Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Finding Myself in the 9 of Pentacles

There is a lovely challenge occurring on Instagram this month which I am not participating in: #tarotperspectives. I will say, though, that I'm enjoying reviewing the posts of those who are! The idea is that you pull a card for the day from one, "main" deck, and then draw its equivalent from two or three other decks in order to see how different depictions of the same card speak to the same basic energy. Some of the voices are quite different, others very similar. Some approach the same archetype from unique angles.

I decided to try it out today using a few decks that I haven't drawn from in quite some time: the Fountain Tarot as the main deck, and then the Steampunk and DruidCraft Tarots as the companions. I shuffled and swirled and cut, and drew the 9 of Pentacles, a card associated with personal financial success and the comfort and pleasure that comes along with it. Then I pulled the same card from the other two decks, and laid them all side by side. Two images - from the Fountain and DruidCraft - were both quite similar to each other (and quite true to RWS styling), showing a woman with a falcon perched on one hand.
But despite their obvious connections, there are some significant differences in detail upon closer inspection. The DruidCraft 9 of Pentacles shows a woman who might be in her 40s. With the stone wall behind her, there is a sense that she could be in a courtyard, or at the edge of a castle enclosure. She bears appropriate falconry gear, with the heavy glove on her right hand, which reminds me that falconry was a "noble sport," practiced by those with enough money to afford the luxury of a fine bird, its housing needs, the necessary equipment, and the training. This was not a layperson's activity.

In the Fountain Tarot image there is a woman who appears to be a bit younger - perhaps in her 30s. She also has a bird, but she has no glove, which gives a more natural feel to her position. Perhaps the bird is there of its own accord - I like the idea that this wild bird simply came to visit. The woman stands before a series of concentric, golden circles, or arcs. This reminds me of tree rings, and I like the symbolism here: age and experience can be wonderful assets to support a successful life.

Then there is the Steampunk 9 of Leviathans, which shows a very science-fiction scene with two figures riding along in what appears to be some sort of futuristic amusement park ride. I had to look to the guidebook to try to understand what was going on here, but it just mentions that financial well-being allows one to enjoy life. Well, alright, I get that. I live in Orlando and never go to the "Parks" (Disney, Universal, etc.). The fact is that I just can't justify the expense of going with my family. Thus it does seem like some sort of symbol of economic success to be able to afford a worry-free visit there without breaking the bank.

As I was reviewing all of these cards I just felt flat. Not a single one made me truly "feel" anything. Women holding falcons isn't an image that resonates with me, and the Steampunk doesn't speak to me either - even if I was rolling in dough I wouldn't waste my money on a day at Disney. It was actually a kind of jarring experience to realize that I didn't connect with any of these cards - all from decks that I ostensibly really like.

So I went on a hunt to find a version that I could see myself in. I found it in the Prisma Visions deck:
Now this is what I'm talking about. No pretenses, no fancy gowns, no fancy gadgets and rides. This card shows a naked woman out in the middle of a field of tall grasses and wild flowers. It appears to be sunset, and the light in the sky shines in orange, yellow, and green hues. In the distance there is the outline of a cabin with an inviting glow coming from the windows. Perhaps logs crackle in the fireplace. There is a bird perched on the woman's shoulder, but there is not even the slightest hint of it being a pawn of the wealthy - it might have lit briefly on the lady's arm as it went about finding its evening meal. There are sparkles in the air - fireflies! The tall trees offer their green embrace to the world all around. Yes, this is me in the 9 of Pentacles. This is a woman who is glad simply to be alive, to be connected to the earth and sky. She delights in the presence of nature - she considers herself a part of it all. A rustic bowl of stew and a steaming mug of cider... a night of star-gazing...that is true contentment.


  1. That is the beauty of owning different decks: there is always a card to be found which resonates with you. How do you like the Fountain tarot? Does it add a new layer to you collection or do you find that, after the initial excitement of having a new deck, it doesn't live up to your expectations ( since it was/is a hype etc)?

    1. Indeed- multiple decks provide so many great sides of the same coin :-) I do like the Fountain Tarot! The art is lovely and the card stock is wonderful. If I had to give most of my decks away I'd definitely keep this one. I hope you win this month!