The Fool and the Return of Orion

The Fool and the return of Orion...
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Orion The Hunter returns, and in the northern hemisphere can once again be seen bestriding the east at sunrise. So when we say return, where has he been, then? The answer is, he has been invisible, hidden in the glare of the sun since May.

But now he is back and will rise earlier each day until he is visible all evening during the winter months. As a girl I used to like to go out on cold frosty evenings to fill the coal scuttle from the coal bunker in the back garden. Looking up at him. I knew his name. I knew he was The Hunter but wondered about him, and what he was hunting up there.

Those winter evenings still have that same kind of magic.

Orion is only the 26th largest constellation, sitting on the celestial equator, facing the constellation next door, the oncoming, charging, Taurus the Bull. So it’s far from being the biggest, and it’s smaller than another Greek hero, Perseus but Orion’s got more brilliant stars, commanding the impression of its vastness.

(The biggest constellation of all is Hydra, and the biggest constellation of the twelve included in the Zodiac is Virgo.)

Orion’s two brightest stars are the blue-white star Rigel, representing the Hunter’s left foot, and the red supergiant Betelgeuse, Orion’s right shoulder. They’re both thought to be to be about ten million years old, which makes Betelgeuse quite young to be a red supergiant, but it’s evolved faster due to its enormous mass. It is expected to go supernova in the next million years and when it does will be brighter than the Moon and the brightest supernova ever to have been visible from Earth.

Orion’s third brightest star is Bellatrix, his left shoulder, and Orions’s Belt is one of the most easily recognized asterisms with its three stars.

You can read them east to west or left to right; Alnitak (girdle), Alnilam (string of pearls) and Mintaka (area) They have many other names across the world; The Magi, the Three Mary’s, and the Mayans called them The Fire Drill, invoking them in an annual fire ceremony to delay the onset of the end of the world.

‘No other constellation more accurately represents the figure of a man,’ said Germanicus Caesar

Orion is identified as a human figure in every culture at every latitude, with countless variations of different names and legends.

Orion, also called Nimrod, was the son of Poseidon and was the most handsome man ever to walk the earth. He was a great hunting buddy and friend of Artemis.Her twin brother, Apollo glowered, seeing that Artemis fancied Orion something rotten when she had taken a vow of perpetual chastity.

Orion could be a bit of a sex pest, chasing the Pleiades, so that Zeus confiscated them to the sky for their own peace and quiet. And a fat lot of good it did them, because when Orion was killed by a scorpion (THE scorpion) Artemis in her grief, asked Zeus to post Orion upstairs to the heavens, which he did, right next door to the Pleiades, who also represent the celestial bull pen of Taurus. Thanks Zeus. You didn’t think that one through, did you?

Should Taurus ever break free of his pen, said an ancient Arabic legend, it will be the end of all things, so let’s hope he’s happy up there, and that Orion doesn’t chase the Pleiades away.

Orion bravely strides towards the Bull but although he killed the scorpion that also killed him, he still fears it, and dreads its appearance fleeing west as the autumn wears on and Scorpius rises (Scorpio)

Orion in his eternal battle with Scorpius

The stand off between Orion and Taurus the Bull, its red eye, Aldebaran glaring at him, daring him to come nearer, does not fit the Greek legend of Orion, and a question has been raised in some quarters over the identity of Orion, and whether he has become confused with Herakles/Hercules at any time in his identification with this constellation.

The reasons are likely historical. The constellation as recognized by the Greeks originated with the Sumerians, who saw in it their great hero Gilgamesh fighting the Bull of Heaven. The Sumerian name for Orion was URU AN-NA, meaning light of heaven and Taurus was GUD AN-NA, bull of heaven.

Gilgamesh was the Sumerian equivalent of Heracles, the greatest hero of Greek mythology, and one of the labours of Heracles was to catch the Cretan bull, but Orion was never in a fight with a bull. Heracles, it has been suggested, deserves a magnificent constellation such as this one, but has been consigned to a much more obscure area of sky. So has there been a mix-up, or perhaps we could see it as a mash-up, Orion and Heracles in mutual diguise?

Orion and The Tarot

The Golden Tarot by Kat Black

The Tarot card most commonly associated with Orion is The Fool. The most numinous card in the deck, its element is Air and it is ruled by the planet of revolution, Uranus.

It is the portal of the number Zero.

The Fool or as some called him, The Jester, is both beginnings and ending.

In a real life reading it may detect or forecast a birth of a child, or a new offer or a launch or opportunity of some kind. And change happens all the time but this is always major or significant in scope. But although is not associated with Death, unlike the famous Death card, it can mean a death too, representing infinity, the ouroboros.

An ouroboros

The Fool lives in the moment. He may be fun, he may be joy, or he may be frightening. There’s every reason a lot of people are scared of clowns as the living embodiment of The Fool. He represents the wisdom of innocence, or mistakes made through impulsiveness or ignorance rather than stupidity. But he may represent a threat, whether direct or existential, clearly sensed but not as yet clearly identifiable. The fear is visceral, not lightly to be dismissed.

He may be a shamanic, gnostic figure; the stranger, the outcast, the wise Fool or the Fool on the Hill. He dances to his own tune. He takes chances, risks, and sometimes these pay off, but sometimes he steps over the edge of the cliff, heedless of his dog’s most urgent warning.

