“Even the upper end of the river believes in the ocean.”-said William Stafford.
But even if it doesn’t, that’s where it’s going anyway. Slowing, broadening and deepening as it goes. Like us, if we get the chance, if we are given the time. And the closer we get to the ocean, the less we strive, the more we carry, the more we reflect and the less we hurry.
Like The Hermit, who walks alone in the wild places, following a far-off light, or answering the ancient drum beat. The Hermit is feeling the weight of his years and experience but casts his own light all the same. He/she withdraws more from society, but the wild creatures draw near and cautiously welcome The Hermit home. He – us- humankind of the modern world left their path many years ago, branching away from the path of the wild.
The Hermit is airy Mercury in earthy Virgo, watchful, enquiring, creative but analytical, self-disciplined, seemingly aloof yet safely approachable,with a quiet warmth.
William Stafford died aged 79 at his home in Lake Oswego, Oregon on 28 August, 1993. The morning of his death, he had written a poem containing the lines, “‘You don’t have to / prove anything,’ my mother said. ‘Just be ready / for what God sends.’
Some time when the river is ice ask me mistakes I have made. Ask me whether what I have done is my life. Others have come in their slow way into my thought, and some have tried to help or to hurt: ask me what difference their strongest love or hate has made.
I will listen to what you say. 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.
“The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.”― Plutarch
There is what Life does to us. There is how we respond. But first there was always who we were to begin with, and the ways we are still becoming it.
Tabula rasa is the theory that individuals are born without built-in mental content, and therefore all knowledge comes from experience or perception. Epistemological proponents of tabula rasa disagree with the doctrine of innatism, which holds that the mind is born already in possession of certain knowledge. Wikipedia
Most of us know our zodiac sign but what does it look like in the night sky, and what’s the story behind it? Let’s get better acquainted with Pisces.
Zodiac Sign placement: 12th and last sign, completing the wheel of the zodiac year
Date of Birth: 18/19 Feb to 20/21 March. Variable cusp depending on the leap year cycle
Ruling planet: Neptune (before Neptune’s official discovery in 1846 it was Jupiter)
Quality: Mutable – versatile, the ending of one season and the beginning of another
Lucky Days: Monday and Thursday
Energy: Yin -receptive
Key phrase: I believe (as in the ‘Fishers of men’, early Christianity adopted a fish as its symbol)
Body: Feet, eyes, bladder
Birth Stone: Aquamarine especially, but also amethyst, ruby, bloodstone and jasper. Brazil is one of the best sources for this stone. Aquamarine (meaning ‘the water of the sea’) is a blue variety of beryl where Emerald is a green beryl. The aquamarine is a hexagonal crystal structure, sometimes confused with blue topaz, and was traditionally believed to enhance foresight and clairvoyance, and a sense of happiness, with the power to repel evil – or help you talk to the Devil (I wouldn’t give the bugger the time of day, personally)
Tarot card: The Moon
Meanings: The Moon, literally, Mondays, tides, cycles, ebb and flow, feminine cycles, fertility, instinct, wildlife, walking on the wild side, hunting, fishing, visionary capabilities, psychics, ghosts, visions, dreams, delusions, madness, contamination, fever, food poisoning, uncertainty, danger, confusions with documentation, risks in travel.
Note the wolves, hunting and howling by the light of the full moon, and the spawning crab, though this is often depicted as a crayfish instead, as in the Rider -Waite decks.
The minor arcana cards associated with Pisces are the 8, 9 and 10 Cups, ranging in interpretation from the melancholy to the sublime.
The 8 of Cups says you were ready to offer devotion. A door stayed shut, but you have learned something of value, not least about where you belong. Do not wait overlong outside any door that fails to open. The world is wide, new horizons beckon. Walk away, not looking back in anger.
The 9 of Cups is truth, grace, happiness-the Grail, and heart-felt wishes may be granted
The 10 of Cups is home sweet home, arrival.
There are 88 constellations registered with NASA. The 12 that have constellations given their names to the zodiac signs in Western or Tropical astrology have their earliest known origins in the ancient Indo-European civilizations located at the latitude 36 degrees north and 30 minutes. Other constellations were named later, many of these later ones by Greek navigators.
Pisces, the Latin plural of fish is a large but rather faint constellation, the 14th largest constellation overall, covering a large V shaped region in the part of the sky known as The Sea or The Water, possibly named by the Mesopotamians because they had learned to associate the appearance overhead of these heavenly bodies with their rainy seasons; Aquarius, Capricornus (the Mer-Goat).
Capricorn signifies the ibex and its mating season which starts in December, but it also has an ancient Sumerian origin story associated with it, where the goats came out of the sea to climb to the mountains, leaving behind the father of all the goats, a solitary mer-goat who was promoted to the skies.
So these three zodiac signs, Capricorn Aquarius and Pisces may have come to represent predictive seasonal co-ordinates for the rainy months at the thirty sixth Parallel, 36 and half degrees north.
The vernal equinox currently occurs during Pisces, 19-21 March, the astronomical marker of the start of spring.
Pisces is represented as two fish swimming at right angles to each other, one to the north and one to the west and attached by a cord and are usually depicted as koi.
Its stars are faint — none brighter than fourth magnitude — and hard to see with the naked eye. But its brightest star, Eta Piscium, also known as Alpherg or Kullat Nunu, is a bright giant star (G class) 294 light-years from Earth and has a luminosity 316 times greater that of the sun.
Kullat Nunu is its Babylonian name. ‘Nunu’ means ‘fish’ and ‘kullat’ is a bucket.
Pisces second brightest star is a yellow giant about 130 light-years from Earth, Gamma Piscium. Alpha Piscium is the third brightest star in Pisces, and is made up of a pair of white dwarf stars in close proximity. Its other name is Alrescha (“the cord.”) and marks the spot where it appears that the tails of the two fish are joined or tied together.
The best time to see Pisces in the Northern Hemisphere is 9 PM between 6-9 November looking below the Square of Pegasus.
History and Mythology
The first spawning of most freshwater fish starts in the spring, from late March onward, but, depending on latitude and therefore temperature, some species may spawn from as soon as late February onward, and in the warmer Indus, this surely played its part in the rationale for the astronomical calendar slot historically allocated to Pisces the heavenly fish.
Pisces represents the principle of THE THAW, THE MELT. Fish may rise again to the top to feed. Frogs and Toads will spawn.
If you want to insult a Pisces subject, call them a MELT (but first, ask yourself if you are really sure about this.)
The fish of Pisces are attached by a cord of stars, just as life and death are conjoined and cannot be separated. Pisces is not only the last sign of winter, moving into spring; it is the last sign of the whole zodiac year, the culmination of all the signs that came before it.
The western signs of the zodiac are thought to origin from about 2900-2700 BC, emerging among the peoples living at 36 and a half degrees latitude. The 36th Parallel.
This latitude was the cradle of Indo-European civilization (you will also see that the 36 Parallel was of key symbolic significance to the American Civil War) Younger, later constellations that were not adopted as zodiac signs were often named for maritime navigational purposes, many of them by the Greeks.
“It (Pisces) is one of the earliest zodiac signs on record, with the two fish appearing as far back as c. 2300 BC on an Egyptian coffin lid ” -(Wiki)
The two fish of the constellation Pisces were the offspring of the Great Fish. In Egyptian mythology, this fish saved the life of the Egyptian goddess Isis and she placed this fish and its descendants into the heavens as a star constellation.
In Hindu mythology Matsya is an manifestation or avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu the Preserver who rescued the first man, Manu from a great deluge. (…and here we are again, back to the great flood stories of Aquarius) The Matsya may be depicted as a giant golden fish or as a merman, half- fish half humanoid Lord Vishnu.
Vishnu is the second god in the Hindu holy trinity (Trimurti) This triumvirate consists of three gods who are responsible for the creation, upkeep and destruction of the world, Brahma was the Maker,god of creation and passion, Vishnu, the face of light and preservation, and Shiva, the face of the dark, and destruction.
Pisces is often represented as a pair of koi carp. and the reason for this comes from Greek mythology. To the ancient Greeks, the fish were the goddess Aphrodite and her son, Eros, who were out walking by the Euphrates one day when a terrible monster, Typhon, suddenly rose up out of the water.
This monster had been terrorizing the gods of Olympus ever since the war with the Titans. Typhon was a Titan, a son of Gaia, and he hated the gods of Olympus as invaders and upstarts, the new kids of the block who had overthrown and dispossessed his own, more ancient race of Titans. He was as tall as the heavens and his eyes shot flames. Instead of fingers, he had 100 dragon’s heads sprouting from his hands -for which one could read ‘flames’ or magma.
None of the Olympians had the power to destroy Typhon, or confront him, not alone. For a time, all they could do was avoid him or flee for their lives, which they often did by transforming themselves into animals, and Aphrodite and Eros, in this case, transformed themselves into two fish (koi) and swam away.
Ultimately, Zeus imprisoned the terrible Typhon beneath Mount Etna…but Zeus didn’t deal with him for good. He couldn’t, not even Zeus, and Typhon is still very alive down there and pretty disgruntled. A deeply alarming spectacle, as we have seen on the news these last few days, as of 16 February 2021 and there have been a number of related astrological and psychic prognostications, talking about such seismic activity as a potentially major global influence in 2021.
Rome and Early Christianity
Early Christians used the Fish as a symbol of their faith…and called the TWELVE apostles of Christ the Fishers of Men (Pisces as the twelfth sign.
The secret code name for Jesus- Yeshua Ben Joseph- was Ichthys
The so- called Age of Pisces began 1 AD and- depending on your source, will end in 2150 when we enter the so-called Age of Aquarius, though some astrologers say we are already in that Age. The Age of Pisces saw the rise of the Monotheistic religions, Christianity and Islam. The Age of Aquarius is supposedly a secular age, all about technology and collectivism.
But religion shows no sign of going away. Islam is currently on the rise in the west, Christianity on the wane, with vacuums filled by socio-political ideological transmutations of the religious instinct, and in another two thousand or so years, it will be succeeded by another ‘earthy’ chapter – a new Age of Capricorn. (This thing works ‘retrograde’, working backwards through the zodiac signs)
The Astrological Personality
In Tarot, whether the subject is male of female, Pisces is embodied as The Knight of Cups. In Arthurian legend this would be Sir Percival or in later versions of the legend, Sir Galahad. This knight is a champion of the underdog, a protector, a lover, a bearer of grace and the healing chalice.
In a Tarot reading this generally translates as a happy situation, a new friend, an admirer, possibly a marriage proposal, news of a baby on the way, or a job offer or other good news is coming soon, and your cup ‘runneth over’.
Of course there is no such thing in reality as THE Pisces personality and the same goes for all the zodiac sun signs. Your sun sign is an archetype, a keynote, but of course it is not, and never could be the whole story, least of all in astrology. There is far more than just the sun sign in your own personal chart. You can find this out for yourself by looking up your own chart free online (obviously just be careful re spam etc).
Pisces combines imagination with the determination of a salmon fighting upriver, although, depending on the decanate, there may a certain quite marked passivity, even inertia. This may actually serve them very well at times, but could in some cases degenerate into darkness involving depression, alcohol or other substance misuse.
These individuals are talented natural artists, writers or musicians. They are famously loyal once committed, compassionate and sensitive. They adapt with ease, are spontaneous and full of surprises, but while their steel may be hidden, all the same, it is there. Not much is said about this scaly Pisces steel. They can be tough, even hard in a quiet way. They may not say much but watch the face harden, and cross the line once too often, you are gone, and that is it.
