She Smells of Gingerbread and Pine Trees: The Queen of Pentacles

The Queen of Pentacles, like any court card, is usually associated with a person in the questioner’s life. She can also represent an aspect of the questioner herself.  Since she is the Queen of Pentacles, she has certain qualities. While the Queen of Swords is the Queen of the modern, jet-set woman, the Queen of Wands the successful social butterfly, and the Queen of Cups the artistic romantic, the Queen of Pentacles (or Coins) is the archetypal nurturing mother or grandmother.

What do you think of when you think of the perfect mother, or grandmother? Probably a warm bed, and yummy food cooked with love, and big hugs. This is someone who is patient, solid, and reliable, someone who knows exactly what to do in a crisis. She pampers, but it’s practical. She will dish out solid advice along with tea, sympathy, and amazing baked goods.

This is a person with wisdom. In fact, this archetype is one of the oldest there is.

This is Erda, an ancient Earth goddess, chosen by Barbara G. Walker to represent the Queen of Pentacles. You’ll notice that she has large, maternal bosoms and wide hips. This speaks to her fertility and nurturing ability. Her cave entrance leads to the warm, dark womb, where all life begins and ends.  Her pentacle promises abundance and protection.  The word “Earth” comes from Erda’s name, and the word material (which used to imply rocks and plants and all things from the earth) has the same root as Mother.

Kris Waldherr chose a different goddess for her deck. Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth and beauty in Hinduism.  Her beautiful costumes and jewelry underscore this association. Queen of Pentacles people, with their practicality and good sense, can accumulate quite a bit of wealth. Out of balance, they can be miserly, but in balance they are generous, including with themselves, and love fabulous things.  Lakshmi is known for giving riches to those she loves, just like Queen of Pentacles people.

Please do not think that this Queen can only be seen in women.  Men, too, can be nurturing, giving, and sage with advice.

Robin Wood’s Queen of Pentacles cradles a Pentacle gently, looking at it with loving eyes.  She proves, along with Lakshmi, that the Queen of Pentacles is not necessarily an older woman.  In fact, Pentacles women can be very sensual, because of the alignment with Earth, and its material blessings. The Queen here is also fertile and abundant–she is surrounded by flowers, fruits, vegetables, and our favorite little fornicators, bunnies. Her green gown and orange apron make her one with the Earth’s grass and leaves, and her purple embellishments symbolize richness, royalty, and abundance.

Mary Guinan’s Queen of Pentacles, for Julian De Burgh’s Celtic Deck, is also decked in orange and green. Her red hair is different from the brunette associated with Pentacles court cards, but I like it.  It makes me think of the marriage of Earth and Fire, with volcanos and magma flowing underground. There’s a kinetic energy along with practicality and reliability associated with Earth.  Her arms and gaze are open, waiting to hear about your issues. She will be a fabulous listener, and then she’ll clap her hands and say, “okay, here’s what you gotta do! Let’s go!”

Archetypes/People associated with the Queen of Pentacles:
–Nurturing Mothers and Grandmothers who are practical and loving (and men who have these traits)
–Sensual people who love textures, colors, and fine things
–Great chefs
–Pregnant women, expectant fathers preparing a nest
–People with a gift for money management and are extremely generous.

Out of balance, Shadow Queen of Pentacles:
–cold, hard parents who care more about wealth than family
–a nosy, bossy person
–a lazy person
–a stingy miser
–someone who can’t even nurture herself, preferring to work herself to sickness


Gentle, Luxurious Taurus

Taurus calls, to my mind, absolute luxury and beauty. It is ruled by Venus, planet of not only beauty and luxury, but also love.  Taurus loves deep and warm, but since its energy is that of the element Earth, they have a practicality and steadiness. While Libra is also ruled by the planet of love, the energy of love in this placement is, in keeping with the air element, more intellectual, more abstract, and, when the Libra is out of balance, fickle.  Taurus is steady as a rock, and while the swift lyricism and charm associated with Libra is not normally associated with Taurus, Venus gives this earthy placement a nice boost in that department. The Taurus has exquisite taste, and a poetic mind.

