From a psychological standpoint, what is the function of fantasy?
Often times, it is to take us away from the present moment and to facilitate avoidance of something we’d rather not deal with. Commitment, on the other hand, requires that we step up into our higher visions and ultimately this means that we face the things that scare us.
When the Knight of Cups appears, there is a need to check the balance between fantasy and reality. It’s important to have some of this kind of energy, for it brings forth innovation, creativity and calls in the spark that brings new ideas to life. But when out of balance, as we see here with this combination of cards, there is an escapist quality to the daydreaming that represents a road block to making real progress.
The Five of Pentacles represents things like hardship, scarcity, poverty and lack and so combined with the Knight of Cups we see that the dreaming and scheming is functioning as a way of blocking out these less than desirable states and the feelings associated with them.
There are so many possibilities that this card may represent—everything from fear of failure, fear of not having enough, fear of realizing one’s inadequacy, fear of being cast out of one’s community or family, and the list goes on.
Ultimately, you’re being asked to examine something unpleasant that is blocking your ability to take the steps needed to move forward in a valued direction. Whatever that is needs to be dealt with before you can begin to make real moves toward what it is that you want. Creativity is not a problem for you, nor is innovation. There is simply a road block that must be acknowledged and dealt with. Which is totally normal, by the way.
You can only exercise your power and freedom when you are aware of why you do the things you do. Otherwise, you are not really free at all; you are being driven by something that lies beneath your cognitive awareness. Until you seek and unearth this force, it will continue to enslave you. In fact, this is what the work of the tarot is all about.
The Knight of Cups has a tendency to come up with many ideas and not follow through. Is this happening for you? And if so, the investigation called for by the Five of Pentacles is especially needed. Do not waste another day in fantasy world. Take a closer look at the ideas and beliefs you carry—many of which are likely hidden below the surface of your day-to-day consciousness.
Without action and a commitment to work toward what it is that you want, the inherent value of dreams and imagination become questionable. Take this time to really examine what may be holding you back from making the first step toward the life you’d like to be living. Keep in mind that there’s a Full Moon coming, so your release of these unconscious blocks will be timely and energetically supported.
Having washed these blocks with the light of your consciousness and compassionate awareness, the Eight of Pentacles prescribes the next step. The work ahead of you is the opposite of the lofty dreams of the Knight of Cups. Instead, it is about the inherent value of the work itself; the often mundane, day-to-day tasks that go into building something great.
The Knight of Cups, afraid to commit, loathes the idea of the small, unromantic and unglamorous steps that go into materializing his great visions. But a more mature approach encourages focus on finding joy in the small things, recalling what it is about your craft that truly calls to and engages you.
Too much focus on the outcomes—which tend to be more ego-driven than values-driven—will often lead to frustration and burnout. While vision is important, many of the great spiritual traditions teach that work will not bear fruit if one thinks only of the long term. It is also through the mundane, day-to-day work that one gains mastery and skill in his or her chosen craft.
Approached this way, small steps become inherently rewarding, and the value of the work is not lost in an imbalanced focus on predetermined outcomes.