“The ceremonies you have seen today are ancient, and some of their origins are veiled in the mists of the past. But their spirit and their meaning shine through the ages never, perhaps, more brightly than now.”-Queen Elizabeth, Cape Town, 1947
I drew a card at random, just to see what I would get and I drew the Wheel of Fortune.
Change will and must come, even as we resist it, fear it or mourn it. This card is associated with both the ancient Greek father of the gods of Mount Olympus, and with the giant planet Jupiter, which basically says, let go, let it be and go large.
Roll with the punches.
Love shows itself more in adversity than in prosperity; as light does, which shines most where the place is darkest. I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink.’
-Leonardo Da Vinci
The Wheel of Fortune is associated with the classical figure of Lady Luck. It is also associated with our British proto-Germanic roots, the Norse thunder god Thor, his great war hammer Mjölnir and the Thorn rune, THURISAZ.
The thorn rune stands for the sound ‘th’ in the rune alphabet. This is a runic glyph and letter of both attack and defense. It is the war hammer of Thor, but it is also a hedge of thorns for keeping out the enemy. The invocation of Thurisaz is also directed in magical workings for success in matters of the law, and for focus and concentration when studying for examinations.
The Hawthorn and the Blackthorn have many superstitions attached to them in British folklore. The Hawthorn is occasionally benevolent, the Blackthorn more frequently ominous.
Lady Luck was known to the ancient Greeks as Tyche. She was the daughter of Aphrodite and Hermes or she may have been one of the Oceanids, a daughter of Oceanus. The Encyclopaedia Britannica says that that the first dice were invented by a prince called Palamedes and were offered as a tribute to Tyche in seeking her favour.
One look at this statue reminds us of, well, whom? The world has always been globalist. For good and ill, by means of travel, trade and war.
We live with the daily conundrum of The Wheel of Fortune, Fortuna’s Wheel. We are subject to events over which we have no control. But we can position ourselves. We can plan and prepare. We can choose how to respond.
We are seeing it in ceremonial action at this time. The Queen’s funeral has been planned for over many years. The Queen herself was consulted about the design of the hearse, agreeing to the lighting, so that the coffin could still be seen transported back to London in the hours of darkness.
The death of the Queen was planned for, anticipated – and yet, for all that, and as with even the most peaceful deaths at a good old age, it may be still experienced as a shock, both emotional and environmental.
Symbols are the currency of the collective psyche. The zeitgeist changes but the roots go deeper. There will be a new face on our coins and banknotes, and on our stamps. These are tiny changes, and yet, like a rearrangement of our oldest family furniture, they will take getting used to.
I’m spending a lot of time down memory lane this week, not only because of the death of the Queen, but I’ve been sorting through a box of old family photographs.
Our Queen Elizabeth has died at a good old age. She has been taken away in Virgo season under the watch of the stars of The Virgin, under the planets of Neptune and Jupiter. She, a queen of fixed Earth, a Taurus sun sign subject born 21 April, has been gathered up in harvest time and given back into the keeping of the mutable Earth of Demeter.
Now Elizabeth becomes a different kind of star in the firmament, a chapter between chapters, linking her father George and her son Charles, in a story and in a chain 1000 years long, broken only by the years of the Protectorate 1653-1959, forging the dramatic, complex and sometimes violent history of kingship in these islands.
George never expected or wanted to be king. Elizabeth did not ask or expect to be Queen, or to become Queen so soon and so young. Charles? Now he must change his life, and do it late in life, to assume that added weight of kingship.
Lady Colin Campbell tells us that the Queen died at 14:37 PM on Thursday 8 September.
The State Funeral will be in Westminster Abbey 14 September at 11 AM but then she will be taken to Windsor to lie in the Chapel there.
Elizabeth was crowned Queen of the United Kingdom of England, Scotland,Wales and Northern Ireland and was the Head of The Commonwealth, her unique world legacy after the end of Empire. No other former Empire has created its equivalent.
Much has been made over the years of the Queen’s German blood. But she died in Balmoral, in her beloved Scotland, and was descended on her mother’s side from the beautiful and tragic Lady Glamis, Janet Douglas Lyon.
Lady Glamis was judicially murdered, burned at the stake in Edinburgh Castle in 1537 on charges of treason and witchcraft, cooked up by James v for reasons of personal hatred of her brother, the king’s former regent, Archibald Douglas.
I was watching the live television as the Queen’s body was being driven from Balmoral down to Edinburgh, where it will lie in state tomorrow in Holyrood House.
It brought back personal memories too, of happy times up in Scotland when my own children were small and I was still physically mobile, and eager to show them some of the beautiful places I had been taken by my own parents.
There was something immensely poignant at the sight of the coffin, draped in its red and golden yellow flag, the Royal Standard, leaving the place of Queen Elizabeth’s last happiness. The ghosts there were powerful for her, and now she will be leaving her own ghost.
We know Balmoral was a place of many happy memories for the Queen. Being there reminded her, she said, of her childhood, playing in the garden at her mother’s home in Glamis, where the sun always seemed to shine. This is the human experience encapsulated in the The Six of Cups, old family times, old friends, says in the sun. Simpler times, and the timeless moments when we were small and the world seemed full of marvellous mysteries. Well, it was.
But as for happiness:-
“Happiness we can only find in ourselves, it is a waste of time to seek for it from others, few have any to spare. Sorrow we have to bear alone as best we can, it is not fair to try to shift it on others, be they men or women. We have to fight our own battles and strike as hard as we can, born fighters as we are.” -Axel Munthe, The Story of San Michele
Harvest Moon in Pisces
The Harvest moon 9 September was brilliant in the zodiac sign of Pisces, the sign of visions, ghosts and dreams, in the Twelfth House of Unknown Destinies.
Pisces is associated in the Tarot with- well, The Moon card.
This card talks about the cycles of Nature, the power of the wild and the wild creatures, fertility, contagion, danger, high tides, a hunter’s moon. Hear the barking of the dogs and the howling of the wolves.
