Earth, represented by the suit of Pentacles, is perhaps the most troublesome element for many Tarot readers and this is principally because it’s difficult to look past the presence of coins in the imagery. We associate the coins with finance and the quest for material abundance. The challenge is to look beyond this surface symbolism in order to reach the truly magnificent depths of this element and learn what it really has to offer. That’s not to say that it doesn’t relate to cold hard cash; of course it does! But there’s so much more to grasp and appreciate about this elusive suit.
Sometimes it can be hard to make the material world stuff ‘stick’ and Pentacles don’t always seem to be inherently spiritual in nature. Here's the thing. Nothing spiritual can truly happen without a true acceptance of the Earth energy and what it represents. For example, someone may be trying to lead an intensely spiritual life but forgetting to think of their body itself as a temple. Someone may want to experience higher states of consciousness or travel across the astral realm but their connection to their physical life is in tatters.. They may hate consensus reality, despise being around other people or find that they feel no real connection to the planet. They may be unable to manage their time or deal with 'real life' situations. This is something to be remedied because spiritual seekers can actually do the most good on this planet. They are the people who are needed to get involved with environmentalism and with making this planet a better place to be, so they need to connect with their love for the material plane. They may also be called upon to help others with problems and so they will need to have a grasp of all four elemental energies in order to be truly balanced enough to take on the role of healer.
The spiritual lessons we learn can be put into action on the physical plane. Many spiritual teachings expound the value of being in service in this lifetime; to be a spiritual person is not enough – our choices, ambitions and creations must reflect our spiritual nature. This is where Earth comes in. The suit of Pentacles often pertains to the ways in which we create the tangible evidence of our spiritual perspectives. Pentacles remind us that it's not enough to just think in a spiritual way or say that we are spiritual; we must also live our spirituality. We must demonstrate it through how we spend our money, how we construct our lives, the decisions we make about work, health etcetera. In this way, Pentacles are deeply spiritual. They can be thought of as a kind of evidence-based spiritual living. They can also be thought of as the way in which we measure the manifested results of the spiritual choices and mindsets we adopt.
The other thing to consider is the potential for huge transpersonal experience as a direct result of living on this planet and being part of it. To walk barefoot through the grass, lie down on the soil, observe the changing of the seasons or hug the trees can provide magical moments of complete ego death and a sense of interconnectedness with The All. Sometimes the suit of Pentacles reminds a querent of the importance of recognising the wild nature within themselves and appreciating their intrinsic connection to nature itself.
You may come across querents who feel unstable in their earthly direction or feel that they don't have a sense of firm foundations to stand on. The steadfast Earth energy will be an important presence for these querents. Pentacles also reflect earthly empowerment, independence and the ability to stand on one's own two feet. So they are likely to come along for querents who need direction on this and perhaps want to stop being co-dependent and get out into the world on their own terms. Pentacles sometimes adhere to matters of a practical and straightforward nature. For those who are feeling unable to get clear on their plans or formulate a good strategy for something, Earth energy is imperative. It is often about 'getting real' and launching into action, taking the concepts of Fire, Air and Water but bringing them into tangible reality.
Fire is an element which is closely linked with Earth. Fire reaches upwards and its power is immense, but it must be rooted to the physical in order to exist. Think about the significance of this.. It must be rooted in the physical in order to exist. What could this potentially mean for your own connection to the suit of Pentacles? How does the Earth energy interplay with the Fire energy? It may also help you to think about how Earth is in need of Water for growth, fertility and abundance. Without Water, the Earth dries up and can't sustain itself. Metaphorically, how might this be translated? Earth cultivates trees which generate the oxygen you breathe. Therefore the connection between Earth and Air is perhaps one of the most spiritually significant of all, particularly when you consider Earth’s role in the life force, the breath, which moves through you at this very moment. When you begin to see the interplay of the elements and their essential relationship to each other, things become clear. Earth does not act in isolation.
One of the most important things to consider is the forging of the coin (pentacle) itself. It takes a lot of soul/fire, thought/air and emotion/water to forge the coin. The coin is the finished product of a labour of love. When we think about Pentacles as being the suit pertaining to material success, that doesn't mean that it should be less than the other suits. Many querents are looking to bring their dreams into the physical realm in some sense. They are looking to unite a tribe, start a movement, build a kingdom.. It's not just a business that they want to start - it's a reflection of their deepest passion. They are not simply trying to be financially secure - they're trying to be financially secure on their terms in a way that they can be proud of. It will take all the Water, Fire and Air inside of them to forge the coin that they have their sights set on. Therefore a querent with an Earth-based query is being encouraged to bring all of themselves to the table in order to create whatever is in their dreams. Again, this is the meeting of the elements.
Earth is the foundation on which anything is built. If we want to start something and make it magnificent, we need solid ground. Again, this can be absorbed as a powerful metaphor. Without firm ground, a clear idea, the practical stuff figured out - we can't make the magic happen. Think of the foundation provided by Earth as not only something material but something emotional. If we don't know our own inner terrain and if we cannot bravely explore our own territory, we cannot claim to be the rulers of our own lands (psyches). Pentacles are the cards of exploration and discovery and this means inner as well as outer. The journey in which we traverse the land and claim it as our own is an emotional and spiritual one as well as a material one. Give some thought to this. Can you see Earth as a metaphor for the inner terrain of the human psyche? How can we come to know our own terrain? How can we map out our sense of self?
It may also help you to connect overtly with the feminine nature of Earth. Earth as the mother from which we were birthed and to which we must inevitably return.. This concept brings a parental energy to it. In tandem with that, consider the yearly cycle - the first spring flowers, the abundance of the harvest and then the descent back to darkness and bare trees again. What does Earth have to teach us about acceptance and allowance, release and receive, give and take, manifest and unmanifest.. The earth is not always fruitful. Sometimes it appears to be sleeping. There are many lessons of patience, grace and surrender to give to your querents in conjunction with this fact.