Today is Candlemas, the Christian festival of presenting Jesus at the temple, but before that, a more ancient celebration in Gaelic Britain of coming spring. Go on folks. Get with the programme. Parade down the street, go pray for the health of the fields! It’s all about the soil.
Plus today is a palindrome date: 02022020.
Candlemas is a continuation of the ancient festival Imbolc, which spans 1-2 February and began yesterday with St Brigid’s Day. The original Brigid was a pre-Christian goddess of the Tuatha Dé Danann. She was a daughter of the chief of the gods, The Dagda, and was known as a goddess of healers, poets, smiths, childbirth and inspiration. Her name means “exalted one”.
Her story was later merged with the Christian saint of the same name in the middle ages, St Brigid of Kildare.
This fire festival, whether viewed as pagan or Christian, began as a neolithic festival also celebrated in Scotland and the Isle of Man, roughly marking the 1/2 way point between the winter solstice and spring equinox.
There are various suggestion about the etymology of ‘Imbolc. ‘ It is commonly thought to come from a word meaning “in the belly.” This reflects goddess Brigid’s role as a protector of women in childbirth, as well as the safe birthing of precious livestock.
Any time now, is the time of the very first lambs. The start of the lambing season varies by up to two weeks in any given year.
Brigid was said to visit one’s home at Imbolc. Asking her blessings, people would make a bed for Brigid and leave her food and drink, and items of clothing would be left outside for her to bless. Brigid was petitioned to protect homes and livestock. This was a time for feasting and visits to sacred wells, and a time for ritual divination.
St Brigid’s cross is the classic icon of her saint’s day today, though this too, predates Christianity. It is made from rushes and was placed in doorways to protect the home from harm.
A new Christian story was created for it, that the earthly manifestation of Brigid, St Brigid of Kildare, had woven it for a dying man, using rushes from the floor, baptizing him at the point of death.
Spring fire, fierce quickening of new green shoots.
Imbolc was when the Cailleach. —the divine crone of Gaelic tradition—gathered her firewood for the rest of the winter. Legend said if she wished the winter to last a good while longer, she would make sure the weather on Imbolc was bright and sunny, so she could go out and about, and gather firewood.
It was lucky, therefore, if there was bad weather at Imbolc (and the wind was screaming as I was typing this.)
If Imbolc was a day of foul weather, as it was here yesterday, and today is still damp and blustery, it meant the Cailleach was sound asleep, and winter was almost over.
“The Virgin with her sheaf belongs to Ceres,” The Astronomica, Manilius, 1st century AD.
Virgo is known as a sun sign or sign of the Zodiac, but what does the constellation look like in the night sky, and what’s the seasonal story behind it? Let’s investigate Virgo, Corn- Goddess of the Zodiac, also known as Shala, Ishtar, Demeter, Ceres...
Date: August 23-September 22
Symbol: The Virgin
Quality: Mutable (Sagittarius and Pisces are also Mutable, suggesting these subjects are capable and versatile; and generally inclined to conform, going with the flow if it’s for the greater good.)
Ruling planet: Mercury (Travel and all forms of communication)
House: Sixth, ruling health, habits, and routines
Colour: green, white and yellow
Flowers: small bright flowers, clover, buttercup
Tarot card: The Hermit (introspection, perception, analysis, care for nature)
Source Wikipedia: The Hermit from the Rider-Waite Tarot deck
Virgo is the second-largest constellation in the sky after Hydra, and the largest constellation in the zodiac, located between Libra to the west and Leo to the east, and below the Big Dipper.
In the northern hemisphere, it is most visible in the evening sky in May- to late June. In the southern hemisphere, it can be seen in autumn and winter.
Find its brightest star, the brilliant-blue-white Spica, and you will work out the rest of Virgo with her feet pointing east.
It might seem a bit of a stretch, trying to picture a person from that photograph, but add in a few more of her stars, imagine her lounging, dangling a sheaf of wheat from one hand (Spica.)
And now you see her.
Author’s own image
Spica is a double star, brighter than our sun. Its name is from the Latin, meaning an ‘ear of grain’- or a sheaf of wheat.
It’s sometimes called ‘The Lonely One’ because it is so far from the others, and the astronomer and astrologer Ptolemy saw these stars as ruled by Venus and Mars respectively, mated together in a chaste, androgynous union, like the slightly remote purity of Virgo herself.
Vindemiatrix, ‘the Grape-Gatherer,’ seen at daylight, was once seen as a sign that now it was time to pick the grapes.
Galaxies: The Virgo Cluster
It’s mind-boggling to consider that our own Sun is just one star of the Milky Way, and the Milky Way is only one of a collection of galaxies known as The Local Group.
This contains three large spiral galaxies: the Milky Way, Andromeda, and the Triangulum Galaxy, and a few dozen dwarf galaxies. But The Local Group is just one member of the Virgo Cluster – a collection of 1200-2000 galaxies that stretch across 15 million light-years of space.
And the Virgo Cluster is just one cluster in the Virgo Supercluster.
Wiki Commons: the constellation of Virgo is especially rich in galaxies, with more than 1300 galaxies in the Virgo Cluster. One of these, NGC 4388, 60 million light-years away, is captured in this image, as seen by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope’s Wide Field Camera 3.
But if the constellation of Virgo is most visible in May in the northern hemisphere, why are the birthdates for the sign of the zodiac August 23-September 22nd?
Astronomy is not Astrology. The sky as we see it is called the celestial sphere: a giant blue ball that rotates around us (its rotation axis crosses the poles). The Sun appears to move along with this sphere every day, rising in the East and setting in the West, but it also appears to move, in this sphere, at a one-degree-a-day pace, on the contrary direction (West-East).
This annual motion is on a circle called Ecliptic, a great circle in relation to the Equator.
Now imagine a belt around this circle. This is the Zodiac. Ptolemy divided this 360-degree belt by 12 for the elegance of arithmetic, based on 12 constellations described by the Babylonians, ignoring a thirteenth constellation, Ophiuchus, so that a zodiac sign represents roughly a 30-degree chunk of this belt.
But the constellations have moved in the last two thousand years, and changed positions relative to Earth, owing to wobbling of the Earth on its axis; an effect known as precession.
The dates for the zodiac signs named after the zodiacal constellations, however, have remained the same, but this great fact of astronomy does not affect the validity of the dates of your Zodiac Sun sign as calculated by Ptolemy.
The exact dates of the Zodiac signs can vary by a day or two each year and are calculated by astronomers every year at sunrise on the day of the Spring Equinox.
History & Mythology
Public Domain: Virgo: Urania’s Mirror
Shala was an ancient Sumerian deity (later Babylonia, the area now known as southern Iraq and Kuwait) She was the goddess of grain -and also compassion. Why link these two things? Famine is suffering. A good harvest was seen as a blessing of the gods. What is planted in the spring must yield a crop in the autumn, or famine is likely to follow. Shala was married either to the fertility god, Dagon, or the storm god, Ishkur, or possibly both, with one as her consort. This is significant. Virgo the Virgin is not about a state of physical virginity – but refers more to an attitude; a slightly elusive and rather refined quality, male or female.
Shala was associated with the constellation of Virgo, and vestiges of symbolism associated with her continue, such as the star Spica, the ‘ear of grain’, even as the deity’s name changed from age to age, and culture to culture.
In 10th century BC, the Babylonians called part of this constellation, “The Furrow,” referring back to the goddess Shala, and the Shala Mons is a mountain on Venus named after her.
In Egyptian mythology, the sight of Virgo in the night sky was also associated with harvest time, and with the goddess Isis, while in Indian astrology, she was The Maiden, Kanya.
To the Greeks, she was the harvest goddess Demeter, also called Ceres, (the root of the word ‘cereal’) and also by association, her beloved daughter, Persephone.
When Hades abducted Persephone to live with him in the underworld, Demeter went into mourning. There was no harvest that year. People and livestock starved and Zeus, the king of gods, eventually intervened, insisting that Hades return Persephone to Demeter. But Zeus also stipulated that Persephone must not eat until her return, and Hades, not wanting to part with her, gave Persephone a pomegranate, knowing fine well how much she liked them, and she ate some of the seeds on her way home.
So Persephone went home to her mother, but because of the pomegranate she has to return to the underworld for four months every year, and then Demeter grieves; winter returns, and the land sleeps.
The Virgo Archetype – Personality
Virgos are practical but artistically gifted. They are hard workers who love to better themselves. They love to analyze, and their perceptiveness means that they can always find or create order within chaos. They are honest friends although, being extra discerning, and analytical, they might have a tendency to analyze you, pointing out your strengths and also your mistakes and weaknesses. This will probably be annoying, very, but it’s usually well-meant. They may also give great advice because of those same analytical abilities.
Their quest of self-improvement includes their appearance. They are perfectionists, highly concerned about the impression they give, but at the same time, they are very ready to help others, which can make them targets of those who wish to take advantage of them. Virgo is ruled by agile, communicative Mercury, and Virgo’s brain is in overdrive much of the time. These folks can do great things and get a lot done – if they don’t lose sight of the original vision, and get overly bogged down in non-important detail.
Most of us know our zodiac or sun sign, but what does it look like in the night sky, and what’s the story behind it? This month it’s Gemini’s star turn.
Symbol: The Roman numeral for 2 joined top and bottom in representation of unity
Ruling planet: Mercury
Affirmation: ‘I think, I inquire.’
Birth Stone: If born in May, Emerald. If born in June, Pearl (although it is not a stone, it is thought to be ruled by Mercury) Lucky stone Tiger’s Eye
Tree: all kinds of nut trees
Flower: Lily of the Valley, Lavender
Tarot cards: The Lovers (love, choices, decision-making) and The Magician/Jester/Trickster
Image From the Gilded Tarot, Ciro Marchetti
The Astronomy of Gemini
Gemini is a constellation in the northern sky, one of the constellations in the zodiac, the name for the area of the sky we see from Earth, including the apparent paths of the sun, moon and planets.
The Gemini constellation has been described by cultures since ancient times, with many different names and stories. It was listed as one of the 48 ancient constellations by Greek astronomer Ptolemy in the second century, though Ptolemy called it The Star of Apollo (Castor) and The Star of Heracles (Pollux).
