Nine of Pentacles | Tarot Card Meaning & Interpretation

9 of Pentacles

Keywords for the Nine of Pentacles


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. 

Eight of Pentacles | Tarot Card Meaning & Interpretation

8 of Pentacles

Keywords for the Eight of Pentacles 


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.

Seven of Pentacles | Tarot Card Meaning & Interpretation

7 of Pentacles

Keywords for the Seven of Pentacles 


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.

Six of Pentacles | Tarot Card Meaning & Interpretation

6 of Pentacles

Keywords for the Six of Pentacles 


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.

Personality : Projector :: Environment : Screen

Journal Date: November 28, 2020

I’m still thinking about everything I learned last night.

It’s nothing new (I first read these lessons in 2014), but it feels like I’m seeing them with new eyes. 

I feel more capable of comprehending it

I guess it’s supposed to be that way.

The last lesson I read (Lesson 2 of “Tarot Interpretation”) said about as much. 

It said that as we “ripen”, we’ll come to even deeper and deeper levels of understanding. We’re never truly “finished”. The earlier understandings, while perhaps incomplete, were still important: they were exactly what we needed at that stage of our development.

I’m glad that I’ve finally taken up my BOTA studies again after so long (it’s been years).

This is the perfect time to come back to them.

I’d kind of wondered why I resisted for so long, but maybe it was just that the time wasn’t right. 

I wasn’t yet ready, but now I am.

I’m amazed by how many synchronicities I’ve experienced since coming back to it.

It’s been very magical. 

I think this means I’m on the right track.

The reading, and especially the passages I quoted yesterday, raised so many important questions.

Last time, I tried to answer what it was inside that I was projecting out, the effects on me and my environment, and finally, how all those ideas about who I was in relation to my world even got there in the first place.

Now, I’d like to address the following questions: if it is true that our personality is like a projector, and our environment is the screen… then what do I want to do with this knowledge?

What kind of life do I want?

What kind of thoughts and visualizations do I need to hold in my inner world?

How can I use speech, or my own mental definitions of myself and my relationship to my circumstances, to create the life I want to live?

Obviously, that’s a question that can’t be answered all at once–I’m just setting out the terms of what I’ll be inquiring into.

These are good questions though, and I think they’ll help me get better answers.

Here are some more questions I wrote to help in my exploration. I encourage you to take a moment to pull out a pen and paper and jot down some notes on whatever comes up for you. 

  • Write a list of some of you beliefs about yourself and about the world (both positive and negative). 
    • How did you come to develop these beliefs?
    • What outcomes did having these beliefs have on your experiences after?
  • Examine how your inner world creates your experience. Match thoughts to things. 
    • Can you find evidence to the contrary which might disprove some of your beliefs about yourself?
    • What do you usually do with such evidence when confronted with it?
  • Consider the following: “If our definitions be wrong, because we are deluded by appearances, the appearances grow worse and worse.” 
    • How has this played out in your own life? Give specific examples.

Feel free to share in the comments what resonated most, I’d love to hear what is on your mind.

Five of Pentacles | Tarot Card Meaning & Interpretation

5 of Pentacles

Keywords for the Five of Pentacles


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.

Eternal Return

Journal Date: November 27, 2020

I’m reading Lesson 2 of the “Tarot Interpretation” series, which discusses Keys 2, 9 and 16 that I have just been studying.

In this lesson, reincarnation and our ability to remember our past lives through the use of the subconscious and transliminal states of consciousness is also discussed.

This adds relevance and weight to what I had already been considering about past lives, and how they have created my current experience of reality.

I’ve been wondering:

What if my mom and dad didn’t make me who I am today?

What if instead, in some sense, I caused them?

What if it were true that I chose them, as the perfect people to be my parents?

What if my past thoughts and desires cast my parents in their roles, who then cast me into mine?

It seems hard to imagine.

I mean, why would I ever have willingly chosen this, right?

But my visions of my past life (especially when combined with what I know of my natal chart) make me more inclined to think that this is the case.

“The eternal hourglass of existence is turned upside down again and again, and you with it, speck of dust!”

Friedrich Nietzsche

So let me just imagine that for a moment…

In my past lives, I suffered greatly from other people’s perceptions of and reactions to me.

I’m told I was punished severely for crimes I never committed.

According to Angelic, and from what I saw on my own, I was trapped in this underground dungeon, held in chains in the dark beneath earth, accused and attacked, humiliated and blamed, tortured and mutilated in the most violent ways.

Here, I was forced to pay not for what I had done, but for how I had been seen.

And maybe it was then that I first betrayed myself, and left my soul behind.

In the face of so much pain, maybe the truth no longer mattered to me so much.

It seems possible that, in terror and desperation, I gave in, and accepted their words as truth. 

Maybe I started to believe that I did deserve all that I suffered. 

That it was my fault. 

That it must be true, that if I had not been so selfish, stubborn and wrong, I never would have ended up there.

