The Mystical Wine Press and Ten of Pentacles

Het symbool op de mantel van de oude man op Tarotkaart Pentakels 10 uit het Waite-Smith deck

Pentacles 10 has been showing up a lot lately. A while ago I took a good look at the card again, and only then realized that the symbol on the old man’s cloak is not really explained anywhere. I asked the question on the socials and there were a number of theories and suggestions:

Pentakels 10  from a deck where the symbol on the cloak of the old man is enlarged
  1. It is a fertility symbol (pomegranate and sprites)
  2. It is an astrological symbol: two crescent moons and the (split of the ram?) sign
  3. It is an Alchemical emblem
  4. It is a (family) coat of arms
  5. It’s not a symbol, just decoration

When I heard someone say on You Tube that he thought the symbol on the old man’s cloak was a wine press, I thought that was very far-fetched. The man in question had found a picture of a medieval wine press that looked exactly like the symbol on the cloak however, so I browsed the internet to learn what the wine press could symbolize.

The ‘Mystical’ wine press is Christian symbolism. Some images show Jesus in the wine press, where he himself is pressed along with the grapes. This symbolizes that Jesus sacrifices himself for the people. But more often I read that most people see ‘The Mystical Winepress’ as a symbol for ‘the end of time’ or the ‘day of judgment’ where God destroys the unbelievers.

Luckily, a more humanistic interpretation also exists: the winepress symbolizes the spiritual strength needed to endure suffering. Maybe a bit like ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’?

various depictions of 'Jesus in the magical winepress' as well as photo's of actual antique winepresses
Various depictions of ‘Jesus in the magical winepress’ as well as photo’s of actual antique winepresses

I also tried to search for an image of an antique wine press that looks like the symbol on the old men’s cloak. But I can’t find it. There is a lot to be found about the Symbolism of the grapes, but not about this particular symbol.

Since Waite and Smith where not the kind of people that just ‘doodled’ some cards (every penstroke has a meaning!), I think there’s definitely some symbolism hidden in it. But what?

Please let me know if you have any ideas about this.

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