The Three of Pentacles reversed offers a practical message that, at its heart, is one of the simpler to interpret. This is a card about your work, most often about career, but also your “work” in other areas of your life. Someone or something isn’t pulling its weight, and your work is suffering for it. Finding the logjam that’s attracted this card can take some doing if your question isn’t specific, but this is not one of the more difficult cards to work with. It is one of those cards that you can’t ignore because it points to an inability to move forward in whatever your concerns are.
The Team of Threes and Pentacles
Threes are the team number — while a team can certainly have only two people, adding a third increases the level of cooperation needed between all involved to ensure no one ends up the odd person out. You can’t exclude a person from the team without creating imbalance. Pentacles are the practical, material card and often include work among their domains. It’s no coincidence that the Pentacles are sometimes called Coins. However, note that practicality and material needs apply to more than just your career. Your relationship has a practical teamwork aspect to it (there’s a reason the word “partner” is used for both romantic and business relationships) as you work on not aggravating or ignoring each other.
The Three of Pentacles is about teams and work and how you interact with others and they interact with you to get things done.The Eight of Pentacles is related but is more about skills and developing talents; the Three of Pentacles is all about your daily life at the office or on the worksite. You have to work with your co-workers to get everything done. Even if you’re a freelancer who works from home alone, you still form a team with your clients. You also form a team with your freelancer colleagues and even with other people in your household. After all, it’s their cooperation with you regarding noise and leaving you alone that helps you get your work done.
The Reverse of a Team
When reversed, this card has a number of interpretations, but they can all be boiled down to a breakdown of the team. The logjam in the flow of cooperation could be you, your partners, or other factors, but at some point, someone or something is interfering with that effort.
One option is that there is a straight block. Your company’s product isn’t popular due to bad marketing, a bad economy, or simply a lack of understanding of what your intended customers need; the “team” that your company forms with the economy, for example, isn’t leading you to the sales you’d hoped for. Maybe your co-workers are not really into their work — or maybe you’re the one that needs to up your game.
Your team could be excessively competitive to the point of blocking other members’ efforts to contribute. Maybe it’s time for the team to break up because it’s no longer effective, and it’s time for the members to find new teams. Maybe your work has been ignored and your team won’t listen to you, or you and your co-workers are good, but your manager isn’t. This card can show up in a relationship spread, too, when one partner is bored or seems at-odds with the other. Or your families aren’t supportive of your relationship.
The point is that you need to look at what aspects could be the team and what could be forcing the team apart as it tries to reach its goals. Think of the clueless management you see in so many companies that aggravates its workers and gets little done (or at least, little compared to what could be done if management would only wise up). Or, think of the rogue Human Resources manager who, instead of helping the employees through a problem, sides with management and makes it harder for the employees to thrive at work.
Technically, any aspect of your life could be considered to have some “work” in it. Schoolwork, yard work, the team you form with a personal trainer or spin class instructor, the team you form with even your city’s public works’ division to keep your neighborhood in good order — they’re all teams. That makes interpretations take a bit longer if the topic of the question isn’t clear, but you can find out what’s going on. If you ask about a specific work issue, then you know the card refers to work. If you ask about how the next month will go for you, you may have to do follow-up spreads to narrow down what the Three of Pentacles reversed is referring to.
Interpretation based on the card’s location in the spread is pretty clear-cut. Is the card in a position representing your actions? Then you know you might be the one who needs to start cooperating. Is it an outcome card? Then you know that something happening now will lead to a breakdown in how one of the teams in your life functions.
Because this card can be so closely tied to an aspect of your life that affects you personally (because even your job affects you very personally), you can be so close to the question that it becomes difficult to see a clear answer. A professional reading can give you a different perspective.
The Three of Pentacles reversed isn’t a bad card, but it is one you have to listen to. If you ignore it, the situation could get much worse and throw up some real blocks that prevent you from moving forward. And one more thing: This is the work card, which holds a clue as to how to respond — professionally. Keep calm and and professional as you address the situation.