The Lovers is about inner completeness, reconciling with our spiritual source, overcoming our fears and loving ourselves.
p. 85 Phantasmagoria

 

Having walked the Labyrinth and accepting the advice of the huge stone, I moved on. I followed a familiar creek and gasped as I stood before this glorious pool of water. I recognised it to be the Blue Pool! Memories of another time, a formative time, a time when I knew true love, came flooding back.

I remembered the photo of me, as a small child, standing with my sister in the Stoney Creek, a creek fed with water from the Blue Pool and, as I stopped to listen, I could hear the squeals of pleasure coming from my brothers as they dived off rocky outcrops into the crystal clear blue waters of this magnificent Blue Pool.

It was a much loved Sunday treat for my family to make our way from Maffra, through Briagalong and up the Dargo Road to the Arches, the home of Edna and Archie Hair. While our parents sat talking to Edna we were free to explore and swim in the nearby Blue Pool, returning to savour Edna’s home made Ginger Beer and melt in your mouth Kisses.

Archie had a wooden box, the contents of which were a source of fascination. He called it his “Box of Wonders” in which he kept simple things that he had collected from the bush. He held us captivated as he spun elaborate stories associated with each rock, tiny fragment of pebble, brown bottle or prized bird’s nest.

On an inner level, the Lovers represents a need to open ourselves to be carried along with the flow and energy of the Everlasting. To submit, for a time, to the enticing kiss of the unknown and get lost in ecstasy and wonder of life. This often brings us a feeling of oneness with the world and with the people around us, a warmth for strangers, and a loving connection with the environment. p.84 Phantasmagoria

Archie had a standing order at the local Briagolong butcher for several pounds of sausages which he cooked up and fed to the hungry Kookaburras and Magpies. There were also lots of parrots and a secret bowerbird nest near the house but I loved watching him feed the Kookaburras who made the Arches their home.

There was also a large “listening tree” nearby under which Archie told us tales of the forest. He took us panning for gold and gave us small bottles filled with gold dust. Perhaps best of all he set up treasure hunts around the bush for the local scouts or other visitor groups and would lend them his unique handmade walking sticks… some with secret compartments containing clues about where to find  treasure.

Silently I gathered a small collection of china dogs, the over sixty year old treasures that I found on Archies treasure hunts. I carefully laid them with the Lovers card to invigorate the feeling of love, to validate the unbreakable link of love that I forged with Archie and Edna. My grandparents were long dead before I was born and I realise that Archie and Edna were my surrogate grandparents. They had an inexhaustible amount of love to give and there is no doubt that they helped fill a void!

For now I will linger longer at the Arches. The Nunnery can wait!

The Arches is the safe place I go to when I meditate, it is the place that filled me with wonder as an impressionable child, fed my imagination and reminds me that I have known, been shown, true love.

“Your life is a sacred journey. And it is about change, growth, discovery, movement, transformation, continuously expanding your vision of what is possible, stretching your soul, learning to see clearly and deeply, listening to your intuition, taking courageous challenges at every step along the way. You are on the path… exactly where you are meant to be right now… And from here, you can only go forward, shaping your life story into a magnificent tale of triumph, of healing of courage, of beauty, of wisdom, of power, of dignity, and of love.”
Caroline Adams

A labyrinth has only one path. It is unicursal. The way in is the way out. There are no blind alleys. The path leads you on a circuitous path to the center and out again.

A labyrinth is a right brain task. It involves intuition, creativity, and imagery. With a maze many choices must be made and an active mind is needed to solve the problem of finding the center. With a labyrinth there is only one choice to be made. The choice is to enter or not. A more passive, receptive mindset is needed. The choice is whether or not to walk a spiritual path.

In Greece there is a saying that ‘the stones can speak if you have ears to listen’. I pondered this as I stepped through the keyhole door and entered what appeared to be a world of stones. These stones were not scattered haphazardly but had been carefully arranged, forming a labyrinth. I wondered if these stones could speak and what they would have to say to me, what I could learn from them.

What do these stones have too say?

As I walked the Labyrinth I listened and I could hear them speaking. They spoke of permanence, of things that do not change in a world that has changed so dramatically over recent months. They spoke of the indestructibility and of beauty at a time when the world seems to be riddled with violence and ugly behaviours.

