Three of Pentacles Tarot Card

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.

Keywords associated with the Three of Pentacles Card

Upright: work, flexibility, time management, multitasking, and doing what is necessary

Reversed: tress, exhaustion, and too many commitments in too little time

Traditional Representation and Description of the Three of Pentacles Card

3 of pentacles Rider Waite tarot
Source: Wikimedia

A sculptor at his work in a monastery. Divinatory Meanings: Métier, trade, skilled labor. Usually, however, regarded as a card of nobility, aristocracy, renown, glory. Reversed: Mediocrity in work and otherwise, puerility, pettiness, weakness (Rider Waite Booklet).

Modern Representations of the Three of Pentacles Card

The Three of Pentacles represents a desire to build something that will stand the test of time, something larger than what the Querent or subject of the reading might achieve on their own. As such, it highlights the benefits of teamwork, and of several skilled people working together towards a common goal.

All should keep in mind that every single member of the team is essential to the overall dynamics of the project and that together they are greater than the sum of their parts.

3 of Pentacles Mythic Tarot

The Mythic Tarot (1986/2008)

3 of Stones Haindl Tarot

The Haindl Tarot (1990)

3 of Rainbow Guidance Osho Zen Tarot

Osho Zen Tarot (1995)

3 of Coins Law of Attraction Tarot

Law of Attraction Tarot (2011)

3 of Pentacles Spellcaster Tarot

Spellcaster Tarot (2016)

3 of Pentacles Ostara Tarot

Ostara Tarot (2017)

Upright Meaning of the Three of Pentacles Card

The Three of Pentacles in the RWS tarot deck illustrates a scene happening in a church or cathedral, as evidenced by the classic architecture of the columns and archways, one of them bearing the three pentacles of the suit as if they were a stained-glass picture or a bas-relief.

The main character seems to be a sculptor at work on the left side of the picture.  He is currently receiving advice or instructions from the two other characters, one in a flamboyant outfit, and the other obviously a priest or abbot.

Within the suit of Pentacles, the core meaning of the Three of Pentacles echoes what happens in the scene, highlighting the power of teamwork when working towards a common goal. What is important to notice is that the three characters on the minor arcana card all seem to bring something different to the mix: the sculptor brings his craft, the priest brings his vision, and the third character, with plans in his hands, seems to be an architect offering suggestions on how to bring it all together.

The Three of Pentacles is also a card of learning, and of fruitful collaboration. This usually refers to the first steps in a collaborative plan, once the final goal has been set and a reasonable plan to reach it has been designed and agreed upon by the various members of the team.

There is also a dimension of learning to be found in the Three of Pentacles, as each member of the team will probably learn and grow from shared experience with the other members who all provide specific areas of expertise to the project.

In a Question about Love and Relationship

When the Three of Pentacles is drawn in a love-related reading or spread, usually it does not really focus on the feelings or the relationship itself, but rather on what the partners can achieve together. It might represent a couple working on improving their home, or a romantic connection extending to the professional domain, like a couple working together in the same company, or even building their own company together.

Unless the card was drawn reversed in the spread, this is usually a rather positive card to find in a tarot reading and, as such, tends to imply that any professional collaboration would probably be successful or profitable for everyone.

In a Question about Career and Work

Career encompasses school and education if that is your current stage; work that is necessary, but not what you would consider a career path; and your actual career path.  Regardless of your current stage of development, the Three of Pentacles represents the hard work necessary to reach your goals.

If you are a student and this is your card, then you need to be willing and able to put the necessary time in to get the best grades possible.  Effort is necessary now, and a lot of school is about getting the work done well, on-time, and without complaining.

If you are doing work that is necessary, but not a career, then you want to make sure you are doing the work efficiently and effectively.  The longest distance between two points (the beginning and the end) is a short cut.  Do your work the right way and you will be rewarded.

If you are in your career, then the Three of Pentacles reminds you that much of real, high-level success is built on the best work ethic, rigorously applied, and properly executed.  The most successful people in the world work smart AND hard. 

Reversed Meaning of the Three of Pentacles Card

All the focus and harmony brought by teamwork in the upright meaning of the Three of Pentacles are broken down when this minor arcana card appears reversed in a reading. It usually represents someone working alone while clearly unable to perform a specific task on his or her own.

It could also represent a surge of disharmony rising within a team. In that case, the other cards drawn in the spread will usually point out the source of the problem, and a potential way to deal with it before it festers and puts an end to the actual collaboration. Combined with one of the court cards in any suit, it might draw attention to one element of the team not pulling their weight and dragging the rest of the team down with them.

In a Question about Love and Relationship

Reversed, this card indicates that you or the other person is not putting in the needed work to make the relationship succeed and endure.  Perhaps you or they want to sabotage the relationship because it is not working.  Maybe the effort to make the relationship succeed is one of diminishing returns.  You need to try harder or move on; the current effort is not enough.

In a Question about Career and Work

When this card appears reversed in a question about school, work, or career, then you need to step up your game.  Reversed, the card indicates that your efforts are not yielding or going to yield the results you want.  If you are working hard and the results are not there, then you might need to start looking for another job.

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About Author

Philip Young, PhD, is a spiritual adviser located in Cary, North Carolina. He provides spiritual guidance using different tools: astrology, tarot/oracle cards, numerology, and past life regression (using muscle testing).