Monthly Archives: December 2013
Hello to all around the 180 countries WordPress informed me that my site has been viewed in. Wow!!!!
I would like to take this opportunity to Thank all my viewers and commenters for all the tremendous support you have given me yet again in the last year. It is very hard to believe that another year has already gone by, but here we are once more on the 31st of December with 2014 creeping ever closer. I wonder what you are all up to tonight and I know the New Year has already come for some of you. I received a WhatsApp photo and message from my nieces and their partners in Cambodia drinking champagne and toasting the New Year. We all celebrate in our own way so I know some of you are out to party party, while others will go to bed early just to escape it.
I myself have a lot to look back on in this year and celebrate. My beautiful niece Jessica got married to her big love Stephen in Santorini, Greece, my other beautiful niece Julie had her first baby, Harrison, My beautiful daughter Katie got engaged to her long-term boyfriend John and my health has been on the up and up in the last couple of months. I also got to see a lot of my clan in the Irish Gathering this year, have been trained in singing, made more of my beloved dolls, have helped my fantastic partner Billy find a lovely home while his son released a wonderful new single which I think would make an ideal backing track for a movie (if you want to hear it let me know).
So I have pulled two Cards asking for a message for the New Year and I got:
Just before I log off for 2013 because I have already started Partying (wine and writing do not go hand in hand), I believe that we have a situation here of a desperate need to get everything back under control again, but not in a dictatorial sense as the Emperor may approach it, but rather with a more softly softly approach of The King of Cups. The King of Cups is more than aware of how emotionally we have been blasted in the last few years and even though The Emperor, representing Governments and International Banking and Finances can make rulings based on hard facts and what is long-term beneficial for the economy, and themselves, The King of Cups is there to remind them of the human aspect to the situation. While The Emperor and his friends are playing around with figures, there are real people on the ground suffering. A definite balance is required and the King of Cups is there to remind him of that. Then again, the King of Cups may have his own agenda? He can be a sly one! Oh who knows, except this is the last day of 2013 and lets be grateful we survived it. 20014 is another story altogether. God and Goddess, let it bring peace, hope, health, harmony and prosperity to us all. The World badly needs a lift.
A Happy, Peaceful, Safe, Healthy and Prosperous New Year To All and let your hangovers be mild and forgiving.
See you all next year, be good tonight!!!!
Vivien (your tarot teacher)
Copyright © 2006-2013 Vivien Ní Dhuinn
Continuation from 27th of December – Part II
Following on from yesterdays look into how the various Court Families of The Tarot might be celebrating, or not celebrating The Holidays, today we will take a look at The Swords and Pentacles Families along with the remaining Major Arcana Cards.
The Swords Family Celebrating The Holiday Season
The Swords Family are a little bit nervous and uptight about the Holidays ahead. Memories of this time last year still haunt them. To be honest, The King of Swords has made it clear that he wants nothing to do with it and has told everyone not to expect him to join in any of the celebrations. He thinks it is a lot of nonsense and a waste of time. The Queen of Swords has laid down strict rules and guidelines about how this year will be different. She will stand for none of the upset and stress she had to endure last year. She has made up her mind that she will have a different attitude this Holiday Season and will be very well organised so that she does not become overly stressed. She has ordered her offspring to come home and she expects them to obey. Just for once she would like a calm, happy and sociable Holiday but can she rely on the rest of her family to follow suit?
The Queen of Swords wants everything to be different this year and so insists that instead of giving the Knight and Page the usual book vouchers, new school satchel for The Page and a smart fountain pen for The Knight, she wants their gifts to be more imaginative. The King of Swords reluctantly agrees to her demands. He saw the state she got into last year and certainly does not want a repeat of it. However he hates going gift shopping and thinks it all a waste of good money. Instead he sends his secretary out to do his gift buying for him. The only thing is he doesn’t give her any guidelines except that they have to be sensible or educational. He expects her to know what he means and offers no more suggestions. His nervous secretary will have to use her wits to get suitable presents. She has also been told to be back at her desk in two hours. Stressed and nearly killing herself running across roads without looking, she is heading for the nearest boring store when she gets a phone call from The Queen of Swords. The Queen of Swords is a smart lady and knew exactly what her partner, The King would do. She instructs the nervous secretary to go to the Mall instead of the old reliable book store and gives her a list of shops she might try along with numerous suggestions for gifts. The poor secretary expresses her concern as to what The King will say when she comes back to the office with the very things he told her not to buy. The Queen reassures her and tells her that she will deal with him, but to make sure that all the gifts are wrapped so that he does not know what has been bought. She tells the secretary to charge any excess to her account as The King has given his secretary a strict and tight budget to work from.
The Queen has her own shopping to do, so heads off leaving her secretary in charge of her team. She makes her way to the nearest Sport’s shop and purchases a complete Hill-Walking Kit for The King; hiking boots, poles, weather proof clothes and a special compass which she has personally engraved for him. She then purchases a similar kit for herself. She plans to start the New Year with a new attitude and to spend more time with her partner. She realises they do not enjoy themselves enough and as she knows The King does like to walk and is always pointing out one mountain or another to her and its altitude, she thinks that Hill-Walking would be a past-time both of them would enjoy. Delighted with her purchases she heads back to the office.
The Knight and Page have little problem buying their gifts; a new desk set for their father and engraved fountain pen. For their mother, a Tablet. Their mother complains that they do not ring her often enough. With The Page in Boarding School and The Knight in College she sees little of them. When she opens it, they will set the Tablet up for her so that she can Skype them. She will also get great use out of it. It comes with a smart sophisticated bag so that it is easy for her to carry around and suitable for bringing to the office. They want to make her happy this Holiday, especially after the disaster of the last one.
The Queen of Swords leaves the purchasing of her gift from The King up to him. As they all open their gifts, she is not surprised to discover the same bottle of perfume she gets every year from him. She has long outgrown this scent and each year brings it back unopened to the department store to exchange it for something else. Her partner, The King has a set mind when it comes to things and finds it hard to step outside the box and act spontaneously. She would dearly love to open her gift and find some expensive lingerie or even a voucher for spa treatments but he is not very imaginative and far too serious for such frivolous things. Everyone else seems to be especially pleased with their gifts, if not a tad surprised. The King is slightly confused when he sees the Hill-Walking clothes but when The Queen explains their use he thinks her very sensible. The Queen is thrilled with her tablet and gives both her sons a stiff and uncomfortable hug. None of them are used to being emotional with each other but The Queen seems intent on making changes this year so everyone is awkwardly going along with it. Just for this moment in time The Queen of Swords is happy and believes she has managed to pull it off, that this Holiday will be a good one with no repeat performances of last year. She is looking forward to a lot of amiable chat around the dinner table.
The Swords Family sit down to their formally laid table to eat. The Queen is known to be a perfectionist so the table is immaculate and she has used a special ruler to ensure that each setting is the same distance apart. Starters go well and everyone seems to be relaxing a bit. Just as the main course is being served, The King asks The Knight how College is going? The Queen freezes. She was hoping they could get past the Holidays before she would have to tell him. Only a week ago, she had received a disturbing phone call from his College. They had tried to reach The King first but he had been in a meeting. The Queen was very grateful for such fortunate timing. She told The College that she would be dealing with the matter and not to disturb The King as he was involved in some serious business. The Knight then emailed his mother, The Queen to tell her that he had been expelled for disorderly behaviour and for driving a car across the college lawns while under the influence of alcohol. He had caused damage that would need to be paid for. The Knight had been staying at a friend’s house until he would come home for The Holidays. The Queen was horrified and said she was ashamed of him. The Queen paid for the damages but warned The Knight that he was not to open his mouth to his father until she gave her permission. The King asked The unusually quiet Knight once more how College was going? The Knight eventually replied ‘fine, just fine’. ‘Well that is strange’ said The King ‘because I was speaking to one of your college friend’s father just yesterday and he told me a rather different story’. With that The Knight pushed his seat away from the table and stormed off out the door. The King roared after him, ordering him back but The Knight just kept going. The King then turned on The Queen of Swords ‘did you know about this?’. The Queen could not lie, so nodded her head. The King announced that he suddenly had no appetite and left the table. The Page asked to go to his room. That left The Queen of Swords alone at the table she had spent so much time planning. Silent tears poured down her face as she stood up to begin removing the uneaten food from the table.