We are experiencing a Twelfth House event. This is something more than the death of an old lady, however grand, at a good age. It is also the death of something in her people, a link to the past and Britain as it was after World War 11.
As an omen for the Accession of Charles, it is a benign, potentially visionary Full Moon. His vision may outstrip his means or freedom to execute. But at least he has vision.
In The Season of Virgo
The Queen Elizabeth has died in the second decan of Virgo, associated in the Tarot with the Nine of Pentacles, ‘The Lord and Lady of Material Gain’.
This card describes a life that has every appearance of luxury but it has come at great hidden cost. There has been untold personal sacrifice behind the scenes. Personal wishes denied. What has here been sacrificed has been a normal personal freedom, symbolized in the Tarot by the falcon sitting on the lady’s wrist.
The ‘Gilded cage?’ Balmoral was this bird’s escape.
Many of us had been inwardly preparing for this news, while hoping that the Queen would get to celebrate her Platinum Jubilee. Hoping that her last months, now that she was living this strange new life without Philip, her husband, ally, friend and companion of 73 years, would not be too greatly darkened by two particular family troubles involving scandals and rifts.
Tarot Predictions December 2021
It is not OK to issue predictions of death. And once upon a time, and for reasons of state security, it was an act of treason, punishable by death, to issue a prediction concerning the death of a monarch.
However I had been expecting we would lose the Queen this year, 2022, based partly on feeling and observation. Many of us will have felt the same. The feelng was also based on what I had seen in the Tarot, and I dropped a broad hint, based on a Tarot reading written up in mid December 2021, which was later published at AskAstrology.com
The cards had indicated it would happen anytime between July 2022 and the end of the year. This was based on the appearance of the Three of Swords drawn against the position I had allocated to the month of July/zodiac sign/House of Leo. The Three of Swords is severance. Leo is the sign of Royalty and also corresponds with high summer-late summer. So this was not quite right, though it was close in respect of the actual timing.
I was working with The Gilded Tarot, and as you’ll probably notice, this deck is pretty well used but I had felt drawn to use it on this occasion.
Extract from the article published December 2021:
Leo:5th House (July-August 2022)
Heartland, creativity, passion, romance, royalty, children
Tarot card~ 3 Swords Reversed
This is always a challenging card, but is one of those cards that are actually better news, being drawn reversed or upside down. The Three of Swords is about grief, loss, bereavement, arguments, Drawn in the Fifth House, it suggests that tensions between certain countries may ease. On a personal level, we are coming to terms with a family loss, or quarrels may be settling down.
Loss, sadness or disappointment. No-one escapes these experiences. How we deal with them determines whether we learn something new, and grow bigger and stronger, or whether take things personally, and see ourselves as victims and dwell on our grievances, thereby adding to the damage.
Leo is the zodiac House of royalty. There could be national mourning in 2022 for a much loved figurehead.
Other Comments, December 2021
This was a very general reading for the year ahead in 2022, using just 12 cards, in which I was looking for the tone and feel of the coming year 2022, looking out for anything that jumped out as a recurring theme or a spike.
I saw a turbulent year in general in 2022. I sensed deepest waters, seismic levels of trouble. It looked and felt like Moby Dick.
‘Canst thou draw forth Leviathan with a hook?’ -Book of Job
I did not like it. It looked both Neptunian and Plutonian. It still feels like that and I still don’t like it. America too, is in a strange place. But it will start to feel different March- May 2023, and not just because we have come through winter.
I did not, back in December 2021, see the invasion of Ukraine by Russia in 2022. I may do divination but I am not Nostradamus. I commented on risks of invasion, but I was mainly thinking of the Strait of Taiwan. I mentioned a possible breaching of boundaries in February 2022 as signified by The Hanged Man. This card is ruled by Neptune in Pisces and it shows a lack of boundaries. So it was this card, The Hanged Man, that was the clue to Russia’s invasion.
I further commented on likely problems to do with energy and specifically NordStream2.
Like many other people I am anxious about Ukraine, especially with winter coming. But I remain reasonably sure, as I have been since the invasion, that Putin will not succeed in annexing Ukraine. If he does manage it, we will be on a clear road to a pan-European conflagration and another World War.
But the Tarot has consistently shown me a nemesis for Putin, in the shape of the Ten of Swords. Failure. Ruin. A possible Night of The Long Knives.
Ukraine is right now fighting a fierce counter-offensive in Kherson and Kharkiv. There is much hopeful talk on social media tonight that Putin’s demise is well nigh imminent, people mightily encouraged by events such as this footage of a fleeing Russian tank in Kharkiv Oblast.
Putin is taking a pasting. Municipal councillors in 18 municipal districts in Russia are calling for his resignation,and putting their signatures to it. The Ten of Swords could be coming over the horizon now. But theirs is no longer a functioning democracy. What kind of leader would they get next?
However, for now, Putin is sure to push back hard, says the Four of Swords followed by The Eight of Wands. If the counteroffensive should falter, not for lack of will, but for lack of support, and Putin hangs on and launches back, then we hit winter and then, should Europe bail on Ukraine, then for all the courage of the Ukrainians, Russia COULD still get Ukraine under its hammer. Confronted with certain failure, Putin could decide to try and send us all to Kingdom Come if only to spite everyone. He’s not mad. But he is shameless, and he dare not, and cannot be seen to lose at home, which makes him exceedingly dangerous. And Biden is not strong.
It still looks most likely that it is Putin who will fail, and Lukashenko with him, but I don’t expect it’s going to happen quite yet. Some astrologers however, suggest his collapse is imminent.
The dates that correlate with the cards do not necessarily match up with the card meanings. President Putin is in trouble. But if he gets through this patch, then the Ten of Swords may be seeing that he will be in heap big trouble by or before late Gemini time, 2023, 11- 20 June.
