Autumn

My Fall rite this year – Gifted to the Aesir and Vanir, the Landvaettir, the Disir and Alfar – these are the times when I renew my bonds to these beings and the wisdom of the Earth (Jord or Nerthus) and the lessons shown by the progression of time and seasons.  I sing the Runes and reflect on life as precious, mysterious, and finite.

Simple Altar

Sigurd was honored – Man, DragonSlayer, Rune Winner, Hero, Warrior, Husband, Valkyrie Liberator.

For this time the Norns supplied Algiz as the Rune of Self, Hagal as the Rune of Empowerment, and Beorc as the Rune of Learning – these Runes will function as my guideposts for this season.

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Living Gratitude

Gratitude should be a cultivated virtue by those living a religious life; Gratitude for the earth that sustains us, for the sky that protects us, for the life we live and the challenges we are blessed with and brave enough to overcome.

One of the ways I display my gratitude for the life I live is by leaving gifts of offering.  To digress just a touch, I use prayer beads.  Usually these are beads in the form of a bracelet, sometimes I make them, sometimes I buy them.  They get used alot; when driving, when walking, sometimes when in line at the post office.  I use them mainly to recite the Runes to myself, to ground myself, to stabilize my breathing.  Anyway there comes a time when they fall apart…when they do I gather the beads and carry them in a matchbox in my pocket.

matchbox beads

I’ve got a lot of beads in there now.  So, to continue, I carry these around with me, these beads that I’ve spent hours (probably) turning and spinning with intention and sometimes meditatively, that now have very little use.  What are these beads good for?  Well, as I go about my day I’ll leave them in places as an offering to a place or a person, a building or a parks genius loci,  or a tree that I sit next to for a time.

This is a way for me to cultivate gratitude in my life for the places, things, and events that normally I would take for granted.  I’ve left them in cars, at my workplace, outside when taking a walk, in school rooms, even in bathrooms that were in the right place at the right time – anywhere that I feel needs to be honored for what it has given to me – I say a small prayer of thanks or a prayer of acknowledgment and try to place the bead somewhere out of the way, somewhere safe if possible.

We so easily take things for granted living in a society that caters to our every whim.  My gratitude beads allow me to reflect on the beauty around me daily, and to acknowledge the blessings that go ignored.

 

 

 

Pentangled Practicum – A Tolkien Tribute

A few months back, nearly a year back at this point,  I was looking through John Michael Greer’s book The Celtic Golden Dawn and felt terrible for leaving it sit on the shelf, ignored.  Even though I couldn’t get my head around using it ‘as is’, I thought that there must be something I could do with it. So,very sincerely, I began plugging Tolkien’s Legendarium into it and came up with a personal system I was calling Calaquendi.

I wouldn’t say that this is a dead practice for me, but at this point it has been several months since I practiced it in any legitimate manner.  I merely wanted to post it here and give others a foundation with which to start experimenting with this magic(k)al expression. What I present here is just the first slice of what I had developed.  Perhaps I will begin sharing the many pages of notes I had compiled if interest grows; those regarding altar structure, kabbalistic assignments, and much more…Much of what follows is not explained, but those familiar with Tolkien symbolism will understand why the Awen and the Pentangle are used, or can be used to some effect in a Legendarium based practice.

So, here are some of those original notes —- Any questions or criticisms are always welcome.

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It is a magic(K)al current utilizing the Legendarium of Tolkien. It is highly influenced by the Golden Dawn practicum, but far less rigid and less preoccupied with the toys usually associated with such endeavors.  The impetus with this practice is not worship of the archetypes of the Legendarium but of the building of a bridge between the working area of the magician/practitioner with the liminal world of Tolkien’s mythos.

My foundation for the practice is the book The Celtic Golden Dawn by John Michael Greer.  Because this book attempts to place the Golden Dawn material into a more naturalistic sensibility the modifications needed to make this work are minor.

It’s important to note that Calaquendi is not a Religious quest, it is a magic(K)al one.  By magic(K)al I do not mean hocus pocus and the limited selfishness of material need.  Gareth Knight states in his book The Secret Tradition in Arthurian Legend “Magic…is the technique of the control of images and imagination…”(1983). Magic in this sense is then a tool of personal Gnosis and not merely meant to be a path toward the inflation of self for the sole purpose of ego enrichment.  Magic(K) here, and within Calaquendi, is meant to stretch awareness and perspective toward a mythos that grows self in a positive manner and brings the richness of the Legendarium closer to the everyday reality of those practicing such techniques.