The dog in the card is not biting the Fool, but desperately trying to get his attention. If someone asks the Tarot’s advice and then I draw this card reversed….someone needs to draw back from the precipice and look again before they leap.

I may bark like the Fool’s dog but will they act on this advice? CAN they? Will they even really hear it, let alone find a way to use it? We are who we are, and we do what we do, based on who we are. It is a rare person who can step back and see things anew once they are committed to Opinion A or B or they are emotionally invested in outcome A or B.

Advice, to be heard, must be sufficiently timely, before the paint dries.

Everywhere the Fool goes, his dog follows, just as Orion is followed in the skies by his two hunting dogs, Canis major and Canis minor. Sirius, the Dog Star is in the constellation of Canis Major and is THE brightest star in Earth’s night sky.

The only objects that outshine Sirius in our skies are the sun, moon, Venus, Jupiter, Mars and Mercury – and Sirius will usually outshine Mercury too.

All Mankind is Orion.

We were hunters at the dawn of man (The Fool) And gatherers too, but we were never gorillas, and never herbivores on our ancestral line.

“We were risen not of fallen angels but risen apes, and they were killer apes besides” – Robert Ardrey, in African Genesis.

Hunting was what brought us together in teams, then communities. Co operation meant compassion.

Fatboy Slim tells a version of that story here (except that we were apes but not on the gorilla branch). See Orion in the final frame of the video.

Until next time 🙂

Cancer: The Starry Crab in the Zodiac Sea

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 Most of us know our zodiac or sun sign, but what does it look like in the night sky, and what’s the story behind it? It’s that time of year again

Common associations

The pincers: Zodiac symbol of Cancer

Ruling planet: Moon (not a planet but counted as such in astrology)

Key phrase: I feel

Body: The chest, breast, heart

Birth Stone:  Stones and metals fall under the rule of planets, not signs, but through its association with the Moon, Cancer has affinity with pearls, silver and crystals.

Colour: White, silver

Tree: all trees rich in sap

Flower: Acanthus

 Tarot card: The Chariot (see how it is a shell?) Drive, Control, progress, teamwork, and the harmonizing of different elements.

The Chariot, Rider-Waite Tarot

The Astronomy

Cancer, Latin for crab, is in a dark region of the sky, the faintest constellation in the Zodiac, with only two stars above the fourth magnitude: Acubens (The Claw) and Al Tarf (The foot)

Cancer is visible in the Northern Hemisphere in the early spring, during March at 9 PM and can be seen in the Southern Hemisphere during autumn.

It’s almost impossible to see Cancer with the naked eye or even binoculars, looking between Leo, the lion, and Gemini, the twins. And it doesn’t look much like a crab at all. It’s more like a faint, upside-down Y often compared with a crayfish or lobster. It was also called the Crayfish in classical astrology, and in Egyptian astrology, The Scarab.

Whatever it’s name, it’s always been seen a creature with an exoskeleton; an arthropod, and Cancer appears to rise crab-wise; not sideways, but backwards in the zodiac. The Sun’s entry into Cancer occurs at the summer solstice,which is today.

‘Solstice,’ Latin sol stice means the Sun seems to be ‘standing still’ as it approaches this point.

Wiki: The constellation of Cancer

Cancer may be faint but it’s got a great star cluster glowing at its centre. Praesepe, or ‘The Manger’ is one of two Messier objects in Cancer, identified in 1771 by French astronomer Charles Messier.

Its modern name is The Beehive Cluster. Seen through the telescope it looks like a swarm of bees, but to the naked eye it looks like a small, fuzzy patch of light -or a tiny cloud floating through the stars.

Public Domain: The Beehive Cluster

As the sign of the Sun’s greatest elevation, Cancer was considered nearest to the highest point of heaven – and was called ‘the Gate of Men’ through which souls descended to Earth to be born.  The opposite constellation, Capricorn was the ‘Gate of the Gods’, where souls of the departed rose back to heaven. 

I knew a soul who descended through the Gate of Men and ascended again through the Gate of The Gods the same day, the day of the solstice, twenty seven years ago today. He stayed an hour and twenty five minutes. A baby soul, his name was Rowen; he was my son, and he always will be.

Cancer also contains a planetary system; 55 Cancri, containing five known planets, with possibly more awaiting discovery. 55 Cancri is about 40 light-years away, and is just about visible to the unaided eye, although you need help to find it. The innermost of its planets is a “super Earth,” a few times heavier than Earth – but none of these planets has the right surface conditions for liquid water, and life is thought not likely.

The Myth

Cancer is associated with the Twelve Labours of Hercules after he went mad, mistook his wife and children for monsters and killed them. His twelve great labours were performed in token of penance. The second of his great challenges was to kill the Hydra, a terrible water serpent but his enemy, Hera, who had always hated him as an illegitimate son (yet another one) of her husband Zeus, sent a crab to harass him while he fought the serpent. The crab faithfully did its best, nipping Hercules again and again, but he stepped on it and crushed it, or in other versions of the story killed it with his club.

Look at that crab getting right stuck in. Hera rewarded its loyalty by placing it in the heavens, but she placed it in a dark portion of the heavens with only faint stars because crabs need dark, quiet places to feel safe and at home. However, its shy, retiring placement is also the highest point in the zodiac, nearest to heaven, and the crab is the herald of the summer solstice.

