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 Six of Pentacles
The usual illustration of the Six of Pentacles in a tarot deck (like the Rider-Waite or similar fully illustrated tarot decks) usually comes as a contrast and solution to the previous card in the suit of Pentacles. The main character is an obviously wealthy noble or merchant offering alms to the poor, represented by two homeless people.
The wealthy character, interestingly enough, carries a pair of scales in his left hand, echoing a message of justice and righteousness.
The positive elements of the Six of Pentacles
Like the scene displayed on this minor arcana card, the six of pentacles usually appears in a tarot spread or reading when a notion of charity or generosity needs to be conveyed. The other cards in the reading will usually provide enough clues to determine what this particular instance of charity refers to, or who might need financial or material support in the Querent’s life.
By broadening the core meaning of an upright six of pentacles in a reading, this minor arcana card could also refer to a gift, either offered by or given to the Querent or subject of the reading.
If the subject of the reading is particularly rich or in a comfortable material situation, the scales of justice on this card might be seen as an incentive to give away part of their assets and help those in need.
The negative elements of the Six of Pentacles
All the positive elements of the Six of Pentacles are turned upside down when the card appears reversed in a tarot reading. Generosity turns into selfishness, charity becomes green, and justice fades away to let self-centeredness in. This is what happens when someone deliberately turns their back on someone else or refuses to provide assistance even when it would be at a little cost to themselves.
The sentiments found in this card can, unfortunately, be encountered more and more often in the developed world, from people refusing to help other people in times of crises, or all the false pretend Christians and believers who carefully and willfully ignore scripture urging them to be selfless and help the poor and meek, and instead drape themselves in a twisted version of their faith to justify their selfishness, greed, and intolerance.
Six of Pentacles and love
When the upright six of pentacles is drawn in a tarot spread focusing on love, it usually draws a parallel between the usual reading of the card, concepts of selflessness and generosity towards the poor, and the loving kind of devotion one can feel towards their partner in life.
Usually, it refers to one of the people in that relationship (or even both) putting the other’s needs before their own, ready to freely give away their time or resources to make life a little better for the one they love. While ultimately laudable, this is something that should be watched out for, because the six of pentacles also encourages balance and fairness, especially between equals, as highlighted by the pair of scales in the main character’s hand.
Final thoughts on the Six of Pentacles
This is one of the most altruistic cards in the tarot deck. The Six of Pentacles is here to remind us of our humanity, and how everyone has everything to gain by taking care of the weakest among us.
Modern society is turning people against one another and glorifying the cult of the self, alone against the rest of the world, because division is a breeding ground for inequalities. The lesson of the Six of Pentacles is that caring for one another and helping those in need are the sentiments that made humankind great and set us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom.
Generosity, philanthropy, shared wealth, charity, selflessness, gifts.
Reversed: Cupidity, greed, selfishness, refusal to help someone in need.