In the context of Easter Even and the last day of our Lenten observances, the 7 of Rods invites us to look back over the last six weeks of Lent, as suggested by the six staves that challenge our champion in the picture. How did we do?
The Easter 7 of Rods
You may wonder what a stave-wielding champion has to do with the Suffering Servant who willingly gives himself up to death for mankind, whose body lies in the stone cold tomb. Set aside for now the dynamic episode of Christ’s overturning the tables of the temple money-changers, and there is, on the other side of the grave, the image of Christ’s harrowing of Hell. In the Morgan Greer illustration of the 7 of Rods the top of the rod our defender wields is outside the frame of the card; might it not be, then, the cross and pennant of the iconic representations of Christ breaking open the gates of Hell?
Valour in Non-Conformity
Whenever the 7 of Rods appears it is calling upon us to be prepared to establish, stand up for and defend our unique position in the world. To do that, you need first to know what it is that you stand for. The key phrase, then, dear pilgrim, is “valour in non-conformity.” And what better example can I offer than that hymn to valour by our own chief of non-conformists, John Bunyan?
Who would true Valour see,
Let him come hither;
One here will constant be,
Come wind, come weather:
There’s no discouragement
Shall make him once relent,
His first avow’d intent
To be a Pilgrim
Whoso beset him round
With dismal stories
Do but themselves confound,
His strength the more is.
No lion can him fright;
He’ll with a Giant fight,
But he will have a right
To be a Pilgrim.
Hobgoblin nor foul Fiend
Can daunt his spirit;
He knows, he at the End
Shall Life inherit.
Then Fancies fly away,
He’ll fear not what men say,
He’ll labour Night and Day
To by a Pilgrim.John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress, Part the Second, p. 357
Holy Week 2019
The week began with a call to open our eyes to the divinity in all things, and then to be fully engaged with our emotions, adapting ourselves to their various moods and motions,
Orpheus in sylvis, inter delphinas Arion.Virgil, Eclogue 8
The flow of our emotions are but one with the flow of all things and it behoves us to acknowledge that all things end and to be ready to move on when the time comes. Moving on, when conjunct with a radical openness and curiosity about life creates endless opportunities to learn new things and to adapt ourselves to changing times with protean flexibility, and I might add from a political perspective, with Machiavellian Virtù.
As we traverse this world in this way, we discover – or create – our own unique perspective on life and learn that our true purpose is to be what we will be and to assert and defend our place with valour.
Numerological Harmony & the (18) Moon
We find that this 7th day 7 of Rods to have been a spiritual quest all along, in harmony with the highest manifestation of the Upper Arcana, (21) World, and in agreement with the doubled King of Cups (2 x 14) and with the revelations of the second half of the week (8 + 11 + 2 = 21), and even with the fixed arcana of the Liturgical Year for this week, the (9) Hermit and (12) Hanged Man (9 + 12 = 21).
It is only when we encounter the (18) Moon – the Liturgical Arcana for Easter Even – that things fall apart; it is as if the only road left for us now is that which leads through the Valley of the Shadow of Death to Emmaus. Yet, in traversing that road away from Jerusalem, full of wonder and confusion, beneath the full yet treacherous (18) Moon, our two friends, the Page of Pentacles and the 2 of Pentacles will be joined by another, a cloaked stranger, whom we see travelling the lonely path of the 8 of Cups. The stranger will expound upon the (8) Justice of all that has passed:
Ought not Christ to have suffered these things and entered into his glory?Luke 24: 26
When our two friends invite the stranger to sup with them and he breaks bread with them, then will the harmony of the (21) World (1 + 2 + 18) be restored. However, those things are part of the mysteries of Easter and are only shadowed forth in the readings of this week. They take place under the Liturgical Arcana of resurrection, (20) Judgement and not that of the Valley of the Shadow of Death.