Hudes – 5 of Pentacles
February 1, 2009 § 2 Comments
The first is that the stained glass window appears to contain an Escher-like optical illusion. Look closely and you will see that snow has settled on both the lower sill and the upper arch. Yet if you look even closer it seems that the lower sill recedes, which means there should be no upper arch for the snow to rest on. Did the artist knowingly include this? To me, it suggests something about this card. Pentacles, the suit of Earth and the physical realm, combines here with the number five, which challenges, disrupts, and breaks the box. In this optical illusion, we see something that is physically impossible. It challenges our perception of the world; it hints that there is more to life than what can be touched and held. It’s significant that this optical illusion appears in the stained glass window of a church as it introduces a magical or spiritual element to an otherwise mundane scene.
The second is the two figures at the bottom of the card. The central figure – the figure in grey – looks miserable. He is huddled, clutching his cloak tight against the cold, and his face bears a pained expression. The figure in brown is different: her head is only slightly bowed and the expression on her face is calm. Her closeness to the grey man and the positioning of her body suggests to me that she is guiding him, perhaps with a hand placed gently on his arm or back that we can’t see. The grey man is so wrapped up in his misery that he doesn’t even seem to know the brown woman is there. It’s as if she’s his guardian angel, invisibly supporting him in his time of need. It reminds me of the “Footprints” poem, where God says, “During your times of trial and suffering when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”