~ “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ~
This is a step I have been really looking forward to. Here I get to unleash my incredibly active and crazy-fertile imagination. Okay, maybe that’s a stretch, but my Sag-Mercury that conjuncts Uranus in my birthchart does give me a flair for the dramatic!
If a picture can speak a thousand words, then a Tarot Card can speak a million! (Yes I made this up all by myself, and you can quote me on it, but do remember to credit me :D). And of those million words spoken by a single Tarot Card, countless stories can be woven. And the best part is, the story can have absolutely NOTHING to do with the traditional meaning of the card!
Yes, you heard right! The story doesn’t have to be related to the traditional meaning of the card! That’s what makes this step so fantastic, because here we can let our imaginations run wild and allow ourselves to weave a story more wondrous than Alice’s Wonderland itself! So get ready to liberate yourself from the bondage of LWB’s, companion books, mile-long lists of correspondences, and all the ‘researched historical theoretical’ books on the Tarot, and let’s take a Fool’s leap into the realm of our imagination…
Once upon a time, in a land far far away, there lived a beautiful princess named Aria. Like every princess, Aria had every possible luxury and privilege bestowed upon her from the moment she was born. From the finest gowns spun from the finest silk, to the finest shoes crafted of the finest and most rare materials. From jewels of the most precious of gold embedded with the most brilliant stones, to trinkets and baubles gifted by various princes from all corners of the world. Aria had an army of servants to cater to her every need, as well as, was provided the finest education from the world’s finest tutors. She would attend the fanciest of fancy balls and dance with the most charming of charming princes. Princess Aria had everything a princess could ask for, and everything a commoner could only dream of. Aria hated her life!
It wasn’t like she wasn’t grateful for all that she received. She truly loved her family, and she understood that she was incredibly blessed to lead such a lavish life of luxury. However, a part of her felt like a bird trapped within a gilded cage. Within the confines of her palace, and her kingdom, she was treated as no less than a ‘God’. Even though one could get used to such treatment, Aria understood that it was fake. All the love and adoration was for the title that was bestowed upon her from birth. No one truly loved her for whom she truly was. If she was just born a peasant girl, no one would ever give her a second glance. Those pompous princes and shallow princesses she would meet and greet with on a regular basis were so caught up with the glittering dazzle of being royal that they never bothered to discover themselves, nor dream of being anything but a bunch of entitled nitwits.
Oh how Aria would wish she could just escape from it all. How she wished she could just take off in the middle of the night and run away to a distant kingdom, where she could hawk her jewels and gain enough money to travel the world incognito, experiencing life the way it’s meant to be experienced – one adventure after the other. There was so much out there to be discovered and so much for her to learn; and yet here she was, wasting away her life while everything is handed to her upon a silver platter.Oh how she wished she could just escape!
“Be careful what you wish for child”
‘Who is that?’ Aria awoke from her slumber with pearl-like beads of cold-sweat dripping down her spine out of fright. She looked around frantically, only to discover she was alone in her chambers. Just as she was about to dismiss it as a figment of her imagination, she noticed a golden glimmer through the cracks of the door. Aria called out for her chambermaid, but she didn’t respond. Lazy Cow! Probably off canoodling with the stable-hand again!
Unable to shake off her curiosity, Aria slipped out of her bed and headed over to the door, only to discover upon opening, a golden orb of light hovering mid-air. Startled, she tried feeling the space above, below, and around the orb, trying to see if there were any strings holding it up like that. Before she could finish her examination, the orb began to move down the hallway at a gentle, yet, quick pace. Without a second thought, Aria began chasing it.
It was so odd, usually the palace was filled with guards, servants, courtiers, someone or the other; but tonight, the palace was empty. Not a soul was around to witness the site of Aria in her sleeping-gown chasing after an orb of golden light down the flights of stairs and through the foyer. She had almost caught it halfway down, until her sleeping gown got caught under her foot, causing her to take a nasty tumble down the stairs.
The first thing she felt was her head felt as though she was carrying a ton of bricks upon it. She slowly tried opening her eyes, but everything was so hazy that she felt all the more discouraged to do so. The spinning only made her headache worse.
“It would help if you take a few deep breaths before you open your eyes”
Aria’s eyes shot up wide and she sat up in a frightful jerk. She began breathing rapidly, almost on the verge of a panic attack, as she noticed her surroundings – a dark dingy labyrinth of sorts with a river, filled with various tunnels. She was on a wooden vessel of sorts that seemed to move as if it were floating through air rather than water.
“Well, that’s another way to get up.”
Aria turned around and saw a mysterious figure shrouded in a dark cloak that covered him from head to toe. Behind him, was the very same golden orb she was chasing! At first she wished to grab onto it, but then considering what happened the last time she chased after it, she decided she had enough for now. She slowly managed to stand up by grabbing onto the edge of the vessel and began examining her dark dingy surroundings. Something about the figure forbade her to try to make direct eye-contact, but the fact that his hands were chained to the steering rod, didn’t escape her sight.
