Join Date: 29 Dec 2003
Location: Nr. Ephesus, Turkey
A. E. WAITE Pictorial Key to the Tarot Rider & Company, second edition 1971, p.169
I agree the strange harp like sigils on the old man's cloak perhaps suggest he is some sort of wizard or shaman; we may imagine in their form the shape of a lyre, wrapping him in the music of strange faerie instruments while on a vision quest in the land of faerie, a journey through the great distance:
“…When my Exempt Mistress is seated by her golden harp, you should see how the world goes by- how the world goes by in Faerie and the Crown comes down. It was in offices of music that she came to me more than all- strange music sounding from far away, and pipings of mysterous musicians. The instruments are unearthiy in Faerie, and especially among the old hills; but in all that lived and breathed I found that there were lutes and strings in her presence, and I knew at last what is said in quiet places by the wind-harp. There are woes unknown in Faerie and weeping voices in the night-time; but she lifted in sweet music her hands of healing and said unto them: "Peace, be still." She carried the cure by music through wounded reams of Faerie. She opened out all its mysteries in melodious voices. The daisy breathed about her like a choice garden of roses, and the honey-suckle was a sweet incense, as if rising before a high altar. The waterfalls and streams and rivulets ran in light beside her. I saw the rainbow of Faerie shining to the eyes in splendour and beating at the ears in music. The sound of many waters glistened in rainbow colours. The quests of Faerie were set to her subtle melodies, all that wide worid over. She took the thoughts of men upon great voyages. I heard the heart of Faerie throbbing. I heard also such messages in the night-time that my own heart was put to rest…
“… This is also the end of all stories, like those which I have been telling unto now. Sunset and night-time are over; my Morning-Glory shines in the glory of morning, with gleaming hair "back blown from rosy bands, And light and joy and fragrance in her hands." Hereof is therefore my journey through the great distance, and such is my Swan-Song. I have been making poems of Faerie through my whole life; but this is the end of my poems.
A.E. WAITE. A Journey through the Great Distance (The Gypsy, May 1915)
Waite's fellow Golden Dawn member Florence Farr would play an instrument (including I believe a harp) when leading members through a group path working. One method of pathworking was to use the cards themselves as a starting point, in which "the pictures are like doors which open into unexpected chambers, or like a turn in the open road with a wide prospect beyond."
Doorways, entryways of all sort including for example arches thus symbolise too an entry into the land of faerie, the world of spirit vision, the great distance into which the old shaman wrapped in strange music journeys, present but apart from the daily life around him.
The journey throught the 'great distance' is the great distance of a lifetime itself of course, and perhaps for the old man, it is a journey of reminiscence of the life whose end is approaching ~ contemplating his swan song.
An old man and a child, eaching petting a dog, looking at each other ~ The number 10 is like perhaps the double headed Janus of New Year, the old face looking back, the new forward.
The child while clinging to its mother has reached that curious age to look beyond mother and domain; the old too clings to mother earth and life but is also perhaps also looking beyond the domain to the long journey ahead; each pets a dog, each dog anticipating 'walkies' on a journey ahead beyond the domain of infancy and old age, beyond home/body ~ the number 10 not a circle but one of the unavoidable crossroads (X) upon life's journey; an adventureous spirit may embrace the prospect and an anxious one delay, but in the end it is inescapable. One cannot stop in one place forever, old man and child must make that crossing, step round that corner into the wide open prospects beyond.
"I am a diviner, but a poor one."
|26-04-2008||Ask a Professional Tarot Reader Top #11|
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Join Date: 25 Apr 2008
Location: Massachusetts, USA
I have a Kabbalistic interpretation of the Ten of Pentacles, specific to the Rider-Waite-Smith card. I don't know if other interpretations resemble my own, but I would welcome the knowledge that others before me have noticed the same symbology, as that would further validate my own perception.
The heart of my interpretation has to do with the dogs, which act as an axis mundi (or canis mundi, if you will), the hermetic medium between God (the old man) and humans (the child).
Note that both are petting the dogs. The child is not sitting on the old man's lap, the child and old man are not in direct contact with each other. Replace the dog that the child is touching with "prayer". Replace the dog the patriarch is touching with "grace".
Therefore, you have a system of magic which is orderly and proper. The way people communicate themselves to God is through a go between, an agent of communication, which the dog represents.
As above, so below
The reciprocating principal of the Tabula Smaragdina1 (Emerald Tablets of Hermes) is represented by the dynamic tension of the old man and the child, connected as they are by the dogs. Both dogs are facing the old man. Maybe the old man carries the biscuit (laugh). Or maybe the dog being petted by the child is delivering the child's message to the old man, and the dog in the foreground awaits the old man's (God's) grace, to be delivered in turn to the child.
In this action, the dog represents an Archangel, for it is the Archangel that leads Enoch and Ezekiel to the seven layers of heaven.
(angelus, itself derived from Koine Greek: άνγελος, angelos, "messenger")
So, the canis mundi ("dog of the world") is the intermediary, the channel we must take in order to bring about personal success. That isn't just personal, by the way, because as Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai of the Zohar said, "the righteous few hold up the pillars of heaven." So, whenever the heavenly order is upheld at all, ever, by anyone then universal harmony cannot be snuffed out, and total chaos and evil cannot prevail.
The card, some will impatiently remind us, isn't about making deals with God, it is about "arriving," and material stability, the harvest of a lifetime of familial accordance.
Yes, but that is really the most evident, sensational effect of universal concordance.
Now, look at the man and woman. They are not just talking and holding hands, but seem to be in a swirling kind of dance, just like the yin and yang components of the T'ai Chi. They also appear between the child and old man, as a kind of buffer zone. They represent order, as well, the universal compatibility of the feminine and masculine forces. The child can't "get around" the laws of nature, and we are the child, so neither can we!
The card is saturated with orderly progression. And, while it is a card portending good fortune, it is not like the kind of fortune of winning a lottery, but the kind of fortune that follows right action in a tedious, selfless natural system.
The man and woman remind me of gears or cogs in a machine. So do the dogs. There is no immediate effect; effects arise from circular and indirect interactions of the moving parts, requiring intermediate steps.
The way to God is by adhering to the physical laws of nature, and also by petitioning the angelic intermediaries whose business it is to traverse the rainbow bridge between heaven and earth.
1 - C.G. Jung, Mysterium Coniunctionis. (Bolingen Series XX, The Collected Works of C.G.Jung, Vol. 14. 1963) p. 17, “II. That which is below is like that which is above, and that which is above is like that which is below, to accomplish the miracles of One Thing.” The Emerald Table of Hermes Trismegistus (an unattributed translation in my electronic collection). Jung refers to Tabula Smaragdina, De alchemia, p.363, and also Tabula Smaragdina, Ruska, p. 2.
Last edited by Brother Harmonius; 06-06-2008 at 10:07. Reason: spelling
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