of Pips by Elizabeth Hazel
This is the eighth in a series of "portraits" of the Minor Arcana, written in Liz's unique style. All cards are inspired by and illustrated with the Vala Tarot, a deck designed and illustrated by Elizabeth Hazel.
Five of Swords
Buffeted and battered, now the poor fool is strapped to the whirling disk. He is spinning helplessly as the harpies of the four winds cause the circle to toss and turn. Through lightening and thunder, through winds and rains, he is besieged by the uncontrollable forces that surround him. He screams and cries, yet no word is heard. There is no one to hear him. He is alone in his terror, lost in his disaster. He will never be free, never stop falling into the abyss. The winds moan and cry, echoing in his head without ceasing. His is a fever of fear. In some moments he longs to escape to some quiet place; in others he simply longs for the release of death to end the extended agony of unrelenting torture and torment. What did he do to deserve this? Who strapped him to the wheel of disastrous fate? Innocent bystander or guilty felon, he spins and spirals out of control. His thoughts are torn from his mind by the cacophony of the screaming banshees. All that remains is endless despair and regret, and the dark void of oblivion, where even the gods fear to go.
The flapping sails push the boat through the waves. The weary traveler arrives and the ardent adventurer sets forth. Each has his purpose, his priorities. Upon leaving, the adventurer looks forward to all that may happen, the lands he will see for the first time, the opportunities for trade and learning. The weary traveler has seen and done those things, and welcomes the waving friends and family that are running to the dock to greet him, to tie up the boat and help him ashore. He leaves alone and returns alone. Even the hard working sailors who manage the boat are but small company for the traveler. He must face his quest squarely, bravely encountering the vagaries of the tides and the winds and the weather; cleverly negotiating each transaction with unknown strangers in their own languages. He must be shrewd but friendly, sociable but watchful. Each journey has its own character - it may be blessed by good fortune or jettisoned into the fists of the angry Fates. The symbol of the Sun sewn to the sail is not just a meaningless design. It is a testament to the fact that the traveler has beseeched his gods to protect and guide him in his voyage toward the unknown, and to help him return in safety with his goods intact. The excitement of leaving for distant shores makes his blood pound; the excitement of returning successfully and in good trim raises his spirits as well. There will be new stories to tell about the mysterious ways of other lands, and cleverly wrapped gifts to stir the curiosity of his wife and children. He knows the peculiar pace of each part of a journey - the slow sorrow of leaving, and the rushing joy of returning; the boring days of sailing that stretch between the stimulating frenzy of days spent in foreign ports. To this there is a balance for the adventurer, he relishes every moment of his journey.
You can read the first installment of this series here.
Elizabeth Hazel is a tarotist, astrologer and rune reader. Her original art for the Vala Tarot was inspired by a life time of reading the cards, and she is seeking a publisher for the deck. Liz enjoys music and gardening.
Column © 2002 Elizabeth Hazel
Page © 2002 Diane Wilkes