The Holidays she had held out so much hope for were turning out just as they did every year. Stress, conflict, arguments and tension. She had come from a background not to un-similar, so she chided herself for being silly enough to think that she could change things so easily. She didn’t hold out much hope for the New Year if this was anything to go by.
Question – You are the King of Sword’s Secretary and it has been left up to you to buy him a gift from all the Staff. What do you do, just give him a voucher or actually pick out something that you think he would like? Where would you go to shop for him and what might you buy? Someone makes an announcement at The Special Family Dinner. Which one is it, what is the Announcement and how is it Received?
Below are some Holiday Season associations depicted through The Swords Tarot. Please feel free to add your own.
The Joys of The Holiday Season
*The Swords are quite difficult to work with when it comes to The Joys of The Holiday Season
The Ace of Swords – New Attitude, A New Approach, Determination to Change things, Determination to get things right and off to a good start.
The Three of Swords Reversed – Determination that there will be no arguments, hostilities and tension. Wanting a stress free Holiday.
The Four of Swords Reversed – A break or reprieve from tensions, anxiety and hostility for The Holidays, being allowed home from hospital for The Holiday Season, Recharging the batteries over The Holiday Season.
Six of Swords – Getting away from the stresses of The Holiday Season. Taking a vacation to rest.
Seven of Swords – Sneaking around trying to hide gifts from children and partner. Hiding gifts where they can’t be found, having to keep secrets or tell lies in order to purchase gifts or arrange surprises. Having to really think hard to find a gift for someone hard to please.
Eight of Swords Reversed – Release from the stresses and pressures of work for The Holidays, Having a positive outlook and looking forward to the Festive Season, temporary release from care for the Holidays, Release from Prison in time for The Holidays.
Nine of Swords Reversed – Unnecessary worry about The Holiday Season, Worries Unfounded.
Ten of Swords Reversed – Recovering from ill-health in time for The Holidays. Things working out just in time.
The Stresses of The Holiday Season with The Swords
Ace of Swords Reversed – Not getting off to a good start, Negative Attitude to The Holidays, Wanting to cause trouble (digging the knife in) at family gatherings.
Two of Swords – Stressing about what gifts to buy, being forced to decide which side of the family you will be spending The Holidays with, refusing to put grievances aside so that family gatherings can run smoothly. Deliberately excluding certain family or friends from invites to social occasions. Not wanting to be a part of the Festivities. Wishing it was all over and everything back to normal.
Three of Swords – Family arguments, grievances, hostility and rows causing disruption to everyone enjoying The Holidays. Family members dredging up ancient issues and quarrels. Returning unwanted or unsuitable gifts to stores without receipts and arguing with shop assistant.
Four of Swords – Mental exhaustion due to excess worry and stress over preparing for the Holidays. As soon as you get the time off work, you come down with a cold or flu, too worn out and tired to enjoy the festivities. In hospital for the Holidays.
Five of Swords – Rise in domestic violence during the Holiday Season. Excess alcohol and close proximity causing tempers to flare with possible physical aggression and violence involved. One family member ruining the Holidays for everyone else.
Six of Swords Reversed – Returning home for the Holidays but to hostility and quarrels rather than rest and relaxation, being duty bound to return home even if it makes you unhappy. Family rows and arguments. Never again attitude.
Seven of Swords – Shop Lifting on the increase during the Holiday Season, Burglaries with theft of gifts, bag snatching due to thieves knowing people carrying extra cash, family and friends stealing you gift ideas, your children discovering where you have hidden their gifts and opening, surprises ruined as secret not kept.
Eight of Swords – Not knowing how you will cope over the Holidays, maybe not having enough money to buy family gifts, feeling trapped with debt after all the spending, Finding it all too stressful, feeling duty-bound to turn up at Family Gatherings you would rather avoid, feeling there is no escape from having the in-laws over. Being in Prison during the Holidays.
Nine of Swords – No knowing how you will afford gifts for your children and family, worrying about health issues, feeling the intensity of bereavement or loss during the Holiday Period, Feeling terribly stressed and unable to cope, feeling alone. Waking in the middle of night in a panic as you realise you have forgotten to buy something very important and now it is too late.
Ten of Swords – Having a Melt-Down with all the stress of the season, unable to cope with all the pressure the season brings, being ill during the Holidays.
The Pentacles Family Celebrating The Holiday Season
The Pentacles Family approach The Holiday Season in good cheer and goodwill, safe and secure in the knowledge that they have plenty to go around. They will not have to worry about where the money will come from to buy gifts and all the extra luxuries that make the Festive Season so special. The Queen of Pentacles will delight in making her home festively spectacular. In fact the ‘House Beautiful’ upmarket home and interior décor magazine have selected her house this year for its Holiday Festive Shoot. The Queen of Pentacle’s house is certainly looking magnificent and she has gone to great lengths to make it so. She has had the builders in to do some work and repairs to their grand old house. She has used greenery from her own garden to do most of the decorating, and she just has a way to make it look so naturally and effortlessly put together. This is one of her favourite times of the year when she can really showcase her talents. She has also covered her beautiful evergreen tree in the front garden with hundreds of little fairy lights that twinkle brightly in the dark sky. The Wreath on her front door is of course handmade by herself with produce from her garden, and also items she has been collecting from the local woods in recent weeks. She manages to combine all this as well as being a busy and successful business woman. Oh did I mention, she has her special recipe puddings and cakes already baked.
The King of Pentacles, although a very busy man will set aside the time to go gift shopping with The Queen. This is a traditional outing each year. Both dress well for the occasion and arrange for a taxi or their driver to bring them to the most fashionable shopping area. Here they will spend much time browsing before making their final selections. Their aim is to buy their Knight and Page gifts that have been well thought out, are of top quality, practical and quite luxurious. The Pentacles do not like to waste money, but this is one time of the year where they will be prepared to push the boat out. They will spend lavishly on gifts for family and friends, and of course the ever important ‘Status Gifts’ for business colleagues and customers. They will take a break from shopping for lunch in one of their favourite restaurants where a table has been reserved for them, before heading back out to complete their gift selection. They will arrive home that evening maybe tired but definitely not stressed. It goes without saying that The Pentacles are very charitable, and especially at this time of the year. They will make the time to ensure they donate to the most vulnerable in society. A conscientious family, The Page and Knight will probably have been encouraged to do some voluntary work, and no doubt have been involved in Fundraising Events in recent weeks.
The Queen of Pentacles will already have arranged The King’s gift. Possibly, a work of art or a rare edition book he has been searching for his collection. The King, will more than likely buy her expensive jewellery and her favourite scent. The Page cannot wait to come home from Boarding School for The Holidays. He has been buying gifts each week out of his pocket-money and is looking forward to everyone opening them. His friend The Page of Swords wishes he could come with him as The Pentacles Holiday sounds so much better than his. The Knight too will be looking forward to seeing the family and will be bringing his fiancée home to spend The Holidays with them. Just like his mother and father, The Knight of Pentacles and his fiancée have spent much time shopping for the perfect gifts. The Pentacle Family will spend a very traditional Holiday together in good cheer. They will enjoy all the family being together and will eat well and often. There will entertain a lot over the Holidays with guests coming and going and some staying over. The Pentacle Family will be seen out walking together with their dogs across parks and through the woods as they will want to ensure they get the correct balance between eating and exercising. They will have a very happy time indeed and everyone will be thrilled with their gifts.
