"How can I structure my life in hope and not fear?" That's the question asked by the FOUR OF PENTACLES / FOUR OF BONES / FOUR OF STONES / THE POWER OF THE EARTH cards. What follows is a comparison of the imagery and interpretation of the Rider-Waite, The Haindl, and the Collective Tarot decks' respective four of the earth suit cards.
Rider-Waite shows a crowned person, who is not likely a king, but more like a duke- in modern terms, middle management. He has upward mobility but is not in the 1%, so he has wealth but is unable to spend it in the great city behind and below him. Instead he clutches and stands on his pentacles, they even weigh him down on his head. This card is themed around structures, institutions that may offer some stability but that ultimately restrict and confine their constituents to feelings of scarcity that leads to hoarding. Another read of this, suggested by Rachel Pollack in The New Tarot Handbook, is that he puts all his material possessions to use- keeping some for himself, and using the rest to build his foundations and crown himself with spiritual experience.
Haindl uses the title "The Power of the Earth" in this card, and the I Ching hexagram 51, Chen, "the Arousing". Reverse the hexagram and we see 52, Ken, "Keeping still". The Arousing/stillness dynamic indicates movement vs stillness, a movement that is aroused from within the depths of the earth, like an earthquake. Behind four stones that make a diamond shape is a tree's roots- the source of the tree's life, its anchor to the earth. The diamond shape the stones make is the same as the Nordic rune Inguz, which symbolizes fertility. It is also two triangles joined at the base- one pointing up and one down. As above, so below. Actions called from the depths of the source arouse us like an earthquake, and we can react in fear or in knowledge of where the rumblings come from.
Collective Tarot shows a skull in four seasons, with an echo of the Haindl's tree root imagesry in each season. In the midst of the cycle a realistic anatomical heart floats suspended in a black background, protected and constant throughout the changes by four femurs- the largest and strongest bone in the human body. Annie Murphy, the artist who wrote the Bones suit's descriptions, calls upon the protection that structures offer us through changes in seasons and landscapes. Using materials at our disposal to create boundaries so that we don't have to feel afraid of being vulnerable is useful for protecting our squishy, easily damaged hearts. Murphy also warns against too much rigidity in structure- which may stifle our hearts.
Thanks to @inthe78cards and @thetruthinstory for hosting this month's awesome challenge on Instagram!
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