I may be asked about anything in a reading and cannot prepare in advance. I can only prepare to respond.
What? Don’t I know in advance what I am going to be asked? How crappy is that?
No I don’t. If I draw cards ahead of a reading and ask, what am I going to be talking about with this person later on today, I will generally have some idea that for example, this will be about a job, a house, a relationship. This feels like a worry about children, or a pet, or money. This is about a bereavement etc etc, maybe even a ghost or some kind of strange occurrence, but I can’t know that I have got it right. How could I? I don’t claim to know anything until it is verified by the other party.
Someone wanted to know which re-investment option would work out best.
Option A, 1 year at 1.4 %?
Option B, 3 years at 1.8 %?
I shuffled and drew two columns of three cards each, asking to be shown money cards. I always state a question to myself during shuffling. I may do it silently, but this is my way of consciously directing what is ostensibly an entirely random and unconscious process, pulling cards from the deck.
The cards you do NOT draw can be as instructive and illuminating as the ones you do draw.
Option A initially drew The Nine of Swords Reversed, The Sun and The Page of Swords.
The Nine of Swords speaks of past losses, or worry. The Sun is success, also travel and sometimes children. The Page of Swords represents a good decision, and also in concrete terms, a young person below the age of 25 who will often be an air sign subject: Aquarius, Gemini or Libra. This was the enquirer’s daughter, an Aquarius subject, being funded through a course of post-graduate study…teacher training. The Page of Swords is all about learning.
There were no ‘risk signs’ attached to Option A, but there was no explicit money card either, so I drew an extra card and …aha! drew the very solid card of local business, family and community, the Six of Pentacles or Coins.
Option B drew the Star card, new ideas, a new vision, and oddly enough, this card is THE card of Aquarius again…the daughter, embarking on teacher training. Then we had the Eight of Cups —a card of moving on and finally, a happy, nostalgic card of old haunts, children and childhood, the Six of Cups.
So Option A drew a Six…Coins, and Option B also drew a Six…Cups.
Six is the number of family and community. Six is the number of schools, colleges, schools, hospitals, charities and public parks and other spaces.
This signal of security meant he was not going to go wrong either way, despite the fact he was slightly concerned about the possible financial effect of Brexit. Would the UK leave? (The Eight of Cups) This card indicates yes, after a long hesitation or delay.
How would uncertainty impact on the three year plan if he chose Option B?
I saw no loss associated with the choice of Option B either, but just as with Option A, there was no explicit money card, and again I drew an extra card and drew the Five of Wands Reversed. This card is about volatile markets and did not suggest a loss, but nor did it offer an advantage over the Six of Coins drawn against Option A.
Therefore I suggested he go with Option A.
He was intrigued. It emerged that he had already made his decision, but wanted to see if I would concur and based on what reasoning. My comments supported his own assessment and what he gained from this, he said, was external corroboration, and with that came a sense of greater certainty and clarity.
What if I had seen it very differently?
That might have happened, and then he would have had to weigh his instincts against mine, wouldn’t he, in deciding how best to proceed.
In this situation, should it arise, I would always suggest going with your own assessment, rather than taking the reader’s feedback on advice. But being forewarned you may find a way to ring fence the risk.
It is better to stay true to your natural way of doing things.
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.
Last week Il Matrimonio asked me to look in my playing cards re the Arsenal v Chelsea Cup Final. See my previous post for the story on that.
So later of course, he was curious to know what the cards might say about the European Champions League on Saturday 3 June, Real Madrid v Juventus.
He left it rather late to ask me; The box was blaring, the the Black Eyed Peas performing in the opening ceremony.
Top row = Real Madrid
Bottom row = Juventus
Real Madrid: The overall tone of the top row was positive, kicking off with an astute ‘money’ Ace, the Ace of Diamonds; the speediest, fieriest card in the deck , a happy crowd of supporters (6 Hearts) 4 red suit cards, and a solid young man in the centre facing futurity… a volatile game (5 Diamonds) and a happy ever after card, the Two of Cups. Excitement, talent, good news.
