78 Australian Women Open 78 Tarot Doorways

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
Cups
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
Pentacles
Six of Pentacles – Janet Lady Clark
– Caroline Chisholm
Eight of Pentacles – Productivity
The Page of Pentacles – Teal Independents
Swords
Two of Swords – Life Choices
Eight of Swords – Lindy Chamberlain and Schapelle Corby
Nine of Swords – Trails of Trauma
Ten of Swords – Catherine Folbigg
Wands
Five of Wands – Warrior Spirit
Page of Wands – Inventive Creatives

Tarot Storytelling

As this article points out there are many advantages to telling stories using Tarot.

  • You really get into the picture of the card and observe the details of that image. 
  • You can really internalize each and every aspect of the card’s picture.
  • You can get creative and let your imagination run wild while writing the story.
  • Imagination and Intuition mix really well together – you never know which aspect of the story will suddenly appear like an intuitive notion while you do your reading (and you’ll be surprised at how accurate you are!)

Let Me Show You

Once upon a time, only yesterday, there was a Crow who was the familiar of a Hermit who lived in the a long abandoned Travellers Inn deep within the Hollow Woods ….

Over to you! You might continue the story or get out some of your decks and play with them.

In this case I have pulled out my Writers Emergency pack for some additional ideas to keep the whole thing going. I will set a timer for 20 minutes and just keep writing whatever comes into my mind.

Decks Used

Note that I am not an affiliate for any of these sites.

Hepburn Graves Ghostly Tale

Hepburn Graves is the historical private cemetery of the Hepburn family of Smeaton Hill Run. Located near the original homestead, Smeaton House, the cemetery has been excised from the surrounding private land and is now managed by the National Trust of Australia.

The grave site has been used for burials by the Hepburn family since 1859. When the family sold the property in 1904 they excised the grave site and access road from the main title. After the death of the last family trustee the land with the graves was acquired by the National Trust of Australia (Victoria). The site is cared for by the Ballarat Branch of the National Trust and the owners of Smeaton House. 

The headstones commemorate:

  1. John Stuart Hepburn, Eliza Hepburn, Thomas Hepburn, Alice May Butterworth.
  2. Alice Hepburn Murray, her husband Charles J.B. Murray and daughter Eliza Marion Murton.
  3. Harriet Frances Hepburn, Alice Ella Purey-Cust, George Stuart Hepburn, John Stuart Hepburn, George Stanley Hepburn, Elaine May Hepburn, May Ina Hepburn MacGeorge.
  4. Henry Hepburn 1842 – 1874 (died at sea).
  5. Benjamin Hepburn
  6. John Stevens – long time gardener at Smeaton House. No headstone – his grave is marked by white stones. 

Statement of Significance

Hepburn Graves is the private family cemetery established by pastoralist, Captain William Hepburn near his homestead, ‘Smeaton House’. Hepburn (died 1860), his wife, family and relatives are buried in the cemetery withone retainer. The cemetery is fenced and plantings enhance the graves.
Hepburn Graves are important as an intact private cemetery, representative of a number of such cemeteries associated with Pastoral Holdings. The graves have historical associations with the Hepburn family and are an excellent example of the arrangement, elements and plantings of a small nineteenth century cemetery. Captain Hepburn’s grave is a notable example of a tombstone of the period.
Classified: 21/05/1964.
File Note: See B1114, Smeaton House

The still beauty of this resting place took my breath away. As I sat on a bench, taking in this private cemetery I drew cards from the Macabre Tarot and the Ghosts and Spirits Tarot by Lisa Hunt. I figured that the place might have a ghostly story that they wanted to share with me.

I cannot say that I was surprised when the Magician appeared again. The Macabre Tarot is leaving me in no doubt that it is excited about this whole project.

The Ghostly story that emerged told of a dyke builder named Hauke Haien who built his masterwork, but refused to follow the time honoured tradition of sacrificing a living creature by burying it alive in the dyke. The villagers were very unhappy about this and it all ended in tears when the dyke broke and Haien’s family were washed away and he came to grief.

