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The Old Man in the Ten of Pentacles

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The Old Man in the Ten of Pentacles


Hi,

I've been studying Tarot since 1998. I know, recognise and understand the Ten of Pentacles, but it is only recently that I have ever aquired a Rider Waite Deck - and I do not have any books specifically written for this deck.

I have spent a really interesting evening analysing the imagery of the Ten of Pentacles of all my Decks.

The question I want to ask is: who is the old man in the foreground of the Rider Waite card?

1. Is there anything written on this - and upon what the context of this picture is?

2. What are your thoughts and views and how do you read it?

It's a very interesting picture!
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Rachel Pollack, in her book 78 Degrees of Wisdom, expresses the idea that the old man in the RWS 10 of Pentacles is Odysseus, home from the wars; only his dog recognizes him.
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He's Santa Claus!

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The Rider deck illustrates divinatory meanings from various sources, including traditional (pre-GD) meanings and Golden Dawn meanings. In this regard, here are some other ideas regarding the significance of the old man in the RWS Ten of Pentacles:

(1) In a LoScarabeo LWB for an unillustrated pips tarot deck, various 'traditional' (read: pre-GD) divinatory meanings. For the Ten of Pentacles, the LWB gives 'comfort, home, family income, inheritance'. Perhaps the old man illustrates the card's DM of 'inheritance' (as he is the one from whom the couple inherits the home).

(2) Interestingly, there is also something in the Golden Dawn's Book 'T' meanings for the 10 of Pentacles that could make sense in this context: 'Old age, slothfulness, great wealth, yet sometimes loss in part, and later heaviness, dullness of mind, yet clever and prosperous in money transactions'.
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Thanks guys, this useful.

I quite like the 'Odysseus theory'. It would fit in quite well with the time when Athena transforms him into an old man as a disguise. Although quite why he'd then turn up in the Ten of Pentacles and what relevance that has I'm not sure.
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I see him as the owner of the manse. Odysseus or not, he has the house, the land, the name, the reputation, the money, the factory, the family... whatever worldly stable physical thing or institution the card may refer to. The other figures are family, friends, acquaintances and pets and associates who may come and go.
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You know Rota, I think you're probably very right. I was looking at the card for ages, and it was always the man woman and child, depicted, that I was focusing on. This is because most of my other decks depict a wealthy/happy couple in this card - so my attention was looking for the similar image. But it is the old man that's in the foreground after all.

The way that the younger man is holding his staff/spear in a very form "upright" manner, makes him look as if he is on guard duty in the elder man's court yard - and his wife has dropped by with their child to remind him not to accept anymore overtime this evening - and come home and spend some time with them for a change!

Ok, maybe I'm mad - but the way they are standing really suggests this!
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The old man in the ten of pentacles is the man who's come to the end of his income generating days (ie. he's in retirement), but he has successfully accrued wealth and property, that will succeed him and be passed down to future generations. His family also represents the physical world of his creation that will live beyond his own life span.
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Quote:
Originally posted by Belladonna
The old man in the ten of pentacles is the man who's come to the end of his income generating days (ie. he's in retirement), but he has successfully accrued wealth and property, that will succeed him and be passed down to future generations. His family also represents the physical world of his creation that will live beyond his own life span.
I agree with Belladonna.
I see this man to be 'The Grandfather' in the family, and in which, the passing of (could be his) inheritance and this is a representation of "family money"

just my 20cents.


Cheers
Kazz


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Question That Old Man


I'd like to add just a nuance to the old man in the foreground -- how he's always appeared to me. I see him as retired, but also *welcome* -- i.e., the Ten of Pentacles represents the fullness of material well-being, the kind of security that's so all-encompassing that everyone can find a place in it.

It's absolutely true that he's "passing the torch" to the next generation and that he'll inevitably be marginalized; but I like to emphasize the okayness of that dynamic, that it's a natural part of human interaction with the material world. With experience we become less concerned with building and more with giving what we've built to those we love -- but we can still settle comfortably into the background and have faith that we won't be forgotten.

I guess basically I see him as an extension of the younger folk and the boy -- the kind of copia/abundance that makes tradition and inheritance possible by freeing us from material concerns. (Maslow, anyone?) :)) Just some thoughts.
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