Bohemian Gothic-The Tens


Thieves! Whoa. Missed that!

swimming in tarot said:
-where are the right hands of the young couple? At first I'd assumed that hers is tucked into her jacket for warmth (her jacket opens on the side traditional for a man, incidentally) and that his is tucked between the sack and his back, perhaps to keep some lumpy object from poking him. But if they have no right hands, why not? Bad luck? In some places, thieves were punished by having their right hands cut off.
Holy...! :eek: You're right! I naturally filled in the blanks and assumed that the man's right hand was hidden under the upper part of the sack, the woman's hand in her coat, but it's altogether possible that those right hands are missing! We should at least be able to see the man's fingers if he's holding that part of the sack over his shoulder, yet a closer look shows that the upper part of the sleeve seems to be empty, folded, as if cut off right through the forearm. And there is no bulge indicating a hand there in the girl's sweater. If one of them wasn't showing a right hand, I wouldn't credit this, but as you point out, both of them seem to be missing those hands.

It's wonderfully ambiguous, but I think you're right. And it really does change the story we're seeing in the card. No wonder the old man has let out the dog on them. To drive them from his door.

It also makes for an interesting contrast. Petty thieves vs. a "corporate" thief, as I assume the old man came into his wealth in an equally dishonest way (at the very least, we presume that the old man could afford to lose some petty cash to these thieves without ever missing it; or that he might have made thieving unnecessary for them if he'd been more generous to the poor). It certainly gives the whole card a very interesting and, well, timely bit of social commentary. The poor people get their hands chopped off for stealing, the rich person gets away with it and also gets to hypocritically take the moral high ground, holding tight to his right hand (we see it there on the door) and, ironically, protecting his ill-gotten gains from other thieves.

If we go with the idea that these are all thieves (and not much honor among them), then how does that relate to the primary themes of 10/Pents?

swimming in tarot

Thirteen, I like your thoughts, once again. But, magnifying glass in hand, I am not convinced that I see the old man's right hand, either. It looks like it might actually be the ruffles of a white cravat at his throat. I can't be sure. Doesn't mean he doesn't have one. I don't think someone of his status would be treated as a petty criminal? But your reflections on class differences still hold true. Perhaps you recall that song's chorus: "It's the rich wot gets the pleasure, and the poor wot gets the blame". How does this reflect on the whole suit? Haven't studied the whole suit yet, though it's my first choice. There seems to be a theme of "selling out" the soul for temporal gain. I may reword that or eat those words later, but that's my quickie impression at this moment.

-the young couple may be gypsies. I haven't met any gypsies in person, I don't think, but they have the dusky good looks associated with them. Another example of prejudice, perhaps? Gypsies had the reputation of being thieves. If something went missing when there was a gypsy around, guess who got blamed? They were mistrusted and unwelcome because they were strangers and on the move (and perhaps strangers and on the move because they were mistrusted and unwelcome). Perhaps they still are. They were persecuted during the holocaust.
-the dog doesn't look all that mean. Yes, it's a hunting dog, but an old one, and its expression is pretty neutral. Looks like he's out for a sniff-around and to do his last "business" of the evening. Perhaps I am looking too closely.


swimming in tarot said:
Thirteen, I like your thoughts, once again. But, magnifying glass in hand, I am not convinced that I see the old man's right hand, either. It looks like it might actually be the ruffles of a white cravat at his throat.
My bad! You are correct that while his right arm *seems* to be there, his right hand may not be. In this deck I don't take any detail for granted, and so while I'm doubtful that the old man has lost his right hand for thieving, it would, symbolically, indicate to me that he's as much a thief as the gypsies. Of course, I'd accord the gypsies the benefit of the doubt that they stole out of need rather than greed if at all. Their attention to each other implies that if they did steal, they did so for each other, not for themselves.

