As noted previously, this is a chapter in a book about the Tarot aimed at Intermediate students of Tarot, not beginners or advanced students. It is particularly aimed at writers looking to learn World Building and Alien Character building.
And Remember: The meaning of a Tarot Minor Arcana resides in the placement on the Tree of Life (i.e. the number on the card) integrated with the "World" or Suit of the card.
For the Tree of Life and the Jacob's Ladder diagrams see:
I don't really go with the way this page explains the Tree, but it is worth thinking about. There are many other ways. For now, ponder the diagrams on this page or Google up some others.
I have been posting here since August 14th, 2007, every Tuesday, the 10 minor Arcana of the suit of Swords. The Ace of Pentacles was posted Oct 23, 2007. The 3 of Pentacles was accidentally posted dated Monday November 5th.
What goes around comes around. Yep, I'm still on cliches.
As much as the 5 of Pentacles is about isolation, loneliness and being unable to get anyone to listen, unable to get psychological validation from another human being, the 6 of Pentacles is about connectivity.
6's are about Love, and how love opens the psyche to receive Beauty.
The shock-and-awe of the apperception of the Beauty which fuels the Universe is the essence of 6, the center of the Tree of Life.
Look at the Jacob's Ladder diagram. We are now talking about the 3rd circle up from the bottom of the MIDDLE column.
Under that 6 of Pentacles lies the 10 of Swords, so these two processes are related harmonics.
6 of Pentacles is immensely complicated because it is in fact so very simple. It is love. We've grappled with this before, discussing the 6 of Swords.
In Swords, we did not discuss how the 6 of Swords overlays the 10 of Cups, and is overlain by the Ace of Pentacles. We just tried to tease out the meaning of 6 Swords without getting so complicated.
The 10 of Cups is a vast and stable emotional joy -- a psychological stability. The 6 of Swords is a journey to start over somewhere else, despite dragging your habits with you (good or bad habits, you drag them everywhere).
The Ace of Pentacles is the start of materializing something new (not always good, just materializing whatever project you've been working on).
Here in the 6 of Pentacles, we hit the 6-note again, harmonizing with the previous 6's and bringing it all down into concrete manifestation.
How do you concretize G-d's love?
Well, a good start is Charity.
But mostly people think of Charity as giving to those less fortunate, those who have less. And its often just physical things that get donated.
But very often, the most meaningful kind of Charity is done just within your own mind, quietly inside your thoughts and opinions, your thought-habits (10 Swords).
Political correctness requires that we not judge people's values, and most especially that we not judge on a double standard.
But it's very possible that true Charity requires a double standard.
Not everyone can do what you have done -- so should you require everyone to measure up to the standard by which you judge yourself?
Look at it backwards. If you find yourself wanting, should you necessarily judge others by a higher standard?
And some people "put others on a pedestal" in order to devalue themselves.
But if you judge everyone against the same standards, you aren't "handicapping" (as in golf or gambling). You aren't allowing for the inherent differences among us.
Charity may in fact mean that you judge each person you meet against their own ideal condition. But of course, you not being Infinitely Wise, can't possibly know what that ideal condition is. In fact, you can't know what your own ideal condition is!
So what are we to do? Not judge anyone? Political correctness indicates that one should not ever pass value judgements.
Wouldn't it be nice if life were that simple? One rule that always applies.
Something about that idea makes me suspicious.
If life were that simple, would the Tarot deck need so many cards to describe the process of living?
In the 5 of Pentacles, we experienced solitude, loneliness, and learned self-reliance. We learned to get rid of some of our emotional baggage and other clutter to make room for that which others value.
That housecleaning left us able to re-enter social interaction after the long, quiet building process of 4 Pentacles.
What we built in 4 Pentacles we are now able to SHARE with others by accepting into the spot emptied by housecleaning, what they have to share with us.
So maybe we can't judge the value systems other live by as better or lesser than our own. So maybe all we can judge is how compatible someone else's values are with our own -- at this particular time.
Everyone changes all the time, though we change within the parameters delineated by our natal charts. We can become a better example of our self, but we can't become someone else or live someone else's life.
However, at any given moment, we can respond to compatibility -- that what the Other has to share fits nicely into the empty spot within us while what we have to share fits into their empty spot.
Cliche: You scratch my back; I'll scratch yours.
And that's the Giving and Receiving contract represented by 6 Pentacles.
Once again, the Waite Rider deck images miss the point somewhat. The essence of Charity is not the wealthy giving to the poor. The essence of Charity is the Social Contract. It's not about what I have and what you have -- it's about what we have.
Yeah, love is a contract -- a legal contract! Isn't that awful?
