“I willingly walk the path of the Fool, in search of my grail. It is my wish to dig deep, blow the dust from the archives and breathe life into the women upon whose shoulders we Australians might stand upon”. Georgina McClure
New beginnings, innocence, naiveté, childlike trust, carefree enthusiasm, longing to find one’s heart desire, spontaneity, endless potential, inexperience, excitement, leap of faith, risk, reckless, the unknown
This is just the beginning! The Fool is Card Zero of the Major Arcana, representing the point where everything begins and ends and begins again. The Fool tarot card is a sign of unlimited and endless potential. It’s a cosmic invitation from the universe to start your next adventure. The world is your oyster, babe! Release your expectations or any preconceived notions because anything can happen right now, you just need to take a leap of faith and dive into the unknown.
Germaine Greer, (born January 29, 1939, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), Australian-born English writer and feminist who championed the sexual freedom of women. Freed from the usual societal constraints she is, quite possibly, the most important radical and controversial woman of the 20th and 21st-century feminists.
Greer’s book, the Female Eunuch, regarded as a feminist masterpiece, led many women to take the ‘Fools Leap’ and quite literally changed the lives of a generation of women.
Greer urged women to think beyond the stereotype patriarchal society had created for them, likening the situation of the 1970s woman to that of a bird “made for captivity”. She was the wise fool who embarked on a quest without thought for the consequences. Her wisdom is to follow the path to her Grail.
Some 200 children were buried at Pennyweight Flat Children’s Cemetery between 1852 and 1857, during the height of the Australian gold rush, and not much has happened here since. There have been no more burials. There’s no garden to tend to. No fresh flowers. But you will find small offerings from children who leave toys on the graves.
In a post Tania Braukamper notes that “Aside from those few with markings, the babies and children buried here are voiceless, nameless; nothing but soft bones and dust crushed beneath anonymity and piles of arid earth. The tiny mounds are even sadder because they are mute: the dead are always silent, but the unmarked dead are the quietest of all.”
Skeleton Stan and I doubted that these children remain voiceless, agreeing that it is just a matter of listening.
Stan, being a dead dude, is the perfect conduit to communicate with the tiny residents of this place so he and I agreed to go and try listening.
We took some Inner Child Cards out with us and visited an unmarked grave. We waited quietly to see if the resident had any message for us.
It was very moving when the card that emerged told the story of Peter Pan.
The story of Peter Pan begins in the nursery of the Darling household in London, where Wendy, John, and Michael are going to bed when they are surprised by the arrival of Peter Pan and the fairy Tinker Bell. Peter is a little boy who lives in the faraway world of Never Never Land who has come to retrieve his shadow, which he had previously lost there. Peter reveals that he lives in the Never Land as captain of the Lost Boys, children who fell out of their baby carriages when their nurses were looking the other way.
As a young mischievous boy with the power to fly, Peter Pan sweeps Wendy into his world and takes her to the promised Never Land. It is there that the pair encounters friends and foes alike, ranging from the loyal Tinker Bell to the antagonistic Captain Hook.
Neither Stan or I felt a shadow emerge from the grave but we both heard voices calling us to come again but we agreed that if these children are residing in a place like Never Never Land, telling stories, having adventures and living in a big hollow tree, this is a comforting thought.
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.
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:
John Stuart Hepburn, Eliza Hepburn, Thomas Hepburn, Alice May Butterworth.
Alice Hepburn Murray, her husband Charles J.B. Murray and daughter Eliza Marion Murton.
Harriet Frances Hepburn, Alice Ella Purey-Cust, George Stuart Hepburn, John Stuart Hepburn, George Stanley Hepburn, Elaine May Hepburn, May Ina Hepburn MacGeorge.
Henry Hepburn 1842 – 1874 (died at sea).
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)
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.
Wondering what Tarot Tombstone Tourism is all about? Quite simply it is visiting a cemetery with a Tarot Deck and gleaning messages from those who lie there.
The Battle of Lone Pine was one of a series of actions fought by the Australian and New Zealand forces during the Gallipoli campaign. The fighting there lasted four days and resulted in over 2,000 Australian casualties, and an estimated 7,000 Turkish casualties. Of the nine Victoria Crosses awarded to Australian troops during the Gallipoli campaign, seven were for actions during the August Offensive, which included the Battle of Lone Pine.
It is called the Battle of Lone Pine because the ridges, once covered with the Aleppo pine, had been cleared by Turkish troops and placed over the top of their trenches to provide cover, leaving just one, solitary pine standing. The area became known as Lone Pine ridge.
The meaning of the Six of Swords is that you are experiencing a transition of some kind, but one that is not happy and filled with regret. This transition will most likely be the result of decisions you made in the past, and now they are forcing you to leave something behind in order to move forward. Despite your sadness, you need to remember that moving on is the ideal option for your future.
