Pentacles

  

             

Crowley Thoth Deck

                      

Ryder-Waite Deck

        
THE MEANING OF THE PENTACLE MINOR ARCANA CARDS

    What is a pentacle?
We have our four elements of fire, earth, air and water.
We have our four magickal symbols representing those elements:

Cups=water (the direction-west
Wands=fire (south)
Swords=air (east)
Pentacles=earth (north)

We note that in the north is the element, earth.

The god-name is Adonai ha-aretz.
The archangel is Uriel. The angel is phorlakh.
The principle is LAW.
The season is winter.
 The time is midnight.

  

As the earth symbol, the pentacle is a very sturdy tool, not given to the excesses of fire, air and water. It is more stable, more reliable, more fixed, but less flexible and less creative.
A person’s body is also a pentacle, with the 2 arms, 2 legs and head.It is good to contemplate on pentacles during the season of winter. The pentacle time is a time to go within, to germinate -to examine beliefs. To let the self constrict. And perhaps – to embrace the shadow.
The pentacle is one of the four suits of the minor arcana of the tarot, the numbered cards of 1-10. Different decks call the pentacles different things, to emphasize a particular magickal tradition. We are going to examine the pentacle cards in the Rider Waite deck and Aleister Crowley’s Thoth deck. An example of a card from this deck is shown here: The Magus. The Thoth deck calls this earth element "disks." Other decks call them shields, coins—or even stones. All represent the element "earth." The idea of the disk encompasses the circle, the wheel, the cog, or perhaps the machinery of the universe. In a SHIELD you have a symbol of protection, something you can place between yourself and the aggressor. The shield might be constructed out of material or out of your own consciousness—seeing that it is our consciousness which we use to shield us from spiritual dangers.The COIN is a curious symbol in that it is something which does not of itself have value but it bids you to consider what you are going to buy with your coin and whether you are going to barter it wisely. The coin is a potential. What you buy with the coin tells you something of what your values are. Suppose you choose merely to save the coin? It might be that you do not want to engage and commit. However, there are times that you do need to save it. When Dante crossed the river styx, he had to pay the boatman a coin, but it was also crucial that he save a coin for the return journey if he wanted to.
      
THE TAROT CARDS

Ace -Any ace shows us the potential of the element. The ace of pentacles is the potential for the gift of the earth; nature, wealth, security, a joyful life. The magick must be recognized in day to day things; in nature, in civilization, and especially in the work that we do. In the Rider deck the hand offers its gift in a garden, a peaceful and sheltered place, a garden that will thrive and grow if the conditions are right.The aces correspond with Kether on the Kabbalistic Tree of Life: being in its purest form without attributes. All of the pentacles represent the Kabbalistic world of Assiah, manifestation as we know it.
Two of pentacles – All tarot 2’s represent Chokmah on the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, the will to force but as of yet without form. The 2 of pentacles shows Chokmah operating in the material world. The two gives us the initiation and the fecundation of a thing, that which makes a thing fruitful. For the first time, we encounter duality. The number 2 gives us the principle of the need to balance opposites, a principle so important to the Kabbalistic Tree. The Thoth card poses an astrological situation: Jupiter in Capricorn. This is not a good placement for Jupiter. It does, however, ensure a certain harmony in the interaction of dualities inherent in the 2 energy. The Waite card shows the balancing of two pentacles to form the lemniscape, the infinity sign. The Thoth card shows us the ying and the yang. A large snake has arranged itself into the infinity sign. There are triangles inside each ying/yang circle in the Thoth card, and these are painted red for fire, blue for water, grey for earth and yellow for air, showing that transformation touches all realms of being. Pentacles are about work and about money, the recompense for work. One example of a real-life duality, a two of pentacles situation, might be a factory which gives work to a lot of people but which pollutes the environment. Or a parent who has to work but also must devote much time to a domestic situation.

Suggestion: look for dualities in your life, especially those involving the use of time.

