Sacred Sites: XVIII The Moon

XVIII The Moon
Sacred Site – Alhambra, Granada, Spain.

Alhambra is a palace and fortress complex located in Andalusia, Spain, it takes its name from the Arabic al-qala’a al-hamra meaning the Red Castle. Originally built as a small fortress around 890 it was left to ruin until the 11th century when it was rebuilt by the Moorish emir Mohammed ben Al-Ahmar. It was converted into a royal palace in the 13th century by Yusuf I, Sultan of Granada.

That’s really about it for this card, I don’t mind retelling the mythology stuff but regurgitating a whole load of history will just send you to sleep. I have read through a lot of information about the Alhambra and cannot tell why it was chosen to depict The Moon except for the beautiful reflection in El Patio de los Arrayanes?¿! I am embarrassed to write that we’ve lived within 150 kilometres of Granada for over ten years now, and still haven’t been there yet, soon.

Keywords: Fantasy, uncertainty, mystery.

Google Map →

This is really just someone’s holiday video, but you get to see the palace and the music is great.

Spike handwritten


Sacred Sites: Five of Pentacles

Five of Pentacles
Sacred Site – The Labyrinth at Knossos, Crete.

In Greek mythology, the Labyrinth was constructed by Daedalus for King Minos of Crete. Its function was to hold the Minotaur who was later killed by the hero Theseus. Daedalus had so cunningly made the Labyrinth that he could barely escape it after he built it.

The story goes that King Minos attacked Athens to avenge his son, Androgeus who died in a completely different story. Rather than be totally annihilated, Athens (the city, not a person), said they would pay a terrible price and so every nine years they gave a tribute of seven boys and seven maidens to be shipped to Crete, to be offered as food to the savage Minotaur that King Minos kept as a pet in the Labyrinth.

I’m just going to sidetrack a little here, just in case you don’t know, the Minotaur is a monster with a bull’s head and a man’s body. When Minos took the throne of Crete he wanted to deter any challenges to his rule, so he prayed to Poseidon. The very next day a bull emerged from the sea with a sign around its neck that read: “sacrifice me and all will be well”. Things never ever go quite the way you expect and it happens that this bull was truly beautiful and perfect, so Minos decided to keep this bull and sacrifice another one because, hey! What could possibly go wrong. Poseidon, miffed that his gift wasn’t being used in the way intended, used his godlike powers on Minos’ wife, Pasiphaë to fall in love with the bull so deeply that… she had sex with the bull 😮 and conceived the monstrous Minotaur. Who says gods don’t have a wicked sense of humour.

Back to the tributes. Theseus who had just been hailed as a hero and all round nice guy (again, another story), catching the scent of a bit more heroism, decided that he would like to be a part of this tribute thing and boards the ship. On arrival at Crete after an adventure getting there (yep, another story), Minos daughter, Ariadne sees Theseus and says to herself, “ό, τι ένας άντρας, I wouldn’t say no to bit of that” and falls instantly in love. She rushes off to Daedalus (who designed the Labyrinth), and asks how she can help Theseus escape the Labyrinth once he’s done the heroic bit and killed the Minotaur, (technically, her stepbrother?¿!), so Daedalus gave her a spool of thread. Off into the Maze go Theseus and the thirteen Athenians, our hero had obviously tied one end of the thread to the doorway. He bravely battled the Minotaur, in some stories with his bare hands (what a guy), and in others with a sword that he smuggled in with him :/  Yay!

Theseus and Ariadne don’t live happily ever after though, but guess what, that’s another story 🙂

Keywords: Need, poverty, adaption.

Possible deck specific interpretations: So life is a bit of a mess (financially), don’t get lost in the trivial details, concentrate on getting yourself out of this predicament.

Google Map →

Despite the terrible fake moustache, this really is a great documentary.

Spike handwritten

Sacred Sites: Seven of Pentacles

Seven of Pentacles
Sacred Site – The Lascaux Cave, France.

The Lascaux Caves are a complex of caves in southwestern France famous for its Paleolithic cave paintings. They are located near the village of Montignac, in the department of Dordogne. They are home to some of the best-known Upper Paleolithic art, estimated to be over 17,000 years old. They consist mainly of images of large animals that lived in the area at the time. In 1979, Lascaux was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

At times this card is far removed from the more traditional Tarot, and at others is almost the same card, I think it is the man’s gaze that tells the story and alters the card slightly. In the Waite-Smith deck the look on the main figure is at times one of “is this all worth it” (imo), whereas in this card he seems to have just come out of a reverie, you know that space you go to when you are being creative and nothing will disturb you, almost a meditative state. Then sometimes when this card is drawn he looks to be having a lack of faith in his work.

Keywords: Evaluation, reflection, patience.

Possible deck specific interpretations: If you are doing the best that you can at what you love to do, there is no need to worry about what people think of your work.

Google Map →

This is a short (2½ minute) clip detailing the Lascaux Cave paintings.

And this an hour long documentary about how prehistoric Europeans came to invent art.

Spike handwritten