Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Croagh Patrick

©Filidoro & Penco
Another King comes to visit today from the Sacred Sites Tarot (Lo Scarabeo, 2012).  This time, it is the King of Cups, and another site from the British Isles: Croagh Patrick, a sacred mountain in Ireland. 

According to the LWB, this mountain is also known as The Reek, and was used by the ancient Celts to celebrate fertility rites, as well as being linked to St. Patrick.  Wikipedia makes no mention of the former, but gives far more detail on the latter.  It is claimed that St. Patrick fasted for 40 days at the top of this mountain, and at the end of that time defeated a she-demon and banished all snakes from Ireland.  Given the myth of Eve and the serpent, that suggests to me that he was anti-women, but maybe that's just a modern, feminist cynical perspective.  In any case, many pilgrims make their way there for the summer solstice, and some do the ascent barefoot.  That doesn't sound like much looking at the green and flowery landscape on this card, but check out some of the pics here.

A local website gives more details of other aspects of the mountain's history.  It seems there is a rock with ancient artwork on it, called the Boheh Stone, but it is neolithic, with cupmarks and just one or two circles.  As for Celtic occupation, there is evidence of a hill fort, but not of such a pretty celtic cross as shown on the card!

Given all the above, I can't see the figure on the card as St. Patrick, he seems a calm and gentle man, not a fiercesome demon-slayer and snake banisher :)  Rather, I imagine him as a celtic druid, a spiritual man both kind and wise, knowledgeable about the seasons of life both at the level of plants and planets, as well as being able to counsel the human heart.

Not that I'm doing any counselling at the moment, having taken the summer off.  In some ways, I miss it, miss feeling that I am doing something worthwhile to help my fellow humans.  Perhaps what this card points to today is the need for me to listen to my own needs, emotional in particular, and honour those.  I've been feeling very tired lately, so I may just take things easy today.

I am grateful for some time to listen inwardly.

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