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 V, and they’re rather weighty matters.
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 for a final night in beautiful 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.
Meanings: Mature person, benevolent, an advisor, mentor, king of ceremonies, financial success, abundance.
The equivalent card in the Tarot deck is, appropriately enough as his team has won the FA Cup Final, the King of Cups.
So we’d just had a bite of lunch yesterday, a bit of psychic salad with spooky peppered mackerel, andIl Matrimonio said as he is prone to do from time to time, ‘I bet you don’t know who is playing in the final today?’
I said, ‘what final?’
He said, ‘you’re joking.’
‘Well, is it the FA cup final? Maybe there’s a European Cup Final for all I know.’
‘That’s next week,’ he scoffed, and you gather, I don’t follow footie too closely though I have the odd moment. Besides which, maybe I had other things on my mind.
‘So, who’s playing?’ said Il Sarky Bastardo.
‘Hallelujah. Who are they playing?’
‘Man United? No. Spurs?’
‘No, but it is a London Final. It’s Arsenal. So, what do you think? Will Arsene Wenger be resigning?’
‘Who’s the Chelsea manager these days?’
‘Antonio Conte. He’s fun. Lively, runs up and down.’
‘Give me a few minutes,’ I said and went into the study to sit with my deck of £0.99 playing cards. The Tarot is my oldest friend, my right hand man in divination, but lately I have exploring cartomancy, reading with ordinary playing cards. and practice makes – not perfect. There is no such thing, least of all in divination whether that means Tarot, Runes, Pendulums, whatever…
Ultimately, there is only doing. You can read up, you can swot all you like, and you better had, and I do. There is a lot to study, but theory is merely your start point and should never be the ending point. You only develop skill by doing, and that’s how you also advance the theory. Lots and lots of doing, falling on your face if that’s what it takes, and you certainly will, because you are human and the oracle too, is human, and its wisdom is the wisdom of ancestral understanding while its frailties are yours alone, the reader’s.
So this is what came up.
Will Arsene Wenger be resigning after today’s match?
Answer: the Four of Diamonds.
The Four of Diamonds denotes patience. The stability of the four did not suggest change, while Diamonds is the suit of business. It is literally, a foursquare card. The answer could have been read as a yes, therefore, according to this traditional colour system of interpretation but based on the individual card meaning, I did not see any change in Arsene Wenger’s role, or at least, no change for the ‘worse.’ Not if he doesn’t want to.
I put the card back into the deck, shuffled blind and for the sake of an even handed comparison, asked the same question about Antonio Conte. Would he be resigning?
Il Matrimonio yelled, ‘no way! Stupid question!’ and I told him to shut up. I know diddly squat about any of it, which is kind of part of the interest in doing the reading, and how I work is how I work and requires a certain logic.
So I asked and bless my soul, I pulled out the same card: the Four of Diamonds. So perhaps then, I deduced, the cards were educating me that neither would be resigning, both were staying in post, and additionally, I could in future take the Four of Diamonds to translate as ‘a football manager.’
‘I don’t think Arsene will be resigning,’ I said to Il Matrimonio.
But who was going to win?
(A question of less moment than the forthcoming General Election, and I think the polls are probably on track THIS time.)
These were the cards.
The Top row represented Arsenal
The Bottom Row represented Chelsea
The bottom 2 cards were just additional comment cards.
The central and final cards contain the answer in a 5 card line spread. The other cards provide the premise of the question, and additional comments.
The first card, top left, made me smile. Two of Clubs, eh? Well, yes, this is a question of two clubs, right enough. Next to it, the Nine of Hearts is generally viewed as a highly auspicious card; wishes granted. The central card, the heart or linchpin of the answer, is the Nine of Clubs and is nicknamed by Romany tradition, ‘The Achiever,’ which speaks for itself. The 3 of Spades is a dreadful card. Sorrow. This card was surely reflecting the current mood of the nation; our grief as well as rage and frustration in the aftermath of the terrible crime and ensuing tragedy in Manchester.
The last card represents Arsene Wenger himself; a quiet man, looking back over the match, seeming pleased but in a rather quiet way.
Arsenal in summary: There were 3 black suit cards and 2 red suit cards which on the face of it didn’t look too optimistic. But the Club cards were both positive in translation and the terrible card, the 3 of Spades…rightfully belonged here somewhere in the story, with a minute’s silence was observed at the beginning of the game.
Arsenal could certainly win, but I couldn’t decide without also looking at Chelsea.
Chelsea’s cards on the bottom row were all black suit cards. First we had The Joker which could mean absolutely anything. It is a destiny card. A wild card.
On this occasion, I asked Il Matrimonio, was there a Chelsea player who was a bit of a maverick? A dark young man? (I was looking here at the Jack of Spades next door to the Joker) He looked as if he might prove significant to Chelsea’s chances. This might be in a good way or not.
That was probably Diego Costa, Il Matrimonio said.
The central card, a key card, was the Five of Clubs, nicknamed The Renovator, it can be a sporty card, but often indicates that some change is overdue. Perhaps to the line up or the formation? The Ace of Clubs seemed auspicious, I felt it might well represent a goal, but the final, outcome card, the eight of Spades, nicknamed The Workaholic, somehow suggested that Chelsea would get into gear too little, too late, and would end working harder than when they had started.
The two comment cards, drawn with no question in mind, just as an add on were both eights: the eight of Diamonds and the Eight of Hearts. Did Il Matrimonio know which player/s would be wearing a Number 8 shirt? Was it one of the strikers?
He was by now glued to the box and shouted through, ‘I hear your question.’
The match hadn’t started yet, but he was absorbed in the buildup, lots of yelling and excited voices, the testosterone was rising, and he was there, becoming part of it and didn’t want disturbing.
‘It looks like Arsenal to win,’ I said.
The player in a Number 8 shirt turned out to be Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey (above) who scored the second goal for Arsenal after Alexis Sanchez scored the first goal, uphold after some controversy as to whether it was allowable after the ball had appeared to touch his arm.