Where they demonstrate a lack of proper consideration for others, or undue stubbornness, it is not due to lack of goodwill, but they are not paying attention, too focused on their inner preoccupations.
Pisces needs variety, and structure must allow them room for a degree of autonomy. Desk based work, although Pisces can certainly do it, is not really their thing.
Pisces can make excellent and approachable team leaders with a reputation for loyalty to their staff. Passing the buck is not their style. They will take on injustice, take on those senior in status, but Pisces, unlike, say Aquarius, acts on an individual basis. Group actions, campaigns or crusades do not sit with their temperament, except just possibly for early Pisces, born on the Aquarius cusp. Later subjects, born close to the Aries cusp 20/21 April, are very much the ‘doers’ of Pisces.
Pisces is as brave as it is kind but these water sign denizens need to guard their physical energy. It can be erratic, and once depleted, is not always easily restored. If they are prone to headaches at the back of the head, there may be related bladder infections or other issues.
The Decans of Pisces
Each zodiac sign contains three decans, blocks of ten days or so, each with a different planetary ruler.
Pisces Decan 1 February 19 to February 28 (approximately) is ruled by Neptune. Those born within this decan will present as typical Pisces. Seldom aggressive or offensive, they conduct themselves with kindness and courtesy and very reasonably expect the same in return. Neptune, planet of illusion, is both their ruler and sub-ruler, emphasizing their imaginative capabilities. Pisces-Pisces readily connects with other people on an unconscious level, almost as if hearing what they are thinking, and able to anticipate their next moves, but they are likely to take a lot of detours before finding their own sense of direction. Tarot card: The Eight of Cups
Pisces Decan 2 March 1 to March 10 (approximately) The sub-influences for this decan are Cancer/MOON. Cancer – natural ruler of the fourth house of home base, family, and security – may keep them very close to family members, whether this is a positive or negative influence. They often bear a striking physical resemblance to a parent and may struggle to loosen break parental ties and become independent, but they must, if they are to develop their own potential, and often they are warm, well- balanced emotionally, cultured, artistically gifted, with charm and a keen sense of humour, from the zany to the dark or possible ingenious. They need plenty of quiet time alone. Tarot card: The Nine of Cups
Pisces Decan 3 March 11-March 20. A thinker, possibly even a visionary, the very last decan of all in the wheel of the zodiac year is a FINISHER. They are energetic, symbolized by the Mars influence on Scorpio.Pisces-Scorpio has an intensely practical side and often well-developed technical or scientific skills. They need activities, outlets for their physical energy and it matters a lot to them helping other people. This decan is considered fated to an unusual degree, and one day a calling may come to them in the form of a great challenge. Tarot card: The Ten of Cups
Famous Pisces in history
Michelangelo, Amerigo Vespucci, Copernicus, Vivaldi, Handel, George Washington, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Albert Einstein, Nat King Cole, Elizabeth Taylor, Nina Simone, Harold Wilson, Yuri Gagarin, Sidney Poitier, Steve Irwin.
‘No man is an island’. Yes we are. Islands in archipelagos.
I am running late with this Tarot reading, done 24 January, looking ahead at February but with no particular question, just fishing in the ether.
I felt drawn to pull two cards for February, and drew The Ten of Pentacles (Reversed) and The Eight of Cups from the Rider-Waite Deck.
Noah’s Ark in shown here in reference to another recent reading which mentioned precipitation, and the risk of flooding in the UK during February. This is nothing unusual for February, though some years are worse than others. February starts with Aquarius and ends with Pisces, and the Babylonians called Aquarius ‘the curse of rain,’ -or in northern latitudes, rain or snow.
Il Matrimonio took this pic of the heron on a nearby pond, while Junior Sprog’s young fellow, Carpenter Henry, is in mourning for his beloved koi carp, which last week disappeared from the garden pond of their rental cottage, presumed dead, prey to their own hungry heron.
Back to the Tarot.
The Ten of Pentacles (Reversed)
Keywords: Homeland, Family, Home, Money, Family Tree, Legacies, Continuity, Heritage, Family Business, Family Gatherings/Events/Celebrations, Businesses, Old Age
This card drawn reversed highlights particular challenges to do with these areas during the month of February 2021, from government level to an individual level.
The Ten of Pentacles is an earth suit card, to do with everything that we most need, value and treasure: security, belonging, homeland and the family home, money and inheritance, cultural heritage, wills, bequests and legacies of all kinds, financial, cultural, physical, and even genetic. So your middle name was given to you in memory of your great-grandfather? That’s the Ten of Pentacles. So, people say that you have your mother’s eyes? That’s the Ten of Pentacles.
It is the card of architecture, in every sense of the word, and the inter-generational relationships which make the bedrock of society.
In terms of planets and timings, the Ten of Pentacles correlates with the zodiac sign Virgo, and is ruled by Mercury, planet of communications, trade and travel, all of which continue to present a challenge during February 2021.
Late spring, late summer and late autumn look like the generally optimal months in 2021.
2020 was a dark year. 2021 does look brighter and better as Jupiter pulls away from Pluto, planet of the Underworld, but still, we all see there are major hurdles as the world’s governments struggle with a second wave of covid, and according to the Tarot, this may peak, or have passed its peak around 21 February in the UK.
This card of financial governance reflects the challenge of many Governments in raising or borrowing the finances to support their respective economies through this time of severely reduced economic activity. The Tarot has previously indicated to me that the global economy will recover perhaps surprisingly quickly, by or before early 2023. If only enough smaller businesses survive, not to have the giants ruling the roost any more than they do already.
History suggests global pandemics in general have been something of a once in a century phenomenon, and have tended to last between 1-3 years, and it is travel by ships, trains and planes which have carried them ever more swiftly around the world. Plane hopping = zero chance of eradication. And this is SARS, not flu.
Significantly, the Ten of Pentacles has been drawn reversed -upside- down – for February.
This puts the card in its less positive light, reflecting not only the extraordinary struggle of governments in so many countries, but at a personal and family level, the ongoing struggles of those small or family owned businesses, and the anxiety and frustrations of so many individuals and families unable to meet during lockdown measures.
This second wave has overtaken the first wave in terms of mortality. The UK second wave may possibly pass, or have recently passed peak mortality during February, after which, things will turn a corner again, and the new challenge is to keep that R rate down. I was unduly optimistic last year, and perhaps I am something of a glass half-full person and I need to watch that potential for bias. But right or wrong, the cards I get are the cards I get, no conscious control. That’s the entire point of this kind of exercise, and that’s the nature of this beast.
I was accurate in respect of timings in the UK, forecasting the end of the first wave and the release of that lock-down, but detected the risk of a significant second wave as roughly fifty- fifty or lower. Badly underestimated that one!
Good job I didn’t work for the Emperor Tiberius. He’d have had me chucked off the cliffs in Capri.
Astrology of The Ten of Pentacles
The Ten of Pentacles is ruled by Virgo, the Zodiac House of Health, which in turn is ruled by Mercury. This planet went retrograde 30 January and stays retrograde until 21 February, symbolically making this a time when misunderstandings may quickly arise, and making this a good time to rethink a few things, not only in respect of paying close attention to health and hygiene, but to be extra risk averse and vigilant in checking arrangements and information, for example, double- checking appointment times, important paperwork or travel plans, especially around 17 February when there may be an extra risk of (probably minor) mishaps.
Virgo is famously detail focused, very, and warns us not to relax our guard with things like distancing and frequent hand-washing, even though people may be, very naturally, fed up to the back teeth of hearing it.
Like that rock and roll classic by The Coasters, 1958
Take out the papers and the trash Or you don’t get no spendin’ cash If you don’t scrub that kitchen floor You ain’t gonna rock and roll no more Yakety yak (don’t talk back)Just finish cleanin’ up your room Let’s see that dust fly with that broom Get all that garbage out of sight Or you don’t go out Friday night Yakety yak (Don’t talk back)You just put on your coat and hat And walk yourself to the laundromat And when you finish doin’ that Bring in the dog and put out the cat Yakety yak (Don’t talk back) – Source: LyricFind
But the Roman Goddess HYGEIA is associated with Virgo, so there we have it.
Hygeia says ‘Yakety yak!’
(Don’t talk back.)
We want to protect our elders, but neither do we want to leave them lonely, afraid and isolated. This is a challenge highlighted by the Ten of Pentacles but this card reminds us, old age has value. Even as they may need our help, our older people can help and support us too,. They are not to be patronized as charity cases. They have many things to share and to teach, things seen and learned in their lived experience. Things understood.
RIP Captain Tom.
The Eight of Cups
Keywords: moral courage, emotional courage, walking away, sadness, acceptance, resignation, disappointment, decisions, and hard lessons learned.
This card is about saying goodbye, and walking away. It’s about the things we leave behind; the people, the places, the situations, maybe even hopes and dreams that no longer mean what they used to. Maybe we have lost interest.
Donald Trump has left The White House. The UK has left the EU. They will not return. It seems unlikely that Donald Trump will want to run again for President in four years time, even assuming that the option will exist, which looks increasingly unlikely. Britain has much hard work ahead, but is setting her face firmly to the future and will not rejoin the EU under a future UK government. The showing of teeth in the recent near debacle in respect of the Northern Ireland border only makes that possibility less likely.
Astrology of The Eight of Cups
In terms of astrology and timing, the Eight of Cups correlates with the first decan of the zodiac sign of Pisces, February 19 to March 20.
Pisces, previously ruled by Jupiter, is nowadays largely considered as ruled by psychic, dreamy planet Neptune, identified as a planet in 1846.
This card is suggesting a calmer, gentler closing to the month. For many, there will be intense, vivid dreams and perhaps powerful religious or even psychic experiences.
22 Feb Update: I had such an experience during the night 18 Feb. I woke and reached for the water beside the bed, saw a grey glow to my right, and turned and saw an vaguely human like apparition. It was looking at me and the face was not pleasant, though it faded almost at once. I got a bit of a scare and prepared myself for worrying news in the coming days. The ‘explanation’ came within 2 days, a close family member in distress.
Or paranoia. Oh yes. There is plenty of that about, blooming nicely.
The virus too, is fighting for its life, and it does not do negotation of timetables, but month by month we draw nearer to the inevitable end of this pandemic situation, and spring is nearly here. The snowdrops are long since out already.
The Ace of Cups (summer solstice) and the King of Wands signal a return to much greater normality by or before Leo –late July-late August. More about that in a minute.
I’m still keeping my own travel plans inside in the UK this year regardless of progress, on the principle of not making oneself a hostage to fortune- and there speaks my Virgo ascendant, yakety yak.
The Chinese (Lunar) New Year
12 February – 31 January, 2022
In Chinese and other Far Eastern Asian astrology traditions, the Lunar New Year 2021 brings the Year of the Metal Ox, also called the Gold Ox; a Yin quality sign, receptive and inward.
The powerful Ox is practical, productive, traditional, hardworking, dutiful and orderly, placid unless provoked too far. (And really, why would any sensible person want to provoke it?)
We think of Bull markets. The Stock Markets could do better than expected in February.
The Ox represents you and me, the so-called ordinary citizen, the family person, and the working public.
This Chinese zodiac Sign has a lot in common with the ideas embodied in the family-minded, industrious, traditional Ten of Pentacles.
