Five of Pentacles


Perhaps one of the most helpful correlations made in Robin's book states that "I often see this card (Five of Pentacles) as the logical extension of the previous one (Four of Pentacles). If you are unwilling to help others, then you frequently find yourself in need of help, with no one to give you a hand." How powerful this message would be if, indeed, both the Four and Five of Pentacles were included in the same reading!

It's obvious that the two people pictured in the Five of Pentacles are oblivious to each other's suffering, let alone what occurs beyond their own miserable existence. They might fare better if they begin to try to help each other! They may choose not to look for help beyond the stone walls (for one reason or illness, pride, lack of money, etc.) or that help is closed to them (for one reason or rigid rules, not "our" problem, cut budgets, etc.)...these are but some of the issues one can ponder when this card appears in a reading.

I must admit that more frequently than not I view the fault of such suffering to be the lack of empathy from so-called helping institutions and those running them. The stone wall often appears VERY COLD to me (emphasized by it being winter and snowing), despite the colorful stained glass. Many people fall through the cracks in programs that are aimed to help the masses. One doesn't have to look far into the health care systems (notably in the US), especially the rotting American health insurance programs, to see that MANY people are left in the dust...victims of lack-of-funds and red tape. These institutions own people-made rules are strangling any of their good intentions.

Also, the cold stone wall occasionally represents higher education, as well, to me...with fees being so high that only the very rich can consider improving their lives through advanced degree programs. Therefore, the injured figures in this card also represent impoverished minds and futures. It was neat to see that Robin used an actual university building to aid her in rendering the drawing on this card.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that the cold stone wall also sometimes represents to me conservative-organized-religion-gone-bad...with smug, self-righteous folks turning their backs on anything they view as different from their little world. This isn't a church that celebrates squelches it. This kind of congregation may throw a bit of cash to various causes but will turn their backs on needy people in their own vicinity.

If the stained glass feels obviously welcoming to me rather than inconsequential, I often see this as a sign of hope...spiritual and otherwise. It's almost as if the figures, in that case, simply need to begin to recognize that all is not lost and that help IS within reach.


To me the four of penticals better represents intolerence and greed within state,religion and enterprise.I don't see the five of penticals as victums of intolerence and greed but rather the consequence of their own actions.Enron gave the illussion of a vibrant company but in the end became the five of penticals because of their actions.The players within the five of penticals are not grounded.The snow(the frozen element of water) is karmicly raining down on them and keeping them from touching the earth.They have chosen not to adderese their karma.I like the cold stone wall analogy that you gave and can see how it could be expressed in a lot of tarot art.I can't remember the art work for the five of pents from the Robin Wood deck.In the R.W. deck the wall is dark and looks like a cutain.Almost if you chose to part the curtain and deal with your karma then your eyes would be open to the promise on the otherside of the stained glass window.....


This card always remind me about human misery. I feel the two persons are at the lowest part of their life. Maybe they felt it is spiraling down to this moment and that nothing more can be done. The person standing up seems to have some fighting strength left inside (but for how long?). That person also seems to stand on guard, vigilent.

I feel sad and heartbroken each time I see this card.



so what about this card reversed? what does it mean to all of you?
i feel this card upright is poverty at it's deepest level...physical, mental and spiritual loss. so i am wondering how to interpret this card if it were reversed...maybe coming out of that poverty?


Something else I see when reading this card is that the huddled figure seems to me to be so wrapped up in her (she seems female to me, though of course she could be either) own misery and sorrow that she has given up. She is waiting for someone else to pull her out of her misery, wanting others to rescue her rather than taking the steps to seek help herself. I think that the fact that the figures are standing outside of a church (so it seems to me) says that they are refusing help. They could go inside---it looks warm, bright and inviting in there-- and ask for help, but instead they remain out in the cold.

Perhaps this card could indicate times when we are wrapped up in our own sorrow or pain and refusing help from others or believing that no one can help.