Tower Memoirs – Struck by Lightning

“The Tower – whatever it represents in your reading – comes crashing to the ground. All that you held to be true is suddenly…not true. The world looks different, and it can feel like a disaster. This card’s usual image of lightening destroying a tower is incredibly scary – destruction is all that we can see. The ground is unsteady beneath our feet. We don’t know what to hold on to”.
Little Red Tarot

Back in the 1950’s, when dinosaurs may have still roamed the world, on a humid summer afternoon, I could not have been aware that events would mean that my world would look very different for awhile. I can only have been two or three at the time, so all I have are the stories that were subsequently told.

My father loved his sport and he was a keen cricketer in the summer and a football umpire in the winter. Clearly my brothers went to the cricket match with him on this fateful day. My eldest brother was in the car watching from a distance while my other brother was on the side lines. When the storm came in and the thunder cracked the team and my brother sheltered under a tree.

The lightning that struck the tree must have looked spectacular. My elder brother was certainly traumatized by having witnessed this.

“It looks like somebody threw a cannonball through it.”

What happens when you are struck by lightening

The whole team, including my father and brother felt the full force of the lightening as it struck the tree they were sheltering under. I can only imagine their shock when it hit like a cannonball. Have you ever got a static electricity shock? When lightning hits the same thing happens, but on a much bigger scale. The majority of injuries and deaths are caused by a ground current, where lightning hits a nearby object and then travels through the ground in all directions.

Amazingly they all survived but at the time, the local doctor in our small country town struggled to know how to treat them. My brother was sent, repeatedly, to Melbourne for skin grafts, the scars of which remain to this day.

Your Turn

Lay out a collection of Tower cards and make a spontaneous list of Tower moments that come to mind. Write in the first or third person about this event.

78+ Australian Women Open 78 Tarot Doorways

Examining Tarot through the Aperture of Real Life Stories

just keep filling our lives with truth,
reading more exciting than fiction,

the Duuran

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that this site contains the names, images, and voices of people now passed and resting in the Dreaming.

The Fool – Germaine Greer
Lovers – Aunty Oodgeroo Noonuccal
Death – Lets Talk Death
Temperance – Women’s Christian Temperance Union Australia
The Tower – Ultimate Tower Moment
Two of Cups – Soulful Connections
Four of Cups – Ash Barty
Five of Cups – Red Flags to Address
Six of Cups – Custodians of Memory
Seven of Cups – Smorgasbord
Six of Pentacles – Janet Lady Clark
– Caroline Chisholm
Eight of Pentacles – Productivity
The Page of Pentacles – Teal Independents
Two of Swords – Life Choices
Eight of Swords – Lindy Chamberlain and Schapelle Corby
Nine of Swords – Trails of Trauma
Ten of Swords – Catherine Folbigg
Five of Wands – Warrior Spirit
Page of Wands – Inventive Creatives

The following is a directory of alternative responses to some of the cards presented here.

Directory of Additional Posts

Six of Cups – Gifting Children

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.
from Labyrinthos

The traditional title, The Past, reminds us of our original nature, when we were young and enthusiastic, when anything was possible and the future was an open book. We are to remember that this same freshness, those new possibilities, are always available to us, even now.

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.

Rosina Ruth Lucia Park AM was a New Zealand–born Australian author. She wrote a number of books for children but possibly her most popular children’s book was the much loved Muddleheaded Wombat.

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

May Gibb

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‘.

Visit the official May Gibb site for books and merchandise. (This is NOT an affiliate site)

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

Self Soothe with Gentle Tarot and Oracle Decks

Key word associated with the 5 of Cups include – Sadness, loss, grief, despair, abandonment, guilt, remorse, regret, trauma, bereavement, mourning, heartbreak, unwelcome change, emotional instability, focusing on loss, focusing on negative emotions, isolation, loneliness, emotional baggage, divorce, separation, anger, disappointment

“The 5 of Cups card can remind us of an old wound. If there’s anything you have ‘stuffed down’ in the past, a grief, guilt or grudge that you carry, now is a good time to face that. Don’t be afraid of it – make some space in your life so that you can gently acknowledge what happened. This is about healing, and that begins with being truly honest about how you feel”. Source: Little Red Tarot

Sometimes when we work with Tarot and Oracle decks cards appear that mirror feelings we may have been trying to submerge. When the 5 of Cups shows up we can either slip it back into the pack or face and work with the kind of feelings that are frequently associated with it.

Beth from Little Red Tarot writes that “the Five of Cups shows us a moment of pure sadness. There’s very little here, but a figure, standing sadly beside overturned cups. What happened? It doesn’t really matter. Whatever those cups held is now gone, and this person is left to deal with it.

