Posted by: Ian | December 24, 2012

My Rapha Festive 500 – Day 1

At the start of this month I read my own Tarot. I do this from time to time, when my thinking needs shaking up or I seek fresh inspiration. It’s been a few years since the last time.

There are endless ways to spread the cards and on this occasion I used the simplest one I know. I’ll explain it over the coming days. I’ll also illustrate the cards that came up and what they are usually taken mean, and maybe why and how Tarot works. I don’t intend to opine on what I took from this reading – what the cards meant to me – because that’s only interesting to approximately one person (and I already know).

In this simplest of spreads the first card that is picked is a Significator and represents the querent – the person being read for (in this case, me). A Significator is used in many spreads. Sometimes it’s picked out consciously, maybe even from another deck so that the card chosen can reappear in the course of the reading. Where this is done it can be selected for any reason: a connection to the querent; a visual similarity; astrology cues; there are even mappings from Myers-Briggs types to the Tarot deck. In this spread I selected the Significator “blind” by doing a standard sequence of shuffles and left-handed cuts. I got this:

Four swords

It’s the Four of Swords. You can read a book to find out what it “means” (and, of course, I do) but the picture gives you everything you need. Your man is laid out like a sepulchral sculpture. At first, it appears as though he’s dead – but Death is a different card. He’s in a death-like pose of contemplation. There are clues about the nature of this contemplation in the disposition of the swords. Three of the swords are prominently displayed about the figure, neat and dormant but nonetheless pointing aggressively at his upper body and head. The meaning of the Three of Swords is also pretty clear from the picture on the card:

Three swords

With those hanging above him, it’s perhaps clearer why the guy looks dead and is taking time out. The Four of Swords often indicates the need for recuperation and repair after some sort of torrid experience.

The fourth sword rests discreetly below the figure, also as if entombed, ready for later use when he’s back on his feet.

I was pleased to pick the Four of Swords as my Significator.

And so onto the Rapha Festive 500… As my Tarot reading indicated (and I’ll come onto the other cards in the coming days), I need a period of radical reflection. The year end always, for me, provides a time for a re-boot – mulling over the year that has gone and preparing for the year that to come. Now, more than ever, it’s timely. The Festive 500 is a useful extra discipline, requiring nothing other than that participants cycle at least 500 km between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

I began today with a ride of just under 70 miles, starting south of Shaftesbury and heading up onto Salisbury Plain, twice venturing out eastwards, before retracing my path and returning to the car.

I drove to the start and before I began I lost the car key. I knew it was in (or, at worst, around) the car but for the life of me I couldn’t find it. I got very upset with myself because it’s just the stupid dumb-ass thing that I do all the time, to my own intense self-irritation. After a period of futile searching I went and did my ride, leaving the car unlocked, knowing that I would be calmer when I returned.

While I rode it rained, and there was a strong wind. When I turned eastwards the strong wind became a fierce crosswind. I had a vision of it becoming almost unrideable (to be actually unrideable it would have to repeatedly lift me from the bike) but it never did.

The last time I cycled in this area I was heading on an East to West line that crossed today’s South to North to South line. Then, I was on a day-long ride from London to Somerset. I recorded that ride here, but I didn’t record what a crap bike buddy I was to Emily who came with me: in my anxiety about getting to Somerset before nightfall I frequently rode ahead during the latter part of the ride.

Today my deadline was simply to be back at Crickleaze before my father arrived for Christmas. I managed that without going faster than I could comfortably manage in the poor weather while still enjoying it. I was relieved to find the car still there when I returned to my start point, and equally pleased to find the key quickly this time (it had mysteriously skipped inside an inner pocket of my clothes bag).

Back at home, my Garmin wouldn’t communicate with my computer until I’d blasted the USB port for ages with a hairdryer.  Here’s the Strava picture of the ride:

F500, Day 1



  1. […] to my Tarot reading, the second card in my short spread is known as the Animus. With an etymology apparently connoting […]

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