It’s been a while since I last blogged here at True Tarot Tales. Sombre times one way and another, don’t we all feel it, and my older daughter has been unwell. There has been a lot of card reading going on meantime, but I haven’t got round to gluing my behind to the blogging seat * Slaps own wrist*
Daughter is well on the mend now, though not yet back to work. Micro-angiopathic Haemolytic Anaemia, a viral trigger is suspected but has not been identified. She needed a series of plasma infusions and also haemodialysis.
The illness came on suddenly and I had been puzzled, a little uneasy at the repeated appearance of the 9 Spades in the days before Il Matrimoniowent away to Colditz
They let him out again, drat it, and he didn’t even need the famous glider glued with porridge in making his daring escape to Leipzig in search of a schnitzel.
The forthcoming trip was flagged up in my playing cards by the 10 of Clubs but the 9 of Spades kept popping up too, next in the sequence. This is generally regarded as a dire card, signifying illness and worry, and I decided the trip would go fine, the cards were not showing me an illness for Il Matrimonio, but I didn’t know why it was popping up, or for whom, and could almost certainly not have done anything about it anyway.
This is part and parcel of divination of course, and that potential for possibly totally unwarranted stress is just something to be handled. Three times now, I have drawn the Devil card and noted the fact of its ugly-mug appearance hours or days before a major terrorist attack, and this is of no use to me or to anyone, but still, it is rather odd. I drew the Devil and The Chariot four hours ahead of the attack in Nice, and fretted about a car journey we were due to do next day, being unable to identify the context in real terms.
Returning to the 9 of Spades and my daughter’s sudden illness, a 999 jobbie, we all had a bit of a fright but, that first emergency over, the Knight of Cups indicated she would would be all right, and might go home within the next twelve days of admission, (the Knight suggested twelve)
And she did improve well within that time frame but she was in hospital longer, so my cards were slightly over optimistic on that score, or else I started counting forward from the wrong day, and should have read it as 12 days from the day of reading. In any case I’d have been closer to the mark had I drawn the King of Cups, equating to a stay of 14 days.
We have the pip cards, and these are self-explanatory, Ones/Aces through to Tens. Then we have:
Pages= 11 (these might be hours, days, weeks, months, years etc depending on the suit)
Queens = 13
Kings = 14
During a recent Tarot reading for a young client, I opened the reading with my usual opening spread; a five card cross which I think of as my tin-opener.
There was some distress surrounding The Sun and 3 of Swords, a breakup. This was quickly apparent and confirmed by the client who was clearly looking for a handle as to what had gone ‘wrong,’ which the Tarot was able to present to him as a story. This story made sense, so he said, in accordance with his own understanding of events, and certainly, there was no blame attached; my young client had done nothing ‘wrong’ whatsoever.
But he had been deeply upset, spinning his wheels, not having any story to tell himself, that seemed sufficiently clear to him. The reading changed nothing, simply offered him a handle, without which our minds may keep grinding on, and he had been experiencing headaches in the aftermath of those recent events – unusually for him he said.
The central card of this cross, denoting the heart of the current situation, was The Eight of Coins.
‘This card seems to be talking about your next step,’ I said, ‘this is a card of apprenticeships in general, and also, as you can see for yourself here, look, it’s also a money suit card. He looks like he is looking at a bill, doesn’t he? ‘
The client smiled and said he was starting an apprenticeship in Accountancy in September.
Tarot said, ‘good move, young sir. It will suit you down to the ground as your next best step. Please don’t let anything derail you.
If you want a reader’s best answer, don’t think to test them by misdirecting them. Nothing useful will be learned that way. If you mistrust them, or this kind of stuff in general, just leave it be. Don’t go there. Don’t play games with your chosen reader. It is a waste of their time and energy, and your time and money, and you might well ask, why would anyone do that, but occasionally they do.
You don’t say to a doctor, you tell me what’s the matter with me but don’t ask me any questions because if you need my help in reaching a diagnosis, you , sir or madam, are nothing but a quack.
Last Thursday, July the 14th, I was unsettled at what I saw in my cards. My question to the Tarot was, what kind of day could I expect the following day to be? We were away from home, with a drive next day to see family en-route home again.
Out came The Chariot, drawn reversed, and out also came The Devil.(Universal Rider Waite)
This was a combination that spelled bad news for a partnership, a venture, a vehicle, or a journey. Fear, anger or violence might be attached. I shuffled and drew again. Out they came again, The Chariot Reversed, The Devil, and The Wheel of Fortune Reversed.
Nasty. I felt a lurch in my tummy. I could see it was bad but what did it mean? Not being an all-seeing psychic with remote viewing (it has happened, but rarely. Such acutely specific psychic skills as that are extremely rare if not non-existent) I did what most of us would do, and thought first in terms of the immediate situation.
‘You need to take it extra easy on the road tomorrow’, I said to Il Matrimonio. ‘Maybe inspect the car before we leave the hotel. There’s something here I’m not liking to do with wheels and the parking is tight. I’m seeing tyres.’
The Devil card at at its worst extreme can mean murder. I did NOT think of that, but I was uneasy, deciding we may additionally hear bad news next day concerning family health, and we did hear news that concerned us, about the health of a friend.
Next morning, Friday the 15th…and The Devil is the Tarot’s fifteenth card, we woke to the appalling news from Nice.
The cards had been drawn about an hour ahead of the actual events. This, then, had not been an instance of prediction…but a vague, ominous though with hindsight, apposite foreshadowing. Tyres. Rage. Terror.
Sleep easy, les pauvres.
Vive la France.
How could the Tarot be used to avert disasters? Certainly, a reading may help an individual to avoid trouble if they heed a warning. I have certainly known this happen just as I have known a warning gone unheeded, and the consequences. On a public scale, it would need the right person to ask a reader a closed question such as, what is the risk of.(event X)….happening here (location Y)…at such and such a time/day (Y) And that person would need permission and resources to act on the feedback. Not gonna happen, is it?
