Keywords (Dignified): Powerful, Industry, Wealth, Reliable, Stable, Enduring, Effective, Foundational, Prudent, Steady, Fertile, Luck, Tradition, Appreciation, Family
Keywords (Ill-Dignified): Stubborn, Tired, Close Minded, Stupid, Miserly, Uncaring, Insufficient, Pollution,
Historical: Called the Knight of Coins, the traditional historical king on this card is Julius Caesar. An ambitious, relentless general and politician, Caesar embodies the steadfastness of the King of Pentacles well.
This court card is lost from the Pierpont Morgan-Bergamo Visconti-Sforza deck. Reproduction packs include a recreation made by guess-work.
The Brera-Brambilla Visconti-Sforza pack has a Knight of Coins on a white horse, wearing a very ornate head dress. His whole cloak appears to be made of peacock or pheasant feathers. The horse is rearing up slightly. The hat resembles the bow of Diana, with a flower bud in the center. The horse is decorated with the ducal crown of Milan, showing two fronds or branches.
Golden Dawn: Called The Knight of Pentacles, Lord of the Wild and Fertile Land, The Knight of Pentacles card corresponds to the zodiacals Leo and Virgo and places at Sephira #2 (Chokmah,) in the Golden Dawn system.
The Golden Dawn kept the old plume and pentacle held in his hands, but like all of the knights in the GD, he is mounted on a horse, and wears armor, and the horse is slowly walking or not moving at all, symbolizing his steadfastness and earthbound nature.
Thoth: Crowley deviates very little from the GD, though his knight does hold a large shield that is pointed towards a rising or setting sun. He does not have anything nice to say about him, but, like many of the court cards in his Thoth, one certainly gets used to that, or gives up the pack altogether.
Mutational Alchemy Interpretation: The King of Pentacles has been so maligned over the years by various authors and artists, it was difficult to imagine redeeming him from the ditch he had been put in for so long. The decision to use Vulcan-Hephaestus was an “Aha!” moment for my wife and I. Crowley puts his short man to work, growing crops, and, gives him a stag-hat, citing the need for evil profaners of the sacred fire to turn to Mother Earth. As Fire of Earth however, this is the station of volcanoes personified, so, the humble garden gnome is ill-fitted for the royal station. It’s one thing to whine about the state of the Earth, quite another to drag an elemental force of nature down into the dirt, to fit in with it. So, I did not agree with Crowley’s position.
The Hidden Diamond Sutra path from Kether, to Netzach, is ineffably romantic. It speaks to a kind of unknown, hidden, rescue mission of some kind. This deep descent into the lower spheres, from on high, fits the darkly brooding figure of Hephaestus quite well. Cast out of Olympus for being too ugly, and lame, he was a genius of artifice.
Neptune and Venus speak of dreamy romance, a relationship built on more than just sexual attraction, or kind words, but a kind of creative camaraderie. It is a pleasant place to be, with warmth and security, but intense passion. Fire above, Earth in the below, in the tetragram and geomantic Puer, indicate the forces of creation.
The Star of Pythagoras is depicted here. Pythagoreans called this star Hugieia, meaning health, or sound wholeness.This word was also their greeting, and password. (The Pythagorean Pentacle by Apollonios Sophistes 1999) Pronunciation is “Eee-yee-uh.” Because the word had six letters in Greek, it was written as (U-G-E-EI-A,) on the pentacle. This also has a special meaning to the letter Y, which was used as a parable of man’s path, where a series of choices either cause man to ascend to the heavens, to be with the stars, or to descend and become like a beast.
Each letter has a special association to titans, and to elements. U is for water, G is for earth, I is for form and spirit, EI is for the sun’s warmth and fire, A is for Air.
The Scene: Fire of Earth, King and God of the forge, is represented on this card, with golden olive skin and the dark hair of the Africa-origin Mediterranean bloodlines. Known to the Romans as the fiery Vulcan, this ancient Greek god of fire and artifice was born to a tragic tale of betrayal, misfortune, and disappointment. Born to Hera, she rejected him, because he was born malformed, lame. After throwing him into the ocean from Mt. Olympus, he was found by the water nymph Thetys and her daughter, Eurynome. He grew up to be the finest smith in cosmos, and fashioned his revenge in the form of a golden throne that trapped whoever sat in it, inside. This, he sent to his mother, causing panic on Mt. Olympus. Through circumstance, he is betrothed to Aphrodite, an arranged and faithless marriage. Later, he married Aglaea, (“splendor,”) one of Eurynome’s daughters, after a divorce from Aphrodite. Dionysus, student of Hermes, is his friend and ally in his struggle to reclaim his birthright as an Olympian. Greek pottery often depicted him being lead home by Dionysus, and an entourage of Satyrs.
In the Greek mythos, Hephaestus is weak and fragile, like a flame that has just kindled. He represents the power of fire, and the fire of intellect to harness the earth and create beautiful and useful things with it. As a god of craftsmen and smiths, he was often depicted with a hammer and tongs, the tools of the forge. Modern industry, including high tech industry, is also his domain, and anywhere artifice is at play, from cybernetics to rockets.
Elements of the “maimed king” run strong, throughout Hephaestus’s myth, in the British version, this character is known as the Fisher King, he is supposed to be healed by a divinely chosen knight, so that he can restore the land with his powers of fertility. In the story of Hephaestus, we are presented with an archetype of creative drive, that overwhelms the odds the physical world throws at us. There is a great amount of heaviness, and sadness, that surrounds the brooding Hephaestus. He is tormented by his mother’s abandonment, and his first wife, Aphrodites’s, fickle spirit, finding solace only in the sea, by his adopted two mothers, Thetys and Eurynome, the ocean nymphs. The tale evokes the archetype of the artist, often tragic and drawing on the potent and dangerous waters of the subconscious, to extract that primal fire. In many cultural myths, all life begins with the sea, and the divine begins with fire. Hephaestus can therefore be seen as an archetype of the primeval, with similarities to Apsu, who mingles his masculine waters with the waters of the mother, Tiamat, or YHVH, who breaths on the face of the waters via the Elohim to create everything. It is also worth mentioning Tezcatlipoca, or Hurakan, who is also depicted as a lame God, (with a foot made of volcanic glass, no less!) although Tezcatlipoca’s fairly lofty origins are connected directly to the creation of the World. Tezcatlipoca features on the Hanged Man ATU, but can equally be identified with the King of Pentacles. The spotted cat symbology of Tezcatlipoca is shared with Hephaestus’s ally, Dionysus.
The painting itself includes golden horses, symbols of wealth in the ancient world and specifically sacred to Vulcan. The hammer, is the tool of the smith, while the fields of wheat represent the fertility of volcanic ash and the Lord of the Forge. His limbs are mis-shapen but, he has devised for himself a sophisticated cybernetic arm. He is crowned with golden laurel leaves, symbolizing his royalty and kingship. The King of Pentacles is a dark, brooding person, but also pleasant, sensitive and caring.
Geomantic: Called Puer (Latin for *the Boy*) in its medieval interpretation, the correct elemental association should define it as a (Mature) Masculine/Physical character, corresponding to the qabbalistic Assiah, (Action,) in the Four Celestial, (or Elemental,) Worlds.
Jungian Type: Guardians Class / ESFJ (Provider) Type
The ESFJ loves to provide and nurture society and people. They value rules and established traditions, and are adept at reading people, providing support and love, where it is needed. They derive a great satisfaction from being well loved and appreciated. Happy relationships are more important to them than science or knowledge, unless it affects their social balance directly.