Gemini is the northernmost constellation in the zodiac, high in the winter sky in the northern hemisphere, and is the thirtieth largest in size. Gemini can be seen by the naked eye, looking north east of the constellation Orion between the Taurus and Cancer constellations.
Best viewing is during February. By April and May, the constellation can be seen soon after sunset in the west. The two brightest stars in the constellation are Castor and Pollux, representing the heads of the twins from Greek mythology, while fainter stars outline their bodies. Pollux, the westerly twin, is a red giant star, 33 light-years from Earth while Castor is about 51 light-years away. A light-year is the distance that light travels in a year – about 6 trillion miles/9.6 trillion kilometres.
Pollux is the brighter of the two stars, and has a massive planet orbiting it; Genorium Beta, 1.6 times bigger than Jupiter. Castor is actually not a single star, but a star system made of up six stars not visible to the naked eye.
Public Domain: Gemini- Helvelius
The Ancient History
The concept of twins in mythology goes back at least as far as the so-called Age of Gemini, during the Palaeolithic, 6, 500 BCE, arising from our understanding of the duality fundamental to the nature of reality. There are male and female twins but many twin brothers in particular in world myth, standing for night and day, light and dark, heat and cold, male and female, war and peace, good and bad, life and death, and the creation myths of ancient cultures reflect this eternal battle of seeming opposites. Many surviving objects feature twin gods and goddesses; a major theme across all cultures.
The Astrology of Gemini
The ‘twin stars’ have been recognised as representing twins across all cultures, each with their own names and stories. In Arabic astronomy the twins were seen as peacocks, In Egyptian astrology they were twin goats, or else the two gods, Horus the Elder and Horus the Younger, while classical Greek mythology identified them as the twin brothers, Castor and Pollux, The Gemini; the name by which the constellation is still known throughout the western world.
Castor comes from the Greek Καστωρ (Kastor) and means “to excel, to shine.” In Greek myth Castor was a son of Zeus and the twin brother of Pollux.
Pollux comes from the Roman form of Greek Πολυδευκης (Polydeukes) and means “very sweet.”
The circumstances of their birth were unusual to say the least. Queen Leda of Sparta was seduced by Zeus who had disguised himself as a swan though perhaps that was putting it too politely. He glided up preening, and pounced on her while she was bathing. Later that evening, notwithstanding this undoubted shock, she also slept with her husband King Tyndareus and went on to produce four children; Castor, Pollux and their sisters Helen (later Helen of Troy) and Clytemnestra (later married to Agamemnon as queen of Mycenae) Pollux and Helen were immortal, fathered by Zeus, while Castor and Clytemnestra were mortal, fathered by Tyndareus.
Image Below: Public Domain, the young Castor and Pollux (Meissen)
The brothers were handsome, curious and shared many adventures. The mortal Castor was a renowned horseman and a master at fencing, while Pollux was known for his great strength and skill at boxing.
Castor was killed in a quarrel, possibly a disagreement over dividing the spoils after a cattle raid, and Pollux was distraught. He didn’t want immortality, not if it meant being without his twin brother. Pollux begged his father, Zeus, for help and Zeus scratched his head, wondering how to fix this, and then decided to place them both in the stars, to be together forever as the constellation Gemini.
The Greeks worshipped the twins as gods who helped shipwrecked sailors. Later the Romans developed a cult around Castor and Pollux dating back to 484 B.C. A temple to the twins was built in the Roman Forum in 414 BC in thanks for their help in defeating the Latins; an old enemy, in the battle of Regillus. The Romans considered Castor and Pollux the patron gods of horses, and of the Roman mounted knights; the equites and Castor and Pollux appear on many early Roman coins.
The Gemini subject in real life action
Gemini is ‘mercurial’, restless but independent minded- and like the Tarot’s Magician, does things his or her own way, whether or not this is necessarily a good idea.
Gemini often has a pleasing appearance; slender, well-proportioned and above average height, with neat features in an oval face. Classic Gemini subjects are lively, agile, sparkling, charming, chatty and inquisitive, but not necessarily easy to get close to.
Gemini tends to change jobs more often than subjects of the other signs of the zodiac, and is better at starting new projects than finishing them, but can do very well in teams where new ideas, agility and a talent for networking are needed. Gemini could be the perfect journalist, TV or radio presenter, columnist, salesperson, or literary or travel agent.
Gemini has charisma, but can occasionally come across as superficial, fickle, or careless, even ruthless, dropping people and projects once they lose interest, which Gemini can do quite suddenly. But once truly committed, they are intensely loyal to their friends and loved ones. Gemini is mostly fairly peaceable, but they don’t shy away from saying what they think, and if anyone tries to back them into a corner, quicksilver Gemini comes out fighting, and Gemini has plenty of physical courage, but also stealth.
Some call the Tarot The Devil’s Picture book, but what about the Tarot’s Angels? Depending on the imagery of the deck, we might see the angel of Judgement. We might see the angel of Temperance. In some decks the Christian figure of The Devil will be represented instead by the wild god, Pan.
Judgement from The Gilded Tarot, permission of Ciro Marchetti
I do not see my card and rune activities as spiritual in nature or intention. I think that I am communing with an ancient part of myself, and that this part of myself is also communing with the ancientness of the other person, when I am reading for another.
Not spiritual. It’s just about the Mind, Perhaps this is splitting hairs. What does it matter? It is simply a question of language. Well, the thing is, language may attract or repel. I generally prefer to eschew religious or spiritual language, that’s all, but neither would I ever say I was an atheist. I don’t find it helpful or meaningful to take up any fixed positions on the imponderables of life, while meaning, value, usefulness, and beauty is wherever and however you find it.
But to do a reading, I must prepare myself to read, to put myself into that place where I even dare to read for a complete stranger.
Daring is needed.
I could be asked about anything at all. I do mean anything. I am often asked about relationships, of course, romantic relationships, family relationships, work relationships. I am asked a lot of ‘if’ and ‘when’ questions. When will I move job? When will I move house? Who will I meet and when and will it work out? I’m also asked a lot of business questions, by business owners, and the stakes have often been very high indeed.
Sometimes I am asked truly oracular questions. Once I was asked ‘where is my brother? How is he?’ And was then told the brother had died, and that he killed himself, but, where was he, and how was he? And the Tarot offered me such an story to share in answer to this question, it was fit to make anybody’s hair stand on end, but in such a way, that if the Tarot is the Devil’s picture book, then he’s a whole lot kinder than we give him credit for, and he’s overdue a reassessment.
I described where he was now, a small boy again, lost in that moment, happily splashing in a puddle. The Tarot told me he didn’t remember his death or what drove him to it, not a thing, but it looked to me as if he was coming back again very soon and might even land again close by. Then I received a message the following week, very happy and excited, a bit tearful, to the effect that the client’s sister had just found out she was expecting a baby, and maybe…what if….
What if indeed. Maybe this was a reincarnation. Maybe it was something else I picked up along the way while investigating the stated question. It was and is, beyond me to issue any definitive proposition as to which, but it wasn’t me. Not the everyday me. It came via The Sun card. Meanings: the sun, birth, childhood, happiness, innocence, animals, healing.
The Sun card from The Golden Tarot, by Kat Black
I cannot prepare for a reading. I can only prepare to try and respond. I tidy the bathroom, I fill the kettle, I prepare the room, the reading table, and I try to settle my mind, and to get ready to point into whatever wind I’m about to feel on my face, so as not to let in doubt.
Readings work on flow. I need to make myself as inconsequential as possible, and take myself out of the equation, so, spiritually or non- spiritually, I don’t worry which, kicking the whole thing ‘upstairs’, and saying to myself while getting ready,
“Great angels of the elements, please help me to help (person’s name)
Uriel, great angel of the North
Gabriel, great angel of the West
Michael, great angel of the South
Raphael, great angel of the East.
Earth and Water, Fire and Air
Please help me to see what most needs to be seen
Please help me to say what most needs to be said
For the highest good and harming none
Uriel represents the north and the element of Earth, and Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn
Gabriel represents the west and the element of Water, and Pisces, Cancer and Scorpio
Michael represents the south and the element of Fire, and Aries, Leo and Sagittarius
Raphael represents the east and the element of Air, and Aquarius, Gemini andLibra
The Tarot, whatever else one thinks it is or isn’t, is a cultural, artistic artefact, and so are angels as depicted in art and literature through the ages.
Uriel, ‘Flame of God,’ angel of earth and the north is the colours of red, gold and amber. Uriel, angel of self-trust, and therefore, wisdom of decision-making, “stands at the Gate of Eden (Nature) with a fiery sword” as pitiless as any demon, just as nature is ‘red in tooth and claw,’ and presides over the gates of Tartarus, battling the very baddest of all things bad, though probably some get out again anyway. Ooh-er. He needs to be tough, but Uriel is also the archangel of salvation, and opens the gates of Life to let the dead pass safely out and onward, no waylaying by ‘nasties’, working alongside the archangel Michael on this job. Uriel is also a culture vulture, depicted as the angel of poetry and patron of the arts, often shown carrying a book or a papyrus scroll representing wisdom. His Tarot card is the Ace of Pentacles/Coins/Earth.
‘Pennies from heaven.’
Uriel, Wikipedia and The Ace of Pentacles from The Gilded Tarot, permission of Ciro Marchetti
Gabriel, ‘Strength of God,’ angel of water and the west is the colours of white and silver, and is one of the two archangels specifically named in the Bible in both the Old and New Testament, the other being Michael. S/he is God’s messenger, often portrayed as female, she may be holding a trumpet and is the patron of communications, helping writers, teachers, journalists and artists to convey their message, to find motivation and confidence, and to market their skills. S/he helps in overcoming fear and procrastination in all difficult communication, and in areas related to children, during conception, pregnancy, childbirth and child rearing.
Gabriel by Van Eyck: The Ace of Cups, The Gilded Tarot, permission of Ciro Marchetti
Michael, ‘Who is like the Lord,’ angel of fire and the south is all colours of blue.This might seem out of keeping, but his fire is blue lightning, and his angelic legions wore armour of blue lightning, both in fighting fallen angels, and cutting free trapped human souls who hadn’t managed to rise upon death, and were vulnerable to attack, drifting loose in the ether, stuck by their own weight in Purgatory. Michael figured as the greatest and most revered of angels in many scriptures and spiritual traditions. In Muslim lore, he is the angel of nature who provides both food and knowledge to man. Michael is the protector of police officers, patron of police departments and law enforcement agencies around the world.
