March 31st, 2007

Lady Bosch

Lent, Jesus as 'top dog'


A Fourth attempt. Until now I have made three attempts to post a card out of the ‘Top Dog - Underdog’ spread that I have done last Sunday. Lack of time prohibited it, and the need to probe deeper. Enough is enough, not perfect yet, but I post it now.

Out of curiosity I picked an image of Jesus as top dog for me. After that I did the whole spread of eight cards. I created it last spring for a group on tarot and dreaming. I post only the ‘top dog’ here, the first card of the spread.

Firstly, ‘top dog’ is a term coined by Fritz Perls, founder of the Gestalt therapy. It represents all the ‘ought-s’ and ‘should-s’ and ‘musts’ in us, for example: “You must not eat too much”, “You must always be friendly”. Top dogs are a voice inside us. They are extremely dominant, they speak loudly, trying to force you to do what they want in whatever way. Often their demands are hidden in sweet talk: “it would be the best for you if,” or they can take the image of a person, a guru, or a god or a goddess you hold in high esteem. The problem with these top dogs is, that demands are too challenging. You will never be able to meet them.

I used the Inner Child Cards (not great cards for this spread I discovered, they lack expression; a deck as the Fey Tarot works much better). The card that came up as ‘top dog’ was the Guide of Wands (Queen of Wands in the RWS, the Lerner’s wanted to mix genders, so two of the Guides (Queens) are male and two of the Guardians (Kings) are female). 


The Guide of Wands is represented by the Pied Piper, a character in a fairytale. The Pied Piper rescues the city of Hamelin that is infested with rats. He did that by luring the rats away by music he played on his flute. But when the city refused to pay him, he went on with luring. He lured the children of the city away as a punishment for their greed. The Piper brought the children into a mountain and closed the doors on them. The story does not end well. The children do not come out of it anymore. One lame boy arrived too late at the doors of the mountain. He as only survivor went back to the city to tell what happened. For Isha Lerner (in the Inner Child Cards Workbook) the story shows the imbalance we have in our world regarding material and spiritual values; the town officials refused to pay the piper (material) for his work (spiritual).

So, in what way now does this image represent Jesus as ‘top dog’ for me?

I did not understand the card till I told the story of the Pied Piper to myself well no, to my family- during the Sunday lunch. It mainly the money issue that makes the Pied Piper an image of Jesus as top dog for me. The Pied Piper demands money for his spiritual work. But to me the card means that I am not allowed to keep money or ask money for my spiritual work. I must hand in to the Pied Piper what is valuable, always, it is not for me. Probably because he -as an image of Jesus- is an important source of my spirituality. I must hand it in to my source; it is not mine. I truly feel it that way. Many good things that happen my work are not my doing (very top dog like, the ‘ought-s’ are hidden in ideals). I was hopping on my chair as an Easter bunny when I discovered this insight. (My family was not impressed at all, numb by me being surprised about the cards I pull).

Furthermore the ‘luring’ is important. Like the children I go after the Jesus as the Pied Piper, who plays such beautiful music. I await a promise or a reward of some sort at the end, for this music is so wonderful. In fact I am being manipulated by that promise, because it ends up to nothing more then getting imprisoned in a dark mountain, but that is not what I hear and see if I go after the Pied Piper. 

There is more to it: these are children that follow the Pied Piper, and it is an image of non-seriousness, but that is all too much for now. 
Madonna del "Magnificat" (detail)

Saturday, Fifth Week of Lent, John 12:37-50, Curiosity Kills the Cat

In the passage I have read today, John 12:37-50, John quotes the prophet Isaiah. John tells that although Jesus had done many miracles, many people did not believe who Jesus was, despite the miracles he did: the son of God. By not believing in him, says John, is a prophecy of Isaiah be fulfilled. Isaiah had said:

“He has blinded their eyes and he hardened their heart,
Lest they should see with their eyes,
And perceive with their heart,
And would turn,
And I would heal them.”

Referring to the dignified prophet Isaiah, John positions Jesus into the known and much respected tradition. Secondly he makes Jesus important by doing that. It is a of explaining why Jesus his message did not ring true for many people: it was destined, said in the prophecy. After this, nothing else can happen than a death sentence for Jesus. Their heart is hardened by God, their eyes are blinded. They will never believe him. They will kill Jesus.

I have asked two questions.
1.What hardens my heart, so that I cannot perceive with my heart?
2.What blinds my eyes, so that I cannot see.

I have pulled Eight of Cups from the Motherpeace Round Tarot for the first question: what my heart hardens. 


There are many cups on this card, all held by the arms of the octopus, leading to one core, the body of the animal. Since these cards are round, they fall in all directions and each directions signifies something else. I have pulled this card with its top to the right. To me now this means that I have tried to reach the core of my being regarding to Jesus, but all those different cups, I could not find a core, I still cannot reach it and I want to stop reaching and searching for it. It makes me so angry that my arms tense up (harden) and typing starts to hurt. Not being able, but wanting to reach a core, hardens my heart. 

This card is related to the night-cards I have pulled last week, Nine of Quills and the Moon, and even to the Wheel of Fortune, the card that I pulled the day before yesterday. In in all of them the theme was separating illusion from clarity or truth. 

For the second question, what is blinding my eyes, I have pulled Six of Discs reversed. 


Six of Discs means sharing, deep contact and generosity, having more than enough to share. When the card is reversed, then it is difficult to make this deep contact; there is no sharing then. The energy is withhold, for instance out of fear that one is depleted after the energy is given. This depicts me, and the card shows my anxiety that I will never be able to change it, to reverse the card so to say.
This card is related to many other cards that I have pulled earlier this Lent about the theme of giving, and it is related to the Regenerator, the Sage of Cups, the card that I have drawn yesterday and which showed that I do not reach out to Jesus, caring about his fears as Mary Magdalene did. 

Curiosity kills the cat. I was very curious to know the answers to these questions, but the answers make me feel bound and blindfolded like the woman on the Eight of Swords. More optimistic questions are: “What prevents the hardening of my heart?” and “What prevents the blinding of my eyes?” or: "What makes me believe in Jesus? Too late now. But tomorrow I ask an optimistic question, otherwise I am not going to make it until Easter.