But in a way it's true. Every human interaction is based on a contract of some sort -- a "you do this; I do that" contract.
Mystically, G-d came to Avram and said, "Come walk in my ways and I'll make of you a great nation." That's a contract. And again at Mount Sinai, the Ten Commandments were given as a contract -- you do this; I'll do that. G-d interacts with humankind via a legal contract.
All human relationships mirror that, as do all civilizations.
The contract part is the concrete part, the Pentacles part of the deal.
6 is Love, the love of Beauty and the Beauty of love.
The contract of love is reciprocity -- to allow one's self to be affected, changed, as much as one offers to affect the other.
For the most part, the terms of the contract of love are unspoken, mostly subconscious and therefore un-speakable because you, yourself, don't know your own terms -- and therefore the whole contract is subject to misunderstanding.
That misunderstanding often manifests as co-dependence, sometimes in a healthy way, and sometimes not. See 5 Swords again.
So 6 Pentacles is about the individual's pairing contract mirroring the social contract which mirrors the mystical contract the Creator made with humankind.
So to figure out the 6 of Pentacles, we have to start at the top, the origin.
As we discussed in Swords, creation was Created by a Word. Much later, we learned what that Word was about via the Ten Commandments.
It's no co-incidence there are 10 Sepheroth of the Tree of Life and 10 Commandments. Trust me, no coincidence at all!
We learned that if we follow these 10 simple rules, there will be Abundance. Vast Abundance! The Universe is Abundant. It's a Law and part of the Contract. (remember the Swords discussion of the Zero Sum Game model vs. the model of Abundance).
So how come there are poor people and rich people? And the richest aren't always the best at following Commandments!
The theory is (more mysticism here) that the vast abundance flows into the world unevenly, and some people are challenged (remember, you can't judge other people very well, being a person yourself) to develop ways of redistributing the extra that they get. Yeah, being rich is (cliche!) no bed of roses.
Conundrum: If you find that you need to get more, the way to get more is to GIVE more.
So those who start out with extra and figure out how to give, (it's not that easy - look at the celebrity-gossip headlines!) find they have even more than they started with.
But it's also true that some of those who start out with too little have become prosperous after doing Charity.
Remember the movie where the fellow will inherit a fortune if he can figure out how to spend a million dollars in a short time? It was a comedy, but could be remade as an Alien Romance.
We all know from experience that giving doesn't bring more right away.
You can't (usually) get by deliberately giving for the purpose of getting.
Remember the discussion in 5 Pentacles of discarding some of the irrelevant bits accumulated in 4 Pentacles? You discard what you don't need to make room to accept something from someone else, something they cherish (an idea, a value, a joy, whatever).
Relationships are established and nurtured by exchanging such personal bits of individuality.
One of the most difficult principles of Kabbalah is Giving and Receiving. Receiving is very likely the single most difficult occult concept of all.
6 Pentacles is the process during which we complete the circuit with G-d, receiving the Love He gives and giving to others in reflection of that. This process leaves us more and more capable of loving G-d.
This process is not so simple. How many of us are even capable of letting ourselves be loved by another human being, never mind the Creator of us all?
It's a pump - you have to prime it.
Young people today don't know how to prime a pump -- all their sinks come with faucets and their cars don't have carburetors. How are they supposed to learn about love?
Well, by attempting to participate in giving and receiving, even by deliberately giving in order to get, we start to open ourselves up.
It is a stepwise process, taking many lifetimes. Eventually Pentacles can be understood in a whole new light. (when I get there, I'll let you know what color that light is)
Story characters, just like some people, often set out to get rich, to make money, to amass wealth. We like to read stories about the wantonly rich. The TV Show Colombo was about an ordinary Los Angeles Detective who investigated murders among the grandly wealthy the city is known for. His rumpled trenchcoat became an icon!
There is a fascination in how the "other half" lives. And in the USA, it is possible for the poorest among us to become the richest. So we're fascinated to a purpose.
Often, wealth is chosen as a goal. And we read many stories about people who became "hard-hearted" as they pursue that goal.
Cliche: Money Is The Root Of All Evil.
How can that be if one whole quarter of Jacob's Ladder, the path to Heaven, is formed of Pentacles? The Suit of Coins?
What's wrong with wanting to be rich?
Nothing, unless you choose having a lot of money as a goal.
Maybe that's the whole secret of it! Wealth is not a goal. It is a side-effect. Wealth is a side-effect produced by the pursuit of self-knowledge and spiritual health that lets you love and let yourself be loved.
Remember, Jacob's Ladder is the conduit down which G-d's love flows into the world, and it is also the circuit diagram of human personality-soul-spirit.
