4 of Pentacles

Alt names: Power, Preservation
Keywords: Protection, conservation, preservation, safety
View more versions
(password protected)

Range of meanings

Light: Putting the long-term ahead of the short term. Practicing self-restraint. Saving for a rainy day. Fasting as part of a spiritual practice. Abstaining from sex as a way of honoring a spiritual tradition or personal promise. Putting money away into savings. Going to the gym.

Shadow: Being stingy. Refusing to spend money that needs to be spent. Withholding sex from your partner. Taking care of your own needs exclusively, without regard for the needs of others. Spending a dollar to save a penny. Failing to be a good manager of the blessings you’ve been given.

Questions to ask

  1. Sometimes we’re so intent on preserving what we have, we miss opportunities to have more. How might a blind dedication to protection be limiting your life?
  2. What factors determine how conservative or generous you are?
  3. What kinds of things must be preserved at all costs?
  4. When is greediness or stinginess a good trait to have? When might generosity work against you?


Personal Growth: A mature person elects to be responsible for both the body and the bottom line. Try to understand better how your actions impact both your health and your wealth. Rather than obsess on restriction, think in terms of your goal. With it in mind, what actions are appropriate?

Work: Conservation makes sense—and can keep an effort afloat, even in difficult times. Taken to extremes, though, short-sighted savings can alienate customers and shatter opportunities. Every short-cut and every opportunity to save has a cost. Be sure your approach is appropriate for the time.

Relationships: Seek balance in both physical and financial matters. Too much spending and too much sex leave everyone feeling exhausted and dazed. Too little spending and too little sex starve the soul, making everyone bitter. The healthier the relationship, the more generous the spirits of those involved.

Spirituality: A stingy spirit hampers growth. You simply cannot give more than the Universe can return! Let love, compassion, and interest in others flow freely. Share insights and personal stories. Open yourself to new experiences, new companions, and new points of view. Review your charitable contributions; is it possible to give more?

Fortune-Telling: A rainy day is coming—it’s time to save.


Astrological: Capricorn

Planet: Sun

Fool's Journey: The main character must carefully manage a resource -- time, money, people -- in order to succeed.

The Number 4: The Status Quo: stability, equality, persistence.

Coins: One of the four suits of the tarot. Also sometimes called pentacles or diskc. Coins suggest health, wealth, practicality and physicality. Their domain extends beyond money and finance to all physical things, including the human body. Coins explore your attitude toward resources of all kinds: what you’ve been given, and what you do with it. In RWS-influenced decks, Coins are often called Pentacles. A pentacle’s design (with the upright star in the middle that represents the human body) reminds us that physical blessings, from possessions to our bodies, are to be used for higher purposes. In your own life, how often do you focus on 'the star in the coin'?

Stingy King: By definition, the King owns it all. On many RWS-influenced cards, we see a ruler who takes this idea to extremes. His possessions are constantly on his mind and close to his heart, to the point of unhealthy obsession.

Distant Village: Some RWS-inspired decks depict a distant village in the background of the 10 of Wands and on the 2 of Coins. The village is the light at the end of the tunnel: a reminder that the destination is close at hand. The way out' may be as simple as declining an opportunity you lack the time or energy to complete. In the case of the 4 of coins, the distant village can be interpreted as a city that the king holds dear and is unable to let go of, much like the coins in his arms.

Content generously licensed from Mark McElroy via TarotTools.com.