I am not writing about cards I picked today, as I wanted to carve my own niche instead. The Angels seem to agree. I saw a tiny feather land beside me when I exclaimed, “heck, I don’t want to write about the sweet lovey dovey six of cups or the sugar daddy king of pentacles today, I want to write about the horrible tens.”
So here I am, you get 4 cards today, and none for the next three. hah!
The Tens have always baffled me, and it is a very common topic I pose whenever anyone starts discussing about the philosophy behind cards. Just have a look at these four very polarised cards – Ten of Cups is about emotional fulfilment and Ten of Pentacles is about material success, and both feature a happy family; Ten of Swords is a hell painful stab on the back by a row of swords and Ten of Wands is about being overwhelmed by burden.
Minor Arcana takes us from starting fresh with the Aces and building up on the day-to-day growth journey to completion of the cycle with the Tens and then it starts afresh again with the Aces on a different journey. My initial understanding was that whoever designed the structure of Tarot is biased towards Emotions while prejudiced against Thoughts, hence all the Cups are always such cheery cards and the Swords are always such painful cards. I always loved getting Cups and Wands, and it pains me to get any Swords, and totally nonchalant when I get Pentacles (like, what do I do with this?!). It was through my healing journey that I learnt these were my very own prejudices, and also the very things I am addressing as I continue this exploration.
Ten of Wands shows a person carrying too much. The dude in this deck is already very composed, other decks feature him as very overwhelmed and dropping the wands all over the place. From an earthly perspective, I see that anytime we embark on a spiritual journey, it is much joy and action with lots of ah-ha enlightening moments and accumulating knowledge, wisdom, and we grow. At the end of the cycle, we collect so much understanding of a certain aspect of that spirituality, we are overwhelmed by the realisation that this is too much of one thing, and yet this one thing is just a tiny spark of a much much bigger thing or series of things. This is what happens when we are so focussed, yet it is also this focus that enables us to learn so much. So, Ten of Wands is a transition period when we (re-)understand that no more tea can enter a cup that is already full, and it is painful to let go and empty the cup, even though we know deep within us it is time to do so. Once we gather the Wands and rein them in, it becomes once again an Ace – a bundle that has merged into One. So we start again on a different exploration path into some other aspect of our Being. Took me a good two years to come to this understanding.
Ten of Cups shows unbridled happiness and even comes with a rainbow and Ten Cups of Gold. I would be happy to delve in the energies of this card forever and ever. BUT how is it that at the same time, when the Ace of Cups appear, there is a different lighthearted joyfulness to it. I suppose that is the humanness in us – happiness at whichever level will still dip when it stagnates (even at a perfect ten), and we have to refresh these emotions every now and then, and there are so many different types of emotions we can (and should) pick up and experience.
Ten of Swords shows betrayal and a lot of pain. Whenever this card appears, it usually warns of toxic people or a community of gossipers (I’m serious!). This is a card that I will heed immediately and feel my instinctual gut feeling I have towards a situation or people. This dude has fallen because he did not follow his instincts, but instead followed his thoughts which are governed by what is projected around in the environment. So the transition of this is that the swords pinned his body and even his head down, that he has no choice but to look inward where true awareness can then happen. Something along the lines of the Dark Night of the Soul? The Ace then brings him a fresh new perspective to frame his thoughts on his new journey.
Ten of Pentacles shows material success, or the attainment of material stability or needs / wants. This is the perfect rendition of Happy Family, where he has received everything representative of the ideal physical world. The transition is that whatever we receive in the physical world has to expended anyway, and in this case, it is passed on to someone else in the family. It still is happy – we would want to hand lovely things over to our loved ones, right? The Ace then restarts the cycle of receiving abundance all over again.
Interesting, right? Wait till you read about the Major Arcana! It is about the Fool’s Journey through life. You can read a summary of it here.
The featured deck today is Witches Tarot by Ellen Dugan and illustrated by Mark Evans. I was intrigued by the illustrations, they have a sense of familiarity to it, so I assumed the connection must have been through Magic: The Gathering. I got this deck because I wanted to get over my phobia of Tarot, and also of Witches, will blog about the story of self-denial at some other opportune time.