My clients sometimes seem to have difficulty believing it – seeing me, I imagine, as a Light Being or a visitor from the nether regions of the aether, but I was born. It was somewhere in Kansas thirty-seven years ago, … Continue reading
Yesterday the message predicted by my Grand Ellessia Tarot arrived. Not in a teapot as I expected, nor brought by a child, but by way of our lovely postman, whose very life I fear for, as he turns up on these bitterly cold mornings dressed in shorts and T shirt, laughing when I voice concerns for his welfare and saying that if he had a pound for every time someone asks if he’s not cold he’d be able to retire early.
Among the enquiries about tarot readings (happily many of my clients still write letters, as I’d miss the daily male who delivers them), I found a red envelope with what seemed like familiar handwriting on the outside. It had been redirected three times, so I’d have supposed I was lucky it arrived at all, except that when I realised it was what I’d been waiting for I knew it had been destined to get here safely.
I tore open the envelope and removed the card. A tarot hermit in Yule colours holds his lamp aloft. Inside was a photograph of three small people in scarves and bobble hats feeding carrots to goats and alpacas in a familiar orchard. Not one child then, but three. I could almost hear them shouting Happy Yule. Sure enough that was the message on the card, but there was more. A letter, on lined paper.
Dearest Aisselle, (it read). I hope you like the photo. The tallest is Andromeda, our eldest, who’s five and a half. The two smaller ones are the twins, Ludo and Sibyl, who are three. Joel and I hope you and Jay are both well, as we and all the animals are. We have been thinking about you and would dearly love to see you again, you have been sorely missed . We’re planning a family Yule – Henna is here and it’s almost like the old times (she’s jumping on the bed even as I write this), but it wouldn’t be complete without you. Do please come. The thought came to me that you might be tired of wandering and ready to settle down at last, so if you wanted to make this your home again we’d be very very happy.
Joel sends his love. He has kept up the tarot reading and now has a few regular clients, but looking after the animals keeps us both busy so there’s lots to do and you wouldn’t be bored. This is your home too – do please come…!
Lots and lots of love,
I sighed deeply. Destiny, Fate, call it what you will, there’s no fighting it. I wondered about Henna. Is she just visiting or is she now a permanent fixture at the old place? She sounds as if she’s in fairly good health as she’s still jumping on beds. Joel and Georgina must have abandoned their Minette and George personas for the time being. It is as well to know how things are before we set off and it will be good to see them and all the animals again. I called Jay and we began to collect our few possessions together and pack them into the van. We’ll say farewell to Heth and Tea this evening, have an early night and set off at first light tomorrow. Wish us luck.
Today I have Something Wonderful to impart – Hermaphroditey has returned. Early, early this morning I heard a knocking on the little door of the van and rose to find – no, Dear Reader, not Hermaphroditey (She came later, and anyway has no need to knock, as doors present no obstacles to Goddesses or Spirit Guides) – but the lovely postman bearing about his person the very first printing of my Grand Ellessia Tarot!
I decided there and then to perform a reading for myself, Jay, Leon and Pie concerning our future, and to abide by the words of the cards, which I felt sure would be profound and full of wisdom.
I opened the parcel with trembling fingers, fearful of finding printing flaws after my many years of work, but all was well. I was so relieved that I had to sit down and ask dear Jay to make me a pot of chamomile tea before I returned to those precious images for a long, slow perusal.
Later, relaxed and clear-headed after a short meditation, I sat at the small folding table by the little stove with the cards. I had spread the blue cloth and shuffled well, concentrating on my question. Now I was ready to lay the cards that would determine our future. As I drew the first three cards a familiar soft humming – like one of those strange gravity-defying toys that spin on a string held between two people – grew slowly louder until it seemed to fill the air all around me. I looked up from my as-yet unrevealed cards to see dear Hermaphroditey revolving slowly in the air just above the bed.
I breathed out a sigh of relief with a silent promise never to take my personal Spirit Guide for granted again, but if She heard or understood She made no sign, so I turned the first card.
The Page of Teapots: A message is on its way, possibly through water in a sealed and waterproof teapot. The water signifies that deep emotions will be stirred and the young person riding the teapot suggests that the message will be brought by a child or perhaps be about one.
The next card I turned was the Eight of Teapots. Yours Truly is getting on a bus. I am carrying a small suitcase. I felt suddenly unwell – this would not do – I cannot leave alone – our small family must stay together. Happily though, at this point Hermaphrodity silently informed me that the symbolism need not be taken quite so literally. Yes, I would leave, but there was no need to go alone.
