AEON reading for 2022.
My most read posts for the AEON cards are undoubtedly the annual card reading. The popularity of these readings exploded after the first reading in 2020 predicted the global pandemic and the unexpected disruption we all experienced. You can read the 2020 reading here. It's also worth reviewing the 2021 reading, which was less dramatic than it's predecessor, but has some really great insights into the new dynamics of the post-covid world.
So, on this New Year's Day, I am once again doing an AEON card reading for the year ahead. This process starts by selecting a card to define the subject of the reading. This year I selected SOPHIA (Wisdom) as the first card. This card comes from the most practical suit, the suit of spades. We are way beyond needing philosophical and 'big picture thinking' in this moment. What we need is grounded, practical and tangible understanding of everything that is going on around us. We are desperate for a clear and specific path forward that we can all get onboard with.
The other reason I chose Sophia, is that Sophia is an interesting character from the origin myth described in the ancient texts of Nag Hammadi. She was the lead character in the Pistis Sophia - the whole story is summarized here.
Sophia is not only the mother of wisdom, but she was also responsible for creating the DEMIURGE - the 'Father' of the material realm. In Christianity, the DEMIURGE is referred to as "our Father who art in heaven". In this story, Sophia was so angry with the Father for creating the imperfect world that she secretly gave every human heart a 'divine spark''. Inherent in this story is a moral lesson against arrogance - the risk of thinking you 'know it all'. In addition, the story has a glimmer of hope in the form of the inner spark that connects each of us to something bigger than ourselves - The challenge is that we must unravel its mysteries and master its divine energies (The Aeons - which is where the tool practice of Aeonology comes in!).
I chose this card as the subject for the reading because the question on so many people's minds is "Where do we go from here?" In the aftermath of a global pandemic; climate change; division and divisiveness in the world; the assault on truth and morality, it is obvious we must create something new and different. But what if the alternative we create brings with it something just as bad or worse? Such uncertainty and risk can be paralyzing.
The second card defines the energy in play for 2022.
This card is GRIGORI, The Watcher. From the Greek meaning "those who are awake". Interestingly, this card was the conclusion of the 2020 reading and returns here as the overarching theme. As I described in the 2020 reading, the GRIGORI are our watchful angels who can, like us, choose to stand either with 'lightness' or 'darkness' - good or evil.
In this position, and in the context of SOPHIA, this card tells us that we still have to be keenly aware of the consequence of our actions on others. GRIGORI, is in the suit of 'Flags' (the outer square) and as such refers to social dynamics. Who are we as a society? What are our shared values and our priorities? With whom do we align or stand with? The answer according to this card, is that our attentions must focus outward, rather than inward - concentrating on the needs and interests of those around us, our communities, families and society at large, rather than our own fates. We are ready to move beyond the era of self-interest and finally, after much talk, this is the year when we come to realize that that our destinies are interdependent and interconnected. This period of enforced isolation teaches all but the most arrogant and deluded, that we are pretty weak and ineffective when we are forced to operate alone. A significant factor in the fall of SOPHIA was her detachment and isolation from her syzygy THELETUS (perfection). When SOPHIA tried to create something alone, she was unable to mitigate for her own ignorance.
GRIGORI, The Watcher, urges us to observe, listen and take the time to understand things from the perspective of others, especially those we do not agree with. Putting ourselves in other people's shoes will be the source of great learning and their consultation and guidance will help us avoid missteps and mistakes.
The third card tells us what aspiration we must strive for.
This card is SOTER, The Savior. This card offers relief from our current discomfort and suffering. It is a card of radical transformation that transports us from where we are now to a better place. In another sense this card offers redemption — another chance to achieve our full potential.
SOTER literally means “savior” and is, from a Christian perspective, Christ—The son, but it also exists in many other religions, some that predate Christianity —Buddha, Krishna, Horus, Mithras, Dionysus, Saoshyant, Li Hong (to name but a few). The key characteristic of SOTER is a bridge between the divine and the earthly. The Savior is always born of divinity but is sent to us on a mission to deliver us from the pain and suffering that we have created for ourselves. In almost all religions, there is such a character who is the bringer of salvation.
From a Gnostic perspective, SOTER is also telling us that it is time to step away from the distractions of physical desires and the corruptions of our world that prevent us from growing in spirit. Spiritual growth, rather than material or psychological growth, is what the Gnostics believe will transport us from our current suffering to a better existence and fulfillment (wholeness).
(Skip this next paragraph if you don't want to go into the nuances of Aeonology and Carl Jung) In my book of "The syzygies of AEON" SOTER is paired with NEBRUEL, the bringer of Chaos, an anti-Christ figure if you will. If SOTER represents the choice of light (the good in ourselves through which we can find redemption and transcendence) then NEBUEL (SOTER's inseparable twin) represents this dark side of ourselves (the darker impulses that cause all our suffering and brings evil into our world). Carl Jung felt the archetype of the Savior, of Christ, was an analogy of the self, but to complete the analogy required a “shadow” self. As a result, the idea of a wholeness or the pursuit of our full potential, has to be grounded, not in faith or some metaphysical speculation, but in cognition and personal experience. But this presents a paradox. If we are to know our true selves, our wholeness, then we must equally know and understand, not just the light side, but also the dark sides of our natures. Active exploration and understanding of this dimension may initially feel at odds with the desire to be a good person but must be pursued if we are to be honest and true to ourselves.
