|Jean Noblet Tarot, Flornoy 2009|
I took a look at the Ace of Cups the other day, not using esoteric correspondences, but common sense. Let's try that with the Ace of Batons today.
The pip suits are sometimes divided into 'soft suits' and 'hard suits'. The soft suits are Cups and Coins. They correspond to the Hearts and Diamonds in playing cards, the red cards. ('The firstmost rule is easily had: red cards are good and black cards are bad.') The hard suits are Batons and Swords. They correspond to Clubs and Spades in playing cards, the black cards.
Cups and Coins are 'good' for obvious reasons. We have a happy reaction to a golden cup of red wine or a pile of shiny coins. We can nourish ourselves and buy things we need. Good feelings. Good results (mostly -- but let's keep it simple for the moment.) Batons and Swords are 'bad', also for obvious reasons. What's the first thing anyone thinks to do with a stick? Hit something, of course. Sticks were probably our first weapons -- and our first tools. In that way, Batons are not all bad. You can use them to hit, hurt, exert power over and do violence, but you can also turn them into more refined tools, or use them as building material to make things, even turn them into musical instruments or toys. Swords, though, are not as multi-function. They are made for stabbing and slicing other human beings. Nobody hunts for food with a sword or uses it as a tool. It's for hurting, for power, and for dominance. That's why the Swords suit is considered the worst.
The Batons in tarot are the Clubs in playing cards, and as the mnemonic says, 'Clubs mean work, callings and plans.' When we think with common sense, we can see that's true. Rods, clubs, wands and batons are items made of wood, and wood is a versatile material that has played a very important role in man's work, callings and plans. Yes, you can burn it, so there's the association with Fire, and it's hot in the south, I suppose, but that doesn't have anything to do with the plain old common sense use of the baton and its raw material, and in order to read TdM pips effectively, I believe it's best to keep things as straightforward as possible.
Ace of Batons is traditionally seen as 'an opportunity'. Can you see why? It's a bit more of a leap than seeing Ace of Cups as a house (because it looks like a house). Ace of Batons may be an opportunity because a big stick is really nothing but potential. It's just a stick until we pick it up and decide what its use will be. We could use it to beat the rest of the village into submission and become the ruler. We could use it to drive the money changers out of the temple. We could use it to make a hammer, or the leg of a table, or a flute or a magic wand. Maybe all the colours falling around could be suggesting the different uses, and the hand shows that unless it's wielded for some use, it's just a stick.
Today is a Baton -- a big hunk of raw material for you to make into something. It's an opportunity. What will you make of it?