Three (III) of Pentacles

 Three (III) of Pentacles –

Teamwork, Laying Down Foundations, Growth 

3 of Pentacles Upright


 Growth, Study, Learning, Scholarships, Mentors, Teamwork, Apprentice, Material Growth, Building on Solid Foundations, Commitment, Long Term Plans, Craftsmanship, Quality, Dedication, Attention to Detail,  Hard Work, Promotion, Recognition, Achievements, Efforts Paying Off, Determination, Goals, Renovations, Building Trade, Architects,  Plans


Card Imagery Description

As we arrive at the Three of Pentacles we find a small group of people involved in a meeting of some kind.  There are three people.  They stand close to a stone building that has all the appearances of a church.  The young man standing on the bench appears to have been busy chiselling away on the stonework of this building before the other two figures arrived.  He may have been expecting them or perhaps they just dropped by to check how the work was proceeding.  One of the other figures appears to hold the plans of the building the young man is working on and we may assume that he is the architect of this fine structure.  The third figure is that of a monk so let us presume that it is he who has commisioned the build and hired those with the necessary knowledge, skills and qualifications to carry out the work.  In the Three of Pentacles we explore the nature of the Group and how we work within groups who have common goals or purpose to achieve our aims.  This card   deals with the importance of teamwork  and its contribution in successfully reaching goals and completing projects on time.

Individually the figures are very capable and able within their own field of expertise. However, they need each other’s expertise to complete the project they are working on.  The Monk, being a man of the cloth knows what he wants for his church.  He also has a budget that he must operate within.  Like his religious and spiritual beliefs, his church must stand the test of time and be able to withstand anything that threatens its stability.  The Monk has hired the expertise of an architect who will draw up the necessary plans based on his requirements.  The architect will explain to the monk what is possible and what is not and provide several drafts before anything is finally settled upon.  Once the plans have been officially signed off, they must then find the right builders and specialised tradesmen to provide them with the finished product as per specifications.  The church must also be built within a certain time frame and come in on budget.  It will take the cooperation of all within this group to achieve such a lofty ambition.  All must be committed to the task.  All must give it their very best and work to the highest standards possible.

And what of their reward for such focussed effort? With this being a Pentacle card material gain is extremely important so all will expect to be handsomely paid for their time.  However, the Three of Pentacles deals with more than just an honest day’s pay for an h0nest day’s work.  Recognition for their work is also extremely important.  The Monk will expect to be praised for his wonderful church and thanked by all his congregation for providing them with such a special and holy place to worship in. The congregation in turn will expect recognition for all their generous ongoing donations which have gone a long way to funding the building itself.  Both the architect and builder will expect to gain further commissions and work once word gets around and others see this fine building.

The architect and specialised tradesemen may even be hoping for an award so this card also deals with the importance of quality in our work and how it reflects our personality and reputation as a result.  Churches by tradition are considered holy, sacred and spiritual.  They were built to last on sound and solid foundations.  The tradtional churches of old showcased amazing feats of engineering, craftsmanship and artistry.  An incredible amount of fine detail and passion went into these massive structures.  As a result, they often took a long, long time to build.  Great patience, commitment and endurance was demanded of all.   The individual stones had to be cut from quarries and hauled over miles of terrain before one wall could be built.  Statues and symbolic spiritual images and lettering had to be painstakingly carved and chiselled out of the stone.  Specialised paintwork and magnificent stained glass depictions took months if not years to complete.  Then there was all the precious metal work and carpentry to complete.  No rush-jobs, shoddy workmanship or impatience are ever seen in these ancient buildings. All who worked on them felt proud and priviliged to be part of something considered so worthy for these buildings were understood to be the House of God and therefore only their very best effort would do.

The Three of Pentacles fittingly depicts these qualities for it is the Pentacles type who knows the value of quality, effort and patience.  They will expect to see something sound and enduring after all their hard work.  They will also expect to receive the recognition for it both in monetary value and praise.

All the Elements are brought together in the Three of Pentacles to achieve the finished product.    The Three Pentacles carved into the pillar of the church are arranged in the manner of an upright triangle which symbolically represents the Element of Fire. Immediately below this is an upside down triangle which represents the Element of Water. The plans the monk and architect hold symbolise the Element of Air while the very building and Pentacles themselves symbolise the Element of Earth.  Each Element brings to the project their own unique skills to ensure the quality of the finished product.  This is Team- work at its strongest and best.

