The cause of poverty is not scarcity. It is fear and small thinking.
Alan Cohen, inspirational author
Here is a card that has visited only once since the economic meltdown of Fall, 2008. This week, we welcome the Four of Pentacles.
In Tarot numerology, the fours are about stability, grounding, and consolidation. And the Pentacles, of course, are Earth-ruled matters, like finances, work, health, and the material world. Thus, in the money- and practical reality-focused energy of Pentacles, this is like grounding groundedness.
Here we have a crowned figure gazing out at us with a rather world-weary expression. He holds up one Pentacle before him, his feet rest on two more, and the fourth is balanced in a rather unlikely position on his golden crown. Arthur Waite merely comments, “He holds to that which he has.”
Unlike last month’s sunny Page of Pentacles, who holds his coin lightly, barely touching it with his fingertips, this man (who is definitely not the King of Pentacles!), clenches his like a shield.
If you work with the chakras, you see right away that his Sahasrara (crown chakra) is covered by a Pentacle, as is his Anahata (heart) — both centers of enormous importance for our connection to the Divine. In addition, his connection to the Earth is insulated by more Pentacles. Does he only relate to the Earth as a commodity?
In these days of Autumn, all of Nature is gathering in, storing and saving, in preparation for dark, cold days ahead. It’s a time to take stock, be realistic about our resources, and prepare for times of uncertainty and change.
But this is another one of Pamela Colman Smith’s stage cards, in which a horizontal line across the card makes it appear that it is a theater stage. This points to artifice, and makes it clear that this is not someone who is moving through the natural cycles of harvesting and saving. Instead he sits on his stage, the city in the background, insisting on complete control.
Instead of a literal coin, imagine that this king is holding the other gifts of Mother Earth that are increasingly stretched thin and creating conflict: fuel, clean air, water, safe food.
What does this card say to us about supply and demand; about wealth and who shares it? Who is really in control of our cities?
Since the crisis of 2008, the global financial markets have roller-coastered. Spain, Greece, and Italy are struggling with mounting unemployment and a debt meltdown. And it’s no secret that the fate of the U.S. Presidential election depends heavily on the economic news preceding it.
Although the trend has been slowly climbing upwards and there are promising signs of economic stabilization, many clouds remain on the horizon. No doubt, this week’s Presidential debate will center on the economy. Listen for messages about wealth, fiscal responsibility, and wise stewardship. Beware of the “nobleman” who assumes his entitlement, or focuses on scarcity and fear.
The Four of Pentacles invites us to notice who wields the economic power in our families, our communities, and our nation. Are you among the 47% of Americans who (evidently) are mooching off of the noblesse oblige of the government?
What do you do with the assets you have created? Do you spend in accordance with your heart’s values? Is your money used for sharing, nurturing, and affirming that which is Good in life? Or are the strings held tightly, with fear, an expectation of lack, and miserliness?
How gray and dreary the world would be if the man in the Four of Pentacles was running things. Sadly, there are so many like him who long to do just that. And they do not mind turning our world to gray, as long as they make their money.
How are we like them? How might we take this opportunity to change?
Let us soften our clenched fists, and open our hearts. Life reminds us that we do not own our world; we are simply the stewards caring for Her. By this accord, we will discover there is more than enough for all.