The Nine of Pentacles
(The Nine of Pentacles card is from the artist Ciro Marchetti http://www.ciromarchetti.com/)**
This month we will go back to the 9’s of the Minor Arcana and talk about the Nine of Pentacles. This 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. 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. We can also find useful information within the image on the card.
The traditional image of the Nine of Pentacles shows a well-dressed woman wearing a beautiful yellow robe decorated with sunflowers, a ring on her finger and earrings in her ears. She is standing in a garden that is overflowing with vines heavily laden with grapes, and is surrounded by nine golden Pentacles. Her left hand is gloved, and on her hand sits a bird of prey wearing a hood, a wild thing that is calm and completely tamed. In the background are green trees, hills, and a glimpse of a large mansion or castle. They sky is clear and golden, as if it is a mid-summer day. The woman’s head is tilted to the side, as if she is looking at her bird. Most versions of the Nine of Pentacles are similar: a well-dressed woman surrounded by the bounty of nature and a rich harvest holding either a bird of prey or a brightly-colored bird.
Let’s look at the number 9. I see the number 9 as representing the fullness or completeness of effect or manifestation. We are talking about completeNESS here, not compleTION or the winding up of a cycle. The number 9 represents our perceptions as we reach the limit of our understanding of or experience of a situation, just before we wind up the process and take another step up the ladder in order to begin the whole process again. In our spoken language, we say that we are going to “go the whole nine yards” when we intend to experience something to the fullest, and that is what the number 9 can tell us in the Tarot.
So just by looking at the number of our card, we already know that the Nine of Pentacles is going to present an intense experience. This will not necessarily indicate that we are done with the experience, but rather that we are at the “peak of the wave” just before the wave tips over and disseminates its energy onto the shore. Now, we narrow down our interpretation by looking at the suit of the card: the suit of Pentacles.
The suit of Pentacles (or Coins, Stones or Disks) corresponds with the element of Earth, and of the physical body, physical manifestation, career, health and wealth. Many Tarot decks use images of pentagrams or coins or disks on their Minor Arcana Pentacles cards as well as trees, flowers and green, verdant growth, all of which 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, care of the body, 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 to our physical bodies and physical senses, and the pleasures and pains they bring. Earth represents the fertile, nurturing and serene side of Nature, and it represents the tangible end result of our labors. Earth is about stillness and about knowing what to expect; it is about strength, discipline, and physical manifestation of all kinds, and about enjoying what we’ve achieved. Earthy energies are fertile, practical, and slow to change.
You can see how easy it is to connect the element of Earth to our daily lives, our physical bodies, our careers and our finances, 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, are connected to the realm of our Nine of Pentacles, as shown within its image.
The astrological correspondence for the Nine of Pentacles is Venus in the astrological sign of Sagittarius.
Venus is the second-closest planet to the Sun, and is the brightest natural object in the night sky besides the Moon. Venus reaches its maximum brightness shortly before sunrise or shortly after sunset, for which reason it is often called the Morning Star or the Evening Star. Venus is similar in size, gravity, and bulk composition to our Earth, however, the surface of the planet is very different from our planet. Venus, or the Greek Aphrodite, is the Goddess of love, beauty, and relationships. Venus is a feminine planet and thus is in-taking, rather than out-going. Venus is the bringer of pleasure, happiness, wealth, good fortune, and love. Venus is also associated with the principles of attraction, persuasion, and getting along. Venus represents sociability, friendliness, harmony, balance, values, art, beauty, and romantic love (as opposed to sexual love which is Mars’ domain).
Sagittarius, the 9th sign of the zodiac, is often seen as the wanderer, but remember, not all those who wander are lost. Sagittarius is the truth-seeker, the enthusiastic consumer of information who loves knowledge achieved by traveling the world and talking to everyone. The life quest of a Sagittarian is to understand the meaning of life, using both spiritual and philosophical disciplines to digest what they learn. This is a mutable Fire sign, and thus while exploration and adventure are a necessary part of life, procrastination is also a danger. Sagittarius corresponds with Jupiter, and is expansive in all things, is an effective healer, and can be a bridge between humans and animals.
Venus in Sagittarius can bring adventure, because they combine Venus, the lover, under the rule of Jupiter, the planet of freedom, luck, and breathless risks. There’s a defiant edge to Venus Sagittarius, as you move freely and seek variety in love and among friends. Freedom is valued and limitations are uncomfortable; experiencing everything firsthand, preferably with like-minded people, brings joy and fulfillment. Both Venus and Sagittarius love to make connections to others, love to have fun, love to meet people from diverse cultures and explore new places.
