One day on a rather gloomy Saturday afternoon, late July 2007, my younger daughter Ariane went to a friend’s house for tea. It was the friend’s fourteenth birthday. The little girl, let’s call her Nadia, had, if I remember correctly missed a lot of school in recent months, due to health difficulties.
There were four girls altogether; and Nadia’s mother and father.
Nadia blew out the candles, and her mother was cutting the cake when the lights began to flicker out in the hallway, and the mother said, ‘oh, here we go again. You really need to come and see this, everyone.’
She shepherded them to the foot of the stairs, calling to the father in the sitting room, ‘it’s happening again!’
He grunted some reply over his newspaper but didn’t move to join them. My daughter didn’t hear what he said. There they stood, four girls and the mother as the lights flickered and then my daughter saw a man standing at the top of the stairs.
One minute, there was no-one there. The next, there he was, looking entirely solid and real as real; a young man with brown wavy hair, dressed in jeans and a pale yellow shirt.
They stood looking up. He was looking down as if looking at them, but gave no sign that he saw them, or any indication of being in any way aware of their presence.
Then, just like that, he disappeared as suddenly as he had appeared, and the lights stopped flickering.
Nadia explained, the family had been terrified when it first happened, and had asked the council to re-house them, but now they’d got used to it.
They had no idea who he was (or who he had been) But was he necessarily even dead, or was it some manifestation of astral travel…though transference on the part of the young man who had presumably, once lived in the house.
But because the hosts were so matter of fact about it, my daughter wasn’t frightened, just a little freaked out. Well, you would be, wouldn’t you.
“Alas, poor Yorick. I knew him well…”
“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”- Hamlet
It’s like that old conundrum, does a falling tree make a noise if there is no-one there to hear it? It takes a living person to perceive a dead one, and in this case, if there was a conduit, or a conjuring, the Tarot suggests it was the father who was the psychic ‘enabler’ in this household, though it was completely unconscious on his part. Maybe he had been worried about his daughter’s health.
My reason for wondering was the appearance of the reserved, moody, kindly psychic King of Cups, a man of deep waters, particularly associated with mature males born under Pisces, Cancer and Scorpio.
The young man was shown as The Hanged Man, suggesting all manner of tragic possibilities.
I once did a reading for a young man, and this card appeared with other cards in a troubled picture that prompted me ask if a friend had died recently, and his friend had hanged himself, and he hoped I could tell him.
I couldn’t. Nor would it have been right. He was not a family member. But no-one had realized he was so deeply depressed, and there was a sense of secrets being kept, and a great fear they would be discovered.
The Hanged Man , it is important to note, almost never refers to suicide. But the Tarot can talk in absolutely literal terms, and does what it says on the tin, such that a card means exactly what it says in the picture.
Say I draw the Eight of Swords, for example. Most interpretations will talk about entrapment, helplessness, passivity, and so on. But I have learned through doing readings for other people, that tarot might well be telling me about a problem with someone’s plumbing or drains. Yes, the Tarot talks toilets. Quite right too. It needs to go wherever someone needs it to go. Just as when you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go.
As the famous anchoress, and one of the earliest woman authors Julian of Norwich once put it, ‘God does not disdain to serve the body.’
It is thought she kept a cat, shown here in a depiction in a roundel in Norwich cathedral, to hunt rodents, and this too, served the health of the body; hers and the cat’s, assuming the cat had the freedom to roam.
Am I saying the Tarot is God? Of course not. We are discussing the interconnectedness of Everything, though I see no reason why God would be a man in the sky with a big white beard either, and if he is, does He need to go to the toilet?
The Hanged Man is ruled by Neptune – the suit of Cups again. This is a deep, Piscean card. Once upon a time there was a young man who was very worried about his future. He felt somehow shut out from other people (The Five of Pentacles) But he couldn’t seem to make his mind up what to do or where to go next, or to muster the effort required. Maybe he managed it in the end. I feel that he did. But probably not undamaged. Meanwhile, he had left this mark.
Surprisingly, only a small percentage of paranormal sightings are true ghosts. The majority of them are really sightings of what we call “residual energy” — when an emotional event is replayed over and over again, at the same spot, and at the same time.SOURCE link to SummitDaily
Maybe the young man was a complete stranger, or actually an echo of a living psyche, or if we want to go truly spiral, the ghost of the father himself as a very young man.
Welcome to The Twilight zone. Who wants another piece of cake?
The Tarot card that in a reading can suggest a vivid dream, a vision, a psychic or supernatural experience or even a ghost is The Moon card.
Halloween is designated the season of ghosts. Why is that?
Halloween or All Hallows Eve is celebrated 31 October each year, marking the cross- quarter of the year, half-way point between the autumn equinox in the northern hemisphere, 22 September, and the winter solstice, which in 2021 will occur on Tuesday 21 December.
Halloween began as a pre-Christian Iron Age festival 2000 years ago among the various peoples of Britain and Northern Europe popularly known as the Celts.
In parts of Britain and the Republic of Ireland Halloween is still called Samhain (pronounced Sow-an, from Gaelic/Irish) meaning ‘summer’s end.’
This is a critical turning point of the year from the ancient survival point of view of food production, harvesting and storage, as the days grow shorter, the nights longer, vegetation decays, temperatures drop – and possibly more people get sick. We are now in the zodiac sign territory of Scorpio, and the Tarot card correlating with Scorpio is the Death card.
From Halloween in the Anglosphere, to Alfblot in Scandinavia, to The Day of the Dead in Spanish speaking countries, the period 31 October – 3 November is a festival marking the end of the harvest season.
Now we are preparing for the decay of vegetation, the coming darkness, the time of hibernation of many animals, and the hardships of winter. This seems a natural time to be marking the remembrance of the Dead.
Russia does not celebrate Halloween as such. It is not recognized by the Orthodox Church, though it has been gaining popularity among young people since the 1990’s.
In France, again, Halloween is not a traditional festival, though certain elements may be catching on nowadays, cultural imports in the twentieth century. But La Toussaint or All Saints Day, is a widely celebrated national holiday celebrated on the first of November.
This time of year represents a ‘liminal’ space, a threshold – a doorway of some kind, an ‘in-between’ space between outside and inside, one room and another, or between summer and winter, night and dark, and therefore symbolically, between Life and Death.
Being half-awake or half-asleep is an ‘in-between’ state of mind or consciousness, when we are might have a powerful frightening or psychic dream experience or even experience sleep paralysis, traditionally known as a visit from The Night Hag, as portrayed in famous painting, The Nightmare by Henry Fuseli.
This is a not too uncommon experience that can occur when the brain is in-between deep and lighter sleep stages. The person thinks they are awake when they are not. There is a strong sense of threat, a malevolent presence, and they cannot move a muscle to defend themselves. I have experienced it myself, very unpleasant. Read here for the scientific medical explanation.
Any liminal ‘in-between space’ is understood as a sacred or magical space, a gateway through which ghostly or magical (magickal) things may manifest.
A threshold, a doorway is a space to be protected.
Crossroads are in-between spaces, representing a choice of directions or possibilities.
Hekate, goddess of ghosts
There is no presiding god or deity of Halloween in northern Europe.
Hekate comes from further south. She is an ancient goddess of the night, the heavens and the waning Moon. Over many ages she has become inextricably linked with ghosts and witchcraft, and by association, with Halloween. Today
Hekate is viewed as the chief goddess presiding over witchcraft with followers today among neo-Pagans, Wiccans and solitary occult or magickal practitioners (NB magickal, is spelled this way to be distinguished from stage or performance magic of entertainer magicians).
She is a necromancer- one who can speak with the dead. In a sense, we all do that, speaking to our loved ones, held in the memory or visiting in dreams.
Perhaps in our dreams we are the ghosts who haunt our previous homes. When we dream we are back there, for all we know, we might be giving the current residents a fine old fright, glimpsing a sight of our ghostly ‘thought form’ somewhere round the place.
Astral travel. Not all ghosts are necessarily dead.
But Hekate was one of the few personages who could enter and leave the Underworld, the realm of Hades at will. The messenger god Hermes or Mercury was another.
The name Hekate comes from the ancient Greek meaning ‘from afar ‘or the ‘worker from afar.’ This working at a distance is in the very nature of a spell.
Hekate was the daughter of the titan, Perses, and the nymph Asteria, and this gave her powers in heaven, on land and by sea. But her story goes back way before the Greeks, to the Anatolians (Asia Minor) and before that, possibly to the Babylonians and Sumerians who knew her as Innana, Queen of The Heavens, and later as the goddess Ishtar who was associated with love, beauty, sex, war, justice and political power.
Later, these more ancient story traditions became absorbed into Greek Mythology, passing next to the Romans, who spread the mythology as they expanded their Empire.
The Kindness of Hekate
Hecate is a patron goddess of dogs, horses, owls and serpents.
