Sitting in the quietness and calm of the hallway, I feel a cloying blanket of grey tiredness descend upon me. A pain nags underneath my right shoulder, and the cares of my life surround me, whispering into my ears, picking at my clothes and demanding my attention like a tribe of naughty children. How to pacify them and yet let them know that they are important and that their needs will be dealt with in due course? How to gain the peace required to rise upon the stairs, to lift myself beyond this earth bound place and to walk again in the realms that lie beyond the door.
And then it starts, gradually, but it starts. One by one they fall from me like dead leaves, disintegrating to dust before they even reach the floor, one by one they drop away, peeling away the layers until only I remain. A seeker of the unknown, a voyager into my own soul, exploring the depths of the places that we can only dream of, the places behind our eyes, the visions of beauty that erupt like strange flowers from the fertility and richness of the human condition. And so I leave my chair, I rise again, refreshed and ready, and walk upon the patterned glowing grain of the elm stairs that are worn by centuries of seeking. I walk with hope and the knowledge that what I seek must be hard won, I walk to meet The 8 of Disks.
Opening the heavy door, I step into a warm and comforting landscape of dappled light and shadows, warm sunlight filtering through the close knit trees that I am standing amongst. I cannot see very far, which I find unusual, and I see that I am walking along a wide and gracious path that is bounded on either side by tall trees, which seem to be some gigantic variety of bamboo. The floor is a crunching carpet moving dryly beneath my bare feet, the flat leaves rustling and slipping over one another as they form a thick layer that has built up over many years. It feels comforting and cosy within the trees, and I feel safe and protected by the wall of trees that stand either side of me. I am sheltered from the elements and safe from harm here and I feel relaxed and centered.
High up in the trees there are chattering monkeys, I can see them clambering around in the canopy, far above my head, and their voices drift down to me, a cloud of happy conversation, as they tell me stories whilst I am walking. As I continue, they are explaining what is happening, so at no time do I feel afraid or unsure in this calm place beneath the trees, and although I cannot see very far, I feel reassured by what the monkeys are telling me, and I am happy to carry on.
After a while, I come to a large clearing and I see the magnificent Tree that is represented in the card. It towers above me, reaching into the sky to a place I cannot even see, it is so far away. Stately and noble, its roots stretch deep into the earth all around my feet, and I get a sense of the darkness of The 7 of Disks beneath my feet, the solidity of earth and how the roots, although invisible, are the most vital for the trees survival. There would be no tree without the foundation, so although I cannot see the roots, they do not represent failure, there is more to success than the outcome. It can take many many years where it feels as if nothing is happening at all, and this is not to be seen as failure, but as root formation, for without the constant challenge and effort, how can we form the character and tenacity required to support success, support the outcome. I look into the branches of the mighty tree, up the spiraling and knotty trunk, towards the glowing crimson flowers that hang, sheltered by leaves on the boughs of the tree. Each one reminds me of The Ace of Disks, the busy and thriving hilltop town that I visited in Asia, full of potential, activity and mystery, a crop in itself waiting for the right time, the time for the fruit to be ready.
I sit at the feet of this huge tree, my back against the gnarly trunk, and sense the feelings emanating from it. It is a wise and a proud tree, true and mighty, busy fulfilling its mission. Most of the work has been done, and it is now in the ripening phase, the waiting phase, where the activity is going on beneath the surface. Beauty and sweetness are developing, and they will, but the time to harvest is not quite yet, I must be patient, I must allow the process to continue, it has its own agenda.
There is no leaving this vision, and I rest here until the tree melts away, leaving me sitting on the old elm chair in the Hallway of Beginnings, refreshed and reassured by my travels, and honored by the gifts that we are given, in the spaces in-between.
The Eight of Disks
Sun in Virgo
The Lord of Prudence
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