Five of Pentacles: Worry
Historical: Lord of Material Trouble
Pent #5 “Root”– Fire of 兌 (Tui) The Joyous, Lake
Berashith: “and Elohim separated the dawn…”
Ruling Hexagram: Hex #15 (謙 qiān), Modesty
Tiered Bigrams: Water (Above), Earth (Middle), Water (Below)
Element/Planet: Earth of Mars (Gevurah, Severity)
Planet/Sun Sign: Mercury in Taurus
Keywords: Economy, Balancing, Rationing, Moderation, Humility, Austerity, Agape, Charity, Obedience, Abstinence
Keywords (Ill-Dignified): Shortsightedness, Dullness, Despair, Stress, Sycophantic, Crankiness, Ignorance
Golden Dawn: Called The Five of Pentacles, Lord of Material Trouble, The Five of Pentacles card corresponds to the planetary Mercury and the zodiacal Taurus. It places at Sephira #5 (Geburah) in the Golden Dawn system. Its angels are Mibahiah and Pooyal.
Horns grace the sides of the central disc. A plant is sprouting from its top and the center bears a solar seal (it should probably be a swastika but this has been replaced with a more celtic design to prevent confusion with the Nazi party’s symbol.) Wings are also at the top of the center disc. The two top discs are graced with the astrological and planetary symbols (Mercury and Taurus). The two bottom pentacles show a swallow descending and have flowering plants sprouting from them. Clouds are at the bottom. The discs are given the impression of spinning rapidly.
Thoth: Five is most notable in Thoth for its disruptive nature. Here there is strain and instability, and it may signify earthquakes according to Crowley. He also seems to think that it signifies long term stagnation.
Mutational Alchemy Interpretation: The image is perhaps slightly disturbing and it should be. The Five of Pentacles is not an auspicious card, but even though it is difficult it can be finessed to one’s advantage, and is not nearly as bad as some occultists make it out to be.
Here we find in the tiered bigrams the symbol of Earth hugged between two Water symbols, accounting for the water symbolism and the pregnant Devi. The resemblance is of a fetus in a womb. Pregnancy has always been a worrisome thing but holds potential for Life, the most important thing in the Universe. (No, it isn’t Love.) The Trigrams are Earth in the Above and Mountain in the Below. A large thing is hidden below the Earth, disguising its wealth and magnitude.
The Hexagram the lines represent is called Modesty, which is said by Confucius to create success. The ancient sages on the other hand, leave us with the advice to weigh things carefully and make things equal, reducing what is too much and augmenting what has too little.
Earth of Mars seems to promote practicality, which is further underlines by Mercury in Taurus. Plotting a careful and logical course should be a priority. With careful decision making and planning, this card doesn’t have to bring ill tidings at all, on the contrary, it promises a bright future if one can stick with it.
The Scene: A Nantzin (Mother), here is Cihuacoatl, the angelic and holy mother of Mixcoatl, the red aspect of the sacrificed Tezcatlipoca. She was also creatrix acting with Quetzelcoatl to create humanity. She was a deity of pregnant women, midwives, sweatbaths and the Cihuateteo, spirits of mothers who died in childbirth, who could cause infertility and who stole children at the crossroads. A parallel is found in the Hispanic legend of La Llorona, the weeping woman who is the spirit of a prolicidal and suicidal female spirit, and she is considered to be an aspect of the death personification Santa Muerte and a symbol of the great loss of culture incurred by the American Indians at the hands of the Eastern invaders. (Chicana Sexuality and Gender: Cultural Refiguring in Literature, Oral History, and Art., Debra Blake 2009)
The temples dedicated to this powerful goddess were quite interesting. They were completely dark, absent of windows, and the doorway to them was a crawlspace. This was the womb.
Being born, being pregnant and going into labor, and having and raising children are all very worrisome things, which humans have dealt with in many brilliant and horrifying ways. So it is that Cihuacoatl is the patron found on the Five of Pentacles, Worry. Shown at the edge of tropical Lake Xochimilco, an ancient endorheic basin, where the endangered Axolotl used to live. It hasn’t been observed by scholars yet, but the Axolotl’s fetus like, skull-face appearance may have lent to the lake’s association with a goddess of the human reproductive cycle. Axolotls are likely extinct in the wild, kept alive only through the pet industry which protects them.
The strange creatures attending her are the Cihuateteo. Although powerful and somewhat sinister, she is a benevolent goddess who warns humans and comforts the suffering of women in childbirth, both during and after death.
Mammitu a goddess who decrees the fate of newborns is depicted as goat-headed, and Hathor, the Egyptian goddess of fertility and motherhood has a cow’s head. So we added these elements as well to form a new aeon image of her.