A Fanfare for Aries the Fiery Sky Ram

Photo by Kat Smith on Pexels.com

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.

Public Domain

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.

aries-johann-bayer-uranometria

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.

Aries and the Golden Ram

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

The Sun from The Golden Tarot, Kat Black

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?

Rider-Waite Smith Tarot

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.)

Rider-Smith Waite Tarot

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 Decans

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

Rider- Waite Smith Tarot

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

Rider-Waite Smith Tarot

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

Rider-Waite Smith

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.

Psychic Animal Whispering: a Tarot Reading for Mustard The Pony

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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.


Ignorance. Only ignorance. How can you talk about only ignorance. Don’t you know that it is the worst thing in the world next to wickedness and which does the worst mischief heaven only knows. If people can say, oh I did not know. I did not mean any harm,’ they think it is all right.

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.

The Rider-Waite Tarot

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.

From The Gilded Tarot, artwork Ciro Marchetti

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.

The Legacy of the Divine Tarot

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.

From The Legacy of The Divine Tarot

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.

From The Gilded Tarot Royale, Ciro Marchetti

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.

From The Gilded Tarot, Ciro Marchetti


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

Photo by Irina Iriser on Pexels.com

Till next time 🙂

Death, The Diamond Ring And The Mystery of The Missing Diary

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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.

page wands gilded
mage by kind permission of Ciro Marchetti, from The Gilded Tarot.

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.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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?

From The Rider- Waite Tarot

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.

We can but try to serve.

Until next time 🙂

Tarot Says, Tummy Bug!

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 Llewellyn  is getting this shout-out.

Gilded Moon

 

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.

shut-the-fuck-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.

Britishwolfhunt

 

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

Until next time 🙂

Zero Intolerance: Don’t Fool With The Fool

medieval pic larger
Katie-Ellen, resident at True Tarot Tales

When I draw The Fool card in a reading, the Major Arcana card numbered Zero, or in some decks numbered 22, it may classically signify good news; a birth, a welcome opportunity, a fresh start of any significant kind. I drew it this very day, for a client who is not just moving house, but changing a way of life, and it is absolutely the right way to go. It suggests taking a chance, a leap of faith. Reversed, it cautions against hastiness. You need time. You need more information. You need to think, properly think, or you will do summat truly daft.

But the Fool has other, darker associations, as fools and jesters and solitary wanderers always have, in western culture. There are good reasons people are afraid of clowns, the jokers in the pack. The Tarot’s Fool is the Joker in a pack of ordinary playing cards, and means the same things, if you are using playing cards to read with.

The Fool represents that which haunts all margins and borders.  The  ‘outwalker;’ that being. force or agency, which observes and may, given opportunity and sufficient reason, may find its way in to where you do not want it.

There is another Tarot card, more often cited in association with Odin, or Odin-esque associations. This is The Hanged Man, Major Arcana number 12. Odin hung upside down on the world tree, Yggdrasil, for 9 days for knowledge, and for a world view gained through a changed perspective.

But The Fool card, Trump 0 of the Major Arcana, contains something as frightening as it is innocent, not only birth and opportunity but something not quantifiable, as real as it is unreal, a ‘thusness’ or haacceity more implacable than Death.

Google Definition:

haecceity
hɛkˈsiːɪti,hiːk-/

noun

PHILOSOPHY
  1. that property or quality of a thing by virtue of which it is unique or describable as ‘this (one)’
    • the property of being a unique and individual thing.
      “he has a paramount concern with haecceity, the thisness of things”

Zero is a something as well as a nothing. Even leaving the philosophical questions aside, and they are bogglers, without 0, as without 1, there is no binary, and no digital age.

The Fool

Zero draws the Number of the Fool
But only fools will fail to fear
The oddly smiling one who walks alone
Magician, outland, dawn and dusk
Fleeting, glimpsed by tree and mere
Where ripples lap without a breeze
Or single casting of a stone
Zero, Odin’s one remaining eye
His other traded for all kenning
Out-with the knowing of the Norns
Nine days he hung considering
On Yggdrasil, the great ash tree
But Life is flux, and, unfulfilled
Does Odin walk abroad with Men
Entranced, he follows their technology
Their blindly restless struggles to get free
Refusing that their final liberty
Is in their choice of sacrifice
Their ultimate expression
In their direst of necessity
Insatiably, dispassionate, he watches, waits
And sometimes smiles, but has no tears
For what might dim or blind his sight
Of conjurings and reckonings with Fate
The new born come, and dead depart
His scouts of Thought and Memory
Twin ravens, Hugin, Munin, fly
Through Odin’s questing, flaming Eye
The singing echo-chamber of The Gate.

Katie-Ellen Hazeldine's photo.