‘The Divine Spark’
Wikimedia: Epstein’s Michael and Satan, Coventry Cathedral and The Ace of Wands, Legacy of the Divine Tarot, permission of Ciro Marchetti
Raphael, ‘Healing of God,’ archangel of air and of the east is all colours of green.Archangel Raphael is the angel of truth, wholeness, healing, body, mind and spirit. Raphael is the rain-man, responsible for precipitation, medicine, also science, mathematics- and music. Many hospitals are named after Raphael in Latin speaking countries today. Pray for help then watch out for clues, ideas and inspiration. Raphael will not intervene to prevent a timely death,’ his war is against prolonged suffering of pain. Raphael is very curious, fascinated by humanity’s innovations, rather like Odin in Norse lore, and like Odin, likes to mingle with Man, travelling earthbound in disguise. He is reputedly the most approachable of the archangels, and is the angel to apply to for protection during travel.
‘The Sword of Truth’
Source: Wikimedia Commons: Raphael, and the Ace of Swords, The Legacy of The Divine Tarot, Ciro Marchetti
Here is another example of ‘the other way’ of reading the cards; trusting the insights arising from associative thinking, basing your interpretations on the imagery deployed in a particular deck, rather than restricting yourself to the traditional card meanings.
It is not about ignoring those traditions, far from it. These insights will still function within the traditional remit of the card. but will add new specifics. It’s about flying by the seat of your pants, with the art work as your intuitive springboard.
Classic interpretations of this card: all incoming things, emotional and artistic. Messages, approaches, invitations, proposals and propositions. Hospitality. Drinking and eating. Beauty and refinement. An admirer. Health and healing. Knight in shining armour. An artist, poet, singer, musician, carer, diplomat, visionary, psychic. A peacemaker. Water. A subject born under the Zodiac sign of Pisces.
The appearance of this knight enabled me to offer a description of the absent party which the client recognised as true to the life.
BUT this particular time, triggered by that cruising shark, I additionally felt prompted to say, had this man got cartilage problems? His leg? The client thought so. Yes, after a sports injury.
He might have had cartilage problems. He might not have. I am not able to verify it, but the client believed that he had, so if he had not, then I had somehow elicited this understanding from her. Such is the nature of the telepathic exchange typical of any reading, and that is what could be verified here, that the shark had at least enabled me to pick up on a thought that she had experienced in respect of this individual..
I do not usually, when drawing this card, feel inclined to focus on the shark. I had never offered the same interpretation of this card before, but on this occasion, it somehow pulled me in, and by now I’ve learned to just spit it out, however stupid it sounds.
Life is short. The world is vast and multi-dimensional. You’ve got to be able to cope with getting things wrong if you want to learn anything new.
An artist wanted us to look at the year ahead in 2018. There was no specific question, and I drew 13 cards, one for each month of the year starting with January and laid them out anti-clockwise. The thirteenth card went in the centre and represented a key question, comment or theme, like so.
This is known as The Wheel of the Year Spread. There are variants.
Number 1 represents Aries the first House of the Zodiac and the start of the Astrological years.
Number 2 is Taurus, 3 is Gemini, 4 is Cancer, 5 is Leo, 6 is Virgo, 7 is Libra, 8 is Scorpio, 9 is Sagittarius, 10 is Capricorn. 11 is Aquarius and 12, Pisces.
My eye was quickly drawn to cards 6-8. There seemed to be a flurry of artistic impetus collected there, heralded by the appearance of The High Priestess in position 6, early autumn in 2018.
The client draws, paints and sculpts animals, though not only animals, and is not only a very talented artist but a very generous patron of a number of small animal charities.
The High Priestess is an apt card for describing her. This is a lady well used to keeping her own counsel. Her art is her shrine and it is sacred.
My eye was drawn to the owl. I could equally have chosen to focus on the scroll or the pomegranate but no, on this occasion it was the detail of the owl that drew me into the card.
Had she ever made a particular study of drawing or painting owls, or was she planning to? No, but the idea appealed, why did I ask?
Cue mad moment.
Reader duly opened gob and proceeded to do a thing one could inelegantly describe as gob-shiting….ie speak and not self- edit or self- censor.
‘I want to say, why do I want to say it? I don’t know, but I’m hearing it, so I’ll say it. There are two goddesses wanting to work with you, you are the priestess, your art is the shrine, but wild life is the greater shrine. There are two goddesses. One is Athena, and the other is Artemis.’
I was aware that the owl, specifically the Little Owl is the special bird of Athena, and that Artemis is the goddess and guardian of all wild creatures, but still, I had not read this card in this way before. Athena shown here as portrayed with her beloved ‘Bubo’ in Clash of the Titans.
We were doing the reading via Skype, using the web-cam.
‘Look at this, Katie-Ellen!’ the client leaned in close. ‘See this little medallion on my chain here?’
She held it forward to the camera.
‘Look!’ she said again, ‘I’ve got Athena on this side…’
She flipped it over…
‘And on this side, Artemis! How about that?’
How about that indeed.
She was delighted. It chimed a note she had been hoping to hear but didn’t have a question for finding, and this is typical of what Tarot can do when in full flow.
The trick is to learn your stuff but then go with the flow. Easier said than done, but that’s what you need to do, to get those weird eureka! moments.
I’ll leave you with a picture of a Little Owl, Athene Noctua. This individual is Dudley the Deadly, here he is, sitting on my gauntlet, the ferocious little scamp, and I met him at the Barn at Beal in Northumberland.
There are many weightier matters I find myself investigating with cartomancy; the use of ordinary playing cards for divination, using these instead of, or alongside my tarot cards.
I may find myself investigating business questions. Will this merger go ahead, and when? etc etc
I could be surveilling what seems likely to happen next vis-= a- vis Brexit etc.
I do look of course. Wouldn’t you? I occasional post readings on public matters, but heck, Life is also made of little things, and who needs pointless hate from total strangers on social meejia in this overheated alt-climate.
I don’t see Yellowstone blowing any time soon, or World War 3, and they’re rather weighty matters. Earth will endure it’s natural span, I feel it will be longer than currently predicted, you know, give or take a few hundred million years, but we will be long gone from here and so will everything else by then.
We have recently been on our travels, an undertaking by car and ferry, and for me, by wheelchair, touring in France: The D-day beaches, Pornic in Brittany, Rocamadour in Lot in the Dordogne, a night in Nantes, and north again to Bayeaux before catching the ferry home again next day – a 5 hour crossing to Portsmouth.
Rocamadour is spectacular in the extreme. We stayed in a small hotel, Les Esclargies– at the top of the great cliff above the famous sanctuary with the old main street below it. You can go down in a funicular.
The hotel is in an oak clearing or glade and after a stormy 6 hour drive from Pornic, we arrived after heavy rain to see a red squirrel robbing a hanging bird feeder. We had a downstairs room with a good sized bathroom and wet room. We stayed a few days and late one afternoon, I sat outside with my cards while inside with the patio door open, Il Matrimonio snoozed.
I shuffled my playing cards asking, what is Il Matrimonio doing right now?
Why would I bother to ask when I already knew the answer?
That is precisely the reason for doing it. To see if I draw the cards I expect to draw when I already know the answer, and to see if those cards are an accurate or meaningful reflection of those facts already known, harnessing that benefit of hindsight in order to challenge my accuracy rates in randomly drawing a relevant card.
I expected to draw the Four of Spades in its most benign aspects.
Traditional Meanings: Bed, rest, illness, recuperation, the need for caution, the sick bed, hospital room, coffin, a jail cell, rest, confinement, exhaustion, need to take it easy, move at a slower pace, bed-ridden, feeling fenced in, staying at home, an unhealthy situation, feeling trapped, feeling sick and tired.
Gentle snorting noises proceeded to issue from the open door behind me.
But no…I didn’t draw the Four. I drew the Three of Spades.
Traditionally: loss and deception, lies, misunderstanding, confusion, a growing problem, a worsening condition, deterioration, disease, infection, third-party interference, a third wheel, meddling, a love triangle, what goes on behind the scenes, trials and tribulations, a test, an exam.
I associate it with the Tarot’s Three of Swords; heartache, separation, quarrels, mourning and sometimes literally, cardiac or respiratory symptoms.
Il Matrimonio is somewhat prone to indigestion. I found that if he avoids gluten, he doesn’t seem to get it, but travelling, on holiday, avoiding gluten was not such a practical proposition for him, and besides, the croissants and pastries at breakfast were rather too delish.
Uh oh, I thought, contemplating the Three of Swords, what’s this? I hope everyone’s all right at home, and as for him, I wonder if he’s got a bit of heartburn.
And no sooner had I articulated this thought, there came a burp from inside and Il Matrimonio sat up muttering something about wanting the bicarb.
I think that counts as validation.
So, to add to the vocabulary of the Three of Swords, let us add, indigestion, heartburn, bicarbonate…and burps.
Here’s a kicker though.
Here’s the sting in this tale.
Something strange happened our last night there, a Friday night or Saturday small hours. I had the distinct and quite startling impression that someone pulled twice, quite sharply at my bed covers, trying to drag away the small cushion supporting my knees (pain management of rheumatoid disease)
I mentioned it immediately. We had only just switched the lights out when I felt the first sharp tug, but Il Matrimonio hadn’t noticed anything odd, not the first time nor the second time, but a bad night followed, for the first part of the night. Frightening dreams involving being pushed in a bed, a malevolent coven and the fear of imminent death.
I have had such experiences before, not often, and at the time they have made no sense, – one might as well have put it down to booze or something, although I do not drink or use substances likely to tamper with my view of reality. But days later, and on one occasion, eighteen months later, these dreams or whatever they were revealed themselves to have been a foreshadowing. I once dreamed of an earthquake at the end of my road, I was trying to jump a widening crack in the pavement, and a week later to the day, and after an odd, jittery day, the real one arrived at one in the morning. An actual earthquake…in Lytham St Anne’s in the small hours, and it made the national papers
The epicentre was in Market Rasen in Lancashire, and it was teeny, but the experience when it actually happened, was eerie as hell. I don’t want even to imagine the terror of a big one.