When the Six of Swords appeared from the Macabre Tarot in this setting I couldn’t help thinking how appropriate the message was. Quick to volunteer, believing that they would have the opportunity to “see the world”, thousands of young men boarded the ships that took them overseas, leaving everything that was familiar behind. They were heading into the unknown and unbeknown to them, their fate was sealed.
I found myself meditating on the futility of war. Australian towns lost so many young men in this senseless, ill conceived battle. Visit rural towns today and you will find monuments with lists of the fallen. The numbers are staggering! The heart was ripped away from so many places.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In medieval Europe, a Page was a youth of noble birth who left his home at an early age to serve an apprenticeship in the duties of chivalry in the family of some prince or man of rank. While Pages were young male attendants or servants, they would also have been shield carriers, doing simple but important tasks such as saddling a horse or caring for the knight’s weapons and armor. They would also have been used as a messengers at the service of a nobleman.
In the hierarchy of the Tarot Court Cards, the Pages are the youngest in line. In many Tarot card decks, the Pages are also called Princesses. Pages often represent the very beginning of the development of the personality, and have a child-like quality about them. The energy of the Pages is often very child-like, young / immature, and feminine.
Pages are almost always the messengers of our decks. They encourage us to go for it and give us the green light for a new project or initiative. Pages often appear when you are on the cusp of a new idea, a new feeling , a new way of thinking or a new job or career pursuit. They generally symbolise a new stage in life and can be wonderful to work with if doing inner child work.
On the bright side they represent youth, potential, growth and excitement about the future. However they can also speak of uncertainty and inexperience.
The Page of Cups as a Messenger
In our Topsy Turvy, strangely constructed world, we tend not to see the youth as mentors. Rather, they are perceived to be the ones who are apprenticed to some older and wiser mentor. Yet as a teacher with over thirty years of experience I have found this to be fallacious. I have learned an enormous amount from the young because I have been prepared to listen.
“The Page of Pentacles, like the Pages of all four Tarot suits, brings a welcome message of new beginnings, inspiration and the initial stages of a creative project or venture. Since Pentacles rule the material realm and correspond to the element of earth, this Page symbolizes a burgeoning awareness of the value of money, wealth, possessions, career, and physical health, and how to manifest more of these material blessings. You welcome new opportunities to your material life – a new job, a new business, or a financial windfall – and wish to discover how to turn your dreams into reality.
When the Page of Pentacles appears in a Tarot reading, you are tapping into your ability to manifest a personal goal or dream and may be in the midst of a new project such as a hobby, business venture, or the start of a new educational experience. You are excited about the possibilities and potential of what you put your mind to, knowing you can create whatever you want with focused intention and action”. Biddy Tarot
Working with the Inner Child
At the time of writing this it is summer in Australia. According to the Nyoongar Seasons, Birakis the Season of the Young. This is a time when there are many fledglings venturing out of nests, though some are still staying close to their parents such as magpies and parrots. Reptiles will also be shedding their old skin for a new one. It is dry and hot! It is burning time!
It seemed perfect therefore to be engaging in a month long challenge to work with the inner child. It seems like it is her season to flourish, to gain the recognition she deserves.
As I began to work I decided that I could value add to this challenge by doing some extra activities. Finding the A Spread for Your Inner Child was like finding a nugget of gold. It fits with my project to examine each card in the deck and to see what memories they invoke.
Barbara Moore explains that “the page cards are perfect cards to work with when it comes to inner child work.” She says that “some of us have happy and joyful inner children, some do not. They can be wounded, angry, hurt, neglected, alone, or feel unloved. Inner child energy is very powerful and can be responsible for bad habits and self- destructive patterns of behavior”
Moore suggests that we “take some time to think about which part of our inner child we wish to work with and then select one of the Pages to represent that part of the inner child.
Then you take the page card and place it in the center of the spread as illustrated here. Once your page is in place, shuffle your deck. Draw four more cards, placing them in the order illustrated here.
4 Page 2
In Robert Place’s Alchemical Tarot it is the Lady of Coins who is the equivalent of the Page. I have been participating in a challenge working with the Inner child using the Medicine Woman Tarot by Carol Bridges and this Lady emerged as the first Page to work with. I placed the Lady of Coins in the centre and then used the Medicine Woman Deck.
Card One: This card represents the environment in which your inner child grew up. This is an important card, as it is not emotionally invested in your personal memories. It simply lets you know what energy surrounded you at the time your page archetype was developing.
Card Two: This card represents what was missing while your page was growing. More to the point, it reveals what your inner child feels it missed out on. This card reveals wounds or issues that may still need some healing work.
Card Three: This card represents what kind of environment your inner child craves. Note that this may not always be constructive energy, so please don’t be dismayed if a not-so-friendly card shows up in this position.
In many ways, this card can shed light on self-destructive behaviors or inner triggers. If it is a positive and constructive card, that is fabulous. Above all, know that there is no wrong or right card in this position
Card Four: This card represents how best to harness your inner child energy moving forward. This card also gives you hints and clues for empowering your inner child if it feels shy or timid as well as how you might cool it off if it is somewhat reactive.