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Thursday, 2 May 2013

Feeling salty today?

Tarot of the Sidhe, 2010
Well, yesterday we blew away the old, and in today's card from Emily Carding's Tarot of the Sidhe, we rise up again, renewed with card XX Judgement. 

The traditional Judgement card of course depicts the resurrection of the dead as prophesied in the New Testament:

Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall all be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, 'Death is swallowed up in victory.' O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? ~ 1 Corinthians 15: 51-55

Instead of the usual depiction of an angel blowing the trumpet and the dead rising from their graves in their new incorruptible bodies, we see here in this card a series of sidhe, mountain spirits perhaps, each standing on her own hilltop, sending out a similar call to awaken.

The sidhe in the foreground stands with her back to us, looking at us over her right shoulder. She holds her arms out in a palms-up gesture, and she is naked, her body decorated with woad tattoos. On her head is a crown which holds back her rainbow-coloured hair. From her back stream the series of ribbons that serve as wings in many of the Tarot of the Sidhe images. We can see the similarities to the Rider Waite image at left. In the RWS card, we see in the background what might be clouds or mountain peaks. We have the Angel of the Lord blowing the trumpet, and the naked folk rising from the dead. The palms-up gesture can be seen in the blonde woman on the right, who stretches her arms out as if to receive the sound of the trumpet, almost like she wishes to bathe or shower in it. The man on the left seems to be lost in adoration, and all the other figures hold their arms outstretched joyously. This is not a card of 'Judgement' as in a Day of Divine Retribution. This is a card of hearing a call that moves us into true potential, of waking from a long 'sleep', or state of unawareness,  into awareness/acceptance of our innate, actual perfection (the 'corruptible' putting on 'incorruption'.) Thus spiritual death is swallowed up in victory.

On the Tarot of the Sidhe Judgement card, we see that each hill has its own sidhe sending out a call, which is represented by colours issuing from their mouths. The sidhe sound out their own trumpet calls to their own souls. Did you think they were calling to us? I don't think so. (Maybe because actually, though the figure is looking over her shoulder at us, she doesn't seem to look particularly inviting. It's almost like she was busy in this activity and we interrupted her, or she's looked over her shoulder to just to see what was behind her. She doesn't appear to be beckoning and doesn't look particularly friendly! If anything, she appears focused.) The sidhe, I believe, are not our guardian angels, they are not our spiritual guides, though they don't mind us learning from them, just as they learn things from us. We humans are spiritual beings anchored very firmly in the earthly realm; the sidhe are spiritual beings, too, who it would seem can move more freely between realms. They are different beings whose experience of the realms remains mostly unknown to us. Perhaps it is as difficult (if that's the right word) for them to believe in and commune with us from their side as it seems to be for us to believe in and experience them from our side. It's an interesting question to contemplate. But I do not feel that sidhe, even just as artwork in a deck of cards, independent of any possibility of actual existence, are hovering around just waiting to help us out. How arrogant to think an entire class of being, an entire intelligence, exists only to aid and watch over human beings. How immature. If the sidhe do exist, they would surely be a part of the whole mentioned in the chant from yesterday: 

Om purnamada purnamidam
purnat purnam udachyate
purnasya purnamadaya
purnam evavashishyate

This is whole (or full, or absolute, or complete).
That is whole (or full, or absolute, or complete).
The whole comes into being by way of (or emerges from) the whole.
Subtract the whole from the whole, and the whole remains.

This reminds me of a teaching of Jesus, 'Ye are the salt of the earth; but if the salt have lost its savour, wherewith shall it be salted?' This certainly sounds a lot like 'Take the whole away from the whole and the whole remains,' because salt actually cannot lose its savour. The answer to Jesus's question is: That can't happen! I believe that is his point.  Salt cannot be separated from its savour, anymore than we can be separated from our connection to everything else. And that web of wholeness, that totality of existence, would include the sidhe (if they are real). Jesus's teaching continues, 'If the salt have lost its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden underfoot.' This teaching is like a zen teaching. It shows us that none of us is worthless, deserving to be cast out, because by our nature we cannot become worthless. We are whole and cannot lose our wholeness, just as salt cannot lose its saltiness. The fact that many Christian teachers have not seen the obvious (that salt cannot lose its savour) and taken this teaching to mean that if a person doesn't behave in the expected way or hold the right beliefs that they should be cast out or sent to hell has no bearing on the teaching's true meaning. 

All of that digression just to say, no the sidhe in the Judgement card are not calling to us. They are singing their heartsong and calling to themselves. They are singing a song of joy at their connection to the mountains, the clouds, the light, the sound of their own voices, and each other. They are rising up to realisation of their wholeness. They are calling themselves out to commune with the absolute. They are singing the song of the universe. Maybe they are intoning a long and vibratory 'oooooooooooooooooommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.' They're enjoying their own salty savour. :) 


  1. Ha, I just chanted that mantra this morning. Absolutely love how you find the same teaching from Jesus, and an understanding of it that rings far truer to me than the hellfire and brimstone crowd. As for the card, in a reading I think it would suggest that we too can hear the call and sing the song. Perhaps not the same one as the Sidhe, but if we listen, we can hear our own calling :)

    1. Yes, I meant that but maybe didn't say so clearly. :)