This week, we are faced with another challenging message from the Tarot.
The Five of Pentacles is one of those cards that often comes up as a least favorite in my Tarot classes’ games of “Good Card, Bad Card.” Understandably so.
The fives are usually about conflict and loss. And in the physical world of the Pentacles, this suffering is often literal. It can be about money, home, health, or work — the biggies of the material world.
Here we see two miserable looking people on a wintry night, struggling past a stained glass window.
Where is the doorway to that place? Do they seek it? Or are they so used to surviving their hardship that they simply battle on?
Perhaps they have been cast out, no longer allowed into the holy places. Or maybe they deliberately pass it by, because what it offers is not what they need.
One is in rags, and obviously depicts poverty. The other, on poorly-made crutches, wears a bell around his neck. In the Middle Ages, everyone with disfiguring diseases like leprosy was forced to wear a bell. This was, in part, to warn of contagion.
But it was also to ostracize them from society. Leprosy in particular, was viewed as a terrifying sign of divine punishment, and the poor souls with the disease were considered impure and cursed by God.
What similar attitudes do we harbor today? Who are the untouchables in our society?
With a Mercury retrograde due this coming Saturday the 7th, the obvious interpretation this week is how we may find money very tight, resources unavailable, and financial contraction.
And Thursday’s Quarter Moon is the half-way point between the New Moon and next week’s Full Moon. It is often a time of crisis when a course correction needs consideration, if we are to see our New Moon wish reach its fulfillment.
In a pattern becoming all too familiar in other states and provinces, our North Carolina legislature is currently in the process of destroying our long-standing environmental protections. They are gleefully slashing our state’s funding for public schools and our safety nets for the poor, the disabled, the sick, the unemployed, and the elderly.
Perhaps this card is a reminder of the words of their own holy scriptures, which they otherwise love to invoke, when it suits them:
For I was in need of food, and you gave it not to me; I was in need of drink, and you gave it not to me: I was wandering, and you took me not in; without clothing, and you gave me no clothing; ill, and in prison, and you came not to me.
Then will they make answer, saying, Lord, when did we see you in need of food or drink, or wandering, or without clothing, or ill, or in prison, and did not take care of you?
Then will he make answer to them, saying, Truly I say to you, Because you did it not to the least of these, you did it not to me.
— The (Christian) Bible, Book of Matthew, Chapter 25, 42 – 45
With convenient, selective amnesia, our pious leaders have evidently forgotten or overlooked this rebuke from their God.
Such arrogance always comes with a price. Callousness in the institutions that were created to serve the people will, sooner or later, bring about their fall. The seeds of revolution and destruction are always quickened by power that turns a blind eye to the plight of the impoverished and marginalized.
Hungry stomachs and spirits are easy prey for both dreamers and tyrants, as long as radical change is on the menu.
This week, despite being in the warm embrace of the weeks before Summer Solstice, there are many who are being left out in the cold.
Who is shut out of the American dream? At home or abroad, how long dare we ignore the sick, the lost, and the desperate? In what ways are you or the people around you, being exiled in a night of despair?
Let the warning in this card encourage us to reach out a helping hand, especially when the institutions that were created to serve us now seem unwilling to.
May the healing and light of welcome be given to those in need. May hope be restored by how we share with one another.
And if there is no door to be seen, then by all the Gods, let us make one.