It can be confusing for potential customers to know what a psychic reader actually does. Often a caller has not looked at your website, and I may find myself explaining that I do not work as a medium. No, I tell them. I do not ‘get the other side.’ And I don’t. I really don’t, but I have experienced things, some rather odd, that mean I don’t like to send people away entirely empty-handed either if I can refer them or help in some other way.
One night not long ago I was rung by a lady wanting a medium, ideally to come to her house 20 miles from where I live. I explained that I was not a medium, and she said she needed help desperately, because something was going on in the house, terrifying her, her partner and the children. Someone – a woman- a ghost?- had spoken to one of the children. Now, at 8 in the evening, they were all huddled in the sitting room, scared even to go to the toilet.
This wouldn’t do. And yes, fear is contagious but pooh-poohing would absolutely not do. I said I’d make enquiries but meantime stated emphatically that there was absolutely no danger. The whispering lady may have been a dream, but whatever it was, she meant no harm. She had said only loving things, hadn’t she, to the child? For now, I suggested the lady put a comedy film on the telly, switch all the lights on, make a noise and dominate the house. Assert her claim to the space right now, going straight to the kitchen to make hot drinks for everyone.
A few quick cards did include the Death card reversed, indicating there may indeed have been something ghostly either in the house OR in the memory of someone in the family. But what is a ghost anyway? A sentient being, knowing exactly what it is doing, or the manifestation, seemingly external, of a memory with great power and atmosphere attached?
If the children saw that she wasn’t frightened, perhaps they’d take their cue from her, and then maybe the strange manifestations would also calm down. I felt there was stress in the house and one of the children in particular was highly sensitive to atmosphere, but sensed this was some kind of stress related psychic family event rather than a haunted house situation.
Later I called back with the name of a reputable medium able to make house visits.The medium and I have spoken subsequently and I was glad to connect professionally with such a nice, capable, cheerful sounding sensible person for potential future referral. The medium told me that in her opinion, the house was not of itself haunted, but the lady had worries and had suffered losses I won’t mention here. The whispering ghost was, according to the medium, the children’s grandmother.
However unwelcome this manifestation, her whispered words to the frightened child suggested her care and love live on, at least in the memory of a close by living person not aware of the power of their own mind ….
A Styxian Journey: The Six of swords from The Gilded Tarot by kind permission of Ciro Marchetti
On another long ago occasion someone asked me, ‘has my father gone to heaven yet?’
The funeral had been held the previous day. This was a loaded question, even though I hold no religious belief, nor a brief for or against heaven. What does it mean, ‘heaven’? What does ‘yet’ mean? I could just have said yes, and that would have been the easy thing but contrary to what ‘skeptics’ might expect, a sincere reader will not ‘diss’ his or her oracle by making up answers. People do NOT pay just to hear my personal opinions. Access to oracular Tarot is what they have come for and that is what they get.
Tarot drew the Three of Swords and Queen of Swords Reversed. These indicated that her father had been at loggerheads with his wife for a long time, which the client confirmed. Here then, I concluded, I was reading the dead, not as a medium, but through the telepathy of the living person who had known him. That’s what Tarot does, operates via telepathy – in this case, via my telepathy with the living person sitting with me whereby I intuitively accessed her own understanding of the person who had passed on.
The indications to me were that he had been terribly frightened at the imminence of death but the moment, when it came, was so easy, he hadn’t fully cottoned on yet that it had actually happened. He only knew that he felt better but strange and different. I felt quite sure he was still in the ‘valley’, but he wasn’t frightened and he was doing all right. He was getting there, wherever or however it is we go.
She could talk to him, I suggested. He might still be in hearing range. Tell him out loud what had happened and tell him he was fine, and so was everyone else at home. (His wife too. Loggerheads or not, there was still warmth of feeling there.) This idea did not seem to disturb my visitor. She smiled and said she would probably do that; it seemed quite in character for him to take a while to make up his mind to go.
Death is as individual as it is universal. And while the oracular doesn’t fudge the inescapable, that death may be uncomfortable or even painful; an anxious, confusing or downright frightening experience, there is something beyond or afterwards, there is indeed something outside our ken, more easily experienced than described. Humanity has known this from the beginning, and religion does not come into it, though it rose out of it.
We could have stayed immortal, had we been content to continue as primordial soup reproducing ad infinitum by identikit cell division. But we weren’t. We, the current denizens arisen from that protean soup, got bored and demanded a new deal. The soup began to mutate new programmes and to differentiate and create amazing and interesting plants and animals, but this demanded unimaginable feats of energy, space and organisation. And this in turn demanded boundaries so that Life came up with the solution of Death, and while Death might seem the ultimate antagonist, anathema to us in our highly realised state of individual awareness, we should at least give it credit for letting us out of the soup, and after all, that was always the deal.
