5 of Pents/5 of Cups in Deviant Moon

Lonely Path

Hoping this is the right forum for this post: wasn't sure if it should go here or in "Tarot Decks".

I'm new here and I just purchased the DM deck. It is only my second deck (first was LoScarabeo Dragon deck, and I have studied the RW images/meanings online). There are aspects to Deviant Moon that I really like and some I don't like, but overall I am very happy with it, and I think it gives pretty good readings. However, there are two cards that I find somewhat off-putting in the deck, and I would like to get your impressions on how they differ from the Rider-Waite meanings.

1.) The 5 of Pentacles - In the RW they are a poor man and companion standing outside a church - which makes sense to me. I always interpreted this like ~ support with strings attached. Like you can take charity from the church, but you won’t be totally independent if you do. In the DM he makes the person outside the church a prostitute, which I think is a little politicizing. I don't generally relate being down on your luck with prostitution, so I have a hard time wrapping my head around his version of the image (not to mention those super pointy boobs he draws~ talk about poking an eye out! lol). I do understand that this is sort of an "outsider" card, but it still feels unnecessarily sexualized. At any rate, I am interested to hear whether this shift was off putting to anyone else, or if someone has a different interpretation.

2.) The 5 of Cups - In the RW it is a cloaked man with his back turned to the cups ~ a person rejecting emotions (particularly emotions he once held dear). In the DM it is depicted in the LWB as "a wretched shew who berates her husband". This seems old-school sexist to me. The original RW image does a good job of encompassing a universal human emotion ~ taking something/someone for granted, whereas the DM basically falls back on a stereotype that was used for years to keep women in abusive relationships because if she complained/fought back she was being a "shrew". To me it shows a lack of understanding of how damaging that stereotype really was for women who tried to leave abusive marriages or simply tried to stand up for themselves in my grandma’s era (the 1940’s and 50’s) and earlier. I don't know, it just rubs me the wrong way in a way that the RW 5 of Cups doesn't, I guess.

Sometimes reading with this deck, I can really tell it was made by a married American male with children, which is fine of course and I do generally appreciate his unique style and take on things, but it is a particular worldview that I sometimes have a hard time relating to. At any rate, I really do like the deck in general, but I find these two cards to be a little off putting and I wish he had stayed closer to the RW meanings with the images.

Also, is there some kind of meaning in the fives I am missing that ties them together? I do not quite understand the numerology aspects of tarot just yet.



You're not wrong...however....

In the DM he makes the person outside the church a prostitute, which I think is a little politicizing.
Well, it is "deviant." ;) First, you're wrong to think that being down-on-your-luck and prostitution don't go hand-in-hand. They do and not just a woman selling herself. Consider a singer who must put out his hat and sing on a corner for change or a famous writer willing to write up anything for anyone--cheap pornography even--because no one is hiring and he needs to make the rent. Is that not prostituting oneself? And what do you think all those poor women in times past did when they had no shelter, no food, no clothes? What did they have to sell but themselves? If the situation is desperate enough, we will all prostitute ourselves.

And the painful irony/hypocrisy of that state is that institutionalized morality (a church say) will condemn the prostitute before it condemns the circumstances that made this the woman's only alternative. This leaves the woman not only without pride, but an outsider.

Which is all to say, the card is actually apt in its image. That doesn't mean you have to like it, nor that your objections are wrong. Just that it's not off target. This is the card of social ostracism, of extreme circumstances that often poses hard choices between physical hardship that maintains personal mores and comfort that requires one surrender to social mores. During the Irish Potato famine, may Catholic parents had to decide whether to hand their kids over to Protestant orphanages where the kids would eat, but be raised Protestant. Isn't bowing to certain social mores, however objectionable they are to you, in order to eat a form of spiritual prostitution? One that might be worse on than mere physical prostitution which at least leaves one's soul untouched?
2.) ...the DM basically falls back on a stereotype that was used for years to keep women in abusive relationships because if she complained/fought back she was being a "shrew".
Again, your objections are not wrong. I have many decks and I'd say that each one has a problematic card or two. Those that rub me the wrong way too much I don't buy. If, however, you're looking for a way to rationalize this one, then you need to see the "shrew" as metaphorical, not literal.

