Today I am unsure, I feel heavy and ungainly, like I have weighted boots upon my feet, leaden boots that do not allow for rapid steps or impromptu decisions. No fearless strides will be taken today, no sir, no random plans executed, just studied steps of certainty, and those will be hard won.
I push through the image hanging in the portal, and today it is not a shimmering silken mirage, but a heavy, darkly dense, velvety barrier, thick, and slightly confusing. It finally gives way to my urgent pushing, and expels me, like a helpless newborn baby, onto a large and ornate stage, similar to what one might have seen in the Victorian era, rich with gold and crimson, a glorious temple to the art of theater.
There is a full house tonight, and together with the horror of the knowledge that the whole theater is full to capacity, also comes the utter relief that I am also aware that I am invisible. As I stand, timidly, at the side of the huge stage, wondering what on earth is going to happen next, I become aware that there is someone else there too, someone hiding behind the opulent silk curtains. I go around to the back in order to see who is there, and I find a small man, no taller than my shoulder, who looks at me with a solemn expression on his lined and wrinkled face. I ask him who he is, and he says that he looks after the Theater, and that the reason that I have turned up here on this huge stage, is that I am afraid of failure, afraid of failure before the audience.
He tells me that I can go down to the back, if I like, towards the dressing rooms, to see what I can find there, and I do as he suggests. I walk slowly down the long corridor, through a veritable labyrinth of passages and rooms, but can find no-one else, no actors or stage hands…the place appears to be entirely empty….. an audience with no players!!. I keep on walking and eventually arrive at the back door, and, confused as to the emptiness of the Theater, emerge into a leafy street, lined with trees, that may well be Kensington in London. Across the quiet road, a pair of tall gateposts stand; Owls are carved into the lichen covered limestone, and between them hangs an ornate iron gate. I cross over, and step into a sheltered garden square, cool and quiet, with large shrubs in antique varieties rambling along the railings, and a wooden bench, beloved of long departed wife or husband inviting me to sit. As I look out at the green quiet, I wonder about the card that I am in and the message that I had received from the ancient retainer at the Theater, and as if I have summoned him directly, Malachi suddenly appears beside me, although he has not come through the gate, and I wonder if has had been there all along, waiting for me.
Malachi says that this garden represents my achievements so far, the work that I have done, and that this green space, this quiet refuge, will always be here when I need it, but that if I choose to stay here all the time, to hide, that it will eventually become a prison.
He tells me that the Theater and its audience represent new challenges, new opportunities that are asking me to take a step away from what I feel safe with, in order to experience the unknown, in order to grow.
I look out towards the open gates, and on top of the gatepost I see a large Owl, a living version of the carved stone creatures beneath. He turns his head to look at me and then silently turns away again, launching himself onto noiseless wings to some unseen destination. I remember that the Owl is sacred to Athena, and represents knowledge, but that it can also be connected to the fear of the night, the fear of the unknown……. I hear the Owl talking to me in my mind, with a fluttering feathery voice…. he says that there is no need to be afraid of the night, the darkness is only a lack of light, a lack of vision…. that my fears of the dark are caused by a lack of knowledge, but that if I look into the darkness, that I will find what it is that I am searching for….. his voice fades and I suddenly bring my eyes back into focus again, and find that darkness has fallen quickly, and that I am quite alone in the garden… there is not a sound to be heard, and in place of the stone gates, I see the heavy blue darkness of the velvet hanging that protects the portal… I step quickly forward, unready for any further exploration into this card, as I feel that I have covered enough ground for now. I feel the smoothness of the velvet between my fingers, and wrap myself in its musky softness, passing through once more into the Hallway of Beginnings.
The 7 of Disks
Saturn in Taurus
The Lord of Success Unfulfilled