Watchers – The Prophets of Our Time


For this week’s Chrysalis card I chose The Watcher, our resident prophet archetype. But first a few choice words about prophecy.

Prophecy, at least in the Classical sense, is not about painting a perfect picture of the future but about a fresh interpretation of the frayed canvasses of the past. Watchers envisage the future not as a product of causal, linear progressions but as an emergent property of recurring cycles.

A watcher’s mind projects the Big Picture of an “Eternal Now,” where past, present and future are simply convenient and mostly meaningless human constructs.

Prophecy is not a “gift,” but forthrightly an acquired skill set. Most adults can become adept at reading cyclical patterns and “predicting” the future using little more than synchronicity, creative imagination and solid historical perspectives.

Bear shaman viewing butterfly . Norval Morrisseau

In Norval Morrisseau’s painting, the bear-shaman converses with a butterfly, the preeminent symbol of the psyche. Psyche is not something within us; we exist within psyche. Our common goal is to become one with psyche, one with higher Self.

When Self has become fully formed and informed by psyche, when Self looks destiny in the eye, only then can we humans, strapped to the straight-backed chairs of mortality, leave the chrysalis.

Watchers, shamans and countless other soul-butterflies have left their chrysalis behind forever and discovered their destiny. They are the prophets of our time.

When we Westerners think of prophecy, we usually conjure up a familiar Bible story from Sunday School, church or Charlton Heston. A case in point:

Regardless of whether you believe in a monotheistic God (the Chrysalis schema embraces spiritual naturalism), at least to some degree the mythology of Jesus the Hebrew Prophet has helped shape your worldview. Jesus made many predictions. For example, he predicted that the Jewish Temple would be destroyed: “Not a stone will be left unturned.”

Many Biblical scholars regard such predictions as prophecy historicised rather than as history remembered, an important distinction. The former implicates disingenuous 20/20 hindsight; the latter genuine 20/20 foresight or true prophecy. Let’s choose foresight. How could Jesus, an obscure prophet from Nazareth, as well as many other Hebrew prophets, have foreseen the destruction of the Second Jewish Temple?


Well, a Talmud scholar would explain simply that the Jewish Temple had been defiled and, accordingly, would certainly be destroyed. But the temple was not defiled by hardworking money changers, who were an important facet of temple life and commerce. A foreign Jew on pilgrimage to Jerusalem was unable to buy doves for sacrifice using foreign currency. He first had to convert it to shekels.

The Herodian Temple became a symbol of self-righteous power and gross indulgence rather than of holiness, perhaps not unlike like today’s Vatican. Jesus’ tirade was not aimed at money changers, per se, but at the ungodliness of what Herod’s Temple and King Herod himself represented  – a den of corruption, greed and power. By tossing a few tables and bird cages about, Jesus in fact mimed the destruction of the temple. That act of sedition was not lost on the Pharisees and Romans.

That contrived act itself was both prophetic and purposeful. In Roman law, sedition was punishable by death. Jesus didn’t “lose his temper,” regardless of what Pastor Tim may have you believe.

Loki’s Prophecy

Loki-brood-serpent-cultLoki's brood; Hel, Fenrir and Jörmungandr. By Emil Doepler

The painting above is titled Loki’s Brood, by  Emil Doepler (1855-1922), a German artist, art nouveau illustrator and teacher. The young lady in the center is the Norse goddess, Hel, Loki’s daughter. She lives beneath one of the roots of the Yggdrasil tree, pictured below. The monstrous wolf is Fennir, son of Loki. Fennir is said to have bitten off the hand of the war god Týr, for whom the day Tuesday is named. Appropriately, we pen this piece on a Tuesday. The serpent is  Jörmungandr, which means “huge monster.” She’s the World Serpent and middle sibling. Their mother, the giantess “who brings grief,” is Loki’s wife Angrboða, who is seen in the background.

Why this piece? It evolves from a lucid dream I had over a 3-night period last week. A lucid dream is one in which the dreamer remains conscious of the dream and is able to exercise some control over it. Everyone who has lucid dreams will experience them differently, although there are many commonalities, i.e. all are interpreted and informed by the Third Eye. Lucid dreams occur in what is known as liminal space, a threshold or portal between the world of the senses and the world beyond the senses. In Chrysalis Tarot, we refer to realms beyond the threshold as the Otherworld.

