Andrea has a background in Myers-Briggs and Western astrology. She mostly writes about relationships.
The Three of Pentacles
The Suit of Pentacles deals with matters of the physical world. Sometimes the physical world is at odds with the spiritual world, but what we truly desire is for the physical and spiritual to be in harmony. In contemporary times, tarot teaches that people should know their subconscious mind and bring it into harmony with their conscious mind.
The Three of Pentacles is an apprenticeship card. When in the upright position, it indicates mastery of a skill or trade. The card indicates someone with dignity—perhaps someone with a high rank or power.
In the reversed position, the card indicates sloppiness and having a low rank or position. The person is unqualified or lacks necessary knowledge. This person could be preoccupied with something else, and therefore they may not be giving enough attention to their present job.
Collaboration, learning, growth, mastery, skillful, focused, teamwork, implementation, progress, studying, diligent, grinding, dedicated, loyal, punctual, functioning, tangible results.
Disharmony, misalignment, staggered growth, working alone, unfocused, not the best fit, drained, confusing task, poor directions, impossible demands, lack of progress, lack of skill.
What Is a Pentacle?
A pentacle in tarot is a coin and is generally seen as a talisman to bring about magical change. The pentacle is related to alchemy—it brings something from the spiritual realm into the physical realm.
Pentacles are usually made of paper, cloth, parchment, or metal, and protective symbols are sometimes added to the pentacle. One of the most common symbols is the six-pointed star, the Seal of Solomon.
Pentacles are almost always shaped like discs or flat circles. The Rider-Waite-Smith deck includes pentacles with the pentagram. Most decks have copied this design.
The pentagram is an ancient symbol that's been used by multiple cultures and religious groups over thousands of years. The pentagram is simply a geometry figure. It was used by the ancient Babylonians, Greeks, and Chinese for different symbolic purposes.
First Usage and Etymology
The first documents to depict pentacles were 1500s grimoires: the Heptameron by pseudo-Pietro d'Abano, and the Key of Solomon. There is only one pentacle listed in the Heptaméron, and it's shaped like a hexagram. There are several different pentacles listed in the Key of Solomon; only two of those have pentagrams.
Gerald Gardner, who is considered to be the father of Wicca, was inspired by the Rider Waite Smith Tarot deck's pentacle design. He used it as a logo for Wiccans.
The word pentacle was first recorded in English in 1561. It was borrowed from French. The French word had the meaning of "talisman". The French word is derived from the Latin word 'pentaculum', which is from the Italian word 'pentacolo'.
Tarot was first a European card game played with hand-painted cards, and its origins date back to the mid-15th century. Tarot started to be used for divination in the 18th century, and the cards began to be mass produced with the invention of the printing press.
Read More From Exemplore
Physical Manifestation (The Body)
Head, Heart, Thighs
Throat, Chest, Legs
Arms, Belly, Ankles
Hands, Root Chakra, Feet
Mars, Sun, Jupiter
Mercury, Venus, Saturn
Mercury, Venus, Uranus
Moon, Pluto, Neptune
Moisture / Temperature
Hot and Dry
Cold and Dry
Hot and Wet
Cold and Wet
Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn
Gemini, Libra, Aquarius
Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces
Yin and Yang
Tarot Face Cards
The card depicts a young stonemason working on a portion of a cathedral in front of two architects who hold the blueprints to the building. The architects are masters, and the building represents their hard work and years of knowledge. They spent years making intricate engravings and touching up the soaring ceilings. The stonemason is following their footsteps. The architects discuss his progress and growth.
Even though the stonemason is less experienced, it is clear that he is on the right track and his opinion is valued. The young man is an essential contributor to the cathedral's look, and everyone on the team respects each other.
Upright Three of Pentacles
The card is about collaboration and growing one's skills. The stonemason couldn't build this cathedral all by himself—he needed the help of the architects. The stonemason is learning how to become an expert, so he needs to be around people who are like-minded.
Each person has an important role to play. When they come together as a whole, they can create something far more meaningful than if they tried to undertake the project alone. The Three of Pentacles encourages collaboration with others. You want great synergy, so you can have great results.
This card is a reminder that it is important to value the different ideas around you—everyone brings different experiences to the table. You need to help inspire a welcoming place, so that everyone feels comfortable sharing their ideas.
Among these men, there is no sense of superiority or a "us vs. them" mentality. There is unity, cohesion, and focus. Together they're getting the job done.
When you work on projects with others, acknowledge the value each person brings to the table and recognize that you will learn from those around you. It's important to put yourself around good peers—the people around you may inspire you.
You Are in a Manifestation Phase
The Three of Pentacles marks the initial stage of implementation following the Ace's idea phase and the planning phase of the Two. By the Three of Pentacles, you know what you want to make happen. You have plans, and you've gathered resources.
This is only the beginning. You're still a long ways off from completing your project. It takes a long time to build a cathedral. You're starting the sparks to build the fire (metaphorically, because you're not burning down the cathedral).
As you work on your project you'll inevitably have epiphanies. You'll realize you have skills that you didn't even know you had. The Three of Pentacles is an affirmation card. It lets you know you're headed in the right direction. What you're doing makes sense to you and is good for you.
This card indicates you have competency in your skills, and you don't feel like a fish out of the water. You're in the right place at the right time.
