Tuesday 15 September 2015

Virgo in the Druidcraft Minor Arcana: The Ten of Pentacles

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.  

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 this 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.

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.  

detail from Ten of Pentacles
Druidcraft Tarot
We can see this in the Druidcraft’s image, which follows the Rider-Waite-Smith tradition in depicting a family at home – healthy, wealthy and perhaps wise too! But 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.   

Although this family are well-dressed and appear to be healthy and well-fed, none of them look particularly happy. Have they lost sight of the bigger picture? Have they been too focused on reaching this point that they are unable to appreciate it now?  Or are they worried about losing what they have? Another potential ‘shadow side’ of the coin is fear of poverty. This can lead to holding on to things, rather than sharing - this is mutable Earth, after all! Hoarded wealth stagnates: “the more you give, the more you receive”.

Druidcraft Tarot created by Philip Carr-Gomm and Stephanie Carr-Gomm, illustrated by Will Worthington, published by Connections,2004

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