The Wild Unknown Tarot - V Pentacles


This card is dark except for a semi-circle of light at the top, giving the impression that the main part of the image is within some sort of container or tube.
At the top of the tube, decorating it's edge there seems to be a chain of coins or pentacles and inside the dark tube is a wilting rose. It is rendered completely in black and white apart from the head of the flower, which is a red colour wash... It almost looks as if the colour is bleeding from the rose and the image captures the moment that a single petal falls from the flower.

For me, the 5s are really complex cards because 5 is a really complex number. 5 comes half way through the sequence of 1 -10. It shows a change, often unexpected and something that often jolts us out of the security and potential stagnation or boredom that the 4s can become.
5 is also a very magical number. A pentagram has 5 points, there are 4 ancient elements bound together by that mystical fifth element, Spirit. The human body is made up of 4 limbs and a head so 5 is often seen as the number of Man or of The Self.
In tarot, 5s relate to the High Priest, Pope or Hierophant and so often show difficult times but times that have some spiritual significance or some opportunity for learning and growth. I find that the 5s often show times that are difficult when we're experiencing them but we look back on them and know that for growth and forward movement, they were necessary and we're stronger, better people for the experience.
The phrase I think of when I see the 5s and also relating their meanings back to The Hierophant is 'blessings in disguise'... They are the cloud that may just have a silver lining.

Coins and Pentacles show the material world, things that are made, that are tangible and the work that goes into them.

So the 5 of Coins to me is often a card that shows some physical change or the need for some physical change.. Something has to be given up - maybe a job, maybe a change of house, maybe it's drugs that need to be given up...
In this image the petal falling makes me think of that. The rose is wilting but if it were watered, nurtured and looked after a bit the head of the flower would rise and it may even be able to reach the light...
This is a very sad image, just the position of the rose looks sad, as if it's weeping but there is also hope there.


Maybe it sounds silly, but what I see right now is a woman dressed in black, with a necklace formed by a chain of 5 pents, and holding in is hand a sad flower, like if she was crying for a departed loved one.


I love the idea of a physical change, like you said. Also this card means "too little" or "not enough" and from your post, that made me think of "not enough sun"... So it was beneficial for me to read this thread, shall be checking back.

Also, that's a nice idea of someone holding a rose.
This is a sad card, you can't help but look at it and get a sense of depression. Because it's not a cups card, and is physical, Sulis is right about a material change. It can be physical, ie the body, the environment, or material, like needing health care, housing, better food.

I'm also guessing it can mean need for hugs. Emotional and physical are so closely tied.


Ivanna, that doesn't sound silly at all and now that you've said you can see a woman dressed in black with a necklace on and holding a rose, I can see that too... I love the ambiguity of these images... It's like a pip deck but not ;).


ivanna said:
Maybe it sounds silly, but what I see right now is a woman dressed in black, with a necklace formed by a chain of 5 pents, and holding in is hand a sad flower, like if she was crying for a departed loved one.
I thought this on first glance as well! It made me think of the two people on the RWS five, maybe one of them was holding a rose...

The other thing I thought of when I saw the rose was Beauty and the Beast. I'm a child of the 90's. :D The rose in the glass jar is very 5 of Pents. Here is this beautiful thing, but it is trapped within the jar, inaccessible. In any other situation the rose would be a vibrant symbol but instead the Beast sees it as a curse. He even protects the curse fiercely, and scares Belle when she attempts to touch it, he isn't open to letting someone help him. It isn't until the story progresses and Belle breaks his shell that the rose becomes a symbol of hope. It was always a symbol of hope but Beast could not see it because of his perspective. I just watched this movie with my family recently (because for some reason it reminds us of the holidays) and just like when I was a child the rose has this enchanted power that is all at once, terrible and powerful, sweet and kind...

This card and the 5 of Cups are very similar in the feel of their subjects. The sad rose/sad horse. Like you say Sulis, the rose is physically changing, wilting, whilst the horse is standing in the rain, like an emotional downpour...irritating, but not physically harmful.


