|Arthurian Tarot, Aquarian Press 1990|
Let's talk a bit more about the tarot of the week, Arthurian Tarot by Caitlin and John Matthews, Aquarian Press 1990. As the name implies, the entire tarot has been adapted to the Arthurian legends, so that all the majors have been renamed (even calling them 'Greater Powers' rather than 'Major Arcana'.) Only the Moon and the Sun retain their traditional names. Each major card features a character or object from Arthurian legend, for example, Merlin for Magician, Lady of the Lake for High Priestess, and Gawain for Strength. The creators have had to stretch a bit on some of them, but I think their selections are clever and work well: The Washer at the Ford for Death, The Sleeping Lord (ie, the 'dormant' Arthur) for Judgement, and The White Hart for the Lovers, for example.
The minors, or Lesser Powers, may annoy some because 1) they do not show the pips (ie, you will not see seven cups on the 7 of Cups) and 2) they feature empty landscapes rather than people, or even animals. This puts many readers off the deck. Each suit is named for one of the 'Grail Hallows' (Sword, Spear, Grail and Stone), and cards 2-9 of each suit depict the landscape through which the seeker journeys. If you think about it, for some reason the landscapes through which the knights journey in search of the Holy Grail always seem to be deserted, bereft. And so each suit takes us on a journey from the Hallow (Ace) to the Hallow Castle (the 10 of each suit). We pass through marshes, over bridges, amongst fields and hills, barrows, tors, and small villages of thatched round houses, near standing stones, along spiked fences and stone fences, through birch forests and craggy coast. I love country walking in England and Wales, so you can see the appeal of this deck for me. I absolutely love the images in the minors, even though I usually despise decks that do not have the right number of pips on each card. They remind me an awful lot of going on holiday--the peculiar English kind of holiday, where you get caught up a hill in a sudden pea soup mist, and perch on a damp rock to lunch on floppy sandwiches with lukewarm tea from a flask, while beads condense on your glasses. Ha ha. (Am I selling it?)
Today's card is Spear Hallow, or Ace of Wands. I don't feel very fiery this morning, having woken at the miserable hour of 4.45 AM. It's now 6 AM, and even though I've just made a pot of coffee, I think I'll go back to bed and see if I can sleep for another hour. I wonder what action today will see, or what new project or idea may take off.
But Ace of Wands doesn't have to be just a new project. It's fire. Agni, the Hindu god of fire and acceptor of sacrifices. Hara, or tanden, the Japanese 'fire in the belly', the physical and spiritual centre. Holy Spirit, the Christian version of the fire within ('For his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary of holding it in, and indeed I cannot' Jeremiah 20:9). All these experiences, though framed differently by various cultures, are the same elemental experience of spiritual fire.
May my awareness seek out the opportunities for the fire element in my life today.
Mantra: The Agni Gayatri
'Om mahajwalaye vidmahe
agni devaye dhimahi
tanno agni prachodayat'
Flower essence: Hornbeam*
*[This is a new feature I want to trial this week: an intention, a mantra and a flower essence for each day.]