Interestingly enough, when, despite protestations Captain Hepburn allowed a loyal faithful Chinese employee to be buried in the Hepburn family cemetery, he became the first white Victorian settler to allow a ‘non-European’ person to be buried with other members of his family, as an equal.

Sometimes we simply need to break away from tradition no matter the outcome.

DEATH OF Capt. JOHN HEPBURN, ESQ., J.P.

In our last report we announced the serious illness of Captain Hepburn, and expressed a hope that he might be soon restored to health, but that hope was doomed to disappointment, for after several alternations of the disease, and in spite of the utmost medical skill, the silver chord was loosed and the scythe of death laid low one whose very name has become almost a household word from Creswick to Castlemaine. (Creswick Advertiser, August 10th 1860)

To read more about Capt. John Hepburn, Esq., J.P. check the Smeaton Independent News and to click the link to learn more about Captain Hepburn’s residence, ‘Smeaton House’ on the old Hepburn estate.

Pennyweight Children’s Cemetery Reading

Life on the goldfields was particularly harsh on children. They were often used as a source of labour and could earn small amounts of money for errands. Their young immune systems were still developing and children were highly susceptible to diseases that sometimes ran through mining communities. However, even the young were drawn to the lure of gold and could also be found panning along the rivers.

In 1852, on a barren piece of land that was of no use to gold miners or fossickers, a cemetery for the deceased children of the Castlemaine goldfields was set aside. Located within the Castlemaine Diggings National Heritage Park is Pennyweight Flat Children’s Cemetery. A pennyweight is a very small measure of gold.

The graveyard is little more than a bee-stung patch of ground, small swellings rising up here and there where the earth’s surface was long ago prickled by rough shovels. Some of the mounds have their perimeters acknowledged by rows of stones, no more sophisticated than those you might set up around a campfire; others are marked only by a single jutting rock, or nothing at all. Looking out from Pennyweight Flat Children’s Cemetery, the Australian scenery is beautiful.

Surrounded by grey box gums in a tranquil setting, the Children’s Cemetery tells a silent story about some realities of the goldfields during the 1850s. Many families travelled to the Castlemaine diggings in the early 1850s as word spread about alluvial (surface) gold to be found.

The Pennyweight Flat Children’s Cemetery in Moonlight Flat is a heartbreaking result of the awful living conditions in the diggings during the gold rush of the 1850s. Around 200 shallow graves, mostly children and babies, are scattered amongst the trees.

Aside from the associated danger of children wandering off and getting lost, the poor and inadequate drainage of the early settlements caused much discomfort not only for everyone’s olfactory nerves but on the community’s health problems. A lack of clean drinking water along with accidents and diseases were the main causes of death for children living on the goldfields. The first recorded deaths on the Mount Alexander Diggings were of two small children, who perished of dysentery in November 1851.

Many graves are simply marked by stone arrangements, but there are a few which have headstones with readable engravings. There have also been memorial plaques added to some graves in recent years.

Pennyweight is one of my favorite places to visit with my dogs. For me it is the equivalent of going to church and spending time with the divine. It is also a popular destination for families. No doubt inspired by stories such as the one about Nannie, children leave small toys on many of the graves. I have considered taking children’s books out to this beautifully tranquil place, sitting and reading to the children. Meanwhile I am sure they have enjoyed the visits of my dogs.

Today I took my Macabre Tarot with me and was delighted when the Magician fell out of the pack, demanding to be featured.

The appearance of the Magician tells me more than I will publish. It lets me know that I am on the right path with my new project that involves revisiting historic cemeteries, accompanied by my dog and a Tarot deck. I have the tools I need and it is time to barrel ahead, get guidance from the dead and excavate some local history

Working With Macabre Tarot

Are you ready to let your skin crawl? Are you ready to get lost in the night? Are you ready to embrace everything that lives in the shadows? Step into the darkness and release your fears. A 78-card tarot deck, with premium design aesthetics, that calls you to turn away from the light and explore your own shadow.

Put ‘how to bond with a tarot deck’ into your search engine and a host of ideas about how to develop a relationship with your deck will appear. Ideas range from smoking it with white sage, sleeping with it, rubbing the deck edges in the dirt or simply taking the time to interview it.

