This is the morning
these fields silvered in fog
the mountain gone, birds rise
early sun takes dark from wings’ tips
Follow the road as far it goes
to the edge of the flood
the bridge is gone
and beyond further fields are under water
These are the fields we would have eaten
sweet corn and peppers, potatoes and carrots
all through the summer and into the winter
Now all we can do is drink
the brown waters silted
pluck sticks and twisted bottles from the brew
find—surprise—green life still in it
broken fronds of ferns and three acorns,
this season’s first tree seeds.
There has been flooding throughout the Northeast and all along the Connecticut River which shapes the valley where I live. Farms are suffering catastrophic loss.The farm I belong to suffered catastrophic loss. Crops that were looking beautiful on Monday are drowned today.
With this, climate change has disrupted my life and my community’s life in the realest and most dramatic way.
The food we were counting on eating is gone.
My farm runs on a Community Supported Agriculture model which means that we members pay by the start of the growing season and take the risk along with the farmer. I love this model of mutuality. And for over 16 years my risk has been minimal (a couple of years we had poor tomato crops, an inconvenience) but now we at Mountain View Farm are going to be tested. We’ll have to find new ways to be together in coping with this loss—and with climate change impacting our most basic needs.
The CSA model only goes so far I am learning. Many of the crops—potatoes and carrots, my favorites!—were being put in for the winter share that hasn’t been sold yet. My valiant farmers took on all the risk by themselves.
To give us a chance to join in on the risk now, they’ve set up a gofundme campaign to get through the crisis of the flooding. As you may know, I periodically invite donations to help me keep producing these moonthly missives at no cost. This moonth I would welcome a donation to Mountain View Farm Flood Damage Fund. I’m not doing this as an act of charity for somebody else. Your donation will help ensure the farm can keep functioning to feed me! So I thank you for your help in nourishing me.
This isn’t a cup I wanted to drink from.
Nor did the other flooded farms through the Valley. Nor the flooded homeowners and businesses along this river stretching from Vermont to the Connecticut shore. Nor those who are experiencing the opposite problem of drought and scorching heat, which is all of us really as the first days in July were the hottest in the planet’s recorded history.
This is the cup before us.
This iconic Rider Waite Smith Four of Cups is our passage card of this moonth that begins with the new moon on Monday, July 17 (exact at 2:32 pm ET, time zone converter).Traditional meanings for this card center around the figure not paying attention to the gift being offered through the cup held by the mysterious hand, a detail that reminds of the Ace of Cups. Aces represent the full potential of their elemental associations. Cups through the element of water invite us to connect us with emotions and intuition.
While Cups is a suit that receives an (over?) abundance of cards to which we ascribe happy meanings, the full potential of our emotions include the difficult flows as well as the desired ones.
Position the Four of Cups between its neighbors of the dancing women of the Three and the downcast figure of the Five and you find that the Four is really the pivot point between happiness and grief.
In the Four of Cups, the figure is focused on the 3 cups in the foreground. They want to return to the fun of the Three of Cups. Who wouldn’t?!But when I turn my attention to the dancing women today, I am looking at the details in the image with new eyes. The colors are autumnal and I think I see a pumpkin so this is a harvest dance. And because harvest is on my mind and heart, I am thinking of the flooded fields that won’t fill my fall with bounty.
I can’t go back to the Three and neither can my friend in the Four of Cups.
We will have to mount our Chariots and go forward, leaving behind the world as it was and moving into the world as it is.
In the iconic Rider Waite Smith image, we see that a city is being left behind. Perhaps the Charioteer participated in creating this city. Perhaps it was a place of joy. Perhaps it was a place of frustration. Most likely both. The wheels appear almost as if they are floating on the water in the background. The Charioteers’ emotions are what is propelling them forward from this starting place.When we travel the path of the Chariot, we, like our Charioteer, must flow with the emotions and channel them for forward movement. We must continue our travels from the Three of Cups through the Four of Cups, and continue on from there into the challenge of the Five.
Grief will be part of our journey. We’ll feel our losses individually but the losses of climate change will be felt collectively, will connect us across the planet. I just heard a news story about Nigerian farmers impacted by climate change. I feel closer to them today. We will not be alone in our climate grief.
The Five of Cups shows us one face of grief: the sadness. But sadness is not the whole of grief.
Our guide for how to be as we travel the Chariot’s path through the passage of the Four of Cups is the King of Wands. Wands through its elemental association with fire connects us to our passions and calls us to action. Fire dries out the excess of water. Going through grief also includes actions and the changes we make in our lives because of the new awareness that comes from the loss.
I am just about to leave to teach Tarot for a week at Omega and preparing to introduce the court cards to which this King belongs. Tarot has become complex but we can start working with the cards with the basic meaning that comes through understanding the structure. Kings are authorities in the Tarot. They step up to play a role that serves the good of the community.
Our King of Fire invites us to step up and serve our communities. This, too, can be part of our moving through grief. Perhaps our grief will even become a source of our authority. Here I am thinking of youth climate activists I know here in the Valley and across the globe who are acting even as they grieve.
The moonth opens up for us an exploration of the great passions of fire and water mixing within ourselves and throughout our planet. This is cup that is offered. If we want to take up the invitation of The Chariot of forward movement we will have to drink from this cup.
READING OF THE MOONTH – Use these questions for reflection through out the moonth with our without cards:
CUP: What is the cup I am being called to drink from?
CHARIOT: When I accept this cup where will I be able to go?
PASSION: What action will I be able to undertake to move forward into the world?
Because I am at Omega, I’ll only be able to do e-readings for those who get readings from me each moonth. I’ll be back open for e-readings next moonth.