Pentacle Wrap-Up

Which sounds like a strange radio show. Maybe involving Casey Kasem.

We’ve now reached the end of pentacles, which means the king and queen, which means I’m once again going to talk a little about gender and the Tarot. The Page can vary in gender a whole lot (yes, I know Actual Pages were mostly guys, but the Tarot’s resemblance to anything from actual history is nonexistent so whatever) and even the Knight is not a specifically-gendered title; there have been readings when I’ve shown up as one. King and Queen, that’s different.

Except practically speaking, it’s not. Bear with me, because I’m about to disappear up my own ass into occult theory and then explain why none of that matters. Or go get a beer. I’m not your supervisor, and I *have* combined neat rum with mini-Cinnabons.

So okay. What I’ve read and think is reasonable about occult theory posits that there are a bunch of different layers to reality. The number and type varies depending on your system, but general agreement is:

* The everyday universe with tables and pastries and ducks and all that.
* The ultimate whatever, where tables and pastries and ducks and us are all united but possibly still ourselves, it’s hard to say, jazzhands.
* The Cosmic Archetypes And Powers And Platonic Ideal Ducks, which are nearer the Ultimate Whatever than us.
* The mental plane or astral or whatever, which is between us and Cosmic Whatnot.

Theory says that it gets harder for us to access the levels further up. Stuff on the mental plane helps us get there, but that stuff has accumulated a lot of cultural baggage, like a goddamn Katamari of societal expectations and symbolism and Santa drinking Coke. For most of us, that baggage does come into play when we deal with the higher levels–which means that, despite thinking that gender essentialism is bullshit to the extreme, I pretty much never turn up as a King in a reading.

All that said, the important thing about Tarot or runes or any other kind of fortune-telling is the things that pop into your head when you see the cards. So if you’re a woman or enby or agender and a King seems like your deal, it is. Go to.

If we explicitly take gender out of it, the Queen of Pentacles is someone good with earth, in a settled kind of way: someone who takes an existing situation and develops it to its full potential. The word “nurturing” comes into play here, much as it sort of sets my teeth on edge due to my own baggage. This is stereotypically a female role, but it could also refer to farming, or wise investment, or, hell, training for a marathon. This is about practicality and practical gifts, being down-to-earth and thoughtful, and often a “hearth and home” card.

The card shows a (usually dark-haired) woman on a stone throne outdoors, with a pentacle in her lap. She’s not visibly pregnant, unlike the Empress, despite the association with Earth and fertility, and even though there’s usually a rabbit lurking around somewhere nearby.

In contrast, the King of Pentacles does not have animal friends, though he too is generally chilling on an outdoor throne with a pentacle in his lap. Whereas the Queen is typically looking down at the pentacle, he tends to look right at the reader, and there’s a city of some sort in his background a lot of the time.

Kings are all about having power over their particular element, whether that’s setting it in order or using it to get shit done. Pentacle King, who’s got power over Earth, might be an architect or craftsman, might be really good in bed, or might be great with money–or all three. Tony Stark, for example, alternates wildly between King of Pentacles and Knight of Swords, depending on whether he’s being Millionaire Genius Playboy Dude or pursuing crack-ass ideas and punching Thor in the face. But Tony’s not reliable, and the King of Pentacles really, really is–

–which, while we’re here, is a useful sidebar. Nobody is one card all the time. There’s another theory here about different selves, but I’m just going to make a “Swords in the streets, Pentacles in the sheets” joke and move on.

King of Pentacles is a steady person. They will pick you up from the airport, and they will always be on time. They’ll have enough cash to cover their part of the check and they’d rather just split it than have arguments about who got the salad, even if they got the salad and you had an extra drink. None of the food in their fridge is expired. In bed, they might not get fancy with the techniques or succumb to clothes-rending passion, but they know what they’re doing and they’re not going to get all weird and ego-y if things don’t go the way they plan.

In general, you can say similar about all the Pentacles court cards. Though they vary in expression, they have many of the same virtues: steadiness, reliability, being down-to-earth and practical, and comfort with sensuality of all types. Likewise, they share the same flaws: a tendency toward stubbornness when they feel strongly about something and passivity when they don’t, and an inclination toward material things that they can get carried away with.

Speaking of material things, I’m off to get another cinnamon roll.




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I'm Izzy. I write stuff: mostly vaguely fantasy stuff, and most notably the following books: Hickey of the Beast, published March 2011 by Candlemark and Gleam Romance novels from Sourcebooks: No Proper Lady Lessons After Dark Legend of the Highland Dragon The Highland Dragon's Lady Night of the Highland Dragon Highland Dragon Warrior Highland Dragon Rebel Highland Dragon Master I also like video games, ballroom dancing, and various geeky hobbies like LARPing. I have been known to voluntarily purchase and eat circus peanuts. Like, a whole bag at once.

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