Merriam- Webster: Divination: the art or practice that seeks to foresee or foretell future events or discover hidden knowledge usually by the interpretation of omens or by the aid of supernatural powers. 2 : unusual insight : intuitive perception.
Counselling: the provision of professional assistance and guidance in resolving personal or psychological problems. “bereavement counselling”
Depending on the reader, it may be either or both. There are Tarot Counsellors who specialise in taking a counselling approach, often based on Jungian training. These readers may not handle the psychic challenges of divination and forecasting. Other readers, working the psychic approach, may offer valuable, sensible advice but without a basis in formal counselling.
In preparing for a reading, Tarot, runes, cards etc; the agile reader can only prepare to respond. The person will wish for verifiable feedback, or how else can they see if you know your stuff? They will want feedback, advice, prediction, hard, workable information, or they may be fragile or tired, looking for a bit of hope and cheer. But it has to be credible, to them, in the form that it takes, and spouting la- la is cheating and it ain’t going to cut it, nor does it deserve to.
You must take your cue from the cards or runes or whatever is your oracle of work. That’s what you learned it for and what you have presented at the point of sale or service. It isn’t about you.
Questions will often be presented as entirely hard boiled, to do with money or business outcomes. The client may want a yes or no answer; is this merger going ahead, will I win or lose this court case, if I spent 50 K on building this extension to my premises will I get that money back when I want to sell?
Time will tell whether you get it right, and you better had, far more often than you get it wrong, or you won’t be doing this work for long. But nothing is ever entirely factual and hard boiled. Wherever time, thought, worry, hope and effort is invested, there are high emotional stakes.
There are also those questions where the only validation possible is in the heart and mind of the other person and whether or not your answer finds resonance within them.
Here’s a recent (disguised) example from a social media forum, readings free of charge.
Questioner. ‘Help me please? Is there a spirit of a unborn child surrounding me? Here are the cards I drew.’
Responder 1: A better question would be asking such spirits who they are to get your answer.
Responder 2 : Ask them who they are!! I have 4 guides and they always come in 2’s. Never by themselves.
Responder 3: Katie-Ellen: I don’t think so, not in a literal sense, but I see mourning. The Fool card represents the unborn. Is this why you are asking? Are you grieving a lost baby?
Questioner: Yes, and my other children seem highly attracted to my tummy all of a sudden and clingy. Its weird.
Katie-Ellen: I am so sorry. It is a grief like nothing else. I know this from personal experience. But in answer to your question, no, I think based on your cards here, there is no ghost. The Fool card especially, says the little one’s returned to source, held safely again in the palm of the Universe, or God, whatever you like to call it. The Tower and the 9 Swords, I see as reflections of you, your own shock and sorrow. You would not want baby stuck and trapped at your side, being a soul too small to know why. You can make a shrine inside yourself, in your heart, with a candle there to light the way back to life one day for that little soul, and in that way, you can be the baby’s very own guardian angel for all time.
Questioner: I love that idea! But why do my children keep wanting to touch my tummy?
Katie-Ellen I think that perhaps your children are responding to your grief and they feel the source of it. They’re wishing to comfort you and also they want to be reassured themselves that everything’s all right.
Questioner: So not a ghost then?
Katie-Ellen: I’d say the baby is gone to source again safe and sound, and the ghost now is the memory and the aftermath of loss. Your body may feel like a haunted place for the time being, not because the spirit of the baby is there but because mind and body are one. But it’s not for me or anyone to say for sure. The one card in the Tarot most suggestive of a ghost…as in an active, ongoing haunting is The Moon card. It’s absent here and a card is sometimes actually most conspicuous by its absence.
Questioner: That’s such a weight off my mind, I can’t begin to tell you.
This was not about divination as such. It was non- factual and non-verifiable. But was it counselling? I’ve done some of that work and training in previous jobs. Maybe I do use it unconsciously sometimes.
Look at the replies from those first two respondents, those replies reflected a philosophy, and in doing so, bypassed the story actually cards altogether, and did not seem to raise the question in their minds – what was the reason for this lady’s question?
My response, whether ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ – meaningless terms here – were prompted by the cards themselves, cards not drawn by me. These were the questioner’s own cards- so that I acted simply as an outside translator.
There are facts, there are truths and there are poetic truths.
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.
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.
I’m a contributing member to a few online Tarot chat and study groups. One study group member still new to Tarot shared her card asking, ‘what is this card saying about person X? What is he like?’
The card was the Six of Wands and her deck was a Rider Waite.
The Six of Wands bespeaks effort, progress and hard-earned victories. Wands is a suit of summer time, of warmth, speed and generally volatile energy and for obvious pictorial reasons, suggests archetypal masculine qualities which are of course demonstrated by both male or female.
So I said that I thought person X was a young man of high energy, not really available to anyone at this point, driven, competitive, a team worker – and was he sporty?
As a newcomer to Tarot you will not necessarily find this word used in association with this card in any of your books, though it’s an obvious possibility at least, based on figurative interpretation.
in 2011 I drew the Six of Wands for a young man, asked him about an upcoming trip that was sports related and was told he was going to the States for training and had been selected for the UK wheelchair rugby team in the 2012 Paralympics.
