The Why of Winter

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My mother turned 81 just before Christmas; wise, shrewd, beautiful, a mother of five; a gifted teacher, naturalist, poet, and for many years, a champion protector of women’s statutory right to give birth in their own home if they wished, not to become mandatory patients in a more or less public setting, rendered subordinates in their own care during what is a personal and family event.

An independent thinker possessed of moral and physical courage, self-discipline and fortitude; and with a keen sense of the absurd -without which there is no sense of humour, she could be described as a classical Capricorn Queen of Pentacles, born 23 December.

Both her parents were naturalists, and she in turn took her children to the wild places, beach combing and. hill- climbing. We climbed in the Lakes, in Glen Coe, on Mull. As teenagers, we were not always in the mood, but she would not leave us at home.

Nor could we always keep up with her, a smallish woman, 5′ 5…same height as me, and with the stamina of…well, a mountain a goat, trotting on ahead with her backpack, my stepfather, Pa, six foot five, toiling moodily at the rear with the biggest backpack.

Capricorn marks the winter solstice, so it marks the beginning of winter, but it also marks the returning sun.

Capricorn is the cardinal sign of Earth in the western zodiac, and also in the storybook of the Tarot, and its associated cards are The Devil (Pan) the Ace of Pentacles (Earth) and the Queen of Pentacles.

Image from The Gilded Tarot, Ciro Marchetti


The Why of Winter

by Katie-Ellen

Sirius hard on the

Hunter’s heels

Stoats in ermine

Gain the field

Resting time

For sap-sunk trees

And earthed in dens

Some sleep

the hungry time

In deathly ease

Blackthorn points

The ancient tracks

Of chasing men

And panting beasts

Sweated salts

And bone-crack feasts

Oaks and sacred

Moons of mistletoe

Call down Life

Or conjure woe

When wolves at doors

Shall seek for more

As Gaia tilts

And wheeling skies

Spin winter stars

There is no other why.

Author: Katie-Ellen

Intuitive Tarot reader, consultant and writer.

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