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?

Entering Gemini Season

On Wednesday, the sun leaves the fixed earth sign of Taurus and enters the mutable air sign of Gemini. In the northern hemisphere we have been deep in the throes of a spring that has been fairly mild where I live. We will be entering into an energy of change, from being seated in spring to beginning the transition into summer. Those in the southern hemisphere will be experiencing a similar change, from the throes of fall into the transition to winter.

Gemini season also brings with it a restlessness that only air signs can bring. Gemini is the air sign of air signs, the restlessness of air combined with the changeability of mutable energy. Each of these energies are upward bearing, causing our thoughts and actions to sometimes be unfocused and scattered. This type of energy is very different from the Taurus energy we are leaving: downward-bearing, earth-bound, focused on the comfort of the concrete and material.

As the sun enters Gemini, pay attention to how the energy changes your thought processes. Gemini is all about problem-solving, analyzing, and learning about new ideas. You might find yourself more in your head than usual, and you might be bouncing from idea to idea.

Gemini is ruled by Mercury, which corresponds to communication. While paying attention to your thought processes, you can also pay attention to how you communicate those thoughts to others. Is your communication as scattered as your thoughts are? What are some things you can do to help your focus? How can you convey your thoughts and ideas in a way that is meaningful to others?

Physically, Gemini corresponds to the hands, arms, and lungs. We see some of this correspondence play out in the way Gemini is related to Mercury and communication. Our hands are our most-used tools, so you can also pay attention to how you use tools to help you to communicate your ideas to others, or how they help you make your thoughts and ideas more concrete. Are there tools that will better serve you in these areas? Is there some work you could be doing with your hands that might bring you a measure of peace during this crazy time, like a hobby? Are there herbs you can use as tools to increase your lung health, especially during this lung-centered pandemic?

Gemini and the Tarot

Gemini is associated with the Lovers card in the Tarot. Most people associate the Lovers card with relationships and finding love, or with commitments of some kind. I have never found this definition of the card to resonate with me, not because I don’t have relationships or believe them to be important, but because I don’t believe them to be so important as to warrant a card all about them. One thing I have learned from my Tarot teacher, Lindsay Mack, is that Tarot is for everyone. If there is a card definition that could leave out an entire section of people, then that definition needs to be revisited, and I think that this card is an example of that. One of the best podcasts of Lindsay’s that I have ever listened to explains that you are your own lover. Your soul desires a relationship with you. I believe that is a much better definition to this card, especially considering that there are so many of us, myself included, that are so disconnected from our bodies and souls, living up in our brains. This is what our society asks us to do every day – it is actually how we are educated, to look at things from a brain-focused lens, but the Lovers asks us to step away from that lens and reconnect with who we truly are on a soul level. This Gemini season might be a good time to meditate on the Lovers card and what it means to us, and find out who we are on the soul level and not just on the brain level, which is how everyone outside of us knows us. We use that identity so much, and a lot of us identify with that exterior identity more than we do our eternal soul identity simply because we have not taken the time to get to know ourselves on that level. Through the Tarot, Gemini season asks us to reacquaint ourselves with our soul identity.