Shadowscapes Study: Five of Pentacles


For some reason, the way the thorns are curling around the seated figure reminds me of everyone else that got stuck in the sleeping beauty fairy tale. It's almost like the chameleon and the butterfly can't figure out why the woman won't look up.

Meanwhile the most explicit part of the dragon in the stained glass window is his heart. He's protecting four of the pentacles while one is stressing the wall such that it's beginning to show some cracks.

I want to read this as seeing wonder even when everything seems terrible, or about how physical possessions are ultimately fragile, or there's something about that dragon and his heart that sticks out even though he's depicted hoarding what's left under his control.

Any thoughts? I find this one a little difficult to wrap my head around.


I see the girl as sitting in a bubble of darkness, of her own creation. She has taken a pentacle and greyed it out to hide it, and herself, from the dragon. Protection. But in doing so, she's disconnected herself from the world. All she can see is greyness. All she can feel is the discomfort of the hard cement, and the vines beginning to creep over her. A butterfly tries to cat her attention, to remind her of the beauty of the world, but it can't penetrate her bubble without one of his own, and then she can't see him.

She needs to let go. Become bright again. Even if the dragon gets her last coin, there are still butterflies and animals and flowers.

I've been there. This will be a good reminder card.


"The Five of Pentacles is indicative of spiritual poverty, material troubles, insecurity, and hard times. There is a neglecting of the body's needs, a feeling of being ostracized and excluded, of loss. There is disconnect. And yet, salvation is not far off, if you can make that connection and see past the mental and physical blockages. Even the thorny bush that she views as her only companion bears flowers." -Stephanie Pui-Mun Law (little white book)

This card is very similar to the Rider Waite Smith depiction. In comparison, I actually feel more of the sense of feeling ostracized and disconnected, with the lack of any other human figure other than the desolate woman. The meaning of poverty and material troubles has to be read in a bit since she looks similar to most other figures in the deck and she even has a golden arm circlet. However, her garment is grayed and her upper part is shown bare. This partial nudity and her body position does radiate a sense of vulnerability and troubles.

I have read that other people find this card harder to read compared to the RWS depiction, mainly because finding companionship can be less obvious in Stephanie's depiction. However, I do feel like you can find that meaning in here, although I don't really see it with the thorn bush like the artist describes. I see it more in the butterfly that flies so close to the woman's hand. It reminds me of the image of Adam and God with their hands loosely reaching out to one another. The golden aura around the butterfly makes me find more significance in it rather than the thorn bush as a companion. And i think its an interesting depiction of a companion because it may even call the querent to think of a companion in their lives that is less apparent, perhaps someone that they haven't realized yet who can be a pivotal aid to getting through these tough times. Companionship can be found in the most unexpected places.
There's also the lizard watching further away. More companions than you may realize.

I do have questions about this card though. Above the woman's head is a symbol almost like a elemental symbol but its not. It could be a strange star, like a six pointed star with two of its points pushed in. Or it could be the triforce with an extension (geek side of me). Is someone familiar with this symbol and if so, what does it mean?

And what do you think the phoenix with a heart on the stained glass window may mean?

Artistically, I absolutely love the crack in the wall that goes straight down to the pentacle above her head. The pentacle cracking into the wall just radiates the despair even more. Such a poignant depiction.

Kat Moon

Possible Hope

While I know that this card is about trouble. If the girl would just look up, the golden pentacles are just above her. If she would stand on her own then she could reach them. The dragon guarding them, the main part of him that is showing is his heart. So while what is in the way of reaching the dreams seems fierce, it has a big heart and will help you get there.


i think she was trying to fit with the wrong kind of people: she is rather poor compared to them [partially naked, just one pentacle, while the dragon has 4 of them. plus he is also strong while she seems weak].

the dragon may have a big obvious heart, but she feels so weak small and insignificant that all she can do is bare her chest, and no matter how hard she tries, nobody can see her heart.

perhaps she would be [feel] richer if she tried to be friends with the butterfly or chameleon [as they have no pentacles]

maybe she's thinking of ways to become stronger/more rich? yet she was thinking for so long, bushes started to grow around her, without her realizing. she's sad she can't really think of anything constructive.