September 10th, 2006

Madonna del "Magnificat" (detail)


Yesterday I went to the party of my friend Simone, who has celebrated yesterday that she is a Franciscan nun for 40 years. Actually she calls it: "walking for 40 years in the footsteps of Francis and Clara."

A year ago she started cross-stitching this mandala, in order to be able to meditate on those years, and relive them. The mandala represents the 40 years. This version here is unfinished. It looks different now it is finished, more joyful, but I do not have a picture of that. The mandala served as the altar-cloth during the service. 


Working on the mandala made her aware of shining pearls in the often difficult times in her first years. There was a poem about pearls in the worship-booklet, related to the story about Moses and the burning bush, the story which was read during the service. It is called "The Bright Field", by R.S. Thomas. I know this poem since last summer, but I did not know it from her, nor that she would use it.

It was just this poem I had to fetch yesterday from upstairs for my husband minutes before I left for that party! Such a coincidence. He wanted it to use it in his sermon about Moses and the burning bush.

I had planned to use the poem as an inspiration for a card today in my blog, because my husband likes it so much, and uses it in his sermon today. 

Again a coincidence.
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Madonna del "Magnificat" (detail)

The Pearl in the Field

Because it is Sunday, I chose a question to contemplate on. I chose the poem "The Bright Field" by R.S. Thomas, because my friend Simone, and my husband were inspired by it this weekend. The poem is about someone who has seen the sun shine on a field and forgot that, going on with his life. Later he realizes that in that field there was a treasure,  a pearl of great value. The theme of the poem is that one needs be aware of what is of value. 

I asked myself the question:   "What is for me the pearl in that one field, which I have forgotten?" Then, I pulled a card. But first, the poem.

The Bright Field

I have seen the sun break through
to illuminate a small field
for a while, and gone my way
and forgotten it. But it was the pearl
of great price, the one field that had
the treasure in it. I realize now
that I must give all that I have
to possess it. Life is not hurrying.

on to a receding future, nor hankering after
an imagined past. It is the turning
aside like Moses to the miracle
of the lit bush, to a brightness
that seemed as transitory as your youth
once, but it is the eternity that awaits you. 

R.S. Thomas

I was hoping for a Minor Arcana Card; there is more action there; they are getting a bit boring these saints lately. But, having said that, this card, The High Priestess (St.Paraskeva), really hits the mark. It refers to an inner conflict, and takes a stand in it. 


Sometimes I think, why not a proper job? I like working with the tarot very much, but well, I do not earn a living with it. That means that I am not financially independent. Often I feel a fool doing that, taking this risk. In the past week this conflict -which is always there under the surface- flared up.

In this instance, The High Priestess represents what I am doing, counseling and teaching the tarot. The card points out to me that what I am doing is valuable and worthwhile, as the pearl in the field. 

The first part of the poem by R.S. Thomas is inspired by a text from Matthew.  The second part refers to Ex. 3:1-6