The 9 of Pentacles

The 9 of Pentacles - Tarot Card from the Rider-Waite Deck

Representing anticipation; the 9 of Pentacles pertains to patience and frustration as two sides of the same coin, the former representing our ability to wait and the latter representing our inability. The focus here is placed on the future with an emphasis placed on preparing for that future.

In the upright state the 9 of Pentacles represents our patience and preparation, in this state it is a sign that we already possess all that we need to confront the challenges or situations that we will face. As long as we remain composed, collected, and approach these situations rationally we will be able to handle them with grace.

In the inverted state the 9 of Pentacles represents our anxiety and frustration with a particular focus placed on the expectation we create for our future reaction. Here the emphasis is placed not on the approaching situation itself but on our feeling of being unprepared and the uncertainty that is stirred within us as a result.

In the Rider-Waite deck the 9 of Pentacles depicts a woman standing in a vineyard surrounded by vines with grapes ready to be picked; to the left 6 pentacles sit stacked forming a 6 of Pentacles representing the movement we anticipate, and to the right 3 more pentacles sit forming a 3 of Pentacles representing our connection and obligation. Here the depiction represents our state of readiness awaiting a call to action.

This state of preparedness is further depicted by a hooded falcon, with the falcon representing ego and the hood representing containment; our own self-interest is put to one side and our recognition of the service we provide is depicted.

The containment of ego and the choice not to harm those who do not have the power to overcome the potential threat we could pose to them is reinforced by the depiction of a snail on the ground to the left of the woman below the 6 stacked coins; seen as a pest within the vineyard, and easily consumed by the falcon, its presence within the scene is ignored entirely.

In self-reflection the 9 of Pentacles serves as a prompt to consider what is within your grasp, and what is not. This is your opportunity to consider the future within the timelines we have already determined. Where the 8 of Pentacles emphasised recognition of the timeframes we work within, the 9 of Pentacles represents a renewal of effort, what can be achieved here and now with concerted effort.

Accepting who we are, and the reality of the life we have lived is the foundation we build upon when planning for our future. This is the inward evolution that we have already seen outlined in the other suits of the Minor Arcana. The Suit of Pentacles in particular prompts us to extend this judgement to our outward evolution. This means accepting the world we live in, the reality of that world and its limitations. We are prompted to think about the demands our goals have placed upon our environment and those within it, and consider our expectations.

Ask yourself “Am I asking too much?” and be realistic about the answer you give; it’s important here to remove your emotions from this judgement and be pragmatic. Recognise that whilst you may be confident that you could achieve what you expect from others, they themselves may not be capable of doing so. For example, if your life goal has been to achieve something of benefit to those older than you, parents or grandparents for instance, the 9 of Pentacles is your prompt to consider whilst you may still be able to achieve your goal within your own lifetime, will they live to see it?

This is rather grim I must admit, but there are few things in life that are certainties and death is one of them. The Suit of Pentacles is marked by the five-pointed star, often taken by the uninitiated as a bad omen or symbol of negativity, but at its core the Pentacle or Pentagram in geometric terms ultimately serves to represent Earth in elemental form. The Major Arcana open the Tarot Deck and the Suit of Pentacles bring it to its end, representing the Great Journey of the Fool through life, death is the natural end of that journey. It’s important to recognise this isn’t intended to be depressing, that view of death is the consequence of societal expectations – it is not the only attitude to death that exists, in many cultures, death marks the celebration of a life lived. The Suit of Pentacles is ultimately focused in its final cards with nurturing closure and a feeling of completion.

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