Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Elizabeth and the Lion

Today's card from the Oracle of the Shapeshifters (Blue Angel 2011) is rather royal.

Here we meet Queen Elizabeth I of England, who reigned for 44 years at the end of the sixteenth century.  At her side is a lion, symbolic of England since the twelfth century when it was the standard of Richard I, known as Richard the Lionheart.  Elizabeth became Queen after the brief reigns of her brother and sister, and she brought stability and religious tolerance to the country, as well as setting up a system of good counsel - gathering a group of trusted advisors to help her.  Her motto was "video et taceo": I see and say nothing.

This card has strong resonances with the Strength card in traditional tarot decks.  The idea that being a good leader requires an ability to enlist the help of others (the woman using the lion's strength to complement her wits), to keep your own counsel (calming the instinct to react to what is said to you), and to be willing to tolerate other people's ideas (accepting that we all have different aspects and drives), are all possible understandings of both cards. 

Today I see my counselling clients, and I would do well to think of these characteristics, too.  I enlist the help of others when I suggest a client might want to consult their doctor on medical issues, and when I speak with my supervisor.  I keep my own counsel when I notice a thought or judgement which may not be helpful to share with my client until I can process it and understand where it is coming from.  And I am willing to accept that what other people do, think and say is what is best for them in this moment, even if it doesn't seem that way from my external perspective.  That just means that I haven't yet understood their point of view, and so must see more and say less. 

I am grateful for the reminder to bring a sense of calm, openness and gentleness to my client work.


  1. Elizabeth's motto was "Semper Eadem"; "always the same"

    1. Hmm, not sure I can get behind that. I'm more of a "change is a constant" kinda person :D