In her comment the post below, Mary asked what John might be holding. I've hunted online for readings of this icon, but can't actually find it at all (the picture I posted was a photo of the card I borrowed for prayer). Maybe there should be a prize for the most original suggestion as to what that black thing is, though it would be hard to better Mary's suggestion of a bag of vipers. You never know when those might come in handy to support a bit of proclamation in the wilderness.
What I found interesting, though, was the fact that I simply didn't take in that bag (?) at all when using the icon. I was aware of something black and possibly folded, of course, but simply passed over it, thinking, if I saw it at all, that it was just part of John's garment.
Instead, I saw what I needed to see, which appeared to be an outstretched hand, not grasping anything...letting it all go.
I hadn't thought my time with the icon that fruitful when I first reviewed it, but in the week since it has thrown up all sorts of riches. They really are powerful things - I should try to use them more often.