Of all the seemingly mundane things to find on Tarot cards, we find Grapes. They have been a staple on the cards yet get overlooked. The grape leaf and fruit have both been a symbol of wealth and status for centuries, but why is this? Is there something deeper in this that we need to learn in order to enrich our card reading experience?
The grape plant is not the easiest plant to grow and even when you do, it doesn’t bare meaningful fruit unless it’s cared for.
If you’ve ever looked into growing grapes, you’ll probably find a variety that will grow in your area (provided you don’t live on the earth’s poles) and it will come with basic instructions regarding initial care and planting. Once planted, you may spend five or six years tending to the planet before you start to get your first fruit. Once the vine is fifteen to twenty years old, it may finally be producing enough to make the project worthwhile. But all along the way, you need to care for the plant for it rewards those that take care of it.
Ultimately, those that are willing to put the work into tending to their plants and they do it right, they reap the rewards. When those rewards come on, the plant delivers a sweet treasure that truly enhances the grower’s life and those around them!
Grapevines need care. If left untended, the vines can easily grow 20 or more feet a year and simply grow over everything in every direction. When they do, very little energy is left to create fruit. When the plants are cut back and managed large marketable fruit can be created.
Even through there are a number of uses for grapes, the ultimate treasure is wine. Wine is where the money is at and there is a lot of skill needed to make a high-end product.
Now, if you imagine yourself living 400 years ago in central France or Italy, you would most likely have some type of family farm, garden or orchard. Those that put the extra energy into tending to grapevines, had the potential of creating a product that could substantially generate income. But it took time, years.
Now, how does this relate to the cards?
Well, it takes a special type of person to grow grapes. It takes a dedication to perfecting your skill over time to the point of growing generational wealth. You have to be willing to work on something for years before it pays off. It’s like studying to be a doctor, it doesn’t just happen overnight. Growing grapes is not like winning the lottery. It’s more like honing your skill to where you get paid top dollar every day for the rest of your life. It is something that is earned, not given. It requires nurturing and dies with neglect.
With that in mind, let’s look at where we find grapes and see what kind of value they add to the card. In this review, I’ll mention both the classic RWS cards and my own deck that contain grapes.
Four of Wands
This card is normally portrayed with four pillars that have flowers (or grapevines), setup in the shape of an arbor that frames a couple or a building or something. The first impression is that of a wedding or celebration. Thus, the typical interpretation of this card is just that – a celebration or wedding.
If you where to add grapes, you bring in the energy of tending to something for a long time. It shows that skills will grow in time or that the result of what is coming together will be realized in time.
Three of Cups
This card carries a strong energy of friendship. It is about celebrating friends, sharing in the success of your interactions, being creative together and community.
When you bring what grapes represent to this card, it might suggest that one needs to tend to their friendships so that in time the real benefit is discovered. Friendships only get deeper and more meaningful if you tend to them. Left unattended, it doesn’t bear fruit.
Seven of Pentacles (Coins)
This card has a strong element of investment, patience and vision mixed with the need to make a decision. The idea here is to choose wisely.
Classically, the card comes right out and puts grapevines in your face, but these grapevines have no fruit yet. The figure on the cards is doing the work or figuring out exactly what work they really need to commit to. The grapevines show us that serious thought needs to be put into what skill, craft or activity that will pay off in the long run. When you invest in anything, the grape symbol instructs us that it takes time. You will need to work at honing your skills and tending to your craft. If you make the right decision, you will reap the sweet reward.
8 of Pentacles (Coins)
This card is about developing your skills, working through an apprenticeship, improving your education and refining the quality of your art.
On the classic RWS Tarot deck, you probably won’t find grapes. On my deck you will, but you will find that they are green, not purple. They are green – as in underripe, yet still presented. This card shows that we’ve passed the point of making a decision about what needs to be developed and that development process is currently happening. This is having the dream in mind as you work towards it. This involves the pruning, shaping, harvesting, planting that goes into creating your reward. Again, it shows that success doesn’t come overnight.
9 of Pentacles (Coins)
This card is about material success, confidence in self and a deep satisfaction with your achievements which is presented as a successful person.
On the classic decks, you’ll probably find that the orchard from the Seven of Coins has matured to show the results of the person’s labor. The grapes are on full display for the world to see. Here you have the doctor, lawyer or the successful businessman. You have the person that knows their craft because they have put the time into it. This shows that the reward is being received.
10 of Pentacles (Coins)
This card carries with it the idea of abundance, lasting happiness, wealth and legacy. It is that point in life where you are no longer solely tending to your business, but the business takes care of you. What you have created lives on, as designed, to allow you to rest and enjoy your creation.
Again, grapes are usually found on this card. The life cycle of grapes is seemingly as long as you tend to them. Thus, when you’re done doing the work, what you’ve done could be handed off to family or sold into someone else’s dream. Yet, what you’ve created continues to produce to enhance your life.
Queen of Pentacles (Coins)
When it comes to the Queen of Coins, she carries with her confidence in her creations and abilities. The card indicates wealth, security, practicality while also being a lover of life.
It seemed appropriate to place grapes on this card because this queen is the one that tends to her surroundings with the goal of growing things into their full potential. This queen has long term vision and the energy to stick to it. She helps others by supporting their work because she has the natural ability to see the details. She naturally knows what needs to be done and instinctively guide people so that they can realize their maximum potential.
King of Pentacles (Coins)
When it comes to the King of Coins, this card mirrors some of the traits found in the Ten of Coins, but from the point of view of the advisor. The Ten of Coins is about reaping the rewards of your work. The king simply knows how it’s done, has the wealth to show for it and it willing to tell you how it’s done.
The grapes are appropriate here too. The are here to remind us that when you prefect your craft, it will bare fruit. But you have to do it the right way. This king has done it, but won’t do it for you. He’ll tell you want you need to do, but he knows that to do it for you takes away from you fully learning and understanding your own craft. This king knows that you have to look at your climate and pick the correct grape to grow. This king knows that there are professionals that can guide you, but you have to do the work. You have to tend to your own craft. He’ll teach you or advise you, but you need to be the one to follow through with your actions, not just words.
In a small way, you’ll also find grape on my version of The Empress. This card is about the abundance of nature and honoring the natural cycle of things. If you do, you reap the benefits of that understanding. Grapes are just one of the fruit choices in the basket which adds to the abundance. It’s really that simple here.
The activities that are needed to tend to growing grapes is similar to what it takes to develop your own skills in life. If you commit to the activity, put in the work, you’ll reap the rewards.