The Astrology

Cancer is the fourth sign of the Zodiac and represents those born between June 20 and July 22. It is considered a water sign, and is one of the four cardinal signs, which are the signs indicating a change of season when the sun makes its annual passage into them.

Cancer is all about the shoreline, and tides, monthly and annual. Cancer is uniquely both the moon and the sun.

The sign of Cancer, ruled by The Moon, is a cardinal sign, herald of the seasons, announcing the arrival of summer in the northern hemisphere and winter in the southern hemisphere.

Ruled by Cancer, the Queen of Cups from the Rider-Waite Tarot

The Cancer Personality

There is no such thing in reality as THE Cancer personality. Your sun sign is the keynote but it’s not ‘The Story.’ The archetype of the Cancer personality is complex, elusive and riddled with contradictions.

Cancer stands for both mother and father. It is the zodiac sign of the nurturing parent. Cancer famously adores babies and small animals, all wild things; and struggles with separation. The empty nest can be anathema to the Cancer parent.

By Rose Maynard Barton

Cancer is the sign of hearth and home, and expanding this; tribal identity and ancestral legacy, historical, cultural and genetic. It is the sign of memory, nostalgia, sometimes regrets, and a longing to return to happy childhood haunts. Maybe a rock-pool.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Cancer’s famous subjects include Nelson Mandela.

Until next time 🙂

No Doom Today

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We have always had doom-mongers. We will always have them. Ahhh, shaddapp!!!

Someone give them a nice cuppa and a biscuit. We’ve all had enough doom-mongering.

Mind you, if only the Trojans had listened to Cassandra….

But doom is just another word for destiny or fate. Doom is destiny in a bad mood, having a bad hair day. And then the eternal chestnut is, can destiny be changed? Is it mutable?

The Fates of Greek Mythology were three weaving goddesses who assigned individual destinies at birth. Their names were Clotho who chose the yarn (the Spinner), Lachesis who allowed the length (the Allotter -and there’s a deadly venomous snake of the same name; a bushmaster if memory serves) and Atropos who cut the thread (the Inflexible).

Once they had decreed your fate even Zeus couldn’t do a thing about it.

The Fates of Norse mythology, the three Nornir lived at the well in Asgard (home of the Gods and Goddesses). Their names were Urd ‘What Once Was’, Verdandi ‘What Is Coming into Being’ and Skuld, ‘What Shall Be.’

They spent their time at the foot of the giant ash Yggdrasil the Tree of Life, the great World Tree, weaving the threads of fate of every living being into a web. They were the alarm clock for the gods, placing a rooster at the top of Yggdrasil to wake them up every morning, ready or not. Wakey WAKEYYYYY!

One pictures Odin, snorting, startled awake after a heavy night in the mead hall.

And then they would fetch water from Urd’s well, and give Yggdrasil a good watering to keep it green and healthy.

The Vikings believed the Norns were nearby whenever a  child was born. Women who had just given birth were fed a bowl of porridge,’Norn porridge’. The mothers would eat it on their behalf and hopefully, this vicarious treat would go down – well, a treat, and in return the Norns would be well-disposed, dishing out good health for the mother and the child.

But – significantly, the Norns, unlike the Fates, could be bargained with now and then to change ordained outcomes.

These days we may wonder about Fate, but in the modern west at least, worship more readily at the altar of free will as a defining mark of our ‘superior’ rationality.

This is good because it makes us responsible for the things we do, and stops us from doing horrific things to essentially harmless people just because we have decided they’re religiously unacceptable for whatever reason. I live in the land of the Pendle witches; desperately poor people hanged for witchcraft, but including one person far less poor, Alice Nutter; from a well-known Catholic family…when being Catholic wasn’t safe either, at the time.

So we don’t do that any more, and we separated Church and State. Good. No Blasphemy laws coming back again either please, ever, ever again. Under whatever aegis of tolerance of Islam or any other religion at all.

We can’t ever go ‘back there.’ Blasphemy laws light human bonfires.

But there is a drawback. This Enlightenment has had the unfortunate side-effect of over-promoting us, at least in our own imaginations, at the expense of all those tiresome gods of previous superstitious generations who knew no better, or so we may tell ourselves, and now we ourselves are the gods with the feet of clay.

Fate however is not about superstition, but is at its heart simply the recognition that we are a world in ourselves on the one hand, a microcosm in our own individual right, but also very tiny in the scheme of something older and bigger than our ability to comprehend, let alone perceive. The Hubble telescope is amazing, staggering in the things it has revealed to us…again, that great eye in the sky of the World card, but a thousand Hubble telescopes still can’t tell us…the meaning of X – The Unanswerable of Everything.

So what’s my question for my Tarot today? Or my preoccupation? Do I have one? I’m a little unsettled, a bit under the weather – a longstanding health issue- and I am somewhat procrastinating on another writing job. I know my own mood perfectly well, but I want to see what the bit of my mind that operates through the Tarot will make of it.

Tweeted today 22 May:


Katie-Ellen@TrueTarotTales· I ask #Tarot diagnose my question? I draw The World. Traditionally, completion but I’m seeing ‘eyes in the sky’, satellite technology (support of reefs and forests?) Feb-Apr 2021 may see global burnout of this pandemic chapter though widely easing 21 June+ IMG Ciro Marchetti

The World Card from The Legacy of the Divine Tarot by Ciro Marchetti

The World is a positive card. It is about a global vision, and suggests the successful completion of a cycle.

