Monday, August 26, 2013

Tarot's Ten of Cups and Ten of Pentacles - The Family Tree

10 of Cups, RWCS
US Games Edition©

In tarot there are two main cards that denote that marvelous societal unit we call a family - the Ten of Cups (joy, happiness, family) and the Ten of Pentacles (prosperity, continuance).  The family unit can be large or small and is defined only by the capacity of its members to love one another regardless of the constraints of distance or circumstance. A family unit is bonded by sharing, be it DNA or a fundamental spiritual kinship.  We have the families of our birth and the families that we choose. There are many ways to celebrate this bond we call ‘family’ and one of the best is the ritual known as, “The Family Reunion.”

Sometimes these gatherings of relatives center around a specific event, like a wedding. Marriages are particularly wonderful, because we are watching the symbolic grafting of a new branch onto the family tree. Other times, reunions spring from the simple desire to spend time with the people who shared the same tree limb as you; to reconnect to the whole.  In both cases we inevitably share stories and remember the history of our line.  In sharing these experiences, we reaffirm our own identity and fulfill a necessary step in the human journey – to belong. 

The Ten of Cups, RWSC, shows us harmony in the basic family unit, parents and children.  A rainbow blazes across the sky as the parents raise their arms to gesture at the symbol of God’s grace in their lives.  The land is well-nourished and the stream flows smoothly. Two children clasp hands and dance around in a circle. It’s a nice image, although some would argue that it’s an over-simplification.  Of course it is.  It’s a card. However, take a moment to consider what happened to get this family to stand, even briefly, under a rainbow.  Storms happened – rain, wind, thunder and lightening.  The stream flooded their world at times and at others, dried up completely. Their world inverted itself, but through it all, they stood together and in the end, when the sun reappeared they had every reason to rejoice as the family unit remained intact.

10 of Pentacles, RWSC
US Games Edition©
Tarot’s Ten of Pentacles shows us family generations.  A grandfather rests in the sun surrounded by the bounty wrought by his life’s work.  An ancestral banner decorates the solid arch of stone that will support succeeding generations.  A traditional young family, mother, father and toddler stand calmly in the background.  They are assured of their place within the walls of this home and that while life as they know it may alter, the bond of family will continue generation after generation. 

Families come in all types and are as diverse as the people within them.  While nothing is perfect and we all fall prey to harboring resentments and arguing, there is still a fundamental connection that endures within the units.  Who and what we become in life is entirely up to us, as is what we take away and what we live behind when we strike out on our own in life.  Still, it is nice to have the opportunity to nourish the roots of our family trees, be they constructed from spirit or from DNA, and to know that they still flourish.  


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