One Sunday afternoon in 2010, playing with my new tarot deck at the dining table, I asked Il Matrimonio what he was doing with the fish tanks. He kept two tanks of tropical fish at that time, with guppies in one tank, and neon tetras in the other.
Guppies and neon tetras are small fish. Male guppies are often brightly colourful for mating and fighting display, each with their own unique colouring. The females are larger, but more low key in their colouring, no need to impress in order to attract a mate.
Guppies produce live babies, but the babies need plenty of cover and they need it immediately upon birth. The adults, particularly the male adults, tend to eat the fry if they don’t make for the weeds as soon as they emerge, and hide there until they’re too big to be eaten.
Home sweet home.
Neon tetras are small and slim, blue, red and white, with a zingy neon strip along their sides, as the name suggests. Both species originate from S America. The Neon Tetras come from the Amazon Basin.
Il Matrimonio explained that he was introducing a young male guppy into the tetra tank for his own safety. Whereupon, using my old Universal Waite deck that day, I drew The High Priestess. (US Games)
This Major Arcana card classically signifies a woman, an advisor, enthroned in her ‘shrine’. This card referred to me myself, with my cards. The High Priestess, for reasons best known to herself, was not keen on this idea.
However, I work with reversed cards, and here, The High Priestess had been drawn reversed, or upside-down, or as some readers term it, ill-dignified.
A reversed card is not necessarily negative in connotation. It may simply flag up an issue requiring special attention. But I felt this was a warning to be read in a literal sense.
‘I don’t think you should do that,’ I said. ‘I’m seeing danger here, from a ‘lady’ who is blue, white and red. I think the tetras will have him if you put him in there, and he won’t last two weeks. Or two days, more like.’
(Tarot can work like this with timing. The High Priestess is Major Trump 2.)
Il Matrimonio was having none of it. The tetras were no risk to the guppy, he explained. They were too small. What did I know about keeping tropical fish, etc etc?
Not much, it was true. Please, any tropical a-fish-ionados reading this, do not troll me on this score. But be aware,this is a story about cartomanct, not fish-keeping. A tarot reader does not have to factually know about something to take soundings on it. All the reader needs is a question or a framed context. Indeed, sometimes this is the entire point, and the value of oracular divination.
‘OK,’ I said, ‘in which case it is a warning against the tetra tank. Something about the tank doesn’t agree with him. I really wouldn’t put him in there if I were you.’
‘Well, I need to move him. He won’t make it if I leave him where he is.’
A few days later, the little guppy was gone.
RIP. We scoured the gravel for any sign of him, but could not find so much as a fin left.
Poor Il Matrimonio very sad to think the baby guppy had leapt from the frying pan into the fire.
Now, I am not saying the tetras did the baby guppy any harm. It might have been something about the tank that did not agree with the guppy, or maybe it was sick.
I am simply saying The High Priestess advised against the move, and specifically mistrusted the tetra, and, put it this way, the move did nothing to safeguard his future, for whatever reason, and if the tetras did not kill him outright, they certainly helped tidy him away.
Read more about guppies and neon tetras here
All we had left were the neon tetras, swimming innocently about, piscine little High Priest/esses in their grotto.
Innocent until proven guilty, and there were no witnesses. A cold case. But still, we have our suspicions.
Till next time 🙂