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 V, and they’re rather weighty matters.
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 for a final night in beautiful 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.
A client wanted the Tarot’s particular handle on a relationship breakdown which now threatened to become permanent. He thought he knew where he had gone wrong, but was he reading this right, and what were the prospects for mending the situation? Asking for a Tarot’s eye view of the problem the crux of the story read like this:
King Swords RX – this man has made a negatively perceived decision.
Seven of Pentacles – this woman wants a home, is ready to cultivate an orchard.
Nine of Pentacles Rx – this woman is a highly practical thinker, is queen of her own turf, and gives orders at work rather than takes them, but after more than three years together, not living together and without marriage or babies, she needs to see progress.
Both cards reflecting these very natural motives are earth suit cards; work, money, bricks and mortar, foundations, security, comfort, what and whom pays the piper.
Images by kind permission of Ciro Marchetti and are from The Gilded Tarot
The lady, in her early thirties, asked him to move into her home, which she owns, but this would mean a short distance relocation for the man who declined/deferred/ citing work and family concerns. There were other issues, too, based round mutual trust, but Tarot presented this word ‘home’ as the deal-breaker
Further cards: Page Cups, Ace Wands.
The lady has a job she likes and is good at, in hotel management, but the birth card, the page of cups, talks about the biological clock, asking, when is a good time to start a family? No such thing perhaps as a convenient time, but for the woman in particular there may be a fear of leaving it too late. After so much time together, this lady seemed to feel it was time to put up or shut up. He declined the invitation (challenge) to move things onward and upward so she had withdrawn, although with expressions of regret.
The Seven of Pentacles says she is reluctant to start all over again, however, so perhaps, and unless she meets someone extremely suitable for her in the near future, this card of harvesting a slow fruit may, just may, turn things in his favour if he wants to recover the situation and is willing and able to, but the Ace Wands – think, movement, relocation, speed, fire, (also conception) suggests he needs to take decisive action, and soon, to make that happen. To win the fair lady for keeps, he needs to ‘man up’, and fast.
However, people tend to do whatever comes most naturally; advice will often fall on fallow ground and this is why my Tarot does not offer advice, except in the form of answering the clients clearly stated question.
My client saw this as his predicament, and so it was, but he had unwittingly also created one for the lady, not seeing that her needs had changed while his had not. Many women seem to find themselves in just this same sort of predicament these days. That’s a whole other can of worms, but some choose the bird and afterwards they build a nest together. Some women nowadays build the nest themselves, then choose the bird to come and join them there or else they tire of waiting and looking and proceed to fill the nest, a queen alone.
Carl Jung speculated that the Tarot works according to the principle of ‘synchronicity’- that psychic insights are triggered by apparently random and yet meaningful co-incidence, which he thought might be explained by Quantum Mechanics.
This Tarot king represents a man who is patient, kind, industrious. He is the salt of the earth. I said to the client that I thought he was a manager, and the work was practical in nature but also involved communication. It demanded precision or the ‘thing’ wouldn’t work but I didn’t ‘see’ as yet see what his job might actually be.
‘I might get at it though,’ I said, ‘now that my computer is talking directly to your computer.’
What I meant by that was, I felt we were on the same wavelength.
‘But that IS my job! I work for the government. That’s what I do…I make computers talk to other computers.’
Last time here on True Tarot Tales, the Moon card caused me to enquire about whether there had been a recent instance close by, of an upset tummy, possibly food poisoning, and it turned out, just as the Moon card classically depicts two dogs barking at the moon, two of the client’s dogs had been unwell after retrieving a ball from a dirty ditch.
Infection and disease may be flagged up by an appearance by the Moon card.
And so can flooding. I first saw this manifesting in my own cards during a Skype reading of 2010 for a client whose father lives in Pakistan, and her father had had to move house after flooding.
November 13, reading for someone in respect of a property in Hawick and the prospects for sale, I felt it might sell in August/September 2016, but, having drawn the Moon card, I asked the client, was there a river close to the property, and if there was, did it flood? Because I sensed flooding as a barrier to sale.
I was told the property is a top floor apartment, and is close to The Teviot but it had not flooded during the time the client had lived there (not many years) Nor had the client been aware or deterred by the proximity of the river when buying.
But, and very unfortunately for all affected, and by no means for the first time in its history Hawick flooded badly in early December.
I still sense my client may move home in 2016, I draw the Six of Swords which indicates progress and very often a domestic relocation, and certainly within the next two years, but the pathway may be more complex than anticipated when the property went on the market, and may, suggests the strategic Seven of Swords, involve the unwanted complication of a letting arrangement.
And, let us hope this is unduly doomful, no reader is infallible; I see signs we may well not be done with this Moon business yet. I draw the Moon card again, when asking about UK weather into February. Greater accuracy would demand a regional or even more break down, but there seems to be more ‘warm air’ coming where we don’t want it; the King of Wands Reversed.
A skeptical friend, who lives in Cumbria joked recently, that of all the religions he doesn’t believe in, the one he could perhaps go for is the Norse gods, and he may perhaps, even ask Freyr for help. Maybe it’s not such a crazy idea, and this morning, there is snow lying here on the Lancashire coast. But whatever you do, ask politely.
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.’
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* 🙂
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
Oh no! Oh, yes, I’m afraid. I wish it wasn’t so, but I undertake to demonstrate divination at work in the real world. Sometimes it’s fun, at least for me and I hope it is for you but sometimes it just can’t be. The title gives fair warning. Pass by if you can’t bear it, but if you’re learning Tarot, try to stay with it and not flinch. You may one day find yourself faced with someone in deep distress, hoping to find not solutions or advice, but some kind of sustenance, or at least meaning in their situation. The Tarot will rise to these occasions, if you will. because the Tarot is you, yourself, your deepest, archaic and arcane self.