The Earth energy aligned with Taurus is the energy of the lush rain forests, succulent flower gardens, fecund fruit orchards, and fertile fields.  Taurus energy is not just vibrant green and rich brown, but the brilliant pinks, reds, blues, purples, and aquamarines of all the flowers and gem stones the Earth gives to us as gifts.  If Taurus were fabrics, it would be velvet and silk.  It is a musical energy, and music is a gift for Taurus–even if they can’t sing or play, they are deeply affected by and resonate to music.

I have a friend who is a Taurus, and a friend who has the Moon in Taurus.  They are both very dear and they are both fabulous huggers.  You can seriously melt into their arms.  Raven Kaldera (buy his book!)  describes Hathor, the cow goddess of Egypt that he has assigned to the Taurus Moon, as having “restful arms” (64).  This is certainly true. There’s just something so comforting about a Taurus presence. This is a soft-spoken, gentle energy.  They also tend to smell nice, like a lawn after a soft rain.

It is fitting that the animal for Taurus is the Cow. Cows are known for being sweet and wide-eyed, and nurturing toward their young. A calf is open and trusting. Someone with the gift of Taurus energy has a talent for making people feel loved.  If a Taurus loves you, you feel amazing and deserving. They open up to you and trust you.

Naturally, their is a Shadow to the Taurus, and that is the Rampaging Bull.  Bull-rage is not something to mess with. This is a very physical, visceral anger, that is slow to build and then explodes and flows over anything in its path like lava or scalding steam.  Taurus does not intellectualize his or her anger, and the ability to reason oneself out of one’s emotions is not one of the gifts this energy gives to the people who tap it.  Another good analogy is thunder and lightning. Thunder may begin as a tiny rumble, but then it increases into the darts of the gods.

Another aspect of the Shadow of Taurus is gluttony. This is the sign of the Gourmand, but it can easily devolve into having no standards, and, with the natural exquisite taste and aesthetics of this sign, that is a waste of potential.

Another Shadow of this energy is that of the Indolent.  An unbalanced Taurus has no curiosity. This may not be due to a boring personality, though that may be the case, but to an aversion to change. The Taurus, as we all, must remember that even the Grand Canyon was created through a process of change. If it must be taken slowly, that is all right, but steps must be taken, because the purpose of the motionless is to deaden and decay, making room for and feeding growing things.

Taurus has a gift for creation. This is a creative energy, and, just as important, a sustaining one. Taurus is strong and resilient, and willing to get their hands dirty and put their backs into it.  If this dirtying of the hands and straining of the back is done for the people they love, this could be as much a pleasure as lounging on a satin divan, listening to a sunset concert while sipping ice-wine and letting chocolates melt in their mouths. For many Taurus people, or those who are in the stream of Taurus energy, giving is as effortless as the giving of the Earth herself.

Archetypes, people and animals associated with Taurus

The Cow

Hathor, the Cow Goddess of Egypt

Thor, Norse God of Thunder

The Gardener/Nature Child

Gaea, Tara, and other Earth Goddesses

The Sensualist

The Artist/Musician

The Poet Rumi (read his poetry, it’s down to Earth and yet has that warm, ruby center that the Earth itself possesses

Elephants–for their quiet intelligence (Kaldera 224-225)

Ganesha–for his lust for the finer things in life, as well as his earthy intelligence and loving nature (Kaldera 224-227)

Hints for bringing Taurus energy into your life–

Go to a lush, green, growing place. Surround yourself with flowers, vegetables, and fruit, which are not only lovely but symbolize Earth’s fertility

What do your eyes find beautiful? Your ears? Your nose? Your mouth? Your fingertips? Feast on these things at least three times a day.

Give and receive more hugs. Most mammals die without physical contact. This is quite true for Taurus. Get massages.

Are there any rumblings of thunder in your life? Any irritations or angers threatening to explode into a fire storm from the sky? How can you solve these problems?

Carry a little elephant around, to remind you of Ganesha’s relaxed wisdom, to bring luck, or just to make you smile.

