6 of Pentacles
Years ago, when I found myself fascinated by tarot, I came across the superstition that you should never buy your own first deck – it should just somehow find its way into your possession. So I waited and waited, feeling frustrated, playing with online cards and dropping huge hints to anyone who’d listen (ridiculous, right?).
Luckily, one day a wonderful friend sent me a little package containing the Druidcraft Tarot deck, along with a magpie card which I still keep in the box. It seems particularly apt to draw the 6 of Pentacles from a deck which was given as a gift.
In the Druidcraft tarot, the 6 pentacles are carved wooden tokens hanging from the bare branches of an old oak tree, beneath which a very druidic-looking man (white beard, hooded robe, long staff) sits dispensing acorns to three outstretched hands. There is snow on the ground and mistletoe in the tree, suggesting both the hardship of winter, and the tradition of giving and receiving gifts to bring us closer to our communities of neighbours, family and friends at the coldest, darkest time of year. It’s a strange thing to be contemplating on a sunny May morning, with blossoms opening all around – but the coldest, darkest times in our lives are not just seasonal, and this aspect of the card reminds me to check in with my loved ones and see where they are in their own soul-seasons.
Unlike the Smith-Waite card, there are no scales of justice here, and no supplicants kneeling; only hands outstretched. The figure in this card is not looking at the outstretched hands. He hands out the acorns blindly, undiscriminatingly, showing the dispassionate nature of justice more than its judgemental aspect.
This is a card of balance, of offering what we have and receiving what we need; an art I am still learning. I often struggle to understand the value of what I have to offer, which makes it difficult to give. And equally, I struggle to reach out my hand when I find myself in need, unsure of what to ask for, or whether I should ask. There is an element of trust at play – trust in humanity and community, and in the abundance of the world – and openness. The giving and receiving of gifts is a powerful act, and this card reminds me to practice it consciously and compassionately.