Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony.
Here’s a surprise for us this week! This card has only appeared five times since I began these missives in 2003. And its last visit was way back in 2011. As we head into astronomical Samhain week, and the deepening dark of the year, say hello to the Two of Pentacles.
Here we see a young man hopping or dancing, as he juggles his disks, two sailing ships on a roiling sea in the background.
His hat is a rather curious one. Its bright red color is in keeping with a phallic interpretation, but it is surely not meant to be comical. He is wearing a sugarloaf hat, a very trendy fashion originating in Burgundy, and popular from the late medieval period through the early Renaissance.
In the early days, the sugarloaf hat was frequently rounded at the top and often brimless. Later it was given its flattened top and larger brim (a predecessor of the tall, buckled “Pilgrim’s hats” and others that we are familiar with in the United States).
Because of its universal acclaim, it is not much of an indicator of the young man’s status or profession. But his red tights, belt, and sleeves, and his green shoes may represent the red and green of combined passion and Earthy groundedness.
After all, the Pentacles correspond to the element of Earth, and focus on our material resources, like work, home, and health.
And the twos of the Tarot are about decisions, as well as matters of equilibrium, polarity, and tackling the concept of duality – this or that; me/not me; either/or.
A green, ribboned cosmic lemniscate (the infinity sign) loops around his two Pentacles, suggesting there is a spiritual dimension in progress. The other lemniscates made of ribbon appear on The World, so we are perhaps seeing a foreshadowing of tasks underway that will lead to the final Major’s fulfillment.
In the background we see two ships riding the waves – cruising the ups and downs of life. Perhaps this is not the smoothest sailing, but more like a roller coaster ride. Is it frightening, or is it exciting?
His expression signals neither, but is closer to that of someone who is in “the zone” — a place of calm, focused awareness. It is the pleasure that occurs when one is successfully concentrating on something that requires skill. He is juggling, shifting, balanced yet moving, and he makes it look easy.
Finally, frequent visitors to my site and other Tarot adepts will instantly notice that this is one of Pamela Colman Smith’s “stage cards,” in which the narrow, horizontal double lines hint that this scene is not at the waterside at all, but is occurring on a theater stage.
What story is he enacting for our enlightenment or entertainment?
This card frequently appears when there are money matters to be sorted out – income and outgo, investments, and the balancing of our accounts. The lemniscate and the image of the young man moving in place would indicate that with skill, we will break even. While we may not get ahead, we don’t lose out, either.
With Mercury in retrograde now, this is not the time to be rigid, but neither is it a great time to take on too much. How do you keep your composure while surrounded by multiple moving parts?
How busy are you, and have you found your own middle ground that is challenging, yet also invigorating?
What projects, commitments, and tasks are you handling, and what do you need, in order to not become overwhelmed?
In the coming days, you may need to meet a number of demands. Although you can do it in ways that make it look easy to your “audience,” you will need significant concentration and skill to pull it off. You certainly have the pragmatism and ability you need.
Many balls are in the air bringing changes that may have you hopping. Being both playful and centered at the same time can help things move more easily. Like all good jugglers, learn to focus on the flow, not the individual components.
How do different aspects to do with your home, health, and money flow smoothly together? How would you like to see them all work more gracefully, enabling a satisfying feeling of enoughness?
Be prepared for some interesting choices. You may not have to choose only one, to the exclusion of another. Keep a level head, though, and don’t agree to more than you can really handle.
Watch your spending; this is not a time to take big risks, but neither should you become overly cautious.
Instead, focus your attention on what’s on your plate already, and remember that sometimes a sideways bounce, or even a back step might ultimately be the wisest way forward.
Be flexible and adaptable if surprises come your way. There are opportunities in any setbacks (courtesy, say, of Mercury retrograde). The Two of Pentacles indicates that you can create order, harmony, and a rhythm that will work for you.
Most of all, keep your sense of fun in these challenges — for truly this card is about relishing your abilities.