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Today’s card is the two of disks from the Alleyman’s Tarot originally from the Serravale-Sesia Tarot.
This is a presumably public domain card from 1880s Italy. It is an interesting contrast to the better known Waite Smith Tarot and shows the difference in working with a deck that has only pips and a deck with complex narrative images on the numbered minor arcana cards.
Image cards and pip cards function the same way within a reading. Both are two paths to the exact same destination. They both take us to the message for everyone’s day, for our client or for ourselves. The emphasis shifts a little bit between the two types of cards, however.
With images, as we see in the RWS cards, there is a rich supply of detail to prompt your intuition. Despite the many prompts, all of them are thematically tied to the overall image and card meaning. Picture cards can lend themselves to a little more specificity, clarity and context.
On the other hand, pip cards give your intuition free reign. Pip cards are not bound by details or images, although they retain the same general conceptual meaning as an image card. This two of disks talks about balance much the same as the RWS two of pentacles .
Coins, pentacles or disks all refer to the same suit of the deck and you will see the terms used interchangeably. I tend to say coins because that was the name used in one of my first decks and it’s an old habit by this point. Coins are associated with the element of earth and ideas about work, career and money. From a more contemporary perspective it helps to think of coins as our relationship with the physical world. The suit has a very practical down-to-earth vibe generally speaking, so it all fits.
More than the number two cards of the other suits, the two of coins symbolizes balance. Usually it’s a very dynamic balance, like a unicycle rider who constantly makes small corrections and movements in order to balance upright. The taijitu, the yin yang symbol, is another example. The black and white parts of the circle are comma shaped instead of q straight line half to show motion and a dynamic interplay of opposites.
Today, the balance is more akin to the unicycle example. The message has a subtle, nuanced quality to it. It isn’t black and white. It is dynamic and speaks to the way we move through life.
In a way, it is just how human brains are wired and how our brains deal with the onslaught of sensory input from our environment. You get used to things, and they don’t get the attention commanded when something is new or changes. It’s like a busy caretaker tuning out a chattering preschooler a little bit. The message for all of us adults is the same. If you want to be heard, if you want your words to carry power and command attention, use them sparingly. As Mahatma Ghandi said “speak only when it improves upon the silence.”
Outside of a Medieval monastery, it is hard to go through life not saying anything. Communication is essential. In our wired, cyberspace connected world, we often forget the necessity of silence. When TMI takes we are immersed in too much information the tune-out-the-toddler reflex kicks in. We become numb to the input.
It’s a balance between communication, self expression, and losing your words to the noise. Nothing makes your words more powerful than the silent spaces in between.
Thank you so much for reading and listening.
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See you at the next sip!