I reckon we can sense these things in the same way that birds and animals are known to do…given sufficient absence of distraction.
And the Three of Spades, like the Tarot’s Three of Swords, can mean mourning.
We returned to shortly receive news of a death, a phone call and it was an uncle of Il Matrimonio’s. This was a quiet death in hospital after a short illness and at the age of 82. It happened on the Friday following our last night in Rocamadour and apparently, some tube got pulled out of his uncle’s arm as he lay in his hospital bed, with fatal results although perhaps it would not have made any difference either way.
Poor Il Matrimonio nurses kind memories of his uncle … tears were shed.
Meanings: Mature person, benevolent, an advisor, mentor, king of ceremonies, financial success, abundance.
The equivalent card in the Tarot deck is, appropriately enough as his team has won the FA Cup Final, the King of Cups.
So we’d just had a bite of lunch yesterday, a bit of psychic salad with spooky peppered mackerel, andIl Matrimonio said as he is prone to do from time to time, ‘I bet you don’t know who is playing in the final today?’
I said, ‘what final?’
He said, ‘you’re joking.’
‘Well, is it the FA cup final? Maybe there’s a European Cup Final for all I know.’
‘That’s next week,’ he scoffed, and you gather, I don’t follow footie too closely though I have the odd moment. Besides which, maybe I had other things on my mind.
‘So, who’s playing?’ said Il Sarky Bastardo.
‘Hallelujah. Who are they playing?’
‘Man United? No. Spurs?’
‘No, but it is a London Final. It’s Arsenal. So, what do you think? Will Arsene Wenger be resigning?’
‘Who’s the Chelsea manager these days?’
‘Antonio Conte. He’s fun. Lively, runs up and down.’
‘Give me a few minutes,’ I said and went into the study to sit with my deck of £0.99 playing cards. The Tarot is my oldest friend, my right hand man in divination, but lately I have exploring cartomancy, reading with ordinary playing cards. and practice makes – not perfect. There is no such thing, least of all in divination whether that means Tarot, Runes, Pendulums, whatever…
Ultimately, there is only doing. You can read up, you can swot all you like, and you better had, and I do. There is a lot to study, but theory is merely your start point and should never be the ending point. You only develop skill by doing, and that’s how you also advance the theory. Lots and lots of doing, falling on your face if that’s what it takes, and you certainly will, because you are human and the oracle too, is human, and its wisdom is the wisdom of ancestral understanding while its frailties are yours alone, the reader’s.
So this is what came up.
Will Arsene Wenger be resigning after today’s match?
Answer: the Four of Diamonds.
The Four of Diamonds denotes patience. The stability of the four did not suggest change, while Diamonds is the suit of business. It is literally, a foursquare card. The answer could have been read as a yes, therefore, according to this traditional colour system of interpretation but based on the individual card meaning, I did not see any change in Arsene Wenger’s role, or at least, no change for the ‘worse.’ Not if he doesn’t want to.
I put the card back into the deck, shuffled blind and for the sake of an even handed comparison, asked the same question about Antonio Conte. Would he be resigning?
Il Matrimonio yelled, ‘no way! Stupid question!’ and I told him to shut up. I know diddly squat about any of it, which is kind of part of the interest in doing the reading, and how I work is how I work and requires a certain logic.
So I asked and bless my soul, I pulled out the same card: the Four of Diamonds. So perhaps then, I deduced, the cards were educating me that neither would be resigning, both were staying in post, and additionally, I could in future take the Four of Diamonds to translate as ‘a football manager.’
‘I don’t think Arsene will be resigning,’ I said to Il Matrimonio.
But who was going to win?
(A question of less moment than the forthcoming General Election, and I think the polls are probably on track THIS time.)
These were the cards.
The Top row represented Arsenal
The Bottom Row represented Chelsea
The bottom 2 cards were just additional comment cards.
The central and final cards contain the answer in a 5 card line spread. The other cards provide the premise of the question, and additional comments.
The first card, top left, made me smile. Two of Clubs, eh? Well, yes, this is a question of two clubs, right enough. Next to it, the Nine of Hearts is generally viewed as a highly auspicious card; wishes granted. The central card, the heart or linchpin of the answer, is the Nine of Clubs and is nicknamed by Romany tradition, ‘The Achiever,’ which speaks for itself. The 3 of Spades is a dreadful card. Sorrow. This card was surely reflecting the current mood of the nation; our grief as well as rage and frustration in the aftermath of the terrible crime and ensuing tragedy in Manchester.
The last card represents Arsene Wenger himself; a quiet man, looking back over the match, seeming pleased but in a rather quiet way.
Arsenal in summary: There were 3 black suit cards and 2 red suit cards which on the face of it didn’t look too optimistic. But the Club cards were both positive in translation and the terrible card, the 3 of Spades…rightfully belonged here somewhere in the story, with a minute’s silence was observed at the beginning of the game.
Arsenal could certainly win, but I couldn’t decide without also looking at Chelsea.
Chelsea’s cards on the bottom row were all black suit cards. First we had The Joker which could mean absolutely anything. It is a destiny card. A wild card.
On this occasion, I asked Il Matrimonio, was there a Chelsea player who was a bit of a maverick? A dark young man? (I was looking here at the Jack of Spades next door to the Joker) He looked as if he might prove significant to Chelsea’s chances. This might be in a good way or not.
That was probably Diego Costa, Il Matrimonio said.
The central card, a key card, was the Five of Clubs, nicknamed The Renovator, it can be a sporty card, but often indicates that some change is overdue. Perhaps to the line up or the formation? The Ace of Clubs seemed auspicious, I felt it might well represent a goal, but the final, outcome card, the eight of Spades, nicknamed The Workaholic, somehow suggested that Chelsea would get into gear too little, too late, and would end working harder than when they had started.
The two comment cards, drawn with no question in mind, just as an add on were both eights: the eight of Diamonds and the Eight of Hearts. Did Il Matrimonio know which player/s would be wearing a Number 8 shirt? Was it one of the strikers?
He was by now glued to the box and shouted through, ‘I hear your question.’
The match hadn’t started yet, but he was absorbed in the buildup, lots of yelling and excited voices, the testosterone was rising, and he was there, becoming part of it and didn’t want disturbing.
‘It looks like Arsenal to win,’ I said.
The player in a Number 8 shirt turned out to be Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey (above) who scored the second goal for Arsenal after Alexis Sanchez scored the first goal, uphold after some controversy as to whether it was allowable after the ball had appeared to touch his arm.
Diego Costa (the Joker?) scored the Chelsea goal.
And he is a dark young man but perhaps the ‘dark young man’ detected by the Page of Spades was not only him, but I had also sensed another player, who was also a ‘dark young man,’ Victor Moseswho was, I found out later, sent off for ‘diving’. This Page is sharp, quick, clever, but sometimes controversy can attach to him (and in other readings, it might of course be a her)
Il Matrimonio said afterwards that my forecast had been out of step with most of the commentators and pundits, except for Ian Wright.
Ian Wright has warned Chelsea that Arsenal are beginning to find some form – just in time for the FA Cup final. (The Sport Review.com)
I’m going to keep on getting to know these nifty little cards. They are not nearly as visually interesting as my beloved Tarot decks, and some might say, who cares, if they do the job? And fair enough, though what price on beauty – wherever it is found?
Recently I added to my reading mix, a deck of ordinary playing cards. These have been in use for cartomancy; divination and fortune telling, for at least 400 years longer than the Tarot, and neither one of them began as fortune telling tools. They were both invented for gaming purposes. In the case of playing cards, it’s thought they first came to Europe from the Middle East, arriving there in turn from the Far East.
Fully illustrated Tarot cards contain pictorial ingredients offering unlimited possibilities of translation via associative thinking, but playing cards, while less interesting pictorially, and somewhat prosaic, will do the job.
I thought I’d try them out in a recent face to face reading for a new client, reserving them for getting at a few yes or no answers if required.
Asking for the Tarot’s insight into my client’s recent significant past I drew The Fool and The Ace of Pentacles from The Gilded Tarot, images by kind permission of Ciro Marchetti.
The Fool is about opportunity, enthusiasm, a gamble, a birth. The Ace of Pentacles suggests a windfall, a new job or business, a new home, a garden or a new, precious object.
These following The Emperor prompted me to ask the client, had there been a recent major change or opportunity to do with a new job or new kind of work, and also maybe a new home?
And was it possible this new home might be in the countryside or else have a big garden or some land?
He said he had bought a house with land, and was planning to build on that land, and he wanted to know, what were the prospects for successful completion?
Yee-haa! Time to put my ordinary playing cards to the test and I drew these.
My first observation was that I had drawn two red cards and one black. Learning to do psychic readings is all about self-programming, and like learning anything, involves rote and repetition. I’ve decided a red card mean yes, whether it’s a diamond or a heart, and a black card means no, whether it’s a spade or a club card. And then I go for best of three, and the numbers might swing my thinking.
You could decide that a black card means yes, if you wanted, and a red card means no, and it might work splendidly reliably if you are consistent, though it might prove counter-intuitive as the most challenging cards in a playing deck – most, not all, are contained within the suits of spades and clubs.
Once decided on your own system, you need to stick to it. There’s no right or wrong with these things. There’s what works subject to proof. This is where there can arise a problem with going to classes ‘to be taught’ how to read. You are your own best teacher. Learning to ‘see’ in this way is solitary. Even lonely. It is not gregarious at source. Study adds skill and there is a vast library here to study, but in the end, while rendered articulate by skill, the oracular spirit, to be true to itself, remains a cat who walks alone.
The short answer to the client’s question therefore was yes, but I was struck by the appearance of two diamonds cards, equating to the Tarot’s suit of Pentacles; the suit of earth.
I was additionally struck by the fact that the middle card was twice the number value of the first card. a 4 and an 8. It made me think of foundations, and plumb-lines; four walls, and then four walls, doubled.
It didn’t seem random, it felt as if it might be significant and I said to the client, ‘are there going to be TWO buildings, by any chance? And one is twice the size of the other? But this black card, the 3 of Clubs, suggests there’s a bit of stress already?’
Notice, I was asking him. That’s because I did not know if this was correct. I only knew that’s what I was being shown, and wanted to check.
