Earth’s crammed with Heaven.
~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning
After last week’s challenges, it is with some relief that in this week of the New Moon we welcome the Nine of Pentacles.
The nines of the Tarot show the suit’s completion (with the tens being an overflowing into the next phase). All of the nines speak to us in solitude, seen most obviously in the Major Arcana nine, The Hermit. The Minors’ nines are a pause, as we fully absorb the energies of that suit.
And because the Pentacles are the portrayal of our relationship to the material world, here we are seeing personal fulfillment in terms of wealth, health, the land, and abundance of all kinds.
Invariably, the people who take my Tarot classes are far wiser than I once was. Year after year, this card is a perennial favorite for most of my students. But long ago, it certainly was not mine.
Once upon a time, when I was much younger, and believed that my life would not be complete unless I merged it with a soul mate, I always dreaded getting this card.
You see, the one and only Tarot book I had at that time said, “This card often appears for a woman who is either widowed or single and who has sufficient of the world’s goods to enjoy life — but she is alone.”
“But – (dramatic pause in my head) — she is alone.”
Widowed! Single! Words that froze my youthful heart.
The implication was that she would never be able to enjoy her life, no matter how beautiful, because she was not partnered. Such beliefs were the norm at that time, especially for women, and I swallowed them.
Thank the Goddess, I have come a long way since then. But unfortunately, this attitude is still pervasive. Although I have been there and I understand, I am still saddened at how many men and women believe they have failed if they are not coupled.
Even worse, an astonishing number will jump into, or cling to, abusive and unhappy partnerships, rather than face loneliness.
Yet, look at this lovely card. There are no horrors here. The sky is sunny yellow, her garden is lush with abundance. She is not unhappy; she does not even look lonely.
Aloneness and personal time are vital. Even the closest of lovers need space. Whether you are partnered or not, the Nine of Pentacles nudges you to take some quiet time, enjoying your own private pleasures.
Personal Sovereignty and Abundance
Thanks to the economic crash of 2008, and the continuing precarious aftermath, I also see many people who are utterly miserable in their jobs, but dare not leave or even seek new employment, for fear of ending up in real destitution.
I would never suggest someone take unnecessary risks, but I have seen such scenarios play out often enough to know that refusing to acknowledge and act upon one’s authentic calling is the most dangerous choice of all.
Here we see a strong, self-reliant woman of wealth and authenticity. Her gown is decorated with small flowers that are not accidentally similar to the symbol of the Goddess Venus.
She has made her own fortune and she is surrounded by the beauty that she has chosen and created. She is graceful in her independence, and finds happiness in herself. She is not waiting to savor her life; she embraces it as it is — here and now.
She holds a hooded falcon – the wild spirit who obeys the will of its mistress. Surrounded by cultivation and refinement, she may be a gentlewoman, but she can certainly tap into her fierce, predatory instincts when needed. Yet for now, restraint and peace dominate the scene.
A Time to Dream
Our last visit from this card was at the close of the growing season, under the Full Harvest Moon last Autumn. Now our solitary woman returns to us in deep Winter. Yet this is the week of both the New Moon and the Sun’s ingress into Aquarius. In Aquarius, we will celebrate the first stirrings of the returning light of Imbolc/Candlemas.
As we prepare to awaken from our Winter dreams, the Nine of Pentacles can be a powerful template for creative visualization. Under the sunny skies of warmer times ahead, how would you like your life to be?
Similarly, with Mercury stationing retrograde this week, we are offered a three week breather from the race to go-go-go. I love that the Nine of Pentacles has timed this visit as an invitation to pause and reflect on what personal power, wealth, and security truly mean to us. Slow down, like the snail in the foreground calls us to do, so we can savor our riches.
Now, despite some of us experiencing the coldest days of Winter, we are never far from the possibility of overflowing fruitfulness, beauty, and Nature’s bounty.
Take time this week to enjoy the finer things that life offers you. Cultivate your appreciation of art, literature, foods, and the beauty of your home. Treat yourself to a few affordable luxuries.
How much do you really need to sustain and enjoy your life? How hard do you really have to struggle, when Earth is, after all, crammed with Heaven?