Kingfisher inhabits an apocalyptic landscape of volcanic eruption. The common image for XVI is a burning tower. This version, with the fleeing woman, is taken specifically from the Florentine Minchiate (see Selected References). This destruction is freeing in a way, as what was “bound and calcified” turns to flowing lava.
As in VI. Esme, this song hinges on a moment of recognition. Lovers from past lives meet each other in a new recursion of the timeline, hoping to break the cycle in violent confrontation. The blood which spirals serpent-like from the evicted woman pools in the heart of the Earth, feeding both the carnivorous lion and the peaceful kingfisher.
The constellation Pisces drawn at the bottom of the picture, besides being Fish for the kingfisher, echoes the same theme of being bound through time. According to one origin story, Venus and Cupid transformed into fish to escape the monster Typhon, and tied themselves together so as not to lose each other in the rushing waters of the Euphrates.
This is the most ominous of the cards. The lighthouse’s beacon is a warning, as the kingfisher announces the end of halcyon days.