Pueri - The Pages*

[*Puer usually refers to a boy, but can also refer to a girl. It can also mean slave or royal page (Oxford Latin Dict.). Thus it captures the senses of Page, Knave, Valet, Juengling, etc.]


The Pueri correspond to the element Earth, in which the Dry quality (Siccus) dominates the Cold quality (Frigidus). According to Aristotle, Dryness is the quality that gives form to things; therefore it is the principle of solidity, and the Pueri are characterized by the materialization or crystallization of the energy of the suit. We may say they represent solidified energy. Since the Dry imposes its form on other things, it is associated with willfulness.

Earth's recessive quality is Coldness, which Aristotle says is the principle of mixing and association (for Heat causes things to dissociate, as in the alchemist's retort). Therefore, the Hot quality is discriminating, whereas the Cold is undiscriminating; whereas the Hot is expansive (outward directed), the Cold is contractive (inward directed).

The Page (Dry>Cold) inherits the recessive quality of the King (Hot>Dry) and the dominant quality of the Queen (Cold>Wet), thus the Puer may be called the Kore (Maiden) and the Princess (though each rank may manifest in either sex). In the Page, however, the formed material (Dry) quality of the King is dominant over the stabilizing (Cold) quality of the Queen, and so the Page is less steadfast than the Queen.

In summary, the qualities of Earth show the Pueri to be materializations of the suit's energy, tending to manifest this energy in a willful, undiscriminating and self-centered way.

More generally, the Puer is the turning point between descent of the suit's energy and its ascent to greater refinement. Thus the Puer is simultaneously the completion of the materialization process (IOVE), and the fragile rebirth of spiritualization (EVOI). The Puer is the innocent child, whose existence is made possible by the higher ranks, and who will in turn regenerate the higher ranks, if only the child be sufficiently protected and nurtured. Delicate shoots are easily damaged. The Page holds the powers of the higher ranks as potential energy, and with care this energy will blossom into its dynamic form, and ascend the ranks.

Key Words

Eros (Love), Eris (Strife), Earth, Eventum, Effect, Energy, Entirety, End, Emergence, Egotism, Enthusiasm, Enjoyment.

Puer Baculorum (Wands) - Emerging Inspiration

In this card the Earth (Dry>Cold) of the Pages operates on the Fire (Hot>Dry) of the Wands. To understand the result, we may turn to a manuscript by the "Doctor Illuminatus," Raymond Lull. In the "Tractatus Novus de Astronomia" (1297), he tells us that if the same quality is dominant in one element and recessive in another, then in the combination the latter is overcome (devictus) by the former. Thus the Fire of the Wands is overcome by the Earth of the Pages, and Earth is the stronger determinant of the compound.

As a consequence the Page of Wands is a font of good intentions. When a person is in a corresponding phase of their life, they are absorbed (Cold), enthusiastic, full of determination and eager for new adventures (Dry). They may accomplish something significant if their optimism is protected and if their naive ideas are indulged. However, like all Pages, they may be easily discouraged.

Unfortunately, if the undiscriminating, inward-directed Cold of the Page prevails too strongly over the discriminating Hot of the Wands, then the Page may become superficial and self-indulgent, changing by whims, and unable to pursue a goal. The Page of Wands often lacks the ability to be receptive and adapt to others (Wet).

Image: Ares as Child of Fire. A ruddy, beardless youth, naked but for a golden, red-crested helmet, he stands battle ready on a fiery background.

Commentary: Ares is Child of Fire because of his impulsiveness, self-indulgence and adventurousness. Ptolemy said that Mars is Dry and Hot, that is, Fiery, which corresponds to its red color. See 8.Victory for more on Ares.

Puer Gladiorum (Swords) - Emerging Understanding

The Earth (Dry>Cold) of the Page operates on the Air (Wet>Hot) of the Swords. Since Earth and Air are opposites, neither overcomes the other, so there is an unstable balance between them, and context may cause the balance to shift one way or the other. The Page may teeter between agility (Wet) and stubbornness (Dry), and between discrimination (Hot) and its lack (Cold).

When people are in a Page of Swords stage, they are beginning to think independently about some subject. The Page has an agile, active mind and acute perception; the Page exhibits childlike curiosity. However, in the enthusiastic and self-centered exercise of wit, the Page may be rude, cruel, cunning, malicious and spiteful.

Image: Hermes as Child of Air. With his brown winged sandals and helmet he flies naked among the clouds in a blue sky; he holds a purple caduceus ahead.

Commentary: Hermes is the Child of Air because that is the element through which he travels, and because of his oversight of verbal expression (suit of Swords). As Child of Air, his character is most clearly depicted in the Homeric Hymn to Hermes. See 1.Magician for more on Hermes.

Puer Poculorum (Cups) - Emerging Openness

The Earth (Dry>Cold) of the Page operates on the Water (Cold>Wet) of the Cups. Since Water overcomes Earth, the effect of the Cups prevails over that of the Page. Thus the Page of Cups is characterized by a passive, receptive (Wet) role in situations involving relationship and steadfastness (Cold). There is little expression of the will (Dry).

When someone is a Page of Cups they are developing the capacity for feeling or relationship in some area of life (which includes a sensitivity to one's own feelings, as well as to those of others). They are inclined to be gentle, kind, poetic and loyal (Wet + Cold). The Page of Cups lacks discrimination (Hot), and may be inclined to act out fantasies or become lost in daydreams. The general egotism of the Pages may manifest in the Page of Cups as self-centered desire for feeling and lead to flattery, seduction or even rape.

Image: Eros as Child of Water. Flying naked above a sea green background, he aims a purple dart.

Commentary: Eros is Child of Water because he is the son of Aphrodite (born of seafoam), and because he impulsively throws his dart to incite emotions (suit of Cups). See 6.Love (Master of the Cup) for more on Eros.

Puer Pentaculorum (Pentacles) - Energy of the Earth

The Earth of the Page operates on the Earth of the Pentacles, so the Page of Pentacles is a pure manifestation of the qualities of Earth (Dry>Cold).

The Page of Pentacles is developing a new relationship to the physical world, such as an interest in sports, care of the body, sensual experience, or simply a willingness to "smell the roses." A Page of Pentacles tends to display purpose (Dry) and intense concentration (Cold) in pursuit of the new project. However, Pages of Pentacles lack both discrimination (Hot) and the ability to adapt (Wet), so they may be wasteful, illogical, or rebellious.

Image: Dionysos as Child of Earth. He dances, naked, waving his thursos (pinecone-tipped staff) among rich, green vegetation on fertile ground.

Commentary: Dionysos is Child of Earth because of his role as a Vegetation God, and because of his carefree sensuousness. See Robert Johnson's Ecstasy for a good discussion of the genuinely Dionysian personality. See 0.Idiot for more on Dionysos.

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Last update: Thu Aug 15 17:14:49 EDT 1996