Five of Pentacles Tarot Card Meaning & Interpretations
The 5 of Pentacles was first illustrated in the Rider Waite Smith (RWS) deck as a poor couple, walking at night time in snow, past a stained glass window of what maybe a church. The man on crutches with his leg in a supporting brace and the woman barefoot in the freezing snow. This card was illustrated in a way that leaves much of their plight subject to speculation. Are they are out at night in the snow because they are homeless? Is it a church they are going to for help, comfort and support? How did they end up like this? The RWS 5 of Pentacles is an important card because it serves to reminds us that Pentacles, and the element of Earth, refers to our physical well being which is also a part of our material domain. No where else in the RWS Suit of Pentacles illustrations do we see health or physical references but they do still apply to all 14 cards of this suit.
The 5 of Pentacles covers 3 main areas of material distress. Accidents and illnesses are just an inevitable part of life which will disrupt our routines and force us to seek help and assistance. For the majority of us life will be full of financial ups and downs and the 5 of Pentacles is a marker for one of those low points. Finally all material things are fated to deteriorate over time and die or need repairing or replacing. Notice the subtle detail, in the RWS 5 of Pentacles, of white cracks in the wall running at a slant below the window.
All the cards in the Minor Arcana numbered 5 are problematic cards. The number 5, in numerology, has the negative qualities of being chaotic, unstable, self-indulgent, irresponsible or careless and Tarot's Minor 5s reflect those negatives. If we look to the 5s in the Major Arcana we find positive cards which offer a solution to this chaos. Card number 5 of the Major Arcana is The Hierophant which represents conformity, doctrine, laws and rules that bring order from chaos. It represents not just the church and religious law but all establishments of authority which people live and work under. The other 5 in the Major Arcana is card number 14 Temperance (numerology reduces 14 to 5) which represents self control. When dealing with the 5 of Pentacles in a Tarot spread these additional cards maybe the warning, or solution, of what will be required to restore order to its material chaos. For example if it is an accident or illness then The Hierophant represents a hospital with the financial support of the state or a health insurance company. If it is Temperance then this could be a pre-emptive warning to take care of your health, your finances or your possessions.
The 5 of Pentacles, or the 5 of Coins, is an unhappy card of financial, material or physical stress, damage or loss. The element here is Earth which relates to the material domain including physical health. In numerology the number 5 is unstable, unpredictable and chaotic and applied to the material its distruptive influence is rarely positive. If this card appears in a forecast spread it would be wise to be extra vigilant and guarded against accidents. The length of time it applies would require additional cards to determine. For example seen together with The Moon would suggest a period of a month until recovery from its disorderly influence.
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THE PICTORIAL KEY TO THE TAROT
By Arthur Edward Waite (1911)
Two mendicants in a snow-storm pass a lighted casement. Divinatory Meanings: The card foretells material trouble above all, whether in the form illustrated--that is, destitution--or otherwise. For some cartomancists, it is a card of love and lovers-wife, husband, friend, mistress; also concordance, affinities. These alternatives cannot be harmonized. Reversed: Disorder, chaos, ruin, discord, profligacy.
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