Today is a New Moon in Leo, a moon phase of endings and beginnings. Kings and empires rise and fall, but to paraphrase Outro M38, ‘we are all the kings in our own land’…Facing tempest of dust/ I’ll fight on till the end/Creatures of my dreams/Raise up and dance with me/ Now and forever, I’m your king.’
There is something unsettled right now, says this Taurean subject born with a first quarter Moon in Leo. The astrology paints this New Moon in buoyant, passionate, Jupiterian terms, though with a potential for chaos. But a New Moon phase only last two and half days, while a rare and major Mars, Uranus and North Node in Taurus triple conjunction is approaching 31 July/1 August. This is a rare event, historically associated with major political, weather, explosive or seismic events. Such events may not occur precisely on these dates but are set…
What’s the difference between premonition and precognition?
Precognition is a sense of foreknowledge arrived at by “paranormal” means; e.g., via card reading, or a psychic dream or clairvoyance. On the other hand, a premonition is simply a feeling, however powerful, that something is about to happen – usually this means something bad.
The Premonitions Bureau tells a story that started with a tragedy.
Background: Aberfan 21 October 1966
Aberfan is a mining village near Merthyr Tydfil in South Wales. There was a huge colliery tip on a mountain slope above the village, Tip Number 7, and this tip had a natural spring rising up underneath it, bubbling out in a stream that flowed down into the village below.
Heavy rain had led to a build-up of water inside the tip, until one morning it suddenly collapsed and went sliding down the hill. A thirty foot wave of coal slurry hit not only a row of houses but Pantglas Junior School, and killed 116 children and 28 adults, of whom 5 were the children’s teachers.
The following inquiry firmly placed the blame on the National Coal Board, who had received multiple previous warnings about the instability of this particular colliery tip, Number 7 after it was created in 1958 against regulations which said no coal tip was to be raised on top of a spring, but the NCB, although they knew this, had taken only sporadic maintenance action.
After this tragedy a high profile psychiatrist and psychologist called John Barker went to Aberfan to try and support the bereaved. Then he started receiving reports of people who had had premonitions of this disaster. Most tragic of all was a premonition experienced by one of the children who had died in the school and who had been worried, telling her mother about a dream she had had the previous night.
“Mummy, let me tell you about my dream last night.” Her mother answered gently, “Darling, I’ve no time. Tell me again later.” The child replied, “No Mummy, you must listen. I dreamt I went to school and there was no school there. Something black had come down all over it.”
Two other children had done drawings of the avalanche before it happened.
John Barker, who was the resident senior psychiatrist at a sadly run down mental hospital which he was working hard but with mixed success to modernize, went to Aberfan to offer counselling support and was deeply struck by some extraordinary reports received in the aftermath. He decided, with assistance from a newspaper, The Evening Standard, to make it his mission to collect and collate other premonitions. How common were they? How did they manifest? Could they be logged and used to give an early warning of impending disaster?
“A more predictable existence is, in theory anyway, a less frightening one,” writes Sam Knight of Barker’s motivation. “Societies have always craved prophets, or people who claim to see round the next corner.”
But unless we can do something about it, maybe sometimes we would really rather not know. One day, John Barker received two premonitions which were about him, himself, and which seemed to suggest that his own death was imminent…
I won’t provide spoilers, except to say that these premonitions were proven correct.
“It is a story both elegant and eccentric, cleanly capturing that brief moment in the 1960s when extrasensory perception verged on mainstream acceptance. It is also quietly terrifying, a reminder that even those who can see the future have no hope of getting out of its way.”
Coming back to the question of preferring not to know, as a useless burden, the so- called gift of prophecy- assuming we accept there is such a potential, is likely to feel more like a curse. It is not known as The Curse of Cassandra for nothing.
Cassandra (or Kassandra) was a tragic figure in Greek mythology; a Trojan princess, a daughter of King Priam and Queen Hecuba and a priestess of the sun god Apollo. Apollo had given her the gift of prophesy but when she subsequently rejected his sexual advances, he could not withdraw the gift but he turned it into a curse, such that Cassandra would see and speak the truth, only never to be believed.
Cassandra warned the Trojans to send Helen straight home again after Paris eloped with her and brought her to Troy, taking her away from her husband Menelaus in Sparta. Cassandra had warned the Trojans it would bring disaster down upon them all. They didn’t listen. Then the Greeks came and laid siege for ten long years.