Another instance of the Devil card featured in the news in May of this year, when a client told the Tarot reader he had killed someone after she drew the card in front of him. She rang the Police on 999 and was advised to call the non-emergency number which she did, going outside to make the call with the client sitting there. The Police arrived 52 minutes later, and in due course it was discovered that the money had told the tarot reader no more than the simple truth, in response to her drawing the Devil card, the Death card and The Emperor Reversed.
A man lay dead in a pool of blood.
Asking my brother, who is a police officer, what he made of this story, he was horrified that it had not been treated as an emergency. The tarot reader should have been assessed as being at immediate risk, herself, as a witness to a man who might have changed his mind at any time, about allowing himself to be arrested.
Usually, thankfully, The Devil does not operate at this horrific level, though the card is rarely, if ever good news in a reading with me unless it comes out drawn reversed. It may mean compulsive drinking, or drug use. Or it may just mean a temper tantrum. Who threw their rattle out of the pram, then?
There is a school of thought that presents the Devil instead as Pan, god of wild things, and some decks portray this alternative interpretation, but for that sense of things, I rely on The Hermit or The Ace of Pentacles.
Changing subject, but not entirely, recent diabolical viewing on the box or DVD has been…next to nil because I stop watching. Occasionally I will shout ‘shaddap!’ or worse if it’s just too inanely squawky but a repeat of ‘Coast’ will always soothe the feathers flat again. It never seems to get old.
‘The Secrets In Their Eyes,’ based on the novel of the same name by Eduardo Sacheri, is a story with the Devil at its heart, but also The Star, The Lovers, Judgement and Justice. It is a story of murder, enduring love, and the search for justice in the face of a corrupted legal system. Above all it’s an epic love story, set in Argentina during the last years of the Junta.
I saw the film first and read the book afterwards. There are a few plot differences but the crux, tone and feel of the story remain true.
It is a story of two heroes, the law man, called Chapparo in the book but Esposito in the movie. He’s a diffident character, not ‘heroic’ in the blockbuster sense, but such is his quality and his charm…you’re rooting for him to get the girl…. and then there is the enduring passion for a murdered wife of the bereaved husband, Morales, who is determined to apply justice when the Law does not, being corrupt and held on a Junta choke- chain.
The grieving husband’s idea of justice is not what you might suppose, and it costs him every chance of a new start, especially in the novel. Faced outright with the wordly power of the Devil he decides that for him, there is only one love, and there is nothing more to live for now but justice. A sad book, a sad film, but The Devil gets a comeuppance, quietly, secretly, at a great cost to the bereaved husband, as the mills turn slow but certain.
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.
The rain beat down on the garage roof, washing August away, just as it had washed July away and most of June before that. The British Isles, like most of northern Europe, was losing its summer. It was coming soon, Joe thought, and fear gripped his belly.
He held Suzette, stroking her to calm himself while he considered the situation. Deciding when to put to sea was tricky. Too late would be…too late, but if he embarked too soon, he’d be eating into provisions unnecessarily. Noah had provisioned for a voyage lasting ten months, but then, he’d had the benefit of inside information.
‘We’ll be all right, Suzy, hinny,’ he told his pet, ‘I’ll make sure of that. But what am I going to do about the wife?’
Suzette cocked her head as if considering, her beady gaze held his, unblinking. Joe had tried to explain to Linda about the bird’s intelligence, but Linda detested Suzette, and said pigeons were thick, and they were vermin, and good for nothing but a pie. Joe knew better, and that that was just Linda’s jealousy talking. Suzette’s plumage was the colour of heather on the moors, or the hills at twilight, and with the little bird’s plump warmth in his hand, he always felt better, somehow.
He tidied away and she followed, pecking at wood shavings, picking them up and dropping them again until he was done and scooped her up, dropping a kiss on the top of the small head, hard as a nut, placing her in the cage he had built for her.
‘Sweet dreams, little hen. See you in the morning.’ The cage had everything he could think of; a nest box, a perch, toys, even a mirror. She had everything but the company of her own kind and the open sky, but Joe didn’t think she minded. He had reared her from a chick, hatching the egg in his beanie; she had never known anything else.
It was after five. Time to get the tea on before Linda came home from work. Joe went through into the house, there was a connecting door – straight into the hallway and no need to get wet.
Joe was an unemployed shipwright, nearly twenty years at Swan Hunter until the day came when they all got the chop and he had come home, stumbling with shock, his leaving cards in his hands, and walked in to find Linda, his wife, on the sofa on top of one of his friends. He’d never forget the look on her face as she ground her hips, looking down avid at the man on the sofa. Then she turned and saw him, and the look changed. Joe’s love for his wife died on the spot, snuffed out by the shock, though later when he calmed down, he understood why she’d done it.
They were childless. Joe was sad about it, but for Linda it was a sporadic madness, a devouring need she could not leave alone. I want more tests, she’d said. I want IVF. But Joe wouldn’t agree, and it wasn’t the money, though they had little enough of that to spare. No, it wasn’t that. But forcing gates just broke things in his experience, starting with the gate itself and now, he decided that Linda’s betrayal was not only a desperate attempt at a solution, but revenge.
Resisting his first terrible, desperate desire to punch her into the middle of next week – though he caught his friend later in an alley and gave him a kicking that left the other man retching on hands and knees, Joe mulled it over and decided he’d accept whatever blameless little cuckoo came as a result of this betrayal. He was even, secretly and not without a sense of shame, a little excited at the prospect and caught himself waiting, counting, watching for signs. But Linda’s plan, if that’s what it had been, came to nothing. Joe realised with the dullness of grief, there was not going to be any nestling. Not even a cuckoo. They talked about divorce but neither made the first move, and so they carried on, together but apart.
