Tags: mark

shrouded crucifix

Good Friday, Mark 15:22-41, Dark Mother


It is Good Friday, the day in the Holy Week on which the crucifixion of Jesus is the theme. When this happens, the story tells (for instance Mark 15:22-41) that there is darkness over the whole country for three hours and at the moment that Jesus dies, the veil of the temple is torn in two from the top to the bottom. These happenings indicate how people experienced this event as cosmic and immense. It makes me think of our Tower card.

Since it is all dark when it happens, I had to think of the Dark Goddess, the Goddess or the Mother of the dark moon.

Her biggest gift is the ability to put life and things into perspective, to see the big picture in which all fits. In all that loss and aloneness -of Maria, the disciples who abandoned Jesus, the soldiers who crucify him, the people who ask for Jesus death, of Pilate and especially of Jesus- a Mother and perspective is badly needed. That is the reason I called her in. I wondered: “Where do I fit in, in this immense event of the life and death of Jesus (the subject of the stories and the cards I have read during this lent)? What is the bigger picture for me?” This is the question I’ve asked the tarot today.

I have used four positions of the spread “The Dark Goddess” by Christine Jette from her book Tarot for All Seasons to answer my question (p.40-44; the whole spread consist of nine cards). I have read with the Motherpeace Tarot.

Position 1: Protection
This card indicates the area of my life where I give away my power – my soft spot that needs to be protected. The card can depict a situation or gives an advice. I picked the High Priestess for this position (upright). 


Pictured is a very powerful High Priestess who shows that you know what you need. I think it teaches me (so it is an advice) not to be carried away too much by the radical example of Christ’s life and death. It advises me to stay balanced, and in that way grounded in my own power. That has been difficult, for I discovered during my readings that I liked the example of Christ more than I was aware of beforehand.

Position 2: Patience
This card shows where I need to take it easy and allow things to happen in their own natural cycle. I’ve drawn the Priestess of Wands (Queen of Wands) here (upright). 


Again this is a picture of a strong, powerful woman, who walks with a purpose. My feeling is that I got stuck in my issues, and I want to push, break out and liberate myself. On the one hand I am disappointed in not being able to follow Jesus in all his ways. On the other hand I do not want that for it is unpractical in real life, it gives me a drained feeling and a loss of the ego, which is not healthy. But I could not put this second, more healthy view, in my heart. The gold at the end of the rainbow on the card symbolises this for me. I did not find that pot of gold. I need to take it easy, not pushing issues in order to overcome them. I need to let go of that purpose 

Position 3: Acceptance
This card shows what events, people or circumstances I want to control. I have pulled the Ten of Swords here (slightly to the left). 


On the card priestesses are jumping or falling off a cliff. It is an end of a road. These women feel there is nothing else left but disillusionment and loss. This position is closely related to position 2. It shows my disappointment in not being able to do as Jesus did, nor resolve my inner conflicts. I need to accept these disappointments.

Position 6: Perspective
This card give the big picture, this a “ah-ha” card, which gives the ability to put the situation or the issue in perspective with the “master plan.” I received the Magician for this position (slightly to the left). 


The Magician in this deck is a fiery person. She represents action, empowerment and choice. Since the card leans a little bit to the left, it is asking me to execute my power, my will and my ego. It will give me the balance (position 1) I need.

Although I do recognize this perspective, I see my blockage for obtaining it, hindered as I am by the image of Jesus. It is something I cannot push in an effort to solve it.
shrouded crucifix

Holy Thursday, Mark 14:12-25, Bread and Wine


It is Holy Thursday today. A little bit early probably to end my break, but I thought I give it a try, brief though, my arms are hurting still, but they are better  (I helped to lift and turn a table yesterday; that did not help).

On Holy Thursday the foundation of the Eucharist is celebrated. This ritual (the most important in Christianity) is based on the story (Mark 14:12-25) in which Jesus celebrates Passover with his disciples by eating with them. It is his last meal and he knows that. In the meal Jesus speaks the words that are repeated when the ritual of the Eucharist is celebrated. When Jesus took the bread he blessed it and said: “Take, eat. This is my body.” He then took a cup with wine, and after giving thanks, and passing the cup to all of the twelve disciples he said: “This is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many.”

My question today is, “What is the value of the Eucharist?”

The card that I pulled as an answer to this question is Three of Teacups (Three of Cups), from the Tarot of Jane Austen made by  chelsearoad.


Pictured on the card are three young women, Mary Crawford, Maria Bertram and Julia Bertram, who sing together at a pianoforte. These characters come from the book Mansfield Park.

The ritual and the symbol of the Eucharist is heavy layered with meaning. The card that I received today emphasizes sharing, joy, creativity and togetherness.

The women share their voices -each in there individual way- as in the Eucharist bread and wine is shared. In their singing something new is created, which transcends them, something sacred, just as what happens in the Eucharist. 

