The Journey of the Cards: The Strength

The Strength: the Beauty and the Beast, the Woman and the Primitive, the Human and the Animal within.  She appears to be gentle and almost fragile and yet she is closing the animal’ mouth. Her eyes are locked with the lion’s one. Her gentle but firm posture shows how confident she is. She does not recognise the beast but rather see the shadow self that is about to be accepted and embraced. The fare hair, the white shirt and the wreath of spring flowers refer to the purity of the spirit. The feminine is combined with the sign of the infinity above her head. The same sign is to be found in the card of the Magician as they are both masters:  The Magician is the master of all four elements, and the Strength is a master of her own animal instincts and she is in control of her own weakness.

She uses care, love and sweetness to tame the beast. The lion has its tail between its legs, but not in fear but with understandings and gratitude towards her. He knows that she will not take his life but rather invite him to follow her on the journey.

The red lion is the masculinity and the white dress of the woman is the symbolic representation of femininity, and just like in ,,real,, life the gentle giving nature of women, tames the fearful and possessive nature of men.  And so the balance is found even for a short while.

To overpower anything in life one does not need strength on the physical level, but most of all need the strength of the spirit and the mind.

The story of the Strength:  Recognising duality, embracing the shadow.



The Journey of the Cards: The Fool

0 The Fool

A ring, a circle, an endless end and a beginning of it all in one.
The powerful zero contains all and nothing, all possibilities and all impossible things in it.
It is the beginning from before the beginning. In the Tarot, this card represents what lies before the beginning of the Heroes’ Journey of the Soul into the material world. It is the backstage, the preparation for the big introduction. It holds its breath waiting for the curtain to be lifted, in complete darkness. This is the spiritual world, the thought before it has been said and anchored to the world into a shape, form, and meaning. It represents the loose idea of the idea itself before being dressed into anything concrete. Not yet.
As I wrote in the Prologue of my first book, every story has a beginning. But before any beginning, there is another story glued to this one. So we need to cut between meanings, between ends and beginnings and to make our own beginning. Or more precisely to give birth to our beginning.
So it comes the zero or the Fool, with the figure of the happy child in a man’s body. His eyes pinned to the sky, his feet stepping into the nothingness, his heart in the clouds. He is pure thought and the innocent of the unknown, individual living into the state before any paradigms and memories of good and bad.
The Fool walks the Earth and trust completely in God’s will or Universal laws as he knows no others. He suspects no downfalls or betrayals as he is the purity of the Ether. He is the part of us that craves to be left unaware, even ignorant of any social norms or human laws. He is the innocent explorer that takes whatever comes his way and he is always surprised and never judges if something is good or bad. As for him, it is all the same. It is an adventure into the garden of the imagination with no limits, no obstacles, he walks the land of lucid dreaming and makes his dreams come true with no sense of tomorrow.
It is the state of pure happiness based on the here and now, no consequence, no time and no status quo.
It walks in the endless circle of life that expands and contracts in the count of his heartbeat. So he is the beginning of a story that never starts, as for it to start it needs to be born into the world. This is the only way of God to know him/herself and to make the first step into the living light.

The story of the ZERO: the Darkness before the Light


The Mexican

artwork by ZANARA

I travel with this woman on the tube every day.

She is huge and dark. With the rounded belly and sagging breasts of a mother of many. With long skirts spread over the floor. Her powerful thighs are outlined beneath. No shoes are visible but I can somehow guess that she is barefoot. Her arms are hanging to the sides, lifeless. Her hair is long, black and braided. There is an earthen tang around her. I call her the Mexican.

I cannot see her face because she always pretends to be sleeping. But under that apparent calm I know that she is wakeful and watching. On her guard, one part of her is turned towards the world. Her skin breathes and listens to what is outside, that which keeps her sane, on the surface of madness. Outside of the den of her soul.

And half of her is turned in, shivering. She soaks every movement and whiff of air. Inside, where the powers of chaos and darkness reside. She knows what follows, if not today, then tomorrow. It is inevitable.

A small room, with a wooden floor and a chair in the right corner. In the middle, a sack full of darkness. Inside it doubts and eyes that want to see slink darkly. Every little monster, guilt and fear, all those little, insignificant and unnamed, faceless, well-forgotten shadows. All those moments, quickly ignored because they seem unimportant, brief emotions of the daily grind, words and gestures, all that, for which there was no time then, all are thrown inside the sack, unprocessed, unrecognised, unloved.Those are her children.

She looks around, weighs every breath and thought. And sooner or later, it happens. One by one they raise their voices, a choir of wails and doubts. Questions, seemingly innocent, but ground-shakingly fearsome. She has to be careful not to let THEM come out of there, out of the basement of her inner being.

I see her sweat and hold her breath so she can tame the turmoil inside. The floor and ceiling, all the staircases and windows begin dancing a wondrous dance of shapelessness. The rational outlines of the familiar fall apart, crumpled like soft plasticine by the expansion of her thought, and every sound reforms the order. The old universe dies, and a new one is immediately born. The game of hide-and-seek begins again.

The sack becomes bigger than everything else and takes up all the space inside, all of her being. And if the outer world manages to distract her even for a moment, she notices that her nightmare-bearing children have escaped to the outside.

The train car rocks rhythmically, but she falls through while sitting in her seat. She is as heavy as a stone, as a sculpture, unfinished, uncarved, unthought into creation. I hear prayer words, quickly whispered. It looks like this would be the end. The darkness breaks over her skin. The children want their freedom, so they can play outside. To discover the world. To be free.

She and I both hold our breath. The body pulses, hardened despite the warmth and the bodies of the people around us. I think I will die, I hold my breath until I feel I will explode. The adrenaline rumbles through my head and ears. Everything is white and I am at a peak. At the top of a white peak. Below the clouds.

Then I feel them coming from every direction. Her children swarm among the people, push everything in its way, come towards me. The one on my left side is blue. Without hair. In a red dress. Words and images frozen in the past jump over its skin. It now has a face, barely outlined features, it is not anonymous. It is the unsaid in the hundreds of conversations, oppressed by being lived out and then forgotten. It sits on my knee. I befriend it. Tell it I love it. The others slowly come and embrace me. Blue, black, ugly and sad. They pile around me and I am happy. We are one whole. We are all below the clouds.

I finally breathe in.

It is our stop.

I get up. I catch my image in the window. I am a good mother to my demons. The Mexican inside me nods in agreement.

Written by Zanara/ Translated by Roberta