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.
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.
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.
In the image on the card, we see a well-dressed man standing over two men who hold their hands outstretched to receive a few coins in their hands. This appears to be an act of charity, motivated by benevolence and good-will. However, it is possible that all is not what it seems here.
Notice the position of the merchant’s right hand, from which he dispenses the few coins he is offering to the poor. It is in the same position as the hand not only of the Hierophant in Key 5, but also the Devil in Key 15.
In both cases, this is a gesture which says: I give to you, but I retain yet another part to myself.
In the man’s left hand, he tightly grips a set of scales which are likely meant to be a symbolic allusion to his trade as a merchant, but also to an idea of which he would like for us to be convinced. With scales clenched in his hand, he seems intent on persuading us that this is, indeed, justice.
Contrast this with the way the goddess Justitia holds the scales in Key 11, Justice, of the Major Arcana. She holds her scales lightly, balancing them gently on the tips of her fingers in an effortless, easy manner.
We may ask ourselves, “What does this say about the difference between the Justice of Man and the Justice of God?”
The Justice of God (or cosmic justice, universal law, etc.) is effortless, in many ways simply a chain of action and reaction. It is like a karmic cycle that at its core is simply the interrelation of causes and their effects over time.
It is enforced naturally, in much the same way the earth turns and the sun rises and we are born and must die in a natural sequence of beginnings and endings.
Human justice, however, is grasped tightly, and much effort is expended to exact retribution and maintain an order that at its best, is artificial, and in the worst cases, is highly unjust and contrary to the values of life.
It is often maintained through the use of excessive force, with violence and suffering in order to ensure compliance to a system created by the dominant group in power.
It is also maintained through a hegemonic system of values which idealizes the generosity of the wealthy in the form of alms and small acts of charity, which honors and preserves their right to hoard wealth, refuse to pay a living wage, and set up economic and political systems which keep the majority of the population in a state of perpetual poverty and material lack.
However, it is not merely on a large scale, societal level in which giving to the other can be a powerful tool for control and influence.
Often, in interpersonal relationships, we find a dynamic in which one person controls the resources (financial, emotional, physical) and dispenses them to others in order to establish a relationship of dependence.
This manufactured state of dependence is then often used as a tool of manipulation in which the one who is seemingly the beneficiary is obligated to provide other kinds of resources (for example, emotional or domestic labor) to the more seemingly “generous” party.
Interpretation of the 6 of Pentacles in a Reading
When the 6 of Pentacles comes up in a reading, we are often being asked to look more attentively at the power dynamics in which we are engaged.
This card may point to a situation in which we are relating to others through a dynamic that is based on inequality. This is a dynamic in which one person gives and the other takes, leaving little in the way of reciprocity.
The 6 of Pentacles often asks us to question our assumptions regarding the nature of the exchange, as well as our perceptions regarding the moral value we attribute to each of the players in this game.
Again, we usually will find that all is not as it seems. Often, the person in the role of “giver” may offer a helping hand less out of mercy than out of a desire to control and build or retain his own power in the situation.
In the scene picture on the Six of Pentacles, the wealthy merchant controls the resources available based on an economic and political system which has been established to protect the interests of his class.
Those lower than him on the social scale are disempowered, and often denied the opportunity to earn a living in a way that will support the fulfillment of their basic needs.
The tokens of “mercy” are little more than an excuse, a way to ease the tension and buy the good will of those who have been marginalized by a system he has helped to create.
The bottom line here is that the Six of Pentacles often asks us to question our assumptions regarding the nature of exchange within any given relationship we may find ourselves in.
We would do well to take a step back and take a look at the relational power dynamics we are engaged in from a new vantage point. You may be surprised to find that in some ways, it may be better to give than to receive.
In the image on the card, we see a man and a woman standing outside of a warm, well-lit church. There is no door visible here that could grant the pair access. They seem to be shut out of the comfort and care they appear to need so desperately.
Outside, the two are both barefoot, and their ragged clothes hang in tatters on their bodies.
