace that truth whether we accept the prevalent theory of anthropomorphic (human caused) catastrophic global warming or not; the metaphysics of the proposition are what’s important, not the politics.

In fact if Gaia repeatedly appears in your readings, she might be imploring you to focus more on the big picture. Whatever the issue, there is usually a bigger picture worth considering. You will not discover truth in political slogans intended primarily to manipulate your mind and control your behavior. Chrysalis is about developing and using critical thinking skills with divine assistance from archetypes of the Collective Unconscious who speak to us via our inner voice.

In addition to Gaia, we should assign additional attributes and qualities to two other Chrysalis cards. These two cards are important when coming to grips with the New Paradigm and the creative destruction that will accompany it. In financial circles, “creative destruction” is now expressed as “disruptive technology.” That’s not only more sanguine but it better describes what’s really happening – the facts on the ground, so to speak.


We – the world – are rapidly moving toward a cashless society. The tipping point or Minsky Moment lies in the offing. It is being called The Great Reset. The Great Reset is necessary because all global currencies are in a massive state of decline well past a point of no return. For example, 40% of all dollars printed in the 200+ year history of the U.S. have been printed in just the last 15 or so months.

The card below signifies the enormous amount of energy – 70% of it green energy – at work in cyberspace. It’s name is Bitcoin and it will provide the monetary transportation/impetus needed for the Great Reset. Bitcoin is backed by enormous amounts of energy and, to repeat myself, 70% of it is green energy. If you see this card popping up in your readings, it’s urging you to inform yourself with the basic facts of blockchain technology and crypto currency.

One rather pleasant consequence of the new paradigm’s cashless society powered by digital currencies is there will be no debt. All debt will be wiped out by the Great Reset, although the central banks may seek (unsuccessfully) to utilize debt as the monetary bedrock of the future paradigm.

This card asks you to recognize that the Great Reset, as well as Bitcoin itself for that matter, are trains that have already left the station. Resistance is futile, although some “old timers” who remain mired in the old paradigm will continue to fret about “how are we going to pay for all this stimulus?” We aren’t.

If new paradigms promised smooth rides, we might not have designed Chrysalis as “transformational technology.” The folks who will at least have a smoother ride are those able to heed their inner voices and silence the FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) constantly shouted by the world around us.

Remember, the media are clueless so do your own research. Draw your own conclusions.

Aeolus (left), Master of the Four Winds, is a card and a mythology you should get to know better. It was Aeolus who guided Odysseus safely home to Ithaca. We picked Aeolus to be the cover art for our Chrysalis companion book:

“Aeolus is pictured on the Nine of Spirals with an astrolabe, a device used at sea for navigation. An astrolabe measures not the speed or direction of the wind, but rather the position of heavenly bodies such as the moon and stars.

“On the Nine of Spirals, the astrolabe foresees the gentle breeze of the Age of Aquarius entwined with the last snarling gusts of the Age of Pisces. The ramifications of such a shift are stupendous!”

Aeolus chose Zephyr, the west wind, to guide Odysseus home just as Botticelli chose Zephyr to symbolize the transition into springtime. Allow Aeolus to help you navigate the turbulent winds and waters of the paradigm shift we clearly see in the offing.

© Toney Brooks 2021

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.