The earliest chariots appeared in Mesopotamia around 3000 B.C. They were very different from the familiar horse-drawn vehicles seen in ancient Greece and Rome. Early prototypes often had four solid wheels, and their main purpose was for use in parades and funerary rites. These vehicles were not pulled by horses, but by oxen and other draft animals, or equids such as donkeys or mules. The Standard of Ur, a casket from the Sumerian city of Ur dating to around 2600 B.C., features a chariot that looks like a solid-wheeled wagon pulled by either mules or donkeys.
Source: National Geographic

With Thana at the helm of the Ghostly Galleon, a formidable chariot, we are ready to embark. Thana is well prepared and has a sacred devotion to the cause. With focused determination she sets her sights on a goal. We are preparing to travel, discover new horizons and find lost treasure.

A ghost ship, also known as a phantom ship, is a vessel with no living crew aboard; it may be a ghostly vessel in folklore or fiction, such as the Flying Dutchman

For hundreds of years, there were rumors of a shipwrecked treasure on the Lemuria coastline. But no one found anything. The ship was a Manila galleon, a “castle of the sea,” dispatched across the vast Pacific Ocean and carrying the finest goods known to man: ivory statues, delicate china, exotic spices, golden silk.

Tonight we set sail in search of treasure and places lost in the mists of time. The ship has been loaded and all the crew are on board. It is time to accept the challenge and depart.

The Spaniard came in sight, with his huge sea-castles heaving upon the weather bow.
– The Revenge: a Ballad of the Fleet by Alfred Lord Tennyson

The crew’s quarters were in the bow while the officers and passengers lived in cramped cabins in the waist or centre section of the galleon. But Thana, our Captain, who would normally live in the Great Cabin, earmarked by large windows, greater space, and more comfort than the rest of the crew has decided to join the officers and other passengers. She has graciously offered me the opportunity to enjoy the Great Cabin.

I had barely had time to survey my cabin, let alone unpack my trunk when out of the shadows emerged two creatures who I thought lived in the Tarot deck that Fergie had gifted me.

“We understand the lesson of choosing wisely and listening to our hearts” was what I heard them saying to one another – or were they talking to me?

Certainly this is a time when I need to review all my options and consider the choice I am making to embark on this voyage.

“Examine where your passions are!” muttered the two creatures before disappearing back into the deck.

Celestial Navigation is the art and science of finding your way by the sun, moon, stars, and planets, and, in one form or another, is one of the oldest practices in human history. Sailors looked at stars and other celestial bodies with the telescope of a sextant. The angular distance of a star above the horizon was read off the sextant’s scale. This way, sailors could calculate their positions.

As we board the Ghostly Galleon we discover that it is Thana who is at the helm. She whispers softly, bewitching us with her gentle blessings, encouraging us to live in perfect harmony in the present moment. Well practiced in the art of celestial navigation, mariners like her rely on the Sun and stars to tell time and determine their place on the featureless ocean. By her side sits the multi skilled Cora who, like the raven of Noah’s time, when sent will keep flying back and forth with essential information.

Emerging in the mid-16th century, the Spanish galleon quickly became hugely important both to naval warfare and to securing civilian trade from the Americas. It remains one of the most influential warships in history.

The first galleon can arguably be dated to as early as 1517, but it was in the 1530s that the design and its name became common. With a mix of sails, high aftcastle, low forecastle, and ports in its sides from which cannons could fire, it could handle trans-Atlantic voyages as well as fierce sea battles. It, therefore, filled a vital role for the Spanish, protecting their growing treasure fleets as silver and gold flowed back from their colonies in the Americas.

The Ghostly Galleon lay in the harbour ready to take Silas and I towards new horizons. Having focused on the past on the Isle of Ancestors it had been the Lord of Knives who bought me back to Shadwell.

Despite the best efforts of Fergie I remained unsettled, nursing old wounds that had been reopened and were festering. The blood seeping from these wounds had become venomous and was drying up. There was little doubt! I had to move on or drown in a sea of loss and grief.