Little Red Tarot is just one site that provides some specific deck interviews that you might use.

Having recently acquired the Macabre Tarot I was very taken with the interview, shown here, by Owl and Bone Tarot.

Taking the time to reflect on the messages that laid before me helped my appreciate just what this deck might offer.

Another strategy I employ, as I familiarize myself with a deck like this, is to take it out on an adventure. So, given the macabre nature of this deck I bundled it and the dog into the car and set out to visit a lonely grave that can be found off the the road from Chewton to Fryers Town.

To visit this Escott Grave, in which lies a mother and daughter who died during the Gold Rush period, you have to walk some distance along a bush track.

Not much is written to support this insight but the Macabre Deck was quick to pick up on just how devastated these women had been about being betrayed and deceived.

The story of women on the diggings is largely untold. Only rarely did women work as diggers in their own right. Often, though, they worked side by side with a husband, brother or father.

The first woman made her appearance at Mount Alexander in November 1851, and a digger who was there later recalled how `all the men left off work to gaze on her’. Mrs Andrew Campbell couldn’t help noticing the way she was always being `gazed on’-

 ‘… sometimes as a strange animal, and at others, notwithstanding my claim to toughness, as a brittle bit of porcelain to be labelled “glass, with care”…’’

Towards the end of 1852, women were an accepted part of the diggings scene. Writer-turned digger, William Howitt, was surprised at the number of `diggeresses’ on the goldfields when he arrived­:
‘You see a good many women … and some of them right handsome young girls. They all seem very cheerful and even merry; and the women seem to make themselves very much at home in this wild, nomadic life.’’

The grave of Elizabeth Escott and her daughter Fanny lies in bushland on the east side of the road to Fryerstown.

When Elizabeth’s husband died, she left England with her eleven children to make a new life in Australia. She was one of many who were beaten by the hardships of life on the diggings. Fanny was sixteen when she died of consumption at Blacksmith’s Gully in 1856, and Elizabeth died six months later. Another daughter, Mary, had died in 1855.

78 Possible Spreads Using RWS

Lady Astral Tarot provides two outstanding videos in which she demonstrates how you can make your own Tarot Spreads by using individual cards from RWS and RWS Clones to help frame questions.

To test run this concept I pulled a card from the Tarot of Curious Creatures by Chris Anne. This six of swords is quite unique. By contrast the image in the RWS Six of Swords shows a woman and a child in a boat being rowed in the water to a land that is on the other side. We can gather from the images that the woman and the child are leaving something behind, as their backs are faced towards us. The woman’s head is covered with a cloak – perhaps she is fleeing something, and must go without others knowing her true identity.

Here the Hare sits on what appears to be luggage, waiting to leave. As she waits a tortoise approaches.

Using Anna’s approach I take the time to take in all the details in this image but my focus is on the approaching tortoise and the story of the Tortoise and the Hare comes to mind. The moral lesson of this story is that you can be more successful by doing things slowly and steadily than by acting quickly and carelessly.

Seeing the Tortoise approaching makes me wonder if the Hare has thrown in the towel too quickly. I also wonder about what assistance may come from an unexpected quarter and I frame a question around this.

From what unexpected quarter may I get support?

I shuffle and draw another card. It is the Four of Pentacles depicting a Pig protectively keeping her gold to herself. Initially it is not clear how this provides any support.

However, in a general context, the message from the Four of Pentacles Tarot card could help the Hare by demanding she consider if she is are holding too tightly on to people, possessions, situations or past issues.

The Four of Pentacles tarot card may also be an indication that there are deep seated issues affecting the Hare that she needs to process and let go of. Perhaps the Hare has only been valuing things for their material worth, is trying to hard to control her life or is holding back. It is possible that she has become too greedy and needs to be reminded that money works best when it can flow and exchange, not when it is being stashed away in her luggage.

Certainly, as the Hare sits on her luggage waiting to leave, she is given things to think about.