The card being a number Three suggests that work is very definitely progressing on the church but that it is still in its early stages of developement.  Patience and ongoing commitment is required at this stage.  The three figures in this card must hold fast to their dream or vision if they are ever to last the journey and see the finished building.

After all the struggle and juggle of the Two, it appears that the hard work has paid off.  The two archways in the imagery of this card symbolise openings or rights of passage.  The figure in the Two of Pentacles has either found steady well-paid employment or has landed a substantial contract.  The fact that he is standing on the bench and not beside it, suggests that he has taken a step up the ladder and aspires to even greater heights.   This is his golden opportunity to shine and show the world what he is made of.  If he plays his cards right here and be better than his best then he will be well on the way to realising his goals.  This may be the first major contract for his fledgling business and he is bound to want to impress.  He is on his way.

However, because the Three of Pentacles deals with the Group aspect, the figure from the Two may have realised his limitations and accepted that he couldn’t do it alone.  He may have asked others to join him, called in the help of experts or found himself some valuable mentors.  He understands the power in numbers and is using the skills of others to further his own aims.  Likewise he facilitates their growth and development.

The Three of Pentacles is one of three cards in the Tarot that deals with Groups.  We have already explored the Three of Cups and its association to groups of friends, family and community.  The Heirophant in The Major Arcana also deals with Groups as in institutions both religious and non-religious.  The Three of Pentacles is strongly associated with learning and exams and  is often referred to as The Apprentice or Student Card.  Therefore, other than teamork and group effort it is linked to colleges and universities or any place where groups of people gather to learn be it a workshop, course or  night class.  The figure from the Two may have felt financially limited by his lack of qualifications and has decided to go back to college.  Alternatively, his hard work may have been recognised by those in positions of power and has been promoted.  He may need to go through a period of retraining for his newly acquired position.  One way or another things have definitely improved for him and he is making steady progress.

In The Three of Pentacles Both the committed Apprentice and Student understand and accept that they have still a lot to learn but share the desire and commitment to master the tools of their trade be it carpentry, business or history.  The Threes represent growth and ascension so both Apprentice or Student will work steadily towards their goal under its influence. Persistant hard work and effort will eventually gain them the recognition they seek and deserve whether it is an award, qualification, scholarship, promotion or money.

Three (III) of Pentacles

3 of Pentacles Upright


Growth, Study, Learning, Scholarships, Mentors, Teamwork, Apprentice, Material Growth, Building on Solid Foundations, Commitment, Long Term Plans, Craftsmanship, Quality, Dedication, Attention to Detail,  Hard Work, Promotion, Recognition, Achievements, Efforts Paying Off, Determination, Goals, Renovations, Building Trade, Architects,  Plans


When the Three of Pentacles appears in a reading it is a very positive card indeed and is strongly connected to work, career and finances.  Any struggles of the past in relation to these arears have now passed or are passing.  A doorway or two have opened for you and at last you have been given a break.  Make sure you take full advantage fo them and use them to your best.  Circumstances are definitely improving but this is not just down to a stroke of luck or fate.  Luck always has a little bit of input in life but this type of break or fortune comes from good old hard work, blood, sweat and tears and gritty determination.

This card is an indication that you are getting stuck into your work whether it is building a house or business, learning the ropes in a new job or getting stuck into a project in the work place.  It is a sign that you know what you are doing and where you are going.  Planning ahead and having the right strategies in place are some of the qualities the Three of Pentacles can offer.   You have the Green Light now so make the most of it.

The Three of Pentacles turning up in a reading can suggest that at last your skills have been recognised by others and you are beginning to get a reputation for the quality of your work.  It is a time for being rewarded at long last for all the effort you have been putting in for so many years.  Others are prepared to back you now and offer support where in the past you struggled alone with  your ideas and plans for the future.  You are now  seen as a good long-term investment and others admire your professionalism and attention to detail.   Your very best work is demanded of you when the Three of Pentacles turns up.

The Three of Pentacles highlights the Group aspect in your life.  It can represent the coming together of a team who work together in a cooperative and collaborative manner to ensure the success of a project or venture.  Each member of the team has something to offer which compliments the skills and qualities of the other team members.  This card demonstates the power of collective energy in numbers.  We may all want to take the sole credit for our wonderful ideas and plans but going it alone may make the journey much, much slower and much, much lonlier.  Progress is possible when we join forces with other like-minded people so don’t be afraid or reluctant to call on the help of others.