Three of pentacles - The 3’s are Binah on the Kabbalistic Tree, the Great Mother, both the nourishing mother and the depriving mother. The 3 is Binah in the (material) Kabbalistic world of Assiah. With Binah, you have the beginnings of form and thus the beginnings of limitation, for as soon as you have something defining itself, you also have how it has NOT defined itself. The big limitation we encounter is time. If we choose to spend time one way, it also means that we have rejected other choices. A three shows the element (pentacle, earth) as moving toward maturity. The astrological situation is Mars in Capricorn. This is a good placement as Mars is exalted in Capricorn. Control and discipline are brought to material things. Employment, business and construction are important here. In the Waite card we see a medieval artisan at work in a church. In the Thoth card you see 3 wheels—mind, body and spirit. The 3 of pentacles is a card of mundane work, but work which is expected to bear fruit at a later date. Your whole being is needed for this work, an engagement of all of your energies. There is also the idea of work as a doorway to self-development. We have to remember here that money is nothing of itself, but it is something that we use as we make many of life’s choices. Work is one step away from money. But work requires our most valuable resource – time. So, time, work, money are related.

Suggestion: Consider whether there is some area of your life where you could improve the way you use your most valuable resource, your time.

Four of pentacles - Fours are Chesed (mercy, generosity) on the Kabbalistic Tree. Chesed in Assiah. Assiah supplies a grounding to the energies of Assiah. Jupiter is the planet, covering all matters of abundance, growth and prosperity. Four is considered a "good" number: perfection, completion, making a matter settled and fixed. Example: Four legs to most tables and chairs, making them solid and grounded. The astrological situation in the Thoth deck is sun in Capricorn, which gives light and warmth and suggests material success and gain in money or influence. The figure in the Waite deck is hoarding his pentacles overmuch, and is excluding other persons. On the Thoth card, you see the 4 squares, each bearing an alchemical element. You get a sense of security and strength at all levels of being. We all need order in our lives but sometimes it can be too rigid; the rigidity of Capricorn, as an earth sign, strains the quality of mercy a bit.

Question: Is there anything in your life that is too rigid and structured? Is there structure and rigidity when spontaneity would be better?
Five of pentacles - Geburah in the world of Assiah, the material world; a harsh, yet necessary corrective- like surgery! The fives tend to bring problems; opposition, struggle, strife, obstacles. In the suit of pentacles, they bring material hardship. In the Rider Waite card, two people walk right by the church, a possible refuge- but there are no obvious doors to get in. A sanctuary is there but they are overlooking it, or perhaps it has rejected them. There is the idea of hardship as the glue of the relationship of the figures on the card. The Thoth deck reveals a Mercury in Taurus situation. (The 2,3 and 4 of pentacles have the earth sign Capricorn; the 5, 6 and 7, Taurus; the 8, 9, l0, Virgo). The Thoth (Crowley) card is called "worry." The pentagram is upside down; it has fallen out of balance. The situation is in a rut and relationships are troubled. The tatwah symbolism is the red triangle (one’s own energies are blocked); yellow square (you worry about finding a solution); the worrying is not constructive. The light blue crescent indicates that the situation touches the depths of the subconscious. The black oval shows a black hole, seeing no way out; whereas the blue circle could be your inner wisdom urging you to do something.

Question: Are there any people in my life that I have a "five of pentacles" relationship with? Are there any people that I am having trouble communicating with?
Six of pentacles - Sixes in the tarot are generally good, referring to the sephiroth of Tiphareth on the Kabbalistic Tree- Beauty; the Sun, the Higher Self; the vision of the harmony of things. Tiphareth in Assiah, the material world. The sixes show accomplishment, execution of a matter. The astrological situation is the Moon in Taurus. This is an exalted placement for the moon. The 6 in the Rider deck shows sharing, generosity and charity, but we do not that the characters have a social hierarchy. Is the giver giving just enough to keep the others in their chains? Is he giving just what social convention calls on him to give, so that the situation remains balanced without anything getting solved…The Thoth card is more optimistic. Its title is "success." Six planets are shown in the 6 disks and they are circled in harmonious order.

Question: What does success mean for you, at this moment?

