Ten of Pentacles: Mercury in Virgo

Estimated Reading Time: 11 minutes

September 2019 Tarot Card Astrology: Ten of Pentacles

Fleet-footed Mercury dashes through the last third of Virgo, the sign of the Virgin, from September 8-14, 2019. We can see the tarot’s Ten of Pentacles unfolding astrologically at this time. This card correlates to wealth, owning a home, multi-generational families, and inheritance. However, Mercury in Virgo reminds us that it is not only having but the work of maintaining that produces success we can hand down to those who follow us. The Ten of Pentacles: Mercury in Virgo is the prosperity that arises from attention to detail combined with long-ranging foresight.

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Ten of Pentacles: Mercury in Virgo

  • The Ten of Pentacles is titled “Lord of Wealth.” The card signifies income, inheritance, prosperity, long-term stability, and the material comforts of family and home.
  • Mercury rules intelligence, communication, travel, commerce, and magic. He can also be a trickster. Mercury represents how we think and learn. The related god, Hermes, crosses borders that others cannot traverse, exemplified in his ability to lead the dead into the underworld. Mercury rules Gemini and Virgo and is also exalted 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 represents a sheaf of wheat, indicating fertility.
  • Ten of Pentacles: Mercury ruling the third decan of Virgo
  • The calendar dates, when the Sun passes through this decan each year, are approximately September 12-22 .
  • Mercury zips past this final one-third portion of the sign of Virgo during the six-day period from September 8, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. to September 14, 2019 at 1:00 a.m.
  • What I’m listening to:
    • Mercury is fast and dexterous while Virgo is exacting and distinct. Neither is emotive, but together they represent technical virtuosity. Mercury’s speed brings to mind higher pitched instruments, such as the recorder in the following example.
    • Vivaldi recorder concertos (such as this (particularly the last movement) or these).
    • Also check out John McLaughlin and Shakti (such as this). As one commenter put it, “…[R]hythms like razors.” Perfect expression of this astrological placement!
    • Many thanks as always to Hal Weeks for helping me with the musical recommendations.

Mercury in Virgo

Ten of Pentacles from, left to right, Tarot Mucha, Wickwillow Tarot, Spiral Tarot, The Urban Tarot, and Ancestral Path Tarot.

Mercury represents how we think, learn, and communicate. Virgo makes lists, develops procedures, and focuses on increasingly minute details. Mercury both rules and is exalted in Virgo. Air — a logical correspondence for Mercury — and earth — Virgo’s element — are considered to be opposites. But as fire and water correctly arranged can produce steam, so can earthy practicality be ballast and rudder for the flighty planet. With Virgo’s calm hand on his shoulder, Mercury buckles down and delves more deeply into his studies.

Image of the Ten of Pentacles

“Ten of Pentacles” from the Rider Waite Smith Tarot by A. E. Waite and Pamela Colman Smith, Pamela-A edition.

Pamela Colman Smith’s image of the Ten of Pentacles from the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot (RWS) is, in true Mercury in Virgo style, so rich in detail that it’s worth a fine-tuned examination. First, the characters are neither inside nor outside, but stand in an archway leading to a courtyard with views of the city beyond. But the gray stone wall that contains the arch, the tapestry, and the heraldic banners helps to define a stately manor house. From here the elderly lord oversees the land he administers, surrounded by his children and grandchild. The lord wears a cloak decorated with grapes, the symbol of abundance and indulgence seen in many of the Pentacles cards.

The ideas of prosperity, inheritance, generational stability and success can be found in the card image. In addition, we see by extension the concepts of stewardship, successful administration, and cultivating something to its highest capacity of production.

Material Needs vs. Emotional Connection

Ten of Cups and Ten of Pentacles from DruidCraft Tarot by Stephanie Carr-Gomm, Philip Carr-Gomm, Will Worthington, published by Connections 2005. (Trimmed, with astrological correspondences added by hand.)

The RWS image depicts three generations. In addition to the grandfather, we see a couple with a child. Although these three characters are touching, none looks at the other. The couple are shoulder to shoulder, but face in different directions. The child hides in the mother’s skirts while petting one of the two dogs. The other dog sits obediently at the feet of the lord, who rests his hand approvingly on the hound’s muzzle.

The Druidcraft Tarot, pictured above, takes this lack of eye contact one step further. The Ten of Cups and the Ten of Pentacles contrast emotional connection against material security. In the Ten of Cups, a young couple connects easily with each other, touching and making eye contact. They don’t have much, their earthenware jugs lined up on a simple, bare wooden table. In the Ten of Pentacles, the same family, children grown, have many indicators of success — finer clothes, carved furniture, a visible purse, art to hang on the wall — but each gazes blankly into their inner world, no longer connecting.

The Tree of Life

The ten suit icons are arranged in the shape of the qabalistic Tree of Life. The Ten of Pentacles card corresponds to the bottom circle of the Tree (the Kingdom or the mundane world) in the lowest of the four worlds (Manifestation). In other words, the Ten of Pentacles is the most worldly card of the most worldly suit. Achievement, realization, completed construction, and the final product exemplify this meaning.

The Title of the Ten of Pentacles: Wealth

The word “wealth” comes from a word that means health or well-being. The card asks us not only to consider the bottom line of the account book, but more importantly to evaluate the overall health of our finances and other resources. Living within our means creates a feeling of abundance and flow, while challenges are met head-on because of smart planning.

