And what shall I find in the final card I wonder? A journey that has spanned two years in my current life, but that I know has spanned more than thirty, in this strange world of visions within visions that I have been exploring. The places I have visited have wandered between my past my present and my future, my words encircling me in a voyage of discovery that has led me from the light into the darkest of places, and back again.
My Thoth Tarot Deck was given to me thirty years ago by someone who lived in a beautiful old Victorian house. It was a house that I had grown to love, and a house to which I came to live myself, many years after he had long disappeared. In the noon of my life, this house became part of my heart and part of my history, connected to people and events that have remained as vital threads woven into my existence as I have wandered far and wide. I have visited it, moved to it, left it and returned to it, I have laughed there, cried there, loved there and lost there, and though I have left it long behind me, it is to there that I have returned, now, in the afternoon of my life, flying over land and sea to sit in the semi-darkness of this house, to explore the magical worlds that I have grown to love. In the midst of everything it seems, this place has become some kind of lynch pin in my life, the central point around which everything that I have now, seems to have grown.
When I started to explore the inner worlds, with these beautiful cards as my guide and my inspiration, it has been to this house that I have returned, this house that has contained so much of my past, and which seems to contain so much of my future too. The Hallway of Beginnings lies in the heart of this place, it is real….. and I have scrubbed the black and white tiles myself, on bended knees, on many occasion, as I have gazed up the stairwell into the upper reaches of the house. Little did I know then, the importance in my life that this stairwell would assume.
So for my last journey, it is the last card, The Ten of Disks; I walk up the beautiful stairs, walk to journey into the world that lies hidden behind the door. I enter the darkened portal and brush through the billowing silken banner, the golden burnished brightness and the soft mauve colors of The Ten of Disks.
I walk out into a dark place, of night and silence, towering mountains and the thin air of great height. There are no stars in this sky, and the enveloping gloom gives a sense of unreality, bringing my focus close, not allowing me to look further than my immediate surroundings. I see on further inspection that I am standing on top of a pinnacle plateau that towers high above the surrounding landscape. I am standing on an small area of land that is the shape and colour of the coins on the card, but what more than this is there? What will I do now, now that I am here, for it seems as if there is nowhere to go. I creep carefully towards the edge, and peer over. The drop is vertiginous and dizzying, it must be over a thousand feet, and far far beneath me I can see the twinkling lights of a city, in miniature.
I realise that I will have to get myself down to the bottom, into the valley below, and make for the city of lights. It is no use me being here, all alone, for what will I do? And sick though I feel, sick to the pit of my stomach, I search the edge of the plateau for a way down, look for some way that I can try to escape from this lonely and abandoned place.
I find a gap in the edge, that promises a path, and so with the necessary equipment that seems to have arrived, I find myself in the last card of Thoth Journey, abseiling down a cliff face! I am delighted with myself, I haven’t done this since I was sixteen!! It is taking me a long time and the darkness is fading. With dawn breaking by the time I finally reach the bottom, a grey softness, a lilac shawl of beauty threads itself around the landscape, slowly revealing the features of the place into which I have arrived.
A road opens up ahead of me, and I look along it, and then back up at where I have just come from. The plateau actually doesn’t look that high now, now that I see it from below, and I wonder why it seemed so tall and difficult from where I was standing, when I was on the top. It is I feel, like many of the things that I have learned here, in the world beyond the door, all a matter of perspective, and that it depends from which side you are looking at things. As I ponder this, a large fox trots out of the undergrowth, and heads along the road towards the city that stands in the distance. He stops and looks back towards me as if to say “come on!” “What are you waiting for?” I don’t know what I am waiting for, there is nothing to wait for really, there is no going back, only forwards, and so I head off too, up the road after the fox, who seems to know what he is doing, and make my way towards the city of future dreams.
As we enter the city, the fox and I, there is a checkpoint, and I am asked for papers, by the men at the gate. They don’t seem to care about the fox, who has slunk in undetected, or perhaps he has a free pass; it seems that he may be one of those kinds of creatures who does. I seem to have the correct papers on me anyway, because they like what I have given them, and so I pass on with approval into a beautiful city. Marble and gold, sandstone and silver, archways and waterways, it seems that I am in the ancient city of Venice, although I am not entirely sure in which era, for I can see no people, it is still very early and the sun still hasn’t risen.
I follow the fox through the tangled streets, weaving in and out of the tall narrow buildings that seem to block the sky from view, until I come at last to a small and narrow nondescript building that really does not look like anything special. The door is green, ancient and carved with strange patterns, and I wonder if it is open. I push against it and it opens easily, leading straight into a very busy office environment. The interior is relatively modern, there are fax machines and photocopiers, stacks of paper, books, people running here there and everywhere. I feel that I am standing in a publishing house of some sort, and that people are trying to reach some sort of deadline. Perhaps a newspaper lives here and they are rushing to issue the daily news in time for breakfast.
I feel as if I am in the way, and a woman across the room catches my eye, and signals across the room to a small archway, as if suggesting that I go there. I see that the fox has disappeared, so I follow the womans lead, and make my way over to the corner of the room, and up the narrow winding stair that lies under the small archway.
Up and up I go, turning and twisting round and round until I reach the top. The fox has beaten me to it, and I see him disappearing around the corner of a narrow platform that gives a clear view over the parapet. There is a small window beside me that looks back into the building, and I peer inside it to see what is going on in there. It appears that I am looking into the mechanics of an enormous clock, and I can see a collection of ten golden cogs and wheels that are all locked into one another, turning slowly as the time ticks away. Time. It seems that I am looking into the inner world of time, seeing it as nothing but a series of circles, wheels within wheels, with nothing to say which part of the circle I am on, that it is all a matter of perspective.
Time encircles me, I am my past, and I am also my futures, and history will repeat itself, always, until such time as I step outside of the wheel, and choose to do something different.
I look away from the golden cogs, and climb up onto the parapet, whilst the clock behind me starts whirring and creaking. I fear that I am going to be deafened by the chiming of the clock, for surely I am standing right next to a bell… but for now my breath is taken away from me, as I stand dizzyingly close to the edge of what seems to be the tallest clock tower in Venice. The bell behind me strikes once, and then as if it was the leader, all the other bells in the city start chiming, and look out over this beautiful place as the sun rises at last over the horizon as I listen to the peals of a thousand bells.
I sense that there is someone there with me, and think that it must be the fox. I peer round the corner of the parapet. Sure enough, there he is, looking out over the city, sat next to a tall figure, dressed in brown. It is Malachi, still here, always here, guiding me, right from the beginning. He doesn’t look round, he is in the moment, looking out over the city, a city out of time.
And so here the story ends, ends for now at least. I am looking out over Venice, a city I have never been to that I can remember, but like every other of the cards that I have been to, a place that has become a part of my world. I stand here looking out over the city, with the bells ringing in my ears; the sky is blue, the sun is rising on a new day, and I am looking out into forever.
The Ten of Disks
Mercury in Virgo
Twenty to Thirty degrees of Virgo
The Lord of Wealth
My name is Joanna Grant, I am an Astrologer, Tarot Reader and Writer, who lives on the beautiful Beara Peninsula in the South West of Ireland. I can often be found at home, deep in arcane research, or practicing some new form of divination whilst burning the dinner! My children wish I was “normal” but will be delighted in the end, that I’m not. My long knowledge of Astrology leads and informs my practice, in offering guidance, empowerment and healing, helping others to lead a more authentic and magical life. You can read more about me here.
Thoth card images are reproduced with the kind permission of U.S.Games