Tarot Deep Dive: Five of Pentacles

Snowdrop flowers blooming in early spring.

I have chosen for my first Minor Arcana Deep Dive one of the more triggering cards of the Minor Arcana. Whether or not this is a good idea remains to be seen, but because this card is linked astrologically with Taurus I thought it would go along with themes I have been exploring in previous posts.

Traditional Meaning

Traditionally this card has had to do with scarcity, isolation, and tough times. The image on the card in the Waite-Smith deck shows two figures walking in the snow, in the dark. One of the figures is using crutches and the other is wearing ragged clothing and walking barefoot in the snow. They are walking beside a building and directly under a rich stained glass window with the five pentacles on it. In the deck I use, The Witches Tarot by Ellen Dugan and Mark Evans, the five of pentacles shows a tree that looks to be dead. On it hangs the five pentacles. There is snow on the ground, and peaking out of the ground in the foreground is a snowdrop flower, symbolic of the change from winter to very early spring. I like how this card shows some hope for the future in the arrival of the snowdrop, but the meaning that this card has been given deals more with hardship and scarcity. I find this interpretation to be somewhat problematic and not very fleshed out, especially when reading for the present moment. Of course, card context is key, but let’s see if we can read more into this somewhat triggering card.

Astrological Interpretation

Five of Pentacles’ astrological correspondence is Mercury in Taurus. We have been talking a lot about Taurus lately so we know that Taurus has to do with reconnecting with Mother Earth and cultivating silence and simplicity in our lives. Taurus is symbolized by the bull, who likes the comfort of his green pasture and does not like to move or change. Mercury, on the other hand, is the fastest planet in the sky and handles the transmission of information from the lower realms to the higher realms. This mismatch of energy levels between Mercury and Taurus can be problematic, because Taurus would burn out in the realm of Mercury and Mercury would become frustrated at Taurus’ slow pace. There is also the numerology behind the number five to consider. Five symbolizes curiosity and freedom and change, which does not go along with the slow, steady pace of Taurus.

The combination of Mercury and Taurus energy invites us to pause and handle any information we receive with mindfulness. We might receive some stressful information, perhaps information that has the potential to bring about change in our lives. It doesn’t always have to, and the change could be something small. Sometimes when we are stressed our brain perceives any new pieces of information as stressful and/or life altering. We can be invited into a lot of fear around that stress. Mercury is associated with the air element so a lot of that fear and stress will be in our minds, in our brain. Taurus is associated with the earth element so it invites us to press pause on that information, press pause on the stress, press pause on the fear, and bring your awareness back to your body and your breath. Remember how we said that Taurus’ second teacher is silence? This is putting that idea into practice. The brain will go on and on about the information it has received. It will kick up all kinds of fear around that. Taurus works to shut down all of that noise and stay grounded in the present moment. Yes, we need to consider the information, but it does not hurt us here in the present moment. It may change how things look in a future moment, but right now in the present moment we are safe. That is the message that Taurus gives to Mercury.

If you find yourself in a Five of Pentacles moment, ask yourself:

  • Is this information changing my present moment?
  • How can I ground into this moment so that my brain is not invited into fear?
  • Is there a chore or something concrete that I can do to ground myself?
  • How is that snowdrop flower showing up in this moment? Where is the positive, the growth, from this?

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