Her Golden Tarot is another favourite, but one likes to ring the changes now and then.
It’s duckling time again out on the pond, and Nature is wreaking carnage, red in beak and claw. The most relentless predators by day are the sea-gulls. There are two duck mothers this season; one with an excellent track record of rearing and one with a dismal record. The successful mother has for the past 3 years, the neighbours downstairs tell us, reared at least 6 ducklings to independence from a brood of 12-15. The less successful mother loses them all and cries loudly. Anyone who says animals don’t feel what we do doesn’t watch closely enough. If they forget more quickly than we do, if they do, and I have my doubts, well, they need to, and it’s a blessed mercy.
It was cold, and the dismal duck was down to the last of her twelve ducklings on Monday night when Il Matrimonio went over to the pond to feed them, watching as the last duckling ran calling after its mother and she ignored it, eating and then wandering off. Maybe she had given up, and decided it was just no use, and all was lost.
A gull alighted, lingering near the duckling as it crouched shivering, calling for its mother. Seeing this Il Matrimonio could bear it no more, and it was not a ‘good’ thing to do; he knew that; we’ve watched enough David Attenborough, but there it is. The HUMAN animal, male as well as female, is hot-wired to respond to the cry of an infant in distress, and to the immediate, the personal and the particular.
Therefore, enter Il Matrimonio with one shivering duckling. By bedtime it had eaten enthusiastically (not bread; proprietary duck food) It had drunk lots, splashed about in a shallow dish and done much sitting in cupped hands, clearly regarding these as a warm place and acceptable brooding alternative.
It slept on a towel in the bath, curled into the lap of a large teddy bear. Next day it ran around, ate, drank, paddled, pecked my bare feet, calling for its mother, and was incessantly demanding of Il Matrimonio’s cupped hands for brooding.
‘What’s the plan?’ I fretted, ‘it’s been warmed and fed; it needs other ducks; it needs its mother, to go back as soon as possible and take its chances along with the other ducklings. Maybe the other duck will take it.’
Ducks can count, of course. There was no question of her being fooled by the appearance of an extra duckling.
‘It would be murder,’ said Il Matrimonio. The other duck was unlikely to accept it.
The one hope, and it was a long shot, was to get little D big enough to be safe from gulls, then return it in clement weather, and let it take its chances then. And indeed, it seemed to grow bigger even overnight.
But after Il Matrimonio brought D in on Monday night, I had drawn The Devil card, The Four of Coins and Death.
The Devil shows Pan/Nature in violent aspect. This is the truth, that Nature is full of violence. One creature or many creatures must die for another to live.
The Four of Coins represents holding on, a holding action, a brooding of money or other material possessions or objects.
Death speaks for itself. Many Tarot readers today won’t have it that the Death card may actually represent Death. Too unpalatable. Sorry to disagree. Call me old-fashioned, but the oracular mind is not susceptible to convenient reinvention.
The Death card does not always mean physical death, it is true. It may mean an ending in any other sense, or a transforming situation such as the ending of a job, or other situation, but to say it never does is to create the most enormous elephant in the room. Sometimes it has meant exactly what it says. Death as represented by this card is usually natural, often timely, rarely cruel or violent. There are worse cards the Tarot could use if it needed to communicate a sensing to do with such a terrible picture as that.
Last night at bedtime, little D looked so tired, head drooping as she sat in Il Matrimonio’s hands I felt a misgiving. I said, ‘she looks like she’s dying.’
‘Just a very tired little thing,’ he said, ‘aren’t you? Bed time! Yes!’
Little D passed away very early in the morning, found lying with her eyes shut, still warm, head snugged into the lap of the teddy bear.
Tears in my cup of tea.
Sick? I asked the Tarot? Had she got too cold? Stressed?
‘Strength Reversed’, replied the Tarot.
Little D had no strength left. It had all been just all too much.
She was too dead tired.
Read here for Mallard Duckling Rescue information.
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)
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.
‘Psychics should be licenced,’ Katie-Ellen’s response.
The Question: We require hairdressers to be licensed, why not psychics? They should have to demonstrate actual psychic powers, by some process such as JREF (James Randi Educational Foundation) could design.
A Reader’s Response:
I follow the questioner’s reasoning. As it stands it is ‘caveat emptor.’ How best to protect consumers of such services? The solution proposed however would be neither meaningful nor workable. It demonstrates a lack of understanding.
The best, and in fact, only true judge of value in a psychic reading is the client. Readings generally, though not necessarily, takes place in private and in confidence, which the client is free to break, of course.
Stage psychics are up there to stand or fall for everyone to see; brave souls, whatever your view of them. They are unusually and genuinely gifted communicators for the most part, I would say. But whether a medium is communicating with the minds of the dead, OR is telepathically communicating with the living minds of those who knew the deceased, I would not presume to pronounce. Either way, it is a wonder what can emerge. I am myself, not a medium, but clients have sometimes told me I’ve said something a dead loved one used to say, using exactly their turn of phrase, when there has been no spirit in the room that I have been aware of. I have tended to think, myself, that this happened out of my intense connection in that moment, with the living person sitting right there with me.
The Moon Card from the Universal Waite
To perform at his or her best, the psychic needs to relax on the one hand, and concentrate on the other. The ‘best’, most startlingly accurate insights arise from reading in this state. I once read for two volunteers off the street, reading for them individually in the presence of a journalist. It was for a feature in a magazine. The volunteers were pleased with their readings, but the presence of the journalist was off-putting for me. I said less than I would otherwise have done, because it wouldn’t have been right for these volunteers to have seen their privacy breached in a national circulation magazine.
