Nine of Pentacles | Tarot Card Meaning & Interpretation

9 of Pentacles

Keywords for the Nine of Pentacles

LUXURYDISCIPLINED
REFINEMENTSELF-RELIANT
SUCCESSSOVEREIGN
SOPHISTICATIONNOBLE
CULTIVATIONDIGNIFIED

In the image on the card, we see an enclosed garden bathed in the warm light of late afternoon. The walls of the garden are covered in lush vines carrying ripe purple grapes, and beneath them sprout nine luscious, ripe Pentacles.

In front of this richly verdant wall stands an elegantly dressed woman. Her sophistication and refinement are immediately apparent, not due only to her elegant attire, but the proud and noble way in which she carries herself, as well. 

Standing with her head held high, she is clearly a woman of the highest sophistication, someone who has devoted many hours of intense discipline to her own cultivation and refinement. 

Due to her discipline and self-reliance, she has become someone who commands respect, who exudes nobility through her unwavering demonstration of self-worth and sovereignty.

Interpretation of the 9 of Pentacles in a Reading

When the 9 of Pentacles comes up in a reading, it will often indicate success, abundance and wealth. It frequently refers to qualities of refinement, sophistication and good taste. It often also signals the enjoyment of luxury and the finer things which life has to offer.

In addition to these more obvious meanings, the 9 of Pentacles may also refer to the qualities of discipline, restraint and self-reliance. 

The woman in this card has earned all of the abundance she now enjoys through her own efforts. This was only possible due to her deep commitment to excellence, her capacity for self-control and her ability to make what are at times difficult choices in pursuit of her own growth and development.

The falcon on the woman’s arm is an apt symbol for the qualities she has cultivated and developed within herself. As a bird of prey, it indicates an ability to be relentlessly focused, to maintain a higher vision and be willing to follow through with ruthless determination to the very end. 

Future Desires

Journal Date: Friday, December 11, 2020

I’m thinking about my desires for the next 1-2 years.

Every day I’m getting more clear about what I want to do and how I will use this time.

I’ve been trying to get rid of clutter and all the things I don’t need anymore, so I can focus on what I do want to grow.

And I can feel things shifting even more.

Every day, I feel just a little bit better.

I’m so happy and grateful to know that healing is happening.

It’s my mission to actively continue this healing process intensively for the next year and a half (or at least 16 months, which is what’s left of my graduate program).

It will also mark the end of a 2 year period of Uranus transits that have been quite revolutionary for me (Uranus opposite Pluto and Uranus conjunct Moon). 

It’ll also be when two other transits end (Saturn square Pluto and Saturn square Moon), which will be starting for me in 2-3 months.

And I also anticipate that it will be around then that this pandemic will finally reach its conclusion, and when I’ll be able to return to normal life.

I’m not going back to “normal,” though. 

I’ve changed so much already, even now, and I know that 16 months from now, the difference will be even more pronounced.

I also feel that at this point on my path, I have mostly found all of the resources (both internal and external) that I need to fully heal… I’m not rushing around anymore, reading a thousand different things that I haphazardly just stumbled upon. 

I’m not so confused now, and I know enough from the many years of reading and research to be able to evaluate what I need next.

Some of the most important keys I already have are: 

–continued therapy with Daren

–continued practice of Somatic Experiencing exercises

–the resources in Pete Walker’s CPTSD book

–meditation

–my spiritual practice

I’m going to devote myself to this full time for the next 16 months (along with school and my writing).

I’m confident that I’ll be where I want to be by the end of that time period.

I’m looking forward to what the future will hold.

Eight of Pentacles | Tarot Card Meaning & Interpretation

8 of Pentacles

Keywords for the Eight of Pentacles 

HARD WORKENJOYING YOUR WORK
FOCUSED ATTENTIONCREATIVE ACTION
DISCIPLINED ACTIVITYIN A FLOW STATE
SKILLFUL LABORMEANINGFUL TASKS
MASTERYINTENTIONAL SOLITUDE

In the image on this card, we enter the workshop of a master craftsman and find him lost in his work. The late afternoon sun shines through the open door, providing the illumination this man requires to see what needs to be done and carry him through its completion.

All is quiet, the only sound we hear coming from the almost musical rhythm of the hammer and chisel as they strike the surface of the pentacle at his hand. The rhythmic sound and motion seem to have entranced the man into what can almost be considered an altered state of consciousness. 

