Four of Pentacles:
Function: Possessions, riches, material things, practicality
A rich man looks out at the querent, either warning them or daring them to take his four precious pentacles. He has one under each foot: one is both his arms, and another on his head. He wears a small crown, indicating that he’s had some relatively small material success.
He’s alone. The city is behind him, and he sits hunched down on a stone stool, him and his pentacles. Perhaps the weight of the one on his head, or the need to balance it, keeps him from standing up. Perhaps he’s afraid to get up because then the pentacles under his feet aren’t protected. Perhaps it’s easier to wrap his body around the one in his arms if he doesn’t get up.
He‘s weary. He may not be happy. Chances are, he doesn’t sleep because he’s guarding his four measly pentacles. He’s alone, and he will probably remain alone. Perhaps he wants it that way, because he’s not sharing either the bench or the pentacles.
Either way, he’s a slave to those four little pentacles. He thinks he’s in control and that he’s the one who has the power. But it’s actually the pentacles that have the power, or rather the desire for them. It keeps him lonely, paranoid, and trapped in place.
He wears red, the color of magic, and black, and the color of despair and of shadows. Few people in the minor arcana actually wear black, so when it shows up, it’s good to take note. Black is the color of shadows, the absence of light. It represents the dark side of humanity, the place where our baser emotions, like greed, hide from the light. We justify these emotions. The man here probably thinks he’s simply protecting his wealth from thieves. Of course, his wealth is everything to him, but it’s not much, is it?
He’s not so much greedy as he is possessive. He doesn’t take a risk to get more wealth. He just clings to what he has and is vigilant to keep others from taking it. He’ll neither spend the pentacles nor invest them. He won’t even go back to the city and trust them near other people.
When the four of pentacles is Reversed:
When reversed, the querent is stingy, but actually losing what they have because of it. They may under- or overestimate what they have. Or, the querent may actually not have much. Poverty is probably a problem, and the response is to try to hold onto what keeps slipping away. The querent falls into despair.
It’s also possible that the querent has put chasing the dollar about all other possible riches, including love and relationships. They’re alone with their money, with no one to share it with, and not quite ready to share it.
The querent may actually see their own personal worth in dollars and cents, and actually think that how much money they make is the main or only indicator of their worth and worthiness of love. They may try to buy love.
In a three-card reading, this card means…
Past: In the past, the querent was territorial and stingy with relatively little, and while they may still have it in the present, it hasn’t grown into more.
Present: Currently, the querent is just trying to hold on to what little they have, and are afraid to take risks; they may think they have more than they actually have.
Future: In the future, the querent is going to become insecure about their resources and cling to what little money, possessions, or valuables they have.