FIVE OF COINS you will die

Placement: The Minor Arcana

Description: It’s snowing. Two people in torn clothing, one with crutches and one with bare feet hobble past a church. The light is on in the window but no one is inviting them in. The five pentacle coins, in case you were wondering, form the design on the church’s stain glass window. Many older versions, such as the card in the feature image above, appear to contain no people or churches or windows or crutches or even snow. This is not accurate, of course. They are invisible.


Right side up:

This card is grim, atrociously grim. Five of Coins is Dickensian without the occasional lucky coincidence. It’s the hole in your purse that empties into the parallel universe populated entirely by dryer socks. It’s the word DOOM spelled out in wooden nickels.

Fives in tarot often refer to struggle and disappointment (as well as a striving for balance, but what card in the Minor Arcana, and half the Major Arcana, is not about balance in some way). Coins represent earthly comforts, money included. In this case, its absence.

A more positive way of interpreting this card is characterized by the song “I Got Plenty o’Nuttin’”, a delightful little ditty from Porgy and Bess, detailing the joys of being poor and black, written by white millionaires. The word “positive” here may be a slight exaggeration.


Upside down:

Your financial circumstances and physical comforts may begin to improve.

I hope and pray to find Five of Coins reversed in my daily tarot readings but it has not appeared. I and most of the S.A.U.C.E. board of directors are currently living out of a used ice cream truck. The switch that activates the truck’s iconic melodic chime (in this case the classic children’s song “Where Is My Mind?”) is perpetually stuck in the “on” position. Crystal Balque finished the last of the strawberry soft serve. We have nothing left but half a batch of vanilla, butterscotch topping under a layer of dry crust, and a single maraschino cherry that reeks of cheap vodka.


Classic Five of Coins deaths:

  • Exposure to the elements
  • Poisoned instant ramen noodles
  • Whatever Tiny Tim was meant to have
  • Scratch-ticket gunk inhalation