Seven of Pentacles

November 11th, 2009

Seven of Pentacles, Waite-Smith

Today I drew the Seven of Pentacles. Funny enough, while I drew this card, I had two friends with me – One of whom wore a necklace which she made. It has silver rings with stars suspended at their center – Sixteen of them, numerologically Seven. She had never thought of the necklace as being pentacles before, but there it was. I love it when stuff like this happens!

I really believe that anybody who has spent any time with this particular card knows that the painting itself is unusually evocative – immediate feelings of difficulty and unhappiness drip from the image; Hard work without end, or a harvest without joy. However the scene appears to be playing out for the reader, the feel of the card is unmistakably still, and sad.

I am surprised when I see a positive read on this card; The apparent bounty seems so unappreciated to me. However, among other ways I’ve read this card I do sometimes see this card as not noticing all you’ve been blessed with, or going through a time of difficult but necessary labor – so in that sense, it may be supportive of work which may seem without end, that there is a light at the end of the tunnel so to speak.

The astrology according to BotA and Crowley agree that the card is Saturn in Taurus. (I’ve recently read a History of Tarot which explains a little about where these astrological assignations come from – Fascinating!) I find the combination clearly expresses difficulty in matters of wealth and even challenges to one’s core values – Both very clearly read into the cards image.

BotA has a keyword for the card, ‘Loss’, while Crowley labels the card ”Failure’. Frankly, the Waite picture for this card is elegant for the astrological assignation in a way which keywords can’t encapsulate – I can emphasize with the emotion of the picture, and both keywords ‘sum up’ the card crudely.

Sevens are special to me in the Tarot. I consider them highly magical, and increasingly I am understanding the reasons the Sevens are such difficult cards to face in the minor arcana. Seven of Swords is fractured, the rational mind turned to manipulation and pettiness. Seven of Cups is illusory, the attractive quality of water pulling the dark figure in many different, often dangerous directions. Seven of Wands is characterized by a sense of attack, the spiritual fire is turned down against competitors, the highest point being anywhere above the rest – rather than the true heights of transcendence.

And then todays card, the Seven of Pentacles – the productive and generative capacity is insufficient; the figure is dissatisfied. This unhappiness is thematically comparable to the Nine of Pentacles, except the figure here toils. His discontent is still primordial and expansive; In the Nine, the woman attaches her feelings of incompleteness to the hawk. Already materially satisfied, she begins to move towards airy concepts of travel and philosophy. He, on the other hand, feels trapped in a more concrete way, and maybe also alone and futureless.

The material haunts him, and though he has a strong connection to the world of work and creation he lacks the freedom of wealth. There is a spiritual and intellectual poverty in the cards depiction that I appreciate for its simplicity. One wonders if he owns the products of his labor in the card, or if he is a servant to another, working forever. With that thought, I imagine slavery to the material within this card.

Where else but the devil does Slavery in any form so clearly appear? Many other cards depict authority or painful challenges, but here we have a man – one foot literally in the earth, if you believe the coloring – who works without satisfaction. The fruits of his labor may not be his.

If we read this card as Loss, it is the loss of freedom in life. As Failure, it may be a failure of humanity; The degradation of a vehicle ideal for exploration and evolution into a survival machine.

So then we have more esoteric associations. The Hebrew letter Chet is associated with the Chariot, the archetypal card of the evolving spirit. The Letter Chet, however, means ‘Fence’ in Hebrew – both a boundary, which in itself is very Saturnian, but also an obstacle to those who wish to move beyond superficial boundaries and explore our own potential. The peculiar way Tarot corresponds to Hebrew traditionally, we have Key Seven – The Chariot associated with the number Eight – Chet. I always see this ‘plus one’ effect of the Hebrew correspondences to be a hint that we are always moving through the arcana as a dynamic journey rather than absorbing static concepts. It also links the seven to the Eight, in this case Strength. The balance of what one desires and what one must do to satisfy what one feels is ‘right’ comes into doubt in the Seven of Pentacles.

