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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Lent / Tarot / Will: The Magician

James Johnson Old Testament Women
I didn't want to write a Lent / Tarot post this morning. I received a particularly devastating rejection on my writing yesterday.

On the other hand, I'm a big believer in sticking to vows. As Woody Allen says, "Eighty percent of life is just showing up."

The deck slapped me in the face with today's tarot card. My randomly chosen card was the Magician, the card that depicts human will impacting the world.

As a writer, I feel utterly frustrated and silenced. I'm trying to say important things, but – as I have been told – I am not a member of a privileged group, and no matter how well I write, who really is going to buy a book about the life of a poor, white, Polish & Slovak, Catholic spinster who is trying to make a living in academia while struggling with various illnesses and other catastrophes?

Rarely do editors say anything negative about my writing. Rather, they compliment my writing. It's my subject matter, and my telling the truth about that subject matter, that repulses them. And it's not just me. In today's America, poor whites are among the most silenced. That silencing helps to account for Trump's victory.


The Magician depicts a man whose will changes the material world.

Again, I didn't want to write anything, and so I thought of saints or Biblical texts that might best illustrate this type of dynamic mover-and-shaker.

The text I immediately thought of was Proverbs 31. As it happens, this passage depicts a mover-and-shaker who just happens to be female.

So much the better.

"She obtains wool and flax and makes cloth with skillful hands. Like merchant ships, she secures her provisions from afar. She rises while it is still night, and distributes food to her household. She picks out a field to purchase; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She is girt about with strength, and sturdy are her arms. She enjoys the success of her dealings; at night her lamp is undimmed.

She puts her hands to the distaff, and her fingers ply the spindle. She reaches out her hands to the poor, and extends her arms to the needy. She fears not the snow for her household; all her charges are doubly clothed. She makes her own coverlets; fine linen and purple are her clothing. Her husband is prominent at the city gates as he sits with the elders of the land.

She makes garments and sells them, and stocks the merchants with belts. She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs at the days to come. She opens her mouth in wisdom, and on her tongue is kindly counsel. She watches the conduct of her household, and eats not her food in idleness.

Her children rise up and praise her; her husband, too, extols her: 'Many are the women of proven worth, but you have excelled them all.' Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting; the woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her a reward of her labors, and let her works praise her at the city gates."

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