In this work, the quality of the reading you get will reflect the reader’s own personal and professional capabilities and background, while no resting on laurels is possible and reputation is everything. The client can judge at once, the accuracy, relevance and meaningfulness of what the psychic is saying to them, about them, and their present situation. In respect of forecasts, only time will tell as to accuracy. Confidence in forecasts is based on what is said about the clients present circumstances, and past events.
Often the client provides feedback. Sometimes they don’t, or might do so a long time afterwards. Many today leave feedback on-line, as well as by word of mouth. Free advertising is invaluable to the psychic, while negative feedback can offer a clear warning to potential clients. Do some research before booking a reading and trust yourself in choosing a reader you feel you could relate to, offering a clearly stated service that matches what you are looking for.
A visit to a licensed premises such as a cinema to see a film licensed for release is no guarantee of satisfaction or entertainment. Visiting a trained and qualified counsellor is not any guarantee either, of any meaningful result, and may not be cheap. (I have myself, received training and certification in counselling, to know the difference between a reading and a counselling session.)
One lady I read for had been paying for counselling for six years, and said she felt she had got more help from a reading than from the counselling. The counsellor was qualified and suitably professionally endorsed and indemnified, no doubt. What nail did that counsellor not hit on the head? The reading might not have helped either, but you see the point.
A problem here is that James Randi is not an impartial, disinterested party. His interest is in prosecuting an agenda. This is not compatible with advancing understanding, nor with promoting excellence of customer service. Who would be qualified to do the licencing? The Office of Fair Trading?
The self-avowed ‘committed skeptic’ is not, I think, a true sceptic. They have taken up a stance, and this is not compatible with genuine inquiry. They are more a new, secular kind of Missionary; these come in many guises, including the rational and secular.
If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of psychics, more uncomfortable than you are interested, well, it is not everyone’s cup of tea and it’s fair enough. Do not risk your valuable time and money.
I recently returned from an overseas family vacation driving in Europe, marginally more relaxing than crossing the Alps with Hannibal. OK, it was intense, but let’s keep a sense of proportion. It was nothing like marching with Hannibal. I had scrambled eggs for breakfast every day, once with chopped chives. The sun shone all week. It was instructive, it made a change, and my husband, Il Matrimonio, was in seventh heaven; king of the road in his lovely new black shiny car that he, ahem, loves.
Below we have the The Chariot card from The Gilded Tarot, representing progress, teamwork, ambition, and literally, a vehicle. Image by kind permission of Ciro Marchetti.
Yes, it was Chariot time. What else could one do, but belt up, pray not to need the loo in a hurry; no joke if you’re having to use a wheelchair for any reason, and look and learn?
There was plenty to see; Reims Cathedral, the snowy summit of the Eiger, the battlefields of Ypres. No goats in Switzerland. Perhaps because it was still hot, they were still up on the high pastures. No ghosts in Ypres, or in Polygon Wood, where Kiwis, Aussies and Brits lie, all brothers together, though I wouldn’t have been surprised to have seen one, standing waist high in the tall green fields.
No risk of mal- de- mer, we had gone through the Channel Tunnel. Quick and easy, no fuss, sitting, working up our best French, and in some cases, spoof French, to be spat out 25 minutes in La Belle France.
On the return trip, however, there occurred a minor delay. We had made the crossing. The train had slowed right down. We’d had the announcements thanking us for travelling Euro-Tunnel, and were doing up our seat-belts ready to stop and drive off, when abruptly the train stopped, the lights went out and we were trapped in the dark in the belly of this vast tin-can underwater snake.
We heard announcements and apologies to the effect that power had been lost, preventing us from reaching the platform at Ashford, but hopefully it wouldn’t be long before power was restored.
How long would it be, I wondered? My tarot cards were in my suitcase, but I had my pendulum in my handbag. I held the pendulum, suspending it over my lap and asked, ‘how long till we move? Will it be 5 minutes?’
The pendulum dithered, then began to move in a circle, anti-clockwise. For me, that always means ‘no.’
It wasn’t the answer I was hoping for. So what. That’s the risk in consulting oracles.
‘How long till we move?’ I asked again. ‘Will it be 10 minutes?’ The pendulum hesitated, then began to swing clockwise. For me, that always means yes.
‘Only ten more minutes, with any luck,’ I said to Il Matrimonio, as he sat, tapping his fingers on the steering wheel, in-between kissing it, or wishing he could.
‘Are we there, yet?’ the teen piped up, stirring it from the back of the car.
Il Matrimonio glanced at his watch, to monitor the prediction, and this is why I am able to tell you, the lights came back on, the power was back, and the train began to move, 9 minutes and 50 seconds later.
Anyone can learn to dowse. It’s not magic. OK, it is. It’s everyday human magic. You won’t always get it right. I don’t, but it’s one of those things you get better at with practice.
There are lots of books on the subject, and plenty of how-to articles on-line. No need to spend money to mobilize this magic. You don’t even need to buy a pendulum. You can use a ring on a string, or even a threaded needle, stuck into a cork. You need a cord or string for there to be that crucial swing, when gravity gets hold of the body twitch, when it comes, that’s the answer needing translation, the non-verbal reply coming from your central nervous system.
What you need to do is decide in advance what movement shall mean ‘yes’, what movement shall mean ‘no’, and what shall represent ‘don’t know’, or ‘ask again later.’
Then ask your question, relax, and trust yourself. Learning to trust yourself, that’s the hardest thing you have to teach yourself, if it doesn’t come naturally. It is the challenge in learning Tarot, it is the challenge in using the insights provided by dreams. It is the challenge in learning to believe yourself, and not beat yourself up when you take an instant ‘unfair’ like or dislike to someone or something. Have you ever felt like that and reasoned yourself out of it, only to come full circle?