In Greek myth, the tragic queen Hecuba/Hecabe of Troy deliberately jumped overboard a Greek ship and drowned as she was being taken away into slavery after the fall of Troy. Hecuba was broken by grief, distraught at the deaths of her king, Priam, and so many of her 19 children, and at the fall of her city, and the ruin of her people at the hands of the Greeks.
Hekate rescued the tragic drowned soul of Hecuba and transformed her into a dog, comforting her with forgetfulness of her terrible sorrow. This dog is Hecate’s beloved companion and is a friendly familiar spirit, not like the three-headed dog Cerberus (his name means ‘Spot’) who guards the gates of the Underworld.
Sadly, once upon a time, like dogs, sheep and many other animals, dogs were offered in religious ceremonies as sacrificial animals, intended as immortal gifts to Hekate, as in Thrace in 4th century BC.
But Hekate is called upon as a protector of dogs, and likewise she is a protector of the home (as is a good dog) Pillars called Hecataea stood at crossroads and doorways, for good luck, to ask her to keep away any unwanted visitors, including evil spirits.
Hekate became one of several deities worshipped in ancient Athens as a protector of the oikos (household) alongside Zeus, Hestia, goddess of the hearth, the messenger god Hermes, and the sun god, Apollo.
Hekate is regarded as a dark deity on account of her associations with witchcraft, but she stands for both dark and light, death and birth, and as a protector and guardian of mothers, as well as her totem animals.
Magickal Traditions, Symbols and Practice
Her colours are black and red.
Her symbols keys, torches
Her totem animal is the dog, her bird the Barn Owl, Tyto Alba, also known as the screech owl.
The Romans feared the Barn Owl as a bird of ill omen, and European and UK farmers have historically sometimes killed them for this reason, even until quite recently, and despite their usefulness to farmers as rodent hunters.
What might Hekate help with?
-Protection of the household, family, mothers, children and childbirth.
-Assistance with banishing harmful situations
-Help for lost or sick pets and animals, dogs and horses in particular.
Asking help from Hekate
Care and respect is required as with any request.
How do we pronounce her name? There is no wrong way as such. These days, her name is often pronounced Heh-kah-tay or Heh-kah-tee, pronouncing her name with no emphasis on the middle. But to the Ancients she would have been Hecate pronounced Heh-KAH-tay or Heh-KAH-tee with an emphasis on the middle syllable. This honours her oldest origins, so far as we can be sure.
The best time to make a request of Hekate is during the time of the waning crescent Moon or at the New Moon. A free online lunar calendar will easily identify these dates. (Halloween 2021 will be a waning Crescent Moon)
Decorate and dedicate a small corner, perhaps in a window sill facing the Moon when you can see it, decorated with artwork of Hekate, Moon, dogs, owls, keys or other totems.
5/ Gifts and thanks
It is only polite to say thank you when asking for help with something, or to acknowledge receiving help. We could for instance:-
-Burn a candle or a cone of incense (be careful not to leave it unattended)
-Offer a virtual drink; small glass of mead, or a spoonful of honey in water. Hecate likes honey, pomegranates (as did Persephone) lavender, garlic (unlike vampires) breads, sweets and anything shaped like a crescent moon (she would probably enjoy a virtual croissant)
–Make a donation to support rescue dogs, or a local owl rescue centre, and tell her you are doing this in her name.
-Just like with a birthday cake, offer a slice of cake, or a cupcake with a candle. Make your request. Blow out the candle, making a gift of the fire.
I leave it up to you whether you eat the cake in her honour, but why not. It’s the thought that counts, is it not?
A True Ghost story
Do I believe in ghosts? I have met plenty of perfectly sensible people who have told me their stories, and had no reason to doubt their common sense and the validity of their account.
We have the dictionary definition.
“Now chiefly, an apparition of a dead person which is believed to appear or become manifest to the living, typically as a nebulous image and attempting to right a wrong done in life; this sense of the word is recorded from late Middle English.
The word is recorded from Old English (in form gāst) in the sense ‘spirit, soul’, and is of Germanic origin; the gh- spelling occurs first in Caxton, and was probably influenced by Flemish gheest”. – Source
But the question still remains, what do we mean by a ghost? Are they sentient or merely some kind of an echo? Do they know they are there? Do they know we are there?
I recommend further reading into the work of the Cambridge archaeologist and paranormal researcher Tom Lethbridge T.C. Lethbridge
My phone rang one Saturday night, about 8 PM, a lady calling from Preston, about ten miles away from where I live. She had found my number in the psychic pages of the online telephone directory and she wanted a psychic medium.
Note. I do not advertise as a psychic medium but there is no separate listing for Tarot, and they put readers under that same heading.
The lady wanted me to come over to her house. Right away. There was ‘something’ out in the hallway, and it was blocking the stairs. She, her partner and the children were huddled in the sitting room, too terrified to leave the room.
I could not go in person, sadly. Nor do I advertise such a service. There are others who do. I gave her the name and telephone number of a lady who specializes in ‘haunted houses’ and meantime reached for my cards and asked the lady what was the problem? What had happened? What was going on here?
Her youngest child had been upstairs, she told me, when she heard a lady whispering in her ear, and it had really frightened her. The child panicked. Then her siblings panicked. Then the mother panicked, and the partner. It had developed from there. Now there was something outside the sitting room door; a cold spot, a moving shadow.
What had this ghostly lady said to the little girl? The ghostly lady had whispered directly into her ear that her hair was very pretty.
This figured. The cards confirmed a benign presence – or influence. A grandmother? The cards also indicated this lady had been under a lot of strain lately. She confirmed a lot of worries; a prolonged period of acute financial and other worries.
This, I felt, had been the possible, completely unconscious trigger for this startling manifestation. The lady went on to tell me that her mother had died three years earlier, and she was still missing her, quite badly. But the littlest child was too young to remember her grandmother, and how come, if the ghost was her mother, the ghost had not talked to her, but to the child?
Well, whether this had been the grandmother or not, it was because the little girl happened in that moment to be the one tuned in on the ‘right’ wavelength to receive such an incoming message, was my best guess, based on my own experiences.
The little girl had ESP and was very sensitive to atmosphere. This was why she alone had heard it. If there was a ghost, if the grandmother was still around, then she was tuning in to the living, seeking to deliver support or reassurance to the mother, her child, and the little grand-daughter was the most accessible conduit.
First things first, before this lady called the medium – if indeed, she decided to make the call, she needed to restore order in the household right away. She must assert herself and reclaim her territory, ‘psych it out’, and show and tell the children it was safe to go anywhere in the house.
Tell the thing to stop and it will is my experience. I once banished a ghostly cat visitor and am rather sorry I did so. None of which is my way of saying I did not believe what she was telling me. I did, but the living can talk to a ghost or say boo, just as it can say boo to us.
This was not, repeat not, some real life repeat of The Conjuring. No nastiness in the cards.
I suggested she tell the children, it’s gone now, put lights on, open the sitting room door, talk as she went, sing, whistle, make a noise, go down the hallway, put the kettle on, serve up supper for everyone, and talk aloud as she did so. Light and noise will shatter such a spell while fear is contagious.
We can simply do that, ask the thing to stop, asking nicely or firmly or fiercely, depending on the nature of the atmosphere. And it works.
I later heard from the medium. She and her team had gone to the lady’s house next day, taking with them an array of electronic equipment. She told me there was an old lady’s ghost in the house, that it was the grandmother, and that the mother’s state of stress had called the ghost forth. The ghost had simply behaved in character, affectionately, but since the child had been startled, and the mother had reacted with fear, everyone got scared and the thing snowballed and took on an unpleasant aspect. The medium said that now the mother was aware of it, the house should stay quiet now.
Perhaps the dead grandmother was worried about her daughter, and was trying to reach out and offer comfort the only way she could.
No suggestion of criticism attaches to the lady. None whatsoever. Fear was a natural reaction. But if it happened again, now that she had feedback from other sources as to the nature of the occurrence, that whatever it was, it was not malevolent, she could choose a more matter of fact response, whilst not dismissing the child’s experience.
Psychic author Cassandra Eason has written a book with advice for parents with psychic children available from a range of second hand book sellers online.
Since I had not spoken directly with the medium myself before her visit to the house, but had simply provided contact details, I was interested that tarot and a medium had told virtually identical stories.
Twice, in a previous house I was frightened, hearing shuffling footsteps coming towards me in the night, once upstairs, once sleeping downstairs. This was an old man who once lived in the house, I felt, but whatever it was, was not hostile but nor was it particularly nice.
This was not happening in haunting prime time, and that time is three in the morning. This was no later than midnight, before I had properly settled to sleep, within minutes of my switching out the lights.
I had twice seen a smallish dog around the place, running down the stairs. Once it ran into the kitchen while I was cooking. It was only an impression; a smallish to medium sized dog, pricked ears and a short coat, not remotely frightening; and curiously, because I did not mention it at the time, nearly two weeks after this, my younger daughter came running in very excited to tell me she had just seen a dog at the top of the stairs, duly named Spook Dog.