Cassandra then warned them not to bring the giant wooden horse into the city. Again, they didn’t listen. There were Greek warriors hiding inside it, and in the night they crept out and opened the gates and let in all the other Greeks. A massacre followed; the Sack of Troy. The city fell. Cassandra was first raped in the temple of Athena by Ajax, then dragged away to become the slave of Agamemnon, and together with him, was later murdered by his queen Clytemnestra and her lover Aegisthus on returning to his kingdom of Mycenae.
The takeaway here is that while Cassandra knew her own fate, she could do nothing to save herself. Helen meanwhile, was forgiven by her husband Menelaus, and, restored as his queen, led on board his ship, passing the wretched lines of the other surviving women, now homeless, stateless and bereaved, all slaves and captives now.
It could be said that it was Helen who was really the Trojan horse.
The name of Cassandra has therefore come to mean a person whose accurate prophecies, generally of impending disaster, are not believed.
Cassandra by Evelyn de Morgan: Public Domain
This ancient story, like this new book highlights a big problem with prediction. If the future exists, what can be done about it? If the future doesn’t exist, how is prediction possible?
But prediction is rarer and premonitions are common. Barker reckoned that it was at least as common in the population as being left handed, the experience of premonition, suggesting we are all more connected than we understand or can logically explain.
The Premonitions Bureau is an intelligent, understated, quietly absorbing read. It raises big questions with many fascinating, if often deeply sad anecdotes.
It has been criticized by some reviewers for failing to provide clear conclusions. But this is in the nature of the subject, as it is in life, and there is at least one conclusion to be drawn from this story that is self-evident.
What is that conclusion? John Barker had hoped that a Premonitions Bureau might help save the countless lives through the interventions of a centralized psychic early warning system. But this was never a practical possibility. Why not? A premonition may be an intensely powerful feeling, but it lacks detailed information sufficient for anyone to act on it in any meaningful practical way.
A True Story
June 2016 I was staying away from home in Carlisle when I had a presentiment of a terrible accident or impact that was about to happen. I was shown in my Tarot cards that it would be involve a vehicle, anger and a fiery impact.
My first worry was that we were about to have an accident in the car. Then I decided no, I didn’t feel that was it. I said to my husband, “We will soon find out what this is. It will be on the news soon”.
Two hour later, we saw on the television, the news of the terrorist truck attack in Nice.
“On the evening of 14 July 2016, a 19-tonne cargo truck was deliberately driven into crowds of people celebrating Bastille Day on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, France, resulting in the deaths of 86 people and the injury of 458 others. The driver was Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, a Tunisian living in France.  The attack ended following an exchange of gunfire, during which Lahouaiej-Bouhlel was shot and killed by police”- Wikipedia.
This experience was neither a premonition nor a precognition. It was somewhere between the two. My feeling of unease did not hit me out of the blue. It came to me while I was looking, initially rather casually in my Tarot cards. I drew The Devil, The Chariot and The Tower cards all together in a row and knew I did not like it one bit.
But of what possible potential use was this to anybody? It lacked actionable specifics, and even had there been a whole ton of specifics, there was no outlet, no mechanism or avenue of action or follow-up, such as John Barker had once envisaged in creating The Premonitions Bureau.
May 24, 2022, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos fatally shot nineteen students and two teachers and wounded seventeen other people at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, United States. Earlier in the day, he shot his grandmother in the forehead at home, severely wounding her. Wikipedia
Date: 24 May 2022 at 7:27 pm BST
The night before, I was sitting up late in bed, reading. It was after midnight when I turned off the light and noticed a peculiar sensation, a fizzing, buzzing, tingling sensation that affected my head and shoulders, but only my head and shoulders. I first wondered whether it was a new physical symptom that was possibly affecting my ears or balance. I have severe rheumatoid arthritis which can affect organs as well as joints and muscles. But then the thought came to me, “what is this? Who is it? What bad news is this now, that is coming down the track?”
Was it a family member? I didn’t think so, but I had no idea was it was. All I knew was, and I said this to myself before turning over to go to sleep was, “there will be bad news tomorrow.”
How do any parents bear such a thing as this and it happened for what? One unhappy creature, empty of purpose and full of ugliness, grudge and spite, a loser in the true meaning of the word, was handed the means to indulge himself to the full, unleashing the grotesque horror of the Id, for mere dollars.
On May 24, 2022, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos fatally shot nineteen students and two teachers and wounded seventeen other people at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, United States. Earlier in the day, he shot his grandmother in the forehead at home, severely wounding her. Wikipedia
I’ve been jittery for some weeks one way and another, and possibly so have you. Leo season, I feel, is going to be extra dramatic in world events this August, both the beauty and the beast.
