Three of Swords

The Three of Swords is about loss, separation, heartache and grief. I have chosen three different versions of this card, which I feel illustrate the vibe of the Three of Swords, and I have written a flash fiction piece which is my own personal take on a Three of Swords experience.

Like most people I have had many of these experiences in my life. The card serves to show us that the grief is not empty, it has meaning, and maybe it will also be there as a shadow, but it can also help us to gain strength when faced with future grief. For me when I see this card I feel intense grief for the things I believe I have done to cause pain for others, not just my own personal grief. In the Thoth deck, Crowley calls this card Sorrow, with good reason.

The three cards below are from The Deviant Moon Tarot, The Lucy Lescot Tarot and The Poet Tarot.

The Deviant Moon card on the far left, follows the RWS system fairly closely, but it also has it’s own unique twist, which can often cut like a knife. In my own experience there is no messing with this deck, it comes straight to the point. The figure appears to be dressed in some kind of armour but it still cannot defy the swords piercing her heart. The shadow behind her shows that her own pain is bigger than she is at this moment. Yet through the window, the moon is shining over the mountains, showing a sliver of light, she just needs to find the strength to turn towards that hope.

The card in the centre is from The Ludy Lescot deck, and this is almost a perfect illustration of my biggest personal Three of Swords experiences. A broken home, broken family, broken children and lost babies. The blood is on the woman’s dress, signifying her guilt and her part in this wreckage. She cannot face what she has done at the moment but she clings to the cross, a sign of hope and strength to help her go on, like the moon in the previous card.

The third card is a bit different, but I chose it because it reflects art and writing which are both big in my life. The Poet Tarot substitutes Swords for Mentors, which signify revision… the stuff we do to put things right once we have created them, this card is when we may have to kill our darlings. But another side to this card according to the accompanying book, is the darkness that can sometimes take hold of a mentor, causing them to act out of personal petty jealousy, rather than honest critique. It is a different take on this card as is shown with Cupid wearing a death’s head. It is a sign to look deeply at your own work and be sure that those who purport to encourage you, are not actually out to make you feel bad.

3 of Swords from Deviant Moon Tarot, Ludy Lescot Tarot & The Poet Tarot.
Three of Swords from Deviant Moon Tarot, Ludy Lescot Tarot and The Poet Tarot.

The piece of drftwood in the photo is something I found a few years ago, recently it wants to be part of all my Tarot readings, so who am I to argue. Driftwood is watery, it may be to do with my current emotional state., It is also very Cancerian in its vibe.

This is a piece of flash fiction that I wrote for the Three of Swords:

When she woke to hear rain battering against the iron roof,  and heard the tides rushing up to fill the mudflats, she knew it was the right day. It was hardly light outside, and even standing over by the estuary she could still see the glow of the candle she had left burning in the window.  She took the white plastic strip from her pocket, looked at the two blue lines, and remembered the hopes and dreams that they had signified.  She touched it to her lips one last time, and then sent it spinning through the curtain of rain, out to the high tide. She stood watching, tears and raindrops blurring her vision, fighting the urge to plunge into the water after it.  When she could no longer see the tiny flash of white she turned back back to the house. ‘Go free little soul’, she whispered.

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Tarot – All the Sixes

I have been getting back into my Tarot study during the college break, and have been looking at the numbered cards in the Minor Arcana and the corresponding card in the Major Arcana. As a framework for this study time I decided to look at one number every few days and see how the cards in different decks relate to each other.

As it is nearing Saint Valentines Day, I am beginning with the number six – The Lovers. Except this card is not really about lovers as such, but of being in love, and not necessarily romantic love. It could be a new passion or obsession, a new country, a new career choice. Any sudden need to take a new path in life, something that overcomes you with all the power of Cupid’s arrow. Whatever you fall for can often result in a difficult choice, or even a rash move that may have huge consequences. But if you don’t make the move, and follow this new found love, then you will never know, which could cause a lifetime of regret.

