The care of the earth is our most ancient and most worthy and, after all, our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it, and to foster its renewal, is our only legitimate hope.
~ Wendell Berry, The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays
After last week’s unusual appearance from The Emperor, we are now visited by an equally rare, and similarly aspected leader. Welcome this week to the most literal King of the Tarot, the King of Pentacles.
With Pentacles being the suit connected to the element of Earth, he deals with our physical reality, and is most likely a very powerful and well-to-do person of importance.
Crowned in flowers, the King of Pentacles is depicted sitting in a walled garden overflowing with blossoms and vines. His ornately carved throne features bulls’ heads – a nod to his connection to Earthy Taurus. We see a glimpse of his armor, suggesting his military prowess, as his left foot rests on another carving of a bull’s head.
But unlike the overt warrior Emperor, he is clearly a man of peace and prosperity. He is garbed in a robe that features clusters of ripe grapes, symbol of the sweetness and intoxication of Life. The vines on his gown are entangled with the actual vines in the landscape, grounding him in their lush, earthy energies.
As he gazes thoughtfully at his Pentacle, he seems calm and relaxed, especially when compared to the other Kings who range from the somewhat melancholy King of Cups to the rather stern Kings of Wands and Swords.
Staying grounded, taking seriously his duty as a loving caretaker to the Earth, and trusting the natural pace of life’s unfolding are core to this King’s strategy for success. His is the wisdom of Ents, the fictitious but beloved tree shepherds in J.R.R. Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. The Ents are never, ever hasty.
Who Might He Be?
As a court card, the King of Pentacles is often an actual person. He (or she) has great mastery regarding matters to do with money, work, health, home, and other concerns about material, physical sustenance.
This is someone who may have profound abundance at their fingertips. They may be an important business person, a leader in finances, or successful entrepreneur. They could be a money guru, or they may be a very skillful trades person.
Often, King of Pentacles women and men are drawn to real-world interests like collecting treasures, farming and gardening, animal care, cooking, real estate, architecture, or environmental issues.
Wealth comes easily and naturally to them, although they may or may not necessarily accumulate lots of it. Instead, they recognize it is an energetic flow that grows when it’s kept moving.
Rarely big risk-takers, they are judicious with how they share what they have, and they build abundance sustainably, with a slow and steady hand, and a true sense of stewardship.
As you probably know, there have been a number of recent toxic spills into several important rivers in the Eastern United States and the fragile ecosystem of the Russian River in Sonoma County, California. And only the most aggressively ignorant can at this point deny that climate change is real, and taking a deadly toll around the world.
So let us give thanks for the King of Pentacles, who is a champion for the sweet good Earth. He is a powerful protector of the environment, for Earth-friendly farming practices, and supports local, independent farmers and labor. He would insist that we know what is in our food and where it comes from.
This person is earthy, practical, methodical, and is the steadfast leader who simply gets the job done. The King is a loving parent, a sensuous lover, and prefers to savor the very best of what life offers. It is no accident that his scepter is the same as that of The Empress.
Who Has the Power?
Who in your life is playing an important part regarding the use and distribution of your resources? Whose wise experience do you seek, when it comes to spending, or investing?
When was the last time you sat down and took an honest look at your budget, and made plans for the long term? How do you protect and enhance all that you value, including your health, your home, your job, and your money?
I think that his rather rare appearance this week also suggests that we must be willing to take direct charge of our personal, and community wealth.
As we have discovered the hard way here in North Carolina, our governmental agencies are no longer serving the well-being of our citizens, but the corporate interests and their profits.
The King of Pentacles urges each of us to step up and take our obligations to Earth stewardship literally, if we are to create the harmonious, life-affirming existence we all desire.
We are each in charge of our own little kingdoms, and, like the vines and branches that cloak this King, we are also interconnected beyond our own immediate interests.
Our true wealth is the sacred web of life to which we all belong. Only when we honor, protect, and collaborate with the good Earth Herself, can we hope to thrive.