According to Caitlin Matthews' Celtic Wisdom Tarot, "the Changer" is another name for Taranis the Thunderer, who is shown here with his lightning bolt and sacred wheel. This Celtic god is associated most closely with the Roman Jupiter and his thunderbolt. Behind Taranis, we see the sacred wheel that overturns all things--including human destiny. Stories indicate that human sacrifices were made in his honour, though not all sources agree about this. Either way, he seems to have been a fearsome and powerful deity!
I first came across Taranis many years ago when I received this deck of cards as a gift. I was struck by the powerful imagery and the accompanying explanation about Taranis' knack for turning people's lives upside-down. Years later, when I began to envision Skye's adventures into the Celtic Otherworld, it was Taranis who appeared as my villain.
Skye first glimpses Taranis when she draws his card from the deck of tarot cards she has inherited from her mother's family--a family she knows nothing about. When she looks at the card, she can feel the god's cruel nature emanating from the image. Little does she know that this card has more to do with her past, her present, and her future than she could ever imagine.
As the story progresses, Skye learns more about this god's connection to her own family. Skye is descended from a long line of seannachies, who were mythical Celtic storytellers who (at least in my fanciful interpretation) created bridges between the worlds of the gods and their human followers. Many ancient stories suggest that Taranis passed into obscurity as his cult became irrelevant in the face of evolving religious beliefs and practices. Some stories even suggest that he died of grief. In The Storyteller's Daughter, however, Taranis is able to dodge this fate when he stumbles upon Skye's family, whose blood is still strong with the seannachies' powers. Through trickery, deception, and brute force, Taranis is able to remain in the human world. Now Skye has become his next target.
Click here to learn more about Taranis from The Mythology Source.
* The above image has been reproduced with kind permission from Caitlin Matthews.