The past is a great place and I don’t want to erase it or regret it, but I don’t want to be it’s prisoner either. – Mick Jagger

Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable. – Sydney J Harris

In this series of studies I intend to look at many different decks, but I will always include a standard Rider Waite Smith deck for comparison. For the sixes I have chosen my Pamela Colman Smith Commemorative deck, Tarot of the Wyrd, the Thoth, and The Wild Unknown.

I am beginning by looking at The Lovers cards as they are the archetypal sixes and their symbolism shines light onto the minor sixes.

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The Lovers card relates to the sun sign of Gemini, which is evident in the symbolism on all of these cards, and Gemini is often represented by twins. Tarot of the Wyrd I think confuses the card a little, as in my understanding this card does not always represent romantic love, although they could be brother and sister or even old friends, but the love letter in the background suggests otherwise. The angel is there in the form of a wee cupid-like cherub, and although Gemini is an air sign this card has both the passions of fire and the emotions of water, which seem to go with romantic love.

The RWS Lovers card is very biblical in its imagery. The angel is said to be Raphael and by the way he holds his hands he appears to be blessing the couple below. The mountain in the background looks to me like a volcano, which gives the card some tension. The serpent and the tree of knowledge are shown behind Eve, and Adam stands before the Tree of Life. But what will happen if they come together? I see this card as more of a balance of the energy of male and female rather than opposites. They are equal, they have not yet been tempted and the love they have is pure and innocent, and platonic.

The Wild Unknown is a lovely interpretation of this card, with the two Canada geese flying free and yet together through the air, the sun shines on them blessing their journey. Unlike many birds, the male and the female Canadian geese both look very alike, and it is hard to tell whether this is two male or two females or one of each. I think the fact that we cannot tell in this card, is a wonderful piece if possibly unintended symbolism. To me is says that in love and true friendship gender is irrelevant. That’s my take and I am sticking with it.

Then we have the Thoth Lovers card. This card is very focused on opposites,  and in the background we have a large central figure who is hidden behind a veil. Like Raphael in the RWS, the hands appear to be held out as if blessing all the creatures below. There is cupid at the top and the serpent at the bottom. It speaks to me of choice and balance, everything being kept in harmony, but it cannot stay this way forever. A choice has to be made, and possibly with that choice comes sacrifice.

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The images in the Rider Waite Smith are familiar to many. The Six of Swords is about crossing from a place or situation or even a problem, to another place of solace and clarity. There is a hint of sadness. The way ahead is made clear, and the journey is easy once you know where you are going. Like many six cards it is about  balance, responsibility and family. The ferryman works while the family rest, they in turn will pay him when they reach their destination. They have earned this fare, the books are balanced. It is a gentle card for a Sword.  The family are in the capable hands of the ferryman, and the water is calm, there is no need for high passions or emotions. This is one of the most peaceful Sword cards in the deck. Maybe it signifies a world cruise even.

The Six of Wands shows a procession of victory, or the arrival of someone important. It could be a new passion in the life of the querent, if so it may be fiery and short lived. I get the feeling this guy is resting on his laurels from the crown on his head, maybe a false triumph. At least it is a welcome break after the struggle in the Five of Wands. Still there are many around him waiting to takeover, well that’s how it feels to me.

The Six of Cups is about harmony, good memories and family, especially children. The symbolism here reminds me of holy communion, and the card is about communion of friends and family and shared joy. It is a rainy afternoon over an old photo album maybe with grandparents or old friends. It is a happy and comfortable card in most RWS based decks. It is the most emotional of the sixes, but the six of cups is not about romantic love. It could represent a new or old friend coming on the scene but only in a platonic, brotherly way. The  figure in the background is leaving the party, going back to the home, maybe this could represent the querent is some readings, looking for the comfort of the past.  It’s a safe place to be for the moment.

The Six of Pentacles is clearly about giving and receiving, the rich man gives to the poor. The Robin Hood card. The scales indicate balance. Pentacles relate to material riches, and this is what is being shared in this card. It could symbolise a small win or monetary gain, or it could equally be about donating to charity.

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Tarot of the Wyrd, (above), has very similar images to the RWS. The main difference is the Six of Watches, which shows a nurse, so rather than giving the gift of material things she is giving the gift of time, and as the key word says selflessness. Still they say time is money, and she is presumably paid for her work, so it has the same give and take meaning.

