When I’m in Sweden I make it my business to preoccupy myself with some particular business. Getting practical in the woods is one of the best activities I can think of. The power of the nature around me is enough to make me realize that it is not in this life time that I will ever get bored.
So, just before midday, in the glaring sun sending its burning rays through the trees, I decide to use my new set of cards designed by Ellen Lorenzi-Prince, The Dark Goddess Tarot. I state my purpose and wait to see who present themselves. The Hag of Fire, Maman Brigitte, Hel between the worlds, and the Witch of Fire, Ceridwen, give me a message.
Ellen’s one-line description of every card serves me well here:
“Dance with your ancestors. Raise the dead. If both are the reality, there is no choice. Craft anew with the bones of the old.”
How very appropriate. I arm myself with my Kerala kard dagger and go down to the river. On the bank, I talk to the wind and state my purpose. I can feel the impatience of the blade. The wind makes it speedy. The water makes the blade want to run smoothly through something. The sun turns it into a burning mirror. I realize that I’m standing in the middle of a puddle caused by a stream running into the river. Fortunately appropriate. I stick the knife into it. All the way through. This is a very good knife, and the earth likes what it does to it. I state my purpose again. I finish up with cleaning my tool with leaves and roots. I rinse it into the running river. Maman Brigitte presides over the ceremony. She sends me a reassuring glance. Who knows how many dead the river hides? They have a hill here called the Hill of Death. It’s made of stones that grew bigger and bigger because people kept raising the spirit of a young girl that was murdered in the 1700s. Somehow I know I’m granted permission to the Underworld.
I come back to the cabin to honor the advice: ‘Craft anew with the bones of the old.’ Since my knife was made in 1880 and has a handle made of stag bone, I decide to give it a shine. I use a concoction made as an ointment that contains belladonna, datura, henbane, and makdrake. All is well.
I look at all my stuff: the cards, the dagger, the ointment, the stones, and the roses. A good feeling descends over me. It occurs to me that today is Aleister Crowley’s birthday. I don’t hold any dead people in any dignitary position. I prefer to respect some of their ideas and take what is good.
I ask another set of cards to show me what Crowley is saying today. I constrained the message though. What with all the dead today, I went for using only the court cards and the aces.
Crowley says: Jack of Spades, Queen of Spades, Ace of Hearts. We are familiars. Indeed we are. I can still remember Crowley breathing down my neck in Turku at the famous occult library, the Steiner Library, where I was doing some research for my university a few years ago. I had to turn to the shelf full of his works that was facing my desk, and said: ‘Now listen, why don’t we become friends? You don’t need to sneak up on me. I have come here in peace.’ ‘Fair enough,’ said Crowley, and we have thence had a good time.
Some of his poems come to my mind. Quite appropriate. His “Arhan” ends with these words:
Burn thou to the core of matter, to the spirit’s utmost flame,
Consciousness and sense to shatter, ruin sight and form and name!
Shatter, lake-reflected spectre; lake, rise up in mist to sun;
Sun, dissolve in showers of nectar, and the Master’s work is done.
Nectar perfume gently stealing, masterful and sweet and strong,
Cleanse the world with light of healing in the ancient House of Wrong!
Free a million mortals on the wheel of being tossed!
Open wide the mystic portals, and be altogether lost!
I take another walk in the woods. The advantage of raising the dead in midday is that you have the whole day and what’s ahead of you to do with. Now that is extremely appropriate. I go the the church to listen to the 5 o’clock bells. They have an interesting gravedigger here. He likes to rake the path between the graves and then make circles. A grave with rose bushes invites me over to have a closer look. I pick up a few leaves and then snatch a three-bud stem. I intend to blend the petals into my incense tonight. The dusk dew is about to fall. I’m going in for some more magic.
Not on the decks:
The Dark Goddess, by Ellen Lorenzi Prince, ArnellArt, 2013
Dondorf, Francfort 1876