September 27th, 2007

Madonna del "Magnificat" (detail)


The Jewish holiday Sukkot has started. This week I invite seven foremothers in my blog which changes in a virtual sukkah. Each day another mother comes visiting to teach me something of relevance. Today I have invited Sarah, a picture of her is hanging right here on my blog-wall. 


Sarah belongs to the virtue Loving-Kindness, and to Chesed on the Tree of Life. My tarot-question is: what can I learn from you, Sarah. I used the Tarot of Prague and the card that came up as an answer to what I can learn from Sara was Five of Swords. 


This Five of Swords card shows three soldiers who are defeated by a dragon, a symbol for miserly, jalousie and slyness, all central themes in the life of Sarah. Sarah could not conceive a child and gave a concubine called Hagar, to her husband Abraham to bear a child. The child would be not her child, but at least there would be a child. It was a deal, a situation of give and take. But Hagar a concubine became haughty and Sarah could not stand that. She became jealous and miserly and did not treat Hagar well, which caused Hagar to run away. Hagar came back though. Later on when Sarah herself bore a child, she persuaded Abraham to send Hagar away in the desert. No one wins in this story, and that is exactly what is depicted on the card. The soldiers tiptoe away being ashamed by their defeat. The dragon has only won three lousy swords and is still pouring out angry smoke. No one has gotten the better of the fight.

Sarah –a wise woman through the problems she has gone through with Hagar- teaches me (in correspondence with Chesed and the virtue Loving-Kindness), to create a give-and-take situation that works well for me and for the others involved. It should not be like the deal she closed with Hagar and Abraham, or like the way she handled the situation that developed because of it.

I need to try to create a state of affairs from which everyone gets better or is happy with. This means I need to be aware of my own needs, but I must also tune in on the needs of the others involved. My own interest cannot be my only drive, otherwise it will not become a win-win situation.             
note to self

A Teaching of the Sukkah

At the Jewish festival of Sukkot, temporary huts are build, called a 'sukkah', bringing back the times that the Jewish people travelled through the desert to a promised land without having a permanent house. These huts must be simple. 


A regulation for building is that you must be able to see the heaven through the roof, and another one is that for the roof only organic material must be used that has grown from the ground, but must now be disconnected from it.

One of the wisdoms that building and dwelling in these temporary homes can teach us is that the convictions that we hold and the safety that we work for is not all there is, even if it is a blessing. It is the King of Pentacle part in us that does this, or the Four of Pentacle aspect. The Sukkah can make us aware that our destiny is broader. Each year other parts of our our selves, of the unique human being we are, can be touched upon and developed.

Tarot questions that can be asked are: What makes me feel safe in my life? What if I loose it (and how can I cope with that loss)? What is my most cherished conviction? What can come in place of that conviction (and how do I feel about that, or what does it mean to me to leave the cherished one behind...) What part of me is yet undervalued or undeveloped and yearns or is ready to be developed?

Adapted from: Yehuda Aschkenasy and Eli Whitlau, “Een brief aan de lezeressen en lezers van Tenachon over het feest van Soekot". In: Tenachon, no 4, 1999.