“Getting money is not all a man's business: to cultivate kindness is a valuable part of the business of life.” ― Samuel Johnson
Whenever we delve into the world of Pentacles, we deal with money, home, family, security--the earthly concerns. The Four comes on the heels of the Three of Pentacles, a card of the artisan. Fours are about stability, the kind of balance that doesn't teeter, or get thrown off its legs easily. Think four legs of a table.
Yet the Four of Pentacles shows the misuse of that stability. A king is shown feet on two pentacles, holding one over his heart and one over his crown (both literal and physical). A successful city stands in the background, showing his success. But the sky is decidedly grey, and the king, wrapped in red (the color of material success), shows a frown, and a clinging to his coins.
When I said this Four comes on the heels of the Three, we see this often in the Tarot--a journey through cards. We can often learn a great deal about the card by looking at what comes before and what follows the card. A fellow works hard at his craft, and then achieves. The three shows an artisan who has a benefactor and a priest as his supporter, and so he has this nod from the Divine and from the earthly concerns. In the Four, we see someone decidedly rich and affluent. He has achieved his financial desires, but he clings tightly to his money, so tightly, it is blocking three important chakras: his heart, his crown, or his connection to the Divine, and his earth start, or his connection to the earth.
He has achieved, but this is not what Spirit wants for your abundance. Abundance thinking dictates that we share, invest, donate to achieve more. But this man's thinking limits his achieving more money. He has cut himself off from more abundance, guidance, connection. This is all the man will get, or so he fears, so he holds on tightly. Too tightly to feel much of anything but his cold coins. This card comes when we cling too tightly to something--money, resources, people, food, a lucrative, but soul-sucking job, a relationship or person. This card is often called the Miser card. And right it should, this man is not generous. His posture screams, "MINE!"
One thing to clarify is that this man is NOT the King of Pentacles, who often is defined by his generosity. This is the false King. He is playing king, leader. His need for control has made him King of his own warped domain. But he is a miser, a rich man without the heart to make changes in the world around him. The key words of this card are Possession, Control, and Blocking. The need to possess, the need to control and the active blocking of change.
When someone pulls this card, I ask them what they are afraid to lose, not to what they are clinging too tightly. This comes, most often, by a need to control a situation. Though it looks like money, and that can certainly be part of this Fours aspect, the need for control often comes in other forms, like the need to control another person. These coins can be replaced for anything--a person, a house, a job, co-workers. Tarot's underlying themes arise time after time, particularly the Tarot's belief about control, which is that you ain't got none. So, anytime control comes up as a desire of the ego, Tarot clicks its tongue, "Let me know how that works out for you, 'mkay?" And this is the lesson of this card, when our ego tries to control something or someone, we are blocked from the sunshine of the Spirit. We are blocked from other people. We are blocked from Mother Earth. We are blocked from growth and change and all that we need to flourish as spiritual beings.
Now, there are some definite times that this card arises--when there are estates or money issues within a family, this card sometimes arises as an acknowledgement of the struggle. In this case, the advice of the card is to loosen your grip on the estate, and allow Spirit to guide. The phrase, Would you rather be happy or right? comes to mind. Other times it comes when someone is jealous or possessive about the Seeker, or the Seeker is those things in a relationship. Look at cards around this card. Are you seeing the Emperor or Chariot? Often this is a male dominance situation, or an abusive possession. Ten of Pentacles reinforces the estate or will reading. Inner family conflict with these two cards together.
Reversed Four of Pentacles is simply this feeling, but less intense. Perhaps a lessening, or a growing. So you may be noticing yourself getting more possessive, and clinging from fear to something,and it is Spirit's way of warning you, "Careful, love, you are going to upright this card any day." Or you may have noticed it yourself and are making changes. Spirit often nods or validates our struggles.
What do you think? What does the Four mean to you? Share in our comment section!