Wednesday 7 January 2015

Capricorn in the Minor Arcana: The Three of Pentacles

Today we move on to the Three of Pentacles, which - in the system I use - is linked to Mars in Capricorn (as well as the middle ten days of Capricorn).  Mars brings a different energy to Capricorn, compared to the expansiveness and benevolence of Jupiter in the Two of Pentacles.  Mars in Capricorn, astrologically, is looking to expand and grow through hard work. That fiery Martian/martial energy is still there but it asserts itself cautiously and in a disciplined way. The ambition is still there, too, as is the decisiveness, but in Capricorn – the initiating, practical cardinal Earth sign – the focus is on careful planning. Patience, not a quality we might usually associate with fiery Mars, comes into play here. The sure-footed mountain goat makes its way slowly and steadily, picking its path carefully but with determination. 

Sharman-Caselli Tarot
We see this in the Three of Pentacles.  Hard work – and more importantly perhaps, a lot of detailed planning – has gone into a project. There’s a sense of the initial (Capricorn/cardinal) completion; a first phase or stage has been reached. Like the mountain goat, we know that we still have some way to go before the goal - the summit of the mountain – can be achieved.  Progress is steady, and there’s concrete, tangible (Capricorn/Earth) evidence of what’s been accomplished. Mars has provided the impetus, the physical energy and the determination, required to keep us on that path. 

Shadowscapes Tarot
The image in the Three of Pentacles often depicts a group of three people. In the Rider-Waite-based decks, such as the Sharman-Caselli, it’s often a craftsman and his two clients who are shown. In others, it’s a group of people working together to achieve a common goal. Co-operation is often a theme in this card – the need to pool resources or to communicate how far things have progressed, in order to move onto the next stage.... the Four!

The 'three-ness' is less obvious in the Shadowscapes, I think...we see only two figures here. But the sense of co-operation is there - it's through their joint energy (Mars) that they are able to keep moving upwards, climbing up the wall of stone, helping each other to overcome the obstacle in their way.

Thoth Tarot
The Thoth’s version, subtitled ‘works’ uses a triangle, the three-sided geometric figure, as its base, representing stability or groundedness (Earth), although it’s not as stable as the four, or square...  This symbolizes the balance between action and inaction, between knowing when it’s time to do something and when things are best left as they are.  At each vertex of the triangle are three wheels, representing body, mind, and spirit, reminding us that we need to use all three in order to achieve our goals. Each wheel contains an alchemical symbol – one for mercury, one for sulphur, and one for salt – again, reminders that we need to find the right balance in order to reach the stage of initial completion.  The Martian aspect comes through in the energy that’s produced by combining these elements, while Capricorn is seen in the steady, gradual progress that’s made.

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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