The Sun card, Reincarnation and a Rune of resurrection

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Nothing new under the sun? Someone once asked me, did I believe in reincarnation? Well, of course, plenty of people do, around the world. Easter is the great Christian celebration of Resurrection, when Jesus Christ, Yeshua Ben Joseph, was said to have risen from the tomb on the third day following his barbaric crucifixion, signifying the hope of the soul’s eternity for all mankind.

Let’s consider The Yew, Taxus Baccata. The Yew tree is widely viewed as a symbol of resurrection.  Why is that? Its branches grow down into the ground to form new stems, which then rise up around the old central growth as separate but linked trunks. After a time, they cannot be distinguished from the original tree.

It is susceptible to death by damage or disease but has been described as the the one living thing on Earth that could, at least in theory, however hypothetically, live indefinitely.  It’s thought that there are English yews 4000 years old. Hence its popularity in graveyards, as a symbol of resurrection on Judgement Day.

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The old Norse rune Eiwaz represents the yew, and its numinous capacity for regeneration. For this reason, it is considered a good omen for recovery if someone is ill.

Eiwaz

The Memory is supple as the Yew, the Mind as mysterious and it can play strange tricks.

Some years ago, stirring a pan, standing by the stove, I had an oddly vivid experience, a flashback, and I was standing in an entirely different kitchen, sparse, white painted, with a high ceiling and a door to my left. There was sunlight coming in at the open door from which I knew there was a flight of steep, narrow steps leading down to a courtyard, and I was wondering where ‘Pietro’ had got to, and why he was not home yet. I knew this unknown faceless personage Pietro was a husband. NB The name of the present Il Matrimonio  is not Pietro or remotely Peter-ish. 

Could this have been an ancestral memory? I am Anglo-Irish-Scottish. Not Italian. A vivid daydream then. A snapshot. A picture from a book maybe, or a film? Possibly. I had never had this particular vision or experience before, and have not had it again, but I ‘knew’ at the time, that I was in Siena.

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I have to say, I don’t welcome the idea of coming back once I am done and out of here. I’m not keen on the idea of reincarnation, except as recycled material. Life on Earth is 4.5 billion years old, and we are just the current manifestations of it. If Earth is a closed system, in the sense that material may enter through the atmosphere but not leave it, then in that sense, it may seem unscientific NOT to believe in reincarnation, if only in the sense of particle recycling.

But what if particles could retain impressions, memories? Like those stories of people who have heart transplants, and later develop new tastes, and behaviours, subsequently discovered to have been part of the donor’s personality? You don’t have to look far to come across such stories and make up your own minds. Urban legends? A degree of skepticism is sensible and healthy, except when it is of the howling variety, and I heartily mistrust pronouncements on what may not be possible.

I don’t personally welcome the idea of repeating the human experience, and this is not meant as a complaint. I am pretty sure of this much though. Whatever happens, it won’t be my choice.

I first began to study the Tarot at least partly as an effort to make sense of some deeply strange experiences, downright freaky, a few of them, after which it seemed more plausible to me that our consciousness is not extinguished at the time of bodily death. Death is a process, not an event. The brain is not the mind. Our departure from our home in the body is a process that can take days. The tradition of the Wake was a wise one.

I know a lady near me who runs a care home, and when a resident dies she opens the windows, not only for obvious practical reasons, to keep the room cool and fresh, but to help the newly departed soul on its way to wherever it wants to go.

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Some years ago I received a request for an email reading, a young lady who wanted to know, was her brother OK? I asked what exactly did she want me to investigate that she could not ask him herself, and she said he was dead. He had committed suicide. She did not tell me more, nor did I ask about the circumstances.

Her questions were:

Where was he now?

How was he now?

A lot of my work is directed at immediately practical matters, home, work, business, money, relationships, family. I do not work as a medium, not at all, but I had previously done other readings focused on deceased loved ones, on occasion with some very surprising feedback.

I sat down to think about this and among other cards, was particularly struck by an appearance of the Sun card from The Golden Tarot, Kat Black.

From The Golden Tarot, Kat Black

The Sun card is life itself, travel, children, health and happiness, success, moments in the sun.

This is a card of innocence and animals. Things in their natural state. You can see this for yourself, looking at this card from The Golden Tarot and in the Rider-Waite decks. In some other decks, those meanings are not necessarily so clear.

The Sun card is a card of birth.

The appearance of this card in particular suggested to me that wherever he was, whatever he was, he was like a child again, sometimes awake, sometimes asleep. He didn’t remember his death, not at all, or the events that drove him to it.

Bless his soul. He was a little boy again. In my mind’s eye, I saw him kicking about in a puddle, not idly kicking, bored, not fed up, but happily, quietly preoccupied. If he had any memories, if he had a consciousness surviving death, if that could be possible, then this was his afterlife.

News of a birth was coming soon, I told the young lady, based on this Sun card. This was a birth close by, probably within the family, and whether it was a boy or girl, the Tarot was suggesting the possibility, however bizarre, that it was her brother being reborn.

