2021 has arrived and whilst we were all looking for a respite, it is obvious that lock-downs still need to be imposed and that we are still working on finding a resolution to Covid-19. Herd immunity may just be the call of the day whilst we go through a series of humanity mingling together unfettered and the threat of lock-downs intermittently. At such a time, Hope and the belief that better times lie just around the corner can be a powerful pick me up. Today’s Card carries the wisdom of Ancient Greece.
Elpis is the Greek personification of the spirit of Hope. When we see the tarot card The Star, it brings to mind the phrase “wish upon a star” and talks about hope and wishful thinking and often wish fulfillment too. However in the tarot, it comes after The Tower, which was a deluge, or an earthquake, so The Star also hints at the suffering that has just been endured and the reason that Hope is so essential.
Long ago when the world was young, the gods had the fires and men coveted them. Prometheus whose name means foresight was one of the Titans older generation of the Greek Gods and was sympathetic to the men and he stole some fire from the gods and gave it to the men. He also taught men how to outwit the gods by keeping the best cut of meats for themselves. Prometheus was a friend to men and he gave them fire and taught them metalwork and farming.
As a result of stealing fire for men, Zeus the father and ruler of the gods were filled with rage and imprisoned Prometheus by chaining him to a cliff. Every day an Eagle would fly down and eat his liver and every night the liver would regenerate thereby trapping the mighty god in eternal misery. The ordeal ended when Hercules in the course of his twelve labor’s came across Prometheus and killed the Eagle who tormented him. It is said that men wear rings to commemorate, the binding of Prometheus.
To punish men, Zeus ordered the craftsmen of the gods Hephaestus to fashion a woman out of clay. Athena the goddess of wisdom, gave her life using heavenly fire and each of the gods added something to her. She was then named Pandora which means the gift of all. Then the gods gave her a jar and placed curiosity within her. It was Hermes the messenger of the gods who brought her to this world and gifted her to Epimetheus to be his wife.
Epimetheus who had been forewarned by his brother Prometheus to not accept any gifts from the gods took the stunning Pandora to be his wife. He, however, instructed her to keep the jar away and never open it. Curiosity got the better of Pandora, once she and her husband had settled down to boring domesticity and she waited till Epimetheus was out of the house to take a peek at the box and see what lay inside.
What greeted Pandora when she opened the box was a collection of horrors, for the gods had boxed in a collection of sprites to torment humanity. Inside the box were, spite, old age, disease, sickness, hopelessness, death, and at the bottom of the jar was Elpis or the spirit of Hope. Elpis has been represented in Greek Mythology as a young woman carrying flowers or a goat’s horn overflowing with flowers fruit and corn in her arms. All the awful spirits escaped leaving only Elpis in the jar.
One of the reasons Elpis stayed in the jar is because humans were made of clay and thereby likened to jars. We all carry a little Elpis within us. The Star card talks about that hope that gets one going even when there has been a calamity.
The Star like Elpis is the hope that keeps us alive and ready to take on the world even if it is one step at a time. Elpis was in a box with the sprites as without her they would have taken the world into a downward spiral. It is only the existence of Hope that we get by. Elpis stayed in that jar because without her it would be impossible for man to get through this world.
So Today remember that within each of us there dwells a little Elpis and n the darkest of nights she is there to help the heart heal and soar and wish for better times.
Hamilton, Edith. Mythology. New York, USA: Warner Books, Inc., April 1999.
Charles Russell Coulter (Editor), Patricia Turner (Editor). Encyclopedia of Ancient Deities. Routledge, April 1, 2000.
Kamal Bhogal Bhatia
Founder Urban Soul Tarot, Singapore.