For now, although the Ukrainians are giving the Russians a richly deserved kicking, while unearthing new horrors all the while, Putin is still looking confident that he knows who he is dealing with. That ‘we’ softies, we self-indulgent pampered degenerates in Europe are the real antagonist, and that we won’t take the pain required to defeat him. That we’re soft, that we’ll fold, and leave Ukraine naked unto his vengeance, and he has shown himself utterly bestial. ‘All’ he has to do is take a financial hit himself, and keep turning off the gas taps.
The Pisces Full Moon said that we are living in a Twelfth House moment. A Destiny moment. It clearly is.
The ghosts in these lands are louder than usual right now, and not just in these lands, while we reckon with our memories, ancestral, shared, and deeply personal.
“We know that we are going to die, in fact it is the only thing we know of what is in store for us. All the rest is mere guesswork, and most of the time we guess wrong. Like children in the trackless forest we grope our way through our lives in blissful ignorance of what is going to happen to us from one day to another, what hardships we may have to face, what more or less thrilling adventures we may encounter before the great adventure, the most thrilling of all, the Adventure of Death.”
We are coming ‘home’ again, entering the zodiac sign of Cancer the Crab on Tuesday 21 June, the day of the summer solstice, the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, and the shortest day in the southern hemisphere.
The word ‘sol –stice’ is from the Latin ‘solstitium’ and means the ‘sun stands still.’
The month of June has got a lot going on, calendar-wise. We have got:-
-The meteorological start of summer (1 June)
-The astronomical start of summer, the solstice (20, 21 or 22 June)
-Midsummers Day (24 June.)
Meteorological or Astronomical Summer?
What does it mean?
The meteorological calendar is a more recent invention based on seasonal temperatures, separating the year into four groups of three months, based on the observation that summer is the warmest time of year and winter is the coldest, with transitional seasons in- between. These seasons are always 90 to 92 days long, and always start on the first of the month except for leap year. This definition makes it easier to calculate seasonal statistics for the purposes of weather forecasting.
The astronomical calendar is ancient, based on thousands of years of observations of natural phenomena used to establish and mark time. This calendar follows the Earth’s rotation around the sun, defining the four seasons by two solstices and two equinoxes. The Earth’s tilt and the sun’s alignment over the equator determine these events, so the two solstices mark the times when the sun passes over the equator, on June 21 and around December 22 and the two equinoxes are on or around March 21 and September 22.
At the summer solstice, the Northern Hemisphere receives sunlight at the most direct angle of the year with the North Pole tilting towards the Sun at its maximum (about 23.5 degrees) resulting in the longest period of sunlight hours. In the Southern Hemisphere, it’s the opposite and the Sun is at its lowest point in the sky.
Astronomical timing is variable, depending upon when the Sun reaches its northernmost point from the celestial equator, and this date varies between June 20, 21, and 22.
Midsummer’s Day, 24 June is an ancient agricultural festival. It marks the midpoint of the growing season, halfway between planting and harvest. It is traditionally known as one of four “quarter days” in some cultures. Folks celebrated by feasting, dancing, singing, and lighting bonfires to usher in the hot summer days ahead where once the mighty auroch roamed and the prowling sabre tooth tiger crouched low, watching and waiting in hope.
Every summer solstice in the UK, as many as 10,000 people arrive at Stonehenge for a pagan style summer solstice festival on British shores, complete with druids. The main event is sunrise, when the first rays of the sun strike the gigantic Heel Stone and illuminate the centre of the stone circle, and people are allowed to touch the stones- a rare opportunity, and the only day of the year they are permitted to do so.
The Tarot and the Sun card
The Sun card is the ultimate summer card in the Tarot deck; number 19 in the Major Arcana. This positive card signifies all kinds of good news, starting with sunny weather in the literal sense, and overseas travel, usually to a hot country. It is our moments in the sun. It is the state of childhood. It is good health or recovery from sickness. The Sun card is vitality, just as the sun is life itself. The Sun card can therefore be predicting new life- a birth.
The Sun card, when it is drawn reversed is like the setting sun. It can mean the memories of childhood, nostalgia, beautiful, bittersweet twilight. It may mean sadness or delays or getting less than you hoped for.
Every card has its downside, just like every situation in life. The fire of the sun can also be cruel, even savage when ‘reversed.’ We might have drought. We might have wildfires. And then the Sun means death and we pray for rain.
The Sun gods can be cruel; Ra, Arinna, Surya, Mithras, Helios, Apollo, Sol – by whatever name we have called the Sun.
Reincarnation and The Sun card?
As the sign of the Sun’s highest point in the skies as seen from Earth, the constellation of Cancer the Crab was considered nearest to the highest point of heaven. Greco-Roman philosophers (The NeoPlatonists) called it ‘the Gate of Men.’
The stars of Cancer, specifically The Beehive Cluster, were the gateway, the portal in the heavens through which souls descended to Earth to be born.
The opposite constellation, Capricorn, marked the midwinter solstice and was the ‘Gate of the Gods,’ where the souls of the departed rose back to heaven.
But did they later descend again to be reborn, in a cycle of reincarnation?
A true story
I have sometimes been asked, do I believe in reincarnation? I don’t believe in it. I don’t disbelieve in it. I don’t know. But many people do believe in reincarnation around the world. The Hindu and Buddhist faiths believe in reincarnation, while Easter is the great Christian celebration of Resurrection, signifying the hope of the soul’s eternal life.
Nature is cyclical. The seasons run in cycles and life runs in cycles. Our lives only seem linear because they represent such a short piece of a curve. Perhaps it is only logical and natural that some will see human life as cyclical too, not only in terms of successive generations, but in terms of the individual persona, spirit or soul as something that is continuously recycled.
As the American poet Emily Dickinson famously wrote, ‘the mind has many corridors.’
Many years ago I did a distance Tarot reading by email for a young lady who wanted to know, was her brother OK? This struck me as a strange question. I asked her, what did she want me to investigate that she could not ask him herself?
