Every Monday morning I have a ritual.
I go to my studio/workspace, light some incense, sit quietly, then shuffle a Tarot deck asking the question, “What are the trends I should be aware of in my life this coming week?” I continue to shuffle the deck, focussing on the question until it feels right, I cut the deck and draw the top card.
The card stays on my desk all week to remind me.
It’s the first thing I do every week.
I’ve used a number of decks over the years. My favourites are the Wildwood Tarot, the DruidCraft Tarot, and the Robin Wood deck. But as I’ve been immersed within the Mabinogion, for the past few months I’ve been using the Llewelyn Tarot – a beautiful deck with art from the stories within the Mabinogion. It felt right. My whole Journey is being seemingly merged with those tales, the edges disappearing, the liminal spaces becoming harder to identify. Meeting a being from those stories each week brings the shores of Annwn even closer.
Today I drew the Death card. It shows Arawn, travelling through the forest on his dapple-grey mare, attended by his pack of hunting hounds. He is hooded, and grey. I have always been in awe of Arawn, and his realm. Once or twice I’ve felt that my feet have walked very close to its border. I can think back to a couple of very silly decisions from my youth where he must have been watching me, ready to take my hand should I trip across. He is also the only Deity I have ever actively invoked during ritual. I haven’t been one for submitting control since then to be honest. It was Samhain, in a field far away from any town or village, under a star-filled sky, and I invited him in within a grove of Willow trees. Although I asked him to leave, I do feel that he has been with me ever since.
How do I feel having the Death card sitting on my desk this week? Calm. Peaceful. Guided, and nurtured. If you read the Tarot you will know that the Death card can mean many things and physical death is but one of those. I’m not sure, but this time I think it means the death of the old, and the beginning of the new. All around me my home has changed. We now have an upstairs, and I am currently typing this in my new dedicated recording studio. Whilst the building work has taken place (since August last year) I’ve been writing. Writing the story of the First Branch of Y Mabinogi, and writing the songs that will add colour and depth to the storytelling. I have two more songs to write and the album is written. But first, the story needs to be told. So this week the first recording will happen, as I tell the tales, and the first story I will tell will be the meeting of Pwyll and Arawn. No surprise then that he wished to be present whilst his tale be told.
I welcome you, Arawn, Lord of Annwn. May my tongue be blessed by the Awen. May my words do you and your Kin honour, as I open the door to this new part of the Journey.