Tarot Talk

November 1st, 2017

 

Ten of Pentacles/Disks/Coins

 

Let’s continue with our exploration of the Tens of the Tarot Minor Arcana, this time talking about the Ten of Pentacles. If you haven’t already read the articles on the Ten of Cups and the Ten of Swords, now might be a good time to check them out. As always, here is a bit of basic foundational information about the Tens of the Tarot Minor Arcana.

A Tarot deck has 78 cards. There are 22 Major Arcana cards, with numbers from 0 to 21; the Majors usually deal with broader and more far-reaching life experience issues, archetypes that are easy for us to identify with and connect with at some point in our lives. There are 56 Minor Arcana cards that are customarily grouped into four categories or suits that represent the four elements (sometimes called “Pips” or “Pip Cards”), with numbers from Ace to 10; the Minors usually deal with day-to-day issues.

The Ten of Pentacles is a part of the Minor Arcana. We already know that the easiest way to get a decent understanding of a Minor Arcana card is to examine its number, or in the case of Court Cards, its rank, and to examine its suit. In this case, we are dealing with the number 10, and the suit of Pentacles/Disks/Coins, and understanding these two categories of information will give us a good initial understanding of our card this month.

First, let’s look at the traditional image of the Ten of Pentacles. The image on this card usually shows a view of a prosperous city or a manor house, often viewed through the window of another building. There is a tower in the distance, a stairway in the foreground, or a view of distant mountains and clear, blue sky behind the scene. In the center of the image is a prosperous couple often deep in conversation, dressed in bright colors and often surrounded by baskets of food, with a child or children playing nearby or a baby in the arms of the woman. Usually the woman is facing the viewer and the man has his back to the viewer. Often in the foreground is an older man dressed in ceremonial garb; at his feet are two white dogs. The meanings of these images are obvious: here is the “American dream” of a home in a safe and solid community, existing because of long-term efforts accomplished via tried-and-true methods, and cooperation, loyalty and fidelity, and maintained because of vigilance and nurturing, and an eye to the future.

The number 10 represents the end of one cycle and beginning of another or a transition point from one cycle to another, closure, a plateau or rest before moving on, culmination, and attaining the level of perfect combination of the 1 and 0 energies (as the number 10 reduces to the number 1, 1 + 0 = 1). Within the Minor Arcana, the Ten cards are usually seen as offering the concept of the end result of the application of the element, the sum total of everything accomplished and learned from the Ace of the suit (which for the Ace of Pentacles represents the possibility of attracting prosperity, creating wealth and security, and reaping rewards at the end of hard work yet to come), or the physical vehicle of the previous nine numbers. In many ways, the Ten cards can be seen as the opposite extreme of the Aces of their suits. The effects of the number 10 are different from the number 9, which represents the completeness of the experience of the effects, rather than the completion of the process.

The suit of Pentacles/Disks/Coins corresponds with the playing card suit of Diamonds, the cardinal direction of north, and the element of Earth. In its natural state, the element of Earth is cool and dry. Like Water, when amassed it has weight; it is able to bind together or shape the other elements. Water and Earth bind together to make mud, and a lake is shaped by the Earth that supports it. Earth energies are tangible, stable, and practical, and they are slow to change.

The cards of this suit are about the physical, earthly world, our physical bodies, and everything we need in order to maintain our earthly world and those physical bodies, including health and exercise. Pentacles cards talk about fertility, prosperity, and the wealth that can bring both physical shelter and mental and emotional pleasure. Pentacles cards can show a possible outcome or end result of our efforts, the product of our labors; they can give information about material manifestations of all kinds. These cards can represent discipline and diligence, and an interest in quality rather than quantity, but they can also indicate the influence of greed and avarice, and the lack of an ability to access or be aware of resources.

Like the other cards of the Tarot, the Ten of Pentacles has an astrological correspondence. The Ten of Pentacles represents the planet Mercury when it is in the astrological sign Virgo.

Mercury is known as the messenger of the gods and this messenger is most known for his ability to move fast. The planet Mercury echoes this, circling our Sun quickly, taking only 88 days to orbit the Sun, spending only a little over a week in each sign of the zodiac. Mercury is so close to the Sun that it has no atmosphere of its own, and it can only be seen in our skies with the naked eye right after the Sun has set. Astrologically, Mercury represents the principles of communication, mentality, thinking patterns, a focus on details, rationality, reasoning, adaptability and variability. Mercury is connected to schooling and education, research, moving over short distances, as well as email, telephone and snail mail. Mercury connects learning with communication by also being connected to newspapers, journalism and writing.

The sign of Virgo, the Virgin, is the sixth sun sign in the zodiac. Those born under this sign have a strong sense of service, and feel most satisfied when helping others. They sometimes come off as cold or unemotional, but they are actually cautious, always sizing things up before acting. Virgos are meticulous, practical, intelligent, reliable, analytical and intelligent; of course, they are also over-critical, too conservative, and harsh. Virgos exist within the mind, appearing calm and collected on the outside, but lots going on inside. They are pure and honest, never malicious, and always trying to figure out how to improve things.

Mercury in Virgo can be a high-strung combination, but because of a focus on details, organizing, planning, and taking care of business, these energies are often appreciated greatly by others. Mercury in Virgo is a logical combination of energies, filled with common sense, self-confidence (probably because of the need to check and double-check before speaking or acting), and a concern with accuracy and precision (also due to that tendency to look before leaping). Of course, all of this focus on details could create an inability to see the big picture, or could erode the long-term focus necessary to see a project to its conclusion, but the task at hand will be accomplished in the best way possible.