Diego Costa (the Joker?) scored the Chelsea goal.
And he is a dark young man but perhaps the ‘dark young man’ detected by the Page of Spades was not only him, but I had also sensed another player, who was also a ‘dark young man,’ Victor Moseswho was, I found out later, sent off for ‘diving’. This Page is sharp, quick, clever, but sometimes controversy can attach to him (and in other readings, it might of course be a her)
Il Matrimonio said afterwards that my forecast had been out of step with most of the commentators and pundits, except for Ian Wright.
Ian Wright has warned Chelsea that Arsenal are beginning to find some form – just in time for the FA Cup final. (The Sport Review.com)
I’m going to keep on getting to know these nifty little cards. They are not nearly as visually interesting as my beloved Tarot decks, and some might say, who cares, if they do the job? And fair enough, though what price on beauty – wherever it is found?
My readings include forecasts not predictions. What’s the difference? Mainly presentation. Otherwise, very little. Forecasts are associated with technically based weather and economic predicting, nowadays largely based upon the interpretation of masses of computerised data, plus educated guesswork. A prediction is based on knowledge, experience, intuition or guesswork, and may be made in any context but is generally understood as being presented as almost a done deal, whereas a forecast deals in estimations of probabilities. I deal in probabilities.
Polls and other forecasts not infrequently get it wrong of course, as do fortune-tellers, no doubt.
When I talk to you about your present and past, as sensed and expressed through my Tarot or playing cards, you are in a position to evaluate what I am saying, and to validate it. When I address your question to do with likely future developments, no validation is possible; only time will tell; the future both exists and does not exist. You will die and so will I, the only things in life that are certain, so the saying goes, are death and taxes, and the taxes were only included as a joke.
But in-between, there are things within your direct personal control and things that are not, and a prediction may interfere, distract, block or stymie you, and become a self-fulfilling prophecy, while a forecast allows for the possibility of alternative outcomes depending on whether you do this next, or that next. This job or that job? This house or that house? This person or that person?
This freedom of choice may also be an illusion of course, just as ‘true’ objectivity is an impossibility, because we are always likely to do, and default to what is in our nature to do, regardless of advice, even when that advice is directly solicited. It is a wise and also essentially confident person who can, without instantly dismissing it, no knee-jerks, coolly pay out enough rope to listen to advice that is contrary to what they want or expect, or that challenges their own preferred version of events and vision of themselves and their past choices.
“Whatisbredinthebonewill not comeoutoftheflesh”, firstrecordedinEngland(inLatin) circa1290,widespreadinvarious versionssincethe15thcent.
The version I am used to says that what is bred in the bone will come out in the flesh…meaning, it will unavoidably manifest itself.
Norse mythology took a subtle view on prediction and the nature of destiny. Their Norns were not as absolutist as the Fates of Ancient Greece.
‘Wyrd’ is the Old English variant of the Norse word, ‘Urd’, referring to the destiny of each living thing, cast for them at birth by the three Norns. The Saxon variant is ‘wurd.’ The Well represents the Norse concept of the past – what we might now term birth memory, ancestral memory or the collective unconscious. The Norse view of destiny was that yes, it is written, but unlike the Fates of ancient Greek mythology, the destinies carved by the Norns can be overwritten…though does this pre-suppose that the hero on his or her life quest is aware of the existence and nature of that destiny and decides to challenge it?
The Well of Wyrd
She scrys alone; she is casting stones,
Disposing glyphs on graven runes,
No even numbers speak the Norns,
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.
Circe by Waterhouse: Public Domain
“The Well of Urd corresponds to the past tense. It is the reservoir of completed or ongoing actions that nourish the tree and influence its growth. Yggdrasil, in turn, corresponds to the present tense, that which is being actualised here and now.
What of intention and necessity, then? This is the water that permeates the image, flowing up from the well into the tree, dripping from the leaves of the tree as dew, and returning to the well, where it then seeps back up into the tree.
Here, time is cyclical rather than linear. The present returns to the past, where it retroactively changes the past. The new past, in turn, is reabsorbed into a new present, whose originality is an outgrowth of the give-and-take between the waters of the well and the the waters of the tree.” Source and Further Reading:
One can see the flexibility of the Norns arising in the sphere of genetics.
It is not clear why blue eyes spread among ancient Europeans. One theory is that the gene could have helped to prevent eye disorders due to low light levels found in European winters, or that the trait spread because it was deemed sexually attractive.
Recently I added to my reading mix, a deck of ordinary playing cards. These have been in use for cartomancy; divination and fortune telling, for at least 400 years longer than the Tarot, and neither one of them began as fortune telling tools. They were both invented for gaming purposes. In the case of playing cards, it’s thought they first came to Europe from the Middle East, arriving there in turn from the Far East.
Fully illustrated Tarot cards contain pictorial ingredients offering unlimited possibilities of translation via associative thinking, but playing cards, while less interesting pictorially, and somewhat prosaic, will do the job.
I thought I’d try them out in a recent face to face reading for a new client, reserving them for getting at a few yes or no answers if required.
Asking for the Tarot’s insight into my client’s recent significant past I drew The Fool and The Ace of Pentacles from The Gilded Tarot, images by kind permission of Ciro Marchetti.
The Fool is about opportunity, enthusiasm, a gamble, a birth. The Ace of Pentacles suggests a windfall, a new job or business, a new home, a garden or a new, precious object.
These following The Emperor prompted me to ask the client, had there been a recent major change or opportunity to do with a new job or new kind of work, and also maybe a new home?
And was it possible this new home might be in the countryside or else have a big garden or some land?
He said he had bought a house with land, and was planning to build on that land, and he wanted to know, what were the prospects for successful completion?
Yee-haa! Time to put my ordinary playing cards to the test and I drew these.
