The young merchant prince watches three ships leave harbor, heading for open sea with the wind in their sails. Three staves surround him, and he stands within this protective triangle. This card appears with hopes high despite uncertainty. Enthusiastically high, because everything is riding on what is in those boats at sea.
Wands or staves symbolize the energy of life, the energy we put into living. Threes represent, in numeric alchemy, the first evolution of a concept (ones) into union (twos) becoming manifest in all dimensions (threes). And thus we see this image of expectant hope so strong our prince is ready to build a warehouse for all his expected bounty. And perhaps this is not a bad idea.
The entrepreneur is expectant and hopeful as his plans set out. So much may yet occur before the ships return laden with bounty. Storms, pirates, sirens are all possibilities. So much (and yet so little) can be done to ensure the safety of the vessels now. The staves behind the figure suggest others, unseen, who stand protectively beside him. Silent partners, who also wait and watch.
The checkerboard sash our merchant wears recalls a gameboard as it crosses the passion (red) and vitality (green) of the cloaks that cover him. Interestingly, in pre-Christian times, the chess piece we call the bishop was instead a ship, moving diagonally, as his sash does, across the board. Let’s hope his game plan holds and those lovely ships come home safe and full.
Despite all his confidence, there is a wondering. The shining sea is so golden for a moment it looks like desert sands (not where you want your ships to be). He must keep steady up there, perched up on that craggy lookout. As he watches, he is also observed. Our entrepreneur must keep his cool despite this uncertainty, as it looks like slippery footing too.
And yes, in the end it would be awkward if the ships returned full-bellied, with no place to store the long awaited bounty. Perhaps there is something to be done on land in the meanwhile, as hopeful expectation always looks like preparation if everything goes as planned.