He is in a deep flow state where the outside world seems to recede, and he becomes one with the object of his creation.

In the background to our left, the city is visible: it serves as a reminder both of his separation from the outer concerns of social life, as well as the ultimate purpose his labor serves of adding to his community.

Interpretation for the 8 of Pentacles in a Reading

When the 8 of Pentacles card comes up in a tarot reading, it often signifies a time of focused attention and hard work. 

This card will often indicate an area of our lives where disciplined attention and action is required. It tends to show where we would be well advised to dedicate our efforts in order to create more effective change in the desired areas of our lives.

However, unlike the Ten of Wands, this card does not indicate the kind of work which is experienced as a source of difficulty, or which weighs on us as the heavy burden of duty. Rather, the 8 of Pentacles indicates the kind of focused work in which we are enthralled in our task and capable of enjoying the process of creation.

It is not the drudgery of forced labor we saw in the Ten of Wands, but instead a labor of love which brings out the best in us. It is the kind of work which feels almost like play, which draws on the deepest well of our creative resources and truly brings out the best of what we have to offer.

When this card comes up in the context of love and romance, it often seeks to counsel us to take some time apart from these concerns in order to work on ourselves. It often appears when the querent has just gotten out of a relationship and is seeking guidance on how to proceed.

The 8 of Pentacle advises to get in touch with ourselves: we should get to know our true needs, preferences, likes and dislikes, as well as our habits, patterns and even defense mechanisms in relationships.

This card advises us to work on our own issues within the safe container of solitude before going back out to seek the company of others. We will typically find that if we do so, we end up better prepared to find a healthier, happier relationship than we might have been otherwise.

Emotional Recovery

Journal Date: Wednesday, December 9th, 2020

It’s later now, around 4:40pm.

I’m back in the office, after laying down to meditate and rest.

I’m reading still about trauma, but this time from Pete Walker’s CPTSD.

“As emotional recovery progresses, the mindfulness…begins to extend to our emotional experience. This helps us to stop automatically dissociating from our feelings. We then learn to identify our feelings and choose healthy ways to respond to them and from them. Such emotional development illuminates our own natural preferences, and in turn, aids us in making easier and better choices.”

After that quote, Walker shares a reflection from one of his long-term clients, who said that for the first time in his life, he actually knew what he liked, what made him happy and what did not. 

He had spent his entire existence up until then pretending (or maybe even believing) he liked the same things as his macho brothers and community members.

…sound familiar?

Yes, this has been my story, too.

I was so good at erasing myself I hardly noticed that I didn’t actually care for the things I was doing, watching, or thinking about. 

And I thought that was just normal. That everyone else must be living a lie too, right?

In the past 9 months I have been intensively focusing on my healing, and I’ve undergone a big shift in my habits and priorities.

I’ve unfollowed over 600 accounts on my personal instagram, and muted plenty more on my facebook account. And I’ve added many more to replace these that are truly more aligned with my interests and my values.

It might not seem like much, but I really believe it’s had a positive impact on my mental health.

I had followed all these people (especially these LA party people) that I (secretly?) thought were stupid, shallow and completely obnoxious…

And yet–whenever I saw any of them post anything, I would quickly jump up to compare myself to them, and beat myself up for all the ways I was not like them, and never would be.

If I were to be completely honest, I actually thought they were empty, pathetic, narcissistic losers. I was a little disgusted by the way they lived, by their values, by how they related to each other.

But every day, I would still beat myself up for not being more like them.


Maybe I was just desperate for approval.

Though I’m not sure it would have meant much for me, had I actually gotten it from them.

My thought process never really made it that far, though.

With these people, and with countless others, the facts of the matter were almost irrelevant. I had the same pattern, the same reaction when I encountered difference almost 100% of the time: “I’m wrong.” 

I could never miss an opportunity to prove myself unworthy somehow.

I’m still far from resolving this, but I have to say that I am at least grateful that I now notice it. I can catch myself in the act, and can give myself the opportunity to do things differently.


Most importantly, I’m getting clear on exactly what my values actually are. 

And I’m moving in the direction of embodying these values myself.

What is important to me is no surprise: magic, language, psychology, philosophy, tarot, astrology, literature, etc.

I’ve always been this way–I just didn’t want to admit it out loud.

I’ve never actually turned away from my intense esoteric and obscure interests.

I just tried to keep it quiet as much as possible.

