Time to touch on the suit of Pentacles, and where better to start than the Six of Pentacles, the card of resources? In the Tarot Minor Arcana, the Six cards are kind of unique, in part because of the properties of the number 6, and in part because of the properties of the Sephira corresponding to the Tarot Sixes on the Tree of Life. Before we talk about the Six of Pentacles in particular, let’s talk a bit about these two properties in general.
The number Six offers the concept of forward momentum achieved through victory over the obstacles presented by Four (security that tends to become stagnation) and Five (uncomfortable movement that ends stagnation). These victories are met with the healing achieved through negotiation (and thus, the Sixes of the Tarot Minors often present such concepts as equilibrium, peace, comfort, and ease, as well as stubbornness, excessive worry, and harmful gossip). Of course, this means that acceptance is a part of these Six cards, self-acceptance and the acceptance acquired through effective interactions with both friends and enemies. This could be seen as the source of the focus on giving and receiving resources that is a part of the Six of Pentacles; but more on that later. In sacred math, the number 6 is considered to be a powerful and pure number because the first three numbers, 1, 2 and 3, add up to 6, and because in the Christian creation myth it took Yahweh six days to create the world. This number offers the concept of both vertical and horizontal balance, and the Six cards often present the corresponding element and suit at its practical best. In most cases even a reversed Six card has many benefits to offer a Seeker, and the meanings of the reversed Sixes are similar to the upright interpretations.
Tiphareth or Beauty is the sixth Sephira on the Tree of Life, the second on the Pillar of Balance (which is the “trunk” of the Tree), and it represents harmony, equilibrium, and the epitome of balance. Tiphareth is the first Sephira beneath the Supernal Triangle, the three Sephiroth representing God/Goddess/Source, and the void known as Da’at or the Abyss; Tiphareth can be considered a reflection or a Child of the Supernals. We talked previously about the Divine Child last month when we explored The Fool of the Major Arcana; if you haven’t read that entry yet, please do so now. In Qabalah tradition, Tiphareth was seen as corresponding to our Sun before the Sun was known to be the center of our solar system.
In order to understand Tiphareth, we need to also understand Da’at or the Abyss. The top three Sephiroth of the Tree, the Supernals, are shaped like an upward-pointing triangle, and together they represent God/Source/the Higher Self. Below this triangle are two more triangles, point facing down (the first representing inner emotions in their purest form, and the second representing emotions that become traits or behaviors), and then finally the bottom of the “trunk” of the Tree, which leads to the physical world. The space or void between the top triangle and all that falls below is called Da’at or the Abyss; the Abyss separates (and also bridges) Deity/the Higher Self and the rest of our life experiences. Traveling upward through the Abyss is usually an uncomfortable but in the end beneficial process, for it involves coming to know our Shadow Self.
The knowledge and awareness associated with the Abyss are not about the outside world, for the Abyss is connected to the one who is doing the knowing. Knowledge of “I” or the “self” is terrifying and empowering at the same time, for this knowledge is the source of our personal ethical code and our ability to tell right from wrong. Da’at is also associated with the cerebellum and the powers of memory and concentration, which allow us to recognize and sense the meaningfulness of live events in a personal, experiential way. The beauty and equilibrium achieved through Tiphareth manifest through an awareness of what circles around us from outside our Self. The Abyss reflects our inner dimension, our inner Self, and helps us to understand our own unique perception and personalization of our Self.
That is a lot to think about! We will make use of thist information over the next few essays as we explore the Minor Arcana Sixes, so if you need to, go back and read it again before going on. Not everything about the number 6 will apply directly to our Six of Pentacles, but we’ve got three other Six cards to explore as well.
Let’s begin the process of breaking our Six of Pentacles card down even further. The Six of Pentacles is a Minor Arcana card, so we know right away that the message offered by this card will most likely be more immediate in nature, or will most likely be connected to more day-to-day issues. Remember, while on the surface a Minor Arcana card can appear insignificant or mundane, it can also possibly be a symptom of a deeper or wider issue. Nothing in the Minor Arcana is in any way minor in nature.
We already know that the easiest way to get a decent understanding of a Minor Arcana card is to examine its number, or in the case of Court Cards, its rank, and to examine its suit. In this case, we are dealing with the number 6, and the suit of Pentacles. These two ingredients could actually give you enough information about this one card to offer a useful interpretation, especially with all the cool information out there regarding the number 6.
