Today I have pulled a card alongside a text from Chief Leon Shenandoah, chief from the Onondaga.
Everything is laid out for you.
Your path is straight ahead of you.
Sometimes it’s invisible but it’s there.
You may not know where it’s going,
It’s the path to the Creator.
It’s the only path there is.
Chief Leon Shenandoah (1990)
It is almost Dark Moon, time to go inward and find illumination from inside. My question is: “What is my path?” (How does it look like? Do I see it, or its it invisible to me?)
I’ve used the tarot of Barbara Walker for an answer to this question. I have bought the book on her deck in a second hand shop a few weeks ago, and now I bought her deck as well. It was something I wanted to have, because I have two of her encyclopaedias. Actually, I own the one about myths and the other, about symbols is borrowed from my mother.
Some questions I do not like to ask the tarot; questions that ‘fix’ and ‘pin down’ the future, as if I am doomed. This question, what my path is, is such a question. But, since I liked the idea that the path each of us walks, leads to the Creator I wanted to ask the question.
The card I pulled was Eight of Cups, called “Loss.”
Depicted are Pan and Helice. The Muses were sometimes combined in a single goddess, called Helice, “Willow.” Her lover was Pan, god of fertility and he played the flute. Pan lost his Muses. That is what is pictured on the card. The cups are spilled in the water and Pan is weeping. Behind him stands the lovely Helice. The tears spilled by Pan became a metaphor of lost inspiration. According to Walker, in the later patriarchal revision of myth, the willow-goddess did not shape form anymore, but stayed put with her roots as a ‘weeping-willow’. She too is a symbol of lost inspiration.
The path straight ahead of me is one of ‘lost inspiration’. Although it is comforting to think that all path lead to the creator, mine included, I did not like drawing this card. I think I understand it though. It has to do with a course I start working on. Task in this is to regain inspiration when I feel I have lost it. My day was wonderful: sun, ice-cream, cleaning the bedroom of my daughter, looking for her summer clothes, all of it very rewarding - so I do not feel any lack of inspiration right now. But, when it happens, I need to connect with the feminine willow-tree, let my tears guide me and renew my inspiration. Just at this moment the willows are in lovely light greens in Holland, they are among the first to get leafs. The willow tree has the future on this card, she is growing. The weeping willow can be a symbol of lost inspiration in later patriarchal myths according to Walker, but there are leafs on that tree.
Still I thought to ask an angel for guidance. Silver Raven Wolf has assigned angels to all Major Arcana cards in her book about Angel Magick, so I put out my RWS deck and I drew a Major Arcana card. I picked Death. Belonging to that card is Azrael, angel of Death. Azrael is said to be present at birth and death, to write and erase a persons name in the book of life. When a person is dead, he accompanies him or her on a forty-day journey to heaven. He is huge, his feet span the heavens (all on Azrael from Eason, Touched by Angels).
Azrael helps with loss, at times of sorrow and is a protector. He can be visualized with a halo of dark purple flames; huge dark wings; and an enfolding, deep-red and purple cloak (must remember that).
My path is that of loss, and my task is connecting with grief, regaining inspiration.
Text from: Andrew Harvey, The Essential Mystics, Castle Books, 1996.