It was one night soon after this, that Joe had had The Dream. Had not God told Noah, hadn’t He solemnly promised, he would never do it again? But look what He was up to now! Flooding was never out of the news, rescue boats plying high streets the length and breadth of Britain and the price of everything going up. Lying as if paralysed in his solitary bed, staring sightless at the wall, Joe saw a land drowned by rain and river, sea and sky, and a wave that came as if from nowhere, the water cycle violently seeking new stasis as the ice caps melted.
He watched helpless, as a torrent came down the Tyne, bent bridges like hair grips and shoved them out to sea. People were swept away or crushed as they ran with their screeching children for the high places, and were overtaken. The Angel of the North looked on as buildings, bridges, roads were pulled apart like Lego, chewed and spat out. Afterwards came a hush, and the smell of rot, and the thriving of flies as the terrible silence and the empty days stretched on.
Everyone had nightmares and usually it was little more than a case of cheese at bedtime, Joe understood that perfectly well. But he also knew it could be something altogether different, something so much more. He’d foreseen his mother’s death in a dream and ignored it…it was only a dream, wasn’t it, and then, three days later they’d found her, dead on her bed, arm outstretched for the pills she’d been trying to reach, just as he’d seen in his dream.
There was indigestion, and there was prophecy, it wasn’t easy deciding which was which. Joe hadn’t forgiven himself for not going to his mother, he could not, and now, waking with a headache and needing to be sick, he decided this time, he would not turn away, to betray his vision. He would trust himself and carry out his own shipbuilding project. He did not tell anyone. Who would have believed him, and there was no-one he cared to confide in. But if a shipwright wasn’t up to the challenge, who was?
His decision made, Joe now had a plan, and was in oddly high spirits, negotiating the purchase of a little boat and two dinghies, spending every penny of his redundancy money. Linda spat fury. She even threw things, but Joe did not explain, didn’t make any attempt at trying to enlighten her, just stayed out of her way in the garage, customizing the boat, a seventeen-foot Arran, adding an outboard motor, a petrol tank and an automatic pump. He extended the tiny day cabin, and carpentered drop-down stabilizers, enabling the boat to function as a trimaran.
He applied himself, learning to use a compass and maps, he followed the shipping news. He took to hanging around the trawlers at Tynemouth until a skipper agreed to take him out as an unpaid pair of hands and he threw up all the way out and back again. Meteorology classes came next, and geography field trips with the Workers Education Institute.
Joe became a man of singular education, and though he had few certificates to show for it, he knew he was going to be put to the ultimate test, and he didn’t know when, but it would be soon. Meanwhile, he stopped seeing the few friends he’d kept in touch with after the thing with Linda, and kept his own counsel – the thing was too big, anyway, he wouldn’t have known how to set about telling people. He avoided Linda and he made the evening meal without fail every evening, his tribute for the uneasy peace between them, and was mixing a vinaigrette for a salad when the slam of the front door said Linda was home, and not in a good humour.
Linda Steel had one of those upside-down mouths that said she rarely smiled, and she was almost entirely sure she hated her husband with a passion. She would look at his lean, rangy body, and then his soft eyes, his soft mouth, almost flower-like in its softness, and think how deceptive were appearances. Joe was hard and cold, merciless and unyielding. He’d never touched her since that day. He barely ever even looked at her, never mind talked to her but he’d driven her to it, not listening to her about the baby. They ate in silence, rain oozing down the window panes, thick as dog slobber.
‘You do know it’s the Great Flood again, Linda?’ Joe said suddenly, over a forkful of tomato. She goggled at him, ‘You what?’
‘The Great Flood,’ he said, and took another mouthful. He had debated whether to say anything and had decided not to, but it seemed something within him had a different idea, some vestige of a love long dead, or just pity, ‘coming soon to a town near you. Want to ride it out with me, come with me on the boat? I’ll be taking it down to Tynemouth day after tomorrow.’
Linda spluttered and began to choke. Joe watched impassively. Her eyes were like gooseberries and he didn’t like gooseberries. Why did he used to think she was so pretty? It wasn’t until Linda’s face began to go purple that he scraped back his chair and slapped her back for her. Slap, slap, SLAP.
‘Water,’ she croaked, flapping her hand. He fetched it and sat down again. ‘You know,’ he went on as if nothing had happened, ‘we’ll need to be well out to sea when that wave comes in, not to get caught between it and the river. Then if we make it, if we can get clear, we’ll sail up to Hexham. Or mebbes the Cheviots. Whatever – Noah used the dove, Suzette’ll help us find the best place.’
‘I’d laugh,’ she said, still wheezing, ‘Except I’m not sure you’re joking? What have you been up to, Joe? Been at the wacky baccy, have we, out there in the garage? This isn’t Bangladesh or Japan. We don’t get tsunamis here.’
She drained the tumbler of water. ‘Aye, well,’ he said, clearing the plates. ‘We do actually. Ever heard of the Bristol tsunami, 1607? Ever heard there was a time once, you could walk from here to Denmark, till a tsunami drowned the land bridge? But never mind. Cassandra couldn’t tell them either.”
‘The wooden horse,’ Joe explained. ’She knew it was bad news, but you can’t tell people, can you? But I had to try. You’re still my wife, for what it’s worth.’
‘Oh, I see,’ she said, not seeing at all. ‘Well, thank you, kind sir, you bloody loony. I’m very grateful, I’m sure.’’
The Dream came to Joe again that night. Linda heard his whimpers through the wall, and thought, serves him right, turning over and pulling the duvet past her ears. Many a night she had cried herself to sleep.
Next day the boat was ready. One of the dinghies held provisions, while the other was for Linda, kitted with a week’s iron rations. Suzette perched on the rim preening, while Joe checked the inventories. Next evening he led Linda into the garage for instructions. She listened, arms folded, tapping her foot. ‘And how long may we expect this little jaunt to last?’ she said bitingly, ‘may one venture to ask when your lordship will be coming home?’
He sighed. ‘You don’t get it, do you, Linda?’
