I’m not exactly “at war” with the narrative thrust of the Minor Arcana in the Waite-Smith (aka RWS) deck, but it often doesn’t sit well with me because of my lengthy involvement with the Thoth deck and the Golden Dawn’s system of esoteric symbolism. It’s not just that the stories they tell are prosaic, they are prosaic in a way that tends to misdirect the reader away from a deeper understanding of the symbolism (which in all fairness may actually have been Waite’s intent). A good example is the difficulty posed by some of the RWS Sixes; in all cases, Aleister Crowley considered the Six in qabalistic terms to be a balanced and harmonious “solar” number, but only in the most transitory way since the journey to “the end of all energy” – the Ten – is barely half-way over. The sense of satisfaction it imparts should be enjoyed while it lasts because it won’t last long. There are still a few barges to tote and bales to lift along “Old Man River.” With the exception of the 6 of Swords, this fact is mostly ignored in Smith’s rendering of the Sixes. I discussed this failing (if that’s what it was) at some length in an earlier post (https://parsifalswheeldivination.com/2017/08/14/cheap-shots-9-wheres-the-beef/), but wanted to revisit the Six of Pentacles/Disks/Coins here since I see it (even more so than the the cloying 6 of Cups) as one of the most misleading examples of a “mixed message.”
The RWS version of this card is one where I pretty much ignore the narrative vignette and the folklore that’s grown up around it and just stick with the idea of “Success,” and, in Golden Dawn terms, “Material Success” at that. Such success requires coordinated effort, it’s not a charitable proposition as depicted on the RWS card, and that effort can either be skillfully and economically applied in a way that maximizes one’s profits, or scattered and squandered chasing after illusory success (which comes with the 7 of Pentacles, “Success Unfulfilled” or “Failure”), usually due to a lack of the planning and foresight that should have happened way back in the 3 of Pentacles, and a tendency to sit back and let opportunity slip through one’s fingers as implied by the 4 and 5 of Pentacles. There is also the observation from Crowley that although the Moon in Taurus (the astrological correspondence for this card) is highly favorable for an increase in one’s fortunes, its benefit is also markedly short-lived. So this can be an “easy come, easy go” card and not the free ride it is usually taken to mean. You might want to “take it to the bank” before the interest rates fall.