Maybe there, beneath the earth, banished from the world, I had started to wish that I had never dared to be me, that I had just hidden myself away, and never been so foolish or proud to attract attention to myself at all.

Maybe I’d wished to go back, to have done things differently, to have promised myself if I had the chance to do it all over I would have hid, I would have been more modest, I wouldn’t ever have provoked anyone to hurt me.

And when the grace of death finally touched me in that hell, maybe all of these fears and traumas and regrets carried on with me into the next life.

This one.

“What has been will be again,

what has been done will be done again;

there is nothing new under the sun.”

–Ecclesiastes 1:9

Maybe this created exactly the upbringing my soul wanted. It desperately wanted to feel safe. And it thought the best way to do that was to stay as small as possible.

Never let anyone see my goodness. Never allow myself to be “too much.”


Living in fear.

Living to please and pacify all others, lest I be captured again, lest I once again bring about my demise due to what was called the sin of my vanity.

Well, it didn’t exactly work.

I wouldn’t really call what happened to me “keeping me safe,” anyway.

But either way, I see what may have been the intention, and I see the results.

I tried my best to beat myself down first. To keep myself humble and small before others, so no one would have any reason to believe I thought myself superior, “too good” or better than anyone.

But the problem was, I could never be small enough.

I could never hide myself so well that no one ever took offense.

In betraying myself, I just recreated the same pattern of betrayal from others.

Maybe this is the lesson I need to learn instead:

You can’t ever control other people, no matter what you do.

You can try all day to please, but some people will find only bad in all of the good you have to offer.

Sometimes, people are committed to their perceptions in such a way that you are almost irrelevant.

Your attempts to prove your “goodness” may only drive some to even further hatred or revenge.

Maybe I need to stop trying to convince people who refuse to be convinced.

Stop making other people’s perceptions the priority.

Maybe I need to let go of my fear and my desire to manage others.

This would probably do more to cause change for me than anything else.

Sign of necessity!
Supreme star of being! —
That no desire attains,
That no No desecrates,
Eternal Yes of being,
Eternally I am your Yes:
For I love you, O eternity!”

–Friedrich Nietzsche

The Tower of Babel

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.” –John 1:1

For most of my life, my greatest passion has been the search for knowledge.

A lonely child, I found refuge in books: in fiction, tales about foreign lands and fantastic creatures; in practical books about science, the earth, and life processes; in languages, philosophy, religion; in the paranormal, occult, and mysterious. You name it, I had to know about it.

I often felt like everyone else had gotten the instruction manual on this thing called Life, and I was the only one left empty-handed.

And so I took this business very seriously. I read anything and everything I could get my hands on. Somewhere out there was the answer, one day I would find the truth behind it all, and everything would make sense.

In college, I studied literature and languages, and later went to graduate school for a master’s degree in Rhetoric & Composition. I developed an obsession with epistemology, the study of truth, language, and what we can know.

Eventually I started to think that maybe Socrates had it right all along, and the answer was that we truly can know nothing;  but my obsession now had a life of its own, and the demon inside me demanding answers ate every piece of text and trivia in its path, never satisfied, always hungry for more.

I was building my very own Tower of Babel, and it was destroying me. Every Word was another brick in this tower, growing higher and higher into the sky, and I thought that in this way I would one day touch God.

This tower was not built of truth, but of ego. It was a fortress meant to protect me from this reality: that I was terrified, confused, lost and alone.

As all I had built crumbled in a flash, I saw that each little piece of knowledge, each little fact, each bit of data was a line of defense against the world, against chaos, and against life.

It was awareness that I was seeking, and consciousness that I needed.

Words can be a useful tool in directing thought, in guiding the mind to greater consciousness. The word is creative, it is generative, it directs the manifestation of life, but it is not life itself.

Four of Pentacles | Tarot Card Meaning & Interpretation

4 of Pentacles

Keywords for the Four of Pentacles


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. 

The Devil Laughs at You

Journal Date: November 27th, 2020

Something funny just happened.

So, I had done my hair and makeup earlier, and I decided to be silly and take some selfies and then posted some stories on Instagram. 

When I came back to my B.O.T.A. stuff there was another card on top of my papers. It was Key 15, the Devil.

I didn’t think all that much of it at the time, but then I started to wonder.

That’s not the card I had been working on.

When I left my work, I had been studying the Tower, and that card was still where I had left it at the top of the pile.

But somehow, the Devil had made its way from the bottom of that pile and over on to the rest of my papers. 

Without me remembering having touched it…

Hm. I wonder what that means?

Well, as I’ve been learning, the Devil can mean ignorance and limitation, but also overemphasis on the physical and concern with appearances. 

It also refers to mirth, to not taking things too seriously, to laughing, enjoying yourself and having a good time.

I’m still not sure how it happened, and it’s not a big deal. Just an interesting little synchronicity that has given me something to think about…