Your first feeling is the one to trust. It can save much time, energy, heartache, or even money.
You know more than you know you know. Why don’t they teach this in school?
The use of divinatory tools is largely a means of silencing the counter-arguments of the know-it-all front brain. The conscious attention goes to the tool, creating a tiny oasis of stillness in which to more easily connect with the silent voice of the body’s primary intelligence; instinct.
It trumps tunnel vision, any time. Unless, perhaps, it’s a vision in a tunnel.
I have had the cards out on a few football questions recently, out of interest. Not my interest, particularly, but Il Matrimonio’s.
This is such a poisoned chalice. When I get stuff like this right, he’s intrigued and chuffed, but he’s likely to turn round next day and say it was a good guess, or deny I’d told him what I’d told him, the treasonous reptile. If I get it wrong, he’ll jeer, whereupon I beat him back into his vivarium, and would throw a cockroach after him, if I could find one.
I’ll have a go at these questions anyway. I’m not charging for this work, it forms no part of my professional service, not directly. It’s to benefit my own study. How else does may one study the workings of intuition except to test it on those questions where one has no emotional stake?
I looked and said I thought it was Wigan Athletic to win this match. I assessed their chances as 75% likely to win (but I did not see them winning their next match, I tweeted to this effect, and sadly, they didn’t)
He said this was impossible, that none of the pundits agreed. Why not, I asked? Because, he said, Man City were second in the Premier League, Wigan Athletic were in the bottom three, and Wigan hadn’t scored against Man City since 2007.
His objections to the forecast were based on trend, but a pattern may break at any time. Right or wrong, that was what I saw. The odds were in Wigan’s favour plus, I’d got The Magician as the outcome card, and The Magician is Mastery of Skill.
By means of a counting spread, and by using reversals (allowing upside down cards) as a way of qualifying the odds numerically.
I shuffled (which I do abominably) asking, ‘Wigan Athletic to win?’ Then I drew three cards and laid them out in a row. How many upright (‘dignified’) cards did I have? Two out of three. the middle card counted for 50%, the flanking cards for 25% each. The middle and final cards were upright, and the final card was The Magician. This was a wonderful card in the circumstances. It is the ultimate card of Skill and Mastery.
This forecasting method has proven highly reliable. Not infallible, I ‘m no such thing and would never claim to be, but I’d expect to get it right 90% + of the time and am perplexed till I understand why I miss the mark when it happens.
Today, however, I was asked another football question, and arrived at a response very differently.
This time I did not reach for my cards. I was preparing lunch, I just said ‘wait,’ and paused, knife suspended fatefully over an imperilled avocado.
‘Crystal Palace?’ I said aloud to myself, and upon saying this felt a mild but distinct spasm on the left side of my neck which ran down my left arm into my fingers. It was mildly unpleasant, like the crawls you might get, pedalling your feet in bed at night when you’re low on magnesium or other salts.
Noting this reaction I said, ‘Crystal Palace to win’.
‘They’ve just scored,’ he said. ‘Fifteen minutes to go, let’s see if Watford pull it back,’ and off he wended, sidewinding his way back to the television.
Result: Crystal Palace 1: Watford 0.
For many it will only be stating the obvious to say that the physical and the psychic are one and the same. The very subtlety and sophistication of the Tarot’s vast reference library may be a weakness as well as a strength; a temptation to intellectualizing, which is NOT what is wanted, in trying to obtain a true result on Divination.
There is Tarot you learn by book study. Then there is the Tarot you develop through experience, in which you discover or allocate new meanings for the cards via association and your own intuition. An example from my own experience is in readings featuring the Eight of Swords.
Standard Keywords: Frustration, feeling trapped or stuck, being unable to see a way ahead, chagrin, mortification, sometimes melodrama. A drama queen. One may be making a mountain out of a molehill. Passivity, the person is awaiting rescue when she only has to step forward with care and negotiate past the fence of swords, but she lacks focus, or else the nerve to try.
This is what you will read in any Tarot study guide. But sometimes, you look at a card and think, no, that’s not it. Why not? Perhaps it makes no sense in the context of the discussion. What else is the Tarot trying…
I was looking in my cards to help Il Matrimonio. He was due to drive down to Leicester the following day, to meet with a telecom company with a view to a one off contract in Project Management. He wanted to know what hints and tips I might have for him, in consultation with the Tarot, and what was the forecast for the outcome.
I drew The Chariot Reversed, The Six of Pentacles and Judgement. This row of 3 cards represented the story arc and timeline for the next day.
Chariot Rev: Car trouble was possible, hopefully minor. I saw no injury. The following two cards were mitigating factors in deciding the problem was not too serious.
The Six of Pentacles: I felt they might not want to pay the proposed rate of £850 daily. I felt they would offer a rate in the £600’s.
Judgement: I saw a contract, comfortably acceptable as in the best interests of both parties.
I warned him to drive with extra caution and that the daily rate was the obstacle to be negotiated as the man himself did not have the final say on budget for the task, but had to refer it to committee.
There was nothing of sharp practise in respect of this to the best of my ability to detect. The Magician Reversed or the Seven of Swords would have been the signs of that, for me.
As it was a reading for Il Matrimonio I did not have long to wait to know the outcome.
The car problem was the exhaust. It pretty much fell off at Stoke. Fortunately he was not on the motorway at the time, and was able to carry out a temporary repair . He pulled in at a petrol station. He got oil on his shirt cuffs, and it was a bit fraught, but the car behaved thereafter and, getting the call, I booked it in at our local garage for next day.
The company wanted the service but already had a list of preferred suppliers in situ.
