Tarot 101, My Way – Court Cards: The Pentacles Court

The members of the Pentacles court (also called Disks or Coins depending on the deck) are the “planners” of tarot royalty. They are for the most part orderly and regular, not prone to flights of fancy and wasted motion (or for that matter, emotion). Give them a set of rules and they will follow it doggedly, just don’t expect them to improvise when the road ahead isn’t clearly marked; they are more administrative than executive, both  by choice and by temperament. They take the long view, with little tolerance for the fads and fashions of the day, and prudently extol the virtues of the “rainy day fund” over the “fast buck.”  Not overly bothered by deep thoughts or feelings, they have more in common with the single-mindedness of Fire than the more tortuous ways of Water and Air. They are creatures of instinct rather than artifice, generally steadfast, reliable and unflappable but also unimaginative and patient to a fault. You would want one for your plumber or excavator, but probably not to direct your romantic comedy. Their tread is heavy and resolute; no skipping allowed.

The suit of Earth is usually related to material pursuits that promote stability, which automatically brings up associations with work, but it is more career path than daily labor that is symbolized. Fire, with its emphasis on enterprise and initiative, is what gets the worker up and off to the salt mines every morning. Earth hoards the income and manages the investments. They are “function focused,” with a dominant  bias toward money, finances, property and possessions, sustenance, security, comfort, discretion, conservatism, preservation, protection, stability, and established work habits (current job). The last thing they want is to have a day off with nothing useful to do; although deliberate in their ways, their reputation for laziness is a bad rap. Ambition can be a “slow burn” as well as a “fast track,” as the fable of the tortoise and the hare clearly illustrates.

 

The Court Cards: The King/Knight of Pentacles

Titles:

Fire of Earth; Lord of the Wide and Fertile Land; King of the Spirits of Earth

Astrological Correspondence:

20° of Leo to 20° of Virgo

Commentary:

Golden Dawn “Liber T” (S.L. Mathers):

“Unless very well dignified, he is heavy, dull, and material. Laborious, clever and patient in material matters. If ill-dignified he is avaricious, grasping, dull, jealous, not very courageous, unless assisted by other symbols.”

The Pictorial Key to the Tarot (A.E. Waite):

“Valor, realizing intelligence, business and normal intellectual aptitude, mathematical gifts and attainments of this kind; success in these paths. Reversed: Vice, weakness, ugliness, perversity, corruption, peril.”

The Book of Thoth (Aleister Crowley):

“Those whom he symbolizes tend to be dull, heavy and pre-occupied with material things. They are laborious and patient, but would have little intellectual grasp even of matters which concern them most closely. Their success in these is due to instinct, to imitation of Nature. They lack initiative; their fire is the smouldering fire of the process of growth. If ill-dignified, these people are hopelessly stupid, slavish, quite incapable of foresight even in their own affairs, or of taking an intelligent interest in anything outside them. They are churlish, surly, and jealous (in a dull sort of way) of what they instinctively realize is the superior state of others; but they have not the courage or intelligence to better themselves. Yet they are always irritably meddling about petty matters; they interfere with, and inevitably spoil, whatever comes their way.”

Discussion:

As a person involved in the situation, the King/Knight of Pentacles is the “Joe Six-pack” of the neighborhood,  always willing to pitch in as long as someone offers him a Budweiser. He can be counted on to appear on time at the appointed place but must be closely supervised in all his tasks, and he will be the last to leave as long as the beer holds out. He is a “rock” of stability and reliability, but with all of the dull predictability that implies. He keeps his eyes on the ground but doesn’t have the imagination to notice anything but the dirt under his feet.  He is likely to be the “strong, silent type,” but getting him to talk may not be a good idea unless you have the patience of Job. It brings to mind the anecdote about the entertainer who once mocked the vacuity of his audience by observing “You could put your ear up to their mouths and hear the ocean.” (Judging from the above commentary, it seems that nobody likes this guy very much.)