Juventus: the 8 of Clubs showed much to admire: a hard working performance with great early promise of a wish fulfilled (9 Hearts is the ‘wishes come true’ card) The Queen of Diamonds, while female, nonetheless represents a speedy striker, but unluckily for Juventus, he is looking back, not forwards to the outcome, and then we have the infamous Ace of Spades. ‘End game’. Some issue there…a foul? An injury? and the outcome card the 6 Clubs. Not in itself a bad card; actually quite a positive one; problem resolution, favourable publicity…had I not drawn the Ace Spades, I’d have struggled to reach a decision.
I shouted to Il Matrimonio that it looked to me like Real Madrid for the winners, and he said they had won the European Champions League eleventy million times, or words to that effect, but he thought it would be Juventus this time, based on their recent form.
Score Real Madrid 4, Juventus 1.
The first goal was scored by Ronaldo, 20 minutes in (harking back to that speedy money card, the Ace Diamonds.) He got straight ‘on the money.’
Sourced online, this funny pic from The Sun.
Well, I think it’s funny, anyway.
Juventus scored their goal only seven minutes afterwards: Croatian forward Mario Mandzukic, sorry Mario, I don’t know why you showed up as the Queen of Diamonds, but never mind, I am sure this achievement made a fond lady very proud.
‘One of the finest goals seen in a Champions League final,’ The Independent.
But what was that Ace of Spades about for Juventus? Would there be there a ‘black mark’ awarded against Juventus, or might there be an injury or, God Forbid, something far worse?
A reader doesn’t know anything. Not as such. They must wait and see like everyone else. They are functioning rather, as a kind of radar.
‘Juve finished with 10 men after Juan Cuadrado was sent off in the 84th for a second yellow card after pushing Sergio Ramos.’ – The Independent.
I just this minute looked it up. Il Matrimonio lost interest the minute the match was over, but the reader has to do these forensics.
And it struck me that the Ace of Spades was also foreshadowing the attack that took place in London’s Borough Market less than an hour after the match ended.
By the pricking of my thumbs
Something wicked this way comes.
One card will often convey more than one message. Sometimes it is like peeling an onion. And this is how you learn the cards. Shuffle blind, draw and proceed to speak of what you do not know, because you CAN’T ‘know’, right?
How can you know if you cannot account for how you know?
How do migrating birds navigate in fog? How did the elephants know that a tsunami was coming and flee uphill in panic before the people knew? We don’t know the limits of the workings of our five senses to declare with any finality how knowledge is arrived at, or to pronounce there is no sixth sense, when that may actually be an fifth sense operating on a more acute physical basis than we understand, but that produces the all too common phenomenon of ‘the lucky guess.’
Afterwards, you, the reader, need to dissect where you went right and where you went wrong or you missed a clue, adding those findings to your lexicon for a given card and its most specific real life applications.
Cards for the forthcoming General Election:
PLEASE NOTE: these cards were drawn Thursday afternoon 1 June 2017
Question: Who will be PM after 8 June?
Top Row TM
Bottom Row JC
Both rows start by reflecting the tragedy of the recent terrible crimes of Manchester and before that Westminster Bridge. These cards, the Nine and Ten of Spades, reflect significant personal distress as well as stress attached to both TM and JC. And to my dismay I saw the Ace of Spades again, sitting in futurity…not far off.
TM is the shrewd but fiery Queen of Diamonds. Not typical of TM! Usually she appears in my cards as the cool and quiet Queen of Spades or Hearts. She is looking back at the King of Hearts, her gaze resting upon her opponent, JC, but also symbolizing her regard I think, for a supportive male figure, a quiet figure, very likely her husband and/or a trusted political adviser.
