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The Three of Pentacles in Tarot and How to Read It

Andrea has a background in Myers-Briggs and Western astrology. She mostly writes about relationships.

The Three of Pentacles is about teamwork. The card indicates you are in a career that makes sense to you. You are supported by good leaders.

The Three of Pentacles is about teamwork. The card indicates you are in a career that makes sense to you. You are supported by good leaders.

The Three of Pentacles

The Suit of Pentacles deals with matters of the physical world. Sometimes the physical world is at odds with the spiritual world, but what we truly desire is for the physical and spiritual to be in harmony. In contemporary times, Tarot teaches that people should know their subconscious mind and bring it into harmony with their conscious mind.

The Three of Pentacles is an apprenticeship card. When in the upright position, it indicates mastery of a skill or trade. The card indicates someone with dignity, perhaps someone with a high rank or power.

In the reversed position, the card indicates sloppiness and having a low rank or position. The person is unqualified or lacks necessary knowledge. This person could be preoccupied with something else, and therefore they're not giving enough attention to their present job.

Card Alignments

Upright

Collaboration, learning, growth, mastery, skillful, focused, teamwork, implementation, progress, studying, diligent, grinding, dedicated, loyal, punctual, functioning, tangible results.

Reversed

Disharmony, misalignment, staggered growth, working alone, unfocused, not the best fit, drained, confusing task, poor directions, impossible demands, lack of progress, lack of skill.

What Is a Pentacle?

A pentacle in tarot is a coin. A pentacle is generally seen as a talisman to bring about magical change. The pentacle is related to alchemy: it brings something from the spiritual realm into the physical realm.

Pentacles are usually made of paper, cloth, parchment, or metal. Protective symbols are added to the pentacle. One of the most common symbols is the six pointed star, the Seal of Solomon.

Pentacles are almost always shaped like discs or flat circles. The Rider Waite Smith deck includes pentacles with the pentagram. Most decks have copied this design.

The pentagram is an ancient symbol that's been used by multiple cultures and religious groups over thousands of years. The pentagram is simply a geometry figure. It was used by the ancient Babylonians, Greeks, and Chinese for different symbolic purposes.

First Usage and Etymology

The first documents to depict pentacles were 1500s grimoires: the Heptameron by pseudo-Pietro d'Abano, and the Key of Solomon. There is only one pentacle listed in the Heptaméron, and it's shaped like a hexagram. There are several different pentacles listed in the Key of Solomon; only two of those have pentagrams.

Gerald Gardner, who is considered to be the father of Wicca, was inspired by the Rider Waite Smith Tarot deck's pentacle design. He used it as a logo for Wiccans.

The word pentacle was first recorded in English in 1561. It was borrowed from French. The French word had the meaning of "talisman". The French word is derived from the Latin word 'pentaculum', which is from the Italian word 'pentacolo'.

Tarot was first a European card playing game. Its origins date back to the mid-15th century. Tarot was used for divination purposes starting in the 18th century. The original tarot cards were hand painted. It wasn't until the invention of the printing press that cards were mass produced.

The Reversed Three of Pentacles isn't necessarily a bad thing. It could mean you're more comfortable working alone. You don't like getting caught up in the annoyances of a regular job.

The Reversed Three of Pentacles isn't necessarily a bad thing. It could mean you're more comfortable working alone. You don't like getting caught up in the annoyances of a regular job.

Tarot Suits

CategoryWandsPentaclesSwordsCups

Element

Fire

Earth

Air

Water

Color

Red

Green

Yellow

Blue

Represents

Free-will

Physical Manifestation (The Body)

Thoughts

Emotions

Animals

Land Mammals

Reptiles

Birds

Fish

The Body

Head, Heart, Thighs

Throat, Chest, Legs

Arms, Belly, Ankles

Hands, Root Chakra, Feet

Planets

Mars, Sun, Jupiter

Mercury, Venus, Saturn

Mercury, Venus, Uranus

Moon, Pluto, Neptune

Seasons

Summer

Spring

Winter

Fall

Four Humors

Yellow Bile

Black Bile

Blood

Phlegm

Moisture / Temperature

Hot and Dry

Cold and Dry

Hot and Wet

Cold and Wet

Western Astrology

Aries, Leo, Sagittarius

Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn

Gemini, Libra, Aquarius

Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces

Yin and Yang

Yang

Yin

Yang

Yin

Tarot Face Cards

Knight

Page

King

Queen

Poker Cards

Clubs

Diamonds

Spades

Hearts

Card Description

A young stonemason works on a portion of a cathedral. He is working in front of two architects. They're holding the blueprints to the building.

