Prosperity and Security: The Ten of Pentacles

As a rule of thumb, when you see a ten in a reading, it usually means the end of one cycle and the beginning of another.  Each suit carries a different set of themes, but, of course, we must remember to be flexible in the reading of any card.  If a card is saying something to you that’s different from the “normal” reading, by all means, go with it!

Pentacles, also called Coins, represent the element of Earth. As such, they symbolize wealth, prosperity, security, comfort, sensuality, and health.

 

Robin Wood’s Ten of Pentacles is a joyous card.

The Ten of Pentacles (or Coins), as drawn by Robin Wood, shows not only material wealth, but emotional and spiritual wealth, as well.  The family is clearly a happy one.  The grandfather is serene, the children are generous with their love, and the golden dog (gold being the color of abundance) is loyal and adoring.  Even the couple in the background, underneath the archway (more on that later) are happily conversing! The old man can be seen as the personification of wisdom and hard work, which lead to prosperity.

Like all of Robin Wood’s cards, there is amazing detail in the Ten of Pentacles.  Pay attention to the particular details that stand out to you. It may be the flowers that the young boy is handing to his Grandfather, or the sun etched into the wood in the corner.

 

Robin Wood has decorated her Pentacles with pentagrams. Pentagrams in and of themselves are very protective–Christians believe that pentagrams symbolize the five wounds of Christ, as well as the five senses, and Pagans see it as a symbol of the five elements bound together with spirit, which is the top point.  This symbol of protection, wholeness, and unity can also be seen in the Pentacle suits of the Celtic and Barbara G. Walker decks.

 

 

The Celtic Deck, like Robin Wood’s deck, shows a happy, prosperous family. The arch over the family’s heads represents security and union, and the braids also symbolize a joining together in a strong  family bond.  The pentagrams are there, too, giving care and protection.

 

Like all of the Pentacles in Kris Waldherr’s Goddess Deck, the Ten of Pentacles is represented by the Goddess Lakshmi, the Hindu Goddess of Prosperity, Abundance, Beauty, and Pleasure.  The tree on the card is ripe with Coins, which may represent material wealth or opportunities. Depending on the reading, these opportunities may be financial, educational, social, or romantic. Since Pentacles/Coins also represent physical reality, they may also indicate robust health or healing.  The grass on the card, and even the flowers along the border, are fresh and bright, underscoring fertility.

 

The archway, as I am seeing it right now, symbolizes a doorway to a new way of life, or a new, joyful sensual experience. This is fitting, as the 10s are the end of an old cycle and the beginning of a new one. I also see it as a symbol of security, just as it was a symbol of security on the 10 of Pentacles for the Robin Wood and Celtic Decks.  What do you see when you look at an archway?

 

Kris Waldherr does not use the pentagram on her Pentacles.  Instead, she uses a lotus flower. Lotuses are the symbols of the goddess Lakshmi.  Lotuses are prized for their abilities to rise out of the murkiest, muddiest waters, inspiring people to rise above their circumstances.

 

 

Barbara G. Walker’s Ten of Pentacles is subtitled “Protection.” It is in agreement with the preceding decks that the Ten of Pentacles/Coins represents security.  Here, however, it has a more mysterious, esoteric meaning. The young woman on the card is connected to the circle of pentagrams by a red cord, suggesting the umbilical cord.  She is tapping into the fertile, protecting energies of the Earth. The circle of Pentacles reminds us of the cyclical nature of the cards, and that the ten represents both an end and a beginning.

 

We can also see the young woman is as a weaver.  She is weaving a strong, healing charm in her circle of pentacles, and her thread is thick with bright red life.

 

The Ten of Pentacles, like the Ten of Cups, generally represents good, healing, joyous energies.  If you choose to read cards reversed, it can mean a thwarting of the dreams they represent, or simply a postponement of their attainment.

Advertisements

Pee, Fawns, Genital Piercings, and the Color Pink: Not What You Would Think

This is a demonstration of a dream interpretation.  If anyone would like me to interpret a dream–with or without posting it anonymously online–please let me know.

A note on anonymity: all dreams are used with permission. No defining characteristics will be shared that may lead to a discovery of the “donor’s” identity.  The gender of the dreamer is kept intact, unless requested.

Here are the dreams:

The dreamer was lying on a couch in pajamas. Her brother is lying on the couch across from her.  They are both very lethargic, even though it is late in the day. The dreamer pees all over the couch. The dreamer panics. She runs to get paper towels and a spray bottle. Her mother cannot know about this, and she tells herself that she will just blame it on the dog.

