Koala on Fire

I have recently uploaded a Tarot Gallery to the site with a selection of my favourite cards, and I’ve decided to post my thoughts inspired by the cards in that gallery, one at a time. It could prove rather tangential, but then my Tarot has always been about the bigger picture. I like to look for messages and hidden meanings in my work because paintings always mean so much more than you think they do when you paint them, and Tarot art is if anything even more fertile in this respect. At the end I will add the interpretation of the card from my guidebook, to try and bring it back to the Tarot.

Mercury is in Pisces and going retrograde soon so it seems like a good time for emotive and nostalgic communications. Venus has just gone into Aries (my own placement) making me feel all confident about getting out there, and it’s a super full moon in Leo with happy aspects to Mars. So let’s get started!

It has been raining all winter here in soggy Scotland, and I am missing my sunburnt home land and grieving the terrible and catastrophic bush fires. Having lived in Australia for forty years, its unique wilderness is very much a part of my soul, and the spiritual power behind the Asherah Tarot. All art is inspired by nature and this Tarot is no exception. Not only are we dependant on ecosystems and wildernesses for material sustenance, but also for spiritual and artistic inspiration. My great love affairs have been with wild places, and with the creatures that inhabit them. I love Scotland very much too, and I live now on a magical island which I will talk about in later posts, but compared to Australia its ravaged ecosystem is an empty wasteland. People who have not experienced the rich and unique biodiversity of Australia do not understand just how much has been lost in these terrible fires.

Looking through the cards in the gallery I felt drawn towards the Seven of Wands, one of my all time favourite cards, and it occurred to me that it looked a little bit like a Koala on Fire.

seven of wands
Koala on Fire

People cry for the koalas, because they are so very cute, and because they are too slow and gentle to survive this cruel and disastrous world. They are a symbol of the spiritual way, climbing the Tree, dozing in meditation, chewing on their vegetarian diet, and finally being sacrificed in the flames of our materialist hell. Their kind eyes stare out from our TV screens, suffering terrible wounds without complaint. They died in their hundreds of thousands in these fires, but they are just one species in the long list of incinerated wildlife. As you might know my personal favourites are the flying foxes. In a land full of highly intelligent creatures, they are the supreme sentient beings. Sun baking and socialising noisily during the day in huge colonies, soaring and sipping nectar at night, they are a mammal like no other. Sadly they are widely demonised and persecuted, and they suffer more than any other creature, dying of heat stress in their thousands, starving in droughts, crucified on barb wire fences and in fruit tree netting. They die and they die, and one day in the not too distant future they will be gone forever, and we will have lost the chief pollinator of the forests, and the pollinator of our imaginations as well.

I love the intoxicating smell of the Australian bush, the shimmering eucalyptus haze, and the sonic chorus of all that teeming life. I love the lizards of all shapes and sizes, from massive goannas to tiny skinks, and swimming Water Dragons. I love the snakes, fantastically beautiful in their shimmering silkiness and so psychic you are unlikely to see one before it senses you and disappears. I love the spiders too, especially the huge and harmless huntsmen who come and quietly live in the corners of your house, eating mosquitos. I love the ants and the fireflies and the beetles.
I love the pretty faced wallabies, the big red kangaroos and the cuddly tree climbing kangaroos of the northern tropical forests; I love the wombats making burrows, the shy platypus in the creeks and echidnas, so unique and amazing, like little spiky tractors digging up ants nests. Possums and singing frogs rule the night, while the day belongs to the birds, and they are unrivalled anywhere in the world in their variety and numbers. It would take far too long to describe the wonderful bird life. Their fearlessness makes them the most well loved of all creatures. Most Australians know some birds personally, and bond with magpies or cockatoos or often a whole horde of various characters. The sounds of their songs are the music of my soul.

There is no end to the sheer abundance of wild life in just a few acres of bush, or even in the cities, which are increasingly a refuge of last resort. Anyone who knows the bush is aware that far more than a billion lives have been lost in this recent apocalyptic fire season. And those that didn’t burn are now starving, because more than twelve million acres have been reduced to lifeless ash. The thought of so much life being lost in such a huge area is soul destroying. Species that were already threatened, are now pushed to the very brink of extinction and beyond. It is wound to the heart of the wilderness that will never heal. The sheer scale of this tragedy puts the petty craziness of human existence into perspective. The loss of the unique and ancient Australian ecosystem is one the group soul of our species is unlikely to recover from. Climate change is a direct result of human activity, so not only are we are in mourning for all those precious animals, birds, reptiles, insects and plants, and the inspiration they gave us, but we are writhing with guilt and horror. The destructive power of the human race far outweighs our creativity. In the end we create only one thing it seems, and that is hell on earth. This seems a dark way to start my revived blog, but I have promised myself to be authentic and speak from the heart, however painful that might be, and to try and talk about what matters most to me.

If there is an upside to all this grief, it is proof that we have loved a great deal. I loved painting the fire cards and I love seeing them in a reading. Their passionate warmth and promise of excitement banishes my cold wet pessimism. Passion for art and music and the wilderness are what make life worth living. When we are filled with enthusiasm, we are truly alive.

Seven of Wands

Esoteric Title : Valour

Mars in Leo

Opposition to our true will inevitably arises from the accolades of the last card (the Six of Wands), both within ourselves and from the outside world. It is time to stand our ground and live our dreams, a struggle without a guaranteed outcome. Sevens indicate a blockage of some kind, and its important not to let road rage surface during these inevitable traffic jams. The Seven of Wands is a lion shaped candelabra (a Menorah, associated with Asherah) holding seven incandescent Flame Hearts. The lion is gripping the seven pointed star of Venus in its teeth and has a look of excitement and intensity. It suggests the joy of a battle fought for an honourable cause.

The sphere of Netzach is ruled by Fire and is a dynamic and energising influence in the fiery suit of Wands. The attribution of Mars in Leo makes this card a truly explosive dose of passionate Fire energy. Mars the warrior is vitalised and stabilised by one of the most commanding and dominating of signs. The potential for the use of this abundant energy for higher purposes is increased by the creative Venusian influence of Netzach, the selfishness and egotistical lower nature of Leo being modified by an active polarity with the collective mind. Once Leo’s tendency to forceful histrionics and desire gratification has been curbed, the higher spiritual Love nature that is the gift of Venus can emerge in all its glory. 

The gift of a vivid creative imagination and dramatic flair that this card depicts needs to be balanced by self discipline and routine to become a truly productive force. The intensity and excitability of this combination of influences can indicate impetuous and ill considered activity and its important to tame these unruly tendencies and develop the ability to focus and to finish what has been started. Versatility is the nature of the Sevens and it requires careful management not to turn into dilettantism. 

This card suggests we have the energy to overcome any obstacle, if we are motivated by noble intentions and willing to do the work required. The good fight is often a losing battle, at least in material terms, but luckily in the spiritual, archetypal world of the suit of Wands, losing is in fact winning. This is the secret of Love in its highest Venusian manifestation. Adversity and loss are spiritually beneficial and so the Seven of Wands is the most positive of the Sevens. It is a victory of Love.