It was Silas who insisted that he must join me on this venture. I had little doubt that he was drawn to experience the world of a Spanish style galleon, to ride the stallion of the sea. While I had some reservations about being on a long sea voyage I do have the blood of mariners and sea captains coursing through my veins and I was ready to do what they had done and depart for a new land.

As we approached the harbour an enchanting sound, akin to a spell, rose from beyond a the stone harbour wall.

It was Lilith, a female vampire serpent sounding very like Elizabeth Fraser.

The Five of Grails helps us to let go of past hurts by incorporating them into our experience as the dark and beautiful poetry of the soul. On an inner level this card can characterise a period of emotional evolution or the need to put aside old behaviour. p.202 Phantasmagoria.

When this card appears in a reading it signifies that we are now connected with. the cosmic flow. It is time to make plans, to prepare for a journey and to sail into the unknown. This represents the beginning of a new cycle.

Image  —  Posted: June 17, 2020 in Journeying, Tarot of the Vampyres

I am the Voice of the Raven Upon Wind.
My harsh cries echo long upon the Earth and Air:
Nothing is Forever, Not Life,
not Love,
not Death,
nor Loss.
Only change is eternal,
and only destruction
can the seed of creation form.
author unknown

Cora is a bird of alchemy! She was not gone long! As night fell she returned to my chamber. Here she dances a ritual – adding and combining, stirring and distilling. The potion she is creating in her dark cauldron contains all the elements in a very precise recipe.

When you hold the line you do not yield to the pressure of a difficult situation.

Cora by name and curious by nature the bird couldn’t be left out of anything. She flew, uninvited, into my apartment just as I was cleansing the Shadowlands deck Fergie had gifted me. Never one to be out done she bought a card in her beak that had some bird advice on it.

“Please hold the line” was all it said. I looked at Cora and Cora looked at me with one of those Cora looks. If you didn’t know her better you might think she was angry about something. But no! She is just intent on delivering her message and on being listened to. After all, as she regularly reminds me, it was her ancestors who advised Odin.

“So are you going to check out what your new fancy deck has to say about holding the line” she asked rather pointedly.

“You are not jealous are you Cora? Fergie gave me these and you have to admit that the monsters are cute!”

“So get on with it” she said, ignoring me completely. Clearly she was not going to give any talk of jealousy oxygen.

I lit a candle, smudged us both with some sage and we went into one of those Tarot style trances! I shuffled and shuffled and out came a card with a bat that looked like it had come out of a war zone or a Covid 19 life support ward.

“Goodness me!” exclaimed Cora. “That poor bat is looking a bit worse for wear!”

“It looks like it has been through some kind of major transformation” I noted.

“Well that is stating the obvious” remarked Cora. “Bit like how you looked when Fergie arrived” she added.

“Well, while I am holding the line I could try envisioning myself integrating all the things I have learned and apply these for growth” I said trying to sound intelligent and spiritually minded.

“You could do all that” said Cora rather cynically. “Or you could be happy to simply hold the line and finish the project you started when you acquired this mansion.”

With that she turned up the volume of Toto banging our ‘Hold the Line’ and flew back out the window.

The shadow is the “dark side” of our personality because it consists chiefly of primitive, negative human emotions and impulses like rage, envy, greed, selfishness, desire, and the striving for power.

The personal shadow is the disowned self. This shadow self represents the parts of us we no longer claim to be our own, including inherent positive qualities.

These unexamined or disowned parts of our personality don’t go anywhere. Although we deny them in our attempt to cast them out, we don’t get rid of them.

On an internal level this card is about establishing our inner kingdom, our virtues, values and belief system whose centre is ego. p.275 Phantasmagoria

Disorientated, I open my eyes slowly, uncertain about what day it is or where I am. Fragmented memories of being on the Isle of Ancestors, in the Hall of Mirrors, back at the Blue Pool and the Arches and being gathered up by the Lord of Sceptres drift before me.

As I struggle to regain consciousness and orientate myself I realise that I am actually in my bed, in my apartment, with a dear friend, looking decidedly anxious, hovering by my bedside.

Fergie squeals with pleasure as our eyes meet and I slowly focus, establishing that she is not some kind  of apparition.