So, no, this is not ‘the big one’ as pandemics go, and we already know that.

It’s big all right. It’s bad and desperately sad. It’s a weird one, a real Frankenstein virus, born out of our own messy destruction of whatever we need and want, and also of whatever we don’t need or want.

This card is not a vision of doom for humankind though it contains warnings. Notice that the artist has placed him standing on an egg-timer, symbol of infinity? Look where the sands are.

We are too many and it’s not our ‘fault’. We’ve just been doing what we do as an animal, but if these projections manifest, these figures will not be sustainable, except at the cost of great changes to our individual lifestyles and freedom of movement.

The figure in the World card feels as if he can fly. And so he can, aided by his machines and now we have satellites, eyes and ears in the sky. He thinks he is master of the globe, but the sands have emptied out. The resources are not infinite, and actually, he has his arms out for balance.

The card is Major Arcana 21, suggesting the year 2021 for completion of the current pandemic cycle. Where is he looking? His eyes are fixed on a future point between the zodiac signs of Aquarius and Aries…suggesting late January-late April 2021 as the time-frame for the global easing of the situation as successive waves rise and fall, continent after continent, country after country.

I wonder if 2001 A Space Odyssey, Arthur C Clarke was actually a prophetic vision of 2100 AD, and the 21st century may prove a crunch time for humanity, the great turning point. We can’t grow to those numbers and keep our individual freedom of movement. We’re already now at the limit of our natural range, says the egg-timer.

But right now, his feet –my feet -are here in Britain, planted on that egg-timer of infinity, floating above Gemini and Cancer. We have just entered Gemini and we enter Cancer on the 20/21 June to leave it for Leo 22/23 July.

The release of lock-down has begun. For some this is too soon. For others, it is nearly not soon or fast enough.

The World card seems to imply that even if they have to put the brakes back on, it won’t be hard or won’t be for long.

Tweeted 21 May

Katie-Ellen@TrueTarotTales·#cartomancy ‘graph’. Risk of second wave of #covid19UK? Readers don’t ‘know.’ But what is shown? 10 Spades absent – good. Risk detected as 2/5, characterised as 2 short spikes rather than waves on a graph between now and June 20/21. Stay CAUTIOUS! Cards= 7S, 9C, Ace C, 2D, QH

Freedom or safety?

They are both illusions. Do we want to be protected or do we want independent agency? A degree of personal autonomy? Whatever we would rather choose for ourselves, nothing is for free. The birds sing because they must, or lose their territory, the food that it can deliver, and their mating rights. It’s life and death to them. Robins are liable to fight if they meet outside mating time, the male and female may even fight to the death. It’s all about territory, and erritory is all about access to resources.

This is our local Robin Goodfellow, waiting for his suet, because he is not stupid, and he has got staff working on the case. The science is survival but it’s also the miracle, the beauty and the charm; the way he wins our hearts.

I am not a fan of banning things, or pointing fingers, or being told what to do, or telling other people what they should be doing, but the World card says we came into this world. We are of it, no less deserving than any other living thing. But it is not ours.

The world is ours to live in, and to enjoy and to marvel at. We need to do what we need to, in order to live. We need to eat, we need our children to eat. Some long ago fellow wrote in the Bible that the Lord gave us dominion over the lot, and it caught on big-time, very convenient thing to believe while our numbers were small. But the world is not our oyster, we’re only sailing but not steering our mother-ship, Earth, which made the bones which built us, using what came from the stars.

Wherever we go, however far we go, the party isn’t somewhere else.

It’s all going on right here, right now.

Star Size Comparison

Until next time 🙂

Time to say ‘hi’ again to Gemini

We’re crossing into Gemini zodiac territory today, and will stay there until June 20/21.

We were born into a particular season. Children of that season. The symbology of the zodiac signs are all rooted in the seasons of Nature here on earth. The only sign not directly symbolic of a real, living thing is Libra, the Scales.

The sign of Gemini is airy Nature on the wing. Nestlings are fledging, baby waterfowl are on the swim; birds, bees and butterflies are foraging and cross-pollinating -the pollen too, is on the wing.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Gemini associations

Ruling planet: Mercury – ‘the word is out.’

Affirmation: ‘I think, I inquire.’

Birth Stone:  If born in May, Emerald. If born in June, Pearl (although it is not a stone, it is thought to be ruled by Mercury) Lucky stone Tiger’s Eye

Colour: Yellow

Tree: all kinds of nut trees

Flower: Lily of the Valley, Lavender

Tarot cards: Gemini has two cards associated with it: The Lovers (love, choices, decision-making) And The Magician. Most writers focus on the duality represented by the Lovers card, but today I’m going with another key aspect of Gemini, the mercurial Magician.

Astronomy

Gemini is a constellation in the northern sky, one of the constellations in the zodiac, the name for the area of the sky we see from Earth, including the apparent paths of the sun, moon and planets.

The Gemini constellation has been described by cultures since ancient times, with many different names and stories. It was listed as one of the 48 ancient constellations by Greek astronomer Ptolemy in the second century, though Ptolemy called the constellation The Star of Apollo (Castor) and The Star of Heracles (Pollux).

