Witch Notes: Birthday Edition
Saturday was my sixty-first birthday. As always, I drew some tarot cards as an anchor to both the past and future year. Sixty was an interesting year for me. I’ve spent much of the year letting go as they say of that which no longer serves. It’s been a difficult process but one that was necessary. It’s given me much pause and I’ve released a deluge of tears, but then a redefinition of self tends to do just that. Who I was had given way to a sense of isolation so profound that I wasn’t certain at all of my place in the world let alone a place in my family. And then on my birthday, I realized that I had accepted that isolation as my new reality, sadness giving way to a resignation felt over that which I have no power. Apparently, I have no place in that world, the world I’ve had to let go, no feeling of belonging possible, and feeling permanently apart.
When I drew the cards, I was thinking about my place in the world or my lack thereof and using my Wildwood deck, I drew The Ancestor, The Hooded Man, and the 3 of Bows. The Wildwood is a beautiful deck with a Celtic or pagan feel. Some cards are retitled to achieve a more elemental feel that is nonexistent with traditional decks. DruidCraft, Robin Wood, and other nontraditional decks like the Wildwood deck have a witchy feel that I appreciate typically expressing less patriarchy and more balanced energetic Goddess presence in their message.
Beginning with The Ancestor, this card represents the first of two cards from the Major Arcana. The fifth card from the Major Arcana, The Ancestor replaces the traditional Hierophant suggesting change, cycles, and the journey we take in form. The Ancestor stands between two birch trees, appearing as both a human and a reindeer, representing unity with the land and nature. We follow the path laid by our ancestors, awakening to their greater purpose as we create anew, adding to our ancestral story. The Ancestor represents our ancestral memory along with the connection or alignment between as above so below, or that of Spirit with form.
The Hooded Man replaces The Hermit in traditional decks depicting a cloaked and hooded man holding a lighted lantern in one hand and a staff in the other while looking down at a small wren standing on a snow-covered log. Holly leaves and berries cover his cloak as more adorn a wreath above a doorway leading into a large oak tree. This is the time of Winter Solstice when light gives way to darkness and the time for contemplation before the coming Spring. Traditionally viewed as a masculine figure, I prefer viewing The Hermit as Hecate, aligned in Source Presence, retreating from the world to offer divine wisdom to all.
The suit of Bows represents Wands and Elemental Fire found in traditional Tarot decks. Just as it requires will to create, the Wildwood Tarot uses the bow to represent that same energetic alignment to invoke fulfillment in the 3 of Bows. A robed man stands between two bow staves, a doorway of sorts, to progress and fulfillment. We see two serpents coiled upwards on his outer garment, a caduceus conveying healing and blessing. His hand is raised in greeting while he holds fast to the bow in his other, a large tree rising behind him suggesting the strength of purpose. Mind, body, and Spirit are in balance with the 3 of Bows as he stands at the crossroads each path offering a new experience for himself and to all those who pass through.
A witch at the crossroads. It’s nothing new, we tend to make a habit of the experience. Magick is performed there, wild and free, taking us on a journey of new experiences. The presence of The Ancestor suggests unity consciousness and the remembrance of Self guiding my path. And that’s true. Although the past may inform, it has no place in the present moment. The Ancestor speaks of a new direction as does the 3 of Bows, each invoking my will to create anew.
With Hecate’s wisdom expressed by The Hooded Man, the coming year is a time to re-embrace my solitary presence. Never belonging to a coven, I’ve always considered myself a solitary witch. And it seems now that as one cycle ends, another begins, but this time, the crossroads welcome me, promising fulfillment irrespective of the road taken. And with an overall numerology of eight, depicting strength and harmony, I’m eager to begin.
Originally published at www.imsteppingaside.com on October 15, 2018.