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six of pentacles

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six of pentacles


Quote:
A person in the guise of a merchant weighs money in a pair of scales and distributes it to the needy and distressed. It is a testimony to his own success in life, as well as the goodness of heart.
Waite

Quote:
The Six of Pentacles is a difficult card to describe because it falls in the shadowy area between the lack of the Five of Pentacles and the affluence of the Ten of Pentacles. These two cards represent the extremes of not having and having. The Six of Pentacles covers the huge middle ground where it is not clear exactly who has what.
Joan Bunning

Quote:
This card really reflects the idea of all the 6's--how give and take creates balance and harmony. The man wants to balance the scales, but has one coin too many. By giving it away, he gets his balanced scales, and the beggar benefits. Thus, the prediction of this card is that money, work or heath woes can be solved by way of a gift, benefit, free promotional items or scholarship. They need to give it away, you can really use it, so take it. Balance achieved, problem solved on both sides. Alternately, this card can also indicate the opposite as well, the Querent, if well off, might be reminded that generosity is a good way to solve other problems.
Thirteen

I find this a really difficult card to read and was just wondering what others thought of it. Anyone fancy thrashing through this one again?

It seems so ambiguous...
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Andissm  Andissm is offline
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This card represents two situations: when you are being generous to others and when you are the recipient of somebody else's kindness. The scales are used to measure how much you should give or get. One does not want to give away too much and ruin themselves in the process, but one should give enough to assist those in need.

It depends on the reading for you to know which one of those situations applies to you.
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Little Baron  Little Baron is offline
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I was wondering also if there was a warning against greed in this card - actually measuring what you 'need'; maybe the balance could come into the meaning there. The beggers need a certain amount to survive, whereas the merchant has more than his fair share. Just an intuative idea.

LB
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When six of pentacles comes up in a reversed position there's is a warning of greed. There are other meanings when six of pentacles is reversed: selfishness, debt, envy, and exploitation.

Either one does not share even though one can afford to, or one might be mishandling money and be in debt. On other hand, when six of pentacles is reversed one might be jealous of somebody else's wealth. Also, in another situation, one might be taking advantage of someone else's generosity because of being greedy, of course.
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Edited
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The thing I find about this 'greed' aspect or being generous etc is, what about the four of Pentacles? Doesn't the miserly aspect fit that rather aptly? Being miserly with your time, things, emotions? Hanging on, jealously possessive etc?

Why would two cards have the same meanings? Having and not having - what it means to give, to receive? I'm flumoxed again!
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Waite says that the person standing is "dressed in the guise of a merchant".
Why would he need or want to wear a guise?
What might lie beneath the guise?

The usual presumption is that those that have 'give', those that have not 'receive'.
What if the standing figure is more needy than those kneeling?

Why are the suit symbols arranged in such an unusual format?

Why are the scales slightly out of balance?

Why is the younger, healthier looking figure being given to, and not the gaunter, needier figure?

There are trees and buildings in the distance but the ground they're standing on seems barren. How is that significant?

Questions...questions...
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*****
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I see the two as relating to balance yet we have the scales in this card. If it truly were balanced why is the card so 'masculine' - why are there three men?

One of the 'beggers' seems better dressed than the other yet the merchant gives to him first. He doesn't give first according to need. The card is very conscious, there are no subconscious or feminine elements. He is very consciously giving - this is not totally an act of benevolence. The expression on his face is wily, as though he knows he will be rewarded in one way or another by this act, hence he gives to those who can better give back, first. One gets the feeling that he enjoys the power aspect of giving, he isn't doing it for purely philanthropic reasons - there is a method behind his gesture.

It's remininsent of a Christian giving to the poor to ensure their place in heaven - a selfish act of giving. Or a large company giving to charity as a form of tax break. Does he enjoy the poorer fellow begging for his favours? Does he like the fact that these two men are kneeling before him in an act of submission and suplication?

The pentacles surrounding the figures are also tipped on the right hand side. Tipped in favour of the first recipient. The merchant gives with his right hand, his body faces to the right as does his head. Very masculine. The right side of the body can represent the conscious mind - also all that is just and good. Yet, is this act good? I'm sure its result is good, but are the motivations behind the gesture good?