“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”
Carl Jung. The philosophical Tree.
The savior card has in its center the symbol of the sun (the circle of power and wholeness) but this symbol is placed within a forward-facing triangle that represents progress and transformation. This card literally means we have to focus our full attentions towards radical transformation - away from where we are currently and towards a desired future state - 'the light'. To do so, we will have to find the strength and conviction to believe in our potential and find within ourselves the good nature that will enable us to create this future.
The fourth card tells us the truth we will discover in 2022.
This card is the Ace of Flags, ECCLESIA, which means congregation or togetherness. In this reading the card is reversed so instead of caring and generosity, the meaning is isolation, self-interest, arrogance, and ego. Again, in the context of SOPHIA, this card tells us that this is the year that we will learn the real dangers and consequences of self-interest and self-absorption. I don't think it comes as news to anyone that we find separation uncomfortable — reduced social interactions and loss of connection to family and friends — but there is more to learn. We have not yet seen the full extent of the long-term and lasting damage that come from prolonged self-absorption, prolonged immersion in social bubbles, prolonged protection of 'you and yours', prolonged self-deceit that you are who you pretend to be. This damage from lost connections and lost social interactions will be profound, especially for a generation who are experiencing this at critical stages of their development.
The truth we will discover in 2022 is that life, meaning and our identity must simultaneously inhabit two distinct vessels. The vessel of our self (ANTHROPOS) and the vessel of our community (ECCLESIA). Without both, we are unbalanced and adrift. Without the checks and balances of social exchange, and the realities that come with that, we find ourselves on a path of self-destruction. Technology, the virus, political and economic cycles have conspired to make us prioritize the individual and our individual survival over our shared responsibilities and shared realities. The result is that we cast 'others' as enemies, distancing ourselves from them and excluding them from our lives. The truth we will come to learn is the opposite - that it is the inclusion and the invitation of 'others' into our lives that makes us stronger. Our greatest threat is the threat we are to ourselves - our selfish impulses and our capacity for self-harm and self-delusion can take over without the stabilizing forces of other points of view.
The fifth card tells us what we do not expect.
The last thing we imagine is that we will find a solution to our current situation. But the card THELETUS (to perfect) tells us that such a solution is on its way and will be here faster than we expect. What we least expect is a solution to our current ills. What we find hardest to imagine is that there is in fact an answer to the multitude of challenges that we currently face...and by the end of 2022 we will have a line of sight to such a solution.
What's interesting about THELETUS is that the downward facing triangle (the suit of hearts) points inwards rather than outwards and this tells is that the solution is not a 'thing', a miracle cure, or a silver bullet that someone will give us but is instead a solution that exists within us - a way of thinking, a way of being, a shift in perception or mindset rather than an externality. With our creative powers and our ability to manifest seemingly impossible things, we have an infinite number of solutions within ourselves. We have the power to design or make things as we want them to be. It will not be government, nor science, nor divine intervention that solves this for us, but instead our own actions, behaviors and psychology that will be the answer.
If you are following my story of the AEONS closely, you will recall that THELETUS is the syzygy partner of SOPHIA and this brings another dynamic to this reading. The things that we thought were holding us back, are in fact the things that might propel us forward. Ways of doing thing that we consider part of the past, may be important parts of our future. Points of view that we consider old fashioned and dated may be worthy of re-evaluation. Received wisdoms that we've accepted unquestioningly, might have to be revisited. What we are not expecting is that the many of the things that we believed to be true, because we were taught them, are in fact lies. Again, this is where the card THELETUS focuses our attention on what we know to be true directly through experience, rather than what we know because someone else told us.
The sixth card brings this story to conclusion. 'What will be' in 2022.
This card is the DEMIURGE. The Maker.
The imperfect God and the creator of the known universe. He is the "self proclaimed Father" who refused SOPHIA's request to teach the divine mysteries to his own congregation. His self-interest and self-delusion of God-like status, prevented him from enlightening mankind to their own divine potential.
In 2022 we will be building. We will be creating and making something new, that we've never done before. This path will be fraught with anxiety, stress, and uncertainty. There will be many false Gods who offer us quick fixes and easy answers, but their solutions are illusory. In the first instance, what we build in 2022 is unlikely to be perfect, and we need to readily acknowledge this. But any progress from where we are is better than no progress at all. There will be cynics who sit on the sidelines and tell us. "I told you so" or "that will never work" but like false Gods, cynics rarely achieve anything other than self-aggrandizement. The ultimate outcome and conclusion of 2022 will be some major steps forward and realizations of where we need to go next. Our initial steps may not be perfect and might very well force us to confront major delusions and uncomfortable realities, but each step forward, taken together and through listening to others, will be a massive improvement on staying where we are.