Monday, June 4, 2012

Six of One

There's an interesting factor in the distribution of the numbers in the Tarot, alternating odd and even. Also with this, we find that the alternation seems to reflect balance in the even numbers and challenge in the odds. At this point, we've gone beyond the establishment of a foundation in the Fours, and now are moving also beyond the challenges of the Fives. Things are re-stabilizing yet again. The Sixes indicate the movement from that challenge, either to victory or to a new way of viewing the world.
Let's begin with the Six of Wands-
This rendering comes from the Deviant Moon Tarot, and, while kind of funky-looking, tells of the message the Six expresses- in essence, victory. Notice the wands in the foreground raised in solidarity and support. Having come through the conflict of the Five, and the implied challenge of authority, it seems the person in question has come out on top, has overcome or subdued enemies. The more traditional Rider-Waite interpretation shows a figure on horseback, perhaps parading back victoriously, and wearing, as this figure is, a laurel, a sign of victory and conquest. To see the Six in a reading is an indication of overcoming, and having won a battle or conflict, perhaps even an internal one- the result is the same. With this victory comes a renewed sense of focus and purpose, and a clear picture of the path ahead in terms of will and purpose. However, the 'shadow side' of this card, its more negative aspects, can indicate a false sense of victory, or trying to give other people that false sense of victory- assuring either ourselves or others that everything is all right, when in reality that conflict in the Five revealed much more pervasive and serious doubts than we had imagined.
The Six of Swords likewise indicates a new stability, but a transition as well.
This shows that the defeat of the Five of Swords led to a new place- sometimes this card is interpreted as quite literally travel, even sometimes travel by air. However, the movement can also be of a more metaphorical sense. The Five has shown us a losing battle- there seems little hope for that particular path. So instead of stubbornly pressing forwards, ultimately leading to further defeat, the Six indicates a change of thought and change of approach. It's transitioning from one perspective or approach to another. Though the Five did indicate a defeat, and change is not easy, especially with a bruised ego, the upside to this card is the fact that this transition isn't based on reaction. Rather, it's forward thinking and reasoned out- what, we ask, needs to happen? And how can I make that thing happen? The more negative aspects of this card are in many ways the opposite, though a little more complex. It could be jumping to a conclusion, any conclusion, just to relieve uncertainty, or acting impulsively in a situation where careful consideration is needed.
The next of the Sixes is the Six of Cups- this is also a somewhat multi-layered one.
This interpretation is done by artist E.C. Dunne, and is similar to the Rider-Waite design. Here we see two figures, children usually, sharing a moment. They seem content and happy, and no doubt they'll look back on this moment as a fond memory. And this is a part of the message of the Six- not necessarily nostalgia, which would indicate a longing for the past, but rather the knowledge of the past, and drawing strength from that past. It could be a simple recalling of what's important to us, and who we work for, or the ends we work for. It's a card of family, and in some ways, returning home. It can also be a card of support in the same way- kind of calling Mom and Dad for advice when all else fails, or some good source of comfort and advice when we need it, or simply a reminder that life isn't all that bad after all. However, again in its shadow sense, this can be living in the past- unable to let that past go, or unwilling to leave our comfort zone, despite the promise of change and growth in that very thing- stagnation, in other words.
Finally, we have the Six of Pentacles- also a card of balance, and also related to the Five that came before it.
This Six also comes from the Deviant Moon Tarot, and seems to capture the sense of balance and philanthropy in a somewhat ironic sense. The card is one of giving and investing. At first glance this may seem the exact opposite of the Five, which tells us of loss and need. But it's through knowing that loss and need that we can better understand and make use of plenty. Philanthropy is the giving for the benefit of all, and this is what we see here. When in a position to give to others, often we find that we ourselves likewise benefit from that giving. It's not an unwise giving, or one not thought out- the Five indicates that there has been plenty of time to think about this, albeit when we had nothing to give. From this interaction with the Five, we also can see a sense of "pay it forwards"- as we were helped out in a time of need, when the Five of Pentacles was there, we now can help out others, now that situations have improved. The negative aspect of this card tells of again, the opposite- unwise giving, and squandering when there are more effective uses to put our resources to.
The Sixes are cards of balance, and correspond to the Lovers in the Major Arcana. Here again we see the sense of balance between two sides- in many ways, one could say the lessons from the past staying with us, but not controlling or overwhelming us, and the view of the future, neither blindly optimistic nor overly fearful and worried.

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