The best way to handle the Three of Pentacles is to continue what you're doing. Support yourself with good plans, stick to a comprehensive plan, be around like minded people, and pay attention to your schedule. Good project management will ascertain good results.
Look to Your Mentors
The architects recognize that they need to pass down their knowledge, because one day they won't be able to work on the cathedral. They may get too old or die before the project is complete. People who are masters of their craft know how to teach and inspire others.
In fact, the teacher may be more important than the student. Excellent teachers and managers know how to get people engaged with something even if people didn't have an interest in it previously. This card indicates that you have good mentors and leaders around you. You should treasure this because it's not always easy to find good mentors.
You Are Building Space for Your Spirit
It's important to look at this card and realize what the people are making. It's already been mentioned several times, but the cathedral is part of the card's story. The cathedral is the body where the spirit resides. When we take care of the tangible, then the spirit will have an appropriate space to live.
This card is about respecting your practical, tangible tasks. You want to create a space where the spirit will be content. You want a beautiful cathedral where people feel welcome to gather, pray, worship, study, and connect with others.
A building represents activities. We don't go to school in prisons, we don't get haircuts on boats, we don't get married at gas stations, and we don't have court proceedings at the circus. We go to places that are appropriate for our actions.
A cathedral is considered the principal church of a diocese, with which the bishop is associated. This card could be associated with someone who is religious, particularly of an episcopal hierarchy, such as the Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, and Eastern Orthodox churches.
Reversed Three of Pentacles
The Three of Pentacles suggests you might be struggling to fit into a team. You may have great energy, but perhaps don't have great synergy with others.
You're not on the same page as everyone else. For whatever reason you're not blending. You probably don't feel like you belong or would prefer to move onto something else.
You might not be listening to others or valuing their opinions. You ultimately need to step away and consider what actually resonates with you. You might be trying to grow into something that doesn't really fit you.
You could just be having a hangup with a project. You need to realign with the goals of the project. Sit down with your teammates and talk about how you will work together to achieve the end goal. You may need to renegotiate timelines, resources, or even methods to give the project what it actually needs.
You May Be Struggling at Work
The Three of Pentacles could indicate you might get put on the dreaded PIP: what the HR call a performance improvement plan. You likely do not want to be on this. It's more often than not a way for employers to track you and find a way to get you off the team . . . and for good. PIPs can be anxiety inducing. They're an old school business tactic.
Often PIPs are associated with toxic workplace environments, so it's possible you could be in a doomed work environment. Even if you try your best, it may not be good enough for this team. They've decided to highlight all your shortcomings—to the point that they're splitting hairs.
Or perhaps this card suggests your team is falling apart, and you need a backup plan for your protection. Something could be wrong with your group's priorities. For example, they could be putting material concerns above spiritual ones or have a poor code of ethics.
The Three of Pentacles either means your contributions are not up to par or the whole group is a mess. If you want to get back into good graces with your peers, then you should acknowledge the unique contributions of your teammates. Don't put yourself on a pedestal and act like the queen of the universe. This card is a reminder that you need to be humble and let people know you appreciate them for their experience and knowledge.
A Sign of Boredom
Reversed, this card could be a sign that you are bored in some area of your life. Perhaps your job is too mundane for you. It could be so boring that it's hard to stay engaged. This could happen in school too—you might encounter a required class that's a snooze fest. Sometimes the subject matter is fine but the teacher is too dry and slow for you.
If this is the case, you could try different work and classroom environments. Don't give up on something you love just because of some bad apples. You may just need to find a different group or setting.
If you've lost your passion for your career, it's okay to try something else. You are malleable and weren't born for just one type of job. Ultimately, it can help to align with a group that values your talents and contributions.
Do You Prefer Working Alone?
The reversed Three of Pentacles may indicate that you prefer to do jobs alone. Perhaps you hate meetings and chit-chat, or maybe you feel like you get the most out of your work when you're by yourself. Whatever the case, this card could be an invitation to consider whether you might be better suited for freelance work where you can control more of the variables related to work.
- Abraham ben Simeon, of Worms (1975) . "Introduction by Mathers". The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage. Translated by MacGregor Mathers, S. L. New York: Dover. ISBN 0486232115.
- Donald Laycock in Skeptical—a Handbook of Pseudoscience and the Paranormal, ed Donald Laycock, David Vernon, Colin Groves, Simon Brown, Imagecraft, Canberra, 1989, ISBN 0-7316-5794-2, p. 67
- Farrar, Janet; Farrar, Stewart (1996) . "The Witches' Way". A Witches' Bible. Custer, Washington: Phoenix. ISBN 0-919345-92-1.
- Grünbaum, Branko; Shephard, G. C. (1987). Tilings and Patterns. W. H. Freeman. ISBN 0716711931.
- "Pentacle". Oxford English Dictionary (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press. 1989.
- Pratesi, Franco (2012). "In Search of Tarot Sources". The Playing-Card. 41 (2): 100.
- Shah, Idries (1958) . The Secret Lore of Magic: Books of the Sorcerers. New York: Citadel. OCLC 1066407.
- Trithemius, Johannes (c. 1801). The Art of Drawing Spirits Into Crystals. Translated by Barrett, Francis.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2021 Andrea Lawrence