What practical work can I undertake to achieve my goals? That's the question asked by the THREE OF PENTACLES / THREE OF BONES / THREE OF STONES / WORK cards. What follows is a comparison of the imagery and interpretation of the Rider-Waite, The Haindl, and the Collective Tarot decks' respective three of the Earth suit cards.
Rider-Waite shows three figures in discussion about the carvings on the church's stone walls. The priest with his vision, the architect with his plans, and the sculptor with his tools must work together in harmony- just as vision, planning, and action make up the harmony of our daily tasks. Rachel Pollack points out in her book The New Tarot Handbook that the three pentacles of the archway are pointed upwards, while in the architect's drawing they are pointed downwards- "as above, so below". The mundane daily creative work we do is not so mundane after all, especially when it is a collaboration between people who joy in the work itself, rather than the product.
Haindl's name for this card is "Work", and he renamed it "Creative work", a reflection of the sculptor in the Rider-Waite image of spiritual creativity made manifest through sculpture. Rachel Pollack, in her book The Haindl Tarot: The Minor Arcana, says that this creative work is defined by "any work that truly produces something of value." Haindl's stones float under the I Ching hexagram 13, Tung Jen or "Fellowship with Men", which reverses to 14, Ta Yu or "Possession in Great Measure", indicating that none of the actions we must take to achieve our goals happen in a vacuum. We rely on others to make our work meaningful, and to determine the tasks we can achieve to move ourselves and each other forward towards our goals. Reversed, the hexagram describes the product of the work, which deepens the meaning of the three of stones as being more about process and small tasks, rather than the finished product itself. Pollock states, "Creativity manifests itself through work."
Collective Tarot shows a dog with its front right leg removed holding a bone in its mouth, with one buried and one large bone in its dreams. The booklet that comes with the deck gives an explanation of memory, aspiration, and presence for these three placements of the bones. In my readings, I tend to offer that daily practical steps towards a goal need the goal (the dream-bone) as well as the backup plan (the buried bone) to be bigger than the reality (the bone in the dog's mouth). The booklet also notes that the dog's leg has been recently removed and is learning to function without it. In my mind, the dog has always had 3 legs, and does not let this deter or alter its dreams for greatness.
Thanks to @inthe78cards and @thetruthinstory for hosting this month's awesome challenge, as I'm loving the wealth of information coming from all these comparisons.