The key words on these cards all pretty much match the symbolism in the RWS. The word Solace on the Six of Cutlery seems to emphasise the leaving behind troubles aspect of the card. The Six of Wands makes me think of politics, all the important people carrying the staffs, I still see this card as a short lived success. That would fit the world of politicians very well :)

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I hesitated about including the Thoth deck in these studies, because I have not studied the system or any of the related teachings, except some astrology, in any depth at all. so  Still a little learning begets more learning and so what the hell, I am including it, if only to compare the basics to the other decks I am looking at.

I do know the sixes relate to the centre sphere on the Tree of Life. This sphere or Sephiroth is numbered six, and is called  Tiphareth, which means beauty and harmony, balance. The cross symbol in the centre of the Six of Swords  is one of the symbols used for Tiphareth. Although these cards are a lot more esoteric in their symbolism, they keywords are very similar to the RWS meanings.

The Six of Swords is Science, which at it’s most basic level means to know. The card has a lot of clarity, the swords are sharp. The windmill like things in the background seem to symbolise wind or air to me, and Air is the element of Tiphareth. That could be wrong though, it is just an impression I get! The astrological symbols show Mercury in Aquarius… this could have a connection the the keyword science, as Mercury in Aquarius is very open to learning and stretching the mind. They see the bigger picture with ease.

The Six of Wands is given the keyword Victory, the staffs are very reminiscent of the RWS image. The flames remind me of keeping the fires burning, Bighid’s flame, the torch they use for the Olympics. Astrologically it shows Jupiter in Leo. This pairing can represent someone who loves the limelight of success and victory, and it can be theirs through a benevolent and caring attitude. However, there is a need to take care not to let ego get in the way.

The Six of Cups is Pleasure – again very similar to the RWS. It feels abundant this Six of Cups. Astrologically we have the Sun in Scorpio. Scorpios can easily become addicted to pleasure at the expense of all else, but this is all I can remember that seems relevant to the card right now. The image has a kind of family, passing down feeling with the central cups connecting to and filling the other cups.

The Six of Disks is a lovely card, it has the sun, (from the Tree of Life sixth Sephiroth), a watery moon element, with the Moon in Taurus (Shown by the astrological symbols on the card), and Pentacles have the Earth element. Everything needed for things to grow and succeed. It is a very balanced card all round which again fits with the RWS symbolism. This card makes me think of putting something out to the universe and being in the right state to receive what you ask for.

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The Wild Unknown has fast become one of my favourite Tarot decks of all time. I will do a post about this deck as it does deserve at least one all to it’s beautiful self, but for now I am just looking at the Sixes, in relation to those on the other decks I have covered here.

Six of Swords, no boat, but the swords are laid down, at rest. Maybe the battle has finished, at least for now. On the horizon is a colourful rainbow, a symbol of hope, just as in the RWS image there is a journey to be made, but a hopeful one. All is looking good for now.

The Six of Wands is a kind of victory card. The butterfly has emerged safely from the chrysalis, escaped the ragged branches with it’s wings perfect where they could have been easily torn. It is above the troubled times below… just like the rider in the RWS Six of Wands. Still, this is a success for now, no one knows what lies in wait. Every battle won no matter how small is encouraging.

The Six of Cups is a stunning card. I see the Tree as representing family and roots. The tree of now is so easily turned into the colourful branches of the tree of the past. There are many routes to follow and get tangled in for some dream time. Often we see memories as far more colourful than they were at the time, this card demonstrates this perfectly.

The Six of Pentacles in The Wild Unknown like the Thoth card speaks to me of wishes coming true, the tree has borne fruit. When I look at this card the fruit is weighted to the left of the card which is bending the branch, this to me indicates that to attain balance some of the fruit could be given away, which will keep the tree upright and unbroken for more fruit to grow.