Things changed

The core changes have to do with the names and titles of many of the practices from a Druid Revivalist pseudo welsh to Quenya (or an honest attempt to do so) such as those related to practices of the LBRP, Rite of the Rays, and Kabbalah associations. Along these lines, associations found within Greer’s material and the original Golden Dawn material are being modified to suit the mythology of Arda – incorporation of the Two Trees, Silmarils, the Rings, Istari, Vala, etc.

Initial Steps

A preview of  Greer’s The Celtic Golden Dawn can be found here – In order to view the references in the following examples.

One of the first practices within any Golden Dawn derived system is the Magician’s implementation of the Cabbalistic Cross and the Lesser Banishing/Summoning Ritual of the Pentagram. Greer rewrites the Cabbalistic Cross to be the Rite of the Rays within the Celtic Golden Dawn (CGD) which makes use of the modern Druid symbol of Awen:BW-Awen-smallIn the Calaquendi version we will use the Awen symbol as well, but will rewrite some of the terms to work with the Legendarium.

Rite of the Rays (p.31)Calaquendi version performed just as listed in book, but the with changes to the vocalizations;

First Vocalization = Menel (the heavens, firmament, sky)

Second Vocalization = Rainë (peace, good will)

Third Vocalization = Laurë (light)

Fourth Vocalization = Vérë (bond, troth,honor)

Fifth Vocalization = Mi Silmë Maruvan (In starlight I will abide)

Final Vocalization = Eä (pronounced [ˈe.a]) (the world)

 

Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram (p.32) – Calaquendi version performed just as listed in book, but with changes to the vocalization; Normally a godform is intoned at each direction following the tracing of the Pentagram, instead we are intoning the name of a Vala or Valie.  Once each direction has been signed with a Pentagram and a Vala/Valie vocalized the next process is to vocalize the Element and a Maiar (more immediate beings of earthly interaction) that coincide with both the Element and Vala/Valie.  In the Calaquendi system these Maiar are the Istari, the Wizards that walk among man/elf/dwarf and effect the lands of Arda/Middle Earth directly.  Again this is done exactly as in the CGD – Tracing of Pentagram with Valar vocalized in each direction – then facing the east and the vocalization of the Element and naming the Maiar associated with the Vala the direction and element.

East Vocalizations = Manwë – Air – Olórion

South Vocalizations = Aulë – Fire – Curunír

West Vocalizations = Ulmo – Water – Uinen or Ossë (As Ossë has been tainted by Melkor and is somewhat aggressive due to this I would recommend using Uinen, his consort.)

North Vocalizations = Yavanna Kementári (Q, pron. N [jaˈvanːa ˌkemenˈtaːri] – Earth – Aiwendil

~elen sila lumenn’ omentielvo~

 

A Magikal Dis-Course

I’m pretty much finished attempting to be part of a greater religious community.  I’ve come to terms with the fact that over the last few years my form of practice is entirely personal and rooted in my own studies and understandings.

That’s the same with ‘magik’ practice. For many years I kept my ‘magik’ practice and my religious practice separate, but more and more I’ve come to realize that the perception that they accomplish different goals is false. ‘Magik’ for me these days and for the better part of the last 5-10 years, has come to mean and be a practice of intentionally modifying, or re-discovering consciousness in order to slough off the muck of everyday living.  I’m not saying that what we experience on a day to day basis is false and ‘bad’ only that the activities of outer existence and societal norms begin to stick to us and slowly eat away at the truth of our beings. Religious practice is an engine of ideas that utilizes myth and story to embolden and strengthen us…Magik is similar, but unlike Religion whose myth and story is generated from an outside source, magik cultivates a personal mythic persona of knowledge(s) from within one’s own self following and while in the practice of Doing.

