September 2019 Tarot Card Astrology: Nine of Pentacles
Venus, the planet of love and harmony, moves through the middle portion of Virgo, the sign of the Virgin, between August 29-September 6, 2019. This heavenly transit plays out the tarot’s Nine of Pentacles. This card is associated with comfort, wealth, and quiet, pleasurable routines. These qualities resonate well with the astrological correspondence. The Nine of Pentacles: Venus in Virgo is a place to do restful work while enjoying life.
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Nine of Pentacles: Venus in Virgo
- The Nine of Pentacles is titled “Lord of Material Gain.” The card signifies comfort, luxury, pleasurable solitude, and a beautiful environment.
- Venus is the goddess of love and beauty. She appreciates everything that is pleasing to the senses and that brings comfort and ease. The Goddess of Love brings people together in harmony. She represents what we value, how we relate to friends and loved ones, and how we define our aesthetic. Venus rules Taurus and Libra, and is exalted in Pisces. Venus is in her fall in Virgo.
- Virgo is a mutable earth sign ruled by Mercury. It is considered detail-oriented, perfectionist, highly focused, steady, reliable, and modest. Virgo values working as part of the team. Its symbol is the Virgin. Its glyph looks like a capital M with a fish or vesica piscis at the end. This shape is considered to represent a sheaf of wheat, indicating fertility.
- Nine of Pentacles: Venus ruling the second decan of Virgo
- The calendar dates, when the Sun passes through this decan each year, are approximately September 2-11.
- Venus will move through the middle portion of the sign of Virgo during the eight-day period from August 29, 2019 at 5:00 a.m. to September 6, 2019 at 6:00 a.m.
- What I’m listening to: The music of O’Carolan played on the Celtic harp by Patrick Ball. Venus loves music, especially string instruments like the harp. Virgo wants something precise, but Venus needs it to be pretty too. Virgo is in service to others, and the composer O’Carolan was a blind bard who traveled Ireland writing songs to honor the hosts who took him in on his journeys.
Venus in Virgo
Venus is the feminine principle, bringing love, affection, enjoyment, and harmony wherever she goes. Venus is in her fall in Virgo, the sign 180 degrees opposite Pisces, her exaltation. Virgo the Virgin seems like an appropriate place for Venus, but her debility in this sign suggests that she is too restrained, too modest when placed here. In addition, Venus loves pleasure, but Virgo needs to keep busy with chores. Venus looks forward to her Friday afternoon club. But in the meantime she makes the best of her duties and coquettishly plays and teases as she gets her work done. She’s not as efficient as Virgo would like, but she is fun and makes the day go quickly.
Many Virgo regimens benefit well from Venusian affection. Caring for pets, housekeeping and decorating, preparing delicious and healthy food, and beauty and fitness programs all benefit from integrating the Venus influence into the Virgo sense of obligation.
Image of the Nine of Pentacles
The Nine of Pentacles as painted by Pamela Colman Smith shows a woman alone in a garden. She is surrounded by the golden coins of her abundance, while the vines weigh heavy with fruit. Many tarot artists show her in a walled garden. She is safe and protected here. She has all the resources she needs. This woman cultivates a beautiful environment. Although she is alone, she is content and appreciative of her quiet time. Her elegant gown is decorated with flowers shaped like the Venus glyph.
The hooded bird of prey on her wrist might indicate that she is of the upper classes. But more importantly this animal does her bidding. He flies out to bring back whatever she is in hunt of. Most importantly, the falcon assures us that she is in communication with the outside world.
Some tarot readers get over-excited by the snail at the feet of the woman in the Nine of Pentacles. Perhaps the snail represents the slow, steady progress Virgo demands. On the other hand, maybe there is a deeper meaning.
