Marking Sahmain – Southern Hemisphere

“In ancient times, Winter Solstice festivals were the last celebrations held before the deep, hard winter began. There was plenty of food and wine, for now, – and hopes that all would survive the coming famine months until spring arrived again.”

On May 1 it is Sahmain in the Southern Hemisphere. It is not Winter Solstice but ‘Winter is Coming’.  As the days shorten our thoughts turn to life and death, to the past and the future, to what we’ve lost, what we’ve gained and what we are yet to do with our one wild and beautiful life. It felt like the right time to spend a few moments in quiet reflection in a cemetery.

Take the time to pick up the energy of the Cemetery you choose to visit. Find the grave that calls to you. Shuffle and lay out some cards and then spend quiet reflective time journaling.

Voices May Be Heart At Pennyweight

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.

This remarkable 320 page book & 78 full-color tarot card set is a perfect gift item for someone you love, including yourself! The book . . is a small masterpiece in itself.” “The art on these cards places this deck in a class by itself compared to other decks. The scenes are simple yet highly evocative and magical.

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.

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.

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.

Tiny Tea with The Fool

What about addressing the difficult topic over tea and biscuits? If tea’s not your drink, do a little online search for alternatives. Lots of cultures have versions of hot beverages to try. Try them! Go on a tea/coffee break adventure and create space for sharing.

I invited the very youthful Anna K Fool to take a moment, before leaping off that cliff face, to have a cup of my tiny tea. Despite being in a hurry to go wherever she was going she agreed to take a few moments to talk to me.

As we sipped tea, and ate some of the Christmas shortbread, I remarked that my daily life has come to feel like a rubber band, that despite wanting to start afresh, I slip back into old ways of doing and being.

“This is not how it has to be! Your spirit is every bit as young as mine” proffered the Fool.

I all but choked on my tea and spluttered as I considered this. The saying that we are only as young as we feel went through the replay screen in my brain and I conceded that she might just be a very old soul in a young body.

“What about I lay down a couple of cards” suggested the Fool. “I am sure there will be a message for you”.

We contemplated the cards together. I suggested that I might position myself at the top of the wheel and dance joyfully like the figure shown there.

“Rather than hanging on to an established pattern of thinking about the ending before you begin” said the Fool “what about you focus on climbing up from the hub? The project you have so publicly been talking about will not materialize overnight. It will quite literally take a significant amount of time to wrangle. It will be awhile before you can really celebrate.”

With that the Fool drained her cup, put her swag back over her shoulder and leapt into some new world leaving me to ponder whether, at my age, after having responded so often to the call, if I have the energy to do it again.

Consider what might happen if you:

For more than 25 years Noriko Morishita studied and practised the intricate ceremonies of the famous Way of Tea, attempting to learn its complexities and achieve a perfection of movement and mood that few can master. In The Wisdom of Tea Noriko describes her gradual discovery of freedom and insight within the very rules that once seemed so constricting. Looking back across her life, Noriko illuminates the real teachings of the Way of Tea: to live absolutely in the moment, to notice and delight in the smallest of details, to embrace the vital skills of patience and perseverance, and to allow yourself to be.

  • made tea and sat chatting with one of the Major Arcana
  • added tea to a meeting with a client,
  • poured a cup of tea and brought it to a disheartened friend,
  • set up a tea service for an imaginary friend on your back deck.
  • bought yourself a child’s tea service and made tea for the nature spirits in your garden
  • called in and had tea with an isolated elderly or disabled person and encouraged them to share stories about their life.

Road to 2022 Paved With Good Intentions

“Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my  brother’s shoulder, and said, ‘Bird by bird, buddy.  Just take it bird by bird.’” Bird by Bird Anne Lamont

Do you feel that your road has been paved with good intentions? Have you set resolutions only to have them disappear like mirages in the desert. Writers have documented many good reasons why these resolutions fail.

Before doing anything consider doing a simple SWOT spread as a personal reality check.

Some Intention Setting Options to Explore

Keeping in mind the advice dispensed by Lamont’s father, this motivation spread might help kick start the setting of some intentions – but I suggest replacing the heavily loaded word SHOULD with COULD

Of course you might choose to keep it simple, remove pressure and just let things manifest themselves.

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?

Close Encounters of the Best Kind

Close Encounters of the Third Kind is a 1977 American science fiction film written and directed by Steven Spielberg that captured the imagination of the world at the time of its showing. It tells the story of Roy Neary, an everyday blue-collar worker in Indiana, whose life changes after an encounter with an unidentified flying object (UFO). Richard Dreyfuss stars as cable worker Roy Neary, who along with several other stunned bystanders experience a close encounter of the first kind – witnessing UFOs soaring across the sky.

During this holiday period it is as good a time as any to watch an old favourite movie or to have a close encounter with someone less like an alien – a Tarot Archetype.

When I take the time to study the Fool I invariably think in terms of the Pied Piper who is constantly enticing me to throw it all in and follow him.

Indeed, many of my personal drawings and courses that I have run have been influenced by this character. As an artistic midwife I have had many encounters with him. It is the Piper who encourages me to lace up my Cyber Boots and head out on yet another creative journey of imagination. It is the Piper who lures me away from conventional thinking and encourages me to inhabit a world of childhood imagination.

In her book ‘Jung and Tarot’ An Archetypal Journey Sally Nicholls makes the point that studying specific cards help unlock hidden stores of creative imagination enabling sudden insights and ideas burst forth into the consciousness, seemingly from nowhere. I am determined to have some close encounters with prominent Tarot characters.

Given that these wispy characters can be as illusive as butterflies, who flit away without warning, I plan to step into their world and interview them. I am anticipating that this will take most of 2022 to complete but I am in no hurry as I really want to really get to know some of these characters.

I plan to adapt some of these spreads as I begin to communicate with each character. I will lay the card down and either draw more cards or see what spontaneously emerges using a stream of consciousness approach.

Some More Questions to Pose

One of the things I do love about the Show Me Cards is that I can use them to ask questions but here are some more that might be useful.

  • Tell me about yourself!
  • How are you helping me?
  • What should I know about any message that you bring?
  • Is there anything I should be aware of?
  • What else do I need to know?

Tarot Memoirs

Writing an autobiography enables the author to claim their rightful place in history. Moreover, the author can tell their story in their voice. As a result, autobiographers plant flags that no one can remove. Future generations can then take these flags as the roadmap to a brighter tomorrow.

Writing an autobiography is a process that requires the author to explore their emotions at various junctions of their life. However, the autobiographical process reviews the author’s life with the benefit of hindsight. Hence, the healing process can consequently emerge.

As a renowned writer and journalist Graham Greene put it, “Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose, or paint can manage to escape the madness, melancholia, the panic, and fear which is inherent in a human situation.”


The Tarot cards Old Memories promotes itself as the way to open a secret meaning encrypted in your thoughts, and suggests that this deck of cards is will help to open memories. Lisa Papez has a whole series of Tarot Memoirs on her YouTube Channel which will help inspire you.

Lay out some cards that speak to you, check out this post about Autobiography as a Tarot Practice and spend some time drawing upon the well of remembrance.

Alternatively, grab your favourite deck and systematically go through the cards, drawing on the memories the cards invoke.