Saving Sorrento – Literature Study

Literary Studies is the study of written works of the imagination, of which poetry, drama and narrative fiction constitute today the most familiar types or genres. Most students and teachers of literature, however, see it as a more complex matter. It might be more accurate to describe it as a set of methods for examining the richness and diversity of experience through unusual uses of language, through a language that we recognize as different from everyday language and that thereby aspires to produce a reflection of and on the world not available to us otherwise. As such, literary works are also primary documents for investigating national histories, world events, the individual psyche, race, class, gender, science, economics, religion, the natural world, leisure and the other arts. Because literary studies engages with countless other disciplines, it is among the most interdisciplinary of any field of study.

Saving Sorrento by Monika Roleff is available at Amazon.

Back in the day, when I was teaching Year 12 Literature and English I applied some interesting techniques to draw out responses but I cannot deny that it never occurred to me to use Tarot or any other cards for that matter. Yet it was the Head of English at Monash University who gave a lecture about the Tarot and their relevance.

Whatever! Time has passed and it has become clear that exploring the insights cards have to offer can prove very illuminating.

When I drew a card to see what the White Numen Deck thought about the idea of working with Saving Sorrento by Monika Roleff (available at Amazon) out popped the Ace of Wands.

They say that a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. The Ace of Wands tarot card carries a similar message, representing a bold step toward a new beginning. The first card in the Suit of Wands, this Ace is full of energy, a creative kind, that breathes life into things that did not exist before.

According to Labyrinthos “Wands symbolize creativity, and the Ace of Wands is the boldest among the cards in the suit. It is not the kind of creativity that you learn from school or as a hobby. It is bravely finding your own voice, it creates a place where you can develop your own vision. In other words, it is associated with willpower, and creativity in the cosmic sense.

When you draw the Ace of Wands, it is an indicator that you should just go for it. Take the chance and pursue an idea that you have in mind. Take the first steps to start the creative project. The Ace of Wands calls out to you to follow your instincts. If you think that the project that you’ve been dreaming of is a good idea, and then just go ahead and do it.

Initial Character Study

One way to reflect upon characters is to do a spread like this. It enables us to put in an anchor and glean what forces are impacting on our primary protagonists. In this instance I used the Margarete Petersen Tarot.

The cards that appear for Isabella suggest that when she first meets the stranger on the beach she is threatened by his demeanor. On a conscious level she knows she needs to bring a halt to these unbecoming, fickle and shadowy thoughts. She has experienced fear before and understands she can leave such fears in the realm of the past. By contrast Alexander is unsettled by the appearance of this woman at his makeshift camp. He has good reason to be wary of seemingly attractive women. He is bereft and tries to hide it. However he has the gift of sensitivity and knows his feelings have been blurred by the events that bought him to this space. He senses that he will melt into what awaits him.

A Small Fool’s Guidance

Mouse symbolism is centered on the idea of having the ability to accomplish anything in life regardless of your size. It is a spirit present in many tales and myths and has various positive and negative meanings.

Wary of the Deviant Moon Fool, unsure about following such a renegade, I turned to the Northern Animal Tarot. I figured I might get the best guidance from an animal. I didn’t need to do a spread to decide whether to accept a date with this young fellow.

Mouse reminds me to go slow and to tend to the smaller details. Mouse spirit signifies a time when you need to take a closer look at your life and scrutinize the details that you may have missed. As a big picture person this advice seems very timely. I am guilty of overlooking detail.

I pull two more cards to guide me, to help me see what I may have overlooked as I embark on this project. I realize that the seed I have is going to need to be nurtured if it is to flourish and that while I have a rich bounty already there are many more cups to fill along the way.

But I am tired now. The negative noise that has permeated everything for the past two years feels overwhelming. It is ridiculous to imagine that anything really changes on the last day of a year, that everything will be transformed at the dawn of a New Year, but the prospect of more of this is relentless stress is daunting. Earth feels like a very crazy place to be at the moment and I wonder what is going on out there in the galaxy.

Mouse looks through his contacts in the deck and suggests that I really need to find the Knight of Swords.

When I come upon this fellow, striding forward, wielding his sword, his ferocious energy is daunting. I am just plain weary and my intellect feels blunted. I recall my High School Principal telling me that “worry is rust on the blade” and I am sure Marcus Aurelius would have some sage advice. Obviously I have always taken things way too seriously and this has blunted my sword.

