March 20th, 2008

A Group Stops....


A dear group almost finishes all the courses about the Major Arcane Cards. Taken this week, during one of their last classes. They became close friends. Here we are doing a three card spread by Michael Place, destilling meaning mainly from the positions of the characters on the cards (with their backs to each other, facing each other, etc.). Very insightful. 
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Station 6, Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus

At the Sixth Station of the Way of the Cross a woman, called Veronica, wipes the face of Jesus, comforting him. My question is: “What comforts me?” 


For the third time during this Way of the Cross I have pulled a Five, my Soul and Personality Card. The card that I have pulled is not easy to interpret as an answer to this question. I have drawn Five of Candlesticks (Wands) from the Jane Austen Tarot. 


To begin with, the card does not depict someone who comforts me, but reflects an inner conflict I often have. The card pictures a scene from Northanger Abbey in which Catherine Moreland, the heroine of the story, walks away from her ‘friends’, because she is deeply uneasy about what they do. She fights for her personal integrity.

There is an interesting parallel between this card and the act of Veronica. It is risky for Veronica to do what she does with all the soldiers prodding Jesus along with his cross. They do not want his face wiped. Although far less severe, by walking away Catherine risks also something, she risks to lose her social place.

Often I doubt about the things that I have said and done, if it has been all right. What would comfort me is to focus on the integrity of what I do, and stand for it, that way walking away from the fear of rejection. 
Madonna del "Magnificat" (detail)

Station 7, Jesus Falls the Second Time

At Station Seven Jesus falls the second time. He struggles and stands up to continue again on his way to Golgotha. 


The question for my card is: “How committed am I to my life purpose?” The card that I have drawn is Three of Swords from the Llewellyn Tarot. 


I am committed to my life purpose, because I am pinned down to it by the big sword in the middle. It is a three card, belonging to the Empress, the archetype of creativity and growth, so my commitment bears and will bear fruit, although I am sitting in agony here in ragged clothes. 

It would go too far to compare my life purpose with the suffering of Jesus, but it is a nice touch that the three swords on the card look like the arrangement of the three crosses on Golgotha. Just as Jesus did not choose his life purpose by himself, I do not do that. 
heart candle

Station 8, Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem

At Station Eight of the Way of the Cross Jesus meets women of Jerusalem who weep for him. My question at this Station is: Who weeps for the cross I bear? 


This is a station at which comfort again is a theme, just as it was at Station Six. Again my card came from the Tarot of Jane Austen (I’ve drawn the title of the deck to use at random), just as at Station Six. It is Six of Candlesticks (Wands). It is difficult the interpret this card because it is a card of victory, not one of empathy or sadness or even acceptance. I am not having a good grip on it, it is incoherent what I am writing about it. 


On meeting the women of Jerusalem Jesus turns himself to them and says: “Women of Jerusalem, don’t cry for me, but for yourselves and for your children.” The card shows Fitzwilliam Darcy and Charles Bingley in the background racing in triumph along a manor where their future brides are standing in a window. I think in a way Jesus is depicted here, walking past the woman of Jerusalem. Jesus at this stage of his life accepts his purpose – before, in the garden of Bethsedah and later on, at the cross, he is in agony, but not here. Here he is in a sense as victorious as Darcy is here. In my imagination Jesus (as Darcy) turns himself to me -as he did to the women of Jerusalem- to where I sit on the Three of Swords (Station 7), pinned down by my life-purpose, in rags and sad. He says then: “Do not cry for me, cry for yourself, for the cross you bear. I have done that in the Garden of Bethsedah, you need it, it helps”.

There is more. The number six comes after the five. The struggles from the five cards lead to triumph in the sixes. Darcy on the Six of Candlesticks has grown from the challenges he has experienced earlier. There is no weeping on this card, but there is comfort in knowing that the challenges, the fives that I have pulled and the Three of Swords, somewhere result in triumph and growth. For Darcy the growth and triumph is that he became more humble, less arrogant. There are lurking lots of dangers in humility, but it is a valuable instrument in accepting and live with ones' cross and life-purpose.