‘There ARE going to be two buildings’ he said, nodding surprised, ‘log cabins and one is going to be exactly twice the size of the other one. And yes, it’s fair to say there’s a fair bit of stress…’
And so the discussion moved forward.
Well done, my little £1.99 fortune-telling friends. Although I don’t tell fortunes, you’ve clearly got my number, and I think you and I need to get better acquainted.
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
Can Tarot cards help with forecasting weather, accurately? The short answer is, experience tells me yes, but, and it’s a big but, the question needs a clearly defined context. As in, for example, what kind of weather can be expected at X location at X time? If I drive from A to B on this date at this sort of time, what kind of weather experience can I expect?
The Tower Card detects coming severe weather. Storms. It featured in this way in quite dramatic fashion in a previous True Tarot Tale, when it saw a storm coming, and we only had a tornado down our street the very next morning at about eight- o- clock. That’s right. A tornado in Lytham St Annes in Lancashire, UK.
You can read that story on an earlier blog post HERE
The Tower card, from the Gilded Tarot by kind permission of Ciro Marchetti.
Other associations: disaster, accident, argument, bankruptcy, shock.
Weather Associations- If learning Tarot, practise drawing a card for the day ahead, where you are:
From the North: Knight of Pentacles (grey, cool,cold, rain and snow)
From the South: Knight of Wands (sunny, heat wave, tropical storm)
From the West: Knight of Cups (sunny, mild, wet, windy)
From the East: Knight of Swords (fresh, cool, ice, hailstorms, biting winds, brrr)
Today, just for a change, the story really is a story, prompted by activities on a writer’s forum called Litopia. Do, please feel welcome to come and join there.
Flash Fiction: Boreas the Blustery
Boreas was bored. The North Wind was fed up of the North. Grizzling and moaning, he stamped about, bending trees, rolling rivers like mattresses and forcing polar bears to roll down snowy slopes, so he could laugh at the way their paws scrabbled as they rolled over and over.
‘Where’s some fun!’ he howled. ‘F*ck off , Captain Bird’s Eye, I want a bit of Southern Comfort!!!’ He ripped off some roofs in Carlisle, straining to go south, but the jet-stream was busy in the higher latitudes, and wouldn’t open the gates.
In the Gulf of Florida, Nota, the South Wind got, er, wind of this, and said to El Nino, ‘ I could fancy a ‘lil trip North to see this Boreas. I hear he’s quite the man.’
‘I can help you there, I think’, said El Nino, ‘I’m heading that way, myself.’
He steered Nota north, skimming seas into mountains and making dolphins sea- sick, isobars winding ever tighter until Boreas saw her, crossing the Atlantic towards him, driving the waves before her. And then they collided, and circled tighter and tighter, high and low . Wires and cables snapped and hummed, and dustbins flew like dust, and wild things cowered in their dens.
‘You couldn’t come to me! screamed Nota, lashing her hair, ‘so, Boreas, I have come to you!’
Shrimp and rice and coconut!
Fish and chips and doughnuts!
The way he loved her was frightening.
Lightening, thunder, until they span asunder
With no air left for more
They parted peaceful on the shore.
‘Great place you’ve got here’, said Nota, sinking weary to the sea. ‘Love it. Really love it. Let’s do this again sometime.’
Boreas puffed out his chest, and gently stroked a trembling tree top, ‘any time, my lovely. Your place or mine. Any time.’
During a reading the other day, with a delightful client; charming, brave and resourceful, we looked first at a number of questions focussed on her two businesses. Then the conversation moved to children’s activities and prospects, and in respect of her son, 18, I drew the Four of Cups and said, is this how he’s been sometimes, lately? Fed up, irritable and restless, wanting to do something new but not yet able to decide, or make a start?
The card prompting this question was the Four of Cups, a card commonly nicknamed ‘the bored boy,’ and whether you’re a boy or not, it’s an unpleasant state of mind, even while it’s not exactly a problem you can do nothing about.
So, what might be the path ahead for him? I drew The Eight of Pentacles, and as you can see, it shows an apprentice at work, happily engrossed, so much so, he is burning the midnight oil, watched by a mouse who’s probably hoping for a crumb of his supper.
‘I think he will do well in an apprenticeship, head and hand working together in unity, making or crafting something,’ I said.
He was wondering about something like that, the client said, maybe technical drawing.
Yes! Good choice.
‘What about the RAF?’ I said, ‘I feel it might be worth his while to see whether they’re recruiting.’
‘That’s amazing!’ she said. ‘How did you know? He has been talking about a technical apprenticeship in the RAF.’
OK then, his next port of call is sorted, and if he doesn’t end up there exactly, it will be something of that kind.
The 4 of a bored boy becomes the 8 of a busy boy, and to be busy, is very often to be happy.
Is the word or idea of the RAF anywhere written in the cards? No, of course not. This was just another instance of a word springing out, using a card as a diving board. Gob-shiting, I call it. Such are the various ways of reading the Tarot.
A post written in 2015. Still stands. Will always stand.
Someone asked me once, what did the Tarot say about Usain Bolt and what was happening to him and in him when he ran?
And he’s just done it again. Well done, Usain.
I asked to understand where Usain ‘went’ when he ran…apart, obviously, from heading straight for the finishing line. What, apart from talent and training, was the secret of his success? What was happening when he ran?
And I drew The Wheel of Fortune, the tenth card of the Tarot’s Major Arcana, and was surprised.
I would not have been at all surprised had I drawn The Magician, The Chariot, Strength, the Ace or Knight of Wands, or The World.
Why was I surprised?
The Wheel is the gambler’s card, the card of taking risks. So far so good. But it is is all about riding the ups and downs in Life. What rises must inevitably fall later, and vice versa. It is essentially impersonal or supra-personal, denoting things which can’t be controlled, when an athlete is very much about control. Self-control. But actually, the Wheel is a potent if unexpected answer.
Self- control is nothing without the gift of timely, well-aimed self-RELEASE.
So then, Usain runs as The Supra-Personal embodied. He releases himself from himself. That thing he does, signifying a ‘bolt into the blue’ helps him release himself from himself. He parks ‘all that’ somewhere ‘over there.’
It is also a victory gesture, whether he knows runes or not. In enacting his name, the Bolt, he is not only aligning himself with the idea of an arrow, he performing a horizontal version of the rune symbol, ‘Tyr,’ the spear of the Norse god of victory and justice.
Tyr bound the wolf, Fenris, and defeated him and bound him, but lost a hand doing so. The wolf within, is always the wolf to be wrestled first.
Usain makes himself a something and a nothing, which is to say, he runs as a Force of Nature.
It is total immersion, as with any any great artist, a singer, a shaman, or a practitioner of martial arts, with the effort, skill and control of the Magician, lined up in avoidance of hubris, with the total surrender to Chance…or Fortune’s Wheel.
It is you in your best moments. You, doing the things you best love, forgetting all else in that moment.
May Luck smile on you.
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.
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.
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.
My brother and his wife were selling their house. The Moon card reflected, amongst other more specific things, their uncertainty about when it might sell and where they would go next.
It had been on the market the previous year and they had pulled it due to lack of buyer interest. It had gone back on the market in late May, and now it was mid June.
I whirled my cards about blind and drew the Three of Wands. Since Wands cards deal with travel, property, sales and movement in general, the immediate appearance of this commercial card was encouraging for better luck this time around.
‘There’ll be viewers soon,’ I said. ‘The future is not set in concrete but chances are good, you’ll have a suitable offer on it within three viewings, or within three weeks, three months max.’
‘We’ve had three viewings already, sis, he said.
‘Oh, OK,’ I said, ‘Well, I’ll be picking that up, I expect, but the cards often say several things at once. It’s still looking likely there’ll be developments sooner rather than later.’
Big deal, one might say. How very oracular and vague.
Well, er, quite. Oracles are not always easy to decipher, even for the oracular practitioner.
I now drew the Ace of Pentacles. This is the Tarot’s ultimate house, job and money card.
My brother and his wife have moved to a country lane near Stroud. This card proved a quite literal foreshadowing of their new home.
Illustrations from The Gilded Tarot, by kind permission of Ciro Marchetti. Buy on Amazon and other places or visit his website: http://www.ciromarchetti.com/
‘Positive developments round about the middle of July,’ I said, ‘It’s looking like the sale of house, or it’s job-related or both.’
Then I drew the King of Swords and the Queen of Pentacles. ‘I’m seeing your buyers here, I think. They’re a couple, just as you’d expect. She’s probably got dark hair and maybe eyes; very house proud, and he…well, he might be a legal advisor, or policeman; or it’s possible, a military man.’
The following week they had an offer on the house which they neither accepted nor declined, as it was well below the asking price and early days, the prospective buyer wanted to push for a very early completion. Then they received another offer a few days after that from another prospective buyer, a few days later. It was closer to the asking price, and less urgent for completion and they accepted.
Sales can fall through of course, and they had quite a rocky time of it but the sale went through and what made me smile was this news of the buyer: a family man, married with three children, and whether currently serving or not, my brother doesn’t know, but the buyer was not only a soldier but a Gurkha.
My brother and his wife are selling their house. They put it on the market at the end of May. Lots of things are up in the air for them both; whether to look to buy again or rent for a while pending possible career moves for them both in the not too distant future. He and I were chatting on the phone a couple of weeks ago, about all this, and I drew blind cards, shuffling them about with my free hand while we were chatting.
‘Hey, Boofs,’ I said (nickname for a younger brother who used to be in his own toddler words, a ‘bad boofs’) ‘has there been any illegal hunting going on near you that you’re aware of: badger-baiting, for instance?’
‘Not that I’ve heard of, particularly,’ he said, ‘but I’ve had a few suspicions lately. I’ve seen a few dead badgers on the road and thought, they’ve not died there. They’ve been put there afterwards.’
That’s probably what I’m picking up, then,’ I said. ‘Or why else am I pulling this card and thinking; hunter, hunting…a hunter’s moon?’
I had pulled out at The Moon Card from Kat Black’s Golden Tarot, pictured by kind permission of US Games, available to buy on Amazon and other places.
Traditional Associations for this card: Psychism, Artistic Vision, Dreams, Delusion, Lies, Error, Infidelity, Danger, Travel, Infection, Fertility, Pregnancy.