A rate of £650 was agreed and paperwork has now been signed with a contract for a few days work initially, perhaps more later. I feel there will be more because the Judgment card is like that. The Two of Swords also represnts a contractual agreement, but Judgement trumps it in terms of scale or longevity.
The Sixes in Tarot are generally indicative of something beneficial:
For students of Tarot, or the just curious, a few words about The Ace of Cups.
Meanings: Inception, Awakening of Love, Creativity, Vision and the Empowerment of Intuition. It is Beauty. It is The Element of Water, it is The Chalice, The Holy Grail. Sometimes it indicates a coming birth. I have known it accurately indicate healing and recovery from illness or after an accident. It is Grace.
It is known as the Ace of Hearts in a deck of playing cards.
‘My Cup Runneth Over’ is the moment that cannot be surpassed.
Whereas the Ace of Wands, Ace of the South, refers to the primal spark, the fires of Creation, the Ace of Cups, Ace of the West, is the matrix of Life.
The Ace of Cups speaks of Source. Physically, The human body runs primarily on water and minerals. Every physiological process that happens inside the body needs water. The human body is made up of more than 70% water. The blood is more than 85%, the brain more than 80%, muscles more than 75%, and the liver is 96% water.
But beyond the immediate physical, what is our most distant physical story, back to the point of Creation, or as some might prefer to think of it, life’s origin in space, or divinity? Dust from space ultimately cross-reacted making water, an epic of chemistry which made the seas, where Life on Earth began.
We are undines, raised by evolution from the deep.
Sublimis ab unda.
The poem below, for me echoes the deeps contained within the image of The Ace of Cups. It’s from a little known contemporary poet of rare subtlety, yet also directness and integrity.
A poem, like a song, like a picture, a sculpture, a photograph, a smile, a kiss, is a manifestation of the Ace of Cups, of the moment, but eternal.
Here is a Ace within the Ace.
Small Object of Desire
I suppose I should have picked my wedding ring
but that is personal and finite to me
as is my two faced charm on a silver chain
triangular, goldstone, tourmaline
But I chose this, lifted from some shore line,
a smaller bit than I’d found and lost before;
a spindle from a whelkish structured shell
more beautiful than any sculptor’s form.
It gives only a hint of its infinite fetch,
newel staircase, ramp to raise the megaliths,
invasive toxic spirochete to invest my blood,
screw my life force with its sickening brood.
No porcelain is half so fine,
that comes from Meissen’s arcane kiln.
This is the divine, the spiral double helix.
Where else should it be but on a beach?
My small object of desire, refined by tidal pull,
inch long, white and deeply curved,
maths of all dimensions along its reach,
shape and key to life, needs only my breath to live.
Curiosity about Life, respect and generosity. Life invites ongoing learning. Progress demands it.
‘Schools out for EVER. School’s out COMPLETELY’…though it never is, or shouldn’t be for anyone with a curiosity greater than an amoeba’s.
Teachers: great ones, good and bad ones, the malevolent or indifferent. The ones I remember with affection, I remember for a variety of reasons.
Gentle bachelor Mr F always wore a salmon pink jumper and taught history. I was in his good books for ever, after asking a guest historian, a Professor David Hampson, what was later termed in my report, as ‘a very perceptive question’…an over-egging of my achievement my family found hilarious.
Mr F died of cancer quite young, and was remembered by later pupils as prone to violence. But it was the affliction of the tumour in his brain, creating cruel change. He threw blackboard dusters at people.A most gentle person.
It wouldn’t be allowed today.
Big, loud, red-faced Mr W, was Head of Hawk House, of which I was an incumbent and he taught me Maths. You’d hear the roaring from his office after assembly as he dealt with one bully or another.
‘Ohhh,’ he’d roar.’So you think it’s clever to get a little first year lad by his ear, do you? Tell me, how do YOU like it when I do THIS?’
‘Aayaa, ayaa! No sir!’
‘Ayaa, ayaa! no sir!’
‘Well, don’t you do it then, or you’ll be back in here for some more.’
It wouldn’t be allowed today.
Meeting me in the corridor at break times he’d press me to the wall with his enormous belly, and, stinking of cigarette smoke, he would bellow good naturedly from his great height. ‘Hello! SILLY WOMAN! How are you diddling?’
I knew, as did my sisters at the same school and as young people immediately do know; he was OK, not even remotely creepy, so we only laughed about it, while avoiding it if we could. I only smile at the memory but…
It wouldn’t be allowed today.
One of my ‘life lessons’ came from an elderly and very gentle science teacher. Mr Vest (yes, really) gently admonished me one day for my untidily presented homework. Embarrassed, I explained that my pen was leaky.
He said, ‘Now Katie, I know you like sayings. What’s the saying for this situation?’
I couldn’t guess which one he might mean.
‘A bad workman blames his tools’ …
An apple for teacher. But our memories are the apples they have given us, crisp and sharp, rosy and polished, maggoty and rotten.
A regular client – she’s been using my service six or seven years now- owns a boutique where I live. She is a rock and a gem. has been in business more than 20 years and employs a 4-8 staff at any given time. She wanted the Tarot’s inputs as part of planning her buying trip to London Fashion Week.
How did this work?
Tarot had previously forecast a challenging year to come for her business in 2012, with a need to diversify.
Responding to this, a few days ahead of her buying trip to London Fashion Week, the client briefed me with checking out a list of 20 fashion collections which she had shortlisted as buying possibilities.
My brief was to dowse through this list, identifying which collections represented the best buys for her boutique in terms of likely future sales revenue.
How did I set about it?
I carried out card counting spreads in respect of each collection listed. Ithen checked these findings against my pendulum. A clockwise swing of the pendulum was positive corroboration. An anti clockwise swing of the pendulum was a negative which demanded further enquiry for clarification.