Question – You have been invited to dine with the The Pentacles Family over The Holiday Period. You will need to bring a Gift. What do you think would please them most? Someone makes an announcement at The Special Family Dinner. Which one is it, what is the Announcement and how is it Received?
Below are some Holiday Season associations depicted through The Pentacles Tarot. Please feel free to add your own.
The Joys of The Holiday Season with The Pentacles
Ace of Pentacles – Plenty of money to buy gifts and nice luxuries. No financial worries. Will have budgeted well for this time of year so there will be no credit card debts in the new year. The beginning of a spending spree! Let’s go shopping!
Two of Pentacles – Decisions, Decisions, which gift shall I buy? Giving gifts and receiving gifts, money circulating to the sound of shop tills pinging. A lot of money changing hands.
Three of Pentacles – Doing up The House for The Holiday Period, making sure everything is perfect, getting windows and gutters cleaned and stone work power-washed. Wanting to make a good impression on visitors.
Four of Pentacles – Spending, Spending the money you have saved to buy gifts, being more carefree with money, being open and generous, putting your spare change into the collection boxes at check-outs.
Five of Pentacles Reversed – Spending some time working with the homeless, donating to refuge centres, helping out family members and friends who are in need. Giving without expecting anything in return.
Six of Pentacles – Being Charitable, Donating, Helping the less fortunate, distributing gifts to employees, giving Holiday Bonuses to Employees, Splashing out on The Staff Party.
Seven of Pentacles – Taking a well-earned break from work for The Holidays.
Eight of Pentacles – Working hard to get business matters sorted, orders out and deliveries made before The Holidays. Shop staff working extra opening hours in the rush up to The Holiday Period. Effort being put into making The Holidays a success; decorating, wrapping gifts, writing greeting cards.
Nine of Pentacles – Getting dressed up in all your finery for the Festive Season. Wearing your best clothes and getting your hair done. Looking well and putting effort into your appearance. Showing off your nicely decorated home to visitors and guests.
Ten of Pentacles – It’s all about bringing the family together under one roof, family get-togethers and remembering the elder members of the family at this time of year. Gathering of the clan. Family Holiday Traditions.
The Stresses of The Holiday Season with The Pentacles
Ace of Pentacles Reversed – Lack of money, not enough money to buy gifts, spending too much, spending more than is coming in, being reckless with money at this time of year and not thinking of the debts that need to be paid in the new year. Losing money, Losing your wallet or purse. Not checking your change or receipt, being overcharged and not paying attention.
Two of Pentacles Reversed – Struggling to manage finances for The Holiday Period, Not enough money to go around, having to make decisions about who to buy and not buy gifts for. Trying to do too much, working extra jobs to bring the money in.
Three of Pentacles Reversed – Making no effort to decorate or have your home looking nice for The Holidays. No interest in the whole thing, would rather be working.
Four of Pentacles – Meanness, not wanting to spend on gifts or nice things for the house, think it is all too commercial, waiting for the sales to start, totally ignoring The Holiday Period, working through the Holidays, no pay bonuses or staff parties. Consider everything a waste of money.
Five of Pentacles – Out of work, Laid off at The Holidays, No money to buy gifts or nice things, Homeless, Poor, Having to watch your family go without at this time of year. Feeling Helpless, down and out.
Six of Pentacles Reversed – Mean Spirited, Having but not giving, ignoring those in need around you, thinking it is not your problem, letting staff go at The Holidays, no pay bonuses for staff, no staff party, extremes, staff giving boss a gift
Seven of Pentacles Reversed – Afraid to take time off work in case something happens, A slave to work, having to work over the Holiday Period such as farmers and those involved with horses and other livestock. No rest. No time off. Those who need to work to ensure The Holidays are enjoyed safely by all such as firemen, police, nurses, doctors, search and rescue. Not getting paid Holiday rates.
Eight of Pentacles – Working too hard, not taking time off, workaholic, too tired from work to enjoy The Holidays, Time is money, after all the effort you put in to make The Holidays a success no one notices and could care less. Waste of your time and energy
Nine of Pentacles Reversed – Working through The Holidays, not spending any money on yourself, making little or no effort for The Holidays, think it is all a waste of money,Spending more than you have just to keep up appearances, mounting debts.
Ten of Pentacles Reversed – Family breakdown, No family home, Family not coming home for the Holidays, Dread coming home for the Holidays, Breaking a family Holiday Tradition, Being untraditional, Being a family outcast, not welcome home for The Holidays, Family arguments and disagreements, Massively overspending, massive debts
*Now let us look at the remaining Major Arcana and see how they can reflect the Holiday Season
The Hanged Man – Children impatiently counting down the days until the can get their gifts, sacrifices made by parents to get their children their dream gift, turning your back on the material side of The Holidays to focus on the Spiritual, Volunteering over The Holidays.
Death – Breaking with Tradition, Breaking Bad Habits, Making some profound changes, Making firm resolutions for change in The New Year, The End of The Old and the beginning of the New. Light a candle for those who are no longer with us.
Temperance – Ah, the Angel of balance and moderation. Being mindful of over-indulging during The Holiday Period. This includes making sure not to overspend, over-drink or over-eat, Being mindful of the Religious and Spiritual aspects of The Holidays.
The Devil – At the bottom of every bottle of whiskey and gin lurks the Devil. Not giving in to temptation, don’t be fooled into thinking you can spend like the Devil and get away with it, eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die are the devil’s words and should be strongly ignored. Remember that it is a Religious and Spiritual time of year and do onto others as you would have them do onto you. Do not get involved in purchasing illegally sourced or stolen goods as gifts. Do a good deed for someone and turn your back on the Devil.
The Tower – Personal Disasters, Natural Disasters and unnecessary tragedies on the roads that seem to increase at this time of year. Take care and put your safety and the safety of others first. Stop the rushing and slow down. Shocking and scandalous revelations made over the family dinner table causing terrible upset and serious fallout for all involved.
The Star – A time of peace and hope for all. A time to think of our brothers and sisters around the world and the desire for peace for all mankind. Volunteering over the Holidays, being selfless. Taking a break, doing exactly what you want, having a well-earned rest.
The Moon – The Holiday Season can trigger depression and lowness for those who are not part of the whole festivities and celebrations. Old memories can surface leaving one feel sad and nostalgic for Holidays past, worrying about what the new year has in store for you. Feeling troubled and isolated. Mother related issues surfacing at this time of year or missing a deceased mother.
The Sun – Bright Lights, Twinkling Lights, Bling, Fun, Freedom, Party-time, A time for children to truly enjoy, It’s all about the children, Joy to the world, Celebrations.
Judgement – Being Mindful of our Religious and Spiritual duties at this time of the year. Wanting a complete change for the new year, plans to transform yourself, time to look back on the past year and reflect.
The World – Family flying in from all over the world just to be together for the Holidays. Happiness, joy, parties, dancing, decorating the house, hanging the wreath on the front door, retreating into your family for the Holidays, inviting friends and neighbours in for social occasions. A wonderful end to a totally successful year. Raise a toast to all mankind.
Copyright © 2006-2013 Vivien Ní Dhuinn
Happy Holidays From The Land of Tarot,
We have had terrible storms in Ireland over the Holiday Period and many homes have been without electricity, telephone and internet connection. Hence, the delay in this Post going Out. However, better late than never. I do hope you have all been enjoying yourself wherever you are in the world.