This shuffling of invisible slippers was different. I was not sure I would think this was a very nice person if I had met him in real life. Even if it had once been his house. A budgerigar had also once lived in that house, a man once told me. It was his grandparent’s, and its cage used to hang in what had later become the kitchen diner, but the budgerigar had the good manners never to squawk from beyond the grave.
No. I didn’t like this one bit. I did not want it coming into the room where I was. I spoke aloud and told him or ‘whatever it was,’ that it was not to come in the room where I was, or where any of the family were. On both occasions, the shuffling noises stopped at that point. On the occasion where I was downstairs on a sofa bed, the shuffling paused, and then I heard the feet going up the bottom two stairs, but only two and then they stopped.
The power of the physical, the element of Earth, is the power of the living moment, here and now. We are exalted in the Earth. We take in air. We take up space.
This is ours. Our inheritance at birth. The power of Earth. Our ace card in any otherworldly dealings, the Ace of Pentacles. A nice cup of tea, anyone? How about a biccie?
A spiral shell is a symbol of infinity. But likewise, a matrix of calcium carbonate is an expression and signature of infinity, made concrete in a spiral shell.
Note the Biblical ‘pale horse’ and the white rose. The rose signifies beauty and immortality. What has ever once been, lives somewhere, somehow, forever.
Scorpius from which the zodiac sign gets its name, is a massive, spectacular j- shaped constellation located in the skies over the southern hemisphere near the centre of the Milky Way. In the Northern hemisphere it can be seen in July and August, but is most visible in July at 9.00 PM. In the Southern hemisphere it is visible from March to October, like a faint band in the Milky Way overhead.
Its name, no prizes for guessing, is Latin for scorpion and it is one of the 48 constellations identified by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy in the second century AD. Like Aries, Taurus and Leo, it is an ancient constellation, meaning it has been recognised as a constellation pre-dating the Greeks.
Scorpius is the southernmost constellation in the zodiac between Libra to the west and Sagittarius to the east. Its claws do double duty and also represent the scales of Libra.
Its unbelievably huge brightest star- our sun is barely more than a dot in comparison- is one of the brightest in the night sky, the ‘heart of the scorpion’, Antares, meaning ‘rival of Ares’ (the Greek name for the Roman god of war, Mars) So-named because it is bright reddish in colour, like Mars, and because Scorpio’s traditional ruling planet is Mars.
Modern astrologers may argue that Scorpio is ruled by Pluto instead (Death, The Transformer) depending on whether the astrologer is working with a traditional or modern interpretation after the discovery of Pluto 1930.
Scorpius contains exo-planets, some extremely old, and others considered potentially habitable. The planet PSR B1620-26 b, nicknamed “Methuselah” is estimated at 12.7 billion years old (The universe is about 13.7 billion years old.) Methuselah has a mass about twice that of Jupiter and it orbits around not one, but two stars.
Cue potential existential angst.
Gliese 667Cc is a “super-Earth” about four times as massive as Earth, part of a three-star system only 22 light-years away from Earth. It’s considered potentially habitable and the same system contains two other potentially habitable planets: Gliese 667Ce and Gliese 667Cf – both about 2.7 times the mass of Earth.
“Habitability” is defined as a rocky world close enough to its parent star for liquid water to exist on the surface. Other factors may rule it out, though, such as the variability of its star or the composition of the planet’s atmosphere.
Mythology and History
Nature, Religion and astrology were intertwined in the ancient world. The ancient world was wiser and knew better than we do in this respect.
The scorpion has been here far longer than we have – hundreds of millions of years, more than 450 million, compared with our six million or so.
Sometime around four thousand years ago the Babylonians looked up, discerned the brightly leaning J- shape in the summer stars and called this constellation MUL.GIR.TAB – the ‘Scorpion’, literally read as ‘the (creature with) a burning sting’.
The movements and relative positions of Scorpius were mapped by Babylonian magicians and astrologers, who left written records of the omens they observed.
“When a halo surrounds the Moon and Scorpio stands in it, it will cause men to marry princesses, (or) lions will die, and the traffic of the land will be hindered.”
A comet appearing in Scorpius was read as a dire warning of a coming plague, but when the Sun rose in Scorpius, alchemists saw their one chance for the transmutation of lead into gold.
Orion and The Scorpion
Orion The Hunter was a friend of Artemis, Greek goddess of the Moon, of the Hunt, and patron of all wild creatures. One day he was overheard boasting to Artemis and her mother Leto, that there was not a single beast he could not, and would not hunt and kill.
Gaia, goddess of the Earth, heard this and did not like it one bit. Artemis was a great hunter herself, but Artemis did not kill for the sake of killing, and offered protection to all creatures. Gaia sent a giant scorpion to deal with Orion. He fought back, and sure enough, he killed the scorpion, but the scorpion also killed Orion.
Zeus, much impressed by the scorpion’s battle spirit, and at Gaia’s request, raised the scorpion to the heavens, and at the request of the heartbroken Artemis; he did the same for Orion.
But see them back to back? Still, they avoid each one another, these ancient deadly foes, one rising as the other sets.
In other cultures this constellation is not seen as a scorpion. In Indonesia it’s the “the brooded swan” or the “the leaning coconut tree.” In Hawaii, it is “The Fishhook” of the demi-god Maui.
In Chinese mythology, the constellation is part of the Azure Dragon a deity of the underworld ( a cthonic deity = subterranean) and in Japan the guardian spirit of the city of Kyoto. presumably for magical protection against earthquakes.
But about the scorpion, there is consensus across hemispheres, not only continents. Thousands of years before the Greeks and Romans established their societies, the Australian Aboriginal peoples also looked up and saw the stars of Scorpius in terms of a cosmic scorpion, as did the Aztecs of Central Mexico.
The Lowland Mayans had scorpion constellations. These may have matched up with THE Scorpion of the zodiac, but there no clear proof. It is thought that the Mayans viewed the celestial scorpion as an eclipse-causing agent.
The arrival of Scorpio’s sign in the northern hemisphere coincides with the advent of mystery, the fast fading autumn light, and the ghosts, myths and superstitions of Halloween, or All Hallows Eve.
Facts about scorpions
As mentioned previously, they are a staggeringly ancient creature. The earliest evidence dates from the Silurian period 450 million years ago, when the first scorpion ancestors left the seas for the land. Fossils from the Carboniferous 300 million years ago indicate little change since then. Early scorpions may have had compound eyes.
They are arachnids: arachnida scorpiones, with a body in two sections, 2 pincers or pedi-palps, 8 legs like a spider, and an exo-skeleton made of chitin. They are more closely related to Harvestmen than spiders.
They dance before mating, a stately promenade. They give birth to live young and carry them on their backs until the babies have their first moult and disperse. The mothers may eat the young if resources are desperately scarce.
They have a long life span compared with other arachnids, 2-3 years in the wild but they have lived up to 25 years in captivity. They can live a year without food and eat insects, spiders, other scorpions and lizards. They also eat small mammals, such as mice.
They glow in the dark except when newly moulted. Scorpion fossils still fluoresce, despite spending hundreds of millions of years embedded in rock.
They are famously venomous. However of the nearly 2,000 known species of scorpions, only 25 have venom powerful enough to be dangerous to an adult human. In the U.S., the Arizona bark scorpion, Centruroides sculpturatus, produces venom strong enough to kill a small child, but anti-venom means deaths are rare.
The Scorpio Personality -planetary aspects
Scorpio is known as The Sorceror, The Detective, The Hypnotist, and The Alchemist
Scorpio is an extreme sign, at the same time fiery hot and icy cold, symbolically reflecting its contradictory planetary rulers. Scorpio is traditionally ruled by the red planet Mars, planet of action, named after the Classical Greco- Roman god of war. But its modern ruler is the icy dwarf planet Pluto, not discovered until 1930 and named after the Greco-Roman god of the underworld.
Pluto, although small, and though its status as a planet is an ongoing debate, is large enough, with a gravitational pull sufficiently powerful to make it spherical, like a planet. And it is symbolically powerful in modern astrology, by virtue of the very fact that it is so far away from the sun. Its orbit takes 248 years, so that its symbolic effects are deep, far reaching and long lasting.
Like the other water signs, Cancer and Pisces, Scorpio is considered clairvoyant, or at least, keenly intuitive. (All signs are of course,potentially psychic in their own way) But Scorpio has far greater intensity. This is water behaving as steam like an underwater volcanic eruption or a bubbling hot spring.
Scorpio rules the eighth sign of the zodiac, to do with Birth, Sex and Death. It is both destruction and regeneration.
No wonder these subjects can be intense, and they are often possessed of great personal charisma. They are watchful but keep their feelings hidden. Born executives, investigators, spies or secret agents, they are shrewd judges of human nature, while less conscientious Scorpio subjects make use of this to their advantage, and drop friends whom they no longer see as useful. But combined with their intense determination, and loyalty-where they decide to accord it, Scorpios can make great leaders, scientists, and devoted doctors. They are quick learners, instinctive, analytical, adaptable, often ‘moulting’ (changing careers) going down new paths.