“W-Where am I?… H-How did I get here?”
“You always wanted to escape didn’t you? Well, now you got your wish!”
“What do you mean?” Aria turned towards him, without making direct eye-contact. “Who are you? And how did I get on this vessel? I demand to know! I’m a Princess for Nyx-Sake!” It felt so unnatural for Aria to use the ‘princess card’, but this was getting way too creepy.
“I only steer the vessel from one port to the other. That’s all I know. That’s all I do. I do not ask questions about who I carry with me. Nor do I question why I have to carry them.” The mysterious one replied in a low ominous tone.
“That doesn’t make any sense to me!”
“It’s not even supposed to.”
Aria turned around in a huff, looking ahead of her as the vessel headed out into a courtyard of sorts. Unlike the rest of the labyrinth, this area seemed to have a white light illuminating the room. No matter how much she tried, she just couldn’t identify the source. Above and below were sword like stalactites and stalagmites that though seemed dangerous at first, merely just seemed to reflect the white light, illuminating the chamber all the more.
“Where are we?” Aria asked breathlessly, in awe of it all.
“This is the chamber of consequences.”
“Chamber of what?”
“You wished to escape didn’t you? Well, every wish has its consequences. Take a look in any of the mirrors.”
Aria gazed into one stalactite that dangled above them as they passed by it. Her jaw dropped as she saw her reflection dissolve in front of her very eyes, revealing a vision of her mother lying in bed almost lifeless, with her father sitting by her bedside covered in a veil of melancholy. “M-M-Mother…”
“You were their only child. The apple of their eye, their pride and joy. They had tried for over ten years to bear a child, and had almost given up hope. You were their miracle, and the center of their world. The moment they discovered you were gone, your mother collapsed on the spot. No matter how many physicians and healers attend to her, she still refuses to get better; almost like she lost the will to live.”
Aria’s eyes began welling up with tears. Yet a part of her refused to believe the vision before her. After all, this could just be a trick, a way to ‘guilt’ her into returning to the kingdom and resume her suffocating life. Though the vision did look pretty convincing…
“Go; take a look into the other one. You’ll see a different vision.”
Upon doing so, Aria saw the kingdom in sheer and utter chaos. The once joyous and abundant kingdom was now the center of discord. People were rioting all over the streets. Crimes were being committed in broad daylight, and nobody did a thing to stop them. Fistfights broke out in the drop of a hat. The lush farms and valleys were now dead and charred due to enormous fires that occurred during massive rampages.
“With your Father struck so deeply with grief, he lost all interest in managing the kingdom. Without a king to command them, the peasants took full advantage of it. After a certain point, the palace guards even joined in the looting and plundering, realizing that the King could care less.”
“But why would Father allow this to happen?” Aria wiped her tears quickly before they could fall down her cheeks, trying her best to remain skeptical, “he loved his kingdom. He was so devoted towards developing it into a utopian society of prosperity and knowledge.”
“That’s because the kingdom was his legacy to you. You were next in line to the throne. Everything he did for the kingdom was all for you Princess. And since you’re no longer there, he lost the will to lead his kingdom to glory…”
“Stop it!” Aria screamed as tears began flowing down her cheeks, “This just can’t be true.”
“Oh but it is true dear princess. You wished ever so desperately to get away from your charmed life that you didn’t realize the consequences of your wishes. You were so caught up in detesting your life that you never bothered to wonder about your role and duty as a future monarch.”
Aria wiped away the tears from her now swollen cheeks, “What happens to me once I run away?”
“Take a look and see for yourself”, the mysterious stranger pointed towards the mirrored stalactite ahead.
Upon gazing, Aria saw herself in a far distant kingdom. She was all alone, living in a tiny hut, which she had to share with five other people. There was no one to wait on her, no one to really look after her. She would work all day long at a field for wages well below the amount of effort she put in. At nights she would have to be a serving wench at an inn, where drunk patrons would make lurid passes at her, and again she wouldn’t earn as much as the efforts she would put in. It was a lonely existence. Even though she lived with others, they were too caught up in their own lives, that they didn’t bother befriending each other.
“No!” Aria’s eyes widened with disbelief, “That can’t be it! Can it?”
“You wanted to be free from being a princess and living a privileged life. That’s the life of a peasant. Freedom is a double-edged sword princess. Just like wishes.”
Aria’s head drooped in shame. She fell upon her knees and began sobbing uncontrollably. Oh what a short-sighted fool she had been. Spending all her life fantasizing about being free from a life of privilege, without realizing how it would affect her family, as well as, herself. Oh how selfish it was of her to live in those fantasies. To believe that fulfilling them would make her life all the more better.