“Show me a hero and I’ll write you a tragedy,” said. F. Scott Fitzgerald.
“Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely”, wrote Edna St Vincent Millay
A Dirge Without MusicEdna St. Vincent Millay
I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.
Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains,—but the best is lost.
The answers quick and keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,—
They are gone. They are gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled
Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.
Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.
But if there is hope for us all- and there is, then it is exactly this. That we have this shared, mysterious but entirely natural human potential to sense what may be happening to others, even over great distances, and to sense, to feel -to work for, care for, or even fight for people we have never met and never will.
It’s a natural magic but it’s not unique to us. Baboons have it. South African naturalist and poet Eugène Marais witnessed it in action. A group of male baboons attacked a stalking leopard in order to defend their group, and succeeded in killing it, but only one of them survived.
Marais also observed soldier ants racing up a tree and attacking and killing a praying mantis many times their own size, that was preying on their column,helping itself as the marching column passing under its tree. A lot of soldier ants died in the process but they stuck fast, swarmed on it and finally managed to bite off its head.
What we call courage or duty might be vainglory. It might be the Ego or the tribal Id. But what we call heroism is the readiness to put ourselves last in the service of some quest undertaken for some greater purpose, no fear or favour, no guarantee of success, reward, recognition or memorial.
This year we entered the zodiac sign of Aries the Ram Sunday 20 March 2022, the day of the spring (vernal) equinox in the northern hemisphere (autumn/fall equinox in the southern hemisphere.)
The word ‘zodiac’ comes from the Greek meaning ‘circle of animals.’ The only zodiac sign non-representative of a living creature is Libra, the sign of the scales, but even its scales are borrowed from the stars of Scorpio, the giant scorpion in the heavens next door.
Aries, heavenly sky Ram is a cardinal fire sign; the first sign of the western zodiac, the sign of spring in the northern hemisphere, and with it – lambing time.
Picture the star-ram lying or sitting head downwards. New life is ignited. The planetary ruler of Aries is Mars, the red planet of action, energy, enthusiasm, courage, passion, initiative- and war.
The real life ram is strong, brave, and at certain times of year, downright aggressive, charging headlong into the field, king of all he surveys. Ewes can be aggressive too if disturbed by strangers when they have new lambs to protect.
History and Mythology
The sheep was among the first animals ever domesticated by humans by around 11000 – 9000 BC (BCE). Once upon a time Aries marked the end of the main lambing season of wild sheep in Europe, 21 March – 20 April.
(The dog was the first domesticated species, and the only large carnivore to have been domesticated, possibly 15000 years ago -or earlier. The Bonn-Oberkassel dog found buried beside humans 14,200 years ago is to date the earliest undisputed dog, with disputed remains dated 36,000 years ago. )
The ancient Sumerians called the sun, ‘Subat’, meaning the ‘Ancient Sheep’ or Ram and the planets were the ‘Celestial Herd’. The Sumerians were one of the oldest known urban civilizations in what is now Southern Iraq, during the Neolithic-Bronze Age, 4500 BC to 1500 years BC.
In ancient Egyptian astronomy, Aries was called ‘Lord of the Head’ – a reference to its symbolic significance, and it was associated with the god Amon-Ra, who was depicted as a man with a ram’s head and represented fertility and creativity. Because it was the location of the spring (vernal) equinox, it was called the “Indicator of the Reborn Sun”.
The position of Aries at the zenith at that time coincided with the rising of Sirius in the east and the flooding of the Nile. The Temple of Amon-Ra at Karnak bore the likeness of the supreme sun-god with the horns of a ram, while the road to Karnak was formed from the wings of two granite sphinxes bearing the head of Aries.
However, Aries was not fully recognized as a constellation until classical times about 1580 B.C. to 360 B.C. when the ancient Greeks oriented the construction of many of their sacred temples in relationship to Hamal – in Arabic ‘The Head of the Ram’ and the brightest star in the constellation.
In Hellenistic astrology the constellation of Aries was associated with the golden ram of Greek mythology.
The brother and sister Phrixus and Helle were the children of the Boeotian king Athamas and the cloud fairy, Nephele. But then she died, the king remarried, and his new wife, Ino, planned to kill Phrixus and Helle as a perceived threat to her own two later children by the king.
They were warned and fled, rescued by a flying golden ram sent by Hermes at the plea of Nephele, their dead mother watching in anguish from the other world.