It was sausages and mash for tea, and Linda found sausages a lot easier to swallow than Joe’s prophecy, but watching the evening news, she was bound to agree things were getting alarming. ‘But it was as bad as this, almost, last year,’ she fretted, sitting alone with her coffee. ‘Nothing but rain and everyone ranting and raving about global warming. But August wasn’t too bad, and September, well, it was pretty good.’
Next morning they exchanged the barest of farewells. Linda spent the day at work dodging dripping ceilings and strategically positioned buckets, and came home to find he’d gone, the crackpot, just as he’d said, and so had the boat and that bloody useless bird. The silence boomed as she peeled off her sopping tights, and looked in the fridge. She couldn’t be bothered to cook. She made a cup of tea and cheese sandwiches instead, eating on the prowl, uneasy and unexpectedly lonely without her old enemy in range.
‘Well, pardon me for pointing this out’, she said to the empty room and the invisible Joe. ‘I’d hate to contradict you, Joe, but the world still appears to be here.’
But then in the small hours, something woke her. Strange noises in the street. She dashed to the window and looked out but the street was dark, the street lights were all out. A power cut again! She flung up the window and shrieked. Her car – everybody’s car – was heading down the street, borne on a rising tide. Other heads came poking out of windows, voices ascended, shrill with alarm. The street was a river. The river was growing. The rain was stabbing the earth to death.
Linda flew down the stairs and was met by water. She dragged the garage door open; a cold rill flowed round her thighs. Wading to the dinghy, her effort was impeded by the dark, and the ballooning of her pyjama bottoms. Linda sobbed, teeth chattering, as she flopped in bottom first, and fumbled to untie the mooring rope. Thank God she’d left the outer garage doors open as per Joe’s instructions. You’ll be trapped like a rat otherwise, he had warned her, and despite herself, despite everything, she had listened. Thank God.
‘Oh, Joe,’ she whimpered, and remembered all the ways she’d ever loved him, and he had loved her. And Joe had wanted her to make it, he had, sincerely, but she did not, all the same.
His vision was both correct and not. It was a point of technicality. Not the dam. The monstrous wave that came racing across the North Sea from Norway, the fatal collapse of a fjord wall, would have scuppered Linda’s frail chances for sure, but Joe’s pet had already secured the ultimate negative outcome. Rubber might not be tasty, but shredding it was a small amusement for a little bird in a moment of boredom, and now the idle activity of Suzette’s tiny beak slowly but surely laid waste Joe’s careful planning for his wife’s separate survival. Linda’s dead body went spinning down Church Street to St Peters, where her ankle got hooked in railings, and she was trapped there, a dancer graceful in eternal pilgrimage.
Joe came sailing in over her head some days later, coming in from the sea, following Suzette as they headed west under clear and sunny skies. The sea was blue again after the months of grey, and sparkling in the sun, but there were things in the water that did not bear looking at and Joe was careful not to look. What good would it do? The past was dead and gone. His new life started now.
First Published in ‘More Tonto Short Stories,’ by Tonto Press, 2007 . Performed at The Durham Book Fair, 2008 and & later, revised and published on-line with ‘Litro’ Magazine, 2014
It’s a tale of two cats ( and there’s another Miaow Tarot Tale or two in the archives.) Daughter Numera Una, Artemis, aka RT who’s 29 and a vet nurse, and a brill one; rang one evening two weeks ago, ‘Mutti, we seem to have lost an Elsa cat. Will you look in your cards about it? We’ve been searching and calling for the last three hours.’
Artemis has recently moved address and has two cats, both girls, Elsa and Salem. Elsa is a teensy bit (…let’s whisper this…) thick. Salem’s practically a goddamn genius. Here they are. Elsa top, Salem below with RT. You might be forgiven for wondering which one is the thickie and vice- versa. All I can say is, Salem is being seriously disrespected in being made to wear that pink combo which is actually Elsa’s.
Where might Elsa be? Let me say loud and clear I had no idea but I drew the Moon card first and put it to Artemis that she might have been frightened from returning by a barking dog living a door or two away.
She confirmed there was a barking dog Elsa didn’t like.
There are other meanings for this card: lies, hunting, danger, tricky travel, infection, fertility, drama, psychic dreams, this immediate pictorial association was most I felt was most relevant to Elsa’s absence. Often this is how a Tarot reader works, look-and-speak-and-sod-the-book-meanings.
Next, I drew The Four of Swords; a knight entombed. This card signifies isolation, sickness, hospital visits, chapels and tombs and raised the fairly obvious question, had she got stuck or trapped? I thought of wheelie bins and asked was a collection due next morning? Artemis was horrified, thinking of a notorious incident in the media where a woman had maliciously swiped a kitty into a wheelie bin but in fact, the bin men had already been that morning, and I decided Elsa was not trapped in a wheelie bin, but might well be hiding behind one.
I drew the Five of Wands and asked RT had she been to Number Five to ask if Elsa had been seen there? Yes she had, and the woman had kindly checked her out-houses.
She asked, was Elsa coming home that night?
I drew three more cards, all upside down and said no, I didn’t see that, but I tended to think it would be all right. Elsa was not dead. She was not hurt. She was being a dumb-ski, not used yet to her new abode, she was disorientated and probably hiding no more than three properties away.
Animals may be the primary department of St Francis, but that former librarian, St Anthony, patron saint of lost things, has kindly helped us with lost beasts once before, and I suggested she ask him for help in bringing Elsa home.
Next morning I received this message.
Elsa-Smellsa just found 🙂 Could hear plaintive meowing when we called from the back garden coming from property to our rear so walked round and found her cowering down a little ginnel! She was very hungry but none the worse for wear. Salem was behaving very strangely this morning. I think St Antony acted through her somehow…It was her lead I followed when listening out for the meows!
What did I tell you? That Salem cat’s a genius. Yes, and of course, thank you too. Thank you very much, St Antony.
