I walk slowly up the stairs today, wondering if there is anything here for me ….. I am slightly worried that I have no connection to this card, that “Abundance” is not for me. Lingering in the portal, I try my best not to dwell on these thoughts too much, to focus instead on discovering the potentials within the card, and I step bravely through the veil of the Three of Cups.
I walk out onto flat grassy ground, soft and yielding under my bare feet. I am standing in a gently sloping valley with a wide river running through it, shallow at this point, chattering and bubbling excitedly over the rocks and stones, filling the air with rushing and sparkling sounds. I look around at the beautiful scenery before me, and notice upstream, what looks like a dark figure standing on the bank of the river, gazing into the water.
I feel apprehension as I look towards the still slightly ominous shape, and I know that I don’t want to approach. I wrestle slightly with the reticence….I know I will go, but I am interested in the feeling, alert to the fact that I feel unsure, … alert to the fact that this card might have a particularly personal message.
Looking up now at the carved wooden statue, for it is taller than I, I can see that it is roughly hewn from dark wood, its lines rendered indistinct by time and the close proximity to the water, its original form smudged by the elements. It could be been many things, a shepherd perhaps, looking out over the river valley for sheep that have long since vanished… a cloaked woman maybe, with long hair around her shoulders, or is it in fact a hermit, a solitary hooded figure searching carefully for a path through his own internal wasteland. It is hard to know, so I ask the figure what he represents.
There is silence within the figure; all I can here is the river, laughing its way down the valley, oblivious to the motionless watcher that I am attempting to interview.
I look at the figure more carefully, and as I gaze, the density of the wood starts to dissolve before my eyes, and I begin to penetrate the skin of the wood with my eyes, searching deeper within its fibers, parting them back until I manage to break through into the interior of the figure, which has revealed itself as being hollow. I open the hole wider, and at last find that I can see into the cavern that lies within The Hermit. What I see astounds me, for I find that there is a tiny water sprite trapped deep inside. The sprite does not seem aware of my vision, and wriggles and turns, this way and that, like a fish out of water. I am not entirely sure whether she is unhappy, or merely waiting for someone or something to release her, but she seems doomed from where I am standing, as she mewls like a baby, without freedom or escape, so close to her natural home, and yet forever unable to immerse herself in the sparkling river.
As I turn away from the sadness that I find in the wooden statue, I raise my head and see that further down the valley, the water narrows, becoming deeper, calmer and more focused, and that here, on a graceful bend in the river, stands a large stone mill, mellowed with the sun, and ornate with white and golden lichen. The mill supports a huge water wheel which turns in the strong current with purpose and certainty. I draw closer to the scene and look down with excitement into the turbulent millrace, with its foaming suds, and mighty roar, as the river is forced into the stone channel and harnessed into productivity.
I walk up the shallow stone steps to look into the building itself, and see huge granite grinding stones, working at a mountain of golden grain and turning it into the finest flour.
The contrast is intense….. the sadness of the water sprite, trapped inside her wooden prison, and the majestic power of the harnessed river, its focus and productivity. I promise myself that I will return another day to help the water sprite escape from her torment, but for now, I have to leave. I can see the portal forming beyond the mill house, the silken pink and yellow banner of The Three of Cups.
I feel the contrast of this card, the strength and infinite power of emotion that is allowed to deepen and grow strong, but that when emotions are allowed to remain forever in the shallows they can perhaps result in entrapment and pain. As I finally pass through the silken image of The Three of Cups all I can think of is how to help the sprite escape, which I do so, eventually in The Five of Cups, when I return to this place again.
3 of Cups
Mercury in Cancer
Lord of Abundance