Summer and the Lughnasa Moon
Thursday gratefuls: Grant Property Medics. The Wildflowers in the back. Their Pollen. Tarot and Kabbalah. Loki. Rain. Cool night. Alan. Breakfast out. Mussar. Its folks.
Sparks of Joy and Awe: I’m still learning.
Tarot card drawn this morning: 6 of cups
As you can see, I’ve added a new section. Rabbi Jamie’s Tarot and Kabbalah class started yesterday. A guy named Luke, a Tarot reader and scientist, has a co-teacher role.
The first class involved introductions and brief comments about the Tarot and its relationship to Kabbalah. Rabbi Jamie talked about the evolution of the standard deck of 52 cards used in various games in the U.S. He sees a direct line between the Tarot deck and the Bicycle cards shuffled and dealt thousands of times everyday. Probably millions of times.
Luke and Jamie suggested drawing a single card each morning, looking at it, considering its meaning, then doing an internet search for interpretations.
One way of reading Tarot cards involves an intuitive consideration of the art on the card. There are many, many decks designed over centuries and Luke’s guidance invited us to pick a deck whose illustrations speak to us.
The three decks I own, a reproduction of a very early deck, the Tarot of Marseilles, an Aleister Crowley designed deck, and one whose origins I don’t know, don’t appeal to me as reading decks. For example. I selected the six of cups from the Marseilles deck. It has six medieval style chalices, three on side and three on the other, separated by an abstract floral motif. Didn’t send my imagination into overdrive.
The Rider-Waite deck, however, which I ordered yesterday from Amazon, has the delightful scene above. With just a gentle nudge from the interpretations online I can get going with it.
For example: “The VI of Cups is rooted deep in the past, but it is also a card closely bound to your happiness. It suggests that your family, your old friends, perhaps even past lovers, are in the process of adding greatly to the joys in your life.”
Or, “With the Six of Cups reversed, you can finally close accounts with the emotional undertow that has been part of your life. You can now revisit those wounded places calmly, without the fear that you will be drawn back in.
There is no lingering emotional residue or entrenched nostalgia remaining. You have finally digested those past experiences. They can now be put to rest.”
Whether the card is right side up or reversed influences the meaning. This morning I drew the six of cups reversed.
When I look at the Rider-Waite card with these ideas in mind, I see first the man walking away from the main scene, staff in hand. Perhaps the mature fool (the first card in the major arcana) setting out on a journey. He’s walking away from the pleasant associations in the foreground. A boy and girl enjoy a flower, a star shaped flower, perhaps one they grew together, as Kate and I used to do in Andover.
The man, a pilgrim?, has had to leave this wonderful memory behind and now walks alone. Perhaps not wholly alone though. The card suggests to me that as he’s leaving, it is this memory that he’s carrying with him. A pleasant, joyful one. A time of innocent love made clear through a link to the natural world, to flowers and stars and attractive scents.
He’s headed toward buildings of an antique style, but I imagine him only passing through them on a path. Perhaps they represent the past that innocent love created, a life of joy in small things. Flowers. Dogs. Music. Creating quilts and novels. Cooking. Traveling to foreign lands. A past he’s now able to leave behind, yet also a past that sustains his present and gives him joy.
What’s beyond the buildings? Unsure. A future though. One that sustains the joy of unconditional love in new ways and in new places and with new people, new events.
I find the notion of synchronicity, or no coincidences, difficult to swallow. My reason and logic say, hooey. On the other hand each instance in our life has a direct connection to whatever shows up in it.
That sounds obvious, is obvious, but it may obscure that these links are always known through our world of meaning. We interpret them through that world, our idiosyncratic web of associations. Each event and each particular in the event has meaning within our understanding, our way of making sense of this blooming, buzzing confusion we call consciousness. There are never any coincidences then, only new contexts for the worldview we take us with on our journey.
This six of cups card, drawn from a deck shuffled repeatedly, is not then a coincidence, but a direct link to my immediate past of mourning and grief, now resolving in favor of joy. A profound and innocent love, expressed often in our life together through nurture of the plant world, remains with me, sustaining me, as I head out towards an unknown future.