Tags: caitlin matthews

Madonna del "Magnificat" (detail)

Making Peace with the Ancestors


                 

Summer has come to an end way back, and the dark winter is knocking on our door. The transitional state of the falling leaves and the expectation of the barren trees brings us into contact with death. Today, Catholics remember the loved ones and friends who are passed away. This festival is called All Souls, and stems from the Celtic holiday Samhain (nowadays transformed in Halloween), that also has the function of seeking contact with the dead.

When loved ones are dead, they are not there anymore. Questions that come up cannot be answered and long-time grudges that seemed not that important back then, but are now, cannot be uttered and talked about.

On this years’ All Souls Day I want to ask something about my father, who has died three years ago. We did not have any big or little conflicts when he died, not at all. Still, just like most children, I have some disappointments about our father-daughter relationship. I think it is important to take these serious, and to look at them for it is an obstacle to be at peace with myself. This reading has the subject of: “Peace with my father”, and it consists of two cards: the first one shows which grudge I am harbouring, and the second shows how I can make peace with my father. I show and tell only about the second card.

The card I have received as an answer to the question ‘how I can make peace with my father’ is The Moon, from the Arthurian Tarot. 

                                                                                        

The Moon is a card with many layers and with many secrets, we just worked on it in one of the classes I teach. In many cases The Moon brings one to ones' roots. 

My eye fell on the unborn baby in the moon and on the path that runs toward it. They show me that to make peace with my father I need to go a long, long way back to my beginnings. I need to walk that path towards the moon and its unborn baby. When I come at the end of it, I find there that I was a very, very wanted child.

Inspired by: Caitlín Matthews, The Celtic Spirit, Lewellyn, 1999.
Madonna del "Magnificat" (detail)

The Day Following Samhain/Halloween

In the very early days in Ireland there was a custom among the nobles and the learned people to have a festival three days before and three days after Shamhain, each three years. At that festival they made peace with each other and entered into new friendships and alliances. After this festival they assembled to ratify and renew laws.

“It was their custom at the Feis of Tara to pass six days in feasting together before the sitting of the assembly: three days before Samhain and three days after it, making peace and entering into friendly alliances with each other.”
- Geoffrey Keating, Forus Feasa ar Eirinn

The daytime after the festive night of Samhain was a solemn time, in which people brought themselves in alignment with the darker half of the year, the work that waited and the blessings that would come. They finished unfinished buisiness and ordered their affairs.

My question today -for which the tarot inspires the answer- is: “How can I bring myself into alignment with the dark half of the year that has started today?”

I have pulled grail ten (the equivalent of Ten of Cups), as an answer, from the Arthurian Tarot. This card came as quite a shock. 

                                                                                               

It’s sunny, summery and carefree atmosphere makes me aware how burdened I feel, and how I long for a life free of worries. In a reading with someone this morning came -quite coincidental- the same card on the table (to be exactly: Ten of Cups, the equivalent). For this person Ten of Cups was not the way to go, for me grail ten is just what I need: enjoying myself, setting my eyes on a sunny road. In this manner I can bring myself into alignment with the cold and dark next half of the year. Oh yes, and the grail is hidden in that tower.

From and inspired by: Caítlin Matthews, The Celtic Spirit, Harper Sanfrancisco, 1999.