(You don’t have to be Catholic to ask him for help; we’re a bunch of heathens)
I am currently re-reading the lively and highly accessible ‘The Daughter Of Time,’ by Josephine Tey It’s a novel; a fictional but fact based whodunnit, still recommended reading for history students. It’s pro-Ricardian, offering a probably Not-Guilty of infanticide verdict.
Some are asking, are they burying the right man? Genetics expresses the odds as 6.7 million to one it’s him but the paternal line is unproven. Also: analysis of various genetic markers offered tantalizing clues to Richard III’s appearance — suggesting that he was not the dark-haired, steely-eyed monarch portrayed in well-known historical images. “There are genes that we know are involved in coding for hair and eye color … The genetic evidence shows he had a 96% probability of having blue eyes, and a 77% probability of having blond hair, though this can darken with age.”
Read and hear more about the genetic discoveries Here
The reconstructed head has the same twist to the mouth and jaw of the portraits but they’ve still got to leap gaps using artistic license and his portrait eyebrows ain’t bushy. Look at this pair of unbrushed caterpillars they’ve adorned him with.
I drew a card asking have they got the right body? I treat an upright card as a probable yes, an upside down card as a probable no. Look atta card drawn, co-incidentally enough, how’s that image for synchronicity? The next card I drew seemed to support this. It was The World card; representing the world at large, as in, a return to the world, also signifying the end of a cycle or story.
Did Richard have his nephews murdered, yes or no?
I sense a 25% likelihood.
If they died on his watch, or if one of them did, let’s say, Edward, it might not necessarily have been murder, or not double murder. Maybe one or the other died, and it made for an extremely awkward situation but it was not murder.
The two bodies discovered in the Tower in the reign of Charles 11 might settle it, one might think. But, no. The remains are apparently ‘beyond reach’ of testing. Besides it seems DNA testing of these would still not necessarily settle the question definitively according to this article from The Guardian. The difference between Richard being the murderer and Henry, could have been a time difference of a mere three months or so, dating from the last known sighting of the Princes until the death of Richard on the battlefield at Bosworth.
Meanwhile there remains the question of Perkin Warbeck.
Whatever happened seems to have been a cause of great, one might say, additional grief to Richard. Six of Cups (children) The Devil (evil fortune, a trap, powerlessness) and the Five of Cups (grief about children, grief for a wife and for what might have been.) He had much to grieve for, even without such a burden of either responsibility, or the awareness of injustice. Monstrous times, monstrous events. We’re lucky, those of us who’ll never have to wrangle problems on the the scale this man did; the word here is tragic. I feel the remains belong in York Minster, and they say he spent some happy times in Middleham.
If Leicester has him, maybe it needs him more.
Truth, wrote Sir Francis Bacon, is the Daughter of Time not Authority. Maybe read ‘The Daughter Of Time’, see what you think.
14 January: Wednesday evening at about 7.30, Il Matrimonio slithered into the study with a cup of tea for me. Most kind, but also, this was a warning to me that footie kicked off at 7.55 and he was to be considered unavailable until half time.
‘It’s Ipswich and Southampton,’ he hissed, biting into an apple himself, Eve had no chance. ‘Ipswich will get it.’
‘Do you think so?’ I said, reaching for my cards.
‘Well, I hope so, they’re doing well.’
I shuflled and drew a card asking, how will Ipswich do tonight against Southampton? I drew……oh no. The Star card but reversed, upside down. Image from The Gilded Tarot by kind permission of Ciro Marchetti.
The beautiful Star is Tarot’s card of hope and recovery, so I had to say I was sorry, but I thought Ipswich wouldn’t win this time. He glided from the room evincing a mild but measured displeasure, ‘we’ll ssseeeee.’
The score Southampton 1 Ipswich 0
I see Man City betting news people are following me on Twitter. Dare I look in my cards to see how Man City get on against Arsenal this Sunday? It might be more than my life is worth if I get it wrong. It might be more than my life is worth if I get it right.
The Tarot’s Six of Cups evokes nostalgia, places, things and people of happy times, childhood, simple things, people and pets at play. It may be forecasting a return to an old haunt, or the re-appearance of an old friend. Drawn reversed, upside down, it might be saying don’t go back. There is no nourishment there for you at this time. As LP Hartley famously said in the opening of his novel, ‘The Go-Between‘…’the past is a foreign country. They do things differently there.’
The dramatic limestone headland of the Great Orme separates the largely Edwardian seaside town of Llandudno from the drama of the Conwy Estuary just round the corner, with its stupendous castle and walled town.
The technology pedigree of this area is quite something, from the ancient copper mining, to the Iron Age forts, to Edward I‘s castle, to the building and embarkation of The Mulberry Harbour used in D-Day, and in recent times, the conversion of a railway tunnel at Caernafon that become a road tunnel. (We won’t dwell on the overflowing sewage problems it’s had at some times)
The Orme- a Viking name meaning Serpent- is like a children’s wonderland.
It’s all going on! To appreciate the Serpent, drive around the base…the marine drive is 4km long around the base. Merlin, eat your heart out. And Tolkein as well.
A small road peels off left heading uphill, passing a chapel on its way to the summit. At the grassy knolly summit, just asking to be rolled and played on, cable cars glide overhead, people sit smiling, chugging along on what is surely the shortest train journey ever, from the station the few hundred yards to the stop at the cable car cafe.
Plenty of business happening here.
A neolithic copper mine is set in a great hollow on the summit. Walk or drive down into it, walk on wooden bridges, look down into the ancient industrial excavations, put out of business in the Iron Age.
Coming back down from the summit to rejoin the marine drive, the chapel’s chuchyard tilts so steeply, and the dead can see the sea so up close and personal you feel they might all tumble in.
Asian families were out in force picknicking,celebrating Eid. A small girl dressed in pink and coral, smiling shyly, put her hands in prayer position and bowed a holiday greeting as our car went past.
Those naughty kashmir goats…where would we spot them this time? Driving out again next day at sunset, we had a goat lottery…no prizes, just a guessing game. How many goats would we spot on the marine drive?