You were born in the year of the Ox if you were born in 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997 or 2009.
The Metal Ox and Health
The Metal Ox is especially associated with the lungs, which could be taken as a lucky sign, a good omen for the easing of this second wave of the pandemic by around 12 February.
The Ox says ‘small is beautiful’, and local is best for quality when it comes to fresh foods. The Ten of Pentacles suggests we support small, local family businesses and farmer’s cooperatives as much as possible during the lockdown, to preserve as many of these vital businesses as we can, who may otherwise be forced to shut up their shops and walk away, like the figure in the Eight of Cups.
The Ox is slow, but strong and surefooted.
Tweeted 19 January
#Tarot when will Cov Sars 2 be sufficiently under control for UK to ‘reopen.’ Issue: Strength card=benchmark. Winter now (Ace Coins) Struggle till after Pisces (late Feb/late March) Then 2 wave MAY have peaked & situation grad improves. King of Wands/Leo/July=Strength returns
Sod’s Law says I am now erring on the side of caution, and it will happen far sooner, or begin to. And it almost certainly will, big style, from late March onward (that Piscean Eight of Cups)
The King of Wands is the king of 23 July-22 August. He is THE King of Speed, Movement, PR and Travel, ruled by big, buoyant planet Jupiter.
Quality: Cardinal (the start of the season of winter)
Key phrase: I build, I use
Body: Skin, knees, skeletal system
Birth Stone: Red Garnet and Black Onyx
Colour: Deep red
Herbs/Flowers: Wintergreen, Ivy, Carnation
Tarot card: The Devil (Pan/Nature, Earth, Will-Power, Determination, Mystery, Fascination, Charisma, Need, Hunger, Entrapment)
Capricornus is thought to be the oldest recognized constellation, just as its subjects are known for being born as old souls, wise beyond their years. Its name is Latin for ‘horned goat’ or ‘having horns like a goat’s,’ and it is commonly represented in the form of a sea-goat: a mythical creature half-goat, half-fish, Pricus, the son of Chronos (Time.)
The constellation of Capricornus from which the zodiac sign gets its name is located in an area of sky known as ‘The Sea’ or ‘The Water’, containing other water-related constellations including Aquarius, Pisces and Eridanus, the Celestial River, which is the sixth largest of the 88 modern listed constellations.
Capricornus is best seen in the northern hemisphere in the southern sky, early evenings in September. Capricornus is the smallest constellation in the zodiac, with no first magnitude stars. Not easy to find, you will need clear skies. Even so, its brightest star, The Tail of the Goat, or Deneb Algedi (Delta Capricorni A) is a white giant with a luminosity 8.5 times that of our Sun.
Capricornus has three stars with known planets, and contains a Messier object, Messier 30, a globular cluster 28,000 light years distant and about 90 light years across in size. This cluster is approaching us at the speed of 181.9 km/s and was one of the first deep sky objects discovered by Charles Messier in 1764.
Five meteor showers are associated with Capricornus: the Alpha Capricornids, the Chi Capricornids, the Sigma Capricornids, the Tau Capricornids, and the Capricorniden-Sagittarids.
The planet Neptune was discovered in the constellation Capricornus, near Deneb Algedi, the brightest star in the tail of the goat, on September 23, 1846.
Neptune is not visible to the naked eye. Galileo saw it first, in 1612 -13 but he mistook it for a fixed star as it was retrograde at the time of viewing. Read more about Neptune and its discovery here
It is curious that this Neptune connection was so recently discovered, in the face of an existing ancient mythic connection between Capricorn the Sea-Goat and Pisces the Fishes.
History and Mythology
Even though Capricornus is the second faintest constellation in the sky, the faintest after Cancer, its imagery is very ancient indeed, associated with myths that go back to the 21st century BC and which centre on various sun gods supposedly nursed by a she-goat.
Goats, and their relatives, ibex, were the inspiration, as depicted in Ice Age paintings.,
In the early Bronze Age, the arrival overhead of the constellation Capricornus coincided with the winter solstice and, in modern astrology (as distinct from astronomy) we enter the zodiac sign of Capricorn’s rule on the turning point of the winter solstice.
Male ibex start fighting and mating during early winter, December and January, coinciding with the dates first ascribed to Capricorn. The constellation of Capricorn itself is no longer overhead at the time of the winter solstice due to the wobble of the earth, an effect known as precession,and now appears overhead in late January, during the dates of the next zodiac sign, Aquarius.
Before 1000 BC the Sumerians knew Capricorn as the goat-fish, or SUHUR-MASH-HA. There appears to be a connection between Capricorn as a seagoat and Enki, the Sumerian god of wisdom and waters, who also had the head and upper body of a goat and the lower body and tail of a fish. Enki, Later known as Ea in Akkadian and Babylonian mythology, was the god of intelligence (literally ‘ear’), creation, crafts; magic; water, seawater and lake water.
Pricus was king of the mer-goats in a Greek evolution myth. The children of Pricus left the sea to dwell on the mountains, leaving him alone in the oceans, very sad and alone with no-one to care for or teach any more- and Pricus was a great teacher.
Zeus placed him in the Sea of the Stars so that he could see his children again, and they could look up and see him.
But the constellation is nowadays more widely associated with two mythical creatures from Greek legends: the deity Pan, and the she-goat Amalthea who suckled the baby Zeus, although these legends, like the other Greek legends, came in turn from far more ancient stories.
Pan-Bacchus, a set of pipes, and the terrible Typhon
Pan, so the legend said, was placed in the sky by Zeus in gratitude after he came to the rescue of the Olympian gods when they sought refuge in Egypt after an epic battle with the monster Typhon, son of the Titan Tartarus and Earth.
Typhon wanted revenge on the Olympic gods because they had overthrown his own race, the Titans who had ruled before Zeus defeated them, and he was one terrifying adversary, a fearsome fire-breathing creature, higher than mountains and with dragons’ heads instead of fingers. He had the gods of Olympia on the run, and they tried to escape by adopting various disguises: Zeus, a ram – Hera, a white cow, and Bacchus (or another version of the myth suggests Pan)- a goat.
Zeus had the unpleasant experience of being caught and dismembered by Typhon, who was presumably not fooled by the ram disguise, or otherwise had worked up an appetite, with all that raging, and just fancied lamb chops for tea.
Happily for Zeus, Bacchus/Pan played a sound on his pipes, ‘panikos’ -from which we get the word ‘panic’ – and this earsplitting sound disorientated or ‘panicked’ Typhon long enough for an agile Hermes to collect the limbs and restore Zeus to life, and he was so grateful not to be served up with mint sauce that he raised Bacchus/Pan to the heavens as the constellation Capricornus.
And so, thanks to the magic of the pan-pipes, Zeus lived to fight another day. He eventually managed to trick Typhon, and trapped him beneath Mount Etna…though he still tries to escape.
The Gate of The Gods
Neo-Platonic/Chaldean philosophy said that while the souls of those about to be born descended to Earth through the constellation of Cancer, the gate of the summer solstice, arriving through M44, the star cluster known as the Beehive Cluster, the souls of the newly dead return to the cosmic sea, ascending through the Gate of the Gods, the star-gate of Capricorn.
There is no such thing in reality as THE Capricorn personality and the same goes for all the zodiac sun signs. Your sun sign is an archetype, a keynote but of course it is not and never could be the whole story.
The archetype of Capricorn, the tenth sign of the zodiac, and the House ruling material affairs, is shrewd, wise, even Gnostic. They are profound thinkers, deeply inquiring, and with a wry sense of humour, self-reliant, stoic in the face of adversity, hard-working, determined and resilient.
They have high standards, and expect much of themselves but also others, which, depending on other aspects of their astrological portrait, can make them stern, demanding or even overbearing task-masters, holding others to their own very high standards of conduct, or their own preferred way of doing things.
They are sometimes accused of dourness, lacking a sense of humour but this is absolutely not the case. It is just that they are choosy of their company. Capricorn has a dry wit, a keen sense of the absurd, and loves a good joke.
Conversely, the Saturn influence can make them seem somewhat downbeat, cynical and suspicious, seeing traps and problems everywhere, quick to issue corrections, or to douche cold water, viewing the enthusiasm of others as ill advised or naïve.
Capricorn is no-one’s fool. Capricorn carries its own weight, and very often the weight of others too.
But however far it climbs, Capricorn is dignified, canny, circumspect, proud but not vainglorious. Capricorn climbs the mountain to see the world. It does not climb so that the world will see Capricorn.
However many are watching.
“Duties are what make life most worth the living. Lacking them, you are not necessary to anyone. And this would be like living in an empty space. Or not being alive at all.”- Marlene Dietrich, born Dec 27, 1901
‘Astrology’ comes from Greek and means ‘the study of the stars.’
Humans have been studying and recording the phases of the Moon for at least 25, 000 years. The Moon, though our satellite and not a planet, is the closest celestial body to Earth, an average of 238,855 miles (384,400 km) away depending on its orbit.
The Moon provides us with a map and a guide to the seasons, with a measure of predictability as to when certain things will happen, such as the tides or the migration of animals for hunting and much more besides, for example, the spawning of corals, animal mating seasons, crop growth, hormonal cycles and quite possibly human behaviour (lunatic, moody, moonstruck, love-struck mooncalf and so on).
Cave paintings show that early humans collected and correlated Moon observations, and this created a database of information for their very survival in timing the organizing of hunts, and much later, now living in built settlements, planting and harvesting crops.
The mass of anecdotal evidence gathered over many millennia, describing the effects of the Moon on human health and behaviour is simply too great to be dismissed.
The Winter Solstice
The key astronomical event this month is the winter solstice 21 December. And in astrological terms too, this is especially significant in 2020, with the Sun moving into conjunction with Mercury in the first degree of Capricorn and then Jupiter, making an exact conjunction Saturn in the first degree of Aquarius.
This marks a symbolic shift, called by some astrologers a new Age of Aquarius, described as an age of high technology, balanced by greater collectivism and less individualism in a world with a human population currently double the size that it was in 1970.
Earth’s resources are finite. This ‘shift’ may mean ‘working smart,’ with less available resources per person, in effect, and the effects could be seen for the next few centuries as humanity adapts tries to reconcile itself with best practice with rising use of digital and other technology on the one hand, and urban design, food production and our connection to the natural world on the other.
None of this is new. It is a conversation that has been taking place for some time. But this coming conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius, happening on the solstice of all days, marks this as a symbolic doorway.
The Victorian era was not like the Regency era. We are entering a new post-post modern era of social change, but only history will enable us to see it more clearly…such that we will name it. The Industrial revolution sent us away from home to work. This era may well bring far more of us us home again to work enabled by new, rising digital alt-tech, a necessary check, as the tech giants grow ever more powerful, monstrous, even to the operational detriment of legitimate, democratically elected governments.
Saturn warns, don’t get carried away with this digital revolution. Be aware of the downsides as well as the benefits. These are very serious downsides, as prejudicial to liberty as the upsides potentially enabling, and I for one, am thankful for the opportunities it has brought me to work from home during illness.
I remember, teaching evening class in college in 1992, telling adult students in that this ‘thing’ was coming, called ‘The Information Superhighway’.
And with what shocking speed it became part of our daily lives. But hour after hour online is not what our bodies were made for, and over-sharing online compromises the privacy and security of your physical space, finances and personal safety. Our feet, and those of our children, for their future well-being, must stay firmly grounded, earthed and rooted in the real, living, sensate, world.
