Ep. #76: Tarot Series: The Ace of Pentacles
What does the Ace of Pentacles mean?
That’s the question this episode, a tarot lesson on the Ace of Pentacles, dives deep into.
I’ll be doing a tarot deep dive episode each month as part of this tarot series, diving into cards suggested by you, lovely listeners!
So, first up, the Ace of Pentacles. This blog covers basically everything I talk about in the podcast episode, including photos of the cards I mention. You can also listen to this episode on iTunes, SoundCloud, Spotify, or Stitcher.
I’ve spoken before about how I do a cord cutting meditation every day where I visualize the cord between my old partner and I turning black like ash, disintegrating, and dissolving into the earth. What I haven’t mentioned is that every day, I’ve been visualizing a tiny green sprout growing from that space. Each day, that sprout grows a tiny bit more.
That little bud is the Ace of Pentacles. Ace of Pentacles is the seed. It’s infinite possibility. It’s the infinite possibilities of what can happen when we recognize that we are spiritual beings on this physical plane.
We can see that in the glow around the pentacle and the lush garden, the arch in the background of the Smith Rider Waite card (pictured above) that opens a gate to the mountains of universal truth. It’s an invitation to begin the journey of walking through that arch, understanding that when we do it’s going to evolve us, change us.
That’s the essence of the Pentacles, of this earth energy— the infinite possibilities of what can happen when we recognize our existence as spiritual beings on this material plane, the magic of existing in this world— and the ace is the purest expression of that energy.
Pentacles are a more yin energy, as well. Think of the Earth. Think of its softness, its receptivity, its capacity to receive and nurture all of humanity. So the pentacles, with this quality of yin energy and receiving, are really tied to the Empress.
The Pentacles remind us that we are spiritual beings — which we understand already — having a HUMAN experience. In human bodies, with human needs. The pentacles ground us. They are the embodiment practice, the breathwork, the yoga, the dancing.
In 78 Degrees of Wisdom, Rachel Pollack talks about the elements as their Hebrew letters and what she shapes of those characters can tell us (I’m paraphrasing her words here). She says that the Yod, the fire letter, the first letter — has hardly any shape at all. It’s the flash of the first impulse. The next letter, Heh, water, receives the impulse. The third letter, Vav, air, extends the first letter (fire). Air takes the fire energy and gives it definite direction. Then we have the second Heh, earth, which receives the entire process and gives it physical form.
With the Ace of Pentacles specifically, we see this idea of giving that process physical form. All of the aces are intrinsically tied to the Magician, the #1 in the major arcana. Again we see possibilities are infinite, an invitation to open your channel and let flow what wants to flow through you.
The aces of the tarot are all the purest expressions of that element. They’re new beginnings, creation, conception, bursts of energy. The ace in itself, like I said, is less of a burst and more of a seed. It’s a softer energy, but it’s one that isn’t going to go out as quickly as a flame. It has longevity. It can grow for a long time.
Humans have this gorgeous capacity to grow, to create, to birth.
This is all shown in the ace of pentacles. Even through pain, through suffering, comes this new life, this new creation. Receiving the entire process of the mind, of the heart, of the the intuition, of air, of fire, of water, and giving it physical form. Only in the Ace of Pentacles are we TRULY birthing something. Every other ace is an idea, an emotion, something that fleets — which isn’t a problem. They’re just different.
What this makes me think of too, this capacity to create, is — are we ever really planting new seeds on new ground? Ask yourself: who fertilized this ground? Was it you? Was it your ancestors who paved the way? Was it your teacher, artists who inspire you? Was it systems of oppression that favor you? A combination of all? Who got the ground ready for planting so that you may plant a seed here? We get this opportunity here, I think, to honor and bow to lineage, to the chain that comes before us.
There’s an element too, of letting this be an intuitive process.
You can see this with the hand reaching out from a cloud offering the pentacle in the Smith Rider Waite deck (again, pictured above). This isn’t necessarily a seed that took root from your mind, it’s coming from your highest self, your intuition, the depths of the universe within you. So there’s an element of trusting that you’re planting the right seeds, trusting they’ll grow or they won’t but they’ll lead you to the next seed anyway.
