Welcome to Alison’s Alembic! You may have arrived here as a stop on the Tarot Blog Hop from either Ania M's Meniscus Tarot or Joy Vernon's blog. Or you may have found this through TABI’s Facebook page, or though one of the many wonderful tarot bloggers in the ether... It doesn’t matter – what does matter is that you’re here!
In the northern hemisphere, we're approaching the Autumn Equinox, also known as Alban Elfed, as well as the time for paying tribute to Mabon. It's the culmination of the harvest that was begun at Lughnasadh. At this time we celebrate the beginning of harvesting grapes, making wine, bringing in the sheaves for the canning, preserving, and other ways of gathering the fruits of months, sometimes years, of effort and care. Keeping that theme of celebrating our creativity in mind, our wrangler Aisling has asked us to also celebrate our devotion to Tarot – by deciding which Tarot card corresponds most to either our own interpretation of this harvest, or the energies and focus of the Celtic deity Mabon, whose festival is celebrated at this time, and then creating a card that expresses that interpretation!
I could think of a few cards that might fit the bill, but it wasn’t until I started reading more about this time of balance and harvest that I was able to choose. So much of the myth and lore (of the British Isles and Ireland) about this equinox focuses on the cutting of the last sheaf of corn – the corn spirit having taken refuge in the last standing grain in a field that had been harvested. To cut the last sheaf meant that the spirit of the harvest was cut, slain, killed. Sometimes a specific person was elected to make the cut, with varying results depending on whether the harvest was a good or bad one!
So with all this in mind, I decided to create my own version of the Queen of Pentacles. She’s said to be ‘at one with the spirit of the land, and ... fully embodied in the world’ (Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm, The Druidcraft Tarot, 2004). She also represents the results of hard work, knowing what to do with what she’s harvested, and enjoying what she’s created. This second harvest, the culmination of what was begun at Lughnasadh, is preparing for a new cycle – the Queen too, the penultimate card in the Pentacles, can be seen as the fulfilment of one cycle in readiness for a new one.
The card is a collage of a number of photographs, as well as ink and watercolour work. The central one is a photograph of a papier-mâche figure covered with painted tissue paper and coloured with pencil crayon; I made this a number of years ago – she’s the ‘Autumn’ figure in a ‘Four Seasons’ series. The card isn't quite finished, though - I still need to add a pentacle to it!
Thank you for stopping off here on your journey through this Mabon Tarot Blog Hop! Please do come back and read some of my other posts – and if you’re a Facebook user, you can find me at Alison’s Alembic.
The next stops on the Tarot Blog Hop are - depending on whether you’re moving backwards or forwards through the list – Ania M’s Meniscus Tarot or Joy Vernon's blog . The Master List can be found here.