The Thoth 6 of Disks and Hawthorn blossoms

You might think that a card from the suit of Wands would rule the decan of May that included Beltane. It’s such a fiery energy, after all. And I expected to find that it was ruled by a 2 or 3, since Beltane is often described as being the start of summer. So, 2 or 3 of Wands, maybe?

Surprise! To me, anyway. The 6 of Disks rules the decan for Beltane. But it made perfect sense when I found out that Beltane is actually a holiday celebrating the height of spring. So many websites will tell you that it’s the start of summer and on some level that’s always confused me because we also mark the start of summer on the 21 June. But a 6 as the middle of something makes perfect sense. And all the other Minors associated with the start of seasons do align with what we expect.

Tarot Zodiac Wheel

If we look at the Tarot Zodiac Wheel, we see that the Minor Arcana associated with 21 June is the 2 of Cups, which is still not a Fire card, but it makes sense because it’s a 2, the beginning (and lots of people associate Cups with summer). And if you look back to March 21st, you see that the first day of spring is associated with the 2 of Wands. Wands are often attributed to spring. Each season starts with a card representing the start of its dominant energy: September 23rd is the start of the decan for the fall equinox (2 of Swords) and the winter solstice on December 22nd has the 2 of Disks.

Personally, I have always felt that Disks go well with the autumn and Swords with the cold biting wind of winter, but I can see this arrangement, too, with the cutting and harvest of fall and the deep maturity and stability of the last, most ‘mature’ season of the year.

What about the 6 of Disks, then, and Beltane?

The Tree of Life with Thoth Tarot and RWS placements

Sixes in tarot reside in Tiphareth, right in the middle of the Tree of Life. Perfect for the middle height of a season. Tiphareth is ruled by the Sun, and you don’t get any fierier than that. The geometric symbol for Tiphareth is a six-pointed star, a very old sign for balance and integration. This star is used, among other things, to show the blending of fire and water, male and female, and it represents the interconnection of the alchemical axiom “as above so below” (because it isn’t a mirror; it’s a process). I also like to use it as an image when I’m meditating: I picture the two triangles in a kind of diamond shape first, and then the top one lowers and the lower one rises, until they cross, perfectly, in the middle. I swear there’s a little cosmic ‘click’ when they do.

The 6 of Disks symbolises the work of amalgamation: having learned lessons and now bringing it all together. They are specific lessons, of course, relating to what Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, Mercury, and the Moon can teach us. Sitting right in the middle of the Tree of Life, the 6 of Disks draws all of these influences in together.

Our work in Tiphareth is to combine the ‘above and below’ on the Tree of Life, i.e., to combine the triangle formed by Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars with the triangle formed by Venus, Mercury, and the Moon. These are triangles formed on either side of Tiphareth and it is only from that perspective, in the 6th Sephira, that we can see – and benefit from – them all.

When I was thinking about the 6 of Disks in the context of Beltane and looking at the card as a flower (with a flower in the centre, too), I thought of the Hawthorn, which is the tree of May[1] and often used as a symbol of Beltane. The flowers have five petals and, five being a traditional number of the goddess[2] it made me think a bit about fives in the context of sixes.

Thoth Hierophant with Microcosm 5-pointed star and Macrocosm 6-pointed star

Here we really have something special. In esoteric symbolism, five represents the microcosm – us, in this case, because humans have five fingers and five senses. Sixes represent the macrocosm – all of divinity. Our job spiritually is to join these two together, and this is why the Thoth Hierophant is such an important card: in it, you can find an overlay of the five-pointed star onto the six-pointed star: the connection between us and Spirit. The nails at the top of the image are always holding that door open, and I wonder if Beltane is our chance to walk through.

Beltane is the time of year when we get ready to really step out into the world. It’s a physical thing, especially because we tend to stay inside so much more in the colder part of the year. We’re ready to present ourselves – ta da! Everything we’ve done and learned in the past several months is coming together. Our mood is changing, too, from the internal to the external, but right in the middle, maybe for just a moment, it’s in perfect balance.

Beltane is a fire festival, celebrating the return of the Sun. Before you go outside and enjoy the festivities, maybe take some time to go inward, to acknowledge the relationship between your own personal microcosm and macrocosm. On a day that is as naturally balanced as Beltane, you may find doors opening in your mind – above, and below.

[1] In fact, often called a May Tree, as in the Scots expression “Dinnae cast a cloot until the mey is out” which means that you shouldn’t put your coats and sweaters away for the season until the Hawthorn is in bloom.

[2] I learned that the number five is the number of the goddess because the apples are precious to her, and if you cut an apple in half sideways, the seeds form a five-pointed star.