XIX. Sprout and the Bean

The Sun, inspired by the song Sprout and the Bean

Should we go outside?
Should we go outside?
Should we break some bread?
Are y’interested?

Joanna Newsom, “Sprout and the Bean” (The Milk-Eyed Mender, 2004)

Image Description

Three women among autumn trees, by a river, under a smiling red and gold sun surrounded by multicolored dew drops. The women are identical and wear similar dresses, and all hold on to a loop of twisted red thread. One with an upward facing crescent on her dress sits in a tree and strings a gold ring onto the thread. Another with a filled circle on her dress sits in a different tree and holds a sprout in the hand that is not holding the thread. The third, whose dress has a downward pointing crescent, stands with her feet in the river, letting go of a paper boat.


We go from the purple night of XVIII to red day and the life-giving, scorching Sun. The triplets on this card are an allusion to the song’s music video. Like the three Fates, they spin out the double-twisted thread of life. The highest holds a shining seed-like golden ring, and wears an upward-facing crescent to represent receptivity and increase. The triplet one branch lower holds a sprout and wears a full-moon symbol for the wholeness of life. The one who stands in the stream abandons the sprout to the current, and wears a downward-facing crescent to represent decrease and letting go.

The leaves of the trees are changing to red and brown, their colors reflected in the flying dew drops. Like IX. Soft As Chalk, this card is at a turning point, this time between seasons rather than night and day. The question has changed from, “Who is there?” to, “Should we go outside?,” an invitation rather than a challenge. The Sun dissolves shadows, bringing to light both triumphs and failures.

Selected Meanings

The sun, outdoors, nature, heat, light, languor, sultriness, cooperation, friends, children, siblings, family, life.