Hudes – 5 of Pentacles

February 1, 2009 § 2 Comments

Thinking about this reading, two things have struck me about the Hudes 5 of Pentacles today.

The first is that the stained glass window appears to contain an Escher-like optical illusion. Look closely and you will see that snow has settled on both the lower sill and the upper arch. Yet if you look even closer it seems that the lower sill recedes, which means there should be no upper arch for the snow to rest on. Did the artist knowingly include this? To me, it suggests something about this card. Pentacles, the suit of Earth and the physical realm, combines here with the number five, which challenges, disrupts, and breaks the box. In this optical illusion, we see something that is physically impossible. It challenges our perception of the world; it hints that there is more to life than what can be touched and held. It’s significant that this optical illusion appears in the stained glass window of a church as it introduces a magical or spiritual element to an otherwise mundane scene.

The second is the two figures at the bottom of the card. The central figure – the figure in grey – looks miserable. He is huddled, clutching his cloak tight against the cold, and his face bears a pained expression. The figure in brown is different: her head is only slightly bowed and the expression on her face is calm. Her closeness to the grey man and the positioning of her body suggests to me that she is guiding him, perhaps with a hand placed gently on his arm or back that we can’t see. The grey man is so wrapped up in his misery that he doesn’t even seem to know the brown woman is there. It’s as if she’s his guardian angel, invisibly supporting him in his time of need. It reminds me of the “Footprints” poem, where God says, “During your times of trial and suffering when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”

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§ 2 Responses to Hudes – 5 of Pentacles

  • […] I have been learning about the 5 of Pentacles. I wrote about a couple of things specific to the Hudes 5 of Pentacles in another post, but this post is about the 5 of Pentacles in general. To me, this card has always […]

  • Kate says:

    I don’t see the optical illusion that you do but perhaps I’m just missing something. That shape simply seems like a design to me but we all see different things.

    There are many differences from the RWS version. Two hooded figures walking past a window. They don’t seem to be connected in the same way as the RWS figures. I do see ‘5’ as a challenging number and would interpet this image as suggesting that it is often better ot embark on spiritual journeys or challenges with someone else – for most of us that is. The other person validates the spiritual experience.

    An alternative meaning could be that one is never alone. There is always a spiritual guide.

    I’ve loved the Hudes for years and always find new meaning in it. At first the sadness of the images overwhelmed me – until I saw that the sadness was simply in me. I still believe that Tarot at its best reflects what is within us.

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