Gemini remains one of the 88 modern constellations defined by the International Astronomical Union (IAU). 

Gemini is the northernmost constellation in the zodiac, high in the winter sky in the northern hemisphere, the thirtieth largest in size.

Gemini Wiktionary.jpg
The constellation Gemini via Wiktionary gives its name to the sign of the zodiac

Gemini can be seen by the naked eye, looking north east of the constellation Orion between the Taurus and Cancer constellations. Best viewing is during February and during April and May you might see it by looking west soon after sunset, looking out for the two brightest stars, Castor and Pollux, representing the heads of the twins from Greek mythology, while fainter stars outline their bodies.

Pollux, the westerly twin, is a red giant star, 33 light-years from Earth while Castor is about 51 light-years away. A light-year is the distance that light travels in a year – 6 trillion miles/9.6 trillion kilometres.

Pollux is brighter, with a massive planet orbiting it, called Beta Genorium B, 1.6 times bigger than Jupiter. The other twin, Castor is actually not a single star, but a star system made of up six stars not visible to the naked eye.

Gemini-constellation-Hevelius.jpg
Public Domain – Gemini from Helvelius

Ancient History

The concept of twins in mythology goes back at least as far as the so-called Age of Gemini, during the Palaeolithic era, 6, 500 BCE, arising from our understanding of the duality fundamental to the nature of reality. There are male and female twins, standing for night and day, light and dark, heat and cold, male and female, war and peace, good and bad, life and death. Many creation myths reflect this eternal dynamic or battle of seeming opposites; a major theme across all cultures.

Gemini is Latin for “twins,” – the first sign of the western tropical zodiac that has a human representation rather than an animal one after Aries the Ram and Taurus the Bull.

Castor and Pollux

The names of the Gemini, the Heavenly Twins are Castor and Pollux.

Castor comes from the Greek Καστωρ (Kastor) and means “to excel, to shine.”  In Greek myth Castor was a son of Zeus and the twin brother of Pollux.

Pollux comes from the Roman form of Greek Πολυδευκης (Polydeukes) and means “very sweet.”

Gemini in late May and June brings us honey and strawberries.

Pollux and Helen were immortal, fathered by Zeus, while Castor and Clytemnestra were mortal, fathered by Tyndareus. The circumstances of their birth were unusual to say the least. Queen Leda of Sparta was seduced by Zeus, who had somehow disguised himself as a swan and when we say seduced, that is was putting it politely. He glided up preening while she was bathing and then pounced on her. Later that evening, and one can’t help wondering about this, given the trauma she’d just experienced, she also slept with her husband King Tyndareus and went on to produce four children; Castor, Pollux and their sisters Helen (later Helen of Troy) and Clytemnestra (later married to Agamemnon as queen of Mycenae.)

castor-pollux-porcelain.jpg
Public Domain; the young Castor and Pollux by Meissen

The mortal Castor was a renowned horseman and a master at fencing, while Pollux was known for his great strength and skill at boxing. They travelled with Jason on the Argo on the quest for the Golden Fleece (Aries)

But then Castor was killed in a quarrel, a disagreement over dividing the spoils after a cattle raid, and Pollux was distraught.  He didn’t want immortality, not if it meant being without his twin brother and he begged his father, Zeus, for help. Kill me, he said. Zeus said, er, give me time to think about this, son, and scratched his head, wondering how to fix it, and decided to place them both in the stars, to be together forever as the constellation Gemini.

The Greeks worshipped the twins as gods who helped shipwrecked sailors.

Later the Romans developed a cult around Castor and Pollux dating back to 484 B.C. A temple to the twins was built in the Roman Forum in 414 BC in thanks for their help in defeating the Latins; an old enemy, in the battle of Regillus. The Romans considered Castor and Pollux the patron gods of horses, and of the Roman mounted knights; the equites and Castor and Pollux appear on many early Roman coins.

Gemini in real life

The zodiac signs deal in archetypes, as do the 78 cards of a Tarot deck. Every person is a unique individual with a unique natal planetary profile, their sun sign, moon sign, rising sign etc but the natal sun sign sets the tone.

We are a product, expressive of the season in which we arrived.

The Magician card in the Tarot deck is the card of Number One, ‘me, myself and I’. It is associated with Mercury, planet of communications, trade, and commerce, which is the ruling planet of the zodiac sign of Gemini.

The Magician from the Legacy of the Divine Tarot, Ciro Marchetti

Gemini is ‘mercurial’, restless, intellectually agile but independent minded-  and like the Tarot’s Magician, does things his or her own way, whether or not this is necessarily a good idea.

Gemini often has a pleasing appearance; slender, well-proportioned and above average height, with neat features in an oval face. Classic Gemini subjects are lively, agile, sparkling, charming, chatty and inquisitive, though not easy to really get to know.

Gemini tends to change jobs more often than subjects of the other signs of the zodiac, and is better at starting new projects than finishing them, but can do very well in teams where new ideas, agility and a talent for networking are needed.

Gemini can sometimes seem superficial, or careless, even ruthless, dropping people and projects once they lose interest, which Gemini can do quite suddenly. But once committed, they are intensely loyal to their friends and loved ones. Gemini is mostly fairly peaceable, but it’s also brave. These subjects don’t shy away from saying what they think, and of course, they think plenty.