This month, watch for the Geminid Meteor showers, starting around 4 December, peaking 13-14 December when it will be New Moon and the skies will be darkest, providing optimum brightness in 2020, cloud cover permitting. The Geminids are matched only by the Perseids in August, the brightest meteor showers of the year. The Geminids come from a rocky comet near the bright stars Castor and Pollux in the constellation of Gemini the Twins, and are also visible but less dramatic in the Southern Hemisphere. The meteors are very white and bright with 50 or more meteors per hour. The best show is in the small hours after midnight, around 2 a.m. local time (the time on your clock no matter where you are on Earth)
There is another, less spectacular, but symbolically significant meteor shower, the Ursids, during the night of 22/23 December, as if the Giant Sky Bears wake briefly from their winter hibernation to welcome the returning sun after solstice.
The Ursids come from the Big and Little Dipper in the constellations Ursa Major and Ursa Minor.
Find the Big Dipper high up in the north-northeast at around 1 a.m. That’s the best time to start watching. This year, 2020, the first quarter moon sets in the evening, with dark skies at late night and the morning hours for maximum visibility, the Ursids falling at a rate of about ten meteors an hour.
Humanity around the globe looked up and saw Sky-Bears more than 13,000 years ago.
December is the month when winter begins for most of the Northern Hemisphere, and the Full Moon is called the Cold Moon. The Old English/Anglo-Saxon name is the Moon Before Yule
Dec 14 New Moon in Sagittarius (and a solar eclipse)
Dec 21 Winter solstice and waning half moon in Pisces and Aries
Dec 22 Look out for shooting stars- The Geminids Meteor shower
Dec30 Full Moon in Cancer
The Full Moon is when the moon is on the opposite of the Earth from the Sun on the same celestial longitude and we can see the entire illuminated face of the moon.
The New Moon is the first/last lunar phase when the moon is between the Earth and the Sun,and the moon is largely invisible, hidden in the sun’s glare.
What do the moon phases mean symbolically?
A waxing Moon as we approach Full Moon is the optimum time to grow, build, add to, make or get something. It is about bringing in something new, or bringing something to completion or fruition.
A Full Moon is the optimum time to take stock and evaluate, or to gather, collect, harvest or cash in on something.
A waning Moon after the Full Moon is the optimum time for ending something, clearing out what’s no longer wanted or needed, including unhelpful or unhealthy habits. It may mean releasing something, or even getting rid of something (someone.)
A New Moon is the optimum time to launch something, make a plan, start from scratch.
15 November 2020: New Moon in Sagittarius
The major arcana Tarot card associated with this New Moon is Temperance.
This could be an auspicious time for a job interview, audition or other important meeting or contract, especially if it is attached to Teaching, Publishing, the Arts, Entertainments or Travel industries.
This New Moon and its total solar eclipse suggests a dynamic mood with a lively, fun and friendly feeling, but watch out – things could suddenly turn quarrelsome and we could be slightly more accident-prone than usual.
Temper temper? Time to cool it. Just give it a rest, will ya?
30 December 2020: Full Moon in Cancer
The major arcana Tarot card associated with this full moon in the cardinal water sign of Cancer is The Chariot.
Traditional meanings: Upright:ambition, direction, focus, self-control, teamwork, progress, determination. It can refer literally, to a journey, a new car or other vehicle. Reversed, impatience, self-indulgence, ploughing a trail of damage, car trouble.
The first full moon of 2020 was on 10 January, and was also in Cancer. This last full moon of the year makes a circle to wrap up the lunar year on a calmer note.
What new page has been turned in 2020? What is our own new normal going to look like? What lifestyle changes have we made in 2020, possibly as a consequence of the Covid- 19 emergency, that we did not choose to start with but that may actually be working OK for us?
The Tarot’s Comment
Here we have the gentle, harmonizing, summertime card of the Two of Cups.
Traditional Meanings: romance, friendships, offer, invitations, partnership, trade, positive exchanges
Here we have the words HEALING and MERCANTILE symbolically conjoined. Or MEDICINE and TRADE, and how entirely apposite is this, with Vaccines the topic of the day, and with a fast looming deadline for a Free Trade Agreement between the UK and the EU.
I have blogged about this before, back in 2018 and it looked like a Hard Brexit-But-with some Add-on- or Sub-deal-Not-Hard-Enough for many who voted to leave on the basis that Out meant Out, and that the mutual needs of trade would take care of the rest. I may look again, though, ahead of time.
Curiously, in addition, this Two of Cups coincides symbolically with this December’s Full Moon in the zodiac sign of Cancer the Crab.
The constellation of Cancer was known as ‘The Gate of Men.’ Platonic legend said the souls of Mankind descended through the stars of Cancer to be born on Earth.
Babies conceived in December during or after the winter solstice will be born during Virgo, at harvest-time, late August to early September.
Lock-down may result in more Virgo born babies in 2021. Virgo is already the most common birth sign in the northern hemisphere for this reason, that arrivals in harvest time, especially in late September, meant a mother in optimum nutritional health for bearing and nursing a baby. The most common birthday of all, according to various sources, is 25 September.
The least common birthdays are in December and January.
This positive card is about partnership and romance, but in more general terms, talks about give and take, and could be a sign for recovery in the retail sector from summer 2021, and a boom in Fair Trade consumer choices as suggested by the staff of Mercury with the Lion’s head on top.
This card is a good omen for a global return to greater normality by late June 2021 if not sooner, and March-April seems likely to see a turning in this tide.
There is such a lot of noise on social media, much of it angry and abusive.
The worry and frustration are only natural, but none of all this shouting changes the difficult reality governments all over the world are trying to deal with, in their own different ways, some distinctly less libertarian in their approach than our own.
The Two of Cups says now more than ever, this is not about ‘me me me’ and my rights. It’s about ‘us us us’, and our reciprocal responsibilities and duty of care.
They boarded people up alive inside their houses in London, is how desperate it got in 1665/6.
I looked in my cards last night, looking at the Pfizer vaccine, inquiring as to its safety only, and the picture was largely reassuring. There were no spades cards saying DANGER, though future problems were detected in terms of the logistics of supply, storage and delivery, as we have already seen in public discussion.
Cartomancy and The Line of Five
The Queen of Hearts (Cancer)- Ace of Diamonds (Ace of Science.) -8 Cups (Stability-vaccinate staff to help protect care homes)- 2 Clubs (Contract, logistics, delivery is the challenge) -9 Diamonds (obstacles, delays)
These are the individual card meanings, but my question was about the safety of this vaccine. For this I note the suits and colours.
We had four red suit cards and one black suit card, and no Spades cards. Taken as a whole this indicates a strong likelihood that this will prove a safe vaccine. Had I drawn any one of 3, 9 or 10 Spades, or heaven forbid, all three, I would be thinking, oo-err, I no likee this.
That Queen of Hearts indicates that we may be coming out of this tunnel late June-late July 2021.
It yet remains to bring the lens of cartomancy to bear on the same question for the vaccines from Moderna and the vaccine in Astrazeneca. But I will, when it would feel like a less idle, hypothetical or inflammatory question.
The results from the Oxford Astrazeneca trials which were recently halted are currently expected in late January. Read HERE.
Meanwhile, the Two of Cups says, we do what we can. We look to our dear ones, wherever they may be, and we say to one another- and to ourselves, ‘chin up and…here’s to the journey!’
“Not for ever by still waters/ Would we always ask to be…”
Well, we might ask, but that’s not what we’re getting, any more than those earth-bound bears of winter get an easy ride of this thing called Life, waking or even sleeping in hibernation, mere calories from death.
Orion The Hunter returns, and in the northern hemisphere can once again be seen bestriding the east at sunrise. So when we say return, where has he been, then? The answer is, he has been invisible, hidden in the glare of the sun since May.
But now he is back and will rise earlier each day until he is visible all evening during the winter months. As a girl I used to like to go out on cold frosty evenings to fill the coal scuttle from the coal bunker in the back garden. Looking up at him. I knew his name. I knew he was The Hunter but wondered about him, and what he was hunting up there.
Those winter evenings still have that same kind of magic.
Orion is only the 26th largest constellation, sitting on the celestial equator, facing the constellation next door, the oncoming, charging, Taurus the Bull. So it’s far from being the biggest, and it’s smaller than another Greek hero, Perseus but Orion’s got more brilliant stars, commanding the impression of its vastness.
(The biggest constellation of all is Hydra, and the biggest constellation of the twelve included in the Zodiac is Virgo.)
Orion’s two brightest stars are the blue-white star Rigel, representing the Hunter’s left foot, and the red supergiant Betelgeuse, Orion’s right shoulder. They’re both thought to be to be about ten million years old, which makes Betelgeuse quite young to be a red supergiant, but it’s evolved faster due to its enormous mass. It is expected to go supernova in the next million years and when it does will be brighter than the Moon and the brightest supernova ever to have been visible from Earth.
Orion’s third brightest star is Bellatrix, his left shoulder, and Orions’s Belt is one of the most easily recognized asterisms with its three stars.
You can read them east to west or left to right; Alnitak (girdle), Alnilam (string of pearls) and Mintaka (area) They have many other names across the world; The Magi, the Three Mary’s, and the Mayans called them The Fire Drill, invoking them in an annual fire ceremony to delay the onset of the end of the world.
‘No other constellation more accurately represents the figure of a man,’ said Germanicus Caesar
Orion is identified as a human figure in every culture at every latitude, with countless variations of different names and legends.
Orion, also called Nimrod, was the son of Poseidon and was the most handsome man ever to walk the earth. He was a great hunting buddy and friend of Artemis.Her twin brother, Apollo glowered, seeing that Artemis fancied Orion something rotten when she had taken a vow of perpetual chastity.
Orion could be a bit of a sex pest, chasing the Pleiades, so that Zeus confiscated them to the sky for their own peace and quiet. And a fat lot of good it did them, because when Orion was killed by a scorpion (THE scorpion) Artemis in her grief, asked Zeus to post Orion upstairs to the heavens, which he did, right next door to the Pleiades, who also represent the celestial bull pen of Taurus. Thanks Zeus. You didn’t think that one through, did you?
Should Taurus ever break free of his pen, said an ancient Arabic legend, it will be the end of all things, so let’s hope he’s happy up there, and that Orion doesn’t chase the Pleiades away.
Orion bravely strides towards the Bull but although he killed the scorpion that also killed him, he still fears it, and dreads its appearance fleeing west as the autumn wears on and Scorpius rises (Scorpio)
The stand off between Orion and Taurus the Bull, its red eye, Aldebaran glaring at him, daring him to come nearer, does not fit the Greek legend of Orion, and a question has been raised in some quarters over the identity of Orion, and whether he has become confused with Herakles/Hercules at any time in his identification with this constellation.
The reasons are likely historical. The constellation as recognized by the Greeks originated with the Sumerians, who saw in it their great hero Gilgamesh fighting the Bull of Heaven. The Sumerian name for Orion was URU AN-NA, meaning light of heaven and Taurus was GUD AN-NA, bull of heaven.
Gilgamesh was the Sumerian equivalent of Heracles, the greatest hero of Greek mythology, and one of the labours of Heracles was to catch the Cretan bull, but Orion was never in a fight with a bull. Heracles, it has been suggested, deserves a magnificent constellation such as this one, but has been consigned to a much more obscure area of sky. So has there been a mix-up, or perhaps we could see it as a mash-up, Orion and Heracles in mutual diguise?
