King of Pentacles: The Provider / Miser

walk your soul’s path, offering your mastery to others

Kings exercise maturity and leadership in their element + Pentacles represent the material world and how we as spirits navigate it

from The Relative Tarot by Carrie Paris

The King of Pentacles has learned to truly walk the path of their soul’s work, and therefore able to help others. Their down-to-earth nature prefers a certain humanity and is responsive to others and their needs. There is a grounded wisdom to this king, and their material security may be financial, or it may be their trade or their family or something else far more meaningful to them than money or material possessions. Kind and pragmatic, they will mentor others in their field (“field” being a carefully chosen word, here; it may be literal!). Their grounded nature tends to be more practical and realistic, with an eye for what is necessary and the patience to see it through. The knight’s persistence has paid off and they enjoy success and respect, though a conservative nature may guard it cautiously.

In personality typing, the King of Pentacles fits neatly into the ESFJ description, which seeks stable lives rich in contact with friends and family, and are happiest when serving others. Their supportive and sensitive nature makes others feel good about themselves. Dependable, they may see what needs to be done before others do, and see that it gets done. They do have a need for structure and organization, they enjoy being in control of their environment, and may need to be careful of controlling those who do not need or wish to be controlled. As providers, they not only indulge in good food and wine, but are generous in sharing it. They are genuinely kind and generous– the type who would give you the shirt off their back. Traditionalists, they respect the established system of rules and authority rather than wade into unchartered territory — which may cause them to blindly accept these lines without questioning (or even understanding) them.

(-) In resistance, they hold their resources close to home, gaining the reputation of the miser. Their avarice applies not only to money, but to their wealth of talent or other knowledge that they withhold.

(+) In excess, their conservative and stubborn need to control creates rigid structures and resists change. An overimportance on material wealth and possessions may show in an ostentatious display of luxury. They may exploit the labor or resources of others.

Questions we may be prompted to ask when this card comes up include

  • Where are you fixed in controlling your environment?
  • Do you keep your resources tightly secured, unwilling to share?
  • Do you feel the need to display wealth in a fancy car or designer clothes? What insecurity is this masking?
  • Conversely, do you deny yourself things that could make your life easier?
  • Do you feel that you balance the material with the spiritual? How are you walking your path?
  • What would you like to be known for? How are you passing that on?

What else? Court cards are complex and multifaceted, including more than these labels, and you may have other insights. What historic or fictional characters does this king remind you of? What part of yourself is represented, here?

Queen of Pentacles: The Caretaker / Abuser

tend to your physical needs and well-being

Queens nurture the magic of the element within and reflect it out + Pentacles represent the material world and how we navigate it

from Darkness of Light Tarot

The Queen of Pentacles is warm, peaceful, and content in their own skin while providing physical nurturance in some way (as the Queen of Cups nurtures emotionally, the Queen of Pents nurtures physically). They are good with their hands, hospitable, kind, practical, and enjoy a comfortable life — reflecting not necessarily one of luxurious indulgence, but one in tune with nature and life. They appreciate the natural world in its ability to calm and the pleasure it brings to the senses; for they are in relationship to that which is around them and, as such, take responsibility in caring for it. They provide a sense of security; but here it is on an interpersonal level rather than the King’s more transpersonal one. A traditionalist, status can be important to them, and they may work to keep up appearances.

In resistance, they are ungrounded. Withholding their care, they deny others physical nurturance or stability. Or, as the Queen of Swords’ critic turns inward to self-criticism, the Queen of Pentacles may become self-abusive. “The good wife” so dutiful to husband, home, and family must remember to give themselves some of the nurturing they dispense so freely to others.

In excess, they are overly concerned with appearances and status, perhaps with a sense of inadequacy. The importance they place on earthly fulfillment may turn to overindulgence as their constant quest for more is displaced.

Questions we may be prompted to ask when this card comes up include

  • When do you feel ungrounded?
  • Do you resist taking care of others or deny them security?
  • In what ways are you self-abusive? What is this (addiction, overindulgence, self-deprivation, self-injury, etc.) masking?

