Celtic Wisdom Tarot
Text by Caitlin Matthews, art by Olivia Raynor
Destiny Books, 1999
The Book says: The Protector shows Belenus on the right and Dis Pater on the left, with the chalk-hill figure of Epona, making a strong protector triad upon the hillside leading to the Otherworldly Plain of Delight. Belenus (The Shining One) gave his name to the festival of Beltane, or the “fires of Bel”, when May and the bright half of the year is celebrated. Dis Pater was the Father of the Ancestors, the one who welcomes the dead to the summerlands. The White Horse of Uffington in England shows the dynamic, liberating presence of Epona, who opens the door to the summerlands. An introduced tree, the Apple became immediately widespread and has an important place in folklore.
Keywords: Wholeness, happiness, attainment, success, simple joy and pleasures, devotion, fortunate meetings, gratitude for life, marriage, good health, openness, sincerity, safety after peril, contented circumstances.
Reversed: Hollowness, unhappiness, broken engagements or relationships, intolerance of shadows, such as inability to accept death, political correctness taken to extremes, no change to enjoy life, lack of fulfillment, maintaining the status quo.
Soul-Wisdom: Who are you in your true self?
TarotBroad’s Buzz: Looking at this card I sense its sizzling energy. The Sun is radiant and bursting with life, apples frame the solar face, swirling spirals appear in two spots and the white horse seems to be preparing to charge off the card. It zips and zings with radiance and energy. The figures on the card represent three different Celtic deities – Belenus, Dis Pater and Epona. I found this interesting because this card is composed predominantly of male imagery but the word for Sun in Gaelic is feminine. However there is no evidence that the Celts actually had a specifically solar deity. They had many deities whose names meant shining or light but they were not solar deities per se. Epona is considered a horse goddess and, like many Celtic goddesses associated with horses, may also be connected with sovereignty and solar energies (Rhiannon, Macha, etc.) but is not a Sun goddess. Epona also has the honor of being the only Celtic deity worshipped in Rome in her own right, without being merged with a Roman god first. She had her place in the sun.
Looking at this card, I see a supplicant honoring Epona beneath the rays of a benevolent sun. The supplicant is thanking his gods for all that is positive in his life and the blessings brought to his family. He understands the cycle of life and realizes that with the good comes the bad and that change is part of the natural order but he appreciates when things are going well for him and wishes to acknowledge and thank the gods. This card offers a sense of contentment and pleasure, being on a green hillside beneath the rays of the sun. It suggests the blessings of the gods upon the supplicant and upon the land and by extension upon us all. It reminds us to celebrate and embrace our moments in the sun, our time in the spotlight, because it will inevitably change some day.