In Queering the Tarot, Cassandra Snow takes the most common interpretations and manifestations of the cards and discusses ways you might read them for a LGBTQQIA2SP+ client – or for yourself. Read the whole series here!
Great news, everyone! This series is getting a nice, shiny refinish and heading to book format through RedWheel/Wieser publishing! It’s slated to be out in early 2019; I’ll keep this section updated as I receive more info.
(I promise the Pentacles get cheerful again! Just, uh, not right now.)
Tarot’s fives are our cards of duress and heartbreak, and this one specifically speaks to financial loss and poverty.
Pentacles are Earth energy, and Earth is anything that keeps us connected to the world around us and allows us to grow and thrive. That means this Five also speaks to feeling isolated and disconnected, and it can include feeling lost or alone spiritually (or existentially).
This is a hard card and one where it’s easy to get down on yourself and lost in your emotions. I don’t want to overlook a very common piece of the artwork in this card though; often the card shows a couple of people lost/stuck in the snow/etc, while they look in on a lush room filled with happy people. There’s two ways to interpret this. One is that, yeah, wow, this is a really hard time you’re going through, and you’re 100% right to feel like it isn’t fair or justified. It can also be taken as a warning not to compare yourself and your life to others. In the heyday of the internet and instagram and all of our wonderful apps it’s easy to look at what it looks like other people have and are boasting about and feel low about where we are and how we’re doing.
Depending on how you see this card, there’s two different outlets for those feelings. You can use that stable Earth energy to figure out how to move forward yourself, or you can just…stop. Stop comparing yourself to other people, because where you are now is where you are. If you can change it, this card is a necessary message to do so. If you can’t, you’re only going to hurt yourself more by staring in vain at what other people have.
In my own life, this card has shown up when I get the blues about not being romantically partnered, or when it feels like my life is behind schedule because a lot of my college friends are two or more kids in already. Sometimes the card shows up because it wants me to recognize where maybe I am a little behind schedule, but more often than not it is that stark reminder to stop comparing myself to my (often straight and cisgender) age peers. I don’t want a family in the traditional way, and that’s a pretty common (though certainly not unilateral) mindset in the LGBTQ+ community. It’s ridiculous then that the feelings of inadequacy and “What am I even doing with my life” creep in when I see that Betsy from Advanced Geometry is on her third kid, but it happens with stark regularity.
As we queer this card, we need to look at the realities of life for a queer seeker, and while not having a partner is not life-threatening, it does lead into that feeling of isolation and certainly makes us feel lost at times. The reality is that it’s harder to date in the queer community, especially when you’re over thirty. That’s fine! Everyone who is single needs the occasional reminder to stop comparing yourself to other people and their relationships. In a community that makes up less than five percent of the population, the odds are a little stacked against you. Be gentle on yourself.
Of course I’m not going to ignore the effects of poverty on querents from the LGBTQ+ community and how this card plays a hand.
Another one of those realities is something I brought up several times already in this series; housing, employment, and stability often do not come easily or securely to us. In a card of poverty or financial loss, we need to take that into account. Unfortunately, we are likely still climbing uphill the best we can when this card shows up. Non-profits and community resources fold, and this Five isn’t going to lie to us if a resource we are building is heading that way. Our personal financial lives can be in shambles for the foreseeable future because of how poverty intersects with other marginalized identities.
That can all be a tough pill to swallow. It can be valuable information too, though. It could be that we needed to hear our current path wasn’t about to lead to success so we can switch gears. It could be the final straw that encourages you to seek help and resources. It could be that sometimes we need to struggle before we move ahead in our journey, which the Pentacles do promise in the following cards.
Another harsh reality for queer seekers is the spiritual poverty often seen in this card.
So many of us grew up Christian, Muslim, or Jewish in churches, mosques, and temples that didn’t want us once we came out. The temptation to turn away from our gods or spirituality on the whole is nearly impossible not to give in to when we are pushed away from religious communities that once felt like home. Unpopular opinion, I know, but I actually think that time of feeling separated from your Higher Power is good. Religion should be deeply personal, and until you are metaphorically lost in the dark woods, you are never going to find your personal sunrise. Some LGBTQ+ people are very Christian, very Muslim, very Jewish, and many of them find a spiritual home that lets them be both; still I think this is something you have to find for yourself.
This card is not a fun one, but a time to question is an opportunity, and it’s an opportunity that leads so many of us to a deep, primal understanding of ourselves and our spirits if we give in and let ourselves lose our way for awhile.