Yes, that time of year has come around once more. Regardless of our different Religious or Spiritual beliefs, it is quite hard to completely avoid the seasonal festivities and celebrations for they seem to be everywhere. There is little escape, and for most of us there are things we both love and hate about this time of year.
Our Tarot Families are no different. They all have their own way of celebrating, and their own particular idea of fun and gaiety. When it comes to purchasing those all important gifts for family and friends they certainly have their own way of choosing them, be they considered sensible and practical, or totally extravagant and outrageous.
Let us now take a look at the Holiday Season with The Tarot and see how well they reflect our own situations and family gatherings. As the Holidays approach each of The Tarot Family prepare to gather and celebrate. However, before they can all come together, certain things must be done and arranged. Likewise, no sooner are the Holidays over, The Tarot Families are launched into further scenarios associated with this time of the year. As we go through the Cards that I have selected, and by the way, I haven’t used all of them, to demonstrate the multitude of situations surrounding the Holiday Season, it will be clear to see why it can be one of the most tiring and stressful times of the year for so many families and individuals.
So going on the basis that all the Court Cards Clans are gathering to celebrate in their own unique way, we will use the remaining Cards both in The Minor and Major to tell the rest of the story for us. This by the way is our story too.
The Wands Family Celebrating The Holiday Season
The Wands Family are all returning to the fold to celebrate the Holidays together. You may have noticed that I put The Queen in first place as she is most likely in charge of overseeing the whole occasion while managing to keep her busy career going at the same time. She will have gone shopping for a few things, but I reckon that most of her gift and food buying was done on-line. She certainly won’t beat around the bush either when it comes to letting her partner, The King of Wands know exactly what she expects to receive as her gift. The King will trust her judgement when it comes to buying his as he respects her taste. She seems to intuitively know each year just the right gift for him. Both the Knight and Page are easy to shop for as they will want the latest gadgets and game consoles, regardless of age. As a family they may decide to take off to an exotic climate and have their celebrations abroad instead of at home. The King of Wands will only take the briefest of time off work, and even then may be checking emails on an hourly basis. The Knight believes the Holiday Season is for kicking up one’s heels and is bound to party hard, even dragging the Page with him if he or she is old enough. They certainly will have a fun-filled time with lots of socialising, entertaining (if they do not decide to go away) and some action-packed family outings to burn off any excess eating and drinking. Their home is bound to be very loud with much comings and goings. They will spend a lot at this time of the year.
Question – If you had to buy each of The Wands Family a Gift, what do you think would please them most? Someone makes an announcement at The Special Family Dinner. Which one is it, what is the Announcement and how is it Received?
Below are some Holiday Season associations depicted through The Wands Tarot. Please feel free to add your own.
The Joys of The Holiday Season
Ace of Wands – Thumbs Up, Party Time has Arrived, Booking your Flight home for the Holidays, Boarding Your Plane, Train or Bus to Head Home for The Holidays. The Beginning of The Holiday Season.
Two of Wands – The Unexpected Arrival of Family or Friends from Far Away. Surprise Visitors.
Three of Wands – The Return Home of Family and Friends from Overseas for The Holiday Season, Standing at the Arrivals Gate waiting for your family or friends to come through the doors.
Four of Wands – Celebrations, Party Time, Family Re-Unions and Get Togethers, Celebrating The Holidays with Good Friends and Family, Happiness and Joy. Decorating for The Holiday Season, Making the House look very Festive.
Five of Wands – Bedlam in The Shops, Hunting for the Right Gift, Having to Queue at cash tills and to get into car-parks, Loud music and noise everywhere. Buzz
Six of Wands – Dressing up in your New Clothes and feeling good. All the preparation and shopping done. Feeling Proud.
Eight of Wands- Standing at the Arrivals Gate waiting for your loved ones to come through the doors. Your plane touching down and knowing that your family and loved ones are just minutes away. Getting away from all the madness of the Holiday Season by going on Vacation instead. Building Excitement, All the buzz and madness of the Holiday Season, Not a minute to spare, invitations to parties flooding in the door.
Nine of Wands Reversed – Being allowed Off Duty for The Holidays, Not having to work, Soldier returning home from Duty for The Holidays.
Ten of Wands Reversed – Relief, Dropping everything for the time being, no work for a while, being able to offload and kick-back. Hard work done, You got their in the end and all gifts bought and food are organised. Time for a bit of relaxation now and a well-earned glass of wine.
The Stresses of The Holiday Season
Ace of Wands Reversed – Delayed Flights, Travel Plans Disrupted or Cancelled, Party being a bit of a Flop,
Three of Wands – Being Far Away From Home, Not Being Able to Come Home for The Holidays, Having to Return After The Holidays (leaving Family), Being Separated from the One you Love during the Holidays (work related overseas)
Four of Wands Reversed – No Family Get Togethers, A Family that are not Close, Family and Friends Departing to go their separate ways after the celebrations and Holidays, Having to say goodbye. The aftermath of too much celebrating; hangovers, mess, Cancellation of Celebrations or Family Gatherings, A Disastrous Party (no one showed and all the money you spent)
Five of Wands Reversed – Family issues and differences surfacing during the Holidays Season, Rows and arguments getting out of hand/deciding to put differences aside for the Holidays. Battling for the bargains during the post Holiday Sales. Bedlam in the shops. Noisy Kids with Noisy Toys driving you mad!
Six of Wands Reversed – Burning the Festive Dinner, Everything going Wrong, Party a Flop or Failure, Party clashing with another event and no one turns up at yours.
Seven of Wands – Prolonged close proximity causing arguments and clashes with Family during the Holidays. Being the instigator of rows or constantly on the defence.
Eight of Wands Reversed – Disruption to flights or travel plans, Cancellation of flights, Family and Friends Departing/Flying out after the Holidays. Tearful Farewells. Arguments and dreadful rows when Family forced together or when too much partying has been going on.
Nine of Wands – Having to work over the Holiday Season. Soldiers on duty far away from home and family. All the hard work and preparations left up to you.
Ten of Wands – Taking on too much during the Holidays. The Stress of it all; shopping, working, decorating, cooking, entertaining. It all seems like too much work and not enough fun. Exhausted from too much partying, cooking and drinking.
The Cups Family Celebrating The Holidays
Oh the joy of it all! The Queen and King of Cups are in their element at this time of the year. Having all their loved ones so close and all together under the one roof is all that matters. That is the greatest gift they could get. The Queen of Cups of course will go into overdrive; happily decorating, baking and spending days and weeks personally shopping for just the right gift for each member of her family. The King of Cups will shop with her and probably agree with all her choices. They will not look at the shopping as a chore but make it a day out instead. Perhaps they will book into a hotel for the night so that they can relax and get into the festive season in the right manner. They will happily roam from shop to shop and never seem to tire until all purchases have been made. Then of course there will be the agreement to separate for a couple of hours so that they can shop for each other’s gift. They both enjoy the element of surprise when opening gifts so will not drop any hints to each other before hand. They both believe that it is the thought that counts and know that their gifts were bought with love and will be treasured forever.
The Queen of Cups will lovingly prepare the bedrooms for the returning Knight and Page of Cup and will welcome any partners they may bring with them. Actually, it is to The Cups Home for the Holidays that many of the Knight’s and Pages’s friends will flock, for the atmosphere will be so special and the wine constantly flowing. The Cups will operate an Open House during the Holidays with friends and family constantly coming and going. They will have a large gathering for dinner and several other social occasions. The Knight and Page of Cups will probably have shopped together to buy their parents their gifts. If grandchildren are involved, The King and Queen of Cups will totally spoil and indulge them at this time of the year.
Question – If you had to buy each of The Cups Family a Gift, what do you think would please them the most? Someone makes an announcement at The Special Family Dinner. Which one is it, what is the Announcement and how is it Received?
