Exploring THE CAULDRON, a new 22nd Major Arcanum designed by Roswila
This last sketch below is an early version of XXII that I considered for my "Taiga Tarot":
I don't find any of these three Cauldron cards satisfying, but do see them as steps along the way. One of the reasons I wanted to do this post was the hope it will precipitate a design that more nearly reflects my growing sense of The Cauldron. By the way, both my Taiga Tarot and Marker Tarot decks are totally black and white. However, my final design for The Cauldron need not be and I look forward to trying some color versions. (Though, of course for use in each of the above decks I would have to make them in black and white.) And I should also mention that I have an extra card with XXII written on it, in all the Tarot decks with which I read. So what I say below comes almost entirely from what I saw about it in readings in which it showed up. That is, hands-on experience.
THE CAULDRON (XXII): I've posted here before about XXII so rather than repeat myself, here's a link to that post. It goes into what prompted me to design a new 22nd Major for the Tarot should you be interested. My own interest in XXII was piqued again recently when I saw all the "meanings" and thoughts I've accumulated for it, and how my sense of it has evolved. E.g., "We are in The Cauldron all the time, not just in times of obvious transformation, transition, re-birth, etc. We are always in the midst of a host of possibilities that await the magic of our choice. Which then moves us on to the next treasure trove of possibilities in The Cauldron of the moment." I also noted some time ago that XXII put me in mind of "Tir na nOg." In Irish mythology it's the afterlife, or the other life, and/or the life before life. One translation for it is "Land of Youth," for to leave it is to die, i.e. to enter into mortality. Also from these notes: "XXII is the place where things go when they no longer hold a shape. It is the place that gestates the new forms but does not birth them nor reveal them in any way. The Cauldron exists beneath and beyond forms, like a fluid underlying urge toward shape." As I continued to transcribe these notes (I make them in shorthand) I suddenly thought "wabi sabi!" The Japanese aesthetic that says nothing's lasting, nothing's finished, and nothing's perfect. I have seen wabi sabi in the Tarot's Three of Swords in the past. However, it inheres in The Cauldron in a deeper and more encompassing fashion. A beautiful sadness.
MEANINGS/INSIGHTS/READINGS FOR The Cauldron (XXII) -- Please note: The below is not intended to be an exhaustive exploration of this card as I am still developing my relationship to it. (Given my heavy reliance on projection of my feelings and experiences onto the cards, I recognize that I may very well reveal more about myself here than I do about any particular card. However, this is exactly my point: I use the cards as a path to self-discovery and healing. I hope what I post here that comes out of that process will be useful in some way to other seekers.):
Negatively aspected (e.g. if you read with reversals, or it's near "negative" cards, or maybe your gut says it is so): XXII can mean the issue is hanging by a thread, balanced on a razor's edge, ready to boil over, about to implode, etc.
Be forewarned. Continued negative thinking about yourself (or someone else) may eventually work a deep magic, creating a future you may not want. The formula might go: Repetition and intensity gets it firmly into memory; what we remember we tend to believe; what we believe we tend to act upon. So be careful what thoughts/emotions you consistently toss into The Cauldron.
The problem/challenge goes back before your own life. But not to a past life, rather to your genes and to the choices others made long ago. It may be something you will only be able to mitigate with acceptance as it cannot be eliminated or transformed. It simply (and not so simply) is.
Can mean this situation is, at least for now, outside your influence and even your understanding.
You want to move forward into a new life but can't seem to get started. Try looking at, then letting go of what you cling to from your past: old hurts, losses, guilts, angers, etc. You can't walk on from that door when you've shut it on the hem of your coat.
This will transform surprisingly, but only if you let it go. Your continued fussing at it and worrying over it only prolongs the agony and prevents the birth of something new.
Not everything about this is beyond your influence. Maybe not in a way you'd like or as much as you'd wish, but you can have some input. You can effect it subtlty via affirmations, ritual, meditation, prayer, etc. However, simply the passing of time will do the work if you are patient.
This is amenable to your conscious intervention. Quietly and carefully think over all sides to it (yours and those of others). Try not to let your emotions or habitual mentations churn out the same old responses. Then steep in all the possibilities of this issue for a while. An effective and positive response should eventually become apparent.
You need to trust you are doing the right thing. It's not a time to wait for complete clarity or surety before acting intuitively and sustaining that action. A big fast moving change is afoot. You need to get on the band wagon or it will pass you by.
It's your choice. Each option or direction has its advantages and disadvantages. One is not clearly better than the other. (NOTE: This card tends to have an in between, or "neither here nor there" quality to it.)
Yes, this is a time of unclarity, formlessness, and feeling neither here nor there. You will eventually have the opportunity to assemble whatever's on your plate in a new way.
If in answer to a yes/no question: Yes, as things stand now. But they could very well change. It's uncertain like the weather report.
It's pretty much up to you what you think, believe, or do about this. I.e., it depends much less on objective factors than usual.
Can refer to dream work, depth psychology, psychoanalysis, spiritual work, and the like.
A medial personality: someone who lives deeply connected to the unconscious and brings that material into the conscious world. E.g., an artist, psychologist, or that person you call an eccentric thinker. Though this quality can surface briefly in positive or negative ways in anyone on occasion. In any case, maybe what' s being suggested by this person is not off the wall or wrong-headed, just extremely new or conversely so old as to be long forgotten.
XXII can amplify the qualities of the cards it is next to. Be careful of this as, although not a "negative" card, XXII's shapelessness can be perceived as casting only a shadow on other cards.
Also, sometimes when XXII is more than usually dense or vague, the cards near it may reveal aspects of its meaning. The Cauldron itself has a tendency to appear to be only a mirror or reflective. However, unlike The Moon that has no light of its own, what XXII sometimes radiates can't be perceived directly, but only by its effect on what it's near.
Lastly, The Cauldron tends to be supportive in a reading. On reflection, it's usually been only my own difficulty with embracing unclarity as part of the process or being "neither here nor there" that has given it a negative cast. For as implied in much of what is said above, The Cauldron signals that we need patience. Which for me is another way of saying that we need to be with whatever is at any particular moment. To quote from my earlier post about XXII: "The clay has not been shaped, the cloth not yet spun. If we quiet ourselves and act in subtle and responsive ways, a shy and delicate strand of manifestation may come to us."
[aka: Patricia Kelly]
****If you wish to copy or use any of my writing, please email me for permission (under "View my complete profile")**** SEE ALSO: United Haiku and Tanka Society (UHTS) (charter member); Roswila's Dream & Poetry Realm for Tarot poetry; Roswila's Taiga Tarot for taiga (illustrated tanka); Trying to Hold A Box of Light for digital photos only.
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