I turned the last of the three cards. It was the Six of Tinfoil Hats. This is the card I created as a bittersweet memory of leaving the old place, but it was upside-down! This could mean only one thing – I, we, must return.
Now all I have to do is wait patiently for the message in a teapot (or not in a teapot, as the case may be). Which reminds me of Tea and Heth. I have seen her almost every day in passing, but she still seems to be avoiding me. I believe she must have moved in with Heth and is afraid to tell me directly, but nothing matters now we will be leaving except the welfare of the goats, and I know they will be well looked after if Tea is here.
I drew one more card from my Grand Ellessia Tarot, silently asking what the outcome will be.
Here it is – The Happy Goat – and it answers my question perfectly.
All that remains is a prayer for patience…
I am nearing completion of the cards for my Grand Ellessia Tarot, so I thought I’d post two this week – two lovely Knights. Of the Court Cards, I think the Knights are my favourites. I believe it’s something to do with being on a quest – I can identify so easily with this idea, as I have been on one all my life.
My quest, quite simply, is to find myself and then to be it. I’ve written a little about my childhood on this, my very own blog, and I believe I could have found myself at a very young age had not my witchy mother decided that I was something other and made an effort to remould me into the child she wanted – a son to replace the one she gave away rather than a daughter. Yet if ever I managed to cut a few of the strings that bound us, or if she left me with Grannie and disappeared with one or other of the uncles, she had this disturbing tendency to reappear later, just when I thought I was safe, and tie a few of the strings together again.
Things changed when I met Jay, who not only allows but encourages me to be myself, but he has never quite understood my feelings towards Henna as he sees her in a different light from myself and seems very fond of her. But I am wandering from the Knights.
The Knight of Certificates reminds me of my own quest to gain one of these elusive documents in order to pursue my chosen career as a Tarot Reader and imparter of Spiritual Tarot Insights. As I have written about this before I will not bother to do so again; it must suffice to say that the Knight on this card with his helmet on fire, riding his strange beast through the stony, dusty desert and holding his as-yet-unsigned certificate aloft, having just passed a dangerous volcano puffing smoke, symbolically represents my journey towards this end. That was to get a Signed Certificate. And now of course I have one and am a successful Ethical Tarot Reader, so that part of my quest is complete.
The Knight of Tinfoil Hats on the next card is in such a hurry to arrive at the next stage of his quest that he has urged his ibex mount to leap a chasm. And yet, Dear Reader, he is more fearless (or perhaps more reckless) than Yours Truly. For I am not ready for this leap, although I know I must prepare myself. The Time will come, and something (not Hermaphroditey because she is still absent) tells me it will be soon.
With that thought I will leave you, for the moment at least. Jay is calling me. After last week’s post I spoke to him about his childhood dream of charming snakes and he managed to obtain three lovely slow worms, which of course are not really snakes at all but legless lizards, and quite charming creatures, which makes them eminently suitable for the job in hand. He has been practising diligently (with his old recorder) and no doubt wants me to assess his (and the slow worms’ progress).
So, Till When,
It’s all very well well to be told you must stop thinking about Tea, but it’s not that easy. Nostradamus did advise Art as a way to stop fantasising, so to distract myself I decided to paint another card for my Grand Ellessia Tarot, and here it is – the Seven of Teapots.
I chose seven teapots from my small collection and added a few things I found in my little drawers. When I’d finished I gazed long and hard at the painting. It seemed to be trying to tell me something, but what? I stared at it and went into a sort of meditative trance, and one by one the teapots imparted their wisdom.
My eyes were drawn first to the little house in the middle. I love the van and dear Pie who pulls it, but I do miss the old place. We could return, but the thought of human children running around fills me with unease. All might be well if they were more like baby animals, who, even if sometimes wilful never seem to lose that endearing quality, whereas human children are as likely to call one names that their mothers surely never taught them as to smile sweetly and wish one good morning. I much prefer the calf-on-its-mother’s-back teapot, although it is extremely odd. I wonder what it signifies? I do hope there are no strange mutations happening back at the old place. Perhaps we need to go back just to check that all is well.
Below the bovine pair is the little old lady teapot. Who or what can she represent? Is she Yours Truly Aisselle, grown grey and ancient in her shawl and sinking slowly into the lake? Is that what will happen if we stay here too long?
Next, a colourful cockerel and I can’t help remembering dear Clarence, although he was a Rhode Island Red and not nearly so bright as the teapot. A colourful cock might be a cheering influence on the farm – perhaps if I asked Jay he could get one.
