Back for another visit, the Six of Pentacles appears on this New Moon and shows us a picture of resources given and received. We could call it a portrait of charity.
The Pentacles deal with the literal, physical, material world, and the Sixes are about reciprocity, exchange, and restoring equilibrium.
So we see a well-to-do merchant (some speculate this is the same character as in the Nine of Cups) who is dropping coins into the outstretched hand of one of the two beggars on their knees. Are these two the same lost souls that we see in the Five of Pentacles? This could easily be the case, since the Sixes are often the resolution of the conflicts of the Fives.
With the current astrological aspects continuing to be extremely volatile, this card’s appearance hints that this week may have a lot of focus on resources, wealth, security and financial markets.
On a more personal level, it might be time to take a good look at what we offer and what we receive. How do we bestow what we value upon others? How do we ask for what we need? How do we wield the power of give and take?
We cannot be benefactors, unless there is someone to receive. The pleasure of sharing is lost, if no one wishes to take what we offer. By giving what we know is of value, we receive blessings in turn. Thus, although there appears to be an imbalance of power between the merchant and the beggars, the scales in the card say otherwise.
However, there is also a shadow aspect to this card. Moses Maimonides was a medieval Jewish philosopher, physician and all-round intellectual giant of the 12th Century. He was the first to write a systematic code of all Jewish law, the Mishneh Torah.
According to his hierarchy of giving, the second most favorable form of charity is when the giver and recipient do not meet one another. And the most virtuous form is that which enables the recipient to become self-reliant.
That is not what we are seeing in this card. Instead, there is the danger of co-dependence, domination and weakness, and the darker side of how we wield and are affected by the power of money.
For instance, in order to play the role of magnanimous benefactor, who is required to play the role of humble supplicant? We are certainly being invited to see the role-playing here, since this is another of Pixie Smith’s “stage” cards (in which, if you look closely, the figures appear to be standing on a theater stage).
As in all the cards of the Tarot with multiple figures, who do you identify with most right now? Are you the wealthy one, able to give? By your giving, who must you choose to exclude? Who will have to wait for your favors?
Or are you feeling more like the two figures on their knees? And are you the one receiving, or are you helplessly looking on, hoping that eventually, it will be your turn?
Beware of hubris. Be mindful that the tables can turn. Who has and who has not, at any given moment, may switch. All of life is an exchange, often with one up and one down. Over time, what will be needed to keep the balance?