Many of the cards in this deck are optical illusions or could be read two (or more) different ways. This one seems to fit into that category.

I initially saw the card the way Sulis initially did -- as a hole or tube of sorts. Although all is dark, gloomy, and sad -- and the rose petal falling looks like a tear, soon to be followed by another dropping petal/tear -- the light at the top of the card provides hope, if only the rose can see it and climb out of this cavernous hole.

The rose has wilted, but its petals are still fresh and colorful, and although the lone leaf is drooping, it too still looks full of life. If the rose were watered, it might be able to straighten up and even reach beyond the opening above it.

While this is typically a card of sadness and material/physical loss, and this is represented so well in this depiction, it doesn't seem that total devastation is at hand. There is optimism that if something changes, health or wealth or other material necessities could be restored.

But then I saw the woman that Ivanna pointed out and it took my breath away. This doesn't change the meaning that I take away from this card, but it adds another precious, significant layer. There is mourning so apparent with that view of the card -- such a depth of all-encompassing sorrow and heartbreak. What an amazingly brilliant and different perspective, Ivanna -- thank you!

I also found it interesting that this rose has no thorns. Perhaps that means that the pain and sorrow depicted here is vast, much more than the prick of a thorn could possibly contain. Does anyone have additional thoughts about the lack of thorns (or other aspects of this card)?


The other thing I thought of when I saw the rose was Beauty and the Beast. I'm a child of the 90's. :D

I'm so happy to see this here because that's exactly what first came to me when I saw it. The rose was a symbol of sadness and denial but later on, also a symbol of hope and transformation. In the keywords list that came with this deck, it says sadness and illness. To me the story of The Beast is exactly that. His being turned into a beast is like an illness that eats him up inside. Because of it he goes into denial thinking no one would be able to love someone like him. As the years go by he becomes impoverished of his feelings, well aside from hate and aggression, as he worries over his eventual demise as the spell is nearing its expiry date (when the last rose petal falls).


Moonswings, woohoo!! I'm glad we could both make that cultural connection to this card. It just adds to the mythos of the whole thing, right?? :D

Pixna, I have some thoughts on the lack of thorns...
I've always viewed thorns on roses as the drawback that you must endure to enjoy something so beautiful and scentalicious. The idiom, "There's no rose without a thorn." seems to be derived from the same idea, so other people must think the same. In this case, no thorns implies to me that there is no reason not to enjoy the flower. We instinctively fill in the blanks here, it is a rose-it must have thorns, and if it doesn't, by golly where did they go? Perhaps this is another allusion to the idea that there is no reason not to accept the gift offered by this card. The only reason we resist is because we are afraid those thorns are hiding somewhere... Rose thorns are some of the dirtiest things you can hurt by in the garden. :eek:


What a rose needs in order to thrive, is sunlight, water and good soil.

To me, the white circle is the sun, but the rays can't reach the rose because the head is hanging down. The short white vertical lines are the rain, but still the rose isn't full of life. We can't see the soil, there must be something wrong with that. Maybe the rose is cut off, or is placed in the wrong type of soil. The rain is falling down, but it can't reach the rose because it isn't rooted well.

The soil stands for earth, the element of the pentacles. There is something to worry about in the materialistic world (job, home, money, body etc.).

First, the flower needs to fix those earthly problems. As soon as it did so, the roots regain their grip on the ground and allow the water to reach the stem, so it lifts it's head up. While it does so, it reaches the sun again, and it can finally start growing in all directions again, thrive!

The thorns are gone, because the rose feels like there is nothing to fight for anymore - she lost her beauty, her health, why would she protect herself? Or maybe she hopes for support while she shows her vulnerability.

(This was just my intuition speaking, without looking much at the traditional meaning)


Sagefire and Marirowana, thanks so much for your input on this card, especially about the missing thorns.

Marirowana, I appreciate your different perspective on this card, particularly your comments about the rain, soil, roots, and thorns. Your comments about the rose having nothing to fight for and being vulnerable added even more dimension to this already deep card. Thank you!