WRITTEN BY: LUCY VOSS/SCORPIO
Enjoy the more creative aspect of tarot by delving into Courts and Others. A beautiful form of tarot storytelling, weaved by Lucy Voss, and a great way to understand courts and suits of tarot.
“I’ve finished the hard landscaping,” said the Emperor, opening the door onto the newly laid out garden. “Ohhhh,” said the Empress when she saw it. “It’s very regular, and square, and that granite looks hard.” “Well, granite is hard,” said the Emperor, “it’s in the nature of granite to be hard.” “But it looks regimented,” said the Empress, looking sadly at the four squared-off beds surrounded by the granite. “It also looks unyielding and unfriendly.” “Unfriendly?” repeated the Emperor? “It looks tidy. That’s what we want, order, and plants going where we decide. None of those floppy things with a mind of their own hanging over the edges of the granite edging.”
“Now here,” said the Emperor, taking the Empress by the arm and drawing her nearer to the beds, “you’ll see I’ve put pegs in with lines of string so the rows of plants are not crooked. I’ve arranged for young Pentacle to come and start planting so you don’t have to get your hands dirty. We’ll have a line of hyacinths at the front, then a line of daffodils behind, and alliums behind that and lupins at the back so each row is in flower in order of height and season. These’ll be interspersed with standard roses as they stay upright.” “And have no scent and look like Guardsmen,” thought the Empress sadly. “What were you thinking of growing over the granite walls?” asked the Empress. “Nothing, just leave them. That granite was expensive, I’m not having unrestrained growth all over it. It’s a feature of the garden.”
The Emperor was standing by the french windows looking at the rain lashing down. “What’s all that mess?” he asked his spouse. “Leaves,” said the Empress. “But we don’t have any trees in our garden,” continued the Emperor, “what are leaves doing in my garden?” The Empress paused to select some embroidery thread. “There are trees with leaves that fall off in autumn in the adjoining properties, and some in the fields at the bottom of the garden,” she said. “The wind blows them around.” “Well someone’ll have to get out and sweep them up,” said the Emperor. “You, perhaps, when it stops raining.” “You always say it’s your garden, dear, perhaps you could try sweeping them up yourself? And then put them in the green bin….. that way everything will be under control,” she added slyly.
“Who put this here?” asked the Emperor eyeing a round tub on the terrace to the side of the french windows. “I did,” replied the Empress. “Why?” came the reply. “Then we can see some plants when we look out. It’s always dreary at this time of year and too cold to go out. Look, you can see some small shoots coming up, we’ll have snowdrops soon, and maybe some early-flowering mini daffodils later.” “Hmph, I suppose you couldn’t have got a square tub, could you, or an oblong planter thing?” The Empress smiled to herself. After a pause, the Emperor asked, “What do you mean “early-flowering”? I thought daffodils all flowered at the same time, in March.” “Oh, some flower later and some flower earlier, it depends on the variety.” “Variety?” asked the Emperor puzzled. “You mean they aren’t all the same, that daffodils are different from each other? They don’t all flower at the same time?” “Yes,” replied the Empress. “It’s a thing of nature, you know, plants have varieties.” “Does that mean they might not all look the same?” The Emperor was thunderstruck. The Empress nodded her head several times.
The early part of the year was chilly and in March there were persistent north winds which brought bright dry weather but little warmth. The Emperor walked up and down the garden inspecting the four flower beds. Some bulbs were beginning to appear but some of those in the first row were not appearing at all and there were gaps in the even spacing he had laid out for the Pentacles when they came to do the planting. “Squirrels,” said the Empress, “or mice, or they just didn’t take. Some plants don’t.” “But I planted them,” said the Emperor. “Well the Pentacles did,” corrected his spouse, “but you can’t make plants grow if they don’t want to.” “And look,” he added, “some of these bulbs are taller than others and look as if they might flower before some of the others.” “Yes, they will,” came the reply, “I don’t know if you realise but you ordered large variety bags of daffodil bulbs, so you have a collection of different types
of the same sort of flower but they won’t all flower at the same time or be the same colour or the same style. I mentioned this before.”
The Emperor stomped up and down the garden (his garden). The Pentacles had tidied away the detritus of the spring bulbs but the alliums were now past their best and some were falling over as they died. “I wish I’d known having a garden led to so much untidiness,” said the Emperor. “And look at the lupin leaves – something’s been eating them.” “I’m afraid that happens,” replied his spouse. “You can’t stop nature, you just have to enjoy it.” “Well I can’t enjoy it,” snapped the Emperor, “it is all so disorganised……. and what is this frondy stuff here? I didn’t plant that.” “Neither did the Pentacles,” replied the Empress. “The frondy stuff as you call it is love-in-a-mist and it has probably come from another garden with the wind, or on an animal’s fur. It is really pretty, when it’s out……… and it softens the squareness.” “Why do you dislike squares so much?” “Because I do,” came the reply. “You like squares and tidiness, I like irregular shapes and ground cover and droopy plants and a garden that restores the spirits. I may not be much of a practical gardener myself, I have to get the Pentacles to do the heavy work, but I do like to feel that I have helped create something. Something that my friends and I can enjoy.”
Two sets of Pentacles were working in the Imperial Garden. The two beds on the left side were being organised into tidy rows of bulbs and other plants, this time of all the same species and variety so they wouldn’t all flower at different times, all known to grow to the same height and all exactly six inches apart. The two beds on the right side were being planted randomly with small clumps of bulbs and other things. Corners within the granite borders were being converted into curves with discreet little trellises for low-growing climbers and the spaces within filled with assorted traily plants. From both gardens the standard roses were being removed as they had succumbed to mould, black spot and greenfly. “How dared they?” the Emperor had said. “I hope you’re not going to do anything to the granite framework,” said the Emperor. “Of course not,” replied the Empress, with an under and up look through her eyelashes at her spouse, quietly thinking of a few seeds she had allowed to fall accidentally into tiny crevices that were appearing between the slabs of her husband’s beloved granite.
(c) Lucy Voss