“her Orchards bore the sweetest walnuts to ever be eaten, and she lazed about the widespread trees feeding them to the great horned lion at her side. His name was [stricken] and he had been crafted from the nuts her trees with an extra dash of amber, and the Orchard-Picker adored him most of all beings. He guarded the gates of her Orchards from twilight to twilight, and rare did a creature make it past his gaze.” [- on the Orchard-Picker and her creatures]
Along with my thoughts on the death symbolism of lions in ancient Rome, I have been considering my own personal associations with lions. Honestly, they had never been a huge focus of mine until I was doing a reading for the Orchard-Picker (to see what card best portrayed her) and drew the King of Wands.
This was a shocking card to me. the Orchard-Picker had always been kind and gentle around me, and the card was a rush of energy. The god was undeniably charismatic, however, and I trusted her to have lead me to the right card. (The horns were fitting imagery for her, as well.) The lion is one of the clearest symbols and omens of the Orchard-Picker. Not only does it represent her raw strength and, when horned, her triumph, her preferred lion guards and protects the [Other People]. Someone who has become a [Other Person] is said to be under the lion’s protection. Within Faery, the lion dwells on the gate barring entrance to the Orchard-Picker’s fields, eyes watching and jaw waiting to catch any who try to pass without permission. Being accepted as a part of the [Other People] is to be led through the gates or have them opened for you, at which point – even should you chose to leave for other orchards – you will always be welcome. So, in this context, the lion means community, safety, and security. The [Other People] will ideally be a religion of the people, of the community, of the (chosen) family. [The People] support each other when needed and constantly lift each other up, sustaining each other at the same time they worship together. The lion represents that bond and that commitment – it represents the love in a family that shares values and convictions. the Orchard-Picker feeds anyone who comes to the entrance of her fields, and hospitality is a very large element of the religion of the [Other People], but the lion helps define who is ‘one of the People’. Being the favorite of the Orchard-Picker, the lion at the gate does not just watch over the [People]. He is not only connected to the very heart of the Orchard, but he is her messenger and representative in Faeryland. His mythology is tied up with the Firebird in that he is one of the beasts that bests the Firebird – through pure confidence and pride. This is something the lion shares with the Orchard-Picker. Immense pride in self, achievements, and community is part of the Orchard-Picker’s temperament (and one of the gifts she gives to the [People]).
To conclude, the Page of Wands has been drawn. It seems fitting, of course, coming from the same suit and also aligning with the recent flurry of movement within this religion and the faeries I work with. the Orchard-Picker’s trees buzz with the twitches of faeries and ring with the sound of their music, lead often by the Picker herself as she dances through the trees or ventures outside the Orchard and brings her cacophony of sound to the rest of Faery. Even so, with all that is shifting within the religion of the [People] and the many beginnings she has initiated in my life, this is a time of relative calm for her. She is feeling peaceful and joyful at all that is to come and sings her song now to attract more changes, more beginnings, and more people (or so a boy can hope).
You led me from the forest and bathed me in a bath as old as the first stone. You fed me with fruit and clothed me with fabric sown from dust and stars. I owe my bread to you/I owe my breath to you. I owe my wine to you/I owe my life to you.
[from a 2012 contemplation; presented to show the history of the faith]
Thank you for reading. ‘of the Other People’ is a site dedicated to the Otherfaith, a modern polytheist religion. You can find more about us here and here. You can contact us here if you have any questions or would like to get involved.