Over the past three weeks we’ve maneuvered through the 2’s in the Minor Arcana, starting with the Wands, then diving into the Cups, and considering the Swords. In the fourth week of the 2’s we arrive at the Pentacles.
If you would like to skip through, you can click on any of the links in this paragraph. I begin the post with an introduction before moving on to the Description of the Cards, moving on to the News of the Week, then I provide information of the Decks Used for this series.
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As always, we start the week by taking out the card of the week—the 2 of Pentacles today—and spending time observing it.
Keeping a recording device nearby is handy. As you observe, you want to be sure you record any thoughts that come up about the card. What sticks out, what seems perplexing, what speaks to you. Note these things via your recording device, whether that be a laptop, voice recorder, camera, or pen and paper.
I have eight decks that I go over with my observations. You are more than welcome to use as many of your own decks as you’d like, or to observe the photos in this post. By looking at a variety, it allows us to consider the similarities and differences in artistic interpretation in the cards, thus expanding our understanding.
The Rider-Waite Tarot shows a figure juggling two golden pentacles. A green ribon wraps around the disks forming an infinity symbol. The figure has a look of worry on his face, and has one foot lifted as though dancing. The figure wears a brown tunic, a red undershirt, hat, belt and leggings. His shoes are green. He is on a grey ground, with the sea behind him. The weaves are big, with two ships navigating them on either side of his legs. The bot to the right of the card appears to be going to the right, while the boat on the left of the card seems to be sailing away from the reader.
The sky is blue.
The Spiral Tarot features a jester, wearing a red hat with wo bells on it. The figure appears not to be dancing, but to be observing the balance of the two pentacles in her hands, which are held level with one another. Her attire is a black and white chequered suit with red buttons with black dots on them.
Behind the jester the sky is swirly with atmosphere, giving way to the mountains. On the right side of the card, the water under the mountains is calm, and a flower blooms in the grass leading to the jester. On the left side of the card, the water is turbulent, and the flower wilts in the grass.
The Aquarian Tarot shows an individual with two orange pentacles in front of them. The pentacles appear to be in mid air, with a tan ribbon around them. The figure has wavy blond hair, and looks on at them with some concentration. The figure wears a pink bowl hat. Behind the figure is a wavy sea giving way to blue, partly clouded sky.
The Vampire Tarot shows two vampires in two coffins, each tilted toward the other, and propped upright. A third figure stands between them, holding a stake and mallet. The figure wears a tall, buckled hat, above which there is a narrow window. The sun can just be made out, either setting or rising. One either side of the window is a grey disk.
The Faerie Tarot shows a fairy in a field of wheat. She faces toward the left, and the wind is pushing her along from the right. She, in tern, is pushing a wheelbarrow of flowers. Her skirt is pink with dark pink flowers, and her top is purple. Her wings are pink. In the top two corners is a disk, each painted white, yellow, and red with a flower in the center.
The Thoth Tarot shows a snake eating its own tail, forming a figure eight around two yin-yangs. The snake wears a crown. The top disk is green and yellow with the glyph for Jupiter above it. What should be a dot of yellow is a red dot with the triangular symbol for fire in it. What should be the green dot is a blue dot with the triangular symbol for water in it.
The second disk is purple and gold with the glyph of Capricorn below it. What should be the gold dot is gold, with the triangular symbol for Air in it. What should be a purple dot is green, holding the triangular symbol for earth in it.
The background is varying shades of purple. The key word at the bottom reads ‘Change.’
The Prisma-Vision 2 of Pentacles shows a man in a red jester’s outfit balancing on a wall. He juggles two pentacles, with a half-smile on his face. The wall he sits on is made of brick and keeps him high off the ground. Two trees grow beyond the wall with a golden swirling background.
The Impressionist Tarot depicts a modified version of Dancers Practicing at the Barre by Edgar Degas (1877). The scene shows two girls in white ballet dresses at a bar. Both have their blond hair tied into a bun, both have blue string around their necks, and both have a yellow sash around their waists. The dancer on the right leans in toward the other dancer, whose back is to the reader, and is clearly talking to her.