Orion and The Tarot
The Tarot card most commonly associated with Orion is The Fool. The most numinous card in the deck, its element is Air and it is ruled by the planet of revolution, Uranus.
It is the portal of the number Zero.
The Fool or as some called him, The Jester, is both beginnings and ending.
In a real life reading it may detect or forecast a birth of a child, or a new offer or a launch or opportunity of some kind. And change happens all the time but this is always major or significant in scope. But although is not associated with Death, unlike the famous Death card, it can mean a death too, representing infinity, the ouroboros.
The Fool lives in the moment. He may be fun, he may be joy, or he may be frightening. There’s every reason a lot of people are scared of clowns as the living embodiment of The Fool. He represents the wisdom of innocence, or mistakes made through impulsiveness or ignorance rather than stupidity. But he may represent a threat, whether direct or existential, clearly sensed but not as yet clearly identifiable. The fear is visceral, not lightly to be dismissed.
He may be a shamanic, gnostic figure; the stranger, the outcast, the wise Fool or the Fool on the Hill. He dances to his own tune. He takes chances, risks, and sometimes these pay off, but sometimes he steps over the edge of the cliff, heedless of his dog’s most urgent warning.
The dog in the card is not biting the Fool, but desperately trying to get his attention. If someone asks the Tarot’s advice and then I draw this card reversed….someone needs to draw back from the precipice and look again before they leap.
I may bark like the Fool’s dog but will they act on this advice? CAN they? Will they even really hear it, let alone find a way to use it? We are who we are, and we do what we do, based on who we are. It is a rare person who can step back and see things anew once they are committed to Opinion A or B or they are emotionally invested in outcome A or B.
Advice, to be heard, must be sufficiently timely, before the paint dries.
Everywhere the Fool goes, his dog follows, just as Orion is followed in the skies by his two hunting dogs, Canis major and Canis minor. Sirius, the Dog Star is in the constellation of Canis Major and is THE brightest star in Earth’s night sky.
The only objects that outshine Sirius in our skies are the sun, moon, Venus, Jupiter, Mars and Mercury – and Sirius will usually outshine Mercury too.
All Mankind is Orion.
We were hunters at the dawn of man (The Fool) And gatherers too, but we were never gorillas, and never herbivores on our ancestral line.
“We were risen not of fallen angels but risen apes, and they were killer apes besides” – Robert Ardrey, in African Genesis.
Hunting was what brought us together in teams, then communities. Co operation meant compassion.
Fatboy Slim tells a version of that story here (except that we were apes but not on the gorilla branch). See Orion in the final frame of the video.
Today we leave the zodiac sign of Cancer, the mysterious and elusive Crab in the Starry zodiac sea, the sign of the zenith of the summer, and we move into the astrological sign of Leo the celestial lion. Most of us know our zodiac or sun sign, but what does it actually look like in the night sky, and what’s the story behind it?
It’s time to roll out the red carpet for the star-lion, Leo…
The Lady and the Lion. Perhaps it is Una. Or perhaps her name is Leona or Leonora, for the lion is also the lioness. Her hold on the leash could not be lighter. She is controlling the lion, but only because it is allowing it, not fighting her restraint, signifying that the lion is also a part of herself. This is just as one would imagine, a very welcome card of better health, signifying recovery if someone has been ill.
Leo is one of the 48 constellations described by the 2nd-century astronomer Ptolemy, and one of the 88 modern constellations recognised by NASA today, between the neighbouring constellations of Cancer to the west and Virgo to the east.
Leo is the 12th largest constellations, and one of the most easily recognizable due to its many bright stars, and a distinctive shape suggesting a crouching lion, apparently facing right.
The bright light in the sky beneath Leo as seen in the photo below is Jupiter.
The best time to see the Lion is Spring in the northern hemisphere, from around the March equinox. In early April, the constellation Leo reaches its high point for the night around 10 p.m. By around May 1, Leo reaches his high point for the night around 8 p.m. local time In early May, the Lion begins to set in the west around 2 a.m. local time and by June, Leo is descending in the west in the evening, drifting progressively westward.
By late July and into early August, the Lion is beginning to fade into the sunset, returning to the eastern sky and visible before dawn around late September or October.
Look out for the Big Dipper, Leo is below it. You are looking for a backwards question mark pattern called the Sickle; and you can see its curve outlines the Lion’s mane.
Leo’s brightest star, Regulus, or Alpha Leonis, ‘The King Star,’ is the heart of the celestial lion, a sparkling blue-white star at the bottom of the backwards question mark pattern. Regulus, means “little king” or “prince” in Latin. The star’s Greek name, Basiliscos, has the same meaning, while the Arabic name is Qalb al-Asad, meaning literally “the heart of the lion.”
Mind Boggler -Leo’s fifth largest star, Epsilon Leonis, 247 light years from Earth, is 288 times more luminous than the Sun, four times as massive and has 21 times the solar radius.
A triangle of stars in eastern Leo represents the Lion’s hindquarters and tail. The brightest star of the triangle is named Denebola, Arabic, meaning the Lion’s Tail.
There are 15 stars in Leo with 18 known planets between them, but none of the planets is in a habitable zone.
The Leonids are meteor showers associated with the constellation of Leo. They peak around November 17-18 every year, and there is another minor shower, the January Leonids, peaking January 1 – 7.
Ancient History & Mythology
Leo the Lion has since ancient times been associated with the sun and royalty, ruled by the sun in astrology and is one of the oldest constellations collectively recognized with many ancient civilizations agreeing on perceiving it as a lion.
Archaeological evidence suggests that Mesopotamians recognized a constellation similar to Leo as early as 4000 BC. The Persians knew the constellation as Shir or Ser, Babylonians called it UR.GU.LA (“the great lion”), Syrians knew it as Aryo, and the Turks as Artan.
The story goes that the ancient Egyptians venerated Leo because the appearance overhead of this constellation used to coincide with the annual flooding of the Nile River, the lifeblood of their agriculture and indeed, the nation entire. Marking the end of drought, desert lions would arrive at the river, driven by desperation, and their appearance was welcomed as a certain sign that the floods were shortly on their way. The Egyptians accordingly honoured the lion with festivals, and even today many statues of lions can be found along the course of the Nile River, proof of their reverence.
It’s thought that the lion-headed fountains commonly designed by Greek and Roman architects equally symbolized the life-giving waters released by the sun’s presence in Leo.
Herakles’ first labour was the killing of the Nemean Lion. This terrifying lion lived in a cave in Nemea, a town located to the south-west of Corinth. It was a man-eater, dining on the local folk, not OK, and a few had tried to kill it, only to find to their (terminal) horror, nothing could pierce the lion’s hide, it was so preternaturally tough.But someone must have survived to tell this tale, for Herakles, being forewarned of this additional teensy problem, managed somehow to sneak up on the lion asleep in its cave, and strangled to death the uber-kitty; poor puddy-tat.
Herakles then rather disrespectfully, I can’t help feeling, if undeniably pragmatically, skinned the lion with its own claws, and wore its skin as a cloak, making himself even more ferocious in appearance, as well as presumably, and even more importantly, arrow-proof.
The Astrology of Leo
This fixed fire sign is known for its pride, ambition and determination, warmth and generosity of spirit, not to mention, charisma, but above all, Leo is known for bravery; the lionhearted one, the divine expression of physical, mental, and emotional fortitude, which is a very great virtue. Leo parents are typically devoted, but they rule their households, no question about it.
Courage takes many forms. There is the courage of initiative, the will to advance, engage and attack. There is moral courage, proceeding in the face of fear, “feeling the fear and doing it anyway.”
And there is the courage to endure, to withstand, and the fortitude that quietly says to itself, “I will keep smiling, and tomorrow I will try again”. No banners and no accolades.
Leo can be its own worst enemy; hasty, arrogant, reckless, self-centred, headstrong and careless, and for these reasons, unless these subjects learn patience, consideration and self-control, they are not necessarily always as lucky in life as they could be, or as they, and the great, shining Leo truly deserve, proud and thirsty children of the sun.
Most of us know our sign of the zodiac or sun sign, but where did get its name from, and what does it look like in the night sky? Read on for the story of Libra…
(seek to) Balance
Lower back, buttocks, kidneys
September birthdays. Opal- October birthdays
Number: 6 (community, childhood)
Domain: Justice from the Rider-Waite Tarot
Libra (and I say Lee-bra too, like most people, but technically, it is correctly pronounced Ly-bra as in Library) is a small but distinct constellation next to the constellation Virgo in the evening sky. It looks like a lopsided diamond, or a small child’s drawing of a house, and is visible in the northern hemisphere between April and July.
Libra is most visible directly overhead at midnight in June, and is 29th in size of the 88 constellations.
Public Domain: Libra
Libra is bordered by the head of Serpens to the north, Virgo to the northwest, Hydra (the biggest known constellation of all) to the southwest, Lupus to the south, Scorpius to the east and the serpent bearer, Ophiuchus to the northeast.
Libra, like Cancer, is fairly faint from Earth in comparison with other constellations, and contains no spectacular first magnitude stars, but it contains a very old galaxy cluster, possibly around 10 billion years old, which is about the same age as our The Milky Way, our own galaxy.
There is a red dwarf star ,Gliese 581, in this galaxy, with three orbiting planets, one of which may possibly be suitable for life. This system is about 20 light years from Earth.
Libra used to be regarded, not as a constellation in its own right, but as part of neighbouring Scorpio and Virgo. This legacy remains in the names of its brightest stars. The brightest star in Libra is a binary star about 77 light years from Earth. α Librae. Its common name is Zubenelgenubi, meaning “the Southern Claw” in Arabic. The second-brightest star in the constellation of Libra is β Librae, known as Zubeneschamali, from the Arabic for “The Northern Claw.”
Public Domain: the Scorpionic Scales, from
Since 2002, technically, the Sun has actually appeared in the constellation of Libra from October 31 to November 22. But signs of the zodiac are not dependent on the positions of the actual constellations. Western or tropical astrology, which is based on seasonal phenomena, not the actual positions of the constellations, which remain the basis of Eastern or Sidereal astrology.
The Sun did used to be in the constellation of Libra at the northern autumnal equinox (c. September 23) to on or about October 23, when the hours of night and daylight were the same- hence the Libran key concept of natural balance, and the change of the seasons is still marked by the first days of the zodiac sign of Libra, 23 September.
But Western or Tropical astrology was designed as a construct based on arithmetic, not on current astronomy. The signs of the zodiac were inspired, modelled and named according to the heavenly bodies, but actually based on seasonal phenomena, these being presented as an arithmetic model, dividing into 12 pieces of a pie, the circle of the visible skies of the zodiac as seen from Earth, as calculated by the Greek mathematician, astronomer and astrologer Ptolemy in the 2C AD.
Mythology and History
Libra was once
included as part of Scorpio, and was known in Babylonian astronomy as MUL
Zibanu (the “scales” or “balance”) with an
alternative name, the Claws of the Scorpion. In ancient Greece Libra was also
seen as the Scorpion’s Claws.
The scales were held sacred to the Babylonian sun god Shamash, who was also the patron of truth and justice, and ever since these very early times, Libra has been associated with law, fairness and civility.