What did the next card denote, the Ace Spades? It seemed to be pointing at some near future development, possibly sudden and strongly negative. I thought it may refer to future fall-out in consequence of the televised debate (I found the whole thing nigh on unwatchable, myself) TM was censured for not being there, JC praised for being there (although, since he apparently changed his mind very late in the day, could the absence of TM have been a factor in that decision?)
Horrifically, these cards being drawn with less than 48 hours to go, I now think the Ace of Spades was not talking about that at all, but was foreshadowing the murders in the Borough Market. on Saturday night
There are no words adequate to convey the sorrow, pity, fury and detestation. And disgust.
The Six Hearts, well, I don’t know, but TM has said she must not lose six seats or she loses the majority. Had I drawn the Six Spades, I would take it as a strong possibility that the Cons will lose those seats lost, but the Six Hearts looks (literally) like six ‘bums on seats.’
Does it look like the landslide victory projected at the outset of the election campaign? Mehhhhh.
I don’t know what’s going to happen any better than you do, but for a landslide victory, not saying it couldn’t happen but I’d expect a higher value card or any ace, so long as it is not Spades. The Ace of Spades incidentally, has a fearsome reputation but is not necessarily malign, at least, not in theory. It may denote a clean sweep, a judgement, necessary upheaval as the prelude to a fresh start. It can denote a great victory, but
a) it was not sitting in the final outcome position
b) there is a malign something in the air and has been in my own experience, since late last summer at least. There is always trouble afoot somewhere in the world of course, but there is just this…something; despite the fact I actually feel optimistic about many things, including the future success of the UK over the next nine or ten years.
Turning the focus to JC now, and that Ten of Spades, he looks deeply upset not only by recent events, but a very recent rift in his inner circle? (2 Spades) Could it be something connected with the initials DA? (Did I say that? No. I didn’t say anything.) The central card, the Three of Diamonds is the only red suit card in JC’s row, compared with three red suit cards in the TM row, but this one red suit card is the hinge card, some crucial factor:
The Three of Diamonds: a payment, usually small; a small sum of money, financial growth, partial success, scattered energy and focus, on again off again, perseverance is needed for success.
This is the challenge for JC as presented here, but should these same qualities be demonstrated in the Conservative party they might, by the same token, represent an opportunity for Labour, and this card is followed by two positive cards. The Six of Clubs denotes movement, progress, renewed energy and ideas, and then, in the outcome for JC, we have the Jack of Clubs.
Should Labour be defeated on June 8, which is still presented here as being more likely than not, and if you lay cards, what does it look like to you from where you are sitting? Labour look rather as if they will be down but not out for the count. The Jack of Clubs is a vocal, vigorous card and suggests the emergence of young voters and in the near future of the party, new blood.
Ultimately here, the Queen of Diamonds denotes a responder or pragmatist, and she is sitting in the middle of her own card ‘heap’ and the King of Hearts denotes a visionary or idealist, and why ain’t he sitting in the middle of his own row, on his own card ‘heap.’
People don’t fit into nutshells, and nor does the electorate, cartomancy deals in symbolic representation. Could it be some future coalition?
Queen of Diamonds Intelligent, imaginative, energetic, professional woman who is cultured and financially secure. She might be a business woman, media professional, a bank manager, or a government official (!)
King of Hearts Family man, protective and paternal. Good-natured, affectionate and generous. An adviser, counsellor, artist, teacher, priest or mentor. Male loved one or member of the family. Introspective, contained, systematic, an artistic and/or romantic sensibility.
As I mentioned earlier, I drew these cards last Thursday and have been tempted to draw them again and do this reading starting fresh. But whether I get it right or wrong, I have to learned to stick to the findings of my first draw. Anything else is to confuse the picture. Once more unto the breach, my friends, let it fall as it may and let us all hope, for the best and highest interests of the general national well-being.