This young lady now replied, ‘Funny 🙂 he is a professional soccer player!’
Now, this highlights a difference between clairvoyant reading and Tarot Divination. Had I been clairvoyant on this occasion I might have picked up on the football, specifically.
As it was, Tarot plus a sneaking hunch simply landed me in the appropriate ball park.
Typical Tarot! Still, it was on the ball and it didn’t miss the net.
It can be confusing for potential customers to know what a psychic reader actually does. Often a caller has not looked at your website, and I may find myself explaining that I do not work as a medium. No, I tell them. I do not ‘get the other side.’ And I don’t. I really don’t, but I have experienced things, some rather odd, that mean I don’t like to send people away entirely empty-handed either if I can refer them or help in some other way.
One night not long ago I was rung by a lady wanting a medium, ideally to come to her house 20 miles from where I live. I explained that I was not a medium, and she said she needed help desperately, because something was going on in the house, terrifying her, her partner and the children. Someone – a woman- a ghost?- had spoken to one of the children. Now, at 8 in the evening, they were all huddled in the sitting room, scared even to go to the toilet.
This wouldn’t do. And yes, fear is contagious but pooh-poohing would absolutely not do. I said I’d make enquiries but meantime stated emphatically that there was absolutely no danger. The whispering lady may have been a dream, but whatever it was, she meant no harm. She had said only loving things, hadn’t she, to the child? For now, I suggested the lady put a comedy film on the telly, switch all the lights on, make a noise and dominate the house. Assert her claim to the space right now, going straight to the kitchen to make hot drinks for everyone.
A few quick cards did include the Death card reversed, indicating there may indeed have been something ghostly either in the house OR in the memory of someone in the family. But what is a ghost anyway? A sentient being, knowing exactly what it is doing, or the manifestation, seemingly external, of a memory with great power and atmosphere attached?
If the children saw that she wasn’t frightened, perhaps they’d take their cue from her, and then maybe the strange manifestations would also calm down. I felt there was stress in the house and one of the children in particular was highly sensitive to atmosphere, but sensed this was some kind of stress related psychic family event rather than a haunted house situation.
Later I called back with the name of a reputable medium able to make house visits.The medium and I have spoken subsequently and I was glad to connect professionally with such a nice, capable, cheerful sounding sensible person for potential future referral. The medium told me that in her opinion, the house was not of itself haunted, but the lady had worries and had suffered losses I won’t mention here. The whispering ghost was, according to the medium, the children’s grandmother.
However unwelcome this manifestation, her whispered words to the frightened child suggested her care and love live on, at least in the memory of a close by living person not aware of the power of their own mind ….
A Styxian Journey: The Six of swords from The Gilded Tarot by kind permission of Ciro Marchetti
On another long ago occasion someone asked me, ‘has my father gone to heaven yet?’
The funeral had been held the previous day. This was a loaded question, even though I hold no religious belief, nor a brief for or against heaven. What does it mean, ‘heaven’? What does ‘yet’ mean? I could just have said yes, and that would have been the easy thing but contrary to what ‘skeptics’ might expect, a sincere reader will not ‘diss’ his or her oracle by making up answers. People do NOT pay just to hear my personal opinions. Access to oracular Tarot is what they have come for and that is what they get.
Tarot drew the Three of Swords and Queen of Swords Reversed. These indicated that her father had been at loggerheads with his wife for a long time, which the client confirmed. Here then, I concluded, I was reading the dead, not as a medium, but through the telepathy of the living person who had known him. That’s what Tarot does, operates via telepathy – in this case, via my telepathy with the living person sitting with me whereby I intuitively accessed her own understanding of the person who had passed on.
The indications to me were that he had been terribly frightened at the imminence of death but the moment, when it came, was so easy, he hadn’t fully cottoned on yet that it had actually happened. He only knew that he felt better but strange and different. I felt quite sure he was still in the ‘valley’, but he wasn’t frightened and he was doing all right. He was getting there, wherever or however it is we go.
She could talk to him, I suggested. He might still be in hearing range. Tell him out loud what had happened and tell him he was fine, and so was everyone else at home. (His wife too. Loggerheads or not, there was still warmth of feeling there.) This idea did not seem to disturb my visitor. She smiled and said she would probably do that; it seemed quite in character for him to take a while to make up his mind to go.
Death is as individual as it is universal. And while the oracular doesn’t fudge the inescapable, that death may be uncomfortable or even painful; an anxious, confusing or downright frightening experience, there is something beyond or afterwards, there is indeed something outside our ken, more easily experienced than described. Humanity has known this from the beginning, and religion does not come into it, though it rose out of it.
We could have stayed immortal, had we been content to continue as primordial soup reproducing ad infinitum by identikit cell division. But we weren’t. We, the current denizens arisen from that protean soup, got bored and demanded a new deal. The soup began to mutate new programmes and to differentiate and create amazing and interesting plants and animals, but this demanded unimaginable feats of energy, space and organisation. And this in turn demanded boundaries so that Life came up with the solution of Death, and while Death might seem the ultimate antagonist, anathema to us in our highly realised state of individual awareness, we should at least give it credit for letting us out of the soup, and after all, that was always the deal.
