|Universal Rider-Waite Tarot|
The Seven of Pentacles, in the astrological correspondence system I follow, is linked to Saturn in Taurus. First of all, what qualities does Saturn bring to Taurus? Well, Saturn is about establishing and preserving, as well as about having integrity. In Taurus, that integrity could grow out of a sense of loyalty or reliability, or perhaps through building (Taurus) or establishing (Saturn) a safe and secure base – one that provides a sense of stability. Saturn can also be about traditional values, as can Taurus (through its association with the Second House), as well as preserving the status quo, perhaps in order to maintain some sort of approval or recognition within a social context. There can be a tendency towards conservatism in this combination, as well as that Taurean stubbornness (I like to call it tenacity!), linked to a Saturnian fear of not being in control. Saturn wants to achieve but Taurus can slow things down, and at its worst could impede progress by not only stubbornness but also laziness. At its best, progress is slow but sure; it’s steady, and often self-reliant.
Bu how does this fit with the Seven of Pentacles? This card is often linked to the need to make a decision, depicted by the man on the edge of two fields – one with a well-established crop, one lying fallow, or less developed. It’s about the choice between the familiar, the established, the ‘tried and tested’ – all very Saturnian – and the promise of something new. Taurus is represented by the idea of the crops; an achievement on one hand, something that’s required hard work, and on the other, the fertility (symbolized by the rabbit) of the yet-to-be-used soil. As Juliet Sharman-Burke says in the accompanying book to the Sharman-Caselli tarot, there’s no judgement here, merely an indication that this is a good time to weigh things up – that we have choices. We can stick with what we know, or branch out.
Whereas many other decks show a more Taurean image, in terms of the earthy colours and the rural or agricultural scene, the illustrator of the Thoth deck, Lady Frieda Harris, has chosen much darker colours, drawing on the feelings of restriction perhaps that have been associated with Saturn. The word that Crowley chose for the card is ‘failure’, which can sound very harsh and depressing. I feel, however (as with many of the cards in this deck) that it’s coming from the other direction but still bringing us to the same point. Here we have fear of failing – if we stick to what we know, we’re safe. Very Saturn in Taurus! But notice the peacock-feather effect of the background – this reminds us that fear, doubt, anxiety, and worry are all in the mind (birds and feathers being symbols of Air, and hence to mental processes). We may run the risk of limiting ourselves to old, tried-and-tested ways of doing things (Saturn again), fearing to take a chance and exposing ourselves to something new. But what if we do some very Saturn-in-Taurus hard work and find a way to accept and let go of those negative thoughts? By doing so, we free ourselves from any restrictions and can choose which direction to go.
Thoth Tarot, created by Aleister Crowley, illustrated by Lady Frieda Harris. Published by US Games Systems Inc.
Universal Rider-Waite Tarot, created by A.E. Waite, illustrated by Pamela Coleman-Smith. Published by US Games Systems Inc.