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Alchemical Tarot Study Group - Ace of Coins

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Alchemical Tarot Study Group - Ace of Coins


I didn’t expect to be pondering this card for three days, but there’s a depth to this suit that I haven’t experienced before. Coins, Pentacles, so often described briskly as the suit of money and occupation is broadened by this deck into the scope of Creation, the Earth, and our vital relationship with it. This suit speaks to our center of gravity. No matter how far into the cloud of unknowing our seeking takes us, the Earth element always requires our return. The hero’s journey is not complete until it is brought back to earth. “Feet on the ground, down to earth, earthy beauty, earthy humor, Mahler’s ‘Song of The Earth,’ ‘Earth, Wind, and Fire.’” The Coin of the Ace, rather than presented as in traditional decks as a gift from above, now sits on a homely mound beneath a tree as part of the underlying great gift of the Earth. And instead of the traditional pentagram the alchemical symbol for creation (the diamond-shaped hole) is in the center of the coin, marked by arrows for the four directions and the four elements. The traditional pentagram is used sparsely in this deck. A rabbit is in the foreground; Place does not discuss it in his card description, but in “Pictures From the Heart” Sandra A. Thompson writes “In alchemy the hare is the guide to the interior of the Earth....” (Thompson, p. 288). The rabbit also appears in The Fool, where it “in archetypal psychology serves as a guide to the underworld (unconscious).... (p. 288). In the RW Queen of Pentacles, I believe the rabbit symbolizes fertility(?), but doesn’t seem to carry the same power as in the Alchemical Tarot. This connection between The Fool and the Ace of Coins, with its arrows pointing in four directions, both signifying great beginnings, was very compelling for me as an emphasis that our journey is both inward and out, as a profound reminder of what this is all about. I’m very taken by Place’s emphasis, a new experience for me. Eagerly awaiting your thoughts.

brenmck
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Smile I'm late! I'm late!


..for a very important date. So says the White rabbit that leads Alice down into the earth... The coin is reminiscent of the old I-ching coins, but also reminds me of the fruit that's fallen from the tree (like manna from heaven. A sign that money in fact does grow on trees. It is the fruit of our labour as well as reward for craft. A windfall that suggests in turn that the great beginnings are also often little beginnings too. Like-wise the wood of a staff is the latent energy for fire. (which I suspect is the cycothalmic nature of things, behind the 'is it fire or wand concerns' with the RW.

I know I'm jumping the gun a little, because this is my introduction to Robert Place's deck, and I'm new round these parts, but I'll take my place and watch avidly for alchemical lessons and tarot ones through this study group.
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Thumbs up Of course, of course


I must have scared off Alice's rabbit while doing my post, but that's perfect - what a great image. I'll be enjoying that all day. And "manna from heaven," providing just enough for this day, and can't be stored or hoarded. Thanks for your insights.

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Just to let you know that I am here, & will immediately get out the deck & catch up with y'all!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brenmck
I didn’t expect to be pondering this card for three days, but there’s a depth to this suit that I haven’t experienced before. Coins, Pentacles, so often described briskly as the suit of money and occupation is broadened by this deck into the scope of Creation, the Earth, and our vital relationship with it. This suit speaks to our center of gravity. No matter how far into the cloud of unknowing our seeking takes us, the Earth element always requires our return. The hero’s journey is not complete until it is brought back to earth. “Feet on the ground, down to earth, earthy beauty, earthy humor, Mahler’s ‘Song of The Earth,’ ‘Earth, Wind, and Fire.’” The Coin of the Ace, rather than presented as in traditional decks as a gift from above, now sits on a homely mound beneath a tree as part of the underlying great gift of the Earth.
Wow brenmck....talk about a tough act to follow.....such an interesting and thoughtful post. I like what you said about the way Place has expanded the idea of Pentacles/Coins being solely concerned with wealth and material gain. Here is a quote from the book (Guiley/Place):

You are at the beginning of well-being, which could pertain to physical health, material comfort, or receiving or giving nurturing. You are on the right path to acquisitions, wealth and success in the material world.

Do not forget, however, that every manifestation in the material world emanates from the spirit.


It is the last line in that passage that really stood out for me, a gentle reminder also that the pentacle itself embodies all five elements: earth, air, fire, water and spirit.

That is all I've got for now, but will think some more about the hare/rabbit symbolism....and looking forward to more discussion here.

Oh yes, almost forgot: does anyone have any ideas/thoughts about the flowers shown in the background??? The book does not mention them by name. The large, tall ones might be lillies and there is a single drop of red there, like a rosebud or maybe a strawberry(?). Again, I don't know if these are significant or not; in some decks, such as the Ukiyoe, the flowers are used specifically to illustrate the card's meaning.

Luna
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The larger flowers are irisis, which are a type of lily or very close relatives. They are named for "Iris of the Rainbow", the Greek Goddess. I believe that the red one is a rosebud - red roses are symbolic of mortality. I think that the yellow one is a type of lily - although it may just be a narcissus, symbolic of the Underworld.

Yes, rabbits & hares burrow in the Earth. It's where they give birth, & also where they lie dormant in the winter months. I think there is a lesson in that, too - that which appears dead in winter comes to life in summer, cyclically. This is a living summer scene.

The "coin" also has not a 5-pointed figure, but rather a 4-pointed one, a diamond shape, which indicates the 4 elements, but also is divided into 8th's, a great deal like the Wheel of the Year with its solar & mid-solar holidays.

There are 3 different types of flowers - I wonder if that gives any significance to the number 3 in this card, as well as 1 & 4.

The rabbit & the large "coin" are standing on a sandy mound, with the vegetation growing behind, & up to the verge of this sandy area, but the greenery is very sparse in the foreground. Sometimes the Earth element can seem very barren, & as though the life of it has abandoned us; we must push ourselves past that horizon to find verdant life again.
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From the Book


Ace of Coins

A rabbit is in front of a large coin nestled in front of a bower of the earth. The coin shows the four directions or elements radiating from a diamond shaped hole. The hole in the center is the quinta essentia, the womb-like space that allows the creation of physical matter. This card, which introduces the suit associated with the element earth, shows how the matter emanates from and encases the soul.

Tarot wisdom: You are at the beginning of well-being, which could pertain to physical health, material well-being, or receiving or giving nurturing. You are on the right path to acquisitions, wealth, and success in the material world. Don't forget, however, that every manifestation in the material world emanates from the spirit. Enjoy the material but don't neglect the spiritual.
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I carefully looked at each card in the deck when I received it today, and my first thought about the Ace of Coins is that it's the first rendering of this card that I've loved from the first second I saw it. My overall feeling about it is "grounded", as the coin looks carefully placed, but also has enough foliage surrounding it to indicate it's been there for a while. The rabbit looks mildly curious about it, but not enough to stop. I'm curious about the connection b/t the iris and alchemy, as I noticed this flower also appears with The Empress?
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Iris


From Watkins Tarot Handbook by Naomi Ozaniec

The iris flower refers to the lesser known Greek Goddess Iris. Her name means rainbow. She is usually shown winged and bearing a herald's staff. Iris is the female counterpart of Mercury, the messenger of the gods. We find iris on the Trump XIV Temperance. (in RWS)
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Diamond Shaped Hole


This is a reference to the playing card suit of Diamonds being associated with Coins/Pentacles. You can see the 'French' suit symbols on all of the Aces as well as some of the courts.
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