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Seven of Pentacles

The Lord of Failure

Pentacles, 07

Saturn in Leo. The card depicts the graffiti image of a man performing hard manual labour with a pick. He is stooped and his whole body has become one wave of continuous, tired movement after another: like so many middle-class, immigrant kids, I grew up with the idea that "failure" was equivalent to "manual labour".

The wall is harsh and unforgiving, like life itself can be. We can see the hot morning sun reflected on the rough, abrasive stone face of the wall. It'll be a long day, as long, as hot and as backbreaking as every day.

I have chosen to depict the man as a piece of graffiti to highlight the very anonimity of his being. He is just another faceless worker that no-one would look at twice (Why do they always SAY that? WHO wouldn't look at him twice, BTW? I'm sure his wife and kids would).

I also chose to depict the card in this way because I'm a bit old fashioned (or romantic or whatever) and like to think of graffiti as the principal means of expression of the down-trodden. It's such an anonymous, silent, EPHEMERAL form of protest. It gets covered over, painted over, just like the working-men usually do. But it's a chance to be heard, to prove that SOMEONE out there (maybe everyone of us) is as intelligent and as perceptive as the ruling class, if not as fortunate.

It's also undeniable that there is a dignity to work, and to earning one's rewards, which is what the man in the card is doing. In life, nothing worthwhile comes easily and often, we have no choice but to persevere. The results might not come as soon as expected or as easily as we'd like, but that is certainly no reason to quit.


Ambition constrained by circumstances, perhaps a promotion or some other material success has been delayed or put back to another day. Success will be eventually come, but only through daily perseverance.


A lack of easy victories leads to confusion and false starts. Too much energy being spread out on too many airy fairy projects.