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The Tarot Suite of Pentacles

To best understand the workings of the Tarot in general, and the Suites in particular, one should have a comfort level with the underlying aspects of the divination technique. While it is workable to memorize meanings of the cards, one does not have a full appreciation of their workings if the archetypes and metaphysical symbologies are not understood. There are symbologies of numerology and elements present in the minor arcana. This set of notes will focus on the specific suite/element of Pentacles/Earth.

There are four traditional elements in the Western metaphysical world. These are: earth, fire, air and water. These elements are the basis of most every magical/metaphysical working and belief. So, it is not surprising that the elements are also present in the Tarot. The elements are directly embrace the Minor Arcana, with each suite representing an element.

All creation starts from a single source, a seed. This is true in the use of the elements. The entirety of the universe represents the oneness of the elements. All the metaphysical expressions of the universe are presented by one, or a combination, of the elements. As thinking creatures, the idea of an infinite oneness is not palpable to us. It is said that to name a thing is to both know it and change it. At the risk of changing the oneness, mankind does name it, divide it into parts to create a thing that seems finite and understandable.

The oneness of the Universe is then divided by two. A duality is created. The female division provides the creative potential of live and the male division provides spark that moves the creation forward. Below is a chat of symbolic roles:

 

Female

Male

Lasting

Short-lived

In Charge

For Show

Covering and Hiding

Revealing and Exposing

Eternal

Cyclical

Passive

Active

Inner

Outer

Dark

Light

Roles of the Genders

While it may seem that the genders contradict each other, they are actually complimentary. If a system is completely female, it becomes stagnant fuel/potential with no movement. If a system is completely male, it burns itself out with no fuel available to maintain the spark. A mixture of the two is needed to provide the fuel (female) and the spark (male) to the light of life. 

To properly read the both the minor arcana, and their associated Court Cards, one must have a grasp of these mystic associations of "male" and "female" energy. Female energies are slow and steady. The price for this fixed state is paid through inability to move in cycles of completion and quick readiness. We shall see later that the elements of pentacles-earth attest to this. The forces are fixed, remaining inherently inert and passive unless a male element is introduced.

The genders are next split in two, creating four states of being in the elements. The split represents a duality of Inner and Outer. A male and female pair embraces an energy that is expressed inwardly, in ways associated with the single system or individual. The other male and female pair embraces an energy that servers or focuses on those things outside of a single system or individual. So, there is defined a "female-male" element, a "female-female" element, and so one. This is a very important differentiation, and should be understood.

As the "female-male" element, Earth is inherently fixed, but still has an element of movement and completion in it. This is seen through the cycling of the seasons, and the ever changing mantle that makes up our planet. Material things may not be transient like Fire or Air, but they do have an ability to pass into and out of our lives with male qualities.


Divisions of Universal Oneness

Traditionally the elements interact with each other using rigid rules: Fire and Water are enemies, therefore weaken each other. Air and Earth are enemies, and therefore weaken each other. The interesting point with this rule is that elements of the same "gender" don’t work together. Water and Fire are both female in orientation, and their combination leads to a passiveness that does not prosper. Likewise, Air and Earth are both male in orientation, and their combination burns out and does not prosper.

Below is a chart focusing on the suite/element of Pentacles/Earth:

Element

Gender

Focus/Direction

Duality

Expression

Traditional Meaning

Earth

Female

Outer/Others

Male/Female

represent money, material matters, and physical well-being

material things

Now that we have an understanding of the origins of Pentacles, the element can now be correlated to its Tarot suite, and the suite will be examined in detail. After much discussion, now the Pentacles of the earth element is presented:

Suite
Element
Gender (Main)
Gender (Secondary)
Pentacles
Earth
Female
Male
Table of Suite Correspondences

EXAMINATION OF PENTACLES IN LIGHT OF "GOOD" AND "BAD" CARDS

The association of a card as being good or bad is a distinction that I find to be based on a pessimistic approach to the cards. The dualistic tags of "good" and "bad" are relative sides of the same coin. It said that all good things must come to an end. When this end occurs, the "bad" side of the coin appears. The seeds of the "bad" are present in the "good", just as the full potential for "good" is present in "bad". When one operates on the basis of "good" and "bad" concepts, there exists no balance. There is always striving for what is not possessed, and sorrow for what is lost.