Collections getting a positive reading of 6/8 or better were flagged up as Green for BUY
Collections getting a positive reading of 5/8 or 6/8 were flagged as Amber-Green BUY SELECTIVELY
Collections getting a positive reading of 4/8 were flagged as Amber OCCASIONAL PIECES
Collections getting a positive reading of 3/8 were flagged as Amber-Red IF IN DOUBT LEAVE
Collections getting anything below this were flagged as Red. WARNING!
The Tarot offered other comments and suggestions.
It is too soon to verify the sales forecasting.
But a note from my client confirmed that with the Tarot’s help, I had at least accurately anticipated her reactions upon actually seeing the colelctions for herself in person. This reinforced her own instincts and she told me, this reinforcement from another quarter helped her arrive at her decisions more quickly and with confidence.
It afforded her a ‘second opinion’ to draw on when she was unsure. An inside track with no vested interest other than in giving reliable service.
Tarot is at the Questioner’s service. The Questioner is always charge and remains in control of the use he or she chooses to make of the information.
What a business dowser can do, at the least, is offer a virtual psychic companionship, resulting in avoidance of waste, risk and loss through uncertainty in difficult times.
Is it profanity, is it unspiritual to use the Tarot for business, for money making?
Well, is it profane to help people working for their daily bread, who are providing work for others in the process?
It is Life which is sacred, not the 78 pieces of cardstock which comprise in physical terms, the oracle of Tarot.
The Tarot is a portal for reaching inward, then reaching outward, to me, ‘myself’, to ‘you’, to ‘us’, to ‘them’.
The Tarot’s Moon card: Things That Go Bump In The Night…
The Tarot card that might be talking about things going bump in the night, and we don’t mean burglars, or …well, you know…is The Moon card: Its meanings: Dreams, Illusions, Shadows, Psychic Perception, Deceit, Danger, Fear of the Unknown, Paranoia.
Things that go bump in the night. If it’s filmable, if it’s reproducable, I don’t think it’s the real/unreal thing.
Why? Because such experiences are perceptions of the Amygdala. The eyes see what the brain sees, projecting, not reflecting. This is the vision of the psychic eye. It does not mean that it is not ‘real’.
Reports of ghosts may be considered suspect for a number of reasons. For one thing, they can be good for business…certain businesses. There was an interesting legal situation in the ’90s when a famously haunted Lancashire property, Chingle Hall, was sold at a value to reflect its haunted status with tourist income potential, which did not, em, materialise as substantially as expected.
This doesn’t mean there aren’t ghosts anywhere, anytime, ye who cry scorn and derision. It’s something so easy to do, just dismiss it, if it hasn’t happened to you. Ghosts are not performing seals, or maybe it requires a certain kind of sensitivity to be open to that perception. Which begs the question, what is a ghost, anyway?
Have I experienced anything of that sort, myself? Yes, I have, on a few occasions. The first occasion was long before I ever thought of learning Tarot, and it was extraordinary although the full strangeness did not hit me right away or even for some years. I was ‘fetched’ to a scene where a man had just died, and it turned out to have been the man himself who had done the fetching. There was the body, round the back of M&S in Leicester, there was the ambulance, and the paramedics, trying to resuscitate him, but he was now too far outside himself, and very shocked at its suddenness, poor man.
These days, there’s a small dog on the staircase just now and then. I’ve seen it running down, fading in and out of view. Nothing unpleasant whatsoever. I’ve seen it in the kitchen and on the landing, and I’ve seen it run under the dining table. It’s the size of a large terrier with pricked ears and a short dark coat. I see the movement and the shape, not the detail.
I imagine it’s some kind of energy residue; a print or a memory of a previous household pet.
Other things over the years have been sadder, stranger, creepier, and I have definitely not wished to encourage them.
I’m not asking if you ‘believe’ in such. If you don’t, you don’t, and many don’t. I get that. But, I have heard a lot of stories, presented quite matter of factly, by people in perfect possession of all their marbles. If you are interested, look up the books of TC Lethbridge, psychic researcher and academic with a scientific background. He said, ‘today’s magic is tomorrow’s science,’ and I think he’s near the mark.
The world is not only stranger than we know. It may be stranger than we CAN know. Why should recognising possibilities and the limits of current understanding be a barrier to enquiry?
Tarot, Runes, our dreams, myths and songs, are some of the many boats available for exploring these deep waters. Some may prefer to stay in harbour, and not explore at all, and that’s fine; they needn’t. But not everyone has the choice, the current pulls them out. I chose Tarot but I didn’t choose the things that went before, I learned they were part of my make-up. For all our intellectual achievements and aspirations, resistant to ‘superstition’ or not ‘we’ remain an instinctive animal. We rely on it for our safety. If someone gives you the creeps, then they give you the creeps, and there’ll be a reason. Police, Emergency Services Personnel, the Military, all need good instincts, or else.
To be psychic is only an extreme form of instinct. This is our nature and our default. Factual truth may also be poetic. Stories come from someone’s experience, and myths and fairy tales from a collective experience. In this sense, however fanciful, even ghost stories contain some essential truth. They do not lie.
‘The hunger for meaning and purpose is nothing less than the human homing instinct — the Fourth Instinct — at work. But in the tangled maze of history, we have been sidetracked; in the long journey home, we forgot our destination. Indeed, we were told that it does not exist.’ Arianna Huffington.
But where is ‘home’, beyond it being the people in your life?
‘There’s that feeling I get, when I look to the west’.’ Led Zeppelin.
‘My sun shall rise in the East, then shall my soul be at peace, ‘ Vangelis.
