As a reminder, the suit of Pentacles is driven by feminine energy and represents values related to stability, growth, and material aspects in the life of the Querent or subject of a reading. Scholars and academics have connected the suit of pentacles to the classical element of earth, and most of the cards from that suit embody the symbolic attributes of this element, one way or another.
Minor Arcana card: the King of Pentacles
Just like the queen before him, the King of Pentacles illustration in the traditional Rider Waite Smith tarot deck is extremely dense, full of details and symbols that are both connected to nature and the element of earth (grapes, vines, flowers, animals) or prosperity (a golden scepter, a big castle in the background).
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The king of the suit of Pentacles is sitting on an elaborate throne decorated with bull’s heads, a very common element to symbolize wealth and affluence. His head is held high in confidence and power. His left foot slips away from his robes, armored up, and rests on something that could be a boar’s head or a tortoise, representing his mastery over the concept of sturdiness and determination.
The positive elements of the King of Pentacles
The King of Pentacles is the paragon of the element of Earth. Having full mastery over the concept of stability, growth, and material affluence, the King of Pentacles represents power and prosperity.
Where the Queen represented affluence in a nurturing, protecting aspect, here the King of Pentacles represents the ultimate achievement of this state of affluence, the one that does not need to be nurtured and protected anymore. This echoes the archetype of the self-made man atop his empire of power and wealth.
This is extremely positive in a business context, usually, a sign of a fruitful deal or project, or might represent a new contact with a lot of power and influence, a solid partner that will not let you down.
Last, but not least, just like the Emperor major arcana card, the King of Pentacles in the minor arcana, represents the values of discipline and order, the kind of firm but effective leadership that can be at the helm of any successful venture and drives it to even greater heights.
The negative elements of the King of Pentacles
A reversed King of Pentacles in a reading is also related to wealth and power but focuses more on the ultimately toxic relationship that some people nurture with this concept when lust for power and material gains turn into an obsession.
The King of Pentacles can be extremely stubborn in his views, refusing to even consider the slightest alterations to his initially designed course.
Combined with other deceptive or negative cards in a tarot spread, a reversed King of Pentacles could be a warning about someone’s corruption, accepting bribes or material gains to extend their power and influence in a way that does not benefit the common good. In extreme cases, it could highlight all the awful things someone would be ready and willing to do for personal gain.
King of Pentacles and love
The King of Pentacles often represents a rich (or at least financially comfortable) middle-aged man, with a conservative streak and a careful and slow demeanor. He embodies the archetype of the suburban family man, with a successful job and career, and enjoying the comforts of wealth and luxury.
Drawing an upright King of Pentacles in a tarot spread focusing on love might refer to one such person in the Querent’s life, or it might be a sign of a suburban, quiet family life, something stable and comforting, even if it might easily fall into some kind of routine that might turn into an obstacle to overcome later on in life. Comfort and routine can dull the flames of passion faster than any disagreement or heated argument would.
Final thoughts on the King of Pentacles
The ultimate incarnation of a successful professional career, the King of Pentacles embodies stability, power, and material wealth. As such, the upsides and downsides that come with this minor arcana card in a tarot reading are easy to see and understand. While the King of Pentacles brings a certain peace of mind, safe from need and want, the predictable and somehow archaic trappings of this patriarchal stereotype can seem dated and out of place in the modern world.
Power, prosperity, successful career, business acumen
Reversed: Corruption, routine, greed, obsession with material gains, stubborn.