I instead encourage a holistic approach to the cards that allows one to accept the "good" cards as a respite, and the "bad" cards as opportunities for growth and movement. The nature of the cards is not judged by relative labels of dualism. Instead, the cards are appreciated individually – moments of being where only opportunity is present. The idea of non-dualistic identification of the cards is challenging. To fully examine the philosophy behind the minor arcana, I will continue to use the tags of "good" and "bad". When you see these words, instead think "opportunity" and "opportunity".

I feel that there are two kinds of "bad" cards: challenge and warning. The first category, those of challenge, contains those cards that indicate change and spiritual examination. The second category, those of warning, contains cards illustrating human short comings. Ironically, these short-comings are promoted when change or spiritual insight is not embraced

 

Card #

Pentacles

Wands

Cups

Swords

# of Good

# of Bad

1

G

G

G

G

4

0

2

G

G

G

G

4

0

3

G

G

G

B

3

1

4

B

G

B

G

2

2

5

B

B

B

B

0

4

6

G

G

G

G

4

0

7

B

B

B

B

0

4

8

G

G

B

B

2

2

9

G

G

G

B

1

3

10

G

G

G

B

2

2

# of Good

7

7

6

4

 

 

# of Bad

3

3

4

6

   


The suite of Pentacles – Earth – is only seen in a bad light when there is too much of it (4), and when there is change of a mundane (5) or spiritual type (7). These are expected, and should be avoided in the case of the number four, or welcome in the cases of five and seven.

Pentacles (Coins, Shields)

Symbolism/Interpretation: generally represent money, trade, fortune, business.

Pentacles/Disks correspond to the female element of earth. They represent money, material matters, and physical well-being.

The element of Earth is expressed through the direct experiences of our five senses: seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, and smelling. This suite is one of action and reaction. When I sell somebody an item, they will give me money. When I eat ice cream, it will taste good. When I drink too much, I will have a hangover. The functions are uncomplicated. When somebody lives at an Earth level, life could be as slow and steady as the seasons turning and the crops growing. Earth-based religions feel very much in touch with these cycles, and celebrates them on Full Moons and quarters of the year.

We refer to the earthly element as the force of Form (or Body). Man’s strongest instinct is the will to be and the first manifestation of that desire is to create something out of matter to prove his existence. Earthly people do this through the gathering of material possessions and the actual building of the physical aspects of Man: his industries, his homes, and his physical body. It is the element of earth in a horoscope behind the needs to be practical, cautious, and very understanding of Man’s ambitions toward material security and physical pleasures.

Meanings of the Numbers

 

Number

Meaning

Ones (Aces)

New beginnings

Twos

Relationships, duality, balancing of two

Pentacles: two $ making ventures

Threes

Synthesis, collaboration, self-expression, expansion, fulfillment – except Swords where this is missing.

Pentacles: mastery of skill, achievement of expertise, fulfillment of craft

Fours

Foundations, stability, status quo

Pentacles: security though finances, good financial foundation, holding onto $

Fives

Change, instability, volatile, necessary to adapt to unpleasant changes

Pentacles: insecurity, unemployment, left out of things, being out in the cold, loneliness

Sixes

Assistance, idealism, perfection, and a change for the better

Pentacles: financial aid, benefactor, the power of the Universe to provide in magical ways, generosity, prosperity

Sevens

Unexpected change, perception, insight, new awareness and perspective, change brought about by insight

Pentacles: new business perspective, labor produces, new inspiration about future projects, surprisingly good news

Eights

Control, power and mastery over a situation through self-reliance and autonomy, organization

Pentacles: education, learning new skill, apprentice, creation

Nines

Completion and fulfillment of each suit, maximum intensity of each suit in the cycle, completion, fulfillment

Pentacles: comfortable home, beautiful environment, often solitary comfort, comfortable with one’s self

Tens

Renewal through a new cycle. Many lessons have been learned regarding the suit in question – mastery.

Pentacles: material prosperity, sense of happiness and contentment beyond financial riches and security

 

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