Friday

December 29th and the High Priestess



The second card of the Major Arcana is The Priestess, shown seated on her throne, calm and impenetrable.  She is a spiritual woman who reveals hidden forces and secrets, empowering those of us who heed her with that knowledge.  Favorable qualities of this card are silence, intuition, reserve and discretion; negative traits are secretiveness, mistrust and inertia.

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In 1170 on this day, Thomas Becket, the archbishop of Canterbury is murdered in Canterbury Cathedral by four Norman knights.  Their actions are widely held to have been prompted by an overheard outburst from King Henry: "Who will rid me of this turbulent priest?" Becket and the king had had a long-running dispute as to whether the king was subject to the church or in charge of it.

On an interesting note, our current King Trump has said similar things about his confessor, Bob Mueller of the Justice Department and his investigation into the campaign’s alleged ties to the Kremlin.  Fortunately, at least for the time being, Mueller hasn't been beheaded...  I mean,  as Mick Jagger said in his song Midnight Rambler, "Baby that hurts!"

And if you don't believe me, just read this first-hand account brought to you by the makers of Tao Soap:

But when he (Becket) would not be persuaded by arguments or prayer to take refuge in the church the monks caught hold of him in spite of his resistance, and pulled, dragged, and pushed him, not heeding his clamours to be let go, and brought him to the church...And straight-way (the knights) entered the house of peace and reconciliation with swords sacrilegiously drawn, causing horror to the beholders by their very looks and the clanging of their arms...inspired by fury the knights called out, "Where is Thomas Becket, traitor to the King and realm?" As he answered not they cried out the more furiously, "Where is the Archbishop?" At this...he descended from the stair where he had been dragged by the monks in fear of the knights, and in a clear voice answered, "I am here, no traitor to the King, but a priest.  Why do ye seek me?"...

"Absolve," they cried, "and restore to communion those whom you have excommunicated, and restore their powers to those whom you have suspended."  He answered, "There has been no satisfaction, and I will not absolve them."  "Then you shall die," they cried, "and receive what you deserve..."  They laid sacrilegious hands on him, pulling and dragging him that they might kill him outside the church, or carry him away to prisoner, as they afterwards confessed.  But when he could not be forced away from the pillar, one of them pressed on him and clung to him more closely.  Him he pushed off calling him "pander," and saying, "Touch me not, Reginald; you owe me fealty and subjection; you and your accomplices act like madmen...." The wicked knight, fearing lest he should be rescued by the people and escape alive, leapt upon him suddenly and wounded this lamb who was sacrificed to God on the head, cutting off the top of the crown which the sacred unction of the chrism had dedicated to God; and by the same blow he wounded the arm of him who tells this.... Then he received a second blow on the head but still stood firm.  At the third blow he fell on his knees and elbows...The third knight inflicted a terrible wound as he lay, by which the sword was broken against the pavement, and the crown which was large was separated from the head; so that the blood white with the brain and the brain red with blood, dyed the surface of the virgin mother church with the life and death of the confessor and martyr in the colors of the lily and the rose.   

-- From Edward Grim, a clerk in the following of Archbishop Thomas à Becket.

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On a lighter note on this day in 1977, President Jimmy Carter, the president who admitted to seeing a UFO and being attached by a killer rabbit while fishing back in Georgia, traveled to Poland to give a speech. For reasons unknown at the time, the audiance sat with cold looks in their eyes.  For, Carter's speech was being interpreted by an interpreter who wasn't quite up to the job and so what Carter was saying was coming out very wrong:

"I left the United States this morning," Carter had said, which was interpreted to the people as: "I abandoned the United States this morning." (They thought he was there to stay.)

"I have come to learn your opinions and understand your desires for the future..."  was interpreted as ... well, "I desire the Poles carnally." (Not only is he going to stay, he want's sex!)

Yes, the good old-days when bad interpreters where funny.




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