So thanks, Death. I am grateful to be me today, not heaving in the soupy-gloop, bored right out of my tiny multitudinous nucleii. And I will try and remember that next time I am fed up, or Il Matrimonio annoys me or I don’t feel like cooking the tea. Today it’s casserole – rather primordial in fact, but I predict it won’t have enough time to get bored and mutate.
The lines on these roads are not where we paint them. There is more map than there are roads on the map, and the map itself is subject to parameters not proven.
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.
Carl Jung speculated that the Tarot works according to the principle of ‘synchronicity’- that psychic insights are triggered by apparently random and yet meaningful co-incidence, which he thought might be explained by Quantum Mechanics.
This Tarot king represents a man who is patient, kind, industrious. He is the salt of the earth. I said to the client that I thought he was a manager, and the work was practical in nature but also involved communication. It demanded precision or the ‘thing’ wouldn’t work but I didn’t ‘see’ as yet see what his job might actually be.
‘I might get at it though,’ I said, ‘now that my computer is talking directly to your computer.’
What I meant by that was, I felt we were on the same wavelength.
‘But that IS my job! I work for the government. That’s what I do…I make computers talk to other computers.’
In a recent reading the Ace of Pentacles (or Coins or Discs) made two appearances, but drawn reversed. Any card turning up twice is a flag, but I was not satisfied that I had nailed the cause.
The Ace of Pentacles signifies a new home, job or income stream. Finances seemed OK, her work seemed OK. She was thinking of retirement which fitted with this reversed card but she wasn’t thinking of moving house. But there was something. What was it?
Was there an issue to do with gardening? I asked on impulse. I was using the Ace from the Gilded Tarot, shown below by kind permission of Ciro Marchetti. It shows a field rather than a garden. All the same, this Ace, like other cards such as the Empress or the Six of Cups carries the idea of a garden in its repertoire.
There was a situation, the client said, but really, it was minor. She was feeling unsettled by a neighbour whom she pays to do gardening work, who had promised to do a job before the end of last year, but still had not finished it. But it was nothing, nothing….
It was snagging her energy, however. I was sure of that, because the Ace was negative, reversed or blocked.
‘The truth is,’ I suggested, ‘this makes you….?
‘Fed up’, she said. ‘I am feeling fed up.’
We discussed ways of managing the situation, but people do what sits most naturally with them, and advice does not always help. What to say or do the next time he cried off It had been preying on her mind but not at the forefront. This had been a case of subterranean mental grinding.
The gentle very often do not inherit the earth. Anything but, and my gentle client had entered into a business arrangement with a neighbour who was proving neither particularly business- like nor especially neighbourly, according to an expectation that other people’s standards of professional service were the same as her own.
The Ace of Pentacles says our home is nest and castle, and that includes the earth around it.
A friend, also a tarot reader and a gifted clairvoyant; a true ‘Hermit’, had gone unusually quiet since coming round recently to collect a present for his coming birthday and to try out his newest Lenormand deck, doing a reading for me.
Afterwards we sat at the table reading separately, me with tarot cards, he with Lenormand cards, each enquiring about the likely outcome of the EU referendum June 23 to see if we had a consensus. There was. More about that in a future post nearer the time.
But a week later, he hadn’t got back to me after I rang on his birthday. Usually he’s on the phone within a few hours, when he is likely to ask yet again what do I make of David Icke and his theory about the alien reptilian conspiracy for world domination? (He’s been reading a book by David Icke lately, and the Queen is alien reptilian stock, apparently.)
I’ll spare you my usual answer to this question, but for argument’s sake, I’d be more worried about the possibilities for an Alien Insectoid Conspiracy. Chill the reptiles just a teensy bit, they’re too sleepy-byes to get up to very much. The insects too have their limitations but they’d be a far more formidable adversary, terrifyingly industrious, with a far greater population and range…
There has been flu about and he lives alone and has diabetes. I pulled two cards to see if he was OK and drew
The Four of Cups and The Six of Swords.
Well, good, he was OK then. The Four of Cups has a nickname ‘bored boy’ and I decided he had probably got cabin fever. The Six of Swords suggested a reasonably large journey, traditionally over water, but this is the UK and you don’t have to drive far to cross water.
My friend drives but I decided he had probably gone somewhere by train. He is something of a train-spotter and indeed, he rang an hour later to say he was sitting on a train in Euston Station. He had got up at 5 having decided to go down to London to visit Kew Gardens.
I am seeing a lot of Swords cards at present, not least when I enquired about the current steel situation.
I asked, what’s at the root of the problem? First card out, Ace Wands Reversed. The cost of power (fire) A international business ‘Ace’ backfires.
I asked What is the best prospect at this time? First card out. Two Swords. Controls. A state of truce. Diplomacy. Cool the fires but do not stop the fires. Steel is armaments. Duality of legal contract and Protectionism may be implied by this card, possibly for a two year period, while the suit of Swords is associated with the East. I hope it does not mean ‘mothball.’
PS My friend rang since I posted the above, and I kid you not, asked what I think about ‘the reptilians’. There were dragon statues at Kew….with royal insignia inscribed on them. Evidence.
What insignia, exactly?
