November 25th, 2007

chanukah animated

Chanukah Spread: Card 2, Aysh - Fire, Peeling Shrimps

Another thought on Three of Candlesticks, the card that I pulled for the fire that burns in my life in the spread for Chanukah that I am doing here. When I started practicing tarot professionally, my first assignment was reading on a fair outside in the summer. It was a lovely day; very warm and sunny. I remember that the people kept coming to my table; the list with people to read for grew longer and longer. At that time there was an add on television in which a poor and old woman peels shrimps in her livingroom with windows looking out at the sea. When she looks up, she sees five big ships coming towards her from all sides, all filled with shrimps. After that there is a shot of the woman peeling shrimps as a madman. I remember thinking of this woman on the the occasion of the summer fair. I did well, and really enjoyed doing it but the work was overwhelming. Once in a while this feeling of being overwhelmed by big-ships-filled-with-shrimps comes back. 


Yesterday I connected this card, Three of Candlesticks, Three of Wands, with my work of teaching that is fullfilling, but also with the attitude of enthusiam in my teaching, which makes me tired. The card kept nagging me because, although enthusiasm is connected to the whole suit of Candlesticks, it does not belong to the range of this particular card meanings and yet I assigned it to this card. That is caused by the ship towards William Price is looking. The ship reminds of the madwoman peeling shrimps, although I was not conciously aware of it when I looked at the card yesterday.                      
Madonna del "Magnificat" (detail)

Last Sunday of the Year, All Souls

Today it was the last Sunday of the year for the church. Next week when Advent starts, a new year begins. In protestant churches this last Sunday is the day on which the persons are remembered that died during the past year. In their wake, all the other loved ones that are passed away are remembered by ligthing candles. 


My husband  coen_wessel   and I realized that the idea we have about this day -and about the festival of All Souls- is changed during the years. I have done one All Souls service, ten years ago, and I remember that in my sermon I focused on loss, anger and mourning; on the separation between the dead and the living and pain that comes with that. My husband focused this morning on the connection between the dead and the living and the relationship with the dead loved ones. This afternoon I took a look at my (Dutch) spread for All Souls that I created this year, and I had the same focus as my husband, very different from my sermon ten years ago. I might be that our culture is changed towards being more at ease about living on after death. We as protestants have had for a long time a faith based on rationality. Heaven which can not be proved, did not have a place in that beliefsystem. The sermon and my spread show that belief in heaven or an afterlife is coming back. Our focus might also be changed because my husband and I have learned in our life that anger and sorrow need their places but that acceptance is important as well.  
chanukah animated

Chanukah Spread: Card 4, N'Shama - Soulbird

Today I have read the third card from the Chanukah spread. The position is called N – N’Shama – Soul-Bird. The root of this Hebrew word is n-sh-m, the same root as in nasham, “to breathe” N’Shama is the world for the soul of humans, it depicts the immortal soul and it describes a person’s spiritual presence. In this spread the N’shama, the soul is seen as a bird: a soul-bird.

The question is: What does your innermost soul-bird sing to you?

The card that I have pulled is Eight of Teacups (Cups) from the Tarot of Jane Austen. Pictured is Fanny Price from the book Mansfield Park.

Fanny is also the character for the Hanged One in the deck. Here Fanny sits in a carriage. She is leaving the comfortable and stable home of Mansfield Park. She is sent away by Sir Thomas, at whose house she stayed for a long time, who cared for her as she is a poor family member. Fanny has turned down a rich suitor, much to the dislike of Sr. Thomas and now she is being sent temporary back home to her poor family. She is sad, but also looking forward going there. When she arrives it is not easy for Fanny there, there is only one family member, she has an emotional connection with. But, when in the end she goes back she returns as a different person, learned a lot from her experiences. Mind you, she did not marry the rich suitor on coming back, that was the expectation of Sr. Thomas; Fanny married someone she really loved. 


Fanny Price and William Price, depicted on yesterday’s and today’s card, are siblings. There is a big difference between them. You could say they show different strategies. William Price is escaping from poverty by joining the British Navy, expecting to make his fortune. He is outward going with that. Fanny Price represents an inner journey (she is also the Hanged One) and the longing for integrity. That I picked them both on days following each other, must have a reason. 


The soul-bird in me is not interested in making a fortune, or in teaching many classes, maybe not even in a tiring-amount of-enthusiasm (but I am not sure of that), all the things William Price represented for me yesterday. Not that these are bad things, not at all The card represented a fire that burns in my life, and there needs to be a fire in our life. I am grateful for the opportunity to teach this much, and I enjoy it. The soul bird though sings of something else. It sings of the importance of an inner journey and retreat. 

I think I got these cards one after another because there needs to be a balance between them. The outward journey of success and enthusiasm needs to be balanced by retreat and inner journeys, to give me breath. This is as far my understanding goes. 

On August 27 and on September 1  2006 I also reflected on the soul, on the innocence of my soul. I received a same sort of card, Four of Cups from the Golden Tarot of the Tsars (pictured is Elijah); being bored and a need to go inwards.