Suit: Suit of Pentacles
Card Type: Minor Arcana
In this article Eight of Pentacles Symbols, I refer to the Eight of Pentacles card from the Rider Waite Tarot deck, also known as the Waite-Smith, or Rider-Waite-Smith, or Rider tarot deck. The Thoth Tarot deck name for this card is Eight of Disks, also known as 8 of Coins, and esoteric name is Lord of Prudence.
The symbolism found on this card is primarily drawn from metaphysics, masonic ritual and classical philosophy.
- Eight of Pentacles: Key Symbols
- What Masonic Symbols Can Be Found in The Eight of Pentacles?
- What Is The Symbolism of The Castle In The 8 of Pentacles?
- Why is The Background so Empty in The Eight of Pentacles?
- What Sphere Does The Eight of Pentacles Represent in Qabalah?
Eight of Pentacles: Key Symbols
Hammer, chisel, apron, bench, castle
8 of Pentacles imagery: symbol meanings, mythological allegories and myths.
Complete A-Z List: Tarot Card Symbols
What Masonic Symbols Can Be Found in The Eight of Pentacles?
An apprentice sits at his bench, using a hammer and chisel to sculpt eight coins. As with the Three of Pentacles, Freemason symbolism permeates this card, providing deeper metaphysical insights.
The Eight of Pentacles is associated with learning, wisdom and mastering a skill. Although the eight pentacles look the same, we get a sense that each is ever-so-slightly better than the next.
The artist Pamela Colman Smith wants to focus our attention on the tools that the young man is holding. Tools have great symbolic importance in Freemasonry, and represent agents of change, moving from the state of ignorance into lightness. As the mason advances through a masonic lodge, he will symbolically receive tools to mark his progress.
The Hammer and Chisel
In the Freemasons, the Hammer symbolizes willpower and a person’s willingness to obtain. The Chisel represents discernment and the ability to discern between what part of the stone is relevant to building, and which parts are superfluous. Taken together, the two instruments represent joining action with thought.
The apprentice is wearing a leather apron to protect his clothes. The apron is also a masonic symbol, and candidates are given a ceremonial apron to remind them of the honor that comes with being a workman, and the glory attached to living one’s life purpose.
In Tarot, benches represent wealth and advancement. In the 3 of Pentacles, the apprentice stands on a bench to attain higher places and in the 8 of Pentacles, he is confident enough to sit at the bench and work without supervision.
⭐Benches also appear here: 3 of Pentacles Symbols and 9 of Cups symbols
Some cartomancers or card readers associate the 8 of Pentacles with Thoughtography, also known as psychic photography. This is the ability to impress or burn an image onto a surface, using only the power of your mind. Some psychics claim to have psychokinetic powers and the ability to imprint their thoughts on photographs. Perhaps, this card suggests, you have an unexplored gift?
What Is The Symbolism of The Castle In The 8 of Pentacles?
In Tarot, the castle traditionally symbolizes home and safety. For the purpose of divination and fortune telling, the castle represents arriving successfully at a point or place in life, after a long and arduous journey.
This journey could have been a long period of study, perhaps a degree, apprenticeship or some other ‘time put in’. Whatever your end-goal, the presence of the castle or village is a sign that you are on the right path.
Notice the golden yellow path leading up to the castle wall in this card. The presence of this path indicates that you are nearing your journeys end, literally the path is lighting your way. The implication here, is that your actions have set destiny in motion.
⭐A castle also appears here: The Tower, The Chariot, 8 of Swords, 5 of Cups, 7 of Cups, 4 of Pentacles, 9 of Pentacles, 10 of Pentacles, King of Pentacles, Ace of Wands, 4 of Wands and 10 of Wands
Why is The Background so Empty in The Eight of Pentacles?
Notice how empty and plain the background is in this card? In fact, nearly half the card, is empty and gray. This is the artist’s way of focusing our eye on the man at work. Other than the village in the background, there are few images to distract our attention. This clever design reiterates the divinatory message of the card which is, focus because your hard work will pay off.
The esoteric title of this card is Lord of Prudence. Prudence is one of the four cardinal virtues of classical philosophy and Christian theology. The other virtues are justice, fortitude and temperance, and together they form a virtue theory of ethics. If one were to live by these ethics, it is believed, one could live a worthwhile and virtuous life.
Prudence was considered by ancient Greeks and Christian philosophers as the ‘mother’ of all virtues. The original meaning of prudence was discipline and moderation in all things. However, the word has become increasingly synonymous with cautiousness and being risk adverse, which are not really the same thing.
What Sphere Does The Eight of Pentacles Represent in Qabalah?
In Qabalah (Kabbalah), the 8 of Pentacles depicts Hod in Briah.
Hod is the eighth sphere of splendor and glory. It represents proceeding in an orderly way through what is chaos to others, and an appreciation of the sensitivity of nature.
This sphere is ruled by Archangel Michael and associated with the solar plexus chakra.
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Karina, author of Tarot in 5 Minutes.
The Ultimate Guide to Eight of Pentacles Symbols