It appears that I have been in a semi delirious state for days and Silus, worried about my state, sent her an urgent telegram insisting that she drop everything and get herself down to Shadwell to support me.

Now what you need to know about Fergie is that she comes from a rich background of Romani people and possesses extraordinary power. Fergie is not particularly wealthy and does not aspire to accumulate material possessions but there is a richness about her life that I have always admired. She has an extraordinary capacity to stand firm and she has been a loyal and reliable friend.

Traditionally, throughout history the Roma people have been associated with fortune telling, common methods of fortune telling included palmistry, tea-leaf reading, cartomancy, tarot reading and crystal ball amongst others. Roma women, as long as we have known anything of Roma history, have been arrant fortune-tellers. They plied fortune-telling about France and Germany as early as 1414, the year when the dusky bands were first observed in Europe, and they have never relinquished the practice.

In the time I have known Fergie she has never plied this craft or even offered to read cards for me. So it did surprise me when, over the nourishing breakfast she had bought up from the kitchen, she produced a deck of cards. She said that she thought these cards would help me work with the Shadow which had clearly been troubling me.

I gave her one of those looks! Fortune telling using cards were largely condemned in the past and the prejudice that rose against it is still, to this day, very much present.

“Well”, she said dismissively, “it is true that using cards was shunned harshly by the church for superstitious connotations which went against biblical references, but since when have you subscribed to such nonsense? Besides! You have to admit that these monsters are kind of cute?”

I had to concede that the deck she was holding did look very interesting!

The Shadowland Tarot cleverly provokes unconscious fears that lie asleep in the psyche and stimulates the enquiring mind” Fergie went on to tell me. “Given what Silus has been telling me about the state you have been in I think it might be helpful to spend time working with this woman’s imagery”.

With that I watched, fascinated as she proceeded to riffle shuffle the deck and lay one card on the table next to me. Then she simply asked me what I thought the card was telling me.

“This King appears to be an Elder who is sharing stories and his wisdom with youngsters” I said. “Well isn’t that what you do?” said Fergie. “Perhaps you could be thinking about how to share your wisdom instead of lingering in places like the Isle of Ancestors. The Ancestors do not want you to join them yet! Remember! You were sent with a mission and that mission is not completed yet”.

I heard a thundering sound and before I knew it I had been scooped up and deposited back, on the front stairwell leading into Shadwell Manor. All the Lord had said was “You cannot stay dwelling on the past!” I cannot say I have been a great fan of the myths which tell of Knights in Shining Armour coming to the rescue, or of Prince Charming arriving just in the knick of time but I did not argue with this powerful Lord. I had lingered long enough on the Isle of Ancestors.

Ramahyuck Aboriginal Mission was established by the Presbyterian Mission Committee, on the banks of the Avon River, near Lake Wellington in Gippsland in 1863. The Moravian missionary, Friedrich August Hagenauer oversaw the settlement. It accommodated people from the Gunai nation of Gippsland. It closed in 1908.

The Blue Pool is also very significant to Braiakaulung women as a sacred birthing pool. Tragically, members of the tribe were removed in about 1864 to Ramahyuck Mission Station

Given the current Black Lives Matter movement I should not have been surprised when a Messenger came revealing a darker side of the Blue Pool history. I grew up in Gippsland but our history lessons never included information like what can now be found now on sites such as the Bataluk Cultural Trail.

As a small child visiting this magical landscape I was oblivious to the tragic history of women like these. Of course, it was nearly 100 years later when Archie and Edna were living there and I doubt that they were familiar with the history either.

However, now that I know about the forced removal of vulnerable women from this area I cannot stay here, even in my imagination. It feels like a stake has been hammered into my heart.

The reality of how white Europeans treated the Indigenous population, continues to treat these people, is a stain on this country. It matters to me that at Ramahyuck the Gunaikurnai were forced to give up their freedom and culture for (as the Europeans saw it) protection, food and Christianity.  It appalls me that Hagenauer, the so called protector, did not allow any tribal customs or ceremonies. Black culture matters.

The Ten of Knives can be the provocation for us to realise our true place in the world and cause us to reflect on our childhood or past experiences. p. 255 Phantasmagoria