The Eight of Pentacles is the card of apprenticeship. This is a time when we need to sacrifice some near-term enjoyment in order to buckle down and do the hard work. This period of work takes us to the next level. The parties and fun we miss during this period are small when compared to the benefit of what we gain through this period of more intensive study. Talent isn’t enough. The Eight of Pentacles is about learning, studying, practicing, and putting in the reps to get to the expert level.
The figure in the card is isolated with the city in the background. This reflects the time we need to spend alone, doing the work, putting in the studying or practice, in order to get better. This isn’t fun, but over the long-term it pays off. Benches in tarot always indicate sitting down and looking at the details. In this case, it’s about studying and learning the process of the trade. The hammer is symbolic of ‘hammering’ out the details and getting the job done.
Upright: When the Eight of Pentacles appears in a reading, it often reflects a new career path or role at work that’s coming up. The figure in the card is diligent and hard working – attention to detail now will pay off down the road. The card is an indication that we will succeed through hard work and perseverance. Luck and talent aren’t enough. The card calls on us to keep putting in the work and stay on the path. The effort you put in will be worth it.
Reversed: When the Eight of Pentacles appears in the reversed position, it’s an indication that we need to pay greater attention to detail. In order to put the card ‘right side up’ we may need to return to school or take a step back and focus on doing the job right before rushing to the next thing. A reversal can also indicate that we’re working hard but not getting the desired outcome. Return to the Seven of Pentacles – what worked in order to take you to a fruitful situation. Re-prioritize your time in order to become more engaged and dedicated to your chosen path. Finally, if you’re struggling to get the job done, or have just started out on a new career path, it may be time to get some additional training. Take a class or find a mentor to help you be the best you can be. Putting in the time now will pay off later.
The Eight of Pentacles reminds us that the journey to the top is just that – a process. We don’t just go from point A to point B without dedication and hard work. The card reminds us to enjoy this part of the process – the work will pay off over time.