‘From all points of the compass flock’d birds of all feather.’ Source: Gutenberg. Org
From the beginning, we have been a migratory animal, in some parts of the world, more than others. Several cards in Tarot talk of home, rightly so, as it is a key ingredient of human experience, and a ruling perception. The Ace of Pentacles, Ten of Pentacles, Four of Wands, and Six of Cups all tell stories of a person’s home in a reading.
The Tarot’s Ace of Pentacles, which sometimes talks about food, money, or books, or bricks and mortar says, Earth itself is the nest, the Soul of Man is in the roots of the species. Below is The Ace of Pentacles from The Gilded Tarot, publisher Llewellyn, by kind permission of Ciro Marchetti.
You don’t have to be ‘psychic‘ in order to learn tarot, which is a skill of divination, in which one attempts to uncover hidden or semi-hidden information or understanding. You do have to be interested in symbols and associative thinking, you do have to be receptive, but to be ‘psychic’ helps sometimes, to make the symbolic more precise, and to talk in every day, concrete terms, about specifics.
Am I ‘psychic’? Yes, to an extent, and so probably, are you, but what does it mean?
The word ‘psychic’ may comes from the Greek, ‘psyche’, meaning soul and derived from the word ‘psychikos’ meaning, mental, of the mind. ‘Psychic’ implies soulic knowledge, the soul entering and leaving the body on the breath. The word intuition also refers to an inner knowing, that which is our inner tutor, and which we all possess as an inseparable element of normal human instinct.
So what is the difference between being intuitive and psychic? It’s subtle. Perhaps it’s most simply defined as a matter of precision or degree.
The intuition provides us with impressions, feelings, and reactions. Time being of the essence where safety is an issue, intuitions arrive instantly, in advance of any hard evidence to explain them. Intuition is a courier of super-fast intelligence, bypassing conscious processes. Everyone is intuitive. It is a function of competent, normal intelligence, but not everybody, maybe for cultural or ‘intellectual’ reasons, feels comfortable about acknowledging it.
Some ‘diss it’ by saying they will deal only with ‘proven facts’ or evidence or reason.
Yawn. Well, let them, if they want to limit themselves unnecessarily. But this, it could be argued, is actually anti-intellectual. The mind is a whole, not a pie servable in slices.
Psychic insights come when they come, are instantaneous and specific. Something may be ‘seen’ or ‘heard’ or ‘smelled’ or dreamed of, but it will be particular, unlike the formless but none the less powerful, and even life- saving promptings of the intuition.
The High Priestess, pictured above, represents both the Intuition, and the Psyche and psychic promptings, or refers to a person who may be female or male, who works or serves as an advisor, or seer.
Reading for a client one evening, I sensed she was holding something back, and to encourage her, asked her directly about a ‘rude man’ I kept sensing, a bully with a loud voice, fair or ginger, a salesman of some kind? The card triggering this was the King of Wands Reversed.
My client said she knew who this was; a man who had a market stall near hers, but she insisted that she’d come only for advice regarding retirement. Courtesy demanded I take her at her word, and we carried on, but I remained uneasy that she hadn’t shared the real worry, and so I hadn’t had a chance to try and help. Such was my feeling.
After she had gone, I was lying in front of the television with a cup of tea, when I suddenly ‘saw’ her in my mind’s eye. She was holding a big round pot in both hands, and she was mending it, with great care and attention.
Oh! I thought. Well, I had mentioned to her that I could see her taking up pottery (prompted by the appearance of the Page of Coins) But I was struck, the mental picture was so vivid.
Next day she called, but I had someone with me and couldn’t call back straight away. When I returned the call, the phone rang for a long time before I rang off. She called again and at last we spoke. The lady now wanted to tell me what was bugging her about the rude man. He was an unwanted admirer. He’d told her that he’d been to me for a reading, that I had performed psychometry on his wrist watch (psychometry is a psychic reading performed using as a focus an object connected to the person being read through a history of physical contact or at least, proximity) I had predicted, so this man said, that he and this lady were going to marry.
So her real reason for coming to see me had been to check this out. Would I say anything that would correspond with this man’s account?
The gentleman was a fibster. What a lot of porky pies and utter ……
I did not know him, I had not read for him, nor do I offer psychometry readings. Nor would I ever have said such a thing. I do not offer predictions, but forecasts, offering a sense of the odds on a question, but nothing prescriptive, for whom am I to disregard the possibilities of free will or the wild card?
I told her this, we chatted awhile, and as a light hearted way of signing off the call, I mentioned my vision of the night before.
‘ That’s why I couldn’t pick up the phone when you rang!’ she said. ‘That’s why I
had to call you back. I had glue all over my hands, trying to fix a pot I broke yesterday!’
The vision had therefore been an instance of psychic, as opposed to intuitive ‘knowing’.
It’s a matter of record now, I’m as sane as the next person, or at least as sane as any one of us could prove ourselves to be, but I am a ‘potty’ psychic.
There are many depictions of animals and birds in the Tarot. They form a great part of the human landscape physically, intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, and symbolically. If there’s a heaven, what would it be without them? I wouldn’t mind, personally if mosquitoes, maggots, deadly snakes and komodo dragons didn’t make it. Spiders would be all right as long as they were non-venomous and less than two inches in diameter. However, it’s not me in charge.
The songbird traditionally most associated with Christmas, or to give the winter festival its older name, Yuletide – is the robin redbreast. The cheeky, dumpy little European robin, Erithacus rubecula is a member of the flycatcher family.
Its preferred habitats are woodlands, hedgerows, parks and garden. Its staple diet is worms, seeds, fruits and insects. It will fight over sunflower seeds and it adores mealworms. You can buy these in dried form in lots of outlets including many supermarkets. They look revolting though people used to baiting fish hooks won’t mind them. Robins have been to take mealworms by hand, so irresistibly delicious are they to robin-kind.
