Summer Solstice, Reincarnation & The Sun card

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We are coming ‘home’ again, entering the zodiac sign of Cancer the Crab on Tuesday 21 June, the day of the summer solstice, the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, and the shortest day in the southern hemisphere.

The word ‘sol –stice’ is from the Latin ‘solstitium’ and means the ‘sun stands still.’

The month of June has got a lot going on, calendar-wise. We have got:-

-The meteorological start of summer (1 June)

-The astronomical start of summer, the solstice (20, 21 or 22 June)

-Midsummers Day (24 June.)

Meteorological or Astronomical Summer?

What does it mean?

Public Domain The British Library

The meteorological calendar is a more recent invention based on seasonal temperatures, separating the year into four groups of three months, based on the observation that summer is the warmest time of year and winter is the coldest, with transitional seasons in- between. These seasons are always 90 to 92 days long, and always start on the first of the month except for leap year. This definition makes it easier to calculate seasonal statistics for the purposes of weather forecasting.

The astronomical calendar is ancient, based on thousands of years of observations of natural phenomena used to establish and mark time. This calendar follows the Earth’s rotation around the sun, defining the four seasons by two solstices and two equinoxes. The Earth’s tilt and the sun’s alignment over the equator determine these events, so the two solstices mark the times when the sun passes over the equator, on June 21 and around December 22 and the two equinoxes are on or around March 21 and September 22.  

At the summer solstice, the Northern Hemisphere receives sunlight at the most direct angle of the year with the North Pole tilting towards the Sun at its maximum  (about 23.5 degrees) resulting in the longest period of sunlight hours.  In the Southern Hemisphere, it’s the opposite and the Sun is at its lowest point in the sky.

Astronomical timing is variable, depending upon when the Sun reaches its northernmost point from the celestial equator, and this date varies between June 20, 21, and 22.

Midsummer’s Day, 24 June is an ancient agricultural festivalIt marks the midpoint of the growing season, halfway between planting and harvest. It is traditionally known as one of four “quarter days” in some cultures. Folks celebrated by feasting, dancing, singing, and lighting bonfires to usher in the hot summer days ahead where once the mighty auroch roamed and the prowling sabre tooth tiger crouched low, watching and waiting in hope.

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Every summer solstice in the UK, as many as 10,000 people arrive at Stonehenge for a pagan style summer solstice festival on British shores, complete with druids. The main event is sunrise, when the first rays of the sun strike the gigantic Heel Stone and illuminate the centre of the stone circle, and people are allowed to touch the stones- a rare opportunity, and the only day of the year they are permitted to do so.

The Tarot and the Sun card

The Sun card is the ultimate summer card in the Tarot deck; number 19 in the Major Arcana. This positive card signifies all kinds of good news, starting with sunny weather in the literal sense, and overseas travel, usually to a hot country. It is our moments in the sun. It is the state of childhood. It is good health or recovery from sickness. The Sun card is vitality, just as the sun is life itself. The Sun card can therefore be predicting new life- a birth.

The Sun card, when it is drawn reversed is like the setting sun. It can mean the memories of childhood, nostalgia, beautiful, bittersweet twilight. It may mean sadness or delays or getting less than you hoped for.

Every card has its downside, just like every situation in life. The fire of the sun can also be cruel, even savage when ‘reversed.’ We might have drought. We might have wildfires. And then the Sun means death and we pray for rain.

The Sun gods can be cruel; Ra, Arinna, Surya, Mithras, Helios, Apollo, Sol – by whatever name we have called the Sun.

Reincarnation and The Sun card?

As the sign of the Sun’s highest point in the skies as seen from Earth, the constellation of Cancer the Crab was considered nearest to the highest point of heaven. Greco-Roman philosophers (The NeoPlatonists) called it ‘the Gate of Men.’

Decapoda, the Head of The Crab, Acubens, The Claw, Al Tarf, the Foot.

The stars of Cancer, specifically The Beehive Cluster, were the gateway, the portal in the heavens through which  souls descended to Earth to be born.  

Thee Beehive Cluster also known as Prasaepe, THE MANGER

The opposite constellation, Capricorn, marked the midwinter solstice and was the ‘Gate of the Gods,’ where the souls of the departed rose back to heaven. 

But did they later descend again to be reborn, in a cycle of reincarnation?

A true story

From The Golden Tarot, Kat Black

I have sometimes been asked, do I believe in reincarnation? I don’t believe in it. I don’t disbelieve in it. I don’t know. But many people do believe in reincarnation around the world. The Hindu and Buddhist faiths believe in reincarnation, while Easter is the great Christian celebration of Resurrection, signifying the hope of the soul’s eternal life.

Nature is cyclical. The seasons run in cycles and life runs in cycles. Our lives only seem linear because they represent such a short piece of a curve. Perhaps it is only logical and natural that some will see human life as cyclical too, not only in terms of successive generations, but in terms of the individual persona, spirit or soul as something that is continuously recycled.

As the American poet Emily Dickinson famously wrote, ‘the mind has many corridors.’