The Three of Pentacles can suggest it is time to pull together in order to get something done.  If there are family issues then call a meeting and put your heads together to see how you can move forward and what needs to be done.  You will be surprised to find out that others want to help and have much to contribute.  Don’t try to do it all on your own. It may also be time to get expert help or advice.

The Three of Pentacles is also associated with building and can suggest that you are putting much effort into building a house, an extentsion or just renovating an existing building.  This card advises you to work with a clear plan of action and do not rush the process.  Know what you are doing and equally know what you can’t do.  Put your very best work into it and make it a building you can be very proud of.  If there are areas of building work you do not know then why not do a night course or call in the help of suitably qualified friends.  If you are employing builders, then get the best you can afford.  Look for references from previous customers and even view their work.  Check all qualifications and credentials. Go over and over all plans and check the fine detail.  Find a builder who is as keen as you are about quality and finish.  Make sure to project manage the building and be a constant presence. A lot of hard work will go into you realising this project and only quality raw materials and craftsmanship should be used.  Awards and prizes may be in the offing if you get this right. Others may consult you for advice on their own builds when they see the work you have done.

The Three of Pentacles often appears in a reading when the querant is pursuing a long-term goal or has strong ambition.  It is a positive sign that this person has the gritty determination to build on solid foundations and is not in rush to get to the finish line too soon.  It shows the understanding that they still have an awful lot to learn and are quite happy to put the necessary time, effort or study in to master their skills or gain qualifications.  As a person, it shows us someone who is proud of the quality of their work which is consistent and reliable.  It also shows us a person who believes that they can aspire to even greater heights.  Instead of coming across as a know all this person will seek out, and take on board the advice of those who are expert in their fields and this card can suggest seeking a mentor to further your aims or that you are mentoring another.

The Three of Pentacles represents the Student or Aprentice so depending on where it is positioned in a reading it may suggest that the querant is going to college, planning to or saving for it.  It can also suggest the need for further education to improve your circumstances, build self-esteem or just taking a couple of night classes to broaden your horizons.  If you have been thinking about doing a course through Distant Learning or Home Study, the Three of Pentacles suggests that you may prefer the dynamics of a class or group as opposed to learning on your own.  However, you must study something that really interests you and not just a subject that others expect you to.  Families can  put pressure on their off spring to follow a certain traditional occupation such as medicine, accountancy or farming.  Just because your father, mother, grandfather and great grandmother were all doctors does not mean it will be suitable for you.  The Three of Pentacles demands you very best effort and unless you have a burning desire to be a doctor, all the initial effort and good intentions will fall by the wayside and you can become deeply unhappy and resentful.

All in all the Three of Pentacles happily suggests committed study and exceling in exams so keep up the good work.  This is all part of your master-plan and you have what it takes to be a success.    Great teamwork is often evident or needed when this card appears.

In a relationship spread this three suggests that you are putting in the necessary work and effort to ensure you build your relationship on good foundations. There is a strong sense of commitment and growth within this relationship.  Perhaps you are attending courses or counselling to improve your relationship with your partner.  As a couple you may be building your own house.

In a career spread The Three of Pentacles is a very positive card. It suggests learning on the job or studying to improve job prospects or to develop ones skills. This is the apprentice who puts in the years to become the highly skilled craftsman in his profession. There is great commitment and effort put in as the long-term goal is kept in sight alngside burning ambition.

Maybe your work to date has been recognised and you have been awarded a sponsorship or promotion. You may have to make a presentation of your work at a meeting and are keen to make sure you have everything covered. Careerwise, the Three of Pentacles suggests possible involvement in the building trade, structural engineering or architecture.

For businesses The Three of Pentacles is a very welcome card in a spread.  It suggests great growth in the business and plenty of opportunities for substantial contracts and commissions.  It also indicates that your business is building a good strong reputation for itself based on the quality of work, reliablity and professionalism.  For fledgling businesses it suggests the contract that will begin to open doors for you.  It is a sign that after all the struggles, your business is beginning to take off for you.


