By Sarah Taylor
As the central and uniting card in this week’s reading, the Two of Pentacles invites us to consider a balancing act between two states depicted in the flanking cards — at precisely the same time that both figures in these cards are looking away from each other. Both are devoting their attention to what is going on in their immediate surroundings; neither seems aware that they are part of a bigger picture, a triptych.
How then can all three dance together?
The female figure in Strength is engaged in her interaction with the lion as it pertains to the animal instinct. She is a visual contradiction of sorts: dressed in white, she is virgin; with a lemniscate above her head, she represents the eternal — the eternal feminine.
And yet this figure of the eternal feminine busies herself with matters that to some may seem unfitting for a maiden. Her hands enfold a beast’s head, its tongue licking her inner wrist. This part of a woman’s body is deceptively intimate: body language experts have found that a woman’s wrist is exposed to potential suitors in fleeting glimpses, and only if she finds favour with them. Here the lion is more than suitor; he is granted physical access to her — as is she to him. There is a reciprocity, a place offered where the spiritual and the carnal come together. Which might beg the question: in which ways do we deny what it is to be fully human?
On the other side of the Two of Pentacles, we have the Page of Pentacles, whose attention is fully upon the object of his desire — in this case, the material world. Pentacles are our manifested reality. Yes, they are money, but they are not limited to that. They are anything with which we engage with one or more of our five senses.
The Page of Pentacle’s ability to see is narrowed to a single point — to what he can hold. He represents our experience before we have apprehended what lies beyond the physical. His sense of romance and wonder is the fuel that propels him into an exploration of what it means to be human — not that he knows what he is embarking upon when he first steps out. And how many of us would start a journey if we knew what would be sent to test us? This idealism is indeed tested in the Knights, who embark on a crusade for their beliefs — whether they are driven by a lust for life (Wands), love (Cups), ideas (Swords), or things (Pentacles).
However, it is a state we are invited to transcend when, as Knights, we begin to understand that no amount of questing in the outer world can take us into the realm of Queen and King. Once the royal marriage has been enacted, we are then entitled to sit upon the throne — our authority in service to a higher, inner authority that guides us. The Page may be a Page right now, but without his enthusiasm and love for the object of his affection his journey would be over before it started. He is the inner child who leads us into an adventure of the spirit.
Finally, we return to the Two of Pentacles, the lemniscate in Strength here taking centre stage and dictating the give-and-take, back-and-forward, constantly adjusting movement of the juggling act that the figure is performing. He is dervish; he dances the world into life. Both Strength and the Page share a very similar background. Both, as you can see, are needed. Superficial differences aside, they are simpatico.
A process of marrying the spiritual and the animal meets a willingness and ability to embark on a journey that could transform you to the point where you have to give up the idea of the very thing that you currently hold as all-important. Progress hinges on keeping these two ideas in play, so that an awareness is developed between what happens inside and what you experience in the world around you, and vice versa.
By living your inner truth about who and what you are in a way that gives it outward expression, you neither withhold yourself from others, nor do you flee yourself into materiality. And who you are is the greatest gift you have to offer.
Astrology/Elemental correspondences: Strength (Leo), Two of Pentacles (Jupiter in Capricorn), Page of Pentacles (the earthy aspect of earth)
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