The  are happy and enjoy each others company; they even have their arms round each others waists. For me the event of the Eucharist is related to singing. When it was my turn to share bread and wine in the church I worked, I sometimes prayed the prayer for the ritual of bread-and-wine singing solo, with the congregation responding to that. Always a nerve-wracking experience beforehand, but very nice while singing. It gave the feeling of all being connected. But in fact, this feeling of togetherness is there always. The simple gesture of receiving the bread and wine by someone (or giving it) with the accompanied smile and some small words, gives in all the churches I go to, a feeling togetherness and connectedness.

During these weeks I have often searched for pictures to put in my entries. The most moving picture I have found is of “Mary, Woman of the Eucharist” (it took me while before I understood it, despite all my work on the image of Jesus as ‘living bread,’ but that’s it. Jesus is the bread in her hands). It is a photo of a statute of Mary, being sculptured by the sculptress, who has made her. I cannot explain why it moved me as it did, but I know, I love the care Maria gets, the happy face of the sculptress, the connection between the sculptress and Mary, and the femininity of the picture. The photo has a Three-of-Pentacles-feeling of building something sacred, but down to earth. The Three of Cups is related by number to the Three of Pentacles. If I take that photo into my interpretation of the Eucharist, than the ritual is about caring as well.

I struggled hard these past weeks with the issues of giving and sacrificing. And now, investigating the central symbol of Christianity, I receive an image of a joyful togetherness, of sharing, giving and taking, creating something sacred. 
Madonna del "Magnificat" (detail)

Sunday, Third Week of Lent, Mark 5:1-20, Healing of a Madman


Today I have read a story in which Jesus heals man with an “unclean spirit”, a madman so to say (Mark 5:1-20). This man was really, really wild, no chain could bind hem. “Nobody had the strength to tame him,” the story tells. In tarot-terms the lion from the Strength-card was running wild through his life and through his mind, making him berserk. Jesus commanded the spirit to go away from the man and to enter into a cattle of pigs. That happened and the man was healed and sane again.

My question to the tarot about this story is: “What is at the moment untamed in my life and runs wild, as it were going ‘berserk’?”

I have used the Motherpeace Tarot and and the Priestess of Wands came up. 


A naked and courageous woman is striding purposefully to her goal, accompanied by a lion, which was quite a surprise to me, just after having compared the ‘unclean spirit’ with the lion on the Strength-card. It is a different lion than on the Strength-card. The tarot corrects me here in my one- sided view on the role of the lion on the card, and presents me with another view. On this card the lion is tamed and kept under control, so it can be used as ‘strength’, and assertiveness. The priestess uses it as an ally.

The priestess on the card is me. She frightens me a bit, by the powerful way she walks towards me. This card reflects on something what I have decided, but the result of it is yet to come and I feel ambivalent and uncertain about it. So here I go, courageous. But on the inside I am afraid; I am frightened by my own courageous decision.

The fear is what is running wild, the ‘evil spirit’ over which I have no control. The priestess has tamed her lion and uses it as an ally, and Jesus has sent the evil spirits away. Here is a task for me. Hmm.

Madonna del "Magnificat" (detail)

Sunday, Second Week of Lent, Mark 3:31-4:9, Sowing (Part 2)

Just to have some feeling of completeness for myself, a second entry with the not mentioned cards, cause I could not sleep anyway, brief though. Want to catch some sleep! If you stumbled on this entry, there is first part, below this one. Just scroll a bit.

Card 2: The second part of the seeds falls in rocky ground where it cannot make roots, so that in consequence the sun scorches it. This part of the seed stands for the issues, projects and things in my life for which is no time enough to let them sink in; it stands for what is done too hasty. 


I pulled Lord of Coins in this position (King of Pentacles). Depicted is Colonel Brandon from Sense and Sensibility. It is patience and stability this man stands for. After much poundering I go here for the meaning of confidence, relying on myself and my abilities, for it is there, but whithers away quickly, just as if it has no roots.

Card 3: The third part of the seeds is choked by thorns that grew up among it. This part of the seeds symbolizes the issues in my life that are beset with unresolved conflicts, with heavy loads of guilt, anger or sorrow. So much of it, that it cannot grow up and bear the fruit what it is destined for. 


Here I received the Lady of Candlesticks. Lovely, it is the second time that I have pulled Elizabeth from Sense and Sensibility. The first time I have pulled her as the Fool, I received that card then as an answer to my question what my life-lesson was. Doing my own thing against peer-pression and against the rules of society whas my interpretation back then. The Lady of Candlesticks, the card that I have pulled now, has many meanings, but for me here the accent is on "speaking my truth," something which is difficult for me, and it is of course related to the before mentioned issue, for when it is necessary to speak my truth I do it against some other meaning and truth. Speaking my truth is beset with many conflicts. It gives cause to many a sore muscle, and is surrounded by much guilt if I do it.

Card 4: The fourth part of the seeds falls in good ground. Those are the seeds, the project and issues that can grow and bear fruit because I give them attention; for which there is time enough to let it sink in and for which I can resolve conflicts which may arise. 


Here I received Nine of Coins, a card that shows a secure home and hearth and a man who is so happy that he never wants to leave the place. This is also a card that I have pulled earlier, it was the answer to the question to what I could learn from the deck: care for my health, feeling happy in my home and family, was the answer. For my answer now: My home, my husband and child is a basis for me where I feel well.     

