I point and the Oracle removes one card from the fanned arc on the table before us. With two fingers she pushes the card across the smooth surface, back and forth, tracing a pentagram again and again before turning the card over. She nods as if its identity is of no surprise to her but the card is blank to me, a plain white surface. The Oracle’s eyes see more than mine ever will; they show her a dark ship on a dark sea, storm clouds billowing behind its full black sails. In the forefront two hands clasp, one simple and bare, the other adorned with fine jewels and intricate tattoos. The Wager, she names it, and says when you draw this card it means you are playing a game in which you yourself are the wager. I stare down at the blank card, heart racing, and wonder, Do I want to be won?
Some say revenge is a dish best served cold. Others say the best revenge is a life well lived. These claims, however, are in actuality both quite inadequate. I have taken revenge countless times, in every manner possible and with every kind of weapon, and I therefore can state with confidence that the most satisfying revenge is intimate. A razor to the throat; a blade to the breast; a knife to the back. The sort of sharp, bloody end most fitting for traitors and cowards, those whose betrayal has cut you to your very core. You want to hold your victim in your arms so you feel the moment his strength finally fails. You want to hear the blood bubbling in his throat as he struggles to breathe. You want to hold his gaze as he dies so in his final moment he knows you did not forget and will not forgive. It is like a dance, two partners entwined, heartbeat to heartbeat, and then the knife. It always ends with the knife.
You ask why the Moon killed the Sun but never why the resurrected Sun in turn killed the Moon. Did he really do so to restore balance to the world, as the story says? To complete the cycle of sacrifice and usher in glorious summer? Perhaps. It gives a nice symmetry to the mythology, doesn’t it? Death for life and life for death. But maybe that’s just the fairy tale version where everything has a purpose and everyone a happy ending. Maybe that’s nothing more than a lovely lie.
Maybe the truth is that the Sun killed the Moon simply for the sweet satisfaction of revenge.
Mother, under Your bright gaze I become a child again!
I am the Six of Cups dancing in the forest
I am the Three of Wands yearning for a new adventure
Mother, under Your patient gaze I become a child again!
I am the generosity of the pentacles
I am the curiosity of the swords
Mother, under Your loving gaze I become a child again!
I am the Fool’s fearless freedom
I am Strength’s courage and the Star’s faith
Mother, under Your holy gaze I become a child again!
I bring you offerings of tarot cards and whiskey and in return you kiss your burning mark upon my brow, that in my dreams I may pass through the realm of angels and demons without harm. The white wolf makes its last stand before nine tall trees while the emperor slits his throat and bleeds out a golden river in the grass as the hanged man. I am the scribe blessed by death, immune to the curses of witches and the poisons of vipers, and nothing can keep me from you. I will calm the wolf and bind his wounds. I will bury the hanged man and adorn his grave with flowers. I will know you in every iteration from heaven to hell for you have named me Anant the endless, Anant the seventy-ninth card, Anant who is witness to the beginning and the end. Thus I wait. Thus I watch.
the Morrigan throws the Hierophant at me (why do you let yourself be bound by useless convention?) and empty fortune cookies (do you think I will just hand the answers to you?) and in my dreams I soar high on black wings while in mud puddles a thousand feet below She writes great wisdom I cannot read (shit happens), and thus is the nature of Her worship
I ask the Morrigan what side of Her I need to better understand and She shows me the Five of Pentacles. Traditionally this card portrays a ragged individual huddled in the snow outside a stone building, their gaunt features highlighted by warm light pouring from a nearby window. I realized when the Morrigan gave me this card that I make several automatic assumptions based on the image. First, that this person is a soldier, with the bandages on their arms or legs suggesting wounds earned in battle. Second, that this stone edifice they shelter beside is a church with a service currently in session. And third, that this soldier stands in the snow outside the church, begging for a coin or bite of bread, because the church refuses to succor them. Why these assumptions? I do not know, but I feel they are the core of the Morrigan’s message regardless of the card’s classical interpretation. To me, the Five of Pentacles shows how the church has turned away this old soldier and yet the Morrigan stands with him in the cold darkness. After the war ends, after the victories and defeats have faded to mere history, the Morrigan remembers all those who fought on both sides. She remembers – and She understands. She understands the ache of old wounds which refuse to heal. She understands the weight of memories too dark to share with loved ones. She understands the difficulty of returning to a society that values war yet devalues those who must wage it. The Morrigan is not only a goddess of battle; She is a goddess of war, and war does not end just because one has left the battlefield.
These days I feel very, very helpless in the world. The sheer number of vulnerable lives, both human and animal, in need of saving paralyzes me – I think, if I can’t help everyone, then what’s the point? So every week I sit in front of Bast’s altar begging Her to show me how to function without losing my compassion and how to be compassionate without going mad. Help me be a force of good in the world, I plead. Help me save as many of Your children as I can.
And in Her way, She answers. She makes sure I stumble upon a WordPress post from The Whiskers Syndicate, the only cat sanctuary in Bandung, Indonesia, a city with no animal welfare laws or shelters to protect the cats bred there by the hundreds of thousands. A single amazing woman, Josie, keeps this sanctuary and its 90+ cats alive, and in whatever spare time she has she tries to help as many other cats in the area as possible. Spaying, neutering, life-saving surgeries, even just a little food or a dry place to sleep – these cats rely on her to protect them as no one else in the city will.
I can’t do much for these cats from 8,400 miles away. I can donate money, though, and I can urge others to do the same with a dedication of time on my part. To that end, I’m officially opening up paid tarot readings! It’s the least I can do, and hopefully this will help spread the word so others learn about this vital organization. My guidelines are as follows:
– The readings are on a donation basis, please pay what you think is fair and I promise my full dedication to your question or issue*
– You can donate directly to the organization and send me a screenshot of your PayPal receipt
– I will also accept donations to other cat-focused organizations (humane societies, etc)
– I’m happy to communicate in whatever method is easiest for you, we can swap emails or you can find me on Tumblr or Twitter
– You are welcome to remain anonymous, I just need a nickname or pseudonym for the reading
I am also open to creating custom sigils and prayers for those who are interested, or other witchy-type services/trades. Don’t hesitate to ask. I hope that together we can bring a little brightness into the lives of all the Whiskers Syndicate cats!
(*Please be aware that PayPal donations to foreign countries may carry a larger fee than those made within your home country)