Mary El Tarot - Two of Disks

Bat Chicken

The Two of Disks is a loaded card. The face filing the card is green, tendrils of plants grow around its edges. Horns make me think of Nature and knowledge of Nature. But coins are placed over the eyes as was ritually done on the eyes of the dead. The symbolic purpose of the coins was to pay Charon, the ferryman, for passage over the river Styx.

The coins themselves are interesting. The one on the left bears the head of Janus, a two faced God – looking at both the past and the future simultaneously. Janus is known as a God of beginnings and transition – the in-between.

The coin on the left is an Athenian owl. AOE standing for the city of Athens. The reverse of this coin generally depicts the goddess Athena, patron goddess of Athens. The owl was her attribute and she sometimes took its form. Athena was the goddess of war and wisdom and the owl was associated with her traits - wisdom and sometimes death.


Bat Chicken

I read the book AFTER putting down my first impressions here on the study group and Marie’s entry really offered me another insight. In the Book, the silver and gold coins are the Sun and the Moon – the shaman’s ability to see in to the subconscious and the Underworld and see and bring things to the Outer World - and in her words – balance them.

Marie uses the examples of Odin and Horus, but looking at the symbolism directly there is a more mundane option – Orpheus – one of the few mortals to return from the Underworld. He was a musician, prophet, a poet and a shaman of sorts.

Wikipedia said:
For the Greeks, Orpheus was a founder and prophet of the so-called "Orphic" mysteries. He was credited with the composition of the Orphic Hymns, a collection of which survives.[2] Shrines containing purported relics of Orpheus were regarded as oracles.

To become a shaman, one must have a little ‘death’. Orpheus pays Charon to take him to Hades across the river Styx. This ties together the coins on the eyes of the dead in my earlier post. His quest was to plead for the return of his wife Eurydice. His quest failed but he did return from that ‘journey’ into the Underworld. This is a shaman’s ability as is the skill of the Oracular – rather significant in a Tarot deck.

What’s more, horns are placed on the heads of medicine men and spirits in rock paintings and petroglyphs. These ‘horns’ represent knowledge or medicine. That could explain the horns on the edges of the card image as well.
This card is proving to be one of the most profound of the deck thus far… IMHO!


Speaking of death and coins, here's the Ten from Robert Place's Alchemical tarot.

The coins blind and suffocate you I think, just in case you're not dead enough ;) It's beautiful but one that gives me a feeling of claustrophobia.

In some tradition I can't remember which, the coin is placed in the mouth of the dead person.


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This is the card that first caught my attention when looking through the online images and was the deciding factor for me with this deck. This is the print I would buy for myself first if I had the means. But why this one?

I really don't know from Thoth and I've read the companion book to try to understand what Marie was seeing. It isn't what I see now or what I saw when I first looked at it.

It's earth. Material things. It's the coins, the green, the vines on her face. It's the blood-red lips. It's very physical to me. Being in the here and now and juggling life around, weighing whether to pay a bill or buy a meal (or forgo both for another Tarot deck!). Working at a job that pays the bills or doing something that might not cover the necessities but is somehow more satisfying. Either way, there is a price to be paid (the blood-red lips).

Even without the overt representation of the lemniscate, one can imagine it with the coins. A never-ending dance.