In summary, six seems to have a fair but of duality about it in all of these cards, both the trumps and the pip cards. Choice, balance, harmony. Leaving and moving forward to new things, Victory yet also the possibility of loss of that triumph, sharing, giving and receiving. Although most of the cards are illustrated with people, the love could quite easily be a passion or hobby whose undertaking can represent a difficult choice to the querent. Sometimes the love for ourselves and our own fulfillment comes at a cost to those closest to us.

As always the cards surrounding the six can cast light or shadow on the situation.

I am enjoying this journey, the sixes were great to start with, I may pull a card to see which one I do next!

Tarot of the Wyrd

I have owned Celestae’s Tarot of the Wyrd for a couple of years, but have not been able to spend the time with it that it deserves. I am surprised there is not more about it on the web, as it is a very special deck indeed.

Tarot of the Wyrd is a deck by an artist known as Celestae. It is available from The Game Crafter.

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The gorgeous bag and cloth in the above photo, came from  Toadwerks, one of my favourite Etsy shops.

The deck is RWS based, and the images are heavily influenced by the artist’s love of Victoriana and dark Gothic imagery.

The box is a Gamecrafter style box with a sealed bottom, this is great because you don;t get that problem with the bottom flap munting the LWB when you try to close it.  The box front features the name of the deck, and an image of the Devil card. The artists words from the back of the deck box:

I invite you to take a walk into the world of teacups and Gothic Victoriana, a world of magic inspired by an era of eccentricity and regal splendor.

Each card tells a story, and every image has its own personality within that story.

Included in the box are the 78 cards of the Tarot deck and a small folded leaflet in black and white giving basic meanings for the cards. There is no title or artist signed card with this deck.

The Major Arcana cards have Strength at number eight and Justice at eleven as in the RWS tradition. Justice shows a very stern looking guy in a top hat. The Fool shows a child with a pet dog, a very Victorian image and the card is called Initiation. The Magician is renamed The High Priest and The Empress and Emperor are The Mother and Father. The other card that has been renamed is Number nine. The Hermit becomes The Shaman. The Death card is a lady in black, very like the lady in the movie of that name. A very dark and shadowy card, the image of the woman is very ghostlike.

Tarot of the Wyrd - the Chariot

The minor suits have been changed slightly to match the period. While Wands are still called Wands the imagery is mainly umbrellas, parasols and walking sticks. Beautiful, Victorian china teacups represent cups. Pentacles are symbolised by and renamed Watches. Swords in this deck are Cutlery. All of the images fit the period beautifully, and the artist has worked hard, to make sure, they remain true to the Rider Waite cards.

Tarot of the Wyrd - Two of Cutlery

Each of the minor cards has a keyword on the bottom, for example:

Seven of Wands – Rivalry

Six of Wands – Success

Two of Wands – Confidence

King of Cutlery – Authority

Eight of Cutlery – Blindness

Six of Cutlery – Solace

Nine of Watches – Recuperate

Seven of Watches – Waiting

Three of Watches – Competence

Knight of Cups – Movement

Ten of Cups – Reward

Seven of Cups Choices

While I don’t usually like keywords on my cards, in this deck I am quite happy with them. They are subtle within the design of the cards. The typeface is distressed in fitting with the appearance of the cards in general. it was only on my second look that I even noticed the keywords.

Tarot of the Wyrd - Initiation

 All of the cards have a dark raggedy distressed looking border which works really well with the old photographic images especially. The only think that irks me a little is that the black borders tend to have the odd white marks where the black appears to have chipped. It is a very small thing and it actually fits the whole look of the deck I guess.  Anyway it would not be difficult to colour the edges of the deck with a black Sharpie, which would eliminate this issue. . I have even considered colouring mine gold or silver. The backs are a dusky pink purple colour with an ornate swirl pattern. They have a vintage photo of a ghostlike face at each end, and are fully reversible.

The cardstock is a decent thickness, not too shiny and shuffles well. The cards feel like older style Tarot cards, not at all plastic feeling. The printing on my deck is not totally centered, as is the case with several other Gamecrafter decks, but again in this deck you hardly notice.

