Now let’s look at Virgo in the Minor Arcana. Virgo is linked to three ‘pip’ cards in the earthy suit of Pentacles. Because Virgo is a mutable sign, we look to the 8, 9 and 10 of the suit to find the planetary correspondences. (For more information on this system of Planetary and Zodiacal dignities, I recommend Elizabeth Hazel’s Tarot Decoded, published by Weiser, 2004).
In the system I follow, the Eight of Pentacles is linked to the Sun in Virgo – and to the first ten days of the Sun’s journey through this sign (23rd-2nd September) - yes, I'm late, I know! The deck that conveys this best, for me, is the Thoth. The earthiness of the Pentacles (Disks, in the Thoth) is represented by the plant, and the earthy greens and browns. I can almost feel the sun, with all that bright yellow-gold suffusing the card! Gerd Ziegler, in his ‘Tarot: Mirror of the Soul’ (published by Weber Books, 1998) talks of the ‘flowering of internal and external richness’ – a lovely description of this image. Notice how each blossom is shaded from direct sunlight by a large leaf? There’s a message here about protection, about being careful and prudent (the keyword on the Thoth’s Eight of Disks). Although we’re in Virgo, this card isn’t about harvest. It’s too early for that, in this card - whatever it is you’re nurturing has only just reached flowering stage. It needs time to develop blossoms. If we extend this to wider Pentacles themes, such as health or finances, the message becomes one of ensuring that our resources have time to develop sufficiently to allow for success.
Virgo, the sixth sign of the zodiac, is associated with the sixth house – the house of service, of daily routine, of health and well-being. Virgo needs to be helpful in a tangible, practical, down-to-earth way. The Sun just wants to shine! The Eight of Pentacles is about allowing ourselves to grow and develop our skills and talents - the things we use in our daily lives – carefully. We have to tend to our creativity, just as we would our garden. Some discrimination is required – what’s useful, and what need to be weeded out?
The image in the Wildwood Tarot’s Eight of Stones focuses more on Virgo’s attention to detail, to the crafting of practical things. The keyword here is ‘skill’. In order to acquire skills, we need to develop self-discipline, as well as patience and perseverance – qualities we might associate with the other earth signs of Taurus and Capricorn, perhaps. But that’s where the mutability comes in – Virgo takes what’s been set in motion by the Capricorn discipline and maintained by the Taurean perseverance and determination, and turns it into something that can be used in a very practical way!
The Shadowscapes’ Eight of Pentacles also focuses on attention to detail – just look at the delicacy of a spider’s web! The image also reminds us that diligence and patience are important qualities when it comes to creating something. The deck’s creators write of “a practical application of intellect and skill to a task to see through to the finish” – a great description of Virgo qualities!
Shadowscapes Tarot created by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law and Barbara Moore, published by Llewellyn
Sharman Caselli Tarot created by Juliet Sharman-Burke, illustrated by Giovanni Caselli, published by Connections
Thoth Tarot created by Aleister Crowley, illustrated by Lady Frieda Harris, published by US Games Systems, Inc.
Wildwood Tarot created by Mark Ryan and John Matthews, illustrated by Will Worthington, published by Connections