As an attitude or behavior of the seeker, the King/Knight of Pentacles encourages lying low and “tending your garden,” as Candide remarked at the end of Voltaire’s satirical novel. There is nothing to be gained by strenuous exertion, so waiting out the “downtime” is the best policy. If you must accomplish something, choose small, simple tasks over large, complex ones.

As an impersonal influence upon one’s life, this card can describe a slack period that is best used to recuperate and regenerate. Conservation and preservation of resources are the keys to making the most of the interlude of relative inactivity. The observation about the quietude of country life that goes “You can hear the grass grow” is a useful analogy.

 

The Court Cards: The Queen of Pentacles

Titles:

Water of Earth; Queen of the Thrones of Earth

Astrological Correspondence:

20° Sagittarius to 20° Capricorn

Commentary:

Golden Dawn “Liber T” (S.L. Mathers):

“She is impetuous, kind, timid, rather charming, great-hearted, intelligent, melancholy, truthful, yet of many moods. Ill-dignified, she is undecided, capricious, foolish, changeable.”

The Pictorial Key to the Tarot (A.E. Waite):

“Opulence, generosity, magnificence, security, liberty. Reversed: Evil, suspicion, suspense, fear, mistrust.”

The Book of Thoth (Aleister Crowley):

“Persons signified by this card possess the finest of the quieter qualities. They are ambitious, but only in useful directions. They possess immense funds of affection, kindness, and greatness of heart. They are not intellectual, and not particularly intelligent; but instinct and intuition are more than adequate for their needs. These people are quiet, hard-working, practical, sensible, domesticated, often (in a reticent and unassuming fashion) lustful and even debauched. They are inclined to the abuse of alcohol and of drugs. It is as if they could only realize their essential happiness by getting outside themselves. If ill dignified, they are dull, servile, foolish; they are drudges rather than workers. Life for them is purely mechanical; and they cannot rise, or even seek to rise, above their appointed lot.”

Discussion:

As a person involved in the situation, the Queen of Pentacles is patience personified. She is utterly calm and poised, with not a hair out of place. This is the woman you want for a confidante; she is alert to any hint of impropriety and knows how to keep her mouth shut. Like the ideal mother-figure, she is there for you even when you didn’t know you needed her, and she doesn’t hesitate to support you.  I’ve never known her to be a drug addict, but overindulgence in other passions (food, drink, sex, etc.) is a distinct possibility. I sometimes think of her as the “little sister” of the Empress in the same way the King of Wands is the “little brother” to the Emperor; she has a similar sense of grace and gentleness of manner, and is seldom coarse or venal. About the only downside to her presence is that she is a “follower” and rarely take the lead in anything. But if that’s what you want, you’re in luck.

As an attitude or behavior of the seeker, the Queen of Pentacles encourages keeping your house in order and your opinions to yourself. You can gain favor by being unassuming and nonjudgmental when others are clamoring for attention.

As an impersonal influence upon one’s life, this card can describe a situation that moves in its own quiet groove with little need for active engagement, provided it’s going in a desirable direction; if it isn’t, getting a firm grip on its rather featureless surface to turn it around may prove difficult. You may be on autopilot to disappointment.

 

The Court Cards: The Knight/Prince of Pentacles

Titles:

Air of Earth; Prince of the Chariot of Earth

Astrological Correspondence:

20° Aries to 20° of Taurus

Commentary:

Golden Dawn “Liber T” (S.L. Mathers):

“Increase of matter, increase of good and evil, solidifies, practically applies things, steady, reliable. If ill-dignified, animal, material, stupid. In either slow to anger, but furious if roused.”

The Pictorial Key to the Tarot (A.E. Waite):

The Book of Thoth (Aleister Crowley):

“The character denoted by this card is that of great energy brought to bear upon the most solid of practical matters. He is energetic and enduring, a capable manager, a steadfast and persevering worker. He is competent, ingenious, thoughtful, cautious, trustworthy, imperturbable; he constantly seeks new uses for common things, and adapts his circumstances to his purposes in a slow, steady, well-thought out plan. He is lacking almost entirely in emotion. He is somewhat insensitive, and may appear dull, but he is not; it so appears because he makes no effort to understand ideas which are beyond his scope. He may often appear stupid, and is inclined to be resentful of more spiritual types. He is slow to anger, but, if driven, becomes implacable. It is not very practicable to distinguish between the good and evil dignities in this card; one can merely say that, in case of his being ill-dignified, both the quality and quantity of his characteristics are somewhat degraded. The reaction of others to him will depend almost entirely upon their own temperaments.”