What I'm most interested in is how this image relates to the usual meaning of the 10/Pents, which often refers to doing something with earthly wealth that carries on your spirit--like building a hospital or creating a philanthropic scholarship. You use your money to create something that helps future generations and carries on your spirit, rather than for earthly pleasures. Now, obviously, the BG may have a very different idea for the 10/Pents, but so far I've found it really interesting how it's shed new light on more traditional card meanings and this is why I'm trying to see if they're there.

This twist of the card being full of thieves...I'm wondering how that sheds light on it. My first thought is that it has to do with the idea that no matter what you do with your money, there's no restoring that "right hand" if said money was ill-gotten. Likewise, the legacy of a kleptocracy, where the most powerful are thieves, is that it encourages theft on all levels of society. Maybe even makes it necessary if that's the only way for the poorest people can survive. It would seem in this deck that the "legacy" that the old, rich man bestows on future generations is a loss of that right hand because he either makes it impossible for them to survive without stealing, or he demonstrates that the only way to wealth is by way of theft. Or he makes them scapegoats for his crimes.

Hits awful close to home at this time, doesn't it? People abscond with other people's money, stealing shamelessly and living in wealth, and younger, poorer generations pay the price.

swimming in tarot

I haven't had any brainwaves yet about relating what I see here back to the original/traditional card meaning as you are seeking to do, as many of the cards do reflect on tradition, with new depth. So far the best philanthropical use of wealth deducible from this card is what you yourself said; that the couple, if they had stolen, did so for each other. In a dark deck, I see true caring between them. If this card deviates from tradition, I forgive it: it's a good reflection of today's legislated corruptions, even though it is set in the past.


swimming in tarot said:
So far the best philanthropical use of wealth deducible from this card is what you yourself said; that the couple, if they had stolen, did so for each other.
Actually, that's an excellent point. I like that idea--they have to be each other's missing hand.


I pulled the Ten of Wands tonight in a personal reading and my first thought, looking at the grotesque shadow on the wall behind the little old woman, was, "Maybe reality isn't as bad as you fear it to be." Shadows can be big and scary, but they're insubstantial. And not every little old woman is a witch.

Just a thought, and certainly not within the traditional or book meaning of the card.


I'm very interested in the "10's" in this deck. Three are very clear (or seem very clear to me). The last is a bit mysterious.

10/Wands: I love this card. I think, like so many other, most excellent cards in this deck, it's use of dark and scary imagery really illuminates the ultimate meaning of this card. We see an old woman hauling a bundle on her back. She wanders past a castle wall, under an illuminated window. Light from somewhere casts her shadow large upon the wall. This is one of those double-take cards. Unlike in other 10/Wands cards, the woman doesn't seem overly burdened, and quite able to handle this load on her back. But a double take shows us that the shadow she is casting has horns, and the window has a hot, orange glow to emphasize something demonic. Her physical burden in this world may not be so bad, but she is carrying around another burden, a spiritual/otherworldly burden that is far more heavily

What an interesting interpretation! I checked for this thread, because I really like the images on this card. I like your viewpoint. My initial impression (and I don't have the big book so I don't know what it says) was that the shadow was not *her* shadow, but rather, the shadow of what she was looking at. Which would seem to be a large monster! I took this to mean oppression and burden, in that sense.

However, the shadow does seem to be connected to her feet, so...hmm...


I agree with everything written except for the 10 of cups as the family doesnt strike me as quite happy and by the way, is that baby dead?


10 of Pentacles

I see the 10 of Pentacles differently than anyone has posted
so far.

I see the man at the gate as the father of the couple standing
outside; he is reluctant to let them in because, instead of living
the proper, patrician lives he wanted for them, they have been hiking,
backpacking, and exploring the world. He is wondering, "Do I really
want to let them back in?", and they are thinking, "Do we really
want to go back home?" The answer for all of them must be "Yes"
in order to reach the completion of the 10 of Pentacles. The father
will teach his children to appreciate the comforts of wealth and
financial security, while they teach him to appreciate the value of
emotional wealth and real life experience. In this way, each of them
will truly "have it all."