Magik is nothing more than, as Terence Mckenna states “making the Internal External and External Internal.”  Magik is a practice, it’s a Verb not a Noun.  It’s not a Thing but an Action that is done by the Magician. In much the same way that the Psychonaut uses DMT to turn ones own body and mind into an alchemical academy of new insights, Magik is a set of ‘doings’ and learned actions meant to allow the Magician to intentionally re-organize him/herself and repair the damage inflicted by the modern hypnotists of madness. Magikal practice is therefore radical in nature.  It, in my opinion, is an absolute revolt against modernity and consumerism, two powerful ideas that have completely obliterated the Person and the powerful wonder of being and instead replaced these with the idea that Self is discovered through the purchasing of goods, what we choose to clothe ourselves in, and what we choose to drive.  Magik reminds us, when practiced, that we are immensely mysterious beings, that we cannot and should not be limited by the roles we are presented with via advertising and television dramas, that most of what we encounter during our 9 to 5 lives is false and intentionally made to be so.  True experience of the infinite begins once we allow ourselves to return to ourselves; magik is one of the ways that economic systems become powerless, that false avatars of advertising fall, and success becomes redefined.

My magik practice these days is entirely solitary.  I create Mandalic images, either from Tarot or Runes, and seat myself actively or mentally within them. By doing this I force my consciousness to filter away the limits of daily understanding and enter into mythic worlds that are storehouses of ignored wisdom.  In these worlds, as the Magician, I reclaim what has been forgotten, and if necessary or wanted, once reinvigorated, converse with gods or perform acts of focused Intention. Setting oneself apart from others with the goal of renewal and personal rejuvenation is an extremely powerful act in a world that constantly wants us to be connected and defined through endless, usually banal, communication.

 

 

