Deck: The Shining Tribe Tarot
Spread: Card of the Day
Date: Fri Oct 12 03:31:33 EDT 2018

Today’s Card
Speaker of Stones (Upright)

See what there is to see.
Hear what there is to hear.
Touch whatever you touch.
Speak the thing you must speak.

This remarkable image of a woman formed out of geometric shapes derives from a twenty thousand year old engraved mammoth tusk discovered in Moravia, Czechoslovakia. The spiral of red dots above the Speaker comes from the cave of Pech-Merle in France, where pre-historians also found a group of graceful nude female figures painted on the walls. The series of abstract forms on the bottom of the card are part of a variety of signs, most of them abstract and therefore suggestive of conceptual symbolism, found among the giant naturalistic paintings in the great cave of Lascaux, whose bull appears on the card of the Emperor. The card thus forms a montage of images from European pre-history. Through the silent voices of such paintings and carvings on rock and bone, these vastly old cultures still Speak to us, telling us of the power of the Earth and the mysteries of the human intellect.

To visit the great caves, or simply to look at photographs of their marvels, is to lose any thoughts of our early ancestors as primitive, or without culture. These are works that not only require artistic talent but show unmistakable signs of both developed concepts and aesthetic tradition.

Some time after drawing this picture, I came across a discussion of the engraving in G. R. Levy’s groundbreaking history of religion, The Gate of Horn. Levy described this picture as a possible prototype of the later cultural idea that the cave formed the Goddess’s body. She compared the geometrized forms to the ground paintings of the Australian Aborigines (entwining two major strands of Shining Woman Tarot). She further described the radiating lines around the central oval in the belly area as suggesting a bull-roarer, the whirling instrument made of bone to mimic the voice of the spirits. And so we find the idea of Speaking literalized in the picture itself.

The Earth speaks to us most fully through Her creatures, the millions of species which have poured out from Her body, which once was lifeless rock. The vulva shape in the lower “abdomen” radiates lines of energy, like a shout to celebrate the endless Speech of creation.

We see two direct images of speaking here, one from the center (think of the old expression, “gut knowledge”), the other from the womb. This is speech of the body, and of our deepest ways of knowing and communicating. And yet, the mind is included as well, both in the abstract signs all around her, and the way the carvers created a human form from geometric shapes. The Speaker of the Stones, with its connection to the Earth, and its very ancient origins, is the most powerful of the Speakers, for she speaks absolute truth.

Divinatory meanings: Speaking from total conviction. Persuading others through the power of one’s own certainty. Fecundity, fertility in many aspects, wealth. Artistic or intellectual accomplishments, societal recognition.

Reversed: Uncertainty, needing approval from others. Keeping silent on something you know or believe very deeply.

Presented by The Shining Tribe Tarot app from The Fool’s Dog.