Since our last Full Moon in Capricorn at the beginning of July, I’ve been really keen to explore this topic. That night, as I sat in the light of the moon looking up at her full-bodied, sensual gorgeousness, I had such a profound recognition of my own worth – a recognition of worth which, in that moment, was inextricably linked to my personal sense of custodianship of the Divine Feminine; how the Divine Feminine expresses through me, and how I am a conduit for Sacred Feminine energy. It took me by surprise – it wasn’t a mental exercise. It was such a visceral and healing experience that it brought me to tears. (Read: “cried for at least an hour and a half. Tissues, snot, the works”).
So this week I want to weave this personal recognition in with an exploration of the Tarot. What does the Tarot have to teach us about self-worth, particularly in relationship to how we express and experience our Divine Feminine?
THE QUEEN OF PENTACLES
For me, the Queen of Pentacles is such a key symbol of the inner embodiment of worth and value. Indeed, the suit of pentacles as a whole is related to the 2nd house/Taurus matrix in astrology which asks us to consciously examine our relationship to value and to worth. The second house designates what the soul brings into the Earth plane in terms of abilities and resources; what could loosely be described as “spiritual capital.” It represents what we possess – those resources and attributes which, when developed, give us a sense of substance, value and worth. Thus, the second house, in addition to designating our experience with the external material world, is a critical index of something far more internal – those inner resources which become part of how we feel and articulate our sense of value.
Of course, one could say that bifurcation of the inner and outer worlds in terms of worth and value is an artificial and academic manoeuvre: how we are in relationship to our inner sense of worth directly affects our outer world experience. For example, a few months ago I had a client who was not being properly compensated for his work. The Queen of Pentacles showed up to have him think about the impact that this had on his sense of self-worth, and how he needed to take steps to repair his diminished sense of value. So we see here the interplay between external and internal experience.
Nonetheless, it is in this more “inner” sense that I want to emphasize the links between the second house and our Queen of Pentacles as that Tarot archetype representing an embodiment of worth. Indeed, the queens of the Tarot on a whole call our attention to the ‘’being” aspect of the suits; that “something” which comes from within. First, we can examine the imagery of this card. The very stance of the Queen of Pentacles in the Rider Waite Smith as she reverently and lovingly holds her pentacle always struck me as her having such an acute awareness of the value of what she holds so close. As a female archetype, the Queen of Pentacles perhaps plugs us more automatically into interfacing with the Divine Feminine. Of course, this is not to imply that only women are in relationship to the Divine Feminine essence, but I really do believe that the Queen of Pentacles is an archetype women can productively work with to examine and take steps to heal their sense of value and worth, which in turn, heals their relationship with the Sacred Feminine Goddess energy.
Collectively, women have had to deal with societal “imperatives” relating to body image, notions of beauty, and the expression of their sexuality. Women have had to ‘perform’ in relation to these imperatives in a way which has reinforced an externally directed sense of worth. This is why I especially appreciate the treatment of the Queen of Pentacles in the Prisma Visions Tarot – she exudes such a heightened sense of self-awareness – a sense of self-awareness that goes hand in hand with her sense of her worth. Her eyes are shut, she is aware of an essence emanating from within her. I adore the artwork here – how those wisps of light are within her immediate aura. Whatever she is accessing as she holds that pentacle to her heart is within. We do not see our queen looking about for an external sense of validation.
I find that the Queen of Pentacles also comes up in client readings as an index of the self-worth someone holds in the context of a relationship. For example, the Queen of Pentacles showed up to speak to my client’s readiness to participate in a relationship because she had such a developed and strong sense of inner-directed worth. The reading suggested that this sense of inner-directed worth created an energetic opening for her to magnetize the kind of mature romantic partnership she desired.
THE EMPRESS & THE LOVERS
A principal archetype of the Divine Feminine in the Tarot is of course, the Empress, with her clear directive to stand in your self-worthiness. She will not hold back or compromise who she is; she fully represents the richness of her being for all to see. The Empress often comes up in my readings with clients for them to examine and explore their relationship with, you guessed it: compromise. She brings up a series of questions for self-inventory:
Where and how might you be compromising? Where and how might you be settling for less than you deserve?
Where and how might you be holding back from representing yourself fully? What situations in your life require you to show up more fully as yourself? Where is there room to expand your sense of self?
How might you be holding back from representing yourself fully and completely in relationship to another person?
As an example, the Empress appeared in a reading where my client was allowing her convictions to be overshadowed by her partner’s beliefs. In that sense, she was going “underground” in the relationship. The Empress asked her to step fully into who she was, to step fully into the things that she loved to do, and to not be afraid to uncompromisingly represent herself.
I recently read this quote from Maya Angelou: “A woman’s heart should be so hidden in god that a man has to seek him to find her.” (Yup, first time seeing this MA quote). The first thing that occurred to me in the moment when I read this quote on twitter was that there are so many gorgeous heart centred women out there. My thoughts then turned to their partners. It made me think how powerful in their own right the partners of these amazing women had to be in the first place to stand beside them as ‘partners’. It occurred to me that these partners had to be, in some way, really grounded in their own worth in order to stand beside these women who are unreservedly expressing their fullness, beauty, heart and creativity.
And it is that sense of self-worth which infuses a partnership between self-respecting equals that made me think of the Lovers in the Tarot. Don’t get so bogged down by the religious overtones of Maya Angelou’s quote that you risk losing its gold: when people stand in firm relationship to their inner god/ess, when they derive their sense of who they are from that relationship to their inner selves, they can then create beauty in partnerships. (I could discuss this Maya Angelou quote for days).
THE 9 OF PENTACLES
With subtones of the Hermit who seeks an internal consciousness – getting to the depths of that which is within himself, the 9 of Pentacles shows a solitary woman unperturbed in a world of her own making. The 9 of Pentacles asks us to examine our self-worth in relation to being content with our own way of doing things. This card has shown up in my readings as advice to clients to not be so concerned with what anyone else is doing – the woman in the 9 of Pentacles remains unperturbed in the world of her own accomplishments, and it takes a strong sense of self-worth and self-regard to be unconcerned with the opinions of others, and to live life on your own terms.
A client sought guidance on how to deal with the pressure her family imposed on her to pursue a 9 to 5 job, when she really wanted to dedicate her time to her artistic pursuits. The 9 of Pentacles urged her to stop seeking external approval from her family, and to stop allowing them to dictate how she should live. “Follow your own mind, live your life on your own terms; extricate yourself from, and act independently of these pressures,” the woman in the 9 of Pentacles whispered. Following our own mind and living life on our own terms draws on the strength of the Queen of Pentacles as she derives her keen sense of worth from within, rather than seek external approval. Living life on our own terms allows us to channel the energy of the Empress, as we refuse to hold back how prolific we are, and not curtail ourselves to suit others.
The Star embodies the idea of giving and service from the place of our unique self-expression. Shining in the light of who we truly are. We enter that space of being able to nurture others and the environment around us when we stand in our naked authenticity. It is a sense of innate self-worth and value that allows us to stand in service. Standing in service from the place of our authentic selves comes from the understanding that what we have to contribute is needed for the functioning of the Whole. It would be injurious then, to do anything else other than allow our sense of self-worth to be directed from within – as our Queen of Pentacles teaches us. In this respect, as our Empress guides us, it would be detrimental to the Whole to suppress what we have to give.
How else can the Tarot help us develop and heal our sense of self-worth? How can the Tarot help us heal our relationship with the Divine Feminine? In what other ways can we access the energy of the Divine Feminine to augment our sense of our innate value?
Over to you.
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