Back to the Minor Arcana today, for a look at the last of the three Minor Arcana cards associated with Virgo.
The Ten of Pentacles is linked to Mercury in Virgo (and to the final ten days of the sun’s journey through this sign – 13th-23rd September). This is a particularly auspicious association, because Mercury not only rules Virgo, it’s also exalted in Virgo. What does that mean? Well, when a planet rules a sign, it’s at home. It’s comfortable – it can kick off its shoes and put its feet up. When it’s in exaltation, it’s also comfortable – but there’s a protocol to be observed. A friend of mine uses this analogy: the Queen is at home in Sandringham or Buckingham Palace – she’s the ruler. When she goes abroad, say to visit the White House, she knows she’ll be looked after, but there’s a certain formality and protocol that has to be followed – that’s exaltation. Interesting that the Wildwood calls this card ‘Home’!
But here, Mercury is both at home and exalted! Remember what we said about Mercury, in the first of the Virgo posts? He’s the swift-footed messenger of the Roman gods, as is his Greek counterpart Hermes. He’s also the god of trade (especially grains – a link to Virgo); the caduceus he carries being a symbol of trade and commerce. Despite the caduceus often being incorrectly associated with medicine, Virgo is often associated with issues of health, through its ability to work with lots of information and finding a way to make them fit, e.g. holistic medicine.
So the Ten of Pentacles is a great card to have when it comes to acquiring wealth – whether it’s financial, physical (good health) or spiritual well-being. Mercury in Virgo brings strong analytical skills to the table, and a clear, down-to-earth way of expressing ideas and putting them into some sort of order. Virgo is practical and helpful – remember that link to the sixth house and the idea of ‘service’! And it’s not just about acquiring wealth – it’s also necessary to share it... and to enjoy it.
In the Shadowscapes, the creators of the deck have chosen to depict the background landscape as a stained glass image. The art of staining glass seems to me very Virgo-an in terms of the patience and dedication required in its creation - as well as reflecting the idea of the pattern that Virgo might seek in life. I can see the coiling dragon as Mercury's caduceus, too.
Despite the double ‘whammy’ of rulership and exaltation, there’s another side to the coin. Too much attention to detail can get in the way of seeing the bigger picture – that ‘not being able to see the wood for the trees’ thing. Another potential ‘shadow side’ of the coin is fear of poverty. This can lead to holding on to things, rather than sharing. Hoarded wealth stagnates: “the more you give, the more you receive”.
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
Wildwood Tarot created by Mark Ryan and John Matthews, illustrated by Will Worthington, published by Connections