The lady answered that her brother was dead, and that he had committed suicide. She did not tell me more, nor did I ask about the circumstances, but as one would expect there was great distress attached to her questions:
-Where was her brother now?
-How was he now?
I do not advertise as a psychic medium. Not at all. Nor did I agree to accept payment for this particular reading and am not handling new readings just at present. But I have, all the same, over the past twenty years done a number of Tarot card readings which have been focused on client’s questions about deceased loved ones, when the Tarot has facilitated me in offering feedback which only the client could verify, and there have been some deeply curious and strange, and equally, deeply moving responses.
Now, looking at this lady’s brother, wondering what on Earth the Tarot would make of this. I drew the Sun card, the card of sunshine, happiness, innocence, childhood. Birth.
The Sun is life itself. If our planet were closer to the Sun, or further away, there would be no life on Earth. People like to post images of Earth to make the point that we are tiny and insignificant. I think those images from space, the photographs taken by Cassini from Saturn, showing Earth as a teeny white dot make the exact opposite point; illustrating the enormity of the miracle that was the sweet spot of a ball of rock exactly the ‘right’ distance from the Sun.
But where was this young lady’s brother? Some would say, perfectly reasonably, that the question was nonsensical. That he was gone. That he was nowhere or that he was in the grave.
But it wasn’t them she was asking. It was my Tarot she was asking.
It is hard to describe, but as you look deeper into a card, a door opens in the mind, or in the imagination if you wish to classify it as that. The brain wave activity has switched from conscious, intellectual, beta state wavelength to a more meditative alpha state wavelength.
I gazed into the Sun card and it suggested to me that ‘wherever’ her brother was, ‘whatever’ he was, he was like a child again, sometimes awake, sometimes asleep. I received the strong impression- there is no other word for it- that he did not remember his death. Not at all, or whatever it was that drove him to it.
He was a little boy again. And then I was struck with another sudden but vivid impression. I saw him kicking about, splashing in a puddle. He had his back turned on the Earth. He was neither bored, nor sad nor lonely, simply quietly, happily preoccupied.
He had forgotten how he died. He did not remember whatever it was, however it had been for him, what it had felt like, being him in his life, that had driven him to such a point of nihilism.
If her brother had any memories or consciousness surviving death- if that could be possible, then this was his afterlife, all trauma forgotten.
It may simply have been telepathy, and I was picking up on the lady’s own memories of her brother. I had never met her
But then, and again this was prompted by The Sun card, I told the lady that she would soon be hearing news of a new baby on the way. This was probably a birth within the immediate family, and whether it was a boy or girl, the Tarot was suggesting the possibility, however bizarre, that it was the soul of her brother being reborn. Or that he could be reborn, when he was ready. The Sun card said that her brother would be returning soon, whether or not the coming baby was her brother returning again (down through the Gates of Men)
Some souls, it is said, wait many centuries before they are ready to get in the queue again. Others wait decades. Others only months. Time means nothing to them. It is when they feel ready. Just that.
Stanley Kubrick was a visionary. A seer.
Has someone been here before? This is not a thing that can ever be known, and in this instance, the coming baby was his or her own unique self. Each birth is unique. And if we are reborn, we are not clones or carbon copies of the person we were before. The soul needs free of old burdens.
I once had a small experience that has sometimes made me wonder. I was in the kitchen, stirring a pan when suddenly the kitchen changed around me. I was now standing in a very different kitchen with white walls, a stone floor, a high ceiling. It was simple, a few notches above basic, an urban kind of rustic, not rural. There was an open door to my left, with an evening light sunshine streaming in at a low angle, and I knew that the door led down a set of steep stone steps to a small, rather dark cobbled courtyard. I was not anxious but I was starting to wonder where Pietro was, and when he would be arriving home. I know no such person as ‘Pietro.’
A vision. A day dream? An hallucination? Of course. It could have been anything or nothing. It has only ever happened that one time.
I sent off the lady’s email reading and three weeks later received an email in reply, telling me among other things that her sister had just found out she was expecting a baby and was about six weeks pregnant. Wouldn’t it be something, she joked, if she was going to be her brother’s auntie this time around?
Again, this story is easily explained away as a co-incidence. But if nothing else, the Tarot was proven absolutely correct in predicting the imminent news of a new birth in the family.
I would like to think the Tarot’s vision offered this lady and her family some kind of comfort, however peculiar, for a truly terrible grief. Some griefs are more natural to be borne than others. Not all griefs are equally terrible.
“There are more things in heaven and earth Horatio, than are dreamed of in your philosophy”-Hamlet, Shakespeare.
Indeed, Mr Shakespeare.
There are many documented stories of people claiming that they have lived another life before this one; some so detailed, that it does at least offer food for thought.
One day on a rather gloomy Saturday afternoon, late July 2007, my younger daughter went to a friend’s house for tea. It was the friend’s fourteenth birthday. The little girl, let’s call her Nadia, had, if I remember correctly missed a lot of school in recent months, due to health difficulties.
There were four girls altogether; and Nadia’s mother and father.
Nadia blew out the candles, and her mother was cutting the cake when the lights began to flicker out in the hallway, and the mother said, ‘oh, here we go again. You really need to come and see this, everyone.’
She shepherded them to the foot of the stairs, calling to the father in the sitting room, ‘it’s happening again!’
He grunted some reply over his newspaper but didn’t move to join them. My daughter didn’t hear what he said. There they stood, four girls and the mother as the lights flickered and then my daughter saw a man standing at the top of the stairs.
One minute, there was no-one there. The next, there he was, looking entirely solid and real as real; a young man with brown wavy hair, dressed in jeans and a pale yellow shirt.
They stood looking up. He was looking down as if looking at them, but gave no sign that he saw them, or any indication of being in any way aware of their presence.
Then, just like that, he disappeared as suddenly as he had appeared, and the lights stopped flickering.
Nadia explained, the family had been terrified when it first happened, and had asked the council to re-house them, but now they’d got used to it.