My husband said 4, my daughter said 7, I said 11 plus but rounding the very last bend, we still hadn’t potted a single goat and we had never yet seen them at this point on the route, so far round. Not a goat in sight. Oh hang on. Yes! Hallelujah. There they were, resting or grazing in the apricot light as they faced the setting sun over Anglesey.
13 goats. Only two pictured here, but they are quite some characters.
I was unbearably triumphalist, but still, my neck was not wrung and I’m here to tell the tale. Simple things are so often the best things, and so are the silly things, sometimes.
“Most of us don’t need a psychiatric therapist as much as a friend to be silly with.”- Robert Brault.
Wear your warm coat but in clement weather, this place is like some child’s imaginary world.
In stormy weather, the light is strange, the echoes speak.
So exciting! Well, maybe, if you’re interested in how psychic Tarot reading works. The Tarot’s Eight of Swords talking about…. real life damp and drains.
There is Tarot you learn by book study. Then there is the Tarot you develop through experience, in which you discover or allocate new meanings for the cards via association and your own intuition. An example from my own experience is in readings featuring the Eight of Swords.
Standard Keywords: Frustration, feeling trapped or stuck, being unable to see a way ahead, chagrin, mortification, sometimes melodrama. A drama queen. One may be making a mountain out of a molehill. Passivity, the person is awaiting rescue when she only has to step forward with care and negotiate past the fence of swords, but she lacks focus, or else the nerve to try.
This is what you will read in any Tarot study guide. But sometimes, you look at a card and think, no, that’s not it. Why not? Perhaps it makes no sense in the context of the discussion. What else is the Tarot trying to flag up for attention using the stock of images at its disposal?
Your choices when this happens in a reading, dismiss it as an aberration or try to get to the bottom of it. Stay relaxed, an idea may present itself.
CASE STUDY ONE: An email reading for a lady I had never read for before:
No background was provided, and Tarot, like Reason likes a context. Nonetheless I decided to try rather than request further clarification first, and I drew The Eight of Swords in a key position.
What I sensed and shared was, ‘no matter where you work, and I sense a kitchen table with negotiated time slots free from family use, the place of work must be free of damp. I see wet feet. Whatever that space is, that’s got the wet feet situation going on, if you recognise it, do not use that room as your workspace.’
Response: She identified herself as a psychic living and working not far from me. My reading had answered the question she had not wished to specify. She had been thinking of converting her shower room, which was in any case old and tired and in need of a revamp, into a room for receiving her own tarot clients in. Now, she was going to reconsider.
CASE STUDY TWO: A Skype reading for a family member, buying property for the first time in France. Was the flat a sound buy?
The Tarot was rather negative, pointing out all manner of defects, structural and social, some of which she made sense of right away, being aware of them already. Others however, remained to be verified. Drawing the Eight of Swords I suggested the Tarot sniffed something diabolical (The Devil card) down in the basement. Uh oh. Trouble with the drains? This, she said, was not a problem. Nor need it be her problem in any case, as the flat she was after had no basement.
The purchase went ahead, and she was delighted about the new home and remains so. However, the various problems sensed before purchase announced themselves one by one, and the drain problem declared itself almost immediately on moving in , when the floor had to be taken up in the communal entrance hallway to sort them. It didn’t matter, such is life, all the same, she was unaware of the impending work at the point of buying.
One day the Tarot is going to use the Eight of Swords to tell me about someone’s toilet. I just know it. How rip snortingly excitin’, do I hear you say? No? The point is, Tarot is merely a map key of the psyche, tattooed on card stock. Man’s soul may be a butterfly, we’ve got to sweat the nitty gritty of daily life, so the Tarot’s insights will surely go there.
Tarot says ‘Miaow’ A Tarot reading for a cat??? Oh yes. I kid you not.
A few summers ago we had a broken down old patio replaced. Sam, who did the work for us, asked me to look in my tarot cards….on behalf of his cat, Bilbo.
Sam lived alone with his cat, and there were no problems so far as Sam was aware, but he wondered how his cat was doing.
What might Bilbo want to say to him, given an opportunity?
Mini Reading for Bilbo
(Performed In Absentia)
Card One: The 8 of Swords. Entrapment, frustration, chagrin, damp. Swords is a suit referring to sharp things and clear things…like windows.
My feeling about this card prompted me to put it to Sam that Bilbo had a difficulty in getting outside whenever he wanted to. Sam confirmed this to be the case. He lived in a downstairs flat. Bilbo usually had to go in and out by means of the sash window. There were no cat flaps, so if Sam was not there, Bilbo’s options were to be inside or outside.
Card Two: The Page of Coins Reversed. This is a card of Earth, and of small amounts of money, while Pages often refer to pets and also small items and objects.
Bilbo seemed to be saying to me he wanted a pot of earth. This prompted me to ask Sam, what were the toilet arrangements for Bilbo? Sam explained that he kept a litter tray in the flat. What was it lined with? Pellets or what? Shredded newspaper. And just outside the flat window, there was a shrub in a pot, which Bilbo liked to sit in and scratch at. There was no garden in front of the flat, only an area of hard standing. I therefore suggested Bilbo might like some nice deep ‘diggable’ cat litter for his tray, and maybe a ‘play tray’ full of soil outside. Oe more shrubs in pots.
Card Three: The Page of Cups…a card of kindness, and love, and childhood, also love letters or visits.
Bilbo did not think in terms of love, not having the words. Nonetheless, like a baby that cannot yet speak, he loved Sam, and a very little affection in return made him very happy. Just as one would expect, Bilbo lived in the moment. This card also suggested that he was physically in good condition (Cups is a healing suit), and that he was, in general, happy and content. Cups being the water suit, he probably liked fishy tastes (not all cats do, birding is more natural to cats than fishing.) This was confirmed.
I asked, what about these love letters or visits I was sensing?