Tarot of the Wyrd is one of my favourite RWS style decks, it is quirky, eccentric, and dark. I can think of no other deck like it, but if I had to try, I would probably say a cross between the Bohemian Gothic, The Zombie Tarot and The Housewives. Any lover of Victoriana or Gothic imagery is bound to enjoy this deck. If this deck were a movie it would probably be Arsenic and Old Lace, or a very dark version of Mary Poppins!

Watch out for the new deck interview coming to you soon via this blog!

There are many cages…

I haven’t had time to study the cards in depth recently, but I am hoping to get back into the habit over the holidays, and beyond. Tarot study gives me quiet time, a space in which to meditate and contemplate.

We spend so much time rushing from one thing to the next without stillness, as if we will miss something if we stop for breath. For me the opposite is true, I know I miss so much more of life by treating it like a moving walkway in an airport. It is important to me, to take time to do the things that bring me joy and add depth to my hours. The Tarot has been part of my life for so long, even with a new deck the relationship is somewhat established already. Sitting down with the Tarot is like taking tea with a close friend, comfortable and honest.

This week I am using two decks, The Tarot Noir by Chronata, and the Tarocchi di Connessione.  The latter is a major arcana only deck, in English it is The Tarot of Connections. The Tarot Noir is a Marseilles based deck, with funky black and white images, no borders and rounded corners – perfect.

I drew a card from each, Limits – XV from the Connessione and the Ten of Wands from the Tarot Noir.

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The Connessione artist different names for the cards, and Limits is usually  The Devil card. The image shows an angry character firmly grasped in a hand, which he doesn’t seem too happy about. It feels as if he has been exposed for who he really is. The quilted cocoon that he is wrapped in suggests luxury t0 me, a luxurious prison. There is writing scribbled on the wall but even with a magnifying glass it doesn’t read as anything much just a few letters. Below the devil critter, on the bottom half of the card there are many cages. So we have someone in a prison of their own making, and the writing is on the wall. But I wonder if the hand is that of the devil, who has the person in his grip — or, is the devil the one being held? Could be either way.

Tarot Connessionne and Tarot Noir

The Ten of Wands here is a tightly locked knot too. It feels too bound, too stressed, a barrier to going any further without change or some let up. This card combined with the devil seems to underline a feeling of being held captive. It also makes me think of an illusion of order and strength that in reality is a cover up for something very out of control.

I think maybe I have overdone the partying this holiday season, and need to cut back now, before it becomes my master. I need to be in control, as I do have an addictive personality. Well, the cards are definitely honest and brutal at times.

 

 

The Card Dealer

Since I first sang the Christmas carol: In the Bleak Midwinter,  I fell in love with the words of Christina Rossetti. Later, while studying art at grammar school, I fell in love with the paintings of her brother, Dante Gabriel Rossetti. I recently discovered a wonderful Rossetti Archive online,  which is dedicated to his work. While browsing through the a book of Rossetti’s poems, I came across a poem by Dante entitled  The Card Dealer. Dante’s poem was inspired by the painting shown below, a work by a 19th century British artist, Theodore Van Holst. The painting is entitled The Wish, but has also become known as The Card Dealer after the title of Dante’s poem.

As I am studying writing, art and the Tarot, I had to share these finds here.  You will be hearing more from me on the Rossetti siblings…

“The Fortune-Teller” (1840) by Theodore von Holst
“The Fortune-Teller” (1840) by Theodore von Holst

Copyright: Browne, Theodor Von Holst, 102

The Card Dealer by Dante Gabriel Rossetti
The Card Dealer by Dante Gabriel Rossetti
The Card Dealer by Dante Gabriel Rossetti
The Card Dealer by Dante Gabriel Rossetti
The Card Dealer by Dante Gabriel Rossetti
The Card Dealer by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Rossetti, Dante Gabriel. Poems: A New Edition. London: Strangeways, 1881

Brighid’s Spread

As for many of you in the North it is Imbolc and the time of year we celebrate the Goddess Brighid, I wanted to design a spread in her honour, she is the Goddess I relate to most. In the South we are about to hit Lammas, but this spread is suitable for both hemispheres. I like to be able to celebrate together with my friends all over the world.
Brighid is also known as a Triple Goddess, which use the three phases of Maiden, Mother and Crone, she also represents fire and is the Goddess of Poetry, Smithing and Healing.