Cauldrons of Poesy, Inspiration, and the Self

The beginning of all experience is the body/self …
My experience is that the body and the human mind/spirit are the primary vehicles through which awareness is expanded and manipulated.  Gods,Entities, Spirits, Ancestors, or whatever you wish to call external archetypes/thought forms can help – but all of the tools necessary to develop ourselves internally and externally are part of the human experience.  Beyond religious dogma and mythology we have the inherent ability to extend our perception and exacerbate our own spiritual evolution.
In the spirit of that idea another personal meditative practice of mine incorporates the Cauldrons of Poesy.   The Cauldrons of Poesy hypothesis comes from the 7th century, probably earlier but that’s when it was written down; it’s a Celtic idea revealing that each person has three Cauldrons/Wells of inspiration that exist within.  These Cauldrons turn and overturn, fill-up and empty depending on the persons disposition and life challenges.  I would recommend reading the poem which documents their function, but to understand or practice this meditation it isn’t necessary.
The Practice
The goal with this meditation is to turn the Cauldrons upright.  The intent is to fill the Cauldrons one by one with light or with the water of inspiration and have them feed and flow into one another.   When this is accomplished you will feel an intense energetic fire originating from the internal location of the Cauldron.  This idea plays well with my Runic and Odian practices as Odin is the master of Inspiration and the Runes are a system through which Inspired wisdom is gained, Wells/vessels/cauldrons also play a large and important role in Norse cosmology.  The lore of Odroerir, poetic excitation and deep occult wisdom gained from Kvasir also come to mind.  The CoP idea is also, obviously, derived from Celtic sources and therefore, perhaps, historically may have been utilized by the Paleo-Pagan Celts, or at least understood in some fashion and sits well with the spirit of Druid Revivalism.
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The first Cauldron is the Cauldron of Warming (incubation) and is located in the area of the belly.  This Cauldron is fundamental to Health and Body Constitution, and in a healthy person is upright, in the sick it is turned and unable to refill or hold its contents properly.
The second Cauldron is the Cauldron of Motion (Doing or Vocation) and is located in the chest.  This Cauldron is said to be turned on its side in most people, but fills and moves upright as artistic mastery or creativity is achieved or sought.
The third Cauldron is the Cauldron of Wisdom and is located in the head.  This Cauldron is upside down in everyone, but turns as one learns and develops ones reasoning and gains knowledge. I understand this Cauldron as being filled when a person uses knowledge patiently, applying wisdom and experience gained from life lessons, wisdom that usually comes via introspection, reading, studying, or the challenges of personal development.
Being that I work within a Runic paradigm I associate Runes with each of the Cauldrons.  Laguz is associated with the Cauldron of Warming, Eiwhaz with Motion and Raidho with Warming.  Why do I associate these Runes with the Cauldrons?  These three represent the three worlds for me; Underworld, Midworld, and Upper World.  You could certainly associate Ogham or even Tarot symbolism with the Cauldrons, or simply use the cauldrons on their own.  I merely use Runes because they hold the lessons of the Cauldrons within them nicely, they are not meant to supersede the Cauldrons power but only to summarize it.  I visualize the Cauldron as either bearing the Rune on it’s side or reflecting the Rune in its waters or light once it’s filled.
The Meditation
+ Get into your usual mediation posture, whatever that may be.  Achieve a state of calm and relaxed breathing.  Your breathing should be seen as coming up from your feet or originating in the belly, filling the belly first then the lungs.  The out breath exits as normal through the head.
+ As you breath become aware that with each breath your groin relaxes, the lower muscles of the abdomen also relax the more you breath and you come to realize that the earth supports you.  You no longer need to hold your tension in this area, but you are allowed to relax it and the belly region. As you breath through the following steps the earth will supply some of the energy to fill the Cauldrons, but not all, you should utilize the earth to kickstart the process but not sustain it.
+ The Cauldron of Warming > You will begin to visualize the Cauldron in the belly, seeing it as upright but empty.  The more you relax the belly and abdomen region it will begin to fill with Light or with Inspiration, with each breath the volume increases.  This may be a slow process, but as you fill it and your breath becomes more pronounced in the belly region, you will begin to feel the Fires of Being ignite and intensify in the region.
+ Once the Cauldron of Warming is filled the light will spill over and up into the middle of the chest where you will begin to visualize the existence of the next Cauldron.
+ The Cauldron of Motion > You will begin to visualize the Cauldron in the chest. Your breathing now should begin in the belly and rise smoothly into the chest and out with very little effort.  As you breath you are still fueling the Cauldron of Warming, but now that it is full the Light/Inspiration spills upward to fill the Cauldron of Motion.  As the Cauldron of Motion becomes more concrete you should feel the Light or essence of Inspiration begin to coalesce within the vessel.  As with the Cauldron of Warming it should flower with radiance and the Fire of Being and be physically felt. Take your time filling it don’t rush, allow your breath to enliven the area with energy and life.  Stay at this step as long as it takes to feel the Cauldron come to life, or just to enjoy the energy.
+ The Cauldron of Wisdom > Begin to visualize the Cauldron in the head.  Your breathing should now be a steady stream, a rythm that should be steady and calm.  We still breath into the belly fueling the Cauldron of Warming, which spills upward into the Cauldron of Motion, and now overspills into Cauldron of Wisdom.  As it spills upward the Cauldron in our head takes shape and the energy begins to fill it as well.  Again, don’t rush allow the energy to spill from one Cauldron to the next, and enjoy the effervescent feeling that comes from sitting, breathing, and living.
+ Once you have enjoyed the cycle of filling the cauldrons and the Cauldron of Wisdom is filled the overspill will exit out the top of the head.  With each out breath the life essence/Inspiration will flow out of the head like a fountain of light.  You can either see it as showering over the body and covering the body with light and energy, or it can spill up into the cosmos marrying earth and sky which each breath.
+ Ending the meditation begins by no longer filling the Cauldrons.  No longer are you pulling energy from the earth or from your base, the Cauldrons are full and they no longer feed each other.  Stop the flow of energy from the head and see the energy as being retained internally.  I’d recommend to touch your forehead to the ground to actively ground the self and cutoff the expelling of energy, this is a very effective way to eliminate energy drain and keep your power/energy/Life essence internalized.
+ Take a few breaths once you open your eyes and think upon what you accomplished.  The Cauldrons should be remembered as being upright and filled with your Life essence/Inspiration.

Awen, Odin, and the Ravens

In John Michael Greer’s The Celtic Golden Dawn, a simple ritual is presented utilizing the Awen as a replacement for the Cabbalistic Cross section of the LBRP.  The version presented in the book (page 31) is an inspired bit of Celtified occult wisdom that replaces the Golden Dawn/Hermetic ritual with Celtic names and phrases.  Even though I enjoyed Greer’s Celtic Golden Dawn creation I found it far too heavily inspired by the Hebrew Cabbala for my taste and stopped after working my way through the Ovate Grade.