Interestingly, Mo Abdelbaki in a recent talk for the Denver Tarot Meetup, suggested symbolism that is not usually associated with this card. He explained that in Egyptian iconography, a loop, as if made with a twist of rope — which also looks like a snail, the stretched out body of the slug with a round shell on its back — is a symbol of eternity. The ankh, which looks very much like the Venus glyph, is a symbol of life. The ankh also indicates a flower or a mirror, both symbols of Venus. Together, the snail and ankh can suggest bringing eternity into our daily lives. (In fact, although Mo did not make this specific correspondence to the Nine of Pentacles, I immediately saw the connection.) This is certainly not symbolism intended the artist, but nevertheless provides interesting insights.
The Title of the Nine of Pentacles: Material Gain
The “Lord of Material Gain” is the title provided by the Golden Dawn Book T. Simply put, this indicates increase of well-being, money, and the necessities of mundane life. A number of years ago I had been hired to do tarot readings at a high school dance. Teenagers don’t mince words. One student sat at my table and asked, “Will I be a millionaire?” He pulled the Nine of Pentacles — yes!
The Astrology of the Nine of Pentacles: Venus in Virgo
A tarot student once told me that the woman in the Nine of Pentacles had plenty of money and a life of ease because her father was paying for everything. I have no idea where people get these ideas! Not only is that statement unforgivably sexist, but there’s no support for it at all in the card imagery. However, one thing is true. Virgo symbolism includes being in service to others, daily routines, and repetitive work. The woman in the image does not appear to be working. So is she a trust fund kid?
By examining the sequence of the Virgo decan cards, we see the evolution of the Virgo attributes. At first, the common Virgo meanings show up in the Eight of Pentacles: Sun in Virgo. The man chiseling pentacles is doing detailed, repetitive work. Concluding the series, the Ten of Pentacles: Mercury in Virgo, shows the successful stewardship of wealth and handing down that legacy to future generations.
Our Venus in the Nine is caught between these two. On the one hand, the pleasure aspect of Venus can indicate taking a break from work, or the R&R we enjoy after a hard day’s work. On the contrary, many card images more specifically indicate that the woman cultivates and works the garden herself. By the beginning of September, she is probably ready to take a break!
Work that Recharges Us
I think the card has a slightly different meaning. It represents doing work that is enjoyable. For many people, gardening is both work and recreation. It is energy expended that simultaneously re-energizes us. The Nine of Pentacles: Venus in Virgo advises us to engage in fulfilling tasks that create a sense of enjoyment as well as accomplishment.
Mythology of the Nine of Pentacles
It was hard to find a story for the Nine of Pentacles. Most stories of women by themselves are stories of sadness and isolation. Imprisoned in towers, going crazy in attics, kidnapped and held hostage in beautiful spaces, these women are not happy. I’ve always felt that the woman in this card loves her life and her solitude. Meanwhile, when stories express this idea, they usually feature a man as the main character. Consider, for example, My Side of the Mountain and Walden.
However, as I was searching, I came across a short story by John Steinbeck that I was not previously familiar with. I found that not only did it come closer to this card than other tales, but surprisingly fit a sequence of three cards in the Pentacles suit. The story is “The Chrysanthemums” by John Steinbeck, written in 1937.
Summary of “The Chrysanthemums”
In this story a woman, Elisa, works in her garden while her husband finalizes a big business deal, selling off the three-year-old steers. He suggests they go into town to celebrate with a movie and dinner.
The woman is dressed in a manly style with a man’s hat, a heavy corduroy apron over her printed dress, heavy gloves, and clod-hoppers. In true Virgoan style, she carefully and precisely prepares the ground so she can plant sprouts from the previous season’s chrysanthemums. She has “planters’ hands” and can make anything grow.
A tinker comes by offering to repair old pots and pans and sharpen scissors and knives. She knows how to sharpen her own knives and wonders what it would be like to be on the road like him. He says it’s no life for a woman. He asks about her plants. She excitedly shows him what she’s doing. He tells her one of his regular clients wanted to add chrysanthemums to her garden. Elisa generously puts together a pot of sprouts for him to take to the client. Finally, his persistence in getting work pays off and she gives him two old kitchen pots that had been thrown out. He repairs them efficiently and carefully, with attention to detail. She pays him fifty cents and he leaves.
