Six of Vessels

Element: AETHER

Upright: Reformulation, Spiritual Balance, Meet your Spiritual Self
Reversed: Impatience, Stagnation, Corruptive Environment


In the Six of Vessels, we can see the figure of a naked man taking a hot bath, while a white bird emerges from his head. This card marks another great transmutation on ourselves.

Following the sequence of the Vessel’s suit, this card continues the deep changes initiated in the previous card.

The Five of Vessels ends up with a dramatic separation. The four limbs were removed from the body as an allegory of the rupture of our traditional patterns.

So, in this card the point is to assemble those detached parts and reorganise them in a perfected order. 

“He very much is a Shaman. A Shaman is someone who takes you into a spiritual world, cuts you up into little pieces, glues you back together and brings you back into this world better than you were. That’s what a Shaman does.” Dan O’Bannon in Jodorowsky’s Dune.

To recombine ourselves in a new improved shape, we need to learn to incorporate our opposites in a balanced way.

In Ovid’s Metamorphosis, Medea rejuvenates her father-in-law, starting to purify him three times in fire and three times in water.

In this card, a similar process is used. The fire finds its harmonious union with the water: the fire boils the water, and the water is safely contained, all without destroying each other.

Psychologically, blending the opposites is key to finding our internal balance. That is the only effective way to reach the formula for our personal reconstruction.

However, this stage requires effort and dedication.

The figures on the lower plan are the perfect example of that. They keep working the fire, so it will not get extinguished or become too strong. Their important job is to keep our “fire” and our “water” under control, preventing one to dominate the other and allowing one to refine and purify each other.

The young boy feeding the dragon represents the youthful Mercurius as a promise of renewal. The dragon, in analytic psychology, relates to the unconscious mind. Here, a new materia of ourselves is starting to transform into an enhanced substance.  

As a result of this symbolic boiling, a white bird emerges from the man’s head, resembling the alchemical volatilization (turning what is fixed to volatile). The physical body is sublimated and transformed into a spiritual body on a whole new level. The act of rebuilding ourselves by finding the inner balance allows us to discover a new world of possibilities and experiences that transcend our understanding. We finally meet our spiritual self as a silhouette of solid light.

In alchemy it is said that salvation comes not only from above, but also from below.

Upright Meaning and Interpretation

Reformulation, Spiritual Balance, Meet your Spiritual Self.

With the Six of Vessels you finally understand the capacities of your spirituality and intuition. Accept the gifts you have in order to improve yourself.

The result of the successful reattachment of the elements (note that the body is already completed) gives you the key to a new door.
Only then you will obtain the full understanding of the relationship between the “physical” and the “spiritual”.

At this point you have found a direct and open communication with your intuition and infinite wisdom. You finally discovered how to create an agreement with your spiritual self.

Of course, this is not the end of your journey. Instead, a new one is starting, with new experiences and challenges.

In this new realm, greater capabilities will emerge, including a higher developed awareness.
You may also find other powers that were inactive before, such as an improved perception, intuition, or sensitivity. 

When you grow and change, people around you may feel apprehensive or even attempt to stop you, because they think that your change can leave them behind.

Be whoever you want to be, do not let others’ reactions limit yourself.

The white bird leaves the body as an acceptance of the transcending world, the divine will. In order to let it spread its wings you must stop hiding your light just to make others comfortable.

Reversed Meaning and Interpretation

Impatience, Stagnation, Corruptive Environment.

There is a double side to this card: you may feel impatient and want to rush everything.

Or there may be others who benefit from your stagnation, trying to put you away from your spiritual ascension.

If you are, indeed, feeling anxious about your path, you need to trust the process, for nothing good comes without patience.

We know these cycles of transformation are painful and sometimes seem pointless. Though you must recognise and acknowledge that all the things that happened in your life moulded your true self, allowing you to be who you are.

If you feel that others are interfering in your path, maybe you should try to do a spiritual cleaning. Step out from devious influences or vain intentions: that will help you clear any blocked ways.

That is why you need to choose, carefully, your surroundings, because your energy can mirror the environment you are in.