Scorpio is vengeful…and patient. But they never forget a kindness.
The major arcana card in the Tarot representing Scorpio is the Death card, one of the most famous and most feared cards in the Tarot deck.
The prospect of Death is frightening, hard to comprehend even though we understand it full well. And often desperately upsetting, though we understand full well Death is part of Life. Without Death, there would be no space for new life. We are getting our turn at life right now. Others are waiting their turn. Others before us have had theirs, and who knows, maybe they will get another turn one day.
When we leave, I feel we really do go through ‘the Valley’. Some intermediate state. Some zip through double quick. Others take longer, a few take much much longer. This much has been my observation through work with clients and a small number of unforgettable personal experiences.
What it is like to find ourselves there, in ‘the valley’ to find ourselves evicted and locked out of our earthly home for so long, our abode in the familiar city of our body? It is easy to imagine that some could panic at first. Whether we forget, or dream, or are utterly subsumed again into wherever we came from before, when maybe we were frightened to get born, not knowing what we were coming to this time round.
This card is the annual collective zodiacal reminder that, just as the daylight is dying; so Death comes for everyone alike, old or young, man or woman, the archbishop and the child as shown in the Death card.
There are no guarantees we will make it to the age of ‘three score and ten,’- that any of us will see the age of seventy. Old age is not a right. In the natural world, few animals in the wild live into old age. Life is for living now, says Scorpio, and it is this awareness that gives Scorpio its drive, intensity, its passion, and sometimes its preoccupation with the dark side of life, and with the occult and the mysterious.
The court card of Scorpio is the King of Cups, the man of Scorpio, Cancer and Pisces. In a reading The Queen of Cups may also be used.
Scorpio needs a challenge. They like to unlock puzzles and mysteries and they need to feel that their work is important or meaningful. Hence they will often be found in high pressure situations, handling urgent, even life or death issues; in the emergency services, or in the police, detection, crime & prisons, or working in psychotherapy. They often have a talent for management, including financial management, and research and resource management within the financial sector and power production industries
This is the archetype. But of course there is no such thing in reality as THE Scorpio personality. We are unique individuals. Our zodiac sign (sun sign) is a major keynote, but it is nothing like the full picture in real life – or even in astrology.
If you don’t feel like a ‘typical’ Scorpio, perhaps you are a second or third decan Scorpio, rather than a ‘most typical’ first decan Scorpio.
The Zodiac is the belt of sky we see from earth, tracking the path of the sun across the sky from dawn till dusk and throughout the year. We call this pathway of the sun ‘the ecliptic,’ and the zodiac belt shares this same pathway.
The zodiac belt is 16 degrees deep or across; 8 degrees above the sun’s pathway, the ecliptic, and 8 degrees below.
The Greeks divided this belt into twelve sections, choosing twelve for ease of arithmetic and named them after some of the constellations found along this same pathway. There are more than twelve constellations, both above the ecliptic and below it, but the zodiac signs, as formalised by Eudoxus of Cnidus and Ptolemy of Alexandria get their name from just twelve.
Each zodiac sign represents a 30 degree section of this 360 degree belt. Each sign is then sub-divided into three blocks of ten degrees, about ten days in length.
This gives us the decans, nicknamed ‘the thirty six faces of astrology,’ breaking down each sign into three chapters that shine a little extra light on the story of that sign.
First Decan Scorpio
Birth Dates: 23 -31 October (0-10 degrees)
Planetary rulers: Mars and Pluto
Tarot card: Five of Cups
Card Meanings:Grief, disappointment, recovery from loss. Taking stock,counting our blessings, and what still remains
Here is the most ‘typical’ Scorpio subject. Mars, the ruling planet of Scorpio is doubly powerful in this first decan. This is an active, determined, dominant individual. When the going gets tough, so do they.
Scorpio/Scorpio individuals are incredibly driven, and more prone than other people to extreme behaviours, matched by courage, tenacity, and the willpower to bounce back after a setback, and start again.
Famous first decans
Hillary Clinton, politician, 26 Oct 1947
Dylan Thomas, poet, 27 Oct 1914
Second Decan Scorpio
Dates: 1 -11 November (10-20 degrees)
Planetary rulers: Jupiter and Neptune
Tarot card: Six of Cups
Card Meanings: happy memories, nostalgia, home, childhood, children, childhood, old friends, and old haunts
This Scorpio decan is also intense and driven, but is cooled and moderated by Pisces and its rulers, Neptune and Jupiter. This is a changeable nature, unpredictable or at times explosive, but at other times slow or even sluggish. There is an element of contradiction here.
Jupiter is the planetary symbol of good luck is the ultimate extrovert, and Neptune ‘The Dreamer’ is the ultimate introvert.
This individual’s greatest battles may be with themselves, starting at an early age. The influence of Neptune may be an inspiration, or could become their downfall, should they once start indulging in escapism via drugs, alcohol, gambling or other addictive, risk-taking behaviours.
These people are often interested in esoteric subjects; religion, the mystical, and the occult. They need s stable home, a reliable partner and they need to be careful in their friendships and choice of company. They usually have a natural talent for medicine or the healing arts, and are searching for some sense of a greater purpose.
This decan is as visionary as this card illustration suggests; imaginative, creative and dramatic. Moon and Venus cool and soften the energy of Mars. This is a magnetic personality, a natural artist or performer.
The Decan 3 Scorpio often has a particularly close relationship with his or her mother; generally a healthy thing, so long as it isn’t given more importance than their relationships with their chosen life partner.
This is the Scorpio decan most likely to curate a legacy to loved ones or leave money to favourite causes. Money, privacy, loyalty and property are of supreme importance. A keeper of secrets, they carry mysteries or grudges to their graves.
They are more domestic at heart than other Scorpio natives, but still, very brave and tough in their own way. They may be activists of some kind, and their charm and eloquence can make them very effective when working with a group for a common cause.
Famous Third Decans
Robert Kennedy, 20 Nov 1925
Prince Charles, 14 Nov 1948
Born on the cusp?
First decan Scorpio born on the cusp is a more airy Libran Scorpio with marked Libra qualities. Third decan Scorpio born on the cusp is a less fiery Sagittarian Scorpio with marked Sagittarius qualities.
Fixed water Scorpio, the opposite number of Fixed Earth Taurus is a hidden face of The Bull, just as The Bull is a hidden face of the Scorpion. The Bull from The Sea was sent to Crete by Poseidon. Steamy depths indeed. Only Pisces goes as deep or deeper.
Nothing new under the sun? Someone once asked me, did I believe in reincarnation? Well, of course, plenty of people do, around the world. Easter is the great Christian celebration of Resurrection, when Jesus Christ, Yeshua Ben Joseph, was said to have risen from the tomb on the third day following his barbaric crucifixion, signifying the hope of the soul’s eternity for all mankind.
Let’s consider The Yew, Taxus Baccata. The Yew tree is widely viewed as a symbol of resurrection. Why is that? 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.
It is susceptible to death by damage or disease but has been described as the the one living thing on Earth that could, at least in theory, however hypothetically, live indefinitely. It’s thought that there are English yews 4000 years old. Hence its popularity in graveyards, as a symbol of resurrection on Judgement Day.
The old Norse rune Eiwaz represents the yew, and its numinous capacity for regeneration. For this reason, it is considered a good omen for recovery if someone is ill.
The Memory is supple as the Yew, the Mind as mysterious and it can play strange tricks.
Some years ago, stirring a pan, standing by the stove, I had an oddly vivid experience, a flashback, and I was standing in an entirely different kitchen, sparse, white painted, with a high ceiling and a door to my left. There was sunlight coming in at the open door from which I knew there was a flight of steep, narrow steps leading down to a courtyard, and I was wondering where ‘Pietro’ had got to, and why he was not home yet. I knew this unknown faceless personage Pietro was a husband. NB The name of the present Il Matrimonio is not Pietro or remotely Peter-ish.
Could this have been an ancestral memory? I am Anglo-Irish-Scottish. Not Italian. A vivid daydream then. A snapshot. A picture from a book maybe, or a film? Possibly. I had never had this particular vision or experience before, and have not had it again, but I ‘knew’ at the time, that I was in Siena.
I have to say, I don’t welcome the idea of coming back once I am done and out of here. I’m not keen on the idea of reincarnation, except as recycled material. Life on Earth is 4.5 billion years old, and we are just the current manifestations of it. If Earth is a closed system, in the sense that material may enter through the atmosphere but not leave it, then in that sense, it may seem unscientific NOT to believe in reincarnation, if only in the sense of particle recycling.