The Sixes

The number six, in numerology, is associated with harmony, calm, recovery, recuperation, the past, acceptance, serenity, and family. It is an others oriented number, and is the number of service and community.
The keyword for the Six of Pentacles is generosity. Either the querent (the person the reading is for) is generous himself, or someone else will be generous to them.

Barbara G. Walker’s Six of Pentacles, shown here, shows a lounging woman donating to a musician who has come to beg her favors. She gives him a coin like it ain’t no thang.  The Six of Pentacles shows the opportunity to give in a way that makes the giver feel good, or receive with no strings attached.

The Six of Pentacles can also indicate the receiving of an honor or an award, as seen here in the Celtic deck.

The generosity of the Six of Pentacles is fair and just, which is why Robin Wood chose to show her benefactor holding the scales.

The Six of Pentacles is also generous with knowledge and friendship, as demonstrated by the Hindu goddess of luck, Lakshmi.

The Six of Swords is a card of flight, of respite, and of travel. It isn’t really a card of rest, more like a lull in the action where you can regroup.

This respite may not exactly be relaxing, as you can see in the Celtic deck. Some days you feel like the warrior carrying off the spoils of war, and sometimes you feel like you are the spoils. Either way, there won’t be a lot of resting going on. There may be some desperate scrambling, like the lady here who is trying to grab a sword. This may be a tense time, even though nothing may appear to be happening. Swords are mental, so other people may not see the struggle.

Here, the people in the golden boat look like they’re going to have to confront the Sphinx. Again, this may be a mental challenge, not a physical one, and may not be external, but internal. Life is full of riddles, and you may be stagnant unless you take a risk and answer one of your “riddles.” What riddles are in your life?

Isis, the representative of the Swords in the Goddess deck, is forlorn as she cruises the Nile. Perhaps she’s looking for pieces of her husband, Osirus, so she can put him back together. Have you ever had to “pick up the pieces” in your life? It sucks, but at least the worst is over.

Robin Wood’s Six of Swords is the most soothing. The ghostly figure can be a guardian spirit, or an angel, or a returning loved one. The swan is a symbol of grace, and the swan’s wings fold protectively around the figure as the swan floats him toward a new life. This reminds us that we are not alone.
I’m kind of going through a Six of Swords time of my life right now, so I’m going to focus on them.

The Six of Wands (Staves, in Kris Waldherr’s Goddess deck) represent victory and glory. However, it should be remembered that it is not the last stage of the 1-10 cycle of the minor arcanas. There is more joy and adventure coming up! Be sure to enjoy this Six of Wands energy!

This fiery redhead is Freyja, the Norse goddess of beauty and creativity. In Norse culture, the foundry was a font of fiery creative power.  Iron works were not only useful, but works of pride.

This Robin Wood card is full of details. Perhaps you are drawn to the horse, one of the children in the background, or one of the crystals on top of a wand. What draws you to this detail? Pretend you are the object. What does it mean to you?

The Six of Wands is full of joy and power!

The sun motif on Barbara G. Walker’s card is no accident.
Reversed, Six of Wands is a sign of “a dream deferred,” delays, even humiliation.

Six of Cups is the card of nostalgia, childhood, and happy family life. It tends to show up when daydreaming about the past, or when a childhood buddy is about to come a-calling.

Robin Wood’s Six of Cups makes me smile whenever I see it. Look at how cute it is! It suggests a happy, idyllic time with a loved one, where you’re just having innocent fun.

In the Celtic deck, an older couple looks happily at the six cups floating. It is a card of reminiscing of good times.

This card is quite simple. It’s a lovely cottage and six cups full of flowers. What kind of flowers do you think they are? Are they rosemary for remembrance? Little daisies for innocence?

Now we’ve all had our sunshine and flowers, and Barbara G. Walker wants to throw in some nightmare fuel. Here Six of Cups reminds us of vulnerability, and of being small, and how scary grown-ups can be. Is the mother towering over the child in this picture benevolent? It’s 9 o’clock–do you know where your inner child is?