They had no idea who he was (or who he had been) But was he necessarily even dead, or was it some manifestation of astral travel…though transference on the part of the young man who had presumably, once lived in the house.
But because the hosts were so matter of fact about it, my daughter wasn’t frightened, though a little freaked out. Well, you would be, wouldn’t you.
“Alas, poor Yorick. I knew him well…”
“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”- Hamlet
It’s like that old conundrum, does a falling tree make a noise if there is no-one there to hear it? It takes a living person to perceive a dead one, and in this case, if there was a conduit, or a conjuring, the Tarot suggests it was the father who was the psychic ‘enabler’ in this household, though it was completely unconscious on his part. Maybe he had been worried about his daughter’s health.
My reason for wondering was the appearance of the reserved, moody, kindly psychic King of Cups, a man of deep waters, particularly associated with mature males born under Pisces, Cancer and Scorpio.
The young man was shown as The Hanged Man, suggesting all manner of tragic possibilities.
I once did a reading for a young man, and this card appeared with other cards in a troubled picture that prompted me ask if a friend had died recently, and his friend had hanged himself, and he was hoping I could tell him.
I couldn’t. Nor would it have been right. He was not a family member. But no-one had realized he was so deeply depressed, and there was a strong sense of a secret, and a great fear this secret would be discovered.
The Hanged Man , it is important to note, almost never refers to suicide. But the Tarot can talk in absolutely literal terms, and does what it says on the tin, such that a card means exactly what it says in the picture.
Say I draw the Eight of Swords, for example. Most interpretations will talk about entrapment, helplessness, passivity, and so on. But I have learned through doing readings for other people, that tarot might well be telling me about a problem with someone’s plumbing or drains.
Yes, the Tarot talks toilets. Quite right too. It needs to go wherever someone needs it to go. Just as when you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go.
As the famous anchoress, and one of the earliest woman authors Julian of Norwich once put it, ‘God does not disdain to serve the body.’
It is thought that the Lady Julian kept a cat, shown here in a depiction in a roundel in Norwich cathedral, to hunt rodents, and this too, served the health of the body; hers and the cat’s.
Am I saying the Tarot is God? Of course not. We are discussing the interconnectedness of the Everything, though I see no reason why God would be a man in the sky with a big white beard either, and if he is, does He need to go to the toilet?
The Hanged Man is ruled by Neptune – the suit of Cups again. This is a deep, Piscean card.
Once upon a time, the Tarot was saying, there was a young man who was very worried about his future. He felt somehow shut out from other people (The Five of Pentacles) But he couldn’t seem to make his mind up what to do or where to go next, or to muster the effort required. Maybe he managed it in the end. I feel that he did. But probably not undamaged.
Meanwhile, he had left his mark. This.
Surprisingly, only a small percentage of paranormal sightings are true ghosts. The majority of them are really sightings of what we call “residual energy” — when an emotional event is replayed over and over again, at the same spot, and at the same time.SOURCE link to SummitDaily
Maybe the young man was a complete stranger, or actually an echo of a living psyche, or if we want to go truly spiral, the ghost of the father himself as a very young man.
What is the valley of death? We know it as a poetic expression from the Bible, but what might it mean in reality? What is the limit of the definition of reality anyway, when it comes to the imponderables. In algebra, we have to rely on symbolic placeholders too, as in X and Y.
Is the valley of death a poetic description of the end of life experience, a final sensory experience, a vision explainable in terms of a firing-off of neurons by the dying brain, or could it be something more?
I do not advertise as a psychic or clairvoyant or a medium, but tarot readers may get listed as such because there is no separate listing for Tarot in the telephone directory.
But why don’t I advertise as such? Well, Tarot card reading for divination, strategy and support is the service I undertake to guarantee to deliver, as my professional promise, and this is the bottom line and this service depends on acquired skill underpinned by knowledge. OK. But am I psychic? Yes. So are you, most likely, but psychic insights and experiences happen when they happen. Like a wind that ‘bloweth as it listeth’ – psychic insights may be confidently expected, but cannot be guaranteed.
Learning how to read cards, or any other system of divination, although card reading can facilitate them however, as the reader goes down a rabbit-hole, descending into a sort of Hades, seeking to find the ‘right’ interpretation of the cards in any given context. A reader can be asked absolutely anything about anything, and can never prepare, but only prepare to respond.
Every reader has their own story to tell, about how and why they started to learn to do readings. It need not start with a history of psychic experiences. Not at all. But often, it does and in a way, it did with me
‘The Mind has many corridors’ wrote Emily Dickinson. The world is older and stranger, not only than we do imagine, but more than we can imagine.
All animals are pattern seekers, pattern makers or pattern breakers, whether in order to hunt or to hide. Man is hardwired for the power of pattern, and communicating pattern, and the meanings of pattern, and of breaks in pattern, is the eternal task of storytelling. Man – meaning all of Mankind- is a storytelling animal.
‘In the beginning was the Word’.
The Day I met a Dead Man
Many years before I ever so much as opened a pack of Tarot cards, to be grabbed by the art and story telling embedded in them, I met a dead man on the street, a stranger, though we didn’t so much meet. It was more of a case of receiving a summons.
Leicester, 1988. I had just had coffee with a friend I’d used to work with at the Costume Museum in Wygston’s House, now a restaurant. My friend had been the curator at that time and way, way back, the eponymous Roger Wygston had been a wealthy wool merchant and several times Mayor of Leicester.
“Roger Wygston was born about 1430. His father, William, made the family fortune from the wool trade in the first half of the 1400s. Roger was elected chamberlain in 1459 and mayor of Leicester in 1465, 1471 and 1487. He was Member of Parliament for Leicester in 1473 and 1488. He died at Whitsun 1507.” More HERE
I worked in a little room upstairs, putting the Museum’s collection records, index card system on to computers for the first time, and helped put together an exhibition telling the story of hosiery and featuring our star exhibit, a Coptic sock from about AD 400. It had a bifurcated foot and horizontal stripes in red, brown and green.
