Friday, January 14, 2011

The journey to the Journey into Egypt Tarot

In light of the recent upheaval over precession in astrology I thought it was time to tell my own experiences on this matter. Since I am right in the middle of creating a tarot deck based on just this subject. It would seem that 1/13/11 will be known as the day people stopped talking about the controversy of politics and started freaking out about the fact they are no longer the sun sign they thought they were.

My day started innocently enough designing the Moon card for my new deck I started looking up information on Ophiuchus the thirteenth sign. A few minutes later my friend Jade sent me a link,Recent Renewed Interest in the Zodiac by Bill Duvendack on Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 10:02am. Synchronicity! It was exactly what I needed when I needed it. I was thrilled but this is fairly common in my life and it doesn't freak me out.

The truth is this sort of thing happens to me quite a bit and it made me decide to post the events that led up to my discovery of precession and my decision to create a new tarot deck based on this phenomenon. And here are the details leading up to the Journey into Egypt Tarot a work in progress...

The most important thing about this new deck is the archetype in relationship to the placement on the wheel of the year, the relationship to placement colors, changes or deepens the usual meaning of the card.
The goal is to try to experience the spirit of ancient Egyptian that still exists today. Keeping in mind the people of ancient Egypt viewed the external world as a reflection of the internal world. By this premise if we change our state of mind we change our environment.
I can’t help but wonder if in this time of great change if we couldn’t benefit from reconnecting to the earth and each other. And if a unique look back at a mysterious nature religion may help us get to know ourselves a little better.

My journey back to Egypt and toward this new deck began with the completion of my third tarot deck a controversial deck based on full moon signs and cross-quarter days instead of the usual linear ordering MAAT was circular and cyclical in nature and it changed the ordering of the major arcana. The premier of this deck took me on a trip to Los Angeles, California in 2006 to present The MAAT Tarot at LATS (The Los Angeles Tarot Symposium). It was there that Mary Greer first mentioned to me a possible “Tarot Tour” to Egypt. I was interested and knew this would be the dream trip of a lifetime. My favorite author Normandi Ellis would be one of the co-facilitators and I had always wanted to meet her.
It eventually turned out that the dates of this trip coincided with my 49th birthday, this was a Saturn aspect for me and I knew everything I have done so far that is tarot related coincides with Saturn aspects. It seems to be part of my “karma” or at least is turning out to be my life’s work.
The first trip was just the beginning, as my tarot journeys would lead me to another tarot symposium and yet another serendipitous trip to Egypt. The second Egypt trip came about in an amazingly serendipitous way and it all started at BATS 2008 (Bay Area Tarot Symposium) when a woman named Norma came up to me after the panel discussion on the last day of the conference and said, "I have something to tell you and you have something to tell me but I don't know what it is..." My response was," well let's figure it out" Turned out she needed to know something about cross-quarter-days and full moons for the labyrinth she was creating and she told me I needed to read The Egypt Code by Robert Bauval... My thoughts were “if I ever see this book sometime I hope I remember to pick it up,” frankly I doubted I would find it anytime soon...
Since my husband Peter had never been to San Francisco we made plans to take a ride with Ferol Humphrey and a woman named Darlene both women had been on my first trip to Egypt. By the time I had finished talking to Norma, Ferol and Darlene missed us and left with Ruth Ann and Wald Amberstone to see Wald’s old haunts in Berkley. So Tracey Hoover (author of the companion book to my first deck Ancestral Path Tarot), Peter and I decided to go walking, we ended up at Field's book because Tracey said she saw my MAAT deck and book there and she wanted to show me. So just 20 minutes after Norma had told me about Bauval's book there I was at Fields Book Store and Bauval’s book was the first thing I saw. I purchased it right away. I looked through it that night and thought, “wow its pretty complicated,” and set it aside. A little over a month later I started reading it and really connected, I also realized this was the same guy who connected the three great pyramids of Giza to the stars in Orion’s belt way back in 1990’s. This idea really influenced my thinking about Orion and Osiris and later the Fool and Orion for the MAAT Tarot. Anyway part way through the book I had a bunch of questions and wondered if Robert was on Facebook. And he was!! And better still I could write him a message so I did. I introduced myself and told him about my work and asked him if he was ever going to be covering the Egyptian’s spiritual views about the moon as clearly the Egypt Code was singularly focused on alignments of Sirius, the Sun and other stars. I was surprised to hear back from him that very night and he responded that he would be doing an entire book on Egypt and the Moon at some later date. I joined his fan club and left it there a few days later he friended me. Being Robert’s friend now I could see his posts and I was one of the first people to see his invitation for 10 guest/visitors to see the 8000 year old stone circle in Egypt’s western desert an ancient site with possible ties to Egypt’s pharaonic culture...before I could think about it I responded asking about dates and prices. Thinking to myself “Can I do this?”
As it turned out yes I could and my second trip to Egypt would the door to tarot deck project #4. My diary post gives my full emotional reaction to the idea of precession...

