Magic stars: In praise of Pentacles

I feel like pentacles get a bad rap in tarot.

They’re always the last suit in a newly-unshuffled deck, always the last chapter in the book.

And earlier this week, a few of you even moaned about them in the comments of this very blog!

This will not do, my friends.

Let me tell you about the magic of pentacles.

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Seven of Pentacles, from the Shadowscapes Tarot by Stephanie Piu-Mun law

Pentacles correspond to the element of earth.

We often think of them as ‘worldly’, as they pertain to the material. We associate pentacles with money and work and material possessions.

That’s all fair enough. In many tarot decks pentacles are called ‘coins’, and these cards do often comment on our financial or work situations.

The minor arcana cards are all about our day-to-day lives, and money and work, for most people, are a big part of that.

But it goes a lot deeper.

What is the element of earth all about? Yes, our physical world, but more than this, it’s our sensual world. It’s the stuff of our lives that we see, feel, taste, touch, smell. It’s sexy and dirty and real.

And it’s magic.

Oh, is it magic. Check out the symbol of a pentacle – it’s a star! An upwards-pointing star at that.

This is about finding magic in our everyday lives. It’s about experiencing the divine within our material world – the beauty in nature, the joy of devoted industry, the sexy-ness of sex, the security of good health. The pleasures of a delicious meal and the enjoyment of a beautiful cityscape. And the opposites of those things – pain and poverty, ill-health, greed and loneliness, too.

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From the Anna K Tarot by Anna Klaffinger

Most of all, the pentacles cards are about grounding our ideas, thoughts and feelings in reality. Making something real, something tangible, from something that was only imagined. That’s pretty special.

Without the suit of pentacles, we’d be completely lost!

We’d be floating blobs of emotion and thought, brilliant ideas with no way to come to life, insecurities with no safe home, love without a hug or a kiss. The pentacles, or rather, the earth of us is the wisdom of our bodies and our ability to tune in to this. It’s charting your period, it’s listening to your belly, it’s nourishment and growth.

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From the Rider Waite Smith Tarot

It’s also craft and industry. It’s doing things with your hands, digging in, getting creative, making something real. Gardening, wood-carving, knitting, cooking, sculpting, building, digging… these are all beautiful, earthy occupations.

The trick is not to miss the magic.

So when you’re rolling your eyes at the pentacle cards in your reading, look a little closer. Notice that magic wand in the Ten, or the infinity sign in the two. Where is the magic, what might you be missing?

For example…

The Six of Pentacles might be reminding you of the cycle of give and take in life, how we take from the earth and must remember to give back, too.

The Eight of Pentacles could be about the absolute joy you feel as you build your business.

The Ten of Pentacles reminds you to pay attention to the details around you. Nobody ever ‘has it all’ – which parts of your life make you feel the most rich?

The Ace of Pentacles could be a new lover or experimenting sexually with your partner. Or it could be the garden you plan to create, or encouragement to get fit, or the chance to move to a place that feels more… you.

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From the Wild Unknown Tarot, by Kim Krans

And okay – sometimes that Four of Pentacles is saying ‘watch your spending’ or that Five is suggesting you quit your job. It’s all useful, and it’s all part of being a human on this big old planet made of earth. But the pentacles cards help us to connect to that earth and experience the magic of being physical, sensual beings.

Which I think is pretty damn special.


PS If you liked this post, here’s another about earth and pentacles and a sense of ‘groundedness’.

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17 comments

  1. tarottiferet says:

    Beautiful post :) I never used to relate to Pentacles but as I build my business and see the results of hard physical work I have put in, I can see the magic in them. I always resisted the Pentacle-side of myself, embracing emotion and thought. But now I love it. My card for 2015 is the King of Pentacles. Bring it on! :)

    • Beth
      Beth says:

      Hurrah! It’s easy to see the King of Pentacles as stoic or stuffy – but they are also generous and warm! I’d say this card suggests a hard-working but profitable year, in that you’re doing work you love and believe in, and for which you are rewarded.

  2. Anya says:

    Me too me too! It’s funny, my chart’s Earth all over the place and I’m a very Taurus-y Taurus, but haven’t been able to associate the sensuality of earth with the pentacles suit till now. And that sensuality really is one of my favorite things!

    • Beth
      Beth says:

      Right? When I realised that earth was a lot about sensuality, it brought a whole new meaning to the pentacles cards in tarot. Think of The Empress!

  3. Tricia says:

    I love this post & feel very connected to Pentacles (I’ve struggled with unemployment and crappy jobs and starting my own business) and totally feel like being in the here and now– smells, sounds, colors (or lack thereof), soaking it all in and assessing how it makes me feel as a whole and how I have progressed professionally & personally. I’m really into cups too (I think most are). My drawing for earlier this week was the 7 of Pentacles and the 3 of Pentacles… love it!

  4. Danielle says:

    “We’d be floating blobs of emotion and thought, brilliant ideas with no way to come to life, insecurities with no safe home, love without a hug or a kiss.”

    this…actually hits pretty close to home at the moment, haha. okay, i’m being a little dramatic, but it also might explain why i got a lot of pentacles when i first started doing tarot & not so many any more. or maybe the deck is just responding to my negative emotions!

    anyway, this is great. lots to think about. :)

      • Danielle says:

        oh, it’s just that this last half of the calendar year has been a little rough, what with a major relationship going through a lot of changes and some anxiety. i really was being a little over-dramatic though! things are mostly, objectively, good. especially when i get out of my own head. ;)

        <3

  5. Shelby says:

    I used to be a Pentacle moaner…but I have really come around to them (especially that 9 of Pentacles! 8’s not so bad either) even when they are bringing me bad news 5. It’s the Swords that really bug me but that might be a post of my own to be written.

    • Beth
      Beth says:

      Oooh I love the Nine! For me that’s the ‘independent woman’ card – it’s really empowering and proud!

      Ah the Swords. In one deck I saw these named as ‘the suit of sorrow’ – wow, how inspiring!! I’ll do a post like this on all of the suits in time, but if you do a ‘swords’ one soon, do share it won’t you Shelby? x

  6. Sandi Mackenzie says:

    i enjoyed that. just for something in terms of new diseases i have found that the Aids virus can be identified by a combination of Ace of Pentacles (virus) 4 of swords and the High Priestess.

  7. jmk says:

    I’ve never had an issue with Pentacles, a very useful set of concepts for a reading, but this is the second time in a week that I’ve been made aware that other people do. Why this synchronicity, I wonder?

  8. Spark says:

    I love the Pentacles! This is definitely my suit, and the Knight of Pentacles is my card. I’ve always felt a bit like the solid (boring) one, watching the Cups and Wands and Swords around me have so many FEELINGS and ADVENTURES. Nurturing and the earth and practicality and sensuality–we Pentacles may not be the most flashy, but how could you not love us?

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