I had coffee and a catch up with my friend, and then we said goodbye. I had a legal appointment at the top end of New Walk at 2.00 PM.
There was a time I walked up and down New Walk almost every day, and I worked a short while in the Museum there too. The portico entrance seen here on the right. This one, Wygston’s House and others were all part of the Leicestershire Museums Service run by the County Council.
I was selling a house among other things, with a lot going on at this time, some of it stressful. Anyone reading this may dismiss the following account on those grounds if they feel so inclined. This would be a perfectly reasonable option, if personally somewhat uncomplimentary in relegating the writer to the role of unreliable narrator, but that would certainly be the easiest, least challenging take on it.
Hardly sooner had I set off walking heading off to this appointment than I began to feel peculiar. Not exactly unwell, but certainly not good. There was a crackling in my ears, white noise like an un-tuned radio. Spots started dancing in front of my eyes, fizzing red and black. My body felt weirdly heavy.
I had never fainted in my life to recognize what that felt like, but, thinking maybe I was about to faint, I decided to keep on walking, thinking it would clear my head. But I was unaccountably scrambled, disorientated.
I could not for the life of me, remember or think where I was supposed to be going. I was on autopilot.
My feet took charge, leading me as it were, one step in front of the other until only a few minutes later, I had crossed a busy street.
I followed a small pedestrianized back street round the curved back wall of what was still called Marks & Spencer then, now M & S and then I came to a standstill.
There was a man lying on his back in the narrow street, sprawled across the pavement. A paramedic was attempting resuscitation, another kneeling by them, a small crowd anxiously watching, an ambulance waiting, .
There he lay, defenseless against exposure; an older man, but not exactly elderly, his trousers unbuttoned and unzipped, showing purple underpants, while the paramedics worked on him. His purchases, a few oranges presumably just bought in the market, had rolled out of his striped canvas shopping bag, and into the gutter.
I kept a distance, standing alone, with a blindingly sudden feeling of certainty, a sensation of astonished comprehension, ‘oh, that’s why I came this way. He fetched me.’
The fog rolled back and now I remembered I was on my way to the New Walk. I was by no means far out of my way, but nor would I have naturally thought to come this way.
I knew it was no good them trying to resuscitate him. I remember thinking, ‘he’s not in there anymore’.
I had the feeling, not only was the man not in his body any more, he was standing close beside me, on my right.
I saw nothing, heard nothing and felt nothing in that moment except a pang on his account, but this, with a dissociated neutrality. I think perhaps I was a little shocked, but I wasn’t frightened, only sad, not so much at the suddenness of the man’s death, but that he was caught so unprepared, and was so very frightened, finding himself unable to get back in his body that he had sent an SOS and pulled me off my own path to bring me, a perfect stranger, to where he lay, so abruptly evicted from his own body in a city centre back street on a sunny day.
Maybe it works something like radio waves, and I happened to be in the right place at the right time, and I was tuned in on the right frequency, like the story of the haunted house in my previous post.
I talked to him, and told him he had done the hard bit, and not to try and get back in, that he’d had a most tremendous shock, but it was OK, it was all right, and there was somewhere else he needed to go now, but it was perfectly all right.
Had I thought of it I might have said a prayer. I’m not religious, but words have power across the boundaries of time and space, and who knows what other boundaries.
I reckon that the old Wakes, company, food, alcohol, song, were a wise tradition rooted in this ancient understanding. That the dead might need a bit of time to process what has happened. That they might need encouragement and reassurance before they set off on their lone but universal odyssey once more to greet the rising sun. Read Here about Wakes.
A friend of my mother’s once told her that she had not been close to her father. But after he died and she went to see the body and say goodbye, she thought his face did not look quite right. She felt he looked frightened. The mouth was twisted. She sang to him ‘The Lord Is My Shepherd’, and she thought he must have heard her, because his mouth relaxed, and all at once his face looked quite different.
Some go swiftly and easily through the Valley. Others, not so.
The archangels Uriel and Michael are psychopomps; escorting the dead as they ascend back up to the heavens via the Gate of the Gods in the constellation of Capricorn.
In Greek and Roman mythology, the god Hermes or Mercury, would escort the souls to the banks of the River Acheron, or The Styx if you prefer, to wait for Charon the Ferryman and the crossing to the Isle of the Dead and the Fields of Asphodel.
Wiki: Psychopomps (from the Greek word ψυχοπομπός, psychopompós, literally meaning the ‘guide of souls’) are creatures, spirits, angels, or deities in many religions whose responsibility is to escort newly deceased souls from Earth to the afterlife. Their role is not to judge the deceased, but simply to guide them.
23 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
But I didn’t think of that. I was young, inexperienced in such things, too astonished and unprepared. So that was all I said to him, and then I went on my way and I put it out of my mind for a long time to come.
But I hope that he did hear me, however inadequate the response, if only to know that yes, he might have left his body, but he still existed and he stil lhad agency.
The living were still trying to help him, and though they could neither bring him back nor accompany him on his forward journey, whatever that might be, still, he had sent out a distress signal, and someone had received it and responded.
We send them. We receive them. Messages in bottles, sailing to shores near and far.
Halloween is designated the season of ghosts. Why is that?
Halloween or All Hallows Eve is celebrated 31 October each year, marking the cross- quarter of the year, half-way point between the autumn equinox in the northern hemisphere, 22 September, and the winter solstice, which in 2021 will occur on Tuesday 21 December.
Halloween began as a pre-Christian Iron Age festival 2000 years ago among the various peoples of Britain and Northern Europe popularly known as the Celts.
In parts of Britain and the Republic of Ireland Halloween is still called Samhain (pronounced Sow-an, from Gaelic/Irish) meaning ‘summer’s end.’