Dunno, but royal.
Oh well. He puts up with me…what else do friends do.
I was cackling peaceably into my cauldron, 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.
Last time here on True Tarot Tales, the Moon card caused me to enquire about whether there had been a recent instance close by, of an upset tummy, possibly food poisoning, and it turned out, just as the Moon card classically depicts two dogs barking at the moon, two of the client’s dogs had been unwell after retrieving a ball from a dirty ditch.
Infection and disease may be flagged up by an appearance by the Moon card.
And so can flooding. I first saw this manifesting in my own cards during a Skype reading of 2010 for a client whose father lives in Pakistan, and her father had had to move house after flooding.
November 13, reading for someone in respect of a property in Hawick and the prospects for sale, I felt it might sell in August/September 2016, but, having drawn the Moon card, I asked the client, was there a river close to the property, and if there was, did it flood? Because I sensed flooding as a barrier to sale.
I was told the property is a top floor apartment, and is close to The Teviot but it had not flooded during the time the client had lived there (not many years) Nor had the client been aware or deterred by the proximity of the river when buying.
But, and very unfortunately for all affected, and by no means for the first time in its history Hawick flooded badly in early December.
I still sense my client may move home in 2016, I draw the Six of Swords which indicates progress and very often a domestic relocation, and certainly within the next two years, but the pathway may be more complex than anticipated when the property went on the market, and may, suggests the strategic Seven of Swords, involve the unwanted complication of a letting arrangement.
And, let us hope this is unduly doomful, no reader is infallible; I see signs we may well not be done with this Moon business yet. I draw the Moon card again, when asking about UK weather into February. Greater accuracy would demand a regional or even more break down, but there seems to be more ‘warm air’ coming where we don’t want it; the King of Wands Reversed.
A skeptical friend, who lives in Cumbria joked recently, that of all the religions he doesn’t believe in, the one he could perhaps go for is the Norse gods, and he may perhaps, even ask Freyr for help. Maybe it’s not such a crazy idea, and this morning, there is snow lying here on the Lancashire coast. But whatever you do, ask politely.
An outing for the Tarot’s Moon card, with Katie-Ellen, UK Tarot reader, writer and business consultant.
Happy New Year, and the tummy bug in question was nothing to do with me, I am happy to say, or the seasonal festivities. I was doing a Skype reading, investigating questions to do with ongoing and future creative projects- the client is an artist and sculptor, when I drew the Moon card.
The image below is from The Gilded Tarot, by kind permission of Ciro Marchetti. Also available from Amazon but the publisher Llewellynis getting this shout-out.
Classical meanings for this card are; the Moon itself, Fertility, monthly cycles, tides, floods (alas), conception, confusion, deception, secrets, vivid dreams, visions, leaps of imagination, fantasy, art, animals, hunting, secrets, fraud, theft, surveillance, risk, travel with danger attached, disease.
Reversed/Upside down: the meanings take on a different complexion, and may suggest any of these things- but they are fading away and now belong to the recent past.
The key challenge for a reader is to decide which meanings are relevant, and quickly, not to bore witless and alienate the client. One must say the first thing that comes to mind. I call it ‘gob-shiting’and I really shouldn’t; it’s hardly elegant and perhaps this should be a New Year’s resolution. The thing is, the reader needs to just speak.
I said the first thing that popped into my mind and asked whether a loved one had been ill, just recently, and perhaps they had gone down with a tummy bug? Or, could it even have been a bout of food poisoning, but whatever it was, they seemed to be better now?
I held up the card to the camera. ‘Look at this,’ I said, ‘see the two dogs?’
The client has several dogs, and said, ‘I don’t believe this! Two of my dogs have been ill. We went out a walk and they went into a ditch after a ball and they were quite poorly for a few days afterwards, both of them. A filthy ball in a nasty, dirty ditch. But they are over it now.’
The reader of Tarot or any other divination system must learn not to self- censor. If they do, because their first thought seems just too stupid, they will likely get it wrong, and then want to kick themselves. Learning to trust yourself enough to do that is the hardest thing, or at least, I found it so and I still sometimes have to tell that inner critic, aka saboteur of the oracular mind, to shut up.
People may well say, and many do, sod all the soothsayers. Wits or just good old common sense is what is called for, in working out a response to a problem. This is fair enough and often true…at least, it may be from where they are sitting. Nine times out of 10, in making their own predictions, they may prove quite correct. But what the oracular reader sniffs out, like a wild animal, using whatever oracle as a spade for digging in the primal mind, is what is hidden and could not wisely or even reasonably be expected.
The Tarot is nothing but printed card stock, physically. But the imagery and its many and deep rooted associations facilitate telepathy, triggering both receiver and transmitter. The client is equally active in this process, at a level they are not consciously aware of, any more than the reader is consciously aware of why they said A and not B.
For more information about my readings and how to get a reading, visit my website HERE
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.’
I recommend inquirers to visit my website before booking. This is for their benefit, to make sure I’m the right kind of reader for them. Not every reader offers the same kind of service, and I would far rather lose a booking than disappoint a client’s expectation.
