It's the Ace of Shields from Legend: Arthurian, in other decks known as the Ace of Pentacles, and I think I know why it has turned up today. Some very basic body maintenance will be going on today as I go to the dentist again to see to this blasted tooth. It's not going to be cheap, I'm guessing. And I'm working from my 'original' work base today, so it will be good to see everyone at the library. Haven't seen them since the end of Feb!
This particular Ace of Shields is the Shield of Evalach, a character from the Arthurian legends. Evalach was an eastern king from Sarras, and was befriended and converted to Christianity by Joseph of Arimathea, the rich man who donated his own prepared tomb for the body of Jesus, and who according to Grail lore came into possession of the Holy Grail. Someone called John of Glastonbury wrote that Joseph of Arimathea travelled to England, arriving in Avalon (Glastonbury) and bringing with him a container of the sweat and blood of Jesus. This later became mixed in with Grail lore, and thus Joseph of Arimathea became linked to to the Grail. This Evalach, the converted Christian king, brought his magical shield with him to Avalon. On his death bed Joseph of Arimathea smears some of his own blood on the white shield, in the sign of the cross. (John of Glastonbury also claimed that King Arthur was directly descended from Joseph of Arimathea.) In other versions of the story, Joseph's son, Josephus, gives Evalach a white shield with a cross of red silk tacked to it, as a sign of protection against a foreign invader to Evalach's homeland.
I'm really not sure that any of this has any real bearing on how to read this card. I would just read it with the meanings of the Ace of Pentacles in mind, and forget the details of Evalach unless the suddenly and spontaneously leapt to mind. I certainly wouldn't try to force the reading to fit with elements of the Arthurian legend. They'd have to be 100% clear and the connection would need to leap spontaneously to mind before I'd try to fit a client's (or my) situation with the story.
Accompanying the Ace of Shields card is the Lancelot card from Camelot Oracle. There's Lancelot under the Ace of Pentacle-y moon -- holding a shield. He looks like he's wearing tartan thigh-highs, a kind of Celtic 'Pretty Woman', but tougher. Alas, though, I think that's really a chain mail tunic over a pair of Will Worthington's beloved loose-fitting tartan trousers worn by most of his 'Celtic' characters.
Now Lancelot was troubled, we know this. Extremely good and pure, but also quite narcissistic and arrogant, his affair with Queen Guinevere leads directly to the downfall of Camelot. His first appearance in Arthurian legend is in Chretian de Troye's 'Knight of the Cart' in the 12th century, where the themes of his extraordinary perfection and his adulterous relationship with Guinevere are first seen. He is not connected to the Grail until the 13th century, when he appears in the Vulgate Cycle. After the downfall and death of Arthur, he retires to a hermitage, becomes a priest, and many years later presides over the funeral of Guinevere, who has become a nun and subsequently an abbess. Six weeks after her death, Lancelot dies.
But in his youth and before all the chick trouble, he was one formidable dude. And so the card represent heroism, strength, faith, devotion, and all that good stuff, tempered with caution not to get too cocky.
And is that a hedgehog sitting on his head? ;)
In the Camelot Oracle, one method of reading the cards is to use them in relation to the path drawn. Yesterday I drew The Doubtful Path, and so I will read all subsequent cards in relation to that, until I draw another path card. The question of Lancelot for me on the path to the Hermitage (The Doubtful Path) is 'How can you best answer this challenge?' My challenges for the day are to get my work done, get some parcels in the mail, and go to the dreaded dentist. And the best way to answer these challenges is just to DO them and not put them off. So...off I go! Get