However, being the Druish sort of fellow I am I still use the Awen attunement/empowerment ritual with a slight twist.  By substituting the Celtic words and phrases for more Odian ones I can marry my Runic religious work with my Druish eco-occult philosophy.

My Awen empowerment rite

Keep in mind that Greer’s Awen or ‘Rite of the Rays’ version of the Cabbalastic Cross is identical in spirit to the Golden Dawn version; the occultist is trying to empower herself and attune to the powers within and without. This practice can be done as a daily empowering yogic performance or as a beginning and/or end to ritual or meditation.

Stand facing North (or East).  Achieve a state of calm and begin to imagine yourself as large and towering into the sky.  Raise hands above your head and reach for the glowing essence of the sky.

  1.  Bring hands down to the crown of your head bringing between them the cosmic  power of the sun and sky, moon and stars.  Vocalize “Muninn” as the light falls into the crown of your head.
  2.  Bring hands down before your forehead, the light follows your movement filling your head, thumbs barely touch the skin. Vocalize “Lyke” as the light cascades down to your feet and into the ground.
  3. Extend your right arm down and slightly diagonal away from the body.  Vocalize “Odhr” as the light in your head flows down to your hand and beyond.
  4. Extend your left arm down and diagonal away from the body. Vocalize “Ond” as the light in your head flows down to your hand and beyond.
  5. Bring your arms up to cross your chest.  Vocalize “Huginn” as you marry the cosmic power within your arms and body igniting the internal self in radiance.
  6. Sweep the hands back down diagonally and end by Vocalizing “Odin” once, twice, or three times.
  7. Take some time to digest what you’ve done and experienced.  Three breaths usually is enough to end this practice with respect for yourself and the energies.

What does it mean? This practice brings you in touch with several Odian views and energies.

Muninn means Memory and is one of Odin’s ravens. To the Runester Muninn is a matrix of lore and mystery, ancient wisdom that bubbles with Rune knowledge.  Even though in this practice the wisdom is coming from above it should be perceived as coming from the multiverse and therefore all around us from all points of perception.

Lyke (Leek) is the body, the sacred vessel of existence, sometimes associated with a Ve or a sacred area.  This is one of the gifts given to man by Odin in his tripartite form as Vili-Ve-Odin or Lodhur- Hoenir – Odin.  Ve (Lodhur) gifted the physical body to man to understand and interact with the worlds.

Odhr is thought to be the force of inspiration, the fury of being.  This was given by Vili (Hoenir) to man and is the root of the name Odin.  Odin is the god of furious wisdom and inspiration – we too were given that power.

Ond is the divine spark of life the breath of existence.  This was given by Odin to man.

Huginn means mind (will) and is Odin’s other raven.  Very simply Huginn is the will of the occultist.  Muninn comes from above moving downward, Huginn comes from below and within moving upward.

This act is a powerful realization that the Runester embodies the nature of Odin and is not a subservient recipient of these life gifts but is instead a powerful ally and partner in the unfolding of the multiverse.  The Runester is not a worshiper of Odin per-say but through acts such as this is seeking to walk the same roads as Odin and establish her own Will by winning Rune wisdom.

If one wishes to take this Awen/Odian empowerment further the occultist can imbue the practice mentally with Runes as well.  The Lyke stage can be likened to the Aett of Fehu (Fehu-Wunjo); the Odhr stage to the Hagal Aett (Hagal-Sowilo); the Ond stage to the Tyr Aett (Tyr-Odal).  I see the Runes extending within my body into the respective area of attention > The body, the right arm, the left arm from top to bottom.

This form of body attunement can offer much in the way of meditation and ongoing speculation.  Try it for a few days and see how you like it.

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A scribble of the Odian Awen

Dragonlance Tarot: Fantasies and Archetypes, part 2

I thought with this post I would continue my exploration of the Dragonlance Tarot.  Again this Tarot is not for sale, and was not meant to be a profitable venture.  It was meant merely as a way for me to investigate the lessons gleaned from a world of good, evil, and neutrality; heroism, courage, and villainy.