What else? There are many facets to the courts and you may have other insights. What historic or fictional character reminds you of this queen? What internal part presents in this way?

Knight of Pentacles: The Planner / Protector

plot your course carefully for a slow & steady pace

Knights take action + Pentacles relate to the ways in which we as souls navigate the material world

from Arcana Tarot Playing Cards

While the other knights are charging forth, the Knight of Pentacles is patiently plotting his course. Not one to rush into anything, this knight exercises caution to protect his interests on his soul’s quest, committed to the journey and knowing that slow and steady wins the race. Like his sturdy draft horse (bred for strength and endurance, not speed), he represents duty and work on his path.

As protectors, knights can be multifaceted, and in his role of protector, the Knight of Pents is protecting his resources through careful planning and preparation, so that his efforts yield growth (like the greenery in the helmet of the Smith-Waite card). Conservative, practical, reliable, disciplined, and responsible, he works hard for safety and security in home, health, and finances, and can offer that help to friends in need.

In resistance, that cautious attitude slows him from taking any action at all. He may be stuck on his path or in his standard of principles, stubbornly holding on to conservative or outdated values, intolerant of others, and overly guarded of his resources or body. The heavy energy inherent in this card feels like the weight of the world on his shoulders as he plods on, bored and unsure of what he has committed to.

In excess, he is the planner on steroids. This is the traveler who has every moment of the trip planned out in his agenda. As the protector, he takes the interest of security a little too earnestly, perhaps feeling the need to arm himself (he could be the militia ammosexual protecting his property or his privilege against the Knight of Swords’ activist); or is so focused on the physical that he becomes the bodybuilder in a showy display of strength. What does he need to prove?

Questions we may be prompted to ask when this card comes up include

  • Are you so cautious that you take no risks at all? Is there something you should be acting on?
  • Is it time to re-plot your goals, or divide them up into achievable action steps?
  • Are you overly focused on your body and how it measures up to body ideals?
  • Do you take on the role of the protector? Who or what do you need to protect? Does this involve proving your worthiness through physical strength?
  • Do you need to protect yourself in some way?
  • How flexible are you in terms of your values? Where are you inflexible?
  • Is there someone to whom you can turn in times of need who can provide shelter, food, or money? Are you that person for another?

What else? This card is complex, with different aspects of planning and protecting interwoven. How do you see it? Who do you know that fits these roles? What parts of you do you recognize, here?

Page of Pentacles: The Apprentice / Lackey

explore your soul’s work with a hands-on approach

Pages explore, striving to understand their suit + Pentacles show us as spirits navigating the physical world

from Herbcrafter’s Tarot

The Page of Pentacles learns about the sensual world through a hands-on approach, bringing the ideas or plans in previous suits to form. Bored by the theoretical, they roll up their sleeves and develop skills in an apprenticeship or other manual learning or work opportunity which allows them to explore their soul’s Work and to feel more rooted in purpose. The speed of everything slows down in the Pentacles (quite an evolution from the sparky Wands!) as we learn to trust time and process, and this includes the qualities of being grounded, practical, steadfast, patient, and loyal.

In resistance, they lack the drive to plan for their future and take the real-world steps to manifest it, perhaps becoming servile, complacent in doing the work of others in a subservient manner, or pursuing the work that someone else wants for him.

In excess, they push their ambitions to riskier behaviors (such as gambling).

Questions we may be prompted to consider when this Page comes up include

  • Is there a skill you’d like to learn but haven’t? What holds you back?
  • Are you subserviently taking on the work of others? Do you resent it?
  • Are you comfortable in your body? Do you ignore your body’s needs? Why?
  • Conversely, do you work out excessively?
  • Do you deny yourself sensual pleasure? Does this stem from shame and where does that come from?
  • Do you seek the thrill of physical danger or risking material instability? What part(s) do you think drives that behavior?

What else? There are so many ways to interpret the Pages, and you may have other wisdom. How has it come up for you?