Seeing the answer as a 4/10 but that’s not the strongest answer I might have expected, no one might imagine, given the expectations at the outset of the General Election campaign. There’s a surge of emotion afoot, it’s very strong, it may be affecting the reading, and that would be entirely natural, but we have all seen this last year and been reminded…there are always those who simply keep their counsel and it’s between them and the ballot box… the quiet ones who save their breath to cool their porridge.
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.
A client wanted the Tarot’s particular handle on a relationship breakdown which now threatened to become permanent. He thought he knew where he had gone wrong, but was he reading this right, and what were the prospects for mending the situation? Asking for a Tarot’s eye view of the problem the crux of the story read like this:
King Swords RX – this man has made a negatively perceived decision.
Seven of Pentacles – this woman wants a home, is ready to cultivate an orchard.
Nine of Pentacles Rx – this woman is a highly practical thinker, is queen of her own turf, and gives orders at work rather than takes them, but after more than three years together, not living together and without marriage or babies, she needs to see progress.
Both cards reflecting these very natural motives are earth suit cards; work, money, bricks and mortar, foundations, security, comfort, what and whom pays the piper.
Images by kind permission of Ciro Marchetti and are from The Gilded Tarot
The lady, in her early thirties, asked him to move into her home, which she owns, but this would mean a short distance relocation for the man who declined/deferred/ citing work and family concerns. There were other issues, too, based round mutual trust, but Tarot presented this word ‘home’ as the deal-breaker
Further cards: Page Cups, Ace Wands.
The lady has a job she likes and is good at, in hotel management, but the birth card, the page of cups, talks about the biological clock, asking, when is a good time to start a family? No such thing perhaps as a convenient time, but for the woman in particular there may be a fear of leaving it too late. After so much time together, this lady seemed to feel it was time to put up or shut up. He declined the invitation (challenge) to move things onward and upward so she had withdrawn, although with expressions of regret.
The Seven of Pentacles says she is reluctant to start all over again, however, so perhaps, and unless she meets someone extremely suitable for her in the near future, this card of harvesting a slow fruit may, just may, turn things in his favour if he wants to recover the situation and is willing and able to, but the Ace Wands – think, movement, relocation, speed, fire, (also conception) suggests he needs to take decisive action, and soon, to make that happen. To win the fair lady for keeps, he needs to ‘man up’, and fast.
However, people tend to do whatever comes most naturally; advice will often fall on fallow ground and this is why my Tarot does not offer advice, except in the form of answering the clients clearly stated question.
My client saw this as his predicament, and so it was, but he had unwittingly also created one for the lady, not seeing that her needs had changed while his had not. Many women seem to find themselves in just this same sort of predicament these days. That’s a whole other can of worms, but some choose the bird and afterwards they build a nest together. Some women nowadays build the nest themselves, then choose the bird to come and join them there or else they tire of waiting and looking and proceed to fill the nest, a queen alone.
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.
A friend came to stay recently and brought a present for my birthday. We thought it might be fun for me to try and guess what was inside the packaging using my pendulum and cards. It was roughly cylindrical, not too heavy, rolled in bubble wrap and brown paper.
I held my pendulum over it.
‘Are the contents of this package edible?’ The pendulum span anticlockwise. No.(sob)
‘Are the contents of this package paper?’ No. ‘Ceramic?’ No.’ Wood?’ Yes.
I drew the Three of Pentacles, a card signifying progress in business and pride in one’s work, and from The Gilded Tarot by kind permission of Ciro Marchetti.
‘Is it a craft item? I asked my friend.
‘Yes.’ she said, smiling from ear to ear, as ducks suddenly quacked outside on the pond and Il Matrimonio ran to the balcony to see there if there was a fox. There sometimes is. Then I drew the Six of Swords, a card of personal progress, solemn journeys and quests for learning.
Was it something to do with a river or riverbank, I wondered. Was it a little wooden boat? Or a frog? I like frogs.
‘No’. My friend said, smiling, ‘But you are warm. Now open it!
