Today’s card draw from The Wild Unknown Tarot is the 4 of Pentacles.
I want to start off by providing an important notice, which will be included in all of this series. However, other things that will be included that you can skip to are:
- Card Description
- Considering the Card, where I look at how I would interpret certain imagery used
- Traditional Rider-Waite definition
I only include the latter as a comparison, to show how wandering down your own understanding of images and symbols can bring you to a similar meaning, though along a different path with different experiences. This is to help expand knowledge of the card.
I will not, however, be including the definitions from the guidebook, as that is not the point of this. Also, I don’t have rights to that material.
I started this series because I had read that people struggled with the deck purely because the definitions in the Little White Book were very Rider-Waite-based, and that there wasn’t much wisdom regarding the animals and symbolism chosen.
This series is to help you to decipher the meanings yourselves. I am by no means saying what I have to say about the cards are correct for anyone outside myself. However, I am providing my daily journal entries regarding the deck to act as a guide so that you can begin your own journey.
When I started tarot, I had no idea what to write in my journal, and thus didn’t. Instead I obsessively read and re-read the Little White Book belonging to the Spiral Tarot (which is why today I can completely quote the book). I didn’t trust myself to know the cards, even when I could recite the definitions. I was afraid to put the book down.
To this fear of lack of knowledge, the creator of The Wild Unknown writes:
You do know enough. You’ve been a person on earth every day since you were born. You’ve experienced all the emotions and situations these cards depict. Quiet the naysayer…don’t let it prevent you from sitting down with a friend (or yourself) and using these cards to help talk about what’s going on in your life. It will be positive. It will be radical. You’ll find things start to reveal themselves through the cards that have been hidden away, covered with dust.pp. 10-11, The Wild Unknown Guidebook
Description of the Card
The card shows 4 Pentacles, positioned toward each side of the card. Unlike in the 8 of Pentacles, the Pentacles are not colored, but are white with darkness behind the lines, filling them. Each pentacle has a string wrapped around it, tying it to other pentacles. Some of the strings are blue, some are red. Where all the strings cross in the center, they are yellow.
Outside the tied pentacles are lines coming off them or all moving toward them.
Traditional Card Meaning
The traditional depiction of the 4 of Pentacles is a man in a chair, facing the reader. There is a Pentacle above his head, one that he hold on his lap, and one under either foot. The pentacle in his lap is large, covering his entire torso, and he holds it tight with both arms, even hunches over it a little.
Thus, the message behind the 4 of Pentacles is money obsession, to the point of greed or miserliness. He has his coins and will lose them for nothing.
What I derive from the Card itself
The first thing I notice about the 4 of Pentacles is that all the Pentacles are tied together. They are woven in every way they can be together. The outside lines all point toward, or possibly away from the Pentacles.
The coloring of the lines all represent the other suits—red of Wands/Fire, blue for Cups/Water, and even yellow in the center for Swords/Air. This tells me that all of these aspects and what they represent are tied up in the 4 Pentacles. Emotion is tied up in the Pentacles, Passion is tied up in the Pentacles, and as a result, Thought is also tied up in the Pentacles.
The Pentacles represent Earth, which can represent Wealth, health, and material things. Thus, when all aspects of life (all the elements) are tied up in one thing, then there is obsession. They are bound to these Pentacles.
However, in contrast to the traditional depiction of the 4 of Pentacles, which shows an individual with Pentacles under his feet, one over his head and one over his heart, the absence of a human expands the meaning of the 4 of Pentacles. I’m reminded that the Pentacles don’t just deal with material wealth, but, as mentioned earlier, could be health. There is an obsession with something in the realm of the material world, and thus, it can be health.
In the 8 of Pentacles, the Pentacles are rainbow, indicating the elements coming together to help build the Pentacle itself. In this card, the Pentacles are empty of the other colors, indicating that while Emotion, Thought, and Passion surround and bind them, they are not fulfilled by them. There is a disconnect.
The 4’s represent structure, and authority, and so it it’s something that can be controlled, which indicates it’s either a needless worry, or flat out greed. Or it could be a message that the querent doesn’t realize that they have control over the thing that they’re worried about in the material world.
About the Deck
The Wild Unknown Tarot is a 2016 Harper One publication, created by Kim Krans. The deck is widely available at most bookstores who carry Tarot cards, but also on Amazon. Kim Krans always wrote The Wild Unknown Guidebook.