We have not talked about the Aces in a while, so let’s revisit these unique members of the Pip cards. Aces are different from the other Minors, as they are seen as being the seeds of their suit and element, rather than the manifestation of their suit and element. Aces are not material; they are tendencies that are the foundation of the manifestations of their suit; the Ace of Pentacles, our card for this month, is not Earth, but a tendency to become Earth! Let’s begin our process of breaking down this Ace.
The Ace 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. Notice right away that I am qualifying many of my statements with “most likely” or “usually”; as readers and interpreters and students of the Tarot we do need to remember that every message, no matter how insignificant or mundane on the surface, can also possibly be a symptom of a deeper or wider issue. Nothing in the Minor Arcana is in any way minor in nature.
As we have learned, 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 1, and the suit of Pentacles. These two ingredients could actually give you enough information about this one card to offer a useful interpretation.
Let’s look at the number 1 first. I see the number 1 as representing two concepts: position and potential. Position is most commonly represented by the point or period. The point is a one-dimensional shape; all we know about it is its position. We don’t know what it can do or how it can affect us, we only know where it is; everything else is potential only. Potential is neither good nor bad because it has not yet moved or manifested or acted. Potential is fertility without the catalyst that begins growth.
So, just by looking at the number of our card, we already know that the Ace of Pentacles is going to present a concept rather than an experience. Aces present energy just as it is preparing to manifest, kind of like the moment just before the Big Bang happened in our Universe, or the situation in your lungs between an exhale and an inhale.
Let’s examine the suit of our Ace. The suit of Pentacles corresponds with the element of Earth. Many Tarot decks use images of pentagrams or coins and trees or verdant growth on their Minor Arcana Pentacles cards, and that will make it easy to connect with the symbolism of this suit. A nice place to begin is with the element of Earth itself.
In its natural state, Earth is cool and dry, and it binds or shapes the other elements. Earth is of the physical or physically formed or manifested world, and of nurturing, health, finances and security, and the wisdom associated with living simply and being well-grounded. Earth is the element of form and substance; it is connected to material world security (and even wealth), and to our physical bodies and physical senses, and the pleasures and pains they bring. Earth represents the nurturing and serene side of Nature, and it represents the tangible end result of our labors. Earth is about security and stillness, and knowing what to expect; it is about strength, discipline, and physical manifestation of all kinds, and about enjoying the fruits of our labors. Earthy energies are fertile, practical, and slow to change.
You can see just by examining the paragraph above just how easy it is to connect the element of Earth to our daily lives, our physical bodies, our careers, our families, and the natural world around us. These things are all the main correspondences of the element of Earth, the suit of Pentacles, and of course, our Ace of Pentacles. We are off to a good start, and we have lots more information to consider.
The traditional image of the Ace of Pentacles shows a pentacle or coin being held by a hand that is reaching out of a cloud, showing that the Ace is the first and purest manifestation of its suit, so pure that we can’t affect it yet. Often there are trees, tree roots or branches, flowers, fruit, bees, or other animals associated with fertility in the image of this Ace. The sky is usually clear and blue, representing the clarity and purity of the potential being offered, not yet muddied by manifestations or expectations or actions. Often there is a wall with a gate in it and a clear pathway through the gate and off into the distance, showing us the potential for advancing along our Path offered by this Ace.
The Ace of Pentacles has an astrological connection as well, which can help us to add even more depth and texture to our readings. The Ace of Pentacles represents three sun signs, Aries, a Cardinal Fire sign, Taurus, a Fixed Earth sign, and Gemini., a Mutable Air sign, or the season of late Spring.
Aries is the first sign of the zodiac, the leader of the pack, first in line to get things going. Those born under this sign prefer to initiate, and they won’t shy away from anything new. Aries people are action oriented, assertive, and competitive. Aries is ruled by Mars, the God of War, bold and aggressive, and able to tap into the focus needed to take on any challenge. The symbol of Aries is the Ram, blunt and to the point, and a sheer force of nature. The great strength of those born under this sign is found in their initiative, courage and determination.
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.
Gemini is about communication of all kinds, and about collecting information and stimulating the mind. Geminis are a mix of yin and yang, and they can easily see both sides of an issue; they are very practical. They are adaptable and flexible but they can also tend toward being wishy-washy, and they are not always good at following through to the end of a project. Gemini is all about the intellect, the mind, and the thinking process. They think clearly and make use of logic, and they can be real good at seeing the big picture. Gemini rules the nervous system, and calmness is a quality they need to cultivate. They love to play, love to share their fun and their ideas with others, and they love adventures that stimulate the mind.
This means the Ace of Pentacles is about the potential for experiencing new beginnings or awakenings, the slow and conservative building of an environment that encourages growth, and the diversification and exchange of information that creates the ability to adapt to the world around us in a positive and beneficial manner.
Each of the 78 cards in a Tarot deck also has a home on the Tree of Life of the Qabalah; all of the Aces correspond to the sephira (or sphere) of Kether. Kether (or Crown) is the first sephira at the top of the Tree of Life. It is the top sephira of the Pillar of Balance, the center or trunk of the Tree, and is considered to be the cause of manifestation; not manifestation itself, mind you, but the catalyst that begins the process of manifestation. Nothing actually exists yet within Kether, but the Source of All awakens within Kether. However, it does not know itself yet because there is no other form from which it can view itself. Once again, we are speaking about the “point” or “position” without any dimension or manifestation.
That is quite a bit of information, all attained by breaking our card down to its basic ingredients. Not so complicated after all!
All the Aces remind us of the potential connected to their Suit; the Ace of Pentacles represents the potential to achieve prosperity and abundance, security and trust, groundedness and strong foundations. The Ace of Pentacles suggests that we use common sense when approaching problems, and make use of the tools we have at hand, tools that are tried-and-true; it tells us that we have the ability and skill to use those tools (or at least the opportunity to acquire those abilities and skills). It reminds us of the importance of taking care of our body, our homes, and our families. And it presents the opportunity to reach a goal or see rewards through expending efforts over the long term. All of these opportunities might present themselves in an unexpected way, perhaps through some change or opportunity for growth within a career, a family, or a home.
The Legacy of the Divine Ace of Coins reminds us of the beauty of Nature, and the spiritual fulfillment that can be had through experiencing and appreciating beauty. The image on this Ace contains representations of beneficial animals and insects, and emphasizes the benevolent feel of the energies of this card. The Shadowscapes Tarot Ace of Pentacles emphasizes the potential to be found in a seed. That seed will sprout, but the growth will require both work and patience on our part in order to succeed; what grows from that seed is what we make of it.
Through its Ace of Pentacles, the Witches Tarot tells of a possible new source of income, perhaps obtained by acquiring a new skill. The Tarot of the Sephiroth reminds us that our Earth is the vehicle of all life, and thus the Ace of Pentacles represents life springing forth, as well as creation, evolution, and construction. Aleister Crowley believed that the Aces could be seen to contain the other numbered cards of the suit, and thus our Ace of Pentacles can be seen as containing the other Pentacles Pip cards, or at least the potential to become those other cards.
The Ace of Pentacles does not guarantee riches or health or security, but it does guarantee that we will have a chance to work in order to bring those things into our lives!