Until next time 🙂

Bringing in Beltane…Magical May Eve

Today, 30 April marks the beginning of May Day celebrations, ushering in the month of May, the festival begins at dusk on 30 April. These celebrations were, and to many are known as Beltane, and is matched by its celebratory European counterpart, Walpurgis Nacht or St Walpurga’s Night in Germanic tradition.

The month of May is named after the Greek goddess of spring and new abundance, Maia, (also called Flora) the oldest of the seven sisters known as the Pleiades. Maia was the mother of Hermes (Mercury.)

Flora, or Maia by Botticelli

The name ‘May’ has been used in English since about 1430. Before this time the name of this month was spelled Maius or Mai. The Anglo- Saxons called it Tri-Milchus because all that lush new grass meant cows could now be milked three times a day.

May Day has its roots in astronomy, celebrating the halfway arrival point (at least approximately) between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. It has been celebrated in the British Isles and through much of Europe as a fertility festival since the Dark Ages, and probably before that, with many stories and superstitions attached.

Like Halloween, May Eve and May Day is a magical time of year, liminal, when the veil between different worlds and realities is thinner than at other times of year.

This is a time for ghosts but this is also the time of year when folklore suggests you are most likely to meet a supernatural being from the realm of ‘faery.’

Such an encounter might be friendly, but probably it won’t be. Such encounters are dangerous and are best avoided – or you may never be seen again. Do not, whatever you do, go to sleep on a fairy hill at any time, but especially not on May Eve or May Day. Especially beware of going to sleep under hawthorn bushes.

Beltane

The two greatest Celtic festivals were Samhain (Halloween), marking the start of winter, and Beltane (April 30/May 1) marking the start of summer.

Beltane ‘the fires of Bel’ began as an ancient fire festival celebrated since at least the Dark Ages if not long before. The celebrations began at dusk on April 30th when great bonfires were lit to welcome the height of spring now associated with the zodiac sign of Taurus the Bull, representing the fertility of spring in full bloom.”Traditionally,” writes Glennie Kindred (in Sacred Celebrations), “all fires in the community were put out and a special fire was kindled for Beltane. This was the ‘balefire’ or the Teineigen, the ‘need fire.’

Bel or Belenus (Celtic: possibly, Bright One) was a deity associated with pastures, meadows and animal husbandry and other agriculture. He was a fire god rather than a sun god as such, though the sun was used as a common motif in religious imagery.

The cattle were walked between two bonfires in a symbolical purification ritual, to be protected by the smoke from Bel’s fire before being put out to the open pastures for the summer.  Bonfires were lit on sacred hills too, and the smoke was considered a magical blessing on the fields, animals, and community, and was also supposed to maintain a fragile balance, keeping up a smokescreen, literally, between the human and faery realms.

The Christian church made several attempts throughout history to ban May Day festivities because of its overtly pagan nature and “lewd” context as an open celebration of male and female sexuality and fertility ‘a heathenish vanity generally abused to superstition and wickedness.’ 

May Day meant drinking and fighting, another reason for the church’s disapproval, but this in itself harks back to the ancient traditions of the sacrifice of ‘The Green Man’ – a mythical figure representing the eternal battle waged between summer and winter, feast and famine. Many pubs in England are still named The Green Man.

In Padstow, Minehead and some other places in the UK, mischievous hobby-horses (‘osses) roamed and still do roam the streets in search of unsuspecting young ladies to ‘carry away’ for nefarious undisclosed purposes.

Image: Morris dancers with hobbyhorse up to no good, Richmond embankment,1620

Men disappointed in love would make straw men representing their rivals and stick them on bushes. These depictions were needless to say, often deeply unflattering, and fighting might well follow once they were discovered and identified and the maker was known.

May Day harks back to the ancient traditions of the sacrifice of ‘The Green Man’ – a mythical figure representing the eternal battle waged between summer and winter, feast and famine. Many pubs in England are still named The Green Man.

The Puritans banned it altogether under Oliver Cromwell but Charles 11 brought it back into custom after the Restoration.

Recorded evidence of Maypole Dancing goes back at least to the 14th century, the texts suggesting the custom was very old even then, although the dance as we know it today, so pretty and decorative, children dancing in village squares, is probably an innovation of the Victorians, rather than ancient tradition. The maypole is generally assumed to be a phallic symbol, but the Norse had another story for it, connecting it to ancient tree worship. This connects the British with the Germanic tradition and before that, a shared proto-germanic culture which is part of the common root culture in British life even today.

Walpurgis Night/Walpurga’s Night

In the Germanic tradition, Walpurgis Night, on April 30th, is a moon festival sacred to the goddess Freya.

“Walpurga” is another one of Freya’s names. The re-dedication of the holiday to “St. Walpurga” was a later Christian addition.

Freya (Old Norse, Freyja, and “Lady”) is one of the pre-eminent goddesses in Norse mythology, also known as Freyja or Frigg, but almost certainly the same deity. She was the goddess of love and beauty in Norse mythology, the goddess of marriage and family and a great prophetess – a seeress. She taught her husband Odin how to read the runes, and like Odin, had a darker aspect as a patron deity of war and death in battle.

