OK. Let’s get the really obvious interpretation of this spread out of the way, shall we? – it’s going to be another hot week in the UK. Don’t get sunburnt and stay hydrated, folks!
Right, now to the more nuanced stuff…
This is a really warm reading in more ways than one. There’s a lovely energy whenever the Sun arrives in a spread: in the booklet accompanying this deck, Pamela Eakins suggests that it signifies “your own garden is as lovely as could be.” It’s a card of realisation, of union, of things falling into place as they need to.
Fire Father (aka King of Wands) suggests that this concerns things that we’ve been working towards with some energy and conviction – passion projects, or the things that motivate us.
Water Sister (aka Page of Cups) might seem at odds with these two fiery cards, but in actual fact she is a reminder that in order for our passions to continue to succeed, we need to remain tuned in to our dreams and intuitions, both to keep us on the right path and to cool down any excess fire should the Fire Father’s energy and drive become too singular and in danger of burnout.
In summary, then – it’s a good week to see progress towards the things we care about, that we are hungry for. There’s no need to charge towards them to maintain the momentum; just keep listening to that inner voice and remembering the dreams that started it all.
15th June 1920. Nellie Melba sang two arias for a historic radio broadcast from the Marconi factory in Chelmsford.
Things have changed a bit.
It felt important to mark today, to talk about you, but in truth it’s hard to know what to say. Your obituary in the Cumberland and Westmorland Herald – still online here as I write – seemed a place to start, so I dug it out before I began, to remind me.
How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that’s so deeply a part of your being that you can’t even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more. Perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.
Paul Bowles, The Sheltering Sky
Rereading the obituary reminded me of those words. What I become more aware of, now that I am over halfway towards the age you were when you died, is the gaps: the things I don’t remember, that I never knew. The distance only ever increases between us and our recollections. The signal fades.
Still, I hold dear what remains. They are small memories, often – isn’t that how it works? Fleeting like passing scents that sometimes transport us back to places we had thought lost. They curl slowly into the air like the smoke from your much-loved pipe. I can still hear the gravel of your voice after the radiotherapy on the nodule in your throat that compelled you, reluctantly, to give it up.
For some reason, the kitchen features prominently in the visions of you that have surfaced today. The one here as it used to be, the glass of the old windows steaming up as you cook. Fish pie, white wine and onions, piped potato stars, Jazz Record Requests in the background. Your floury hands making pastry. Your stripy apron, which I never wear but will never part with. The Shipping Forecast crackling out on the far north west coast of Scotland and a kitchen sink view over to Gruinard Island, otters on the rocks.
Oh look, there’s the radio, too, in the background. I won’t pretend I did that on purpose. I have no glib link back to Nellie Melba’s broadcast on the day you were born, no clever metaphors to tie this together with. Grieving is not like listening to the radio, because you can turn the radio off.
How should I conclude this, then? I have mixed feelings about today. I miss you, but I’m also glad you have been spared from contending with 2020. The world is a strange place just now. That, and the fact that this would have been your hundredth birthday (just saying that is the oddest thing), have dissolved me repeatedly as I’ve sat here staring at the screen.
I have no idea what you’d make of it all, and as you aren’t here it’s somewhat academic. Instead, in your absence I will mark the day as is traditional. Later we’ll raise a glass to you, and have a nice meal. I might, now I’ve thought about it, even tune in to the shipping forecast and dream a little about when we can return to the places I grew to care deeply for, thanks to you.
I’m late to blogging. Do people do this any more? Never mind. I’m here and so are you, so let’s make the most of it.
Over the last few years I’ve grown more confident in pursuing things that mean something to me. Life is short, and there is little point in any of it if you spend time doing only what you think you should, not what you actually want to. What that’s resulted in apart from my professional life is teaching myself to read tarot; taking photographs; and most recently, writing. I have plenty left to learn about all of them.
I’ve shared some of my work on social media as I’ve gone along, but lately I’ve felt a little bit what next… what if? about it all. People have said extremely kind things about what I’ve shared. I’ve written, photographed, read tarot largely for pleasure, and I get a lot out of it, but I’m often very quick to play it down. Oh, that? It was nothing, really.
Except maybe it is something. Maybe a place to say “this is what I do, take a look” isn’t so far fetched.
So I made a website with a blog, and the plan is that there’s very little plan except to share what I do with you and see where it goes from here. It’s a seedling for now, but it’ll grow. Welcome, and thanks for coming.