The suit of Pentacles (also called Disks or Coins) corresponds with the playing card suit of Diamonds, the cardinal direction of north, and the element of Earth. In its natural state, the element of Earth is cool and dry. Like Water, when amassed it has weight; it is able to bind together or shape the other elements. Water and Earth bind together to make mud, and a lake is shaped by the Earth that supports it. Earth energies are tangible, stable, and practical, and they are slow to change.
This suit is about the physical, earthly world, our physical bodies, and everything we need in order to maintain those physical bodies, including health and exercise. Pentacles cards talk about fertility, prosperity, and the wealth that can bring both physical shelter and mental and emotional pleasure. Pentacles cards can show a possible outcome or end result of our efforts, the product of our labors; they can give information about material manifestations of all kinds. These cards can represent discipline and diligence, and an interest in quality rather than quantity, but they can also indicate the influence of greed and avarice, and the lack of an ability to access or be aware of resources.
Astrologically speaking, the Six of Pentacles represents the Moon when it is in the sign of Taurus.
The Moon is large enough for its gravity to affect our Earth; the Moon actually stabilizes the Earth’s orbit, and it produces the regular ebb and flow of the tides. The lunar day syncs up with its orbit around Earth so that the same side of the Moon always faces the Earth. Astrologically the Moon is associated with a person’s emotional make-up, unconscious habits, rhythms, memories, moods, and a person’s ability to react and adapt to his or her environment. It is also associated with Yin energy, the receptive feminine life principal, the mother, maternal instincts or the urge to nurture, the home, the need for security and the past, especially early experiences and childhood. In medicine, the Moon is associated with the digestive system, stomach, breasts, the pancreas, and the ovaries and menstruation (which occurs on a monthly cycle).
Taurus, the second sign of the zodiac, is all about reward. Physical pleasures, material goods, and soothing surroundings are all important to a Taurus. The good life in all its guises is heaven on Earth to those born under this sign. Taurus is a fixed sign, and it represents steady persistence sometimes seen as stubbornness. Taurus is symbolized by the Bull, and Bulls are among the most practical and reliable members of the zodiac, happy to plod along slowly but surely toward a goal. Taurus is ruled by Venus, the Goddess of Love, Beauty and Pleasure, which is why harmony and beauty are a huge part of this sign’s personality. Taurus is a true-blue, loyal sign as well, and slow to anger; like the element of Earth, Taurus is about strength of body as well as strength of heart.
Let’s recap! The number 6 tells of the vertical and horizontal balance that is achieved through negotiation and acceptance; even the reversed number is still beneficial. The Sixes of the Tarot correspond with balance and beauty, a child’s ability to find innocent joy in simple things, and the ability to remember and understand events of the past, whether pleasant or uncomfortable or challenging, in order to be a better person. The suit of Pentacles is about physical world effects and manifestations, including home, health and career. The energies of this suit are cold and dry, slow to change, and focused on quality rather than quantity. The Moon is about stabilizing and about cycles, and about predictability (facing the same way); it is also about feelings, memories, comfort, and fertility. Taurus is about beauty, soothing surroundings, strength of body and heart, loyalty, and cool “stuff.”
This means that the Six of Pentacles represents physical world resources of all kinds, the stuff we have (or that we believe we have) and the stuff we don’t have (or that we believe we don’t have), and it is about balancing that stuff out, by either giving it to others or receiving it from others. When the Six of Pentacles shows up in a spread, we need to think about the management of our resources, for that management is important to the question at hand. We also need to think about giving things to others if we are in a good situation, sharing the wealth and taking care of others less fortunate than we are. If we are not in a good situation, we need to actively seek assistance, access resources available to us, and acquire what we need by such means as learning new skills or receiving advice from professionals. This card is telling us that both sides are important, giving and receiving, dominating and submitting, and we need to find a balance between both extremes in order to succeed.
If that Six of Pentacles is reversed, perhaps clarification can be found through nearby cards in the spread. Philanthropy can be a wonderful thing, but there is always a danger of ending up with a false sense of entitlement (which could encourage cheating, arrogance, or the fostering of dependency). Or maybe, just maybe, that reversed Six of Pentacles is hinting that something about our resources or the management of resources is being missed because we keep facing the same way, like the Moon in the sky, and thus we miss everything behind us.
Next time, we will talk about another Six, the Six of Cups.