There are five numbers in this card. The six, four, eight, three and two. Two coins hover above the poorly dressed begger. Four coins are given to the first figure in two sets of two. Four coins are left in his hand and the total is eight. Two sets of three coins above the figures and on the right hand side.

The red of the merchants clothing can indicate, among other things earthly desire and the reddish brown of his hat; sensuality. Red is also the colour of passion and will power. A cloak can also represent discretion. He gives at his own discretion.

The yellow of the first recipient is symbolic of consciousness, the green of the other figure: healing, youth, immaturity, fertility and prosperity. Maybe this man has learnt, through experience and maturity, how to give in order to get back. Also, if you look at the way the coins are dropping, it's as though he's doing it deliberately slowly, enjoying that feeling he's getting of power and enjoying the sense of trepidation on the faces of the receivers. He's turned away from the more needy applicant because he wants him to wonder if he will receive anything. He is enjoying tormenting him.

The Scales: Balance, judgement, equilibrium and the symbol of Libra. Yet the scales are tipped, just slightly to the right.

The number six is representative of: the union between Fire and Water and therefore of the human soul, ambivalence and effort, the cessation of effort.

Therefore, maybe this card is a message against materialism, a message to give freely and without calculation. It could be telling the querent that they have reached a comfortable point in life and should now give something back, to society, to the poor, to their family. Without expecting anything in return. To give for the sake of giving. To question what and why they give. To question power play in their lives. To open up to the spiritual, to open up to more feminine elements perhaps.

Also, to examine their problem or question in light of give and take. Is there an imbalance in the situation, is it fair to all parties? Is it fair to the querent? Are they giving simply in order to get back? Have they lost their sense of fair play? Are they forgetting what it felt like to be young, immature and needy?
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Waite was not renowned for his user-friendly prose, so I find it difficult to determine what is particularly of consequence but clumsily put, when he is fidgeting uncomfortably in the bounds of his oath of secrecy, when the gap in perception caused by 100 years of change is significant, when his esoteric understanding outstrips his literary skills, and so on.

Yet I remain hung up on the phrase “guise of a merchant”.
I entirely agree - this is not about disguise... concealment or deception. But more about semblance and external appearance. In psychological terms I like the idea of ‘assumed persona’.

Am I right that Tiphareth addresses the issue of ‘I, and Not I’?
...that merchant is a role, an assumed persona and not a state of being?
...that a merchant is concerned with exchange + profit.... that two different things are exchanged [e.g. goods and money] but that they are not of equal value. One person in the transaction receives more than the other.

At face value, the tableau suggests that the kneeling figure is the one profiting most from the exchange.... which is contrary to the accepted aim of the merchant, and hence the presumption that we are witnessing an act of charity. [Which indeed may be a perfectly valid interpretation on occasions].

But it is not the apparently needier figure who is being given to.... and hence the notion of ‘deserving poor’ comes into play.

And yet the hand of the needier figure more closely reflects that of the merchant-giver, and not the open palms of the left hand figure.
So who’s giving to whom?

Waite says that the merchant that the merchant distributes the money to “the needy and distressed”. What if the ‘needy and distressed’ is just one person - the left hand figure? What if the right hand figure is also giving something to the left hand figure?

Put something over the card to cover the merchant and look again at the two kneeling figures. Look at the hand gestures, and the eye line between them.
I can see another, less tangible exchange of energies going on.

So... the card for me is about exchange and value and balance.
It also conjures notions of ‘man cannot live by bread alone’, the story of the ‘widow’s mite’, the ‘healing sacrifice’, ‘the universe gives what you need - not always what you want‘.

In the quest for self-actualisation, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs says that basic survival needs must first be met before we can progress to meet higher needs. Yet we tend to over-estimate our basic needs. Many stay stuck in pursuit of more, bigger, better clothes, food,, cars, houses.... and then wonder why they feel so empty. And so, metaphorically, they remain on their knees, perpetually needy.

Perhaps the right hand figure is more able to reach out to the needy figure. Maybe those coins are not what the left hand figure really wants or needs to receive.... perhaps the coins will fall on the barren ground? None have yet landed in his palms. Perhaps the true gift is less tangible, but more valuable?

Perhaps coin is only of use in an exchange... its true value being the energy of the exchange?

I’m rambling....
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