Friday 12 January 2018

Capricorn in the Minor Arcana: The Four of Pentacles

Moving on from the Three of Pentacles and that sense of initial completion – the result of patient, disciplines planning – we come to the Four.  We’ve progressed from the expansiveness and benevolence of Jupiter, in the Two, through the determination and drive of Mars in the Three, into the power of the Sun – all in Capricorn. 

Four of Pentacles (trimmed):
© Sharman-Burke/Caselli Tarot
The Sun in Capricorn conjures up a sense of creative energy being “coloured” by discipline and tradition – a single-mindedness, perhaps, working towards a well-defined target. Whatever that target or goal is, it’s going to be about being able to express ourselves and our creativity, but in a responsible way. On the downside, pessimism and cynicism can stand in the way of progress.  We might also find ourselves overly concerned with ‘how things look’, or wanting to hold on to what we have.  Either way, the Sun in Capricorn can represent a strong commitment to the material things in life – be they possessions and/or resources.

Four of Disks (trimmed):
© Thoth Tarot
We see this in the Four of Pentacles, which often symbolizes a fear of letting go, especially in terms of material things.  We may need to be reminded that although nothing is lost if we hold on to what we have, we may not gain anything either – we run the risk of stifling the flow of energy, instead of letting things run their natural course. The expansion that Jupiter promised in the Two could be hindered through our fear of ‘what might happen’ – the ‘what ifs’.

In the Thoth Tarot, the word that Crowley chose for the card is ‘Power’ – the strength of the Sun in a strong, steady, determined Earth sign. It’s grounded. Just look at the image – a fortress, firmly anchored in four corners. Squares are solid, stable, powerful structures; it’s hard to move them, so there’s a sense of protection here, but also of rigidity. The solidity of the structure reflects our own integrity, but also reminds us of the danger of inflexibility and the inability to compromise.

Four of Coins (trimmed):
© Margarete Petersen Tarot
In Margarete Petersen’s Four of Coins cards we also see the square-bounded enclosure, reminiscent of the Crowley version: providing structure, or (on the shadow side) boxing us in.  

The serpent (seen in both the Thoth's and Petersen's Two of Disks) is back, too, forming a complete enclosed area too - an ouroboros, constantly re-creating itself. The solidity of the structure and the strength of the ouroboros reflect our own integrity, but we have to remember the danger of inflexibility and the inability to compromise.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

Treasure held safely
within strong walls - but is it
still accessible?

The Four of Pentacles is also linked to the final ten days of Capricorn – from the 10th of January to the early hours of the 20th, when we move into Aquarius...

Beginner’s Guide to the Tarot created by Juliet Sharman-Burke, illustrated by Giovanni Caselli, published by Connections
Margarete Petersen Tarot, AGM-URANIA/Deep Books, 2004.
Thoth Tarot created by Aleister Crowley, illustrated by Lady Frieda Harris, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.

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