of shadow work
facing the darkness /
to live in the light
to live in the light
Today we are looking at the Three of Pentacles (Mars in Capricorn). Please be patient with me- this post might be kind of long but I will do my best to structure the information in a way that’s easy for you to understand. As you will come to realize if you keep reading, the Three of Pentacles is about seeing what works & what doesn’t work, & when it comes to transmitting a lot of information, what works best is to be 1) detailed, 2) organized & 3) slow.
First things first, understanding the root, or base of the The Three of Pentacles, also known as Mars in Capricorn. The Three of Pentacles is a combination of Mars energy (represented by the Tower) & Capricorn energy (represented by the Devil). Therefore the Three of Pentacles is equal to The Tower + The Devil.
Remember, the Tower is the uncomfortable & unforeseen finger of God toppling structures in our lives that are already unstable, so that we can rebuild purposefully & effectively to achieve greater stability.
Traditionally the Devil is seen as repetitive habits, patterns & relationships that have become toxic & perfunctory- in other words, the things we do because we can’t not do them, whether we want to do them or not. This can range from smoking cigarettes after every meal (even if you hate the taste & you want healthy lungs), or smiling at people who irritate you (because God forbid you should appear impolite), or driving the same way to work every morning even though you want to try new routes (but maybe tomorrow).
Indulge me in talking about the Devil a wee bit more, because our work around the Lovers card in the Ten of Swords changed my understanding of the Devil. If you hold up the Lovers Card next to the Devil card, you can see that they feature the exact same people, except in different environments. In the Lovers card, they have distance between them in paradise but in the Devil card, they are chained together in hell. Once we figured out that the The Ten of Swords (Sun in the Lovers) is seeing what love really looks like (in all its ugliness), I realized that if the Lovers is about ‘Love,’ then the Devil is about ‘Like.’
Remember the distance between the couple in the Lovers..? This is because real love allows for freedom. Real love allows folks the distance to follow their own path of self discovery. Real love allows folks to make mistakes (Ten of Swords) & figure out how to move on & grow. However ‘Like,’ doesn’t allow for the same freedom. When you ‘like’ something, you expect it to remain exactly the same. For example, I liked your hair like that, why’d you change it? Or I liked the couch in this corner, why did you move it?’ or I liked you better before you got your degree because you were easier to talk to.’ When we ‘like’ things/ people, we don’t give any space or freedom because we get addicted. We consume things we like (call me when you get home!), but we preserve the things we love (I know you’re tired, get some rest & I’ll talk to you later).
The reason this dynamic (Devil energy) is depicted in the environment of Hell, is because it's unnatural & torturous for anything God made (relationships, circumstances)- no matter how much we enjoyed them in the beginning- to never change. The Most High (Nature) is constantly in a state of change, cycles, transitions & flux. Like Octavia Butler wrote, God is Change. Therefore any person or circumstance that doesn’t allow change & evolution automatically becomes the antithesis of nature, the enemy of God, the Devil.
It's clear from the Devil card that this is an unnatural arrangement. If we could hear the couple in the card speaking, they are saying, I, like you, am chained (changed). In other words, I’m just like you are- I’m different than I used to be & I’d like to move on & explore that, but I’m stuck here forced to pretend as if everything is the same & I am not chained (changed).
Ok, hold that in your hand for a second, & let’s go back & talk about the Tower, or the other half of the dual influence that makes up the Three of Pentacles. Once again, the Three of Pentacles is a Minor Arcana card that is the combination of two Major Arcana cards- the Tower card & the Devil. If we were to study the Major Arcana in order, we would see that in the order of the deck, the Tower card comes immediately after the Devil card. In other words, when we are stuck in Devil energy (refusing to change), the Tower is God’s way of forcing us to change. We look forward to the Tower in that instance, because it’s the only thing that can move us out of our own self-imposed prison. We are ready for the transition.
However, remember with the Three of Pentacles, it's a depiction of Mars in Capricorn, or the Tower in the Devil. In other words, whereas the Tower traditionally follows the Devil, in the Three of Pentacles, Mars (the Tower) precedes Capricorn (the Devil). This is when change happens suddenly in the midst of us slowly becoming aware that we probably should change- but we are not quite ready to do it. In the Three of Pentacles, we are not ready for the transition.