My first observation was that I had drawn two red cards and one black. Learning to do psychic readings is all about self-programming, and like learning anything, involves rote and repetition. I’ve decided a red card mean yes, whether it’s a diamond or a heart, and a black card means no, whether it’s a spade or a club card. And then I go for best of three, and the numbers might swing my thinking.
You could decide that a black card means yes, if you wanted, and a red card means no, and it might work splendidly reliably if you are consistent, though it might prove counter-intuitive as the most challenging cards in a playing deck – most, not all, are contained within the suits of spades and clubs.
Once decided on your own system, you need to stick to it. There’s no right or wrong with these things. There’s what works subject to proof. This is where there can arise a problem with going to classes ‘to be taught’ how to read. You are your own best teacher. Learning to ‘see’ in this way is solitary. Even lonely. It is not gregarious at source. Study adds skill and there is a vast library here to study, but in the end, while rendered articulate by skill, the oracular spirit, to be true to itself, remains a cat who walks alone.
The short answer to the client’s question therefore was yes, but I was struck by the appearance of two diamonds cards, equating to the Tarot’s suit of Pentacles; the suit of earth.
I was additionally struck by the fact that the middle card was twice the number value of the first card. a 4 and an 8. It made me think of foundations, and plumb-lines; four walls, and then four walls, doubled.
It didn’t seem random, it felt as if it might be significant and I said to the client, ‘are there going to be TWO buildings, by any chance? And one is twice the size of the other? But this black card, the 3 of Clubs, suggests there’s a bit of stress already?’
Notice, I was asking him. That’s because I did not know if this was correct. I only knew that’s what I was being shown, and wanted to check.
‘There ARE going to be two buildings’ he said, nodding surprised, ‘log cabins and one is going to be exactly twice the size of the other one. And yes, it’s fair to say there’s a fair bit of stress…’
And so the discussion moved forward.
Well done, my little £1.99 fortune-telling friends. Although I don’t tell fortunes, you’ve clearly got my number, and I think you and I need to get better acquainted.
Tarot interpretation works on real life 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
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. If it comes out reversed I’d be sensing a future poor performance or loss on your current or proposed investment. If you were a buyer, I might be sensing not to buy in this or that product range as not representing a good acquisition. It may either not sell well, or take forever to shift.
The client was asking about the shifting of retail stock, but while money was the presenting issue, and as often happens, a card detail suddenly leaped out at me.
‘Do you have sheep living behind your house?’ I asked.
‘Yes’, he said, ‘a field at the back.’
And this is typical of what Jung meant by synchronicity. Does it mean I enquire about sheep every time this card appears in a reading?
No. It absolutely doesn’t. It just so happened that on this occasion, it did.
Would it appear in a reading done for a sheep farmer?
It ought to.
If I was thinking of buying stocks or shares and this came up, would I go for it? Probably, depending on the surrounding cards.
Tarot loves to start off a reading, playing parrot.
Just as Art imitates or rather, conjures Life, that’s how Tarot works. As within, so without. The first thing I aim to do in a reading, is ask the cards to help me identify my client’s most pressing concern or question. The Tarot tells me by ensuring I draw the card that most accurately mirrors that unspoken concern or question, as closely as can be managed from among the 78 cards in a Tarot deck.
This ‘mirror-card’ tells me and my client that we are on the same wavelength, which provides a reliable baseline for the rest of the reading.
My Tarot did it again today, and deserves one of those little nectar pots adored by larikeets and parrots alike.
I was about to self- inject for the first time, trying out a new med for quite a severe severe rheumatoid-type illness (I have tried MANY approaches in 20 odd years, with too much ground covered to mention, while exercising great care in agreeing which pharma meds to try )
The med is called Orencia or Abatacept. It is a new class of meds known as biologics. Orencia works to inhibit the production of T cells, T1 and T1. These are normal proteins, and are essential for your normal immune response, but if that goes wrong for any reason, they can go into overproduction, causing an inflammatory cytokine cascade resulting in acute pain and long term damage.
These biologics, while for some they offer a last chance of respite, can be dangerous, so I thought I’d pull myself a few cards before injecting.
The first card out was The Tower.
Just look at that pic. How well did the Tarot do, with a deck of 78 cards to work with, shuffled and drawn blind and at random…in guiding me to draw this card, signifying the issue in question.
Look at the card again. Look at the injector pen.
Squawk! Pretty Polly!
This is how readers know their question has been heard and logged by their unconscious mind. The first card out of the deck will mirror the stated question, or even the unstated question.
Next I drew
4 Swords, (illness)
Ace Swords ( a sword, or in this case…spring loaded needle)
and 7 Pentacles. (tend to the crop, patience is required.)
This last card was also a suitable reflection as this med is is a weekly injection.
I therefore concluded, that while I could not expect a miracle, or even a significant observable response, there would be no significant negative response; a finding which I am so far in a position to validate.
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.
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, ie; cooking lunch when Il Matrimonio meandered in, nonchalantly asking; what did it mean if you had lost something, and 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 consulting about financial matters, and is otherwise mildly dismissive, despite it not having let him down so far. He was never an accountant but would have made an excellently sound one.
Our friend Ms X had lost her diary, she had just told him via ‘social meeja’. 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 what might that mean in real, practical, where- the- eff- is- it, terms?
Using Tarot to locate lost objects can be a headache. But the imagery can prompt ideas or prompt the memory by visual cues alone, sometimes. Tarot reading works on associative thinking. Logic has its part to play, but psychic hits require lateral, not linear thinking. Readers build their own associations with the cards, over time and through practice. They add their own meanings to the cards, so that one reader can never say another reader is wrong, saying that a card means this or that in real terms, because interpretation arises from the reader’s own intuition.
My response was to say, adding a glug of olive oil to the pan was, that the card suggested, she took it out with her and had left it somewhere local.
Page = small. Wands = travel.
Additionally…or instead; I suggested, it was near somewhere warm or loud, such as a radiator next to a TV, or in the kitchen near the oven. Wands is the suit of the south, of warmth and anything loud and quick.