The Sea Goat

(Originally published in January of this year.)
Capricorn is the sign of the Sea Goat (or just the Goat) and lasts from December 22 to January 22.  The ruling element for Capricorn is Earth. Earth lends a very practical, stoic quality to Capricorns. Capricorn also rules work and reputation. Capricorns, like the goats themselves, are steadfast. Like goats climbing–actually, forget climbing, have you ever seen rams lock horns?–on an almost perfectly vertical mountain, full of sharp rocks and sheer cliffs, they can accomplish what is seemingly impossible with focus and grace.Earth adjectives such as stony and steely are apt for Capricorn energy. Capricorn energy is taciturn and stoic. However, Capricorns can be quite intense. Like other earth signs, they are boulders. They hunker down into an idea or a goal and they shall not be moved. Their strength is a quiet, plodding strength, but underneath the solid exterior can be seething, swirling magma. Capricorns are good at keeping their cool and not blowing their tops–I apologize for the cliches–but unless the Capricorns can find an outlet, their repression and workaholism can eat them alive.Capricorn is ruled by Saturn, the planet of limitations. Saturn is the archetype of Father Time, and he loves to give challenges. Capricorns, because of this, may seem prone to melancholy and pessimism. However, Saturn is also the planet of wisdom, and Capricorn energy can be radiate knowledge and serenity, like Yoda.  Many images depict the Goat, Capricorn’s symbol, as a Sea Goat, with a goat upper body and a fish tail. The Capricorn personality can adapt to rather sticky situations, such as being a goat in the water, or a fish on a mountain. This is because Saturn is in Capricorn’s corner, helping them through these challenges. Capricorns are adept at handling emergencies and inconveniences.

I must confess that whenever I think of Capricorns, I think of Rob Zombie. Rob Zombie is a Capricorn, and, according to Sean Yseult’sI’m In the Band,  has a piercing focus and willingness, if the brick wall in front of him is miles long and miles high, to bang his head against it until he finds a weak spot. Though it may take a while, Capricorns have the practical knowledge, diligence, and instincts to be successful. Their greatest gifts, though, is having belief in their visions, even if they don’t have faith in themselves, and their refusal to give up.

Another quintessential embodiment of Capricorn energy is Hephaestus, the Greek god of the foundry and lightning bolts (he was known as Vulcan in Rome.) Hephaestus was lame, homely, and frequently cuckholded by his wife, Aphrodite, to absolutely nobody’s surprise. He was mocked and ridiculed by his comlier cohorts on Mount Olympus. And yet, when it came to his skill, nobody dared disparage him. He could make anything–Zeus’s thunder, Achilles’ armor, Artemis’ arrows, and even Pandora, the perfect human. The main focus of his life was trying to prove himself, to earn respect. This is the main idea of Capricorn energy: having a good reputation, in spite of any defects one may perceive oneself to have (Kaldera 43-48).

Capricorns are little lambs when you get them in the right mood. A perfect, in the light Capricorn would probably, in my opinion, be voice actor Brad Swaile, who is sweet, gentle, and as happy as a little kid on a sunny mountain top of clover.

The Shadow side of Capricorns are indicated by a lack of humor. The really scary side of Capricorn is a hard, cold, human being, with no imagination, only ambition, like the antagonists in Charles Dickens’ Hard Times. They can also be extremely stern and authoritarian. Also, the Shadow Capricorn can be unwilling to buck authority or convention. They would rather move up the ranks themselves, and then make changes, rather than go toe-to-toe with someone with more power (Kaldera 47). That might keep them from reaching their goals, and might tarnish their reputation.

Questions for consideration, to unleash healthy Capricorn energy:

1) What good, if any, have you received from the challenges in your life?
2) How are you specially adapted to challenges? What tools do you have in your arsenal against the inconveniences and emergencies of everyday life?
3) Where do you feel least comfortable nonconforming? Most comfortable?  Has this conforming served you? Why or why not? In what ways can you buck authority?

Source: Kaldera, Raven. Mythastrology: Exploring Planets and Pantheons. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 2004.