The Star — The Shakespeare Oracle

Friday, April 13th, 2012

Artist: Cynthia von Buhler
Author: A. Bronwyn Llewellyn

 

The first time I passed through Oaxaca, Mexico, I had one of the most amazing dreams of my life.

 

I dreamed I was a woman living in a small village in the mountains. I was newly in love and newly married when my new husband went off to war. He said to me before he left, “While I’m gone, make me a weaving.” So I made weavings. Every day I made weavings, weaving to no end until one day I said, “I can’t do this anymore. I have to stop. I have to do something else.”

 

I wanted to join the army. I bypassed all the armed forces where women are accepted. I walked until I came to a cement house where it was cold. I went inside. The house overlooked a canyon— a canyon familiar to my dreams, into which I often dove on wings of faith in search of freedom. The men inside wore black: black clothing, black hoods over their faces. This sector of the army was kept secret from women. No woman knew of it; none had ever been here.

 

I picked up a gun. “I wanted to fight,” I said.

 

The men looked at me askance. “You are a woman,” said one of them.

 

I saw into their hearts and knew then it was not a sexist remark. The men were aware that I could fight as well as they could, but they cared too much about me. Each one of them loved me and would not let me do this to myself. This squadron meant death.

 

In came the man in charge. He said I could not join. I was furious. One man after another of higher rank came in until at last in came the Zen Master. I paced in small circles as we talked.

 

I said, “I thought I knew this. I used to know what I was doing. I used to know detachment. I thought I knew what Zen was.”

 

He said, “We are all just learning.” He said, “Show me your weavings.”

 

I brought them out. He lifted up each of the weavings one by one and held each one in admiration. Each weaving depicted a different woman, sitting, weaving. There were piles of them, dozens and dozens of weavings, large, and in bright colors. The man nodded at each one. He knew the names and villages of all the women. He spoke highly of their weaving and spoke highly of mine.

 

At the bottom of the pile was a small weaving of a young child holding an empty spoon before her with two hands, as if in offering. The Zen Master could not place this image; he had never seen such a child. He asked, “What is this?”

 

I turned my head and looked at the floor. My eyes blurred with tears. I said, “Oh. That one doesn’t belong.”

 

He said, “Then get rid of it.”

 

“I can’t,” I said, and began to sob helplessly. “It’s my hope.”

 

“Well then,” the Zen Master said to me, “get rid of all the others.”

 

And I woke, sobbing.

 

*   *   *

 

The woman in the next bunk in the hostel noticed when I woke. She said she heard me crying but didn’t want to wake me in the middle of a dream. She sat at the head of my bed and listened as I told her my dream, crying. She said she never had dreams like that. I thanked her for listening. I am so thankful for her, so thankful for this unknown woman from Israel, for without her waiting for me to awaken and without her listening, I may never have remembered the most beautiful dream of my life: the dream of what hope is.

 

Hope is The Star. Get rid of all else.

The Star — Tarot Lukumi

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

Artist: Luigi Scapini
Author: Emanuele Coltro Guidi
 
Interpretation: “The stars are so far that they don’t listen to anyone. The path (avatar) of Yemaya, Yoruban Goddess of the sea, called Asesu is a deaf Entity. Yemaya Asesu goes on with her business and doesn’t listen to much. The patiki tell us that before listening to questions she counts all the feathers of a duck who was sacrificed as ebbo to her.”
 
Part of the purpose of the Tarot Lukumi deck is to build a bridge between the world of Cuban Santera (Relga de Ocha or Relga Lukumi) and the occult tarot to demonstrate universality of the rules of Magic. I am especially fond of this purpose.
 
Throughout the history of the occult tarot, different readers have used their preferred method of magic to divine meaning from the cards: Astrology, Kabbalah, Masonic Hermetism, Jungian psychology, and so on. In order to find meaning in a foreign system, one must find the correspondences with an understood system. This is the basis of syncretism. It is also the basis of learning to love one’s neighbor as one’s self.
 
Santeria is an anamistic religion coming from the syncretism of the religion of the west-African Yoruban tribes people and Catholicism. Following their abduction to the Indies for the purpose of slavery, Spanish law mandated that these people be baptized Roman Catholic. But Catholicism was not a big hit among the slaves. [If someone abducted me from my homeland; placed me on a ship in a manner similar to which I do not approve of cattle being treated; left me there for weeks with minimal life support on a nauseating ocean voyage; separated me from my family & sold my children & subjected me to a life of forced labor I, too, would have trouble accepting their notions of god.] In attempt to appease their tormentors, many slaves pretended they were Catholic. Thus began the syncretism of Yoruba and Catholicism into Santeria.
 
The Star, in this image, is pictured as a mermaid sitting on a sandbar pouring water from two conch shells into the sea. Behind her is the sacrificial duck whose feathers she counts before listening to questions. In the sky are seven stars.
 
I learned the star as a card of hope, and when I think of hope, I think of Pandora. In Greek mythology, Prometheus, champion of mankind and traitor to the gods, stole fire from heaven. Zeus punished Prometheus by binding him to a rock. A great eagle ate his liver every day; the liver grew back and was eaten again the next.
 
The gods, still bitter that Prometheus had given the gift of fire to man, then took vengeance on humankind by means of Pandora, the first mortal woman. Pandora was endowed with every gift known to women: beauty, grace and desire from Aphrodite; cunning and boldness from Hermes; gardening msp free vip codes from Demeter; manual dexterity and spinning from Athena; sweet singing and lyre playing from Apollo; and a pearl necklace from the god of the sea who promised she would never drown.
 
The gods then placed every plague and sorrow into one jar and presented the jar to Pandora with the instructions do not open under any circumstance. Pandora was then presented as a gift to Prometheus’ brother.
 
So of course Pandora, endowed with an ample amount of curiosity, opened the jar. Out poured Death, Sickness, Insanity, Pestilence, Addiction, Greed, Theft, Lies, Jealousy and Famine and on and on until all the evils were loosed upon the earth. Then out the bottom, just before she managed to slam the lid, flew Hope. It is Hope that sustains humanity.
 
Anyone who calls on a deaf goddess who counts all the feathers of a duck before listening to a question really has run out of places to turn for help. It is when we feel most alone and lost that we need to call on hope the most.
 
Shining, shining in the basket’s bottom,
a jewel of hope lies beneath
the monsters of destruction.