Pentacles feel a bit like the underdog of the tarot. They’re usually the last suit in a newly-unshuffled deck, the last chapter in the book, somehow the least special-feeling suit. Because the pentacles cards tends to depict themes of finance, domesticity and work, they are often viewed as unglamorous, boring or rigid. Well, in this installment of Fool’s Journey I want to tell you about how magical they really are!
Corresponding to the element of earth, pentacles cards deal with the material parts of our lives. In many tarot decks pentacles are called ‘coins,’ and these cards do often comment on our financial or work situations. The minor arcana cards are all about our day-to-day lives, and money and work, for most people, are a big part of that.
But it goes deeper, of course. What is the element of earth all about? Yes it’s our physical world, but more than this, it’s our sensual world. We experience the majority of our lives via the five physiological senses, and earth/pentacles represent exactly this — the stuff we see, feel, taste, touch, smell. Earth is sexy and dirty and real.
Earth provides us with a foundation – solid ground to stand on. Think about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs — without a home, without enough to eat, adequate health, the money we need to see to our basic needs, it’s hard to address the loftier topics of spirituality, intellect and passion raised by the other three suits.
You know what else? A pentacle is a magical symbol. Enter any new-age, Pagan or Wicca supplies shop and you’ll find pentacle necklaces, wooden boxes, t-shirts, bags and more all decorated with the encircled pentagram (five-point star).
Grounding — which includes conscious and unconscious rituals that enable us to feel connected to the world — are an important part of self-development. It’s easy to get caught up in a whirlwind of passion or in theorising about layer upon layer of feelings. Grounding and connecting to the element of earth helps us to remember what is real and provides a sense of safety and security.
The Pentacle, the symbol of Witchcraft, is a bold and fascinating statement about our place in the Universe. The pentagram represents an ancient concept that can be found in philosophical thought in both East and West. Although over 8,000 years old, the image of the pentagram is applicable in our modern world. The pentagram tells us that we have the ability to bring Spirit to Earth; this applies to every area of practical day-to-day living, as well as spiritual thought. The ability of bringing Spirit to Earth is what makes us whole.
The suit of pentacles encourages us to find magic in our everyday lives. It’s about experiencing the divine within our material world — the beauty in nature, the joy of devoted industry, the sexy-ness of sex, the security of good health. The pleasures of a delicious meal and the enjoyment of a beautiful cityscape. And the opposites of those things – pain and poverty, ill-health, greed and loneliness, too.
It’s also craft and industry. It’s doing things with your hands, digging in, getting creative, making something real. Gardening, wood-carving, knitting, cooking, sculpting, building, digging… these are all beautiful, earthy occupations.
Without the suit of pentacles, we’d be completely lost! We’d be floating blobs of emotion and thought, brilliant ideas with no way to come to life, insecurities with no safe home, love without a hug or a kiss. The pentacles, or rather, the earth of us is the wisdom of our bodies and our ability to tune in to this. It’s charting your period, it’s listening to your belly, it’s nourishment and growth. The trick is not to miss the magic.
When pentacles appear in your tarot readings, take a moment to look closer. Notice that magic wand in the Ten, or the infinity sign in the two. Where is the magic, what might you be missing?
The Six of Pentacles might be reminding you of the cycle of give and take in life, how we take from the earth and must remember to give back, too.
The Eight of Pentacles could be about the absolute joy you feel as you build your business, or the pleasure of really investing your time and energy into honing new skill.
The Ten of Pentacles reminds you to pay attention to the details around you. Nobody ever ‘has it all’ – which parts of your life make you feel the most rich?
The Page of Pentacles could represent you setting off on an incredible adventure.
The Seven of Pentacles shows you that moment when your hard work finally starts to bear fruit.
The Ace of Pentacles — a fresh start — could be a new lover or experimenting sexually with your partner. Or it could be the garden you plan to create, or encouragement to get fit, an exciting new job or the chance to move to a place that feels more… you.
And okay – sometimes that Four of Pentacles is saying ‘watch your spending’ or that Five is suggesting you quit your job because it’s making you feel shitty. Some of these cards are showing you the earthy magic of your situation, and some are helping you to work out where and why that magic is lacking in your life. It’s all useful, and it’s all part of being a human on this big old planet made of earth.