The 5 of Pentacles

The 5 of Pentacles - Tarot Card from the Rider-Waite Deck

Representing conflict; the 5 of Pentacles represents poverty and austerity, our dependence on others for charity is emphasised here whether that be reliance upon the income and financial support we receive through payment for work, or the physical shelter and sustenance provided to us by another, ultimately our lack of independence is underlined.

In the upright state the 5 of Pentacles represents the conflict caused by this dependence. How much of a financial burden we pose, or how much obligation we create within others is the focus here, our attitude to this relationship will be amplified. Short term sacrifice for long term gain needs to be the guiding principle here, and to understand this dependence can be changed in time.

In the inverted state the 5 of Pentacles represents the reversal of this relationship, with the emphasis placed on the obligations that others have created within us; this could portend financial commitments made on our behalf by another, increased prices for example or the withdrawal or restriction of credit, or financial loss incurred through no fault of our own, for example damage and theft.

In the Rider-Waite deck the 5 of Pentacles depicts a snowy scene outside of a Church, here two people walk past a stained-glass window. The person in front is laboured and walks with their head downward in abjection, the person behind walks upon two crutches with their head pointed upward in expectation.

The stained-glass window depicts 5 golden Pentacles with 2 red roses either side of the topmost pentacle representing passion and sacrifice. This depiction emphasises sacrifices we make in order to maintain our connection to our community, and once more the two lower rows of the stained-glass window echo the 2 of Pentacles twice over, doubling the emphasis on balance, with these 2 pairs taken together they form a second 4 of Pentacles representing the stability we are lacking hidden within the conflict and disturbance.

The person in front is ignorant to this depiction, whilst the person behind is in reverence, this represents the competing focus of those who could but won’t in the case of the former, versus those who would but can’t in the case of the latter, and the disturbance this conflict causes.

In self-reflection the 5 of Pentacles serves as a prompt to consider the negative elements that you may have failed to remove and revaluate your methods to negate those negative influences. As with the other suits, once again, positive influences here do not need to be addressed - problems need to be solved, solutions do not.

The key focus here is to identify those possessions and expenses that are incompatible with the concept of wealth. These should be things that have limited positive impact or they come at a cost and never contribute anything of value to your life. In economic terms these are defined as subsidies, guaranteed losses that are tolerated because they contribute value in other metrics.

Once again, this cost does not have to be financial, you can define it in cognitive terms. The term wealth more broadly applies to anything of benefit that can be accumulated, knowledge and information for example are a form of wealth as they can have a positive benefit and can be accumulated. Another example of guaranteed loss is having children, they incur costs to our lives in many domains not just financial but emotional and physical too, but they are an emotional and financial investment that parents continue to make because they provide a return in other ways.

Ask yourself “What is working for me and what is working against me?” in your analysis of your environment and for every element consider what impact on your life it has, be that on your physical, mental, emotional, or financial dexterity. Particularly in the context of things going wrong, do these elements help or hinder you?

It is also worth remembering that your physical location can be changed, so when you’re faced with an environment that is beyond modification and you recognise its negative impact, ask yourself if you can remove yourself from that environment by placing physical distance between you and it.

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