Eight of Pentacles
Function: Possessions, riches, material things, practicality
A young man sits on a bench, chiseling a pentagram into a pentacle, six of which are fixed to a tree, already completed. There are two more to go, and he’s currently working on one right now. It seems that he’s not creating these pentacles so much as he’s fixing or perfecting them.
He sits alone, away from the city, as he focuses on his work. He wears a blue shirt, the color of serenity and the mind, and red stockings and shoes the color of passion, magic, and vitality. While he seems calm on the surface, underneath it is a fever for something. He enjoys what he’s doing, or at least, he doesn’t want to be doing something else. He’s engrossed in his work.
One wonders what happens next. Do the pentacles just sit there, affixed to the tree? Does he keep them? Does he give them to someone else? The focus is on the moment of labor, not on the moment of achievement. But if he keeps working like that, then chances are that he’ll succeed in whatever he’s doing. He just has to stay the course.
But what happens once he succeeds isn’t important here. In fact, it’s probably better if he’s engrossed in the moment and not looking ahead. His attention should be on the now, not on the future or the past.
The Eight of Pentacles indicates focus, hard work, attention to detail, and making things just right. This is about being proud of a job well done, because that pride was earned through the sweat of one’s brow. However, it’s not about the pride itself, but the pride that inevitably follows the labor.
This is about teaching yourself, or learning through experience. It’s possible that the man isn’t trying to make eight pentacles, but that he’s trying to make one perfect pentacle, and currently, he’s on his 7th or 8th try. This card has been associated with apprenticeship and learning through experience and immersion in the work, as opposed to book learning or watching someone else work.
The eight of pentacles can also mean perfectionism. How much work really needs to go into all those pentacles? Does it really require painstaking detail?
When the eight of pentacles is Reversed:
When the Eight of Pentacles is reversed, the querent is either refusing to learn from experience, or refusing to get their hands dirty and do the work themselves. They’re not actually learning anything in the practical sense, and when the time comes won’t know how to apply what they know, and they may not know how to stick things through.
When this card is reversed, it can mean that the querent is so bogged down in the details that they miss the big picture, and they don’t know when something is enough. Instead of perfecting something, they end up ruining it: they do one thing too many that takes it from perfect to irrevocably flawed. They have to learn to stop while they’re ahead so as not to undo their success.
In a three-card reading, this card means…
Past: In the past, the querent was hardworking, paying close attention to detail, and trying to perfect something, which has brought them to this moment.
Present: Currently, the querent has their nose to the grindstone and is trying to learn how to or trying to perfect something.
Future: The future brings a time of painstaking attention to detail and trying to make something perfect.