He 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 that card strongly suggested she would find it, and probably quickly.
Ms X shortly later 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.
Let’s the both of us add ‘stereo’ and ‘hairdresser’s, then, to the list of associations for the lively Page of Wands.
That’s how we have to do it. That’s how it’s done, and why it is an on-going study, however long you’ve been doing it.
Can Tarot cards help with forecasting weather, accurately? The short answer is, experience tells me yes, but, and it’s a big but, the question needs a clearly defined context. As in, for example, what kind of weather can be expected at X location at X time? If I drive from A to B on this date at this sort of time, what kind of weather experience can I expect?
The Tower Card detects coming severe weather. Storms. It featured in this way in quite dramatic fashion in a previous True Tarot Tale, when it saw a storm coming, and we only had a tornado down our street the very next morning at about eight- o- clock. That’s right. A tornado in Lytham St Annes in Lancashire, UK.
You can read that story on an earlier blog post HERE
The Tower card, from the Gilded Tarot by kind permission of Ciro Marchetti.
Other associations: disaster, accident, argument, bankruptcy, shock.
Weather Associations- If learning Tarot, practise drawing a card for the day ahead, where you are:
From the North: Knight of Pentacles (grey, cool,cold, rain and snow)
From the South: Knight of Wands (sunny, heat wave, tropical storm)
From the West: Knight of Cups (sunny, mild, wet, windy)
From the East: Knight of Swords (fresh, cool, ice, hailstorms, biting winds, brrr)
Today, just for a change, the story really is a story, prompted by activities on a writer’s forum called Litopia. Do, please feel welcome to come and join there.
Flash Fiction: Boreas the Blustery
Boreas was bored. The North Wind was fed up of the North. Grizzling and moaning, he stamped about, bending trees, rolling rivers like mattresses and forcing polar bears to roll down snowy slopes, so he could laugh at the way their paws scrabbled as they rolled over and over.
‘Where’s some fun!’ he howled. ‘F*ck off , Captain Bird’s Eye, I want a bit of Southern Comfort!!!’ He ripped off some roofs in Carlisle, straining to go south, but the jet-stream was busy in the higher latitudes, and wouldn’t open the gates.
In the Gulf of Florida, Nota, the South Wind got, er, wind of this, and said to El Nino, ‘ I could fancy a ‘lil trip North to see this Boreas. I hear he’s quite the man.’
‘I can help you there, I think’, said El Nino, ‘I’m heading that way, myself.’
He steered Nota north, skimming seas into mountains and making dolphins sea- sick, isobars winding ever tighter until Boreas saw her, crossing the Atlantic towards him, driving the waves before her. And then they collided, and circled tighter and tighter, high and low . Wires and cables snapped and hummed, and dustbins flew like dust, and wild things cowered in their dens.
‘You couldn’t come to me! screamed Nota, lashing her hair, ‘so, Boreas, I have come to you!’
Shrimp and rice and coconut!
Fish and chips and doughnuts!
The way he loved her was frightening.
Lightening, thunder, until they span asunder
With no air left for more
They parted peaceful on the shore.
‘Great place you’ve got here’, said Nota, sinking weary to the sea. ‘Love it. Really love it. Let’s do this again sometime.’
Boreas puffed out his chest, and gently stroked a trembling tree top, ‘any time, my lovely. Your place or mine. Any time.’
My Tarot Website is HERE. Please note, I never use case studies except disguised for privacy and with permission.
In a recent reading with a client I drew the always nasty Ten of Swords. It was the very first card and correlated to career and advancement. I felt she was having stress connected with someone she worked with. This card also often flags up physical symptoms of back pain, neck problems or headaches.
My client and two others, had entered into a shared leasehold on a craft workshop during the summer, a sales outlet in a converted mill with many other units including arts, crafts, cafes and estate agents.
My clients share of the lease was £200 a month, and she had not as yet, sold any work at all via this outlet. One of the others, while not selling particularly spectacularly, was making sales with smaller, less expensive pieces, and now occupied more than 1/3 of the available work space, leaving the other two with less than a third each.
The joint leasehold had been my clients own idea. But when the date had come for them to move in, and to the dismay of the others, she had gone away for two weeks, and returned to find the other two had got on with it, and chosen their space, she had lost the initiative. What to do about this money leaking situation, and this other, to her, slightly intimidating woman? The client did not wish to withdraw from the lease, even if it was possible. Noblesse oblige.
Tarot didn’t feel the other woman was at fault, but she was focussed and determined. A vacuum had arisen at a crucial point, and she had filled it . Naturally, she too, wished for a return on investment.
The Ace of Swords Reversed alerted me and as it turned out, correctly that zero internet information or promotion was in place for my client’s business unit (!) while other units in this building were taking advantage of the advertising space under the umbrella of the Development, at a cost included in the leasehold.
Drawn the right way up, this card indicates valuable friendships, fun and family announcements; a wedding, a new baby. Drawn reversed, it can signify fleeting friendships, shallow alliances (now and then it’s a clubbing card, out on the tiles, and even excess, getting pissed as a newt and being r-a-t-h-e-r sorry next day 🙂
Then I remembered having drawn the Three of Cups Reversed in a previous reading for my client and that I had quite pointedly cautioned against ‘a business arrangement involving three women’.
I reminded her of this. Ohhh, nooo! Now she remembered the warning. And this is key; she had known, herself, all along. She had dreamed that she was riding a motorcycle. The other two were riding pillion, she could not steer and lost control of the bike.
My brother and his wife were selling their house. The Moon card reflected, amongst other more specific things, their uncertainty about when it might sell and where they would go next.
It had been on the market the previous year and they had pulled it due to lack of buyer interest. It had gone back on the market in late May, and now it was mid June.
I whirled my cards about blind and drew the Three of Wands. Since Wands cards deal with travel, property, sales and movement in general, the immediate appearance of this commercial card was encouraging for better luck this time around.