Piecing together a lucid dream isn’t as difficult as interpreting a more typical dream. In my case, it usually involves arranging the dream’s storyboards, or salient points i.e. recognizing patterns and connecting dots. No communication from the Otherworld can be repeated verbatim because it is filtered through the expectations and biases of the dreamer’s cultural conditioning. If a young Catholic girl, for example, has a vision of the Great Mother, she likely will interpret it as an apparition of the Virgin Mary. If a Jungian psychologist has the precise same vision, she or he will recognize the archetype as the Cosmic Woman, Shekinah or Divine Feminine. Both are valid interpretations.

Like virgin olive oil, no communication from the Otherworld can be 100% purely comprehended. It is always dirtied by the filter (seer). The best one might hope to attain is 99.9% on the virgin meter, and few prophets ever come anywhere near that mark. If they do, you can bet the prophecy was historicized after the fact.

Another reason or two for this blog in addition to my dream, and in addition to the fact that it’s Tuesday, have to do with the current state of affairs in the world. Also, I watched “The Avengers” last night. I had the dream last week but wondered if there were signs in the film of art imitating dreams. There were, although as mythologist and mystic Caroline Kenner told me, “I try to avoid Loki. I had a bad experience or three with Him. But His wife is lovely, I am close to Angrboða.”

Caroline, who developed the Chrysalis Tarot app for Fool’s Dog, went on to explain that Loki is not a run-of-the-mill trickster god. “I wish I could communicate this to people who think Loki is a sexy Tom Hiddleston. Loki frightens me.”

I read this morning in the Washington Post that women and children were tear gassed yesterday at a border crossing between Greece and Macedonia. These innocents are refugees fleeing Syria and other parts of the war-torn Middle East to seek asylum in northern Europe, home to the Asgard pantheon. Asgard is the realm ruled by Odin (Woden) and his wife Frigg, for whom Wednesday and Friday are named, respectively.

1-Ravens Amazon HRI mentioned these name correspondences because too many of us have neglected or entirely forgotten the Norse gods and goddesses. It is they who I believe are most active in today’s world, for it is they who are tasked to avenge the destruction of the Old Ways, which was done in order to clear a path for the monotheistic dream of humanity’s “Dominion over all the Earth.”

And then there’s Baba Vanga (1911-1996), another dot. Bearing in mind that prophets can only aspire to fully comprehend complex deities like Loki, “the blind Macedonian mystic predicted that Muslims will invade Europe in 2016, and there will be widespread destruction by extremists, which will go on for many years until the continent ceases to exist. She had also predicted that a Great Muslim War will begin in Syria.”

I believe now may be the ideal time to get to know the Norse gods and goddesses beyond simply citing the days of the week. (Sincere apologies to Thor – Thursday.)


Book recommendations:

How to Master Lucid Dreaming: Your Practical Guide to Unleashing the Power of Lucid Dreaming, (Kindle edition 99-cents for a limited time) by Sean Kelly.

The Love of Destiny: The Sacred and the Profane in Germanic Polytheism, (Kindle edition $5.99) by Dan McCoy.

“We’re all familiar with the pop culture depictions of Norse mythology that are shallow and trite at best, and often downright misleading. They owe far more to puerile fantasies of being a macho superhero than they do to the ways in which the pre-Christian peoples of northern Europe actually thought of themselves and their spirituality.”



Fortune Tellers, Prophets and Baba Vanga

C71The topic of fortune telling using tarot cards is controversial; some believe it’s a legitimate use of the cards while others citing ethical concerns do not.

The former camp points to long held traditions, while the latter sees the cards as an aid used to inform choices. They assert that the cards, and those who read them, would would never, or at least should never, interfere with someone’s free will or exploit their expectations.

In Holistic Tarot, author Benebell Went puts it this way: “Having grown up in the Chinese/Taiwanese culture, I was routinely exposed to East Asian fortune-telling practices: face reading; palmistry; Ba Zi, which is the practice of revealing your destiny through date and time of birth; and many more. What I have learned is that fortune-telling is a rudimentary understanding of the cosmic forces that govern us.”

