Thursday 18 December 2014

Sagittarius in the court cards: quest for fire!

Last but not least, by any means – Sagittarius in the court cards. But which one – or ones?  Different traditions have different astrological correspondences when it comes to the Court Cards.  Generally  (but not always!) these correspondences depend on how cardinality, fixity and mutability have been assigned.  As Sagittarius is the mutable Fire sign, we’re looking (in the system I follow) at the Knight of Wands. 
Sharman-Caselli Tarot

An example of this is the Sharman-Caselli (pictured here), where we see the Knight charging towards us on a horse that looks as though it’s flying through the air.  Fire is represented by the arid background, the sun motif on the Knight’s cloak, and the salamander motif on the horse’s trappings.  The mutability is in the action, but also in the pyramids, representing old knowledge or wisdom. The Knight has visited that location, and is now taking that knowledge with him, intending to spread it on his adventures – transforming, bringing change.   Like all the knights, he’s on a quest for knowledge, which is in itself quite Sagittarian – but this one is primed for action and adventure!  The fact that he’s so confident and positive works for him; he doesn’t consider the possibility that he might fail in his quest, an attitude which often leads to successful outcomes.  

Shadowscapes Tarot
In the Shadowscapes deck, the Knight rides on a lion, not a horse. The lion symbolizes the strength of his feelings, his determination and passion  (courage=coeur+rage?) as he heads out on his quest.  The foxes represent cleverness - that ability to think quickly, on his feet - while the flowers that are being trampled underfoot, unnoticed by the Knight, the lion, or the foxes, act as a reminder of the shadow side of this Knight: what might be missed through being over-confident or fool-hardy.
Thoth Tarot

The Crowley Thoth tarot’s Knight of Wands is also depicted as a fiery image, full of movement.  Although the Thoth’s Knights don’t correspond to the more traditional meanings of the Rider-Waite-based decks’ Knights (the Thoth’s court cards work differently), we still see the Sagittarian qualities – the dynamism, the quest for knowledge, the bringer of change, the disseminator of wisdom and experiences.  

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.

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