But what if particles could retain impressions, memories? Like those stories of people who have heart transplants, and later develop new tastes, and behaviours, subsequently discovered to have been part of the donor’s personality? You don’t have to look far to come across such stories and make up your own minds. Urban legends? A degree of skepticism is sensible and healthy, except when it is of the howling variety, and I heartily mistrust pronouncements on what may not be possible.
I don’t personally welcome the idea of repeating the human experience, and this is not meant as a complaint. I am pretty sure of this much though. Whatever happens, it won’t be my choice.
I first began to study the Tarot at least partly as an effort to make sense of some deeply strange experiences, downright freaky, a few of them, after which it seemed more plausible to me that our consciousness is not extinguished at the time of bodily death. Death is a process, not an event. The brain is not the mind. Our departure from our home in the body is a process that can take days. The tradition of the Wake was a wise one.
I know a lady near me who runs a care home, and when a resident dies she opens the windows, not only for obvious practical reasons, to keep the room cool and fresh, but to help the newly departed soul on its way to wherever it wants to go.
Some years ago I received a request for an email reading, a young lady who wanted to know, was her brother OK? I asked what exactly did she want me to investigate that she could not ask him herself, and she said he was dead. He had committed suicide. She did not tell me more, nor did I ask about the circumstances.
Her questions were:
Where was he now?
How was he now?
A lot of my work is directed at immediately practical matters, home, work, business, money, relationships, family. I do not work as a medium, not at all, but I had previously done other readings focused on deceased loved ones, on occasion with some very surprising feedback.
I sat down to think about this and among other cards, was particularly struck by an appearance of the Sun card from The Golden Tarot, Kat Black.
The Sun card is life itself, travel, children, health and happiness, success, moments in the sun.
This is a card of innocence and animals. Things in their natural state. You can see this for yourself, looking at this card from The Golden Tarot and in the Rider-Waite decks. In some other decks, those meanings are not necessarily so clear.
The Sun card is a card of birth.
The appearance of this card in particular suggested to me that wherever he was, whatever he was, he was like a child again, sometimes awake, sometimes asleep. He didn’t remember his death, not at all, or the events that drove him to it.
Bless his soul. He was a little boy again. In my mind’s eye, I saw him kicking about in a puddle, not idly kicking, bored, not fed up, but happily, quietly preoccupied. If he had any memories, if he had a consciousness surviving death, if that could be possible, then this was his afterlife.
News of a birth was coming soon, I told the young lady, based on this Sun card. This was a birth close by, probably within the family, and whether it was a boy or girl, the Tarot was suggesting the possibility, however bizarre, that it was her brother being reborn.
Three weeks later I received an email from this young lady, very happy and excited, to say her sister was expecting a baby. Wouldn’t it be weird, she joked, if she was going to be her brother’s auntie this time around?
I would like to think the Tarot’s vision offered this young lady some kind of comfort, however peculiar, for a truly terrible grief, and hope for her brother’s peace. Because not all griefs are equal. Some deaths, as with untimely or violent deaths by suicide or murder, are harder to bear for those who mourn than others.
Reincarnation? I can see it in the genetic sense of the word. Or perhaps I mean epigenetics, and a kind of acquired cell memory. I went through a brief spell at one time of wanting a cup of hot chocolate at night. Not cocoa made with milk in the pan. This was made with water like making an instant coffee, drunk with two cream crackers and a bit of Lancashire cheese. I mentioned this to my mother and she said that was what her father Alfred, my maternal grandfather, always had for supper.
I never knew my grandfather, he died before I was born, of lung cancer, but we share the same birthday. He was a well-known museum curator, who like so many others, took a lengthy leave of absence to serve in the Navy during the war. I worked a short time in Museums after graduating.
Maybe he wanted to send my mother a message, and that was why I wanted his supper. I joked to her that maybe he wanted to say sorry, as he wasn’t always the nicest father he could have been, but she didn’t think that would have been in character.
But where did that very specific temporary new habit come from, I wonder.
Until next time 🙂
Video presentation is a discussion of children’s experiences suggestive of the possibilities of reincarnation with Dr Jim Tucker at the University of Virginia.
In the language of the Tarot the High Priestess may simply mean ‘a woman’, just as The Magician may simply signify ‘a man’.
The High Priestess corresponds with Monday as a day of the week. The reader may of course also correlate the Moon card with a Monday, but should be aware of The High Priestess connection, not to miss out on a potential clue in a reading.
The Moon card additionally correlates with the zodiac sign of Pisces, and in terms of timing of events may be suggesting dates late February- late March.
The High Priestess may be a scholar, and/or something of a witch. She may be a reader, an artist in any medium, a writer and a teacher. She may be a herbalist or hedge-witch, a midwife or a doctor. She may be in any line of work at all, but whatever she does, yes, she studies – hence the scroll in her hand- yes, she learns from others, but above all she learns from herself, and she is ready to talk in silence, like her masculine counterpart, The Hermit, and to walk and work alone.
She is recognized by HOW she does things, rather than necessarily what she does. She may be single, but even if she is married and a devoted family woman, there is always the sense that she has her own domain, separate, not shutting others off, but hers to rule.
The light is cool, silvery, remote at times though not cold.
You can see in this card various mythological references: the pomegranate of Persephone, as she wanders alone between the World and and the Underworld, and the cow horns of Hathor, goddess of the sky, of beauty, fertility, music and joy.
You see the Owl of Hekate, daughter of Zeus and Asteria, the triple goddess of ghosts. She is identified with the Crone and the waning Moon. She is the keeper of the dead, of boundaries and of the crossroads, purveyor of poison, but kindly to the broken, kindly to Demeter when Persephone was abducted. Hekate herself is no mother, but also took pity on the tragic mother Hecuba, queen of Troy, after Hecuba’s death by suicide,jumping overboard the Greek ship that was taking her into slavery after the fall of Troy and the deaths of so many of her children. Hecuba had suffered more than anyone could bear. Hekate, seeing this, rescued her soul with the gift of forgetting and transformed her into a hound which she keeps safely at her side at all times.
The owl as a totem animal is strongly associated with the intellectual warrior goddess Athena but hers was a Little Owl. Hekate’s totem animal is a Barn Owl, aka screech owl.
This owl is also associated with Welsh mythology, the Mabinogion, and the legend of a magical woman who was turned into an owl; a story which featured in a famous novel by Alan Garner, The Owl Service.
The Owl Service-
“Garner was fascinated by the love triangle of Lleu Llaw Gyffes (the man cursed never to have a wife on this earth), Blodeuwedd (the woman who was magically made out of flowers for him) and Gronw Pebyr (her lover). In the Welsh tale, Blodeuwedd conspires with her lover Gronw to kill her husband Lleu, but Lleu escapes his murder, turns into an eagle and flies away, eventually to be restored to life by the magician Gwydion. Blodeuwedd’s punishment is to be turned into an owl, while Gronw is killed by Lleu with a spear that passes through him and pierces a stone”.
Source: Times Literary Supplement
The High Priestess wears a headdress refers to the sacred Bull cult of Apis, corresponding with the material sign of Taurus, which is also associated with Hathor, the cosmic cow which carried the weight of the whole world.
The element of Earth is no less ‘spiritual’ than Fire, Water or Air.
When The High Priestess is drawn reversed in a reading, a female (though not necessarily female) enquirer may be feeling unhappy and lonely. If it refers to a woman in the enquirer’s close environment, this card may be picking up on a female friend where there has been a distancing or a disagreement, or this other woman is not after all a true friend. Be careful who you trust is the warning of the High Priestess.
Anyone who sees you as a competitor can never become a true and trusted friend. What they want in life, you cannot give to them, even if you wanted to, any more than a cow could simply shed its horns. But whatever they may want for you or from you, is, ultimately, not motivated by goodwill.
The High Priestess is watchful, and under no illusions as to whether someone is friend, foe, neutral or indifferent. But she knows it takes all sorts. She doesn’t take it personally.
In this respect, the shrine or sanctuary of The High Priestess corresponds with an old Norse rune called Perthro or Perdhro, meaning secrets, cup, chalice, sanctuary or paddock.
People meet on the road, or on the bridge, or on the strand between the shore and the sea, but, like The Hermit, the High Priestess accepts solitude as the price of learning, the sanctum she serves….whatever that sanctum may mean in reality; a home, a job, a business or a creative endeavour, or a cause dear to her heart….
People are quick to commiserate with bad news. But the real test, the acid test of a friendship is, when a friend also truly, sincerely rejoices in your good news.
The Watcher by The Well of Wyrd
She works alone with words and stones, Disposing glyphs on graven runes, Wyrd runs water; she must deal, In whisperings and Fates unsealed, Winds of fortune shape and shatter, Time, disposing of all matters, Is Serpentine, the ouroboros, Endless, rolling, still coils sinuous.
There are many weightier matters I find myself investigating with cartomancy; the use of ordinary playing cards for divination, using these instead of, or alongside my tarot cards.
I may find myself investigating business questions. Will this merger go ahead, and when? etc etc
I could be surveilling what seems likely to happen next vis-= a- vis Brexit etc.
