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Tarot Talk

March, 2019

The
King of Pentacles

(The
King of Pentacles
card is from the
artist Ciro Marchetti http://www.ciromarchetti.com/)**

We
have one more King to talk about, the King of Pentacles. Let’s get
busy!

As
a reminder, the 78 cards of a Tarot deck consist of 22 Major Arcana
cards (dealing with broader and more far-reaching life experience
issues, and archetypes that are easy for us to identify with and
connect with at some point in our lives) and 56 Minor Arcana cards
(customarily grouped into four categories or suits that represent the
four elements and dealing with day-to-day issues).

The
Court Cards are a part of the Minor Arcana, acting as a
representation of the family unit (“families” of all kinds) and
individually representing particular personality traits of people,
places and events in our lives. These cards can also tell us about
our own personality and how it is perceived by others. Thinking of
Tarot cards as people, with each card having an individual
personality, is particularly appropriate for the Court Cards, as they
are the most human of all the cards in a Tarot deck. Even the
illustrations for the Court Cards show humans in the majority of
Tarot decks.

Instead
of numbers, Court Cards have rank. The lowest ranking Court Card is
usually called the Page, the messenger or intern or apprentice who is
still learning of life and living, but who is also good at dealing
with the unexpected. Next comes the Knight, the representation of
strong, focused and even excessive manifestations of his suit.

Both
the Queen and the King represent mature adults. The Queen manifests
her suit in a feminine or yin or inner way, and the King manifests
his suit in a masculine or yang or outer way. This manifestation does
not necessarily correspond to gender; a man can be represented by a
Tarot Queen if he has a strong inner focus, and a woman can be
represented by a Tarot King if she projects a strong sense of
authority. Some decks change the names around, but the meanings in
the hierarchy of the Tarot Court are pretty standard. Since we are
talking about the King of Pentacles today, we already know that our
King will manifest his suit in an outer yet mature manner. Our King
is concerned with results; he exhibits outer, public expertise in his
field, and he is an authority figure. In many ways, the Kings of the
Tarot Court can be seen as four facets of The Emperor of the Major
Arcana.

Our
King’s suit this month is Pentacles. The suit of Pentacles (or
Coins, Stones or Disks) corresponds with the element of Earth, and of
the physical body, physical manifestation, and wealth. Many Tarot
decks use images of pentagrams or coins or disks on their Minor
Arcana Pentacles cards as well as trees, flowers and green, verdant
growth, all of which will make it easy to connect with the symbolism
of this suit. A nice place to begin is with the element of Earth
itself.

In its natural state, Earth is cool and dry, and it binds or shapes the other elements. Earth is of the physical or physically formed or manifested world, and of nurturing, health, finances and security, and the wisdom associated with living simply and being well-grounded. Earth is the element of form and substance; it is connected to material world security (and even wealth), and to our physical bodies and physical senses, and the pleasures and pains they bring. Earth represents the nurturing and serene side of Nature, and it represents the tangible end result of our labors. Earth is about security and stillness, and knowing what to expect; it is about strength, discipline, and physical manifestation of all kinds, and about enjoying the fruits of our labors. Earthy energies are fertile, practical, and slow to change.

You
can see how easy it is to connect the element of Earth to our daily
lives, our physical bodies, our careers and our finances, our
families, and the natural world around us. These things are all the
main correspondences of the element of Earth, the suit of Pentacles,
and of course, are connected to the realm of our King of Pentacles.

In
the Tarot Court, the suit of the card has an elemental correspondence
(in this case, the element of Earth), and the rank of the card has an
elemental correspondence. Pages correspond with Earth, Knights
correspond with either Air or Fire (depending on the deck), Queens
correspond with Water, and Kings correspond with either Air or Fire
(depending on the deck). Since we are talking about a King today, we
are also talking about the element of Air, or the element of Fire,
depending on the deck. For our purposes today, we will see the King
of Pentacles as Air of Earth.

The
element of Air corresponds with truth, clarity, and our capacity to
analyze or apply logic. It is hot and wet, and separates and adapts.
Air also represents the intelligence that clears away the fog of
ignorance so we can clearly see and understand, and it supports
communications and sounds of all kinds. Air allows both expression
(out from within us) and hearing (in from outside of us) to happen.
If you see the rank of King as representing the element of Air, this
information applies to the Kings of your deck, including the King of
Pentacles. Elementally, the King of Pentacles would represent
resolute force, where intellect overrides the senses, and since Air
and Earth are unfriendly (they share no qualities), they weaken each
other.

