Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing. ― Theodore Roosevelt
Elegance. Refinement. Restraint. All these qualities appear this week in the Lady of the Nine of Pentacles. But she is far more than her fancy gardens, her estate, and her golden attire. She attained her wealth and good standing.
Let's begin with some of the clues to what is going on in the Nine of Pentacles. Firstly, we know Pentacles rule the roost, so to speak. Pentacles govern career, work, the estate, home and matters of the family. The Nines are cards of completion. We often think of Ten as the end of the Minor Arcana road, but Nines are actually the number of completion (Tens are the number of new beginning after that cycle completion.) So, the Nine is about completion of some kind. We see this in all the Nines, and some Nines are dark, while others are wonderful. The Pentacles and Cups have very abundant completions; whereas the Wands and Swords are about reaching completion because someone is defeated (or in a war of some kind.) This Nine marks abundant attainment. We can see this in the garden m'lady stands in so gracefully. The grapes hang heavy with fruit, but not sloppily. Their cultivation shows much care and hard work. She has trained them on a trellis through thoughtful gardening. The trees stand in the back, also pruned, but stable and steady and mark a symbolic double tower, like the Moon, where she prepares to walk into her next journey. This fertility represents manifestation of her dreams. She has completed a cycle and reaped the fruits of her hard work.
She stands absolutely gorgeously with a hooded falcon on her arm. It may seem strange that this woman of grace and dignity stands with a predator, trained to hunt and kill, but that is precisely what you are supposed to know about her. She is disciplined and controlled. She has trained her bird and her self in the art of restraint and passion. The Falcon, like other predators featured in the symbolism of the Tarot, shows her Shadow self quite clearly. She works hard, she hunts what she wants. But she doesn't wantonly use this part of her personality. She has trained it, cultivated it much like her grapes. She has earned a fortune and created an estate precisely because she knows when to use her falcon instincts and when to pull back her predatory instincts. Her confidence and self-reliance exudes from every bit of her.
People often remark on her aloneness. This is part of her personality--her independence. This may have defined her attainment, but it does not define her. She is self-reliant, self-assured, and courageous. Others might not see that. Her picture can tell a very different story to an outsider. I've heard many Tarot readers call this woman, a woman of leisure. Or a widow with an inheritance. Or a divorcee with a huge alimony. And perhaps she is now. The Pentacles are below her eyesight now. She doesn't worry about money. She is concerned with the finer things in life now. Concerned, perhaps, isn't the word. Interested is better here. But she is not without money, she has earned this place behind the stone wall. But rest assured, however her money came to her, she worked hard for it.
Birds, particularly this gorgeous one, often represent wisdom, so it would be remiss not to mention her wisdom and self-control again. It makes her intriguing and important. I have seen many interpretations for this card from this card representing stay-at-home mothers or housewives to materialistic, "kept" women to the interpretation I have gave of a self-made woman. I think her abundance, grace and honor keep this card from some of the more insulting or negative interpretations. But she is certainly a woman of fertility and abundance. She wears Gold and Red, both colors of abundance and material wealth.
When I pull this card, I often feel the person is reaping the fruits are their hard work. That hard work cycle is at an end, and they may be entering a new abundant period. Again, this card is just about attainment, achievement and discipline, not necessarily about the next cycle. But it does tell us that these lessons learned in this cycle can be applied to the next cycle easily. I often remind my client to enjoy the fruits are their hard work in some way, and focus on something other than working or money. This is a gift Lady Nine gives us--her hard work affords her this life style. I also think it shows that a new working situation might be upon the person where they are working independently, either as a contractor or business owner. They understand self-sacrifice and are willing to do that for an abundant end. This card is nothing if not a card of measured endeavors.
Reversed, however, this card is about deprivation, perhaps loss. It can show the opposite of the hardworking, industrial, measured woman, but someone careless with the fertile field they are given to work with. Remember, the field is fertile, but if it is not tended, pruned and worked, it will not produce fruit. This is the message of the reversed Nine of Pentacles. It also shows a lack of wisdom in financial or career moves. A lack of confidence or deferral to someone else might be indicated here. It can also mean that someone's wealth or snobbery is cutting them off from society and the rest of the world. That is the extreme version of that. It can mean that someone is isolating in their home because of fear of their animal or base instincts, or because they feel different than others. This can be indicated for a housewife, or stay-at-home mother who is afraid of her own potential.
Let me know what you think in the comments below, and as always, share your insights with me there too.