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Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Roots and rocks

What says 'earth' to you more than anything else? On a really basic level, I mean. Sticks and stones? Roots and rocks? That's what we have here in the Four of Stones from the Haindl Tarot (Lotos 2002). I don't know about you, but I see the base of a tree, its roots partially exposed, and two broad wisps of brownish mist hovering around it, with four round stones floating in front, as they are strangely wont to do in this deck.

The RWS deck of course has Four of Pentacles meaning someone being miserly or self-protective, showing a person hugging a giant coin, more under each foot, with one usually balanced on their head. Here we've got none of that, just rocks and roots. And the name of this card is 'The Power of the Earth'. That has a wonderful ring to it, don't you think?

The Four of Disks in the Thoth deck also seems to hold a feeling of protectiveness. Crowley likens the image to a fortress. He then goes on to talk about Sol in Capricornus, and various translations of the words 'queen' and 'castle', ending his comments on the Four of Disks by noting the guttural sounds of Hebrew, so...not much help from Uncle Al in his Book of Thoth.

I am not sure why each stone is a different colour (blue, red, white, yellow), but Pollack suggests it has to do with the cardinal directions (though she actually says it's the tree roots that are colours, but that must be just an editorial mishap.)

No, for me the meaning of this card comes from the combination of the image and the title. 'The Power of the    Earth', and the tree roots, and now that I look at possibly water around the roots, and the rocks, and the mist. The earth is filled with mysteries and mundanities.

For a reading, I would be most likely to fall back on numerology and suit:  the stolid nature of the four, the material/physical energy of the suit. Heavy rocks, gripping tree roots, I can see how these could link back to the fortress and protection themes of the Thoth and RWS. But I would see this coming from a much deeper and, dare I say it, 'grounded' place than either RWS or Thoth. This is an assurance that comes from the very foundations.


  1. One of the things that has kept this deck in my top 10 is the inner border treatment. Something always extends beyond that inner border...giving food for thought

    1. What do you see in it here, Sharyn? I'd love some of your insights.