Sunday 7 September 2014

Virgo in the Minor Arcana: The Nine of Pentacles

Mystic Spiral Tarot

Following on from the Eight of Pentacles, we have the Nine, linked to Venus in Virgo, and to the middle ten days of the sun’s journey through this sign (3rd-13th September).  We’re still looking at Virgoan qualities here, so it’s Venus that gives the Nine a different ‘flavour’ from the Eight.  

Virgo is the sign associated with the harvest, while Venus symbolizes harmony – that sense of well-being that I feel whenever I look at this card.  There’s a real feeling of abundance, and the enjoyment of it.  I’m also reminded of the Empress, with all the signs of fertility – the fruit as well as the rabbit! It’s taken a lot of hard work on the part of the woman, though, for the earth to have yielded such wealth.   

Venus is not really that comfortable in Virgo, though – in astrological terms she’s ‘in fall’ in this sign.  This can come out in the Virgoan critical faculties, when Virgo’s ideals and standards aren’t met – when the ‘perfectionist’ goes overboard.  But I can also see this ‘Venus in Virgo’ in the pleasure that the woman in the image is taking in what she’s produced.  The fruits of her labours are not necessarily beautiful, but they are useful and practical – appealing to the down-to-earthiness of the Pentacles family.  Venus in Virgo can also be cautious, or conventional.  The fruits of her labours have probably been a result of ‘tried and tested’ methods, not something new or revolutionary - and perhaps a more positive way of interpreting being 'in fall'.

Sharman-Caselli Tarot
As I mentioned in earlier posts about Virgo, this sign is the sixth one encountered in the journey around the zodiac, and as such, represents the closing of the first half of that journey, that of the individual.  From here on, the focus shifts to the wider, outer world.  I think this comes across clearly in the Nine of Pentacles (as well as in the Hermit, see earlier post) – there’s a sense of self-sufficiency in this card. There’s no one else in sight.  She’s alone - but not lonely, and is happy in that state.  She doesn’t need more, but she’s content with what she’s achieved, and with the promise of what’s ahead (in the Sharman-Caselli deck, the hunting bird symbolizes her far-sightedness and imagination). The actual harvest is still to come, of course - this is only the Nine; the culmination, the Ten, is still to come.  

In other decks the falcon represents a very Virgoan quality: discipline – the ability to give attention to the job at hand.  The discipline here is not imposed from an outward source; it’s about having the self-discipline required to devote time and energy to something that you really want to achieve. And when you do achieve it, you – like this woman - can luxuriate in the fruits of your labour!

Thoth Tarot
The Thoth deck, although the image is very different from that of the Rider-Waite-based decks, carries a similar message.  The more we give, the more we receive – the harder we work, the more rewards we’re able to reap, the overall idea being that a number of qualities or skills need to be brought together in order to achieve results.    In this image, we can see six symbols representing the planets Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, as well as the Moon – which in astrology is considered to be a planet (as it too ‘wanders the sky’).  So we have the ambition of Mars, the vision of Jupiter, the communication  of Mercury, the time-management, perhaps, of Saturn, the nurturing of the Moon, and – last but not least, the abundance of Venus, all brought together though the effort of Venus in Virgo!

Mystic Spiral Tarot created by Giuseppe Palumbo & Giovanni Pelosini, published by Lo Scarabeo
Sharman-Caselli Tarot created by Juliet Sharman-Burke, illustrated by Giovanni Caselli, published by Connections

Thoth Tarot created by Aleister Crowley, illustrated by Lady Frieda Harris, published by US Games Systems, Inc.


  1. This is so interesting! I am learning so much from your posts, Alison. They help add extra you explain things so clearly! Thank you.