Thursday, 5 May 2016

4 of Pentacles: Filling the Void

Questions from Mary K Greer's 'Tarot for Yourself':

What is keeping you centred? What are your greatest strengths? How are you powerful? What gives you a sense of security? What do you want to hold on to or possess? Who or what do you need to protect? 

I last drew this card nearly a month ago, so I linked to it in the 'Featured Post' to the right.

I do draw this card rather frequently, and it is quite true that stability and security are very important to me. You could perhaps say they are an obsession to me. Material possessions are not that important, but security is. Stability is. Spending makes me feel that I'm putting myself in danger, always has. I've always looked upon everything in terms of how many hours it took me to earn the money that paid for it. I drop a teapot and say, 'It took me half a day to earn the money that bought that and now I've broken it.' Or I might justify a purchase by saying to myself, 'That is only fifteen minutes of work.' I'm a scrimper and saver and my little hoard makes me feel safe, in the same way I feel satisfied knowing there are several tins of baked beans and plenty of rice and pasta in the pantry -- we won't starve. Not that I ever have starved (though when I was in uni I remember living for a week on a box of Cheerios, so I guess your definition of starving may vary.)

I've never considered myself materialistic because I don't feel the need to keep stuff and frequently have clear-outs where I give away or donate loads of accumulated things, and I am not bothered about flash cars or prime real estate. Still, even though my security blanket may be less flash than some, I suppose my grasping need for feeling safe is a type of materialism. There are more ways to feel secure and stable than a certain amount of cash in the bank or number of cans in the pantry, but these are two of the coping mechanisms I've developed.

Wanting to take a closer look at this today, I have turned to James Ricklef's 'The Soul's Journey: Finding Spiritual Messages in the Tarot'.

The question becomes, 'How much do we have to have in order to find peace and happiness?' and the problem is that for many of us, the answer is generally, 'More!' But if you have your basic needs met so that you do not have to worry about them, then you do not need more money to become happy; you need more stability within. 

This I quite agree with. If I were interested in acquiring a lot of money, I would have pursued a more lucrative career, I would be more of a go-getter in that way. I don't really crave money so much as stability, so let's see what more he has to say:

Through practices like meditation, mindful living, and spiritual devotion, you can create inner stability and find a place of refuge within where you will find peace and security in times of turbulence and anxiety. So a spiritual practice is like putting money into a savings account when times are good so that it will be there to carry you through when times get tough. 

I agree with this statement and have lived firsthand this experience of a meditation practice serving me well in times of trouble. And it is true that money in the bank was not my biggest concern at that time -- though of course that could have been because there was some money in the bank!

Here's the sentence that stands out strongest to me today:

We each have our own dysfunctional ways of filling the void that is not really there... 

'...when the real solution is to work on rediscovering our true divine nature, which does make us whole.'

It's not wrong to want security or even to be materialistic. It's not wrong to be rich. It's not virtuous to be poor. The 4 of Pentacles reminds us to examine our deepest needs for security and stability. Where do they come from? How are they affecting our decision making? Our anxiety level? Our overall enjoyment of our lives? Do we need to inspect and challenge the behaviours we have developed in order to feel secure and stable?

I think maybe we do.


15 comments:

  1. I love your writing Carla. This is great <3

    Ali x

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  2. I liked that very much, Carla. I draw this card a fair bit too, and for similar reasons. Your insights are spot on and I think that's another book on the wish list!

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    1. It was a gift and it has survived several book culls. :)

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  3. When I read the opening lines - what is my greatest strength and what provides a sense of security - I would have to say a freedom to choose. Which doesn't have anything to do with the physical world, but perhaps a realization that it is all impermanent and constantly changing.

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    1. And what gives us the feeling of enough security to make us feel we have freedom to choose? What underlies that?

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    2. Perhaps to realize that it is the natural cycle of life for everything to change and be impermanent. That in seeking security that never cracks, we wind up causing ourselves more suffering.

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  4. Those are some great questions (and some answers)! A far deeper approach to the Four of Pentacles than "you're a miser" or "gather your resources" :D I especially like the question of how our need for security and stability affects decision making and enjoyment of life. I'm currently challenging one of my long-held beliefs in that regard, and it's a joy!

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    1. Those interpretations also have their place, but a daily draw invites contemplation. :) I wonder when I'll get to hear about that long-held belief you're challenging!

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  5. Great Post Carla! I can relate to the need of having material security. I also think this need is ingrained in my upbringing because my parents had a lack of their basic needs during WWII. My mom always has food enough for weeks in her pantry and she still finds it hard to dispose of anything.

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    1. Sometimes I think I hoard worries.

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  6. I look at it more on a chakra level. I do read pentacles as meaning body too. The way his arms are twisted around the centre coin (on the heart chakra) feels like he is about to turn it open. So i do join James' Ricklef point of view that security can be found and unlocked internally.

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    1. That's an interesting way of looking at the image! Nice one. :)

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  7. I totally needed to read this. I got this card as my "crown chakra" in a seven chakra spread and was pretty upset about it. Then I spent more time with it and saw it's not as limited (or limiting) as I first thought. This post validated that for me - thanks!

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Share your wisdom, please! Comments welcome.