Let’s have a break from the Minor Arcana, and look at Virgo in the court cards.
The sign of Virgo is one of the three Earth signs, and one of the four mutable signs. So what court card does this represent? Different traditions have different astrological correspondences when it comes to the Court Cards. I work with a system that assigns mutability to the Knights so, in the earthy sign of Virgo, we have the Knight of Pentacles.
That combination of earth and mutability suggests a mix of earthy practicality with quick, clear, analytical thinking: the ability to organize, design and plan in great detail. It’s about being methodical, not running roughshod all over the place, but doing things with great deliberation and discrimination.
The Knight of Pentacles in many decks is shown sitting on a horse that appears to be at a standstill. If he's moving at all, it's at a slow, considered pace, reflecting the methodical, deliberate movements you might associate with Virgo. In the Shadowscapes, we see the Knight on the back of the Earth Dragon, "grounded and slow but undeniable in its progress", say the creators of the deck, Stephanie Pui-Mun Law and Barbara Moore. He values the success more than the speed at which that success is achieved.
In the ‘double element’ system, as used by the Book-T system (www.tarot.org.il/Library/Mathers/Book-T.html), the Knight of Pentacles represents fire of earth. We can see this in the rings of sunlight falling over the harvest in the Thoth’s Knight of Disks. But here ‘fire’ doesn’t represent fast-burning, fast-moving; this is more about keeping the fires burning steadily. The Knight and his horse are not moving – in fact his horse looks as though he’s grazing on the harvest! Perhaps both horse and rider are worn out by their hard work, bringing in the crops. The effort is worth it, though, in terms of what can be reaped at the end – as it is when it’s done for our own individual growth. Remember that Virgo is the last sign of the personal, individual emphasis in the journey around the zodiac.
Remember too, that Virgo is ruled by Mercury. When we apply this to the suit of Pentacles, we can see how attention to detail can be applied to the down-to-earth, practical affairs that we encounter on a daily basis – finances, health... our material well-being. Slow and steady, meticulous, deliberate, dedicated, reliable – that’s the way of the Knight of Pentacles!
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.