Continuing on the Decan Walk, we have reached the second face of Taurus. The Six of Pentacles is the card associated with the Second Decan of Taurus, which covers 10° to 20° of that sign. In 2021, the Sun was in Taurus II from April 30th to May 10th. The sign of Taurus is ruled by Venus, and its second Decan is governed by the Moon.
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The Six of Pentacles
This card follows on the heels of the Five of Pentacles, where the main characters seemed to be in pretty serious trouble. My first thought on seeing the Six of Pentacles in the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot is that perhaps the beggars are the same characters. They struggled through the snowy landscape in the previous card, only to emerge and find charity from a merchant or judge of some sort.
But let’s take another look at that merchant. Why is he carrying scales? The scales are a symbol of justice, so what could that mean in this card? Justice is one of the four cardinal virtues, and like the rest of them, it is a difficult one to interpret briefly. One aspect of justice is the belief that everybody should get their due without distinction. We should all feel like we live in a just and upright world.
While perhaps the merchant is trying to bring Justice or balance to the world, his motives might be something else completely. As I have said in the past, all sixes are cards of love. We can see this in The Lovers of the Major Arcana, but also in every six in the Minor Arcana. Since the suit of Pentacles deals with the material world, what is a better way of showing love than sharing material goods? In this card, the Merchant shares coins. But the Six of Pentacles can be about sharing anything physical and material, from money to a place to sleep to a nourishing meal.
In this sense, I usually interpret the Six of Pentacles as a card of Charity, one of the Theological Virtues and a virtue that in its purest form represents a sense of universal love and benevolence. But maybe Charity works well with Justice. All of us are owed our portion of universal love, just as all of us owe universal love to each other. The balance could be a symbol of universal love and Charity as evidenced by sharing resources, materials, and food with those around you.
We should also look at the Major Arcana associated with this card, which we can find by examining the astrological aspects: Taurus and the Moon. In the Major Arcana, these are represented by the Hierophant and the High Priestess, two related cards that play on opposites of each other. They both are about secrets and mysteries, but while one unlocks the gate, the other conceals secrets. T. Susan Chang writes about these cards, “The difference between the High Priestess and the Hierophant can be summed up in two words: esoteric and exoteric.”[^1]
The Second Face of Taurus
Moving into the Second Face of Taurus still feels like the vibrant, living part of Spring. I visited some friends in their massive backyard garden and received new plants and winter vegetables. I have cucumbers and a tomato plant growing on my front porch, now. Petals have fallen from many trees, leaving new buds and growth. This emphasis on the earthly aspect of Taurus – for we should keep in mind that Taurus is the sign of fixed earth – shows in the symbolism around the Decan.
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