Should the figure work on despite his unhappy posture, or should he honor his want for a change and step away from it all? I believe that the Eight can be seen as the question of inner strength posed to the minor arcana of the Seven. That is the strength which allows the minor cards to experience the evolutionary quality of the Chariot throughout their difficulty, or at least their Tower (which is also a Seven), which may set them on a new path – increasing their opportunity to grow and flourish in a more complete and integrated way.

12 Responses to “Seven of Pentacles”

  1. Karinjenny Says:

    Oh this is amazing, Lionel! So much yummie food for thought!
    A bit from my notes: The Number 7 in numerology is often understood to portray a connection between the material and spiritual worlds, symbolizing a spiritual transformation that leads to material evolution and manifestation in the world.
    The Major Arcana’s base is 7: three times seven cards (21) and the fool as the ‘number’ zero is added. Let us examine further by contemplating these Arcana:

    Chariot (7th card)
    Temperance (14th card)
    World (21st card).
    Quite a trio!
    And indeed all these cards are indicating change from one level to the next in terms of soul development (Chariot), testing and adjusting the soul’s learning (Temperance) and integrated manifestation (World).

    Tower (16 or 1+6 =7) Implicated by theosophical addition
    Where the spiritual force shatters the limitation of (false) identity and is tool for a higher level of soul development.

    The Minor Arcana are also showing this connection between the spiritual and the material levels.
    The seven of Pentacles – and you described it so excellently here! – shows WHAT needs transformation: a pattern of material attachment (hoarding) that needs to be elevated to the energy promised by the Ace of Pentacles – a higher level of spirit manifesting through the material
    The Seven of Cups shows the need to transform glamour and emotions towards the love energy portrayed in the ace of cups. A higher spiritual level of the impulse of attraction.
    The Seven of Swords shows the need to transform the energy of mental attachments towards the decisive power of the Ace of swords – to let go of appropriating mental “riches” and advance to freely governing one’s mind impulses through discrimination, discernment and understanding.
    Finally the seven of Wands shows the need to transform a tendency to defend and amass one’s fiery impulses (passions, will, ambitions, drive etc). The challenge is to let these energies become ‘verdant’ and a live expression of Divine will, as the Ace of Wands promises.
    (The following adapted from: http://www.usenature.com/article_numerology.htm) is a particular spiritual law that describes the connection between the time and space. This law states that the time and space are related in a ratio of 7 to 4. What does this mean?

    The number 7 governs everything that is shown as a vertical unfoldment or procession. In the Hebrew tradition, the 7 elohim that govern time have created everything visible and invisible alternating their efforts one after another. Because the number of the spiritual energies that created everything visible and invisible is essentially 7, you will discover this number in almost everything that surrounds us – 7 rays of the rainbow, 7 musical tones in an octave, 7 major planets etc.

  2. digiacom Says:

    Thank you Karin,

    Your comment is an article in itself, and I hope other readers spend time with it. I will do a post on the Sevens eventually and look forward to what you’ll have to say!

    Deep and rich understanding of various systems, thank you for contributing such a wealth of ideas!

  3. corrector Says:

    The Letter Chet (ח) does NOT mean ‘Fence’ in Hebrew – Where did you get that ?
    If anything it sound like another word in Hebrew which is Sin (חטא), but is written in a different way (חית)… and If you ask me, Zain(ז) will better suit with the Chariot, but that’s another story.

  4. digiacom Says:

    Hello corrector – You’re right that Chet doesn’t translate really to fence, and I should’ve been more specific, thanks for being honest.