5/Cups is the card of regrets. Which means it's the card with that little "shrew" inside of you that berates you for all you've done wrong, for how badly you messed up. We've all been nagged by such a person, male and female, parent or spouse or employer. And the message of that card is usually that you shouldn't beat yourself up so much. You haven't lost as much, or done as much damage as you think you have--as that little nagging voice says you have. If you can see the card that way, rather than as a stereotype of the nagging woman, you might be able to live with it. :)

Lonely Path

Thanks. I appreciate you offering a different perspective on the cards, and I can see what you are saying about the 5 of Cups. I was mainly thrown off by the wording in the LWB. Had it said "wife berates husband" or "woman berates man" it probably wouldn't have bothered me, but it was the term "wretched shrew" that was irking. In fact, when I saw the card online before I bought the deck without the description I thought it was a mother and son with the spilled cups, especially because of the size of the woman vs. the man.

Still not fond of the lady in the 5 of Pents though - I don't hate her, but I don't find her sympathetic either. I just think it lends an unnecessary sexual aspect to the card, that isn't in the RW. Oh well, there is not going to be a perfect deck, and I think I can live with this one even if I don't get along with some of the characters. ;)

Lonely Path

After thinking more about this, I really do hate the woman on the card -and for good reason. I didn't mention this in my last post because I am new and didn't want to start out with something controversial, but let me give you my personal take on the card (nothing against your interpretation, this is just really bothering me now and I feel the need to explain my feelings fully).

My father squandered our Christmas present money on prostitutes when I was a child (expensive ones that lived in penthouses and drove nice cars - not all whores are poor down and out souls - and they were happy to **** a married man and take his money). So when I see this card, I see my mother laying on the floor spilling her guts out crying because my father humiliated her and exposed her to STDS, all because of some money grubbing lowlifes like the woman in the 5 of pents.

So no, I really wish he had not changed the characters in this card, and honestly I wouldn't have thought she was a prostitute except for the stupid LWB. To me they represent thieves who lie and happily screw married men because they are too selfish and stupid to work a real job. I see the woman in this card being (rightfully) marginalized because of her nasty life choices.What does she expect? Why should the church/society support her, when she mocks them by prancing around in front of the church naked and living a deceptive lifestyle that harms other people?

So anyhow, I just wanted to clarify why I feel very angered and saddened by this card. I am generally pretty open minded but I find it very hard to sympathize with a prostitute when prostitutes destroyed my family. I blame the prostitutes as much as my dad because they knowingly have sex with married men for money, and they don't care that they are hurting children and their mothers. I haven't cried about this in years, but today my heart is ripped open again. I wish I had never bought these stupid cards.


A New Perspective on the 5 of Pents

Hi, LonelyPath,

I'm really sorry to read about what happened to you, I would feel equally as upset if it were me. I'm new to tarot as well and the DM was really my first set of cards. Your story really opened my eyes to a new dynamic to this card and I wanted to say thanks so much for giving me a different perspective on the 5/Pents.

When I first saw the card and read the description, I didn't really understand the need to make the woman a prostitute. I thought about it, and it made sense that this was a woman who was perhaps doing the only thing she could to survive and because of that she was being ostracized from the local community in a sort of Scarlet Letter fashion. She was clearly the victim in my interpretation; but with your description, it's easy to see how grave the card really is in this form.

Whether she is a terrible person or a down-on-her-luck mother trying to feed her children is difficult to say, we don't know how she got to being naked outside the church, but what we do know is that being as she is, she has far-reaching consequences even in taking the actions she feels forced to. The church, in its own right, has a reason to keep her out of the society because unless she changes her ways, she is apt to bring down the strength of the whole community possibly soiling it forever. This may not be the church/society's view, but if she thinks it is, wouldn't she avoid it and simply do what she has grown accustomed to?

The card seems to convey a feeling of regret as well as jealousy. She could refuse to change her actions because she doesn't feel like she is worthy, or she could continue to do her actions out of spite for those she sees as "better" because they are apart of this group. Maybe she is comfortable (as odd as it sounds) in this world of darkness and changing would only bring more discomfort and more change. However, if she put her feelings aside and tried to change she might find a route to something better entirely.

So in that way, the church is also a sort of test or challenge she has to face. Her salvation or prosperity may reside behind the doors and if she makes the effort to overcome her fears/doubts/spite/regret she may find a way to obtain her goals.

I don't think the connection would have been as evident if it weren't something as emotionally charged as the topics he chose. But more importantly, I would have never thought of this new dynamic without your experience. Of course, I'm rambling and I may not be anywhere near correct, but it was a thought.