3 of Pentacles Reversed


Poor Growth, No Growth, Not Learning from Mistakes, Lack of Commitment, No Effort, Shoddy Workmanship, Mistakes, Mistakes in Plans, Weak Foundations, Lack of Interest, No Team Spirit, Failing Exams, Careless Work, Mediocre, No Goals, No Motivation

When the Three of Pentacles reverses it suggests there are reasons why you are not getting things off the ground or making progress in your situation. Regardless of what you say you are not putting any real effort into your work or the task at hand.  You must ask yourself why this is?  On the front you are all talk and full of plans but nothing is getting done.  This could be down to a lack of commitment or belief in what you are doing.  It could simplybe that you are getting no joy out of it and it all seems like too much work.  It could also be as a result of fear.  Do you think that you haven’t got what it takes to be a success? Do you fear losing everything if your plans fail?   Could you possibly have taken on too much?Negativity may be eating away at you and preventing any positive growth.

Impatience and lack of concentration is evident as you fail to apply yourself to your work.  The Three of Pentacles Reversed speaks of rushed jobs and taking short-cuts.  There appears to be a lack of pride in what you do and a careless attitude about you. All you want to do is get the job done and move on so your heart is really not in this at all.  Intense boredom may be an issue or just plain laziness.  In the Upright card the young builder was busying chisselling away when the monk and architect came on site.  He was so intent and focussed on his work that he didn’t even stop to put his tools down for he wanted to get stuck back in as soon as they left.  In the reversed, there is more of a chance that he was taking yet another break when he saw the two arrive and very quickly had to make it appear that he had been hard at it all day.  He has neither respect for himself nor the people who are relying on him to complete the build.  He is only in it for the money and will be long gone before any of his botched jobs come to light.

If you are involved in building your own house or buying a property the Reversed Three of Pentacles can unfortunately suggest a building survey that fails.  Subsidance or structural problems may be an issue. Plans need to be checked in detail as there may be mistakes discovered.    You may be enthusiastic to do as much of the work as you can but do you really know what you are doing?  Try to get as much advice as you can and allow some of the budget for the essentials such as plumbing and wiring. Get the best builders you can afford as this reversed card can represent cheap builders who lack quality and qualifications.  Double-check credentials and references of all builders for they may not be trust worthy. You get what you pay for and you may live to regret it. It can represent problems getting a build complete due to builders not turning up or knocking off early. Either be a constant on-site presence or hire a reliable Project Manager to make sure the job gets done on time and that work is completed to regulation and standards . Scrimping here may cause expensive problems down the line.  If builders are asking for money up front then this reversed card would strongly advise against it.  Make sure the price agreed on is based on a certain completion date otherwise it may drag on indefinitely.  Sadly, with the reversed Three of Pentacles, shoddy workmanship and poor finish is likely to be problem. Cowboy builders with lack of skill and interest are highlighted.

The reversed Three of Pentacles can often highlight delays in getting work done or reaching goals due to a problem with a group of people who cannot cooperate or join forces.  A lack of positive teamwork can raise issues of superiority, pulling rank or possessiveness about the project.  You may feel that all your efforts are in vain. No matter what you do, your work it is criticised, picked at or dismissed.  You may feel that you do not receive the recognition you deserve or that others take the credit for you work. This is not a group who work well together as there may be too many chiefs and not enough indians.  They are the wrong people for the job.

On the other hand you find it impossible to take constructive critisism or advice from your superiors.   You may also try to muddle through a situation as you refuse to seek expert advice.  You may view it as an expense you cannot afford or that it would not be worth the time and effort.  You may be completely out of your depth but you continue to plough on regardless.  All you are doing is digging a deeper hole for yourself and penny pinching now may cost you dearly in the long run.

The Three of Pentacles Reversed is a flag or warning that you do not know what you are doing.  You haven’t thought things through properly and have no real plans to work by.  You may be making it up as you go along.  You need to do more research into your situation as you still have a lot to learn.  Slow down and take stock of the situation.  You might need to do a course or gain some extra qualifications.  This reversed card questions your education or lack of it and can be a sign that you are underqualifiied or unskilled.  Don’t pretend to be someone you are not.  If you want success then you will have to work hard for it.  Set long-term goals for yourself and work towards them.  It is the only way as there are no shortucts.  However, you have to show some determination and commitment if you are ever going to make it. However, ambition may not be not one of your strongest qualities.