    I’ve found my inspiration in its (admittedly suspected) pictographic root meaning – which I’ve found to from a few different sources. Wikipedia is one of them, and I feel it isn’t a stretch to use these meanings as part of my thinking.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_Hebrew#Consonants

    As for Zayin being more suitable, its a matter of opinion. I can see it working very well with the Chariot, but I do like the distribution of the letters starting with Beth at the Magician (The Torah starts with Beth rather than Aleph, among other reasons I enjoy this distribution). Some people relate Zayin with male sexuality, which definitely makes the Lovers a good place for it. As for the numerical values, well, it just gets more interesting the deeper one goes!

    I’m eager to hear what you like about Zayin in the position of the chariot – Discussion is what makes all of this come alive 🙂

  5. Alice Says:

    Hello,
    I got combination of the magician, 7 of Pentacles, and the fool. My question was based on a previous question, where I asked if my ex thinks about us getting back together . I got the 5 of cups, 6 of wands, and he sun. So I then asked, does this mean we are getting back together and got then the magician, 7 of Pentacles, and the fool.
    Seems good, but not too sure.

  6. digiacom Says:

    Hello Alice!

    Your question, ‘Does my ex think about us getting together’, is a sort of question that asks for information about another person’s private thoughts and feelings, and invites us to project onto that person. Without any tools, those projections can be wild and heartbreaking. I’ve been in your spot, and I’m sorry – it is heart wrenching!

    When you ask a question that projects onto another person, like yours, it can focus our projections – but it is up to us to remember that they are still projections, not actually what the other person thinks. Projecting onto people is useful – it helps us empathize and understand people sometimes – but it is usually destructive, by making us anticipate what we think a person wants or thinks, when that is really only what we are projecting onto them. I’ve been all too guilty myself of sometimes missing the human being I care about, instead dealing with my projections. It is a confusing and frustrating situation for everybody involved.

    That said, let’s look at what you got. The Five of Cups, Six of Wands, and the Sun. First, I am sure he thinks of you. People rarely forget entirely someone they were close to, no matter the circumstances of their breakup; With these cards, there is certainly some grief and attachment over something lost (Five of Cups), but also a feeling of success or triumph (Six of Wands) and significant openness and honesty (The Sun). It may be that though he misses you, he is tending to his own passions and has been the most honest he can be about his feelings. Just one possible interpretation out of many.

    Your second question shifts our projection from your ex to the future of the connection between you and your ex. Again, we can’t know; but with the cards, we may focus our projections and tap our insight much more thoughtfully than without any tools.

    You drew The Magician, the Seven of Pentacles, and The Fool. Whenever considering if I would say ‘yes’ to re-entering relationship that has ended, I would ask these questions: What were the reasons you and he broke up? Are those conditions truly different, or would we just repeat the same old story? The Fool and the Magician are very potent, fundamental cards in the Tarot: They are also very different approaches to living life. If we see one of you as the fool and the other the magician, and the Seven between you, maybe it was not about either of you – that you each are following your paths the best you can, and somehow the space between you isn’t satisfying you both, given different goals and focuses in life. The seven of pentacles depicts, at least to me, a kind of harvest – but the worker’s heart and mind is somewhere else. Maybe focusing on your ex has kept you from expressing yourself fully. Maybe your ex feels distant from his current life, and needed a change.

    Given these cards, if you are really in need of answers about your relationship, you could ask what about the relationship did you feel unsatisfied about (The Seven of Pentacles)? Are those things going to change without you or him fundamentally changing? And, can you make those necessary changes without imposing them artificially? Lasting change happens without an agenda of a reward for the superficial change; instead we must tend to the roots of our behavior. You cannot demand change in another person, or force it in yourself. The best changes are choices we make very deeply in us, out of a desire to grow.

    However he thinks about you, it is probably most important to consider, for yourself, what you want for him – broadly, regardless of with whom, and then what you want for you, again broadly and unattached to particular people. In his case, he is perhaps struggling with difficult and elusive questions. If your paths cross in relationship again, if you both are then able to grow and express yourselves healthfully, then maybe it would be worthwhile. But if not, then the same problems may come again. Right now you are free to explore what you want, what you need – from yourself, outside of your ex.