Phrixus was seated on the ram, holding on to its horns, Hell behind him, clutching his waist, but Helle got tired and lost her grip. She plunged into the sea far below and was lost in the Dardanelles, known ever after as the Hellespont in her memory. Later, safely in Colchis, Phrixus (respectfully if rather ungratefully) sacrificed the Golden Ram, returning it to home to the gods, and presented its fleece as a gift to King Aeetes, who placed it on a tree in a grove under the guard of a dragon. This was the Hydra, whom Jason later killed in order to steal its fleece for its magical healing properties, on the orders of his uncle, the murdering usurper Pelias (who had no intention that Jason would return alive.)
Before we had CGI, we had Ray Harryhausen….
The Aries Archetype
All the zodiac signs represent archetypes, meaning something that is considered to be a perfect or typical example of a particular kind of person or thing.
A zodiac sign paint a poetic portrait of a person born at a particular time of year, in a particular season. A baby born in summer arrives into a different physical environment from a winter baby; differences of temperature, hours of daylight, maternal diet and so on, with potentially different effects on the baby’s physical makeup and constitution.
Aries is a cardinal sign, marking the start of a new season. The other cardinal signs are Libra, marking the start of autumn in the northern hemisphere and Capricorn, marking the onset of winter. The cardinal signs are traditionally considered the most innovative and proactive, the signs most at ease with driving change.
Aries is sunny, young at heart. It is the metaphysical ‘baby’ of the zodiac, adventurous, optimistic, generous, curious, brave, passionate, direct, self-willed and inclined to lose its temper if denied or crossed. Aries represents the concept of The Self. It seeks to express itself through exploration and pushing at boundaries. It is self-willed like a very young child. It wants its own way.
Aries is number one, the first sign in the Zodiac, youthful and exuberant- and let no-one forget it. Aries is the star of this show.
But it is also the sign of a king, and not only that but a warrior-king, as illustrated in the watchful, slightly weary, Emperor card in the Tarot.
See those Ram’s heads decorating his throne?
Aries is ultra-virile with a warrior spirit, just as a ram will charge headlong, at an intruder, and may attack or even kill a person who enters his field, threatening his ewes and his territory at the wrong moment. If knocked down by a ram, although it is counter-intuitive, stay down till he loses interest and wanders off.
Aries is known for its determination and zest for life, and in the same spirit, Aries can be reckless and with it, accident prone in its general haste to get on and do whatever is the next thing. Aries are at a statistically increased risk of accidents, especially with head and neck injuries in comparison with other signs, largely due to impatience and risk-taking behaviours.
Aries is ready to experiment or pioneer but may not finish what it starts. They are determined but can be diverted by their own impatience if they don’t get quick results.
Aries subjects may exhibit careless or even ruthless behaviour with a disregard for others in their desire to achieve and excel. They can bear grudges but, though they are sensitive, they can be careless about the sensitivities of others. In their closest personal relationships however, Aries are generally lively, pleasant, frank, direct and generous. Full of bounce and joie de vivre, there is much to admire about the early springtime subjects of fiery Aries, the Mighty Ram.
The Tarot will tell us more …
Aries in the Tarot
The Tarot cards associated with Aries are The Emperor, the Queen of Wands and the 2, 3 and 4 of Wands, and these minor arcana cards represent the decans of this zodiac sign.
The major arcana card associated with Aries is The Emperor. This sets the overall tone for this zodiac sign. The Emperor of the Ram seeks to claim territory and to create and impose order in that territory. At his best, he rules wisely and with care and justice. At his worst, he is a tyrant.
Card Meanings: a man of authority, parent, employer, a military man, maturity, order, experience, hard won leadership, discipline, authority, government, organizations, rules, bureaucracy, doing things by the book, ego, I am in charge, what I say goes, Drawn reversed: bully, tyrant, warmonger. Note the ram skulls decorating his throne.
Every suit in the Tarot has its own court with a king and queen, a knight and a page. The Court card associated with Aries is the Queen of Wands. Aries is ruled by the element of fire in the Tarot, Wands is the suit of fire. Aries is ruled by the Sun, the ruler of the day. Notice how she holds a sunflower as her sceptre (We are seeing a lot of sunflowers online right now, as the symbol of Ukraine. Let us hope the sunflower of Aries will bring a ceasefire between now and 20 April – soonest.)