10 of Pentacles

consider the legacy that you’re creating

Ten shows the fullest expression of the suit + Pentacles represents the ways that we as spirits navigate the physical world

from the Spiral Tarot

And so, in its centered aspect, the Ten of Pentacles depicts the soul supported in having a human experience. As the final pip card, it speaks deeply to our own mortality and asks us to consider how we will be remembered. In the Smith-Waite depiction, we see the kabbalistic tree as a spiritual reminder that a full life doesn’t need to be complicated or lavish. The inheritance so often attributed to this card speaks of familial lines; this is the family, the legacy, the ancestors, tradition, mortality — perhaps even a healing of generational lines by our standing in our power and doing our soul work. Cultivate the community and tools to be supported in that work. As the book for the Dali Tarot points out, individuality cannot be achieved in isolation.

For those more spiritually inclined, this may also be a reminder to do ancestor work. By honoring those who have come before us (whether familial, occupational, spiritual, geographic, or other), we may learn from them.

In resistance, we may mistrust abundance or have lost the security of family ties. Perhaps we have been disenfranchised.

In excess, we may be cloistered in ethnocentrism or choosing material comfort over more spiritual pursuits.

Questions we may be prompted to ask when this card comes up include

  • What will you be remembered for? What are you doing right now to build that legacy? What stops you from doing so?
  • Are there familial relationships that need tending right now?
  • What ancestral baggage are you shedding?
  • Are you still clinging to outdated family values passed down to you that exclude others or enable their disenfranchisement?

What else? There is vast meaning in this card and you may have other insights. How has it come up for you?

9 of Pentacles

bask in the grounding nature of the surroundings you’ve created for yourself

Nine shows a solitary moment to gather ourselves in the gifts of the suit + Pentacles represent the physical realm

from Touchstone Tarot by Kat Black

And so, in the centered aspect of the Nine of Pentacles, we enjoy the surroundings and lifestyle we’ve created for ourselves. So often translated as material wealth and independence, I see it in a more spiritual sense. It signals contentment in our physical surroundings (e.g., a love of nature or setting up our own space in the home) and with our path. It’s a place of independence, of self-satisfaction, of self-sufficiency; but we don’t need wealth to thrive, and material possessions do not make a self-possessed life.

The suit of Pentacles is a very grounding one, and here we may be reminded to ground by experiencing nature.

In resistance, we don’t allow ourselves time to fully be with ourselves. We may not feel that we can or should. Perhaps we’re not comfortable in a place of abundance, or even in our own skin; or we feel guilt for not being “productive.”

In excess, our only concern is our own comfort or self interest. Perhaps we’ve become so independent that the environment we’ve created is entirely under our control — even down to the hooded falcon doing our bidding.

Questions that we may be prompted to explore when this card comes up include

  • Are you comfortable in the solitude of your own company? Do you allow yourself that time? If not, why?
  • Do you enjoy leisure time? How do you view it?
  • Is luxury an important part of your life?
  • Can you give up control of your environment?
  • Are you in need of grounding?

What else? What observations and insights have you had on this card? How has it come up for you?

8 of Pentacles

show up

Eight emerges from the uncertainty of seven with momentum or direction + Pentacles represents navigating the physical world

from Darkness of Light (1st ed.)

And so, in the centered aspect of the Eight of Pentacles, we pursue the daily hands-on work involved in the mastery of our craft (including our spiritual craft). As Lindsay Mack said, “the true essence of soul work is not in the outcome but in showing up every day.” Persistence pays off. It’s through repetition that we progress.

Remember also to take joy in the details; the spirit with which we work is in the result, and the essence of this card lies in the desire to express ourselves through our work.

In resistance, we lack the motivation or discipline to put the effort in.

In excess, we fear not being perfect. We get caught up in the details or become driven by the expectation of perfect mastery.

Questions we may be prompted to ask when this card comes up include

  • Do you lack self-discipline?
  • What patterns do you repeat over and over?
  • Do you get stuck in attention to detail, driven by perfectionism?
  • What are you obsessing over?

What else? It seems pretty straightforward, but no card has a singular, simple meaning, and you may have other insights. How has it come up for you?