Now here’s my little red teapot with white spots – the one Henna always used for her amanita tea. I filled it with a chain and strings of beads and I see now that one of these has just placed itself over a white spot and looks like an eye! I wouldn’t mind a trip on the broomstick, but I’d have to find some fairy mushrooms first and feed them to one of the goats. On second thoughts, perhaps not. They can be inclined to kick if one approaches them with a container between milking times.
Above the red teapot is a little teapot house covered with grass and flowers with a nesting bluebird on the roof. The bluebird of happiness! I could live happily in such a house were it possible.
And now for the final teapot, which is black and full of snakes. Luckily they’re only made of rubber, mementos of Jay’s childhood. He tells me that he had a secret wish to be a snake charmer and used to practise with a basketful of rubber snakes and a recorder. They do wobble most realistically. Perhaps he still harbours that desire – I must ask him tonight. We haven’t talked much lately due to my worries regarding Tea. I must stop thinking of myself and give him more care and attention.
Strangely this soon-to-be-card has provided a reading in itself. It is like a signpost with different directions suggested. Much to consider before Hermaphroditey returns. She will return, won’t she?
Love and teapots,
It’s strange how my thoughts seem seeped in water when the weather remains dry. Hermaphroditey has still not reappeared, in spite of my creation of the Queen of Teapots as an apology for the Four of Teapots. The lake is low, yet things go on as usual. We tend the goats and make all ready for the winter cold and rain, which will certainly come in great deluges eventually. We will be washed away unless our preparations are adequate.
Do I seem melancholy? I am a little. Tea is still here, although I haven’t seen or spoken to her. Her car has not moved since my last post. What is going on? I have caught sight of Heth now and then, but each time he avoided eye contact and quickened his steps. A terrible picture came into my mind. Could he have harmed her? She might be tied up in the farmhouse attic with neither food nor water, disappearing a little each day. I decided to carry out a tarot reading. It would be less easy without Hermaphroditey to help me, but it must be done.
I chose The Cards of Nostradamus. They’re not exactly tarot, but I believe he was good at prophesy and might help while Hermaphroditey is away. I drew three cards. Here they are. I have never had so clear a message.
1. Waste. A lady with an hourglass wasting Time.
2. Fantasy! I am wasting my time in fantasy but what is the answer?
3. Art! I must create another card for my Grand Ellessia Tarot!
I set to work straight away. In thanks for the reading I tried to imagine Nostradamus himself bringing me the above message via his cards, and here he is. As he’s a messenger he must be a page, and therefore I’ve depicted him in his youth. It seems unfair that he’s always depicted as a beardy old man. I hope you like his outfit. As Water seems to have permeated the work yet again and also because Tea is involved, I’ve cast him in the role of Page of Teapots and put the cards in the teapot to keep them dry.
Thank you, Nostradamas, I can now stop worrying about Tea and get on with Things.
Love, till soon,
Water has been much on my mind since the deep meditation in the oil drum. Hermaphroditey has still not appeared in spite of an attempt to communicate my apologies to her for the Four of Teapots card, which I deeply regret, but it was made in a feeling of helplessness and frustration at what I imagined was some sort of skittish Spirit Mischief on her part. Still it is done now and cannot be undone, just as Knowing cannot become unknowing (unless of course one loses one’s memory).
So yesterday I decided to create a new card especially for my revered Spirit Guide as a kind of olive branch to make things up between us. I spent many hours meditating on which card to choose out of those as yet undone, and decided on the Queen of Teapots. The Court Cards usually represent real people or possibly the Querent, but I always think of them (and especially this particular Queen) as standing between the Major Arcana archetypes, and our life here on Earth represented by the Minor Arcana. I see her as emotional and somewhat ethereal, not quite of this world, her eyes gazing inwardly at some Otherworldly vision.
So here she is, sitting on her throne beside the Lake of Emotion, gazing into her white teapot. Is she looking for answers to impossible questions or wondering whether the tea within is chamomile or hawthorn? Perhaps it is mugwort, guaranteed to induce strange dreams and visions, or cranberry, so kind and helpful to the distressed bladder.
Perhaps she is skrying, searching for the future on the liquid surface, or simply gazing at her own reflection.
And (I hear you ask), what of the large fish tucked under her arm? What does he (or she) symbolize? All I can say is that the fish simply appeared underneath her arm and that I had little or nothing to do with it. Of course the fish is a symbol of Christ and baptism as well as the Element of Water, which is all around, and when out of the water, of Insights that have been brought to the surface. The very air is heavy with water, but the two birds seem happy enough. The bird by the Queen is a water bird, a link between the Elements of Water and Air, and the white bird is Spirit.