A Note About the “Lord of” Titles

One thing that is valuable to point out is that each card title begins, “The Lord of” followed by the keyword. The Ten of Pentacles most clearly expresses the idea of the lord. The card does not necessarily mean to be wealthy or have money. Rather, it is to watch over, administer, and guard the treasure. The lord builds riches for future generations, and justly manages the people and land that produce the revenue he and his family benefit from.

Likewise, consider not only each keyword for each card, but remember that the title reminds us to govern or superintend the qualities of the card. According to the keyword, the Lord of Material Gain, the Nine of Pentacles, is responsible for insuring the growth of money. Meanwhile, the Lord of Ruin, the Ten of Swords, must oversee a controlled demolition. In contrast, the Lord of Perfected Work, the Four of Wands, manages a project that must achieve the highest degree of attainment. It’s easy to focus on the keyword only, especially because many of these are hard to understand. But they will provide greater value when they indicate not so much what will happen but what we will be required to manage.

The Astrology of the Ten of Pentacles: Mercury in Virgo

Ten of Pentacles from the Deviant Moon Tarot. The success indicated in the Ten of Pentacles: Mercury in Virgo is due to long-term planning and attention to detail.
Ten of Pentacles from the Deviant Moon Tarot by Patrick Valenza, published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc., 2008. The success indicated in the Ten of Pentacles: Mercury in Virgo is due to long-term planning and attention to detail.

Virgo’s progress is slow and steady. Mercury meanwhile zigs and zags as quick as thought. But together they support each other. Virgo breaks everything down into smaller and smaller pieces for more thorough absorption. Mercury is keen enough to quickly analyze and understand each bit. These two work together, Virgo mapping each step of the way, while Mercury zooms up to get the big picture, then back down to alternately course-correct or encourage Virgo. Virgo can’t see the forest for the trees, but Mercury floats above the canopy with eyes on the horizon.

Just as we build wealth by careful accounting combined with long-term planning, likewise any success results from a visionary goal guided by strong management of the day-to-day routine. An old man locked away in his counting house fails to epitomize wealth. Rather, fortune is granted to one who watches over not only the generations that descend from him, but all the people, animals, and lands under his sovereignty.

Mythology of the Ten of Pentacles

“I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future!” Scrooge repeated, as he scrambled out of bed. “The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. Oh Jacob Marley! Heaven, and the Christmas Time be praised for this!

Ebeneezer Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol opens with Scrooge sitting in his counting house. Christmas to him represents only year-end accounting. But during the course of the story, three spirits visit him, revealing scenes from the past, present, and future. Lifted up from his myopic focus, he sees what has come before him and what may or may not follow him. This moral compulsion causes him to look beyond his own immediate situation as a stingy miser. Newly determined to create a better future, he plans for the productive use of his wealth instead of hoarding it. He honors his responsibility to the people who work for him, reside in his neighborhood, and run the neighboring businesses.

Ritual for Ten of Pentacles: Mercury in the Third Decan of Virgo

If you would like to work with Mercury, 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 Ten of Pentacles: Mercury in Virgo

Use the following suggested magical petitions and intentions in your planetary workings for the Ten of Pentacles and Mercury in Virgo or let these inspire your own unique affirmations.

  • May my vision be achieved through a clear, step-by-step process.
  • I am wealthy, stable, and secure.
  • My strong stewardship of my resources allows me to fulfill my needs and also help my friends and family.
  • Help me to be generous to others.
  • I am rich when I lovingly connect with those who are important to me.
  • I finish what I start.
  • Guide me in choosing daily routines that will lead to my long-term success.

Mercury Correspondences

  • Orphic Hymn to Hermes, or any of the Homeric Hymns to Hermes.
  • Color: orange
  • Number: 8
  • Incense: storax, frankincense, lavendar, cinnamon, clove, or gum mastic
  • Stones and Metals: opal, fire opal, orange stones such as carnelian, quicksilver is the metal, but more useful for ritual work is aluminum or any type of mixture, i.e., an alloy
  • Symbols: Caduceus, winged helmet, winged shoes, messenger bag, signposts, pen, paper or scroll
  • Beverage: Lavender or cinnamon tea
  • Food and Flavors: Anything spiced or flavored with Mercury-ruled plants, herbs, or spices, or expressing Mercurial attributes, such as combining, mixing, or crossing borders–“fusion” styles of food, etc. Wheat, honey, olives, strawberries, cinnamon.
  • Clothing and accessories: wear orange and/or wear jewelry made of Mercury-ruled metals and stones, or dress like a notary or scribe, alternately as a messenger, traveler, or schoolmaster


Correction: I previously listed incorrect dates for this transit. The ones listed above are accurate.


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Joy Vernon
Joy Vernon

Joy Vernon is widely recognized as an expert tarot teacher and respected community leader. With over twenty-five years’ experience teaching energetic and esoteric modalities, Joy brings expertise and practiced familiarity to her specialty of esoteric tarot, which layers astrological and qabalistic symbolism onto the traditional tarot structure. Under her leadership, the Denver Tarot Meetup grew into one of the largest and most active tarot-specific meetups in the world. Now Joy runs the Greater Seattle Tarot Meetup. Joy works as a tarot reader, astrologer, and teacher in Burien, Washington. To learn more, please visit JoyVernon.com.

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