Values, a Feminine Economy, & Nine of Pentacles

You are never not supported by the earth
— Jennifer Armbrust
 

Even the ocean is supported by the earth. 

Everything on earth is supported by the earth, even when we forget, even when we don’t want to remember. 

After leaving Teal Swan’s Melbourne Synchronisation Workshop with a whirlwind of thoughts and emotions, I pulled the Nine of Pentacles as the answer to my question “where am I now?” Feeling much more aligned with risk taking and believing in myself not just as a tarot reader and provider of spiritual consult but also as a small business owner, the Nine of Pentacles was a complete affirmation of my subconscious aligning with my conscious.

 L-R: Next World Tarot, After Tarot, Collective Tarot, Morgan Greer

L-R: Next World Tarot, After Tarot, Collective Tarot, Morgan Greer

The Nine of Pentacles gives us the opportunity to look at the tangible effects of our hard work. We can see the wealth, whether in the form of money, security, connections, thriving business, self confidence, a stocked pantry, new clothes. Nine of Pentacles in any deck often gives us a visual of satisfaction and strength, one’s hard work has truly paid off. In the Morgan Greer deck, our Nine of Pentacles has a person adorned in wealth: clothing, jewels, purple, food, it all feels lavish, it all feels innately empowering. 

It’s interesting that in most decks with humans, the Nine of Pentacles is portrayed by a feminine presenting figure, perhaps this figure is a woman, but regardless of gender, there is a feeling of femininity and feminine essence. This is really incredible because the wealth of the card is shown through the lens of the feminine when most often our patriarchal society shows us wealth through the lens of toxic masculine (I specify that it’s ‘toxic’ because masculine is not the problem, but toxic masculine is). 

The more time I spend with the Nine of Pentacles the more I realise the way I’ve formatted my values has not been conscious, in fact, my values around money and security when examined closely were mirrors of toxic masculinity! It was this huge breakthrough moment for me when I realised. My personal values align with the feminine: connection, vulnerability, empathy, intuition to name a few, but my “values” regarding money have been locked into how I’ve been taught to look at business and career: take, conquer, compete, don’t feel just do, produce, produce, produce. Not only are these outdated values, but they are toxic and complicit in the burnout, break down and disenfranchisement of so many people. 

It was upon finding Jennifer Armbrust's work of “Proposals for the Feminine Economy” and her list of 12 Principles that I felt this surge of happiness, this feeling of understanding, essentially a light bulb moment. I realised the missing piece, the piece that was causing me to feel misaligned with the joy and empowerment of the Nine of Pentacles: lack of the feminine. 

The question I had to ask myself was how do I take my personal values, aligned with the feminine, and merge those values with how I work and build business?

A big thing that came up for me was that I had been structurally separating work and life. The phrase “work/life balance” had become present in my life as I expanded Soul Contract Tarot into a full business as opposed to a side project. I’d never had to do something like this before; all of my previous jobs were ones I could leave behind when I clocked out making the work/life balance the default, but now I really have to look at how to set boundaries with myself around overworking. 

The system set up says that work has to be separate from life implying that work cannot be fun, fulfilling, easy or restful. There are a lot of systems in place that prevent people from being in lines of work that can actually be merged with these aspects, it’s part of the core of our white supremacist, capitalist society. For those of us who do have the ability to merge work and life, the first essential thing to do is consciously look at our values. 

If I value play and vulnerability in my personal life, I’m in a state of opposition when I don’t allow for play and vulnerability in my work life. If I value empathy and collaboration but I isolate from others in my work life, I’m in a state of opposition. Looking at ways to integrate personal values and work/career values isn’t only for small business owners with offerings of tarot consult, the integration of our personal values into the workplace can happen in office jobs, trade jobs, academic jobs, customer service jobs. The opposition is like saying I don’t tolerate racist behaviour in my personal life but I have to keep work/life separate so racism is fine at work. 

This is the moment to integrate. Gather up your personal values, write them out, be honest, be raw. Gather up your work values, which as it turns out, you might need to be even more honest and raw about. Then look at ways to merge, look at outdated beliefs, look at values that might not be yours but were passed down from family members or from observations and internalisations of society. 

Jennifer Armbrust’s third principle is "Integrate! Gather all your parts. Reclaim the pieces you have lost or forgotten. Forgive yourself. Come home to Your body. Own your skills, talents & abilities. Step into wholeness."

 
 My non-exhaustive list of values, 2018

My non-exhaustive list of values, 2018

Copy of Desires __ Values.png

My biggest critique of Armbrust’s work is that the masculine is referred to simply as “masculine” as if it were the issue — it’s not. The toxic masculine is what we’re actually referring to when we see the devastations that have been done through patriarchal systems. It’s important that we do not demonise masculinity because the masculine is part of all of us, it’s just been tarnished from being smeared with capitalist ideologies. 

To engage in social transformation, we need to look at our values. If we subconsciously hold onto a particular value it's hard to emerge into a state of wholeness where actual change can happen.

If you notice on my list of values I have "money" listed. It almost seems strange to see words like "feelings", "depth", "flux", and then "money", I'll be transparent: money was the strangest thing to incorporate and it was the last word on the list before I randomised it, but if I had left out "money" I would have left out one of my core values. 

At first, there was shame: why and how can I value money? But when we think about it, money isn't the issue, money has never been the issue - the abuse of power behind money is the issue. The imbalance of spreading resources, the funnelling of money into the pockets of people who are already rich, the use of money as systemic leverage to oppression - now that's a problem. Money is energy, money flows in and out. There is actually enough money to go around, it's just lumped in the bank accounts of the already rich and used to support militarization rather than, oh I don't know - people? Like I said, it's the power behind money that's the issue. The ideology of bootstraps and who is "deserving", those are problems. 

So yes, I value flows of energy and one type of energy is money. I am real about that because if I weren't, then I would 1. be abandoning subconscious values and 2. be writing a post about values without including a major one. It's what we do with our money that matters, it's what we do with our values that matter, it's also understanding that wealth, abundance, prosperity do not necessarily = money. 

Armbrust is inviting us to engage with a new type of economy, a type of economy that processes feelings, that holds space for people have different and complicated values, an economy where redistribution is possible because it's a value to give and receive. The feminine economy gives us the ability to embody our values in all aspects of our lives, the Nine of Pentacles is thriving in this concept. 

"5. Thriving economically while living your values is deeply disruptive to the current social and economic order."

 
 Jennifer Armbrust's Proposal for a Feminine Economy 

Jennifer Armbrust's Proposal for a Feminine Economy 

 

*cover photo by Emre Gencer via Unsplash