The King of Pentacles didn’t flow from me with quite the same confidence as the Queen of Pentacles because he was illustrated at a point in time when I was struggling with seeing myself as abundant and capable of attracting wealth on my own. However, I did have a genuine love of material opulence which allowed me to fondly recount times in my life when I’d been better off. Revisiting those times with gratitude in my heart allowed me to first envision my idea of the King of Pentacles. I also took a lot of aesthetic inspiration from an Indonesian marionette that my wife at the time had received from her brother as a gift. Through mixing these influences, I was able to imbue an initially cold elegance of materialism with a gilded warmth closer to how I felt about wealth when at my financial prime.
A Pure Love of Wealth
This scene actually finds the King marching to war against the Kingdom of Swords. His face is calm, smiling with warmth and pride as if he’s already attained victory. His smile is an important window into his personality, showing that his love of the material is a pure love and not corrupt. I’ve heard many opinions across spiritual communities condemning a love for the material. While I can see this point applying to those who lose themselves solely in the material world, I think it’s actually healthy to appreciate possessions and express gratitude for luxury. Personally, I find it much easier to operate with generosity and love when I feel abundant. This is the way I view the purity of the King of Pentacles’ love for wealth. He hasn’t lost his soul or abandoned his feelings in pursuit of material conquests.
An Abundant World
Even en route to the battlefield, the King of Pentacles is surrounded by abundance. This illustration shows that he is in the company of the Knight of Pentacles and a duo of clone servants, one waving the red-and-gold war banner of House Pentacles, the other pouring the King a golden chalice of pomegranate wine. Pomegranates are often symbolic of wealth and fertility and were used heavily in my Knight of Pentacles card. The King, the Knight, and the two clones are actually part of a larger procession of the clone army out of shot of the King’s portrait. The battalion marches through a lush pumpkin patch where scarecrows are busy harvesting handfuls of ripe pumpkins.
The King of Pentacles Dirties His Golden Hands
There are a few messages to be gleaned from the King joining his army in battle. The first is in the battle itself. The fact that House Pentacles is even going to war against House Swords reveals the King of Pentacles’ penchant for ambition and material conquest. But he is not barking orders from the comforts of his throne room, rather he is actively engaged in the war. He believes in action; in rightfully earning his rewards. That doesn’t mean he won’t stop to enjoy the niceties afforded him; he will gladly accept the cup of pomegranate wine from his dandy clone servant. But when the time comes for battle, he’ll be the first to get his golden hands dirty.
The Sign of Taurus
The King of Pentacles is often tied to the sign of Taurus, representative of love for the material world. References to the bull have been worked in throughout the illustration, from the golden bulls with ruby eyes in the border, to the King’s horned golden crown which combines bull-like horns with a warped golden pentacle. A golden ring pierces the King’s septum, again in reference to the bull, while the connecting chain was somewhat inspired by the Indonesian puppet I mentioned earlier. I imagined the King of Pentacles to wear armor of cybernetic gold, similar to the material used in the Queen of Pentacles’ gown, to reinforce themes of material decadence but also imply the functionality of the King’s personality. He is not a frail dandy but rather someone who works for his achievements. I felt a golden suit of mechanized armor would clarify this. Originally, I had planned on illustrating the King of Pentacles tossing golden coins to his servants to symbolize his beliefs in rewarding good work. However, I felt that I had already adeptly demonstrated his qualities without distracting his confident smile with this action.
The King’s Pet Squirrel
I do want to point out two more symbols that reinforce the essence of the King of Pentacles. The first is his pet squirrel, following the King in matching golden armor with pentacle coins woven into his bushy tail. A squirrel may seem to be an odd choice of pet for a monarch who values the finest things in life but we must consider what the squirrel represents in Native American medicine: preservation of wealth through careful planning and saving. Likewise, squirrels harvest with confidence, preparing for even the harshest of winters through working both hard and smart.
The Golden Tower
The final symbol is the towering palace of gold reaching to the heavens beyond the King of Pentacles. This is the physical embodiment of his life’s achievements, glowing warmly in the earthy dusk. While most of us do not have a physical tower as an avatar of our achievements, we build our own towers through our lives nonetheless. Think of all the wealth you have accrued from birth to this point: the meals you’ve enjoyed, the beauty captured by your eyes, the games you’ve played and the places you’ve stayed. You’ll find there is always something for which to be grateful and this will serve to align you with the energy of the King of Pentacles.