The Joys of The Holiday Season with The Cups
Ace of Cups – Joy to The World, The Holidays are here, Time to Party, Let the Wine and Champagne flow, Season of Goodwill and Good Cheer, Toasts, Parties, Feeling friendly and generous, Great Joy, Good News, Party Invitations,
Two of Cups – Couples getting engaged at this time of Year, Feeling extra Romantic, Buying Special Gifts for your Loved One, Meeting someone Special at a party.
Three of Cups – Party, Party, Party!, Friends coming together, Family Get Togethers, Good Cheer, Toasts, Office Parties.
Six of Cups – Going Home for The Holidays, Spending time with Family, Sleeping in your childhood Bed and reminiscing about Holidays past, taking the time to visit elderly relatives.
Seven of Cups – Spoiled for choice in the shops, too many gift options, window shopping, wondering what to buy, looking for a special outfit.
Nine of Cups – Getting the Gift of your Dreams, A big and very welcome surprise, Party Time, Arranging a banquet/Party, Hosting an event, feeling very happy and full of good cheer, Invitations and social occasions.
Ten of Cups – Family all together, joy, happiness, special time for all, a time to spend with your family. Several generations coming together. A close family. The best gift of all.
The Stresses of The Holiday Season with The Cups
Ace of Cups Reversed – Too much drink spoiling enjoyment, hangovers, feeling Unhappy and lonely during the Holiday Season, Possibly few invitations to parties or social occasions
Two of Cups Reversed – Rows between Couples, Break-ups, Not having that Special Someone to spend The Holidays with.
Three of Cups Reversed – Too much Partying with Friends, Not being able to spend the Holidays with your Friends and Families, Being Excluded from Parties or Gatherings, Having no Friends, Feeling like an outsider during the Holidays, Feeling you have little to celebrate.
Four of Cups – Drinking too much, Feeling Hung-over and tired, Disappointed with the Gifts you received, feeling let down by someone, Disillusioned with the whole thing, wishing the Holidays were over.
Five of Cups – Feeling too sad and unhappy to celebrate The Holidays, a time of loss and grief instead of joy and good cheer, Wanting to be alone, Missing someone terribly, bereavement, Sad time of year for you, being an outcast in your family, not being welcome or wanted, wrapped up in your own troubles instead of wrapping up gifts, the Holiday Season is totally lost on you. Too much drinking may have resulted in terrible rows or angry outbursts, there may be terrible regrets.
Six of Cups Reversed – Not having any family home to go to, not wanting to go home for The Holidays, Unhappy memories of previous Holidays, Homesick but unable to get home for The Holidays, Loss, Possibly Parent or Parents deceased and the Home no longer has the same feeling during the Holidays.
Seven of Cups Reversed – Not getting yourself organised for the Holidays, no gifts sorted, Head in the clouds, Leaving it too late to go shopping, nothing decent left in the shops, not getting what you wanted.
Eight of Cups – Leaving, going away, not being at home for Christmas but with unhappy and unpleasant associations. Not wanting to be part of the whole thing. Getting away from it all. Going away to avoid the Holiday Season.
Nine of Cups Reversed – Terrible Disappointment, Feeling Unhappy and let down, Having to cancel party, party unsuccessful, not getting the gift you wanted, The Holiday Season turning out to be a Nightmare rather than a joy, No invitations coming your way after you inviting everyone to your party, drinking too much, over-indulgence, things not working out as planned.
Ten of Cups Reversed – Family unable to be together, family not close to each other, too much geographical distance between family members, idealistic version of the Family Getting together for the Holidays, Disappointment, Dysfunctional Family, Broken Family, No Family.
*Tomorrow we will be looking at The Swords and Pentacles Family to see how they have been enjoying The Holiday Season, but before we do that let us have a look at some of The Major Arcana and see how their meanings can be associated with this time of year too.
The Fool – Acting Spontaneously, Impromptu buys, Living for the moment, Spending too much, Feeling Carefree and enjoying the party season
The Magician – The Commercial Machine, Sell Sell Sell, The Convincing Salesperson, The Shop Displays, Marketing for The Season, Displaying the ‘Must Haves’. Making us want it all.
The High Priestess – The Annoying Person who always knows the best gift to buy everyone. Yours to her never comes up to scratch because you never really know what she would like. She seems to breeze through the Holidays without breaking a sweat, getting stressed or fussed. Her house is always beautifully decorated and you love visiting because it is so peaceful in comparison to everyone else’s. How does she do it? Very annoying. When you go shopping with her, she embarrasses you into reaching into your pocket to put yet another few coins into all those rattling fundraising collection boxes that are on every street corner. She seems to give to all!
The Empress – Treating yourself, Pampering, Spoiling yourself, Dressing Up, Getting your Hair Styled, Buying luxurious Items just because you are worth it, going overboard buying gifts for the kids and everyone else. Absolutely loving this time of the year. Parties and good cheer.
The Emperor – Scrooge attitude, Bah humbug, thinks it is all a big waste of money, tries to curtail spending, refuses to give in to the whole commercial side of it, almost collapses when the Empress tells him how much she spent on the tree alone while pushing a nice glass of burgundy into his hand. Begrudgingly telling The Empress that her new very expensive dress looks lovely on her. Chastising her for spending too much money. Tries to hide his emotions from his offspring when they bring him his gifts. Wants to know how much everything cost. Thinks the world has gone mad and lost all reason.
The Hierophant – Ah, at last, the Spiritual Side of The Holiday Season from all Religious Aspects and Beliefs. The Commonalities and Solidarity between all Religions that it is a time of Peace, Goodwill, Generosity and being Charitable. People gathering to express their Faith and Beliefs.
The Lovers – Engagements at this Special Time of Year, buying that Special Gift for your loved one. Feeling extra romantic and in love. Office Party Flings!
The Chariot – Travelling Home for The Holidays, long journeys, tired but with the destination and welcome will be worth it. Car packed with gifts and good clothes.
Strength – Strength and courage for the bereaved and ill to get through this time of year. Being the Peacemaker when family wars break out. Finding the Strength to survive the Holiday Season intact.
The Hermit – Spending or Choosing The Holidays alone. Being elderly and having no family left to spend The Holidays with, Volunteering to help out at soup kitchens and with the homeless for the Holidays, thinking of others at this time of the year. Feeling lonely.
The Wheel of Fortune – Holiday Pay Bonuses, getting Expensive Gifts, Feeling on top of the world, Let the good times roll. Spending like there is no tomorrow, Having a ball, Party Party, Meeting the partner of your dreams, Luck.
Justice – What you have purchased on credit cards will have to be paid for, if you drink too much you will end up with a hangover, dragging up the same old family issues at the dinner table will get the same reaction it does every time you have done it in the past. Be very careful what you do when you have been drinking. You don’t want to get into trouble with the law! Also it is not a good idea to snog your boss at the office party. The consequences will land firmly on your shoulders only. The repercussions may not be desirable in the cold light of day.
Well, I think that is more than enough for today, so back tomorrow with the Swords, Pentacles and The Remaining Major Arcana.
Vivien (your tarot teacher)
Copyright © 2006-2013 Vivien Ní Dhuinn
Happy Winter Solstice To All,
Winter Solstice, also known as Yule, Alban and Midwinter represents the darkest and shortest day of the year. The Sun is at its lowest point shortening our daylight hours. As I sit here at my desk on this very special date, 21st of December, it is but 2.00pm in the afternoon and already the darkness is beginning to fall. I have just put the lights on in the room so that I find my way around. The heavy dark sky and torrential rain cover my environment like a wet sodden grey wool cloak. The Sun has sunk to its lowest point, is weak and lacks warmth. Ancient Pagans believed that on this night, The Holly King went into headlong battle with the Oak King to retain his Reign over the Waning part of the Year. The Holly King battled the same Oak King on the eve of 21st of June, Midsummer’s Eve and prevailed, becoming Champion and ruler of The Natural World since then. However, as December 21st began to draw near, The Holly King could feel his powers and strength increasing. He would begin the day as the Supreme Ruler but just like The Wheel of Fortune in The Tarot reminds us that once the Wheel has reached it highest point of its rotation, it must by the laws of Nature and the Universe, begin once more its downward turn. As the Holly King would reach the upper most point, The Sun would reach its lowest.
