Three of Pentacles Symbols

Three of Pentacles Meaning | KarinaCollins.ie

Suit: Suit of Pentacles
Card Type: Minor Arcana

In this article Three of Pentacles Symbols, I refer to the 3 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 Ace of Disks, traditional name Three of Coins, and esoteric name Lord of Material Works.

The symbolism found on this card is primarily drawn from alchemy, astrology, metaphysics, Christianity, and western occultism.

Three of Pentacles: Key Symbols

Sculptor, dark interior, apron, bench, tools, arches, engravings

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“A sculptor at his work in a monastery. Compare the design which illustrates the Eight of Pentacles. The apprentice or amateur therein has received his reward and is now at work in earnest.”

A.E.Waite
The Original Rider Waite Pictorial Key to The Tarot

Three of Pentacles imagery: symbol meanings, mythological allegories and myths.

Who is The Sculptor in The Three of Pentacles and What Does He Symbolize?

A sculptor or artisan is completing stone work on a monastery. He stands on a pedestal, observed by a monk and the architect.

This card is rich in secret esoteric symbols. However, Waite omits to say in his explanation of the card, that the sculptor is a Freemason. The sculptor is an operative Freemason, meaning that he is a professional working stonemason. In contrast, Speculative Freemasons are Freemasons who are non-builders, such as George Washington and Arthur Waite.

Apron Symbol

The sculptor 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.

George Washington wearing a mason apron, represented in the 3 of pentacles symbols
George Washington wearing an apron at a meeting of the Virginia Masonic Lodge (1793).

Maul and Chisel

The tools in the stonemason’s hands are a setting maul and chisel, again these are items used in Freemasonry.

Bench Symbolism

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.

The individual in the hooded cloak on the right seems to be the Master to whom the sculptor is apprenticed.

We are reminded in this card, that there is sacredness in the ordinary that is worthy of reverent respect. When we dedicate ourselves to our life purpose, and work hard, we achieve the happiness that eludes so many. As Mohammed explained, “because Allah has no other hands than yours.”

This card symbolizes the sense of fulfillment we get when we participate more fully in this world, and we accept our place in the grander scheme.

What is The Meaning of The Dark Interior?

The artist Pamela Colman-Smith was gradually moving towards the spiritual community of the Catholic church, and her interest in Catholicism becomes apparent in her choice of a church as a setting for this card.

It has been suggested that the dark interior of the church or monastery is meant to infer that the artist held a negative view of traditional religion, but this is unlikely, considering Smith herself converted to Catholicism. The darkness is more likely to be another reference to masonic rituals, in this case, blindfolding, or hoodwinking initiates. The blackness represents the transformation from darkness (ignorance) to light (enlightenment) and preparing body and mind to enter a sacred space and receiving access to the mysteries of the world.

What is The Symbolism of The Arches?

Arches traditionally mark the access point to a holy place. When you pass through the arch, you are symbolically reborn and leave the old ways behind.

The three pentacles etched into the archway symbolizes the three worlds: material, intellectual and spiritual. As any artist will tell you, drawing on energy from all three worlds, can lead to the creation of masterworks.

The pointed Gothic arches form the shape of a Vesica Piscis (or Vessel of the Fish). This masonry shape has held mystical significance since medieval times, more recently in sacred geometry and is also used by Freemasons in their seals and the collars of ritualistic dress.

Ichthus Jesus Fish Meaning in Tarot | KarinaCollins.ie
Ichthus Jesus Fish

The pointed top of the arch is a symbolic reference to the Ichthys, an early symbol of Christianity. It also symbolizes the womb and Goddess power.

Arches also appear here: 10 of Pentacles

What Are The Symbols Engraved on The Wall?

The three pentacles engraved on the arches form the top of a pyramid, or the top triangle of the Tree of Life.

Below the pentacles we see the shape of a rose with a cross inside. This icon represents the paths of the Tree of Life (Sephirot) emerging. The paths continue to emerge in the 5 of Pentacles, as seen in the tree stained-glass window and concludes with the 10 of Pentacles.

In the middle of the pentacles, lies a circle with a cross in the interior. This ancient symbol is known as the sun cross or sun wheel, and dates back to before the Bronze Age and can be found in neolithic cave art.  It was believed to represent the four seasons and the position of the sun at the solstices. Alchemists, astrologists and early Christians use it as a symbol of Earth.

What Sphere Does The Three of Pentacles Represent in Qabalah?

Qabalah or Kabbalah is a system of Jewish mysticism which attempts to explain the nature of the Universe. It embraces God, angels, devils, letters of the alphabet and numbers or numerology.

According to Kabbalah, God (Ein Sof) made manifestations. Each manifestation is called a Sephirah (plural, Sephirot). Threes in Tarot connect to the third Sephirah, called Binah.

According to the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Jehovah Elohim is the God associated with Binah. Tzaphqiel, is the Archangel of this realm, also known as the Prince of the Spiritual Strife against Evil. Archangel Jophiel is also referred to in Binah. The order of angels that reside in this sphere is Aralim, also called the Order of Thrones and the Strong and Mighty Ones.

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Karina, author of Tarot in 5 Minutes.

The Ultimate Guide to Three of Pentacles Symbols

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