Hard Work, Little Gain

I drew a Tarot card at random from the Waite-Rider deck today as the topic for this entry. You know, intuition is a funny thing. When it’s on, watch out. Case in point: While shuffling the deck to pick the card, I thought, “Hope it’s not the 7 of Pentacles. I don’t feel like talking about that card today. It’s kind of a bummer. Be a happy card, a happy card.”

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you what happened. There she is in all her bummer glory, 7pentthe 7 of Pentacles. Honest to goodness, true story. For some reason, the Fates have decreed that this is the card I talk about today, so I talk about it. I’m not one to stiff the Fates.

The usual meaning for this card is similar to the title of today’s entry, “hard work with little gain,” or sometimes “speculative loss.” Sounds like the roller coaster ride of the financial markets. Those who have worked hard and faithfully put their money aside have awakened to the fact that unwarranted speculation can come back and bite even the innocent. However, that’s merely the superficial aspect of this card.

All Pentacles in Tarot tend to signify material reality, the physical plane. This tarot suit is sometimes called Coins, and has become the suit of Diamonds in modern playing card decks. So, money, physical stuff. Sevens in Tarot aren’t always the most auspicious of cards. They are associated with the sphere of Netzach on the Qabalistic Tree of Life. One of the attributes of Netzach is Desire. If not tempered by common sense, desire gets out of hand pretty easily. You know, Greed, Avarice — yeah, that deadly sin. Starting to sound a little speculative?

The 7 of Pentacles shows a measure of desire but not well-directed effort. Sure, the guy leaning dejectedly on the garden tool has worked, but his effort hasn’t paid off. Maybe his energy was scattered, maybe he bit off more than he could chew, or maybe he just didn’t know what the hell he was doing. Regardless, he’s not getting the return on his investment of energy, time, money, labor, whatever.

Lessons? One of them might be to link effort to desire, but make sure that desire isn’t leading you astray. Take stock of what you’ve been putting into a task and adjust things if and as needed. This card doesn’t (necessarily) mean you’ve been fleeced, but it does ask you to look around. Maybe you’ve been spinning your wheels, maybe you have a hole to dig yourself out of, maybe it’s time to plant a different crop since you ain’t getting much more out of this one.

So take stock of where your energy has been going. Don’t be afraid to cut your losses and move on to greener pastures if need be, regardless of whether it is in the financial realm, in a relationship, or even a belief system. Tarot is only there to help.