Pentacles are about the material aspects of the world such as health, things we own, abundance and work. They are also about how these are manifested into reality such as practical, steady planning and a step by step approach. As well as being the worldly things, the things you can own or touch, pentacles can also be about the things that you can sense, sense based experiences, nature and the environment. There is a groundedness to the pentacles and a stability that lends itself to tending to the aspects of daily life such as health maintenance and food. This suit embodies the idea that a flourishing outer world extends from a flourishing inner world. Putting on your own oxygen mask in on a plane before helping others is a high expression of pentacle energy. This is helping and being generous with yourself but tending to self first in order to do this.
“Pentacles, as either magic signs or money, can influence the world without physically moving”
– Rachel Pollack
Where pentacles can be about prosperity, they can also be greed, possessiveness and materialism and an obsession with money for money’s sake. It can also be about the power that comes with money and owning things and thinking about what Pollack said, this can be a very strong way of influencing the world without physically moving.
In tarot, twos can go two ways, appropriately! They can be about union and partnerships or they can be about choices and opposition as they were with the two of swords. With this in mind, we can also see them as being able balance or finding the middle ground.
Twos are also linked with the high priestess, the two from the major arcana, who is associated with intuition, the feminine and looking inwards for wisdom. She is often depicted in a way that suggests balance and harmony.
The two of pentacles shows a juggler spinning two pentacles and is an image we can read in two ways. Firstly, he could be seen as enjoying himself, having fun and being playful but an alternative reading could see him precariously balancing the pentacles, trying to hold things up in the air. We also see here the infinity sign made of ribbon which appears above the head of the magician and above the woman on the strength card. Looking at the meaning of the card we could see the infinity sign here as a reminder that we are always balancing things in our lives and/or that there are infinite things we need to balance.
Reversed, Waite tells us this card means ‘simulated enjoyment’, not stimulated enjoyment as I repeated read it… Here we find ourselves putting on a mask, going through the motions, pretending to others that we’re having fun. This almost always leads to dropped juggling balls…
Michelle Tea says that flexibility is the main message of this card. The more flexible we can be, the better we will handle things, the better able we are to keep the balls in the air, but also this is a time where we find adapting easy. She also makes a point which really chimes with me. That if you spend too long focussing just on one thing, you can end up dropping all the balls you have in the air, including the one you’re focused on.
“Push yourself through too many hours or days of work and your brain starts to push back. Ideas that once flowed easily dry up, and tasks that you should be able to perform quickly become excruciatingly difficult.”
The pagan cat is shown staring off to the side whilst standing on a chequered board on top of what looks like a wooden platform, in the distances is the sea and things are stormy; two boats are struggling on epic waves. The cat seems unaware of this and also unaware of the two golden discs his paws are on, one contains a goldfish and the other a mouse. Having said that, one paw is on the mouse’s tail and the others is dipping into the fish bowl so he’s not completely unaware… Note also we have the infinity sign from the RWS deck.
He seems to be distracted which is a different take to the rest of the decks which focus more on balance and juggling, although we could see the cat as juggling and balancing things so well that he has the freedom to look away… Perhaps he could even try taking on more responsibilities or projects and balance more things!
At first look, the wild unknown two of pentacles is very different to the RWS and pagan cats cards in that there is no obvious juggling or balancing going on, instead we have a black and white butterfly but this contains the infinity sign and within the loops of the infinity sign we find the two pentacles. Note also that the card is black and white whilst the infinity sign is rainbow shaded. The black and white suggests to be a yin and yang type of idea, that we need both work and play to make us balance and this is echoed by the symmetry of the image.
With this in mind where do you need to find more balance? Where are you out of balance? Are you being pulled in different directions? These are important questions to ask yourself when this card shows up.
Metamorphosis and the related transformation and change will be discussed below when I unpick the butterfly in relation to the two of pentacles.
Keeping an even balance
Like the other cards, this deck focuses on the juggling side of things but more so about balancing your inner and outer worlds. I really like the line in the book that says “from your internal to external worlds you are feeling uplifted and yet stretched”. With this there is the recognition that you can be challenged internally and externally and also, given the theme of balance we have the idea that stretching of the inner or outer world can through us off balance. If we are very challenged internally, our external world might suffer.
In the shadow side, we are advised that we are being called back into alignment, look at where your live has fallen out of balance, where is there disharmony? Are you over committed? Working too hard? Playing too hard? As we’re dealing with the pentacles, perhaps you’re over stretching things health or money wise?
Animal Totem Tarot
I finally treated myself to this fantastic deck!!! As it’s new I’m still leaning into it, getting to know it and finding it’s way of talking.
The two of pentacles features the Harrier Hawk and these particular pentacles are sitting on the ground glimmering and shimmering. The message from the harrier hawk is about dealing with new challenges and how we have the resources we need to handle them. Her time is spent juggling between family and community but she knows that she can ask for help, she is part of a team and doesn’t martyr herself.
Where I’ve looked at other decks when considering other cards I’m not going to as I’ve got the animal totem tarot now!
The wild unknown card talks to us of dualities and balance but how do these ideas relate to the butterfly? Well, if we recall that we’re being asked to find balance we realise that to reach that state we may need to make some transformations and what better metaphor for that that metamorphosis itself?! With this we also lean into the infinity sign featured in several of the cards – to maintain balance throughout our life we must constantly be rejuggling and reconfiguiring our lives and our selves.
The symmetry of the butterfly also lends itself to the idea of the whole being greater than the sum of two parts which is touched on with the black and white or the yin/yang of the image.
Daisies come with a dichotomy. They are both gentle and kind but also powerful and they have astringent properties. They are both a symbol of love and yet we find myths where people have turned into daisies to avoid unwanted advances from unwanted lovers.
This duality is seen again when we learn that daisies are something called composite flowers which means that they are made up of two separate flowers; there is an inner section which is one flower and this is surrounded by rays of petals which are actually a second flower. This combination has been said to symbolise true love as they blend together so well. It also feels like a good way to think about the balance of different parts of us such as our inner worlds and outer worlds or the blending of our work self and our home self. Both parts of the daisy wouldn’t cope without having the other there, a concept which echoes the ideas found within the symmetry of the butterfly.
Jupiter in Capricorn
An potentially awkward pair, these guys require careful choreography – or juggling – to maximise their potential. Jupiter in Capricorn attracts good luck when organising, when working hard and when being disciplined. As we are in the suit of pentacles and Capricorn is an earth sign, good things will come when you are practical and employ a step by step plan, carried out slow and steadily, to reach your goals.
Be cautious, be patient and what you envision (and work for) will come.