Interpretation: The dominant feeling in this dream was that the mother might find out about the accident on the couch.  Is the dreamer hiding anything in real life? Is there anything she is frightened about her mother finding out?

Urine most obviously symbolizes shame/embarrassment, or a feeling of a loss of control over oneself. Urine, being water, can also symbolize emotions.  Upon further investigation of the dream, the dreamer recalled not feeling any particular urgency to get off the couch. Along with the fear of discovery, there was a sense of relief.  Urinating symbolized releasing emotions, and releasing these emotions brought about relief.

After this realization, things fell into place. Couches are associated with therapy.  The dreamer had recently begun seeing a therapist, something she felt she needed to do, but she didn’t want her mother to know about it. So, although she was relieved to be seeing one and expressing upsetting feelings, she was also very nervous about her mother finding out.

The next dreamer had a dream with what she felt was rather disturbing imagery.  In this dream, she had a genital piercing, specifically, two safety pins that pinned her labia shut. She was desperate to remove the safety pins, but she was in a very busy bookstore.  She went into the bathroom, which was hot pink, and went into the first stall, but the toilet wasn’t flushed. She found a clean stall, and tried to remove the piercings while a friend (nobody from real life, just a dream friend) called out to her outside the stall.  She managed to remove one of the piercings, with great fear of “tearing herself up.”

Interpretation: This dream caused some anxiety to interpret, as the dreamer was embarrassed.  It was concluded that perhaps the piercing of the labia shut was an expression of shame about sexuality. However, the fact that she wanted the piercing removed was a sign of healing, and reclaiming of this sexuality.

It must also be noted that labia is another word for lips, that is, the lips of the mouth. The dreamer had been feeling stifled in waking life, but was getting better at communication. Again, the removal of one piercing was a good sign–she felt stronger about speaking her truth. However, the fact that one piercing still remained indicated that there was still work to be done. Perhaps her subconscious was telling her that she needed to communicate better with herself.  The dreamer felt that there were messages coming from a very primal part of her, but she felt like she was “blocked” from this information.

The appearance of the friend outside the stall indicated a need for boundaries and periods of solitude, balanced with friends who cared.  The dreamer was touched that the dream friend was concerned about her, and didn’t want her to go away–just give her five minutes alone.

Pink, since it comes in many shades, comes with different interpretations.  The hot pink of the bathroom  was described by the dreamer as warm, flirty, fun, and glamorous–all can be adjectives used to describe a healthy female sexuality.

Public bathrooms are places associated with embarrassment, shame, and filth, and also symbolize boundaries and privacy.  Going to one stall, deciding she wasn’t going to use it, and moving on to another, cleaner one shows autonomy and some power to make decisions. She is also getting better at placing boundaries, because there are stalls in the bathroom.  A stall-free bathroom indicates a lack of privacy and frustration about this lack.

The unflushed toilet shows a need to resolve emotions, to “flush” them away.  When questioned about this, the dreamer said she had been feeling frustrated, and was working out some unpleasant memories.

The third dream involved the dreamer being in a friend’s bedroom. The bedroom was very large, dimly lit, and in soft, soothing rose colors. Along the walls were little rooms with glass windows. One was an aquarium, full of small, phosphorescent fish and a very tiny glow- in -the- dark turtle. In another “room” were some wolf cubs. One of the wolf cubs was in the room above, cuddling with a new fawn.

Deer, particularly fawns, are symbolic of gentleness, grace, and innocence.  This fawn was cuddling with a wolf cub, a symbol of the balance between loyalty and individuality.  Both of these symbols can also be considered “feminine” (the deer because of its delicacy, and the wolf for its association with the Moon). Turtles are symbolic of a talent for negotiating Earth and Water.  Both are feminine elements, the Earth the element of practicality, the physical, fertility, and abundance, and Water the element of the emotions, the unconscious, and the imagination.  Both are elements of creation, making the Turtle a creative, sustaining creature in mythology.  The phosphorescence of the turtle and the fish meant that they were equipped to go diving deep to find treasures, something the dreamer hoped she would do, metaphorically, with her friend. Further, fish are symbolic of the Water attributes, as well as the long life (they looked to be like tiny, glow-in-the-dark koi) she hoped for the friendship.

