martedì 7 ottobre 2014

Enchanted spaces

Last week I spent two days in London for a meeting. I lived in that incredible town several times during my past and it's good going back there sometimes: it's truly homecoming.
Also I especially like this town in Autumn: it seems to me that all the magic rising from the town's literature, landscapes, poetry, occult societies and mysteries I so much love is concentrated in this season:  it has always been Autumn the time of my several settlements in London and Autumn is probably the best time of the year for recollection - storing thoughts, feelings and memories while the world starts to vanish in coloured, withered leaves and crepuscular shadows.

The Green Woman, Wildwood Tarot
 On the 1st of October I went for a walk in Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, it was a warm, bright day and I enjoyed staying there till closing time.
I walked by the pond and the Serpentine, meeting the usual hungry and scatterbrain squirrels, a magpie and a heron, geese, swans and coots and all the water birds inhabiting this place, and the many people strolling and talking all around. Hyde Park with the Rose Garden close to the main entrance, its lawns and the large paved pathway where you can find either people riding horses or skaters, is the world of the Empress, the great nurturer who allows things to grow, turning the elements into breathing beings, either animals or plants. It is a world filled of peace and creativity, where there's always space for every kind of personal expression and a lot of care is addressed to small details in order to complete a huge picture. Life is here determined by openness to the others and the ability to establish connections, between our roots and our blossoming heads. But then I had to stop for a moment before proceeding under the bridge where Hyde Park ends and the Kensington Gardens begins: a passage from voices to silence, from the outer to a special inner dimension. I'm now leaving the Empress for the realm of the High Priestess, the Seer, the Sorceress - I'm now leaving the sunny meadows for the enchanted wood.

Arthur Rackham
Arthur Rackham
Of course "my" Kensington Gardens means primarily Peter Pan. Not the harmless child represented by the famous statue, but the other one, the half-and-half, the tragic boy who escaped his human life flying away from the nursery only to discover, once arrived in the gardens, that he was no more a bird. The Peter Pan whose adventures in the Gardens, before reaching Neverland, were illustrated by Arthur Rackham, who captured the secret existence of trees and rushes of wind, lurking goblins and fairies. I'm always expecting to recognize creatures playing and laughing between the coloured leaves or to unmask some old log, some mane of entangled twigs, revealing a grotesque figure who is sitting and murmuring there.

The Seer, Wildwood Tarot
Past the bridge the landscape changes. It becomes wilder, more private, calling for personal insight - the tamed nature of the park turns into a mirror for the soul and there is a lingering impression of some misty border dividing the town from a forest of witchery. The Gardens are the other in myself - child, crone, animal, man, woman, unnamed beast -, the secrets of the High Priestess who keeps in herself the visions from different worlds, the knowledge that true time is a circular movement, where childhood and adulthood, birth and death are clasped together. Every squirrel or bird approaching me for food is now a messenger. Will I ever understand completely the message? Will I be too much afraid or too much confident?

I open the book of the Priestess, a book of fairy-tales with open ends, to find among my ancestors, my magical helpers, the figures of my fantasy gathered in these meadows with their own truths, to remind me once more that experience is made of infinite levels of reality, infinite possibilities for symbols and perspectives. I'll never stop feeling like Wendy, coping with the process of growing up that means becoming more and more able to love, nurture, accept, as the Empress teaches, while drawing the forces to do so from that inner enchanted space where childhood with both its cruelty and its wonder is never forgot.

sabato 27 settembre 2014


Druidcraft Tarot   
Yesterday I've started an intuitive tarot workshop at my   mother's place: two lessons of three hours for  a maximum of    eight  participants. We ended up being eight women of different ages looking     at  the Major Arcana, describing images and feelings and trying  to write down some notes. Eight women, eight witches, eight  human beings, everyone with her own experience of love,  loss, gratitude, pain, hope, silence, rage, expectation.  Curiously enough, when I asked them to choose   and pick up a  card each in order to create a story, all male triumphs, except  the Hermit, were discarded. 
 And honestly as someone who goes searching in the dark,    bringing a small lantern - a personal light, a thirst for inner  knowledge -, I hardly see the Hermit as primarily male: he is   everyone who consciously walks on a path outside the maps. 

