Quantum Tarot: The King Pentacles


Well, since Chris has admitted to photographing himself for the King and has uploaded the photo already, I suppose it's time we looked at the card.

A yellow ringed planet is the centrepiece of this card. Rings also form an upright parabolic gateway over the planet, leaving the edges of the card at the bottom, where a flattened-out Pentacle meets them and just touches the ringed planet's South Pole. Layered behind these parabolic rings is the face of a young King at the top of the card, calmly looking down at us. The image is further complicated by branches and twigs of numerous deciduous trees, stripped bare for winter (after all, Saturn is a cold planet), interweaving throughout the card.

I really like the use of bare trees. Quite aside from the symbolism, I love trees most, perhaps, when they are bare, when they are showing us their structure, their bones.

Saturn, like Jupiter, is the remnants of a second Sun which, being too lacking in mass to ignite properly, turned into a planet, a gas giant, instead. Both Saturn and Jupiter have partially ignited, releasing more heat from their surfaces than they receive from the sun, and both of them are surrounded by a complicated system of "planets" or unusually large moons, some of them almost as big as Earth itself.

It is ironic that the scientists recently removed Pluto from the list of planets when Pluto is a rock-formed planet like earth and has a sole satellite like Earth, while still retaining the three Gas Giants, all of which are not rocklike, are not terrestrial, have satellite systems rather than one or no satellite, and bear little or no resemblance to planets as we understand them at all, except that they are in fixed orbits around the Sun. Well newsflash, folks, so is Pluto! And it is much more like our planet than any of the Gas Giants are.

And Saturn the non-planet, is also pretty well incomprehensible to the human mind. Not many of us contemplate murder but it is an undeniable fact that some of us have in fact killed our fathers. You'd be hard-put, though, to find a patricide who had also castrated his father. Likewise, few of us at all, and still fewer who are parents, can imagine what must drive someone to kill their own children. For most of us, Saturn therefore stands wholly outside our human experience - even Oedipus wouldn't have killed his father if he had known.

Saturn can be seen in another light, as the archetype of the Great Teacher. Like the Crone aspect of the Triple Goddess, he loves us, but teaches us our lessons harshly, to make sure that we really will learn. He wants us to survive, so he makes us tough.

In this card we see the juxtaposition of Saturn and Earth, as the King offers the highest development of earth energies in his persona. So I am reminded of a newspaper cartoon I saw as a teenager in the early seventies. Earth is sitting on an examination bench. Saturn, dressed up as a doctor, is standing nearby saying: "Don't worry, it's just some kind of skin parasite. It'll burn itself out soon." This was the time of the Cold War, and we all thought the "burning out" would be by bombs, not by global warming ...

As an individual, the King Pentacles is a structured individual. He works hard not, as the King Wands does, because he loves it, but because as an Earth king he is acutely conscious of the need to provide property and affluence as a buffer between himself and the harshness of the world, and also to provide for those he loves. He can be a driven worker like the King Wands, but driven not by ambition of enjoyment or a sense of vocation but by the fear of poverty and the need to provide. Ironically, most people that I would naturally associate with Pentacle courts, have at one stage or another had to grapple with poverty and loss - it seem to be one of the cosmic issues they need to learn about.

By the time he has been through the learning process as the Page, made his mistakes regarding the material world as the Knight, and loved and identified with material things a the Queen, he reaches his highest development as the King. This does not necessarily mean instant wealth: it means a healthy relationship with money, with his body and his appetites, and with the natural world. A Negative King Pentacles would seek to secure his fortune in bank vaults or bottom-of-the-harbour schemes, would seek his enjoyment of food to excess and sexual pleasure by asking things of his partner that they may not be willing to give, and would consider, as Genesis tells us, that his is the god-given right to rule over the natural world, regardless of the cost to it.

swimming in tarot

Quantum King of Pentacles.

Here I see a young man's calm face, with a suspicion of a suppressed smile evident in the corners of his eyes and mouth. His face is artificially lined and aged with tree branches. This might indicate wisdom beyond his years, or familiarity and perhaps conversancy with hardship. He wears sombre black, the colour associated with Saturn/Cronos. The Greek name for the planet sounds like "chronos", which is "time". Hence the association with age. (And Father Time consumes all of his children.)

The tree branches are a nice touch, not just in being of the earth--the pentacle element--but in showing structure, a pentacle concern. These are winter trees, and pentacles are often associated with north, and winter.

Saturn is associated with slowness--it is the slowest-moving of the visible planets--and earth is a slow element. "Slow and steady win the race" and "many a little make a mickle" are phrases I associate with Saturn in respect to the king of pentacles. Caution, attention to detail, patience, foresight, investment, providence against winter's need, delayed rewards and earned rewards relate to this card. Speaking of winter, Father Christmas relates to this card, too, if you think about it. (He's making a list, he's checking it twice, he's going to see who's naughty and nice...and give them a lump of coal* if they were naughty).

Saturn is a symbol of experience, as surely the king of pentacles is. Astrologically, Saturn Returns happen a couple of times in our lives. These are when Saturn is in the same zodiac position as when we were born. As this takes about forty years to happen, we are presumed to have gained some wisdom in Earth-school by then. And tarot Kings are surely wise.

Saved wealth is evident in Saturn's rings--an accumulation of ice, a collection, water in its cold dry humour as earth is. The tree branches also form a diamond in the center of the card (playing card equivalent to pentacles). The diamond shape symbolizes the mineral diamond, which is formed over a long time from common earthly carbon--Saturnine black and opaque, and if *coal, the remnant of consumed life. Under pressure, carbon is tempered into something valued and "forever": crystal, the highest vibration of carbon, if you will. Clarity gained over time.


Catching up again :D

I must admit to a general soft spot for the King of Pents. His association with Saturn in the Quantum might seem to emphasise the harsher part of his nature, but actually I feel its the other way around. Saturn gets a bit of a bad rap in astrology, but as someone who is Saturn-ruled with Saturn also in the 1st house, I'm quite good friends with the old b*gger!

Swimming - I love your assocation of Saturn's rings with saved weath & the stuff we gradually accumulate around us in our lives. Looking through the NASA images of the planets, I must say that the pictures of Saturn were by far and away the most beautiful (apart from Earth that is!).

For me, Saturn's hard lessons are almost always to do with distinguishing the accumulation of "stuff" with the accumulation of wisdom. For most of us, this is a lesson that is understood only slowly, with the advancing years... ;)


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