Living the Visions:
across the bridge, before the gate


By the same author

Visit the Tresco MS Realm to discover the wisdom traditions of Middle-earth

The Gate is locked. Behind is a still pool of water. It seems calm, but the level is rising. Before long, you realise that this is it: there is no way back, only forward. You must find the Key. For within the pool, dark things are moving.


With all the material I've published on the Tresco MS and the 'wisdom traditions' it contains I thought it might be of interest to show how I use the systems myself. Specifically, I hope to show by demonstration how the Taratir archetypes can be used as a framework for considering the events of your own life, using as example my experiences over the past few months. Readers might like to refer to my article Life, Leaf & Stone: part 1, Behind the Wisdom of Life

First of all, a little background. My birth date is March 20, 1961, which means that my LIFE-vision is 12, BRIDGE. My Year-visions over the past few 'growth years' - years running from birthday to birthday - are as follows (current year shown in bold):


Year from













13, GATE




Thus, I have just passed from a two year period 'under' my LIFE-vision 12, BRIDGE into a new growth year under Vision 13, GATE. Archetypes 12 and 13 are (together with 16, TOWER) distinguished as 'Key Visions.'

That is, over and above their individual meanings, they mark important rites of passage between one phase of personal development and the next. Their occurrence in my Year-vision profile highlights the current period as especially important to my life as a whole (the significance of any year under 12, BRIDGE is for me doubly significant, of course, with that being my LIFE-vision).

Okay, so what do these Visions mean? I do not as yet have full, definitive descriptions for all thirty-six archetypes, but for present purposes I can summarise:

Taratir 12, BRIDGE (yanta, 'bridge')

Illustrated by Gandalf confronting the Balrog on the Bridge of Khazad-düm, the basic meaning of this archetype is one of sacrifice. The corresponding Tarot card is XII, The Hanged Man, indicating initiation of some kind and often taken to signify Odin's self-sacrifice upon the World Tree Yggdrasil.

There is the sense that you are being called upon to fulfil the role you have taken upon yourself. This, if you like, is where you truly discover if you have been on the right Path all this time (or, at least, during this present series of Year-visions). This may be in response to some need expressed by those around you: something that you and you alone can perform to help someone else, albeit at a cost to yourself.

There is no certainty at all that anything 'good' will come of the sacrifice. However, if you can play your part willingly, and to your utmost best, reward there may be. Out of Odin's self immolation came the wisdom of the runes. Out of the apparent defeat of Gandalf's Fall came his transformation and rebirth, without which he could not have played his full part in the Quest of the Ring.

Taratir 13, GATE (ando, 'gate')

Having passed through the previous year/s of testing under 12, BRIDGE, you now face the challenge of Vision 13. This archetype is illustrated by the West Gate of Moria, through which the Company of the Ring had to pass. The primary meaning is of having to move on from one distinct phase of your life to the next.

This is to a degree voluntary: that is, you do not have to move on. However, in some important respect you have exhausted the possibilities of your present environment. If you choose to remain, your progress may falter, and with time it becomes more and more difficult to find the Gate that will lead you on.

Deciding that you need to move on, however, is only the first step: finding the Gate is not necessarily as simple as it sounds. And, even then, the Door may be locked. Without the right password you must remain on this side. The password to the West Gate was Mellon, Friend: you may well find that you are led to and / or through the Gate by a friend, or travel in another's company.

All this is really just a way of saying that you need to know why you want to move on, that you need to aware of the consequences and that the Gate you are choosing is the right one for you at this time. Moving on always means leaving things behind - items, people, ideas about yourself - that have been important to you but which are now no longer relevant to your Journey. Take this as an exercise in prioritising you life.

To each his own Balrog

Fair enough, you might be thinking, but how does he use all this stuff? Well, so far as the past two years are concerned, I have been able to relate 12, BRIDGE to my changed duties and responsibilities at work, with consequent knock-on effects at home. I have found myself taking a much more active - indeed proactive - role and (in the main) enjoying it, though it has been a shock and required / reflects something of a phase shift in my attitudes to myself and others. All this may not seem much compared to what Gandalf and the Fellowship faced on the Bridge of Mazarbul - but to each his own Balrog.

The relevance of 12, BRIDGE became especially keen late in 1997 when I was offered the opportunity of a temporary promotion. Happy where I was (aware of how far I'd already come) and/or just plain scared of further responsibility I twice declined the offer. I have wondered if I was wise to do so and whether Aragorn, Boromir (especially) and the rest of the Fellowship felt guilt that they had not faced the Demon alongside Gandalf. Having declined the promotion and thus given up for the time being the opportunity to take on the mantle of leadership in that respect, I can see my situation as in some ways equivalent to the Fellowship's after losing Gandalf's leadership in Moria. So much for Bridges.

In January 1998, with my birthday almost in sight, came the opportunity to apply for a new job, at British Airways (not, as some people suggested at the time, as a stewardess ...) From the start this felt like the right thing happening at the right time - and, of course, fitted well into the archetype of 13, GATE as a necessary moving on from one phase of my life into the next one.

Another strong link was the word Mellon, Friend: I learned of the British Airways opportunity through a close colleague who had just secured a job there herself - and another colleague and I moved together through the application process of initial visit, assessment tests and finally the interviews. I took my final interview just eleven days before my birthday. Reducing the date of the interview gave the 'day-vision' 13, GATE ... which in itself seemed a good omen!

However, as I awaited the result I began having doubts. A new job would certainly equate to my passing through the Gate but that seemed more appropriate to the end of a year under Vision 13 rather than the start. Could I have calculated the Visions incorrectly?

More fundamentally, given that the calculations include a value for the 'Age of the World', might I have been using the wrong 'Age' value all along? Taking the current Age as five instead of six would have meant I was passing from two years under 13, GATE into a year under 14, EVENSTAR. It was certainly possible: the ascribance of the current Age as the sixth had always been rather subjective - but it would mean a radical shift in alignment for me personally.

Then, of course, I learned that I had not got the job. After the very real disappointment (dis-appointment?) there has been chance for reflection. I had passed the various tests, won through at last to stand before the Gate. The Gate that would be my passage from the present arena of my life to the next. But the Gate remains - for the present time - shut.

I feel I let myself down in the interview (the first for a good couple of years). I didn't know the right words. Now it is up to me (as it only ever can be, of course): to rethink, to reassess. But assuredly not to give up trying.

For within the pool, dark things
are moving ...