Listen to Sasha read the story aloud or enjoy the text below.
The farmhouse is filled with the scent of fresh pine . . .
It is well past the witching hour and I’m awake. Again. I creep downstairs and place a vintage record on the turntable. Handel’s music floats to the drafty corners of the room where translucent cobwebs cling. My sleepy eyes turn to the Christmas tree. I bend, brush away the dry scattered pine needles from the power strip and click the tree lights on.
A strange, uncanny realization hits me as I step back to admire the glow of the tree. We’ve erected our tree in the same spot I’d happened upon a Thanksgiving ghost.
If my ghost was just a glimmer, a wisp of specter smoke, our Christmas tree is bursting, alive and full of energy. Spirits of the season, fiery imps carrying Wands, hop from branch to branch. Pentacled ornaments droop on heaving bows, landing with a soft thud as the tiny creatures crash on each green limb.
The Star glimmers precariously on top of the tree. The Star reminds me that hope remains, even in my darkest, bleakest hours. The Sun’s infernal warmth radiates through the tree, an evergreen symbol of life. The tree quivers as colored lights sway back and forth. The Hanged Man breaks face, offers me a quick wink and moves back into solemn meditation amidst the soft needles. The World slips from a branch, rolls across the floor and stops at my bare tiptoes. I scoop it up and hold the World in my hands.
The Tower looms high above in clouds responsible for the snow rapidly piling up outside the ancient glass windows. A thumping thunders upon the wooden door. A stranded motorist? I answer, shocked as I see who beckons.
I fall to my hands and knees and offer a tearful prayer of thanks to the Hierophant. He gently pulls me up and plants me on his lap like Santa. He strokes my cheek, tucks my hair behind my ears telling me that we are one and the same. He whispers of the many wonderful lessons to come. I can’t help but giggle. His neck smells like cinnamon and apples.
The Empress’s dewy face glows, flush with excitement and illuminated by embers of the fireplace as she wraps gifts. Her scotch tape and tissue paper create fluffy, colorful wrappings, each gift a jewel too pretty to open. Martha Stewart didn’t make a pact with the Devil but with the Empress! Speaking of the Devil, he’s in the basement scaring off little critters who forage and nest in damp corners and dank crevices. I allow the Devil upstairs now and again – but only in moderation.
I can hear Temperance banging pots in my kitchen. Temperance has moved in with me for the next few months. She wants to make sure I don’t spread myself too thin. Temperance is great to have around but always begs for fast food on road trips.
Strength reclines gracefully on the couch and says if I want any, I’d better get back to bed. Heeding her advice, I head up the stairs, stopping at the top to gaze out the window. The snow has stopped. The Moon catches me off guard like a person who I didn’t expect to see standing there. A light burns in the wooden shed. The Hermit’s silhoette is bent over the table where he scribbles. Doesn’t he ever sleep? I need to. My sleepiness weighs on me like a wool blanket.
I peak in on my little Ace of Wands, my girl’s sleeping face. Ah, to be five years old at Christmas! I take solace in her slow, deep breath and watch her burrow deeper into her pillows. Four shiny, beaded eyes glisten approvingly as I tuck her soft fox and scrappy dog closer into her.
I retire to my room and slip under the blankets next to husband, the Magician, a ball of warmth beside me. He’s sleeping soundly, performed enough miracles this year, pulled a hundred rabbits out of hats and ignited our deck over and over again. Now, he rests.
Visions of this strange, yet wonderful year pass before me. I consider with a thrill of excitement what is to come. I once spent many years and much time predicting and manipulating the future until I realized it was far more effective use of time to simply settle down, focus, and weave the tapestry of the present.
Shadows in the corner of the darkened room move, rearrange themselves. Merging they become one. Blackness becomes deep purple draped over a feminine figure who is white, like the moon. It is the High Priestess come to wish me goodnight!
We gaze at each other, the High Priestess and I, nose to nose, for what seems an eternity. Her eyes are violet. They dissect every fiber of my being. She says nothing. A faint smile graces her lips. As silently as she appeared, she slips back into the shadows.
Morning light sweeps across the floorboards. “Mommy, wake up!!! It’s Christmas.”
Big thanks to Nancy Antenucci who inspired me to repost this tarot tale 🙂