Reflections on The Four of Pentacles

Followers of this site are likely aware by now that your humble blogger, a freelance writer by trade, has been enduring the fest-or-famine work cycle that is endemic to his profession, with a recent emphasis being, regrettably, on “famine.” Because of this I’ve been meditating and praying, frankly, for a miracle on the career front, and it was on my mind when I dealt my morning Tree of Life spread earlier today.

Interestingly, the “final” card that appeared in the spread, the card signifying the present day, was the Princess of Pentacles:

PageIn the Waite deck, all of the Princesses (or “Pages”) are dressed in the garb of an apprentice, and as such they suggest schooling and study; and appearing in the suit of Pentacles, which governs the material world, the study of everyday matters such as money is implied. I took this to mean that today was an optimal one to “study” the job market and to devote the better part of the day to it. Seeking some follow-up clarification—that is, wondering where might be the best place for me to look since the usual employment avenues haven’t yielded much of promise lately—I reshuffled the deck, and turned up the top card:

IVIn a Tarot reading, the number Four is generally considered favorable since it suggests a completed work, or the completion of a cycle—the four elements, the four cardinal points, the four seasons, the four-letter name of God (YHVH), and the union of the Holy Trinity with man. Here in the earthly suit of Pentacles, the “completion” implied is material abundance—a prosperous kingdom led by a sovereign so wealthy, he can barely hold all his riches. Since this card puts us face-to-face with a ruler (as evidenced by his gold crown and ermine robe), the first thought that came to mind regarding my job search was, “What about government work?” Now, I’ve never worked for the government, but I’ve never ruled it out either (the benefits are good, so I hear), so I spent half a day combing through a variety of government job sites—and wouldn’t you know, there were a number of open positions around the country (I’ll relocate if necessary) for which I’m amply qualified and that seemed, on reflection, to hold the prospect of personally satisfying work. (This counts more for me than money at this stage of my life.) So I applied for a few positions today and came away feeling better about life—not richer (yet), but feeling somewhat more “complete” for the effort. (If anything develops from these searches, dear reader, you will be the first to know!)

One thing about the Four, however, is the warning our sovereign poses to us. His money weighs on him to the point where he might as well be rooted to the ground. He can’t stand up and walk around without disturbing his hoard, and he clutches a pentacle tightly to his chest as if in fear of being robbed—and herein lies the card’s “dark side”: Money can liberate us financially and allow us to do good works, but it can also imprison us in miserliness and greed. For every philanthropist we hear of who donates his fortune to worthy charities, we have heard of more than a few Ebenezer Scrooges as well. Also, simply making money for its own sake, without a greater sense of purpose, is an emotionally hollow exercise that eventually leaves one feeling empty and unsatisfied (I know, I’ve been there), and perhaps that is the reason why our sovereign is clutching a Pentacle so close to his chest: To shield or obscure a broken heart.

Whatever we do as work, it should bring us feelings of joy and delight. Life in our time is fraught with sufficient difficulties as it is, so the eight or nine hours we spend in the office—or wherever our work takes us—should be as pleasurable and relaxing as a party with friends and family. Things don’t always work out that way in the workplace, of course (if you’ve ever been laid off, you know what I mean), but it’s a state of emotional Zen to which we should strive, whether at work or at play; the money we make should be our reward for the work, not the ultimate goal of it.

Dante DiMatteo

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