Intelligence and skill applied to work. Apprenticeship. Craftsmanship.
The image shows a man carefully concentrates on his craft; he’s completely absorbed in his work. This card may be telling you to concentrate on your craft or work; to put aside all other distractions and focus on perfecting your work.
Apply all of your mind and skill to the task in hand.
The Eight of Pentacles indicates work, industriousness, employment, and apprenticeship in general. There’s a feeling of the intelligence and skill that he puts into perfecting his work. You may need to do the same. Turn off the internet, forget social media, and focus on the important tasks you wish to complete; then, like the craftsman in the image, complete your tasks one at a time.
This card can indicate any of the above qualities. It’s also literally the card of skill in craft and business.
The work indicated in the Eight of Pentacles can be of any sort, and can include cultivation of land, too.
You may be learning some skill or craft; perhaps you’re considering some other form of education.
One of the traditional meanings of this card is prudence, being careful or cautious.
The Eight of Pentacles reversed can show a lack of ambition or enterprise. Sometimes it shows greed, or a wish to gain something for nothing.
Any of the opposites to the upright card can apply.
But, as always with reversed cards, there are other equally valid readings. And it’s also important to read the card in relation to the other cards drawn.
In the reversed position, the meaning can also be the same as the upright, but with lessened effect because of some sort of blockage (internal or external).
Another common reading is that it shows an internalisation of the energy of the upright meaning. Perhaps plans to educate yourself are only that—plans—and they still need to be brought to fruition.
The Eight of Pentacles shows a man focussed on his craft of making pentacles. The town is in the distance but doesn’t disturb him. He sits on his bench, completely absorbed in his work. The pentacles he’s completed are attached to a door or tree beside him.
Both the Wild Unknown and the Shadowscapes Tarot show spider’s webs, indicating the hard work the spider makes perfecting its web; something that will be of great benefit later.
The Animal Totem Tarot shows a mountain goat high on the mountain, again showing the hard work aspect of this card.
Astrologically, the Eight of Pentacles represents the Sun in Virgo.
Its esoteric title is Lord of Prudence.