The Five of Skulls is the pain that brings the tears that water the earth and prepare the dry fossilised lands to return to spring. p.276 Phantasmagoria

“I am so tired” I said to the stones as I slowly followed the winding pathway. “I have had my share of difficult lessons and I am weary from going against the flow”

“This is not a maze” the stones whispered. “Follow the path and you will find a new way. Unlike us you are not fossilised. Focus on what is to be gained rather than what might be lost, what you feel has been lost. Keep moving! Move on!” they urged.

“I have lost much! My clan are long gone. I have searched and cannot find them. In this lifetime I have been without a true clan”, I moaned. “I have been the ‘lone wolf’!”.

“The Five of Skulls, which you are manifesting does tell of the destruction of an order of things. It talks about the transience of things and of kin too. Nations believed to be indestructible have been razed, philosophers, artists, scientists, common folk all lie beneath some of our kin. Some of the world’s most beautiful architecture has been demolished and statues have fallen; been toppled. Helplessly watching this is painful. Focus on each step of the labyrinth, solve problems as they arise and keep moving forward”  boomed the voice of a huge fossilised stone.

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The Four of Knives signifies that we are resting to clear the mind after a stressful, disorderly or confusing situation. It is a time of healing and recuperation, when we can take a break and step back from an intense experience…This is the perfect time to consolidate our inner resources and re-evaluate our agenda … to plan new strategies, to examine our motives, or to think sensibly.
p. 237 Phantasmagoria

As I came out of the Hall of Mirrors I was not particularly bloodied, however, facing some of the events in my present life, coming to grips with some realities, had been challenging.

Was choosing to stay on the Isle a matter of free choice? I doubted it! But one thing is clear! I need to refill the creative well and take sanctuary at the Isle of Ancestors Nunnery for awhile; protect myself from the external world and, even if it hurts, continue to look within.

In the old Bronze Age the Cappadocia which was the population zone of the Assyrian civilization later has hosted the Hittite, Frig, Pers, Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman civilizations. The first Christians escaped from the persecution of the Roman Empire in the 2nd century B.C. came to the Cappadocia over the Antakya and Kayseri and they have settled here.

Himself kept his word and was waiting for me. He said that he would lead me to the entrance of the famed Lemurian Nunnery where, over the centuries, many Priestesses have undertaken their apprenticeship.

The keyhole doorway that we reached reminded me of my time in Cappadocia in Turkey. So many memories have risen up since I have been on this Isle. It is a bit like spending time with a very old photograph album.

As I faced the doorway I contemplated what might be on the other side. It was Alice who found a small glass table with a little gold key. The key was too small for the doors, but then she found a tiny door, only 40cm tall. She tried the key in the lock, and it fit! Alice opened the tiny door, and found a tiny hallway to a beautiful garden.

Doors have arguably, in some form, existed as long as the human species. The need to draw a boundary between us and them, between dwelling and landscape, between outside and inside runs deep.

Doors are ubiquitous and mundane things in most human lives – they are everyday objects. We pass through doorways tens, or even hundreds, of times every day without much contemplation. And yet, the door serves a range of functional and social purposes, today and in the past. The power of the door has been used consciously throughout history. The exceptional thing about a doorway is that it is simultaneously a place and a non-place. The door stands between spaces, but also connects them.

As I face this keyhole door I cannot help but wonder what will be on the other side. I look to Himself but he has vanished.

The 22 cards of the Major Arcana represent energies that work on a universal scale – original archetypes after which other, similar things are patterned. They can be viewed as representations of the Everlasting or as symbols of primal forces that are the foundations of all creation from star clusters and atomic particles to human and animal physiology and psychology. Our Dynasty card shows which major universal influence is predominant in our life and is the card that represents our astrological Sun sign. p.53 Phantasmagoria

It is the Hermit who reveals my true personality. His torch illuminates everything, reveals my principal motivation, my preoccupation, my life force.

I should have known, as I crossed over and came with the Ferryman to the Isle of Ancestors, that I did not have a return ticket. Himself, the Sidhe guardian who led me to the Temple did say that he would wait for me but we never did discuss time, how long it might take me to return.

I am the Hermit, the Lone Wolf. I have always known this but now I know that there is a Cosmic Force, beyond my control, that has made this so. The urge to turn away from the external world and concentrate on the inner realm has always been overpowering.

Shadwell will provide for those who thrive in a group setting. The Isle of Ancestors has cast its spell and called me home. It  provides the sanctuary I need to seek answers from within.

“It has that magic about it, as soon as anyone looks into it, they are just drawn to it, it is quite a magnetic space.” Mirror Maze

Disorientated I stumbled along the long corridor of mirrors. This is not like the grand, emblematic Baroque style gallery in the royal Palace of Versailles. It is a decidedly haunting place and quite frankly, more than a little terrifying. Despite the waves of anxiety I feel that magic is afoot; that questions I have not found voice for may be answered here.

