The Four of Pentacles reminds me that the gifts of the zodiac signs can also be burdens. The Earth signs of Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn are known for their conscientiousness, frugality, and practicality. The Shadow side of these are grasping, miserliness, and stubbornness. The rich soil freezes and becomes rocky.
The Four of Pentacles illustrates this Earthy problem. Four, a number of stability and luck, turns sour with both Cups and Coins. Let's take a look, shall we?
The symbolism of Barbara G. Walker's Four of Pentacles also includes high, gray walls. The door to the fortress is tiny. This is an exclusive club. There are no windows, except for the tiny holes lining the top. The warm, giving nurturing of earth has turned into fallow stoniness and infertility--the grass is brown and the trees are dead. It's ironic that this fortress was built to protect the green leaves of money, and yet, how does someone living in that fortress eat? The person carrying the golden sack is bent under his burden, struggling up the well-worn, sharp-angled path to the tiny door.
As seen on this card, the Four of Pentacles can signify being overworked and under loved. It can indicate sleepless nights and crappy food while slaving in a cubicle. The imagination and senses starve.
To be fair, that fort would be the safest place to be during the zombie apocalypse.
Reversed, the Four of Cups can indicate that the questioner is being a little too free with her money. The Four of Pentacles may not necessarily apply to money--it may mean that a person is being too stingy (or too free, as the case may be) with his or her time, talents, and goodwill. There is a feeling of boundaries in this card. It calls on the questioner to ask which boundaries are too open, which are too closed, and find a balance, like the perfect square the four represents.
the conspicuous consumer
Aesop's Dog in the Manger
corrupt CEO types