Some people find the Knight of Pentacles (or Knight of Coins as he was known prior to the Rider Waite Smith “RWS” system of Tarot) slightly boring. Compared to the dynamic Knights of the other three tarot suits, he can certainly seem less exciting. However, we have always been rather fond of this careful but conscientious character. In our design work in the past, we have worked to show his various aspects – from the positive planner to his more negative tendency to get depressed and “stuck” in inaction.
In our Alice Tarot, the White Knight (from Alice Through the Looking Glass), who loads up his horse with everything that could be required for every eventuality he can think of, makes a Knight of Coins who thinks ahead and doesn’t take a risk.
The figure in The Bohemian Gothic Tarot is much less friendly – appropriately for the deck, the images is of a headless horseman riding through a gloomy hall hung with trophies. Perhaps he was once a man of action, but now he is a ghostly figure, constrained until he can find a way to be free of his entrapment.
The Knight of Pentacles in The Bohemian Cats' Theatre Tarot
In the new Bohemian Cats’ Theatre Tarot, there is a nod to both the potentially good and bad aspects of this Knight. While we’ve planned dynamic, rearing horses for the other three knights in the deck, we wanted to emphasise that the Knight of Pentacles is very different – he is careful and (no pun intended!) rather dogged in his approach to action. So we show him on a hobbyhorse – a safe ride but one that is never going to get him anywhere in a hurry.
We also designed the surrounding theatre set to imply that he is hemmed in by the looming stone archways but has a way out. Behind him we can see a road leading off into a misty and mountainous far distance. Will he take a chance and go down that path? He looks thoughtful and perhaps even worried. For now, he is turned away from the alluring roadway.
In general then, this tarot Court will never rush into things and can seem a little overly cautious. However, he is effective and in many ways epitomises the saying, “slow and steady wins the race”. He can take a risk, but not until he is completely sure that the resulting gains will be worth it.