Settle in with a cuppa, because I have things to say about the Five of Pentacles.
Once I was in a public Tarot reading for the local Pagan community. Ten people each drew, represented, and spoke about a card. After all ten had been pulled, there was additional discussion.
Our outcome card was the Five of Pentacles. No one wanted to talk about that having any potential negative meanings. …No one but me, that is. (“Caw, Motherfsckers,” for those visiting for the first time, refers in part to my tendency to be the one who opens my mouth with the thing no one else is going to say.) End result? It was a year when our community manufactured itself some lovely dramas, and meanwhile I got onto a prominent local Pagan’s shit list.
One message here, then, is that I personally feel that when you take all the dark pointy bits out of an oracle, you ruin its ability to warn you about things going wrong. And if you’re not trying to cut your problems off at the pass, what are you doing seeking an oracle in the first place?
But as to the particular card. I was thinking at the time about the traditional meanings of poverty, loss, and illness. And that’s all there – but that being said, there are also other things. The booklet that comes with the Mucha deck points out that in this depiction, the message includes pointing out that the person is giving up hope when, in fact, they are only a turn and step away from help. And that can be true. And yet on the other hand, it can also be true that the person doesn’t have another turn and step left in them. It’s not as if help is actively coming out that door, is it? That doesn’t happen until the Six of Pentacles. It might be worth considering whether the querent is, in fact, the person behind the door, the “ally” who isn’t actually showing up where the help is needed but just sitting in a cozy temple of good intentions.
And then again, Maranda Elizabeth wrote an interesting article about re-envisioning the “helpless” person outside, the sick or disabled or poor person as “other,” and focusing on the strength and innovation it takes to survive when the odds are against you. Thrifting wizardry and the ability to make something out of nothing are real and remarkable gifts; I’ve seen them in action and been blown away by them. Sometimes, when I’m feeling kind, I see the ability to carry on in the face of unusual limitations even in myself.
The particular “beggar” in this card may also be opening herself up to the Divine as a channel, laying her ego down so that she can receive blessing and communion.