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Thursday, 6 March 2008

Eight Of Pentacles

a chip of the hammer
a turn of the wheel
a careful hand
a bent head
an hour's practice.

With these things,
I will succeed,
every making will be like the last,
and tomorrow will be like today.

This is the first Eight out of the deck. I haven't had a Seven yet either. Eights are resolutions - they bring you a new form of work to do on their element, work that will bring you toward completion - and the work of Earth is work.

The Eight of Pentacles is called the Apprentice. It's often shown in a workshop setting; both the Intuitive card and the RWS shows it making Pentacles - crafting the symbols of Earth. The work an Eight does is perhaps about a shift from letting an element work through you to engineering the element's experiences yourself. Earlier Pentacles - see the Two, Four, or Five - are being acted on by Earth, trying to cope with its energies. The Eight asks you to take Earth and (if I may quote a phrase I love from a man I love) shape it on the anvil of your will.

The Eight of Pentacles is probably tiring; it may be boring, but only if you don't pay attention. Its creations are inherently samey - even if they appear to show variety, the energy within them will be the same. The Eight is finicky, and needs gentleness and care. It is daunting, too, but totally worthwhile.

Images of the Eight of Pentacles:

The Osho Zen Eight of Pentacles is called Ordinariness; rather than a workshop, its character is toiling in the fields - a direct nod up to the Nine. The card seems happy.

The Scapini image shows a worker on a ladder, and beneath, a woman and a child. This is a clumsy heteronormative way to remind us of how family can be as relevant to the Pentacles as to the Cups, and how the work we do is often for, about, or affected by, family. (It's an essentially good idea, but I need to see a version of this image where the woman is subject, not object, before I can grok it).

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