By Sarah Taylor
There are both grace and swift, profound change indicated in this week’s reading, mediated by a young man on a horse proffering a pentacle. Who is he? Why is he here? How does he fit into the scheme of things?
My first response is that, as a court card, he doesn’t necessarily represent a particular person (although that is possible), but rather an aspect of personality. It is this aspect that links two cards that might otherwise seem poles apart. They aren’t; this reading makes that clear.
The card on the left is The Star, associated with the sign of Aquarius, the water-bearer. The Star is an interesting card in that it is transpersonal: an archetype that lies outside the purely human realm. If you look closely at Pamela Colman Smith’s illustration on this card, you will see something similar to the Ace of Cups: the idea that the streams flowing from the vessels are self-replenishing. The figure in The Star isn’t refilling the urns from the pond; it is the pond that is being refilled by the urns.
This defies earthly laws, and rightly so, because The Star transcends earthly laws, much like the Ace of Cups. The urns are replenished through the flow of something more than water. The flow is the flow of cosmic energy that we encounter and can align with when we have been opened up to it.
How do we get to that state of openness? By removing the obstacles that stand in the way of flow — and that is achieved in the card that precedes The Star: The Tower, which here is working in counterpoint to it.
There is a strong sense of synergy between the two outer cards — a sense of such close reciprocity that it’s deliberately unclear which came first: The Tower (card 16) precedes The Star (card 17) chronologically in the major arcana; The Star precedes The Tower in order of appearance in this reading. That to me says one thing: simultaneity.
And there are parallels that may not necessarily reveal themselves immediately: the two blue streams of water flowing out of the urns are mirrored in the two blue-clad figures falling from the tower; the female figure in The Star, surrounded by blue sky and verdant countryside, is foil to the tower and the black surroundings, respectively; the angular lines of the central star are reminiscent of the angular lines of the yellow lightning bolt that travels from the sky and strikes the couple and the building to the ground. Heck, I even see the ibis in The Star paralleled in the flames licking out of the top of the tower.
Why? Why all of the opposing similarities? Are they both more connected than we think? Do we forget The Star and what it brings to us when our plans are seemingly crumbling around us? Are we forgetting the grace in the destruction of what holds us prisoner, separated from what nourishes us?
Are they two sides of the same coin? The coin that is held by the Knight of Pentacles, perhaps? He is the intermediary between one experience and the other. What he holds is a gift; what he offers is a gift; both cards flanking him are gifts, even if one seems at first disguised — cloaked in the darkness.
The Tower comes into play when something has to be cleared to make way for something new, and in more integrity and alignment with who you are. It isn’t optional, and it doesn’t happen on your terms. The hand you have had in it was in the creation of what no longer serves, and now it must fall. The Tower speaks of institutions that have had their time; ways of relating, or relationship, that have held both parties captive; isolation bursting out of the darkness and into the light of connection. Ivory towers may be beautiful and safe, but they keep us from others, after all. In a flash of divine intervention, the edifices we built that have become our prisons are razed to the ground.
As messenger, the Knight of Pentacles heralds the new ground. In fact, given he is riding past a newly ploughed field, it seems to me that The Tower is already in effect; something in your life is already making way for something to grow. This has come about because you have aligned with flow — you have found a sense of integrity that has opened you to that grace that I referred to earlier.
Grace isn’t accidental, nor is it given without due cause. Grace is what is bestowed on us when we let go and surrender into the fertile soils of what is waiting for us. The Knight is a crusading, but reliable and hardworking, aspect of our experience — whether inner or outer — that already bears shoots but which is now asking to be committed to ground in order that it may grow.
Keep this in mind when you feel you are falling. Maybe, if you can let go enough to feel into the flow, you will find that you are not falling into an abyss: you are falling out of the darkness and into the light of a greater understanding. In it, you can be more of yourself, and that is the best environment in which to thrive.
Astrology/Elemental correspondences: The Star (Aquarius), Knight of Pentacles (the airy aspect of earth), The Tower (Mars)
If you want to experiment with tarot cards and don’t have any, we provide a free tarot spread generator using the Celtic Wings spread, which is based on the traditional Celtic Cross spread. This article explains how to use the spread.