The Six of Cups symbolize the joy of nostalgia, the comfort of home and childhood innocence. In the card itself, there are six cups filled with white flowers. Two children are depicted in the foreground, and one is passing a cup to another. This handing of the flowers from the boy to the girl shows the passing of traditions and happy reunions. The children seem to be in a castle of sorts, that we can imagine give them a sense of security and comfort.
If the Six of Cups has presented itself to you it may be a good time to reminisce about childhood and the books that made a deep impression on you and have, in some small way, influenced choices you have made. While you cannot bring the past back you can revisit and experience the joy of escaping into a fantasy world.
Children’s Literature is extremely vital as it provides the child with the chance of responding to literature and developing personal opinions. Moreover, it encourages deeper thoughts and emotional intelligence and imagination; it cultivates growth and development of personality and social skills. Those, like Ruth Park, who write for children, generally provide an escape from reality for children, taking them into exciting fantasy worlds that they might never know otherwise. The impact of their work is almost impossible to quantify.
Rosina Ruth Lucia Park was born in Auckland, on August 24, 1917 but spent most of her life in Australia. Her Scottish father had migrated to New Zealand to work as a labourer on road- and bridge-building projects. Park spent her early years as the solitary child in camps for road workers. Romping in forests she developed a fertile imagination, also inspired by her father’s tales of Scottish heroes.
In a piece that she wrote to tell children about her life she wrote that “many years ago I was born in that green, snow capped archipelago called New Zealand, and I’m very glad I was. Probably I am a writer because I had a singular childhood. My first seven years I spent all alone in the forest, like a possum or a bear cub. It was rain forest, pathless, dense; its light was a dim green twilight. How did I get there?
My father was a bridge builder and road maker; he drove some of the first roads through the forested Crown lands of northern New Zealand. My mother and I travelled with him, living in tents beside mountain streams lively with trout and eels. My father’s head was crammed with the savage hero tales of his ancestral land, Scotland. How lucky I was that he had the gift of storytelling! You must imagine lamplight, owls hoo-hooing, the tent fly cracking with frost, and myself, this bear cub child, listening to the stories I would play out by myself in the bush, next day. I developed an imagination both rich and rowdy. But there was one thing I had not imagined. When I went to school at last, I was totally astounded, almost frightened, to see children playing together. I hadn’t known they did that!
Although I loved school, I wasn’t at all interested in children’s games. However, I learned how. to pretend, and became on the surface just another kid, though inside I knew I wasn’t. This didn’t make me happy. I really believed I was a changeling. (We didn’t know the word ‘alien’ then, otherwise I would have thought I had been dropped by a Rigelian spaceship.) I longed to be like everyone else, but my solitary early life had made me different somehow. My friends were almost all Maori children, little forest creatures like myself.
By the time I was eight I was writing. I entered all kinds of verse and story competitions, and when I was eleven I won one of these. My story was published. This went straight to my head. I saw my life’s work laid out before me, and have never stopped writing since. I think, even at the age of eleven, I felt comfortable writing, more the real person I knew I was.”
From Becoming a Writer by Ruth Park
Within the Tales of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie May revealed herself as a committed conservationist with the opening inscription ‘Humans Please be kind to all bush creatures and don’t pull flowers up by the roots‘.
May Gibbs (1877 – 1969) is one of Australia’s most treasured illustrators, artists and children’s authors. Her bush fantasy world has captured the imaginations of Australians for over a century, creating a uniquely Australian folklore that holds a special place in the hearts of a nation. May was to say in later life ‘I’ve always had the greatest pleasure in thinking of all those little children who enjoyed my books. Everything became alive for me, it was just a fairy tale all the time.’ Born Cecilia May Gibbs in England on 17 January 1877, she was the only daughter of artist, cartoonist and public servant Herbert William Gibbs and Cecilia Rogers.
May emigrated to Australia with her family in 1881 aboard the Hesperus at four years of age. First trying their hand at farming in South Australia, followed by two years at Harvey Cattle Station in Western Australia, the Gibbs family eventually gave up on the farming life and settled at ‘The Dunes’ in Perth.
Over this time the young May spent many impressionable years observing the beauty of the Australian bush. In later years May was to say ‘It’s hard to tell, hard to say, I don’t know if the bush babies found me or I found the little creatures’. Raised in a creative household, May demonstrated artistic ability from an early age – ‘I could draw before I could walk,’ May was to recall. May excelled at botanical drawings and in 1892 at just fifteen years of age May won her first Art prize at the Perth Wild Flower Show, the first of many throughout the 1890s.
For the full online autobiography and to learn about the diversity of Gibb’s work, visit the official May Gibb website