Discussion:

As a person involved in the situation, the Knight/Prince of Pentacles is the “middle manager” par excellence; he is painstaking and fastidious, never passing up a chance to set something to rights. He is the capable functionary who “knows what he knows” quite thoroughly, but is also astute enough to recognize the things he doesn’t know and isn’t afraid to ask. If you’re seeking a trustworthy lieutenant, this is your man. Although he isn’t bucking for promotion (or after your job), he prides himself on his effectiveness, so stay alert for signs that he has gone beyond his depth and be prepared to reel him in. Kept comfortably within his limits, he is the “model employee” who is worth every penny spent on his development. Practical wisdom is the “coin of his realm,” and he  allocates it carefully where it will do the most good.

As an attitude or behavior of the seeker, the Knight/Prince of Pentacles encourages being consistently businesslike and responsive to opportunities for both team and individual advancement. Clichés that fit the profile are “go-getter,” “eager beaver,” “no flies on <your name here>” and “favorite son,” although the envious will no doubt prefer less flattering epithets.

As an impersonal influence upon one’s life, this card can mean mundane “opportunity writ large.” Watch for shifts that presage important changes in infrastructure or business dynamics, and be prepared to “ride the wave.”

 

The Court Cards: The Page/Princess of Pentacles

Titles:

Earth of Earth; Princess of the Echoing Hills; Rose of the Palace of Earth

Astrological Correspondence:

The northeast quadrant of the zodiac, comprising the signs of Aries, Taurus and Gemini

Commentary:

Golden Dawn “Liber T” (S.L. Mathers):

“She is generous, kind, diligent, benevolent, careful, courageous, preserving, pitiful. If ill-dignified, she is wasteful and prodigal.”

The Pictorial Key to the Tarot (A.E. Waite):

“Utility, serviceableness, interest, responsibility, rectitude—all on the normal and external plane. Reversed: Inertia, idleness, repose of that kind, stagnation; also placidity, discouragement, carelessness.”

Pentacles

The Book of Thoth (Aleister Crowley):

“The characteristics of an individual signified by this card are too various to enumerate; one must summarize by saying that she is Womanhood in its ultimate projection. She contains all the characteristics of woman, and it would depend entirely upon the influences to which she is subjected whether one or another becomes manifest. But in every case her attributes will be pure in themselves, and not necessarily connected with any other attributes which in the normal way one regards as symbolic. In one sense, then, her general reputation will be of bewildering inconsistency. It is rather like a lottery wheel from which the extraction of any number does not predict or influence the result of any subsequent operation.”

Discussion:

As a person involved in the situation, the Page/Princess of Pentacles aims to serve. She is pleasant and obliging; there isn’t a contrary bone in her body. Ask her for something and she will give you double if it’s within her power. As a friend she has an uncanny knack for just the right gesture at just the right time, and will go out of her way to make you feel appreciated. Her sense of comportment is finely tuned, and she can be genuinely ingratiating without seeming obsequious. As Earth of Earth (that is, a double exponent of the element), she could be considered the “salt of the earth and the savor” (Chaucer’s usage), a pure and simple exemplar of homespun goodwill.  In terms of companionship, she is a rare find indeed. On the negative side, she can too easily become an uncomplaining  “doormat” for more assertive – and less considerate – types to wipe their feet on.

As an attitude or behavior of the seeker, the Page/Princess of Pentacles advises being kind if it suits you, and at least congenial if it doesn’t. There is no percentage in being ornery when a pleasant word costs nothing.

As an impersonal influence upon one’s life, this card can describe a “learning opportunity;” what must be learned is the value of generosity and compassion.

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