As I walked, a story board depicting my past life, present life and future life appeared within the mirrors. I had lost all sense of time in this maze. I lingered to take in what the storyboard was actually telling me, too process and interpret the images in the mirror.

The Seven of Skulls, the Ancestry Card gives us a concept of where we have come from. The Nine of Skulls, the Descendency Card reveals what will follow in your journey. p. 56 Phantasmagoria

 

Navigating the maze of mirrors and optical illusions is especially challenging when it is dark and you think you are leaving the Great Hall on the Isle of Ancestors. It is anybodies guess what the mirrors will reveal.

After leaving my talisman on the wooden bench beside the Wheel of Fortune I left the Great Hall, dutifully departing by the prescribed exit. To say that I was taken aback to find myself in a corridor, that resembled the House of Mirrors we used to visit at Luna Park back in the day, is an understatement. Sometimes called Distorting Mirrors, Crazy Mirrors, Carnival Mirrors, Silly Mirrors, Wobbly Mirrors or Hall of Mirrors, those mirrors could make you look short and squat, long and thin, and any variety of strange shapes in between. Their golden age was the Victorian Era and they continued to captivate people for many years.

The mirrors were solidly constructed and the reflecting surface was flexible and shatterproof acrylic for safety. Each one had a different mirror shape and gave a different distorting effect.

As I walked I was fascinated by the image I was reflecting. The person I was seeing in one mirror was non other than Silas, (my Bloodline Clan Card p. 58 Phantasmagoria). The Bloodline Card, which has ‘jumped’ out of my deck twice now is the card that depicts the challenges and the quest of our current life. Ian Daniels says that when we study this card we can unlock personal messages about our personal life journey.

I stopped to take a closer look and recognised that I am him and he is me and we are the Raven that carries messages on the universal ‘songlines’.

As I stood, captivated, the whispers of an old soul reminded me that Virgo rules my path and and many of the Hermit’s qualities are reflected in my personality. Just as the deep earth is energised by the steady heat of the Sun, so creative concentration fills my being.

To get a sense of what this space felt like visit the House of Mirrors. This is an interactive maze-like sculpture that gives you the opportunity to lose yourself – literally and figuratively. It’s a stunning construction of steel and mirrored glass by Melbourne artists Christian Wagstaff and Keith Courtney and stands glistening and mysterious in the Arts Centre Forecourt.

 

If ever there was a natural harbour, the harbour at the Isle of Ancestors is it. This very old harbour nestles in a deep valley between austere, towering rocky headlands. Although it is generally known  to be safe the idea of sailing into the foreboding, narrow harbour entrance on anything but a dead calm day is pretty scary.

As we moored at the harbour I paid the ferryman the compulsory silver coin. In mythology paying the Ferryman with a coin had a purpose: to allow the dead to pay for their passage to the Otherworld. In Ancient Greece, this was the realm of Hades, separated from the land of the living by five rivers. It was a perilous journey, and there was only one guide to take the recently departed to their final destination.

Happily, in this case, a silver coin is all that is needed to come to the Isle and contact the long dead, yet very much alive, ancestors.

As I disembarked I was greeted by non other than Himself, who bowed and explained that he would be my guide through the world of the Sidhe and on to my destination; the mound within which lay the Temple of the Ancestors.

Himself is the guardian of both the hunter and the hunted. He carries great energy and energises everything he touches – everything seems more alive, more vigorous and more awesome.

Himself has Shamanic power as well as the potential for powerful spiritual healing. Visits to the Isle of Ancestors can be both awesome and intimidating so I was grateful that he was to accompany me to the mound and guide me back to the harbour.

Carefully we followed the moonlight path. The terrain seemed unfamiliar tonight and I realised that the Ferryman had bought me to a part of the isle I have not traversed. It was a steep climb as we navigated our way through narrow passageways and found ourselves in the forest, known to be populated by the Sidhe. The Sidhe have good reason to be suspicious of humans and so I was very grateful to have Himself guiding me – assuring me of safe passage.

When we reached the mound Himself simply signalled that he would wait for me.

The entrance to the mound is inconspicuously located within the ancient mound. The doorway is made of two immense upright stones topped by a massive lintel. There are two torches burning at the door providing light for the entrance into a passageway and at the far end of the passage is a faint red glow. For centuries people lived in caves and tunnels in this region and hid in places like this at times of raids.

