Saturday 17 January 2015

Capricorn in the court cards

Universal Waite Tarot

Now let’s look at Capricorn in the court cards. But which one – or ones?  Different traditions have different astrological correspondences when it comes to the Court Cards, depending on how  cardinality, fixity and mutability have been assigned to the cards.  As Capricorn is the cardinal Earth sign, I’m looking for the Pentacles court card that’s associated with cardinality. 

So what court card does this represent?  If you work with a system (e.g. the Book-T system: that assigns cardinality to the Queen, as do most of the Rider-Waite-Smith-based decks, you’re looking at the Queen of Pentacles.  

Thoth Tarot
The Crowley Thoth’s Queen of Pentacles (Disks) is one of my favourite representations of this card. We see her resting in a green and fertile oasis, looking back over the barren, difficult landscape that she’s had to travel through to reach this point. The goat looks at us, rather cheekily, I always think – as if to say “see? We made it!” – reminding us of the tenaciousness and independence of the mountain goat as he surmounts obstacles in his way. We see this too in the curved horns on the Queen’s headdress.  Remember too, what we said about the goat when we looked at the Devil – that it also represents procreation and new life.  This Queen knows what she needs in order to nourish herself – and others – and has worked hard to achieve it. Now she can rest and enjoy the fruits of her labours.

Sharman-Caselli Tarot
Not all decks assign cardinality to the Queens.  An example of this is the Sharman-Caselli deck, whose creator Juliet Sharman-Burke has chosen to attribute this triplicity to the Kings.  Here we have the King on his throne, adorned with carvings of goats’ heads, symbolizing Capricorn and the steady, determined hard work that’s helped him to realize his ambition. Behind him we see his castle and grounds – symbols of his achievement, both in terms of material success but also of his status in society. They also appear to be on top of a mountain, reminding me of the sure-footedness of the mountain goat as he picks his way around obstacles in his way to the top. Security and stability have been gained through effort and sheer determination, and the King is now in a position to share this wisely and generously.

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.
Universal Waite Tarot created by Mary Hanson-Roberts & Pamela Colman-Smith, published by US Games Systems, Inc.

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