This week I am using a deck which is a restoration of one of the oldest tarots, the Visconti-Sforza cards. The Italian title of ‘Tarocchi dei Visconti’ commissioned by Filippo Maria Visconti, Duke of Milan, and by his successor and son-in-law Francesco Sforza, offers a glimpse of noble life in Renaissance Milan. Of the Milanese tradition, the deck is one that was commissioned in the mid-15th century and is the most complete set of medieval card packs known to us today. It is an elegant and lovely reproduction for self-reflection when doing Divination.
This week’s Tarot card is the Four of Pentacles, as a PIP card it deals with the mundane world, which is where most of our focus has been these last number of weeks. Number Four represents the functions of intelligence: thought, sentiment, intuition and sensation.
The four disks or globes can also represent the ‘Quaternary Laws’ that are fundamental to the explanation of the kingdoms of Earth, the spheres of the spiritual world, and the constitution of man. The laws that govern reality are:
- Time, space, influence (causality, thought)
- Synchronicity between different dimensions
- Synthesis of meaning, information, interpretation
- Disruption and prediction, wisdom
The basic laws of the universe can be simplified down to: to know, to want, to dare, to keep silent. And on a more rational level the law is expressed in polarities: affirmation – negation, discussion – judgement.
I sense in today’s divination that this meaning relates to the world struggling with the Covid-19 virus where there is an awful lot of polarity running through the collective mind stream on the relative plane. One minute people are in agreement with some theory on the view of what is happening and then an hour later the view has shifted to the negation of such an idea. It is like we are all watching a grand global tennis match with heads turning from left to right hoping that this match will be ending soon as the major players – the virus and our courageous health responders – exhaust themselves. There are so many theories and discussions also running rampant with judgements flying high.
The application of this card indicates that the secrets of life listed in the above Tarot text imply disposing of an enormous power. It calls us to formulate within ourselves the Four Pillars of Wisdom that govern Science, Art, Psychology/Mind and Mysticism/Soul. In the Visconti-Sforza meaning it is stated as the need to keep watch over the body, the sensations, the soul and external phenomena.
We are absolutely focusing on our bodies – making sure we are lubricated, don’t have a sore throat, testing for fever, etc. Some of us have gone over the top, a bit OCD, with our alimentation or over abundance of such. Pretty much every woman friend I know has gained at least five pounds and I’m sure the men aren’t far behind – perhaps we’re grounding ourselves during this period, or it could be in relation to the stress and anxiety in the field, or better yet, we are just cooking more now that we are not in the fast paced lane of our pre-existing daily lives, getting back to the basics of being together, nourishing each other with presence and love.
Could this be what Mother Nature had in mind when she sent us all to our rooms?!?
The definition of the Four of Coins also signifies dividing one’s time in a rational manner, according to the fourfold law that determines correct work, correct alimentation, correct meditation and correct rest...
In the pursuit of inner knowledge, all great cultures of antiquity worked with these four pillars in an integrated and balanced manner. The card conveys applying ones’ ideas to the realization of concrete, beautiful, solid and sustainable projects. Unfortunately, with the passage of time, the four pillars divorced from each other, its essence was adulterated, and not pursued.
Is the Mother tending to healing this balance as she forces us to see the essence of things much clearer? The Four of Coins card corresponds very well to my life this week. Yesterday, I began an 8-week home retreat with a group of like-minded participants around the world. I couldn’t think of a greater purpose than to utilize this forced “time out” for deeper inner search, meditation and contemplation to gain clarity and hopefully, at least I speak for myself, bring a greater luminous presence out into the world. Whenever I do retreat, I come out refreshed, with lots of creativity to put to use. Due to the clearing of debris from the everyday mind and emotions, new ideas seem to appear out of the ethers, and blockages in the outer world often dissipate on their own.
This suit represents something supportive that is available to you — whether it be health, some kind of talent, a material or financial resource… The character this card represents needs to move slowly and deliberately if change is required, as the consequences will affect more than just you.
Thus in these Saturnian – Plutonian times, the Four of Coins speaks beautifully to what we as a collective can create mutually out of this time period, and we are doing bits of it everyday. We see it everywhere, restaurants and clientele creating new ways of serving and supporting each other, mums and dads finding new solutions to work at home and be with their children at the same time, schools have gone online so that students can keep up their studies and contact with their schoolmates and teachers, and last but maybe the most important, yoga, Qi Gong, and spiritual groups are online being together, supporting each other, practicing together.
… Think conscientiously about all those people whom your activities impact, including those whose work and effort went into building what you inherited or created and those whose welfare depends upon your right management…
What great ideas are formulating in your life? What new creative ways to living have you developed? How have you brought the spiritual into your day to day? These are questions to ponder over the next period of time.
The Visconti-Sforza deck is an incredibly important artefact in the history of tarot, these cards are a mandatory addition to any collection.
Art by Bulgarian artist A.A. Atanassov