Ace of Wands – Tilly Aston

Wands are associated with fire energy, and the Ace of Wands is the core representation of fire within the deck. The Ace of Wands is the boldest among the cards in this suit. It is not the kind of creativity that you learn from school or as a hobby. It is bravely finding your own voice, it creates a place where you can develop your own vision. In other words, it is associated with willpower, and creativity in the cosmic sense.

Matilda Ann Aston (1873-1947), blind writer and teacher, was born on 11 December 1873 at Carisbrook, Victoria, youngest of the eight children of Edward Aston, bootmaker, and his wife Ann, née Howell. Her parents had migrated from Gloucestershire to Kapunda, South Australia, in 1855 and two years later moved to Carisbrook.

Tilly, as she was commonly known, had defective eyesight from birth but just before her seventh birthday she became totally blind. Born at a time when blind people had very little support or access to education and other opportunities it was only a chance meeting with a blind itinerant missionary that meant that she learnt Braille. A little later, it was a visit to Carisbrook by the Victorian Asylum and School for the Blind choir, and the Principal who insisted she enroll in the school, that changed her life.

Most people have never heard of Miss Tilly Aston (1873 – 1947), an Australian heroine who deserves a brighter spotlight on her life devoted to the service of others. As an advocate for change, a dedicated teacher, eloquent writer with a pioneering spirit, Tilly felt a sense of urgency to help her ‘sightless brethren’ in their mutual constant struggle for equality.

Vision Aware

Aston’s achievements are formidable. In 1894 she founded the Victorian Association of Braille Writers, which became the Victorian Braille Library. In 1895, she co-founded the Association for the Advancement of the Blind, which in became Vision Australia. As well as being the first woman who was blind to be admitted to an Australian university and Australia’s first blind teacher, Tilly was a distinguished and critically acclaimed writer, producing seven books of verse.