I choose to simply watch as this energetic warrior struts his stuff, hoping for some of his enthusiasm to be infectious.

Dating the Deviant Moon Fool

The Deviant Moon Tarot has surreal, very unique, and sometimes disturbing moonlit artwork. It’s inspired by (and incorporates) images of cemeteries and mental asylums, and designed to illuminate deeper parts of the subconscious. The talented illustrator is also a tarot student, and the deck is the result of three years of artistic work.

Some find the Deviant Moon Fool menacing but as I watch him dancing I find myself recalling time spent in Venice, drawn to all the Venetian masks, mannequins and puppets.

In his richly illustrated book Patrick Valenza says that the Fool “begins his journey with a delirious dance. With maniacal laughter he heads out into the unknown still clothed in his sleepwear”.

There is certainly a dreamlike quality about this character and his bizarre appearance makes me hesitant to approach him.

However, I am mesmerized by his invitation to abandon all inhibitions, take the plunge and create my own unique path. Having said this, it feels like I have been taking leaps of faith ever since I walked away from my former life and reinvented myself in the town I moved to. It feels like I am getting a bit old to be letting go of more inhibitions.

Perhaps it is old age that makes me more cautious about the motives of this Fool.Rather than take the plunge on a whim, I pause to read what Valenza has to say about his Fool and decide to tackle a spread to help me determine how a date with this fellow might turn out.

The initial energy of the Seven of Swords confirms my suspicion that I may be taking an incredible risk to engage with this Fool, however briefly. The presence of swords pierced in the ground imply that this Harlequin performers act has not only, not been a raging success, but that the performer has risked life and limb in his endeavor to perform a unique act. Add the Death card and I cannot deny that I seriously question the advisability of hanging about for long.

The truth is I am not much of a risk taker. I have been known to crumple at almost any height and recall clinging like a leech to the wall of a lighthouse that my late husband insisted we climb. He never gave credence to my fear and thought it was something I should get over. However I let him climb the arduous steps at the Vatican and capture the view of Rome all by himself. While he was gone I sat in St Peter’s Square taking in the passing parade.

Applying Bibliomancy

Bibliomancy is one of many divination practices found around the world, and involves the use of books—typically sacred texts—as a method to foretell the future and find guidance. There are many different techniques of bibliomancy that can be used, and a practitioner’s own belief system often informs the way in which results are interpreted.

All the Tarot, Oracle and Lenormand readers I have come to know are constantly updating their knowledge. Inevitably, most folk who collect decks also collect reputable resources to further their knowledge. I know my shelves are literally full of resources about Tarot and the art of writing in particular.

In his book, A Healing Space, Matt Licata specifically says that his book is not one to be read from cover to cover in one sitting. He expresses the hope that a reader might take his book out into nature, sit on the earth and ask to be directed to a passage. What Licata is describing is the art of bibliomancy.

  • Bibliomancy is often used with sacred texts to divine the future, but can also be performed with fiction.
  • The tradition of bibliomancy is found in religious practices all over the world.
  • To practice bibliomancy, you can select any book that is important to you, and focus on finding an answer to your question.

Now this got me thinking! It is true! The Jury is back in! I am guilty, as charged, of being critical of myself for not reading all the pages of the countless books that I have gathered over my lifetime. But I am confident that I could establish a simple Bibliomancy practice using the Tarot books, and other resources that surround me.

To test drive the process I pulled Mindful Tarot by Lisa Frienkel Tishman. PhD off the shelf and called upon this book to show me something I needed to know about Tarot and my specific practice.

Remarkably the page that opened talked about the Hangman and how the earliest decks called this the Traitor, in reference to Judas! This may not be news to you, but it was news to me.

I sat quietly with the whole notion of the Judas archetype and the provocative argument presented by Jorges Luis Borges, that without Judas we would not have Christ saving us all.

I pulled out the Hangman from the Cosmic Tarot and drew in the image! I considered how once in awhile someone comes along who, by the way, is not thanked for turning everything upside down. I remembered a moment in time when I turned everything upside down.

Curious? Perhaps it is best that I keep that memory to myself for now.

Over to You

What reference beckons you? What do you learn? Will you try this again and again?