In the Mystic Mondays deck (above) the pentacle the woman is holding literally glows with possibility. It looks like the sun. And it looks like the woman’s hand has made it glow— like it wasn’t glowing before. She didn’t just pluck this seed out of the ether and it was already glowing, It was the seed that was intended for her. It was the RIGHT seed, the right path, the right idea— and it’s a perfect fit. I imagine it vibrating with possibility.
In the MoonChild tarot (right), the Ace of Pentacles shows the Eye of Horus, a symbol of power, abundance, and good health. All very Earth themes. In the guidebook, the creator Danielle Noel talks about now being the time to plant seeds when you get the Ace of Pentacles, and that this energy speaks to new beginnings filled with tangible results and positive manifestations.
But what do seeds need to grow and birth and become?
We can’t just leave them as they are and think they’re going to blossom into a tomato plant or an oak tree or a thriving start-up or a happy relationship. We do this dance of tending and surrender: we water, we tend, we facilitate its growth — but we also have to surrender to the outcome. When it comes down to it, we can create optimal conditions for our little seed to blossom and we can hold space for it to grow and we can water it as much as it needs, but we can’t actually FORCE it to do blossom. We have to give it what we can, and let go from there. Surrender to the process and the turning of the wheel. It’s this balance of both we see in the Ace of Pentacles. We’re laying the foundation here.
This dance is reflected in the Wild Unknown tarot.
The imagery in this deck (left) reminds me of the Major Arcana’s Wheel of Fortune. The pentacle is the center of the card, with branches and leaves coming off of it, but before it looks like a pentacle it looks like a wheel with a glowing red/yellow center. In her guidebook, Kim Krans says “In the center of even the giant redwood trees…a tiny seedling once stood.”
I love how this Wheel of Fortune imagery brings the element of surrender into it. Reminding us that even as we plant, let’s not attach to the outcome. Let’s do the work for the beauty and pleasure and joy of doing the work. And if all we get from planting that seed and tending it is the pleasure of planting and tending it, that’s beautiful.
My mantra for Ace of Pentacles is “I am beginning.” When you lay out all of your pentacles, you can see that the journey, the ground we travel, is vast. We plant seeds, we learn balance, we learn the sum as greater than its parts, we experience control and surrender and contraction and patience and flow and work and pleasure and the tree of life.
In the Golden Dawn tradition, the Ace of Pentacles as the purest fullest expression of Earth energy encompasses all of the earth signs of the zodiac: Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn.
It contains the infinite possibilities of all of those signs. At their highest forms, Taurus is creation, softness, groundedness. Capricorn is deep knowing and steady pursuit of purpose. Virgo is divine healing and service. All of these energies are available for us to cultivate in the Ace of Pentacles.
In 78 Degrees of Wisdom by Rachel Pollack, she talks about the Ace of Pentacles and says— “The gift of Earth: nature, wealth, security, a joyful life. In this ace along we see no Yods falling from heaven. The Earth, in its own completeness and solid reality, bears its own magic…spiritual work leads us to recognize the magic in normal things, in both nature and civilization, and then to go beyond them to the greater knowledge symbolized by the mountains…the Ace of Pentacles shows us once more how, when we are ready, the gate always opens to the truth.” We come back to that symbolism of the gate.
In Modern Tarot by Michelle Tea, she really focuses on the embodiment aspect of this card, the idea of this physical world being magic, that I talked about earlier. Listen to this episode (links above) to hear more about what she has to say about the Ace of Pentacles!
A channeled message from the Ace of Pentacles
In that vein, when I sat with the Ace of Pentacles and asked for a message from this card for the collective I got — A soul is not all that you are. Feel what it feels like to be alive.
So. I invite you to draw a card for a message from the Ace of Pentacles. Just shuffle your deck and ask what wants to be planted right now. Then go get in your body. And have FUN!
Support on Patreon for as little as $2 a month to access the Queen of Pentacles breathwork meditation, monthly embodied tarot yoga classes (September's class is the Queen of Swords), monthly virtual new moon circles, & the Lilith: Healing the Wild book club: www.patreon.com/erynjohnson.