WRITTEN BY: LUCY VOSS/SCORPIO
A new instalment by Scorpio – a new adventure which both gives a beautiful insight to the traits and personalities of tarot cards but also this month touches on the concept of responsibility and ethics.
May wasn’t the ideal month for an event which took place partly out of doors as it could sometimes be very cold. Indeed, one year it had snowed, and everyone was miserable.
This year the weather was reasonably spring-like, so the dancing display could take place outside. The Queen of Wands had drilled a group of primary school children to dance round a maypole and make interesting patterns with their ribbons, and a group of teens (mostly girls, the boys had suddenly developed two left feet) to do something more ambitious with garlands which made it look spring-related.
Various Pentacles were in charge of the catering in the school building, and everyone in the village had been dragooned into contributing something – “Home-made if you can manage it,” the Queen of Pentacles had said, “or you do the basic and we’ll trim it up a bit.” This had been a mistake as the caterers had received a lot of “basic” and the Pentacles had been busy icing, decorating and whipping cream for two solid days.
The Kings of Cups and Pentacles had organised the sound system and some unobtrusive musical background, while the Kings of Swords and Wands had assembled the trestle tables and anything else that needed assembling, though there had been times when a Pentacle had had to be summoned when something did not stand up as it should.
The Queen of Swords and Two Swords had knitted a variety of garments for babies and children from six months to five years of age, plus shawls and wraps for the grown-ups, and these were now on the handicraft stall together with embroidered items done by some of the students at Pentacle Manor, and jewellery made of tiny pebbles or shells found on the beach by the Queen and the Page of Cups. Eight Pentacles had hammered out some necklaces and bracelets in bone, wood or leather.
The Empress and students at Pentacle Manor, together with Seven Pentacles, had contributed potted plants they had grown from seed or from cuttings, and the Queen of Pentacles had provided a selection of herbs for culinary or healing purposes which she had grown in her garden.
The Wheel of Fortune had charge of the Tombola, and the Magician had organised a Treasure Hunt with intriguing clues, one or two with a catch in them, that could keep children and adults occupied for quite some time.
In one corner of the playground was a small booth with a tarot reader. “I contacted several readers,” said the Queen of Cups, “but I was unable to get anyone I know. She says she has been a member of the Tarot Association, and they don’t accept just anyone, so I’m sure it will be all right.”
There was queue for the tarot reader. Some were going just for a giggle, some because they really wanted to know if their previous relationship would come back to life, some because they didn’t “believe” in tarot and wanted the opportunity to say so, others because they thought it would be rather nice to have a reading, even though they read for themselves.
Proud parents and family members watched the children dance round the maypole. The Sword children got all the moves right, as did the Pentacle children, but the Wand children were a little exuberant and the Cups children forgot some of the moves, which led to some pushing and shoving from the Swords, and to a lesser extent, the Pentacles. The Queen of Wands sighed. They had been perfectly all right in rehearsals. The older girls with their garlands showed off dreadfully, but otherwise remembered their moves.
Mrs Five Pentacles came out of the tarot tent looking rather flushed. She was walking with her head down when she collided with the Queen of Swords and her Aunt Justitia. “Sorry,” she said, “I wasn’t looking.” “Are you all right?” asked Justitia. “I suppose I am really, it’s just that tarot reader was so rude. She said I had men visiting while my husband is away.” “And do you?” asked Justitia. “No, the only man calling round is Seven Swords collecting his son after school – I give the child supper now his mother’s not around.” (author note: if you missed it, catch up on the story here)
A few minutes later the Page of Cups came rushing over. “Where’s Baby?” she asked. “Who has taken Baby? She’s not in her buggy.” “You do fuss,” said the Queen of Swords, “look over there.” She pointed to where Baby’s father, the Page of Pentacles, was handing Baby round to all the uncles and aunts, Baby currently being held awkwardly by the Emperor. “Oooof, thank goodness,” said the Page of Cups, “the Tarot Reader said Baby would be taken.” “Well she has been in a manner of speaking,” said Justitia, “but not in a harmful way.”
The Magician came steaming over. “Have you seen anyone messing around with the clues to the Treasure Hunt?” he asked. “No,” said everyone. “Well, young Ten Pentacles and his father have already claimed the treasure. Apparently the Tarot Reader told them where to look for clues.”
Aunt HP, Justitia and the Queen of Cups looked at each other. “Oh dear,” said the Queen of Cups, “this doesn’t sound right.” “Let’s see what’s going on,” said Justitia. The three women excused themselves to the people in the queue and walked into the booth. The Tarot Reader folder her arms across her chest and lifted her chin. The three women looked back. After a short silence Aunt HP said, “You.” And after a further pause she said, “I did wonder.” Justitia added, “You’ve done this before haven’t you? There was an event a few years ago where you read and something like this happened then. You’ve been round checking up on people here to see what you can find out.” “Malice,” said Aunt HP.
“May I see?” asked Justitia leaning over and picking up the certificate from The Tarot Association. “This is out of date. You aren’t a member, are you?” “They had to withdraw your approval, didn’t they?” said Aunt HP. “You were once a very good reader, and then you ‘went bad’ after you fell in with that unethical offshoot of the Association. It’s a great pity.”
“You should leave now,” said the Queen of Cups, “before you spoil the day for any more people.” “No,” said Justitia, putting out her hand as the Reader began to gather her belongings, “fair is fair, we will keep your money.” “Fair?” spat the Reader, “I’ve had to sit here all afternoon listening to silly people wanting to know if he’s coming back to them and you think I should let you have my earnings?” “You were unkind to those people,” said Aunt HP. “You want to be a Reader now because you think it will give you power over others. It doesn’t. That’s why the Tarot Association sacked you. Now please leave.” “Or?” said the Reader. “Leave,” said the three women.
The Magician, with some thoughts from Justitia, wrought some magic with the Treasure Hunt so everyone felt the result was fair. And the Reader? Well, Five Swords, for it was she, was never seen or heard of again.