I do look of course. Wouldn’t you? I occasional post readings on public matters, but heck, Life is also made of little things, and who needs pointless hate from total strangers on social meejia in this overheated alt-climate.
I don’t see Yellowstone blowing any time soon, or World War 3, and they’re rather weighty matters. Earth will endure it’s natural span, I feel it will be longer than currently predicted, you know, give or take a few hundred million years, but we will be long gone from here and so will everything else by then.
We have recently been on our travels, an undertaking by car and ferry, and for me, by wheelchair, touring in France: The D-day beaches, Pornic in Brittany, Rocamadour in Lot in the Dordogne, a night in Nantes, and north again to Bayeaux before catching the ferry home again next day – a 5 hour crossing to Portsmouth.
Rocamadour is spectacular in the extreme. We stayed in a small hotel, Les Esclargies– at the top of the great cliff above the famous sanctuary with the old main street below it. You can go down in a funicular.
The hotel is in an oak clearing or glade and after a stormy 6 hour drive from Pornic, we arrived after heavy rain to see a red squirrel robbing a hanging bird feeder. We had a downstairs room with a good sized bathroom and wet room. We stayed a few days and late one afternoon, I sat outside with my cards while inside with the patio door open, Il Matrimonio snoozed.
I shuffled my playing cards asking, what is Il Matrimonio doing right now?
Why would I bother to ask when I already knew the answer?
That is precisely the reason for doing it. To see if I draw the cards I expect to draw when I already know the answer, and to see if those cards are an accurate or meaningful reflection of those facts already known, harnessing that benefit of hindsight in order to challenge my accuracy rates in randomly drawing a relevant card.
I expected to draw the Four of Spades in its most benign aspects.
Traditional Meanings: Bed, rest, illness, recuperation, the need for caution, the sick bed, hospital room, coffin, a jail cell, rest, confinement, exhaustion, need to take it easy, move at a slower pace, bed-ridden, feeling fenced in, staying at home, an unhealthy situation, feeling trapped, feeling sick and tired.
Gentle snorting noises proceeded to issue from the open door behind me.
But no…I didn’t draw the Four. I drew the Three of Spades.
Traditionally: loss and deception, lies, misunderstanding, confusion, a growing problem, a worsening condition, deterioration, disease, infection, third-party interference, a third wheel, meddling, a love triangle, what goes on behind the scenes, trials and tribulations, a test, an exam.
I associate it with the Tarot’s Three of Swords; heartache, separation, quarrels, mourning and sometimes literally, cardiac or respiratory symptoms.
Il Matrimonio is somewhat prone to indigestion. I found that if he avoids gluten, he doesn’t seem to get it, but travelling, on holiday, avoiding gluten was not such a practical proposition for him, and besides, the croissants and pastries at breakfast were rather too delish.
Uh oh, I thought, contemplating the Three of Swords, what’s this? I hope everyone’s all right at home, and as for him, I wonder if he’s got a bit of heartburn.
And no sooner had I articulated this thought, there came a burp from inside and Il Matrimonio sat up muttering something about wanting the bicarb.
I think that counts as validation.
So, to add to the vocabulary of the Three of Swords, let us add, indigestion, heartburn, bicarbonate…and burps.
Here’s a kicker though.
Here’s the sting in this tale.
Something strange happened our last night there, a Friday night or Saturday small hours. I had the distinct and quite startling impression that someone pulled twice, quite sharply at my bed covers, trying to drag away the small cushion supporting my knees (pain management of rheumatoid disease)
I mentioned it immediately. We had only just switched the lights out when I felt the first sharp tug, but Il Matrimonio hadn’t noticed anything odd, not the first time nor the second time, but a bad night followed, for the first part of the night. Frightening dreams involving being pushed in a bed, a malevolent coven and the fear of imminent death.
I have had such experiences before, not often, and at the time they have made no sense, – one might as well have put it down to booze or something, although I do not drink or use substances likely to tamper with my view of reality. But days later, and on one occasion, eighteen months later, these dreams or whatever they were revealed themselves to have been a foreshadowing. I once dreamed of an earthquake at the end of my road, I was trying to jump a widening crack in the pavement, and a week later to the day, and after an odd, jittery day, the real one arrived at one in the morning. An actual earthquake…in Lytham St Anne’s in the small hours, and it made the national papers
The epicentre was in Market Rasen in Lancashire, and it was teeny, but the experience when it actually happened, was eerie as hell. I don’t want even to imagine the terror of a big one.
I reckon we can sense these things in the same way that birds and animals are known to do…given sufficient absence of distraction.
And the Three of Spades, like the Tarot’s Three of Swords, can mean mourning.
We returned to shortly receive news of a death, a phone call and it was an uncle of Il Matrimonio’s. This was a quiet death in hospital after a short illness and at the age of 82. It happened on the Friday following our last night in Rocamadour and apparently, some tube got pulled out of his uncle’s arm as he lay in his hospital bed, with fatal results although perhaps it would not have made any difference either way.
Poor Il Matrimonio nurses kind memories of his uncle … tears were shed.
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.
I handle a lot of business questions in my professional readings. My clients are looking for an extra steer, that is all, but the stakes can be high, and of course, it is the client who will bear the responsibility of their own decision making.
A psychic reading cannot be considered a substitute for a professional financial, legal or medical question.
All the same, if I am asked, I will give it a go and share my findings, and the client may or may not welcome the answer. That is one of the risks in consulting with oracles
I may be asked anything at all. For example: If I go ahead and build these two houses, how well will I do out of it when it comes to selling them, and how fast will I sell them? etc etc
I don’t know the answer to their question. How could I?
Or perhaps I do, but I do not know that I know it.
Prescience is not omniscience or psychic readers would go mad. We don’t go round knowing everything. We have to stop and look.
Did I know this hideous coronavirus thing was coming? Did I heck. The only thing was, I had a peculiar experience back in January, I saw an apparition. It was unpleasant and I wondered if something nasty was coming.
I remember saying so to myself. What’s coming? I was uneasy. But that’s not the same as knowing. I didn’t know, though some astrologers did apparently, notably an astrologer called Andre Barbault who wrote in 2011 that he detected a risk of a pandemic in 2020/2021, based on a planetary cluster or stellarium noted before in association with previous historic events.
There is a lot of astrology in Tarot but it is not astrology.
Back to my cards. I cannot prepare in advance for doing a reading. I can only prepare to respond and be ready to make a leap in the dark, inviting a question then looking into my cards to help me decide what I think about the answer.
Reading cards works a bit differently to doing astrological readings. No drawing up of astrological charts. Unless the client wishes to brief me, I do not have any advance information whatsoever. I could be asked absolutely anything and need to deliver a more or less instant answer, shooting straight from the hip so to speak while providing at least some kind of readily verifiable information in that feedback, or how can the client benchmark what I am saying?
What can really help me out here is synchronicity, but what is synchronicity?
Definition as supplied by Merriem-Webster: the coincidental occurrence of events and especially psychic events (as similar thoughts in widely separated persons or a mental image of an unexpected event before it happens) that seem related but are not explained by conventional mechanisms of causality —used especially in the psychology of C. G. Jung
A recent instance was during a reading
Of course I am not reading face to face at present, during the current lock-down, and in any case I mostly read by Skype these days. I suppose I ought to look into Zoom as well but Skype has worked perfectly well so far.
I was doing a Skype reading. The client had a business question and I drew the Seven of Pentacles from
Classically this card refers to reaping a reward for hard work or patience and suggests that there will be a good return on a long term investment, but no quick returns.
I view this card more positively than some readers. One of the traditional meanings for translation is futility. Waiting for a kettle to boil but it’s fused and you don’t even know it yet.
Certainly, if I draw the Seven of Pentacles out reversed, I’m likely to decide I’m looking at a future poor performance or loss on your current or proposed investment.
If the Tower card were to turn up alongside it, forgeddit! The Tower means a crash. But if we got the Ten of Pentacles, well, that’s looking like a safe bet, just slow to mature or materialize.
If you were a prospective buyer, I might well be sensing you need not to buy in this or that product range. This does not represent a good acquisition. It may either not sell well, if you need to re-sell it, or it might take forever to shift.
The client in this instance was asking about the shifting of retail stock. Money was the presenting issue, and as often happens, a particular detail suddenly leaped out at me.
‘Do you have sheep living behind your house?’ I asked.
‘Yes’, he said, looking somewhat mystified ‘a field at the back.’
This is a typical instance of what Jung meant by synchronicity. But does it mean I enquire about sheep every time this card appears in a reading?
No. It absolutely doesn’t. I had never asked that before, in drawing this card. It just so happened that on this occasion, the sheep jumped out at me and so I asked.
Would this same card appear in a reading done for a sheep farmer?
Well, it ought to.
Returning to the more usual meaning of this card. If I was thinking of buying stocks or shares and this came up, would I go for it?
