January 6th, 2007

Madonna del "Magnificat" (detail)

Twelve Days of Christmas, Twelfth Day, Epiphany


Today it is Epiphany, the Twelfth Night, the last day of The Twelve Days of Christmas. It is traditionally the day that the Christmas decorations are taken down, and the day that the Magi present their gifts. Each of the Three Kings has a gift for Jesus which says something of his life. The gifts from the Kings is what inspired the spread of today. Since it is the last day of the Twelve Days, and from now on the holidays are over, the spread is meant to present ourselves with gifts that help us in the year to come. The spread is called: “The Gifts from the Magi”.

There are three cards in this spread.

The first card: “Incense”
Caspar gave incense. Jesus was a divine child. The scent and the smoke of incense travelling upwards helps to connect with the divine. What can be the ‘incense’ in your life? What connects you with the divine? What supports your spiritual life in the coming year? 


I have drawn The Guardian of Wands (King of Wands, but with a different meaning) as my ‘incense’, that helps me connect with the divine. Depicted is Raphael, the healing archangel, presiding over the Wands in the Inner Child cards. I have pulled this card earlier. Probably I need healing of some sort in my relation to the divine, and I can use Raphael to help me doing that, but I do not grasp this card fully.

The second card: “Myrrh”
Balthazar gave myrrh. Myrrh was used to balm the dead. This gift suggests Jesus’ coming suffering and death. Myrrh is also a medicine, so it telling us that Jesus would become a healer. The question is about healing: What is your ‘myrrh’ in the coming year? What helps you to heal? 


I have pulled the Nine of Hearts (Nine of Cups) in this position. Depicted is a mermaid who collects water from a waterfall in a vase. This card is telling me to be open to receive, in order to be healed. That is a difficult one, for I use to think that I do not give enough, or give enough back.

The third card: “Gold”
Melchior gave gold. Gold belongs to Kings, so it suggests Jesus kingship. It is also the most valuable metal. This gift will show you your most valuable instrument that can help you this year. What is your ‘gold’? What is you most valuable instrument this year?

I have received Peter Pan (The Chariot) as my most valuable instrument. Peter Pan teaches the importance of grounding ideas in the concrete world. I am doing that all the time, but I do think it would be nice to have some time more to contemplate and rest, in order to stay in my centre. 


Although I do not fully grasp the meaning of the first card, I think that on the whole the gifts tell me to get more into contact with my feminine, receptive side, to use that as an instrument to help me in the coming year. This is a nice following up on ‘King Midas’ (Justice) an Inner Child card that I have pulled some days earlier. Midas is the fairytale king who turns everything into gold, regrets that, and must dive to get a vase, a symbol of the feminine, to help healing what he had turned into gold.

This project of The Twelve Days of Christmas in spreads is inspired by John Matthews, The Winter Solstice, Godsfield Press, 2003, (1998).
Painting: Adoration of the Magi by Strazzi