I was talking with my friend Charley (Foxtower Photography – check him out, if you haven’t already) a while ago about experiences around the Three of Pentacles. This is interesting as the Three of Pentacles itself is about sharing experience!
As I have mentioned before, I often study the relationship of numbers as well as elements. I look at what the threes all have in common. I also look at what “threeness” means to me (this is covered very nicely as a concept in Gail Fairfield’s book “Choice Centered Tarot”, it’s in the “books on Tarot” link, under “Useful Resources” on the left of this page).
Threes overall to me are the first evidence of a pattern. I refer often to folk tales and the stories we hear as children, as these are an indicator of our patterns of awareness that are passed along. Often in a story we are given three examples, three lessons or, as in baseball, three strikes and your out! Threes are where we see connections and associations. These patterns continue and are arrived at again in the sixes ( a second cycle of three) and visited again in a very powerful, often imprinting way in the nines (the third three cycle).
The three of Pentacles is fascinating in how a concept is illustrated in more than one way. I often associate Pentacles with the inner business of ownership and accountability. The most mundane aspect is our material possessions and resources, but inwardly it is what has worth to us, what we truly “own”.
This card shows three figures, a monk, an artisan and a merchant (his robe is an indication of his class). Each has his own sense of ownership in the work going on. For the Merchant, it may be his financial contribution, the limits of what he can spend or the recognition he may want in contributing. For the monk the building represents a physical manifestation of his faith and also the place he would be working in on a day to day basis. The artisan, is concerned with his own take on the process, perhaps the resources he has to work with.
In order for the work to go on, each of these elements has to have a point of agreeing. None can tell the other how to do his job exactly but they can have a common ground. This may be challenging, what looks good on paper (the blue print they are holding) may be more than they thought in the actual carrying out of the task, but if they can remain centred they each will grow from the experience and that’s part of the inner building that goes on.
All of this is illustrated again in the structure itself. Notice the three concentric rings that have the pentacles themselves in them. They are within what looks like a delicate arch, but is in fact holding up a great deal of weight. they don’t intrude on one another, if they did the structure would collapse, but they do have a tiny ring in the centre of them. This is the unifying concept that holds it all together.
In a reading this card can be an indicator of interactive work, sometimes a job that opens up new experience, or a ground floor opportunity that allows someone to share in an entirely new way. We can’t get too “uppity” in our experience, an artisan can’t tell a monk how to do his job. There has to be mutual respect of differing ideals but common principles. I always like to remember that one of the first words they teach kids in school or on Sesame Street is CO-OPERATE!
I’ve noticed some of my greatest growth experiences aren’t necessarily where Ive been with people who entirely agree with my ideas or my take on things, but rather in a spirit of fellowship, different perspectives come together around a concept. There is a Fraternal or brotherly feeling to this card, (this is interesting as there is a Sororal or sisterly energy to the Three of Cups, which I will talk about anon). I often find this energy around collaborations, say a group getting together to work on a community concept. Someone has a vision, someone has a practical outlook and someone has some experience with the carrying out of things. Maybe it’s like some charitable stuff I’ve been involved in where someone wants to do some work to serve a need, someone has connections and someone just wants to write off a surplus they have. If these things can come together, not necessarily in complete agreement but in a tenuous vision, then we have something to work with.
This is a lot like how some systems of government have to work. Here in Canada we have a parliamentary system where different parties have to have a majority on an issue in order to get things done, or work issue by issue to work out agreements.
Maybe it’s unintentionally timely that I am posting this on the eve of Britain’s elections where their parties are in a precarious balance. What we call in Canada a “minority government”, they call a “hung parliament” as the winning party does not have Carte Blanche to do what it pleases, but rather must work out and negotiate on an issue by issue basis.
Let’s hope that they, like the rings on the card I am talking about, can remember how much rests on their agreement.