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UPRIGHT: Saving money, security, conservatism, scarcity, control.
REVERSED: Over-spending, greed, self-protection.
The Four of Pentacles shows a man sitting on a stool, beyond the boundaries of his hometown. His arms are wrapped tightly around a coin as if he fears he may lose it if he loosens his grip. He balances another pentacle on his head, impeding his connection with spirit, and two more sit securely underneath his feet. He clearly doesn’t want anyone to take his coins. However, because he is so attached to his money, he can’t move or go anywhere. He has no one to speak to, not even the friends and family members in the community behind him. The man finds himself stuck in one place with a singular fixation: wealth.
NOTE: The Tarot card meaning description is based on the Rider Waite cards.
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The Four of Pentacles asks you to examine your relationship with money. Are you accumulating wealth and investing your money wisely while still enjoying your day-to-day life? Or are you desperately clinging to every coin, afraid to spend your money for fear that you do not have enough or could lose it forever?
In its most positive state, the Four of Pentacles suggests that you have created wealth and abundance by maintaining a steady focus on your goals and acting conservatively. You are attentive to your long-term financial security, actively saving money and watching your expenses so you can accumulate wealth and live a comfortable lifestyle not just now but also in the future. You may consider a savings plan, family budget, a retirement plan, and safe investments, so you can protect what you accumulated over time and slowly and steadily increase your net worth.
However, the Four of Pentacles typically accompanies a scarcity mindset, especially with money and material possessions. Instead of spending your cash and enjoying a comfortable lifestyle, you are choosing to stockpile your finances, for fear you might lose it all or someone else might take it away. Your budget may be so conservative or strict that it cuts out many of life’s pleasures, including travel, social occasions, gifts, or fun activities – but for what purpose? Money works best when it can flow and exchange, not when it is being stashed away. Deep down you may realise that you are foregoing happiness and fulfilment in your life because you do not want to spend any of your money and you sold out for an overly safe approach to life. If this resonates, find a healthy balance between spending and saving, so you can enjoy the fruits of your labour but also save up for the future.
The Four of Pentacles can also suggest that you are placing too much value on money and material possessions. You may be attached to material things, allowing possessions to become your life. You assess your self-worth based on how much you earn, the car you drive, how expensive your home is, and where you take your holidays. But, it’s a Catch-22 because as your standard of living increases, so too will the need to work hard to generate income to sustain this kind of lifestyle, leaving you with little time to enjoy your wealth.
The broader lesson with the Four of Pentacles is to honour and respect money and wealth but don’t become so attached that you lose sight of what’s most important to you: friends, family, happiness and love.
If you are struggling with your finances, then the Four of Pentacles comes as wise advice to manage your money and resources more carefully so that you do not live beyond your means. Make sure you do not spend more than you earn and that you have a budget and savings plan in place so you can reach your financial goals and live a secure and stable life.
Beyond money and wealth, the Four of Pentacles appears when you are seeking out more control in your life. At work, you may be micromanaging or not letting others mess around with your area. In a relationship, you may be protective – even possessive – ensuring that no one else threatens what you built. On a personal level, you may have an inflexible attitude and resist change. You may even feel more inclined to hoard your possessions. After all, you already established a way of living that works for you! Change feels like a threat to your certainty, safety and security in life. Any suggestion of doing things differently is, therefore, going to be met with resistance. So, ‘playing it safe’ may be the way to go rather than taking any risks at this point.
The reversed Four of Pentacles can appear when you are re-evaluating what’s important to you, especially when it comes to money and wealth. You may have placed too much value on material possessions and have now come to the realization that money and ‘things’ won’t make you happy – only love will make you happy. As a result, you may be loosening your grip on the need to surround yourself with ‘things’, in favour of seeking out more love and happiness in your life instead. You might be compelled to declutter your home or opt for a minimalist lifestyle. Money is no longer your number one priority and you are redefining your relationship with material possessions and money.
The Four of Pentacles reversed can indicate that money is slipping through your fingers and your spending habits exceed your saving habits. You may be spending unconsciously, hoping it will bring happiness, but all it does is bring you more stress and anxiety as your bank balance declines.
At times, the reversed Four of Pentacles can suggest that your love for money has turned to greed. You want more, more, more – but at what cost? In the quest to earn more money, you may be working longer hours but neglecting your loved ones. Or, if you have your own business, you may be pushing sales harder to generate more profit, but at the expense of your customers’ well-being. Look at the overall equation of cost versus benefit, and assess whether your quest for ‘more’ is really bringing you the happiness that you most desire.
Finally, the Four of Pentacles can appear in a Tarot reading when you are in self-protection mode. You have a strong desire for security, stability and certainty and you are doing everything within your power to create a stable environment for yourself. Even when your outer world seems chaotic and in a constant state of change, you can create more certainty for yourself by controlling your inner environment. You might find tidying the house or organizing your things to be calming and relaxing under these circumstances.