A veined red anthurium is pictured against a backdrop of light and shadow. Inside its blood red cup, in which light glances off darker zones, rises a powerful golden pistil, green-tipped. The minute figure of Le Petit Poucet leaps easily and joyfully over the much larger flower, shod with seven-league boots, which he has borrowed off a giant.
Light and dark, red and gold, male and female, cup and wand, blood and lymph - all these dualities suggested by the arum lily against its dark and light background contrast and play against each other. Instead of showing opposition, their interplay lets emerge the essential unity that we can reach when we accept duality and the opposites inside ourselves and the world around us. Duality and the passage from one state to another are the ingredients of change and growth, and balancing them allows us to enter into the flow of change with trust.
The anthurium is a flower that originates in the lush South and Central America and in the West Indies. A symbol of the earth - element of the Pentacles - its colour, shape and outward thrust also suggest the other elements: the red is fire and vitality, but also suffering; the cup is water, receptivity and love; the yellow pistil is the sword of the mind. The veins in the flower remind us of the urgency of life - pumping sap or blood through the bodies of all living things. Pentacles are also a very physical suit.
Le Petit Poucet jumping with his seven-league boots, taken off the feet of a sleeping giant and shrunk to his diminutive size, hints how to deal with duality, contrast and change: lightly, cheerfully, adapting to circumstances, using the means at hand to do so. The long feather of his hat lends an aerodynamic lightness to his leap. His youth suggests that the young-at-heart are the most able to juggle dualities and unite them within themselves.
The Two of Pentacles remind us how to adapt to change and to deal with all the dualities we have to face in our lives. By accepting all that is - light and dark, life and death, movement and stillness, male and female - and by using the means at our disposal, we can face all the fluctuations of life deftly and with a cheerful heart. The Two of Pentacles is a card of resourcefulness, which allows us to unite what might appear opposed, whether in our own minds or around us. It tells us that the earth might give us our foundation, but we need to rise above it in order to grow in body, intelligence, heart and spirit.
Original digital photography and manual collage. The figure of Le Petit Poucet is from Lorioux's illustration of the tale of Le Petit Poucet, 1925.
Helvetica is a humanitarian worker and writer. She has written the companion book for The Fantastic Menagerie Tarot, and has won awards for short stories. She lives in Geneva, but her heart is in Africa.
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