Probably, so long as it came out upright, but not necessarily, depending on the surrounding cards.
A friend came to stay recently and brought a present for my birthday. We thought it might be fun for me to try and guess what was inside the packaging using my pendulum and cards. It was roughly cylindrical, not too heavy, rolled in bubble wrap and brown paper.
I held my pendulum over it.
‘Are the contents of this package edible?’ The pendulum span anticlockwise. No.(sob)
‘Are the contents of this package paper?’ No. ‘Ceramic?’ No.’ Wood?’ Yes.
I drew the Three of Pentacles, a card signifying progress in business and pride in one’s work, and from The Gilded Tarot by kind permission of Ciro Marchetti.
‘Is it a craft item? I asked my friend.
‘Yes.’ she said, smiling from ear to ear, as ducks suddenly quacked outside on the pond and Il Matrimonio ran to the balcony to see there if there was a fox. There sometimes is. Then I drew the Six of Swords, a card of personal progress, solemn journeys and quests for learning.
Was it something to do with a river or riverbank, I wondered. Was it a little wooden boat? Or a frog? I like frogs.
‘No’. My friend said, smiling, ‘But you are warm. Now open it!
And inside it was – this! A wooden Indian Runner Duck. What a little character.
Well, I never. No wonder she’d been laughing to herself every time we’d fed the ducks, knowing what she had in store to give me.
Now, that is what I call a friend. And psychically, here was that darn Jungian synchronicity thing at work again.
Good try, Tarot my friend. Not a bull’s eye this time, but a respectable attempt, and this often is how Tarot works in a reading, too, regardless of the classical card meanings, sparking ideas directly off the imagery.
This is how, while Tarot presents a great academic study, anyone can read it, who likes to use associative thinking.
Carl Jung speculated that the Tarot works according to the principle of ‘synchronicity’- that psychic insights are triggered by apparently random and yet meaningful co-incidence, which he thought might be explained by Quantum Mechanics.
This Tarot king represents a man who is patient, kind, industrious. He is the salt of the earth. I said to the client that I thought he was a manager, and the work was practical in nature but also involved communication. It demanded precision or the ‘thing’ wouldn’t work but I didn’t ‘see’ as yet see what his job might actually be.
‘I might get at it though,’ I said, ‘now that my computer is talking directly to your computer.’
What I meant by that was, I felt we were on the same wavelength.
‘But that IS my job! I work for the government. That’s what I do…I make computers talk to other computers.’
In a recent reading the Ace of Pentacles (or Coins or Discs) made two appearances, but drawn reversed. Any card turning up twice is a flag, but I was not satisfied that I had nailed the cause.
The Ace of Pentacles signifies a new home, job or income stream. Finances seemed OK, her work seemed OK. She was thinking of retirement which fitted with this reversed card but she wasn’t thinking of moving house. But there was something. What was it?
Was there an issue to do with gardening? I asked on impulse. I was using the Ace from the Gilded Tarot, shown below by kind permission of Ciro Marchetti. It shows a field rather than a garden. All the same, this Ace, like other cards such as the Empress or the Six of Cups carries the idea of a garden in its repertoire.
There was a situation, the client said, but really, it was minor. She was feeling unsettled by a neighbour whom she pays to do gardening work, who had promised to do a job before the end of last year, but still had not finished it. But it was nothing, nothing….
It was snagging her energy, however. I was sure of that, because the Ace was negative, reversed or blocked.
‘The truth is,’ I suggested, ‘this makes you….?
‘Fed up’, she said. ‘I am feeling fed up.’
We discussed ways of managing the situation, but people do what sits most naturally with them, and advice does not always help. What to say or do the next time he cried off It had been preying on her mind but not at the forefront. This had been a case of subterranean mental grinding.
The gentle very often do not inherit the earth. Anything but, and my gentle client had entered into a business arrangement with a neighbour who was proving neither particularly business- like nor especially neighbourly, according to an expectation that other people’s standards of professional service were the same as her own.
The Ace of Pentacles says our home is nest and castle, and that includes the earth around it.
A friend, also a tarot reader and a gifted clairvoyant; a true ‘Hermit’, had gone unusually quiet since coming round recently to collect a present for his coming birthday and to try out his newest Lenormand deck, doing a reading for me.
Afterwards we sat at the table reading separately, me with tarot cards, he with Lenormand cards, each enquiring about the likely outcome of the EU referendum June 23 to see if we had a consensus. There was. More about that in a future post nearer the time.
But a week later, he hadn’t got back to me after I rang on his birthday. Usually he’s on the phone within a few hours, when he is likely to ask yet again what do I make of David Icke and his theory about the alien reptilian conspiracy for world domination? (He’s been reading a book by David Icke lately, and the Queen is alien reptilian stock, apparently.)
I’ll spare you my usual answer to this question, but for argument’s sake, I’d be more worried about the possibilities for an Alien Insectoid Conspiracy. Chill the reptiles just a teensy bit, they’re too sleepy-byes to get up to very much. The insects too have their limitations but they’d be a far more formidable adversary, terrifyingly industrious, with a far greater population and range…
There has been flu about and he lives alone and has diabetes. I pulled two cards to see if he was OK and drew
The Four of Cups and The Six of Swords.
Well, good, he was OK then. The Four of Cups has a nickname ‘bored boy’ and I decided he had probably got cabin fever. The Six of Swords suggested a reasonably large journey, traditionally over water, but this is the UK and you don’t have to drive far to cross water.
My friend drives but I decided he had probably gone somewhere by train. He is something of a train-spotter and indeed, he rang an hour later to say he was sitting on a train in Euston Station. He had got up at 5 having decided to go down to London to visit Kew Gardens.
I am seeing a lot of Swords cards at present, not least when I enquired about the current steel situation.
I asked, what’s at the root of the problem? First card out, Ace Wands Reversed. The cost of power (fire) A international business ‘Ace’ backfires.
I asked What is the best prospect at this time? First card out. Two Swords. Controls. A state of truce. Diplomacy. Cool the fires but do not stop the fires. Steel is armaments. Duality of legal contract and Protectionism may be implied by this card, possibly for a two year period, while the suit of Swords is associated with the East. I hope it does not mean ‘mothball.’
PS My friend rang since I posted the above, and I kid you not, asked what I think about ‘the reptilians’. There were dragon statues at Kew….with royal insignia inscribed on them. Evidence.
What insignia, exactly?
Dunno, but royal.
Oh well. He puts up with me…what else do friends do.
I was cackling peaceably into my cauldron as you do, in other words, cooking lunch when Il Matrimonio meandered in, nonchalantly asking; what did it mean if you had lost something, and you asked the Tarot where it was, and you drew the Page of Wands?
I paused in my stirring and asked why. Il Matrimonio does not in general, derive interest from anything Tarot-related, unless he wishes to consult about finances, and touch wood, I have not (as yet) caused him to come a cropper.
His friend Janet X had lost her diary. She is learning Tarot, had looked in her deck of Tarot cards asking where the diary was, and had drawn the Page of Wands but wasn’t sure what it might mean.
In classical terms it means a young person born under one of the Fire signs, Aries, Leo or Sagittarius. A student. It means a trip or a social gathering, or sudden good news, or a sale, or a bright idea for a new business or creative project. On a direct physical level it might mean heat and light, a candle, a torch or a cigarette.
But what did it mean in this particular situation? How could it help to find the missing diary in real, practical, where- the- eff- is- it, terms?
My response, adding a glug of olive oil to the pan, was that her cards seem to suggest she had taken it out with her to some local haunt and left it there.
How did I arrive at this interpretation? Because:
Page = small. Wands = travel.
Additionally…or instead; I suggested, it was somewhere warm or loud, such as a radiator next to a TV, or in the kitchen near the oven.
Why? Wands is the suit of the south, of warmth, of loud music, any place fast moving, lively and colourful.
Il Matrimonio came back saying, Ms X had been adamant she never took the diary out with her, and I remarked that, well, it was between her and her own Tarot, but the Page of Wands suggested she would find it soon and probably nearby.
Ms X shortly afterwards remembered that she had been to the hairdressers earlier that same day. She returned and found the diary was on the arm of a sofa there, next to the stereo. (noise)
OK. Let’s add ‘stereo’ and ‘hairdresser’, then, to the list of vocabulary for the Page of Wands.
The Tarot is a living oracle for use in the modern world. It expands. It evolves.
The Death Card and The Diamond Ring
I once read for an elderly lady,who had mislaid a diamond ring two years previously. It had been a gift from her husband who had died three years previously, and she still missed him desperately. She wanted to know, was the ring still in the apartment, or had it been lost irretrievably?
I used my pendulum to help me refine the possibilities for its current location, and so far as I could work it out, the missing ring seemed to be in the sitting room.
The Tarot said something really quite freaky. The lost ring was in the keeping of the dead, suggested The Death card. And was there a white rose in the sitting room?
