The 7 of Pentacles talks about the loneliness of the individual working in their garden. Likewise, it also talks about the loneliness of the individual in the 9 of Pentacles. In Kitchen Table Tarot, Melissa Cynova talks about the difference between being lonely and being alone, and I think that distinction is essential when considering these two cards.
First, being alone and being lonely are two different things. Being alone means that you’ve got no one to connect with. I feel alone is a deeper state of being than lonely. That feeling that if you get lost, there will be no one there to find you.Cynova, Melissa, Kitchen Table Tarot: Pull Up a Chair, Shuffle the Cards, and Let’s Talk Tarot ‘2 of Swords’ p. 136.
Personally, I would swap the definitions, but it doesn’t matter, the meaning is still the same. The being alone part is what I want to focus on.
The 7 of Pentacles is about work being done, and being done well. It’s about acknowledging the work that’s being done, and remembering the goal of the work, without getting lost in the task. The 9 of Pentacles is about basking in the fruits of the labor, being proud of the self for accomplishments.
In many definitions of the card, it’s noted that they’re alone, that no one is sharing this experience with them.
To that I say…so? Do they need to?
Personally, I’ve always been in a perpetual state of the 7 of Pentacles. I work really hard, all the time, at whatever it is I’m doing. I burn myself out, which means I drop the ball from time to time. But I’ve also always been a solo practitioner in everything I’ve done.
When I was growing up, I was on the gymnastics and swim team. Yes, both are teams, but for the most part, your score and your time are 100% reliant on you. Even when doing relay races, what I did while I was in the water was entirely on me. I didn’t have anyone to pass the ball to, to work with to get an upper hand. It’s solo work.
My passion has always been writing. I’m a writer, and that has been my goal literally my entire life (before I figured out writing stories, I wanted to make comic books: writing with pictures). And while yes, I need help with beta readers, or will need help with just about any aspect of publishing and marketing, regardless of the publishing route I go, I am still involved in a solo hobby.
I’ve considered myself Pagan for the last 20 years. I have never felt that I need to share my practice, if I practice, or combine efforts. I have friends I talk to about it from time to very rare time, but for the most part, it’s personal. I’m a solo practitioner.
And you know, when I finish writing the stories, when I finished the race, and when I have my personal spiritual experiences, they’re just for me. I mean, sure, I celebrate, but there is a feeling that comes with it that is internal.
Not the bad kind of pride that makes you a jerk or stubborn for no stupid reason, but the satisfaction of having worked hard and completed something yourself. That small ember inside that burns just a little brighter. That’s just for me.
And I think that’s what the 9 of Pentacles is about.
That figure is in her garden, by herself, enjoying it. Yes, she is alone, but so what? She did the har work, and she have that moment to herself, that inner ember glowing that says, ‘I accomplished this. What else can I do?’
Many readers focus on the solitude of the figures in the 7 and 9 of Pentacles, as though it’s a bad thing. It’s not. It’s finding that strength and centeredness to complete a task—and that’s something only you can do. No one else can light that fire under your ass, though they will try. At the end of the day, you’re the one who chooses how and when to react to that fire being lit. The project you’re working on might be a team effort, but you did your part, and that came from within you.
As Cynova says, there’s an element to being alone, or loneliness (whichever term resonates best with you) where you don’t feel as though you connect to anyone around you. You can be in a crowd and feel alone. And on a somber not, we are all alone. We are all experiencing our personal experiences on our own. What we do is always alone. Those annoying answers when you ask for advice which says, ‘it’s up to you,’ are right. It is up to you, because you’re flying this ship on your own.
But it’s not a bad thing.
Along the way, we do find people to connect to, and those connections can run beautifully deep, and then we never have to actually feel alone. Those are beautiful times and experiences, and I hope every single person out there has that in abundance. But know that it’s ok to do the work on your own. To savor the accomplishment on your won. Know that you’re the pilot, and you’re in control of you.
That, to me, is the essence of the 7 and 9 of Pentacles.
P.S. – Compeltely seperate, I was going on to Sound Cloud to listen to the latest Tarot for the Wild Soul episode to listen to while I formatted this entry. Instead this episode on loneliness and intuition was suggested for me. I thought it was only appropriate to share this episode.