The dreamer had this dream after arranging to talk to her friend after a period of very limited contact. She was excited to speak to this friend, and saw her as having all the qualities embodied in the animals. However, she wasn’t exactly sure what to expect after so long, and it was concluded that the dream was her subconscious reassuring her that the conversation would be quite comfortable (as seen in the lighting of the room and the bed). There was also a hint of sadness to the dream, as the animals were behind glass and she couldn’t touch them or interact with them.  She decided that she would love to see her friend in person.

Going deeper, it was suggested that, since all elements of a dream are aspects of the dreamer, that these animals were reminding the dreamer that she, too, must strive to be gentle, loyal, and willing to dive deep and create.

So, those were the interpretations! What did you all think? Please leave any additional insights in the comments. If you would like a dream interpreted, either privately or to be posted here (with 100% anonymity) please e-mail me at turtlephoenix@gmail.com

The Wheel of Fortune

The Wheel of Fortune is the tenth card in the Major Arcana.  Ten is the number of completion and new beginnings.   The Wheel of Fortune reminds us of cycles, and that all endings bring new beginnings, just as every beginning inevitably grows, changes, and sometimes becomes an ending.  It also reminds us that downs are a part of life, and every down must have an up.

It also is good to know that The Wheel of Fortune is the card halfway through the Major Arcana, and is the gateway from the materialistic, practical first half into the more spiritual, abstract latter half (Barbara Walker Tarot 10).

Robin Wood’s Wheel of Fortune shows the rise and fall of the fortunes (and the joy) of a woman.  The colors whose tips touch oppose each other, with bright, sunshine yellow at the zenith and indigo at the nadir.  Night must follow day, just as day follows night, and if this is accepted, life becomes easier.  As the wheel turns clockwise, the warm yellow fades to the cooler colors of greens and blues as the wheel descends, and then the colors warm into fuchsias, reds and oranges. Life is made up of all shades of emotions, from euphoria to despair.

The silver ball going around symbolizes the arbitrariness of fate. Sometimes life doesn’t rise and fall in an expected rhythm.

Julian De Burgh and Mary Guinan’s Wheel of Fortune shows an image that, depending on the other cards in the reading, can be comforting or alienating. The blonde woman watching over the wheel may be a guardian angel, reminding the questioner that no matter what, help, comfort and love are always available.  On the other hand, she may be listless and apathetic, showing the randomness of fate.

The Celtic Deck’s Wheel of Fortune also shows two men, one rising and one falling.  Looking closely at the man going up, one can see that he is climbing. This could mean that the questioner must strive and work to achieve his desired fate, and that it is in the questioner’s power to create his destiny.

Keep in mind that I am only writing what I am seeing in this card on this particular day. When you look at the card, you may be focusing on something else.  Or, you may be focusing on the man on the upswing, and seeing something totally different.  That’s wonderful!

On Barbara G. Walker’s deck, you may see some familiar creatures in the four corners of the card–they are the masculine versions of the animals seen on the card for The World. Traditionally, these are the four elements–the Lion is Fire, the Angel is Air, the Bull is Earth, and the Eagle is Water. Of course, they can mean more than that–the Eagle can represent farsightedness and freedom, the Lion courage and nobility, the Angel protection and wisdom, and the Bull hard work and fertility. What do the male animals signify to you?

An interesting aspect of Barbara G. Walker’s Wheel is that it could be seen as rotating counter-clockwise, as the figure on the left with the head of an ass is falling down, while the figure on the right with the head of a hawk is climbing up. While a clockwise movement is associated with the Sun, masculinity, and the bringing in of energy in Wiccan tradition, counterclockwise is the feminine and repelling.

Barbara G. Walker writes that the figure with the Hawk head is Horus, the ancient Egyptian god of the Sun, and the plummeting man with the Ass head is Set, who represents darkness and the sterile desert (Barbara Walker Tarot 10).  Using the cards and your own intuition, you can decide whether the questioner is Horus or Set in the situation, and whether it is the right time to make a move and achieve an end, or to wait and avoid disaster, or to expect delays or obstacles.

At the top is Justice, reminding us that our actions always have an effect, whether now or in the future. She keeps track of our karmic debts, and makes sure we are rewarded through the Ankh, representing love and protection, or punished through her sword.

The mention of karma leads me through association to the concept of samsara, which is the great cosmic wheel of life. In Hinduism, being in samsara means that the soul is still going through the process of reincarnation, and therefore has not reached the enlightenment necessary to enter Bhraman, or the Great Cosmic Spirit.  If The Wheel of Fortune comes up in a reading, it may mean that the questioner is reaching an epiphany, or that the questioner is not quite ready for an undertaking.

Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth and luck, is the goddess chosen for the Wheel of Fortune by Kris Waldherr for the Goddess Deck. She flies on Garuda, the King of Birds, with a lotus as her cushion, accompanied by her companion Vishnu the Sustainer.  When the card is upright, she symbolizes abundance and good fortune, but if she is flying upside down, it means that the wheel of Samsara is still turning, and things may be on a temporary downswing.

The High Priestess

In review:
In the beginning was The Fool, the beginner’s mind, new experiences, birth and rebirth.

Tara, the Tibetan goddess of compassion and protection, symbolizes New Beginnings in Kris Waldherr’s Goddess Deck. If she appears, she will keep the questioner safe from harm as they begin their new adventure. In fact, Tara translates to “She who causes one to cross.” So, the first step of the Tarot Major Arcana journey is one of getting the courage and security to set out on your adventure.
Next is gaining mastery over the self and the environment, represented by the Magician:

And now, after there is self-control and external power, the adventurer becomes introspective, and looks to the abstract.

And we have moved from the Magician to the High Priestess. While the Magician is about skills, the High Priestess is about knowledge, especially knowledge of the Self, and knowledge of the Spirit.   Kris Waldherr chose Sarasvati for the High Priestess of the Goddess Deck, and called the card itself Wisdom.  Sarasvati is the Hindu goddess of wisdom, music, education, spiritual knowledge, and the arts.  She floats on a lotus, a flower that symbolizes resilience. The lotus can grow out of the murkiest depths, and knowledge and enlightenment can occur in the most unlikely places.
Kris Waldherr added many wonderful details to her illustration. Look closely at Sarasvati’s arms, of which she has four. This shows the reach of wisdom; enlightenment can be found in all four corners of the earth. Also, to connect her to the Magician, I would say that the four arms can symbolize the four elements, of which the High Priestess would also have mastery. The four limbs can be spiritual, mental, physical, and emotional well being and balance, as well. The book is education and commitment to learning. The beads represent spiritual commitment and ritual, and the lute she strums symbolizes music, the marriage of both the left and right brain, showing both emotional and logical balance.

The Celtic Deck’s High Priestess is shown standing in front of the moon, a symbol of feminine intuition, wisdom, and the subconscious. The moon is full to show the fertility of her imagination. Her robes are those of a priestess, someone who has been initiated onto the path. The inside of her robes is dark blue, the color of the night and the subconscious. Her sash is gold, the color of solar or male energy, showing her ability to translate this knowledge from subconscious to conscious, abstract to concrete.  She stands on a verdant green lawn, vines climbing up the bricks. This is a place of mystery.  If the High Priestess comes into a spread, secrets may be revealed.
Since The High Priestess is shown outdoors, she shows an understanding and a closeness to nature, a potent source of wisdom, and a source as beloved and valuable to the High Priestess as any book.

Robin Wood’s High Priestess shows a woman wearing a robe in shades of blue and green, the colors of night and of water, both associated with the feminine, the subconscious, and dreams. She holds a book, to show her devotion to study, and a crystal ball, to show her sharp intuition. Her hair is black, in keeping with the mysterious colors of night, and is highlighted with silver, a feminine color because of its association with the moon (gold and the sun are masculine).  Her necklace is, if you look closely, a pentacle. She also has mastery over the four elements.  Her headband has a crescent moon, which is a symbol of rebirth and regeneration, as well as the cyclical nature of life, as the moon wanes or “dies” and then waxes, or is “reborn.”
In a reading, the season depicted in the card may seem to be autumn/early winter, or early spring.  The beauty of the Robin Wood deck is the careful detailing. One detail may stick out to you out of all the others on the card.  What does this detail tell you? What does it mean to you? Why does it stick out?