And inside it was – this! A wooden Indian Runner Duck. What a little character.
Well, I never. No wonder she’d been laughing to herself every time we’d fed the ducks, knowing what she had in store to give me.
Now, that is what I call a friend. And psychically, here was that darn Jungian synchronicity thing at work again.
Good try, Tarot my friend. Not a bull’s eye this time, but a respectable attempt, and this often is how Tarot works in a reading, too, regardless of the classical card meanings, sparking ideas directly off the imagery.
This is how, while Tarot presents a great academic study, anyone can read it, who likes to use associative thinking.
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.
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.
When I draw The Fool card in a reading, the Major Arcana card numbered Zero, or in some decks numbered 22, it may classically signify good news; a birth, a welcome opportunity, a fresh start of any significant kind. I drew it this very day, for a client who is not just moving house, but changing a way of life, and it is absolutely the right way to go. It suggests taking a chance, a leap of faith. Reversed, it cautions against hastiness. You need time. You need more information. You need to think, properly think, or you will do summat truly daft.
But the Fool has other, darker associations, as fools and jesters and solitary wanderers always have, in western culture. There are good reasons people are afraid of clowns, the jokers in the pack. The Tarot’s Fool is the Joker in a pack of ordinary playing cards, and means the same things, if you are using playing cards to read with.
The Fool represents that which haunts all margins and borders. The ‘outwalker;’ that being. force or agency, which observes and may, given opportunity and sufficient reason, may find its way in to where you do not want it.
There is another Tarot card, more often cited in association with Odin, or Odin-esque associations. This is The Hanged Man, Major Arcana number 12. Odin hung upside down on the world tree, Yggdrasil, for 9 days for knowledge, and for a world view gained through a changed perspective.
But The Fool card, Trump 0 of the Major Arcana, contains something as frightening as it is innocent, not only birth and opportunity but something not quantifiable, as real as it is unreal, a ‘thusness’ or haacceity more implacable than Death.
that property or quality of a thing by virtue of which it is unique or describable as ‘this (one)’
the property of being a unique and individual thing.
“he has a paramount concern with haecceity, the thisness of things”
Zero is a something as well as a nothing. Even leaving the philosophical questions aside, and they are bogglers, without 0, as without 1, there is no binary, and no digital age.
Zero draws the Number of the Fool
But only fools will fail to fear
The oddly smiling one who walks alone
Magician, outland, dawn and dusk
Fleeting, glimpsed by tree and mere
Where ripples lap without a breeze
Or single casting of a stone
Zero, Odin’s one remaining eye
His other traded for all kenning
Out-with the knowing of the Norns
Nine days he hung considering
On Yggdrasil, the great ash tree
But Life is flux, and, unfulfilled
Does Odin walk abroad with Men
Entranced, he follows their technology
Their blindly restless struggles to get free
Refusing that their final liberty
Is in their choice of sacrifice
Their ultimate expression
In their direst of necessity
Insatiably, dispassionate, he watches, waits
And sometimes smiles, but has no tears
For what might dim or blind his sight
Of conjurings and reckonings with Fate
The new born come, and dead depart
His scouts of Thought and Memory
Twin ravens, Hugin, Munin, fly
Through Odin’s questing, flaming Eye
The singing echo-chamber of The Gate.
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 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.
Idly playing with my cards at the dining table, I asked Il Matrimonio what he was doing with the fish tanks. He kept two tanks of tropical fish at that time, guppies in one, neon tetras in the tank in the dining room.
Male guppies are colourful, every individual’s unique. The females are drab coloured. They produce live babies, but the adults tend to cannibalise the newborns if they don’t make for the weeds as soon as they emerge, and hide there until they’re too big to be eaten. Awww. So sweeeet.
Neon tetras are small and slim, blue, red and white, with a zingy neon strip along their sides, as the name suggests.