Touchstone Tarot: Death and The Duckling

ktln at home june 2015 1

Oh no! Oh, yes, I’m afraid. I wish it wasn’t so, but I undertake to demonstrate divination at work in the real world. Sometimes it’s fun, at least for me and I hope it is for you but sometimes it just can’t be. The title gives fair warning. Pass by if you can’t bear it, but if you’re learning Tarot, try to stay with it and not flinch. You may one day find yourself faced with someone in deep distress, hoping to find not solutions or advice, but some kind of sustenance, or at least meaning in their situation. The Tarot will rise to these occasions, if you will. because the Tarot is you, yourself, your deepest, archaic and arcane self.

This is a true outing for Tarot’s Death card, as drawn from my beautiful new deck,  Kat Black’s Touchstone Tarot.

View-Buy here

Her Golden Tarot is another favourite, but one likes to ring the changes now and then.

It’s duckling time again out on the pond, and Nature is wreaking carnage, red in beak and claw. The most relentless predators by day are the sea-gulls. There are two duck mothers this season; one with an excellent track record of rearing and one with a dismal record. The successful mother has for the past 3 years, the neighbours downstairs tell us, reared at least 6 ducklings to independence from a brood of 12-15. The less successful mother loses them all and cries loudly. Anyone who says animals don’t feel what we do doesn’t watch closely enough. If they forget more quickly than we do, if they do, and I have my doubts, well, they need to, and it’s a blessed mercy.

It was cold, and the dismal duck was down to the last of her twelve ducklings on Monday night when Il Matrimonio went over to the pond to feed them, watching as the last duckling ran calling after its mother and she ignored it, eating and then wandering off. Maybe she had given up, and decided it was just no use, and all was lost.

A gull alighted, lingering near the duckling as it crouched shivering, calling for its mother. Seeing this Il Matrimonio could bear it no more, and it was not a ‘good’ thing to do; he knew that; we’ve watched enough David Attenborough, but there it is. The HUMAN animal, male as well as female, is hot-wired to respond to the cry of an infant in distress, and to the immediate, the personal and the particular.

Therefore, enter Il Matrimonio with one shivering duckling. By bedtime it had eaten enthusiastically (not bread; proprietary duck food) It had drunk lots, splashed about in a shallow dish and done much sitting in cupped hands, clearly regarding these as a warm place and acceptable brooding alternative.

Dee Dee eating

It slept on a towel in the bath, curled into the lap of a large teddy bear. Next day it ran around, ate, drank, paddled, pecked my bare feet, calling for its mother, and was incessantly demanding of Il Matrimonio’s cupped hands for brooding.

‘What’s the plan?’ I fretted, ‘it’s been warmed and fed; it needs other ducks; it needs its mother, to go back  as soon as possible and take its chances along with the other ducklings. Maybe the other duck will take it.’

Ducks can count, of course. There was no question of her being fooled by the appearance of an extra duckling.

‘It would be murder,’ said Il Matrimonio. The other duck was unlikely to accept it.

The one hope, and it was a long shot, was to get little D big enough to be safe from gulls, then return it in clement weather, and let it take its chances then. And indeed, it seemed to grow bigger even overnight.

But after Il Matrimonio brought D in on Monday night, I had drawn The Devil card, The Four of Coins and Death.

The Devil shows Pan/Nature in violent aspect. This is the truth, that Nature is full of violence. One creature or many creatures must die for another to live.

Devil card touchstone tarot

The Four of Coins represents holding on, a holding action, a brooding of money or other material possessions or objects.

four of coins touchstone tarot

Death speaks for itself. Many Tarot readers today won’t have it that the Death card may actually represent Death. Too unpalatable. Sorry to disagree. Call me old-fashioned, but the oracular mind is not susceptible to convenient reinvention.

The Death card does not always mean physical death, it is true. It may mean an ending in any other sense, or a transforming situation such as the ending of a job, or other situation,  but to say it never does is to create the most enormous elephant in the room. Sometimes it has meant exactly what it says. Death as represented by this card is usually natural, often timely, rarely cruel or violent. There are worse cards the Tarot could use if it needed to communicate a sensing to do with such a terrible picture as that.

Death card touchstone tarot

Last night at bedtime, little D looked so tired, head drooping as she sat in Il Matrimonio’s hands I felt a misgiving. I said, ‘she looks like she’s dying.’

‘Just a very tired little thing,’ he said, ‘aren’t you? Bed time! Yes!’

Little D passed away very early in the morning, found lying with her eyes shut, still warm, head snugged into the lap of the teddy bear.

Tears in  my cup of tea.

Sick? I asked the Tarot? Had she got too cold? Stressed?

‘Strength Reversed’, replied the Tarot.

Little D had no strength left. It had all been just all too much.

Duckling

She was too dead tired.

Read here for Mallard Duckling Rescue information.

Until next time.

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