Like
the other cards of the Tarot, Court Cards have astrological
correspondences. Our King of Wands corresponds with the cusp or
joining point of the signs of Aries and Taurus.

Aries
is a cardinal Fire sign that acts as a catalyst, a person that
inspires others by being totally committed to his or her own vision.
Aries is the first sign of the zodiac, the leader of the pack, first
in line to get things going. Those born under this sign prefer to
initiate, and they won’t shy away from anything new. Aries people
are action oriented, assertive, and competitive. Aries is ruled by
Mars, the god of war and passion, bold and aggressive, and able to
tap into the focus needed to take on any challenge. The symbol of
Aries is the Ram, blunt and to the point, and a sheer force of
nature. The great strength of those born under this sign is found in
their initiative, courage and determination.

Taurus,
the second sign of the zodiac, is all about reward. Physical
pleasures, material goods, and soothing surroundings are all
important to a Taurus. The good life in all its guises is heaven on
Earth to those born under this sign. Taurus is a fixed sign, and it
represents steady persistence sometimes seen as stubbornness. Taurus
is symbolized by the Bull, and Bulls are among the most practical and
reliable members of the zodiac, happy to plod along slowly but surely
toward a goal. Taurus is ruled by Venus, the Goddess of Love, Beauty
and Pleasure, which is why harmony and beauty are a huge part of this
sign’s personality. Taurus is a true-blue, loyal sign as well, and
slow to anger; like the element of Earth, Taurus is about strength of
body as well as strength of heart.

The
energies of Aries and Taurus together tend to mesh nicely because
what one sign is lacking, the other sign supplies. Aries keeps our
King from being boring, and Taurus keeps him from being too
independent. Aries is ruled by Mars and passion, and Taurus is ruled
by Venus and sensuality and love. Aries will push for growth,
progress and new developments, and Taurus will keep to the budget,
make sure the resources are in place, and keep everyone safe. While
there is always the danger of conflict within this King, he also has
the ability to lead and inspire all of his subjects, no matter who
they are.

Because
they are Minor Arcana cards, Court Cards also correspond with a
sephira on the Tree of Life. The Kings correspond with the sephira of
Chokmah, along with all of the Twos of the Minor Arcana and the
element of Fire. The Kings sit at the top of the Pillar of Force in
the sephira of Chokmah, representing the Sacred Masculine and the
Catalyst of Life. Chokmah is seen as dynamic thrust, the Ultimate
Positive, the Great Stimulator and the Great Fertilizer (one of the
symbols of Chokmah is the penis), and thus is connected to the Wheel
of the Year. The energies of this sephira represent dynamic male
energy and are the origin of vital force and polarity.

The
Shadowscapes Tarot King of Pentacles is shown as a strong tree laden
with ripe and juicy fruit. His roots grasp the earth with strength
as they reach and absorb the resources of the soil, allowing a
powerful trunk and wide-spreading branches to reach for the stars.
He holds a seed in the palm of one hand, and around the base of the
trunk a beautiful dragon is coiled, guarding all. This King is an
enterprising individual who has the Midas touch; he turns everything
he touches into brilliant success. His branches shield those around
him, his trunk offers sturdy support to lean upon, and his fruits are
shared with everyone. From the seed, new sprouts will grow,
spreading the wealth.

The
Tarot of Bones King of Pentacles is represented by a bison skull.
The bison was the ultimate provider for the natives living on the
American plains; from the bison they received meat for food, hides
for clothes, and bones and horns for art and tools. Non-humans
benefited from the bison as well, from wolves and other predators to
vultures and other scavengers, to insects and bacteria. The grazing
of the bison helped to keep the grasses in check, lessening the
impacts of wildfires, and their hooves churned and aerated the soil
and buried seeds, ensuring the continuation of the grasses in the
next season. This card reminds us to examine our resources and
prosperity, and to remember those upon whom we rely for sustenance
and well-being. It also reminds us that at times we must be the
backbone, and offer our own skills and resources to assist others.

The
Thoth Tarot Knight (King) of Disks stands next to his grazing horse,
gazing at the surrounding hills and fertile fields lit by the
afternoon sun. He seems to be contemplating a harvest rather than a
battle; he tends to keep his nose to the grindstone without indulging
in intellectual musings. He tells of being materially focused,
clever and patient regarding those material matters but can also be a
bit dull.