The hubby explained that he was introducing a young male guppy into the tetra tank for his own safety. Whereupon, using my old Universal Waite deck that day, I drew The High Priestess. (US Games)
However, I work with reversed cards, and I drew her reversed. A reversed card is not necessarily negative in connotation. It may simply flag up an area requiring special care. But I felt this was a warning, to be read in a literal sense.
‘I don’t think you should do that,’ I said. ‘I’m seeing danger here from a lady who is blue, white and red. I think the tetras will have him if you put him in there, and I think he won’t last two weeks.’
(Tarot can work like this with timing. The High Priestess is Major Trump 2.)
Il Matrimonio was having none of it. The tetras were no risk to the guppy, they were too small, completely harmless. What did I know about tropical fish, etc etc?
Eff all, it is true. Please, any proper a-fish-ionad-os reading this, do not troll me on this score. But the reader does not have to factually know. That is the point and indeed the potential usefulness of oracular divination.
‘Ok,’ I said, ‘in which case it is a warning against the tetra tank. I wouldn’t put him in there.’
‘Well, he won’t last if I leave him where he is.’
A few days later, poor guppy was gone. RIP. Not so much as a fin left.
Not saying the tetras did it any harm. It might have been something about the tank, and maybe guppy was toast whatever Il Matrimonio did, but they certainly cleaned him away.
All we had left were the tetras, swimming innocently about, the piscine little High Priests/esses in their grotto.
Today let’s talk about the ultimate Tarot card of Masculinity with a capital M, The Emperor.
‘The Emperor’ appearing in a Tarot reading signifies the current extra significance of an important man in your life, at an individual level. He’s a father, husband, employer, friend or advisor.
The Emperor stands for government, law and order, other big, hierarchical organisations. He is the Armed Forces, the Police, the Civil Service.
He is the principle of protection and of the guardian at work in society and in the home.
See those ram’s heads on the arms of his throne? The Emperor is associated with the sign of Aries, the fiery ram. It may indicate a future event occurring at that time of year.
Image below is The Emperor from The Gilded Tarot, by kind permission of Ciro Marchetti
Not surprisingly I’ve drawn this card when doing readings for police officers, both male and female. Women too can embody The Emperor’s qualities.
But once – and I won’t handle any more requests for lawsuit predictions; I drew the Emperor card, and it was talking about a real live judge. This judge was in the US. We won’t say where. A client’s son was facing a court appearance charged with sexual assault. There was no assertion of coercion whatsoever. In fact, the details of the charge sounded so minor as to be ridiculous, but whatever the rights and wrongs and the facts of the case; the man had already incurred serious consequences. He was a teacher and though the accuser was not a minor, a family friend in her late twenties, he had been suspended from his employment as it involved work with minors, and had been temporarily debarred from his own home, denied unsupervised access to his children. He was, at the time of the reading, due to appear in court four days later.
A Tarot reading is not of course a substitute for suitable, professional legal, medical or financial advice. The client had employed such; but wanted to be prepared for the worst, ready to support his/her son.
Based on this, I didn’t KNOW because a reader cannot KNOW for certain, ever. But I felt as certain as I could be, she was going to like this judge. I felt that the man was not guilty of anything much more than imprudence and that the judge would decide so.
Three weeks and several new grey hairs later, I learned the The Judge had thrown the case out. He had also offered this personal opinion:- verbatim (pardon me)
‘What a crock of sh*t.’
The Emperor at his very best represents order, structure, logic, sense and reason.
He is a defender, a chevalier, a sheltering tree, nests held safely in his branches. He is rule with mercy, compassion for the weak. He upholds fair play, raising his shield so not everyone sheltering behind it gets splattered with rubbish and, er…manure.
He has another side to him of course: war, dictatorship, tyranny, petty officialdom, overbearing bureaucracy. The card may alternatively signify absence of structure and leadership. As a person, it may be pinpointing weakness or conversely, a bully boy.