‘There’ll be viewers soon,’ I said. ‘The future is not set in concrete but chances are good, you’ll have a suitable offer on it within three viewings, or within three weeks, three months max.’
‘We’ve had three viewings already, sis, he said.
‘Oh, OK,’ I said, ‘Well, I’ll be picking that up, I expect, but the cards often say several things at once. It’s still looking likely there’ll be developments sooner rather than later.’
Big deal, one might say. How very oracular and vague.
Well, er, quite. Oracles are not always easy to decipher, even for the oracular practitioner.
I now drew the Ace of Pentacles. This is the Tarot’s ultimate house, job and money card.
My brother and his wife have moved to a country lane near Stroud. This card proved a quite literal foreshadowing of their new home.
Illustrations from The Gilded Tarot, by kind permission of Ciro Marchetti. Buy on Amazon and other places or visit his website: http://www.ciromarchetti.com/
‘Positive developments round about the middle of July,’ I said, ‘It’s looking like the sale of house, or it’s job-related or both.’
Then I drew the King of Swords and the Queen of Pentacles. ‘I’m seeing your buyers here, I think. They’re a couple, just as you’d expect. She’s probably got dark hair and maybe eyes; very house proud, and he…well, he might be a legal advisor, or policeman; or it’s possible, a military man.’
The following week they had an offer on the house which they neither accepted nor declined, as it was well below the asking price and early days, the prospective buyer wanted to push for a very early completion. Then they received another offer a few days after that from another prospective buyer, a few days later. It was closer to the asking price, and less urgent for completion and they accepted.
Sales can fall through of course, and they had quite a rocky time of it but the sale went through and what made me smile was this news of the buyer: a family man, married with three children, and whether currently serving or not, my brother doesn’t know, but the buyer was not only a soldier but a Gurkha.
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
A tale of two cats ( and there’s another Miaow Tarot Tale or two in the archives.) Daughter Numera Una, an Animal Care Assistant, and a brill one; rang one evening, ‘we have lost Elsa- cat. Will you look in your cards about it? We’ve been searching and calling for the last three hours.’
She had recently moved address and had two cats, both girls, Elsa and Salem. Elsa was very gentle, borderline dozy, Salem’s practically a genius. Here they are. Elsa top, Salem below with RT. You might be forgiven for wondering which one is the thickie and vice- versa. All I can say is, Salem was being seriously disrespected, being made to wear that pink combo which was actually Elsa’s.
Where might Elsa be? Let me say loud and clear I had no idea, how would I?
I drew the Moon card first, look at the picture, and put it to my daughter, that Elsa-cat might have been frightened from returning by a barking dog living only a door or two away.
She confirmed there was a barking dog Elsa didn’t like.
Other meanings for this card: lies, hunting, danger, tricky travel, infection, fertility, psychic dreams,paranoia. But this immediate pictorial association was most I felt was most relevant to Elsa’s absence. Often this is how a Tarot reader works, look-and-speak-and-sod-the-book-meanings.
Next, I drew The Four of Swords; a knight entombed. This card signifies isolation, sickness, hospital visits, chapels and tombs and raised the obvious question, had she got stuck or trapped? I thought of wheelie bins and asked was a collection due next morning? Artemis was horrified, thinking of a notorious incident in the media where a woman had maliciously swiped a kitty into a wheelie bin but the refuse collectors had already been that morning, and I decided Elsa was not trapped inside a wheelie bin, but might well be hiding behind one.
I drew the Five of Wands and asked RT had she been to Number Five to ask if Elsa had been seen there? Yes she had, and the woman had kindly checked her out-houses.
She asked, was Elsa coming home that night?
I drew three more cards, all upside down and said no, I didn’t see that, but I tended to think it would be all right. Elsa was not dead. She was not hurt. She was disorientated by the move, and hiding, no more than three properties away.
Animals may be the primary department of St Francis, but that former librarian, St Anthony, patron saint of lost things, has kindly helped us with lost beasts before, and I suggested she ask him for help in bringing Elsa home.
Next morning I received this message.
Elsa-Smellsa just found 🙂 Could hear plaintive meowing when we called from the back garden coming from property to our rear so walked round and found her cowering down a little ginnel! She was very hungry but none the worse for wear. Salem was behaving very strangely this morning. I think St Antony acted through her somehow…It was her lead I followed when listening out for the meows!
What did I tell you? That Salem cat’s a genius. Yes, and of course, thank you too. Thank you very much, St Antony.
(You don’t have to be Catholic to ask him; we’re not, but sainthood is a state of grace and they won’t hold it against you)
I had a wisdom tooth removed on Monday. I had been putting it off for a long time, five years in fact, on the principle of letting sleeping teeth lie, and following a r-a-t-h-e-r lengthy, nasty and in fact cack-handed previous extraction that left with me with mild parasthesia lasting a year and a half, haunted by a mental picture of a fractured jaw and maybe total and permanent facial paralysis next time.
Anyway, the tooth began to show signs of giving trouble in March and I decided next time I saw my lovely dentist, Catriona, in April, I would instruct her to just go for it and do the deed. She’d been a bit anxious about the tooth for some time, tactfully tending it at check-ups while awaiting my ‘green for go’.
We’d agreed we wouldn’t agree when to do it. We wouldn’t pencil the extraction in ahead of time. Some time when I came in, I’d just tell her to take it out right now and we’d go for it, thus sparing me a wait with the appointment looming like some little Sword of Damocles. She is what I call a properly skilled and emotionally intelligent medical professional.
But *gulp* how would it go this time? The day before my appointment, marked in as a check-up only, I pulled a single Tarot card and drew The Queen of Swords from my Universal Waite deck. Here she is, by kind permission of U.S Games Systems.
