This week’s card to study is the King of Pentacles.
Esoteric Title: Lord of the Wild and Fertile Lands; King of the Spirits of Earth
The Pictorial Key Tarot’s King of Pentacle is all about the color green, symbolic of the element earth as well as life, nature , and growth. In the King of Pentacles we see a king, dressed opulently in green, wearing a green crown, sitting on a gold throne with green upholstery. He’s facing forward and looking directly at us as he holds up a gold pentacle in his right hand. The background appears to be a garden outside his castle; along the backside of the throne is a line of trimmed bushes and there are two large, lush trees.
Rider-Waite-Smith King of Pentacles for comparison:
The King of Pentacle is found in the Minor Arcana, which represents day-to-day life and its ups and downs, challenges and opportunities. However the Courts are the people cards and are read differently, see below.
The Pentacles suit is associated with the element Earth which represents materials things, money, resources, stability, work for physical reward, health, finances, practicality, being grounded. What we have.
Astrological Correspondences – Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn (Earth signs)
Kabbalah Tree of Life: Sephirah – Chokmah
Kings are associated with the Fixed Modalities
King of Pentacles is the fixed sign Taurus.
Note: The Golden Dawn approaches the courts differently:
- Kings are associated with Mutable signs (i.e.Thoth Knights & Princes)
- King of Pentacles includes two signs (20°each). Virgo and Leo
Court Cards –
This is our first Court Card drawn in our Weekly Cards to learn. Therefore, we should first discuss how the Court cards differ from the rest of the deck first.
The Courts are arguably the most challenging cards of the Tarot due to their complexities. Each Court represents a different rank or stage of growth beginning with the very young and naïve Page who is at the learning stage, followed by the immature wild Knight who is in the acting out stage (acting before thinking). Through their experiences they grow and become the mature Queen and King – masters of their suit. Queens and Kings are similar however, their roles are the opposite. With the exception of Queen Elizabeth (and many others), try to imagine what you would expect from a Queen versus a King. While the King ruled the land making decisions (active), the Queen supported and nurtured the community (receptive). His focus as well as the Knights is outward while her focus as well as the Pages is inward.
*Please note: the courts are not bound by gender. In addition, some Tarot readers attribute physical characteristics. I do not use this system because we are a world filled with beautiful diversity and in my humble opinion, it would be too difficult to fit billions of people into only four (suit) combinations of skin, eye, and hair color. However, if this works for you, by all means, use it. They also have various titles and may change from deck to deck.
The Courts can any of represent the following:
- actual people; it can be the Querent themselves or someone else involved
- personality traits/characteristics
- influential or aspirational energies (inner potential)
- roles we play
- a situation or an event
- a message or news (usually the Pages and at times the Knights)
- a conquest or desire (usually the Knights)
Kings are the rulers and the masters of their suit. They’re mature, their focus is outward and their energy is masculine (yang) and active. They represent archetypal paternal energy (Emperor), authority, status, leadership, order, judgement, and control. They are the planners, the movers and shakers, thinkers, communicators, they strategize, and they deal with conflict (mentally) and can bring about conflict.
Dual Elements –
Some Tarotists interpret the Courts as having dual elements. Each Court has their own governing element in addition to their suit’s element. King’s governing element is Air*. Therefore, they add an airy aspect to whichever suit they represent.
- The King of Pentacles is Air of Earth
*Important: There is much debate which element each Court card governs (aside of their suit) due to the Golden Dawn and Aleister Crowley (Thoth) or I should say Authur Waite (RWS), switching the Knights and the Kings. This is too long and confusing to get into here, but this has caused Tarot readers to switch the associations of Fire and Air between the Kings and Knights. Be that as it may, almost all Tarot readers agree that the Queens correspond with Water and the Pages correspond with Earth. Although, I have also seen all of these interchanged by some.
Honestly, I still haven’t decided which I prefer but I lean towards Kings/Air and Knights/Fire. However, I do have a difficult time squaring Pages with Earth – so this is why I don’t follow any system of dual elements. Again, this is a personal preference and you can follow which ever system that works for you or none, like me.
A natural born leader, practical, down-to-earth, motivator, success through perseverance, disciplined in finances/career, secure, grounded, practical and productive, confident, a patient hard worker, generous, charitable, honest, reliable, family oriented, loyal, devoted, lover of nature and animals.
- Both feet on stone – being grounded.
- Opulence- material success, possessions.
When Kings show up in a reading they may represent you, someone else, or perhaps urging you to mirror his qualities in general or with the matter at hand.
The King of Pentacles is the archetypal father – all the Kings are. This King, this father focuses on offering stability in the home dealing with finances, resources, and practicality.
