The Prince of Pentacles

A deep dive into The Prince of Pentacles Tarot Card

Card and deck created by Renata Lechner: The Millennium Thoth Tarot

Lo Scarabeo Publishing

by Marv Machura

The Prince of Pentacles

     The first thing that gets our attention, aside from the stunningly beautiful Prince of Pentacles himself, is the gentle green colours of the background, figure (shield), and foreground in this card. Green is an ambiguous colour in this presentation. Yes, it is good and green, but it is also shadowy and dark. There are great things here in abundance, but they are not given to us for free or without temptation for us to go astray with all these blessings.

     As we look at this card, as if we are standing in front of the prince and his ox‑pulled wagon, we feel a personal trial or challenge upon us. Our first meeting with the Prince of Pentacles is somewhat confrontational, but not in an unnatural or bad way.

      The same is true if we put ourselves in the position of the prince, himself. We feel the same misgivings fixed against the overall goodness of the situation. This is like when entering a new land or situation as a stranger with our immense potential by our side. We can see this great potential illustrated by the full cart that travels with the prince and in other aspects of the card. We hear the undercurrents say, “Go on, prove yourself. You are welcome here, but…”

     The glowing green background sets us in a place of newness and plenty. The welcoming green circular carpet in the foreground is replete with impressions of safety, home, and comfort. The pentagram‑inscribed green shield of the chariot wagon gives us pause as well as restrained peace. At times like this during a planned transformation of entering a new land literally or metaphorically with all our accoutrements, skills, material wealth (and potential), we are compelled to feel excitement mixed with measured anxiety as illustrated in this card.

      The Prince of Pentacles sits in a chariot full of fruits and seeds. These fruits and seeds are symbolic of growth and opportunity. Nevertheless, over‑indulgence and temptation lurk in this abundance. Thus, we need to be especially careful to avoid these temptations as we travel onward.

      As a tree is known by its fruit, so are we known by our works. This principle fills this card with provocative meanings. It is time to embrace engagement and productivity but also time to be careful that our works are good and not evil. Noxious fruits will grow out of excessive pride, greed, and arrogance. Wholesome fruits will grow out of self‑control, kindness, gentleness, love, and joy.

      The posture of the prince is firm and strong, yet he is looking downward in a show of humility and thankfulness. This modesty and gratitude assure us of goodness of spirit. This promise of goodness is also reflected in the golden colours of the fruits, seeds, and background glow that emanates from the cart.

     The seeds, specifically, in the chariot represent potential, embryonic power, and life to be. These seeds combine with other visual elements in the card such as the wheels on the chariot and the moving-forward aspect of figure and ground to create a strong sense of both conceivable and achievable objectives that can and will blossom with time, consistent effort, and continued determination.

     The fact that the prince is seated in a chariot represents his power to overcome obstacles with resolve, courage, focus, and willpower. It also reinforces important aspects of forward material progress such as ambition, motivation, control with a desirable balance between our heart and our mind.

     The prince’s strong, nude body represents fertility and fecundity. This nude representation helps to show us that this prince is in the youthful prime of his manhood with its glory and potential on display; yet importantly, the prince’s body language is modest showing us that the Prince of Pentacles is only dimly aware of his own condition and potential greatness. This unawareness and innocence are strong bulwarks against all the negative effects that can flow from pomposity, arrogance, and conceit. These negative tendencies springing from self‑aggrandizement can be particularly tragic when manifested in the mind and body of a young person.

     Bull and ox imagery in this card is readily apparent and can be seen in the ox pulling the chariot, two bull tattoos on the prince (chest and left leg), and the winged bull on the helm of the prince’s helmet. The bull represents wealth and abundance. It also represents strength, power, ferocity, stubbornness, and tyranny. The ox represents slow and steady progress. Thus, this card reminds us of the potent mixture formed by combining sheer epic strength (the bull) with resolute determination (the ox). Little can stand in the way of the forward progress of those who possess and practice these characteristics.

     The bull imagery in the Prince of Pentacles also connects this card to the zodiac constellation of Taurus. Taurus makes the connection with things of a material nature and of the earth which is appropriate for the suit of Pentacles. The Taurus traits of love, friendship, luxury, and money all flow from this card’s imagery, as do traits of dependability, loyalty, and pride in one’s home and family. These aspects of comfort, beauty, and homelife are represented well by the circular pattern on the Persian carpet on which the prince appears to travel and is grounded.

     The prince holds a scepter with a sphere surmounted by an iron cross in his right hand. This globus crucifer (cross-bearing orb) is a symbol of authority in the Christ-like sense of authority to serve and sacrifice for the benefit of others. Not all globus crucifers feature an iron cross. The iron cross is a symbol of the highest bravery and courage, especially in defence of home and country which adds to the Prince of Pentacles many fine and extraordinary qualities.

     In his left hand the prince holds a large golden sphere with a smaller square in its center as well as finely‑drawn longitudinal and equatorial lines. This represents the steady passage of time. This sphere reflects how the earth turns and we experience days that eventually turn into seasons which in turn slowly and steadily become years. However, the inevitable passage of time and change is balanced with the cube inscribed in the center of this sphere showing how stability and permanence are maintained despite this spinning earth on which we live.

     The ornate carvings on the chariot and large Celtic floral design on the disk separating the ox from the chariot all confirm and reflect the love of things natural and beautiful such as flowers and art. Again, with the relationship to Taurus and its idiosyncrasies, these things are especially valued when used to enhance any home or means of travel as suggested in this card’s imagery.

     So in conclusion, this card encourages us to move forward with strength, humility, gratitude, and energy. Be assured that we will be fortified by all those forces and elements described herein.

     The Universe has filled our present with an auspicious and blessed beginning. Take it easy; go forward; enjoy.  All should be well. Stay humble. Focus on the big picture and be grateful. Life is going to be not only better, but also much more interesting. Roll on.

Marv Machura