A juggler holds two pentacles inside a lanyard shaped like a lemniscate. Behind him, two ships ply the waves of a turbulent sea.
The Two of Pentacles, like all the twos of the deck, represents the pairing of the opposites: In this case, of material matters. If the Ace tells us of the many ways we are blessed to be in the material world, the Two suggests the material troubles of this world: Greed, poverty and theft. The Two suggests, that we all need at times to “juggle our finances” (pun intended) inasmuch as the process reflects the emphasis we place on the material at the expense of the spiritual. This act of balancing—between the selfless love of God and the selfish demands of mammon—is one that is never-ending for the whole of our earthly lives.
The Two of Pentacles is traditionally associated with commerce and trade. The ships on the ocean are loaded with cargo to be bought and sold. The word “commerce” stems from the Latin commercium, “intercourse” or “communication.” This speaks to the “commerce” we conduct between our conscious and unconscious minds, symbolized here by the ocean. If we do not maintain a healthy balance between our own inner yin and yang energies, we can become ego-driven hoarders of wealth, or we can be profligate and wasteful spenders.
Meanings of this card in a reading can include: Material balance, “everything in moderation,” maintaining an “even keel”, trade and commerce, news from afar, or “smooth sailing ahead”; but also covetousness and greed, profligacy and poverty, bankruptcy, theft, or “rough seas ahead.” Just as we practice moderation and self-discipline in all other aspects of our lives, so too in the material, desiring neither too much nor too little; for both impulses are affronts to God, who would have us neither devalue ourselves in sacrifice nor exploit our brothers for profit. Man cannot serve two masters, after all.