Practical Nurturing: the Queen of Pentacles

How to read and interpret the Queen of Pentacles in any reading

Image courtesy of Mystic Mondays.

Queens are one half of suite’s ruling pair, representing the ideals of their suite but in a way that focuses inwardly. Queens are all about cultivating their aspects within, so that you have them to give in an outward fashion (the King’s way). Where the Kings are all about action and the external view, the Queens are about nurturing and developing internally.

In this article, we’ll discuss the Queen of Pentacles, and everything you need to know about:

  • The card’s meaning and message
  • Developing an understanding of the card beyond the “guidebook”
  • Reading through a worked reading and trying it yourself

Get comfy and settle down with a hot beverage-- it’s time to meet the Queen of Pentacles.

The King and Queen of each Tarot Suite balance each other. The Queen is the inward-looking card, while the King is more action and external. Image courtesy of Tarot Thrones.

The meaning and message of the Queen of Pentacles

The first step to learning tarot is to learn their “guidebook” meanings-- the classic and generally accepted meanings of the cards throughout the ages, regardless of what reading system or types of tarot cards you use. Later, as you develop your understanding of and relationship with the individual cards, deeper and more nuanced meanings will come to you.

The Queen of Pentacles-- sometimes shortened to “Queen of Pents” by experienced cardslingers or the Queen of Coins in other decks-- is about cultivating a sense of belonging and place within oneself, or a person who is doing that for themselves or is able to help someone else do that for themselves. It’s a very motherly role, and results in building a rich life abundant with health and wealth. A warm and welcoming person, this Queen is also very practical-- a real “waste not, want not” type who has a well-organized way of living that is financially smart and emotionally rich. The Queen of Pentacles is sometimes referred to as the Martha Stewart of the tarot deck-- lots of domestic focus while staying on a budget, and yet a generous and loving host.

As with all Court Cards, the Queen of Pentacles usually represents a person. However, sometimes it refers to the role a person plays in your life, or that you must play in someone else’s.

Upright meaning keywords: a person who is trustworthy, nurturing, practical, resourceful, loves taking care of others, sensible, perhaps even a gardener or “homebody”

But sometimes tarot cards are reversed in a reading. It’s up to you to develop your reading style and to determine if reversed cards are something you are called to read, or if you turn them right-side up. If you choose to read reversals, keep in mind that reversals are not always negative-- sometimes they are just opposites or indicate blockages to the upright meaning.

A reversed Queen of Pentacles flips the motherly, nurturing, caring persona on its head and instead produces someone who smothers, is jealous and shallow, and unreliable with money. They get into relationships for all the wrong reasons-- usually self-serving-- and are incredibly insecure, which translates to the need to control the other person. They usually don’t like being alone, but don’t like emotionally investing either. They certainly don’t like to lack money!

Reversed meaning keywords: a person who is impractical, jealous, insecure, controlling, an overspender, shallow, a bad business partner, someone who smothers what they should nurture

It’s important to examine and reflect upon tarot art, as it is full of symbolism. To understand symbolism better, read lots of myths, legends, religious texts, folklore and faerie tales. Image courtesy of Dreamstime.

Developing your understanding of the Queen of Pentacles

If you’ve read any of the other articles in our tarot series, you know we highly recommend keeping a tarot journal to document your journey through understanding the cards and readings that you perform. Doing so helps you go back and revisit thoughts and connections, developing your skills as a reader and helping you gain perspective on your growth as a cardslinger.

Since the Queen of Pentacles focuses much on the good wife/mother archetype, take a dive into lore and stories that feature people who nurture and care for others, as well as take good care of themselves. Some suggestions to get you started include:

  • “The Star Dipper” found in Tasha Tudor’s Bedtime Book by Tasha Tudor
  • “Beauty and the Beast”
  • Frigg and Freya of Norse mythology
  • Gaia of Greek mythology
  • Our article on The Empress

Take notes on who fits the Queen of Pentacles “guidebook” description, and why. Try to link your thoughts to any feelings or insights you have. If you are a mother yourself, take notes on how you-- or other mother figures you know-- connect to this card.

You also want to take a look at the Queen of Pentacles card’s artwork. First, let’s study the traditional Rider-Waite-Smith artwork, which is arguably the most recognizable and popular deck out there. The designers and illustrators of tarot decks are very careful to integrate traditional symbolism into their artwork, as that hints at their meanings and the connections that the original tarot card creators saw in their world.