Elisa then goes into the house and cleans up for dinner. She puts on her nicest dress, applies make-up, and does her hair, taking her time with each step.
I’ll skip the climax of the story, but as she and her husband drive to town she wonders if she can have wine with dinner.
“The Chrysanthemums” and the Nine of Pentacles
To me, I saw the Seven, Eight, and Nine of Pentacles in this story. The woman dressed for work is Seven of Pentacles. The tinker is the Eight of Pentacles, hammering out the dents in the pans. Then the woman dressed up for dinner, having finished her work, is the Nine of Pentacles.
Venus Against Virgo
The short story pits Venus against Virgo, emphasizing the weakness of a planet in its fall. The two men, both her husband and the tinker, compliment her manliness, her Seven of Pentacles gardening. They also emphasize the flowers, the result, not the seedlings, the process — where she is now in the cycle. Finally, when her husband is impressed by her beauty after she’s all dressed up, he calls her strong, a culturally masculine attribute.
Venus in her fall in Virgo is frustrated by the separation of her femininity from her accomplishments. When she works, she dresses like a man. She can sharpen scissors but going on the road is not for a woman.
Venus Harmonizing with Virgo
Venus as the ruler of the third decan of Virgo harmonizes this disparity. In an ideal Nine of Pentacles, her beauty glows because of her work, not after all is done. We come achingly close to this when the tinker says he’d like some seedlings for his client.
Her eyes shone. She tore off the battered hat and shook out her dark pretty hair. “I’ll put them in a flower pot, and you can take them right with you. Come into the yard.”The Chrysanthemums by John Steinbeck. When Venus finds her place in Virgo, beauty shines from love of work.
But he doesn’t appreciate her for herself, only for the work, and pay, he can get from her. He uses and rejects her. Her husband Henry is more likable, but if he can’t call her beautiful when she’s dressed to the nines, it’s likely he frustrates her in other ways as well.
Venus Rejecting Virgo
Virgo is the virgin. She represents the potential of fertility, but shies away from the work that leads to that achievement. Venus needs to be loved and caressed. To be weak sometimes. She needs to be adored as well as admired. Venus will shatter Virgo if she gets her way. A woman shouldn’t have to sharpen her own knives.
Ritual for Nine of Pentacles: Venus in the Second Decan of Virgo
If you would like to work with Venus, I’ve outlined a general ritual and a candle magic ritual, the latter utilizing a color breathing meditation. I’ll provide the correspondences for you and let you develop your own ritual based on our previous examples.
Statement of Intention for Nine of Pentacles: Venus in Virgo
Use the following suggested magical petitions and intentions in your planetary workings for the Nine of Pentacles and Venus in Virgo or let these inspire your own unique affirmations.
- Let me complete my duties joyfully.
- May I love my solitude.
- Help me bring eternal bliss into my daily life.
- I continually bring wealth and well-being into my life.
- I enjoy my work.
- My daily routine energizes and recharges me.
- My love for my work causes my beauty to shine forth. (Or, my love for my work shines beautifully around me.)
- I take time to rest and appreciate my accomplishments, no matter their size.
- Orphic Hymn to Aphrodite; or choose from any of the Homeric Hymns here, here, or here.
- Color: green
- Number: 7
- Incense: Rose, sandalwood, vanilla, benzoin
- Stones and Metals: jade, emerald, malachite, peridot, aventurine, rose quartz, copper
- Symbols: Rose, mirror, comb
- Beverage: Rose tea, red wine. I usually use rose buds for tea, or a rose green tea blend, but I also like a lot of the Celestial Seasonings fruit blends, especially Raspberry Zinger, but also their apple, peach, or tangerine teas.
- Food and Flavors: Apples, strawberries, oranges, cherries, figs, cardamom, vanilla, honey. I like to use the Cardamom Coffee Cake recipe from The Moosewood Cookbook, which if you don’t have, you can find reproduced online here. Also consult this article on Venus-ruled herbs.
Upcoming Tarot Card Astrology
Mercury will move through the last third of Virgo September 3-8, 2019, embodying the Ten of Pentacles.