Some  of the Cards
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The Queen of Orbs (Cups)
Crysania Tarinius is depicted as the Queen of Orbs
Golden Dawn title from Book T – Queen of the Thrones of the Waters
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” Beautiful, fair, dreamy – as one who sees visions in a cup” (1).
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In the Dragonlance Tarot Cups have been transformed into Orbs and the Court is controlled by Mages and Clerics.  This choice reflects the intuitive nature of magic and the inner work that allows for the healing of others via communion with the gods.  Orbs also play a central part in the themes and plots of the ‘Chronicles’ story arc functioning as a metaphysical bridge for self (personal power), the Krynn cosmos, and the near immortal essence of the dragons within the setting.
Crysania Tarinius
In the card image Crysania is accompanied by Tandar, her protector and unbeknownst to her a former trusted ally turned tiger, Valin.  Crysania is blind, a metaphor which heightens the aspects of intuition found within the Orbs suit; the Queen of Orbs/Cups is a woman of heightened inner awareness.  She may be prone to strong visions, but not controlled by them.  Crysania is the highest Cleric/Priestess of Paladine and able to mitigate the lessons of her god with the inner lessons of her intuitive wisdom.  A crescent moon also appears in the background further acknowledgement that the Orbs signify a inner wisdom and intuition.
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The Star XVII
Golden Dawn title from Book T – The Daughter of the Firmament, the Dweller between the Waters
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” Dog-Star, or Sirius, also called fantastically the Star of the Magi.”(1)
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Here we see Guerrand DiThon standing before the gates of the Lost Citadel, a repository for the wisdom of Magic(K) beyond the material plane.
17_star_fRWS_Tarot_17_Star
If we look at the DL Tarot and the Waite-Smith Tarot side by side we see some interesting similarities.  The mountain imagery, the stars, the fog and water.  The Wizard, Guerrand carries a staff ( a wizards staff is the symbol of marrying Above and Below, Earth and Sky) and the woman carries jugs of water, one foot on land the other in the pond, symbolizing the knowledge of elemental workings and of standing in two worlds at once.  The Lost Citadel is only accessible during the Night of the Eye, when all three moons are imposed upon on another and inhabit the same spot in the sky; there is an order to things that must be adhered to in order to gain Magic(K)al insight.
Waite associated the Star with the Sephirah Binah and therefore with the Mother of All, the matrix that informs all creation (2).  The Lost Citadel is also an enclosure of great wisdom, a place set aside by the gods of magic to safeguard the lessons and laws of Magic(K).  Both cards remind us that ultimate knowledge demands a journey of a lifetime, a journey of Hope and Aspiration, and the realization that the Truth may be unattainable or beyond the comprehension of the seeker.
The King of Swords
Sturm Brightblade is depicted as the King of Swords
Golden Dawn title from Book T – Lord of the Winds and Breezes
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The King of Swords is defined by the phrase Force of Will.  He is not merely a warrior, but a man of mental alacrity and cunning.  Sturm embodies the tenants of judgement, authority, intelligence, and law. It is the role of the King of Swords to challenge the present with Reason, sometimes that reason is born from the lessons of the past or from battles won.
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Est Sularus Oth Mithas  (My Honor is my Life) is the motto by which the Knights of Solamnia live and Sturm is the epitome of this ideal.  Sturm however challenges the notions of honor that the Solamnic Knights have embraced in his time.  He reminds them, and us, that following our Will must be done in a way that incorporates Honor and Pride and the respect of others.
The image used card is one of the my favorites of Sturm.  He stands against the cold winds of winter that seem to be a direct metaphor for the failure of the Solamnic Knights to recognize him and his code of ethics because they seem outdated.  He looks out above the mountains and the trials that await him with an even stare and a silent grace, his strength held within, his determination and bold resolve symbolized by the armor of his ancestors.
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1. Waite, Arthur Edward. The Pictorial Key to the Tarot: Being Fragments of a Secret Tradition under the Veil of Divination. New Hyde Park, NY: University Books, 1959.
2. Katz, Marcus. Secrets of the Waite-Smith Tarot: The True Story of the World’s Most Popular Tarot: With Previously Unseen Photography & Text from Waite & Smith.