The lady, Mrs C, was very definite that the ring had last been seen in the bedroom. It had fallen off her finger and rolled under the bed just as she was leaving for the airport to go on holiday with her daughter. The taxi had arrived, she couldn’t keep the driver waiting, and she had left with every confidence of retrieving the ring immediately upon her return home.
However, much to her bewilderment it wasn’t there on her return, and as time went on, she worried she had inadvertently thrown it out with the rubbish or during a clear out.
But my Tarot seemed pretty clear, yes, the ring was still at home, ‘in the care and keeping of the dead.’ Near a white rose?
The lady insisted there was no white rose.
What more could I say? Whether I was right or wrong, I didn’t know, and all I could say was, well, we can only wait and see.
Mrs C left, but an hour and a half later the phone rang; a very happy and excited lady telling me she had gone home, sat and thought and then had a eureka moment,and fetched a stepladder and found the ring on the top shelf of a furniture unit in the sitting room.
Right next to her beloved husband’s ashes.
She said she had no recollection whatsoever of having put it there.
She also wished me to know, there was a white silk rose in a vase on the mantel piece over the fire.
This is typical of what can happen with the Tarot. The imagery prompt ideas or prods the memory, working via associative thinking in addition to traditional book meanings of the cards.
That’s how we do it. That’s how it’s done, sometimes with fluency, sometimes like pulling teeth. And sometimes of course it fails altogether. My mother lost a favourite ring. The cat took it outside, I ‘saw’ it in a meadow, and I couldn’t provide the clues sufficient to find it in such a wide area of possibilities.
Tarot divination is an on-going study, however long you’ve been doing it.
Last time here on True Tarot Tales, the Moon card caused me to enquire about whether there had been a recent instance close by, of an upset tummy, possibly food poisoning, and it turned out, just as the Moon card classically depicts two dogs barking at the moon, two of the client’s dogs had been unwell after retrieving a ball from a dirty ditch.
Infection and disease may be flagged up by an appearance by the Moon card.
And so can flooding. I first saw this manifesting in my own cards during a Skype reading of 2010 for a client whose father lives in Pakistan, and her father had had to move house after flooding.
November 13, reading for someone in respect of a property in Hawick and the prospects for sale, I felt it might sell in August/September 2016, but, having drawn the Moon card, I asked the client, was there a river close to the property, and if there was, did it flood? Because I sensed flooding as a barrier to sale.
I was told the property is a top floor apartment, and is close to The Teviot but it had not flooded during the time the client had lived there (not many years) Nor had the client been aware or deterred by the proximity of the river when buying.
But, and very unfortunately for all affected, and by no means for the first time in its history Hawick flooded badly in early December.
I still sense my client may move home in 2016, I draw the Six of Swords which indicates progress and very often a domestic relocation, and certainly within the next two years, but the pathway may be more complex than anticipated when the property went on the market, and may, suggests the strategic Seven of Swords, involve the unwanted complication of a letting arrangement.
And, let us hope this is unduly doomful, no reader is infallible; I see signs we may well not be done with this Moon business yet. I draw the Moon card again, when asking about UK weather into February. Greater accuracy would demand a regional or even more break down, but there seems to be more ‘warm air’ coming where we don’t want it; the King of Wands Reversed.
A skeptical friend, who lives in Cumbria joked recently, that of all the religions he doesn’t believe in, the one he could perhaps go for is the Norse gods, and he may perhaps, even ask Freyr for help. Maybe it’s not such a crazy idea, and this morning, there is snow lying here on the Lancashire coast. But whatever you do, ask politely.
An outing for the Tarot’s Moon card, with Katie-Ellen, UK Tarot reader, writer and business consultant.
Happy New Year, and the tummy bug in question was nothing to do with me, I am happy to say, or the seasonal festivities. I was doing a Skype reading, investigating questions to do with ongoing and future creative projects- the client is an artist and sculptor, when I drew the Moon card.
The image below is from The Gilded Tarot, by kind permission of Ciro Marchetti. Also available from Amazon but the publisher Llewellynis getting this shout-out.
Classical meanings for this card are; the Moon itself, Fertility, monthly cycles, tides, floods (alas), conception, confusion, deception, secrets, vivid dreams, visions, leaps of imagination, fantasy, art, animals, hunting, secrets, fraud, theft, surveillance, risk, travel with danger attached, disease.
Reversed/Upside down: the meanings take on a different complexion, and may suggest any of these things- but they are fading away and now belong to the recent past.
The key challenge for a reader is to decide which meanings are relevant, and quickly, not to bore witless and alienate the client. One must say the first thing that comes to mind. I call it ‘gob-shiting’and I really shouldn’t; it’s hardly elegant and perhaps this should be a New Year’s resolution. The thing is, the reader needs to just speak.
I said the first thing that popped into my mind and asked whether a loved one had been ill, just recently, and perhaps they had gone down with a tummy bug? Or, could it even have been a bout of food poisoning, but whatever it was, they seemed to be better now?
I held up the card to the camera. ‘Look at this,’ I said, ‘see the two dogs?’
The client has several dogs, and said, ‘I don’t believe this! Two of my dogs have been ill. We went out a walk and they went into a ditch after a ball and they were quite poorly for a few days afterwards, both of them. A filthy ball in a nasty, dirty ditch. But they are over it now.’
The reader of Tarot or any other divination system must learn not to self- censor. If they do, because their first thought seems just too stupid, they will likely get it wrong, and then want to kick themselves. Learning to trust yourself enough to do that is the hardest thing, or at least, I found it so and I still sometimes have to tell that inner critic, aka saboteur of the oracular mind, to shut up.
People may well say, and many do, sod all the soothsayers. Wits or just good old common sense is what is called for, in working out a response to a problem. This is fair enough and often true…at least, it may be from where they are sitting. Nine times out of 10, in making their own predictions, they may prove quite correct. But what the oracular reader sniffs out, like a wild animal, using whatever oracle as a spade for digging in the primal mind, is what is hidden and could not wisely or even reasonably be expected.
The Tarot is nothing but printed card stock, physically. But the imagery and its many and deep rooted associations facilitate telepathy, triggering both receiver and transmitter. The client is equally active in this process, at a level they are not consciously aware of, any more than the reader is consciously aware of why they said A and not B.
For more information about my readings and how to get a reading, visit my website HERE
When I draw The Fool card in a reading, the Major Arcana card numbered Zero, or in some decks numbered 22, it may classically signify good news; a birth, a welcome opportunity, a fresh start of any significant kind. I drew it this very day, for a client who is not just moving house, but changing a way of life, and it is absolutely the right way to go. It suggests taking a chance, a leap of faith. Reversed, it cautions against hastiness. You need time. You need more information. You need to think, properly think, or you will do summat truly daft.
But the Fool has other, darker associations, as fools and jesters and solitary wanderers always have, in western culture. There are good reasons people are afraid of clowns, the jokers in the pack. The Tarot’s Fool is the Joker in a pack of ordinary playing cards, and means the same things, if you are using playing cards to read with.
The Fool represents that which haunts all margins and borders. The ‘outwalker;’ that being. force or agency, which observes and may, given opportunity and sufficient reason, may find its way in to where you do not want it.
There is another Tarot card, more often cited in association with Odin, or Odin-esque associations. This is The Hanged Man, Major Arcana number 12. Odin hung upside down on the world tree, Yggdrasil, for 9 days for knowledge, and for a world view gained through a changed perspective.
But The Fool card, Trump 0 of the Major Arcana, contains something as frightening as it is innocent, not only birth and opportunity but something not quantifiable, as real as it is unreal, a ‘thusness’ or haacceity more implacable than Death.
that property or quality of a thing by virtue of which it is unique or describable as ‘this (one)’
the property of being a unique and individual thing.
“he has a paramount concern with haecceity, the thisness of things”
Zero is a something as well as a nothing. Even leaving the philosophical questions aside, and they are bogglers, without 0, as without 1, there is no binary, and no digital age.
Zero draws the Number of the Fool
But only fools will fail to fear
The oddly smiling one who walks alone
Magician, outland, dawn and dusk
Fleeting, glimpsed by tree and mere
Where ripples lap without a breeze
Or single casting of a stone
Zero, Odin’s one remaining eye
His other traded for all kenning
Out-with the knowing of the Norns
Nine days he hung considering
On Yggdrasil, the great ash tree
But Life is flux, and, unfulfilled
Does Odin walk abroad with Men
Entranced, he follows their technology
Their blindly restless struggles to get free
Refusing that their final liberty
Is in their choice of sacrifice
Their ultimate expression
In their direst of necessity
Insatiably, dispassionate, he watches, waits
And sometimes smiles, but has no tears
For what might dim or blind his sight
Of conjurings and reckonings with Fate
The new born come, and dead depart
His scouts of Thought and Memory
Twin ravens, Hugin, Munin, fly
Through Odin’s questing, flaming Eye
The singing echo-chamber of The Gate.
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.