Ten of Coins — Tarot of the Absurd

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

feedback farm alaskaFamily. Security, wealth, and accomplishment. Sustainability: meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.


Wealth can loosely be defined as a stockpile of resources. Income, on the other hand, is resource flow. The resources that determine wealth are relative. They differ between societies and among different groups of a single society. It is therefore impossible to come up with a definition of wealth that we can all agree on.


Popular culture looks at property holdings, investments and bank accounts as a measure of wealth. Wealth is generally defined as a personal accumulation of resources that both allows us to live with less stress and gives us a better shot at regenerating healthy progeny. Wealth is limited to certain individuals, at the expense of others.


By this measure, environmental assets are not counted as a part of wealth. Thus, the economic contribution of the public commons is not seen to exist until it ceases to exist, at which point those who exploited it to obtain personal wealth complain of an income drop and those who used it for subsistence are destitute. Such is the tragedy of the commons


A more holistic measure of wealth would be one’s dedication to sustainable natural resource management and the greater good of future generations: planetary wealth. This is the only definition that allows everyone living on the planet to be wealthy without poverty, if only we could just all get along. (In Utopia, everyone is wealthy.)


Any definition of wealth that allows rampant depletion of natural resources for individual empowerment fails in the long run, as it allows one’s offspring to live in an environment of depleted wealth, thereby offering them a smaller chance at success. Family is integral to the definition of the Ten of Coins. For those following this course of action who have no offspring, I have not one decent argument against unmitigated selfishness. I can only offer up a curse— may you have a lousy after-life.



“I once met a billionaire at a cocktail party (one of the grocery Lords Sainsbury) and was dying to ask if he thought he was rich, but I was young and too shy. I’ve never met anyone else who thought he or she was rich, presumably because they spend most of their time at cocktail parties with people who are richer. (Example: Lord Egremont’s brother, who used to steal toilet paper when he stayed at Petworth, one of the great houses of England, but Lord Egremont’s family would go through his luggage and steal it back.) So [wealth] is not a particularly useful term in political discourse, except to define those people who can afford, through lobbying and lawyers, to pay less than their fair share of taxes.”

— James Papp of New York, reader of the New York Times



What is the difference between wealth and income?


What is the wealth of the top 1%?


Who are the 99%?


Where do I fall on the income curve?

Ten of Coins — Tarot of the Absurd

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

feedback farm alaskaArtist: Jessica Rose Shanahan


Generally, I don’t like asking questions about the future. The future is what I make of it; it will unfold one way or another. Sometimes, it is nice to be reassured that everything will be okay. Today I asked the deck to give me a hint about what I will do with my life after I have a baby. I drew the Six of Blades, previously drawn from this deck on December 27th, 2011— you can see the card and read it’s story there. Briefly, the Six of Blades shows a journey of transformation or a rite of passage. I asked, “Where will this journey lead me?” and pulled the Ten of Coins.


The Ten of Coins is about wealth. This card shows a family sitting on a treasure chest. I drew the image with some friends of mine in mind, many years ago when they only had one baby. The baby is no longer a baby. There are now more children. Their riches are the same.


In our culture, wealth is most often thought about in terms of property or investment assets. When I went to take out a mortgage loan, at one point I told the mortgage broker, “I like to pretend I’m very wealthy.” He looked up from his paperwork. “You’re not,” he said. I hadn’t expected a mortgage broker to think I’m wealthy. “I like to pretend I’m wealthy,” I said, trying to emphasize the bit about pretending. “Well,” he said, looking me in the eye, “you’re not.” I don’t know what his point was; my point was that I feel as if I have enough for my needs.


The Ten of Coins is a card of affluence and wealth, but true wealth cannot be measured by a mortgage broker. Wealth is the realization that one has enough to satisfy one’s needs. This is a card of shows financial security, accomplishment, and comfort. It is a card of commitment to sustainability, long-term investment, and following a consistent approach to achieve a form of success that truly stands the test of time.


The Ten of Coins says, despite challenges and setbacks, everything will eventually come together beautifully. This sense of accomplishment is a result of an improved career path, more solid finances, a stable home, and committed long-term relationships called “family.” Family— or a family of beloved friends— is incredibly important for the sense of place and the sense of belonging this card represents. Those who earn the Ten of Coins feel compelled to share their success with others.


I knew the friends I depicted on the card would never have a bundle of money, but a bundle of money is not a measure of true wealth. Their wealth lies in their family, their commitment to the land, and their commitment to their way of life. They share generously with others. I admire them immensely. I will be joyous if my journey leads me to the place where their hearts sit.

Ten of Pentacles — Tarot of a Moon Garden

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Artist: Karen Marie Sweikhardt


Tell me something about my relationship with the wilderness, I asked,
and drew the Ten of Coins, reversed.


Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the Bough,
A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse—and Thou
Beside me singing in the Wilderness—
And Wilderness is Paradise enow.


The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, translated by Edward FitzGerald

The Wilderness is all the riches in the world, unspent. The Ten of Coins reversed betrays poor resource management. The recent past of wilderness and human kind has been a fun relationship with no commitment on our side. Our side. All of us and not just me or you or him or her or them, them, them— I speak in plural, all of us, for none of us are here alone amidst the Wilderness. As humans, we are one— and one against the Wilderness, it seems, judging from our actions as a whole. Stability has been undermined. Vast wealth has been squandered. True lovers of the Wilderness weep with a sense of loneliness and loss. The wealth was there and it is gone, ill-spent, the future left unplanned, our children wildland-impoverished. Only the wealthiest of all have found a tree to sing beneath amidst the Wilderness— and know that Wilderness is paradise enough.