Card Meanings: A helpful woman, a mother figure, a lucky person (signified by the black cat, also notice the royal lions) She has good instincts and may also have occult abilities. Warmth, directness, spontaneity and independence, nurturing, generosity, enthusiasm, impatience are her qualities, but she may be either male or female in a real life reading. A man born under Aries may appear in a reading as the Emperor, a King of Wands or the Queen of Wands.
Lastly, the minor arcana cards associated with Aries are Two, Three and Four of Wands. These are the cards that talk about the decans of Aries.
If you don’t feel like you are a ‘typical’ Aries, well, we are all unique, but perhaps you are also a second or third decan Aries native, rather than a ‘most typical’ first decan Aries.
The Zodiac is the belt of sky we can see from earth, tracking the path of the sun across the sky over the course of the year. We call this pathway of the sun ‘the ecliptic.’
The Greeks named the signs after twelve of the constellations appearing on, or crossing this zodiac belt: Aries, Taurus, Gemini Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and lastly, Pisces.
Each of these zodiac signs represents a 30 degree section of the zodiac belt. Each sign is then further sub-divided into three blocks of ten degrees, each about ten days in length, with slight variations. This gives us the ‘decans,’ from the Latin meaning ‘ten,’ also called decanates, or the ‘thirty-six faces of astrology,’ bringing added depth and nuance to the story of your zodiac signs.
First Decan Aries (0-10 degrees of the sign)
21 March-31 March
Card Meanings: vision, ambition, melancholy, trade, global trade, entrepreneurship, agreements, partnerships, government, meetings, the world is my oyster. Reversed: fear of the unknown, lack of planning
The ruling planet is Mars and the co-ruler is also Mars, giving this first Aries decan a double dose of fiery, headlong Mars, bringing out the positive and dominant side of this Aries subject. Aries seeks power and usually they have great charisma too. But one of the nicknames of this card is ‘The Melancholy of Alexander,’ referring to the restlessness of the conqueror Alexander the Great, who won great lands but was never satisfied.
The personality is independent, forceful, temperamental, often generous, sometimes domineering, dictatorial or even aggressive. This is the first decan in the whole zodiac, the most aggressive Aries decan and –perhaps not coincidentally- the most sporty.
These natives of Aries think fast, act fast- too fast at times- and they can tend to be irritable with others who act more slowly. Respect, it must be remembered, is a two-way street. They are known for having a gift with words and public speaking abilities.
Famous first decan Aries: Harry Houdini, Robert Frost, Elton John, Mariah Carey
Second Decan Aries (10-20 degrees of the sign)
1 April-10 April
Card Meanings: progress, expansion, overseas opportunities, new horizons, a launch, your ship comes in, planning, critical timing, preparation, teamwork: Reversed lack of foresight, timidity, thinking too small, unexpected delays
The co-rulers of this decan are Mars and the Sun, the ‘Ruler of the Day.’
The sun is the centre of the solar system, the bringer of life itself, and here it stands for dignity, honour and ambition. This Aries personality not only welcomes change but actively seeks it out, relishing a challenge. This gifted Aries native desires a creative challenge and maybe a global challenge too, while they are at it.
They are generally known for their honesty, while rather stern in outlook. They will tell you something to your face but though they really do not like to be told what to do, they don’t shirk from telling others.
This Mars-Sun combination is considered a particularly lucky planetary combination. Everyone gets their own mix of luck, good and bad. That’s just life. But still, these Aries natives have a knack of landing on their feet.
Famous second decan Aries: Otto von Bismarck, Hans Christian Anderson, Bette Davis, Al Gore, Russell Crowe, Jackie Chan, Celine Dion, Quentin Tarantino
Aries Decan Three (20-30 degrees of the sign)
10 April-20 April
Card meanings: professional qualification, an achievement, property improvements, building, setting up home, celebration, joy, homecoming, publishing, creating an artwork. Reversed: bad luck, frustrations, roadblocks
This Aries native is generally more peaceable and easy-going than the other two decans; co-ruled by Mars and Jupiter, known as the God of Fortune. Jupiter brings good fortune and opportunity to the drive and ambition of Mars.
There is sincerity, honesty and warm-hearted nobility in this last Aries placement. Like the second decan Aries, these Aries natives often have some particular and well developed creative or artistic talent. They are witty, personable, and with a sense of humour. They are righteous, some might say self- righteous on occasion, other people may find them arrogant. They are proud, impatient and they may have every good reason for it, but they too, need to remember that others have their pride, but these are passionately devoted family people with a keen sense of justice, much concerned with right and wrong.