7 of Pentacles

be patient; allow the fruits to ripen at their own pace

Seven remains still in its waiting or assessing mode while activity continues outside of it + Pentacles represents how we as spirits navigate the physical world

from The Relative Tarot

And so, in the centered aspect on the spectrum, the Seven of Pentacles is a place of waiting for our work to materialize. We may be assessing whether to continue on our path, but we must be prepared to play the long game. Things may not be going as planned (Smith’s leaves are of blighted potato plants), or we’re still waiting for the rewards, but it denotes a period of growth and waiting where we’ve done our part (though it doesn’t hurt to do a little weeding or pruning, to stay in touch with the forces that impact our growth / goals). As Paul Quinn wrote in Tarot for Life, “despite our most controlling efforts, the things we cultivate ripen by their own timetables.”

In resistance, we expect defeat or sabotage our progress, over evaluating, second guessing, and abandoning plans that didn’t meet our expectations.

In excess, me may be trying to push the river.

Questions we may be prompted to ask when this card comes up include

  • Do you fear that things will not go as planned?
  • Are you a perfectionist in your expectations? Does this cause you to second-guess or abandon that which doesn’t meet your high ideals?
  • Do you sabotage your own efforts? What parts could be driving this?
  • Are you trying to push the river?

What else? What insights have you had into this card? How has it come up for you?

6 of Pentacles

share the wealth

Six shows the give & take or the ebb & flow of cycles + Pentacles represent navigating the material world

from Rackham Tarot

And so in the centered aspect of the Six of Pentacles, we have come up out of the struggle of the Five and are now in a position to share the [proverbial] wealth with others. We may question why some must lose while others gain, and what our place is in this system; we may see redistribution of wealth or resources within a framework of equality between all people. Ideally, it’s an exchange of giving and receiving where everyone benefits. Keep in mind that as Pentacles deals with our souls navigating the material world, we may also consider our soul’s path or spiritual journey throughout this suit, and the card pictured at left illustrates the concept of receiving from the act of giving.

In resistance, we lack the spiritual awareness that facilitates generosity. Are we afraid of losing what we have? If identifying with the receiver, we may feel degraded by being dependent on others.

In excess, we keep others dependent on us. What parts of us feel the need of a dominant/submissive relationship with others?

Questions we may be prompted to ask when this card comes up could include

  • Are you dependent upon someone or something? How does that make you feel?
  • Do you feel that life has treated you unfairly? How so?
  • Have you compromised yourself in some way? Are you indebted to another?
  • How are you sharing your gifts? Is there something you can offer which may benefit someone else? Are you holding back on that offering?

What else? This is merely my take on it and you may have other insights! How has this card come up for you? Feel free to share your own thoughts.

5 of Pentacles

ask for assistance

Five shakes us out of four’s stability and asks us to confront + Pentacles represent navigating the material realm.

from Bohemian Gothic by Baba Studios

And so the centered position of the Five of Pentacles presents a challenge in the material world — of health, of home, of finances, of our spiritual path. The security we felt in the four is gone and this uncertainty is a reminder to not be afraid to ask for assistance or sanctuary when we need it. You can’t have it if you can’t ask for it.

It may also convey a sense of being outcast or unwelcomed, and we may note that there are often comrades shown, signifying the aid of another — perhaps in a caretaking role. Inherent in many depictions of this card is that true refuge is spiritual, not material, and we may consider those in need of asylum. Social injustices and inequalities must be confronted, and this card may point to that work.

In resistance, we simply refuse to ask for assistance or connect with our higher source of power or path.

In excess, we identify with poverty or lack mentality (e.g., ‘the starving artist’). This card is a reminder to change the unconscious programming of viewing life through the lens of lack. Expecting it begets it.

Questions to consider when this card comes up may include

  • How are your needs being met? Are you lacking in some area and what can you do to secure it?
  • Is there a resource you may be overlooking even though it’s right under your nose — or are too proud to approach?
  • Is there someone who needs your help? Are you in a caretaking role, or see yourself as always taking that on?
  • Are you in search of a spiritual community?
  • Do you hesitate to ask for what you want or need? Why?
  • Do you identify with lack mentality? What parts drive that thinking?

What else? There are different aspects of this card, and you may have a different perspective. How has it come up for you? Feel free to share your insights.