The Eight of Pentacles is the 8th tarot card in the Minor Arcana suit of Pentacles and depicts a craftsperson hard at work, fully absorbed in the task of honing his craft. This card symbolizes the dedication needed to turn one’s talents and skills into true mastery and the importance of attending to the details that eventually add up to a larger vision

The Eight of Pentacles is associated with the element of earth and the first decan of the astrological zodiac sign Virgo (0-9 degrees), which is ruled by the Sun. The sign of Virgo is related to the ancient myth of the Vestal Virgins—unmarried women who were responsible for tending the temple’s hearth and keeping the sacred flames alight at all times. In this way, Virgo is associated with dedication to a larger principle or cause and a meditative approach to repetitive or labor-intensive tasks.

Where the key meanings of the Major Arcana focus on life’s overarching themes and events, Minor Arcana cards like the Eight of Pentacles explore and reveal the more subtle changes impacting one’s day-to-day life and near future. The Eight of Pentacles also bears similarities with its sibling cards the Eight of Cups, Eight of Wands, and Eight of Swords, in that all four deal with themes of action and growth.

Eight of Pentacles Keywords

Upright Keywords

Reversed Keywords

honing one’s craft, hard work, achievement through focused effort, behind-the-scenes work

perfectionism, overly focused on details, rigidity, need to take a break 

Description of the Eight of Pentacles Tarot Card

The Seven of Pentacles depicted a weary farmer who was disappointed with his harvest, wondering if he would ever see the rewards for his hard work. In the Eight, we see a newfound resolve to apply himself to the task at hand and put in the hard work behind the scenes that is necessary to reap rewards down the line.

In the Rider Waite Smith tarot deck, a craftsperson sits at his workbench, intently focused on the task at hand. The young man holds a chisel in one hand and a hammer in the other as he carves yet another pentacle. He’s busily engaged in the process of channeling his creative passion into tangible form and knows that he must perfect the details in order to create the larger gestalt that will belie all the labor that went into it. This same theme of focused attention and introspection can be found in The Hermit card.

The stacking of the pentacles along the wooden beam implies that he’s willing to repeat this process ad infinitum until he’s reached a place of satisfaction. While the pentacles may appear identical at first glance, he sees the differences and the imperfections in each one, which motivates him to keep working and improving his process.

Eight of Pentacles Upright Meaning

The Eight of Pentacles suggests that you’re in the process of developing your talents and skills to become a master of your craft or field. It is an encouragement to apply yourself through focused effort, dedication, and hard work. This process may feel repetitive, mundane, or grueling at times, but it is necessary preparatory work for the larger goal you’re working toward.

The Eight of Pentacles upright invites you to consider the ways you can take your work to the next level through further education or apprenticeship. By finding others who can serve as mentors or guides, you can expand your vision of what’s possible and learn valuable ways of working and thinking like a master of your field.

This card invites you to take a mindful approach to your daily work and tasks; however big or small they may be. Whether it’s housework, gardening, or refining your manuscript, the Eight of Pentacles encourages attention to detail and the willingness to look for and appreciate the small moments of beauty and perfection in everyday life.

Love and Relationships (Upright Meaning)

In the upright position of a love tarot reading, the Eight of Pentacles suggests that you’re engaged in the work of self-improvement and are reflecting on your habits and patterns in order to develop your capacity to be in healthy relationships. This process may feel difficult, emotionally tiring, or repetitive, but it can be an important part of your developmental process, which leads to greater emotional maturity.

The Eight of Pentacles upright can also indicate that you’re engaged in the process of emotional labor within your partnership or love life. You may be working to understand the issues between you on a granular level and find yourselves re-hashing the same conversation in an effort to arrive at a resolution. If the focus of the relationship is solely on the work required to maintain it, this card may suggest the need to cultivate moments of fun, relaxation, and enjoyment together.

Love/relationships upright keywords

Career/finance upright keywords

self-improvement, developing emotional maturity, re-hashing issues, hard work of relationships

polishing and streamlining work, competency, and integrity; laying foundations; appreciating the process 

Career and Finance (Upright Meaning)

The upright Eight of Pentacles symbolizes dedicated effort toward streamlining and polishing your work. It encourages you to eschew laziness and apply focused, hard work in order to perfect your craft. Although this work may feel tedious, it is important to stay focused as you’re building toward something larger. Through your commitment to developing competency and integrity in your work, you’re laying the foundation for a bigger vision to emerge.

This card also encourages you to find beauty and enjoyment in the process of honing your own business or craftsmanship, or building up new skill sets. Although you may have a bigger vision in mind, it’s important to appreciate the journey of getting there and to celebrate the ways that you’re growing and evolving your well-being along the way. Taking pride and finding satisfaction in the smaller details is part of the larger process.

Eight of Pentacles Reversed Meaning

The Eight of Pentacles in the reversed position may suggest that you’ve lost sight of the forest for the trees: in the process of developing and honing your skills, you’ve become so focused on the details that you’ve lost sight of the bigger picture. You could be a workaholic who is spending too much energy on small tasks and would benefit from taking a wider perspective on your overall goal to recalibrate your focus.

You may find that your progress toward a larger goal has become slowed or stagnant and suffered a lack of quality, perhaps because you’ve become too rigid in your thinking and are doggedly fixated on taking one certain approach. If you’re driven by materialistic perfectionism or stubborn adherence to one method, this could be fostering mediocrity by working against your progress and growth.

The reversed Eight of Pentacles may also signify that you’re tired and worn down by repetitive tasks and may have lost sight of why you’re doing this work in the first place. You could benefit from taking a break to refuel your energy and motivation and reassess your direction, or from jumping into a new and exciting self-employed venture. If your work feels like drudgery and obligation, you may benefit from reconsidering your path.

Love and Relationships (Reversed Meaning)

In the reverse position of a love & relationships tarot reading, the Eight of Pentacles may suggest that your attitude toward your relationship is one of obligation, duty, and resentment. You may feel that the work required to maintain it feels tedious and grinding and that it is emotionally wearing you down. This card asks you to reflect on your feelings of obligation and consider whether it is worth your time and energy to continue overspending your emotions.

The Eight of Pentacles reversed can also symbolize that you’ve become overly rigid in your approach to relationships. Do you have a preconceived idea of exactly how each relationship should look and function, and are you approaching them with perfectionistic ideals? This card asks you to consider if you’re approaching relationships from an overly critical attitude and if this tendency is giving you a bad reputation or distancing you from the connection you desire.

Love/relationships reversed keywords

Career/finance reversed keywords

feeling of obligation towards a relationship, emotionally worn down, overly rigid approach to relationships, perfectionistic tendencies

feeling disconnected from work, burnt out, need for rest and relaxation

Career and Finance (Reversed Meaning)

The Eight of Pentacles reversed may signify that you’ve grown bored with your work, even if it’s a new job, and that you no longer feel a sense of meaning or purpose tied to it. If your work has become tedious and draining or if you’ve lost sight of the larger goal, you may benefit from reconsidering your chosen path or position.

The reversed Eight of Pentacles can also indicate that you’re feeling burnt out and worn down by the demands of your work. You may be suffering from a lack of ambition or energy and would benefit from taking a break to recharge and refuel your energy. You may be so focused on getting to the finish line that you’ve neglected your need for rest and relaxation.