Freya wears a cloak of falcon feathers and a magical gold necklace called Brísingamen, and rides in a chariot pulled by two cats with a sacred boar called Hildisvíni running alongside. The boar is not present in this picture, and the cats, it has been speculated, were two male kittens found by Thor. Their mother had abandoned them apparently and he took them and gave them to Freya. We understand the kittens were grey-blue in colour, and it has been speculated they may have been Russian Blues. I can’t be the only one who would like to know how Freya taught them to do this….but she was after all, a mightily knowing goddess, and clearly a cat whisperer extraordinaire.

The Maypole dancing which so upset the Church and especially the Puritans with its overt phallic symbolism, and the associated misbehaviour by the time the dancers had downed a few drinks, comes down to us from the rites of spring dedicated to Freya.

The maypole originally represented a living tree, in particular the giant ash tree Yggdrasil, the great “world tree” of Norse myth, linking the nine worlds of the Norse cosmology including Asgard, land of the gods, heavenly world, Midgard or the earth and Hel, the underworld.

“Ygg” means terrible. The image and Music below, suitably ominous, is shared with permission from composer Sam Marks. It was on this tree that Odin chose to hang nine days and nights, thirsty and fasting in exchange for the knowledge of the runes. The Norns sit beneath it and when every new person is born, carves their names into its bark…and with it, their destiny, although this can change. The Norns will allow us to rewrite it, unlike the destinies woven by the three Fates of Greek mythology.

Yggrasil Music by Sam Marks

British  May Day Folklore…bringing in the May

I washed my face in water

That had neither rained nor run

And then I dried it on a towel

That was never woven or spun

  • The rhyme suggests go out barefoot very early on May morning, wash your face in that magical dew (or late snow) Your complexion will instantly improve.  Let the wind and sunshine dry your face and you’ll have good luck all year. Well, you can if you want to….depending on the weather, very early morning this time of year can be utterly wonderful
  • Bringing in ‘the may’ is considered lucky, and means gathering cuttings of flowering trees for magical protection of the home. Bring in branches of forsythia, magnolia, lilac, or other flowering branches. Decorate the doorway to keep unfriendly fae and other spirits away.
  • Make garlands or decorate a basket or a ‘May bush’ with flowers and coloured ribbons. This would often be a hawthorn bush but it doesn’t have to be.
  • If you need to move a bee hive, May 1 is a traditional day for doing it, hopefully clement for the bees.
  • Turnips are traditionally planted on May 1. Plant now, lovely mashed turnip later. What are you waiting for?
  • Fishermen expect to get lucky with catch on May Day.
  • It’s a powerful day for spell-casting…any spells to do with bringing in health, wealth, and abundance. Light a red or pink candle for love or passion…but be careful what you wish for, and it is unlucky to try and take what is not rightfully available to you.
  • Traditionally less lucky is to get married in May. But not to panic if you’ve got the date already booked. The writer of this article was born May Eve, Beltane and got married in May – 28 years ago this May- and has had mixed luck in life like all of us, but so far is still married.

Until next time 🙂

Candle safety

Never leave a candle unattended

Snuff candles out with a spoon rather than blowing on them

Tea-lights can melt certain surfaces e.g., TV’s. Use heat resistant surfaces.

Light candles at a safe distance from curtains etc

Heat rises. Be careful of leaving candles on shelves with other shelves above them.

February, and a One-Card ‘Crystal Ball’ style reading

I am at pains to stress I don’t work as a fortune-teller. I work as an adviser, working to a brief, and I offer forecasting within a specific context, because otherwise, who am I reading for exactly? And I aim to deal in relevant specifics wherever possible.

Context is key for meaning, relevance and precision.

However, I also like to challenge myself. General ‘scrying’ of ‘the’ future, Nostradamus style, is part of a very ancient tradition, and I sometimes work with a well known astrologer, Jessica Adams, writing as a guest contributor for a monthly feature, Tarot Tuesday at JessicaaAdams.com.

The challenge is to pick just one card, and share my intuitive impressions triggered by this card for the coming month. But without benefit of any other context than this loose time frame. One or two other Tarot card readers also write up their one card readings for the month to come, and Jessica then correlates these Tarot findings with current astrology.

Artist Albert Anker 1880

My chosen card for this February 2020 was the Six of Swords.

Book meanings: relocation, progress, exploration, charting a new course, mourning, travel by water, self determination, east

From the Legacy of the Divine Tarot, Image by Ciro Marchetti.

Lick your finger, hold it up…what is the prevailing wind?

Winds are changeable of course, from day to day, even hour to hour, but still, it has been interesting for me as a reader, to correlate my previous one card ‘crystal ball’ readings with events of the ensuing month.

An earlier one card reading said ‘wild fire,’ (you can see previous readings via the link provided below) and it is still playing out, tragically; particularly the Australian wild fires, of which the first were actually in September, and now it is known that several of these were started deliberately.

These single card readings are actually drawn 2-3 weeks ahead of publication, so that I am drawing a card mid January for the first Tuesday in February, and mid February looking ahead to the first Tuesday in March and so on.

Logically, none of it ought to make any sense at all, unless by sheer coincidence. Except that isn’t how it works, when it works.

It works on animal sensing.

Click below to read February’s Tarot Tuesday feature, courtesy of Jessica Adams.

Tarot Tuesdays with psychic astrologer Jessica Adams

Until next time 🙂

A Robin’s Tarot Tale

A Christmas robin reading…..