Each of the 78 cards in a Tarot deck also has a home on the Tree of Life of the Qabalah; all of the Nines correspond to the sephira (or sphere) of Yesod. Yesod is the first sphere out of (and the last sphere into) the sephira that represents the physical world, Malkuth. Yesod is about things such as emotions and feelings, which are directly connected to our physical existence, but not actually physical themselves. Yesod is also the home of our life force, our personality, and the Self. It is only above Yesod that the Tree begins to branch out. This reminds us that emotions and feelings and an awareness of our life force and our personality are natural processes, and that exploring them and understanding them is an important part of our own evolutionary process.
The Llewellyn Welsh Tarot Nine of Pentacles shows the traditional well-dressed woman holding a falcon and standing in a ripe field. Behind her is a figure who appears to be tallying or taking notes regarding the harvest The keywords for this card are prudence, assessment, planning and diplomacy; choosing friends and confidants carefully; successful handling of a multi-faceted venture; compassion, patience and effort to understand others.
The Nine of Disks of the Thoth Tarot is named “Gain,” and Crowley sees this card as representing good luck and good management. Here we have a big payoff on the material plane, free from concerns, worries and anxieties. This card represents material gains, an inheritance, riches, and treasures.
The Shadowscapes Tarot Nine of Pentacles tells of the balance of the material world with the spiritual world. The image on the card shows a woman playing a piano that is entwined with trees, a part of the moss and leaves and bark of the trees. She sits on a snail shell, its spirals echoing the spirals of the tree branches, hinting at the golden mean ratio. She smiles as she plays, not looking at her fingers but rather, gazing up at the sun shining through the leaves. This card tells of material well-being and refinement, and the discipline needed in order to obtain them. We are told to rely on our self and trust our abilities, and understand and appreciate the wealth that we already possess.
The Legacy of the Divine Tarot Nine of Coins shows a beautiful woman in a flowing gown with a bird of paradise perched on her arm. She stands on a balcony filled with healthy flowering potted plants, and above her is a brilliant arch of nine golden Coins. In the distance we see a storm, but the storm has passed and now all is calm and brilliantly lit. The image is lush and opulent, almost surreal in its loveliness, telling of accomplishments that look easy on the surface but are actually attained through long and hard work. This card encourages us to retreat from the real world into an environment that is harmonious and comfortable so we can focus on intellectual and spiritual pursuits.
The Nine of Pentacles is seen by many as one of the most fortunate cards in the entire deck. Yes, this card often tells of good luck, but it also tells us that hard work over time can bring wealth, pleasure and an easy life. The Nine of Pentacles tells us that we have strength of character; we are self-sufficient and efficient. Best of all, we can enjoy the company of others and yet still enjoy alone time. As long as we don’t expect too much from others or allow others to demand too much from us, we will succeed.
We do need to remember that success can mean worldly achievement, but the best end result is to succeed in creating ourselves, the best we can be, out of the material given to us by the circumstances and conditions of our life. The Nine of Pentacles represents quality and an awareness of the value of the gifts we have been given, and is the emblem of a truly evolved person.
About the Author:
Raushanna is a lifetime resident of New Jersey. As well as a professional Tarot Reader and Teacher, she is a practicing Wiccan (Third Degree, Sacred Mists Coven), a Usui Reiki Master/Teacher, a certified Vedic Thai-Yoga Massage Bodyworker, a 500-hr RYT Yoga Teacher specializing in chair assisted Yoga for movement disorders, and a Middle Eastern dance performer, choreographer and teacher. Raushanna bought her first Tarot deck in 2005, and was instantly captivated by the images on the cards and the vast, deep and textured messages to be gleaned from their symbols. She loves reading about, writing about, and talking about the Tarot, and anything occult, mystical, or spiritual, as well as anything connected to the human subtle body. She has published a book, “The Emerald Tablet: My 24-Day Journal to Understanding,” and is currently working on a book about the Tarot, pathworking and the Tree of Life. Raushanna documents her experiences and her daily card throws in her blog, DancingSparkles.blogspot.com, which has been in existence since 2009. She and her husband, her son and step son, and her numerous friends and large extended family can often be found on the beaches, bike paths and hiking trails of the Cape May, NJ area.