November 2017: the Five of Pentacles

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I have to admit, when I pulled this card for the month, I thought, oh no. The Five of Pentacles is not, shall we say, the happiest card in the deck. It's a lot about brokenness, and struggle, and asking for help. NOT SUPER FUN. And yet, necessary, right? So I sighed and set the card in front of me, determined to learn from it. Sometimes it's the cards we least want to see that will help us the most.

The Five of Pentacles features two figures in need of help. On the classic Rider-Waite card, one figure is even on crutches-- a quite literal depiction of struggle. On the Fountain Tarot version, we see two figures-- a mother and child?-- huddled outside of a stained glass window. They're seemingly homeless, destitute, and cold.


This card speaks to that cold part inside each of us. We all have a part of ourselves, no matter how materially well off we are, that can relate to those cold figures huddled together. We all have weaknesses. We have moments of despair. We all have struggles that bring us to our knees, asking for mercy.

And that "asking for mercy" part-- that's an equally important part of this card. On both versions of the card we see a beautiful stained glass window. I've always imagined it to be the window of a church-- a warm place of community and giving where these figures may find aid. Will they ask for it? Or will they walk on by, too proud or unaware to ask? When this card shows up, it's time to ask for help in some capacity. You don't need to struggle on through the wintery night when there is a place available to offer you comfort.

That said, whatever thing is causing you this struggle does need to be confronted. We can't just rush right to the comfort part and skip the actual dealing-with-it part. (Unless you truly are on crutches in the snow, in which case, yeah, just get inside and warm up). But speaking metaphorically here, people, it's crucial that we ask ourselves what in our lives this Five of Coins is referring to. What is making you feel weak right now? What is making you feel helpless, powerless? Whatever it is, now is the time to confront it.

One thing I know about myself is that I HATE feeling powerless. (Doesn't everyone?) But this is a common theme for me (at least according to my therapist...) I never like to feel that I need outside help, or am incapable, or can't change a situation. The Five of Pentacles asks us to get cozy with that feeling of powerlessness. It's just a feeling, after all. And if the feeling is coming up, then it's coming up for a reason. It just wants to be felt.

Can you let yourself feel weak? Can you let yourself feel vulnerable, and in need of comfort? That's a super hard thing to allow. One thing I love about the Fountain Tarot's depiction of this card is that it's a really gorgeous, soothing, ethereal watercolor. Even though it's depicting a difficult emotion, it's doing so in a way that's visually filled with grace and beauty. Can you find the grace in these moments of weakness, of surrender? (No! was my instinctual response to my own question, so don't worry if it's yours too).

Either way, I hope you can get used to the idea, because that's our theme for November. We are going to make friends with the weak parts of ourselves this month-- the undernourished, hesitant, worried parts of ourselves. It's finally time for them to come to the light. See how on the Fountain Tarot's image, the light from the window is shining directly on the two figures? That is what we must do this month: take those malnourished aspects of ourselves, those insecurities, those cold inner children, and hold them up to the light.

Fives are about obstacles; you've come up against something that is forcing you to change your approach. So even though it's difficult, it's a blessing in disguise. It's an invitation to evolve, to grow. By finally addressing these weaker parts of ourselves, we are moving forward. We're no longer stuck in our old cycles. As Jessa Crispin says in The Creative Tarot, "The secret to the Fives is that, no matter how terrible they make you feel, it just takes a bit of strategy to get past the wall. Stop using your head as a battering ram, pause for a moment, rethink what you're doing, and find a new way."

This month, find those vulnerable parts within you, those parts feeling powerless and scared, and invite them in warmly. You may literally have to talk to yourself while you do this. I do, and it helps differentiate the scared part of me from the rest of me. So next time thoughts of fear or powerlessness arise, can you pause and say, "oh hi, lil' guy! You seem scared. Come inside, get warm, and tell me what's wrong." Can you imagine how fast we'd all be progressing if we treated ourselves this way?

You can be that light and warmth for other people, too. Keep an eye out this month for those who could really use some tea and a sympathetic ear. You can provide them so much relief-- you can be that stained glass window shining light down onto them.

Blessed be. xx

P.S. while you're doing all this, I highly recommend you listen to some Julianna Barwick. Her gorgeous music invites comfort, grace, and introspection.