A concerned young couple travel into the northern Frostmaw Mountains of Caldara in search of a fae druid, Yvayne. Cassian has met with her before, but this will be Esmeralda’s first encounter.
Under normal circumstances, they would never have dreamed of disturbing the fae. But a thrice-repeated reading for one blessed with Cassandra’s sight is hardly a normal circumstance.
The goddess of divination is giving Esmeralda a warning. And she’s here to share it with Yvayne.
In this blog post, I go into more detail about Esmeralda’s tarot reading in Aurora. Click here to purchase the novella direct from the author!
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In my readings,” Esmeralda explained, “I ask the spirits first to show me where I am, second, where I should go next, and third, what lies further ahead.”Aurora, an Age of Azuria novella, chapter 4
In the paragraphs that follow, I go through Esmeralda’s tarot reading and how she interprets it as well as what some of my favorite tarot decks and books say about the individual cards.
The High Priestess
Esmeralda reads this first card, The High Priestess, as representing herself, “a figure seeking to expand her wisdom.”
Generally in tarot, the High Priestess symbolizes intuition. Jamie Richardson describes her as the “ruler of intuition,” and writes that “her language is found in synchronicity and dreams, inner nudges and signs, the inward pull toward what feels right, instead of what is said to be right.” (Ember and Aura Tarot, 19)
Similarly, Michele Morgan explains how we can interpret the High Priestess as an invitation to the divine: “Trust what you feel, and you will find that the questions answer themselves.” (A Magical Course in Tarot, 94)
With this first card in Esmeralda’s reading, I wanted her to see herself, a figure who trusts her own intuition and remains open to the callings and directives of her goddess, Cassandra, and the workings of fate.
Esmeralda’s second card is The Hermit who resembles Yvayne:
Eerily, a sepia-skinned woman with an antlered headdress stared back at Yvayne from inside a circle of ancient trees, a single light glowing beside her head. The woman held out her hand, beckoning the viewer closer.”Aurora
The Hermit symbolizes solitude and introspection, and we can read her as an inner voice of wisdom or a sage living in a remote location. In this case, Cassian and Esmeralda understand Yvayne as the hermit, a long-lived fae who has witnessed the turning of ages past and has great insight for the present and future.
Stephanie Pui-Mun Law and Barbara Moore describe the Hermit as “an inspirational friend and teacher” whose help “can illuminate the secrets of one’s own mind.” (Shadowscapes Companion, 57)
Her third card is The Magician, “one who brings forth what is unseen.” (Aurora)
Like the woman Esmeralda had described from her dream, the figure on the card had flowing red hair, and Yvayne had only seen eyes of such intense green a few times in her long life. Plants flared to life beneath the woman’s feet, and the six elements glowed in orbs around her. Further back, a pack of wolves howled before a silhouetted forest.”Aurora
Commonly, The Magician represents creativity and is often associated with the elements. In Azuria, there are six elements rather than four: fire, air, earth, water, darkness, and light.
I love Michele Morgan’s description of this card: “With the Magician come passion and focus, mastery over self and circumstances, and the discovery of once untapped resources and abilities with which to transform the mundane into the extraordinary. This is power and its right use; this is the true nature of Magic.” (A Magical Course in Tarot, 93)
Over the course of Buried Heroes, Iellieth discovers the natural magic waiting within and begins to learn to harness it. The picture of her that Esmeralda sees is a vision of what could be if she is allowed to nurture and grow—and it is precisely this possibility that their enemies wish to extinguish.
Esmeralda flips over two final cards: The Moon and The Tower. The Moon presides over the three set out before her, symbolizing mystery and the unknown. The world of Azuria approaches a precipice after which its fate will be forever changed.
Stephanie Pui-Mun Law and Barbara Moore write that the Moon “is a doorway to hidden unknowns, and the wellspring of mingled dark and light that seeps forth from there.” (Shadowscapes Companion, 99)
But there is an inevitability to the Moon card as well, that for the fate unfolding before us, its time has come. Sasha Graham explains: “The Moon card gently lets us know we can support what is rising. The time is at hand. This is the birth of what always existed within.” (Your Guide Through the Dark Wood Tarot, 107)
The tower . . . it signals great change, does it not?”Aurora
Esmeralda pulls the final card from her deck and places it below the first three.
The Tower card represents sudden, violent change and the toppling of previous structures of belief or hierarchy. And though change is never easy, this card does not necessarily spell disaster, as the old must fall away to make way for the new.
Sasha Graham describes it as “the archetype of destruction. An act of release is the act of surrender.” (Your Guide Through the Dark Wood Tarot, 101) New possibilities flock to the rubble surrounding the fallen tower, perching on the crumbled stones.
For the world of Azuria, the future is yet unknown, but our three characters sit on the edge of impending change and destruction.
I’ll leave us with Esmeralda’s interpretation of this final card:
I believe it is deliberately ambiguous, especially at this rooted position in the fortune. However else the rest unfolds, whichever fate emerges, great change must occur. It is inevitable.”Aurora
Thank you so much for working through this tarot reading with me! You can get a free copy of “Blood Wolf Moon,” a prequel short story for the Age of Azuria series by joining my reading group, the Circle of Story, below!