The man walks on crutches, one bandaged foot alerting us to an injury which has not yet healed.
Curiously, we also see a bell that hangs from this man’s neck. This accessory is likely a reference to the practice, common during the medieval era, of forcing those with leprosy to wear bells in order to alert others to their nearby presence.
This was done so that the rest of society, those who still preserved their health and well-being, could better avoid those who were ill, those who they feared would infect them.
The juxtaposition of these two unfortunate souls standing outside in the bitter cold is made all the more harsh by the warm light radiating from the colorful church windows behind them. They are so close to the abundance and belonging they so deeply desire.
However, even though it is clearly visible in front of them, they are nonetheless separated from what they need in order to be well by the hard walls of dark stone which serve as boundaries between them and those deemed more deserving.
Interpretation of the 5 of Pentacles in a Reading
When the 5 of Pentacles comes up in a reading, we may often find ourselves in a situation where we feel rejected, isolated, or unwanted. We might feel as if we have been “left out in the cold,” and there is no one here to tend to our wounds or offer us any kind of comfort and care.
When this card appears, we might be confronted with some kind of loss or negative change in circumstances. This could potentially mean financial troubles, loss of work, illness or injury.
It also comes up when we feel rejected socially or betrayed in a romantic involvement. We might potentially find that our partner has cheated or chosen to be with someone else over us.
Whatever the case may be, when the 5 of Pentacles shows up for us, we will most likely feel that our luck has deserted us. We may now suffer the material or emotional consequences of some kind of abandonment by others.
This rejection, lack of inclusion or loss does not always manifest itself in the material or physical conditions of our lives.
There are times when this card will refer to a kind of inner lack. We may feel insecure about ourselves or our worth, and suffer from low self-esteem and a lack of self-respect.
With the 5 of Pentacles, we could feel a pervasive sense of insecurity in our lives, one which causes us to doubt who we are and what we have to offer to the world.
Regardless of the many ways in which this card can manifest, the essential core of meaning here has to do with the unease which comes from feeling damaged, insufficient or lacking in some way.
This is further associated with the inability or unwillingness of others to recognize us as someone worthy of belonging and care. It also represents the denial of material support and assistance that results as a consequence.
In the image on the card, we see a man covered in what seems to be a heavy, black fur coat and many layers of dark clothing.
This man grasps a pentacle tightly over his chest with both hands. In doing so, he blocks off his chest area, or heart chakra, from the outside world, likely symbolizing how he may have become distanced from his emotions and capacity to feel empathy with others beyond himself.
There are three other pentacles which are visible in this image. One rests atop the crown of the man’s head, suggesting the crown chakra, responsible for our capacity to receive higher wisdom and guidance.
The remaining two pentacles are held tightly to the earth under the man’s feet. As we saw with the previous two pentacles, these also cover sensitive energetic areas of the man’s body. In this case these pentacles are blocking his ability to feel grounded to the earth, along with his capacity to be responsive to our environment.
Interpretation of the 4 of Pentacles in a Reading
When the 4 of Pentacles comes up in a reading, it can indicate that we (or alternatively, someone we know) is acting in a way that may be controlling or manipulative.
This card points to a person who feels the need to grasp onto things, to tightly hold on to what they believe is a scarce resource which must belong to them.
This behavior, often rooted in fear, can at times lead to negative or destructive outcomes, especially if it involves attempting to control or limit the free will of another person.
Furthermore, this card speaks to what happens when we allow an attachment to material possessions, as well as an obsession with receiving a particular outcome, to take over our lives. This overemphasis often leads to spiritual, mental and emotional blockages.
When this occurs, we may become closed (as the man is in this card) to all other opportunities for fulfillment. We may be so set on having one specific thing that we fail to recognize how our needs and desires could potentially be satisfied by another option we have yet to consider.
These rigid behavioral patterns and attempts at control often leave the person in question feeling isolated and alone. When we are unable to let go of our hold on what we think we must have, we tend to cut ourselves off from the flow of life, losing vitality and diminishing our capacity for connection to others.