    I am sorry this isn’t the satisfying “Yes” or “No” kind of answer that you might’ve been looking for; Life is full of choices and freedom, and the Tarot is most helpful when we honor our power of choice, and own our projections. That way we don’t muddy the water by guessing at what other people are feeling, thinking, and choosing. I know from personal experience that really dispensing with projections, and just letting myself feel my grief, and really making choices fully from my heart can be very, very sad, especially when confronted with heartbreak. Focus on your own peace, your wellness, your heart; with yourself. It is the best thing you can do, and I’m sure you have many friends who are there for you – and, at the least, you have compassionate Tarot which can help be a mirror in which to see yourself in your beauty and strength.

    I wish you well, and that your heart finds harbor. My own heart challenges have me dealing with a sense of not knowing where I belong, I’ll share with you a quote that was shared with me about my grief recently: “Home wasn’t a set house, or a single town on a map. It was wherever the people who loved you were, whenever you were together. Not a place, but a moment, and then another, building on each other like bricks to create a solid shelter that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go,”- Sarah Dessen

    May you be well.

  7. Alice Says:

    Hi D,
    Thank you for your helpful reading, and for kindly saying saying “no he will not return.” It got me to text him and tell him something’s and At the end,I now know, I do not have to wait for him. Something deep In me, believes we”ll meet again, maybe in another lifetime, but what I feel for this man, is an uplifting love, and kindness I want to share only with him. You also did something for me, I felt very free after reading your post, like something had been lifted off my chest which is great. In my previous readings, this man has always been my King of cups or king of Pentacles, and in a last reading I did asking if he will return I got the 3 of wands, 3 of swords, and king of Pentacles, so it is clear to me that I will meet another “king” in my life soon, even if it is not him. I do not know why I want it to be him so badly, but I am willing to move on..slowly and sadly. Lastly I have always believed home is where your heart is the most at present ..and right now it is with him, and that will fade, and I’ll find another home and be happy again.
    Thank you and I’ll hope you’ll be able to hel p me with others readings in the future.

  8. Alice Says:

    Hi D,
    I asked one last question, will we meet again and make this work sometimes later and better. I got the strength, 6 of Pentacles and 10 of cups. They see, like positive cards and a bright future, but what do you think? Also, how how you recommend I start learning to interrupt the combination of cards, it is so hard for me.

  9. Alice Says:

    I figured it out …I think. Strength(have courage to) 6 of Pentacles (to give him what he needs and wants…space) and you will find the 10 of cups(the fuffillment you are researching for with him)?

  10. digiacom Says:

    Hello again Alice,

    Strength to give him space is a lovely interpretation. Strength also talks about balance of our inner forces through active relationship; Giving him space can either be like a lion you are caging in yourself, waiting when you can finally release it to again hunt him down, or giving him space by refocusing your attention on your relationship to yourself, trying to become the lion’s friend and ally instead of a hollow attendant. The other people in your life may benefit so much from your presence, which you can best give by being wholly present – by recapturing all that energy that is pulling you towards him.

    The Six of Pentacles is a practical card that strikes a balance. It can mean paying and forgiving debts, or facing the consequences of being unable to pay. Fulfilling obligations can tidy up our lives and give us a clean slate so we can move on into the future without being tied to the past. The Six of Pentacles may also mean tending to your well-being, giving attention to work or finding work worthy of your attention, and both helping and being receptive to being helped are all aspects of the six of pentacles. Focus on the material quality of your experience; really tasting food, tending to your space, caring and appreciating your body, really caring about your practical situation, education, career, and your own path through life. Treat yourself like you would a best friend, and just be there for you.