Two realistic examples of the Three of Pentacles, or Mars in Capricorn, or the Tower in the Devil:
Y’all get the gist- The Three of Pentacles represents those moments where the thing you eventually wanted to happen- or knew would happen sooner or later, HAPPENS NOW, with no warning or preparation. Pencils down, time’s up, this is where we (& everyone else) find out what we’re really made of.
Let’s follow this testing metaphor (pencils down!) for a moment as we look at the actual Three of Pentacles card. These moments are life testing us, yes? And the way we move forward from these moments depends on how we “pass,” them, right? So we can look at the environment in the Three of Pentacles as a grey area, or a grading area, where we pass or fail the tests & trials of life. Remember from the Ace of Swords that life = light; so the Three of Pentacles is a grading area where we test & trial the LIGHT within our grey (great) cell (self).
When all is dark around us, do we know how to turn on our inner light & see our cell (self)? Can we become aware of ourselves (cell, aware) enough to figure out how we got stuck here, & how our position here affects others? Can we muster the courage to move through the only way out- the scary shadows (sad how) & find a way to light (like) ourselves again? Can we find our way up from the rock bottom of self(cell)-imprisonment into freedom? Can we forgive ourselves & then forget ourselves?
That seems so hard! Its seems like so much work- to 1)become aware of how our actions affect our own life, 2) to become aware of how our actions affect other people, 3) to face our faults & the things we don’t like about ourselves, 4) forgive ourselves, & 5) forget our issues enough to let our light shine outwards on others who need it.
That is a lot! That is too much! That’s enough to shout to the Almighty Most High Test Maker- why are you giving me all this to deal with?? Why have you ASSIGNED ME SO MUCH?!
And then the Almighty Most High Test Maker whispers back- you ASKED for this beloved, remember? Remember in the Four of Wands when you asked me to send-you-a-sign (send you, assign)? Remember when you asked me to show you a way where you could be of service & also receive what you need? This is it! This is the answer to your prayers, no? I have sent you as assistance to the person who needs you the most- YOU.
Dammit lol. That’s why they say ‘be careful what you ask for because you just might get it.’ We want to believe the work lies outside of us because that’s where our attention is usually focused, but truly it begins within, where we are most uncertain, most unqualified, most insecure, because it's where we spend the least time. It takes a lot of work to want to spend time alone in your cell (self). You have to really, really like yourself ( your cell). The way you live inside your cell (self) affects the way you face & deal with the world. Just think in terms of your actual home- when you like your room / house, you 1) don’t mind having people over & 2) don’t mind when they leave, because either way you’re content in your space. But when you don’t like your room /house, you 1) hate having people over & 2) feel bad when they leave because you’re all alone again.
When you like your cell (self), the people in your life are free to come and go. When you don’t like your cell (self), it's hard for people to get close to you but when they do, you project your insecurities onto them (Why are you leaving?? Don’t you want me?? Don’t you love me??).
The only solution to turning your cell (self) from a place that you don’t like into a place you do like, is to re-spec the cell (respect the self).
Spec (v.)- give (something) a particular specification; construct to a specified standard.
If we look at the Three of Pentacles, we see there are only-two-men (only human) showing the man-working-on-his-cell (self) a blueprint for re-construction (re-spec). He made a mistake (only human) but there is still time to fix it & be rewarded for his efforts. He can re-design himself, or re-spec. They tell him, re-spec the way you build your cell. Re-spec & we’ll pay.
Respect yourself. Respect will be paid. Raise your standards. Build yourself UP.
Remember again, the Three of Pentacles is a combination of Tower + Devil energy. If the Devil represents the unwillingness to change (I don’t like it but this is who I am), then God is love in the form of change (opposite of the Devil). To re-spec yourself then, is an act of self-love whereby you allow yourself to evolve (change!) in the form of raising your standards & expectations for YOU. Maybe you no longer like (light) the things you used to like (light), but what lights you up NOW? What do you like now? What are you like, now? Allow yourself to reintroduce yourself, haha.
