March 24th, 2007

Madonna del "Magnificat" (detail)

Friday, Fourth week of Lent, John 6:52-59, Eucharist (part 2)


Yesterday I have pulled a card to the question: “What does it mean to eat Jesus’ flesh and to drink his blood?” Jesus flesh and blood are present (symbolically, or real) in the bread and the wine of the Eucharist, a ritual that is the at the center of Christian worship.

The card that that I had pulled was Four of Wands from the Fantastic Menagerie Tarot made by baba_studio.


I could not answer the question yesterday, and I could not today. So I pulled a card to show me my resistance; in others words, what blocked me interpreting this card.

The card that came up was the Magician from the same deck. 


The Magican holds the divine spark of creation. He can be a powerful figure, someone of knowledge, but at the same time he could be a trickster, someone who cons. You never know if what he performs is a trick of something real.

For me the trickster side of the Magician counted here. This card showed me that it is difficult for me to look a the possibility that the ‘eating of the flesh and the blood,’ bread and whine, the Eucharist, which is fundamental for Christianity could be a fake, a joke, a worthless effort.

The Magician also showed how I felt tricked by drawing the Four of Wands. I had a mingling of shame seeing this happy card with people enjoying themselves over-the-body-of-Christ, me included, and anger at the power that is connected to this symbol in the history of the church; power of excluding people from receiving the Eucharist and forbidding women to distribute it. 

Looking a the Four or Wands card, Jesus is the little beetle with the whip, in front of everyone, too little and powerless to do anything against what is done with his body and his blood.

A very revealing card, this Magician.

Saturday, Fourth Week of Lent, John 6:60-66, Disciples leave Jesus

In the passages I have read during the past days Jesus has positioned himself carefully in tradition of faith he belongs too. He claimed that he was sent by God, and that he did not wanted anything else than God; he said he acted according to Gods will. He referred also to Moses, an important forefather, who led the people of Israel out of Egypt. Further he mentioned ‘manna’, food given by God in the desert when the people of Israel could not find any and almost starved.

But Jesus also claims that he is more this. Moses died, and Jesus promises eternal life. And Jesus claims that his food, his manna, will give eternal life, while the manna in the desert was not more than food.

Today I have read John 6:60-66, the responds of  the disciples to the words of Jesus. When his disciples had heard all this they responded: “This is a hard saying! Who can listen to it?” It is hard for them to believe the words of Jesus: that he is ‘living bread’ that and that believing in him will grant eternal life. The disciples have seen the deeds of Jesus: his healings and they tasted his food on the hill of Tiberias, but still it is hard. As a consequence of this speech many of the disciples left Jesus.

The question that I have asked the tarot about this story is: “What do these disciples miss out on by leaving Jesus?”

I have pulled the Lady of Coins, from the Tarot of Jane Austen made by chelsearoad.


Pictured on this card is Eleneor from the book “Sense and Sensibility”. She sits quietly at a window, sketching and thinking. Eleneor is a loyal, trustworthy woman. If she makes a promise she keeps it. She would not make rash decisions or judgements but deliberates them for a long time. The disciples are more like Marianne, the sister of Eleneor. Diane Wilkes contrasts Eleneor with Marianne in the book alongside the deck. Marianne is passionate and open, behaves dramatically, makes rash judgements and decisions based on the quickly changing emotions. Eleneor is much more cautious, and deliberates more.

The behaviour of the disciples make makes me think of Marianne. It is based on the passion and emotion of the moment, and leaving is a dramatic gesture. What the disciples miss out on in leaving Jesus is firstly not so much something what they gain in the contact with Jesus. They miss out on something in themselves. They leave Jesus rashly, not giving Jesus credit for what he already had shown them. In this manner they do not give themselves time to grow in their relationship with Jesus, to hear and understand what he is saying to them and deliberate it in their hearts. They miss out on this character trait and that makes them miss out on the relationship with Jesus as well, which could grow further if they would stay.

What does the behaviour of the disciples say about me? For I do sympathize with these leaving disciples. Although I have drawn the Five of Coins from the Tarot of Jane Austen recently as the card that showed me life until eternity, and while I was very happy with the message of the card, I do not trust the message of Jesus totally, I have the same doubts as the leaving disciples. I do know if the message of Jesus is really that liberating and fruitful.

What advises Eleneor, as the Queen of Coins, me to do? She urges me to grow into the relationship with Jesus, by giving him credit, by staying with his story, and not to leave him yet.