Exploring the Six of Pentacles

Welcome to Tarot Thursdays! This week we will be exploring the Six of Pentacles and how it can be used as a prompt or brainstorming in our writing.

Tarot is an interesting thing. It’s based upon symbolism and metaphors through imagery. With these images the subconscious mind is tapped into through the story provided. Not everyone gets the same thing from a piece of art. Each piece will influence each person in a slightly different way.

Introduction of the Card


The Six of Pentacles is card number 69 in the deck and the sixth card of the Pentacles Suit in the Minor Arcana of the Tarot.

Let’s take a look at the following examples of this card below.

Card Examples

L-p6Notice the similarities between them and take note of their differences. Do any of these move you more than the others? Take your time and allow these cards to tell you their story.

My Analysis of These Cards

The biggest thing I notice about these cards is that in every one of them, someone is weighing something. Even in the Mythic Tarot card, even though a scale isn’t present in the image, it is clear that the king is heavily weighing his options and whether or not he should give his coins to the begging man before him.

Themes of the Card

Each card has a set of keywords associated with it that serve as themes for its image. These keywords will vary somewhat depending on who you ask.

According to the Learning the Tarot website, the keywords associated with the card are:

    • POWER

You can learn more about what this site has to say about this card here.

According to the Biddy Tarot website, the keywords associated with the card are:


You can learn more about what this site has to say about this card here.

What this Card Means to Me

I’m totally going to quote Fullmetal Alchemist for this one:

Humankind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return. To obtain, something of equal value must be lost. That is alchemy’s first law of Equivalent Exchange.

Sure, they were talking about alchemy but in truth, this applies to everything we do as humans. Even in the business courses I took in college discuss this in terms of cost-benefit, risk assessment, return-on-investment, profit margins, and so on.

Even those that give freely to charities believe there is a benefit somewhere to someone or something in the cost of what they are giving even if that benefit isn’t for themselves. It’s really important to remember what my professor would often say, “There’s no free lunch.” Which is to say, there is always a cost to every benefit.

It will always be a matter of how much you are willing to pay for what. And this story (Fullmetal Alchemist) does an excellent job in illustrating this concept on multiple layers. It’s both an anime and a manga, so if you haven’t consumed either I recommend you pick one and do so.

Because it isn’t really about money. It’s about commodities as a whole. This could be money. But it’s also services, information, materials – anything that you can use to trade to get something else for counts here. Yeah, this includes your soul if the circumstances were unfortunate enough.

We see in the movies often where someone will say, “Everyone has a price.” There is a reason for that. Each person has a set of desires that drives them. Each one of those desires comes with a unique “risk aversion assignment level” which determines how far a person will go to get what that desire is.

So if this risk aversion is high, it’s a low priority desire and the person isn’t going to risk much for it AND they aren’t going to think much of it to give it away. Now if the risk aversion is low, then it’s a high priority desire. This means the person is going to risk more for it AND when they have it, they aren’t going to give it away if they can help it. This is what determines the cost-benefit for the person and what drives their internal equivalent exchange system.

It’s really handy to keep this in mind when we create our characters and then start shaping our plots.

The key phrase I choose for this card is: EQUIVALENT EXCHANGE.

Music Playlist

In this spirit of all this, these are the songs I have picked out for this card.

The Writing Exercise

This exercise is a free write. Permit yourself to write whatever comes to mind based upon the theme of this card. Choose a keyword or key phrase and run with it to see what you come up with.

I would love it if you linked or pinged back what you wrote so I could see where you went with this.

Happy writing!

Mythic Tarot by Liz Greene (Author), Juliet Sharman-Burke (Author), Tricia Newell (Illustrator) © 1989
Dragon Tarot by Terry Donaldson (Author), Peter Pracownik (Author) © 1996
Universal Tarot by Lo Scarabeo (Author), R. De Angelis (Illustrator), A. E. Waite (Designer) © 2001
Tarot of Dreams by Ciro Marchetti (Author), Lee Bursten (Author) © 2015

If you enjoyed this post, or have some thoughts about it, please let me know!

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