I designed this 3 card spread with all of the above in mind:

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1.What new fire should you be tending this season

2.What is creating the poetry in your life now

3.What wisdom is most healing for you at this time

I hope you enjoy this spread. I have much more to say about Brighid and what she means to me but I want to get this spread up in time for you to use it on her feast day, so I will leave that for another post!

I love this image of Brighid by Lori Karels

Brighid by Lori Karels

This woodcarving shows the Goddess Brighid in her three aspects as poet, healer and blacksmith.

Wooden Brighid Carving

Brighid inspire the poet within me
Heal my pain
Invoke my passion and fire

Blessed be…

)O(

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King Pellinore & the Questing Beast

This is rather a ramble which started by my drawing Pellinor & the Lady from the Dragonfae oracle. I tend to look at the cards before I read the book, and in this case the name and the small dragon reminded me of the story of King Pellinore and the Questing Beast from the Arthurian legends.

The card has the words Bittersweet Farewell, and it is according to the book about two lovers who have to part. I cannot help but find the Pellinore story more apt. I am not surprised to see this card though because my daughter and her girlfriend of 2 and a half years, whom we all love very much,  are going their separate ways. They still love each other, Liv will always be part of our family, as we will hers, and I know they need space to grow, but I cannot help be sad. It is very bittersweet. But we need this in our lives I guess, just like Pellinore needed his beast and vice versa.

Dragonfae Oracle by Lucy Cavendish

King Pellinore spent his life searching for the Questing Beast, it drove him crazy. He would fall sleep in the saddle, so tired was he, even if he were not actively hunting he was thinking about his dear beast. Pellinore’s quest got him into some bad situations involving such horrors as his own daughter torn apart by wild beasts of the forest, a curse on his life, the death of his horse and the failure of a friends loyalty and eventually his own death.

This beast was Pellinore’s life….. if he ever found it, he would probably have died in the saddle, as his whole life purpose, according to him, would have been over. As it was he didn’t find the beast as he was killed by the sons of King Lot of Orkney, whom he in turn had killed.

And what of the beast, was he as dependent on the chase as the King? Well there is rarely a good story that has no antagonist… as it happens the beast did suffer when at one time in his life Pellinore stopped his hunt and decided to take some rest and relaxation in a soft and comfortable bed at the home of his friend Sir Grummore. As we know, too much of the good life can be a danger to ones soul and this indeed happened to the King and his poor beast. He ventured out one day to renew his hunt and found the best pining away and half dead in the forest. To quote from T.H. White’s  The Once and Future King:

“The spectacle which they came across was one for which they were not prepared. In the middle of a dead gorse bush King Pellinore was sitting, with tears streaming down his face. In his lap there was an enormous snake’s head, which he was patting. ‘There, there’, the King was saying. ‘I did not mean to leave you altogether. It was only because I wanted to sleep in a feather bed, just for a bit.’ ‘Poor creature’, said King Pellinore indignantly. ‘It has, pined away, positively pined away, just because there was nobody left to take an interest in it. How I could have stayed all that while with Sir Grummore and never given my old Beast a thought I really don’t know. Look at its ribs, I ask you. Like the hoops of a barrel. And lying out in the snow all by itself, almost without the will to live.’ ‘I happened on it in this gorse bush here, with snow all over its poor back and tears in its eyes and nobody to care for it in the wide world. It’s what comes of not leading a regular life. Before it was all right. We got up at the same time, and quested for regular hours, and went to bed at half past ten. Now look at it. It has gone to pieces all together, and it will be your fault if it dies. You and your bed. fter giving the Beast wine and bread The King insists that the hunting party tie the Beast to a pole to transport it back to the castle to be warmed by the fire and fed and nurtured back into health. The King himself tended it until they were both ready to begin the quest anew.”