The King of Pentacles is a figure of authority. He is stable, prosperous, and successful, who’s a master of finances and is extremely resourceful. He’s a natural-born leader and will persevere with patience, until he makes it to the top. He most likely grew up without much and built his empire from scratch. Therefore, he understands that true achievements do not happen overnight, it is not just handed to you, and one must work hard to be successful. Regardless of his power, he is not pretentious or ego-driven; he is fair, kind and honest- a rare combination. Nevertheless, he is definitely proud and may purchase the biggest house on the block and the most luxurious car, to show off his well-earned status and at the same time, sending a message to follow your dreams.
When it comes to his business/career, his intentions are not just to be financially secure in that moment. This King thinks about the future and how to maintain this prosperous position which takes continual planning and strategy to stay on top and to have that competitive edge. Every move he makes is purposeful and well thought out. He is not spontaneous or reckless; he is the exact opposite – he is grounded and controlled. In addition, he is considering his families’ future. For him, the ideal situation would to have the ability to pass down the business and/or his wealth to his children.
As I stated, the King’s are the father figures in the courts. The King of Pentacles is the provider and a family man who loves being at home more than anything else and spending time with them, enjoying their company. He is a reliable, loyal devotee to his spouse and to his friends who’s also down to earth and charitable. However, he does play a dominant role at home therefore, he is the king of his castle.
He loves the finer things in life; fancy cars, fine wines, worldly trips, champagne and caviar – the best his money can buy. He’s not the most affectionate partner, but in bed he’ll be patient and methodical (just like in business) and will be one of the most attentive lovers you’ve had, but don’t expect him to cuddle, spoon, or talk afterwards. And in the romantic department, don’t hold your breath; no mushy cards or flowers from this partner.
The King of Pentacles is a lover of nature and all it’s beauty. He most surely will have more than one pet and loves being outdoors. He cares deeply about the environment and will do all he can to contribute to saving and caring for it; this includes animal welfare and survival, issues with our oceans, recycling, etc.
Shadow Side: Each court has a shadow side just like we do. Imagine any of these characteristic in the extreme such as being overly materialistic, working way too hard, or so charitable, people take advantage. On the other hand, he could be selfish and greedy.
When the King of Pentacles shows his face in a reading, it may be indicating that you are on a path to success and you embody the same qualities or you look up to some who does.
Career: At work, you may be dealing with your boss or even the company owner, who is this King, and the interaction will be positive. You may find yourself moving ahead or being rewarded with a promotion or a bonus.
If you are an entrepreneur, the King of Pentacles suggests you have or may, achieve slow steady progress and one day, you will be stable and successful.
Either way, this may be a the time you’ll see your hard work and effort pay off. This could be the perfect time to be proactive and be resourceful, taking a step back and evaluating your progress and ask yourself, what more can I do.
If you are looking for a job, the King of Pentacles indicates that you will soon land the job you’ve been hoping for and it may bring you the success you desire. But be patient – it may take some time; just stay focused and persevere.
Romance: If you are involved with someone, you may begin to think long-term and what you want from the relationship. You could find yourself thinking about taking the next step whether it be moving in together or marriage. You are the King therefore, the choice is yours to make.
If you’re in a committed relationship or not, the following may also be true: you or your partner, may be too career driven and it could be causing tension. You may feel that their ambition is more important than you or they could be feeling that about you.
If you are single and looking for love, this card may indicate you’ll soon be meeting someone who is like the King of Pentacles.
Remember: even though I referred to the King as ‘he’, the courts are not bound by gender. This could be anyone embodying the same traits, qualities, or energies.
Questions to ask:
- What are you striving for?
- Have you become too driven in your career?
- Are you too preoccupied with money or status?
“Try not to become a person of success, but rather try to become a person of value.” Albert Einstein
This is my interpretation of this card and this is how I view the King’s role in a reading. It may differ from other Tarotists, and yours as well, and that’s okay. Please work to create your own card meanings; learning the Tarot is not about memorizing.
In addition, remember nuances of the interpretation may differ depending on the Querent’s question, the spread, the surrounding cards, and what your intuition may be telling you at the time.
The Tarot card from above is from the Pictorial Key Tarot by Davide Corsi 2008 Lo Scarabeo srl, via Cigna 110, 10155 Torino, Italy. All rights reserved, used by permission.
Rider-Waite used with permission of U.S. Games Systems, Inc., Stamford, CT 06902. c. U.S. Games Systems, Inc. All rights reserved. Rider-Waite is a registered trademark of U.S. Games Systems.