So thanks, Death. I am grateful to be me today, not heaving in the soupy-gloop, bored right out of my tiny multitudinous nucleii. And I will try and remember that next time I am fed up, or Il Matrimonio annoys me or I don’t feel like cooking the tea. Today it’s casserole – rather primordial in fact, but I predict it won’t have enough time to get bored and mutate.
The lines on these roads are not where we paint them. There is more map than there are roads on the map, and the map itself is subject to parameters not proven.
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.’
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.
Inheritance is a meeting point of past, present and future, taking many forms, physical and immaterial. Goods, prospects, genes, ideas. How different in character will the legacy you leave differ or depart from the legacies you have inherited?
The Tarot’s card of Inheritance, both material and immaterial: money, property, ancestry, genes, culture, is The Ten of Pentacles/Coins/Disks.
See the harvest mouse, custodian of the family riches. These riches are about far more than money.Appearing in a reading right way up, I am being shown that the person feels well-supported by family. They have the security of a sense of belonging. Reversed, the picture is of someone struggling about this, labouring under a sense of alienation, or injustice over wills and other inheritance issues. Or they may be feeling that their family background has been a burden rather than a resource.
The Tarot’s comment to people coming to discuss the disinheriting of challenging children has so far been Justice above all. Equal shares between children, no matter what the relationship, no matter what the history. That one does not get on with a child is sad. It is a misfortune in life, and one may not like one’s child, just as a child may not like its parent. One might even love someone, without liking them. It happens.
But it could be argued that retribution through the power of inheritance is a betrayal of the principle of inheritance, that an unjust will is toxic and divides families for many years to come, perhaps for ever.
Where is our ‘true’ well-spring? Without knowing our family history, we’ll probably never know, and no-one can know all of it, but a lot can be guessed because it’s lodged in you somewhere still. You might be the spitting image of a great-great-grandparent. You might be wearing their face reborn, cast to reflect your own spirit. You might have their skills and talents, their voice and intonation, even their mannerisms, when all your life you had thought you were the ‘odd one out’.
“You and I can turn and look at the silent river and wait. We know the current is there, hidden; and there are comings and goings from miles away that hold the stillness exactly before us. What the river says, that is what I say.”
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.
Today let’s talk about the ultimate Tarot card of Masculinity with a capital M, The Emperor.
‘The Emperor’ appearing in a Tarot reading signifies the current extra significance of an important man in your life, at an individual level. He’s a father, husband, employer, friend or advisor.
The Emperor stands for government, law and order, other big, hierarchical organisations. He is the Armed Forces, the Police, the Civil Service.
He is the principle of protection and of the guardian at work in society and in the home.
See those ram’s heads on the arms of his throne? The Emperor is associated with the sign of Aries, the fiery ram. It may indicate a future event occurring at that time of year.
Image below is The Emperor from The Gilded Tarot, by kind permission of Ciro Marchetti
Not surprisingly I’ve drawn this card when doing readings for police officers, both male and female. Women too can embody The Emperor’s qualities.
But once – and I won’t handle any more requests for lawsuit predictions; I drew the Emperor card, and it was talking about a real live judge. This judge was in the US. We won’t say where. A client’s son was facing a court appearance charged with sexual assault. There was no assertion of coercion whatsoever. In fact, the details of the charge sounded so minor as to be ridiculous, but whatever the rights and wrongs and the facts of the case; the man had already incurred serious consequences. He was a teacher and though the accuser was not a minor, a family friend in her late twenties, he had been suspended from his employment as it involved work with minors, and had been temporarily debarred from his own home, denied unsupervised access to his children. He was, at the time of the reading, due to appear in court four days later.
A Tarot reading is not of course a substitute for suitable, professional legal, medical or financial advice. The client had employed such; but wanted to be prepared for the worst, ready to support his/her son.
Based on this, I didn’t KNOW because a reader cannot KNOW for certain, ever. But I felt as certain as I could be, she was going to like this judge. I felt that the man was not guilty of anything much more than imprudence and that the judge would decide so.
Three weeks and several new grey hairs later, I learned the The Judge had thrown the case out. He had also offered this personal opinion:- verbatim (pardon me)
‘What a crock of sh*t.’
The Emperor at his very best represents order, structure, logic, sense and reason.
He is a defender, a chevalier, a sheltering tree, nests held safely in his branches. He is rule with mercy, compassion for the weak. He upholds fair play, raising his shield so not everyone sheltering behind it gets splattered with rubbish and, er…manure.
He has another side to him of course: war, dictatorship, tyranny, petty officialdom, overbearing bureaucracy. The card may alternatively signify absence of structure and leadership. As a person, it may be pinpointing weakness or conversely, a bully boy.