Five of Pentacles
In the Five of Pentacles, we see two destitute or poverty stricken figures outside in the inclimate weather. They are unprotected from the elements, walking in their bare feet in the snow, one is on crutches. The background is black, seen only on some of the most difficult cards, but there is a stained glass window of what appears to be a church behind them that they are passing by. There is no door, implying that the warmth and comfort found inside are currently out of reach. They are out in the cold.
Fives bring upheavals, challenges, difficulties and struggle, and the suit of Pentacles is no exception. Here in the Pentacles, it is physical or material hardship. A notable keyword for this card by the Golden Dawn is Material Trouble, and I have always associated it with a sense of hopelessness. The stability in the four (in every suit really), is upset in the five. Fives bring change. Things are no longer even (or sturdy like the cube in the four), they are uneven, unbalanced, and unpredictable.
When this card comes up in relation to a material or physical concern, it implies you yourself may be out in the cold also. You could have lost your job and be without a steady and dependable income, worried about how you will provide for your family. You could be out in the cold literally, if you are going through an eviction or a foreclosure. You could be facing bankruptcy and/or the loss of your possessions, possibly by re-possession.
On a psychological level, this card can represent your attitude towards wealth and possessions. You could have a scarcity mindset, always afraid of never having enough. This can lead to feeling alone, not accepted by others. How does money, or the lack thereof, affect your self-worth? Interestingly, in Astrology, the house that rules our income and possessions, also rules our values and self-worth, implying that the two are closely related. Both are ruled by the earth sign of Taurus, as is this card, the sign of values, indulgence, luxury and contentment amongst other things.
This card bodes very differently for non-financial concerns. First of all, it implies tuning into your spirituality, or the need to. In this card, you are denouncing your materialistic concerns to pursue a more spiritual ideal. You recognize that money is not everything and are learning to live more fully inside, with less on the outside. The church in this card shows the offering of spiritual healing to any who is open to seeking it.
As a card of advice, you are being advised to live more simply at this time. Scale back, pare down. Deny requests for expensive or lavish items and try to be a bit more economical in your thinking and actions. Make small changes in your routine that lead to big savings, such as washing the laundry on cold (90% of the washer use cost comes from the heating of the water!), and hanging the laundry to air dry instead of using a dryer. Turn off the lights in rooms that no one is in at night and only turn them on when someone enters instead of leaving them run. Cut the heat back by 3 degrees and throw an extra blanket on the bed!
Oddly enough, while this card is not good for financial concerns, it is known to bode well for relationships. It implies a turning away from material concerns in favor of personal ones. We also see two people walking out in the cold, cut off from the rest of the world, yet there is the feeling that if nothing or no one else, they have each other. We vow to care for each other for "richer or poorer, in sickness and in health". It implies that the relationship transcends the physical and material boundaries and limitations set in this card. Spiritual and emotional relationships are favored by this card.
Lastly, many texts state this is card asking you to be helpful to those less fortunate than you. You may be asked to help the sick, infirm, injured, elderly or poverty stricken in some way.
Five of Pentacles Reversed
Like all fives, the reversed is actually a more positive and favored position than the upright. While all fives indicate change, the change brought about by the reversed five is much more welcome. Instead of upheaval, we see an upswing. Circumstances are changing for the better. A situation that was once hopeless now holds promise.
The reversed five sees us going back to the lesson of the upright four, where we are developing financial or physical stability once again. You could be going back to work, finding a new home to live in, or coming out of some other financial difficulty.
You feel the situation holds potential and you may be able to find a solution. Help that was not available before is now being offered, and you are able to both recognize and accept this help. The stained glass window in the upright now becomes a doorway at ground level in the reversed that is accessible for you to enter. You have access to the sanctuary only alluded to in the upright.