The architects are masters. The building represents their hard work and years of knowledge. They spent years making intricate engravings and touching up the soaring ceilings. The stonemason is following their footsteps. The architects discuss his progress and growth.

Even though the stonemason is less experienced, it is clear that he is on the right track. His opinion is valued. The young man is an essential contributor to the cathedral's look. Everyone on the team respects each other.

The Three of Pentacles is a good sign. It means you have people you value around you. All of you together know how to work hard and make a difference.

The Three of Pentacles is a good sign. It means you have people you value around you. All of you together know how to work hard and make a difference.

Upright Three of Pentacles

The card is about collaboration and growing one's skills. The stonemason couldn't build this cathedral all by himself. He needed the help of the architects. The stonemason is learning how to become an expert, so he needs to be around people who are like minded.

Each person has an important role to play. When they come together as a whole they can create something far more meaningful than if they tried to undertake the project alone. The Three of Pentacles encourages collaboration with others. You want great synergy, so you can have great results.

It is important to value the different ideas around you. Everyone brings different experiences to the table. You need to help inspire a welcoming place so that everyone feels comfortable sharing their ideas.

Among these men, there is no sense of superiority or a "us vs them" mentality. There is unity, cohesion, and focus. Together they're getting the job done.

When you work on projects with others, acknowledge the value each person brings to the table. You will learn from those around you. It's important to put yourself around good peers. The people around you may inspire you.

Manifestation Phase

The Three of Pentacles marks the initial stage of implementation following the Ace's idea phase and the planning phase of the Two. By the Three of Pentacles, you know what you want to make happen. You have plans, and you've gathered resources.

This is only the beginning. You're still a long ways off from completing your project. It takes a long time to build a cathedral. You're starting the sparks to build the fire (metaphorically, because you're not burning down the cathedral).

As you work on your project you'll inevitably have epiphanies. You'll realize you have skills that you didn't even know you had. The Three of Pentacles is an affirmation card. It lets you know you're headed in the right direction. What you're doing makes sense to you and is good for you.

This card indicates you have competency in your skills, and you don't feel like a fish out of the water. You're in the right place at the right time.

The best way to handle the Three of Pentacles is to continue what you're doing. Support yourself with good plans, stick to a comprehensive plan, be around like minded people, and pay attention to your schedule. Good project management will ascertain good results.

Mentors

The architects recognize that they need to pass down their knowledge. One day they won't be able to work on the cathedral. They may get too old or die before the project is complete. People who are masters of their craft know how to teach and inspire others.

In fact, the teacher may be more important than the student. Excellent teachers and managers know how to get people engaged with something even if people didn't have an interest in it previously. This card indicates that you have good mentors and leaders around you. You should treasure this because it's not always easy to find good mentors.

The Cathedral's Message

It's important to look at this card and realize what the people are making. It's already been mentioned several times, but the cathedral is part of the card's story. The cathedral is the body where the spirit resides. When we take care of the tangible then the spirit will have an appropriate space to live.

This card is about respecting your practical, tangible tasks. You want to create a space where the spirit will be content. You want a beautiful cathedral where people feel welcome to gather, pray, worship, study, and connect with others.

A building represents activities. We don't go to school in prisons, we don't get haircuts on boats, we don't get married at gas stations, and we don't have court proceedings at the circus. We go to places that are appropriate for our actions.

A cathedral is considered the principal church of a diocese, with which the bishop is associated. This card could be associated with someone who is religious, particularly of a episcopal hierarchy, such as the Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, and Eastern Orthodox churches.