The
image on the Wild Unknown Tarot Father of Pentacles shows a Stag’s
head, regal and in his prime. The feeling evoked while looking at
the image on the Father of Pentacles is one of respect, honor, the
ability to protect, and prime masculine creativity. The Stag gets to
reach this stage of life because he is able to defeat all that
challenge him; he is in a sense the fittest of his species that has
survived to breed. This card is about having a mighty presence in
the physical world; it is about not only the thrill of competition,
but it is also about turning a win into both honor and status, and
the continuance of a fertile lineage, to the benefit of all.

The
Legacy of the Divine King of Coins stands on a richly appointed
balcony decorated with golden leafy vines, clothed in green and gold
robes and holding a large golden coin. He does not wear a crown,
showing his connection to the common man and indicating his purpose:
regulating the energies of heaven and earth and balancing the forces
of nature. He oversees growth, wealth and resources, and manages
them for the benefit of all.

The
King of Pentacles is the embodiment of his element. He is realistic,
dependable, values possessions and tangible things, and is a good
provider. He prefers steady progress and is loyal and honorable.
This King attracts opportunities and knows how to take advantage of
them. He is good at managing others because he inspires them to
succeed. He is a philanthropist who gives generously of his time and
attention because he knows that the more he gives, the more he
receives in return. Others rely on the King of Pentacles because he
is always there for them and he never fails to support them.

When
the King of Pentacles shows up, you can be confident that you have
the ability to recognize opportunities and the skill to take
advantage of them. He tells you that now is the time to manifest
your vision of success and translate your ideas into reality!

**
We Feature the art of Ciro
Marchetti 
as part of Tarot Talk. You can view his work and
Decks at http://www.ciromarchetti.com/.

The Gilded Tarot (Book and Tarot Deck Set) on Amazon

***

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 Journal 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.

The Emerald Tablet: My 24-Day Journal to Understanding on Amazon

Tarot Talk

September, 2017

Ten of Cups

(The Ten of Cups Card is from the artist Ciro Marchetti http://www.ciromarchetti.com/)**

Last month we finally talked about the Tens of the Minor Arcana, discussing the Ten of Swords. Let’s reexamine the Tens, this time looking at the Ten of Cups. If you haven’t already read last month’s essay, now might be a good time to check it 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 Cups 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 Cups, 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 Cups. The traditional image on this one is of a loving couple often arm-in-arm, usually with two or three happily playing children nearby. Everything around them is strong, healthy and verdant: green grass and bushes and trees, brightly-colored flowers. Usually there is a house in the distance, also surrounded by green trees and lawns and multi-colored flowers, and there is also usually a lake or pond or river, sometimes in the foreground of the image, and sometimes in the background. The sky is usually blue and clear, and there are 10 Cups in the sky, usually arranged in an arc along with a rainbow. The image is calm, serene, and trouble-free, offering an idealized version of country life and a happy family.

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 Cups represents the possibility to experience strong feelings or emotions or visions or dreams), 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 Cups corresponds with the element of Water. In its natural state, Water is cool and wet. When amassed, it has weight, and it tends to gather or pool at the lowest place. Because of this tendency, Water creates its own roadways or channels, and it prefers to use those already-in-place channels if it can. Water is used for cleaning and purifying, and Water can be a carrier for other substances. For instance, we can dissolve salt or sugar into warm Water, and use that concoction for other things. A body of Water can be calm and deep, or it can be dangerously churning and filled with powerful currents.

Feelings and emotions are the main correspondences of the element of Water, and the suit of Cups. Emotions flow and have currents, a powerful wave of emotions can be cleansing, emotions can be hot and expanding or they can be bubbling upward, like steam, or cold and contracting and heavy, like ice, and our emotions can affect our physical bodies (which contain a lot of Water) and our health. Often, tears appear when we feel things strongly through sadness or joy or anger, as physical manifestations of those emotions. Water also represents the Inner Voice and the subconscious, the dark and unknown depths hidden below the smooth reflective surface.

Like the other cards of the Tarot, the Ten of Cups has an astrological correspondence. The Ten of Cups represents the planet Mars when it is in the constellation of Pisces.

The image for Pisces is fish, and this sign is connected to all the correspondences of Water. Pisces is a sign of feelings of all kinds, of the suffering that brings growth, and of duality (picture a body of water; there are two worlds, one above the surface and one below the surface). The fact that the symbol for Pisces is two fish (as opposed to one) speaks to the duality of Pisces, their yin and yang sensibility.  Pisces is the twelfth sign of the zodiac, and it is also the final sign in the zodiacal cycle, and thus brings together many characteristics of the other eleven signs. Pisces people are selfless, spiritual and very focused on their inner journey and their feelings. Many people associate Pisces with dreams and secrets, which makes sense because their intuition is highly evolved. Pisces are fluid and easy-going, in keeping with the Mutable Quality assigned to this sign.