In the image on the card, we see three people standing in front of a gray stone church that is under construction.
On our left is a craftsman, who stands on a bench, pointing in the direction of the work which is to be done on the cathedral in front of them.
In the middle of the trio we see someone who appears to be a friar or other church official. He gazes intently up at the master builder as he attempts to understand what is being asked of him.
Finally, on the far right of the trio we see a man dressed in the most unusual yellow cape patterned with large red circles over its surface.
His attire is reminiscent of a court jester’s colorful costume, which is itself an allusion to the first card of the Major Arcana, the Fool. And oddly enough, it is he who holds the blueprint for the structure which all three are working together to create and bring into manifestation.
The character of the fool likely represents what is known to us as superconsciousness, or our Higher Selves. It is this Higher Self which is most directly connected to what we think of as God or the universal source. It is in fact the superconscious part of our being which holds the plans for what we will manifest as our lived experience.
The friar may be seen as representing the conscious mind, which decides what values are important and selects the day-to-day goals which will be pursued. The craftsman, on the other hand, represents the body and the subconscious mind which is responsible for the actual work of building the physical body and what we experience through our senses.
This is meant as a reminder that the ego, or conscious mind, is not truly the one in control. The rational, egoic self does not chart the course, but instead observes with discernment and provides direction for how we may go about arriving at our ultimate destination.
Interpretation of the 3 of Pentacles in a Reading
When the 3 of Pentacles comes up in a tarot reading, it often speaks to a situation in our lives where we are being called on to work together.
This card may signal that we are being encouraged to put aside our differences in order to work towards achieving a common goal. It means valuing the unique contribution that each person brings to the table, acknowledging our differences while also staying mindful of our shared values and dreams held in common.
The 3 of Pentacles often comes up in readings regarding work or career. In this context, it typically indicates an area where teamwork and cooperation are required.
In readings on love and romance, this card often comes up when we find ourselves in a relationship where we have decided upon a common goal, and are working together as a unit to achieve a mutually beneficial outcome.
It also speaks to maturity in love and relationships, one where healthy compromise is a priority. It may refer to a relationship where both partners consider themselves to truly be a team, where there is an understanding that meeting the needs of the other is beneficial to the self, and striving to do so whenever possible.
In the image on this card, we see in front of us a man dressed in an outfit quite similar to that of a court jester. He seems to be juggling two pentacles in front of him.
Each of these is connected in an endless loop by the green ribbon drawn around them in a “figure 8” or “infinity” symbol, similar to the ones we saw earlier in the Magician and Strength.
This likely indicates that the activity expressed in this card is key to the expression of our will through magic.
This is further emphasized by the movement evident in the image, uncommon in the suit of Pentacles. The ships in the background appear to be gliding quickly across the surface of a tumultuous sea.
The juggler himself appears to be dancing, swiftly shifting his weight from one foot to the other, never missing a step as he moves with the ever-changing beat of the music of life.
This further links him to the Fool and The World dancer, who may be considered the alpha and the omega of the Major Arcana, and are also the beginning and the end of our soul’s journey of development.
Life is movement. The Two of Pentacles reminds us that we cannot afford to cling to anything too rigidly, whether that be material possession, habits, ideas or beliefs. We are much better off when we decide to go with the flow and dance with the rhythm of life.
Interpretation of the 2 of Pentacles in a Reading
When the 2 of Pentacles comes up in a reading, it can mean that we are being called to juggle the many disparate elements which compose our lives with agility, flexibility and grace. We must learn how to keep each part in balance, constantly adapting and flowing with the challenges that life sends our way.
Alternatively, the 2 of Pentacles can also signal that we may have two (or more) options from which we are being asked to choose. This is especially true when this card appears to us in a reading as reversed. It can also mean feeling a bit unclear about which choice is best for us, or being reluctant to give up any of our options at all.
