August 7th, 2007

juwelenkist, vanitas

The Sword and the Leper: The Sword

Again I asked today a question about the Sword and the Leper, a story about St. Brigid. Yesterday  I asked which attitude the figure of the leper in me represented; the day before yesterday I asked which attitude the chieftain, the father of Brigid, symbolised in me. Today my question is which attitude the sword in this story in me represents: the sword that is the possession of the father, that Brigid gives away and that the leper receives. I state precisely, because the sword represents something different for each of the characters. For the father the sword is a symbol of war, therefore he does not take it with him when he goes inside the house of his neighbour. The sword for Brigid is something of value to give away and for the leper it is something he can trade off for money or food.

For the second day in a row I have received a card from Mansfield Park. It is Fanny, who represents the Hanged Man in the Tarot of Jane Austen, the deck I used. 


On the card we see Fanny sewing curtains for the stage of a worldly play to which she does not agree that is it put on. She does this to help her friends, who want this play on stage badly. The archetype of the Hanged Man sacrifices his own needs for the higher good, just as Fanny does. Sometimes the Hanged Man is a victim, a victim of his own principles, or a victim because he cannot actively change his situation, he cannot choose to do something else than just ‘hanging’.

For Brigid and for the leper, the sword is the Hanged Man. To the leper who receives the sword, it represents the victim aspect of the Hanged Man. The leper needs the sword, otherwise he’ll die. He has no means to earn a living. It would be far more better if he could work or got paid because he is handicapped, but that is not possible in his society. For Brigid the sword (the giving of the sword) represents the higher good, the Hanged Man stands for, and the sacrifice he makes by standing for that. Brigid protests by giving the sword against living in a society in which people are too poor to live. She gives the sword to the leper because it is her principle that wealth must be shared. The figure of Fanny fits very well here, because Fanny actively stands for her principles, just as Brigid does. For the principle of sharing Brigid sacrifices her relation with her father, because she gives his possession away without his consent.

I recognize both attitudes in my life regarding the sword: the need to help because the world is not as it should be (Brigid), thereby repressing my own needs, and also the feeling of being a victim at those moments I ask for help, because I am not being able to do certain things myself (because of my arms).
Madonna del "Magnificat" (detail)

The Sword and the Leper, the Leper as Chariot, my Shrewdness

Yesterday I pulled the Chariot as the attitude for the leper in me (the leper in the story the Sword and the Leper). I interpreted the Chariot as the attitude in me that does not want to be a leper, that at all costs evades being a leper, therefore choosing the fast lane, staying on the horse all the time, claiming success and confidence. I related this to depression, the wish to escape depression.

Here is another thought about the Chariot as leper in me. Since I have pulled the Hanged Man this afternoon (in the aspect of being a victim) as the card for the sword in relation to the leper, I think I need to write it down. The interpretation I will give here was in fact the first one that came into my mind when I pulled the Chariot, but I let it go. In my first interpretation the leper in me symbolizes a shrewdness to get what it wants. It is immoral and does not have any empathy (just like Mary Crawford). This attitude stems from a feeling of powerlessness, a feeling of being a victim. It is shrewd and uses these tactic, because it does not have power to do it in another manner (true or false). A leper is an outcast and does not have any power to get something done.
It is not that this interpretation (about the shrewdness) is better than the other in which I use the Chariot to evade being a leper. Both interpretations are valid. But I think the one about the shrewdness rings more true to the leper as an outcast and a victim.
Off to bed now.