Celtic Wisdom Study Group -- The Guardian/Birch/3 Courtship of Art


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Post Celtic Wisdom Study Group -- The Guardian/Birch/3 Courtship of Art


Wisdom Card: II - The Guardian

When I look at this card, I see a threshold Guardian with the power to either test and do battle with you, as evidenced by the spear in her right hand, or offer you timeless wisdom as shown by the crystal gazing ball in her left hand and the Celtic Mandala in the lower right of the card. The reality is that she probably does both -- test/initiate and be the gateway to Wisdom.

I think it's interesting that she holds the "Wisdom sphere" at the level of her Heart chakra. Perhaps this says that all Wisdom begins, and indeed, pours forth, from the Heart.

As both Guide and Guardian, she offers Seekers the way to the Mysteries of Brighid, Goddess of Poetry, Healing, and Smithcraft who was honored throughout Ireland, Brititan, Scotland, and Wales. In the background you see the watery flow of the Stream/Spring of Life, symbolic perhaps of the emotional, spiritual and psychic growth that accompanies the Seeker's path. I also think it speaks to the healing and creativity which is also Her domain.

I also find the mention of the Nuns of St. Brigid of Kildare tending Her sacred flame as indicitive of Her role as Matron of Smithcraft. While it was extinguished in 1540 during the reformation, it was relit for the first time in 1993 and continues to be tended today. This perpetual fire reverences her role as Matron of Smithcraft, but also reminds me of a "baptism by fire" -- a testing and transforming of the heart.

Soul Wisdom --The Guardian of Truth prepares or initiates the soul to seek truth hidden in all things and places as the Seeker unfolds the patterns of destiny first put in motion and kept "on track" by the song of The Decider. What is the source and pattern of your truth?

Ogham Tree -- Birch

This is a tree of beginnings, clarity, truth, and cleansing; the first tree of the Ogham. If the strong and noble Fir/Scots Pine was symbolic of the strengthening of the soul for its journey in the card of The Decider, the Birch seems to speak of an initiatory cleansing in the Soul's quest for truth and clarity, marking a new and profound beginning in the life of the Seeker.

Story Card -- 3 Courtship of Art

Courtships represent the first form of the energy of the Augury/AAce of a given suit taking shape in a tangible way. There is a clarity here -- a sense of unity and drive as the suit energy expressed in the Augury begins to grow within and be expressed in the everyday world.

The Courtships speak to growth, expansion, and implementation, and as such mirror some of the traits of our Wisdom Card. both from the perspective of The Guardian and of the Goddess Herself.

As for the specific meaning or story behind the card, I had an intuitive response very different from the "book rendition" which I read after i wrote down my intuitive respons.

I clearly saw that wedding vows were taking place, and understood the semi-shadowny figure in a semi-fetal position as indicative of the "New Life they were starting together the creative potential for new life to manifest within them, whether that might be a child, an art idea.

Now I see this figure in the bag as the "baggage" we bring to so many of our relationships, whether physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual. Such wounds have the potential to divide us against not just one another -- but even ourselves in an interior sense.

Soul Wisdom -- Observe the laws of cause and effect and avoid actions you'll come to regret. As you look at your life in relation to others, what stands in the way -- or between -- you and a good & happy outcome for you?

Further reflections on this will follow from me, but I thought I'd give us another set of cards to think about.

Blue skies and blessings,
-FireRaven
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The Guardian


Quote:
Originally Posted by FireRaven
When I look at this card, I see a threshold Guardian with the power to either test and do battle with you, as evidenced by the spear in her right hand, or offer you timeless wisdom as shown by the crystal gazing ball in her left hand and the Celtic Mandala in the lower right of the card. The reality is that she probably does both -- test/initiate and be the gateway to Wisdom.

I think it's interesting that she holds the "Wisdom sphere" at the level of her Heart chakra. Perhaps this says that all Wisdom begins, and indeed, pours forth, from the Heart.
This is one of my favourite cards in the deck. I think you've described it beautifully Fireraven, when you say that she can both test you and offer you wisdom. She is a very balanced Guardian in that she both guards and offers entry. The crystal ball...I look at it and wonder if it is a crystal ball. Sometimes I wonder if this is the entry to the passage she is guarding - it looks like a vortex or whirlpool.
The Spear and Shield form a kind of protective frame for the Guardian and her ball/vortex, and the shape, colour and design of the shield seem to echo the ball.
For me this is a card about inner truth, the heart's truth. The Guardian tests us by asking, is this path, this choice, this idea, this notion of ourselves a "path with heart"?
Whereas the Decider describes the impulse toward action, the Guardian shows the impulse toward reflection; the inner examination of ourselves and our relationship with the world that is the source of wisdom.
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3 Courtship of Art


Quote:
Originally Posted by FireRaven
I clearly saw that wedding vows were taking place, and understood the semi-shadowny figure in a semi-fetal position as indicative of the "New Life they were starting together the creative potential for new life to manifest within them, whether that might be a child, an art idea.

Now I see this figure in the bag as the "baggage" we bring to so many of our relationships, whether physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual. Such wounds have the potential to divide us against not just one another -- but even ourselves in an interior sense.
I think both of those meanings are present in the card. It took me a long time to notice the shadowy "foetus" in the bag. I would add that this could also indicate the "baggage" that actually gets created within a relationship and how we deal with it - do we tie it all up in a bag and ignore it, or deal with it?

In the legend, the couple deal with the competing suitor by imprisoning him in the bag. Yes, it's an elegant way of dealing with an obstacle to their happiness, but in the long term how is it going to affect their marriage? Taking a modern psychological approach, it's hard not to have a dim view of this - it seemsa kind of denial. Are they going to keep him trapped in there forever? We are tempted to think that at some point he is going to escape and wreak havoc.

But reading this legend on its own terms, I guess it's better to use trickery to resolve a situation rather than violence. If you look at this story in its context, a lot of these "celtic" legends seem to involve a great deal of killing and maiming. By imprisoning the man in the bag, they neutralise the threat he poses without physically harming him. So a more positive way of looking at the legend may be to see it as the civilising effect that love and relationship has on both parties; they want to be together, but do not want to cause harm in the process...
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