Look Hard at the Power Dynamics of Giving/Receiving

Six of PentaclesQueen of SwordsI know we’re supposed to like the Six of Pentacles card, which is all about giving and receiving, but I don’t. To me, this card feels slimy. Generosity doesn’t — or shouldn’t — require its recipients to be on their knees. Whether you are the recipient of generosity, or the donor, take a hard Queen of Swords look at the power dynamics of the situation. Look through the veil. What are the giver’s true motives? What are the motives of the recipient? Are other alternatives — ones that allow everyone involved to keep their dignity — being fully explored? And, especially at this time of the year, is the gift from the heart, or is there a feeling of obligation about it? Gift-giving should not inspire resentment. If it does, do something about it. Recover your dignity.

Another way to say this: look at the elements associated with these cards. Pentacles = earth. Swords = air. Bring air to this rather earthy situation. Air it out. Voice any concerns. Open the situation to sunlight and transparency. If it’s a healthy relationship, it can withstand this kind of scrutiny. If not, maybe you should consider cutting the cord (if you are the giver) or sending back the gift (if you are the recipient). No, there are not always any good alternatives — that’s why you have to weigh the situation. (Do you see the scales on the Six of Pentacles card?) But weigh it with sword in hand. Don’t ever be afraid to walk away from money if the money in question raises ethical problems or compromises your dignity.


  1. I was looking at the people on their knees in a more symbolic way. I don’t think it’s slimy. I do agree that you should not be looking for anything in return when giving. Great post. 🙂


    1. Thanks! I know most people don’t look at the Six of Pentacles in the same way I do…to most readers it’s a much more positive card, I think.


  2. I’ve never really liked the 6 of pentacles either, for the same reason. It wouldn’t feel good to be the giver or receiver in this image….


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