The Five of Disks, first decan of Taurus, is known as the Lord of Material Trouble, or Worry. The sign is Venus-ruled Taurus, the decan ruler is Mercury, and the ruler of the Fives is Mars. In the Thoth deck, five leaden gears grind against each other. In the RWS, two barefoot vagrants in raggedy clothes trudge through a snowstorm past a church window. In my Rosetta deck, five gauges show a mercurial machine on the brink of implosion. In my other deck Tabula Mundi Tarot, the turntable set up of the Magus (Mercury) is locked up by the Hierophant’s (Taurus) lock and key. The electronics are smoking, with five broken records on rotation. Here is another take, a new image for the Five of Pentacles or Disks.
Here in the Northern Hemisphere, this decan is when we begin to till our gardens and plan and seed our first plantings. (As a matter of fact, we did this in our household this week!) We see this agricultural theme in the decan descriptions as many of them mention planting and plowing. We wonder: will our seeds bear fruit? We worry: will the weather be conducive or destructive for our harvest? Will there be enough to eat? In my image the five disks bear the symbols of the five elemental Tattvas. In each is a particular potential calamity: the triangle of Fire shows the hot sun and drought baking the earth, the circle of Air shows a cold and harsh wind blowing, the crescent of Water shows a flooded field, the square of Earth shows a devouring locust, while the central egg of Spirit shows a cracked seed. The energy of the Five (Mars/Geburah) cracks open the land and the seed, but will this cracking mean it has successfully sprouted and will grow, or will it perish?
The decan is ruled by Mercury (in Western astrology; Vedic assigns Venus). Mercury is a mathematician. The disks surround a geometric measuring device, that divides according to the Golden Ratio.
36 Airs of the Zodiac gives the deity of the decan as Charis (“Charity”), representing the youngest of the Charities or Three Graces of mythology who was also named Aglaea, an attendant of Aphrodite (Venus, ruler of Taurus). After Aphrodite’s husband, the smith-god Hephaestus, left her for her infidelity with Ares, it is said he married Aglaea. Perhaps this is why her clothes are described as burnt – it gets hot hanging out with a blacksmith!
The image is first based on Crowley’s decan description in 777, but also incorporates ideas from other decan description texts.
777: A woman with long and beautiful hair, clad in flame-coloured robes.
Ibn Ezra: A woman with hair, who has a son, and who wears clothes partly burnt.
Picatrix: A woman of curly hair, having a single child who is dressed in clothes like unto fire, and she herself dressed in similar clothes. And this is a face of plowing and working the earth, of sciences, geometry, of sowing seed, and making things.
Agrippa: In the first face of Taurus ascendeth a naked man, an Archer, Harvester, or Husbandsman, and goeth forth to sow, plough, build, people, and divide the earth, according to the rules of Geometry.
Bruno: In the first face of Taurus is someone naked, ploughing, wearing a hat of woven straw, of dark complexion, followed by a rustic or a woman sowing seed.
Vedic: The first face of Taurus represents a woman with torn ringlets, pot bellied, with fiery clothes, hungry and thirsty, with a penchant for gold and food. This is a female decanate and fiery.
Here is the line art for the design. These images I’m posting now only show the basic structure of the design; the final art will have more details and shading added, and then will be painted in color. (Ignore the guidelines on the sides of the image – these won’t be in the picture and are only for me so that I can leave plenty of room for potential cropping of the finished image.)
The Five of Disks or Pentacles, Taurus decan I, the Lord of Worry (Material Trouble).
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