Here in the northeast we have been getting hit with our share of cold, windy and sometimes messy weather. For me, the winter can sometimes be a struggle. Pushing forward, working towards goals I have set for myself and striving for little victories can really put me to the test on some days. Everyone has their challenges. How you see, work through and experience your struggle makes all the difference. How will things look once you come out the other side? Are you stronger or more fearful? Tougher or more likely to give up?
Our card this month, the Five of Pentacles, speaks to this.
It is true, the Five of Pentacles is one of the least favored cards in the entire 78 card deck. Rainbows and unicorns it is not. But, being an eternal optimist, I cannot help but seek out the silver lining, even in one of the darkest cards.
The essence of the Five of Pentacles is to test. Meaning, when this card comes up, you will be tested. The pentacles speak of that which has value. This may be something material, like money or a valued personal item. Or, this may be something intangible such as your health, a relationship, job, career or your self esteem. The Five of Pentacles arrives and asks, how much can you sacrifice and do without? What is really essential for you? What if something you deeply value is no longer yours to have? And, how will you stay balanced in the face of this imbalance, regardless of what happens?
As we arrive at the picture in the card, we close in on two desperate looking individuals limping along on a dark, snowy night. They are not dressed appropriately for the weather – says a mom who makes sure her kids have scarves, hats and gloves on before leaving the house. She appears to be barefoot in the snow, and he looks to be (at best) unsteady on his feet. These two figures looking homeless and broke are wandering the streets at night, lost in their pain and suffering. Surely, you think, there must be somewhere they can go to find comfort, warmth and maybe a hot meal? There is a decorative stained glass window in the background with images of a strong tree and impressive towers/castles. Could this be a place of worship, somewhere to seek sanctuary or protection? But the figures do not see what I/we see. They continue walking together, but alone, out in the cold. They must figure out their own solution.
How does this card make you feel? Does this scene make you uncomfortable? It brings up the topics of lack and want. It also may ask us how aware we are of the poverty around us . . . and how charitable we are in those situations. Do we help whenever we can? Or, do we feel it is the responsibility of others?
The five’s in each of the four suits of the tarot deck are challenging. How do we grow and change if we are not challenged? Sometimes change is difficult. But, let me also point out that aside from change, fives also signify adventure, freedom, exploration, expansion and curiosity.
Complicated, impulsive, confusing and sometimes even chaotic, fives represent the very human life experience that bring on growth and change in our lives. A very important part of the five that I must highlight is that they are *temporary*. Yes, there will be ups and downs, but you will find a new way forward.
The Five of Pentacles can be something of a wake up call – whether you are high and mighty or just aspiring to be. That is one thing you can count on, no one is exempt. Leveling and humbling, the figures in this card now need to face some hard facts.
Images in the card, though some are small and seem inconsequential, say a lot. I first want to draw your attention to the bell that is around the neck of the male figure. This bell is a warning sound. How often do you get a feeling that something does not feel right or do you hear an inner voice telling you the best next step? This bell is a symbol and sign to listen to your inner voice. Next, I notice the crutches. Even in difficulty, you will have all of the help that you need. And, if I might add, even in his current state, he is moving along at a clip. This confirms the temporary nature of the five. Things are constantly changing, nothing is permanent, life is in motion at all times.
Questions you can ask yourself at this time: Am I steady and balanced? How will I pass this test? Do I need (more) support? Am I considering all options? What can I do differently to make this whole experience more rewarding and positive? Why do I care so much about what others think of me? How can I improve my self confidence (and the outcome) as I face this challenge? Am I paying attention? Do I need to shop for a bigger bell?
Life is full of tests and challenges. How we attend to these situations affects what comes next. Are you ready for an adventure? Be curious, open and ready to explore. Wherever this road takes you . . . pay attention, the answer is there. Don’t forget, you have the freedom to choose it. And that, is your silver lining!
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Until the next time . . . . .