Minor Arcana cards also correspond with a sephira on the Tree of Life. The Ten cards correspond with the sephira of Malkuth, along with the Pages of the Court Cards and the element of Earth. Malkuth is the bottom sephira on the Tree, corresponding with our physical world, and opposite of Kether at the top of the Tree, corresponding with the purest form of Deity, mostly unknowable by physical world beings. Malkuth is located at the bottom of the Pillar of Balance and is receptive in nature; it receives emanations from all the other sephiroth on the Tree. This sephira and the Tree itself show us that the physical world is created by traveling downward through the sephiroth of the Tree, and these two sephiroth can be seen as one representation of “as above, so below; as below, so above.”

The Dreams of Gaia Ten of Earth shows what happens when all aspects of life – career, home and family – are in harmony. This card offers us a vision of something we can strive for in life, and tells us that now is the time to enjoy one of the fruits of our labor and one of the rewards for dedicating ourselves to a life based on service: the love, respect and trust of our family, loved ones, and our community. Reversed, the Ten of Earth tells us that if despite our success we still feel dissatisfaction or unease, we need to determine the reason, whether it be external or internal.

The Llewellyn Welsh Ten of Pentacles shows a prosperous market square with well-dressed people interacting or going about their tasks, creating a sense of commerce, high ideals, and prosperity. Indeed, “prosperity” is one of the keywords for this card, along with freedom from financial concerns, a strong, established family setting, and protection and stability within a clan that allows us to enjoy the fruits of our labors. This card tells of achieving worldly dreams and benefiting from the work of one’s predecessors. Reversed, it warns of loss, theft, fickle luck, family conflict, and smeared reputations.

As is often the case, the Thoth Tarot Ten of Disks is not so happy as the Llewellyn Welsh Ten of Pentacles. The image on this card shows 10 Disks arranged in the shape of the Tree of Life; the colors are kind of dreary, and there is no motion at all in the image. Crowley saw the Ten of Disks as representing the end of the cycle of the Disks (and of the entire Minor Arcana), the card most filled with the heavy and stationary energies of the element of Earth and of the concept of completion. To Crowley, the other 10 cards of the Minor Arcana have somewhere else to go: The Ten of Cups (which is the last card in the cycle of Water) moves to the Ace of Disks (the first card in the cycle of Earth), but the Ten of Disks has nowhere else to go. This card is tasked with a job that no other Minor Arcana card can do: form a link with and reincarnate to the top of the Minor Arcana cycle.

The Ten of Coins from the Gateway to the Divine Tarot offers a different image; it shows a treasure box filled with Coins and gems and chains made from precious metals. On the lid of the box rests a pair of tulips, and the golden key that unlocked and opened the box. This Ten symbolizes the fullness and completeness of a manifestation process that happens via long-term and non-liquid investments. The image implies wealth and security, the value of family heirlooms, and the importance of community, friends, family, family legacy, and the focus necessary to see a process to its successful conclusion. The treasure chest is shown unlocked and open, telling us these resources are accessible and available. Reversed, this Ten of Coins tells of a conflict of loyalties, insecurity, loss, slothfulness and dullness.

The Ten of Pentacles represents the attainment of physical world wealth and bounty, usually achieved through the implementation of long-term plans, and the attempt to maintain and strengthen the status quo and tried-and-true policies. This attainment is not one that falls into our lap unannounced, but instead arrives after discipline, the honing of skills, and the ability to recognize a beneficial situation and take advantage of it. The Ten of Pentacles is not about expecting to benefit from random chance, but rather it reminds us that it is by playing by the rules, rooting ourselves in convention, and setting and living by disciplined standards that we can grow and reap our rewards within our physical world.

The negative side of this card (yes, there is a negative side) is that if we pause too long to look at all the pretties, lethargy will take over. All those valuable coins shown in the images of the Ten of Pentacles will turn into a burden that grows heavier and heavier each day, rather than a foundation ready to be transformed into something new and valuable.

Perhaps the most important keyword we need to keep in mind when working with the Ten of Pentacles is “obligation.” We are benefiting from the fruits of our labors and the labors of those who came before us, but we have an obligation to keep the system working. We need to maintain the quality of our physical world surroundings, and do our part to pass value, security and prosperity on to the next generation.

 

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About the Author:

Raushanna is a lifetime resident of New Jersey. As well as a professional Tarot reader and teacher, she is a practicing Wiccan (Third Degree, Sacred Mists Coven), a Usui Reiki Master/Teacher, a certified Vedic Thai-Yoga Massage Bodyworker, a 500-hr RYT Yoga Teacher specializing in chair assisted Yoga for movement disorders, and a Middle Eastern dance performer, choreographer and teacher.  Raushanna bought her first Tarot deck in 2005, and was instantly captivated by the images on the cards and the vast, deep and textured messages to be gleaned from their symbols. She loves reading about, writing about, and talking about the Tarot, and anything occult, mystical, or spiritual, as well as anything connected to the human subtle body. She has published a book, “The Emerald Tablet: My 24-Day Journey To Understanding,” and is currently working on a book about the Tarot, pathworking and the Tree of Life. Raushanna documents her experiences and her daily card throws in her blog, DancingSparkles.blogspot.com, which has been in existence since 2009. She and her husband, her son and step son, and her numerous friends and large extended family can often be found on the beaches, bike paths and hiking trails of the Cape May, NJ area.

 

 


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