The Queen of Pentacles sits on a throne carved with flora and fauna, in a lush and fruitful land. Her robes are an earthy brown-red and white with a greenish-gold head covering and golden crown. She holds a large golden Pentacle coin in both hands, cradling it in her lap. A hare is bounding around in the lower right corner, and both of the Queen’s feet are firmly planted on the earth.

Let’s break this down. The throne’s decorations and setting of the card indicate her deep connection to the earth, agriculture, and the natural world-- also the idea of being a “shepherd” or “steward” of the world. The red overdress indicates this Queen’s passionate nature, which is tempered by the white robes underneath that indicate purity, and the green-ish gold hair covering that indicates groundedness. The Pentacle coin represents wealth and abundance, and its position cradled in both hands indicates the care and love with which such riches are nurtured. The hare represents fertility and motherhood, and both feet on the ground symbolize that the Queen of Pentacles is practical-- literally, “down to earth” without their head in the clouds.

Take a hard look at your tarot deck’s artwork for the Queen of Pentacles. Write down and dissect the symbolism you see-- how is the same/different from the Rider-Waite-Smith artwork? What symbols were kept or not? How does that affect how you view the card? What are the major components of the images and do they mean something? Think back to what you’ve read in relation to the Queen of Pentacles and see if you can connect anything in the artwork with the readings.

We also recommend trying some of the tarot meditations available through YouTube and tarot resource websites. They may reveal aspects of your connection to the Queen of Pentacles (or other cards) in a way conscious thought can’t.

What elements of this artwork are the same or different from the traditional Rider-Waite-Smith deck? What do the changes mean? Image courtesy of The Tarot of Eli.

Seeing how it all works and trying it yourself

When you decide to read tarot cards, you need to decide if you’re going to use prescribed spreads, create your own spreads, or if you’re going to read intuitively, or some combination of these styles. Whichever you choose, be sure to keep in mind the questions or problem you’re asking, the placement of the cards/role they play in answering (especially if you’re using a spread), and how the cards interact with or play off of each other.

Let’s make up a hypothetical situation and person. Blaine is a young man who has many talents. He’s currently working a job he likes, but he’s been feeling rather burnt out. He’s not sure what to do-- does he need a new job? A new hobby? A vacation? He decides to turn to tarot to better understand the situation. Since he’s a tarot newbie, he decides to keep it simple, with a 3-card spread indicating the past-present-future, since he’s not sure how or when the problems really started. He gets the following results:

  • Past: Ace of Wands-- beginning of creative endeavors
  • Present: 4 of Swords Reversed-- boredom, burnout, stagnation
  • Future: Queen of Pentacles-- nurturing, mothering, cultivating

This may seem a bit nonsensical but here’s how we’d interpret this spread. In the Past position, the Ace of Wands indicates that Blaine started strong and with the passion and creativity needed for success. He loved his job. But then as time when on, and we get the Present situation, he’s no longer challenged or growing. He’s outgrown the job. Looking to the future, how to come about a new direction, we see the card that seems to make the least amount of sense: our Queen of Swords. In this instance, there are two ways to interpret this, and only Blaine will know which interpretation feels correct for his situation.

First, the Queen of Swords could indicate a mentor he should seek out-- someone who can nurture his creativity while keeping him grounded and pushing him to do better. Alternatively, this could be an indication to turn inward and cultivate self-care within himself-- perhaps a vacation or some time off to take classes he’s been dying to take would reignite his spark. It could also lead him to a different position or job path entirely.

Now it’s time for your homework! Take the same situation, and change up the cards. For the sake of ease, we’ll keep the spread the same.

  • Past: Queen of Swords Reversed-- someone who smothered or controlled
  • Present: 4 of Swords Upright-- meditation, contemplation, a brain break
  • Future: Ace of Wands-- beginning of creative endeavors

In the comments below, what is the narrative you see being told here?

How can you cultivate the meaning and message of the Queen of Pentacles into your life? Image courtesy of Brandi York.

Have you read the other articles in this series? We have all of the Major Arcana covered, with more of the Court Cards and Minor Arcana to come!

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Jean Linder

Jean Linder is a writer and photographer from Pittsburgh, PA.
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