When the card is reversed the imagery now suggests a building that is sinking into the ground instead of rising out of it and we must question how strong the foundations are.  We didn’t need to question the strength of the structure when the card was upright but once it reverses we cannot be so sure.  If what you are doing or embarking on is built on sticks or pure mud then it will not last the course of time and is bound to come tumbling down sooner or later.  It highlights shallowness and lack of commitment.

In The reversed Three of Pentacles we find the student who is not applying himself to his studies. This is usually the student who has not had to work hard to pay for his college fees or contribute towards them. It also represents the student who has no interest in the field he or she is studying in.  This can be for a variety of reasons.  The student may have been uncertain of what course to take and now realises he or she has made a mistake or it can represent the son or daughter who embarks upon a course of study chosen for them by parents or dictated by family tradition.   This is bound to reflect in their work as lack of quality and poor grades.  We may also find the college drop-out when this card reverses especially if a reversed Page of Pentacles appears in the Spread.

A change of college, course of study or an alternative career may be the simple solution to uprighting this card again.  The student needs to sit down and carefully decide on what it is they want to do with their life before committing to anything else.  Otherwise a negative pattern of failed ventures can set in.  The upright Three of Pentacles suggests learning, learning and more learning in order to promote growth and development.  When it reverses it can often indicate the inability to learn and especially the inability to learn from past mistakes which keep repeating over and over again.

In relationships this reversed card can be a sign that no effort is being put in to making it work.  It indicates a lack of commitment and growth within the relationship.  You or your partner may not be able to sustain initial efforts and good intentions fall by the wayside over time.  It can suggest that it is not the first time relationships have gone this way for you as patterns of behaviour repeat themselves.   You may ignore advice to seek counselling from well meaning friends family prefering instead to work it out your way.  However, your way has never worked in the past.  There is a definite lack of solid foundations within the relationship represented by this Reversed Three. One must ask the question as to why the couple were drawn to each other in the first place (may not be the stuff solid relationships are built on).  Are you continuing to drift from one meaningless relationship to the next.  What are you learning from all this?

As far as career goes, what has happened to you? After such a promising start, what a letdown. Lack of effort and desire to build on your skills or expertise has left you under qualified for the best positions and openings.  Sponsorship and support may be withdrawn. Careless work and lack of commitment is evident.

No Goals, drifting from job to job. Meaningless mundane tasks.  Quality control

It may have been discovered that you oversold yourself to get a job.  Your work lacks quality and is really not up to much.  This cardYou may lose your job if you don’t sort yourself out. Time to shape up or ship out.  Job problems and possible boredom on the job front.   If you are making a presentation it may not go well. Have you put in the necessary work? Lack of success in job interviews as what you have to offer is mediocre at best.

Are you working just for the money?

You need to go back to the Upright Two and decide what it is you want to do with your future.

Back to Lesson 6

Ace of Pentacles     2 of Pentacles 3 of Pentacles 4 of Pentacles 5 of Pentacles 6 of Pentacles 7 of Pentacles 8 of Pentacles 9 of Pentacles 10 of Pentacles

Aces Intro Twos Intro Threes Intro Fours Intro Fives Intro Sixes Intro Sevens Intro Eights Intro Nines Intro Tens Intro

The 78 Cards – Detailed Study Version (Card Description, Keywords, Upright & Reversed Meanings)

The 78 Cards – Shortened Version (Keywords, Upright & Reversed Meanings)

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4 replies »

  1. Hi there…

    Thank you for this great site! It’s very informative and helpful. I noticed that there is an error however; When I clicked on the 2 of pentacles, it gives me the information on the 3 of pentacles instead.

    Thanks again for creating this site. ..)



    • Hi Kissy,

      Thanks for your lovely comments. Yes, I have gone and checked and I found that the link for two of pentacles at the bottom of the pages leads to the Three of Pentacles. I have gone and sorted this now so it should be fine. That is unless you found the problem elsewhere other than the end of the page?




  2. i have visited many tarot card interpretation sites and i have to say that yours is by far the most detailed and thorough. you must be a virgo. really impressive work so thank you for this plethora of information..


    • Hi Osessica,

      No, not a Virgo but a Taurean and still have much work to do. Life is busy with a move and family wedding in the coming weeks. Also will be moving my site to a new one which is a little more modern looking so busy, busy, busy. Taking me away from writing but I will be back at it very soon. Thank you for your lovely comment.




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