Perhaps wealth is chosen as a goal by those who despair of ever knowing love. Or perhaps they believe if they're rich enough, they'll be loved.
How many Romance novels involve a young woman yearning for the rich scion of a Titled family?
If wealth is chosen as a goal in itself, you may achieve it and never know you've made it. Or you may think you have it made only to have it all evaporate. Or you may star in one of those movies where the elderly Grandfather is dying in a huge four-poster bed, and the children are sniping at each other all over the mansion, vying for shares of the fortune.
We yearn for riches as much or maybe more than for love. Why is that? Why do we worship the almighty dollar which is represented in Tarot by the Suit of Pentacles?
There is a relationship between wealth and love.
When we feel G-d's love, we feel wealthy even if we don't have much. When we don't feel G-d's love, no matter how much wealth we have, we feel poor and use our wealth to batter at that internal barrier (hence celebrities with a $17,000/month party budget).
The 6 of Pentacles is all about puzzling out how that relationship between love and money works for you right now.
The key is to realize that money is not the root of all evil, but rather the conduit through which G-d's love flows into manifestation.
If you attempt to stand in the way of that downrushing flood more powerful than Niagra Falls, you will be swept away as surely as so many celebrities with wasted lives.
If you become an extension of that conduit, then the event that marks the 10 of Swords process (which underlies 6 Pentacles) will be a culmination of your actions resulting in filling you up with love to give.
Let's look in on our writer who gritted her teeth and started writing her first novel in Ace of Swords, and eventually had her packaging go all awry, then made changes, and finally began another novel in Ace of Pentacles and found herself building a career in 4 Pentacles and lost her confidence in 5 Pentacles.
Guess what's happening to her now that she's worked that second novel down to 6 Pentacles.
She's just been offered a FILM OPTION on her second book! That's 6 of Pentacles -- something you earned in a past life but didn't get, a big break, a leg up when you really need it, a boost you couldn't create for yourself, just "falls into your lap." I suspect many "rescuer" novels are primarily inspired by this kind of event half-remembered from a prior life and misunderstood in today's model of the universe.
To others our writer's good fortune looks as if a fumbling, incompetent beginning writer (they always blame the author for the cover) got unreasonably lucky with her second novel and got a film option. She couldn't possibly have earned it more than someone working for decades in the industry.
Well, she didn't earn it now. She drew some capital out of the karmic bank, or possibly a loan against collateral. Because of that, the right person for her got the editorial job and inherited her book contracts.
Or perhaps someone with a big karmic debt (not to her, but just a debt) was drawn to pay off that debt. The love that should have flowed to our writer splashed sideways and hit her new editor who happened to send an ARC to this producer who was moved to give because he loved her book.
Why did he love her book? Well, he didn't love her book. He just loved.
Now our writer is all excited and energized again, toiling away on her third and fourth books, working with self-confidence, once more sure that what she has to give will be well received.
And because she is glowing with all this love, she will do as well with these new novel contracts as her skills permit. If she worked hard enough acquiring skills before her first sale, she will now be able to deliver the goods. If not - she won't have the follow-up success needed to continue the build.
This writer has chosen as her goal to gift-wrap her heart and soul in order to give it away as stories. She has poured love into those stories, unstintingly, and when she's empty, love will pour back into her. Her chickens will come home to roost and lay many eggs.
6 of Pentacles Reversed happens when goals aren't chosen well, usually for lack of sufficient energy in the execution of plans.
6 of Pentacles Reversed feels like being held back a grade and having to repeat the lessons of giving and receiving, of charity and discipline of creating karmic credit.
In the Reversed process, wealth is not understood as a side-effect but as a goal on the road to power without self-knowledge.
It took knowledge of yourself to select the the right bits to discard in 5 Pentacles in order to re-enter the flow of the social contract in 6 Pentacles by receiving.
One last caution. Don't judge how well people are doing spiritually by how much wealth they have amassed, or by how "lucky" they are getting "all the breaks."
Someone can be doing splendidly in one area, with one project or one part of life, and be completely messed up in all the others. Humans are complex and develop unevenly -- and we all have challenges tailored specifically for our own lesson in this life right now.
The spiritually greatest among us can be the poorest or least lucky.
Remember that when you give to someone who has less money than yourself. You may be giving to the richest person on earth who simply doesn't have money for food at the moment in order to give you a chance to tap into abundance. You would be wise to give with respect.
There is no one answer that will work for everyone. Your right answer today will not be right tomorrow - because you will change. We'll look into that in 7 Pentacles.
But the basic principle is always there and objectively true. The universe is made out of love, and it's love that holds it all together via the social contract.