Eight of Pentacles: Mastering the Craft

A sunny day after a fairly heavy snowfall. It’s odd that I felt happier yesterday than I do today, despite the fact that most of the time the sun lifts your mood. It’s mid-week and I am counting down the days to the weekend, though I don’t actually have any plans or anything to really look forward to. I suppose not working is a thing that you can get used to.

The card I picked today frustrated me, because it reminded me of all the things I’ve had running in my mind about work and my career. I think I am at a point in my life where I don’t want to make the effort anymore (even though my inner voice keeps warning me: if not now, then when?) and I will coast till an opportunity presents itself. I am very aware that I am chasing comfort, and that I will likely regret this years from now. I just hope at that point, I remind myself that emotionally I was not in a good place to make the effort, so I couldn’t have anyways and there’s nothing to regret. Future me’s problem.

Eight of Pentacles from the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck

What you see: An apprentice appears to be carving a pentacle, while seated on his work bench. In front of him is a tree trunk with six more pentacles hung vertically in a line, and one pentacle on the ground by his feet. You also see his town in the distance behind him.

What it means: The man is working diligently on carving out the pentacles, and appears to be focused and determined. He has isolated himself from his village for the purpose of getting his work done.

The story: The Eight of Pentacles represents mastery of your craft; skill development and practice to lead to success.

Reversed meaning: Reversed, the card signifies a lack of motivation, unskilled or unfocused work, or general apathy towards getting a task done.

Reflection: The card is a fairly simple one, which I find is a theme in a lot of the cards in this suite. It is idealistic, in that it shows someone with singular focus getting their job done. Yet, when it comes to careers today it seems so much more complex to master a skill and it doesn’t deal with what has to be given up in order to do so. Where is the man’s family? What does he do for fun? What other activities and things has he given up to practice his craft?

My research sources:
A Complete Guide to the Tarot, Eden Gray, 1970
Tarot Card Meanings, Biddy Tarot
Card Meanings, Labyrinthos
Root Lock Radio: A Tarot Podcast