I proceeded carefully through a corridor which inclined downwards eventually emerging into a shadowy great hall. A fire burned brightly in a central hearth but tonight there was no one here to greet me. Instead I stood before a huge Wheel of Fortune worked by three Vampyre creatures.

To the right the half-panther Vampyre represents the positive force – this is the active and creative energy which initiates the fire of life. To the left we see a serpent Vampyre, who is a negative force of retrospection and dissipation or decay (winter). At the top we see we see a sphinx-like creature made up of the four elemental animals – its role is the preserver and connector of the other polarities, allowing their momentum to spin the wheel and churn out everything into existence. p 103 Phantasmagoria

I confess I was silenced. Rather than ask a question I sat before it, watching it spin like one of those spinning wheels they had in the ‘fun fair’ section of the annual show I loved to go to as a child. I sat silently, reflecting upon each spoke. As if by magic each spoke slowly filled with something like a silent movie, depicting the seasons of my life.

Then, without warning the half-panther Vampyre simply pointed to the centre indicating that this is where I must position myself.  I knew that he was signalling that a defining, final burst of creative energy would  help me write the final chapter of my story.

I bowed low! I quietly left the talisman, I had bought with me to gift to the Ancestor, on wooden bench near the great Wheel and slipped back out of the Great Hall.

It was the spirit ancestors who gave Aboriginal people the lores, customs and codes of conduct, and who are the source of the songs, dances, designs, languages, and rituals that are the basic of Aboriginal religious expression. These ancestors were spirits who appeared in a variety of forms. When their work was completed the ancestral spirits went back into the earth, the sky and into the animals, land formation, and rivers. The ancestors-beings are ‘alive’ in the spirit of Australian Aboriginals.

With a full moon in Sagittarius and the blazing Ace of Swords in my hand it was the perfect night to make the visit to the Isle of Ancestors, a place I have visited often over the years.

The Full Moon in Sagittarius is a time when we are reminded that life is an adventure and there’s a big wide world to see beyond our backyard. It is all about bigger pictures and being prepared to sail into uncharted waters.

When I think of the bigger picture in relation to my ancestral lineage I do not think in terms of the genetic family I was born into in this lifetime. Going to the Isle of Ancestors tonight is an opportunity to receive a message from an ancestral guide.

The Moon in Sagittarius June 6th 2020 Southern Hemisphere

As night fell over Shadwell I gathered my cloak and prepared to go to the small harbour to find a Ferryman to take me across to this sacred island. The sky was filled with clouds and I could barely make out the moon as it struggled to make itself visible. I wondered if this was an omen but knew that I had to trust that I would meet whoever I was supposed to meet.

As I stepped on the dock I could hear the water rhythmically lapping under the pier. My footsteps seemed to creak loudly as I made my way to a small rowing boat that looked like one of the sampans they used in Hong Kong back in the day. The boat had a small shelter in it and could clearly be used for permanent habitation. The hull consisted of a flat bottom (made from one plank) joined to two sides (the other two planks).

I hesitated! My genetic lineage includes sea faring men but I seem to have inherited none of that and on such a dark night I wondered about the wisdom of being ferried in a boat that had no means of surviving rough water. As I was about to turn and make my way back to Shadwell a silent, blindfolded figure. with dried blood seeping down his cheeks, holding two knives across his chest stepped out of the small shelter.

The Two of Knives particularly relates to decisions made intuitively and having the skill of instinctively knowing how to deal with problems… By reducing thoughts to a steady, natural pulse we free ourselves from our worries and find tranquility of the mind. Inner opposites are balanced, bringing everything to an equilibrium of clearer comprehension. p 233 Phantasmagoria

A lesser woman might of high tailed it away from this Vampyre but I knew not to think about this too much and to trust my instincts.This Ferryman was challenging me to take the chance to finally unite some opposing internal forces – to find some balance.

Without flinching I simply enquired “Can you take me to the Isle of Ancestors tonight?”

She walks in beauty like the light
Of cloudless chimes and starry skies
And all that’s dark and bright
Meet in the aspect of her eyes
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies
One shade the more, one ray the less
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress
Lord Byron

In Norse mythology Odin has two pet ravens: Hugin and Munin– thought and memory accordingly. Each day they leave Odin and return from “Midgard,” (literal meaning: middle enclosure) the mortal realm. In her final years, when she was living alone, my mother had a pet raven who came each day to visit. I was privileged enough to get some good photos of her.

