In this article Four of Pentacles Symbols, I refer to the Four of Pentacles card from the Rider Waite Tarot deck, also known as the Waite-Smith, or Rider-Waite-Smith, or Rider tarot deck. The Thoth Tarot deck name for this card is Four of Disks, traditional name is Four of Coins and esoteric name is Lord of Earthly Power.
The symbolism found on this card is primarily drawn from kabbalah, alchemy, Chinese philosophy and western occult.
- Four of Pentacles: Key Symbols
- What Do The Coins Symbolize in The Four of Pentacles?
- What is The Significance of The Placement of The Pentacles?
- What is The Symbolism of The Crown in The Four of Pentacles?
- What is The Symbolism of The Town Behind The Man?
- What Sphere Does The Four of Pentacles Represent in Qabalah?
Four of Pentacles: Key Symbols
Pentacles, city/village, crown, untied shoes
Four of Pentacles imagery: symbol meanings, mythological allegories and myths.
What Do The Coins Symbolize in The Four of Pentacles?
The Rider Waite deck features a man holding on to three coins or pentacles and balancing a fourth on his crown. As Waite says, he appears to be using everything he has to “hold on to that which he has.” This card can be interpreted as good financial planning or miserliness, depending on what other cards turn up around it in a reading. However, the artist, Pamela Colman-Smith, veers towards miserliness in her depiction here.
The man grabs a pentacle to his chest, his arms form a globe-like circle around the coin, as though to say “this is all I hold dear in the world.” The pentacle is placed over his heart chakra, as though blocking his heart from all other attachments.
The circular motion of his hands also brings to mind the Yin-Yang symbol of Ancient Chinese philosophy. The general idea is that we need balance in life to thrive, but this man will argue that power and money is enough.
Another pentacle sits on top of the mans crown, seemingly so heavy it weighs him down. He considers this pentacle his ‘crowning glory’, and represents all that he has worked for and achieved. The pentacle rests over his crown chakra, possibly blocking his spiritual connection. The crown chakra is associated with higher consciousness, mysticism and the supernatural.
Two further pentacles are placed under the man’s feet. The feet represent being ‘grounded’ and practical, which is necessary in order to survive and thrive in this material world. It signifies taking your responsibilities seriously.
What is The Significance of The Placement of The Pentacles?
The pentacle placement in the 4 of Pentacles matches up with the four Hebrew letters of the tetragrammaton: Yod Heh Vau Hey.
The four letters form the shape of a man and mean God of Israel. In fact, many occultists believe that the appearance of 11:11 is connected to the tetragrammaton. See also: Meaning of seeing 11:11
What is The Symbolism of The Crown in The Four of Pentacles?
The man is dressed as a wealthy merchant but he wears the crown of royalty. However, Waite points out that he is a ‘crowned figure’, and thus not a King. Most likely, he is someone who holds high office, like a town mayor or captain of industry. The crown in this case acts as a symbol of prestige and honors bestowed due to wealth and power.
Compare the plainness of the crown to the ornately decorated crowns of the royal Kings and Queens in the Rider Waite deck. The lack of jewelry symbolizes commoner blood, and separates the merchant from those born of royal blood.
Untied Shoe Laces
Notice that the man’s shoe laces are loosely tied, as though he dressed and left town in a hurry. Perhaps he knows of some impending financial disaster and is leaving before news spreads? In a Tarot reading, this could mean you should trust your instincts when it comes to investments, for example, selling your stocks or shares if your gut feels the market will crash.
While this merchant will credit hard work with his success, one suspects that he is also quite intuitive and quietly trusts his instincts.
LESSON: It pays to remain open to the paranormal and occult. Extrasensory perceptions, such as telepathy, clairvoyance and precognition, should not be dismissed.
What is The Symbolism of The Town Behind The Man?
Behind the man, sits a very prosperous looking town or city – we see castles and lots of fancy buildings.
Town/Village/City: Represent a place where people gather. In Tarot, it means that whatever the reader wishes to achieve in life, they cannot do it alone. This merchant needed access to a community to create his wealth.
What Sphere Does The Four of Pentacles Represent in Qabalah?
Qabalah or Kabbalah is a system of Jewish mysticism which attempts to explain the nature of the Universe. It embraces God, angels, devils, letters of the alphabet and numbers or numerology.
According to Kabbalah, God made manifestations. Each manifestation is called a Sephirah (plural, Sephirot). Fours in Tarot connect to the fourth Sephirah, called Chesed. Chesed translates as ‘mercy’.
According to the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, El is the God associated with Chesed and Tzadkiel (Righteousness of God) is the archangel who resides over the sphere. The order of angels that reside in the sphere are the Chasmalim.
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Complete List: Tarot Card Symbolism
Karina, author of Tarot in 5 Minutes.
The Ultimate Guide to Four of Pentacles Symbols