What is impressive about Beth’s post is that she gives permission to grieve when she says things like “let yourself be sad. If you’re putting on a brave face or being strong for someone else (or for yourself), now is the time to drop the act. Really give yourself the space to feel what you feel. It may be simple grief. It may be a complex mix of things. Go with it.”

By contrast, Elliot says that “when the Five of Cups comes up in a reading, its message is to “Snap out of it!” Admittedly he does offer a strategy for shifting focus from negative thoughts. He suggests that you “remember the details of your favorite place” saying that “this may be a park you visit, or a particularly beautiful place you traveled to”. He encourages you to think about “your happiest memory of a place to close your eyes and remember each of the details of the place”.

Of course, doing this may prove challenging if you are in the grips of a major bereavement. Being told to snap out of it may distract you momentarily and allow you to discharge some anger as you slap the person dispensing such advice. In fairness to Elliot he is writing about more mundane matters of the heart and his advice is very sound in such situations.

Likewise, working with gentle Tarot and Oracle decks is another soft option if you are caught in a whirlpool of disappointment and heartbreak. Wicked Moonlight has a great video where she talks about her top gentle decks.

Personally I have a couple of readily available mass market decks that I turn to when I am in a 5 of Cups state, just “want to suck worms” and have no capacity to talk to another person about whatever is bothering me. Each of these decks have wonderful guided books and the Barbieri guidebook includes highly creative guided imagery exercises which are perfect for when you are lying in a foetal position under the doona cover.

Six of Pentacles – Philanthropic Energy

The Six of Pentacles represents compassion, generosity, and cultivating good karma. This card reminds you that your true quality as a person is not measured by how much you impress the powerful and influential people of society. Instead, it is measured by how you treat the outcasts, the penniless, and the “least of these.” When you show kindness to those who you would probably gain “nothing” from, you may find that you walk away with a gift far greater.

Northern Animal Tarot

Caroline Chisholm was born in Northampton, 30 May 1808. This was a time of turmoil. On the continent, Napoleon was wreaking havoc, and the wars undertaken to defeat him were sapping Great Britain of her resources. The Industrial Revolution was in full swing, and by the late 18th century there had emerged a massive underclass of “deserving” poor, many without means of subsistence. To deal with the poverty, a support system loosely based on the Christian principle of charity was espoused.

Born in 1808 into the reasonably well-to do family of William Jones, a yeoman farmer in Northampton, Caroline Chisholm received an education that reflected the times. As a young girl, she visited the sick of the neighboring village, providing them with help and care, and was, in the words of one biographer, educated to “look on philanthropic labor as a part of her everyday life.”

At seven, she displayed a passionate interest in immigration. Having heard wondrous tales of far-off lands in what has been characterized as an enlightened household, she invented an immigration game. Using a wash basin as the sea, she “made boats of broad-beans; expended all [her] money in touchwood dolls, removed families, located them in the bed-quilt and sent the boats, filled with wheat, back to the friends.” This early interest in immigration would later provide a focus for her rising philanthropic passion.

When she arrived in Australia in 1838 she was horrified by the desperate situation of single emigrant women who were exploited when they first arrived. Often when emigrants arrived they were taken advantage of by people who would rob them or take their money on pretense of getting them accommodation or employment. The situation was particularly bad during the depression of the 1840s. Her advocacy for homeless girls and poor families during Australia’s formative years caused her contemporaries to see her as ‘the indispensable woman of the time’.

Fast forward to 2022 and one cannot help but wonder what a woman like Carolyn Chisholm, whose name is used by so many organizations working to address homelessness, would make of the situation facing so many people. In Victoria alone, on any given night, there are approximately 1,100 people sleeping rough and older women are the fastest growing group to experience homelessness in Australia.

What would Caroline Chisholm do?

Suggestions Caroline Chisholm might offer about making a difference to homelessness in Australia in 2022

Imagine you are a journalist and you have the opportunity to interview Carolyn Chisholm. Research and find out more about her, the opposition she faced and the contribution she made. Upon meeting with her, ask five open ended questions about actions she would take to alleviate homelessness. See if what she says to you resonates with the suggestions being proposed here.

With Bow and Crossbow

This image, depicting women defending the castle with bow and crossbow comes from The Medieval Woman – Illuminated Book of Days. Set yourself the task of learning more about the role women have played in society and art. Take the time to look at works of art which were created by or feature women. Think expansively and don’t forget to look at ancient and indigenous art. The art you choose may be a song, a hand crafted item, a carefully prepared food, a character from mythology, or even an image as recognizable at the Mona Lisa.