Tarot Card Meanings: Knight of Pentacles

The Knight of Pentacles indicates either a person within the querent’s life, or the self-positioning of the querent towards the situation being considered. As a Court card, the Knight of Pentacles is always personal, and although much is made of the potential quandary that Court cards can pose for readers, the only question that really must be asked is: “Who?”  This does not alter if a Court card lands in a situational position within a spread.  Rather, you can rest assured that someone, somewhere, is doing something!  Think of these cards as verbs:

`When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

`The question is,’ said Alice, `whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

`The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, `which is to be master – – that’s all.’

Alice was too much puzzled to say anything, so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again. `They’ve a temper, some of them — particularly verbs, they’re the proudest — adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs — however, I can manage the whole of them! Impenetrability! That’s what I say!’ (Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass, Chapter 6: Humpty Dumpty.)

In the lexicon of the Tarot, Court cards are too action oriented to be bossed around.  They mean what they mean to do!  Haughty and proud, they are their own masters.  So where the other cards, including the Trumps, are often best thought of as moods or themes (adjectives), or as consequences, events, or happenings (nouns), Court cards are embodied persona that result in definitive actions (people doing stuff, i.e. verbs).

The Knights are the most obvious of the Court cards when it comes to their immediate effect.  Much like thunderclap, they roll in to the lives of others, dominate those lives for a time, and then roll on out.  At once mobile and headstrong, they exhibit the tendencies of their Elemental suit most overtly and are associated with travelers, surprise visitors, teenagers, and people/strangers who are “just passing through.”

Of all the Knights, the Knight of Pentacles may appear to be the least Knight-like.  Ponderous and predictable, s/he can seem slower, less volatile, and less striking in his/her effects.  But this is merely a consequence of the heavy Earth element and the task which is this Knight’s charge.  Here, all plodding protocol is strictly creative.  The Knight of Pentacles is Air of Earth, which is to say that s/he plows, tills, and cultivates, aerating the soil in preparation for future growth.

As such, there really couldn’t be a more revolutionary figure.  S/he works upon the ground of being: digging, churning, stirring, and ‘turning over.’  And yet this revolutionary ‘turning over’ isn’t achieved in chaos, but by the methodical creation of rows.  The Knight of Pentacles appears to tread back and forth in a boring, laborious, repetitive fashion.  However, this stolid action fundamentally changes the conditions of the soil, bringing fresh nutrients to the surface while composting weeds, the detritus of previous harvests, and unwanted seeds.

Consequently, the Knight of Pentacles is likely to be a creative powerhouse and leader within their area of expertise.  Ambitious and determined, they can be trusted absolutely to do what they have always done — Create a structure or frame for the chaos of future growth.

Dali’s interpretation is appropriately rich and warm.  Using a solemn and saintly painting of a young, blond knight bearing a red flag on a white steed (research has satisfied me that it is neither Joan of Arc nor Saint George, but I still can’t find the original), the entire card is steeped in crimsons and vermilions, glowing oranges and radiant golds.  Pyramid-like dunes stand stalwart in the far distance and the sun radiates over the Knight’s head like a starburst or halo.  Red, flower-like smudges dot the sky like licks of flames.  Everything is aglow.  The entire card seems to scream: “Aurora!”

Such a fiery palette might give one pause.  Isn’t this a cold card being that it’s Air of Earth?  Why not deep blues and browns?  But it’s best to think of this Knight in terms of hot composting: quick, thorough, and transformative in accordance with established laws and protocols, all of which are indicated by that amazing black soil at the base of the card, as well as the Knight’s heavy black outline.  This is someone who patiently creates the conditions of fertility.

When you pull the Knight of Pentacles, prepare to labor diligently and be rewarded amply.  The person represented by this card is youthful, mutable, methodical, and profoundly creative.  However, their brand of creativity is in no way flashy, as they work upon matter itself in a most predictable fashion.  The Knight of Pentacles is a bit like a tinker (a traveling tinsmith) or even a figure such as Johnny Appleseed.  You may not notice how much they have achieved until after they’ve gone…

Finally, at its most mundane level, this card can signify an adolescent with either a lot of Earth in his/her astrological chart, or who is an Earth Sun sign: Taurus, Virgo, or Capricorn.


**While all manner of comments are welcomed, any further information pertaining to art history, symbolism, myth, cultural reverberations, and Tarot card meanings that traverse decks or lend especial light to the Universal Dali deck, specifically, are actively sought and encouraged.  I’m not using a book for these descriptions, so I may miss a reference that bears mention in relation to a card.  If you know something, please share it!

Conversely, I actively negate the astrological significations of the Trump cards within the Universal Dali deck in favor of the more traditional Thoth.  My plan is to tackle the astrological significations of the Universal Dali Trumps and their overt divergence from all norms in one article… after having described each card.  That’s a ways off.  ;)

Numerological Affiliations: VI. The Lovers

The Knights: Knight of Wands

The Court of Pentacles: King of Pentacles, Queen of Pentacles

To visit the Tarot card library, click here.

6 responses to “Tarot Card Meanings: Knight of Pentacles

    • Yes! Also, “The Gleaners” by Millet. I do cherish this card, Monika, and I think it gets a boring/bad rap which is premised upon a misunderstanding of what it is he’s actually doing with all that laborious plodding. The Knight of Pents is hyper fecund. :)

      • All Knight figures could decide to stick around, technically. If they couldn’t, they wouldn’t be so unpredictable. However, with all of them, there is a general transitory feeling that either exits with the person or must be converted into something more stable.

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