Male and female European robins are identical to look at, adults of both sexes having the red breast, while young robins have no red breast, and are a speckled golden brown colour. The lack of red breast in the young defends them from territorial attack by adults. The robin lives a little over one year on average. If it lives beyond 1.1 years it may achieve twelve years and has been known to reach the age of twenty, but long life is rare.
The robin’s endearing appearance belies its feistiness. It’ll fight to the death for its territory, and one in ten die in combat. They have been seen to chase off pigeons much bigger than they are. The one in my garden right now however, is rather timid and will scurry into the rosemary when a pigeon appears. Well, I suppose they are individuals just as we are.
Robin redbreast builds a cup-shaped nest in a hole or hidden in ground cover, and will sing all year round. Click here to hear its song and for other general information from the RSPB:-
The robin received the human pet name of ‘Robin’ in the fifteenth century. It has a special place in the library of legends embedded in the Tarot, and a robin may be observed in some decks, including the King of Pentacles card in the Sacred Circle Tarot Deck.
It belongs there by virtue of the symbolism and superstitions attached to it.
Some older people consider the robin a bird of ill omen, a harbinger of death. It is considered unlucky for a robin to fly into a house as Death is expected to follow. For this reason, a Christmas card with a picture of a robin on it is not always welcome with people aware of this tradition. But compassion and care for the dead is also attributed to the robin. One legend says that it tried to help Christ by pulling off a thorn from the crown Jesus had been made to wear, injuring itself in the process – hence its red breast. Another old tale says that it was a robin who found the bodies of the lost ‘Babes in the Wood‘, and who buried them with a golden coverlet of fallen leaves.
If your robin seems shy, it may be a visitor from Europe. British robins haunt gardens more than their European relatives, are more used to human contact and are bold in comparison with European winter visitors which tend to favour woodlands in their native lands.
All right, you robin.
I’m on my way out with sugared bread (for energy it’s better to give them cake or sugared bread than plain bread) Here are some more of those revolting mealworms, and let’s hang up another half coconut of fat and nuts. But note this, my fine robin friend; this is not just for you, but is for sharing with the blue-tits and coal-tits, the blackbirds, sparrows and the finches.
The North Wind Doth blow
And we shall have snow
And what will the robin do then, poor thing?
He’ll hide in a barn
To keep himself warm
And hide his head under his wing, poor thing.
Let’s see what the robin currently peering out from the safety of the big rosemary bush, will communicate via the Tarot.
Are you a cock or hen robin?
Answer card: The High Priestess. Just to make sure, I pull another card and get the Moon Reversed. Meanings: I am a hen bird. I am solitary right now, I want no mate. This is not the time.
What are you thinking right now?
Answer card: The Empress. Meaning? What have we here? Food! I have discovered a new harvest! Being provided for, I must eat my fill while I can.
I pull another card, just as the robin flies off again…and, strangely enough, the card is The Chariot.The robin has flitted just a short distance to sit on top of the seed feeder hung in the bare branches of the laburnum tree.
Why have you gone to sit there?
Answer card: The Seven of Wands Reversed. Meaning: I am new to this garden and I must be careful. This is a good vantage point from which to spy out enemies and not be taken unawares.
What’s your favourite time of year?
Answer card: The Empress Reversed. Meaning: A time when there are plenty of fruits and seeds, but there are still sheltering leaves on the trees. A time when there are still long hours of light to feed by, and sometimes there’s still warmth…the night is not so bitter, the air does not bite so hard. My legs creak like sticks at first light when I must move for food or die. How I wish it could always be the time of the Empress.
OK, verification may not be an option as with readings done for domestic species. Still, I have done animal readings before, and know intuitive communication can work inter-species. Maybe it would not work with all species, but the tarot affords a means of extending perception beyond the boundaries of self, and living things share common drives and goals. Sentient and sensate beings, whether bare or feathered, scaled or furry, are inextricably subject to vagaries of environment, the common denominator in shared consciousness.
During the severe winter of 1962/63, the UK robin population was worse than decimated, reduced to an estimated 50-60 breeding pairs. Spare a little if you can, for your fellow creatures outside this winter.
During a reading for a lady who worked as a hypnotherapist, the Tarot suddenly seemed to suggest it was time to put her cigarette out. This was the feeling I got, drawing The Ace of Wands Reversed, although it may mean many other things
The client confirmed that she did smoke. She had taken it up again recently, not feeling settled in her job, which was a new job.
Looking at the cards laid out before me. My eye was drawn to one in particular; the Page of Cups.
The Universal-Waite Page of Cups: U.S. Games Systems.
This card symbolises offers and gifts. It may be an invitation, a proposal, a new friendship, or a birth. It may be announcing an engagement or wedding ring, or recovery from illness, or a new creative or spiritual project. I have also come to associate it rather less romantically, with fish oil supplementation, for reasons you’ll guess at, studying the image.
Something about the pink of his sleeves arrested my attention, and before I knew I was going to say it I asked. ‘Do you eat a lot of those pink and white marshmallows you get in bags?’
‘God,’ she said, ‘I absolutely love them. I’ve usually got some in my handbag. How on earth did you know that?’
It was the Page of Cups who ‘told’ me, triggered by colour association. The thought popped into my head, so I said it.
This is not unusual in a reading. One can study card meanings and they will take you a long, long way in reading for someone, but associative thinking triggers individual insights no book can teach you. The trick is to learn to trust the first thought that comes into your hed. This means risking being wrong, but if you’re not ready to take that risk, you won’t be able to validate the accuracy of such insights, which is to advance in skill.