Three weeks later I received an email from this young lady, very happy and excited, to say her sister was expecting a baby. Wouldn’t it be weird, she joked, if she was going to be her brother’s auntie this time around?

The returning Star Child from the ending of 2001: A Space Odyssey

I would like to think the Tarot’s vision offered this young lady some kind of comfort, however peculiar, for a truly terrible grief, and hope for her brother’s peace. Because not all griefs are equal. Some deaths, as with untimely or violent deaths by suicide or murder, are harder to bear for those who mourn than others.

Reincarnation? I can see it in the genetic sense of the word. Or perhaps I mean epigenetics, and a kind of acquired cell memory. I went through a brief spell at one time of wanting a cup of hot chocolate at night. Not cocoa made with milk in the pan. This was made with water like making an instant coffee, drunk with two cream crackers and a bit of Lancashire cheese. I mentioned this to my mother and she said that was what her father Alfred, my maternal grandfather, always had for supper.

I never knew my grandfather, he died before I was born, of lung cancer, but we share the same birthday. He was a well-known museum curator, who like so many others, took a lengthy leave of absence to serve in the Navy during the war. I worked a short time in Museums after graduating.

Maybe he wanted to send my mother a message, and that was why I wanted his supper. I joked to her that maybe he wanted to say sorry, as he wasn’t always the nicest father he could have been, but she didn’t think that would have been in character.

But where did that very specific temporary new habit come from, I wonder.

Until next time 🙂

Video presentation is a discussion of children’s experiences suggestive of the possibilities of reincarnation with Dr Jim Tucker at the University of Virginia.

The Tarot, the Magician and a story of Odin

From The Gilded Tarot, Ciro Marchetti

The Tarot card of Wednesday or Wodens/Odins Day is The Magician, Major Arcana 1.

The Magician’s ruler is the planet Mercury, symbolic of communications, diplomacy, travel trade and commerce like Hermes, the Greek Messenger of the Gods.

The Magician can be slippery in the extreme. His other face is The Trickster, his shadow is Loki. If the card is drawn upside down, be careful what you are doing here. Watch this one.

He signifies self-command. ‘Me, Myself, I.’

The elder Norse rune associated with Odin and The Magician, is ANSUZ meaning wise counsel – ‘one of the Aesir’. It is from this same language root we derive the modern word ANSWER. It is the rune of teachers, counsellors, writers, actors, broadcasters and other public speakers. In magical work, you would use this talisman as an aid for exams, interviews, vivas, auditions,public speaking and so on. Draw it, say its name, keep it on a piece of paper nearby or on your person.

From Wikipedia

At one with the elements, he is The Mage. Mastery of skill. Timing. This is an excellent card if one is job hunting, starting a new venture, or hoping to meet someone new romantically. Generally male in readings but a female may embody the Magician. Anyone who is operating at the top of their game is The Magician.

He is agile, like Gemini, endlessly curious and inquiring, restless, potentially ruthless in the pursuit of his aims. But unlike The Emperor, who must engage with organisation, this is ultimately a cat who walks alone, or is ready to at any time.

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The Out-Walker

He stood in outline, stark against the sky, a shadow shape, and where he appeared, the ravens followed; always two of them, wheeling above him or perching on his shoulders, and people whispered they could only be Huginn and Muninn, twin pets and scouts of Odin the All-Father, Grimnir of the One Eye, the other traded with Mimir, the wisest of the Aesir, in exchange for the knowledge of All Things.

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But what did Odin want?

What could any living person offer Odin that he hadn’t long ago surrendered by his own choice in exchange for that knowledge, hanging nine days and nights on the great Ash tree, the world tree, Yggdrasil?

Only their bloody deaths in battle could please him, the songs said, and so the people thought, and the wives and mothers shuddered at these sightings.

They could not know he meant no war, he planned no war and he scented no spillage of blood. Not at this time. Not in this place. Everyone fell silent when the word passed. 

He has been here again.

Beneath the alder, Odin stood, cloaked against the east wind, breathing in the sights and sounds and smells, drawing them in deep, knowing himself an object of terror. But he could not stay away, craving company, thee warmth of their smoking hearth fires and their songs and stories, music; the smells of their cooking; roasting meats, smoked fishes, things savoured all the more by the mortal folk, heightened in their knowledge, that what was left of their lives could be reckoned in mere years, months, hours or even minutes.

The ravens were his pride and joy, his precious ones.

He craved the things he could not have; rough jests with other men, their goodfellowship. Even the fights, though he would always win, and he longed to lose, even just once, to know what it felt like, a knowledge denied him, that even Mimir could not trade. A stout infant to pull on his beard as it bounced on his knee, squealing to the beat of all the old rhymes. A snuffling dog to run with him after rabbits, or lie scratching its fleas or snore at his feet. A woman to laugh with, lie with, warm in bed, and she could even scold him- if she dared.

Valhalla was Valhalla, and the village, the village. Warriors sang of glory and Valhalla, their highest desire and greatest dread. They dreamed of immortality.

But when Odin grew weary of books and battle, of wayfaring, of roads and ships under wheeling stars, he dreamed of the alder on the rise, and wondered what it must be, to dream of a god. To have a god to call on.

