Five of Pentacles:
Function: Possessions, riches, material things, practicality
A very sick man and a very poor, underfed woman walk past the pristine and glowing stained glass window on a church. The man wears a bell around his neck, reminiscent of a leper, and hobbles around on crutches. Neither have shoes and they trudge through the snow on cold night. Oddly enough, they have one of the most colorful wardrobes of the tarot. She wears orange, the color of life and zest. They both wear blue, the color of serenity and spirituality, and yellow, the color of the higher mind.
He looks up to Heaven. She prays. With nothing on earth to cling to, they look up for support as the snow falls without seemingly stopping. Theirs is a desperate situation, and yet, not all hope is lost. Could they possible go into the church and get help? After all, that is what churches are supposed to be for, in part: helping the needy.
The stained glass window is interesting in itself. The pentacles are arranged as if on a tree, symbolizing fertility and wisdom; towers, symbolizing stability and strength, and red flowers surrounded by green leaves, symbolizing magic and the renewal of life. All in all, however, this is all part of an image, and what are real is the snow, the cold, and the destitution of the man and woman walking barefoot in that snow.
The Five of Pentacles is different from the preceding Pentacle cards in that it’s the first one that means to go without any material comforts or riches. Thus wherever this card shows up, there’s not just a lack of material comforts and riches, but a severe loss and need of them. It can indicate a crushing financial or personal blow that becomes or became a major setback.
It can also indicate a crushing blow to the ego. One can’t rely simply on themselves anymore, and they charity and perhaps even divine intervention to get them out of their rut. They may not, however, have people close to them to rely on; the people around them may either shut them out or be in the same place. They may be struggling to make ends meet, and one or more person is going without. It’s not even luxuries, but the things they need, like sleep, adequate food, rest, and hygiene.
When the Five of Pentacles is Reversed:
When the Five of Pentacles is reversed, the querent is coming out of us or has come out of a period of deprivation and heading into a new era of prosperity. They may not be out of the woods yet, but they’re getting close.
However, it can also mean that the querent is holding onto a feeling of deprivation and scarcity even though there’s no reason for it, since things are okay now. They’re still in the mode they were in when things were tighter, and they’re not relaxing or learning to enjoy what they have. They may be forcing their family members or loved ones to endure these now imaginary hardships.
In a three-card reading, this card means…
Past: In the past, the querent went through a series financial or material setback that left them going without, and that has brought them to this moment.
Present: The querent is currently dealing with serious financial and personal setbacks of a material nature and having to go without.
Future: In the future, the querent is going to have to brace for hard times; this may be a warning that they should conserve and prepare now.