Qusting Beast 1935

“The questing Beast having revived under the influence of kindliness and bread and milk had bounded off into the snow with every sign of gratitude, to be followed two hours later by the excited King, and the watchers from the battlements had observed it confusing its snowy footprints most ingeniously, as it reached the edge of the chase. It was running backwards, bounding twenty foot sideways, rubbing out its marks with its tail, climbing along horizontal branches, and performing many other tricks with evident enjoyment. They had also seen King Pellinore – who had dutifully kept his eyes shut and counted to ten thousand while this was going on – becoming quite confused when he arrived at a difficult spot, and finally galloping off in the wrong direction with his brachet (hunting hound) behind him.” taken from T.H. White’s The Once and Future King published by Harper Voyager.

I love this story, it is one of my very favorite parts in the legends of King Arthur, and it is such a wonderful example of how it is the, journey, the chase that matters, and not the destination or the prize. Both King Pellinore and the beast need each other, the beast needs to be wanted, his life depends on it, as much as Pellinore depends on the beast to give meaning to his life. When  Pellinore stops the chase the beast is saddened, pines away and almost dies. To me the beast is like our spirit, when we neglect it and suffer ourselves too much worldly comfort,  it becomes weak and begins to fade, it can no longer bring us the joy it once did.

There some images of The Questing Beast, that I really love…. the first by Arthur Rackham

Questing Beast by Arthur Rackham

 This next image is just beautiful and it is by a very talented illustrator Carisa Swenson

Questing Beast by Carisa Swenson

Carisa also has another website which shows her delightful sculpted goblins, dolls and beasts of all kinds.

The Questing Beast by Claudon

The final beast for today is by C. David Claudon who retold Mallory’s Morte d’Arthur.

I really love the idea of a wonderous and fantastical beast representing my soul or spirit… what does your soul look like?

Melusine

One of the first cards I lhave studied in any detail from the Oracle of the Dragonfae is Melusine…..

Melusine from Oracle of the Dragonfae by Lucy Cavendish

Melusine is a naked creature with fiery red hair, she wears a flowery tiara, and a golden key around her neck, with the top of the key in a heart shape. She has two small, but lovely greeny gold dragon type wings coming from her back. Her arms look as if they are held open palms up in trust, as if to receive or display something good…. she is not ashamed to show herself as she truly is.

The heart shaped key fob speaks to me of self love being the key at the centre of our beings. Unless we can love ourselves we cannot love others, and cannot expect them to love us for who we are. Let yourself be known, celebrate the self is what this card says to me.

On her crown one of the flowers is bent into a crescent shape, like the Moon goddess head dress worn by Diana, representing the Goddess within all of us.  The dragon like wings show that when you are true to yourself you can fly.

The legend of Melusine is reminiscent of Beauty and the Beast… possibly my second favourite fairy tale. The daughter of a fae she was cursed by her father, when she trapped him inside a mountain for offending her mother. The curse made her half woman and her other half was either a dragon, serpent or mermaid, according to which legend you read. The tale is well known in France where it was said that Melusine was married to Raymond, the count of Lusignan, but only on the condition that he never saw her in her bath. When Raymond broke the vow, Melusine had to leave him and was condemned to the life of a specter, wandering to her doom, although some say she was locked in the dungeon of the counts castle.

In France her name is still mentioned, if someone gives a sudden scream it is called un cri de Melusine, alluding to her cry of distress when her husband saw her in her true form. Apparently cakes are still made with her image for a May festival in that area of France, and there is a shrine named after her in Lusignan.

I found some more images of Melusine, which are very like Aphrodite the Greek goddess. The first is
an anonymous engraving found in Histoire de la Magie by P. Christian – Furne

The gorgeous image below is by Anita Landree

Melusine by Anita Landree

And perhaps the best known image of Melusine is this one:

Starbucks Logo

According to Starbucks she is a Siren, a symbol of addiction, obsession and death, but apparently they have now freed her to be their flagship image. Indeed this is a Goddess whom millions worship daily at the high street altar. So from being a monster Melusine has become accepted, indeed worshipped for who she is, (ok…who Starbucks have decided she is!) And that to me is what this card is about…. be who you are, love who you are, love all of who you are, and you will unlock that beauty for others to love too.