Hey so I’m back!

Having gone through the Major Arcana, we’re moving on to the Minor. These are the ones that, if you take out either the Knight or the Page from each suit, correspond basically to playing cards. Swords are spades, to reverse the Sting lyrics; wands are clubs; cups are hearts; and diamonds are pentacles.

Now, with the Minor Arcana, I learned a good general-and-easily-remembered interpretation that applies to all suits. I’ll be going through the cards in more individual detail, but this is a good baseline to keep in mind. Each card number has a more or less similar meaning across all the suits, but interpreted in the light of what a particular suit is about.

One: The beginning, new beginnings, breaking ground.
Two: Balance and harmony, the potential for new growth.
Three: Actual growth and progression.
Four: Stasis, rest, stillness, stability.
Five: Dark luck–luck that at least looks bad on the surface, though it may be for the best.
Six: A quest or search.
Seven: Bright luck: things are looking good, though it might, as the fish dude says, be a trap.
Eight: A challenge–but unlike the Hanged Man, this is one you can handle. If the Hanged Man is the final fight with the leg sweeping and so forth (hey actually the position corresponds decently to that–holy shit, could I do a paper on the mystical/Tarot symbolism of The Karate Kid? I think I could. Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be English majors…) then your Eights are the training montage where you keep getting your ass kicked until you can do push-ups on hot coals, to unrepentently mix my martial arts movie analogies.
Nine: A whole lot of whatever this is, but either it’s not enough or that’s not all there is to the situation.
Ten: ALL OF THE THING. ALLLLL OF IT. For good or bad. The tendency in Tarot is for this to be really good in cups and pentacles, really bad in swords, and neutralish in wands. I can and will come up with a few theories when we get to specific cards, but I welcome others because I really don’t know.

Like the correspondence suggests, pentacles are to some degree about wealth. More generally, they’re about earth stuff: money, stability, sex, health, food. If it is or directly affects your physical body, pentacles is the suit you’re going for. The upsides of pentacles, or of people it describes, tend to be the expected sensual or physical things, plus being “down to earth,” all practical and level-headed. I wouldn’t say that they balance their checkbooks easily, because first of all that’s more an air/swords thing and second it’s 2017 and like five people use checkbooks, but they’re unlikely to splurge on designer shoes or big-screen TVs unless they know they can afford and will use them, say.

The flaws inherent in pentacles are stubbornness, laziness, and a tendency to concentrate on or overindulge in material things. Four of the seven “deadly sins” are pentacle traits, for reasons to do with Christian neoPlatonic weirdness. (Wrath is probably wands, albeit it makes sense as swords too–and there’s a whole occult controversy out there about whether swords are fire or air, so–and I’d stick Envy in cups and Pride in swords.)

(Pride in Swords sounds like a Japanese fighting game.)

In Tarot that’s less pure elemental and more specific, like the Rider-Waite interpretations, Pentacles is one of the “happier” suits: fewer of its cards mean dire shit, and the ones that do indicate challenges, like the eight, generally show up as “a complicated task lies ahead” rather than “holy shit, conflict and heartbreak and entrapment.”

Next time, we’ll get into some of the specifics, and I might actually make myself a for-real cocktail rather than straight-up pouring butterscotch schnapps into tea. We’ll see!


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I'm Izzy. I write stuff: mostly vaguely fantasy stuff, and most notably the following books: Hickey of the Beast, published March 2011 by Candlemark and Gleam Romance novels from Sourcebooks: No Proper Lady Lessons After Dark Legend of the Highland Dragon The Highland Dragon's Lady Night of the Highland Dragon Highland Dragon Warrior Highland Dragon Rebel Highland Dragon Master I also like video games, ballroom dancing, and various geeky hobbies like LARPing. I have been known to voluntarily purchase and eat circus peanuts. Like, a whole bag at once.

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