“If you love it, set it free”, “if it’s meant to be it will be”, “que sera sera” – just a sample of quotes that capture the essence of letting go for the greater good. This themes crops up many times across the tarot. Think, the 6 of Swords, the 8 of Cups, the dreaded Tower or even worse Death…to name but a few.
But the 4 of Pentacles gets a bit lost in this conversation, and I think is a generally speaking more difficult translation. But all we need to do is mind our protagonist’s body language to get to the heart of this card’s message. Sitting down, looking straight on, closed off, arms folded, tight grip – what can we conclude? The Pentacles in this case do not occupy negative space, they sit close to the body. This is the posturing of someone who is desperately afraid to lose what they’ve already acquired. But why? Maybe they don’t believe they deserve it? Maybe they fear that if it does slip away, they’ll never gain it back? Perhaps they’re not even sure if it’s theirs to begin with. It is both the depiction of someone who is protective and greedy. Someone who has placed great value on material possession, but understand that value may come from a place of fear and not superficiality.
We are told there is only so much. Only so much sustenance, land, money, opportunity and time. There’s only so much to go around and so this life can become a game of “who can get the most and who can get it the quickest”. But is that a game you want to be playing? Are those even the rules we should be playing by? Is there something else going on, on the other side of the materialism we’ve all become accustomed to? Again, this is not because we are superficial, but rather because we’ve been trained to believe that our worth is wrapped up in wealth, and scarcity is just one bad move away.
Now let me ask you something else. If you were to select a card to represent your ability to manifest freely and effectively, would the 4 of Pentacles be that card? Probably not. Look again at our character. Nothing is getting in, and nothing is coming out. They may spend their entire lives with exactly what we see in their arms at this moment, and that is because they will have never risked for anything other or anything more.
The 4 of Pentacles is the incredible lover we scare away because of jealousy. The 4 of Pentacles is the opportunity we blow because we try way to damn hard. Or worse, it’s the opportunity we missed because we were too fearful to take the risk. It is, in essence, the antithesis to expansion.
Where in your life is the 4 of Pentacles showing up? What in your life remains status quo out of fear? What are you overly protective of, often to your spiritual and emotional detriment? Do you believe you are worthy of more and that there is plenty to go around?
The 4 of Pentacles is life on pause so if nothing else, allow it to ask you to be open to the possibilities. To be the Fool and take a leap. To be the Tower and allow for the destructible to fall. To be The Magician and believe in your ability to create and make from nothing.
At best, the 4 of Pentacles promises that you’ll get to keep what you already have. But at its worst, it can lead to conflict and competition a la the 5 of Swords, or dependence such as The Devil speaks of, or even deep anxiety and debilitating fear like what we see depicted in the 9 of Swords.
There isn’t much fertile ground for bounty to grow at the heels of our friend present in this card. Don’t be afraid to get dirty and plant new seeds. Maybe nothing will sprout, but on the other hand, you may just find yourself surrounded by a garden more beautiful than you could have ever imagined. Stop putting bottlecaps on your dreams – there is no limit to what you can posses at any given time, no matter what they tell you.