The Holly King today finds himself in this exalted position but he knows the cycle of things, and must revel in this day for he has reached the ultimate point of his power. The Wheel, The Cycle of the Year is forever turning, never standing still and sure enough, as night follows day, the Wheel will make that very important move that will topple the Holly King from his Throne. Regardless of his ancient knowledge, The Holly King will relentlessly endeavour to retain his Reign by going into mortal battle with The Oak King, The Lord of the Waxing part of the year. The Battle happens every year on the 21st, and this eve, The Holly King will lose, just like he loses every year. The Oak King will Slay him just as he does every year. It is now time for The Lord of The waxing year to Reign, but to do so, The Holly King must die. To the ancient Celts, this was a constant reminder of the cyclical nature of all things. After Death, comes Rebirth.
As The Oak King stands victorious over the slain Holly King, the slumbering Goddess in the underworld gives birth to a new son, the Sun, and hope returns to the land with the promise of growth and abundance once more. The nights remain dark and cold but the Sun, still young and weak, gains strength with each passing day, stretching the daylight hours minute by minute until suddenly we notice a real difference as darkness and nightfall come later and later. The Waxing Sun and the Goddess breathe life back into the Earth, and soon we shall see the first signs of growth once more. The Wheel is turning and The Oak King sits proud on its upward turn. He too knows that his Reign will come to an end, but he accepts that is how the laws of nature work. He will enjoy his time on the bright side of The Wheel and all around will hail and welcome his return to power. He has much work to do during his Reign: trees to bud, grass to grow, crops to flourish, fruit to ripen, bodies to heat. He will struggle during his early Reign to protect the ewes during the lambing season from the harshness of snow and driving winds. It will take time for the newborn Sun to be fully effective, but all now look towards the sky and salute it as it rises higher and higher and the first signs of growth become noticeable once more. There is much to rejoice at this time of the year. Yes, there are still hard days to come but from here on in the days will become brighter and longer, lifting our mood and re-energising our spirit. The darkest days are over and it is a time to let go of anything negative in our lives so that we can move positively forward into the light with a renewed faith and strengthened resolve.
Winter Solstice is symbolised by Wreaths, Yule Logs, Holly and Evergreen Trees (Christmas trees)
A little Winter Solstice Ritual
(This involves candles so please take every precaution necessary to ensure safety. This is a great ritual for all the family to take part in)
Take some time today to write down a list of all the things you wish to leave behind in the dark, waning part of the year and your life. Write a second list of all the good things you are determined to work towards in the coming Spring and year. Have two candles prepared, one dark in colour, black would be good, and the other a pale colour, especially white. Now light the black candle and set it in a fireproof container. Meditate on those things that you wish to leave behind for a few minutes. When you are ready, take the list of all the negative things you wish to let go of and hold it in the flame until it catches fire. Now set it down in the fireproof container or throw it into the fireplace. Blow out the Black Candle which will represent The Death of The Holly King. Watch the list burn,setting the intention that as it burns, so too do all the negative things you wish to release. Sit for a moment and meditate on this.
Now take your pale coloured candle and light it. This represents the new-born Sun and the Victory of Light over Darkness with the Reign of The Oak King. Place your list of the positive things you wish to achieve beside it. Meditate on its contents and set the intention that it is done. Roll up the list neatly and taking the candle drip some wax onto the edge of the paper. Let it cool and set. Your list is now sealed with your intention. Leave the candle burning in a safe place for the evening but do not leave it unattended. Place the sealed list in a place that is close to where you sleep.
On next Winter Solstice you can break the seal and read your list which will now be a year old. Compare it to how the year has turned out for you. Did you hold hard and fast to your intentions, or did you let some of the old negativity back into your life? There is always time to start again.
Newgrange in Ireland was constructed over 5,000 years ago. It was built during the Neolithic period in the Boyne Valley of Ireland. Newgrange is a passage tomb and temple which has strong astrological and spiritual associations. Very special spiritual and religious ceremonies were held there, but there is something very important about Newgrange. At dawn, from the 19th to the 23rd of December each year, the rising sun enters the passage way and illuminates the inner-chamber. Just above the entrance to the passage way is a small opening and it appears to have been specially built to allow the rising sun to enter on the shortest day of the year. As the sun rises, the rays push further into the inner chamber and dramatically light its interior. This only last a matter of minutes but for the ancient peoples of the time it must have been very spectacular and of immense importance. It meant that all was in Divine Order and the Universe was working as it should. The range of dates from the 19th to the 23rd show us that their calculations were not exact and precise but they knew that it would be within that time frame. For them it would have marked the rebirth of life after death.
Hundreds gather every year to witness this spectacular event. They stand in the darkness and wait for the sun to rise. The feeling must be incredible as the inner chamber becomes alive, and for those lucky people who are allowed access on this special day, they must be aware of the spirits of all those who have stood there before them so long ago ,waiting as they did today for the sign from the Gods that the Sun had been reborn once more.
Here is a link to one of our National TV Stations RTE who covered the wonderful event at Newgrange this morning.
The Goddess has given birth to the New Sun. Let us all rejoice,
Winter Solstice Blessings to All,
Vivien (your Tarot Teacher)
Copyright © 2006-2013 Vivien Ní Dhuinn
Greetings to all My Tarot Students and Enthusiasts,
The Second Instalment of The Knight’s Drama Continues. This story can also be found in the Main Menu in Part II Court Cards-Lesson Two-The Knights Intro-The Drama of The Four Knights. For those who have already read the First Instalment, you will need to Scroll Down The Page to find the Second Instalment. Below you will find and an extract from it. The First Instalment is also available on the Main Page as Detailed Above.
I do hope you enjoy the Story. This time I have added some Cards to help with the Story-Telling. In the meantime, work is going on behind the scenes on the re-writing of The Knight of Cups.
Will be back soon,
Vivien (your Tarot Teacher)
Featuring The Knights of Wands, Cups, Swords and Pentacles
The Knight of Wands looked larger than life as his Horse circled and whinnied. The young groom’s boy who had sprung into action once he had heard of his Master’s arrival struggled hard to grab hold of the massive deep chestnut stallion that seemed intent on trampling him out of sheer excitement. The Horse’s eyes looked wild and ready for more action, even after the long and arduous ride from the coast. The Knight of Wands took a tight hold of the reins and circled the Horse a few more times. The Horse snorted and stamped before allowing the young groom to come even remotely close. Laughing out loud, The Knight of Wands leaned down from his massive height and handed his Wand to his waiting Manservant who looked terrified to be so close to such an enormous beast of an animal.
Still holding control of his Horse with his left hand, he released the buckles on his helmet and pulled it free from his head. The Ladies-in-waiting spoke not a word between them as they watched his deep auburn hair fall to just about shoulder length. It was damp from being encased in his head armour, and like his Horse’s coat, was steaming from the exertion of the long ride. He shook his hair free, but long strands of it blew across his face, obscuring his vision. He swiped them away impatiently and looked around at the crowd that had gathered to welcome him home.
