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A Closer Look: The Six of Pentacles

With all this talk of quid pro quo lately, I thought it would be fitting to write about the Six of Pentacles for this week's newsletter. It's the I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine, or sure I can help you today because I know tomorrow you will help me card. From a distance, the agreement may seem fair and balanced; however, the one with the power is the one who, in the end, gets the better deal, perceived or otherwise.

The story of the Six of Pentacles for the Crow Tarot goes something like this: There were once two ravenous crows who went to the shore in search of food, however, the tide was high and what little sand remained offered not even a lonely crab. A crow who was able to find two fish earlier in the morning just so happened to fly overhead and saw the desperate pair combing the beach in vain. The crow recognizing distress, and being smart, "graciously" offered the birds one of its fish with one condition, they would owe him a favor at some point and would have to honor it when called. Without consideration, the starving crows blinded by their desire to eat agreed to whatever the terms the crow with the fish offered. Not too long after the deal was made, the tide began to move out, and the beach became a gigantic crow buffet. There was more than plenty of food to go around, and unlike the seemingly philanthropic crow, the sea did not make any demands, but it was too late. The deal was done. For the Crow Tarot, the Six of Pentacles speaks of playing upon another's vulnerability and warns about taking a deal that seems too good to be true out of impatience or desperation. A solution may seem like a generous offer; however, there is a risk of being blinded by a quick-fix that will have you paying back a debt that may have been unnecessary. On the other side of the coin, the Six of Pentacles asks you if you are preying upon the weakness or needs of others to gain a better position. Are you attaching expectations to your help?

The Six of Pentacles for the Wise Dog speaks of social capital and advancing yourself in this material world as a result of your "giving." Are you donating your time and energy because you love the cause or charity, or are you offering your resources because it looks good on a resume and will boost your social standing? Do you shower your pet with all the high-end designer gear because they like it, or is it because, in doing so, projects an image that you value? The Six of Pentacles for the Wise Dog asks Is the love or generosity you give genuinely unconditional?

The Grimalkin Tarot shows a sly cat sitting in an advantageous position. This cat has all the fish. Knowing that others would value what it holds, it makes an offer by dangling an all but eaten fish on a string in front of a hungry black cat who does its best to get it. The message the Six of Pentacles offers is to be cautious of what is drawing your attention as it may not be worth the strings that are attached. You may find yourself being played or toyed with by someone who is in control of the resources. Sure there may be others who have benefited, but what you receive and what they receive may not be equal. If it is you that is in control of the resources, the Six of Pentacles asks are you withholding help because you expect someone to jump through hoops of your making, are you asking them to barter away some of their pride?

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