True Tarot Tales

A real reading done for a robin, befitting the season.


Image: Public Domain

There are many depictions of animals and birds in the Tarot.  They form a great part of the human landscape physically, intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, and symbolically. If there’s a heaven, what would it be without them? I wouldn’t mind, personally if mosquitoes, maggots, deadly snakes and komodo dragons didn’t make it. Spiders would be all right as long as they were non-venomous and less than two inches in diameter. However, it’s not me in charge.

The  songbird traditionally most associated with Christmas, or to give the winter festival its older name,   Yuletide – is the robin redbreast. The cheeky, dumpy little European robin, Erithacus rubecula is a member of the flycatcher family.

Its preferred habitats are woodlands, hedgerows, parks and garden. Its staple diet is worms, seeds, fruits and insects. It will fight over sunflower seeds and it adores…

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The cosmic archer Sagittarius.

Most of us know our zodiac or sun sign, but what does it look like in the night sky, and what’s the story behind it? This month it’s the turn of Sagittarius.

Common associations

Symbol:

Date of Birth: Nov 22 to Dec 21

Ruling planet: Jupiter

Element: Fire

Key phrase:  I seek

Body: Thighs

Birth Stone: Topaz, Citrine, Turquoise 

Colour:  Light Blue

Tarot card:  Temperance

Temperance wiki rider waite.jpg

Public Domain:  Rider-Waite

The Astronomy

As with all of the Zodiac constellations, Sagittarius was recorded in the 2nd century by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy. The name is from the Latin for archer.

Sagittarius is a relatively large constellation which is mainly visible in the southern hemisphere. In the Northern hemisphere the constellation can be viewed low on the horizon from August to October. In the Southern hemisphere Sagittarius can be viewed from June to November. Star maps generally depict Sagittarius as a vaguely teapot-shaped star pattern or asterism.

Map sagittarius wiki.jpg

Sagittarius is near the centre of our spiral galaxy, the Milky Way. There is a massive star-forming region known as the Omega Nebula situated within its boundaries and Sagittarius is also home to the Pistol Star, one of the brightest stars, the fifth brightest discovered in the Milky Way. First discovered by the Hubble Space telescope in 1930, the Pistol Star is largely hidden in the dust of its own Pistol nebula, but is 100 times as massive as our Sun, and 10,000,000 times as bright.

Watch here for a mind-boggling representation of where the Pistol Star sits in the scale of size of stars in the Milky Way: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GoW8Tf7hTGA

The Myth

Sagittarius Celestial Atlas 1822.jpg

Public Domain: Celestial Atlas 1822

Sagittarius is the ninth sign in the Zodiac and represents those born between Nov. 22 and Dec. 21.

Greek myth saw Sagittarius the Archer shooting Scorpio the Scorpion, which had been sent to kill Orion the Hunter.

Sagittarius has long been mixed and confused with another centaur story, Chiron of the Centaurus constellation. Most interpretations conclude that Sagittarius refers to the the centaur, Chiron, who was accidentally shot by Hercules with a poison arrow.  

This story does indeed refer to a constellation myth, but it’s the myth behind Centaurus, a non-zodiac constellation, and not Sagittarius.

The myth behind Sagittarius probably refers instead to Krotos, a satyr who lived on Mount Helicon with the Muses. Krotos or Crotus was the son of Pan and Eupheme, and his mother had nursed the Muses.

Krotos was renowned for being both an excellent hunter, horse rider and a devoted adherent of the Muses and their arts. He is credited with having invented archery and being the first to use illumination for hunting animals. He is also said to have introduced applause, and used to clap his hands at the singing of the Muses, for whom this was a sign of acclaim preferable to any verbal ones. It was the Muses who asked Zeus to place him among the stars, which he did, transforming Krotos into the constellation Sagittarius.

Satyrs have human heads and torsos with two goat legs (and sometimes horns). Centaurs have four but the accounts and depictions of Krotos vary. But all the same, he was often depicted with four legs, as the excellent horseman he was.

The Astrology

Sagittarius is the ninth sign in the Zodiac and represents those born between Nov. 22 and Dec. 21. The archer is seen as a bridge between elements and worlds. The life lesson is seen as Temperance, as pictured in the Tarot card associated with this sign. The message is all to do with the quiet but enormous power of moderation, the art of expert timing, and also self-control, avoiding extremes and addictive behaviours.

The Astrological Personality

There is no such thing in reality as THE Sagittarius personality and the same goes for all the zodiac sun signs. Your sun sign is an archetype, a keynote but of course it is not and never could be the whole story.

The archetype of Sagittarius is brave, lively, warm, optimistic, rational and insightful. Sagittarius zodiac sign subjects need constant adventures and opportunities to grow to remain interested. Freedom is of the utmost importance to them, space and plenty of room for manoeuvre. Likewise they tend also to give lots of freedom to their partners.

They are generally very capable people but they need career flexibility, and they may refuse or fail to apply themselves if bored.  Like Gemini, they are prone to restlessness. They may then fail to stick at a job or a succession of jobs, and may struggle financially in consequence.

They tend to have lots of friends, and family and friends can feel neglected at times when Sagittarius goes go off and travels and shares experiences with strangers, but Sagittarians will always come home.

Next time, the cosmic goat Capricorn…