Saturday, August 8, 2015

Mercury in the small Tarot cards

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Welcome to the early August edition of the Tarot Blog Hop. (In this post, I will be discussing the effect of Mercury on five of the Minor Arcana cards.) Some of my more observant readers will promptly notice that this edition is a week behind schedule; that is due to the original scheduled wrangler having to step out to deal with a problem on her end, and a substitute wrangler stepping forward.

While researching the Wiccan holiday that this TBH is "occurring" on, our super wrangler, Joanne Sprott, noted that Lammas, also known as Lughnasad, is associated with the Irish/Celtic deity Lugh.

Lugh, a master of many trades and arts, is associated with both the Sun and the trickster planet of Mercury. In my Rite of the Magical Images of the Wiccan Wheel of the Year, the profession of the Image of Lammas is unclear, this is in part due to the importance of Lugh to his holiday, Lughnasad. "He might be a merchant; he might be a farmer; he might be a herdsman; he might be a soldier; he might be a raider [Viking]."

Likewise, it is sometimes hard to tell with the Tarot what "energy" is having the most effect. The Tarot as we know it is a combination of several sets of energies blended with one another. A card from the Minor Arcana is more than just its suit and number. Take for instance, a random card, the Five of Pentacles.

In the Golden Dawn (and groups that draw off of the lessons of the Golden Dawn), one is not only looking at the card from its suit and number; but also its associated sephirah (position on the Hebrew Tree of Life), the planet associated with the sephirah, its Mystical/Magical Title, and (in the case of the Five of Pentacles) its associated decan.

An uncolored example of the Golden Dawn version of the Five of Disks.

Some of my readers at this point are saying, "Decan?"

A decan is ten degrees of a zodiac sign. Each zodiac sign is divided into three decans, and there are thirty-six decans in the zodiac. Each decan lasts just a touch over ten days. The concept of decans comes from the Ancient Egyptians, who originally used the night sky as a calendar, using thirty-six stars to mark the beginnings of the decans (which served as the Ancient Egyptian version of a week).

In Golden Dawn, thirty-six of the small cards (Minor Arcana) of the Tarot are associated with the decans. Each decan is said to be like the energies of its sub-ruler (one of the seven classical planets) in that sign of the zodiac.

The Golden Dawn version of decan sub-rulers and their association with thirty-six Tarot cards.

In the case of the Five of Pentacles, it is associated with the first decan (00.00 to 9.99 degree) of Taurus, which is sub-ruled by Mercury. The Golden Dawn version of the card, reflects that astrological association, as well as the suit and number, associated sephirah (Geburah which is associated with Mars), and the Magical Title of the Five of Pentacles (the Lord of Material Trouble).

An colored example of the Golden Dawn Five of Disks.

In the able hands of the artist, Pamela Colman Smith, and the writer and occult authority A. E. Waite (former member of the original Order of the Golden Dawn), the Five of Pentacles was depicted as a poor shoeless woman and a man using clutches walking in the snow outside of a church.

The influence of the decan on this card is based on how the energies of Mercury reacts in an horary sense while in the sign of Taurus. The influence of Mercury on the Five of Pentacles causes the mind to focus on how dire the situation is (the half empty glass mindset). Quite often if the first card of a Tarot reading is the Five of Pentacles, the client is currently concerned with large stacks of bills (quite possibly medical bills), and their seemingly utter lack of resources.

There are four other Minor Arcana associated with decans ruled by Mercury. Let's look at how the energies of Mercury manifests in each of these cards.

Mercury has an opposite effect on the next card, the Three of Cups. Associated with the second decan of Cancer (10.00 to 19.99 degrees of Cancer) sub-ruled by Mercury, the Three of Cups is called the Lord of Abundance by Golden Dawn. Here Mercury creates a half full glass mindset, with the client being able to see lots of opportunities; many of which involve creativity or networking. The energies of Mercury and Cancer work well with the energies of the card's associated sephirah Binah (Saturn).

Mercury's energies also function well in its next associated decan card: the Ten of Pentacles (the Lord of Abundance), the third decan of Virgo (20.0 to 29.99 degrees of Virgo). Here Mercury's energies produce valuable work; and there is a decisiveness in the choices of the client, which are often practical and constructive.

In the fourth Mercury decan card, the Eight of Wands (Lord of Swiftness), the client can be a little trigger happy, a little too quick in their decision making, thanks to the effect of Mercury on the first decan of Sagittarius. Here is a place where the energies of Mercury can create what one can call "Instant Karma"--those times where the results of one's actions rapidly come to past; whether it is "good" karma or "bad" depends a lot on the decisions of the client.

The fifth and final card with a Mercury sub-ruled decan is the Six of Swords. Associated by the Golden Dawn with the second decan of Aquarius, its Magical Title is the Lord of Earned Success. The impact of Mercury on Aquarius can indicate that the client's mindset is a little unstable, and that they are taking an eccentric approach to matters at hand. There is a certain amount of detachment associated with Mercury in this position.

Each of the thirty-six cards listed in the earlier decan association chart can be explained in this manner using its respective decan, planetary sub-ruler and zodiac sign. Hopefully, this provided some understanding of this part of the composition of the small cards of the tarot.

Thanks for reading, Happy Belated Lughnasad, and hopefully you will continue onwards to the next blog post of this early August's Tarot Blog Hop.

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Tarot By Arwen said...

I am really enjoying this hop for all the astrological information I'm getting. Thank you!

Aisling the Bard said...

Lots of great information here on the astrological process, and I love the discussion of the connection to the Tree of Life. Thank you!

Olivia Peters said...

You provide a great lesson here in the ways that astrology impacts the essence of the cards, and Ireally enjoy that!

Ania said...

Thanks. Very useful to see examples of how Mecury is manifested in the Minors :)

Karen said...

Thanks Morgan, nicely explained and very clearly laid out :)

Inner Whispers said...

A really interesting way of looking at these Minors. It left me with lots more questions - always a good thing ;)