Hi. My name is Rebecca, and I’m a non-drinking Neptunian*. And while no one had ever referred to me as an alcoholic (at least not to my face!), I certainly had an inkling that something wasn’t right with my relationship with alcohol. And although I am sure I swore off drinking many times before I starting reading Tarot cards, it was there that my journey began.
You see, I couldn’t be an alcoholic. I had spent much of my twenties drinking far more than I should — those were the college years after all — and had retired from that hard-drinking, fast-moving club scene. I’d moved on to wine tasting, whiskey sampling and book clubs with tasteful appetizers and rotating designated drivers — alcoholics couldn’t be designated drivers, right?
I was a responsible drinker now, never having more than a few drinks (except the few times a year I “let loose”), almost always controlling my intake — certainly a wino in the streets didn’t count their drinks!
If you asked anyone who knew me, I was successful at most everything: cooking, cleaning, writing, knitting, hiking, traveling and whatever else I decided to take on that particular month. But if you asked me, I knew something no one else did: I wanted more booze. The only thing that stopped me from drinking to oblivion was the fact that it wasn’t socially acceptable.
But the Tarot knew it. Every single time I did a reading, Temperance would sit in front of me. And I would curse the card; I hated Temperance. I saw it as a synonym for moderation, which for me was simply a cross I had to bear.
Why was moderation so easy for some people? Why was it that my husband could leave a beer unfinished while I had to empty the last of the wine bottle because well, you just can’t leave that little amount in there, can you? I didn’t understand those folks that would have one drink, nurse it all night and then leave some of it on the table. I never left a drink unfinished. It simply was not done, and if I’m honest, I often thought of my next drink before the one in my hand was half-finished.
So every turn-up of Temperance strengthened my resolve: I would make another rule for myself, and later I would create another loophole.
- I won’t drink on weeknights. Is Sunday a weeknight really?
- I will only have two glasses of wine a night. I bought new wine glasses that you could practically empty a bottle into.
- I wouldn’t drink before dinner. Unless it was a bloody mary. Who has bloody maries in the evening?
- I abstained for thirty days and liked sobriety, deciding to stick with it, but caved on my birthday. Who stays sober for their birthday?
It was around that birthday that a new set caught my eye in an old esoteric bookshop in northern California. Called the Druid Craft Tarot, it incorporated a lot of symbolism that meant more to me and made more sense than the deck I had before. I had been christened a witch by an old Welsh woman, after all. My family name suggested an English history. Why not embrace that side of my past a bit more fully?
As I sat looking through the cards at home (sipping on some wine of course!) I noticed some significant differences in the deck. The Devil was renamed Cernunnos, which I appreciated coming from a very Christian background.
The Empress and Emperor were the Lord and the Lady. But most notably was Temperance — it had morphed into The Fferyllt, a druid alchemist who combines fire and water to create balance and transformation. She stands in front of her cauldron with a besom propped against the wall and herbs drying around her.
She looked a bit like a hedgewitch. And according to the suggested interpretation, turning this card over in a reading indicated a fluency between worlds, creativity, harmony, peace, alchemy and magic. These words resonated in a way that balance, moderation, patience, purpose, meaning — what I associated with the interpretation of Temperance — never did.
After that I moved fully into my Druid roots and The Fferyllt would come up as loyally as Temperance ever did. But to me there was something different about her. I wanted magic and to find fluency between the worlds.
These promises were more my style, more in tune with the forest-dwelling, creative and emotional lady I was. Temperance had felt so patriarchal. Slowly the idea of leaving behind alcohol crept into my mind and while AA felt stoic and final, I gave it a try. I felt the Fferyllt urging me on.
While some of us are able to moderate, to be temperate, that is not the goal. The goal is to find what brings us peace, what helps us create and find harmony within ourselves. The goal is to be our own alchemist, figuring out how much fire and water we ourselves need. Because there is no one-size-fits-all recipe when it comes to alcohol (or firewater, if you’re so inclined).
After three-plus years without it, each year more lucid and beautiful, more magical in ways I cannot describe aptly even as a writer, I realized that my Neptune nature doesn’t need firewater.
As much as the world had convinced me that artists must be drunks, as much as I had convinced myself that my best tarot readings came when I was buzzed, these were lies. The truth came from that place inside me where no lie can ever live: I am a non-drinking Neptunian and an alchemist of my soul.
* Neptune people (Pisces + Neptune influences strong in their astral) are classically more likely to seek transcendence in both spiritual and not-so-spiritual outlets. It’s explored more here. And yes, depending on where/how it falls in your Tarot, Temperance often means it is time to give something damaging or draining up. To gain the simple peace of more moderate living. Pay attention to repeat cards!