Today is the opening of a new year for our parliament. Yearly on this day, the second tuesday of september our queen is being driven in a carriage, (The Golden Coach) to the Knights'Hall where the opening takes place. This day is an important day for the unity of the nation and for our democracy.
It is becoming important to give attention to the value of democracy itself, because it is more and more under attack by extremist forces. To honor this day I will ask a tarot-question about my relation with my land, The Netherlands, my country, inspired by a meditative text from Caitlín Matthews.
Matthews claims that it is necessary to engage oneself with the land ones live in and to love it, in order for the nation to thrive.
"When a land is out of love with itself, many people want to leave it and live elsewhere, sensing that something dynamic has gone out of the relationship. But, just as in marriage, the first signs of fracture require deeper attention and better communication, not just a parting of the ways. This is the time to remain and work hard at the brightening of the relationship between ourselves and the land.
The contract of nationhood is not drafted in bigoted, nationalistic displays of patriotism; rather, it arises from the deep, mythic engagement of lives lived in the context of a land. By becoming active lovers of our land ourselves, we learn to sense and see the things that injure our beloved's good, as
well as perceiving the things that make it glad. When enough people engage this way, the self-esteem of the nation will rise."
The question I will answer with the help of the tarot is: "How do I relate to my my land, my country, The Netherlands?"
The Grail Hallow, the Ace of Cups, from the Arthurian Tarot is the card that shows me the answer. In this deck this card is the Grail, the cup that will be able to heal Arthur and with him his country, because in the Grail-story they are one.
The Grail is a cup of abundance. I like to live here. I love the meadows, the flatness, the rivers, and the strangeness of living below the sea level. I also feel privileged to live in The Netherlands, for I live in a democracy. There are conflicts here, and things that are really really wrong, like the treatment of asylum-seekers for instance. But, there is a promise in the cup of the Grail. In it there is nourishment to heal what is wrong. Of course the promise of a healed king, of a returned Arthur is mythical, a promise never fulfilled, but still, I think there is no other direction than believing in the strength, the promise and elasticity of democracy.