It was something I allowed myself to be passionate about in private, but definitely not in public.


I’m not hiding who I am anymore.

It’s not always easy to go against the grain and be different. And maybe it’s true, maybe a lot of people aren’t going to like it.

But those aren’t the people that matter.

I refuse to keep listening to people who only want a version of me that is a lie.

For one, I’m finally ready to start living with more integrity.

Second, I want to be around people who I find interesting and inspiring. 

I’m done with these half-hearted attempts at normalcy. I’m tired of seeking “acceptability.” 

I’m ready to take a chance on living out loud.

A Stranger to Herself

Journal Date: Wednesday, December 9th, 2020

Today I’m moving on to reading about the first group of exercises in the Somatic Experiencing program.

“When you have been traumatized, you’re often unable to feel your own physical boundaries, because of disconnection from your body. This can have an impact in other areas of your life, such as setting boundaries in relationships, because it’s impossible to set limits if you have no sense of your own boundaries. 

Rebuilding connection is really the key to all of these exercises, because trauma is about a loss of connection, first to the body and self, and second to others and the environment.”

I’ve never heard trauma defined that way before, but I like this definition, and I agree.

There are many other trauma symptoms I’ve suffered from (not to mention all the diagnoses I’ve accumulated over the years), but I think that this disconnection is what is at the root of all of them.


There is nothing like being disconnected from your own self. 

It is the strangest pain; a blunt force that destroys without direction; a vast field of emptiness; an abyss where a soul should be.

To feel “lonely” or “alone” does not even begin to describe it.

Alone implies one— a unity which stands apart. 

I was less than one—a nothing, a void whose only meaning was in what was missing.

Sometimes, when I imagined my own death, I would picture my grave, and the epitaph which would read: 

Here lies
E.R.
—was never loved
and died
a stranger to herself.
1988 — 20xx

Seven of Pentacles | Tarot Card Meaning & Interpretation

7 of Pentacles

Keywords for the Seven of Pentacles 

EVALUATIONKARMA
ASSESSMENTCAUSE & EFFECT
REFLECTIONACTION/CONSEQUENCE
APPRAISALREAPING WHAT YOU SOW
RESULTSCOMING TO FRUITION

We see a farmer deep in thought as he takes a moment of respite from his hard work in the field. He rests his head on hands which hold a shovel pointed into the soil.

He is pensive as he observes the fruits of his labor. The seven pentacles growing to our left are  evidence of the seeds he once planted, watered and carefully tended many moons ago. 

He is now in a position to pause and reflect on the work which has been done. He can now evaluate the consequences of his actions, and make adjustments to his plans for the future if necessary. 

Interpretation of the 7 of Pentacles in a Reading

When this card comes up in a tarot reading, it is often asking us to take a look at the consequences of our actions. It is a clear reminder of the old adage that “you reap what you sow.”

The 7 of Pentacles in a reading tends to show us the areas where we are now reaping the fruits of our labors. It shows us how the actions we have taken in the past have created the circumstances we are now experiencing in the present.

The nature of what we now reap depends on the kinds of seeds which we have planted and how carefully and consistently we may have tended to them.

As we can see in the image on the card, the man gazes at six pentacles which have sprouted on the vine in front of him. At his feet lies one lone pentacle which has fallen from the vine and gone to waste. Most of his efforts have borne fruit, but not everything which he put his hand to has met with success.

It signals that we are now being presented with an opportunity to reflect on what we did, what has worked and what did not. We now have the chance to reflect on our actions and behaviors and change course if necessary.

The Little Match Girl

A sad little girl with black hair holding matches out in the snow

Journal Date: November 28, 2020

This morning, I was trying to keep reading. I didn’t know what else to do.

So I picked up Women who Run with the Wolves again, and opened it where I’d left off at Chapter 10.

This turned out to be a chapter that had more than one story in it.

So I finished the first part, with the story of “La Llorona,” and kept reading into the next one.

This one was called “The Little Match Girl.”

It was not what I expected it would be.

I’d heard of it, and even read it once before (as part of an assignment Mama Gena had included as part of our homework in GPS).

But this time, it shocked me. Because I saw that this story was about me.

It told of a poor little girl who lived alone in a dark forest. She had no mother and no father. She had no money or possessions, either, except for a few matches that she bought for half a penny and sold for one.

Winter came, and the cold weather, and she tried to go sell the matches in the nearby town. 