Seven of pentacles -The Sephiroth on the Kabbalistic Tree is Netzach, our emotional nature, love in right relations; Netzach operating in Assiah. In this 7 of pentacles, Saturn is in Taurus. There is some disappointment or the idea of unfulfilled success. The character in the Rider deck is looking back with some satisfaction as to what he has accomplished, but there is the idea of much work for little gain. The Thoth card shows the disks against a blue-black background, which looks like peacock feathers, carrying the idea that one’s fears and dreads—of making a mistake in a business or financial situation e.g. – is a mental state of affairs, not necessarily reflecting reality. Sevens in the tarot contain a certain amount of self deception. Both the Rider Waite and the Crowley card pertain to work—labor—not the spending of our money, but the spending of our time. The cards could be a cautionary for us to evaluate how we in fact are spending our time.

Question: Is there any use of time that you might not be spending wisely? Are you spending too little time in the service of your higher self?

Eight of Pentacles – The Kabbalistic Tree sephiroth is Hod, reason- the individual mind; the intellect; books; systems of ritual magick; a library set up with its ordered filing system. Eights in the tarot are generally positive, leading to success for the time being but nothing that amounts to much. We have Hod operating in Assiah. The Sun is in Virgo, a practical planetary state of affairs lending concern for detail. Waite’s 8 of pentacles carries the idea of the work that allows us to appreciate things, caring about the work for the sake of the work itself. The Crowley 8 is a tree unfolding in a wealth of blooms, a flowering of internal and external richness. The tree is just beginning to bloom- it is not the time for the harvest or for distributing the newly developed riches. There is a cautionary here: you do not want to spend too much time with small things at the expense of great things. This 8 is a willingness to work hard at small things, but one must not lose sight of the overall picture.

Question: Are you giving yourself the protection and nourishment that you need for your own development?
Nine of pentacles - Nines relate to Yesod on the Tree: the foundation, the astral realm, the storehouse of images from which that which exists is created. Yesod in Assiah. Nines shown a great fundamental force and power, whether for good or for ill. The astrological situation given on the Thoth-Crowley card is Venus in Virgo. Venus is in its fall in Virgo, meaning that Venus has trouble expressing its true nature here. With the influence of Yesod in Assiah, the influence is a great one, as Yesod is directly above the station Malkuth on the Tree. Malkuth is much like pentacles: the earth. Manifest existence. At the point in the tarot where you have the higher numbers like 9’s, the fullness of the suit (here, pentacles) is approaching its maximum. In the Waite card, the lady in the garden, there is the idea of an ability now developed to be able to distinguish what truly matters in one’s life, and success is more than just material success. With the Thoth card, the 3 disks in the center symbolize the unification of love (pink circle), wisdom (blue circle) and creativity (green circle). Love is the central binding force. In this tarot painting, the artist Frieda Harris portrays the three-way relationship between herself, Crowley and their friend Israel Regardie—the 6 planet symbols bear their three faces.

Question: What is the highest goal in your life?


Ten of pentacles - Malkuth in Assiah—the station on the Kaballistic Tree and the Kaballistic world are in their matching realm. Tens show fixed, culminated forces. The situation, whatever it is, is clearly defined and defined with finality. The astrological situation is mercury in Virgo. A key word here might be methodical. Mercury is "dignified" in Virgo—meaning the planet is in the sign that it rules, the place where it is most comfortable. Both decks show the pentacles and disks arranged in the shape of a Tree of Life. But again there is a cautionary. In the Waite deck, the characters are in a beautiful garden, but they seem to be looking past each other rather than communicating. There is a magician in their garden, but the man and woman do not see him.
In the Thoth deck, there are some older violet coins in the background, and these seem to have lost their shine. True wealth must touch all areas of one’s life; and if your riches are to remain valuable, they must be shared and communicated with others. Even the greatest treasures…lose their worth if they are not used in the service of love.
Ref. Rachael Pollack, "The Minor Arcana."
Wang-"Qaballistic Tarot"

      -Dorian B
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