‘F*** me!’ he said, ‘We’ve been thinking about maybe going to stay at the Hunter’s Inn, next week, in Exmoor…’
In fact, they did not go and stay there. They went on a day-trip down to the Dorset coast instead, and had a nice day out though my brother got lost, according to my lovely sister-in law, something he indignantly denied.
And so, the Moon card was not predicting, not forecasting, it was just facilitating enhanced telepathic communication, making literal use of the card’s imagery. Tarot will often work this way, and this is often how the most ‘far out’ or psychic insights are triggered.
Establishing the difference is what can make Divination so tricky, you just have to go with your gut, and there is no card trickier than the Moon card.
Constant in inconstancy, fidelity in fickleness…
Part Two coming up tomorrow, that’s Sunday, or else Moon-day *cough* 🙂
Revisiting an old blog. Similar issues afoot again.
Sprog Senior was unsettled by rumours at work. She works as a vet nurse and the vet owner was thinking of selling. Was she already facing redundancy, having been there only a very few months? She asked her boss directly, who answered that his plans were not finalised, and he would be letting everyone know in the next week or so.
Very unsettling. On Sunday Sprog Senior asked , when did the Tarot see her knowing for sure, and would it be welcome news for her, or unwelcome?
I asked ‘will it be Monday?’ and drew The Ace of Cups reversed.
‘It probably won’t be tomorrow. You look as if you are in for one of those harmless, slightly dull days where nothing particular happens.’
I asked, will it be Tuesday, and drew the Death card , signifying endings in general, as well as, um, the literal ending of death itself.
‘Now, this could be news of a business winding down, or a termination of employment. But the Death card’s right way up; it isn’t feeling like bad news. I’d be expecting something else if it’s bad news. The Tower, maybe, or the Five of Pentacles or the Five of Swords.’
The Five of Pentacles is the ultimate card of unemployment. The Tower would mean a shock.
The Five of Swords is defeat, often with an added sense of humiliation. If someone is wondering whether to ‘go there’ in some kind of fight, this card warns against it. It will be ugly, you will probably lose, and worse than that, it will achieve nothing of worthwhile value.
As it turned out, the Death card proved correct, but not in respect of my older daughter’s question. Someone did leave a job on Tuesday but it was my younger daughter, still a student at the time, leaving a summer job. Hotel housekeeping, and she was not sorry to go. Someone pooped on the sheets and expected her to clear it up, but they rolled it up in a sheet, and she didn’t discover the poo inside until…well, never mind. (Why did they not tidy up as best they could after themselves and at least flush it down the loo?)
Let’s just say, my younger daughter was not devastated to be sacked for her failure to find an adult lady’s poo rolled up in a sheet and left for her to deal with. They didn’t pay enough.
Back to my older daughter’s question. Would she find out about her job on Wednesday?
I drew The Magician card, equating to Odin and Woden. Wednesday.
‘Aha! I think you can expect news on Wednesday, and I think it’s good news.’
The Magician is about mastery and control, so it described the owner but it was at the same time a good omen for her continued employment.
This image seemed particularly suitable as the organisation in question was a veterinary practice.
Message Received Tuesday at 18.15 ‘Staff meeting tomorrow with N’ (the boss)
Message Received Wednesday 17.29 Full merge with Y to commence in 2 weeks….jobs are safe (at least for a few months while they see how things pan out)
In summary: they would want to keep her on, and the next question was, would she want to stay?
If you have a Tarot deck why not give it a go yourself:-
Monday, The Moon card Tuesday, The Tower (Tyr’s/Tew’s day) Wednesday, The Magician (Odin’s/Woden’s day) Thursday, The Wheel of Fortune Friday, The Empress, Friday (Freya’s day) Saturday, (Saturn’s Day) The World card Sunday, the Sun card.
The rain beat down on the garage roof, washing August away, just as it had washed July away and most of June before that. The British Isles, like most of northern Europe, was losing its summer. It was coming soon, Joe thought, and fear gripped his belly.
He held Suzette, stroking her to calm himself while he considered the situation. Deciding when to put to sea was tricky. Too late would be…too late, but if he embarked too soon, he’d be eating into provisions unnecessarily. Noah had provisioned for a voyage lasting ten months, but then, he’d had the benefit of inside information.
‘We’ll be all right, Suzy, hinny,’ he told his pet, ‘I’ll make sure of that. But what am I going to do about the wife?’
Suzette cocked her head as if considering, her beady gaze held his, unblinking. Joe had tried to explain to Linda about the bird’s intelligence, but Linda detested Suzette, and said pigeons were thick, and they were vermin, and good for nothing but a pie. Joe knew better, and that that was just Linda’s jealousy talking. Suzette’s plumage was the colour of heather on the moors, or the hills at twilight, and with the little bird’s plump warmth in his hand, he always felt better, somehow.
He tidied away and she followed, pecking at wood shavings, picking them up and dropping them again until he was done and scooped her up, dropping a kiss on the top of the small head, hard as a nut, placing her in the cage he had built for her.
‘Sweet dreams, little hen. See you in the morning.’ The cage had everything he could think of; a nest box, a perch, toys, even a mirror. She had everything but the company of her own kind and the open sky, but Joe didn’t think she minded. He had reared her from a chick, hatching the egg in his beanie; she had never known anything else.
It was after five. Time to get the tea on before Linda came home from work. Joe went through into the house, there was a connecting door – straight into the hallway and no need to get wet.
Joe was an unemployed shipwright, nearly twenty years at Swan Hunter until the day came when they all got the chop and he had come home, stumbling with shock, his leaving cards in his hands, and walked in to find Linda, his wife, on the sofa on top of one of his friends. He’d never forget the look on her face as she ground her hips, looking down avid at the man on the sofa. Then she turned and saw him, and the look changed. Joe’s love for his wife died on the spot, snuffed out by the shock, though later when he calmed down, he understood why she’d done it.
They were childless. Joe was sad about it, but for Linda it was a sporadic madness, a devouring need she could not leave alone. I want more tests, she’d said. I want IVF. But Joe wouldn’t agree, and it wasn’t the money, though they had little enough of that to spare. No, it wasn’t that. But forcing gates just broke things in his experience, starting with the gate itself and now, he decided that Linda’s betrayal was not only a desperate attempt at a solution, but revenge.
Resisting his first terrible, desperate desire to punch her into the middle of next week – though he caught his friend later in an alley and gave him a kicking that left the other man retching on hands and knees, Joe mulled it over and decided he’d accept whatever blameless little cuckoo came as a result of this betrayal. He was even, secretly and not without a sense of shame, a little excited at the prospect and caught himself waiting, counting, watching for signs. But Linda’s plan, if that’s what it had been, came to nothing. Joe realised with the dullness of grief, there was not going to be any nestling. Not even a cuckoo. They talked about divorce but neither made the first move, and so they carried on, together but apart.
It was one night soon after this, that Joe had had The Dream. Had not God told Noah, hadn’t He solemnly promised, he would never do it again? But look what He was up to now! Flooding was never out of the news, rescue boats plying high streets the length and breadth of Britain and the price of everything going up. Lying as if paralysed in his solitary bed, staring sightless at the wall, Joe saw a land drowned by rain and river, sea and sky, and a wave that came as if from nowhere, the water cycle violently seeking new stasis as the ice caps melted.
He watched helpless, as a torrent came down the Tyne, bent bridges like hair grips and shoved them out to sea. People were swept away or crushed as they ran with their screeching children for the high places, and were overtaken. The Angel of the North looked on as buildings, bridges, roads were pulled apart like Lego, chewed and spat out. Afterwards came a hush, and the smell of rot, and the thriving of flies as the terrible silence and the empty days stretched on.
Everyone had nightmares and usually it was little more than a case of cheese at bedtime, Joe understood that perfectly well. But he also knew it could be something altogether different, something so much more. He’d foreseen his mother’s death in a dream and ignored it…it was only a dream, wasn’t it, and then, three days later they’d found her, dead on her bed, arm outstretched for the pills she’d been trying to reach, just as he’d seen in his dream.
There was indigestion, and there was prophecy, it wasn’t easy deciding which was which. Joe hadn’t forgiven himself for not going to his mother, he could not, and now, waking with a headache and needing to be sick, he decided this time, he would not turn away, to betray his vision. He would trust himself and carry out his own shipbuilding project. He did not tell anyone. Who would have believed him, and there was no-one he cared to confide in. But if a shipwright wasn’t up to the challenge, who was?
His decision made, Joe now had a plan, and was in oddly high spirits, negotiating the purchase of a little boat and two dinghies, spending every penny of his redundancy money. Linda spat fury. She even threw things, but Joe did not explain, didn’t make any attempt at trying to enlighten her, just stayed out of her way in the garage, customizing the boat, a seventeen-foot Arran, adding an outboard motor, a petrol tank and an automatic pump. He extended the tiny day cabin, and carpentered drop-down stabilizers, enabling the boat to function as a trimaran.
He applied himself, learning to use a compass and maps, he followed the shipping news. He took to hanging around the trawlers at Tynemouth until a skipper agreed to take him out as an unpaid pair of hands and he threw up all the way out and back again. Meteorology classes came next, and geography field trips with the Workers Education Institute.
Joe became a man of singular education, and though he had few certificates to show for it, he knew he was going to be put to the ultimate test, and he didn’t know when, but it would be soon. Meanwhile, he stopped seeing the few friends he’d kept in touch with after the thing with Linda, and kept his own counsel – the thing was too big, anyway, he wouldn’t have known how to set about telling people. He avoided Linda and he made the evening meal without fail every evening, his tribute for the uneasy peace between them, and was mixing a vinaigrette for a salad when the slam of the front door said Linda was home, and not in a good humour.
Linda Steel had one of those upside-down mouths that said she rarely smiled, and she was almost entirely sure she hated her husband with a passion. She would look at his lean, rangy body, and then his soft eyes, his soft mouth, almost flower-like in its softness, and think how deceptive were appearances. Joe was hard and cold, merciless and unyielding. He’d never touched her since that day. He barely ever even looked at her, never mind talked to her but he’d driven her to it, not listening to her about the baby. They ate in silence, rain oozing down the window panes, thick as dog slobber.