When you re-spec your cell so that it lights up from within, you become a beacon to others (hey Eight of Swords!) When you are a light unto yourself, this affects the trajectory of those Three of Pentacles moments, where you are suddenly faced with situations you didn’t expect that show you & everyone else what you’re made of. In the face of uncertainty, do you enlighten? Illuminate? Provide an example of direction & instruction? When folks are lost, do you help them? When you are lost, do you help yourself?
Or do you hold-yourself-in-black (hold yourself back) & deny (knee-high), as you buy time in your stall (bide your time & stall) because you feel dim (dumb)?
It all depends on 1) Whether you’re able to do the work being asked of you (re-spec your cell) & 2) What you tell yourself about these foolish interruptions.
Can you take a joke (jolt / Tower)? Can you handle the unexpected? Are you prepared? Are you stable? Are you confident? Is your work consistent or inconsistent? Do you practice what you preach? Can you make fun for / of yourself?
Remember the Three of Pentacles holds Devil energy (which isn’t inherently bad! We like the Devil!).
Keeping that in mind, where is the most common location of the Devil? IN THE DETAILS.
Details = Do, tell us.
What DO we TELL ourselves about these Three of Pentacles moments? Is this an opportunity for blanket affection (those fools are wearing blankets, in case you wondered) & providing warmth in an otherwise cold place? Is this an opportunity to level up / graduate / see-their-dilploma (diploma, see? diplomacy)? Is this a chance to be polite & work together?
Or is this an opportunity for side-lean-abutment (silent judgements) & say this the re-spec, fool! (disrespectful)?
Can you offer warmth & a positive solution for whatever shows up in your cell? Or do you refuse to offer common decency to new developments because they disturb your grey monotony?
The story we tell (do tell!) ourselves & others about these only human (only-two-men) moments affect how we behave.
Remember again, the Devil is in the details. It appears as though there are three people in here, but where are they really?
IN YOUR CELL. How can anyone be inside yourself except YOU?? Every action or nonaction we take, arises with ourselves first. We can’t affect anyone without first affecting ourselves. We can’t disrespect or respect another person without first disrespecting or respecting ourselves. Our whole big lives happen within our tiny cells & no place else.
This can be exhilarating or infuriating depending on our understanding of our cell (self). Either we can feel as if we are all alone (tiny cell!) & powerless to change our circumstances; or we can recognize that we have the power to re-spec our cell & make it bigger & more powerful if we so desire (infinite cell!).
The answer lies in becoming clear on our position within our cell. Isn’t that crazy- that we are in our cell but we are not our cell! We in-body (embody) as a work-man, but the cell is separate from who we truly are.
It's difficult to discern the work-man’s position actually, because he’s in between two planes of existence. On the one hand he’s under a building (below), but on the other hand he’s standing above the floor (above). He’s below & above at the same time. This is magic! This is sorcery! LOL
This is BEL / OVE.
Hold up. Say that again.
So the occupation of the work man in his cell, is to be love.
Which means the Three of Pentacles is a sudden opportunity (hey Tower!) to remind us that we are not our cells, we are the love inside our cells.
& What does God (love) do that the Devil (like) don’t do?
As the God (love) inside our cells, our job (hey work-man!) is to re-spec ourselves so that we continue to level up, grow, expand, & consistently labor towards the infinite potential of our building (build-in).
We are alone in our cell (selves) but we are not alone in this work. This is the work we ALL do. All cells (selves) are similar in the re-spec that our identity is love & our work is to transform our cells by turning on our light (like).
Love is who we are, & light is what we do.
Love is who we are & like is what we do.
I am love, I like (light) myself.
If I don't, I can change.
P.S. How though?? How do we change? How do we re-spec? We are tired, worn out, hopeless in this dark af grey cell. Where do we find the light? Who has answers? Who sent these fools to bother us in the midst of this VERY IMPORTANT WORK?? Where is the boss? Can we speak to someone on the upper levels because none of this down here makes any freaking sense?! Can someone just… make it plain?!
