The suit of Pentacles in this deck is subtitled "The Salt of the Earth." It is associated with the zodiac signs Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn. Brian Clark writes: "What was conceived in the imagination of Fire can now be incarnated." Here we are grounded in the present, realistic, productive, and structured. The element Earth relates to worth and value as well as the five physical senses and material substance.
The English idiom "salt of the earth" commonly refers to people who are decent, dependable and unpretentious. In the Bible salt signifies, variously, permanence, loyalty, durability, fidelity, usefulness, value, and purification.
The Five of Pentacles is linked with the second decan of Taurus, the planet Mercury (ruler of that decan), and the constellation Eridanus. Clark describes Taurus as "the fertile earth. . . the sacred ground we stand on and the patient effort to build our lives using the resources at hand. . . the resourcefulness, and willingness to share this wealth with others."
Described by Ian Ridpath (Stars and Planets / Dorling Kindersley Limited) as a "long, straggling constellation," Eridanus represents a river in Greek mythology. As Brian Clark explains, Eridanus was placed in the heavens by Apollo as a remembrance for his son Phaethon. In an effort to prove that he was a worthy son of Apollo, Phaethon tried to drive the chariot of the Sun across the heavens. He had neither the maturity nor strength to control the chariot, and fell from the sky into the river.
Clark tells us that the Five of Pentacles can foreshadow a loss that results from our inability to handle the resources or talents necessary to accomplish a task or project. We may have "bitten off more than we can chew" in an effort to prove our worth. The card is seen as "the midpoint of a process of realignment with personal resources and worth, having fallen out of touch with what is of real value."
The involvement of the planet Mercury (named for the trickster god) alerts us not to be tricked by the "false comfort of possessions."
About the deck: In Brian Clark's introduction to his book Celestial Tarot, he writes: "Celestial Tarot embraces the ancient traditions of astrology, astronomy, and mythology to re-imagine the cards. . . Using the cards invites the individual into the ancient mysteries while simultaneously offering spiritual revelations, personal guidance, and psychological insight. . . Celestial Tarot invites you to participate in the mystery of the subconscious where linear time evaporates and the past, present, and future are fused together to allow greater meaning and understanding."