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Tarot of Mermaids study - 5 of Pearls / Pentacles

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WanderingStar  WanderingStar is offline
Join Date: 03 Jul 2009
Location: Florida, United States
Posts: 31
decks based on RWS but variations create unique meanings 5 pentacles

i'm not sure if there is a better forum for this but let's talk tarot.

i've been doing a study on my Lo Scarabeo Mermaid deck. I've been using this deck for i think three years and i am just now having break throughs! instead of using traditional RWS meanings based on his imagery, colors and specific symbols, I am looking for those same elements which are varied in my deck.. the little white book literally has about one or two sentences to describe the artists choice of colors and representations of the suit, and like 4 words for each card. based on the insight gained from that book and just admitting this deck is about sex, passion and romance, i've been analyzing each card and their distinct symbols.

it's been fantastic, there is definitely a distinct different in many cards that I just never really "got" when i tried to unite the imagery to the "definitions". so for any other mermaid deck users, which seems to be few and far between, i'll share my studies through an external link if it's okay.

here is the one that confuses me, five of pentacles

one mermaid is blindfolded, she is either choosing not to see or can not see the truth or something clearly. she is physically weak, and she puts all her faith into the other mermaid who is boldly guiding her, even blocking her mouth with her extended arm.
however, the guide is leading the weakened mermaid away from the five "pentacles" in the window of the "safe haven" structure (similar structure shown in 4 swords as a safe haven). so, why is the mermaid being guided away from the pentacles and structure?

is this about duality? i drew this card with another where she is pointed right at a large red fish in the other card, fish are about following instincts and allowing your intuition to guide you with clarity so you can manage your passions wisely. the mermaids bodies are so close together, it could imply duality, like the blindfolded mermaid is weak, can not see clearly and is tired, however the guiding mermaid could represent her intuition which she whole heartedly trusts. maybe it's about following those instincts when you can't "see" where to go or what is "true" in a distressing situation or time in your life. but the weird thing is, she is going away from the pentacles... passing that safe haven right up, are her instincts betraying her or is she being misguided by someone else. hmmm?

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Barleywine  Barleywine is offline
Elder Jabberwock
Join Date: 10 Jun 2011
Location: Where the wild things are
Posts: 9,055
Tarot of Mermaids study - 5 of Pearls / Pentacles

I don't use that deck but had some thoughts on the image. I see it as depicting retreat from a worthwhile objective that would be challenging to achieve, under the sway of misguided judgement or bad advice. In some traditions the pentacles in a lattice, matrix or "web" like this can be seen as the "snare of form" (a state of restriction and limitation, perhaps a block that prevents progress) that is more of a trap, barrier or trial for the spirit than a "window" into a "safe haven." As described below, it looks like they are already inside the "safe haven" and the window is a hazardous route "into the dark," passing to a different state of being that the blindfolded one could benefit from attaining but is being urged to ignore.

The numerology is interesting. The Pythagorean Aphorism for 5 is "Speak not about Pythagoric concerns without light." The caution is to seek spititual and intellectual enlightenment (perhaps represented here by the warded path through the "window," which lets in "light" as well as opening out onto a larger world) when attempting to interpret profound mysteries. The blindfolded one is both blind and off-balance, not a good combination for the pursuit of illumination (unless the path of The Fool is being walked). Also, 5 pentacles of 5 points each would multiply to 25 and then reduce by addition to 7. The Pythagorean Aphorism for 7 is "Nourish a cock but sacrifice it not; for it is sacred to the sun and moon." The literal interpretation is to guard and preserve the body (by extension we might say the Self) as the most precious medium of expression; Pythagoras warned against suicide. On the surface it looks to me like the guide is trying to "preserve her from transformation" by leading her away from the revolutionizing confrontation with enlightenment and back toward her safe "center,"which could be the worst thing for her. The symbolic meaning may be that she is "dying to the Light" if she allows her subconscious to steer her in that direction. Although for the Pythagoreans the heptad (7) had a generally positive connotation, one meaning was "that which leads all things to their end." The blindfolded one urgently needs to get her blinders off before she loses all initiative and retires into an emotionally nurturing but spiritually barren oblivion! But there are other possibilities.

The blindfold may mean she has a "blind urge" to escape entrapment but can't "see her way clear" to make an escape, so she is heading "back inside" to her "comfort zone." Her guide could be her subconscious mind that she must trust instinctively and implicitly to lead her aright since she has no sense of direction, but it may actually just be reinforcing her self-defeating behavior. The image is curious because the setting looks they are inside something (the plank appearance and the curvature at the base makes it look like a ship) but the greenish-blue at the right appears to be open to the sea. The guide doesn't appear to be leading her there, though, but toward the center of the structure, perhaps back into a familiar and comfortable but narrowly confining existence. The fact that the pentacles are on the outer wall of the structure could indicate facing a "trial" or crisis of some sort in order to pass through the "window," a well-marked pathway to another reality or consciousness, rather than taking a chance with the openness and formlessness to be found in the "primordial sea" to the right. It looks like "cloth-eyes" here is doing neither but instead is going to shrink back inside herself. The advice here could be to not give in to entrenched, comfortable, passive behaviors or automatic responses and face the trial (and the opportunity it presents) vigorously and squarely.

There is a wonderful parallel in the world of business. There is a "teamwork building" exercise where one person is blindfolded and required to take his shoes off. He is then led into a room with a door at the far end. There are hundreds of "set" mousetraps on the floor waiting to grab his toes if he makes a false step. Another person is given the task of guiding the blindfolded one to the far side of the room and out the door without springing any of the traps, using spoken instructions only, no touching. The blindfolded person completely gives over his autonomy and has to trust the other to keep him from getting hurt. Although there are no such obvious hazards in the card imagery other than the lost opportunity of retreating from the challenge of the pentacles, the guide is still trying to give the other what she wants: freedom from having to take a conscious step toward self-realization.
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WanderingStar  WanderingStar is offline
Join Date: 03 Jul 2009
Location: Florida, United States
Posts: 31

Thank you for taking the time to reply so thoroughly, I appreciate your detailed thoughts. I need to reread and think about your suggestions a bit more and reflect on my past readings but I wanted to say thanks before too much time passed! This card consistatly comess up in my personal readings for years, it's the one that I look at with trepidation, I just don't know what my cards are trying to tell me!
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