‘You do know it’s the Great Flood again, Linda?’ Joe said suddenly, over a forkful of tomato. She goggled at him, ‘You what?’
‘The Great Flood,’ he said, and took another mouthful. He had debated whether to say anything and had decided not to, but it seemed something within him had a different idea, some vestige of a love long dead, or just pity, ‘coming soon to a town near you. Want to ride it out with me, come with me on the boat? I’ll be taking it down to Tynemouth day after tomorrow.’
Linda spluttered and began to choke. Joe watched impassively. Her eyes were like gooseberries and he didn’t like gooseberries. Why did he used to think she was so pretty? It wasn’t until Linda’s face began to go purple that he scraped back his chair and slapped her back for her. Slap, slap, SLAP.
‘Water,’ she croaked, flapping her hand. He fetched it and sat down again. ‘You know,’ he went on as if nothing had happened, ‘we’ll need to be well out to sea when that wave comes in, not to get caught between it and the river. Then if we make it, if we can get clear, we’ll sail up to Hexham. Or mebbes the Cheviots. Whatever – Noah used the dove, Suzette’ll help us find the best place.’
‘I’d laugh,’ she said, still wheezing, ‘Except I’m not sure you’re joking? What have you been up to, Joe? Been at the wacky baccy, have we, out there in the garage? This isn’t Bangladesh or Japan. We don’t get tsunamis here.’
She drained the tumbler of water. ‘Aye, well,’ he said, clearing the plates. ‘We do actually. Ever heard of the Bristol tsunami, 1607? Ever heard there was a time once, you could walk from here to Denmark, till a tsunami drowned the land bridge? But never mind. Cassandra couldn’t tell them either.”
‘The wooden horse,’ Joe explained. ’She knew it was bad news, but you can’t tell people, can you? But I had to try. You’re still my wife, for what it’s worth.’
‘Oh, I see,’ she said, not seeing at all. ‘Well, thank you, kind sir, you bloody loony. I’m very grateful, I’m sure.’’
The Dream came to Joe again that night. Linda heard his whimpers through the wall, and thought, serves him right, turning over and pulling the duvet past her ears. Many a night she had cried herself to sleep.
Next day the boat was ready. One of the dinghies held provisions, while the other was for Linda, kitted with a week’s iron rations. Suzette perched on the rim preening, while Joe checked the inventories. Next evening he led Linda into the garage for instructions. She listened, arms folded, tapping her foot. ‘And how long may we expect this little jaunt to last?’ she said bitingly, ‘may one venture to ask when your lordship will be coming home?’
He sighed. ‘You don’t get it, do you, Linda?’
It was sausages and mash for tea, and Linda found sausages a lot easier to swallow than Joe’s prophecy, but watching the evening news, she was bound to agree things were getting alarming. ‘But it was as bad as this, almost, last year,’ she fretted, sitting alone with her coffee. ‘Nothing but rain and everyone ranting and raving about global warming. But August wasn’t too bad, and September, well, it was pretty good.’
Next morning they exchanged the barest of farewells. Linda spent the day at work dodging dripping ceilings and strategically positioned buckets, and came home to find he’d gone, the crackpot, just as he’d said, and so had the boat and that bloody useless bird. The silence boomed as she peeled off her sopping tights, and looked in the fridge. She couldn’t be bothered to cook. She made a cup of tea and cheese sandwiches instead, eating on the prowl, uneasy and unexpectedly lonely without her old enemy in range.
‘Well, pardon me for pointing this out’, she said to the empty room and the invisible Joe. ‘I’d hate to contradict you, Joe, but the world still appears to be here.’
But then in the small hours, something woke her. Strange noises in the street. She dashed to the window and looked out but the street was dark, the street lights were all out. A power cut again! She flung up the window and shrieked. Her car – everybody’s car – was heading down the street, borne on a rising tide. Other heads came poking out of windows, voices ascended, shrill with alarm. The street was a river. The river was growing. The rain was stabbing the earth to death.
Linda flew down the stairs and was met by water. She dragged the garage door open; a cold rill flowed round her thighs. Wading to the dinghy, her effort was impeded by the dark, and the ballooning of her pyjama bottoms. Linda sobbed, teeth chattering, as she flopped in bottom first, and fumbled to untie the mooring rope. Thank God she’d left the outer garage doors open as per Joe’s instructions. You’ll be trapped like a rat otherwise, he had warned her, and despite herself, despite everything, she had listened. Thank God.
‘Oh, Joe,’ she whimpered, and remembered all the ways she’d ever loved him, and he had loved her. And Joe had wanted her to make it, he had, sincerely, but she did not, all the same.
His vision was both correct and not. It was a point of technicality. Not the dam. The monstrous wave that came racing across the North Sea from Norway, the fatal collapse of a fjord wall, would have scuppered Linda’s frail chances for sure, but Joe’s pet had already secured the ultimate negative outcome. Rubber might not be tasty, but shredding it was a small amusement for a little bird in a moment of boredom, and now the idle activity of Suzette’s tiny beak slowly but surely laid waste Joe’s careful planning for his wife’s separate survival. Linda’s dead body went spinning down Church Street to St Peters, where her ankle got hooked in railings, and she was trapped there, a dancer graceful in eternal pilgrimage.
Joe came sailing in over her head some days later, coming in from the sea, following Suzette as they headed west under clear and sunny skies. The sea was blue again after the months of grey, and sparkling in the sun, but there were things in the water that did not bear looking at and Joe was careful not to look. What good would it do? The past was dead and gone. His new life started now.
First Published in ‘More Tonto Short Stories,’ by Tonto Press, 2007 . Performed at The Durham Book Fair, 2008 and & later, revised and published on-line with ‘Litro’ Magazine, 2014
A tale of two cats ( and there’s another Miaow Tarot Tale or two in the archives.) Daughter Numera Una, an Animal Care Assistant, and a brill one; rang one evening, ‘we have lost Elsa- cat. Will you look in your cards about it? We’ve been searching and calling for the last three hours.’
She had recently moved address and had two cats, both girls, Elsa and Salem. Elsa was very gentle, borderline dozy, Salem’s practically a genius. Here they are. Elsa top, Salem below with RT. You might be forgiven for wondering which one is the thickie and vice- versa. All I can say is, Salem was being seriously disrespected, being made to wear that pink combo which was actually Elsa’s.
Where might Elsa be? Let me say loud and clear I had no idea, how would I?
I drew the Moon card first, look at the picture, and put it to my daughter, that Elsa-cat might have been frightened from returning by a barking dog living only a door or two away.
She confirmed there was a barking dog Elsa didn’t like.
Other meanings for this card: lies, hunting, danger, tricky travel, infection, fertility, psychic dreams,paranoia. But this immediate pictorial association was most I felt was most relevant to Elsa’s absence. Often this is how a Tarot reader works, look-and-speak-and-sod-the-book-meanings.
Next, I drew The Four of Swords; a knight entombed. This card signifies isolation, sickness, hospital visits, chapels and tombs and raised the obvious question, had she got stuck or trapped? I thought of wheelie bins and asked was a collection due next morning? Artemis was horrified, thinking of a notorious incident in the media where a woman had maliciously swiped a kitty into a wheelie bin but the refuse collectors had already been that morning, and I decided Elsa was not trapped inside a wheelie bin, but might well be hiding behind one.
I drew the Five of Wands and asked RT had she been to Number Five to ask if Elsa had been seen there? Yes she had, and the woman had kindly checked her out-houses.
She asked, was Elsa coming home that night?
I drew three more cards, all upside down and said no, I didn’t see that, but I tended to think it would be all right. Elsa was not dead. She was not hurt. She was disorientated by the move, and hiding, no more than three properties away.
Animals may be the primary department of St Francis, but that former librarian, St Anthony, patron saint of lost things, has kindly helped us with lost beasts before, and I suggested she ask him for help in bringing Elsa home.
Next morning I received this message.
Elsa-Smellsa just found 🙂 Could hear plaintive meowing when we called from the back garden coming from property to our rear so walked round and found her cowering down a little ginnel! She was very hungry but none the worse for wear. Salem was behaving very strangely this morning. I think St Antony acted through her somehow…It was her lead I followed when listening out for the meows!
What did I tell you? That Salem cat’s a genius. Yes, and of course, thank you too. Thank you very much, St Antony.
(You don’t have to be Catholic to ask him; we’re not, but sainthood is a state of grace and they won’t hold it against you)
I had a wisdom tooth removed on Monday. I had been putting it off for a long time, five years in fact, on the principle of letting sleeping teeth lie, and following a r-a-t-h-e-r lengthy, nasty and in fact cack-handed previous extraction that left with me with mild parasthesia lasting a year and a half, haunted by a mental picture of a fractured jaw and maybe total and permanent facial paralysis next time.
Anyway, the tooth began to show signs of giving trouble in March and I decided next time I saw my lovely dentist, Catriona, in April, I would instruct her to just go for it and do the deed. She’d been a bit anxious about the tooth for some time, tactfully tending it at check-ups while awaiting my ‘green for go’.
We’d agreed we wouldn’t agree when to do it. We wouldn’t pencil the extraction in ahead of time. Some time when I came in, I’d just tell her to take it out right now and we’d go for it, thus sparing me a wait with the appointment looming like some little Sword of Damocles. She is what I call a properly skilled and emotionally intelligent medical professional.
But *gulp* how would it go this time? The day before my appointment, marked in as a check-up only, I pulled a single Tarot card and drew The Queen of Swords from my Universal Waite deck. Here she is, by kind permission of U.S Games Systems.
Here are the book meanings for this card: The Widow, or necromancer. This card symbolises independence, at its best. Power, intelligence, tactical thinking. The ability to streamline a problem, and find the solution without fuss. At worst, The Queen of Swords can represent isolation, depression and cruelty.
I looked at her and thought, hello there, Catriona. So many times in the past, when this card has shown up in readings for others, it has represented, literally, a woman doctor, dentist, surgeon or lawyer.
Here she was, and on fighting form. Here I was too, another Queen of Swords in the sense that I had made my mind up and Swords is the suit of decision-making.
I put the card back into the deck, shuffled and pulled another card.
And I drew The Queen of Swords again. The card had come up dignified (right way up) and not ill-dignified. I therefore decided it would be fine this time, as done by Catriona.
