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The Five of Pentacles

“I've been making a list of the things they don't teach you at school. They don't teach you how to love somebody. They don't teach you how to be famous. They don't teach you how to be rich or how to be poor. They don't teach you how to walk away from someone you don't love any longer. They don't teach you how to know what's going on in someone else's mind. They don't teach you what to say to someone who's dying. They don't teach you anything worth knowing.”

― Neil Gaiman, The Kindly Ones

The Five of Pentacles is a funny old card.

It slips out of the deck accompanied by a sigh. Fives sit on the nadir of the wheel and often speak of human vulnerabilities, frailties and insecurities. I see the fives as great learning opportunities which are cleaved from life experiences. As such we can see them as spiritual moments and after all the most spiritual thing we can do is to be alive and no experience is ever wasted.

Keywords for the Five of Pentacles.

These might be economic insecurity, isolation, loss and restrictions, adversity before betterment, poor health, need for clarity, low self esteem, emotional over practical. Disconnection from an inner presence.

I see this five as the poverty consciousness card.

We are isolated from comfort and disconnected from our sense of being. In the RWS deck the lights in the church could represent our consciousness and connection to family yet we are somehow not a part of it. It has an ethnicity which brings something 'other' and outside of ourselves. We are at once reminded that we cannot step down from our consciousness but we can step up to it. Our inner light does not shine for us but for other people.

I come across this quite often when people are trying to understand their spiritual pathway. They somehow see their spirituality as something beyond who they think they are.

This five reminds us to reconnect and to check in on that connection frequently.

This is especially important in these current times as the way society is being manipulated is for people to shy away from the spiritual heritage, to be empty and vacuous. The gauntlet is thrown, the challenge is to remember we are interdependent on each other and all things. Each of us can make a difference to our own lives or that of others. This card can be about considering community work and contributing in a positive way to one’s environment. This is also a good way to understand the self as acts of selflessness and compassion can open portals to new levels of understanding.

Very often we are given the choice to view our situation in one of two ways.

We can either see through an emotional lens or a practical one. The Five of Pentacles asks us to be practical. The question is what do I need to do and not necessarily how do I feel about it.

However, conventional guidance is not always the best way forward and does not address the spiritual needs that arise in the individual at times of feeling overwhelmed or unwell. Tradition and dogma can’t hit the spot sometimes and as a result we have to consider what is right for our own personal growth as grow we must! There is a fine balance between spiritual needs and material/physical requirements.

Many times I have had the conversation with my Guide that I am happy and prepared to do the work but my life can’t be driven by fresh air, conversely I can’t live for bread alone. The balance is vital to our wholeness.

When this card appears there may be a renunciation in the world.

It can be a time of reclusive and solitary pursuits that reconstructs the path to a spiritually-oriented self. Conventionality limits our thinking and we imprison our beliefs and faith believing it to be the only way but it is for us to be ourselves; we have the right to be as eccentric, charismatic or as maverick as we like. This is especially so if it allows expression and communication.

Rumi says ‘Wherever there is poverty there is relief.’

In Sufism, poverty consists of emptying the self of all other that is other than God, to lose all base and lower attachments. The Faqir or poor one has embraced simplicity and the purity of spiritual essence and the primary goal is to put the ego-centred self on one side to be released from endless demands and desires.

The esoteric idea of spiritual poverty, al Faqr, inspired and radicalised a whole generation of Sufi dervishes in the Islamic world between the 13th and 16th centuries. Rumi would have come across this brand of dervish who were revered by the general populace. We can see even at this time there was a need in religious and spiritual communities to yield to the unconventional and non-traditional, this would bring growth and evolution.

The rejection of conventional dogma in spiritual pathworking is a natural phase in the path of gnosis or self-knowledge.

When this five appears it can be a time to renew your altar, look at your viewpoint towards your spiritual path and how to walk it.

Rejection, abandonment, ostracisation all create elements of the victim. The authentic self is to be encouraged to take that giant leap of faith and shuffle off the suffering that no longer serves a lesson that can be learned.

Self-belief and confidence are the keys to personal fulfilment!


1. What is my attitude to learning lessons from life?

2. Which area of my life makes me feel isolated?

3. How do I let go of my struggles?

4. What practical steps can I take forward

5. What can I do to support others in their time of need?

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