As you go through the various cards, what do you notice that is a running theme in imagery? What do you notice tends to differ? Which of the images resonates with you? Why?
Spend time considering your own tarot decks, and do your own comparison.
If you have been following any of my writing-related posts, you’ll know that the 30-Day Tarot Writing Challenge is coming to a close after Tuesday, April 30th. After 30 days of daily creative writing prompts and spreads to construct a novel in just as many days, the challenge is finishing.
However, I have something else to replace it. I will be beginning a series called ‘Discovering the Wild Unknown,’ in which I meditate on each of the Wild Unknown Tarot cards and provide a different message than what is classically depicted.
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The Aquarian Tarot in a Tin by Italian-born, American-raised David Palladini, was published originally in 1970 by U.S. Games Systems Inc, and then republished again in 2016 in a smaller size. Named after the Age of Aquarius, the Aquarian Tarot is a midieval depiction of the Rider-Waite Tarot system. The images are closer, and thus might give the impression of being more character-based rather than relying on symbolism. This intimate deck provides a stark reflection of the human condition in it’s journey through the tarot.
Faerie Tarot by Nathalie Hertz, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc, 2008. Hertz is a French artist, and the creator of several other beautiful tarot decks. The Faerie Tarot was ‘inspired by the flora and fauna of the French countryside,’ and ‘invites you to see the world in a delightful new way…blending fantasy, whimsy, and nature.’
Impressionist Tarot by Arturo Picca (artist) and Corrine Kenner (author), published by Lo Scarabeo in 2015. This deck takes works of classic impressionist paintings and recreates them to fit the meanings of the tarot. It pulls from works of Edonard Manet, Claude Monet, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, Vincent van Gough, and Paul Gauguin. A truly beautiful deck, especially for those who have interest in the art world.
Prisma Visions Tarot by James R. Eads, 3rd ed., published in 2016. The deck itself is beautiful, though perhaps not for the beginning tarot reader. The suits all fit together to create a master picture displaying the energy and progression of the suits. The figures and images flow from one card to the next, showing movement within the stationary cards.
Rider-Waite by A. E. Waite. The deck used in these photos is currently out of print. I won’t say much about this deck, as it is fairly standard and probably one of the most produced decks. It serves as a standard for many tarot readers and artists, depicting classic images relating in part to the original playing cards that tarot developed from.
The Spiral Tarot by Kay Steventon. With turn-of-the-20th-century style art, this deck takes from the classic Rider-Waite deck and brings it up to the late 1800-early 1900’s, a time of industry and contemplation for the western world as it moved forward into a more technological era. I am a little biased toward this deck as it’s been my main deck for 15 years. The cards are thick with additional symbolism that can be tricky to pick out of the traditional Rider-Waite, and adds layers of Greek myth throughout the Major Arcana.
Thoth Tarot by Aleister Crowley (designer and author) and Lady Frieda Harris (artist), published by U. S. Games Systems, Inc., in 1978. This deck takes from most esoteric imagery, and requires the reader of the deck to have deep, initiate knowledge of the symbolism used. There is nothing within the cards that is without meaning. However, on a more surface level, the deck draws from Egyptian symbolism and from the style of the Marseille Tarot (mostly seen within the Minor Arcana). For those looking for deeper understandings of the universe, I recommend this deck. I would caution that this deck is highly advanced, and might be avoided for the budding reader.
Vampire Tarot – by Nathalie Hertz, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc. in 2000. As mentioned above in reference to the Faerie Tarot, Hertze is a French artist who gained her notability through the publication of her tarot decks. The Vampire Tarot was a bestselling deck upon its release, and plays on more gothic symbolism, providing more jarring interpretations to allow for the accepting of negative forces within the world to compliment the positive forces. The deck brings together myths and legends in the form of vampires, which ‘gives tarot readers a macabre passport’ into the world of divination.