Famous Third Decan Aries: Leonardo Da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, Charlie Chaplin, Tom Clancy, Francis Ford Coppola, Victoria Beckham, Gary Kasparov
Happy Birthday, Aries, 2022.
This will be a much faster moving year for you than last year, with new work and career opportunities. The red planet of action, Mars, your ruling planet enters your sign on Tuesday 24 May and stays there until Tuesday 5 July, adding even more drive to your determination. You can make a lot of forward progress this year and Aries likes to win, but beware self-sabotage and consider when, should you find yourself struggling with a challenge to your feelings and self-esteem, where this anger is really coming from and whether you will be wiser to exercise utmost restraint and diplomacy.
I had been reading the cards five or six years when I received a first request to do a reading on behalf of an animal, a pony called Mustard.
What did I know about ponies? Not a huge amount. I have been riding just once in my life, on a school trip to The Trossachs when I was fifteen, and rode on a pony called Thistle, and soon found out why she was called Thistle. She kept stopping to chew….thistles. I said ‘move on’, and she snickered, looking at me out of the side of her eye, a clear invitation to get lost. The woman, exasperated, shouted at me, ‘you there, girl, get her head up!’ but I did not like to pull hard on the bit. The woman knew her stuff and I did not, and the pony’s mouth was tough enough to chew on thistles, but I worried it would hurt.
I am not the only person to have been haunted since childhood by the death of Ginger in ‘Black Beauty’. Oh no. There are a lot of us. Such is the agency of story, and when it comes down to it, there is no such thing as fiction. There is only truth presented as fiction or poetic truth.
This was the author’s only novel, and it was written with an adult audience in mind. But one is all it took to haunt the next six generations of children and we are still counting. Anna Sewell was nearing the end of her life, disabled after a fall when she was fourteen and she broke her ankles, ill, confined indoors and often bed-ridden while she wrote ‘Black Beauty’, published in 1877 by Jarrolds for £40. Her mother helped her, but this was the work of a decade, and she died only a few months after publication, aged 58.
Mustard was a 13 year old gelding, and he competed in dressage. This much I had already been told before looking at his cards. He had a clean bill of health from the vets, but his owner was worried that he seemed depressed, and wanted me to inquire into his happiness and well-being, and to see whether the Tarot could pick up on his preferences or wishes.
I was working with the Universal Rider-Waite deck at the time. I have mixed up the imagery here, using cards from other decks, but without compromising on the meanings as I read them for Mustard.
How was Mustard feeling about life at that moment?
Answer: The Four of Pentacles.
This card of material stability, sometimes unjustly nicknamed The Miser card, indicated that Mustard generally felt safe and secure, and liked his current routine. He didn’t seem too keen on changing things, and liked to hang on to any good thing he was given. (Don’t we all) He was by temperament, reserved but friendly, not given to impulsive behaviour. He liked a little bit of variety in his routine ‘but not too much’.
His owner laughed out loud at this description, saying this was Mustard down to a tee. He could be stubborn.
The Seven of Cups was the next card out.
This suggested Mustard was sensitive and responsive with a plenty of imagination. His owner said he was the most easily trained pony she had worked with, very quick on the uptake.
I asked the Tarot, what did he like? and drew the Three of Cups.
Gossip, chit-chat. Party time! This card suggested Mustard had two special friendships. These must have been a horse and a pony he shared his field with during the day, his owner explained. He had one friend in particular.
I was glad to hear this. I hate it, all those lone ponies you see in fields, bored and lonely, resting their weight on one hoof. People who keep ponies do know they are HERD animals, right? It ought not to happen.
But what might be weighing on his mind, such that his owner worried he was depressed? I drew the Six of Swords, a card of relocation, or moving on in other ways.
I asked if Mustard was being moved. The answer came, yes, he was going to be moved to a new, bigger livery with 30 horses and ponies.
The Five of Cups , a grieving card, suggested Mustard sensed a change coming up, and did not want to be separated from his two old friends.
His owner said he would still see his friends. She and the owners of these other two ponies rode out together and would continue to do so. I suggested, silly though this may sound, that she tell Mustard this, sending him a visual message of him going along the lanes with his old friends. He might not be able to understand the words, but he might receive the message, and the emotion she attached to that. Who is to say he could not?
I drew a general advice card for Mustard. This was The Moon card, suggesting Mustard was frightened of being alone at night.
There were barking dogs, he seemed to be telling me, and, though I was reading with the Rider Waite that day, the essential imagery of this card from The Gilded Tarot Royale is the same. Look at the dogs, baying at the moon, just as in the Moon card in the Rider Waite deck.