(pray, ask thee Lord)
& in the meantime
(light it up)
(do what lights you up, for a change from darkness)
Do what you like, for a change.
P.P.S. One more thing- advice is a hidden element of this card. If a Tower (uh oh) is falling onto the Devil (nothing ever changes), then you’re dealing with something you’ve never you’ve never dealt with before. You are literally “in the dark” with your situation. This makes you feel stuck in your cell (self) within a particular reality or situation that you can’t “see” your way through. Now if love is what we are & light is what we do, then the very thing we are made for is to get each other & ourselves through dark times. We’re above it & beneath it at the same time (bel/ove) so we have the capability to show/find the way through; all we need is some perspective from someone up ahead who can shine a light backwards & give us some direction. But that would require you telling this person where you are (point to it on a map) so they can show you where they’ve been (i went that-a-way; you don’t wanna go that-a-way). In this way, the two of you can work together, back & forth in the darkness until the lost one becomes found, i.e. your realities shift from one of you being in an undesirable situation & the other in the opposite desirable situation, to you both being in the desired situation. That’s advice- you’ve been there, you tell me, I listen, we live well, happily ever after. Or, you’ve been there, you tell me, I don’t listen, I don’t live well, I learn, I change, I live well, I’ve been there, I tell the next person, they listen, they live well, we live happily ever after. Or they don’t listen, they don’t live well, they don’t learn, they don’t change, they die.
Advice can go all sorts of ways. It’s up to us to give it & it’s up to us to take it. But remember, the devil is in the details. No matter whether we take the advice or not, this whole time, we’ve still only been in our cells. We’re the only ones in the dark. The hour groweth late, & we have to figure out how to rise higher than this lil' ass step stool if we’re gonna light a whole building. We have a light (life) to build. Just the one. We have to think bigger. It’s scary but we can do it.
We have to truss ourselves.
“A truss is an assembly of beams or other elements that creates a rigid structure. In engineering, a truss is a structure that "consists of two-force members only, where the members are organized so that the assemblage as a whole behaves as a single object".”
To successfully build our light/life, we have to become an “assembly of beams” (light/ like/ things we like in re-spec to being love) “that create a rigid structure.” What does love do? Love BUILDS YOU UP. Structure. Discipline. Planning. Integrity. We must consist of “two-force members only,” what works & what doesn’t, in re-spec for building the best possible light/life, which is the entirety of our work. & We must constantly organize our two members (this works / this does not work) read: get our shit together- so that our “assemblage as a whole behaves as a single object.” This is accomplished by deciding that no matter what happens, whether it does or doesn’t work; that both force members have behaved as a single object by building a light/life of love (that’s you!)
It doesn’t have to be perfect, but it was all useful because whatever happened was love-doing-its-best-to-build-you-up. Look, at the tall floors (all yours!) We live in our best life. :)
Ok, back to trussing ourselves. Trusting ourselves to do what exactly?
To build our best life.
Ok but how though?
Me to me: I like how you think, girl! Did you really write this whole post yourself? Wow. That’s really cool. And people are gonna read it? And think about what you said? Wow! That’s awesome. What else can you do? I bet you can do so much!! I bet you can do things you don’t even know you can do. You’re amazing!
(Love builds you up.)
P.P.P.S. We don't only have the power to build our own lives/lights, but we are also capable, as love, of building other cells (selves) up & tearing them down. Remember, that love builds you up. You don't have to light/like everyone but don't tear them down.
Re-spec. Move around. (Hey Three of Cups!)
P.P.P.P.S. You couldn't have understood this whole post unless you've been doing all your shadow work up in here which is SO MUCH WORK. I feel like this post was a pop-quiz from our Master Teacher (it certainly felt like an essay test, yeah?) so if you passed & you feel good about yourself (like you!) then CONGRATULATIONS B**** THE SHADOW WORK IS WORKING WOOOOOTTTTTTT!!! I am SO PROUD OF US!!!
& if you don't feel that way you don't know wtf we're talking about, drop a comment & we're happy to help.
(just a-like you)
all of us.