“She wandered the streets and begged strangers, would they please buy matches from her? But no one stopped and paid her any attention.”

One night, suffering from the cold, she decided to light her matches to warm herself, though she had no wood and no kindling.

Every time she lit a match, she found herself immersed in some fantasy, only to awaken again colder than ever.

She struck the third and final match, and in her fantasy her grandmother appeared, “so warm and so kind, and the child felt so happy to see her…” But then the grandmother began to fade, as the little match girl felt herself rise up into heaven.

The story ends sadly, with the little match girl found cold and dead between the houses the next morning.


It wasn’t this telling of the story that resonated with me so much as the commentary that followed.

Here is the first paragraph of interpretation after the story:

“This chid lives in an environ where people do not care. If you are in one of these, get out.”

Hm. Well, that was pretty direct. 

She continues: “This child is in a milieu where what she has, little fires on sticks–the beginnings of all creative possibilities–are not valued. If you are in this predicament, turn your back and walk away.”

Estes seems to feel pretty strongly about this. She goes on to say, “This child is in a psychic situation in which there are few options. She has resigned herself to her ‘place’ in life. If this has happened to you, unresign yourself and come out kicking ass.”

I feel that this has been where I have been most of my life. I had resigned myself to place for so long. I had come to believe that there was no other way for me.

“She cannot awaken to a life with a future because her wretched life is like a hook upon which she hangs daily. In initiations, spending a significant amount of time under difficult conditions is part of a dismemberment that severs one from ease and complacency. As an initiatory passage, it will come to a conclusion, and the newly ‘sanded down’ woman will commence a refreshed and enwisened spiritual and creative life. 

However, women in the Match Girl condition could be said to be involved in an initiation that has gone awry. The hostile conditions do not serve to deepen, only to decimate. Another venue, another environ, with different supports and guides, must be chosen.”

I think this is why I have been so focused on wanting to move to Mexico City. I have intuited the fact that this is not an environment where I will ever be able to grow. I’m 32, and it still seems impossible. I don’t think the conditions around me will ever change. So I’ve decided I must go somewhere else.


“The Match Girl wanders the streets and she begs strangers to buy matches from her. This scene shows one of the most disconcerting things about injured instinct in women, the giving of light for little price… Bad lovers, rotten bosses, exploitative situations, wily complexes of all sorts tempt a woman to these choices.”

This has been true about me. It has been the saddest thing about me, about my life: my willingness to lower the price, to just give myself away to anyone, to beg them to accept me. 

But how was I supposed to know better? I was always taught (by words and by force) that this was the only way.

“The Match Girl lights more matches. Each fantasy burns out, and again the child is in the snow and freezing. When the psyche freezes, a woman is turned toward herself and no one else.”

And it was all for no use. Every shitty boss, emotionally abusive partner, it all ended the same. With me left even more out in the cold, again. Everything I did to hold on to the fantasy ensured my own future end.


“It is a psychic fact that when libido or energy wanes to the point where its breath no longer shows on the mirror, some representation of the Life/Death/Life nature shows up, here portrayed by the grandmother. It is her work to arrive at the death of something, to incubate the soul that has left its husk behind, and to care for the soul till it can be born anew.”

I’m at that point now. I’ve spent this past year in surrender, dying to everything I’ve ever known or believed to be true. 

I’m ready to move forward. I’m dying to be reborn.

A sad little girl with black hair out in the snow

“And that is the blessedness of everyone’s psyche. Even in the event of such a painful ending as the Match Girl’s, there is a ray of light. When enough time, discontent, and pressure have been brought to bear, the Wild Woman of the psyche will hurl new life into a woman’s mind, giving her opportunity to act in her own behalf once more. As we can see from the suffering involved, it is far better to heal one’s addiction to fantasy than wait around wishing and hoping to be raised from the dead.”

When We Dead Awaken: Part 3

If I’m ever going to create my future, I’m going to have to come to terms with my past.

I’ve been trying to avoid it, deny it, explain it away, make excuses for it, compensate for it, erase it, and so much more.

I’ve struggled to accept that this is the truth of my life. That this isn’t “just a phase.” It isn’t just going to disappear one day like it never happened.

I think I may have (unconsciously) thought that if I worked hard enough I would be “cured,” I’d become 100% “better”, and it would all be as if nothing had ever happened. That there would be some kind of “redemption” where I would be saved from my own damn self.

In practice what this meant was that I was working toward a model, a “goal” identity, that was completely inappropriate for me.

