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Alchemical Study Group - Eight of Vessels

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Alchemical Study Group - Eight of Vessels


In the Eight of Vessels a potter sits at his wheel working on what seems to be a vase, or deep pot. Above him on a shelf are five pots that he may have finished already. In front of him on the ground is a pile of clay and a dish of water. He seems very focused on his work.

This is a very different version of this card when comapring to RWS style decks. At first I wasn't sure what to make of it and now it's become one of my favourites in the deck. From the book Place says "The potter makes an alchemical transformation: he starts with earth, softens it with water, dries it in air, and hardens it with fire." The result is finding your centre, which is the Anima Mundi, the symbol of which is above the potters wheel.

I love the idea that this potter has found work that he loves, that he can lose himself in and as a result find his true self. What a fabulous card!
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(from the book)


A potter uses clay to create vessels by centering them on the wheel. He is totally engrossed in his work. His vessels are all different. The potter makes an alchemical transformation: he starts with earth, softens it with water, dries it in air, hardens it with fire. Centered above his wheel is the result of his transformation, a symbol for the Anima Mundi. Eight is the dual aspect of four, and shows here a balance of emotions.

Tarot wisdom: Your work is a creative endeavor, not mere labor. It is engrossing and emotionally satisfying. By immersing yourself in satisfying work, you become centered, and in turn find your center, which is the Anima Mundi.
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There are Eight Vessels; all are different. The Potter is in the process of making one vessel, there are five vessels drying on a shelf, and two in use holding water. Making pottery is an analogy of the alchemical process; this is represented by the symbol of the Philosopher's Stone above the potter's wheel. It starts with Earth; Water is used to soften and shape the clay into the form of a vessel; then it is left in the Air to dry; finally, it is glazed in a kiln of Fire. The Potter is focused on his creative work. Since each vessel is different, he must stay constantly in the present, aware of every variation.
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Very insightful explanation for this card, thx you. At first i was a bit puzzled by the difference with the standard RWS meaning as Sapienza told us and its relative ressemblance with the RWS 8 of Pentacles (a zealous craftsperson/apprentice practicing/learning their art)

Though it maybe closer from the traditional meaning than we thought at first. After all this card depicts :
1) an humble, modest person maybe going back from zero : working clay, a basic element, just compare with the artfact of the 7 Vessels or the gold of the 9 of Vessels
2) a change in ways. The 7 of Vessels gives me the impression of intricated and un-natural objects out of any solid context (the blank background).

Hope these thoughts will be of interest for the group.

Happy New Year Eves,

Ju
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When I look at the RWS Eight of Cups I see a man leaving his world, the material world, behind. To me, the Eight of Vessels shows a man who has already taken this step and is busy in the work.

I can see craftsmen in all of the Alchemical Eights except for Swords, which is the Beast. The Eight of Coins shows the Coin Maker. The Eight of Staffs is the Woodcutter.

Hello Ju, welcome to AT. I'm pretty new here too. I'm really enjoying exploring the Alchemical Tarot. I am happy to see someone else doing the same. Most of the other posts in this study group are pretty old.

Yea, a fresh perspective helps. I had some thoughts on the Seven of Vessels too. That blank background... http://www.tarotforum.net/showthread.php?p=1483507
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Thanks RexMalaki for your comment,

I had not realized the eight were about craftsmen (but for the Swords whose craftsman lies in the V of Swords).

I was much into Tarot five years ago when I was in London but I got a bit tired of it for a while. This is a sort of come back

The alchemical is great, i will post from time to time. When studying deck, I love 'cross-card' post by the way, as fan of card comparison (for instance the eight, or the cards of with animals,...).

Ju
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I also see something new in this card. The man is working and there's no window (compare it with the Five of Swords, for instance). He has left the "outer" world behind in order to focus and perfect his art.

But, differently from the 8 of Coins, that's just doing a repetition, the man in the 8 of Vessels is developing his creativity. Each of his vessels is a unique world.

Through this creative "isolation", he can find mastery and also learn the mysteries.
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I like the idea of isolation Marina. It's as if sometimes we have to leave everything else behind, or put everything else on hold, to focus on our passion. I guess it can be seen as a card that represents what is required in order to really follow your heart and find your passion.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marina
I also see something new in this card. The man is working and there's no window (compare it with the Five of Swords, for instance). He has left the "outer" world behind in order to focus and perfect his art.

But, differently from the 8 of Coins, that's just doing a repetition, the man in the 8 of Vessels is developing his creativity. Each of his vessels is a unique world.

Through this creative "isolation", he can find mastery and also learn the mysteries.
Yes, his concentration, focus on his craft has isolated him from the world around him.

Now, I'm thinking of IX-Hermit influences on this card...as well as I-Magician influences for the focus without effort.
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