giovedì 18 settembre 2014

The Merlin Tarot

I bought this deck months ago, on ebay, because it's quite difficult to find it these days. Designed by R.J. Stewart and illustrated by Miranda Gray in 1988, it is based on the life and prophecies of Merlin as narrated by the  medieval historian Geoffrey of Monmouth.
This is a pip deck and hence the presence of numbers and the importance of numerology instead of the suggestive power of images might make it less appealing.
Also it strongly differs from traditional decks.  First of all three cards have been renamed: The Guardian (The Devil); The Innocent (The Hierophant) and the Universe (The World); and the order of the Major Arcana is a completely new one, reflecting the universe as conceptualized by Merlin. The 22 Arcana has been divided in seven groups of three cards - Worlds, Wheels, Enlighteners, Liberators, Redeemers, Givers, Sharers - plus the Universe as One Manifest Reality. 
To make an example, the first group is formed by The Moon, The Sun, The Star as the three worlds of experience and knowledge. 

martedì 16 settembre 2014


Fox is one of my favourite animals, often mistreated by common judgement and represented in ancient fables as an anthropomorphized  sly figure.
I thought about its appearances in some of the tarot decks I own, starting from the Druid Animal Oracle, where it stands for cunning and diplomacy, but also for a wildness very close to the human environment - that is: a perfect place for imagination.

venerdì 12 settembre 2014

Tarot readings

Next week I'm going to read for a stranger and it will be the first time after years. I came back to read tarot for others months ago, but they were friends or people I know in some degrees.
When I received the call I felt like I had to advise her: "Tarot is not mainly divination... I'm not going to predict your future... It is more on possibilities, attitudes, other perspectives", but she told me that this is exactly what she is looking for. So, fine - I enjoy reading for other people as much as I do for myself.

sabato 6 settembre 2014

Fairy Lights Tarot Review

The Fairy Lights Tarot by Lucia Mattioli, published by Lo Scarabeo is surely one of my favourite decks. I bought it at the end of July and one of the first things I did was going into the woods to sit among the fir trees, and admire its fabolous images.

The fairy lights painted on every card give substance to the shadows and revelations of a true faery realm, where memory and dreams are deeply entwined with either a disquieting or an enchanted atmosphere: the fairy-figures are sometimes diminutive beings, but closer to a world of insects and bees than to one of gentle-looking, harmless Victorian creatures. Male and female characters are equally represented; merfolk, inhabitants of nocturnal streams (as in the Star) and lakes, of rocky lands, prairies and meadows, are mingled with a variety of animals from the white bear in the Strength card, to the pigs under a tree of silver apples in the Five of Swords. Though the deck symbolism is mainly traditional, the artist has clearly developed a very personal and consistent vision that shows some significant differences from the Rider Waite meanings.

lunedì 1 settembre 2014

Aengus, The Fool

Lucia Mattioli, Fairy Lights Tarot
 What's better than a post about The Fool, to begin my tarot blog?
Tarot is a journey and one that always make me think first of a poem by William Butler Yeats, The Song of Wandering Aengus, published in the book The Wind Among the Reeds (1889).

Here the protagonist, Aengus, is either the Irish god of love or the Fool, starting his travel through the hazelwood of knowledge and self-discovery. What he will find there is a peculiar kind of love: he will meet his heart's desire, his opposite and then he will have to pursue her in order to be a full person - the individual that truly finds and touches his own soul through the search for the loved and long dreamed other. The innocence of the Fool/Aengus is enlightened by the fire of imagination first, then from love, seen as the energy of revelation. The final image showing the apple trees of Sun and Moon, represents the marriage of the opposites, but it also can be read as a hint to the wonderful western garden of the Hesperides of Greek mythology, where the golden apples of immortality grow. Maybe immortality is just this gift: the full experience of one's soul.