Through the upstairs window and still unobserved, The Ladies-in-waiting looked knowingly at each other. Words failed them as they gazed down upon their brave and bold Knight. They watched the angle of his rugged, strong and determined chin as he turned to talk to the gathering crowd. He had a heavy growth of russet red beard, slightly lighter in colour than his hair. In the setting sun, they could not fail to notice the glint of his emerald-green eyes as he beamed his delighted smiles for all to see. His skin looked lightly tanned, his complexion, ruddy from prolonged exposure under hot foreign skies.
The Golden Haired Queen’s Lady thought of his finely honed body beneath his armour. After all the months on crusade and campaign; the rigours of battle, the hours, days and weeks on Horseback, she pondered the level of his fitness and agility. He looked strong and incredibly healthy with no signs of injury or damage. She had worried about all the horrific mutilation that only too often came home from the battle field. She felt her heart quicken at the thought of her Knight. Here was a man at the peak of his manhood, virile and healthy. He was home and she could barely contain her longing ache for him.
The Knight below remained mounted as the little groom’s boy danced around unsure as to what to do next. The Knight seemed to be waiting for something, or somebody, as he constantly glanced towards the drawbridge. The young boy stared admiringly at his master’s tunic. The evening sun made its yellow colour glow like deep gold. The black embroidered Salamanders of his family crest stood out in stark contrast, making the boy feel almost dazed in its presence.
The elder of the Ladies-in-waiting began to get a bit anxious about standing up on the window ledge too long, and feared they would be scolded if caught involved in such unseemly behaviour. The Golden Haired Lady took no notice of her nervous twittering companion and continued to watch her glorious man in the courtyard below. There was a rumble of noise, some scattering and reforming of servants and guards, and The Queen and King of Wands appeared down the Great Hall steps to formally welcome their son home from his escapades at war.
The Queen of Wands stepped towards the mighty Horse as The Knight leaned down to kiss her hand. From the window above, they could see them exchange excited words, and both Queen and Knight looked so happy. The Queen threw back her head in deep laughter at one of her son’s outrageous comments before turning to share his joke with the gathered crowd. She turned back to converse with him. The King then joined them. The Knight glanced over his shoulder towards the drawbridge and then back to his parents once more. Then they all looked back at the drawbridge in anticipation. Whatever was going on?
The Ladies-in-waiting strained their necks as far as they could in attempt to get a view of what they might all be looking at, but the angle was wrong. The Golden Haired Lady felt nervous and unsettled. What where they waiting for? Who were they waiting for?
Copyright © 2006-2013 Vivien Ní Dhuinn
In Memory of My Son on his Sixth Anniversary. – ‘Ode to Death’
Ode to Death
By Vivien Ni Dhuinn
(For my son, Conor McDade 15th March 1996 – 10th December 2007)
My son Conor, a true Page of Cups. He was a born psychic and could read auras from a very young age. He had a natural affinity and understanding of The Crystal Kingdom, and was able to see and feel Energy. He was extremely creative and artistic and was such a fun-loving boy. Sociable, kind and friendly he exuded a strong warmth to all who knew him. He loved animals and the natural world. He believed in Faeries and Magic.
Conor was diagnosed with an inoperable Diffuse Pontine Glioma (brainstem tumour) in June of 2007. Conor was resistant to all forms of painkillers including morphine.
Conor died in my arms on the evening of the 10th of December 2007, six years ago today. He is still terribly missed by us all and will never be forgotten.
The following year on his birthday, the 15th of March 2008 I went to see a very reputable Medium. Conor came through loud and clear along with letting me know he had my beloved dog, Lillie with him. Lillie had died a few months before him. He spoke to me of my Tarot writing and Healing and insisted that I go back to working on them. He said that he would work through me and help me. The Medium explained that he was showing her putting his hands on mine to explain how he would do this.
During the course of my work, Conor has come through on several occasions with messages for me, using my clients as a medium of communication. He suddenly pops in and whoever it is I am working on, will tell me quite suddenly that there is a spirit energy in the room saying that he is my son! He tells them that he is here to help with their healing. It can be quite startling for both of us. I know that Conor helps me with my writing and inspires me to keep going.
This is a sort of Poem, I wrote this morning. I had not planned to write in this manner but this is how it came out. The account below may be disturbing to some people as I am quite direct and open about the whole experience. If you feel you may get too upset reading it, then please leave it and move on to something less distressing. It is not for everyone.
Ode to Death
by Vivien Ni Dhuinn
She moved with the grace, serenity and elegance of a Swan,
Our beautiful and gentle Indian Nurse, her speech soft and compassionate.
We worked together, removing wires, tubing and syringe drivers,
He had passed at 6.30, my son Conor, just 11 years of age,
With his systolic at 52 and his oxygen at 25, he had drawn his last breath,
The hiss of his oxygen mask sounded loud and pathetic,
Pointlessly being wasted on the dead, it was switched off and the room sank into a calm stillness
No beeping machines, no shrill sound of alarms dragging us from our petrified fractured sleep, alerting us to dangerously low stats
And my son, now free of restrictions and contraptions, lying there as if asleep, motionless
Death had eventually arrived and we had flung open the doors to greet him,
Embracing his long cool, yet comforting darkness, I wondered what had taken him so long,
Death had eventually taken pity on us all, and not before its time,
But my son had gone before his time, a life ahead to live, a childhood still not done, A future waiting to be revealed,
Yet, I had welcomed the appearance of Death, with his penetrating cold stare and chilling understanding,
Death had expert and ancient skills at his disposal,
He had come to do his job, and both nurses and doctors stood back to allow him work, watching once more in awe and reverence. They had watched Death work many times before,
They had learned that Death is not always there to punish or upset, but so many times to comfort, ease and soothe,
It was the disease, the cancer, that was guilty of inflicting pain and horror, not Death,
Death knew what must be done in order for release, a release from suffering and endless pain,
The only guaranteed antidote when drugs don’t work, won’t work, can’t work
During many nights on St John’s, I had fled through hospital corridors, seeking Death,
calling out for him to help me help my son, to end the screaming and the torture,
Oh yes, Death was busy elsewhere, many wards and theatres to visit, my piteous calls lost in the din of Parental tears and wails,
Should I have turned a corner, entered a room, found him,
I would have dragged him with me, begging and pleading my son’s case,
‘Now, please now, please. He can’t wait. Don’t leave him like this’
But Death was not yet ready for us; he had other places to be
Until that night, December 10th, 2007 when all hope had been lost, and our minds gone beyond the beyond,
He arrived and I recognised his presence immediately. Relieved and frightened, I felt both privileged and honoured to bear witness to his work,
It was where I had to be, the most natural place,
I had been there when my son was brought into the world and breathed life into his lungs; it was only fitting that I should be there at the end, when those very same lungs exhaled their last,
Too soon, too premature, we all cry, but there was no turning back from where we found ourselves in that little hospital room. Cancer had seen to that.
Outside our curtained little room, the ward was busy and noisy. Doctors and nurses passed up and down, parents carrying steroid-starving children towards the kitchen in search of more food to appease their cravings, catering and cleaning staff moving fast, their workload heavy and demanding, chemo-sickened, nauseated teenagers being pushed in wheelchairs like old men and women, their bodies collapsed and exhausted.
It was all going on, on the other side of the door, yet inside was peaceful if not surreal,
Our Indian nurse helped me bathe my son, her long slim arms tenderly lifting his legs and arms as she slowly drew the warm cloth over his cooling skin,
I cleaned his face ever so carefully, not wanting to cause him any more pain or discomfort, soothingly wiped his closed eyes, his beautiful blue eyes that had suddenly gone blind in less than two days from his tumour. The shock of that still nauseating to the pit of my stomach,
We worked through this beautiful ritual, speaking softly to my dead son, blessing him and holding him,
I held his feet and palms against an ink-pad our Indian Nurse produced, and pressed gently,
There, an imprint left behind, the lines and shapes forever recorded, his footprint, his handprint,
We cut a lock of hair from his precious head and stored it safely, his bed was tidied and smoothed down,
She asked if I would like to take a photograph? I declined.