I took homeopathic arnica 6 beforehand, and afterwards to reduce swelling. It works.
And, a little esoteric detail for those interested in these sorts of associations, the moon was a waning gibbous moon (click the link to view) So much the better for an extraction, some would say, who study these things.
One smooth, though startlingly forceful tug, numbed to the gills, just one, and it was farewell to the devilish dentition, and with no nasty aftermath, either.
Il Matrimonio said how lucky I was, lamenting only that my mouth couldn’t stay numb for three months and not three hours, thus earning himself a swipe to the head, and I think that he too, was lucky.
I am currently re-reading the lively and highly accessible ‘The Daughter Of Time,’ by Josephine Tey It’s a novel; a fictional but fact based whodunnit, still recommended reading for history students. It’s pro-Ricardian, offering a probably Not-Guilty of infanticide verdict.
Some are asking, are they burying the right man? Genetics expresses the odds as 6.7 million to one it’s him but the paternal line is unproven. Also: analysis of various genetic markers offered tantalizing clues to Richard III’s appearance — suggesting that he was not the dark-haired, steely-eyed monarch portrayed in well-known historical images. “There are genes that we know are involved in coding for hair and eye color … The genetic evidence shows he had a 96% probability of having blue eyes, and a 77% probability of having blond hair, though this can darken with age.”
Read and hear more about the genetic discoveries Here
The reconstructed head has the same twist to the mouth and jaw of the portraits but they’ve still got to leap gaps using artistic license and his portrait eyebrows ain’t bushy. Look at this pair of unbrushed caterpillars they’ve adorned him with.
I drew a card asking have they got the right body? I treat an upright card as a probable yes, an upside down card as a probable no. Look atta card drawn, co-incidentally enough, how’s that image for synchronicity? The next card I drew seemed to support this. It was The World card; representing the world at large, as in, a return to the world, also signifying the end of a cycle or story.
Did Richard have his nephews murdered, yes or no?
I sense a 25% likelihood.
If they died on his watch, or if one of them did, let’s say, Edward, it might not necessarily have been murder, or not double murder. Maybe one or the other died, and it made for an extremely awkward situation but it was not murder.
The two bodies discovered in the Tower in the reign of Charles 11 might settle it, one might think. But, no. The remains are apparently ‘beyond reach’ of testing. Besides it seems DNA testing of these would still not necessarily settle the question definitively according to this article from The Guardian. The difference between Richard being the murderer and Henry, could have been a time difference of a mere three months or so, dating from the last known sighting of the Princes until the death of Richard on the battlefield at Bosworth.
Meanwhile there remains the question of Perkin Warbeck.
Whatever happened seems to have been a cause of great, one might say, additional grief to Richard. Six of Cups (children) The Devil (evil fortune, a trap, powerlessness) and the Five of Cups (grief about children, grief for a wife and for what might have been.) He had much to grieve for, even without such a burden of either responsibility, or the awareness of injustice. Monstrous times, monstrous events. We’re lucky, those of us who’ll never have to wrangle problems on the the scale this man did; the word here is tragic. I feel the remains belong in York Minster, and they say he spent some happy times in Middleham.
If Leicester has him, maybe it needs him more.
Truth, wrote Sir Francis Bacon, is the Daughter of Time not Authority. Maybe read ‘The Daughter Of Time’, see what you think.
For twelve years now, I have been reading on an occasional basis for a local business owner; an independent fashion retailer. She has been running her business in Lytham town centre for more than thirty years, and uses my Tarot as an occasional sounding board and second opinion. It can be lonely being the boss of a small staff; a great weight of responsibility, getting enough sales for her own needs and their secured salary needs. The business is very high-end and relies on a loyal customer base. It had a few narrow squeaks for a while a few years back, but I saw and said it would survive the worst of the recession OK and was delighted that it did; this lady is a deserving gem.
The card above is from The Gilded Tarot, by kind permission of Ciro Marchetti, The Queen of Pentacles refers here to a woman with a head for business, and a strong practical and aesthetic sense.
This particular Queen has run a rich and varied assortment of questions by my Tarot over the years to do with premises, improvements, and sub-letting areas of premises, stock-buying and recruiting, as well as a few family matters.
Recently she asked if it looked like a good idea, would it work out well, would the lady sell well for her if she employed a lady called, let’s say, Lynne.
I reported back with the findings. Lynne looked like a good bet. A few days later I was amused to get a message saying, sorry, she had forgotten to mention, there were two candidates for the position, both called Lynne. Which one had I actually meant in delivering the Tarot’s findings?
I did the reading again to tease the two candidates apart. Both looked suitable, but one had the Queen of Pentacles drawn against her name, Lynne B. This gave her a slight edge as the more promising saleswoman.
Did my client choose Lynne B? I don’t know yet. My clients are independent minded people and that’s how I like it. Experience tells me I will hear in due course.
It works by what Jung called synchronicity (see @Tarot Card Philosophy – HowStuffWorks.) The reader uses the imagery and numbers with all their associated symbolism to help them articulate their intuitive impressions more precisely.
Tarot is an old western esoteric artifact, but is only one of many available systems of divination.
The 78 cards offer a symbolic language. The reader ‘uploads’ a ‘programme’ by learning the meanings and associations of the cards. In a reading, the reader draws cards blindly and at random, and uses the imagery on the cards as a prompt, to share what they feel about a given person, situation or question. The thing that is most amazing, even uncanny, is the absolute relevance of cards drawn at random and blindly (being upside down when they are drawn). This is where the apparent miracle of synchronicity occurs.
The Wheel of Fortune; Public Domain
How does the reader choose cards supposedly at random, which so appropriately identify the enquirer’s situation or question? It can be darn spooky.
The answer is, the reader doesn’t know exactly. They simply trust, or learn to trust the unconscious process. What they have done is trained/strengthened a natural faculty by uploading a kind of programme or whether Tarot, or Astrology or Runes. There are many such ‘programmes’.
Sometimes the card does not actually contain literal relevant imagery. How could a deck of 78 cards contain all the possible images in the world? The cards deal with this by using archetypes, eg The Chariot = effort, progress, ambition, team work, or literally, a vehicle. Any vehicle or a driving job, or test.
Each card has a number of possible meanings attached, and this starts with book knowledge but the reader must still make a leap of intuition in deciding which meaning applies. Such a leap in the dark may result in a ‘psychic’ insight, where all existing book meanings for the card is bypassed and a unique meaning arrived at.
During one reading I drew the Page of Cups from the Universal Waite. The card generally signifies happy new developments, sometimes a welcome gift or a message. On this occasion, I looked at it and without thinking, asked the lady, did she ate a lot of those pink and white marshmallows? She was astonished and so was I, and we laughed when she opened her hand bag and there was a packet of those same marshmallows inside it.
It was the pink and white of the picture that leapt to my attention and prompted my question; the rest went into the background. How, exactly that happened, I do not know. I was almost but not equally astonished as my visitor and by now, take it for granted that a conference with the Tarot can result in these experiences.
Tarot accesses a natural talent of the most normal, ancient human mind. We all possess it. A ‘psychic’ reader is simply someone who noticed it, been interested and through study self training and often many years of practice, gone on to exercise and develop this natural ability, rather like a muscle of the mind.
Recently, there was a sudden death in the extended family circle. Not close to me, personally, but untimely and deeply sad, and I’d been seeing the Tower card for early June, ever since the end of April and had been holding myself slightly in readiness for unwelcome news. The Tower delivered more bad stuff after this sad event, and it’s still on-going, very sadly but it also did another job, to do with timing.
I asked the Tarot, what day of the week will V’s funeral be held?
I drew The Tower card and said to Il Matrimonio who’d asked. ‘I think it will be on a Tuesday.’
The Tower card corresponds to Mars, god of war, who is Tyr or Tew in Norse mythology, and Tyr gives his name to Tuesday. This ultimate warrior lost his hand in binding the great wolf Fenris, who threatened to eat the world.
Four days later we learned the funeral will be held on Tuesday 1 July.
Tarot and timing is notoriously tricky amongst readers, but there are a number of ways of having a stab at predicting when a thing might happen using the cards.
A dominance of Swords and Wands cards indicate now, soon or quickly. A dominance of Pentacles and Cups cards indicates later, gradually, delays.
Days of the Week correlations:
Monday The Moon card Tuesday, The Tower (Tyr’s/Tew’s day) Wednesday, The Magician (Odin’s/Woden’s day) Thursday, The Wheel of Fortune Friday, The Empress, Friday (Freya’s day) Saturday, (Saturn’s Day) The World card Sunday, the Sun card.
Inheritance is a meeting point of past, present and future, taking many forms, physical and immaterial. Goods, prospects, genes, ideas. How different in character will the legacy you leave differ or depart from the legacies you have inherited?
The Tarot’s card of Inheritance, both material and immaterial: money, property, ancestry, genes, culture, is The Ten of Pentacles/Coins/Disks.
See the harvest mouse, custodian of the family riches. These riches are about far more than money.Appearing in a reading right way up, I am being shown that the person feels well-supported by family. They have the security of a sense of belonging. Reversed, the picture is of someone struggling about this, labouring under a sense of alienation, or injustice over wills and other inheritance issues. Or they may be feeling that their family background has been a burden rather than a resource.
The Tarot’s comment to people coming to discuss the disinheriting of challenging children has so far been Justice above all. Equal shares between children, no matter what the relationship, no matter what the history. That one does not get on with a child is sad. It is a misfortune in life, and one may not like one’s child, just as a child may not like its parent. One might even love someone, without liking them. It happens.
But it could be argued that retribution through the power of inheritance is a betrayal of the principle of inheritance, that an unjust will is toxic and divides families for many years to come, perhaps for ever.
Where is our ‘true’ well-spring? Without knowing our family history, we’ll probably never know, and no-one can know all of it, but a lot can be guessed because it’s lodged in you somewhere still. You might be the spitting image of a great-great-grandparent. You might be wearing their face reborn, cast to reflect your own spirit. You might have their skills and talents, their voice and intonation, even their mannerisms, when all your life you had thought you were the ‘odd one out’.
“You and I can turn and look at the silent river and wait. We know the current is there, hidden; and there are comings and goings from miles away that hold the stillness exactly before us. What the river says, that is what I say.”