Here are the book meanings for this card: The Widow, or necromancer. This card symbolises independence, at its best. Power, intelligence, tactical thinking. The ability to streamline a problem, and find the solution without fuss. At worst, The Queen of Swords can represent isolation, depression and cruelty.
I looked at her and thought, hello there, Catriona. So many times in the past, when this card has shown up in readings for others, it has represented, literally, a woman doctor, dentist, surgeon or lawyer.
Here she was, and on fighting form. Here I was too, another Queen of Swords in the sense that I had made my mind up and Swords is the suit of decision-making.
I put the card back into the deck, shuffled and pulled another card.
And I drew The Queen of Swords again. The card had come up dignified (right way up) and not ill-dignified. I therefore decided it would be fine this time, as done by Catriona.
I took homeopathic arnica 6 beforehand, and afterwards to reduce swelling. It works.
And, a little esoteric detail for those interested in these sorts of associations, the moon was a waning gibbous moon (click the link to view) So much the better for an extraction, some would say, who study these things.
One smooth, though startlingly forceful tug, numbed to the gills, just one, and it was farewell to the devilish dentition, and with no nasty aftermath, either.
Il Matrimonio said how lucky I was, lamenting only that my mouth couldn’t stay numb for three months and not three hours, thus earning himself a swipe to the head, and I think that he too, was lucky.
A sample reading demonstrating these cards in action.
Anonymous Question on Quora: Can Anyone Help, Please?
The person’s question was ‘Is My Boyfriend a sociopath?’ I drew The Ace of Pentacles.
Their Second question was “Will I ever get pregnant?” I drew Ace of Pentacles again.
Their Third question was “Is my bf being truthful to me?” I drew The Hermit.
Images from The Gilded Tarot by kind permission of Ciro Marchetti
Goodness. These are loaded questions with much anxiety attached. And no- one likes to bear discouraging news but these questions reflect discouragement, to say the least. Hearing what you don’t want to hear is the risk you run in consulting with oracles, while sometimes, in reading for ourselves we might be too close to the question, and struggle to see the wood for the trees.
Based solely on these cards, no further cards drawn; I sense this man is not a sociopath. Very far from it. He seems a quiet person. Perhaps cool, withdrawn and ungenerous in communications. How kind or loving a person he is, or how good under pressure I can’t assess based on these cards alone. He’s probably OK with animals, at least. They don’t demand conversation.
Whether he is generally truthful, a card from the suit of Pentacles is not generally indicative of deceit. It may still denote a charmless misery guts or control freakery; someone who may be aloof, mean, miserly, grumpy, greedy or selfish at times, but it is not associated with deceit or active, purposeful malice or cruelty. And sociopath is a strong word indicative of cruelty, whether verbal or going beyond that.
This person, based on these cards, tell the odd lie to safeguard what he feels is his necessary space. He may fib if if he feels pushed.
The question you have not asked, but which is an elephant in the room would seem to be; do you want to keep him, and and if you do, why?
The Hermit clearly suggests it may be wise to take time out, let go, go silent, quietly release him to go his own way. No need for a scene, no need to spell it out. Just see if it does a natural death once you step right back.
That way you will get to see what he then does or does not do to retrieve the situation. And then you can decide how to respond.
At the very least, have a change of scene, go somewhere quiet, a walk in the park. There seems to be a substantial money issue between you; whether this is out in the open or not, with one or the other of you possibly not grasping a basic nettle; a financial nettle. Do you both work?
The Ace of Pentacles suggest there will very likely be a child for you at some future time while The Hermit warns you against pregnancy at this time, and certainly in these circumstances.
You are being warned here, and very clearly, not to set or fall into a trap, forcing any issue between you. If he isn’t forthcoming, won’t meet you half way, it may be that he doesn’t want the same things you want, at least, not at this time. If he says that he doesn’t, believe him. If he is withdrawn, there is some problem.
Your questions do not bode well for your confident future together. What is coming across is your doubt and mistrust. He may be a sociopath, he may be a liar, you suggest. These are angry questions. Why do you want him? The Ace of Pentacles suggests not only a money issue but perhaps an age or maturity issue, especially in conjunction with the Hermit. Is he quite a bit older than you?
The Ace often signifies a new job, sometimes a new home. I sense you will have the home you wish for one day, but you may need to walk alone awhile between now and that time, and if so, it will be all to the good, even if it does not feel that way right now.
I hope there is something here that you can use for the best.
The cover image for this post is the Three of Cups from the Gilded Tarot by kind permission of Ciro Marchetti. It signifies rejoicing, parties, friendships and news of weddings and births.
Buongiorno is an Italian global telecom company, offering a range of Tarot and other ‘fortune-telling’ apps. And as a general observation in response to an earlier comment, that only uneducated Italians go to fortune-tellers; it is not only the uneducated or less educated of any country or nation who use such services.
I am not a fortune-teller, I work more as a psychic advisor, but all sorts of people have come for readings.
These have included university lecturers and school teachers as well as people working in professional and highly skilled jobs, dentists, vets, writers, accountants, hoteliers, artists, management consultants. Customers of this kind of service are as diverse in educational range as readers.
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.
Now the first dust has settled, I look back at my Tarot’s sensings. Tarot Readers were in much discussion online about this great event as you can imagine, solitary birds huddling together sharing their findings; I received a couple of messages from fellow readers beforehand asking what I felt about it, two telling me they judged it a ‘yes,’ two other judging it a ‘no,’ like me.
Reading for a mass event is like trying to read the hive-mind, which is not at all the same proposition as reading for an individual. What I try and do, while shuffling my cards is to imagine myself further on in time, hearing what the result was. Later I may have a go at the next General Election the same way.
16 June 2014 I tweeted that the signs via the Tarot were consistently a ‘no’ vote for Scottish Independence.
The morning of the polls, before the polls opened I looked again to see if anything had changed, and shared on Facebook via the thread of respected fellow tarot reader Richard Abbott that in favour of a ‘yes’ vote I had drawn:
The Tower Death
In favour of a ‘no’ vote I had drawn
Ace of Wands Reversed (upsdie down) The Four of Cups The Wheel of Fortune Reversed.
