The Magic Feather

My husband is working in Asia. I received a call from him the other night, and he was anxious and afraid. He’d been working for 20 days straight — he barely slept, except for a few hours here and there. And work wasn’t going well. He was afraid he would be fired, because he wasn’t performing well in his state of exhaustion. And, to make matters worse, he was not getting along with his supervisor.

Through tears, he said over and over again, “I just need a magic feather; where is my magic feather?” I felt helpless. Unlike Timothy in Dumbo, I had nothing to give Tom. I had no magic feather — nothing to take the stress away, no way to make a leap of 6000 miles to give him a hug, and boost his confidence.

Twelve hours after we spoken, I was almost as inconsolable as he had been. All the fear and worry had set in, and I couldn’t shake the sound of his voice, pleading for a “magic feather.” By the next day, the worry had turned to panic. I shut off the phone, stayed in bed, and waited for news from him. Finally, unable to manage the anxiety, I turned to our Druid Craft tarot deck.

A psychic who read for us last year had used that same deck; my husband and I had both been inspired by the archetypal imagery of the cards. And they had not failed us yet: each time we’d turned to the deck — whether before a big journey, during uncertain times, or just for a new perspective — we had been awed by the depth and precision of the cards we pulled. So I spread out the silk scarf, shuffled the cards, and pulled two: one for me, and one for him.

My card was fairly basic: the Four of Wands. This card features an outdoor hearth, with a home on the hill in the background. As the description reveals, this card is about the ease and comfort of the home, and reaping the rewards of the harvest. This wasn’t a surprise: I’d recently been promoted, and my life was stable — and improving. “Okay,” I thought, “I get it. I am in a safe and comfortable place personally. But what about Tom?” With that, I drew Tom’s card. As I turned it over, I nearly fell off my chair.

I have neglected to mention that my husband has blazing red hair. It’s one of the things that first caught my eye about him, and has remained a special feature to me. There aren’t many redheads in the world, so it makes Tom all the more unique in my eyes. The card? There sat a little redheaded boy, unclothed and smiling, upon a royal horse. An aura of light burned around the boy’s head, and in the background, as the text revealed, were the bees that suck the nectar from the flowers of St. John’s Wort .

Instantly, I knew Tom would be safe. Indeed, the Sun card is part of the Major Arcana — cards that deal with the soul. As the Druid Craft explains, “here we transcend our normal experience of time, to enter a dimension that is both being and becoming — that is somehow eternally present, yet at the same time changing, in process.” The card I had pulled for Tom is specifically associated with happiness, success, freedom, and creative expression. “This is the card of your full creative potential being realized in the world… We are free to be exactly who we are, and to give the world exactly what it is that we are supposed to give — what we were born to give,” reads the Druid Craft. I breathed a sigh of relief as I took in this blessing. I hadn’t heard from Tom yet, but I had a feeling he would be alright. I photographed the sun card and emailed him, hoping he’d see the card as positively as I did.

The next morning, I received an email from Tom. He wrote, “dear wife, The Sun card that you pulled is amazing! A Major Arcana card — one of twenty two, if I am not mistaken — and a very good sign. It’s a symbol of freedom from doubt and fear. Just the card I needed.” He went on to tell me about how his luck had changed: between our conversation Friday and his email Sunday, he’d worked out the animosity with his boss over a bottle of wine, and by dawn on the streets of Singapore, he had found himself among a few strangers who took a liking to him — and insisted on buying him beer into the late morning. As it turned out, he was in the company of Chinese mobsters, one of whom was dying of cancer. They shared their stories and scars with him, and as he headed back to his hotel room, they invited him back again one night for dinner. His problem at work had been resolved, and he felt renewed and confident. Furthermore, he had bonded with dark strangers who were kind to him.

The Sun card sits on my night table, and the redheaded boy’s smile is a sweet reminder that Tom is safe, that we are connected, and that the magic feather lies not beside us — but in us.

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