4 of Pentacles

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The Four of Pentacles Minor Arcana card presents us with a vision of stability, control and material focus. A man is sitting on a square stone bench beyond the city walls of his hometown. Instead of reaching for connection with any of the people in the town, his entire focus is directed towards his material possessions, symbolised by four large golden coins. These are his joy and pride, but if he is not careful, they may also become his prison.

The upright Four of Pentacles Tarot card is neither positive or negative. Rather, it reveals that you are currently walking a delicate balance between a healthy and sensible focus on wealth building and securing your future, and an over-focus, where material gain becomes all that matters. We all need to plan for our futures to some extend, and if we have the ability to amass great wealth and make our money grow, doing so can become a vital and vibrant part of our life’s work. However, a focus that is purely material and closing the door on spontaneous adventure and human connection is a recipe for feeling trapped, and eventually, miserable and alone.

When the Four of Pentacles reversed comes up in Tarot readings, it suggests a complete lack of control over your financial affairs. You may be prone to frivolous overspending, risky investments or gambling. Because you lack restraint, you end up undermining your financial stability and eroding your nest egg, if you have one. In some cases, the reversed Four of Pentacles can point to an extreme focus on wealth, to the extend that you completely disregard and step on others on your way to greater material wealth – while simultaneously moving further away from spirit and the warmth of human connection.

What the Pentacles mean in Tarot

The Tarot’s Minor Arcana consists of four suits, one representing each of the four elements. The suit of Wands symbolises fire, the suit of Cups water, the suit of Swords air and, finally, the suit of Pentacles presents earth.

The earth element deals with the tangible and material realm of money, property, work environment, home environment, and even our physical bodies. Earth also addresses structures, systems and habits.

Numerological number 4 in Tarot

It makes sense to look at the numerological meaning of the number 4 as it relates to the 4 of Pentacles Tarot card.

According to numerology, the number 4 is the number of security, balance and solid foundations. Just like a house needs four corners and a chair needs four legs to stand on, the Four of Pentacles deals with the energies of stability and security. Add to the energy of the number four the energy of the earth element, and you already have a pretty clear idea of what the Four of Pentacles Tarot card is about.

Four of Pentacles Tarot card description

How each Tarot card is depicted differs from deck to deck, and the Four of Pentacles is no exception. Because the symbols and details of the classic Rider-Waite Tarot deck are the most commonly used, they are the ones we will be taking a closer look at.

The man

The main character of the Four of Pentacles Tarot card is the man seated on his square block in front of the city walls, his back turned to his fellow city-dwellers.

The man’s red robe, fur cape and golden crown mark him as wealthy. He is looking straight ahead with a determined gaze, and his body is rather squat and square, as if he has focused on his material security for so long that his very physique symbollises his most important pursuit.

The seat

The man is seated on a square stone block, which seems to indicate his immovable disposition and firm resolve. This man will not allow himself to be deterred of distracted from his purpose easily, and it would take quite a storm to shift any of his opinions or views.

The four pentacles

The man has four large golden coins in his possession. His arms are wrapped tightly around one pentacle in his lap while another balances on his head, weighing on his crown chakra and partially blocking the flow of spiritual energy, dreams and intuition it provides.

Two pentacles are also placed firmly under the man’s feet – he is clearly feeling protective and worried that he is going to lose them, and is holding on with all of his might, exerting a huge amount of effort to secure his material success.

The town

In the background of the Four of Pentacles Tarot card is a wealthy and idyllic town, beckoning with rolling hills and tall turrets on fine houses.

The town may symbolise that the man is from a privileged background. It indicates where he comes from, and what he is accustomed to. There is nothing about the town that seems to justify the man’s tight grip on his golden pentacles and his fear that he may lose them.

The town indicates that people, and the possibility for joyful connections and life’s pleasures is well within his reach, but the man is not indulging, not allowing himself to leave his stakeout. Whether upright or reversed, it is apparent that the man is possibly losing or missing out something crucial by being so immovable and single-minded.

Four of Pentacles Tarot card meanings

When the upright Four of Pentacles card appears in a reading, it can be a great card, depending on the general context and what important card combinations come up. At the same time, it can also carry negative associations, warning that your singular focus on building up your net worth or acquiring material status symbols is blinding you to other vital aspects of life.

Here are the key upright Four of Pentacles Tarot card meanings.

Materialism

When the Four of Pentacles appears in its upright position, it indicates that you are extremely focused on money and material things – potentially to the detriment and cost of other life areas.

Your materialism may come to expression as a powerful need for financial security, a philosophy that Ito can never have too much money. You may have your own business or a demanding career that requires most of your time an energy, but is financially rewarding. Materialism can also mean a need to own and acquire certain material possessions, and measuring your happiness and worth only in material gain and big purchases.

