Yesterday I realized that I hadn’t seen much of the Pentacles in my past readings, if at all. When I did my very first readings for J and M the other night, with the simple Past – Present – Future spread, their cards overflowed with Cups, J’s especially; M’s had Swords as well. I didn’t trust mine, but for the most part, my readings are full of Cups, which seem to signify relationships and family. Swords have to do with business, finance.
Today I woke up to the sound of rain and one of the coldest mornings I’d felt in a while, and immediately sat up to start what I hope will become a habit: one tarot reading a day. I tried Beth Maiden’s simple self-reading spread: three cards placed face-up, nothing fancy. And Pentacles showed up in every position, which surprised me — especially since it was my first time using the Rider-Waite deck, which I’d opened just the night before!
Interpreting the cards, from the surface
The Four of Pentacles shows a man — a king, like one in stories about Robin Hood — being weighed down by Pentacles, one on his head, one cradled in his arms, and the other two keeping his feet firmly on the ground. The card deals with wanting to possess and maintaining control; i.e., wanting to be in charge, insisting on your own way, imposing structure. More than that, it’s about blocking change — wanting things to stay normal and safe, resisting the flow (keeping Water back), refusing to see and accept change, and therefore stagnating.
The Nine of Pentacles shows a graceful lady in robes, gloves, and a coiffed hairstyle, walking through a garden with what Waite says is a falcon perched on her left hand. The card represents grace, high-mindedness, civilization, and a love for beauty while Pentacles (or coins) lay on the ground, showing how they are important, or at least ever-present, but not the be-all and end-all of existence.
The Nine of Pentacles represents discipline and self-control. The lady “enjoys her cultured life because she has mastered her baser instincts” — represented, perhaps, by the falcon, which is all instinct and impulse. “Her impulses work for her because they do not rule her. […] Sometimes the Nine of Pentacles suggests that you must show restraint and self-control if you are to achieve your best efforts.” The card lso represents self-reliance; i.e., you must trust yourself to handle the situation correctly and take matters into your own hands, if you want to have a life you truly enjoy.
The last card, Ten of Pentacles, shows a man, woman, child, and their well-mannered dogs arriving at the marketplace — which is seen in many of the other Pentacles, so the card also talks about “arrival” — and talks about how you want material success to last once you have it. It often stands for convention and maintaining the status quo. But perhaps because of the gate, it also talks about how change is unavoidable. So it’s telling you to concentrate on long-term solutions, working towards lasting solutions, and “making arrangements that will work for you far into the future.”
Interpreting the cards, beneath the surface
Today’s spread was honestly an interesting one, since yesterday I was in the most terrible of moods. I don’t handle spontaneity well; when I expect something to happen, I wait for it, and if something changes, I’m thrown off my game, completely unable to deal with it. And that’s what the Four of Pentacles showed: my always wanting to have the final say on, or at least to have influence over, decisions made, and refusing to budge from them. But insisting on “holding all the cards”, so to speak, means that you’re weighed down by them, unable to move.
The left-hand card, which represents what you need to let go of, was the Nine of Pentacles, and it instantly reminded me of my officemate M, which was the first sign — and the scariest one, to be perfectly honest — that the spread was the right one for me today. The card represented M through and through — from the woman’s long robes to the way she daintily bent her wrist — and for a moment I was horrified, thinking that it meant I’d have to let go of her… which would have made some sort of sense because of my beastly behavior yesterday.
But the Nine of Pentacles — like most Minor Arcana cards — doesn’t always represent a person, even if people are present in the image. It represents letting go of baser instincts, ruling them, and taking control yourself. (Note that this is different from the Four of Pentacles, which says that you take control of everything; the Nine, on the other hand, means that you control only yourself. Don’t let jealousy win, or rule. Let people do what they do; don’t fight against something you can’t control. Don’t let yourself be drowned by jealousy. Focus on what’s higher — what’s more important — whether it be spirituality, arts and beauty, or just a goal you have.)
The last card, signifying advice, was the Ten of Pentacles. It’s a card that talks about convention and how people who benefit from it can be bound by it, unable to see their way forward. That card represents understanding that things are going to change, and it doesn’t mean that they will right now. But as we near the end of the year — it’s December 16th right now, making us two weeks away from the end of the year — I need to focus not on my office, but on where I want to be next year.
When I returned from the UK, I suddenly became comfortable about where I am. After months of feeling burnt out, or at least close to it, I felt revived, refreshed, and ready to handle anything that came my way. Learning that my officemates suddenly understood how well I worked mollified me; and my pay increase, increased stature, and an unidentified person’s assertion that I should be promoted made me think that I could stay.
But over the past two weeks, I’ve started seeing things I thought were gone — feeling the dissatisfaction rise again, like a wave. Things aren’t bad, but I’m once again finding reasons that I shouldn’t stay. I don’t see a future in a place where my boss doesn’t appreciate me, where I can never take on a leadership position, where I’ll always feel less. And while that may happen in any place, any organization, any school, it feels wrong now. So the time has come for me to focus on what’s ahead.
Today’s spread was so fascinating, and I’m amazed by how it all fits together — how it’s all so timely. I’ve never seen the Pentacles represented so widely, entrenched so firmly, in a spread, which originally made me think that it was wrong, but it fit so well. Earth — worldly possessions, the world I know — weighs me down. It’s time to go beyond.
Reading for December 16, 2015, Wednesday, read at 6:30AM.