When my alter ego, Heather Blakey, ran the Soul Food Cafe ‘Ravens’ regularly ‘returned’ from ‘Midgard’ to roost in the virtual haven she had created, bringing with them, from their mortal worlds, many thoughts and memories.

Cora is a faithful member of a clan of Ravens who has chosen to be by my side as I give fresh life to Shadwell and work intimately with the Tarot of the Vampyres. She is also a shape-changer and, as she has just shown, can reveal herself as the Priestess!

Cora brings ‘intelligence’ from the underworld. She helps make space for intuition.

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To honor the darkness of this bird’s wing, I now enable Cora to help me own the hidden interior, the parts of my past marked with shadows of unhealed wounds and unexpressed emotions. The Raven is the symbol of our own Soul. This is the side of ourselves that, according to Thomas Moore, is nostalgic, melancholy, lost in memories and dreams, rooted in the past, resisting change and seeking stability. The side of us that doesn’t want to go to the meeting in the first place and would rather stay home and rest.

Raven carried her ball of light into the sky,
so we no longer live in darkness.

The old self image must die
Death must precede the
Psychological revolution that is welling
the creative reorganization demanding to
Unblock the flow of psychic energy and
Give life new meaning

Into the cauldron Raven
Beautiful soul maiden gently places
Black seeds from my shadow
Black wormseed from my ego
to incubate, regenerate and
Facilitate rebirth

A beginning, the end
Dying to the senses, withdrawing
Voluntarily entering the dark inner world of the soul
at home in the darkness of suffering
Only in death is a greater thing born
Only within the darkness lie germs of recovery

by Heather Blakey 2007

The Raven symbolizes the home of our ancestors, our personal stories and body memories. It is distinctly earthy, and feminine.

To read more about the role of Ravens in Fantasy check out the work of Nicola at Thoughts of Fantasy. Her post is very comprehensive.

Come away, O Human child, to the waters… 

There was a man from County Kerry who suspected he was lured by a fairy from a family picnic and taken to an unlikely place. He ‘lost’ time during the encounter, but that wasn’t the most frightening part of his story

‘Losing’ time is a common after-effect from an encounter with the fairy of Ireland. Many people have returned from an encounter with a fairy reporting that they have ‘lost’ time, which is usually measured in minutes, hours or days, and in some cases even years.

It took me some time to recover my bearings as I finally emerged from under the doona only to find none other than the High Priestess sitting by my side. I had no idea who had called her, how long she had been there or how long I had been in a dream state.

The Vampyre Priestess is telling us that we must use our intuition and seek guidance from within. She suggests that our challenge is to look deeper – beyond the obvious, surface situation to what is hidden or ambiguous. She inspires us to recognise the magnitude of our potential and to remember the unlimited possibilities within ourselves. The Priestess is telling us to access our intuitive powers, to develop them and listen to our inner silence.
p. 69 Phantasmagoria

I took one look at the Priestess sitting beside my bed, a single black candle burning, the moon rising behind her and I realised that, not only had a lot of time passed, but Cora (my Raven) must have flown off and bought back the big guns to counsel me and add weight to the reality that I should not be led astray by the likes of Pook, that I should not shape change and try to trick the Lord of Sceptres

The Priestess really is a vision of loveliness. I noted how her ebony black hair crashed over her shoulders, but to be honest it was the crown representing phases of the moon, the gentleness in her eyes and her honey sweet lips which captured my attention.

The Priestess is the veil of light that hides all things in mystery, until the time is right for them to be revealed – containing within herself the secrets of these realms. p. 71 Phantasmagoria.

“Have you heard the stories about the Ghostly Lover?” she asked, quite simply.

Without waiting for me to answer she drew my attention to the book, dripping with blood, that lay suspended over her lap.  It appeared to have blank pages but as she spoke words appeared and she began to read, telling me the story of a woman who spent many years pursuing a ghostly, unattainable, lover only to transform the energy she had been expending by pouring it into her own creative work.

“I understand the allure of the Lord of Sceptres” she murmured. “He certainly is a lightning rod of inspiration and is known to be daring and charismatic, a respected leader of his clan. He is powerful, optimistic and clever but he is also very honourable and, I’m afraid to say, he is taken by another. Be with him, learn from him, draw upon his creativity but be vigilant and maintain your feminine centre. Withdraw your projection from an outer man like this. Be sure to keep your identity! Never give that away!”

Reference: On The Way To the Wedding by Linda Schierse Leonard, Chapter 3 The Ghostly Lover