This is a critical turning point of the year from the ancient survival point of view of food production, harvesting and storage, as the days grow shorter, the nights longer, vegetation decays, temperatures drop – and possibly more people get sick. We are now in the zodiac sign territory of Scorpio, and the Tarot card correlating with Scorpio is the Death card.
From Halloween in the Anglosphere, to Alfblot in Scandinavia, to The Day of the Dead in Spanish speaking countries, the period 31 October – 3 November is a festival marking the end of the harvest season.
Now we are preparing for the decay of vegetation, the coming darkness, the time of hibernation of many animals, and the hardships of winter. This seems a natural time to be marking the remembrance of the Dead.
Russia does not celebrate Halloween as such. It is not recognized by the Orthodox Church, though it has been gaining popularity among young people since the 1990’s.
In France, again, Halloween is not a traditional festival, though certain elements may be catching on nowadays, cultural imports in the twentieth century. But La Toussaint or All Saints Day, is a widely celebrated national holiday celebrated on the first of November.
The Tarot card that in a reading can suggest a vivid dream, a vision, a psychic or supernatural experience or even a ghost is The Moon card.
This time of year represents a ‘liminal’ space, a threshold – a doorway of some kind, an ‘in-between’ space between outside and inside, one room and another, or between summer and winter, night and dark, and therefore symbolically, between Life and Death.
Being half-awake or half-asleep is an ‘in-between’ state of mind or consciousness, when we are might have a powerful frightening or psychic dream experience or even experience sleep paralysis, traditionally known as a visit from The Night Hag, as portrayed in his famous painting, The Nightmare by Henry Fuseli.
This is a not uncommon experience that can occur when the brain is in-between deep and lighter sleep stages. The person thinks they are awake when they are not. There is a strong sense of threat, a malevolent presence, and they cannot move a muscle to defend themselves. I have experienced it myself, very unpleasant. Read here for the scientific medical explanation.
Any liminal ‘in-between space’ is understood as a sacred or magical space, a gateway through which ghostly or magical (magickal) things may manifest. A threshold, a doorway is a space to be protected. Crossroads are in-between spaces, representing a choice of directions or possibilities.
Hekate, goddess of ghosts
There is no presiding god or deity of Halloween in northern Europe. Hekate comes from further south. She is an ancient goddess of the night, the heavens and the waning Moon. Over many ages she has become inextricably linked with ghosts and witchcraft, and by association, with Halloween. Today Hekate is viewed as the chief goddess presiding over witchcraft with followers today among neo-Pagans, Wiccans and solitary occult or magickal practitioners (NB magickal, is spelled this way to be distinguished from stage or performance magic of entertainer magicians).
Hekate, like Hermes was a necromancer- one who can speak with the dead. In a sense, we all do that, speaking to our loved ones who have gone. But in Greek mythology, Hekate and Hermes were the only personages who could enter and leave the Underworld at will.
Likewise, you don’t have to be dead to be a ghost. Perhaps when we sleep we become the ghosts who haunt our previous homes. When we dream we are back there in that house, we might be giving the current residents a fine old fright, glimpsing our ghostly ‘thought form’ somewhere round the place. Astral travel.
The name Hekate comes from the ancient Greek meaning ‘worker from afar.’
This working at a distance is in the very nature of a spell.
Hekate was the daughter of the titan, Perses, and the nymph Asteria, and this gave her powers in heaven, on land and by sea. But her story goes back way before the Greeks, to the Anatolians (Asia Minor) and before that, possibly to the Babylonians and Sumerians who knew her as Innana, Queen of The Heavens, and later as the goddess Ishtar, who was associated with love, beauty, sex, war, justice and political power.
Later, these more ancient story traditions became absorbed into Greek Mythology, passing next to the Romans, who spread the mythology as they expanded their Empire.
The Kindness of Hekate
Hecate is a patron goddess of dogs, horses, owls and serpents.
In Greek myth, the tragic queen Hecuba/Hecabe of Troy deliberately jumped overboard a Greek ship and drowned as she was being taken away into slavery after the fall of Troy. Hecuba was broken by grief, distraught at the deaths of her king, Priam, and so many of her 19 children, and at the fall of her city, and the ruin of her people at the hands of the Greeks.
“And when fortune overturned the pride of the Trojans, who dared everything, so that both the king and his kingdom were destroyed, poor wretched captured Hecuba,after she saw her Polyxena dead and found her Polydorus on the beach,was driven mad by sorrow and began barking like a dog”… Dante
Hekate rescued the soul of Hecuba and transformed her into a dog, comforting her with forgetfulness. This dog is Hecate’s beloved companion, a familiar spirit, not unlike the three-headed dog Cerberus (his name means ‘Spot’) who guards the gates of the Underworld.
Sadly, once upon a time, like dogs, sheep and other animals, dogs were offered in religious ceremonies as sacrificial animals, intended as immortal gifts to Hekate, as in Thrace in 4th century BC.
But Hekate is called upon as a protector of dogs, and likewise she is a protector of the home (as is a good dog)
Pillars called Hecataea stood at crossroads and doorways, for good luck, to ask her to keep away any unwanted visitors, including evil spirits.
Hekate became one of several deities worshipped in ancient Athens as a protector of the oikos (household) alongside Zeus, Hestia, goddess of the hearth, the messenger god Hermes, and the sun god, Apollo.
Hekate is nowadays regarded as a dark deity on account of her associations with witchcraft, but she stands for both dark and light, death and birth, and as a protector and guardian of mothers, as well as her totem animals.
Magickal Traditions, Symbols and Practice
Hekate’s colours are black and red.
Her symbols are keys and torches
Her totem animal is the dog, her bird the Barn Owl, Tyto Alba, also known as the screech owl.
The Romans feared the Barn Owl as a bird of ill omen, and European and UK farmers have sadly killed them for this reason, even until quite recently, and despite their usefulness to farmers as rodent hunters.
What might Hekate help with?
-Protection of the household, family, mothers, children and childbirth.
-Assistance with banishing harmful situations
-Help for lost or sick pets and animals, dogs and horses in particular.
