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Seven of Disks

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Seven of Disks


Hello everyone.

I wanted to ask why is that the Seven of Disks in the Thoth Tarot means failure, while in most traditional interpretations it embodies hard work, harvest and perseverance.

Thanks in advance for your help and input.
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I can't speak to the traditional meanings, but as far as the Thoth, Crolwey seems to be following the Golden Dawn. Their meanings are based on whatever decan a particular card belongs to. This can be traced back to the Picatrix and Henry Cornelius Agrippa, among others. For example the Seven of Disks belongs to the third decan of Taurus; the Picatrix says:
"In the 3rd Decan of Taurus, which is of Saturn, ascendeth a man of swarthy complexion having large white teeth projecting from his mouth, a body like that of an elephant with long legs. And there arise with him a horse and a stag and a calf. It is a decan of misery, slavery, necessity, madness and baseness."
The GD Book-T uses some of these exact words:
"Misery, slavery, necessity and baseness."
Agrippa's meaning for the decan is:
"In the third face [decan], ascendeth a man in whose hand is a Serpent, and a dart, and is the image of necessity and profit, and also of misery & slavery."
The title of the GD Seven of Disks "Success Unfulfilled." It has five rose buds but no blossoms as in most of the others. Here's the full description:
"Promises of success unfulfilled. (Shown in the symbolism of the rosebuds, which do not as it were come to anything.) Loss of apparently promising fortune. Hopes deceived and crushed. Disappointment. Misery, slavery, necessity and baseness. A cultivator of land, and yet is loser thereby. Sometimes it denotes slight and isolated gains with no fruits resulting therefrom, and of no further account, though seeming to promise well. According to dignity."
The overall meaning is that of work and effort with nothing, or very little, to show for it.

The GD meanings were also derived from the planet and Sign associated with each decan. For the Seven of Disks it's Saturn in Taurus. Meanings were derived from each such combination in the various decans. In the Thoth, each of the minors except the Aces have glyphs representing the planet and sign; they're a little hard to see in the Seven of Disks but they're at the top and bottom of the image.
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Thank you for the information. It's just odd since most meanings found on traditional Tarot systems have several connections with the Golden Dawn and Crowley's descriptions found on the Thoth Tarot but this particular case of the Seven of Disks bothers me as it's very different, referring to bounty, harvest and the fruit of hard work.
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Which deck is it that has those meanings? There are some other sources from which they might be drawn. For example Mathers, in 1888 before the GD system was fully developed, wrote in his book The Tarot:
"Seven of Pentacles. Money, Finance, Treasure, Gain, Profit; Reversed. Disturbance, Worry, Anxiety, Melancholy."
All little more positive.

Etteilla says:
"Money, riches, sum, coinage, silverware, whiteness, parity. . . ."
So there have been other interpretations. Maybe it's taken from one of these, some other, or maybe it's just the author's own personal take.
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Oh that information from Mathers surely is more in line with those keywords I read in different sources. So that's probably aligned with the Tarot interpretations prior to the Golden Dawn system based on the decans. Thanks a lot for the insight. Much appreciated.
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As usual, I find the 'faces' obscure and of little use and go straight to the stars in that decan;

Al Heka .... not much good here :

According to Ptolemy it is of the nature of Mars, but Alvidas suggests that of Mercury and Saturn conjoined. It gives violence, male violence and danger of accidents.

With Sun: Suspicious, reserved, studious, unfavorable for health and especially for the lungs, aptitude for military enterprise and stratagems but danger of deceit and ambushes.

With Moon: Quarrels, evil habits and company, depravity.

With Mercury: Hasty temper, selfishness, greed, dissipation, legal and business troubles, poor health, domestic troubles and separation from wife or children, low companions, loss of wealth and poverty.

With Venus: Unfortunate, low companions, bad environment.

With Mars: Evil companions, bad habits, sex troubles, and afflictions of a Mars-Venus type.

With Jupiter: Hypocrisy, dissipation, business losses and disgrace.

With Saturn: Uncontrolled passions, drink, debauchery, perverted genius, clever writer of undesirable literature, luxurious surroundings but little wealth, isolated or confined at end of life, domestic unhappiness, accidents if Mars is also afflicting.

With Uranus: Legal difficulties, trouble through occultism, danger of imprisonment but help from friends, unfavorable for love and marriage, parental disharmony, little wealth, death from an accident.

With Neptune: Accidents, secret enemies, great psychic powers, wife may be sickly or die soon after marriage, favorable for gain but many losses in latter part of life, sudden troubles of a Mars nature.

( Fixed Stars and Constellations in Astrology, Vivian E. Robson, 1923).

yet, El Nath ( on the other 'horn' of the bull ) ;

Of the nature of Mars and Mercury. It gives fortune, eminence and neutrality for good or evil.

Martian in nature; reputed to be an indication of success. [Larousse Encyclopedia of astrology].

With Sun: Ecclesiastical preferment, honor through science, religion or philosophy.

With Moon: Quarrels with questionable associates, business success, environment detrimental owing to wife, partner or relative.

With Mercury: Favor of superiors, but enmity of colleagues, rises to high position or changes vocation, favorable for gain, but many small losses, domestic expenses, often obliged to support an invalid.

With Venus: Favorable for gain, enemies who are powerless to injure.

With Mars: Good lawyer, speaker, and debater, quick-witted.

With Jupiter: Success in legal or ecclesiastical affairs, favorable for gain and inheritance.

With Saturn: Cautious, thoughtful, bad-tempered, accumulates money, favorable for domestic affairs, gain through relatives, may receive start in life through a legacy.

With Uranus: Great mental energy and force of character, weak body, original and practical ideas, occult interests, but material aims, late success, favorable for domestic affairs, death in middle age.

With Neptune: Active in mind and body, vacillating, some physical defect, occult interests, may make discoveries in medicine, domestic disharmony owing to peculiar matrimonial ideas, may become famous, death in middle age. (Robson)

I suggest the cards interpretation lies within these extremes, dependent on the other cards influences and position around it.
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I used to read this card as for situations where current hard work will not compensate enough, or seeming material gains at present times, which will result in more trouble than worth in the near future.
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Crowley also made much of its position on the Tree of Life: Netzach, the 7th Sephira and sphere of Venus. Thus it is "doubly unbalanced; off the middle pillar and very low down on the Tree." He considered all of the Sevens to represent "the degeneration of the element," exposing its weakness and offering no comfort. In keeping with the theme seen in other versions of the 7 of Disks, he said: "Labour itself is abandoned; everything is sunk in sloth."

Here's another recent thread on the 7 of Pentacles. Although it began as a Tarot of Pagan Cats discussion, my contribution was RWS and Thoth-based, so it tends to bridge the two views you mention here (see posts #5 onward). We talked at length of its interpretation as "failure."

http://www.tarotforum.net/showthread.php?t=254560
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It will also depend on the dignity of surrounding cards of course.
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I always equated this card with the figure of Adam, and the card in the RWS seems to support this. While Adam was in the Garden of Eden at Tiphareth, everything was balanced and in line with the Will of God. However, once he ate of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge he gained the creative powers of gods (creating new life) but lacked the godly "engine." As a direct result of this the carefree abundance of the Garden was denied to him and so he had to work for his subsistence from the very earth that spawned his own life.

Seen in this light, the title of failure may be fitting, as not only does Adam toil but the (literal) fruits of his efforts are poor and meagre. All of the four Sevens taken together show different aspects of the "hard work" of being alive. Force becomes aggression, thought becomes obsession, emotion becomes masturbatory self-indulgence and abundance becomes hard and cold.
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