I once took an enquiry over the telephone from an unusually cagey enquirer. He had heard a colleague talking about a recent reading with me, and he wanted a reading, too. I later realized, putting two and two together, this new enquirer had been a police officer. I recommended that he also check out my website, and he did not book at that point, but called again some weeks later, and was startled that I remembered him, greeting him by the first name he had given (which was not, I sensed, his real name)
The client arrived and was polite but continued cagey to the point where it threatened to become counter-productive. I drew The Emperor card confirming what I had already suspected, and asked if he worked for the Government, was he is the civil service, Armed Forces or Police? He replied with some reluctance that he was in the Police, while a further card, the Seven of Swords, elicited that he worked in Fraud investigating.
I’ve read for a few police officers (purely off-duty) and had no problems. This was like pulling teeth, except I’ve never pulled a tooth. It was like pulling up a dandelion, or getting Il Matrimonio to tidy his clothes away.
The Emperor from The Gilded Tarot, by kind permission of Ciro Marchetti
I asked if he had visited the website, as I had suggested, to know how I conducted readings. He had not had time, he said, and I reminded him of what I had said on the phone, that I start readings cold, and expect to deliver ‘psychic’ insights but thereafter, a reading works as a dialogue, and this is how I am able to deliver a useful reading, drilling down on precise particulars.
‘You’re doing OK. Carry on,’ he said smiling, then stonewalled me, leaning back on his chair with his arms folded, letting me know he was alert to my ‘techniques.’
Please do not do this to your reader. Of course any reader with half a brain will tap into social cues when doing readings. Why ever is this considered the sign of a charlatan? A reader with poor observation skills is a social munchkin and unlikely to deliver a meaningful psychic reading either.
I sensed he was hoping for a bit of help, but would not value whatever was not delivered cold. I had already sensed disquiet attached to his marital situation, and said so, but he had so far declined to verify this.
Now I drew the Page of Swords Reversed and said, ‘I sense a legal issue. An unwelcome communication. A letter, an email. Have you received it or are you sending it?
He smiled. ‘Suppose you tell me?’
There was a pause while I drew more cards. I was not at ease. Stonewalling is socially hostile and I needed to make sure my own discomfort did not skew my impressions about the card.
The Page of Swords Reversed may indicate a minor stress as well as a legal document, potentially. (It can also mean a minor surgical procedure, a minor injury with acute pain, a spy or a young person born under an Air sign: Aquarius Gemini or Libra)
From the Universal Waite, by kind permission of US Games
I pulled The Hierophant reversed (marriage problem) and the Seven of Swords Reversed (a card of plain speaking or alternatively; surveillance and covert research)
I had a ‘ping’ moment, took a deep breath and said, ‘Yes or No? Have you, or have you not, recently visited a solicitor with a view to asking about a divorce, but without telling your wife?’
‘Yes,’ he said, and the Tarot proceeded to share its insights surrounding this event and its ramifications past, present and possible future.
That might seem a reasonably specific psychic hit for someone who does not advertise as a clairvoyant (though I am sometimes, and sometimes clairaudient) but he remained unresponsive, politely thanking me for my time when we finished.
It is your time and money, and the reader’s time and energy. Research their service.
During a reading the other day, with a delightful client; charming, brave and resourceful, we looked first at a number of questions focussed on her two businesses. Then the conversation moved to children’s activities and prospects, and in respect of her son, 18, I drew the Four of Cups and said, is this how he’s been sometimes, lately? Fed up, irritable and restless, wanting to do something new but not yet able to decide, or make a start?
The card prompting this question was the Four of Cups, a card commonly nicknamed ‘the bored boy,’ and whether you’re a boy or not, it’s an unpleasant state of mind, even while it’s not exactly a problem you can do nothing about.
So, what might be the path ahead for him? I drew The Eight of Pentacles, and as you can see, it shows an apprentice at work, happily engrossed, so much so, he is burning the midnight oil, watched by a mouse who’s probably hoping for a crumb of his supper.
‘I think he will do well in an apprenticeship, head and hand working together in unity, making or crafting something,’ I said.
He was wondering about something like that, the client said, maybe technical drawing.
Yes! Good choice.
‘What about the RAF?’ I said, ‘I feel it might be worth his while to see whether they’re recruiting.’
‘That’s amazing!’ she said. ‘How did you know? He has been talking about a technical apprenticeship in the RAF.’
OK then, his next port of call is sorted, and if he doesn’t end up there exactly, it will be something of that kind.
The 4 of a bored boy becomes the 8 of a busy boy, and to be busy, is very often to be happy.
Is the word or idea of the RAF anywhere written in the cards? No, of course not. This was just another instance of a word springing out, using a card as a diving board. Gob-shiting, I call it. Such are the various ways of reading the Tarot.
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
Oh no! Oh, yes, I’m afraid. I wish it wasn’t so, but I undertake to demonstrate divination at work in the real world. Sometimes it’s fun, at least for me and I hope it is for you but sometimes it just can’t be. The title gives fair warning. Pass by if you can’t bear it, but if you’re learning Tarot, try to stay with it and not flinch. You may one day find yourself faced with someone in deep distress, hoping to find not solutions or advice, but some kind of sustenance, or at least meaning in their situation. The Tarot will rise to these occasions, if you will. because the Tarot is you, yourself, your deepest, archaic and arcane self.
