The suit of Pentacles is tied to the element of Earth. It talks about monetary wealth, stability, and growth. The pips cards of this suit tell a story, and, like any other story, the action builds until it reaches a climax, then moves toward the resolution.
In the Minor Arcana, Fives are the climax cards. These describe struggle, crises, and situations of high tension.
About Five of Pentacles
- Keywords: Illness, poverty, financial struggle
- Keywords (Reversed): Recovery from injuries or illnesses, financial recovery
- Yes or No: No
- Yes or No (Reversed): Yes
- Element: Earth
- Zodiac Sign: Taurus
In the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot, the Five of Pentacles depicts a scene of immense hardship. A couple dressed in rags travels through the snow.
One of them, a woman, is clad in a tattered cloak that she pulls snugly around herself. Her back is slightly hunched, as if she’s trying to protect herself from the biting wind.
The other figure, a man, is injured. He has only one shoe — the other foot is wrapped in bandages. He also uses a set of crutches, and wears a bell around his neck (indicating that he may actually be suffering from leprosy).
In medieval times, people afflicted with leprosy wore bells. It was once believed that this was in order to warn passers-by of their presence, so they could avoid the infected.
New interpretations suggest that this is false, and the bells were actually used to attract attention.
Leprosy often has a damaging effect on the throat and vocal cords, so bells would serve as a way for the voiceless to get attention — and often charity. The man’s bell is less a warning than it is a cry for help.
The couple seems to be passing by the wall of a church. Above them, there’s a stained glass window illustrated with leaves and five pentacles. It’s brightly colored, which stands in stark contrast with the dark wall, white snow, and muted colors of the poor couple in front of it.
The scene starkly contrasts the expensive window and the couple’s ragged clothing. It’s an illustration of economic disparity, between a couple at their lowest point (ill, injured, tattered, and left in the cold) and an institution with enough wealth to spend it on a fancy window.
Five of Pentacles Meaning (Upright)
In a general reading, this card represents hardship and bad luck. You may be facing illness, financial insecurity, or feeling isolated. Since the suit of Pentacles often relates to money and the physical body, it can be a harbinger of an economic loss or sickness.
It’s also a reminder to reach out for help. The bell around the man’s neck is a cry for help, and the couple are next to a church. What might they receive if they thought to ask for it?
Five of Pentacles Meaning (Reversed)
The Five of Pentacles reversed commonly stands for an improvement in difficult circumstances. If you were sick, you may be feeling better. If you were feeling isolated, that feeling may be improving.
IF you were having a difficult time financially, things may be easing up. You were in a very tough place, but the strain you were under is starting to release.
While it’s a good omen overall, it’s also a sign that you aren’t quite out of the woods yet. Take heart, but stay vigilant for now.
See also: Check out alternate Tarot decks here.
Five of Pentacles Meaning – Love & Relationships (Upright)
For love and relationship readings, the Five of Pentacles can indicate feelings of loneliness (even if you’re with a partner), or monetary struggles. You and your partner may be going through a tough time together, especially as it relates to money or health.
This card also sometimes comes up when you’re feeling isolated as a couple. There may be something about your relationship that’s eliciting disapproval and leaving you cut off from your community.
If you’re single, the single life might be getting to you. You may feel very isolated and lonely right now, but this will pass.
Five of Pentacles Meaning – Love & Relationships (Reversed)
If you see the Five of Pentacles reversed in a relationship reading, it’s usually a good sign. You may have been going through some serious struggles lately, but can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.
If you or your partner were sick or financially struggling, things are starting to look more hopeful. If you’re feeling optimistic, good. Your feelings aren’t misguided — after all you’ve gone through, it’s time to look ahead to a brighter future.
For single people, the Five of Pentacles reversed indicates that you’re emerging from a period of isolation and loneliness.
You’re feeling more receptive toward other people, and your general demeanor is much more positive. This is a good sign for those who are looking for love.
Five of Pentacles Meaning – As Feelings (Upright)
Upright, the Five of Pentacles hints at feelings of desperation, insecurity, and low self-esteem. This person may like you a lot, but they’re not in a great position right now.
It’s possible that their feelings may be colored by their circumstances. It’s also possible that they want more of your attention — they may be feeling unwanted, as if they aren’t getting enough love from you.
Five of Pentacles Meaning – As Feelings (Reversed)
Reversed, the Five of Pentacles is a symbol of hope. This person has gone through a rough time, but they’re emerging stronger than they were before.
They may see the potential in a relationship with you, though it’s likely too soon to start one yet. If you have strong feelings for them, be honest with them and see how they respond.
Five of Pentacles Meaning – As Reconciliation (Upright)
When it comes to reconciliation, the Five of Pentacles upright warns of isolation. Your ex is grieving the loss of your relationship and isn’t sure what to do.
Since the suit of Pentacles is associated with money, they may be suffering financially. While they probably want to reconcile right now, consider whether it’s the right time to do so.
Have you both resolved the problems in your relationship, or are they just worried about being alone?
Five of Pentacles Meaning – As Reconciliation (Reversed)
Reversed, the Five of Pentacles indicates that your ex is emerging from grief. Communication is likely to improve between you.
It might not be right to reconcile just yet, but you can try to open a dialogue about healing the problems in your relationship.
If external factors led to your breakup, expect these to let up soon.
Five of Pentacles Meaning – Careers, Business & Money (Upright)
In a career and business reading, the Five of Pentacles can represent a job loss. You might need to turn to food pantries, family help, or social safety nets to get by. Even if you haven’t actually lost your job, you might feel like an outsider at your workplace.
Things may seem unstable, leading you to worry about where your next paycheck is coming from. If you own your own business, you might find that sales are lower than you’d hoped.
Financially, this is a very negative omen. You’re likely to be dealing with a lot of expenses, and not much income. Be very careful with your money, and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
Five of Pentacles Meaning – Careers, Business & Money (Reversed)
Reversed, the Five of Pentacles can stand for improvements in your business or career. If sales were slow, expect them to pick up.
If you were feeling isolated, expect that to subside. If you lost a job, new opportunities may be coming your way. Whatever the situation, it’s about to improve.
In a money reading, in represents a slow recovery. You might still be feeling the pinch, but things are getting better. Keep exercising caution with your spending and investments until you’ve achieved financial stability.
Five of Pentacles: Yes or No?
As a “Yes or No” card, the Five of Pentacles is a “No.” Fives are about struggle and conflict, and the Five of Pentacles represents poverty and hardship. This situation isn’t one that’s going the end the way you want.
Reversed, the Five of Pentacles is a “Yes.” It indicates that your situation is improving bit by bit, so things are looking up. This card still isn’t overwhelmingly positive, so treat this “Yes” carefully.
The Five of Pentacles is a card of bodily illness and economic hardship. Whenever it appears, expect things to be tough. When it’s reversed, things will still be difficult, but slowly getting better.
Remember — the situation illustrated by this card is only temporary, and help is available if you look for it.
See also: For more Tarot Card Meanings, check out our full list of Tarot Cards and their meanings here.
As an Amazon Associate, Terravara earns from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to readers.