And all those lonely nights
down by the river
brought me bread and water
by the kith and the kin
Joanna Newsom, “Cosmia” (Ys, 2006)
A woman sits in a hollow of a tree by a river, her eyes closed and her hands crossed at her waist. Six golden cups of water are arranged in an arc in front of her, in the twisting roots of the tree that reach down into the waves. In the middle, a loaf of bread sits on a plate. The cups and plate are decorated with twining and thorny red vines. The woman wears a pink shirt with four gold buttons. In the background and through the trees, the sky is dark indigo blue.
The bread and water in the Six acts as life-sustaining aid, support in dark times. This card is a reminder of obligations to and from family. The other component of this card is a kind of reversion. The figure is “pushed back into a tree,” a natural sanctuary or a primal form. In this way, we can generalize from remembrance of previous generations to a search for the past and mourning for what has been lost.