Asking help from Hekate
Care and respect is required as with any request.
How do we pronounce her name? There is no wrong way as such. These days, her name is often pronounced Heh-kah-tay or Heh-kah-tee, pronouncing her name with no emphasis on the middle. But to the Ancients she would have been Hecate pronounced Heh-KAH-tay or Heh-KAH-tee with an emphasis on the middle syllable. This honours her oldest origins, so far as we can be sure.
The best time to make a request of Hekate is during the time of the waning crescent Moon or at the New Moon. A free online lunar calendar will easily identify these dates.
Decorate and dedicate a small corner, perhaps in a window sill facing the Moon when you can see it, decorated with artwork of Hekate, Moon, dogs, owls, keys or other totems.
5/ Gifts and thanks
It is only polite to say thank you when asking for help with something, or to acknowledge receiving help. We could for instance:-
-Burn a candle or a cone of incense (be careful not to leave it unattended)
-Offer a virtual drink; small glass of mead, or a spoonful of honey in water. Hecate likes honey, pomegranates (as did Persephone) lavender, garlic (unlike vampires) breads, sweets and anything shaped like a crescent moon (she would probably enjoy a virtual croissant)
–Make a donation to support rescue dogs, or a local owl rescue centre, and tell her you are doing this in her name.
-Just like with a birthday cake, offer a slice of cake, or a cupcake with a candle. Make your request. Blow out the candle, making a gift of the fire. I leave it up to you whether you eat the cake in her honour, but why not. It’s the thought that counts, is it not?
A True Ghost story
Do I believe in ghosts? I have met plenty of perfectly sensible people who have told me their stories, and had no reason to doubt their common sense and the validity of their account. We have the dictionary definition.
“Now chiefly, an apparition of a dead person which is believed to appear or become manifest to the living, typically as a nebulous image and attempting to right a wrong done in life; this sense of the word is recorded from late Middle English.
The word is recorded from Old English (in form gāst) in the sense ‘spirit, soul’, and is of Germanic origin; the gh- spelling occurs first in Caxton, and was probably influenced by Flemish gheest”. – Source
But the question still remains, what do we mean by a ghost? Are they sentient or merely some kind of an echo? Do they know they are there? Do they know we are there?
I recommend reading about the Cambridge archaeologist and paranormal researcher Tom Lethbridge T.C. Lethbridge
My phone rang one Saturday night, about 8 PM, a lady calling from Preston, about ten miles away from where I live. She had found my number in the psychic pages of the online telephone directory and she wanted a psychic medium.
Note. I do not advertise as a psychic medium but there is no separate listing for Tarot, and they put readers under that same heading.
The lady wanted me to come over to her house. Right away. There was ‘something’ out in the hallway and it was blocking the stairs. She, her partner and the children were huddled in the sitting room, too terrified to leave the room.
I could not go in person, sadly. Nor do I advertise such a service. There are others who do. I gave her the name and telephone number of a lady who specializes in ‘haunted houses’ and meantime reached for my cards while asking the lady what exactly had happened?
Her youngest child had been upstairs, she told me, when she heard a lady whispering in her ear. The child panicked. Then her siblings panicked. Then the mother panicked, and the partner. It had developed from there. Now there was something outside the sitting room door; a cold spot, a moving shadow.
What had this ghostly lady said to the little girl? That her hair was very pretty.
This figured. The cards confirmed a benign presence – or influence. A grandmother?
The cards indicated the lady who was calling had been under a lot of strain. She confirmed a prolonged period of acute financial and other worries.
Her mother had died three years earlier, and she was still missing her, quite badly. But the littlest child was too young to remember her grandmother. Why, the lady wondered, if the ghost was her mother, had her mother not talked to her, but to the child?
It was because the little girl happened in that moment to be the one tuned in on the ‘right’ wavelength to receive such an incoming message. The little girl had ESP in other words, and was hyper sensitive to atmosphere. This was why she alone had heard it. If there was a ghost, if the grandmother was still around, then she was tuning in to the living, seeking to deliver comfort to the mother who was her child.
The little grand-daughter was the most accessible conduit.
First things first. The lady had called to ask for help. How could I help? The lady needed to restore order in the household right away. She needed to assert herself and reclaim her territory, ‘psych it out’, and show the children it was safe to go anywhere in the house. The living can talk to a ghost, or say boo, just as it can say boo to us.There was no nastiness in these cards.
I suggested she announce, ‘it’s gone now’, put lights on, open that sitting room door, go down the hallway, put the kettle on, serve up supper. Light, movement and noise will shatter such a spell while fear is contagious.
I later heard from the medium. She and her team had gone to the lady’s house next day, taking with them an array of electronic equipment. The medium said there was an old lady’s ghost in the house, that it was the grandmother, and that the mother’s state of stress had called the ghost forth. The ghost had behaved in character, affectionately, but since the child had been startled, and the mother had reacted with fear, everyone got scared and the thing took on an unpleasant aspect. The medium said that now the mother was aware of it, the house should stay quiet now.
No suggestion of criticism attaches to the lady. None whatsoever. Fear was a natural reaction. But if it happened again, now that she had some kind of explanation, however questionable, and reassurance that it was not malevolent, she could choose a more matter of fact response, whilst not dismissing the child’s experience.
“The Mind has many corridors” – Emily Dickinson
Psychic author Cassandra Eason has written a book with advice for parents with psychic children available from a range of second hand book sellers online.
From my point of view, since I had never spoken with this lady medium myself before her visit to the house, but had simply provided contact details, I was interested that my tarot and this lady, this psychic medium, had told virtually identical stories.
The power of the physical, the element of Earth, is the power of the living moment, here and now. We are exalted in the Earth. We take in air. We take up space.
This time is ours. Our inheritance of Earth. Our ace card in otherworldly dealings, the Ace of Pentacles. A nice cup of tea? How about a biccie? Fed the cat. Take the dog a walk.