What about them? Sam wanted to know. I thereupon drew:-
Card Four: The Queen of Cups Reversed. Indicative of a lady with certain qualities of self-indulgence, or to feelings of unhappiness, a lady who did not reciprocate affection?
The reading was for Bilbo and purely complimentary, done over coffee. Therefore in answer to Sam’s question, I confined myself to asking whether a blonde lady visited his flat sometimes? The answer was yes. I then asked, had he noticed that Bilbo made himself scarce when this lady was in the flat? Yes, he had noticed. Bilbo, for whatever reason, did not view this lady with favour. Did this surprise Sam? He thought a moment then said, no.
I heard from him a few weeks later, that Bilbo had a new kind of cat litter now. The lady was unlikely to be around again. What Bilbo had been picking up or reflecting had been Sam’s own feelings about the situation with the lady. This figured, absolutely. It made perfect sense, as pets are sensitive to atmosphere and ‘their’ human’s mood.
Ethically dubious, do you think, reading for the puss cat without his express permission?
The Tarot is self regulating. If Bilbo had not wished to be observed or shall we say, eavesdropped on, and the Tarot had therefore not wished to read for him, any feedback obtained would have been nonsensical to Sam.
I’ve learned that the Tarot does not disdain to speak of whatever concerns the person approaching it. The Tarot’s an oracle of the human heart and warmed by human hands.
The image below is of a watercolour drawing I did many years ago, a portrait commission of a cat called Tuppenny.
Here was an instance of using tarot card counting to arrive at a qualified forecast.
My daughter, 16 at the time, was learning piano. She went for lessons once a week and practiced – ahem, sometimes– on a small, reconditioned 1930s piano in the dining room. We had been hearing a lot of renditions of ‘Oliver!’ – Fagin’s song about reviewing the situation, ‘I think I’d better think it out again!’
At Christmas I got a phone call the piano teacher, to say my daughter would soon be due to put in for entry for her Grade 2 exam, but she wasn’t going to be ready as she wasn’t putting in the necessary work. Well, I asked my daughter, did she want to go for it or not? It was her decision, but if she decided to go for it, I expected her to show that she meant business.
She opted to go for it, upped the practise sessions, and had the exam 29 March, held at school during the school day. She came dragging home with a long face. ‘I made loads of mistakes,’ she said, ‘in both pieces.’
What did the Tarot think, she wanted to know. Had she passed? She couldn’t see how, she was sure she had made ‘loads of mistakes’.
‘And what did you do? I asked.
‘I kept going,’ she said.
Slips might not have mattered as much as she feared if the examiner had detected an overall fluency, I told her. The examiner would expect slips due to nerves and overall ‘flow’ would have been the indicator of underlying technical competence.
I drew 8 cards and turned them over. Six were upright, which to me signified a yes answer from tarot. Two were reversed, upside down, indicating a no answer. Therefore the Tarot thought it highly probable, a 75% probability that she had in fact passed, despite her feelings about it.
Two cards in particular were encouraging. The Page of Swordsmade an appearance and was upright. This was a lucky sign because my daughter is herself a Page of Swords, born under Aquarius. Facially, the card resembles her too, and the hair is not dissimilar, nor the build.
The Queen of Swords was another of the cards drawn in its upright or positive aspect. Was the examiner an older lady, elegant and well-spoken? I asked her. Yes, she said, sort of old-fashioned, serious, but very nice.
‘She liked you,’ I said, I sensed that this Queen had recognised in her a young ‘page of music’.
Because the suit of Swords has strong correlations with Science – Physics in particular- and Medicine, Mathematics and Music.
These two court cards appearing amongst the six upright cards reinforced my confidence on her behalf and anyway, the thing was done, and I told her not to worry. And she did pass.
There are many depictions of animals and birds in the Tarot. They form a great part of the human landscape physically, intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, and symbolically. If there’s a heaven, what would it be without them? I wouldn’t mind, personally if mosquitoes, maggots, deadly snakes and komodo dragons didn’t make it. Spiders would be all right as long as they were non-venomous and less than two inches in diameter. However, it’s not me in charge.
The songbird traditionally most associated with Christmas, or to give the winter festival its older name, Yuletide – is the robin redbreast. The cheeky, dumpy little European robin, Erithacus rubecula is a member of the flycatcher family.
Its preferred habitats are woodlands, hedgerows, parks and garden. Its staple diet is worms, seeds, fruits and insects. It will fight over sunflower seeds and it adores mealworms. You can buy these in dried form in lots of outlets including many supermarkets. They look revolting though people used to baiting fish hooks won’t mind them. Robins have been to take mealworms by hand, so irresistibly delicious are they to robin-kind.
Male and female European robins are identical to look at, adults of both sexes having the red breast, while young robins have no red breast, and are a speckled golden brown colour. The lack of red breast in the young defends them from territorial attack by adults. The robin lives a little over one year on average. If it lives beyond 1.1 years it may achieve twelve years and has been known to reach the age of twenty, but long life is rare.
The robin’s endearing appearance belies its feistiness. It’ll fight to the death for its territory, and one in ten die in combat. They have been seen to chase off pigeons much bigger than they are. The one in my garden right now however, is rather timid and will scurry into the rosemary when a pigeon appears. Well, I suppose they are individuals just as we are.
Robin redbreast builds a cup-shaped nest in a hole or hidden in ground cover, and will sing all year round. Click here to hear its song and for other general information from the RSPB:-
The robin received the human pet name of ‘Robin’ in the fifteenth century. It has a special place in the library of legends embedded in the Tarot, and a robin may be observed in some decks, including the King of Pentacles card in the Sacred Circle Tarot Deck.
It belongs there by virtue of the symbolism and superstitions attached to it.
Some older people consider the robin a bird of ill omen, a harbinger of death. It is considered unlucky for a robin to fly into a house as Death is expected to follow. For this reason, a Christmas card with a picture of a robin on it is not always welcome with people aware of this tradition. But compassion and care for the dead is also attributed to the robin. One legend says that it tried to help Christ by pulling off a thorn from the crown Jesus had been made to wear, injuring itself in the process – hence its red breast. Another old tale says that it was a robin who found the bodies of the lost ‘Babes in the Wood‘, and who buried them with a golden coverlet of fallen leaves.
