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Sheridan Douglas - Ace of Batons

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Sheridan Douglas - Ace of Batons


Well this card is very different from the usual hand reaching from a cloud clutching a freshly cut piece of wood, often with leaves attached.

Here we have a green truncheon-like baton with 2 green snakes entwined around it on an orange / red background.

Firstly I love the fact that the suit representing fire is called Batons (as in the Tarot de Marseille) and not Wands.
It's caused me to actually think - What is a baton? What is it used for?
Is a baton necessarily different to a wand?

The Aces represent the purest form of the element, a gift.
The energy is there but it's up to us to do anything with it, to put it to some use.
An ace is like a seed, full of potential but not really doing anything.
Fire is transformative and so with this ace I think that the potential is there for great change and transformation.
The spark is there - it is a birth of sorts, a birth of something that has the potential to transform.
Batons are also about action so this ace signifies the start of something active and vital.

This image makes me think of a caduceus as carried by Mercury or Hermes - messenger to the Gods.
The caduceus is also the symbol used by many healing organisations - I think that the British Medical Association which is the professional organisation for doctors in the UK uses it as their symbol.
So this adds another aspect to this ace - it is transformative and healing too.

Mercury is associated with communication and certainly a baton is used to communicate and direct - a conductor uses a baton to direct an orchestra or band... This is quite new to me - I usually think of the element of air or the suit of Swords as being to do with communication.

These are just some initial thoughts - I'm sure I'll add more later.
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Quotes from: Sheridan-Douglas Tarot: new printing
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http://www.tarotforum.net/showthread.php?t=54775
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfred Douglas
The Thomson/Leng remains the most powerful deck for me, because I pored over every detail while studying Madeline's articles in the late '50s when I should have been doing my homework. Evidence of a mis-spent youth perhaps, but it seemed to work out OK in the long term.
Whilst I am not intending to compare every card to the
Thomson Leng images, I did think as an introductory
reference it would be helpful to read Alfred Douglas
regarding this deck. He explains its influence further:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfred Douglas
I inherited the deck from my old Tarot teacher, Madeline Montalban, who wrote an article on the Tarot each month in 'Prediction' magazine during the 1950s and '60s... She illustrated her 'Prediction' articles with cards from the Thomson/Leng deck, and I also inherited that deck from her.
In the Thomson Leng cards, there is only one "caduceus"
shown, also seen on the Sheridan Douglas Ace of Batons.

On the 3 of Rods it is depicted within a triangle of Rods.
In the attachment below is also the Thomson Leng Ace.
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There were a couple of things that struck me about this card. First, the design made me think of the medical/doctors' emblem - I know there is a word for it but I can't recall what it is right now. Second, the absence of elements, like fire, air, etc., that I have gotten used to seeing associated with the aces. Maybe a better term would be elemental context. This is also the first deck I have used that has used batons rather than wands, and I find I still use "wands" when I refer to some of the baton cards.
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I wonder why Mr Douglas chose the caduceus as the symbol to put on his Ace and not the usual hand offering a budding branch.... Maybe he'll come along and tell us

The snakes have been giving me some food for thought- snakes turn up a lot in Tarot and because they shed their skins, they are often thought of as symbols of rebirth or beginning again....
I think this ties in well with the Ace - it's a birth so it could also feasibly be a rebirth or a renewal, especially since both the snakes and the baton are green, the colour of growth and fertility..

These snakes also make me think of the spiritual aspect of the Batons suit.
When I look at this image of the snake entwined baton, the image of the Sepent Goddess Kundalini rising through the chakras and up the spine comes to my mind.
This is a symbol of spiritual awakening and goes very well, I think with the meaning of this card.

Such a simple image yet there is so much meaning in it
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Just a first thought:

Snakes surrounding a "phallic" object....The Temptation which led to expulsion from the....

Garden of Eden....

Man and Woman thrown into the World.....the one THEY are creating...not the one created for them....

So with batons, especially the Ace, we become the "makers," the "creators."

Green (snake and wand)....new growth, life...
Red/orange background (mine looks red)....forged from passion and fire.

(How delightful! I just discovered that Alfred Douglas has signed the inside lid of the box to my deck....)

terri
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The first thing I thought was balance....
And then the snakes were action and reaction.

Example: Like if you were talking about healing..the action is the pill or surgery or herb you chose to use...and then your body has a reaction to what you chose to do.
All in the hope of keeping your health in balance.

So this card has given me a fresh view of the Ace of Batons.
Without that hand holding it it feels like it's all about balance and initiating an action in order to prompt a positive reaction to keep the Baton balanced.

Both the Snakes and the Baton have an investment in the action and the reaction of the other....the Baton is dependent on the snakes movement based on their action and reaction to each other or it topples, and the snakes are dependent on the balance of the Baton or they have nothing to cling on too.
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Some great thoughts here.

I've also read about the Caduceus as representing the spine, and snakes as representing the Kundalini beginning to rise and awaken Pranic energy.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sulis

Firstly I love the fact that the suit representing fire is called Batons (as in the Tarot de Marseille) and not Wands.
It's caused me to actually think - What is a baton? What is it used for?
Is a baton necessarily different to a wand?
I just realised reading this, after all these years- that I never think of Batons as Wands-even though I have used RWS for years. I might write 'Wands', say 'Wands', but definitly do not think Wands. I think Rods of Office, the Baton that orchestrates the orchestra, the jugglers Batons; Batten down the hatches, as in prepare for action. To stengthen with Battens or to Batten on, which is to thrive or improve. They all come from the French word Baton which means Rod. It also can mean your spine- ram rod straight for example. To have the caduceus on the Baton is refreshing. Caduceus comes from the greek word Karux which means 'herald' as in Hermes is the messenger of the Gods. I might wave a Wand- but I wield a Baton- I like that thought.~Rosanne
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lark
Both the Snakes and the Baton have an investment in the action and the reaction of the other....the Baton is dependent on the snakes movement based on their action and reaction to each other or it topples, and the snakes are dependent on the balance of the Baton or they have nothing to cling on too.
I really like this statement, lark...the dependency of the snakes on each other and then the balance established by the snakes.....the snakes ... keep the Baton straight and true by virtue of there being two snakes...who, interestingly, are facing each other, yet when one looks straight on at the card, the two eyes almost look as though they could be in one face...

suggesting, the two that is to come, the two ....two points, when connected form a straight line....and here, since they are perfectly balanced, giving the
Baton a firm straight position....a three in the making...creation.

So action, balance, dependency, foreshadowing.

terri
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tmgrl2
So action, balance, dependency, foreshadowing.terri
Yes, yes exactly....and the Baton is a starting point, but this Baton makes you think of the consequences of what you start, by the adition of those balancing snakes.
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