This is the third installment of the Weekly Tarot Card. You can read the first two installments in the following links:
Now that we’ve spent a couple of days meditating and developing our own observations of the 2 of Pentacles, we’re going to look at a more external experience of the card. When we get into the suits, numbers, elements, and (tomorrow) the symbolism in a card, we’re drawing from the collected knowledge of others.
There are two ways to look at the suit of Earth in the Tarot: that as Pentacles and that of Coins. Papus explains that the suit of Pentacles is where we transition ourselves. Just as tens can be the end of a cycle in each suit, so too are the Pentacles, and they elevate us to the next level.
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But how can the mundane do that? In my mind, I’ve always seen it as the other suits being the stepping stone to the next level. We start in a physical body, in which we learn about the physical realm. If we do the right sort of work, then we can learn the message of the cups, the swords, and the wands, and from there we elevate. However, in our human experience, we have to deal with the physical world first, as it is our immediate environment.
If we look at the suit of Pentacles in the context of the Tarot, in almost every organization of the deck, the Pentacles come last. This is because they are the last element before we step up to the next level. This is because, all the lessons of the other suits must become manifest in the physical realm in order to be projected to the next level.
The symbol of the Pentacle is the 5-pointed star in a circle. Each point on the star represents an element while the top point represents Spirit, the result and the connection of all of the elements combined. The circle is also their connectedness. This is why, as Papus said, that we are elevated within this sign. When all the pieces come together, we are able to manifest and move onward.
The second way to look at the suit is in the way of the Coin.
Of course, they represent commerce, trade, the way we get buy in society. They are the gold we may or may not have in our pockets, and the work of our lives that we trade in order to obtain that gold.
More than money, the Coins represent our hours that we trade, and the energy we put into those hours. It is often said by spiritual professionals that money, or coin, is the energetic exchange that is socially acceptable. Energy must be replenished if energy is extended, and thus, coin represents that energy exchange.
You might think that the Wands and the Coins are similar in that they both correspond to work, and you’d be right. The difference is that the Wands are generally passion or personally motivated in the work that they do, while the Coins are more centered toward any work you do, regardless of your feelings toward it. This filling the base need of survival when you’re in the realm of the Coins. Wands are more a level of expression. Coins are putting meat on the table.
The element of Earth corresponds more to the Pentacles way of looking at the suit. It is the fourth element of reality, the solidity and rock beneath our feet. As such, it can represent fertility, abundance, growth, healthiness, gardening, nature, animals, the forest.
Of all the other elements, Earth is the only one that you can hold easily. Water you have to work to be able to hold in our hands, making sure you have a good enough seal that it doesn’t leak out between your fingers. Earth is tangible, moldable, that with which we build.
The number 2 in Tarot represents duality, balance, unity, and harmony. Each suit takes on a different version of this. With the Pentacles, since they are Earth, thus physical, the more tangible of these adjectives is applicable: balance.
The 2’s themselves remind us that all of these aspects must be balanced in order to maintain a healthy living. We must recognize that we are always one part of the concept of Other, and as thus, there is always a duality. When we can harmonize and unite with Other, whatever that might be, then we can achieve balance.
Balance is something we feel with every step we take, every time we stand up, every time we sit down. We are in a constant state of measuring and examining our physical balance in order to get through the day. But balance is just as much of a concept as it is a sensation. When we are mentally or emotionally unbalanced, it warps our entire perspective of the world. When we don’t balance our give and take energy exchanges, we have no energy for anyone, not even ourselves. Thus, like the concept of the Pentacle, balance starts first in a physical state before moving to higher states.
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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.