“W-W-What if…” Aria stammered as she tried to stand up.
“W-What if I didn’t runaway? What if I didn’t wish so dearly to escape? How would my life be?”
She couldn’t see it, but she could feel the mysterious stranger smiling under his cloak, “See for yourself dear princess” He pointed towards a stalagmite, floating near the boat.
Aria drooped over and to her delight; she saw her kingdom all lush and abundant. She could see everyone celebrating with joy at her coronation. Everyone was so happy to see her ascend the throne. Unlike earlier, Aria didn’t seem unhappy or suffocated by it all. She seemed all the more content and at peace. The vision went on to show how as the sovereign ruler of the kingdom, she would build universities to educate the peasants, especially the girls. Wages would be increased; women would be treated with respect wherever they’d work. The arts and philosophical and progressive thinking would be nurtured throughout, and thus making the kingdom into a rich cultural melting pot, attracting aspiring artists and philosophers from kingdoms allover the world to migrate over and only add to the richness and beauty of the kingdom.
Everything was so blissful, but the vessel was moving away from the stalagmite. Aria leaned in closer and closer, trying to get closer to see how the vision turned out. Just as she had come to the scene of her wedding day, she felt the vessel rocking, and before she could regain her balance, she fell over into the icy cold water, screaming in sheer fright.
She woke up, only to realize she had water splashed across her face. By her side were her parents – the king and queen – and an entire brood of attendants. It was all a dream. She reached out and hugged her parents. Salty tears of joy flowed blissfully down her cheeks as she kept apologizing about how selfish and rotten she had been, and how she truly valued and appreciated everything they had done for her. Her parents were bewildered by her revelation, but laughed it off, reminding her of their unconditional love.
Six years had passed since that fateful night. Aria had ascended throne and ruled over her kingdom with pride and joy. Everything she saw in the vision had come true. Her kingdom was one of the most prosperous Kingdoms in all the lands. Women were empowered and treated with respect, and wages were so generous, that no one felt exploited, which made them all the more willing to work hard and pay their taxes on time regularly. The university had attracted scholars, philosophers, and artists from all over. Peasants got a fair chance for an education and choose their path in life, than have it dictated for them. Aria had done well for her kingdom.
And now was the day of her wedding. The only part of the vision Aria never saw too clearly. Her groom was a handsome prince from a neighboring kingdom. Unlike the princes she knew while growing up, he wasn’t a snob, nor tried to suppress her under his thumb. He was the perfect partner, politically and romantically. The two of them fell in love when they met for the first time during the ball inaugurating the university she had built.
As they exchanged their vows, for a fleeting moment, Aria noticed a figure shrouded in a heavy cloak watching from afar. Her eyes widened with shock! It was the very same mysterious stranger that she had met in her dream. Was it really a dream?
Before she could ponder further, she noticed the stranger removing his cloak, only to reveal that he was actually her. The stranger was truly her reflection. And the stranger smiled upon her, blessing her with love and approval. Aria smiled back and finished exchanging her vows.
The crowd cheered as she and her prince were pronounced husband and wife. The two of them embraced each other passionately and exchanged a tender yet deep kiss. A kiss so powerful that Aria could just feel it to the core of her soul.
And they lived Happily Ever After!
Wow! That was such an intense journey! In all honesty, I never planned the story out at all. I just kept observing the cards image and let the story just pour out of me. It was almost like I could feel a force beyond my comprehension whisper the story in my ear, and guide my fingertips upon my keyboard. Gosh, I’m getting goosebumps and chills down my spine just looking at the story I created. And through the story, this has helped me discover so many ‘new meanings’ to the 6 of Swords, which I would have never really felt fit with the card before (such as reflection, introspection, following your destiny, consequences of our wishes, etc.).
Imagine! Just from a single card, a story of more than 2500 words could be weaved. Perhaps with a 3 card reading, we could create an entire novella. Perhaps a Saga from a major spread like the Celtic Cross. Hell, I bet if all 78 cards were used, one could have an entire epic tale on the same level as say Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this tale that was weaved from the 6 of Swords. And I do hope you all give this (and the previous steps) a try as well. I can totally guarantee it will be an intense and powerful experience.
Love and Blessings
NOTE: I have typed the entire story as I observed the card, and didn’t edit it a single bit, because I felt it might rob the integrity of the exercise where we’re supposed to let our imaginations run wild! Please excuse any typographical or grammatical or narrative flaws and errors. Thank you.
Careful the wish you make
Wishes are children
Careful the path they take
Wishes come true, not free
Careful the spell you cast
Not just on children
Sometimes the spell may last
Past what you can see
And turn against you
Careful the tale you tell
That is the spell
Children will listen.
— Stephen Sondheim (Taken from the song Children will Listen from the Musical Into the Woods)