Libra was first recognised as a constellation in its own right in ancient Rome, when it began to represent the scales held by Astraea, also known as Dike, who in Greek mythology was actually associated with Virgo. In ancient times, the stars of Libra, The Scales, were also intermingled with those of Scorpius by the Greeks, but were always considered as a separate group by the Romans.
According to the writer Manilius, Roman judges were born under the sign of Libra. The Moon was said to be in Libra when Rome was founded, in a historical passage, which states “qua condita Roma.”
The start of Libra starts with the autumn equinox, when days and nights are almost of equal length, i.e. balanced, and Roman astrologers considered that the constellation of Libra represented the scales held by Astraea, the ‘star maiden,’ goddess of Justice and innocence. Astraea was a daughter of the Titans, god of dusk, and Eos, goddess of dawn. She dwelt on earth alongside humans during the Golden Age of Man, but the Iron Age dawned, bringing war and wickedness, and Astraea could not abide this, nor the injustice of the killing of the bull who pulled the plough, until, sometime during the Bronze Age, she left earth for the skies, where she transformed into the constellation Virgo.
Here is pause for thought. This is all rather confusing. We are discussing Libra, not Scorpio, not Virgo, but Libra is a subtle sign, a comparatively newly created one, pulled somewhat, and aspects of it shared between neighbouring Scorpio and Virgo.
The seasonal story is straightforward. Libra is the autumn equinox in the northern hemisphere. But the mythos is complicated, due to the merging of several mythological personas, Babylonian, Greek and Roman. Astraea was also known as Dike, goddess of human justice (where Themis was goddess of natural justice) To the Romans she was Justitia. She was the protector of fair judgement, and continues embodied in the blindfolded figure of justice used in our own law courts today. Virgo and Libra go together, and so do Libra and Scorpio. This close relationship was echoed in the sky, where Libra, the symbolic representation of Dike, lies alongside Virgo. According to the myth, Astraea will one day return to Earth, bringing a new Golden Age.
The Libra Archetype
Libra is one of the three zodiac air signs, the
others being Gemini and Aquarius.
Libra is the only sign that is not
represented by a human or animal, but the scales signify the collective and
enduring human hunger for justice, as well as Libra’s own especially keen
personal need for balance, order, and equality. Many astrologers view Libra as an
especially lucky sign because it occurs during the peak of the year when the
rewards of hard work are harvested.
Libra is suave,
clever and extremely easy to like. The classic Libra subject has charm and can
be a great listener with sharp observation skills and acute perception.
Because Venus, the goddess of love, rules Libra, the Libra subject is
especially, even acutely sensitive to beauty in anything, whether it is a
person, nature, art, or music. They dislike loud noises, cruelty, nastiness,
and vulgarity, as they are naturally extremely civilised people. Born
diplomats, Libras try to cooperate and compromise with everyone around them to
create a tranquil atmosphere. They can sometimes be a little tiring to be with
as they are constantly re-assessing and adjusting their thinking, and can be
more changeable even than Gemini.
Public Domain: Venus, the ruler of
Libra, The Birth of Venus by Botticelli.
Libras may show negative Scorpio traits just the same as a Scorpio subject. They may be touchy, thin-skinned, and tend not to handle criticism as dispassionately as they dispense it. They like to be the centre of attention and may resent it when they are not. Libra can be jealous, moody, and an expert practitioner of passive aggression, or go further as the ‘iron fist in a velvet glove’ – smoothly vengeful, or even ruthless.
But- lovely Libra. Smiling, civilised, smoothie side up, what’s not to like?
Public Domain: The constellation of Leo with its distinctive Sickle, representing the head and neck of the Lion, and with Jupiter below. Click the link above for more astronomy.
Lions came out of the desert this time of year, driven by drought, to drink from the Nile, a sign that the great Nile flood was shortly on its way, mapped in the sky, led in by the constellation, the star lion Leo.
Alight on chance
To Lionise again
The Lion in The Tarot
Leo’s Tarot Card is Strength, Major Arcana 8. This is not simply about raw physical Strength, or bodily courage, but nerve, fortitude and grace under pressure. The lady controls the lion, but the touch is light. This is a card of self-control. King Hood protects the pride. The Lionesses hunt to feed the pride, working as a team. Hunting is dangerous for the hunter as well as for the prey. The lion does not kill for pleasure. Only for necessity. Any injury sustained during hunting can mean a slow and painful death for the lioness.
Image from The Gilded Tarot, artist Ciro Marchetti
But if you can’t solve the problem, and not everyone can solve every problem, let someone else have a go who thinks they can. If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. Sometimes there is strength, unselfishness, moral courage even, in deciding to do that, so as not to become part of the problem.
In terms of Tarot divination, if this card comes up in answer to a question, the answer is very likely a yes.
If your question is when? The answer is very likely to be July 23-August 23 of the same year.
Astrology and Tarot are separate artistic disciplines with distinct histories and traditions, but there are powerful connections between them, with many astrological archetypes embedded in the Tarot.
Image: Public Domain from The Book of Hours, Jean Pierre Verdet
The 78 cards of a classic Tarot deck include 22 Major Arcana cards (Greater Secrets) and 56 Minor Arcana Cards (Lesser Secrets.)
The Major Arcana cards shine a light on life-changing situations and events, or draw attention to some crucial aspect of your own personality or behaviour, demanding attention at the time of the reading.
Each sign of the Zodiac is linked with a Tarot card from The Major Arcana. Your sun sign and your Major Arcana card represent key archetypes. But what exactly is an archetype?
The word derives from Ancient Greek and means a very typical example of something, like a model from which other copies are made; a prototype.
Arkhetupon ‘something moulded first as a model’, from arkhe-‘primitive’ + tupos ‘a model’.
The Oxford English Dictionary offers these definitions
A very typical example of a certain person or thing.
Later, in Psychoanalysis (in Jungian theory) a primitive mental image inherited from the earliest human ancestors, and supposed to be present in the collective unconscious.
A recurrent symbol or motif in literature, art, or mythology.
Archetypes are complexes of experience that come upon us like fate, and their effects are felt in our most personal life.
The ‘anima’ no longer crosses our path as a goddess, but, it may be, as an intimately personal misadventure, or perhaps as our best venture.
When, for instance, a highly esteemed professor in his seventies abandons his family and runs off with a young red-headed actress, we know that the gods have claimed another victim.
From Jung: Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, Image: John Strudwick 1849-1937
The archetype represented by your Major Arcana card does not define you, of course, any more than your Sun sign does. You and I are unique. Every living thing is unique and yet- it is also classifiable
The archetypes are classifications of behaviours and attributes, and in the Tarot, the Major Arcana chime with the signs of the zodiac.
There are two key archetypes in play in personal astrology; the archetype of your Sun sign, and then there is your ‘outward face’; a key aspect of the public persona, represented by your Rising Sign or Ascendant; the planet rising on the Eastern horizon at the time of your birth. It’s a good idea to read both when reading your horoscope.
If you know your time of birth, you can identify your rising sign via this link
Discover the Tarot’s Major Arcana card for your zodiac sign below.
Aries (Mar 21-Apr 19)
Astrological archetype: The Ram. The Warrior.
Major Arcana card The Emperor – (energy, organisation, leadership)
Spring bursts forth after winter and so does the ram with the year’s first lambs, and so does The Emperor in you and me. The Emperor decrees we can’t just creep through Life. We need to push sometimes, and push hard or we would never get anywhere. The Emperor is fiery, energetic, driven and determined, good at delegating but controlling – some might even say bossy; A battering ‘ram’. The Emperor may be accident- prone due to general speed and haste. Male or female ‘he’ needs to learn how to take it easy, and slow down, to be more careful and patient, to stay curious and listen to the ideas of others. He’s not the only Emperor round here.
Taurus (Apr 20-May 20)
Astrological archetype: The Bull. The Artist. The Farmer.
Major Arcana card The Hierophant – (faith, study, tradition)
This card is about the power and wisdom of the written words and of tradition. Books, publishers, librarians, churches of all faiths, and universities are indicated by this same card. The High Priest (Hierophant) does things by the book, and has faith and trust in the old ways. He is all about standards. He is a protector, a gardener, a teacher, a mentor, a scholar, but the other message of this card is that change can be good, even necessary, wisdom is knowing when to bend with the wind, and that does not necessarily mean the same as throwing out any baby with the bathwater.
Gemini (May 21-June 20)
Astrological archetype: The Twins. The Jester.Mercury.
Your Major Arcana card is The Lovers – (choices, love, duality)
This card has another name: ‘The Decision.’ Gemini is quick-witted, but sometimes decisions need more care and time than mercurial Gemini gives them. There is an innate restlessness, Gemini can be quick to walk away, even when sometimes they might do better to stick at things, even if they are bored, or the going gets rough. Gemini is the archetype of the Jester, the one who can take any turn of fate with a laugh and makes sure we remember to enjoy ourselves. This is the wisdom of Gemini. We need to be able to laugh at ourselves in order to keep a healthy sense of perspective. Laughter is powerful medicine. What we can’t joke about, we can’t deal with..
Cancer (Jun 21-Jul 22)
Astrological archetype: The Crab. The Mother.
Major Arcana card The Chariot – (progress, effort, co-operation).
The Crab is famously gentle, home-loving, intuitive, private; even secretive, but just look again at this guy/girl. This is Cancer’s Tarot face. The Chariot carries the victorious on parade. The Chariot takes us places. This is a card of triumph through discipline and sustained effort; the harnessing of resources, the charioteer and the horses working as one. Choose your teams well, put in a sustained effort, you and they can do great things together. The Crab may be the archetypal sign of motherhood where the Ram is fatherhood, but these are qualities, not identities, while a carer is not a servant, and the gentleness of Cancer does not make it a doormat. No way. Push too far they will withdraw.
Leo (Jul 23-Aug 22)
Dominant element: Fire.
Astrological archetype: The Lion. The King.
Major Arcana card Strength – (courage, willpower, fortitude)
Life demands courage to meet it head on. To learn new things you have to take chances and risk failure. But the fire of Leo demands control. The lady patiently restrains the lion. It shall not devour her. She shall not try to harm it. The lion represents the spirit of the Leo subject. There is natural courage and charisma, but the Lady represents strength with gentleness and restraint – moral courage. The lion does not want to be ruled, but nor does she wish to be devoured, power must be used wisely and tyranny is always to be resisted.
Virgo (Aug 23-Sep 22)
Dominant element: Earth
Astrological archetype: The Virgin. The Craftsman.
Major Arcana card The Hermit – (Self-sufficiency, connection to nature, analysis)
The Hermit often likes to walk alone, and this is usually by choice. Time alone, especially in quiet, wild, green places, is especially good for the Hermit, male or female, married, or single. People turn to the Hermit for wise advice. The Hermit knows how to listen and sees far more than he or she says. The Hermit shines a quiet light along his path and others may safely follow in times of need. Animals can trust to the hermit’s compassion. The Hermit is often a talented artist or crafts-person, slow, methodical and a perfectionist, so much so, that she never feelsthe work is good enough to sell, even when it is. Virgo’s challenge is to expedite..
Libra (Sep 23-Oct 22)
Dominant element: Air.
Astrological archetype: The Scales. The Judge.
Major Arcana card Justice – (order, reason, restitution).