He dreamed, and then he was there again.

KEH 2021

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The High Priestess: Hathor, and Hecate, goddess of ghosts…

From The Legacy of The Divine Tarot

In the language of the Tarot the High Priestess may simply mean ‘a woman’, just as The Magician may simply signify ‘a man’.

The High Priestess corresponds with Monday as a day of the week. The reader may of course also correlate the Moon card with a Monday, but should be aware of The High Priestess connection, not to miss out on a potential clue in a reading.

The Moon card additionally correlates with the zodiac sign of Pisces, and in terms of timing of events may be suggesting dates late February- late March.

The High Priestess may be a scholar, and/or something of a witch. She may be a reader, an artist in any medium, a writer and a teacher. She may be a herbalist or hedge-witch, a midwife or a doctor. She may be in any line of work at all, but whatever she does, yes, she studies – hence the scroll in her hand- yes, she learns from others, but above all she learns from herself, and she is ready to talk in silence, like her masculine counterpart, The Hermit, and to walk and work alone.

She is recognized by HOW she does things, rather than necessarily what she does. She may be single, but even if she is married and a devoted family woman, there is always the sense that she has her own domain, separate, not shutting others off, but hers to rule.

The light is cool, silvery, remote at times though not cold.

You can see in this card various mythological references: the pomegranate of Persephone, as she wanders alone between the World and and the Underworld, and the cow horns of Hathor, goddess of the sky, of beauty, fertility, music and joy.

You see the Owl of Hekate, daughter of Zeus and Asteria, the triple goddess of ghosts. She is identified with the Crone and the waning Moon. She is the keeper of the dead, of boundaries and of the crossroads, purveyor of poison, but kindly to the broken, kindly to Demeter when Persephone was abducted. Hekate herself is no mother, but also took pity on the tragic mother Hecuba, queen of Troy, after Hecuba’s death by suicide,jumping overboard the Greek ship that was taking her into slavery after the fall of Troy and the deaths of so many of her children. Hecuba had suffered more than anyone could bear. Hekate, seeing this, rescued her soul with the gift of forgetting and transformed her into a hound which she keeps safely at her side at all times.

The Triple Hekate, William Blake

The owl as a totem animal is strongly associated with the intellectual warrior goddess Athena but hers was a Little Owl. Hekate’s totem animal is a Barn Owl, aka screech owl.

This owl is also associated with Welsh mythology, the Mabinogion, and the legend of a magical woman who was turned into an owl; a story which featured in a famous novel by Alan Garner, The Owl Service.

The Owl Service-

Garner was fascinated by the love triangle of Lleu Llaw Gyffes (the man cursed never to have a wife on this earth), Blodeuwedd (the woman who was magically made out of flowers for him) and Gronw Pebyr (her lover). In the Welsh tale, Blodeuwedd conspires with her lover Gronw to kill her husband Lleu, but Lleu escapes his murder, turns into an eagle and flies away, eventually to be restored to life by the magician Gwydion. Blodeuwedd’s punishment is to be turned into an owl, while Gronw is killed by Lleu with a spear that passes through him and pierces a stone”.

Source: Times Literary Supplement

The High Priestess wears a headdress refers to the sacred Bull cult of Apis, corresponding with the material sign of Taurus, which is also associated with Hathor, the cosmic cow which carried the weight of the whole world.

The element of Earth is no less ‘spiritual’ than Fire, Water or Air.

When The High Priestess is drawn reversed in a reading, a female (though not necessarily female) enquirer may be feeling unhappy and lonely. If it refers to a woman in the enquirer’s close environment, this card may be picking up on a female friend where there has been a distancing or a disagreement, or this other woman is not after all a true friend. Be careful who you trust is the warning of the High Priestess.

Anyone who sees you as a competitor can never become a true and trusted friend. What they want in life, you cannot give to them, even if you wanted to, any more than a cow could simply shed its horns. But whatever they may want for you or from you, is, ultimately, not motivated by goodwill.

The High Priestess is watchful, and under no illusions as to whether someone is friend, foe, neutral or indifferent. But she knows it takes all sorts. She doesn’t take it personally.

In this respect, the shrine or sanctuary of The High Priestess corresponds with an old Norse rune called Perthro or Perdhro, meaning secrets, cup, chalice, sanctuary or paddock.

People meet on the road, or on the bridge, or on the strand between the shore and the sea, but, like The Hermit, the High Priestess accepts solitude as the price of learning, the sanctum she serves….whatever that sanctum may mean in reality; a home, a job, a business or a creative endeavour, or a cause dear to her heart….

People are quick to commiserate with bad news. But the real test, the acid test of a friendship is, when a friend also truly, sincerely rejoices in your good news.

The Watcher by The Well of Wyrd

Circe by Waterhouse

She works alone with words and stones,
Disposing glyphs on graven runes,
Wyrd runs water; she must deal,
In whisperings and Fates unsealed,
Winds of fortune shape and shatter,
Time, disposing of all matters,
Is Serpentine, the ouroboros,
Endless, rolling, still coils sinuous.

Till next time 🙂