What would I consider a true "win" in this situation? That's the question asked by the SIX OF WANDS / SIX OF KEYS / VICTORY cards. What follows is a comparison of the imagery and interpretation of the Rider-Waite, The Haindl, and the Collective Tarot decks' respective six of the fire suit cards.
Rider-Waite shows a proud rider on a decorated horse, his head and his staff both carrying an ivy wreath of victory, accompanied by five other marchers similarly fashioned. This is confidence embodied- this figure is a winner. Are they returning from victory or on their way? It is difficult to tell. If it was a victory in the past, it was easily-won- there are no scratches or marks on the rider and the horse is pure white. This was or will be an easy win.
Haindl shows six flaming spears, all pointing upwards, across a backdrop of ivy leaves, much like the ones used to make the rider's laurel crown in the Smith-Rider-Waite deck's rendition. The title is Victory, the I Ching is 2, K'un, or "The receptive", which is the same reversed. Rachel Pollack, in her book The Haindl Tarot: The Minor Arcana, points out that the six yin/broken lines of the K'un hexagram are paired with the six unbroken/yang lines of the spears in the image, a note towards Haindl's desire to balance the excessive confidence of the card. "The main attribute of the Receptive is devotion," says Pollack. This is not a triumph of the ego, this is a win over the egoistic selfishness that keeps us from realizing our dreams. The presence of the ivy is an embodiment of this- the ivy grows in spirals whether or not there is something there to spiral around and cling to- it holds true to its nature no matter the opportunities it is given, and follows the patterns it knows lead to its strongest supported state.
Collective Tarot shows a mudwrestling match that has been won- a victor is cheered on by an enthusiastic crowd. Like in the Haindl, ivy grows in the background- this time on a side of a large barn. In the foreground, the winner's belt lies unnoticed. The object symbolizing the title of winner is not important in this moment- the focus is on the celebration of the end of the contest. The conflict is over, the battle won, and even those cheering the one who lost the match can breathe a sigh of relief that there has been a resolution and nobody got hurt. This friendly competition is one that feels good on all sides. There really is no loser when such joy can be gleaned from the fun of a challenge.
Thanks to @inthe78cards and @thetruthinstory for hosting this challenge on Instagram!
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