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Seven of Disks, Saturn ruled decan of Taurus

Art by Shari Weschler Rubeck

The third decan of Taurus, ruled by Saturn, stands in stark contrast to the earlier stages of this earthy sign. Where Taurus I is about establishing a foundation and Taurus II cultivates abundance, Taurus III confronts us with the harsh realities that threaten our security and growth. Floods, droughts, and misfortune paint a bleak picture in traditional astrological descriptions. Yet, within this darkness lies a unique opportunity to cultivate a distinctly Stoic virtue: Apatheia.

Apatheia, often misinterpreted as emotional indifference, is a cornerstone of Stoic philosophy.  It’s not about suppressing emotions, but rather achieving a state of inner tranquility through disciplined management of the passions.  Taurus III, with its disruptive forces, presents a potent training ground for this philosophy.  External events – the “Outside Other” – can wreak havoc on our meticulously laid plans and cultivated security.  Here, clinging to desires for uncontrollable outcomes becomes futile.  Instead, apatheia teaches us to focus on the one thing we can control: our own actions and reactions.

Imagine the Saturnian influence of Taurus III as a fierce tempest threatening to uproot all comfort the previous decans have built.  Apatheia becomes our shield against this storm.  By acknowledging the limitations of our power, we accept that the winds may rage and the rains may pour.  However, apatheia prevents these external forces from dictating our emotional state.  We can choose not to be swept away by the current of desires for a different reality. By cultivating habits that acknowledge and respect the limitations imposed by Saturn’s influence.

Here, Saturn confronts us with the undeniable reality that some things are simply beyond our control. This encounter with the boundaries of our power can be a catalyst for despair.  However, by acknowledging what we cannot control (Amor Fati – love of fate), we can begin to cultivate the emotional resilience needed to weather life’s inevitable storms.  The Stoic practice of Memento Mori (Remember you must die) aligns with this concept.  By acknowledging the impermanence of all things, including our carefully laid plans, we lessen the emotional impact of misfortune and external disruptions.

The seemingly destructive forces of Taurus III, while challenging, can ultimately become valuable teachers. By enduring hardship, we not only cultivate resilience and resourcefulness but also learn the limitations of our own plans and the importance of adaptability. This hardship echoes the Stoic idea of using adversity to strengthen our character and develop the virtue of perseverance. Apatheia isn’t about becoming passive in the face of challenges. It’s about approaching them with a clear mind and a focus on what actions we can take, rather than dwelling on what is outside our control. This perspective can inspire and motivate us to face challenges head-on.

For example, imagine a situation in which you lose your job unexpectedly. While the initial reaction might be panic and despair, cultivating apatheia allows you to acknowledge the situation for what it is – an uncontrollable event. You can then focus on your controllable responses: updating your resume, networking, and actively searching for new opportunities. This proactive approach, combined with the acceptance of what cannot be changed, fosters emotional resilience and increases the chances of a successful outcome.

Taurus, as we know, is symbolized by the bull, a creature known for its patience, strength, and determination.  These qualities are not just essential but also resonate with us deeply, especially when navigating the trials referenced in this decan.  By embracing apatheia and Stoic practices, we cultivate inner peace and emotional resilience, allowing us to emerge from challenges stronger and more prepared. Apatheia, in this sense, is a state of inner comfort and the ability to reassess and renourish lands of barren seeds. The storms of Taurus III may test us, but they can also refine us, turning us into individuals who embody the true strength of the Bull – the ability to persevere through hardship with unwavering resolve and inner tranquility.

Looking to the card represented by this decan, we turn to the Seven of Disks. The 7 of Disks depicts a figure, typically a gardener, meticulously examining a row of seven disks, or pentacles.  These pentacles represent not just material wealth but also investments of time, energy, and intention.  In the context of Taurus III’s challenges, the 7 of Disks reminds us of the slow and steady progress favored by Stoicism.  Just as the gardener in the card tends to each disk individually, so too must we approach challenges in Taurus III with a focus on the present moment and the specific task at hand.  Apatheia becomes our guiding principle, allowing us to detach from anxieties about the future or frustrations over uncontrollable setbacks.

The 7 of Disks also carries the message of delayed gratification.  The seemingly barren fields of Taurus III, where our initial plans may have faltered, might feel discouraging.  However, the card reminds us that these fields are not truly empty.  They are simply fields waiting, like the unsprouted seeds, for the right conditions and continued effort to bring forth their potential.  Apatheia fosters the emotional resilience needed to endure this waiting period.  By acknowledging that some rewards take time to manifest, we can avoid succumbing to impatience or despair.

The “little failures” resonate with the Stoic concept of negative visualization.  Envisioning potential setbacks, like the 7 of Disks acknowledging the possibility of less-than-ideal outcomes, allows us to be prepared for them emotionally.  When faced with these setbacks in Taurus III, apatheia helps us not view them as failures but as opportunities to learn, adapt, and refine our approach.  Each “little failure” becomes a valuable piece of information, guiding us closer to our ultimate goals.

The 7 of Disks isn’t about blind optimism or ignoring challenges. It’s about acknowledging the realities of Taurus III while embracing the core Stoic principles of perseverance, self-discipline, and emotional control.  By internalizing the lessons of the 7 of Disks, we transform the seemingly barren fields of Taurus III into fertile ground for growth.  With apatheia as our compass, we navigate the storms of this decan with unwavering resolve and a gardener’s patience, knowing that even the most challenging times hold the potential for unexpected bounty.


By William Ernest Henley


Out of the night that covers me,

      Black as the pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

      For my unconquerable soul.


In the fell clutch of circumstance

      I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

      My head is bloody, but unbowed.


Beyond this place of wrath and tears

      Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

      Finds and shall find me unafraid.


It matters not how strait the gate,

      How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate,

      I am the captain of my soul.



Martha Craven Nussbaum. The Therapy of Desire : Theory and Practice in Hellenistic Ethics. Princeton, Nj, Princeton Univ. Press, 1996.
Nguyen, Joseph H. Apatheia in the Christian Tradition. Wipf and Stock Publishers, 21 Feb. 2018.


McCalla Ann (she/they) is an interdisciplinary multimedia artist, diviner, ritualist, poet-philosopher, and witch residing in Houston, Texas, by way of New Orleans. McCalla’s current witchcraft studies focus on the extra-sensuous nature of ritual performance and expression as it intersects with meta-linguistics, poetics, and mystic embodiment. As an MA student of the GEM program developed for Religious Studies students at Rice University, McCalla puts particular attention to the study of mysticism, eroticism, and the monstrous body. McCalla supports her community by acting as host to the conversational and art-focused occult podcast SaturnVox, and her infamously affective and notoriously accurate tarot readings. In her spare time McCalla devotes loving attention to tending her garden, reveling in fashion and design, and has had a career in performance art and fire dancing for over a decade. She also has a deep appreciation for film and narratology, and can often be found consuming a story alongside her cat on the couch.

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