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Many years ago I did a distance Tarot reading by email for a young lady who wanted to know, was her brother OK?  This struck me as a strange question. I asked her, what did she want me to investigate that she could not ask him herself?

The lady answered that her brother was dead, and that he had committed suicide. She did not tell me more, nor did I ask about the circumstances, but as one would expect there was great distress attached to her questions:

-Where was her brother now?

-How was he now?

I do not advertise as a psychic medium. Not at all. Nor did I agree to accept payment for this particular reading and am not handling new readings just at present. But I have, all the same, over the past twenty years done a number of Tarot card readings which have been focused on client’s questions about deceased loved ones, when the Tarot has facilitated me in offering feedback which only the client could verify, and there have been some deeply curious and strange, and equally, deeply moving responses.

Now, looking at this lady’s brother, wondering what on Earth the Tarot would make of this. I drew the Sun card, the card of sunshine, happiness, innocence, childhood. Birth.

The Sun is life itself. If our planet were closer to the Sun, or further away, there would be no life on Earth. People like to post images of Earth to make the point that we are tiny and insignificant. I think those images from space, the photographs taken by Cassini from Saturn, showing Earth as a teeny white dot make the exact opposite point; illustrating the enormity of the miracle that was the sweet spot of a ball of rock exactly the ‘right’ distance from the Sun.

But where was this young lady’s brother? Some would say, perfectly reasonably, that the question was nonsensical. That he was gone. That he was nowhere or that he was in the grave.

But it wasn’t them she was asking. It was my Tarot she was asking.

It is hard to describe, but as you look deeper into a card, a door opens in the mind, or in the imagination if you wish to classify it as that. The brain wave activity has switched from conscious, intellectual, beta state wavelength to a more meditative alpha state wavelength.

I gazed into the Sun card and it suggested to me that ‘wherever’ her brother was, ‘whatever’ he was, he was like a child again, sometimes awake, sometimes asleep. I received the strong impression- there is no other word for it- that he did not remember his death. Not at all, or whatever it was that drove him to it. 

He was a little boy again. And then I was struck with another sudden but vivid impression. I saw him kicking about, splashing in a puddle. He had his back turned on the Earth. He was neither bored, nor sad nor lonely, simply quietly, happily preoccupied.

He had forgotten how he died. He did not remember whatever it was, however it had been for him, what it had felt like, being him in his life, that had driven him to such a point of nihilism.

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If her brother had any memories or consciousness surviving death- if that could be possible, then this was his afterlife, all trauma forgotten.

It may simply have been telepathy, and I was picking up on the lady’s own memories of her brother. I had never met her

But then, and again this was prompted by The Sun card, I told the lady that she would soon be hearing news of a new baby on the way. This was probably a birth within the immediate family, and whether it was a boy or girl, the Tarot was suggesting the possibility, however bizarre, that it was the soul of her brother being reborn. Or that he could be reborn, when he was ready. The Sun card said that her brother would be returning soon, whether or not the coming baby was her brother returning again (down through the Gates of Men)

Some souls, it is said, wait many centuries before they are ready to get in the queue again. Others wait decades. Others only months. Time means nothing to them. It is when they feel ready. Just that.

Stanley Kubrick was a visionary. A seer.

The Star Child, Space Odyssey, Stanley Kubrick

Has someone been here before? This is not a thing that can ever be known, and in this instance, the coming baby was his or her own unique self.  Each birth is unique. And if we are reborn, we are not clones or carbon copies of the person we were before. The soul needs free of old burdens.

I once had a small experience that has sometimes made me wonder. I was in the kitchen, stirring a pan when suddenly the kitchen changed around me. I was now standing in a very different kitchen with white walls, a stone floor, a high ceiling. It was simple, a few notches above basic, an urban kind of rustic, not rural. There was an open door to my left, with an evening light sunshine streaming in at a low angle, and I knew that the door led down a set of steep stone steps to a small, rather dark cobbled courtyard. I was not anxious but I was starting to wonder where Pietro was, and when he would be arriving home. I know no such person as ‘Pietro.’

A vision. A day dream? An hallucination? Of course. It could have been anything or nothing. It has only ever happened that one time.

I sent off the lady’s email reading and three weeks later received an email in reply, telling me among other things that her sister had just found out she was expecting a baby and was about six weeks pregnant. Wouldn’t it be something, she joked, if she was going to be her brother’s auntie this time around?

Again, this story is easily explained away as a co-incidence. But if nothing else, the Tarot was proven absolutely correct in predicting the imminent news of a new birth in the family.

I would like to think the Tarot’s vision offered this lady and her family some kind of comfort, however peculiar, for a truly terrible grief. Some griefs are more natural to be borne than others. Not all griefs are equally terrible.

“There are more things in heaven and earth Horatio, than are dreamed of in your philosophy”-Hamlet, Shakespeare.

Indeed, Mr Shakespeare.

There are many documented stories of people claiming that they have lived another life before this one; some so detailed, that it does at least offer food for thought.

Till next time 🙂

Stories here:

The Sun card, Reincarnation and the old Norse 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.

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