Prince of Pentacles


A young man holding a Pentacle surveys a tilled field from atop his black horse. His is a massive estate, as the field stretches for as far as the eye can see. A bough of holly sprouts from the top of his helmet, and his stallion is finely arrayed in leathers dyed red and black.

The Prince of Pentacles represents the “airy” element of earth: The element that is the most unstable and unpredictable. In that regard he represents the power of earth to sustain us in times of plenty, and to challenge us in times of famine and drought. Unlike the world of the Princess, who we’ll examine tomorrow, the world of the Prince is not very green, and he reminds us of the “razor’s edge” of existence on which we live here on earth: Specifically, that which has always been in the past may not forever be in the future. Certainly in a time of anthropogenic climate change and its accompanying mega-droughts, that’s a lesson we would be wise to learn, and the lack of crops in the Prince’s field should give us pause.

The Prince is traditionally attributed to the sign of Taurus. Like the bull, he is generally slow and plodding in his work (none of the court cards in Pentacles are thought to be the “sharpest pencils in the box”). He is, however, a hard worker when properly harnessed and lightly goaded. He is generally peaceful in his temperament, signified by the bough of holly on his helmet, but he can be mindlessly ferocious in  battle, signified by his black horse and its riggings of (blood) red and black (death); we read in Revelation 6 of the “black horse” that brings famine to the world: “A whole day’s wages for a quart of flower!” Once again, we cannot say we are not forewarned of what can happen to our world if we do not change our ways..

Meanings in a reading can include: Plentiful harvest, diligence at work, slow but determined intellect, and conventionally, a young man born under an earth sign; but also ignorance, belligerence, and all forms of pestilence, slaughter and war. The Prince is the “enforcer” of the suit of Pentacles, a surrogate for the wrathful God of Exodus: respect his authority, and we shall be blessed. Abuse Him, and a  fearsome tribute in blood and treasure may be exacted from us.

Dante DiMatteo

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