Barbara G. Walker’s Papess is also full of exquisite detail. What stands out to me, right now, are the Alpha and Omega symbols on the pillars behind the Papess. Her knowledge is the beginning, the end, and everything in between. She studies the book in her lap, calm and alert, flanked by the ivory towers of accomplishment. These ivory towers may mean something else to you. On the ground in front of the Papess are two keys, which allow insights, foresights, and treasures of the subconscious to be yielded to the questioner.
At first glance, the Papess may appear to be wearing a Devo hat. This is actually meant to represent a beehive, and at the top is a crescent moon, the symbol of cycles and regeneration.  The High Priestess/Papess, because of her wisdom, understands and accepts the cycles of life. The beehive is symbolic of devotion, for she is as intent on gathering wisdom as the bees are at gathering nectar. Just as bees instinctively go to the best flowers, she uses her intuition to guide her. She is wearing purple, the color of royalty, and the other dominant colors of the card are red and white–red is commonly associated with passion, and white with purity. What do these colors mean to you?
If the questioner receives this card,  it could represent aspects of the questioner. The questioner may be going through a period where they feel passionate about learning. They may be having very intense, even prophetic dreams. They may be feeling very close to nature, or may have had a transcendent experience in a sacred place.
The High Priestess/Papess may also represent someone in the questioner’s life.  This person may be very encouraging, intuitive, and/or intelligent. This may be a female teacher, therapist, or mentor, especially in a spiritual capacity, a mother in an initiator role, or a friend who gives good advice.
The archetype of a High Priestess, which can also be found in a male, is that of an intuitive, wise, spiritual woman, a woman who perhaps is close to nature.  She may be mysterious, but nurturing.
In its reversed aspect, the High Priestess could indicate a stinginess with wisdom–the questioner or a person in the questioner’s life is choosing not to help a someone seeking answers.  It can also indicate someone who thinks he or she is wise but is actually not experienced enough to give accurate counsel. It can also mean an estrangement from one’s own intuition or subconscious, or a refusal to follow one’s gut feelings. The High Priestess in reverse can also show that the questioner, or someone close, is having a full-blown spiritual crisis.

The World

The World is the 21st and last card of the Major Arcana.  It is a card of accomplishment, completion, success, and joy.

Barbara G. Walker

Most cards for the World traditionally show a woman in the center of a wreath.  The woman is Gaia, the archetypal Earth Mother. She is usually nude or draped in a robe to show a return to the natural state, the purity of the womb (which is associated with the Earth; think of Mother Earth and the Shamanic ritual of burial that ends with  symbolic rebirth).  The wands she holds indicate mastery, strength, and energy–she is a balance of male and female.  The position of her legs form a backward four, a symbol of magical power.

Flanking her are a lion, a bull, an eagle, and a pixie-like creature. Traditionally, these stood for the four Gospel writers, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and also to the beasts referred to in Revelation. The pixie was a man.  Now, they can still stand for those things, indicating community with God and a higher purpose.  However, they can also stand for the four elements.  The lion, the symbol for Leo, is fire; the bull is Taurus, earth; the man is Aquarius, air–which makes the pixie a sylph; and the Eagle is Scorpio, water.  This again illustrates the balance the questioner has achieved; they are at home in all four elements and the qualities associated with each.  Thus, the World card is a card of wisdom, mastery, and balance.

Robin Wood’s World.

Robin Wood’s tarot deck shows the woman draped in a white sheet. It is white for purity, and she is draped in it to show she has achieved great honor.  Her wreath is made of fresh flowers and fruit, for she is fruitful and accomplished and surrounded by beauty.  Ribbons form the infinity symbol at the top and bottom.  The four elements are represented in the four corners, again indicating balance and mastery of the qualities of those energies, and she’s holding two wands in a blessing. Stars sparkle behind her in a blue sky–her thoughts are clear, she has foresight and knowledge, and she is a “star.”

Kris Waldherr’s Gaia

Kris Waldherr’s goddess for the World is, of course, Gaia, the ancient Greek personification of the Earth. The sun and the moon are in position above the Earth, showing, again, a balance of masculine and feminine energy.  At the top of the card is a winter scene, and at the bottom a spring scene.  This shows a knowledge of and respect for the Earth’s cycles, which is apropos to The World being an end of the cycle of the Major Arcana, a cycle began by The Fool.

The two women supporting the Earth are symbolic, I believe, of both Western and Eastern philosophies, and the harmonious marriage of these ideas.

Julian De Burgh and Mary Guinan’s Celtic deck is reminiscent of the stunning Book of Kells. It, like the others, shows the mastery of the four elements and their qualities. The Cup is Water, the Pentacle is Earth,  the Sword is Air, and the Wand is Fire.  The two figures in the center, if you look closely, are a man and a woman bound together in an intricate knot. Their legs are crossed, and the bottoms of their feet are touching, forming the shape of a heart.  They are whole and fulfilled.

If The World shows up in a reading, it is very auspicious and joyous. It may indicate that the questioner’s entire life is going well, or that at least one aspect of the person’s life is booming–pay attention to the question and any other cards.  Reversed, The World may portend postponement of this fulfillment, mastery, and joy.  There may be more steps needed in the cycle before it reaches the completion of The World.