    The Ten of Cups is family, and joy. Right now it feels like joy is with this man; it may be. It may also not be. But it is doubtless, at least to me, that you will feel satisfied and happy, and you will have people close to you that you love and love you. You will be in not only infatuation – but real, lasting love and connection, and not only with one person but with a whole family of people. Maybe this is a family the way you have imagined it, or maybe in a whole new way that you’ve never imagined before – that is for the funny course of life to figure out. For you, I feel like the most compassionate, beautiful thing you can do is to totally let go, surrender, and be one within yourself. You are the whole world, after all.

    Tarot is there for you. You can project questions out onto the future, your connections, and other people – there is nothing wrong with that, but you will get what the Tarot can give you – many stories, a library of possible futures. If you let Tarot, or any other affective, aesthetic experiencing of the world, really touch you, it can be a mirror to show you in your full brilliance. That is inner honesty.

    Thank you for coming back with such honest questions, I know that I tend to turn the cards towards you rather than give concrete predictions about your future with this man. I think in a way, people who have loved each other are always connected, so I wish for him all the same strength, earnest work for a better life, and joy and connection I hope for you – wherever he ends up, perhaps with you, close to you as a friend, or finding his way somewhere unknown and far away. I hope I’ve been useful to you, Alice. I wish you joy!

  11. Lynne Says:

    Hi, I had a reading 5 card spread. I asked whether my investment venture related to a house and any potential issues. I had the empress, the wheel of fortune, the tower, the 7 of pentacle so and the sun.

    This has really troubled me because of the tower being in the middle – I really don’t like the tower

  12. digiacom Says:

    Hello Lynne,

    While it is tempting to see Tarot cards as a way to tell what will happen, they are most helpful as a means to stimulate your intuition and imagination. In this case the Tower has provoked your fear, and the reading is an opportunity to ask: What are you afraid of? What is the worst outcome? Another thing to think about is that the Tower often hits us when we get what we think we want, that material ambition is often a distraction from cultivating our highest and best selves. Consider also that the most of your reading is overwhelmingly positive: The Empress, the Wheel of Fortune, and the Sun are very positive, expansive cards, yet you’ve fixed yourself on the Tower.

    It can help to remember that the Tower is a part of the whole reading, an important phrase in a bigger story. With the cards you’ve chosen, a read I get is that your vitality and creativity in the Empress and vision indicated by the Wheel may indeed pay off, but the Tower and the seven show a shift in values from the material to something more meaningful to you personally. The Sun ends the reading with openness and truth, perhaps a sign you will set out on a renewed path with clarity and warmth. This story can be told several ways.

    In the short term, it might mean your venture will suffer a period of doubt and reconsideration, but that the final outcome will be overwhelmingly positive. In the medium term, it could mean that your venture will be very successful, but that something in your life will shift because of it – your interest in that success will be muted, perhaps – and you will find yourself drawn in a different direction than you anticipated before the venture. In the long term, this event in your life is a stepping stone towards bigger success and the subsequent realization that fulfilling desires is never enough on its own; you will know yourself more deeply, clarifying and correcting your goals to best express your highest self. In all of them, you are left with the Sun, a higher octave of the Wheel of Fortune energy (Both are tens, and ones). This is lightness, wisdom, and love without neurosis or attachment.

    The Tower is a humbling experience, but it is ultimately one which breaks down the barriers between us and our highest joy, our highest gifts and truth. If you can embrace the Tower and surrender to it, you will find yourself lighter and more open than ever before.

    The Seven here is a reflection of the Tower, as both are Sevens. It may mean that material success and concern have left (or will leave) you wanting more, that other aspects of your best self have been somewhat obscured. The Sun is the light at the end of the tunnel, opening you to a fuller range of who you are and can be.

    Of course, these are just my stories that I draw from very little, and maybe you see something wholly different. Question everything and open your heart when you read for yourself. Don’t let your immediate hopes, fears, and plans keep you too insulated you from wild truth and possibility.

    Warm regards, and thank you so much for bringing your thoughts to my humble blog,
    Lionel

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