We were then left alone. I tried to let it sink in but couldn’t. However, I let out a deep sigh and thought to myself, ‘thank god it is over, thank god he has been let go’. I held his hand and talked to him. I asked him if he was still in the room or had he already gone? I asked him what it felt like to be well again, to be able to get out of that bed and be free once more?
I listened for answers but none came,
Too soon perhaps, he had other things to attend to,
but I just wanted reassurance that he was okay, that someone had come for him, that he wasn’t on his own or frightened, It was out of my hands now, there was nothing else I could do.
The brave and distraught began to arrive to pay their respects,
Ashen faced and unsure of what to say, they cautiously entered the room, their eyes drawn immediately to the boy they had all known and loved so well,
They knew this time was coming but were unable to prepare themselves for the reality of staring down at a dead child in his bed, this same child being their brother, grandchild, cousin, nephew, friend, pupil,
He was gone, no more. Only memories and photographs would survive. Frozen in time at 11 and ¾ years of age in December 2007. He would be left behind in that year, in that decade. He could no longer look forward, for it had all stopped with that last breath, with that last heartbeat. This particular life-time for my son was over,
Living the horror every day strengthens you, prepares you, but those on the outside, they struggle, their minds exploding in horrific despair at the mere thoughts of it happening to them or one of theirs,
I too had thought the same before cancer had arrived into our lives. It had sought out the youngest of my children to launch its attack. What was I to have done? Run away and leave him to fight it all on his own?
One does what one has to do and one can do remarkable things, things one never thought possible,
Courage, strength and bravery sat in every room on St John’s Ward that night and every other night, yet none so brave as the parents of similarly suffering children who dared to enter our little room just to show they cared, to offer support and to kiss my son on his forehead or hold his hand,
God, what it must have taken for them to stand and sit there looking at my dead child thinking that it may be their turn tomorrow, or the next day or week,
They shed not a tear but just held me; they spoke no words of comfort, for they of all people knew there was nothing that could be said. I shall never forget them and their solidarity.
Slowly, they fled the room one by one, family and friends, home to a sleepless and tearful night,
Alone once more, the room fell into its deathly silence,
I felt tired and exhausted. I needed some air and some space. Leaving the room I headed down to the front of the hospital, down the long corridor, the statue of Our Lady, her eyes cast down as I turned the bend,
Drawing close to the front door, I could feel the chill of the cold December air and pulled my heavy cardigan tightly around me,
The security guard nodded kindly at me as I passed through the automatic doors and out into the dark still night,
I was drawn to the tall, looming Christmas Tree that stood imposingly at the entrance, twinkling its soft blue lights, a painful reminder of all that I had lost,
I sat for a while, the cold seeping through my bones, wondering about what had just happened, staring at the Christmas tree and thinking of all the children who would be counting down the days until Santa Claus came,
My son had been one of them until now. Beside his deathbed lay his sealed letter to Santa that I had helped him compile. It was full of the usual stuff a nearly 12-year-old boy would want; Xbox, new phone, games etc. His list was as usual, endless. What was to be done with his list?
The cold and tiredness eventually drove me back inside, the same security guard smiling good night as I passed,
Could he not see from my face, from my being, that my son had just died? I passed several others on my journey back to St John’s, they too smiling and passing friendly comments. They didn’t know what I knew. If they did, they wouldn’t have been smiling and laughing at me, or worse still wishing me a Happy Christmas,
With leaden legs, filled with heavy wet sand I let myself back into our little room and took up position by my son’s side once more,
In the time I had been outside, he had already changed. His hand was much cooler now and his appearance had altered slightly.
I suddenly knew that Death was still with us, had not completely finished the process,
Death was unravelling my precious son, bit by bit, every minute passing, taking him further and further away from the physical. There were certain things that still had to be done and all I could do was standby and watch as my son, the boy I knew for so long, began to dissipate and disappear before my eyes.
They came for him in the small hours of the morning. It had been at my request. I had wanted to spare the other parents the torture of watching his gurney being wheeled by their rooms, their children understanding and knowing only too well what was before them,
I too had watched similar scenes pass my window during my time there. Young children, teenagers; alive one day, dead the next,
We all had stood, as if to form a silent guard of honour as the gurneys were wheeled by, parents sobbing and holding each other up, overwhelmed by their circumstances.
Painfully aware of the fragility of our own situations, mine was more definite, terminal from diagnosis, yet I had watched other children with treatable cancers suddenly take a turn for the worse,
All knew that Cancer had its own schedule and cared little for who it took or the suffering it caused.
And so we began our journey to the Morgue, the gurney moving slowly, the porter quiet and reverent, respectful,
Out under the bright lights of the long corridor, I could see my son’s face more clearly now and it frightened me,
Death was doing his job for certain. Gone was the colour from his face, his lips now pale and drained,
I forced myself to look, for this was my son and we had gone through so much together, I would not fail him now. I would walk with him, right to the very end, into that Morgue where I would have to hand him over to others,
Down past St. Roch’s, the long corridor stretched out ahead of us,
Over each metal strip on the floor, the gurney rattled and my son would move slightly, but I could see that his movements where stiff and hard,
Death was here alright and there was no pretending anymore. He no longer looked like he was just asleep. The change had startled me, leaving me unstable and weak,
The Porter stopped to unlock the door that led down another corridor,
The sign above the door, ‘The Mortuary’ hit home and I felt so afraid of what I might see. I had passed this door so many times, my eyes each time trying to avoid the signage, yet now I was here,
They were unlocking the door just for us and there was no turning back.
The chill became intense as we entered the actual mortuary. I instinctively wanted to put extra blankets over my son’s lightly covered vulnerable body, a mother’s protective nature still active, even after death,
We found ourselves in a little chapel-like room with rows of pews and seats. At the top of the room I noticed a baby’s wicker bassinette sitting on a stand and drew back in horror,
A mortuary official appeared just in time and reassured me that it was empty at present but that they were awaiting the arrival of a baby from one of the wards,
I nodded through chattering teeth, unsure whether it was the cold or shock that was causing my body to shiver and shake so much,
My son’s gurney was wheeled and put in place beside the baby’s bassinette and we were told they would leave us to have some time with him. We were assured we could stay as long as we liked,
Sitting next to my son, I stared at his cold, lifeless body, unsure of as to what to do next,
The cold seeped through my bones and my body convulsed in shaking
No tears fell, my body numb and in shock,
I let my eyes wander around the room and thought of all those children who had gone before my son and those that would go after him,
This room stank of death and the horrendous grief of those left behind,
This was Death’s domain and I could feel his long cool stare as he watched us from behind,
Death reached out with his thin bony fingers and touched me in an attempt to comfort,
Chills ran up and down my spine and I turned to face him,
Written on his face were the loneliness of his job and the acceptance of always being misunderstood or blamed,
Death had not killed my son, it was not his fault. It was the cancer. He had only wanted to end his suffering,
Death told me to go home for this room was for the dead and not for the living,
Assuring me that he would look after my son, he knew exactly what needed to be done; he had much experience and practice behind him.
Death stood beside me as I kissed my son’s forehead and bade him goodnight. Walking away slowly I reached the door and turned around,
Death was still staring at me with his knowing ghostly look’
Before I left, I wanted Death to know that I would see him again sometime, and now that I knew him, would not worry so much when he came to visit upon me in the future. Death I do not fear, it is pain and suffering that is worse than any death.
And so, we left Death to carry out his work. It was time for us to go home and back to the living once more. My work was done and I would have to find a way to carry on.
Godspeed my precious son, Godspeed. xxx
Copyright © 2006-2013 Vivien Ní Dhuinn