Water slips secretly from the hem of my elusive gown as I trail a diaphanous stream of sparkling silver, undulating like snakes down into the darkened stairwell of The Hallway of Beginnings. Today I journey to honour The Queen of Cups, to embrace the wisdom of this ethereal creature, to glimpse both her depths and her heights. I seek to gaze upon the shifting aspects of her mysterious mien, the many faces of woman in all her glory. I want to feel her in the deluge of her darkest passions, the soaring bliss of her perfect love and the towering agony of her fury and pain. When I get to the door in question, it already stands open, there is no knocking or permission required it seems, just the bravery to enter the unknown realm, shielded only by a wisp of azure and indigo silk which flutters in a damp breeze, sighing and sucking through the doorway like a lover anticipating his next move.
I walk in to what seems to be a darkened tunnel, a warm and enclosing space that appears to be beneath the ground. There is a high and arching ribbed ceiling and as I look around I feel as if I am walking down an enormous throat, or even the birth canal of some gargantuan female monster. The passageway is lined with statues, placed along the walls, a feature that I have experienced before in these journeys. I am beginning to see that these figures may well represent collective images and meanings from our past, present and future, various representations of the forces that I am exploring, connected to the archetypes that I seek to embrace. Some have no immediate meaning for me, whilst others do, and I can only think that this is due to personal significance, and that the figures that are meaningful to me will speak in a language that I understand.
Whilst many of these statues represent strange dragon like creatures, female serpents and other mysterious reptiles of a mainly aquatic nature, one of them in particular attracts me, and I stop to examine the creature.
She is Hydra, she says, the grand daughter of Gaia, sister to The Sphinx, The Scylla, The Gorgon, The Chimera, and countless other hideous and unspeakable monstrosities that terrorize the histories of ages past, in the muddled myths of men. They are all terrible creatures, female horrors that maim, engulf and destroy, bringing eternal darkness, damnation, pain and suffering into the sunlit and blissful world of man. They sit now, as constellations, safe in the night sky, or as images in books and films, vague suggestions that only hint at the primordial power that lies barely submerged beneath the thin veneer of daily lives. Hydra is always depicted in legend with countless heads, often with her ally, Cancer the crab, at her feet, but today I am gazing upon a sedate and serene looking creature, with a refined and elegant head, delicate nostrils and shining iridescent scales. She tells me that she is the power that lies behind the Queen of Cups, the dark chthonic force of creation that strikes terror into the hearts of those who cannot embrace her power. She is the creative force of water, from which springs all life, and also from which comes the power of healing, if one is able to embrace the darkness and potency of the feminine. Those who deny its power, may be disillusioned, eluded and confused, damned to walk the earth forever in pain like the Centaur Chiron.
I leave Hydra, calm and collected, yet awesome in her absolute power, seated on her pedestal, her calm and elegant presence a startling contrast to the gothic horrors that I have been reared on, and I continue on down the dimly lit tunnel. I emerge finally, accompanied by the crashing tumultuous roar of the sea smashing upon the black jagged rocks, and find myself standing in the mouth of the sea cave of Circe, which I last visited in my journey into The Ace of Cups.
I stand gazing out into the ocean to that distant place where the sea and the sky meet, and my thoughts drift seamlessly into the blue grey line that diffuses the partition between the two, feeling my body dissolving with an enticing fluidity into the gently demanding arms of the sea. I feel her enter into my limbs, flooding like warm sunlight through the pores of my skin, flowing into the orifices of my body, washing away every mote of fear in my cells. She caresses me with the soft smooth stroke of a lover, laying me down and opening me with a luscious touch that melts my heart into a myriad of colours and weaves poems that drift away into the sweet murmur of the waves. I feel her vastness, her power, her hypnotic, eternal and voracious lust, and I am afraid. I sense the terrible power of the ocean, the darkness of the all enveloping womb, the savage and intolerable pain of a mother bereaved and the raw brutality of the rape of women and girls through times immemorial…..and I am afraid.
I lie in the water, at one with the ocean and feel what she feels… for there is no other way, for to fight against this is to fight a goddess, to be dashed against the murderous rocks of my pride and mortality. As I relax into the fear…. it falls slowly away into the depths, dissolving and diluting into the vastness of the seas. I gradually become delicious and alive with the erotic power of the water against my nakedness, and I can feel the goddess within me, alive with the power of love and death, lying beneath the cloudless sky, open and yearning, waiting for union, undone and abandoned. I feel the fertility of creation springing within me, the indefatigable power of trust and truth, and I am unashamed in my openness, resplendent in my vulnerability, all powerful in my ability to give and to receive. I become the sea of the mother, the well of creation, The Queen of Cups hungering for her lover, deep within the coral caves, in the heart of the wine dark sea.
I could lie here forever exploring the lascivious longings of this lusty Queen, she has surprised me with her appetites, there are no shrinking maidens here, perhaps that is why she so modestly hides her face, it is to spare her blushes!
I hear a call, the waves breaking on the shelving shingle, and I can see the silken portal of the card waiting for me. I rise up from the bed of the sea, refreshed and renewed, reborn, alive with emotion and awash with the song of the sea. With a calmness that belies the torrent of emotions that I have just experienced, I step through the portal of The Queen of Cups, and back into The Hallway of Beginnings.
The Queen of Cups
Water of Water
The Queen of the Thrones of Water
Queen of The Undines