Her Golden Tarot is another favourite, but one likes to ring the changes now and then.
It’s duckling time again out on the pond, and Nature is wreaking carnage, red in beak and claw. The most relentless predators by day are the sea-gulls. There are two duck mothers this season; one with an excellent track record of rearing and one with a dismal record. The successful mother has for the past 3 years, the neighbours downstairs tell us, reared at least 6 ducklings to independence from a brood of 12-15. The less successful mother loses them all and cries loudly. Anyone who says animals don’t feel what we do doesn’t watch closely enough. If they forget more quickly than we do, if they do, and I have my doubts, well, they need to, and it’s a blessed mercy.
It was cold, and the dismal duck was down to the last of her twelve ducklings on Monday night when Il Matrimonio went over to the pond to feed them, watching as the last duckling ran calling after its mother and she ignored it, eating and then wandering off. Maybe she had given up, and decided it was just no use, and all was lost.
A gull alighted, lingering near the duckling as it crouched shivering, calling for its mother. Seeing this Il Matrimonio could bear it no more, and it was not a ‘good’ thing to do; he knew that; we’ve watched enough David Attenborough, but there it is. The HUMAN animal, male as well as female, is hot-wired to respond to the cry of an infant in distress, and to the immediate, the personal and the particular.
Therefore, enter Il Matrimonio with one shivering duckling. By bedtime it had eaten enthusiastically (not bread; proprietary duck food) It had drunk lots, splashed about in a shallow dish and done much sitting in cupped hands, clearly regarding these as a warm place and acceptable brooding alternative.
It slept on a towel in the bath, curled into the lap of a large teddy bear. Next day it ran around, ate, drank, paddled, pecked my bare feet, calling for its mother, and was incessantly demanding of Il Matrimonio’s cupped hands for brooding.
‘What’s the plan?’ I fretted, ‘it’s been warmed and fed; it needs other ducks; it needs its mother, to go back as soon as possible and take its chances along with the other ducklings. Maybe the other duck will take it.’
Ducks can count, of course. There was no question of her being fooled by the appearance of an extra duckling.
‘It would be murder,’ said Il Matrimonio. The other duck was unlikely to accept it.
The one hope, and it was a long shot, was to get little D big enough to be safe from gulls, then return it in clement weather, and let it take its chances then. And indeed, it seemed to grow bigger even overnight.
But after Il Matrimonio brought D in on Monday night, I had drawn The Devil card, The Four of Coins and Death.
The Devil shows Pan/Nature in violent aspect. This is the truth, that Nature is full of violence. One creature or many creatures must die for another to live.
The Four of Coins represents holding on, a holding action, a brooding of money or other material possessions or objects.
Death speaks for itself. Many Tarot readers today won’t have it that the Death card may actually represent Death. Too unpalatable. Sorry to disagree. Call me old-fashioned, but the oracular mind is not susceptible to convenient reinvention.
The Death card does not always mean physical death, it is true. It may mean an ending in any other sense, or a transforming situation such as the ending of a job, or other situation, but to say it never does is to create the most enormous elephant in the room. Sometimes it has meant exactly what it says. Death as represented by this card is usually natural, often timely, rarely cruel or violent. There are worse cards the Tarot could use if it needed to communicate a sensing to do with such a terrible picture as that.
Last night at bedtime, little D looked so tired, head drooping as she sat in Il Matrimonio’s hands I felt a misgiving. I said, ‘she looks like she’s dying.’
‘Just a very tired little thing,’ he said, ‘aren’t you? Bed time! Yes!’
Little D passed away very early in the morning, found lying with her eyes shut, still warm, head snugged into the lap of the teddy bear.
Tears in my cup of tea.
Sick? I asked the Tarot? Had she got too cold? Stressed?
‘Strength Reversed’, replied the Tarot.
Little D had no strength left. It had all been just all too much.
She was too dead tired.
Read here for Mallard Duckling Rescue information.
It’s a tale of two cats ( and there’s another Miaow Tarot Tale or two in the archives.) Daughter Numera Una, Artemis, aka RT who’s 29 and a vet nurse, and a brill one; rang one evening two weeks ago, ‘Mutti, we seem to have lost an Elsa cat. Will you look in your cards about it? We’ve been searching and calling for the last three hours.’
Artemis has recently moved address and has two cats, both girls, Elsa and Salem. Elsa is a teensy bit (…let’s whisper this…) thick. Salem’s practically a goddamn genius. Here they are. Elsa top, Salem below with RT. You might be forgiven for wondering which one is the thickie and vice- versa. All I can say is, Salem is being seriously disrespected in being made to wear that pink combo which is actually Elsa’s.
Where might Elsa be? Let me say loud and clear I had no idea but I drew the Moon card first and put it to Artemis that she might have been frightened from returning by a barking dog living a door or two away.
She confirmed there was a barking dog Elsa didn’t like.
There are other meanings for this card: lies, hunting, danger, tricky travel, infection, fertility, drama, psychic dreams, this immediate pictorial association was most I felt was most relevant to Elsa’s absence. Often this is how a Tarot reader works, look-and-speak-and-sod-the-book-meanings.