Please come back, Hermaphroditey.
Hermaphroditey is a fickle goddess to follow. I need to know how things will work out with Tea, but this week I have been unable to contact my personal Spirit Guide, in spite of deep meditation in a crystal bath. We have no actual bath in the van, but I found an old oil drum behind the barn and Jay helped me fill it from the lake (we only had two small buckets so it took ages), and light a fire around the base to warm the water.
This accomplished, I selected the appropriate crystals from my collection and waited until the water was wonderfully warm. The fire had died down by then, leaving the hot ashes to maintain warmth as the wind was extremely cold yesterday in spite of the Sun. I removed my lovely gingham and was about to climb in with the aid of a small stepladder when Jay cautioned me to wait while he collected some towels from the van. He said one was needed for the bottom of the bath so the hot metal didn’t burn my regions. Jay is so very wise. I had placed the chosen crystals in a muslin bag which I had hung around my neck, but throwing caution to the dogs I dropped the rest of the collection into the water and climbed in after it. I was glad of the towel as the unpolished crystals were hard on the feet. Leaving Jay to attend to what was left of the fire (he said he’d keep the water warm while I was away) I donned the goggles and snorkel, adjusted the straps, sat down and closed my eyes. This is what is meant by deep meditation.
I will say no more here. These things are occult and esoteric and best kept from the uninitiated for their own safety and mental health. But many hours later, in spite of a revelation regarding the wayward and teasing nature of my Spirit Guide, I was no wiser regarding Tea and her plans. After baling out some water and informing me that it was time to get out, Jay gathered me into a lovely towel he’d warmed by the stove in the van and we hastened in for nettle and mallow soup with goats’ cheese and crusty baps cooked in the tiny oven. While we were enjoying these I decided that when Hermaphroditey did eventually appear I would ignore her. Then a thought arrived. I would recreate the revelation I had been shown in my crystal bath but with a little twist of my own. Why should Hermaphroditey have things all her own way?
You can see the new card for my Grand Ellessia Tarot at the top of this post. It is the Four of Teapots. I do hope you like it.
The party for hens left me drained of creative energy for three days, unable even to keep an eye on Tea and her movements (or lack of them) around the farm. Jay tells me that her little car remains in its parking place between the barn and the farmhouse, so I suppose she has been here for almost a week now. I wonder how strong her influence is on Heth. He is a strange man, seemingly able to remind one of different tarot archetypes at the drop of a cat. He has lived with his goats in this (fairly) lonely place since his wife died, and now Tea has arrived I fear she will interfere with his tranquillity and instigate changes on the farm that may affect us all. My first encounter with Heth may have put me in mind of The Devil of the Jolande Tarot, but he has become The Emperor, fatherly, strong and somewhat removed in a higher sort of way from us and our concerns, although which one from which pack I know not.
So I decided that The Emperor should be the next card for my Grand Ellessia Tarot, and here he is. I made him with torn up paper. See how stern he looks? The goats are present of course, but somehow they turned out rather powerfully rammish. I seem to enter a sort of meditative state when creating cards and really don’t have full control over how they turn out. This may or may not be a good thing and can have surprising results. It’s possibly a kind of chanelling of Spiritual Wisdom, and when the card was finished I did wonder why Heth was wearing pink, but decided that it’s probably because I didn’t have any red paper in my scrap box. The shapes on his shield, which is made from marbled paper, were outlined to make them more easily recognisable, and although their symbolism is not immediately obvious I’m sure it will eventually reveal deep esoteric knowledge. Interestingly, the lady does not not look like Tea, which may be a hopeful sign, but the little dog bears a striking resemblance to one who belongs to a neighbouring farmer who sometimes turns up here to chase rabbits.
Creating The Emperor seemed to give me strength. Taking up paint and pen and deep in inspiration I lost myself for the rest of the day (yesterday) and was surprised to see that I’d made yet another card – The Chariot!
I think the charioteer is yours truly, Aisselle Gabegie, in male incarnation (note the initials on the chariot and the blue gingham curtains). The goats look content and not at all as if they need controlling to go in the same direction, although they might be difficult to move at all, and who can blame them? It looks as though they have just left a beautiful green city made of crystals and are having a rest after crossing a river. What can it all mean? Where will they go now? Where is Hermaphroditey when I need her? I must go and lie down as I think I have overdone things.