Richard messaged to ask for my further interpretation.
To get at the odds I use card counting.
I drew two cards for ‘Yes’ and three for ‘No’. Therefore it read as 2:3 and I read this as a NO.
In the ‘Yes’ lobby, The Tower and Death were powerful cards; very powerful indeed. Both cards of the Major Arcana and The Tower card indicates a shock, a crash, the fall of a tower of babel, and this was an emotionally violent campaign, while Death signifies an ending as in the end of the Union
In the ‘No’ lobby’ The Ace of Wands Reversed signifies a departure not made, a flame that fails to ignite. The Four of Cups signifies dissatisfaction, it’s nickname is ‘bored boy’ – but there is not either the means or will, or both, to start again from scratch. The Wheel of Fortune card emerging upside down suggests that the people of Scotland sensed the timing was not, is not favourable, and for reasons beyond individual control but also national control. It represents an anticipated downward turn in fortunes should an action be taken.
From this I sensed that the vote would be no, but that those who wished to vote ‘No’ had better not rely on other ‘No’ voters to carry the day.
They had better actually go to the polls and vote; they were the majority, but this was a vigorous and determined minority and I tweeted that same morning to that effect.
I feel, having no particular vested interest in the outcome, though dear family in Scotland, the people of Scotland made the right choice for Scotland at this time. Had the ‘No’ campaign not become anxious, had the turn out been poor…it might just have gone differently. The story is over for now, but probably not for good.
It’s a ‘how long is a piece of string’ question. I read for people who’ve been using my service on an intermittent basis since I started in 2002. Hopefully, no-one will feel a need to access psychic readings on a regular basis, nor do ethical readers encourage dependency, as an unhealthy situation, not in the best interests of customer or reader.
Some people can become ‘addicted’ to getting readings. That’s not good news, and it’s liable to add to any confusion, especially if readings or readers appear to contradict each other. It’s a potential headache for the reader, a reading can be a potent experience and though it’s rare, it can happen that a customer threatens to become a stalker.
Many readers discourage this behaviour by setting terms on frequency of access. Most readers will operate a personal policy in respect of frequency of readings for the same person. They might well state, also, that they will only read once on a given question or issue. They won’t keep reading on the same issue just because the customer didn’t like the answers first time round.
This could happen. It is a risk you run in requesting a reading. The reader must say what they see, and say what they do not see, if that is the question, sharing their findings with care, never to frighten the customer, but respecting the oracle nonetheless.
Some readers will discourage returns within 6 weeks, others within six months.
There may be exceptions. It might be someone has hit a very bad patch, and is finding readings useful, or is finding comfort and support in readings, intensively perhaps, but only for a short time, where other approaches have not met the need, or are not wanted. Bereavement is one such possible situation. Anyone could hit a patch like this, and not find what they are looking for through doctors or counsellors, or else not wish to use those services. They may not wish to discuss things with family or friends, and might choose a psychic reading as a coping resource.
The High Priestess: a psychic reader, and representative of one’s own intuition; Image from The Golden Tarot by Kat Black, by kind permission of U.S Games Systems.
Another exception I can think of based on my reading experience is when someone is using a particular psychic’s skills for professional or business purposes. I say, particular psychic. It’s such a broad collective term, ‘psychic’, as to be practically meaningless, and not helpful on its own. Potential customers are advised to do some research. Look up the psychic’s website, go by word of mouth. What kinds of question does a particular psychic handle, do they specialise? How do they set out their stall? What is their background?
Business motivated users of psychic services are often operating in a degree of isolation, and perhaps, are bearing heavy responsibilities. It is not that they are emotionally dependent, or likely to become so, however often they use the service, and they will stop using it the minute they don’t see the return on investment they are looking for. They are interested in accessing psychic insights as part of their working arsenal, for strategic and planning purposes.
In Tarot, the absence of a clear positive tends to mean a negative answer.
Image from The Gilded Tarot, by kind permission of Ciro Marchetti
This card does exactly what it says on the tin. It correlates to the month of Leo and this can be the answer to a question, ‘when?’
It is good news coming up in answer to any health question. More subtlely, it is good news on other fronts.
The younger daughter passed her driving theory test yesterday. I was optimistic that she would, because I had asked about the outcome and drawn just one card: The Strength card.
It was her third attempt at £31 a pop. Still, I didn’t have to pass this test when I passed my driving test. All I had had to do was answer 3 or 4 theory questions at the end of the practical.
On the two previous occasions I had asked about the likely outcome and drawn multiple mixed cards.
Mixed cards amount to a weak or confused signal or a negative answer. In Tarot, I have found that the absence of a clear positive tends to mean a negative answer. And sometimes less is more, and it’s better to pull just one card, because your feelings can confuse the picture. The more cards, the more opportunity for confusion.
Were these previous negative forecasts a reason for her not to make those previous attempts at her driving theory test? Of course not. And I didn’t tell her what the cards said, or failed to say. They failed to show me The Magician, or Chariot card, or Judgement or The Sun or The World. Any of these would have been good auguries for a pass.
I didn’t tell her I’d got ‘bad’ cards. I might have put her off her stroke and brought about a self- fulfilling prophecy.
Beyond this, Life demands we have a go and take risks and sometimes challenge the odds, taking the jumps and the falls.
Prediction senses the odds, and much of the time the odds ought to be challenged. It is just there are times when the stakes are high, it might be useful to get a sense of the odds.
She wanted me do a sample theort driving test online with her test last night. Thank goodness I passed it or I’d never have heard the end of it.
Il Matrimonio, her dad, has so far declined to do the test, saying she’s a cocky little git and she’d better pass her practical first time.
I didn’t pass mine, it took me two goes, and he was the same, but he thinks to trump us all with the card of having been an army helicopter pilot.
