Astrological Picture Book ~ 1st Decan Taurus and the 5 of Pentacles

There are two standard ways to read the minor arcana cards astrologically. One is by the decans, the three 10° divisions of each sign. The other is the Golden Dawn system, which assigns a planet in a sign to each of the minor cards. See Part 1 for reading reversed cards astrologically as retrogrades or eclipses. We can also read the cards based on their element and number. Plain pip cards work very well for this style of reading, which can be very intuitive.

Universal Tarot

Typically, the 5 of Pentacles shows people in what appears to be an extreme level of poverty. It’s also in complete opposition to the Taurus Hierophant who sits ostentatiously bethroned inside the cathedral. While the card depicts a destitute situation, we’re reminded to look inward for inspiration and non-physical rewards, as symbolized by the lighted windows.

Decans of Taurus and Minor Arcana Cards

  • 1st Decan ~ 0-9.59° 5 of Pentacles
  • 2nd Decan ~ 10-19.59° ~ 6 of Pentacles
  • 3rd Decan ~ 20-29.59° ~ 7 of Pentacles

5 of Pentacles ~ 1st decan Taurus

 This is the strongest Taurus energy in the zodiac. The first decan of Taurus (0-9.59°) is solely ruled by Taurus and Venus (or Earth, if you prefer), covering the approximate dates of April 21-30. With the pure Taurus energy of this card, there is definitely an emphasis on money, the material world, and our five physical senses.

  • How does the ruling planet of this decan operate in your chart?
  • Where is it located by sign and house?
  • How connected are you to this part of your chart?
  • Are planets transiting this part of your chart?
  • Can you attach a physical sensation to this part of your chart ~ is there a sound, smell, touch, taste, visual element that is provocative?

Taking a good, strong look at the ruling planet’s placement may seem like a tedious exercise, but you just might be surprised at what you discover. You can keep it simple by using only the house connection or go into more detail by analyzing the aspects. If you need a good book about the houses and placement of ruling planets, I highly recommend The House Connection by Karen Hamaker-Zondag. SkyViewZone is a great online resource.

Don’t overlook using the Earth’s symbolism in this exercise. Earth is exactly opposite the Sun in your chart. When I made the connection between first decan Taurus and the Earth in my own chart, doors flung open to a room of my psyche that held really special meaning for me. 

I’ve seen this card turn up on more than one occasion when someone has suddenly lost their job. Security is extremely important to Taurus, so a surprise like that can literally knock Taurus off its feet (the missing leg to stand on). The everyday physical world is Taurus’ domain. To lose control of it is simply overwhelming for Taurus. Physical security is lost, and that is devastating.

Mercury in Taurus

As Mercury in Taurus, it’s possible to see the effects of a poverty consciousness in the card above. The need to look for the light and inspiration within ourselves is underscored as a balancing force to the value placed on material goods alone. We don’t really know what’s in the minds of the two characters in the card, but it doesn’t look promising. Roy Alexander says in Meet Your Planets, that Mercury in Taurus (or the second house) can “miss a lot of things because they can’t see beyond the values of the street and the marketplace.” That’s not necessarily true for Mercury in Taurus, but the 5 of Pentacles reminds us not to go down that road.

A planet’s energy slows down when passing through Taurus because Taurus has the densest energy of the earth signs. (This is a stabilizing force for our rapidly changing Moon, btw.) Mercury in Taurus implies cautious, deliberate, and patient thinking with strong powers of concentration. If focused on the negative, things can go really sour. If positive, Mercury in Taurus can always figure a way out of any financial or physical mess.

Housewives Tarot

The 5 of Pentacles from the Housewives Tarot makes me think of mentally juggling all the things that have to be attended to in the physical world at home ~ coming up with a menu, shopping, cooking, getting the meal on the table and then, of course, having to deal with all those dirty dishes afterwards.

Reversed ~ Mercury Retrograde in Taurus or the 2nd House

Here the thinking process can slow to a crawl since Mercury Rx indicates some kind of a delay. We can’t always blame Mercury, the trickster, for mishaps during the Rx times. Sometimes it really is our own fault.

  • Was that letter delayed because you took too much time to write it or were distracted by other things?
  • Did you miss a job opportunity because you were rewriting and rewriting your resume and it got lost in a pile of resumes that came in at the last minute?
  • Did your appliance have to be replaced because you took too long deciding to call a repairman for a minor fixable glitch?

Even when Mercury is retrograde, life and communications do go on. Let’s not get in our own way. Take your time during these periods, but don’t get completely bogged down.

Reading Numerologically ~ 5 of Taurus

Putting the basic keywords together can trigger an intuitive response that pictures may block.

  • Taurus ~ Wealth, money, physical senses
  • 5 ~ Change, communication, physical senses

Using plain pip cards and bypassing the picture of destitution in most decks, our intuition may open to other possibilities.  It’s easier to see the card simply as change of wealth. And that could be a good thing, right? We may have to reconsider how we’re thinking or talking about money.

With a strong emphasis on the physical senses from both Taurus and the number 5, we might intuit another situation in the card that isn’t apparent in the pictorial tarot pips.

Note: I like putting the card representing the current period somewhere I can see it easily during those dates, along with the cards for the sign and ruling planet.

Additional Resources:

6 thoughts on “Astrological Picture Book ~ 1st Decan Taurus and the 5 of Pentacles

  1. Charles says:

    Hmm.. the decans system and the planet-in-sign system are both products of the Golden Dawn. They are not mutually exclusive.

    • cjwright says:

      Thanks for teaching an old dog a new trick, Charles. I didn’t realize they were both Golden Dawn systems.

    • hardtohandle (@hardtohandle) says:

      The decanate system is very ancient, going as far back as the Babylonians/Chaldeans with records we can trace back to 1200 BCE. Decans are mentioned in the Hermetic texts of the ancient Greeks. If the Golden Dawn used decans, they surely borrowed from just about every ancient culture that could look upwards, including the Hindus.

      The Golden Dawn did not invent the decan system, although they may have applied it for their own purposes.

  2. Penny says:

    Thanks for this, CJ..this has really ‘explained’ a few things about cards and the links are very helpful too. I personally find Pentacles hard to ‘read’ as money/security issues can be difficult for people to face and finding the right approach gives me a headache..I wonder if it’s my own Mercury in Virgo (Earth) that holds me back on this..forget the details..*sigh*!!!

    • cjwright says:

      I’ve found that as we are more and more ensconced in this horrible economy that reading pentacles, Saturn, or the earth houses in a chart is met with sadness and downright depression for lots of people. How much more can some people take, when they’ve lost so much already? This is the “down and dirty” element, real life issues have to be dealt with that provide our most basic needs and the basics are being stripped away. It’s hard to find a good approach, especially if we have a desire to make them feel better, and they’ve lost their job and insurance, maybe their home, bills are piled to the sky, and they’re scraping together enough money to feed a family. It can make finding the light within really, really difficult.

  3. Alice says:

    I have not read about the 1st Decan Taurus and 5 of Pentacles before. This is some of the new ways to portray the astrological picture. Thanks for the share…!!!

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