What do I need to learn, and where can I find more information? That's the question asked by the PAGE OF PENTACLES / SON OF STONES IN THE WEST / CHIEF SEATTLE / APPRENTICE OF BONES cards. What follows is a comparison of the imagery and interpretation of the Rider-Waite, The Haindl, and the Collective Tarot decks' respective Page of the earth suit cards.
Rider-Waite shows a young page staring intently at a pentacle he holds up to the level of his head- his object of inquiry is as important as he is himself. He studies it in the countryside, far from the forest, farmlands, and mountains behind him. He is in the clearing with no distractions, only the pentacle before him. His red cap says he has a passionate mind, and the yellow sky tell us he is immersed in his thoughts. What does he see in his walking, meditative study?
Haindl draws on a history lesson for the son of stones- Chief Seattle is not a myth or a legend, but a person. Chief of the Duwamish tribe in now-Washington State, Seattle tried to make peace with white settlers who sought to move his people from the land they inhabited. Seattle is most famous for having spoken passionately and powerfully on native and environmental rights, though his words are now forgotten and lost. Haindl draws him with a leaping Orca, a symbol of the life sustaining food and spirituality of Seattle's tribe. Like the indigenous people of North America, the Orca is now endangered. Seattle is seen with a lightning bolt striking a feather in his hair- which is not a feature of the Duwamish people's garb, but Rachel Pollack points out that "Seattle did not speak only for his own nation" in her book The Haindl Tarot: The Minor Arcana. There is a challenge to this card- a challenge to learn and to grow and connect to forgotten ways. Not to appropriate and transform them, but to learn as much as we can about them. Chief Seattle's speech to Congress may be lost, the Orcas may be dying, the indigenous tribes of America may be all but wiped out, but the wisdom and knowledge of their struggles survives. We must learn about them in any way we can.
Collective Tarot pictures a young stag, dressed smartly, surrounded by books, chalkboards with anatomical drawings, the moon and stars, and even a piece of the Ace of Bones' imagery, the skull and books, on the top shelf. The topic the stag studies is anatomy- the inner workings of the outer trappings of our selves. This education of the nuts and bolts, of the tangible realm, of the body and all its parts, how they work together to make us work, is indicative of the card's enthusiasm for learning. Annie Murphy, in the Collective's guidebook, suggests that we "know which teachings are for your utmost benefit, and which you'd better diregard. Be discriminating...remember that you are the authority on yourself. Take responsibility for your education. And learn whatever knowledge you can form those you consider authority."
Thanks to @inthe78cards and @thetruthinstory for hosting this month's awesome challenge on Instagram!