Mars is known as the “Red Planet,” and this makes sense because Mars is about energy, passion, drive and determination, all fiery personality traits. Mars is commanding, confident, and powerful, asking us to stand up and be noticed without fear. Ambition and competition are also associated with this planet; Mars encourages us to face challenges and to be our best, with honor. Mars rules our sexuality and sexual energy, and governs weapons, accidents and surgery. It’s important to note that Mars’s energy can be constructive or destructive. In the end, however, the energy of Mars can be quite useful if used properly.

Mars in Pisces may seem like a combination of opposites, and in some ways this is true. The combination of Mars and Pisces tends to have less-obvious energies because a lot of effort is used at emotional and subconscious levels, rather than in conquering outer challenges. Mars in Pisces is not about material world rewards or material world ambitions, but rather about spiritual fulfillment. This combination of planet and constellation encourages activities that feed the soul rather than the pocket, and encourages altered states of consciousness, often through the enjoyment of music or art or literature (and sometimes through alcohol and other mind-changing substances). Fulfillment is found through emotionally rich relationships, and through helping (and championing) those less fortunate.

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 Llewellyn Welsh Ten of Cups shows a house at the end of a rainbow, located in a green valley, next to a mountain stream. The waters of the stream tumble down and around boulders, and the stream is spanned by a bridge. Near the bridge are a happy couple and two children, playing by the side of the stream, alongside 10 Cups. On the other side of the bridge and in the distance is a house surrounded by green leafy trees. This card tells of having a full heart; I love this description! It represents mature love, real companionship, safety, security, and dreams that have come true.

The Thoth Tarot Ten of Cups is not so happy as the Llewellyn Welsh Ten of Cups. The image on this card is 10 Cups arranged in the shape of the Tree of Life, and the water flows with power from each Cup. But that water is flowing with such intensity that it does not fall into the Cup immediately below, but rather overflows onto the floor. Crowley sees this card as suggesting “the morbid hunger which springs from surfeit.” He tells Lady Harris (his illustrator) to make the card menacing and to keep in mind the cravings of a drug addict. Instead of representing the realization of the potential of the rest of the Cups cards, this card is merely about fullness. Crowley blames this depressing end-of-the-line of the Cups cards on the influence of the planet Mars, which he sees as “a gross, violent and disruptive force which inevitably attacks every supposed perfection.” The divinatory meanings of the Thoth Ten of Cups reflect this influence: lasting success inspired from above and kindness, moving to pity and quietness, and on to dissipation, debauchery, wantonness and waste.

The Ten of Cups from the Gateway to the Divine Tarot offers a cozy variation of the traditional image for this card. This Ten shows a golden dog sleeping in front of a roaring fireplace. Leaning against the dog (and also deeply asleep) is a ginger cat. Hanging in front of the flames of the fireplace are the symbols for Pisces and Mars, and on the mantle shelf above and on shelves to either side of the fire are 10 Cups. Dogs and cats are associated with domestic scenes, but what makes this image so powerful is that these two creatures who are usually at odds with each other are coexisting in trust and peace. Here is the harmony, hospitality, mutual love, mutual trust, and the happy family of the Ten of Cups.

If we look back at all the information we have discussed regarding the Ten of Cups, we can see where each of the variations I’ve described arise. If we begin with the Ace of Cups and think about the positive feelings and emotions and dreams we wish to attract to us, and then move through the Cups cards and the experiences they offer, one possible end result can certainly be the traditional interpretation of this card: the emotional fulfillment of a mature relationship. We do need to remember, however, that the happy ending presented by the Ten of Cups is not about money or mansions. The pleasures presented by this card are represented by a simple home in the woods, a loving companion in a mature and fruitful relationship, and the ability to enjoy the beauty around us as it naturally appears.

The lesson of the Ten of Cups is that we should not focus solely on achieving the goal, for once the goal is achieved, there is no feeling of satisfaction. Instead, there is the letdown of “now what?” or the surfeit of overindulgence. Instead, we should enjoy the journey and understand that the goal is not to achieve something material in the future, but rather to enjoy what we have now, things like love and peace and safety, which cannot be purchased with any coin.

** This year we will be featuring the art of Ciro Marchetti as part of Tarot Talk.  You can view his work and Decks at http://www.ciromarchetti.com/ .