And so he does, but is this moving the goal posts?
Inheritance is a meeting point of past, present and future, taking many forms, physical and immaterial. Goods, prospects, genes, ideas. How different in character will the legacy you leave differ or depart from the legacies you have inherited?
The Tarot’s card of Inheritance, both material and immaterial: money, property, ancestry, genes, culture, is The Ten of Pentacles/Coins/Disks.
See the harvest mouse, custodian of the family riches. These riches are about far more than money.Appearing in a reading right way up, I am being shown that the person feels well-supported by family. They have the security of a sense of belonging. Reversed, the picture is of someone struggling about this, labouring under a sense of alienation, or injustice over wills and other inheritance issues. Or they may be feeling that their family background has been a burden rather than a resource.
The Tarot’s comment to people coming to discuss the disinheriting of challenging children has so far been Justice above all. Equal shares between children, no matter what the relationship, no matter what the history. That one does not get on with a child is sad. It is a misfortune in life, and one may not like one’s child, just as a child may not like its parent. One might even love someone, without liking them. It happens.
But it could be argued that retribution through the power of inheritance is a betrayal of the principle of inheritance, that an unjust will is toxic and divides families for many years to come, perhaps for ever.
Where is our ‘true’ well-spring? Without knowing our family history, we’ll probably never know, and no-one can know all of it, but a lot can be guessed because it’s lodged in you somewhere still. You might be the spitting image of a great-great-grandparent. You might be wearing their face reborn, cast to reflect your own spirit. You might have their skills and talents, their voice and intonation, even their mannerisms, when all your life you had thought you were the ‘odd one out’.
“You and I can turn and look at the silent river and wait. We know the current is there, hidden; and there are comings and goings from miles away that hold the stillness exactly before us. What the river says, that is what I say.”
I was looking in my cards to help Il Matrimonio. He was due to drive down to Leicester the following day, to meet with a telecom company with a view to a one off contract in Project Management. He wanted to know what hints and tips I might have for him, in consultation with the Tarot, and what was the forecast for the outcome.
I drew The Chariot Reversed, The Six of Pentacles and Judgement. This row of 3 cards represented the story arc and timeline for the next day.
Chariot Rev: Car trouble was possible, hopefully minor. I saw no injury. The following two cards were mitigating factors in deciding the problem was not too serious.
The Six of Pentacles: I felt they might not want to pay the proposed rate of £850 daily. I felt they would offer a rate in the £600’s.
Judgement: I saw a contract, comfortably acceptable as in the best interests of both parties.
I warned him to drive with extra caution and that the daily rate was the obstacle to be negotiated as the man himself did not have the final say on budget for the task, but had to refer it to committee.
There was nothing of sharp practise in respect of this to the best of my ability to detect. The Magician Reversed or the Seven of Swords would have been the signs of that, for me.
As it was a reading for Il Matrimonio I did not have long to wait to know the outcome.
The car problem was the exhaust. It pretty much fell off at Stoke. Fortunately he was not on the motorway at the time, and was able to carry out a temporary repair . He pulled in at a petrol station. He got oil on his shirt cuffs, and it was a bit fraught, but the car behaved thereafter and, getting the call, I booked it in at our local garage for next day.
The company wanted the service but already had a list of preferred suppliers in situ.
A rate of £650 was agreed and paperwork has now been signed with a contract for a few days work initially, perhaps more later. I feel there will be more because the Judgment card is like that. The Two of Swords also represnts a contractual agreement, but Judgement trumps it in terms of scale or longevity.
The Sixes in Tarot are generally indicative of something beneficial:
For students of Tarot, or the just curious, a few words about The Ace of Cups.
Meanings: Inception, Awakening of Love, Creativity, Vision and the Empowerment of Intuition. It is Beauty. It is The Element of Water, it is The Chalice, The Holy Grail. Sometimes it indicates a coming birth. I have known it accurately indicate healing and recovery from illness or after an accident. It is Grace.
It is known as the Ace of Hearts in a deck of playing cards.
‘My Cup Runneth Over’ is the moment that cannot be surpassed.
Whereas the Ace of Wands, Ace of the South, refers to the primal spark, the fires of Creation, the Ace of Cups, Ace of the West, is the matrix of Life.
The Ace of Cups speaks of Source. Physically, The human body runs primarily on water and minerals. Every physiological process that happens inside the body needs water. The human body is made up of more than 70% water. The blood is more than 85%, the brain more than 80%, muscles more than 75%, and the liver is 96% water.
But beyond the immediate physical, what is our most distant physical story, back to the point of Creation, or as some might prefer to think of it, life’s origin in space, or divinity? Dust from space ultimately cross-reacted making water, an epic of chemistry which made the seas, where Life on Earth began.
We are undines, raised by evolution from the deep.
Sublimis ab unda.
The poem below, for me echoes the deeps contained within the image of The Ace of Cups. It’s from a little known contemporary poet of rare subtlety, yet also directness and integrity.
A poem, like a song, like a picture, a sculpture, a photograph, a smile, a kiss, is a manifestation of the Ace of Cups, of the moment, but eternal.
Here is a Ace within the Ace.
Small Object of Desire
I suppose I should have picked my wedding ring
but that is personal and finite to me
as is my two faced charm on a silver chain
triangular, goldstone, tourmaline
But I chose this, lifted from some shore line,
a smaller bit than I’d found and lost before;
a spindle from a whelkish structured shell
more beautiful than any sculptor’s form.
It gives only a hint of its infinite fetch,
newel staircase, ramp to raise the megaliths,
invasive toxic spirochete to invest my blood,
screw my life force with its sickening brood.
No porcelain is half so fine,
that comes from Meissen’s arcane kiln.
This is the divine, the spiral double helix.
Where else should it be but on a beach?
My small object of desire, refined by tidal pull,
inch long, white and deeply curved,
maths of all dimensions along its reach,
shape and key to life, needs only my breath to live.