24 June: St Jo(a)n’s Day, when the rising summer sun can be seen moving on the horizon once again, after three days of stillness. The solstice was the turning point, but this is when the movement can be felt. The days are starting to grow shorter.
It’s still high summer, though, and after several stiflingly hot days the breeze this afternoon enticed me out into the hills. I packed my ogham oracle deck in my rucksack, and pulled three cards while sitting on a mossy boulder high above the town.
Waxing moon: koad – grove
This card has a beautiful layered meaning which feels especially significant for me right now. The grove can symbolise a sanctuary, a safe or sacred place. As a combination of all the trees in the ogham, it represents integration or wisdom: different elements combining to create a harmonious whole. And in this sense, it can also symbolise fulfilment. All of these are on my mind right now.
Ten days ago I had a powerful, beautiful reading (more on that later): it spoke of the need to delve deep, to bring old wounds into the light to heal, to integrate all the old forgotten parts of myself which still pull on my senses. This is painful, difficult work, but transformative and healing. It requires a safe space, both within me and in my home environment. So I am writing from my newly-claimed attic study – still a little rough and ready, but everything I need for now.
The sanctuary I am seeking, finding, and creating in my life right now will be my focus for the waxing moon.
Full moon: phagos – beech
A card of learning – book-learning, academic study – and wisdom from the past, which is not what I expected to find here! Not that long ago I left a course of academic study – one of the “auxiliary sciences of history” to give it a good old-fashioned description. Of course, learning doesn’t have to be formal or institutional: it can be self-directed. So, given the opportunity to choose my own course of study, what would I want to learn?
My butterfly mind came up with at least five answers within seconds of asking that question… But I sense an element of discipline in phagos: this full moon might bring with it an opportunity or a demand to commit to learning something new.
Waning moon: ailim – silver fir
My ogham initial, and one of my favourites even without this lovely synchronicity. Ailim is a visionary card. The silver fir grows taller and sees further than any other tree within the ogham grove. As a card of the waning moon, it brings a sense of progression: from establishing the sanctuary and reintegrating elements of the self, through a commitment to a course of learning, a new perspective will grow. It brings with it the ability to visualise and name goals for the future, something I have really struggled with through the miasma of depression. This is a card which represents what happens after healing. It says: keep your eyes on the horizon, things are going to get better.
Reading ogham again is an interesting experience after learning tarot. I am much more open to finding shades of nuance around the given ‘meanings’ of each tree. And yet… my new moon tarot spreads have all tended towards the reflective; this spread feels like a flashing arrow pointing off into the future. Things are going to happen! It feels as if two things which have eluded me for so long – commitment to a path, and a sense of direction – will finally manifest this moon: my work now is to make space for them to come into my life.
Along with my ogham deck, I brought a tree-inspired tarot deck with me on my walk: the German Baum Tarot. As this deck consists only of the major arcana, I decided to draw a card as a talisman for this moon.
Efeu / Ivy: Death
There is a LOT going on in this tiny three-plus-one card spread. It doesn’t surprise me that, with all this transformation, something will have to die back for new growth to occur. It seems I will be living in interesting times.
But, for now, the sanctuary of a good book and a cup of tea is calling.