Thursday, 23 June 2011

Blood Red Sky

Today, the Arcus Arcanum Tarot by Hansrudi Wascher, published by AG Müller, offers us a scene of desolation, tinged in crimson.

The Death card in this deck has a red-eyed skeleton riding atop a white horse, holding a scythe in one hand, an axe in the other, and with a knife in a scabard at his waist.  Dead figures, both male and female,  lie all around.  In the background we see a single stone gateway over a narrow stream whose waters run dark, flowing off towards the sunset.  The sky is red with the light of what appears to me to be the setting sun.  Normally, we see a new dawn in this card, and perhaps this is also a dawn, but something about the colours doesn't make me think of hope and new beginnings.  A conference of crows fly across the red sky, silhouetted, while stars shine palely in the black of the approaching night. 

I find the sky strangely captivating: the contrast of the red and black; and especially the way there is a stripe of black between the main section of red sky and another part - almost as though Death's scythe has sliced through the very space-time continuum to come to this place at this moment.  It reminds me of the tale where someone encounters Death in one city, and so runs away to another, only to have Death muse of his surprise of meeting them in the first place as he had an appointment with them that night in the other.  The moral being that we can never escape Death. 

This card feels less hopeful to me than many other versions.  A true letting go, and plenty of mourning to be done.  Perhaps only after that will we be able to start thinking about new beginnings.

I am grateful for the chance to grieve things that I must leave behind.

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