Till when, or soon, or something,
Dear Jay. He is so wise and I have truly been trying to take his advice and allow Time to make things clearer but the waiting is hard. I know he wouldn’t approve, but I’ve been keeping an eye on Tea and her comings and goings and what I’ve seen is worrying to say the least. In fact there are very few of either of those things (the comings and goings), for she seems to have been here since Sunday. Her little car hasn’t moved from its spot between the barn and the farmhouse, although I was occupied for many hours with some ladies yesterday and unable to monitor her movements.
They had booked a group tarot session and were (from what I could understand by their email) having a party for some hens. They wanted tarot readings, tarot instruction and certificates, but whether these were for themselves or the hens I couldn’t ascertain. So to save time (as the afternoon promised to be fairly busy), I prepared two lots of certificates (some for the ladies and some for the hens) beforehand.
The ladies (for such I will call them in spite of everything) arrived in a merry mood. They brought many plastic carrier bags, which filled me with alarm as I felt these were entirely unsuitable for the transportation of hens, but as it turned out these contained not hens but bottles, which they opened immediately and, refusing glasses, began to drink from straight away.
My enquiry regarding the apparent absence of the hens caused some commotion, but they settled down fairly quietly for instruction. Then it was time for the individual tarot readings which were carried out as a group. Unfortunately however, my readings seemed much cause for merriment and the atmosphere became more and more unruly. By this time all the bottles were empty and the ladies demanded more of the same, but although I had some home made elderberry wine in the cupboard under our bed, I thought it unwise to leave them in the barn and go and fetch it, as elderberry wine needs a long time to mature to lose its slightly harsh tannin flavour. Not only that, but one of the ladies had climbed up into the hay loft and was asking for her cigarettes.
In short, Dear Readers, I didn’t need to pull a card to see the potential for disaster. I gathered up the pre-prepared certificates, quickly doshed them out and ushered the unruly ladies from the barn. Luckily their mini bus was waiting, the driver napping in the back. Unfortunately the ladies didn’t want to leave. They began arguing about their certificates. I’d accidentally given them the hens’ certificates and some were annoyed. Others seemed to find it funny and a sort of mock battle began. At least I think it was mock, but you can never be sure if these events are going to get out of control, so with the help of Jay and the driver (and Time) I managed to persuade them into the minibus. It was with a huge sigh of relief that I watched them disappear down the lane.
Exhausted, I went to lie down, but this morning felt strong enough to create a new card for my Grand Ellessia Tarot, and here it is. It will be a lasting reminder to treat parties for hens with extreme caution.
Love and light till when,
Well, Dear Reader, I never did manage to do that reading for Tea. Our meeting and her seemingly hysterical laughter had unsettled me to such an extent that my mind felt unable to find a way to contact Spirit or Hermaphroditey, or even to work out what the cards themselves were trying to tell me, so after another cup of chamomile tea I turned to Jay for advice.
Jay gazed at me wisely for some moments. ‘You know, Aisselle,’ he said, ‘You can be a little Four of Goats at times.’
Four of Goats? What could he mean? As if he had read my thoughts he replied, ‘Well, let’s say Four of Discs then, as you haven’t created the Four of Goats yet. You know, Pixie’s little man holding on to his four pentacles.’
I have to say that I still didn’t understand. I could see the little man in my mind’s eye, hugging one disc with one under each foot and another on his head, but how could keeping four pentacles close have anything to do with Tea’s crazy laughter?
Jay looked at me lovingly. ‘Dear Aisselle, ‘ he said. ‘Your unease comes from your fear of losing what we have here. All that wandering in the van after George and Joel or Georgina and Minet came to live at the old place and seemed about to sprog, then finding this place and settling in only to have Tea leave her hubby and move into the caravan park down the road. That might have been OK, but she’s here more and more these days and what for? Supposedly to spin and knit, but she really hasn’t done a lot of that and from what I’ve seen it looks as though she may move into the farmhouse with Heth. I don’t believe they spend all their time drinking tea.
I let out a little cry. As usual Jay had seen everything that I had been trying to ignore. I knew that if Tea moved in with Heth everything would change. We might even have to go on the road again, for much as Tea had seemed to admire me after I’d helped her with that first tarot reading, I feel there is something strangely unstable and unpredictable in her that might have unforeseen consequences. I had already left one home and many beloved creatures, leaving another seemed too cruel.
In my current state I was incapable of reading the cards for advice, so what was I to do?
Jay came to my rescue. ‘Let’s just wait and see what happens,’ he said. ‘Time has a way of making things clearer, and in the meantime you can create the Four of Goats’.
And that, Dear Reader, is what I did. I do hope you like it. Please think of me holding on to my goats (or rather Heth’s goats).
Love, till soon,