He could not have been telling me more literally, than by my drawing this particular card when there were 77 other cards I could have drawn instead.
He didn’t like that barking. Not at all. And strange shadows scared him.
This was why he was being moved, his owner told me. He was stabled alone overnight and not with his friends. They just met up in the day, and now she was moving him to be stabled near with them. This seemed like excellent news for Mustard, and meanwhile, pending the move, I suggested his owner leave an old coat with him, so that her scent could reassure him in her absence.
This was very peculiar, the owner said. There were a number of dogs at a nearby house, Jack Russells, and from time to time she had heard them barking during the day, but it hadn’t occurred to her they might worry Mustard with night time barking as she wasn’t usually there at that time.
What else bothered Mustard, she wondered.
The Five of Wands, a card of competition in crowded markets suggested Mustard was prone to stress and became anxious in competitions. He didn’t like loud noises. If he had been a show jumper, this would have suggested a fear of jumping a 5 barred fence. I suggested rubbing a little non-alcohol Rescue Remedy behind his ears or on his nose (not on the sensitive bits) the next time they competed, which was the following weekend.
The owner contacted me the week following this event, and though Mustard didn’t win any prizes, she said there was a difference in his body language. He was more ‘laid back.’
A reading is not a substitute for appropriate medical advice. The reader is not a vet, but nor does a client need a nanny. A reader does not try to tell anyone what to do. They do have a duty of responsibility. They must exercise great care, but the whole point of having such a reading is that the reader will share what they see and feel.
Was I reading Mustard’s mind during this reading, or was I reading his owner’s mind, telling her things she already knew, but that she did not consciously know that she knew?
Or was it a three-way telepathy?
I’d likely struggle to read any animal too different in its organization from ourselves, animals with very different nervous systems. Though a reader could always try, and wouldn’t an octopus be interesting.
All life is interconnected at some level. All life is driven by some form of intelligence, brain or no brain. Such is the unfathomable mystery of the real life web.
“We patronize the animals for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err, and greatly err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they are more finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other Nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.” ― Henry Beston
I was cackling peaceably into my cauldron as you do, in other words, cooking lunch when Il Matrimonio meandered in, nonchalantly asking; what did it mean if you had lost something, and you asked the Tarot where it was, and you drew the Page of Wands?
I paused in my stirring and asked why. Il Matrimonio does not in general, derive interest from anything Tarot-related, unless he wishes to consult about finances, and touch wood, I have not (as yet) caused him to come a cropper.
His friend Janet X had lost her diary. She is learning Tarot, had looked in her deck of Tarot cards asking where the diary was, and had drawn the Page of Wands but wasn’t sure what it might mean.
In classical terms it means a young person born under one of the Fire signs, Aries, Leo or Sagittarius. A student. It means a trip or a social gathering, or sudden good news, or a sale, or a bright idea for a new business or creative project. On a direct physical level it might mean heat and light, a candle, a torch or a cigarette.
But what did it mean in this particular situation? How could it help to find the missing diary in real, practical, where- the- eff- is- it, terms?
My response, adding a glug of olive oil to the pan, was that her cards seem to suggest she had taken it out with her to some local haunt and left it there.
How did I arrive at this interpretation? Because:
Page = small. Wands = travel.
Additionally…or instead; I suggested, it was somewhere warm or loud, such as a radiator next to a TV, or in the kitchen near the oven.
Why? Wands is the suit of the south, of warmth, of loud music, any place fast moving, lively and colourful.
Il Matrimonio came back saying, Ms X had been adamant she never took the diary out with her, and I remarked that, well, it was between her and her own Tarot, but the Page of Wands suggested she would find it soon and probably nearby.
Ms X shortly afterwards remembered that she had been to the hairdressers earlier that same day. She returned and found the diary was on the arm of a sofa there, next to the stereo. (noise)
OK. Let’s add ‘stereo’ and ‘hairdresser’, then, to the list of vocabulary for the Page of Wands.
The Tarot is a living oracle for use in the modern world. It expands. It evolves.
The Death Card and The Diamond Ring
I once read for an elderly lady,who had mislaid a diamond ring two years previously. It had been a gift from her husband who had died three years previously, and she still missed him desperately. She wanted to know, was the ring still in the apartment, or had it been lost irretrievably?
I used my pendulum to help me refine the possibilities for its current location, and so far as I could work it out, the missing ring seemed to be in the sitting room.
The Tarot said something really quite freaky. The lost ring was in the keeping of the dead, suggested The Death card. And was there a white rose in the sitting room?