Security

The Four of Pentacles Tarot card indicates security, a strong need and desire to have a proper hold on your financial situation. Money is a way of comforting yourself and soothing past issues as well as fears about the future. Your need for financial security is what drives you to steadily increase your savings, creating a big financial bulwark against any unforeseen events that may strike.

Control

Closely linked to the need for security and the seeking of security through finances is the need to control. Past money mistakes may have struck a deep-rooted fear in you of never having enough, and as a result, you now control the flow of money in and out of your life very closely.

The upright Four of Pentacles card indicates that you probably have all the money you need, and that you know exactly what you are doing with it. But how much money you have here is not the real issue – it is the fear of losing it all.

Conservatism

The upright four of Pentacles indicates conservatism which may go beyond money. You don’t like change and spontaneity, and most likely prefer for things to remain stable and predictable. You invest your money conservatively, and might hold conservative views in other areas of life.

Lack of spontaneity

Finally, another important Four of Pentacles meaning is that your desire for control and certainty in all things are causing you to close the door on spontaneity, adventure and the unpredictable. You are doing this as way to protect yourself and your wealth, but you are also in effect trapping yourself in a cage of your own making.

Letting your hair down once in a while, and splurging a little, is only going to enrich your life. If anything, occasional reprieve from your your intense money-making efforts might refresh and inspire you to return to the office the next day with more tenacity than ever.

Four of Pentacles reversed Tarot card meanings

When the Four of Pentacles card appears reversed in a Tarot reading, it is not a good omen. Here are the key reversed Four of Pentacles Tarot card meanings.

Frivolous spending, risky investments

In some cases, when Tarot cards appear in their reversed positions, their meanings are completely flipped on their head. This can also be true for the Four of Pentacles. Here, it can signify financial insecurity and a struggle to maintain control over your finances.

Whether you are squandering wealth you have already built through frivolous spending or bad investments, your financial losses are quickly derailing you and undermining your ability to build the fortune you desire.

Greed

On the other hand, the Four of Pentacles reversed can indicate a toxic relationship with money, better known as greed. Actual financial resources seem much more important to you than the people in your life – never mind if they are your family members or lovers.

So you might have built a great fortune, but what is it worth if it has eroded your trust in people and made you paranoid, constantly suspecting and fearing that the people around you are only after your money?

Another shadow side of greed is that it may cause you to use your financial power to control people.

Four of Pentacles Tarot card interpretations

The Four of Pentacles, like every other Tarot card, is a multi-faceted and many-layered prism of meanings. Which of its layers stand out and have the most significance in specific Tarot readings is always going to depend on a number of moving pieces, including the surrounding cards in the spread and the individual Tarot reader’s impression of the card in that precise moment.

With this in mind, read on for some examples of how the Four of Pentacles might be interpreted in the context of different Tarot readings.

What the Four of Pentacles means in a love Tarot reading

Upright

The Four of Pentacles is not the most romantic of Tarot cards. When it appears in a love Tarot reading, it can indicate that you are pitting finances and relationships against each other, and that romance is the losing side.

If you are married or in a committed relationship, it is likely to be stable, but predictable. You may be focusing much more on your business and on increasing your bottom line than you are on your romantic partner, who may long for more spontaneity and presence.

Reversed

The Four of Pentacles reversed is not a good omen for love. It indicates that you have lost sight of what truly matters in a relationship, and that every ounce of romance has long since been cut out of the equation so that you can focus on the important stuff; money.

Past experiences with toxic people or gold diggers seeking you out for your wealth might be at the root of why you are struggling to form new, meaningful relationships.

What the Four of Pentacles indicates in a career Tarot reading

Upright

The Four of Pentacles appearing in a career Tarot reading is potentially very good news, as this is where the card’s positive qualities can really come to expression. Your business is exactly where you want to be laser-focused on financial gain, aware of profit-margins and on top of your spending. It might serve you well to become just a little more spontaneous and creative, but all in all, you are doing a fabulous job at building your empire and amassing wealth.

The upright Four of Pentacles appearing in a love Tarot reading can be a reminder not to lose sight of life’s true wealth.

Reversed

The Four of Pentacles reversed is bad news for business. Rather than building your empire, you are eroding it through strings of bad decisions.

In one extreme scenario, you are eating out three times a day, seven days a week – while financing an experimental startups whose product idea is guaranteed to fail. In another extreme scenario, your greed is causing you to trample friends and colleagues underfoot in your rise to the top. Screwing business contacts over left and right, you will soon have burned all of the bridges you may later need to cross.

Lucius Nothing

Lucius has been slinging tarot cards professionally since 2014. He’s taken the tarot to places most wouldn’t think of: His best-known patrons include Torture Garden, The Dark Circus Party, Handel & Hendrix, A Curious Invitation and The Candlelight Club, where he has been resident tarot reader for the past half-decade. His writing on divination, magic and creativity has been published in Sabbat Magazine and on Medium.

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