Libra combines analytical ability with intuition, and a natural grace and charm, with a talent for diplomacy. Justice is capable of severity, however, and can just now and again be overly keen to apply the letter of the law, forgetting the spirit. See the Sword in the hand of Justice. But the scales don’t stay still. They are rarely in perfect balance. They see-saw, like Libra’s moods and occasional indecision. Libra is changeable. It may be the only sign of the Zodiac represented by an inanimate object, and a Libra subject may be a born judge, but still, they are only human. But without Justice there would be chaos and misery, mature loose and running red in tooth and claw. There could be no society and no civilisation.
Scorpio (Oct 23-Nov 21)
Dominant element: Water.
Astrological archetype: The Scorpion. The Actor.
Major Arcana card Death – (endings, liberation, transformation)
There is no life without death. There can be nothing new without something else changing or ending. But just like the song, the seasons don’t fear the reaper. Death is not the enemy of Life. Scorpio understands this great mystery. Intuitive, subtle, often somewhat secretive, charismatic, intense, Scorpio is devoted to their loved ones, while with others they may be a true friend and powerful ally – or a vengeful enemy. Death has a long memory. He has seen it all before. Get in the way, and he may mow you down with that scythe. Sometimes it is better to walk away. Sometimes it is wiser to call it quits and call time on something that no longer serves you well.
Sagittarius (Nov 22-Dec 21)
Dominant element: Fire.
Astrological archetype: The Archer. The Explorer.
Your Tarot archetype is Temperance – (moderation; timing, healing).
Temperance was regarded as an angel- a force for virtue at the time the Tarot was first in use. Temperance is about moderation, and self- control, and the avoidance of extremes. But Temperance has other meanings…alchemy, the fusing together of two elements, materials or qualities to make a new thing stronger than either individual element; Intellect and feeling, ability and ambition, one person and another, one people and another. This is a force for diplomacy, reconciliation of differences and also for physical healing after illness.
Capricorn (Dec 22-Jan 19)
Dominant element: Earth.
Astrological archetype: The Goat. The Builder.
Major Arcana card The Devil – (also Pan. Wildness, entrapment, liberation)
Powerful opposites meet in the Goat. Capricorn, thought to be named originally for the ibex which mated at this same time of year, is the builder and the banker of the zodiac; hard working and solid yet agile, with an often understated glamour and a keen, if dry sense of humour. The Devil comes in many guises; often powerfully attractive. Or think of animal magnetism. That’s Pan for you. The Devil warns us to beware compulsion reminding us that we can get trapped by our own behaviour as much as by circumstance but we can choose to liberate ourselves by exercising the willpower sufficient to change the behaviour or the circumstance, bringing order out of chaos.
Aquarius (Jan 20-Feb 18)
Dominant element: Air. (Special note: Aquarius is sometimes mistakenly identified as a water sign because its symbol is the water carrier)
Astrological archetype: The Water Carrier. The Teacher.
Major Arcana card The Star – (hope, inspiration , humanitarianism).
The Star of hope has much in common with the imagery of the Aquarian Water Carrier. It shines its brightest, far-off light when everything else looks dark. The figure in the card has one foot in the water, symbolising her powers of intuition, and the other foot still on land, denotes her stability. Her knee is a bridge between elements. The stars symbolise the card’s over-arching message of guidance, hope and inspiration. Aquarius loves people as a general concept, but she is not one to blend in with the crowd, indicated by the biggest star above her head, which is bigger and set apart from the others.
Pisces (Feb 19-Mar 20)
Dominant element: Water.
Astrological archetype: The Fishes. The Seeker/Seer
Major Arcana card The Moon– (imagination, instinct, intuition)
Like Pisces, The Moon card is associated with the subconscious, and suggests that things are not always as they first appear. The Moon card also represents our secretive side or “shadow self”. The barking dog and the wolf in this card represent Pisces’ wild side sitting alongside its more domestic self. Pisces may seem gentle but the pull of the wild is strong, and so is the pull of the ocean’s tides. These people are deep. The crayfish crawling from the water represents “coming into consciousness” and the possession of psychic abilities, true of all the zodiac signs in their different ways, but especially archetypal of Pisces.
The archetypes are represented real things, real people. Who do we have here? The Magician? The Hermit? Herne? Cernunnos?
Watch for the more everyday archetypes manifesting in real time all around you.
A lady was wondering how best to negotiate, or end a domestic difficulty. What did the Tarot show about what seemed likely to happen and when? What was the advice?
I drew The Hermit and The Queen of Cups.
The versions of The Hermit shown here are drawn from The Gilded Tarot, by kind permission of Ciro Marchetti, and The Golden Tarot by Kat Black, by kind permission of US Games Systems.
The Hermit shines a calm light. He is a path finder, representing calm and maturity, and he also represents a need for reflection, time out, a bit of peace and quiet.
This card also represents the zodiac sign of Virgo, and a date range of 23 August – 22 September.
I suggested therefore that late August looked like crunch time for the relationship, while the Queen of Cups – (this card is also from The Golden Tarot) suggests a happily married woman or a woman becoming a mother, and this, sitting in the future or outcome position, seemed to bode favourably for the prospects of a workable resolution, and restoration of harmony in the household.
I was then informed that a baby was due in late August.
So there we have it, the Hermit was literally, pronouncing upon dates for the Queen of Cups new arrival.
If I was a proper psychic, of course, I’d just have looked in my crystal ball and said so straight out. But there it is. I ain’t, I’ve got to use my Tarot, and then I need to think about it, and as for the headgear, forgeddit.
Eh? I said to myself. Today began with a Tower moment?
No way does a Tower moment escape your attention. It basically says ‘kaboom’!
It may be an emotional shock. It may be physical. It may be getting fired from your job, or learning you have been lied to and now what are you going to do about it? It may be a plane crash, a storm, an earthquake, a tsunami, a detonated bomb.
The Tarot is somewhat under threat of ‘spiritual’ sanitisation these days. There’s a movement afoot to say Tarot’s Death card does not mean Death, the Tower card does not mean physical disaster. And the Eight of Swords no doubt, only means chagrin or an attitude of helplessness, and never means plumbing or toilets (which actually, it may do in my experience)
We are all so engaged in spiritual evolution, these rock bottom, immutable things will soon all be beneath our notice, except that we happen to inhabit the material as well as energetic plane, so had better engage with it while we are here.
But the oracular voice is older than anyone alive, and while it is a living oracle and therefore subject to vagaries of fashion in thinking, it must never lose sight of its roots and neglect the material plane. Life means struggle, Life demands Strength.
The Tower card is ruled by Mars, god of war.It’s day is Tuesday, named for Tyr, Norse god of war. If you ask when something will happen and then I draw the Tower card, it will likely happen on a Tuesday.
While Tarot is at times exceedingly subtle and The Death card may well not mean an actual physical death and the Tower card may not spell physical disaster, they well MIGHT. Real life readings for real life people demands respect, which means recognising terrible things really do happen, physically, and the reader needs to be prepared to acknowledge that and not seek to sugar coat Tarot with spiritual sounding avoidance, immediately jumping to say things along the lines of ‘the Death card. Well, this card means transformation.’
Oh does it? Does it now? Not that I am necessarily disagreeing, but try for a few specifics, and by the way, I do not wanna be transformed just yet, thank you. I’ve got things to do first, if the universe will allow it, and anyway I am transforming all the time, and so are you , like it or not, and hopefully not just with lines and wrinkles but with each new thing we learn .
And now that I thought about it, staring at my Tower card, I was being plum stupid. My day did indeed start with a teeny Tower moment. Teeny for me, but maybe not for some other living creature.
I can see the bird feeder from where I lie in bed in our first floor apartment. It hangs on the balcony door and it’s my delight to watch the songbirds arriving from about half seven. The robin arrives first and then the coal tit, and they each return a few times in quick succession, stocking up for the day.
This morning, a dark shape flared suddenly in the window followed by a smack and a thump as a bird hit the glass and the bird-feeder fell of its hook and dropped out of sight.
Il Matrimonio was out, pumping iron at the gym like a macho man, unless he was getting into quarrels with pensioners- again – and this is never too unlikely -the man is incorrigibly irritable and likely constitutionally deficient in Nat Phos -sodium phosphate.
I could not get up to see if there was an injured bird – pesky damn wheelchair business – and in fact when he got in ten minutes later, there was no bird. And no sign of loose feathers or blood.Even so a sparrowhawk could have come and snatched a bird of the feeder, hitting the pane in the process. Or else some little bird misjudged its flight. Either way, some bird got a shock, and so did I.
Was it the robin? I now draw The High Priestess, so probably it was.
Was it OK? Knight of Cups Reversed. Not really, poor thing. It had a fine fright.
But there was no Death card and I saw the robin again this afternoon, so hopefully, all’s well that ends well.
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.
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.’
Revisiting an old blog. Similar issues afoot again.
Sprog Senior was unsettled by rumours at work. She works as a vet nurse and the vet owner was thinking of selling. Was she already facing redundancy, having been there only a very few months? She asked her boss directly, who answered that his plans were not finalised, and he would be letting everyone know in the next week or so.
Very unsettling. On Sunday Sprog Senior asked , when did the Tarot see her knowing for sure, and would it be welcome news for her, or unwelcome?
I asked ‘will it be Monday?’ and drew The Ace of Cups reversed.
‘It probably won’t be tomorrow. You look as if you are in for one of those harmless, slightly dull days where nothing particular happens.’
I asked, will it be Tuesday, and drew the Death card , signifying endings in general, as well as, um, the literal ending of death itself.
‘Now, this could be news of a business winding down, or a termination of employment. But the Death card’s right way up; it isn’t feeling like bad news. I’d be expecting something else if it’s bad news. The Tower, maybe, or the Five of Pentacles or the Five of Swords.’
The Five of Pentacles is the ultimate card of unemployment. The Tower would mean a shock.
The Five of Swords is defeat, often with an added sense of humiliation. If someone is wondering whether to ‘go there’ in some kind of fight, this card warns against it. It will be ugly, you will probably lose, and worse than that, it will achieve nothing of worthwhile value.
As it turned out, the Death card proved correct, but not in respect of my older daughter’s question. Someone did leave a job on Tuesday but it was my younger daughter, still a student at the time, leaving a summer job. Hotel housekeeping, and she was not sorry to go. Someone pooped on the sheets and expected her to clear it up, but they rolled it up in a sheet, and she didn’t discover the poo inside until…well, never mind. (Why did they not tidy up as best they could after themselves and at least flush it down the loo?)
Let’s just say, my younger daughter was not devastated to be sacked for her failure to find an adult lady’s poo rolled up in a sheet and left for her to deal with. They didn’t pay enough.
Back to my older daughter’s question. Would she find out about her job on Wednesday?
I drew The Magician card, equating to Odin and Woden. Wednesday.
‘Aha! I think you can expect news on Wednesday, and I think it’s good news.’
The Magician is about mastery and control, so it described the owner but it was at the same time a good omen for her continued employment.
This image seemed particularly suitable as the organisation in question was a veterinary practice.
Message Received Tuesday at 18.15 ‘Staff meeting tomorrow with N’ (the boss)
Message Received Wednesday 17.29 Full merge with Y to commence in 2 weeks….jobs are safe (at least for a few months while they see how things pan out)
In summary: they would want to keep her on, and the next question was, would she want to stay?
If you have a Tarot deck why not give it a go yourself:-
Monday, The Moon card Tuesday, The Tower (Tyr’s/Tew’s day) Wednesday, The Magician (Odin’s/Woden’s day) Thursday, The Wheel of Fortune Friday, The Empress, Friday (Freya’s day) Saturday, (Saturn’s Day) The World card Sunday, the Sun card.