The Three of Pentacles indicates you're making progress on your dreams. You are making the right steps for your project. If you continue on this path it will benefit you and potentially others.

The Three of Pentacles indicates you're making progress on your dreams. You are making the right steps for your project. If you continue on this path it will benefit you and potentially others.

Reversed Three of Pentacles

The Three of Pentacles suggests you're struggling to fit into a team. You may have great energy, but you don't have great synergy with others.

You're not on the same page as everyone else. For whatever reason you're not blending. You probably don't feel like you belong or would prefer to move onto something else.

You might not be listening to others or valuing their opinions. You ultimately need to step away and consider what actually resonates with you. You might be trying to grow into something that doesn't really fit you.

You could just be having a hangup with a project. You need to realign with the goals of the project. Sit down with your teammates and talk about how you will work together to achieve the end goal. You may need to renegotiate timelines, resources, or even methods to give the project what it actually needs.

The HR Office

The Three of Pentacles could indicate you might get put on the dreaded PIP: what the HR call a performance improvement plan. You do not want to be on this. It's more often than not a way for employers to track you and find a way to get you off the team. . . and for good. PIPs can be anxiety inducing. They're an old school business tactic.

Often PIPs are associated with toxic workplace environments. You may be in a doomed work environment. Even if you try your best, it won't be good enough for this team. They've decided to highlight all your shortcomings—to the point that they're splitting hairs.

Your team is falling apart. You need a backup plan for your protection. Something is wrong with your group's priorities. It's as though they're putting material concerns above spiritual ones. They have a poor code of ethics.

The Three of Pentacles either means your contributions are not up to par or the whole group is a mess. If you want to get back into good graces with your peers then you should acknowledge the unique contributions of your teammates. Don't put yourself on a pedestal and act like the queen of the universe. You need to be humble. You need to let people know you appreciate them for their experience and knowledge.

Bored to Death

This job could also be too mundane for you. It is so boring that it's hard to stay engaged. This could happen in school too, you might encounter a required class that's a snooze fest. Sometimes the subject matter is fine but the teacher is too dry and slow for you.

You should try different work and classroom environments. Don't give up on something you love just because of some bad apples. You may just need to find a different group or setting.

If you've lost your passion for your career, it's okay to try something else. You are malleable. You weren't born for just one type of job. Ultimately you need to align with a group that values your talents and contributions.

Prefer Working Alone

The Reversed Three of Pentacles may indicate that you prefer to do jobs alone. You feel like you get the most out of your work when you're by yourself.

You hate meetings. You hate pointless chit-chat. And you hate driving to work. You might be better suited for freelance work where you can control more of your variables.

References

  1. Abraham ben Simeon, of Worms (1975) [1897]. "Introduction by Mathers". The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage. Translated by MacGregor Mathers, S. L. New York: Dover. ISBN 0486232115.
  2. Donald Laycock in Skeptical—a Handbook of Pseudoscience and the Paranormal, ed Donald Laycock, David Vernon, Colin Groves, Simon Brown, Imagecraft, Canberra, 1989, ISBN 0-7316-5794-2, p. 67
  3. Farrar, Janet; Farrar, Stewart (1996) [1981]. "The Witches' Way". A Witches' Bible. Custer, Washington: Phoenix. ISBN 0-919345-92-1.
  4. Grünbaum, Branko; Shephard, G. C. (1987). Tilings and Patterns. W. H. Freeman. ISBN 0716711931.
  5. "Pentacle". Oxford English Dictionary (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press. 1989.
  6. Pratesi, Franco (2012). "In Search of Tarot Sources". The Playing-Card. 41 (2): 100.
  7. Shah, Idries (1958) [1957]. The Secret Lore of Magic: Books of the Sorcerers. New York: Citadel. OCLC 1066407.
  8. Trithemius, Johannes (c. 1801). The Art of Drawing Spirits Into Crystals. Translated by Barrett, Francis.

© 2021 Andrea Lawrence

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