The Six of Cups - or Chalices, as I prefer to call them (Chalices, after all, come in sacred gold or silver, vessels of vision, soaked in legend and exoticism - Grail and Parzifal. Cups, on the other hand, are what you use for hot chocolate before going to bed). The Six of Chalices should be such a lovely card. Six, the number of harmony, the different elements mingling in perfect concord. And the Chalice is associated with the Water Element: flow, feeling, emotion, a certain kind of intuition, a worthy receptacle for the feminine aspect to existence. What felicity!
In the Thoth Tarot, the Six of Cups is simply called 'Pleasure'. In the Waite-Smith, two young children are depicted in a spacious garden. The larger child is handing a cup filled with flowers to the smaller. Around them are five more flower-laden cups. The card is often read as being related to nostalgia, pleasant memories of the past, a fond looking back on things that have vanished. We have to go to some of the dark Tarot decks to shake us out of this illusion of a flowery Garden of Eden, a horticultural Paradise on Earth,
A deeper consideration will reveal that the Six of Cups is inviting us to look closely at the whole matter of how we relate to the past; to our past. There is indeed in this card nostalgia. Nostalgia.
There are those who will claim that a positive nostalgia does not exist. Severing all attachment to, and identity with, our 'personal past' is a necessary prerequisite for spiritual freedom. In Castaneda, the notion takes the form of 'erasing personal history'. Even granted the possibility of a positive nostalgia, still dwelling overmuch on the past brings its perils. Yearning, hopeless longing, the inability to let go of what what has been and is no more; the refusal to release, to merge with the one and only reality, that of the present moment. Repeating the past over and over again, without regard for the current situation. Finally getting caught in a nightmare version of Nietsche's eternal recurrence.
In the aftermath of the Brexit referendum, the darker waters of the Six of Chalices unexpectedly began to flow, and with some force. I have found it difficult to comprehend what I have seen with my own two eyes during my brief forays into the twisted world of 'mainstream media'. It is indeed eternal recurrence gone horribly wrong. Like a bad smell from a too-long stagnant sewer. Or like slimy maggots crawling out of the furniture in that room in the East Wing that nobody visits these days. Like ghosts, nay ghouls of the worst kind; or, more accurately, vampires, irresistibly drawn out by a stench that they recognise only too well.
What are the phantoms that I witnessed, almost incredulously, in this spectral resurrection? There was Blair. There was Major. Miliband. Clegg. Out of the dark, dank, vapid air of the past did they make their unwelcome reappearance. Nobody prayed for their presence, or even invited them to raise their fatigued heads, but there they were, unmistakeable. It was as if an alarm bell had been rung, warning of the end of the world as we know it, and indeed how it should be, and they were powerless to resist. They responded, just as skeletal automatons would be expected to respond.
Why the opinions of the Blair should be given any more credence nowadays than those of Kirsty on the Tesco check-out in Paisley I have no idea. It seems that we are witness to the emergence out of their burrows of a tiny group of beings who are not able to live with the possibility that it's time to go join their local pub tiddleywinks team (not dominoes, since it reminds them of what they dreamed of seeing in the Middle East, and they start cheating); or do 'Strictly Come Dancing' or the jungle programme.
While Miliband at least had the decency to stop short of calling for another referendum, because the first one provided the wrong result, Blair and Major have been open and cavalier in their snubbing of the democracy that we are supposed to inhabit and adhere to. What did Major talk about? The tyranny of the majority? Am I hearing right?Dodgy stuff. While readers of Pale Green Vortex will be aware that we take western democracy with a pinch of salt, regarding it largely as a charade, another kind of opium for the masses, a veil over the deeper, not very democratic at all, realities of parapolitics etc, still..... You don't sign up for a democracy with your own sub-clause '.... when it suits me'.
In this parade of dishonour, I have to single out Blair as prime Lord of Darkness. Many years ago, I was well and truly had by Blair myself. I was among the multitude who shed a tear, quite literally, when he first came to power, and was on television walking around smiling, shaking the hands of well-wishers. Hope had arrived in the form of the Blair. The wicked witch was gone, her second-rate successors dead and buried as well. Bring in a new era.
Six years later, I was sitting in a restaurant in Notting Hill Gate, London, eating pizza with a friend (come on out, you know who you are....!). Halfway through the meal, my friend leaned over his Quattro Formaggi, looked me straight in the eye, and in a conspiratorial tone of voice asked me the question:"Are you against the invasion of Iraq?" I looked around nervously, checked that nobody was within earshot, before quietly intoning my reply:"Not as much as some people." We polished off our pizza quickly, wiped the cheese off our false moustaches, then shuffled uneasily out into the night.
Those were the days when I still believed what the mainstream television and newspapers had to say; I had no reason to do otherwise. I worked on the same basis as most people: the mainstream media report the truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth, and leave the individual to form their own opinion. Rather than the process that I now see only too often: the mainstream media present certain events, facts, quasi-facts, fabrications and selected information, all of which serve to form your opinion for you.
So I was well and truly had by Blair (B-liar) and his not-so merry band of men from the shadows: Mandelson, Campbell et al. It's part of life's learning curve, should one wish to take up the challenge. Most hilarious of all today, is how this theme has started to go around: how we are living in a new world, where truth is no longer the yardstick. Surely this is another tactic of mind-subversion by the evermore desperate cool, trendy, liberal, all-embracing people (who are actually very nasty and intolerant of others when crunch comes to crunch), whose ascendence has been threatened by Brexit and the Trump. When was this Golden Era, when Truth was so valued above all else. Was it the time of the Blairs, Milibands, Cleggs, Majors???? Give us a break. The credibility-ometer has just exploded.
Images: Six of Chalices:
Royo Dark Tarot (centre)
Dark Fairytale Tarot (below)