The King of Pentacles

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

Representing the paternal nature; the King of Pentacles represents the consumption of the soul by wealth. Here the belief is asserted that the limits of our physical world are determined by how much of our spiritual self we draw upon; with the sacrifice of wealth necessary as precondition to the acquisition of wealth – you have to spend money to make money – the burden of loss although offset by the gains does not decrease as those gains are consumed. What is given up is never returned in the form it was given but rather it is transformed forever.

In the upright state the King of Pentacles represents a warning to understand exactly what we ask for, before we ask for it, lest you get everything you want and have it not be at all what you expected.

In the inverted state the King of Pentacles represents fixation and the replacement of concerns about how to gain wealth with concerns about how to prevent its loss. In the inverted state the King of Pentacles is a warning to the miser and those who seek wealth to horde it, that the Universe provides more ways to lose wealth than it does to gain it; your energy will be expended far quicker attempting to safeguard your wealth once acquired than the total sum needed to acquire it in the first place. Unearned wealth is lost with ease, however that which is earned leaves a lasting impact not least of all because the effort expended to acquire it fundamentally changes us in the process.

In the Rider-Waite deck as with the Queen of Pentacles we see the King of Pentacles sat upon a throne with a single pentacle in his left hand – the sinister hand; meanwhile his right or just hand is adorned with a golden sceptre topped with an orb, this sceptre represents the World as conceptualised by the same card of the Major Arcana. These two symbols act to depict the balance between means and ends.

The King is adorned in a robe covered with vine fruits representing the abundance of the harvest as the source of his wealth. The throne itself is comprised of four bull heads representing labour and sacrifice forming a square that contains the King in a prison of endurance.

The King of Pentacles acts as the antithesis of the 4 of Pentacles which depicted a King sat upon his throne with their soul still intact, with potential for creation and opportunity at his disposal, the King of Pentacles in contrast sits grounded in containment with a dejected expression that mirrors the Queen of Pentacles once more regarding the pentacle in contemplation.

In self-reflection the King of Pentacles serves as a prompt to consider your openness and your secrecy and reflect on how much you choose to share. This is your opportunity to consider your legacy in terms of what you choose not to pass on; our thoughts and experiences are personal, they amount to a wealth that we accumulate in the course of a life, but they are not things that we can take with us beyond this life. The King of Pentacles is our prompt not to consider what to pass on, but rather to consider what we want to die with us.

Where the Queen of Pentacles speaks of relating our experience to an individual, the King of Pentacles focuses on the wider world. What changes can be made to the environment we leave behind for those who come after us, if we want to leave behind a legacy at all.

Sometimes we can feel that our legacy would be negative and that our experiences are those that we would not want others to have, or know about at all. This touches on the concept of inherited trauma and goes far beyond the scope of this book, but the most important element here to recognise is the difference between what is nature and what is nurture. We cannot prevent nature, but we can choose not to nurture an environment we do not wish to perpetuate.

Ask yourself with sobriety “What do I want to leave behind?” admittedly this question may seem rather morbid, but it is worth remembering here once more that Tarot decks begin with the Major Arcana and end with the Minor Arcana; this is the final card the final card in most Tarot decks, marking the end of the Great Journey.

The Death card of the Major Arcana we have already noted is often misunderstood and taken to be a literal omen of death; in reality, if any card in the Tarot deck is to prompt contemplation of death and finality it would be the King of Pentacles as it marks the end of the Suit of Pentacles, the end of the Minor Arcana, and the end of the Great Journey in its entirety.

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