10 of Pentacles – Foundation

In the last numbered card in the suit of Pentacles, an old man sits by the entrance of town, calmly petting a dog. A happy couple talks underneath the archway leading into town and their young son stands besides them, petting the tail of another dog. Ten pentacles are superimposed onto the image in the pattern of the Qabalistic tree of life.

At first glance, this card may appear to be describing a happy family, but this card is not about happiness. Rather, the intergenerational image is used to describe family as a function of society. Ideally, family serves the individual as the source of comfort, provision and values.

The old man in the card rests comfortably because he knows that he has worked hard to provide for his family and has created a secure foundation for future generations. In this sense, he has provided them with wealth. If he has also taught them the value of hard work and they, in turn, pass that down to their children, then he will have provided for future generations even after he is gone.

The 10 of Pentacles, is above all else, a card about security. This security is the result of a carefully built foundation. When associated with material wealth, it is about carefully planning one’s finances with foresight (instead of focusing on short term gains) or the returns of carefully accumulated wealth. When it is about family, it can speak to marriage, family structure and the cultures and traditions inherited from family. In both situations, the underlying theme is the creation of a foundation that enables future success.

When this card shows up in a reading, it can mean that we’re reaping the fruits of our labours or that we can comfortably provide and care for others. It can also mean that we have a wealth of material and emotional resources that we can draw upon.

However, we must also be careful that we do not let the energy of this card be taken to its extreme. Too much structure can lead to restriction and stiffling of freedom and creativity. We can become comfortably unhappy and too complacent to pursue true happiness.


Hexagram 37 – Family

Wind above Fire creates the image of the smoke and warmth emerging from the fire of a hearth, which is the centre of a home. This is the image of Family.

An ideal family is one in which each member is aware and dutifully fulfill his or her role. The heads of the household provides leadership, authority, security and nurture. Other members participate to maintain health and harmony. There is respect for each other and understanding that each role is important in its own way.

The family unit is the cornerstone of society. When the family unit functions well, its members go on to become productive members of society. Entire communities benefit from healthy families.

Nine on line 1:

Setting up clear rules and boundaries for everyone to follow will reduce occasions for regret. Once guidelines are put into place, they must be enforced.

Six on line 2:

Whether our duties are great or small, we must faithfully attend to them. By not focusing on grand aspirations but carefully minding daily needs, we nurture the group and provide a sound and secure environment. These seemingly menial tasks lays the foundation for greatness.

Nine on line 3:

Arguments are not ideal but they are beneficial if they stem from the desire to improve and iron out conflicts. A household arguing productively is better than a household filled with pleasant but idle chatter that leads to complacency and reduction of productivity.

Six on line 4:

In a well run household, everyone benefits one another.

Nine on line 5:

Even a king has occasions to withdraw into his family. A supportive home is where we retreat and refrain from the stresses of the outside world.

Nine on line 6:

Having a solid foundation in the home, we can confidently go out into the world. When we are provided with the proper nurture and education at home, we know how to act nobly and, thus, command trust and respect.



No one is entirely self-made. We all began as helpless infants who required care from others. While it is ultimately our own efforts that create our successes or failures, those who were given adequate food and shelter, proper education, and love and respect will go into the world better armed than the rest.

The most crucial responsibility for every genreation is to provide for the next. We must give our children with the resources that will allow them to surive and teach them the skill sets that will allow them to thrive.