Ploughed fields are a metaphor for the work that must be done before rewards can be reaped. In the Radiant Rider-Waite Tarot deck I found 5 cards that illustrate ploughed fields. They seemed to speak about the different stages of labour.
The Two of wands speaks to me of the planning that has to go into a project before the actual work begins, not that the planning phase isn’t in itself a labour mind you; it just seems less strenuous than the Ten of Wands who is in the thick of it. “Good planning,” says Two of Wands, “gives us more options later” while he looks over the plouged field from an observer position up high. He is also examining a world-globe in his hand as if trying to decide where to travel to next or what direction to venture into. He asks: Are we putting enough planning and foresight into our projects or work to ensure that we will have options later on?
The next card, the Ten of Wands, shows an overburdened figure of a man struggling to carry his load. In the background of the card is a building, suggesting a community and a ploughed field suggesting the labour required for provision and self-sufficiency. Working in the community, for the community towards a goal or harvest, but feeling a bit overwhelmed perhaps at the responsibility or enormity of the task. The community of course could be his immediate family or his wider community. He asks: Are we all doing our fair share to contribute towards providing and being as self sufficient as possible, or is there room to delegate and to distribute the workload more evenly?
In the Seven of Pentacles a man is in the field, taking a momentary break while examining the progress of his labours. He looks a bit anxious; perhaps he is concerned that there isn’t enough? In Roxi Sim’s Seven of Pentacles from her Pearls of Wisdom deck we see the characters in more of a celebratory mood. There is still much work to be done but the rewards of this labour is starting to become obvious and creating reason for optimism and celebration. Seven of Pentacles asks: Are we allowing ourselves to enjoy the early signs of reward for our labour while still diligently working at creating something of significance?
Which brings me to the next card, the Page of Pentacles. Here too we see the ploughed field in the background as the central figure holds the rewards up to examine them. “Should I put a little away for a rainy day” he wonders. “Perhaps I can study to improve my skills.” He seems to be deep in thought about what to do with the reward that he holds in his hands. He asks: Have we made provision for investment in the future by plouging some of our rewards back into our work or project?
This brings me to the last card, the Knight of Pentacles. This Knight represents responsibility, amongst other. As he sits high upon his horse, carefully holding the reward in his hand, the freshly ploughed fields in the distance are ready to be planted again. He must be responsible in ensuring that seeds have been gathered or saved for the next season. He asks: Are we generous when rewarding others who have laboured alongside us, and are we being responsible with the harvest or rewards to ensure that there is enough to sustain us?