Madonna del "Magnificat" (detail)

Sunday, Second Week of Lent, Mark 3:31-4:9, Sowing

It is the second Sunday in Lent. Today I have read Mark 3:31-4:9. The passage consists of two different parts from which the biggest part is a parable about sowing. A parable is a story in which something is taught in images (just as the tarot that also teaches in images).

Jesus tells this parable at the seaside, many listeners are gathered to hear him speak. He tells: “A farmer went out to sow and it happened, when he sowed, some seed fell on the ground and the birds ate it. Others fell in rocky ground where it could not make roots; it immediately sprang up, but the sun scorched them, for it did not have roots to take water in. Others fell among the thorns, and when the thorns grew up, they choked it, and it did not bear fruit. Others fell in the good ground, where it yielded fruit. Some brought forth thirty times and some one hundred times as much.”

Seeds have the potential to grow, there destiny is to grow and to bear fruit, but not all seeds come to this step, tells this parable and it also tells the reason why this is so. Parables –alike symbols- never disclose their secret in full. Today I try to understand the parable by pulling cards. What I do here is that I pull a card for all the different things that happened to the seeds, thereby translating what happens to the seeds to events in my life.

Out of my little yellow bag with the titles of decks I use this Lent in my blog, I have pulled the Jane Austen Tarot to work with made by chelsearoad. I read one card here, the first, for reasons of space.  

Card 1: The first part of the seeds falls besides the road where birds devour it. This part of the seeds represents what could grow and bear fruit, but what I do not give any attention too. 


Tears streamed from my eyes when I saw this card, Six of Teacups (Six of Cups). Sorrow does not get attention in my life. In face this card is about emotional reciprocity, but since my initial response was so strong, it means to me ‘sorrow not taken care of’. I give myself not enough emotional support in that. Shown is Fanny from Mansfield Park (I have pulled her as the Hanged Man a little while ago). Making room for that will make me more 'whole'.

Card 2: The second part of the seeds falls in rocky ground where it cannot make roots, so that in consequence the sun scorches it. This part of the seed stands for the issues, projects and things in my life for which is no time enough to let them sink in; it stands for what is done too hasty.

Card 3: The third part of the seeds is choked by thorns that grew up among it. This part of the seeds symbolizes the issues in my life that are beset with unresolved conflicts, with heavy loads of guilt, anger or sorrow. So much of it, that it cannot grow up and bear the fruit what it is destined for.

Card 4: The fourth part of the seeds falls in good ground. Those are the seeds, the project and issues that can grow and bear fruit because I give them attention; for which there is time enough to let it sink in and for which I can resolve conflicts which may arise.

First Sunday of Lent, Mark.2:18-22, Butterflies

The text that I have read today is Mark 2:18-22. In the story people go to Jesus to ask him why the disciples of John and the Pharisees fast, and his disciples do not fast. Jesus then looks forward to his coming death and departing, and compares himself and the disciples with a bridegroom and his groomsmen. While the groomsmen are together with the bridegroom they cannot not fast. This is how it is with Jesus and his disciples. As long as Jesus is among them they do not fast and when he is gone, they will fast again. For at that time, there is no reason not to fast, because with the dead of Jesus this happy and extraordinary circumstance is gone.

This story makes me wonder what it means for the disciples to have Jesus among them. I have pulled the Tarot of Jane Austen made by  chelsearoadout of my little bag with tarot-deck-titles to pick a card from as an answer to this question. I received Two of Teacups (Two of Cups). 


The card shows that the disciples love having Jesus in their midst. The two people on this card are Catherine Morland and Henry Tilney from the book Northanger Abbey. At the end of the book they become a couple and plan to marry (Ten of Teacups), but here they have just met. They adore each other, but do not really know each other yet. They have no inkling of the flaws of the other one and, the habits that are not so nice, or the differences in interests. At this time it is all happiness and expectation. It is the tantalizing stage, “the initial sizzle”, as Diane Wilkes says, but “not the steak”. It is the beginning of a love-relationship. This is what it means for the disciples to have Jesus in their midst: they are attracted to Jesus, they are falling in love.

Catherine, who is young and not world-wise, loves from the start being taught by Henry, who is much older and knows the ways of the world. The disciples want to learn as well, Jesus is their teacher and they can learn from him as long as Jesus is in their midst. That is also what it means to the disciples to have Jesus in their midst. They are able to learn from him, and they enjoy that.

So, it is all happy new love for the disciples. Just as in a new relationship when you do not know the other yet and only feel butterflies, the disciples do not see what is coming, what it really means to follow Jesus and his teachings. They focus on an idealized future in which Jesus performs miracles and probably becomes king. We as readers know what will come, what rough and dark road Jesus will walk, but the disciples do not know this. They are not aware of the impact this rough road of Jesus will have on their lives.  

The number of the this card is two, a number of balance. The card warns to keep your head together, to stay balanced, listen not only to the sizzle and the butterflies. The disciples enjoy and learn, but they also need to get their wits together; they need to know what they are doing and where they are heading for. Not-fasting is a way to let that sink in, at least, it is meant to do that.

Schedule of texts: Dienstboek, Zoetermeer, 1998.