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)
Yesterday someone asked did I believe in reincarnation?
The Yew: symbol of resurrection. Its branches grow down into the ground to form new stems, which then rise up around the old central growth as separate but linked trunks. After a time, they cannot be distinguished from the original tree.
The rune EIWAZ represents the yew, and its numinous capacity for regeneration. It is the one living thing on Earth that could, at least in theory, live indefinitely.
I could not say yes or no, only that my perception is that it is possible for it to be true.
Some years ago, standing cooking, I experienced a strange sensation. For just a split second, I seemed to be standing in an entirely different kitchen, sparse, dark, above a courtyard. There was sunlight coming in at the open door from which I knew there was a flight of steep, narrow steps leading down to the courtyard, and I was wondering where Pietro had got to.
NB The name of the present Il Matrimonio is not Pietro. It is sometimes Mr Hissy (the man is a Libra subject but he is practically a Scorpio, and don’t I know it, but today he’s being good – just slithered in with a cup of tea.)
I have to say, I’m not keen on the idea of reincarnation. Of course we are all recycled material. Life on Earth is 4.5 billion years old, and we are just the current manifestations of it. In that sense, it would be unscientific NOT to believe in reincarnation.
I don’t hugely welcome the idea of repeating the human experience, doing everything again, exactly. And this is not meant as a complaint. I live with pain, and have done for many years now, but in many other respects I’ve done anything but draw the short straw.
I am pretty sure of this though. Whatever happens, it won’t be my choice. Life works in mysterious ways. I strongly sense, based on some rather strange experiences, that our consciousness is not extinguished at the time of bodily death, and that our departure is a process that can take days or longer. The tradition of the Wake was a wise one. We’d do well to bring it back.
There are other ways in which we live on, such as ‘returning’ in a descendent who looks like us, or who shares certain very particular qualities. Perhaps, therefore, reincarnation is race memory at work; the ultimate expression of ancestry.
Do we come back as our evolving selves as the Buddhists think? I’m not someone who’s going to rule it out. There have been too many extremely strange, compelling and quite convincing stories. READ HERE
Could it be that some people return quicker than others depending on their need?
Let’s talk about a very sad reading I once did for a young lady who told me her brother had recently died. This was a reading done by email. I had never met the lady.
I asked how he had died and she replied that he had in fact killed himself.
Her questions were:
Where was he now?
How was he, now?
I needed time to think about this one, as you can well imagine, and when I sat down to it, I drew the Sun card from The Gilded Tarot by Ciro Marchetti.
I find it a very useful deck. However, this card below, drawn from the Waite tradition, better illustrates and exemplifies what arose from that reading..
This is a card of life itself, and joy and of childhood. And of innocence and animals. Things in their natural state. You can see this for yourself, looking at this card. In other decks, those meanings are not necessarily so clear.
The appearance of this card suggested to me that wherever he was, whatever he was, he was like a child again, that he didn’t remember his death, not at all, or the darkness that drove him to it. Because this is a card of births…I felt he may even return again. Very soon in fact.
Bless his soul. He was a child again. I seemed to see him kicking about in a puddle. Sometimes he was too deeply asleep, and knew nothing, remembered nothing as one might generally, and naturally expect from the dead. But at other times, while facing away from this Earth, shown behind him, he was this child, kicking at a puddle, quietly engrossed and at ease with himself. But soon he would join the queue to return. And this is at present, a queue under pressure. For the two going out of human existence every second of today, four are coming in. The unborn are banging on the gates of the docks. What’s the limit of on the shipping lanes..
Why would he come back so soon, assuming if was ‘him’? unfinished business? Another chance? A wound to be healed?
I do not know. How could I? But I sensed news of a coming birth. This news looked or should I say, felt, as if it was coming soon. Bizarre as it might have seemed, I go with the flow in readings, and I wondered if it might even be him, coming back for a fresh go.
About three weeks after this I heard back from the lady, an email, rather excited, saying she had just learned her sister was expecting a baby. She might, she joked, be her own brother’s auntie this time around.
I could only hope it offered some kind of comfort, however peculiar, for a truly terrible grief. Because not all griefs are equal, some are worse than others.
These are mysteries beyond me. All I can say is, I wonder.
Il Matrimonio had answered the phone to lovely Jane from the community physiotherapy team, coming to rehabilitate little old moi because I surely need it, pesky auto-immune joint pain sh*te. Jane had called to arrange a visit for today, Thursday, during the afternoon. This morning, I asked Il Matrimonio what time she was coming. He didn’t know. Some time during the afternoon.
‘You mean you didn’t agree any kind of time slot?’ said I.
Hiss-grunt (he was busy on his keyboard) ‘No.’
If it had mattered, I’d have made a call to clarify. As it was, this was an opportunity to test my pendulum with a little game. A clockwise swing indicates a yes answer to a question, and an anti-clockwise swing indicates no. The more vigorous the swing, the more emphatic the answer.
So I asked, would Jane arrive 12-1? Negative
1-2 ? Negative
2-3 ? Negative
3-4 ? Affirmative
Jane called at 3.29 to say she be with us in the next few minutes and arrived at 3.34, escorted in by a beaming Il Matrimonio, charm personified (He was born under the Chinese sign of The Snake and one can tell, and I was born under the sign of The Rabbit and maybe one can tell, by the rabbiting.)
What would have been even better would be to have got it down to a 5 minute block, but my pendulum suggested she would arrive at 3.20 making me 15 minutes out.
Practise makes perfect? I am far from expert at this. Pendulum divination (and you can use a ring on a string, no need to go and buy a pendulum though they are nice, sometimes very beautiful objects) is at once very simple and treacherous.
An accurate result depends on the person doing the divination maintaining a calm, disinterested attitude of curiosity, without wishful thinking or anxiety attached. You can sway the swing, very easily. Test it for yourself by asking a question while thinking how much you want the answer to be yes or no. You will almost certainly, unless you turn yourself to stone or steel, see the swing you want to see. Or perhaps it’s more like turning yourself into a sponge; the oracular mind is a sensate but neutral and completely uninvolved sponge. If you care about the matter in hand, it is not easy.
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.
Updated: A light hearted look at an ‘Option selecting’ reading, and at deploying the tarot as an alternative tool for animal communication. All, hopefully, will become clear…
Our cat Willow was thirteen at the time of this reading. A small black and white moggie, she’s an introverted, timid and fussy cat. When she’s hungry she trots into the kitchen and meows. Obtaining service, she’ll jump up to sit by the window, a model of composure, looking studiously in another direction, affecting not to notice while you open her food and put it on a saucer.
The food served, Willow’s dignity demands she must not notice it immediately. The trouble is, she often loses interest altogether, jumps down again and stalks off, leaving it to congeal malodorously, so she refuses it later.
She came in meowing and my daughter said. ‘If I feed her, she’ll only turn her nose up, whatever I serve up.’
Il Matrimonio had gone out, Dad’s taxi service, collecting Brat No 2 from the pictures. Or maybe it was the pub, because 35 minutes later, it had taken a r-ather long time for this errand. What was occurring? I pulled a card from my Gilded Tarot deck and drew The Ace of Pentacles/Coins/Disks.
OK, They were just arriving home, then. And so they were, I heard the front door open at that very moment. We had also, the previous day, returned home from a long trip. You look in the Tarot to find out what you don’t know, but often what you see is what you do know.
The message here is I suppose two- fold. To obtain an accurate reflection of what you already know is to have a benchmark for the accuracy of forecasts. And, you might think you don’t know something, when actually, you do. The answer is just lodged too deep for you to recognize it, and Tarot digs to fetch it out into the light.
The Ace of the Earth suit, signifying or forecasting home, a new home or house, often with a green garden, a new contract or job or other new source of income, is considered a most fortunate card unless it’s drawn reversed. The best things of earthly life. It may also refer specifically to a physical object, I’ve known it flag up a lost ring and a lost briefcase, and in both cases, the items were recovered as foreseen.
There are the book meanings for tarot cards, then there are the meanings you add through working with them, but last night, the Ace was just doing what it says on the tin.
Shame there was no wild stoat, or ferret, ahhhh. A ferret went to sleep on my arm once, tail hanging down, and it snored nearly as loud as does Il Matrimonio. It was funny when the ferret did it, such is the unfairness of life.
The Tarot is a cosmic ferret. Great fun to send it down rabbit holes, and hold it when it snores, but it needs handling with care. The teeth are sharp and…. my God it can stink.
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.”
The Six of Cups from The Gilded Tarot, Ciro Marchetti, and from The Legacy of the Divine Tarot, also Ciro Marchetti
The Tarot’s Six of Cups is about childhood, children, old friends, memories, nostalgia, old familiar places, people and pets at play. It may be forecasting a return to an old haunt, or the re-appearance of an old friend. Drawn reversed, upside down, it might be saying don’t go back. There is no nourishment there for you at this time.
The Six of Cups is family holidays, the happy kind, that can feel so long ago.
As LP Hartley said in the opening of his novel, ‘The Go-Between‘…’the past is a foreign country. They do things differently there.’
The dramatic limestone headland of the Great Orme separates the largely Edwardian seaside town of Llandudno from the drama of the Conwy Estuary just round the corner, with its stupendous castle and walled town.
The technology pedigree of this area is quite something, from the ancient copper mining, to the Iron Age forts, to Edward I‘s castle, to the building and embarkation of The Mulberry Harbour used in D-Day, and in recent times, the conversion of a railway tunnel at Caernafon that become a road tunnel.
The headland of The Orme is a Viking name meaning Serpent- is like a children’s fantasy wonderland on a sunny day.
It’s all going on! To appreciate the Serpent, drive the 4 kilometres around the base…to Deganwy and Conwy beyond.
But if you peel off left you’ll go up a steep hill, zig-zagging past St Tudno’s chapel on the way up to the summit where cable cars glide overhead, people sit smiling, chugging along on what is surely the shortest train journey ever, from the station the few hundred yards to the stop at the cable car cafe.
There’s a neolithic copper mine in a hollow on the summit. Walk or drive down into it, walk about on wooden bridges, look down into the ancient industrial excavations, put out of business in the Iron Age.
Coming back down from the summit to rejoin the marine drive, the chapel’s churchyard tilts so steeply, you feel the dead might tumble into the sea.
Asian families were out on picnics during one of our visits, celebrating Eid. A small girl dressed in pink and coral, shyly smiling, put her hands in prayer position, and bowed a holiday greeting as we passed.
Those kashmir goats…where would we spot them this time? Driving out again next day at sunset, we had a goat lottery…no prizes, just a guessing game. How many goats would we spot on the marine drive? My husband said 4 goats, Il Matrimonio said 7, and I guessed 11 plus but rounding the very last bend, we still hadn’t potted a single goat and we had never yet seen them at this point on the route, so far round. Not a goat in sight. Oh hang on. Yes! There they were, resting or grazing in the apricot light as they faced the setting sun over Anglesey. 13 goats. Only two pictured here (and not my pic) but what a pair of characters.
“Most of us don’t need a psychiatric therapist as much as a friend to be silly with.”- Robert Brault. And I haven’t told you about the toboggan rides yet. There goes my daughter, just arriving at the bottom, and the view out over the bay at Llandudno.
It’s all going on. But there’s a magic. Many echoes. Some are sunny, some are darker. In stormy weather, the light is strange, the echoes speak, and some may be your own.
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.