Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Ravens: Half-Sick of Shadows

1 - Ravens
Magic. Sweet immaculate magic. Meet Hugin and Munin from Norse mythology.

One reason we chose these cleaver and deceptive fellows for our Magus/Trickster card (a.k.a. Magician) is because they perfectly embody the combination of magic, divination and synchronicity. This card is like a talisman - a reminder of Ravens' resolute promise to make magic happen in tarot readings and in life.

The Ravens themselves are seen in loosey-goosey play with two pearl amulets, placed there to assure us of magical protection. Both the card (the talisman) and the symbol (the amulet) affirm this card portrays the consummate Cosmic Trickster.

A trickster is an enigmatic archetype full of purposeful deception yet given to exasperating disruption. Well known tricksters include Kokopelli, Loki, Hermes, Coyote and even Shakespeare's Puck.

The archetype is frequently associated with psychic phenomena, which are, by definition, illogical and irrational. But rather than attempt to explain the role of the trickster using abstract language, perhaps it's best to call a dress rehearsal and invite two minor arcana characters to join our Ravens.

Both pip cards address imprisonment of passivity. In the first instance, it's because of conflict and confusion; in the second, because of conflict and illusion. Both scenarios are irresistible for Raven tricksters, who despise structure and obliterate boundaries.


7 of Mirrors (Cups)
When the Lady of Shalott announces she's "Half-sick of shadows," she bewails the "betwixt 'n between" world of indecision and uncertainty; of being stuck in one place or status while desperately wishing to be in another.

The Lady, as you may recall, is victim of an unknown magic curse that requires her to live alone in an isolated tower chamber. She must view the outside world only through mirrors and weave reflected visions of that reality onto an elegant tapestry. In other words, she has no life, or, more correctly, she has only half-a-life.

Yet, in many ways the Lady of Shalott is like us all: conditioned and acculturated by strictures that pose limits (if we allow them) on our freedom to weave the life we fervently desire.

Tricksters, denizens of the irrational, abhor stricture and structure.

This card in a reading advises the querent to clearly distinguish between illusion and reality and discern future choices carefully. The trickster ravens prance along the shadowy threshold between illusion and reality where they certainly will attempt to sway decisions.

We doubt the Lady of Shalott owned a deck of tarot cards. If so, Lord Tennyson never mentioned it. Had she, the cards surely would have helped her better discern the choices set before her. And they also might have alerted her to a pair of trickster ravens rapping at her chambers's door.

In the end, our Victorian-era Lady owns her ill-considered decision to leave the tower - curse be damned! - in search of romantic love. Defiantly, she inscribes "The Lady of Shalott" on the prow of a small boat and shoves off down the river toward Camelot.

Under tower and balcony, 
By garden-wall and gallery,
 A gleaming shape she floated by,
 Dead-pale between the houses high,
 Silent into Camelot. 


8 of Scrolls (Swords)
I read a news clip the other day that said the State Department spent an absurd sum of taxpayer money to commission a sculptured camel for the grounds of the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan.

Shortly afterward, an artist friend, Helena Domenic, posted the 8 of Swords on Facebook as Card of the Day. Immediately spotting the synchronicity - Chrysalis' version of this card (left) pictures a camel - I ditched the card I planned to use and replaced it with our 8 of Scrolls.

This coincidence illustrates trickster-type synchronicity I've come to expect from Ravens. Indeed, divination, synchronicity and foretelling the future generally always involve tricksters. These qualities are also associated with the paranormal (supernatural), as Egyptian visionary Tuth-Shena's presence in the card artfully implies.

The camel symbolizes self-sufficiency and endurance. In a reading, this card advises you to reframe the issue and visualize a positive outcome. As my friend Helena noted on Facebook, (the querent is) "Bound by your own mental obstructions. Waiting to be rescued when you could rescue yourself."

Spontaneity encourages manifestations of magic, so always be alert for synchronicity.

I can attest Holly anointed and properly charged all Chrysalis art before shipping it to the printer; thus they were imbued with magic. A photo from Holly's special smudging ceremony for the Ravens card is pictured on the left.

When facing difficult choices, or when trickster activity is detected in the shadows between illusion and reality, we highly commend the Raven talisman card as the perfect significator to illuminate your reading.

Learn how to use the all-seeing eye of Ravens!

New World Isis by Aaron Paquette

An interesting article about ravens by Dr. Reese Halter.