I wanted so badly to be normal. I would have done anything to not be so “complicated.”

The ideal future self I had in mind was so boring, so basic. So unthreatening. She was some happy, carefree, extraverted, easy going, and very chill girl (that’s why they said they wanted from me, right?).

I thought I could nip and tuck and edit away all of my humanity, become acceptable to the greater mass of society, and call it a success. 

I would know I had “made it” when I was deemed normal by everyone and no one ever said anything bad about me ever again.

That was my vision for health: to completely erase myself, and finally just be what everyone else wanted me to be. 


My vision now is this: I will not deny my past, I will not erase this self. I will not even try to compensate for the suffering I’ve had with some grandiose and misguided attempt to “make it all worth it.”

I will integrate my past. I will honor myself.

I will acknowledge all of the places and the people I have been, regardless of how strange or scary others find them to be.

I will speak to the truth of who I was, and how it was that I became who I am today.

Rubedo: the Red Phase of Alchemy

After the whitening of the albedo comes the last phase of the Great Work: the red phase, or reddening.

The white phase consisted of an intense process of purification, in which all the rotting decayed matter that had died during the nigredo was thoroughly cleansed of impurities. What was left was then considered clean but also very sterile, incapable of producing new life and lacking animation.

The purpose of the red phase was to make the matter come alive again. This process was initiated with the completion of the last phase of the albedo, conjunction, which was known to alchemists as “the marriage of the sun and moon.”

The rubedo continues this work of uniting opposite energies or elements until the Great Work has been completed.

The first process in the red phase of alchemy is known as fermentation, where the alchemist receives visions and other types of inspiration that will ultimately guide them to the end of the Great Work.

This is followed by a long process known as distillation, in which the alchemist is tasked with separating “the earth from the fire, the subtle from the gross.”

The final phase, coagulation, marks the completion of the Great Work and the creation of the Philosopher’s stone.

When We Dead Awaken: Part 2

One of the biggest limiting beliefs that I’ve had is the idea that I should rely on the outer environment to define me.

The idea of defining myself, for myself, has seemed an impossibility for me. 

Maybe the logic was, “I can’t trust myself. My opinion is meaningless, especially when it comes to my own self.”

I felt I could only rely on other people, or on the outside world in general, as an accurate and meaningful measure of my worth.

So I spent my life running around trying to satisfy everybody else’s ideas of who I was supposed to be.

Which was an impossible task–everyone had a different plan for me, and satisfying one would inevitably upset another.

I came to understand that on some level, but I still felt compelled to keep going with it anyway (only now feeling trapped and full of despair).

Every comment, criticism or offhand remark was seized upon and picked apart for clues to my identity.

“Am I in here somewhere?” I wondered as I ruminated on every word.

“Am I okay yet?” was the even more desperate and tragic subtext below it all.

“Am I a worthwhile human being yet? Do I deserve to exist now? How about now? Now??”

It breaks my heart to look at this, and admit how I have been.

It truly is sad that I was living like this for so long.

It’s no wonder I was so miserable. Of course. Anyone would be.

I also have compassion for myself. I see exactly how I came to be this way, and I understand.

The abuse within my family was so relentless, severe and specifically targeted to keep me from having any sense of self. 

Especially when younger, it was safer to remain amorphous, to just not have a self, to be mutable enough to quickly contort myself into whatever anyone else demanded. 

The sooner I abandoned myself, the sooner the shame and humiliation would subside. Just give in, agree–it’s much easier that way.

I still remember the words. “Oh, well! Look at you!” and then as an aside to another family member, ”Who does she think she is??”

There were plenty of punishments for when I was bad, but the worst were the humiliations for being “too good.”

Like when my mom would hear all the good reports about me at parent-teacher conferences, she would attack, and accuse, and humiliate me.

She would say say the teacher must be stupid, because you’re fooling her… or, that it was just more evidence of my guilt; I’m lying to this poor woman, trying to fool her into believing I’m something I’m not. 

“If only she knew what you were really like at home–you’re like the devil!”

This created a horrifying double bind by which I had to live: I had to be good, I had to try to be perfect to be acceptable and redeem myself; but I could NOT be good, as it then became proof of my badness, showing how manipulative and deceptive I truly was.

Any action or inaction on my part became proof of my inherent unworthiness. It was all proof of how I was undeserving, bad, a lost cause, the devil.