Poverty And The Tarot

5 of Pentacles (World Spirit Tarot)

5 of Pentacles (World Spirit Tarot)

Today is international Blog Action Day. The topic is poverty.

I want to discuss the card that is most often associated with poverty in the Tarot. It is a card I compare to the Little Matchgirl fairy tale from Hans Christen Anderson.

In this tale, the little matchgirl sells matches on Christmas Eve. She sells all of her matches, including her very last one, to people off to light their Yule logs. Sadly she doesn’t save her own match to light the fire that she so desperately needs. So she wanders the streets peering through windows catching glimpses of happy families celebrating the birth of Christ.

And she freezes to death.

Now there’s a happy ending in that she is lifted up to heaven to be with her beloved grandmother.


She freezes to death while looking in on other people’s happiness.

This story moved me when I first read it and it still does. I think the metaphor can be looked at from both sides. The little girl should have kept her last match or at least asked for help. More importantly the people who were warm and well-fed should have spared one thought for the little girl on the street.

The Five of Pentacles shows a couple huddled together in the snow. Often they are outside of a church. In some cards, a shadowy figure can be seen in the window of the door. Who is that person? Is it someone you could ask for help? Is it someone who needs your help? Who are you in this card?

When you need help, do you ask for it?

Do you give help?

One task I’ve given myself is to give to the homeless. Not in any grand ways but when I pass someone on the street. I try to have some change. And more importantly for me, I don’t judge. I don’t think “he looks healthy” or “if she’d just stop drinking.” I just give them what I can.

What do you do? How do you address poverty? What do you think you can do on a small personal level?

7 thoughts on “Poverty And The Tarot”

  1. Hi! Um, I run the (now very much dead) spreads community on LJ, and I remember you from back then even still – just yesterday I used your Mirror, Mirror spread! Plus I remember you from the AT Forum. You were always very nice to me (and helpful!)

    Aaaand today I look at one of the people I follow on Twitter (chrisredding) and see they’ve responded to you and I recognized your name immediately. So theeeenn I came here to see about Blog Action Day – which I didn’t know about and will have to do something for! – and saw THIS post which is beautiful and now I’m definitely going to be hanging around here more…

    Having been homeless a few times in my life, I always try to help out others when I can. It never stops amazing me how little you have to give to really make a big difference for someone else, and it makes me wonder if things really have to be so hard sometimes.

    Anyhow, great post, and I’m going to follow you on Twitter!

  2. Hi!

    For the homeless, I try to give some local resources to them where they can bath, eat, etc.

    I try to help out with giving food to the food bank and giving Colorado Shares to a family of need. This food is enough for people for a whole month. It is a small way of helping but it does help.

    Also at Christmas time, I will give a list of people who could use help for the holidays to the local communities so they can have food and the children can have some Christmas presents.

    Brightest Blessings,

  3. This post makes me think about two things:

    (1) Remembering this fairytale from my childhood — it did impact me in many ways, and I do remember it till this day. We got to give back to the community; to those, who at a given time, appear less fortunate than us. And to those who ask for help. Which brings me to my next point.

    (2) “God Helps Those Who Help Themselves.” In my divination consultations and my conjure practice, I always encourage my clients to help themselves and to ask for help. I believe that the universe gives us what we need, but we must ask for it — and be clear about it.

    Ms. Nadezda Karuna

    Ms. Nadzeda Karuna´s last blog post..Easy Candle Magic — Part 2

  4. Aloni, that’s a good thing to do!

    Linus, I think there is a blessing in just giving w/o expecting return. I once heard/read about doing good things and never telling anyone. The idea was that you didn’t dilute the experience for yourself.

    Nadeza, I like what you said about “appear” to be less fortunate. It’s a hard call, isn’t it!

    Thanks for stopping by, y’all!

    TarotByArwen´s last blog post..Tarot & Food: 3 of Wands:Crockpot Stroganoff Chicken

  5. When I’ve got money myself (rare), I’ll either give it to people or buy them a small meal – least I can do. Way early this morning some bloke came up to me and said I oughtn’t do that, as they’ll just spend it on drugs. Maybe so, but it’s not mine to judge, and I’m sadly all too familiar with having to beg myself.

    It’s sad when we can moralise away reasons to help another human being in pain.

    Thanks for the post, hon.

    Chanah´s last blog post..Those Fish and Celestials Again

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