Day Nine
Tuesday April 14th, 2009
Card of the Day
King of Wands
Leisurely day didn’t go to the Nubian Village and swam in the pool, got some sun, rested, read, and attended a lecture on star alignments and temples. The lecture turned out to be more of an ambush than a lecture. Robert Bauval made a point of letting us all know that “modern astrology was rubbish” knowing full well that I used astrology in my work he insisted I explain to him why astrologers still used the sky of 4th century. He went through each of our natal skies by plugging our birthdays into the computer program and showed us that clearly the sky had moved back a full 30 degrees a full sign, each of us had sun signs that had precessed to the previous sign. All the planets were in the same alignments with the same houses as our charts everything was just in the previous sign. I couldn’t tell him why I insisted that astrologers knew this but he would have none of it. I was angry and frustrated and I ended up walking out of the lecture rather than be subjected to more of his condescending abuse. I felt humiliated and sabotaged he could have presented his case in more sensitive less rude manner. It was a full day before I would speak to him and he set me aside and told me that the real time astrology works, that I should write about it that the world needed to know about this and that I would be at the cutting edge of something new if I was to speak up about it. I told him he was right but that he had a lousy way of presenting his material. I had to agree I was pretty upset with myself for not figuring this out on my own for not knowing or considering precession. My first thoughts were mainly how annoyed I was that MAAT Tarot is wrong based on this antiquated inaccurate second thoughts were I’m NOT doing another deck...
I was clearly angry but perhaps I was really angry at myself for not already knowing this.

A week after my return from Egypt I was back on a plane again and on my way to the Reader’s Studio "09 a huge tarot conference held in NJ. My nose was stuffy and by Friday of the conference I had laryngitis so bad I couldn’t talk. Sales were down due to the bad economy and due to the fact most people in attendance already had my deck. I was feeling run down and felt I needed to do something else for a while just paint about Egypt and forget about the end of the trip my leg was seriously hurt out of no where. I thought I maybe pulled something coughing and lugging an 80-pound suitcase full of inventory around. Friends pulled a few cards for a quick diagnosis. The Ace of Coins, the 8 of Coins...their take was...”There are more important things than money...take ONE day off...” I knew I needed more days off than that. In the MAAT Tarot the Ace is all summer. By the time I got home I was forced to go on bed rest to stay off my leg that got much worse. I stayed home stayed in bed and finished writing The MAAT Book of Court cards, and started MAAT Book of Days 2010 all the while I had a niggling feeling in the back of my mind that haunted me...the sky I was using was felt like a lie now.
By the week of Summer Solstice my husband Peter and I were on the road to PSG ( a Pagan Spirit Gathering in Missouri) where I would be doing a class and vending tarot decks. I met a woman named Lori Mann who came to my class she was a reader as well and we ended up swapping readings... Lori's reading for me ended up being a download about a Tarot deck that was like a puzzle...a two-hour download from psychic medium Lori Manns...I still didn’t realize it was a new deck she was talking about until I went to get a massage from my friend Jude Christiansen. It was the day before the solar eclipse in July 2009. I thought perhaps a massage would help to heal my bad leg it was also the first massage I had gotten in probably 6 years. That night after getting the massage I went to sleep and the floodgates opened. I saw an entire Egyptian tarot in the form of MAAT Tarot’s wheel of the year in all its full glory big paintings like a giant mural all fitting together all telling a story and all based on the real sky astrology Robert talked about. I woke up inspired but not sure I would do it. I talked about it on Facebook everyone was supportive and excited wanting me to do it. The face of the High Priest standing in front of Karnak temple was the clearest card from my dream. He seemed to beckon me on. Suddenly I was kind of inspired and later that day Peter said to me...”You’re going to do another deck...” my response was....”no I’m not.” The next day I started waking up with ideas I found myself thinking about correspondences again...I was going to do another deck.
By the time The Minnesota Area Tarot Symposium came at the end of July 2009 I was ready to announce the decision to make a new deck. And after Nancy Antenucci performed her journey of the Fool tarot interpretive dance I knew right away that I wanted her to dance this new tarot and that we would have a gallery show that would travel to different cities. I knew where I wanted to start. I felt the joy again I was excited I had a project that I could finally sink my teeth into.
Just before Mercury went retrograde in September. I got a call out of the blue from Kassandra Murray Niagara Ontario owner of the Mide Bistro. I was scheduled to do classes and show pictures we made plans the summer of 08 but I never had enough paintings to make it worth the trip. I saw her name come up on the cell. Her words where that she had a waking vision about doing something with the sabbats (cross quarter days) with paintings I had done...I laughed and told her what I was working on...Her vision was about the journey of the god through the underworld and the goddess joining him at Samhain. I knew right away this was the journey of Osiris and the trials of Isis bleeding through for all my cross quarter day cards. Kassandra had given me another big piece of the puzzle. The tarot puzzle Lori Mann had hinted about in her reading at Summer Solstice.
If my dream, the reading from Lori and the waking vision from Kassandra was not enough. My neighbor Laura Zastrow also came knocking on my door the last week of September. Her words, “Julie I had a dream about you and I need to know what is going on...I dreamed you did all these paintings and I was being shown all of them one after the other but so fast that I couldn’t get enough time to look at any of them closely...What are you working on?” I think my eyes got pretty big and we sat down for a visit and I told her the whole story....
And there you have it the whole introduction to the chain of events that brought me to creating yet another tarot deck. Does the world need another tarot deck? I guess it does.