Mutual Reception in the Tarot Minors

I sat down recently and tried to figure out if any cards in the tarot minors create a situation of mutual reception. If I didn’t miss anything, eight cards do so. That creates an interesting situation in which pairs of cards are linked by their planetary rulers and thus can be contemplated together, as though they’re linked in some way.

Mutual Reception

So, first, what is mutual reception? It’s a situation in a chart wherein two planets are in each other’s signs. So, for instance, if you were to look at a chart and see the Sun in Aquarius and Saturn in Leo, you would have mutual reception.

I am unsure if it matters that the planets can "see" each other. So, for instance, The Sun could be in Capricorn and Saturn in Leo and it would still be a situation in which both planets are in the palaces of the other, but they cannot see each other.

A mutual reception is conceived as mutually beneficial; the two planets are helping each other. It does matter how they’re placed, though: if a planet is mutually receiving another but is also in detriment at the same time, it has less help to give, fewer resources to draw on.

Decan Rulership

So it’s not actually the case that minor cards represent planets in signs. They represent one third of a sign, which is ruled by a certain planet or other. So, for example, the 2 of Swords is not "the Moon in Libra." It’s the first decan of Libra, which is "ruled" or administrated by the Moon. Were the Moon to be there, it would be in a slightly better position than it would be 10 degrees later when it entered the 3 of Swords, which is ruled by Saturn instead.

However, it is a common shorthand to consider the decan cards as though the planet is in that portion of the zodiac. This is because the planet "rules" the decan but not necessarily the sign itself. So when Saturn is in the first decan of Leo, it gets to decide what it’s going to do in its limited space, but it has to do those things the way the Sun says, because the Sun sets the rules in Leo. And that is the 5 of Wands: pressure, weight bearing down as boiling magma tries to erupt. The Sun makes the stone run liquid, but Saturn caps the hole it would run out of, if it chooses.

So you can see, the way the planets behave in the decans will be the way they’re going to behave, and with the power to do what they want as far as they can reach, but limited by the way the sign’s ruler says things will go on the whole sign. Simply, it’s like getting a room to yourself in a hotel. You can do whatever you want in there so long as it doesn’t break the hotel’s rules. Some of us watch tv, some of us have sex, some of us take a long bath and open a bottle of wine we bought at the convenience store at the edge of town. The hotel administration allows all those things.

The Cards of Mutual Reception

Here are the cards that are mutually receptive, which in this case means the planet of the decan is the ruler of the other card and, of course, vice versa.

  • 5 of Swords + 7 of Disks
  • 5 of Swords + 3 of Swords
  • 2 of Disks + 8 of Cups
  • 2 of Disks + 10 of Wands
  • 5 of Wands + 4 of Disks
  • 5 of Disks + 9 of Disks
  • 8 of Swords + 8 of Wands
  • 5 of Disks + 2 of Cups

5 of Swords / 7 of Disks

These cards represent a mutual reception between Saturn and Venus. the 5 of Swords is Venus’s decan of Aquarius and the 7 of Disks is Saturn’s decan of Taurus. Venus rules Taurus and Saturn rules Aquarius.

Thinking particularly of the Waite Smith cards here, the most obvious link between these two cards is the passage of time. In the 5 of Swords, a fight appears to have ended. In the 7 of Disks, a person waits for plants to grow and blossom. In both cases, there’s not a lot a person can do except live through the passage of time. There’s a kind of powerlessness, or, at least, a kind of understanding that right now is not the time to exercise power, but to hold it in and wait for the right moment.

That seems a lot like Venus and Saturn exchanging significant glances, doesn’t it? The perfect place and the right time; the patience and understanding to see how something grows organically; the attention to detail and getting things just right that both planets love — those are the things that these cards have in common.

5 of Swords / 3 of Swords

Thes two look like they’re close together — because they are! Sequentially, at least. In terms of zodiac signs, the 5 of Swords is, of coruse, Venus’s decan of Aquarius — but the 3 of Swords is Saturn’s decan of Libra, one of the signs Venus rules.

And, as before, the 5 of Swords is going to mean the same things: a fight ending, choosing the right time, and the passage of time. But paired with the 3 of Swords, it also reminds us of loss and the feeling that comes from it. Losing isn’t exactly fun, at least not most of the time. And the 3 of Swords depicts a kind of internal pain, a remembrance of things past that we’re using to beat ourselves up. And those figures in the distance slinking away, in the 5 of Swords, they’re probably feeling that.

Additionally, the 3 of Swords is card that indicates contracts and agreements, and that’s another thing where you just have to sit and wait — once you’ve signed a contract, you’re in it for the long haul. There’s no backing out now (usually, anyway).

On That Note

This is a good spot to end the essay for the week. We’ve seen what Mutual Reception is, how we can squint and apply it to tarot cards, and even seen some examples. Next week I’ll go through the remaining card pairs. See you then!

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One thought on “Mutual Reception in the Tarot Minors

  1. Pingback: Mutual Reception in the Tarot Minors 2 – G Conley: Magic Arts

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