So too are the various categories of western divination. A better question, therefore, is this: is it possible to read the future at all? While I don’t think tarot, per se, is able to peer into the future, there are certain individuals who do have this ability. They are called clairvoyants. Many clairvoyants employ tarot cards as a sort of “jumping off point” used to hone their psychic readings.

You could be one such individual. If you continue to use Chrysalis, you likely soon will be. That is unless you harbor disabling religious beliefs or have an innate psychological resistance to precognition. Chrysalis was designed to increase one’s intuitive skills and psychic abilities; to activate one’s Third Eye and awaken the Higher Self. This is what spiritual formation and the Hero’s Journey in tarot is all about. Precognition ability naturally accompanies spiritual growth. They travel hand in hand.

C47Marie Laveau was known in New Orleans spiritual circles as a Watcher, a mystic who walked hand in hand with spiritual realm. There are other watcher-type characters in Chrysalis. We know them by names like The Visionary, The Illusionist, Morgan le Fay and Papa Legba. All our Chrysalis shamans, such as those depicted on the Nine of Stones and Eight of Mirrors, are also watchers.

Watchers are prophets. They are the Sybils, Pythias and sundry other oracles who have been called on throughout history to reveal what the future holds. This tradition continues today; almost every village in Tibet, for example, has its own official oracle, and the Dalai Lama himself consults the Nechung Oracle (short video) annually.

So where does this secret information come from and why? It comes from the Akasha, a Sanskrit word that means aether, although it is known by other names such as the fifth element, Spirit. The aether, which is an energy field, connects each of us to everything else in the universe and to all information contained in the Akashic Record. This information can aid us, warn us of impending danger, enlighten us and challenge us.

Consider the Akashic Record an energetic field or database that functions like a cybernetic feed back – feed forward loop. For example, Earth’s Collective Unconscious, home to the archetypes, informs the Akashic Record and is in turn informed by the Akashic Record. In fact, the Akashic Record is a universal memory bank that accounts for everything that has ever happened in our universe. It can be accessed by mystics and other awakened souls and used to make fairly accurate predictions about the future, but it is not omniscient (all knowing) – nor for that matter is anything else.

C09This brings us to Baba Vanga. She’s been in the news of late because of some predictions she purportedly made concerning the times we live in. You can read about her in this New York Post article, which includes her photograph. I chose Storyteller’s image for this section because she and Baba Vanga share a great deal in common.

Storyteller is Chrysalis Tarot’s quintessential watcher, and arguably its preeminent spiritual presence. Like Marie Laveau and Morgan le Fay, Storyteller keeps the center of her being on the surface of an altered state of consciousness (ASC). Her mind is always still, uncluttered and free of ego fostered delusion, therefore an ASC is readily attainable.

Suffice it to say that one cannot be a prophet and proclaim future probabilities unless capable of entering an ASC either through deep meditation, yoga, an entheogen or a shamanic ritual. This truism would most certainly exclude boardwalk fortune tellers who read tarot as if it were some form of arcane cryptology. They would be known as false prophets or charlatans.

In closing, it’s worth noting that classical prophecy, which often asserts that bad things are going to happen unless ways are mended, is, in many cases, simply an interpretation of history and pattern recognition. Furthermore, it has nothing to do with divine retribution, which doesn’t happen, and everything to do with humanity heaping misfortune upon itself, or experiencing a natural calamity.

It’s worth noting that we reckon time in a linear fashion, always moving from past to present to future; from cause to effect. This ubiquitous viewpoint has, however, recently come under scientific scrutiny; theories of backward causation are being explicated. The New Physics represents cutting edge scientific thought, not New Age woo-woo. I personally regard the phenomenon of Jungian synchronicity (meaningful coincidence) as a natural, psychokinetic concomitant to backward causation.

For example, say you are earnestly pursuing a spiritual path that leads to your destiny (Higher Self).  You will experience synchronicities more often than, say, someone mired in ego-consciousness. Your future Higher Self acts as a causal agent for this synchronicity. Consequently, when you experience synchronicity, you know you’re making serious spiritual progress. We should always contemplate meaningful synchronous events in our daily lives. Your future is trying to tell you something.

These subjects are discussed in greater depth in our new Chrysalis Tarot companion book.


book cover usg version