The lady, Mrs C, was very definite that the ring had last been seen in the bedroom. It had fallen off her finger and rolled under the bed just as she was leaving for the airport to go on holiday with her daughter. The taxi had arrived, she couldn’t keep the driver waiting, and she had left with every confidence of retrieving the ring immediately upon her return home.
However, much to her bewilderment it wasn’t there on her return, and as time went on, she worried she had inadvertently thrown it out with the rubbish or during a clear out.
But my Tarot seemed pretty clear, yes, the ring was still at home, ‘in the care and keeping of the dead.’ Near a white rose?
The lady insisted there was no white rose.
What more could I say? Whether I was right or wrong, I didn’t know, and all I could say was, well, we can only wait and see.
Mrs C left, but an hour and a half later the phone rang; a very happy and excited lady telling me she had gone home, sat and thought and then had a eureka moment,and fetched a stepladder and found the ring on the top shelf of a furniture unit in the sitting room.
Right next to her beloved husband’s ashes.
She said she had no recollection whatsoever of having put it there.
She also wished me to know, there was a white silk rose in a vase on the mantel piece over the fire.
This is typical of what can happen with the Tarot. The imagery prompt ideas or prods the memory, working via associative thinking in addition to traditional book meanings of the cards.
That’s how we do it. That’s how it’s done, sometimes with fluency, sometimes like pulling teeth. And sometimes of course it fails altogether. My mother lost a favourite ring. The cat took it outside, I ‘saw’ it in a meadow, and I couldn’t provide the clues sufficient to find it in such a wide area of possibilities.
Tarot divination is an on-going study, however long you’ve been doing it.
An outing for the Tarot’s Moon card, with Katie-Ellen, UK Tarot reader, writer and business consultant.
Happy New Year, and the tummy bug in question was nothing to do with me, I am happy to say, or the seasonal festivities. I was doing a Skype reading, investigating questions to do with ongoing and future creative projects- the client is an artist and sculptor, when I drew the Moon card.
The image below is from The Gilded Tarot, by kind permission of Ciro Marchetti. Also available from Amazon but the publisher Llewellynis getting this shout-out.
Classical meanings for this card are; the Moon itself, Fertility, monthly cycles, tides, floods (alas), conception, confusion, deception, secrets, vivid dreams, visions, leaps of imagination, fantasy, art, animals, hunting, secrets, fraud, theft, surveillance, risk, travel with danger attached, disease.
Reversed/Upside down: the meanings take on a different complexion, and may suggest any of these things- but they are fading away and now belong to the recent past.
The key challenge for a reader is to decide which meanings are relevant, and quickly, not to bore witless and alienate the client. One must say the first thing that comes to mind. I call it ‘gob-shiting’and I really shouldn’t; it’s hardly elegant and perhaps this should be a New Year’s resolution. The thing is, the reader needs to just speak.
I said the first thing that popped into my mind and asked whether a loved one had been ill, just recently, and perhaps they had gone down with a tummy bug? Or, could it even have been a bout of food poisoning, but whatever it was, they seemed to be better now?
I held up the card to the camera. ‘Look at this,’ I said, ‘see the two dogs?’
The client has several dogs, and said, ‘I don’t believe this! Two of my dogs have been ill. We went out a walk and they went into a ditch after a ball and they were quite poorly for a few days afterwards, both of them. A filthy ball in a nasty, dirty ditch. But they are over it now.’
The reader of Tarot or any other divination system must learn not to self- censor. If they do, because their first thought seems just too stupid, they will likely get it wrong, and then want to kick themselves. Learning to trust yourself enough to do that is the hardest thing, or at least, I found it so and I still sometimes have to tell that inner critic, aka saboteur of the oracular mind, to shut up.
People may well say, and many do, sod all the soothsayers. Wits or just good old common sense is what is called for, in working out a response to a problem. This is fair enough and often true…at least, it may be from where they are sitting. Nine times out of 10, in making their own predictions, they may prove quite correct. But what the oracular reader sniffs out, like a wild animal, using whatever oracle as a spade for digging in the primal mind, is what is hidden and could not wisely or even reasonably be expected.
The Tarot is nothing but printed card stock, physically. But the imagery and its many and deep rooted associations facilitate telepathy, triggering both receiver and transmitter. The client is equally active in this process, at a level they are not consciously aware of, any more than the reader is consciously aware of why they said A and not B.
For more information about my readings and how to get a reading, visit my website HERE