Portraits of Pips by Elizabeth Hazel
This is the seventh 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.
Ace of Cups
Pure fresh, sparkling water. It drips down the sides of the chalice, gurgling and frothing over with joy. In water are the secrets of the deepest oceans, of rain clouds overhead, of the hidden rill in the uncharted forest. Water is the blood of Mother Earth, the source of the firstborn. The strangest gods and spirits occupy the water, from the masterful Poseidon to shy river kelpies. Strange things happen with water, strange, wonderful, miraculous, and terrible. By nature it is never still, it runs, seeks, plays and changes shape. Her children are many - fish, squid, whales and dolphins; hot blooded and cold blooded. Water's children are uncounted and free, for the realm of water has no boundaries, no sovereign, or cruel invaders. In lucent, murky silence, whales sing, dolphins laugh, and crabs climb over the bones of forgotten shipwrecks on the sea floor. The water has currents, tides, a primal intelligence of motion, a character of disturbing elusiveness. The waves that caress these shores may be the same waves rolling to the edge of another continent, another century, another aeon. Life begins with a gush of water, and then a struggle for the first breathe of air separates each child from the dark ocean of the womb. But the water remains within, the element of origins.
Nine of Pentacles
So perfect, so graceful. Each of her movements is like a dance. No troubles wrinkle her pale brow; no calluses mar her soft hands. The river curls obediently at her feet, and her bird preens his iridescent display for her pleasure. She is her own mistress, self sustained and beholden to none. Her garden is a place of peace and beauty, where each seed comes to full flower. She is inviolate and cannot be touched by winter or death. Her countenance radiates the warmth of the sun and the opal glow of the moon. The clocks stand still, for perfection attained is timeless. Minutes become drops of dew that nurture her flowers; hours become sleek clouds that chase the mountain tops beyond the fields. Her kind words to a worried friend beggar the golden hoard of a sultan's treasury. All that she touches becomes serene. Is she some goddess whose name has been lost in the threads of time? No. She is a woman, virgo intacta. It is not some small piece of skin that is intact, but her heart. She has survived love, losses, and the unfair ways of life itself, but has retained her wholeness, her completeness of self. Hers is not the beauty of untouched youth, but the beauty of hard-earned maturity. Her compassion is true, for she has felt the sorrows of the world. But by living through it all, she has become the champion of Life itself; no cold marble statue but a warm, breathing testament to the victory of the full flowering of destiny.
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