If your robin seems shy, it may be a visitor from Europe. British robins haunt gardens more than their European relatives, are more used to human contact and are bold in comparison with European winter visitors which tend to favour woodlands in their native lands.
All right, you robin.
I’m on my way out with sugared bread (for energy it’s better to give them cake or sugared bread than plain bread) Here are some more of those revolting mealworms, and let’s hang up another half coconut of fat and nuts. But note this, my fine robin friend; this is not just for you, but is for sharing with the blue-tits and coal-tits, the blackbirds, sparrows and the finches.
The North Wind Doth blow
And we shall have snow
And what will the robin do then, poor thing?
He’ll hide in a barn
To keep himself warm
And hide his head under his wing, poor thing.
Let’s see what the robin currently peering out from the safety of the big rosemary bush, will communicate via the Tarot.
Are you a cock or hen robin?
Answer card: The High Priestess. Just to make sure, I pull another card and get the Moon Reversed. Meanings: I am a hen bird. I am solitary right now, I want no mate. This is not the time.
What are you thinking right now?
Answer card: The Empress. Meaning? What have we here? Food! I have discovered a new harvest! Being provided for, I must eat my fill while I can.
I pull another card, just as the robin flies off again…and, strangely enough, the card is The Chariot.The robin has flitted just a short distance to sit on top of the seed feeder hung in the bare branches of the laburnum tree.
Why have you gone to sit there?
Answer card: The Seven of Wands Reversed. Meaning: I am new to this garden and I must be careful. This is a good vantage point from which to spy out enemies and not be taken unawares.
What’s your favourite time of year?
Answer card: The Empress Reversed. Meaning: A time when there are plenty of fruits and seeds, but there are still sheltering leaves on the trees. A time when there are still long hours of light to feed by, and sometimes there’s still warmth…the night is not so bitter, the air does not bite so hard. My legs creak like sticks at first light when I must move for food or die. How I wish it could always be the time of the Empress.
OK, verification may not be an option as with readings done for domestic species. Still, I have done animal readings before, and know intuitive communication can work inter-species. Maybe it would not work with all species, but the tarot affords a means of extending perception beyond the boundaries of self, and living things share common drives and goals. Sentient and sensate beings, whether bare or feathered, scaled or furry, are inextricably subject to vagaries of environment, the common denominator in shared consciousness.
During the severe winter of 1962/63, the UK robin population was worse than decimated, reduced to an estimated 50-60 breeding pairs. Spare a little if you can, for your fellow creatures outside this winter.
During a reading for a lady who worked as a hypnotherapist, the Tarot suddenly seemed to suggest it was time to put her cigarette out. This was the feeling I got, drawing The Ace of Wands Reversed, although it may mean many other things
The client confirmed that she did smoke. She had taken it up again recently, not feeling settled in her job, which was a new job.
Looking at the cards laid out before me. My eye was drawn to one in particular; the Page of Cups.
The Universal-Waite Page of Cups: U.S. Games Systems.
This card symbolises offers and gifts. It may be an invitation, a proposal, a new friendship, or a birth. It may be announcing an engagement or wedding ring, or recovery from illness, or a new creative or spiritual project. I have also come to associate it rather less romantically, with fish oil supplementation, for reasons you’ll guess at, studying the image.
Something about the pink of his sleeves arrested my attention, and before I knew I was going to say it I asked. ‘Do you eat a lot of those pink and white marshmallows you get in bags?’
‘God,’ she said, ‘I absolutely love them. I’ve usually got some in my handbag. How on earth did you know that?’
It was the Page of Cups who ‘told’ me, triggered by colour association. The thought popped into my head, so I said it.
This is not unusual in a reading. One can study card meanings and they will take you a long, long way in reading for someone, but associative thinking triggers individual insights no book can teach you. The trick is to learn to trust the first thought that comes into your hed. This means risking being wrong, but if you’re not ready to take that risk, you won’t be able to validate the accuracy of such insights, which is to advance in skill.
This stern king represents the concept of the expert, the authority figure.
He has strong associations with the Law, Science and Maths, Music, and Medicine, especially Surgery.
Thus a King of Swords can represent a doctor or dentist, the Queen of Swords if the doctor or dentist is female.
It was a good card to draw, in the circumstances. This dentist was going to be on good form. I felt reassured.
And how did it go on that occasion? Well, the dentist really was a
King of Swords
He even looked like one, except that he had a beard and smiled a lot. The extraction went smoothly.
What would I have done had I drawn ‘bad’ cards: For example; in this contect, these might have included:
King of Swords Reversed, Page of Swords Reversed, Ace of Swords Reversed, Temperance Reversed, The Moon, Tower etc?
Well, would have looked at it again, to clear the decks of my emotional projection that might be clouding the hard information I was trying to reach. Had I drawn a strong negative response three times in a row, I would have considered changing the appointment day, and hopefully, avert trouble and improve the outcome.
Does this mean I can always avoid a bad experience? Of course not.
On another occasion, I decided not to look in the Tarot. A wisdom tooth had to come out. That was that. I decided not to risk frightening myself. I would just experience it in the normal way and it was a ghastly experience. A nerve was damaged, leaving me with local parasthesia for 18 months. Had I ‘looked’ beforehand, I could have declined the appointment and re-tested with the cards against a new appointment.
But, prescience is not omniscience, Divination is of itself not magic, or magick, and Life is not all roses.
This is the risk of consulting with oracles. You might hear something you don’t like, and wish you had just found out at the time, without the forewarning, and then you wouldn’t have had the worry as well.
‘Sufficient to the day is the evil thereof.’ 🙂
But sh*t happens. And you might equally say, ‘forewarned is forearmed.’