Next, I drew The Four of Swords; a knight entombed. This card signifies isolation, sickness, hospital visits, chapels and tombs and raised the fairly obvious question, had she got stuck or trapped? I thought of wheelie bins and asked was a collection due next morning? Artemis was horrified, thinking of a notorious incident in the media where a woman had maliciously swiped a kitty into a wheelie bin but in fact, the bin men had already been that morning, and I decided Elsa was not trapped in a wheelie bin, but might well be hiding behind one.
I drew the Five of Wands and asked RT had she been to Number Five to ask if Elsa had been seen there? Yes she had, and the woman had kindly checked her out-houses.
She asked, was Elsa coming home that night?
I drew three more cards, all upside down and said no, I didn’t see that, but I tended to think it would be all right. Elsa was not dead. She was not hurt. She was being a dumb-ski, not used yet to her new abode, she was disorientated and probably hiding no more than three properties away.
Animals may be the primary department of St Francis, but that former librarian, St Anthony, patron saint of lost things, has kindly helped us with lost beasts once before, and I suggested she ask him for help in bringing Elsa home.
Next morning I received this message.
Elsa-Smellsa just found 🙂 Could hear plaintive meowing when we called from the back garden coming from property to our rear so walked round and found her cowering down a little ginnel! She was very hungry but none the worse for wear. Salem was behaving very strangely this morning. I think St Antony acted through her somehow…It was her lead I followed when listening out for the meows!
What did I tell you? That Salem cat’s a genius. Yes, and of course, thank you too. Thank you very much, St Antony.
(You don’t have to be Catholic to ask him for help; we’re a bunch of heathens)
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.
It works by what Jung called synchronicity (see @Tarot Card Philosophy – HowStuffWorks.) The reader uses the imagery and numbers with all their associated symbolism to help them articulate their intuitive impressions more precisely.
Tarot is an old western esoteric artifact, but is only one of many available systems of divination.
The 78 cards offer a symbolic language. The reader ‘uploads’ a ‘programme’ by learning the meanings and associations of the cards. In a reading, the reader draws cards blindly and at random, and uses the imagery on the cards as a prompt, to share what they feel about a given person, situation or question. The thing that is most amazing, even uncanny, is the absolute relevance of cards drawn at random and blindly (being upside down when they are drawn). This is where the apparent miracle of synchronicity occurs.
The Wheel of Fortune; Public Domain
How does the reader choose cards supposedly at random, which so appropriately identify the enquirer’s situation or question? It can be darn spooky.
The answer is, the reader doesn’t know exactly. They simply trust, or learn to trust the unconscious process. What they have done is trained/strengthened a natural faculty by uploading a kind of programme or whether Tarot, or Astrology or Runes. There are many such ‘programmes’.
Sometimes the card does not actually contain literal relevant imagery. How could a deck of 78 cards contain all the possible images in the world? The cards deal with this by using archetypes, eg The Chariot = effort, progress, ambition, team work, or literally, a vehicle. Any vehicle or a driving job, or test.
Each card has a number of possible meanings attached, and this starts with book knowledge but the reader must still make a leap of intuition in deciding which meaning applies. Such a leap in the dark may result in a ‘psychic’ insight, where all existing book meanings for the card is bypassed and a unique meaning arrived at.
During one reading I drew the Page of Cups from the Universal Waite. The card generally signifies happy new developments, sometimes a welcome gift or a message. On this occasion, I looked at it and without thinking, asked the lady, did she ate a lot of those pink and white marshmallows? She was astonished and so was I, and we laughed when she opened her hand bag and there was a packet of those same marshmallows inside it.
It was the pink and white of the picture that leapt to my attention and prompted my question; the rest went into the background. How, exactly that happened, I do not know. I was almost but not equally astonished as my visitor and by now, take it for granted that a conference with the Tarot can result in these experiences.
Tarot accesses a natural talent of the most normal, ancient human mind. We all possess it. A ‘psychic’ reader is simply someone who noticed it, been interested and through study self training and often many years of practice, gone on to exercise and develop this natural ability, rather like a muscle of the mind.
Il Matrimonio dreaded the schlepp from Lytham to Dover one Wednesday afternoon. He particularly dreaded the return journey on Thursday evening much as he loves and worships his car. I call her Black Betty. Skip if you don’t like this rock classic.
The journey down proved tedious in the extreme, starting with delays at Luton, which persisted one way and another the whole of the rest of the way down.
He rang on Thursday morning to ask me to look in the cards for clues as to the optimal time to set off on his return journey. This was shaping up ominously. An accident at the Dartford Tunnel had been backing up the roads all the way back to Sevenoaks.
He thought he might wait until 9.00PM before setting off, what did the Tarot suggest?
Tarot felt he should set off earlier. ! had my cards beside the phone, loose in a heap and all facing down. I swirled them about with my free hand and pulled out four cards.
Card 1 represented outcome of Departure at 6.00 PM
Card 2 represented outcome of Departure at 7.00 PM
Card 3 represented outcome of Departure at 8.00 PM
Card 4 represented outcome of Departure at 9.00 PM
Against 7.00 PM I drew the Two of Swords. A lady sits, blindfolded, holding two crossed swords. If you leave at 7.00 I told him, you’ll have a largely clear run, but there will be one slower patch, maybe roadworks.
