Bohemian Gothic Tarot Study Group - Eight of Pentacles

Astraea Aurora

Hi folks,

yesterday I stumpled upon this card and examined it to get a better feeling for it. All is fine except ...

The shop sign above the entrance door says "starozitnosti" and from what I saw on the picture I guessed it means something like "doll shop" or "toy shop". But I was googling it today and the only translations I got were "antiquities" and "antiques". I'm a bit puzzled because I don't see how that fits into the card's messages.

Maybe baba-prague could come in and tell us what "starozitnosti" really means?

Anyway, what are your thoughts about that?

I'm eager to hear your opinions. Astraea Aurora :grin:

(P.S. Neither do I have the companion book with me nor do my IDS rules allow me to take a look at it.)


Well, the word is not mentioned in the companion book but your translation you found of "antiquities" and "antiques" fits as in the book it mentions that the girl is leaving a shop that sells dolls, puppets,toys and general antiques and curiosities.

You also say "I'm a bit puzzled because I don't see how that fits into the card's messages." The card I think focuses on the aspect of the man being the doll maker and his skill he has perfected in making these dolls and puppets — this is what reflects the message of the card about perfecting skills or working hard to improve them.

Of course Karen Mahony also asks us here to consider why the doll maker is watching the little girl leaving and what has he been trying to achieve in perfecting his skills in toy making, she suggests to us that perhaps the doll the child is carrying could come to life and does this mean that he has put his skills towards a dark purpose.

This card is still about the time and effort put in to get better at what you are trying to achieve however it also suggests here that perhaps those skills are being use for a wicked or even criminal end. Perhaps this doll maker is not doing anything underhanded and is just happy to see one of his products find a good home — all those toys in the window at least do indicate that he is happy to stick at something and has the patience needed to reach his goals.

The eight of pentacles does reflect the desire to express oneself and to experiment in order to acquire the skills required so that you can take for yourself the solid steps needed to work towards ones goals.

I don't know if any of this helps you at all — but take what you want and leave the rest ;)



Bohemian Gothic Study Group-8 of Pentacles

I'm in agreement that this card stumps me. 8/Pents is typically the card of hard work, study, or learning. It can also mean skill, care, and too much attention to detail. The book explanation does help, but I think one of the important things is that the toymaker is so doll like himself. Is he a dwarf or a living doll? Why such a military costume? And why such a gaze at the girl he just sold a doll to? Or did he perhaps NOT sell her the doll, he just made it, and some proprietor sold it against his wishes? (This makes more sense to me in lieu of the 8/Pents meaning).

Let it be noted as well, that he might not be the only one gazing out at her. The other dolls/puppets in the window also seem to have come to life and are staring out at her. And yes, counting the toymaker, there are 8 "dolls."

I wonder if the 8/pents "attention to detail" message might not be in the fact that the toymaker, himself, has either made himself a doll or is a doll brought to life by such loving detail. Perhaps the idea of how hard it is to give up something you put that much detail into, like giving up a child? It's interesting to see the 8/Pents as two "4/Pents" and holding on too tightly to something you work so hard on.


*bump* in hopes of more discussion on this deck.


This card puts me in mind of those British Amicus horror films (and there's a Stephen King along similar lines) where the shopkeeper sells something to a person..... and if they try and cheat him something awful happens.

This one

So I think that the shopkeeper may take advantage of any less noble intentions in his customer's minds and hearts. His craft is tempting human nature as much as making things. The pure have nothing to fear...

Oh and of course the doll will return to the shop if the girl gets any nasty just desserts.



This card always reminds me on a scene in the movie "Interview with the vampire".
Little vampire-girl Claudia leaving a similar shop like this one.
Even with a doll in her arms and a smile on her face.

But unlike the "8 of Pentacles", the salesman does not gazed at her as she walked away.
You know why, don't you?! *gg*

swimming in tarot

I think Thirteen has a good take on tying the image to the meaning, of skill that brings life to one's product, as it were, and of hating to let go of something that one has put so much of one's self into.

Putting one's self into Maybe he's a dwarf, of a race that legend credits with the ability to infuse the things that they skilfully craft, with magic (Norse and Teutonoic legend). Is he trying to create more dwarves magically, to keep him company?

The dolls in the shop window seem to be looking on in horror as one of their number, a doll with eyes that reallly close, is taken away in the arms of Little Green Ridinghood. The "shopkeeper" numbers the eighth doll, and perhaps we only THINK he's the shopkeeper...not a doll brought to life. His outfit seems a little outlandish, like a doll's might be. (I don't think it's everyday wear, not even in 19th Century Bohemia.) I wonder who the dollmaker is?


swimming in tarot said:
I wonder who the dollmaker is?
The dwarf's outfit is very rich, and he is (IMHO) most definitely the toymaker and not a doll himself--ALTHOUGH he could be a doll come to life (Pinocchio grown up and having taken over Gepetto's shop?), or, as you say, a supernatural dwarf, an ancient craftsman who can't help but imbue his creations with powerful magic. There is certainly the feeling that his work has included investing the dolls with, perhaps, spirits or demons.

And we do feel that he has a plan for all his toys and he makes sure the get taken away by certain people. Like this one doll being in the arms of a little girl who might love the doll more than anyone or anything, and so protect it? No matter what it does to her family?

Queen of Disks

The first thing this card reminded me of was an X-Files episode that was written by Steven King about a little girl who owned a doll that made people kill themselves. Eventully Scully and the girl's mother ended up burning it and throwing it in the ocean. (And I think a microwave was involved but I don't remember.) The last scene was a fisherman checking his nets and finding the burnt doll trapped in the net.

I like the ideas here so far, especially the idea of someone creating something and sending it off into the world, and having no control over where it is going to and if the owner is a good owner or not. (The idea that the shop owner is a doll himself is a great one.) I also like the idea of the enchanted or cursed doll who has a mind of her own and the doll maker who is far more then what he seems. There are all sorts of legends around the world about the powers of dolls. If you care for them properly, then they can help you, and cause trouble if you don't.

I think that little girl had better treat that doll right, other wise, there will be major trouble. I mean, we've all had, or have heard of horror stories of, girls' brothers beheading or doing nasty things to their sister's Barbie dolls or the girls that cut their Barbie's hair or mess them up in some way. The way the dolls and the shop keeper are looking at the girl walking away make me wonder if they somehow are thinking that the doll is coming back to the shop very soon...

(Aerin, the Steven King book and movie you are referring to is "Needful Things", about a shopkeeper who is the devil, and who will get you anything for a price.)


Nightgarden said:
This card always reminds me on a scene in the movie "Interview with the vampire".
Little vampire-girl Claudia leaving a similar shop like this one.
Even with a doll in her arms and a smile on her face.

But unlike the "8 of Pentacles", the salesman does not gazed at her as she walked away.
You know why, don't you?! *gg*

Nightgarden, you and I seem to be on the same page a lot. That's exactly what I thought of the first time I saw this card. Remember when Claudia killed the prostitute and left her rotting in her bed? She wanted to have a life-sized, "real" doll to play with.

As for the dollmaker, yes, his reward for his hard work and care was death. Maybe the message is that the care you take with your creations will live on after you die, your legacy to the world.