In many cases, this card points to the kind of attitude which helps us to face life’s challenges with skill, with ease and with grace. A light heart and a sense of humor can get us through challenges which a serious attitude would only hinder.
This card indicates a certain sense of ease and enjoyment of the ups and downs inherent to the dance of life. It asks us to approach life with a spring in our step, with a light and carefree heart, and a smile on our face.
This playful attitude can help bring us grace in all we do, while giving us the energy, vitality and resilience of spirit we need to face any unexpected or challenging situation that may present itself.
At the top of the Ace of Pentacles, we see a hand emerging from a cloud, holding out a large brass Pentacle as its offering.
Underneath, we see that we are inside what appears to be a walled garden, the majority of which is covered in lush, verdant green lawn.
White lilies grow together in a row in front of us, while red roses bloom from the thick hedge which creates a boundary separating the inside of the walled garden from the rest of the world.
Finally, to our right we see a narrow dirt path extending from our vantage point to a vine-covered arch, a living doorway leading us to the world outside. Through this door we are able to see the distant peaks of the soft purple mountains which lie far off in the distance.
Ace of Pentacles Interpretation
When the Ace of Pentacles appears in a reading, it often speaks to the opportunity for new beginnings, especially when it comes to the world of our material environment and physical reality.
In particular, the Ace of Pentacles can mean new hope for success in areas such as work and career, the home, our physical environment, as well as our finances and income.
The Ace of Pentacles can signify the arrival of prosperity and abundance into one’s life.
It also refers to a certain sense of stability and security that we may feel with regard to the situation we are concerned with, whether that be work, money, health, or even love and relationships. This is because Pentacles are related to the element of Earth, which is the most grounded and stable of all the elements.
In terms of love and relationships, it may refer to commitment and trust in our partners, of having faith in their reliability and knowing that we can count on them through whatever the future may bring.
In the image on this card, we see the King of Swords seated on his throne, looking out directly at us. His gaze is sober and severe; he makes it clear that he has no time for foolish games or frivolous distractions.
On his head he wears a yellow crown, a reference to the element of Air, and all the associated powers of reason, logic, and the conscious mind.
We see him hold a large, shining sword in his right hand. He holds this sword out forcefully at an angle, instead of straight up like his Queen. This is likely due to the fact that, as the King of this suit, he is more concerned with action and consequences based in the outer world.
Although not necessarily unethical, he is undeniably less of an effectively impartial observer than his Queen. As he carries the weight of great social responsibility, he cannot always afford to completely remove his own self-interest from his perception of the issues at hand.
This surely makes him a more effective leader, though it may also alter his ability to be a completely disinterested and “rational” observer of the world around him.
Interpretation of the King of Swords in a Reading
Like all of the court cards, this can represent someone in our outer environment that shows the same qualities and characteristics of the King of Swords. Alternatively, in some instances it can also refer to how we ourselves are showing up in a given situation.
When the King of Swords comes up in a reading, it usually refers to someone who possesses a similar logical and analytical way of thinking and processing the world around them.
This King is notable for his sharp mind and intellectual prowess. He can be discerning, realistic and practical, focused less on abstract theories than on finding practical solutions to real world problems.
The King of Swords may possess a stoic, unemotional or detached personality. At times, he can even be a bit harsh and unforgiving with other people, especially when he feels that they are not living up to his own intellectual rigor and ability.
The King of Swords clearly possesses great intellectual power. His piercing intellect and incisive judgments are what gives him such strength and mastery.
However, it is these very same skills that make this King such a powerful leader can be misapplied and lead to the harm of self and others.
If he is not careful, his impartiality can turn into cold detachment, and the discernment he is known for into arrogance and a judgmental attitude. At his worst, he can even become manipulative and controlling as he seeks to impose his ideas and his will on those around him.
When working with the King of Swords, it is wise to remember that the powerful mind this King possesses can truly be a double-edged sword. The sword of truth we see here is an instrument which can be used to heal as well as harm, and must be applied with compassion and consideration of the consequences for others as well as oneself.