Monday 31 July 2017

Leo in the Minor Arcana: The Five of Wands

Now it’s time to turn our attention to the Minor Arcana.  The three minor cards linked to Leo come from, not surprisingly, the fiery suit of Wands.  Because Leo is a fixed sign, we look to the middle three cards of the minors – the 5, 6 and 7 - to find the planetary correspondences.  (For more information on this system of Planetary and Zodiacal dignities, I recommend Elizabeth Hazel’s Tarot Decoded, published by Weiser, 2004). 

Let’s start with the Five of Wands, which in this system is associated with Saturn in Leo – and with the first ten days of Leo (approximately 22nd-31st July).

Saturn was a Roman deity, similar to Kronos (or Cronos) in Greek mythology. That’s where the word ‘chronology’ comes from, and we are probably familiar with the idea of Saturn or Kronos representing ‘old Father Time’.  Saturn has come to be associated with time management, in effect - putting boundaries in place, recognizing limitations and restrictions, but also the idea of self-discipline and control. Sometimes this works to our advantage – where would we be without some boundaries in place? But sometimes it feels as though it’s working against us. 

Five of Wands (trimmed):
© Thoth Tarot
But in Leo?  Well, we could think of Saturn applying the brakes on that fiery Leonine energy.  It can make it more difficult for us to express ourselves, and can affect our self-confidence.  On the other hand, it can push us into finding ways to establish ourselves through creative projects, or through loyalty and disciplined affection.   Leo is about individuality, so Saturn could help to focus that into some sort of achievement that would help to attain some sense of security. Alternatively, looking at the ‘shadow’ of this combination, Saturn in Leo could reflect a fear or inability to trust in our own self-worth, which could in turn act as an obstacle or restriction when it comes to being able to express ourselves confidently. 

Can we see this in the Five of Wands?  In the Thoth deck, the keyword associated with this card is ‘Strife’, which fits in with the traditional meanings – battle, aggression, frustration, irritation.  ‘Creative frustration’ is a phrase which comes to mind, rather than a full-on battle where people get hurt. 

Five of Flames (trimmed):
© Margarete Petersen Tarot
In other decks, we see images of men clashing sticks together but no harm is being done.  The crossed wands represent difficulties – things that stand in the way; writer’s or artist’s ‘block’ is a good example of this kind of creative frustration.  Saturn in Leo suggests a period of time when things might seem to be conspiring against us, and we feel we’re striving in vain.  By taking things one step at a time (Saturn at work again), we are less likely to feel overwhelmed. Instead, we’ll be able to recognize what’s blocking us and be able to use our creativity to do something about it.

Five of Wands (trimmed):
© Shadowscapes Tarot
The Shadowscapes Tarot gives us another image to work with. The figure is caught up in the chase (Fire), but has to stay the course (Fixed) – has to exercise self-discipline and control (as well as his individuality) in order to overcome the obstacles created by the melée of foxes!

Margarete Petersen Tarot, AGM-URANIA/Deep Books, 2004.
Shadowscapes Tarot created by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law and Barbara Moore, published by Llewellyn
Thoth Tarot created by Aleister Crowley, illustrated by Lady Frieda Harris, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.

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