Friday, 24 April 2015

Taurus in the Druidcraft Minor Arcana: The Five of Pentacles

I’ve been working with the Druidcraft, so this year I thought I’d see how – or if – the astrological associations work with this deck.  The Druidcraft follows – obviously – Druid traditions, and was not created with astrology in mind.  Instead it focuses on the elements and the seasons.  Some of that may link to astrology – some of it may not.  We’ll see!

In the astrological correspondence system that I follow, Taurus is linked to the Five, Six and Seven of Pentacles.  Today I’m going to look at the Five of Pentacles, which corresponds to Mercury in Taurus – and the first ten days of Taurus.

Taurus is the fixed Earth sign, so we’re looking at maintaining our resources in a practical, down-to-earth way. Those resources include anything that gives us a sense of security or stability – so this covers financial matters, material concerns, issues around health and well-being...whatever it takes to make us feel safe and comfortable.

Universal Waite Tarot (trimmed)
Mercury is about sharing and trading information and ideas. Normally when we think of Mercury, we might envisage the fleet-footed messenger of the gods, but in Taurus it’s much harder for him to get off the ground, let alone fly!  Instead, he finds himself having to take care with his words, having to speak more slowly and with more consideration.  Having to slow down and be more deliberate and down-to-earth is a challenge to Mercury!  Rather than communicating through words and ideas, he may express himself in a more physical way.

So how might this play out in the Five of Pentacles?  In the Rider-Waite-Smith deck and other variations of that, we usually see beggars shivering in the cold, unaware of the warmth and shelter and help on the other side of the window.   They are aware of physical sensation, in this case the cold, but they are so lost in the physicality that they can’t see beyond that.  The assumption here is that they’ve also lost all their material possessions – a source of concern to the Taurean archetype. If they were to look up at the window though, not only would they see the promise of light and warmth, but also the fruit and flowers carved in the stone around the window, reminding them of the bounty of the earth – which they haven’t lost.

Druidcraft Tarot (trimmed)
The Druidcraft, though, shows us this sense of loss in a woman, obviously in distress, leaning against a tree.  Her eyes are covered by her hands, so she can’t ‘see’ – she only feels what’s within.  On the horizon, a greyhound chases a hare – part of the story of Taliesin, who is trying to escape Ceridwen. In the first part of the chase, he takes the form of a hare, while Ceridwen assumes the shape of a greyhound. The chase – shown in the Fives of all suits in the deck – symbolizes the need to transform, to find a way forward from the crisis, the loss, that the Five of Pentacles represents.

But what about Mercury? Does it play any role here? Well, Mercury is linked to the element of Air, and to the way we think and reason, and to the way we communicate.  If we’re talking about loss of wealth or loss of faith here, Mercury represents the anxiety and worry, through its ‘Air-iness’ – the thoughts and beliefs that we carry in our minds – to the earthy concerns around Taurean comfort and security. But it’s not just about the money; the loss of faith or self-esteem or self-worth can also lead us into a ‘black hole’ of feeling hopeless; it may be time to address more ‘spiritual’ issues too.  Mercury in Taurus reminds us not to let worry and anxiety over such matters prevail to the point that we find ourselves stuck in a rut.  

I also see Mercury in the swiftness of the chase going on in the background – the element Mercury is also known as quicksilver.  The hare and the dog, in Druid tradition, are linked to the Earth, the element of Taurus.

Druidcraft Tarot created by Philip Carr-Gomm and Stephanie Carr-Gomm, illustrated by Will Worthington, published by Connections
Universal Waite Tarot created by Mary Hanson-Roberts & Pamela Colman-Smith, published by US Games Systems, Inc.

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