What's the tangible result of my efforts? That's the question asked by the KING OF PENTACLES / MENTOR OF BONES / FATHER OF STONES IN THE WEST / OLDMAN cards. What follows is a comparison of the imagery and interpretation of the Rider-Waite, The Haindl, and the Collective Tarot decks' respective master of Earth suit cards.
Rider-Waite is very colorful, with exciting yellows, luxurious reds, invigorating blues, and bright patterns. The King’s robes picture luscious grapes, and he is surrounded by overgrowth of abundant vegetation, while his sturdy castle behind him looks almost crowded with towers. His eyes gaze at his hand resting on the pentacle, admiring his tangible success and wealth, his accumulated prizes, but perhaps not as attentive to the overgrowth and crowded clutter of his kingdom as he should be. Rachel Pollack, in The New Tarot Handbook, points out the bull’s head on the back of the throne, indicating Taurus: an earth sign that loves luxury, the finest things, the best and most sensual of life.
Haindl appropriated indigenous American cultures for his depiction of the Stones suit, due to his ascribing the Stones to the direction of the West, and America’s western orientation to Haindl’s native Germany. He opted for the popular family system of organizing the court cards, so what is usually The King of this suit is renamed The Father. Oldman, the indigenous mythical figure selected by Hermann Haindl, is in stories attributed to the Niitsítapi or Blackfoot legacies, and is featured in the creation myth. He is the origin of the Bigfoot tales, though these have changed his presence from a creator into a monster. Old Man, aka Napioa or Napi, either is a great spirit of creation or existed before creation and is in communication with that great spirit, depending on your sources. The card itself pictures no figure at all to depict Old Man, nothing but footprints in the mud, the result of having been somewhere, having walked in that place. The Father of Stones is the effects, the tangible results, the footprints of our having taken actions.
Collective Tarot pictures footprints as well- the paw prints of the Mentor, pictured as a portrait of a cougar with a notched ear, a stern look, a monocle, a crisp suit and a skull and crossbones with paws folded neatly over. Annie Murphy, the artist and author of the bones suit in the Collective deck, describes this card as being about the challenge of survival, the indomitability of the human spirit to make it through incessant trials. “What hasn’t killed you has made you stronger. And now it is time to move beyond the identity of survivor and claim your right to live.”
Thanks to @inthe78cards and @thetruthinstory for hosting this month's awesome challenge on Instagram!