I’m breaking away from my previous post, where I was laying down the foundations for myself as a card reader, setting the tone and things of that nature. I want to continue here with the pips and tie that to the season.
If you have been following along, we have arrived at the 7 of cups. In general, the 7 is quite a magical number. Personally, I am averse to even numbers, for some odd reason I prefer prime and odd numbers, 5, 7, 9 are my favorites. In reading the pips of the tarot, 7 is a number of fate, two roads converging to meet head on, an unavoidable meeting with fate. Oftentimes, these cataclysmic collisions reveal we are now at the crossroads, and we find ourselves bare and vulnerable. If you add up the pips in each suit including the courts, there are fourteen, then 7 is the halfway number, the crossroads. Here at the crossroads we meet the Gatekeeper, Papa Legba.
Some say his ancestor is the long Ju Ju of Arno in eastern Nigeria, the man who would oracle, sitting in the mouth of a cave, as his clients stood below in shallow water. Another story is that he is the reincarnation of the famed Moor of Summerland himself, the Black gypsy who according to Sufi Lit. sicked the Witches on Europe. Whoever his progenitor, whatever his lineage, his grandfather it is known was brought to America on a slave ship mixed in with other workers who were responsible for bringing African religion to the Americas where it survives to this day. His father ran a successful mail-order Root business in New Orleans. Then it is no surprise that PaPa LaBas carries Jes Grew in him like most other folks carry genes.
–Mumbo Jumbo, Ishmael Reed
This was my first literary encounter with Papa Legba, the mediator, the keeper at the gates, arbiter. In reality, Papa Legba appears at pivotal moments throughout life, those moments when the ground shakes underneath your feet and you find yourself upon the threshold, sweat dripping down your face, hands shaking uncontrollably, uneasy foothold. The road to the crossroads is not simple, one arrives there through many circuitous routes and once there there are hard choices to be made. How does one proceed? What is the fee to pass onward?
This is the realm of the sevens in Tarot, the crossroads. Here we have the 7 of cups. Cups being of a watery heartfelt nature, we should ask ourselves where we stand in this whole emotional business, especially this holiday season, as another year winds down. As we stand upon the crossroads, heart in hand, take account of the sacrifices made, the blood spilled, the tears shed, also the devotion sustained, give due. The 7 cups asks us to face hardships head on, all the while keeping the flame alive, after all nothing lasts forever. Attend to where the heart is better served, and be fearless in all matters of the heart, risks and losses are part of life, as well as gains. The gatekeeper asks nothing less of us.
As this year ends, as we stand upon the precipice of another year, the unknown before us, consider where you stand at the crossroads. Hold your heart in your hands and deliberate long enough to reach your answers.
Agitated with worries and the burdens of the work and the struggle that is living, I feel the edges of the fours walls surround me and force me to make decisions “The best way forward, through the gates,” says the Gatekeeper, “is to let go, renounce the weight, be weightless and continue moving forward. Your best bet is change. Therefore, empty your cup and make space for new and refreshing waters.”
The art of letting go.
Happy Holidays everyone.