If you leave at 8.00, I said, looking at the Ace of Swords, you should have a straight clear run, or at least, the best you’ll get.
That was because this card represents a) a good decision and b) represents a sword that cuts a Gordion Knot, or to put it less politely, cuts through the crap.
Il Matrimonio by no means acts on all such suggestions coz we all have free will, innit?
On this occasion, he had a nap, set off at 7.40 PM and arrived home at 00.20 (Two of Swords)
Although as he had set out, Tarot’s rival, the great god, Tom-Tom, had predicted an arrival time of 00.45.
There were no jams or problems whatsoever during the 330 mile drive home. Tarot beat Tom-Tom. Yay.
I recently returned from an overseas family vacation driving in Europe, marginally more relaxing than crossing the Alps with Hannibal. OK, it was intense, but let’s keep a sense of proportion. It was nothing like marching with Hannibal. I had scrambled eggs for breakfast every day, once with chopped chives. The sun shone all week. It was instructive, it made a change, and my husband, Il Matrimonio, was in seventh heaven; king of the road in his lovely new black shiny car that he, ahem, loves.
Below we have the The Chariot card from The Gilded Tarot, representing progress, teamwork, ambition, and literally, a vehicle. Image by kind permission of Ciro Marchetti.
Yes, it was Chariot time. What else could one do, but belt up, pray not to need the loo in a hurry; no joke if you’re having to use a wheelchair for any reason, and look and learn?
There was plenty to see; Reims Cathedral, the snowy summit of the Eiger, the battlefields of Ypres. No goats in Switzerland. Perhaps because it was still hot, they were still up on the high pastures. No ghosts in Ypres, or in Polygon Wood, where Kiwis, Aussies and Brits lie, all brothers together, though I wouldn’t have been surprised to have seen one, standing waist high in the tall green fields.
No risk of mal- de- mer, we had gone through the Channel Tunnel. Quick and easy, no fuss, sitting, working up our best French, and in some cases, spoof French, to be spat out 25 minutes in La Belle France.
On the return trip, however, there occurred a minor delay. We had made the crossing. The train had slowed right down. We’d had the announcements thanking us for travelling Euro-Tunnel, and were doing up our seat-belts ready to stop and drive off, when abruptly the train stopped, the lights went out and we were trapped in the dark in the belly of this vast tin-can underwater snake.
We heard announcements and apologies to the effect that power had been lost, preventing us from reaching the platform at Ashford, but hopefully it wouldn’t be long before power was restored.
How long would it be, I wondered? My tarot cards were in my suitcase, but I had my pendulum in my handbag. I held the pendulum, suspending it over my lap and asked, ‘how long till we move? Will it be 5 minutes?’
The pendulum dithered, then began to move in a circle, anti-clockwise. For me, that always means ‘no.’
It wasn’t the answer I was hoping for. So what. That’s the risk in consulting oracles.
‘How long till we move?’ I asked again. ‘Will it be 10 minutes?’ The pendulum hesitated, then began to swing clockwise. For me, that always means yes.
‘Only ten more minutes, with any luck,’ I said to Il Matrimonio, as he sat, tapping his fingers on the steering wheel, in-between kissing it, or wishing he could.
‘Are we there, yet?’ the teen piped up, stirring it from the back of the car.
Il Matrimonio glanced at his watch, to monitor the prediction, and this is why I am able to tell you, the lights came back on, the power was back, and the train began to move, 9 minutes and 50 seconds later.
Anyone can learn to dowse. It’s not magic. OK, it is. It’s everyday human magic. You won’t always get it right. I don’t, but it’s one of those things you get better at with practice.
There are lots of books on the subject, and plenty of how-to articles on-line. No need to spend money to mobilize this magic. You don’t even need to buy a pendulum. You can use a ring on a string, or even a threaded needle, stuck into a cork. You need a cord or string for there to be that crucial swing, when gravity gets hold of the body twitch, when it comes, that’s the answer needing translation, the non-verbal reply coming from your central nervous system.
What you need to do is decide in advance what movement shall mean ‘yes’, what movement shall mean ‘no’, and what shall represent ‘don’t know’, or ‘ask again later.’
Then ask your question, relax, and trust yourself. Learning to trust yourself, that’s the hardest thing you have to teach yourself, if it doesn’t come naturally. It is the challenge in learning Tarot, it is the challenge in using the insights provided by dreams. It is the challenge in learning to believe yourself, and not beat yourself up when you take an instant ‘unfair’ like or dislike to someone or something. Have you ever felt like that and reasoned yourself out of it, only to come full circle?
Your first feeling is the one to trust. It can save much time, energy, heartache, or even money.
You know more than you know you know. Why don’t they teach this in school?
The use of divinatory tools is largely a means of silencing the counter-arguments of the know-it-all front brain. The conscious attention goes to the tool, creating a tiny oasis of stillness in which to more easily connect with the silent voice of the body’s primary intelligence; instinct.
It trumps tunnel vision, any time. Unless, perhaps, it’s a vision in a tunnel.