Owning a garden can be a fantastic hobby – it produces useful food to consume, beautiful plants to look at, and is fulfilling to boot. Why is it so fulfilling? Because there are few things in life that have direct input and output. With a garden, the amount of time, effort, energy, and resources you put into it, the more you'll get out of it. And when it's time to harvest your bounty, there's a fantastic sensation of being fulfilled that follows you all around your day. And the first time you eat something from your own garden? Pure bliss.
Before us we see a young man wielding a hoe, clearly having spent his past few hours and days (as well as months) tending to his garden. The garden itself is now ripe and ready for harvesting – growing are large leaves as big as the man's head, and shining pentacles (assumed to be the fruits). The man is leaning wistfully on his hoe, trying to see if there are any more weeds to pull or imperfections to be fixed. He seems, however, to have found nothing – there is nothing wrong with his garden at all, only the glistening fruit of his labors.
Indeed, the Seven of Pentacles is all about receiving the fruits of your labor. If you've been working long and hard at something, now is the time you'll finally start seeing some results. If you pull this card, chances are you know what you've been working on – whether it's a large physical project, a small personal project, or even simply a project to better refine and define your personal self... you'll start seeing some real benefits coming out of it quite soon.
This card may be asking you to stop, reflect, and take time to see how far you've come. Sometimes we don't know how much work we've done because of how much work we do constantly – we are plowing ahead at such a constant rate that we don't have time to look behind to see what we've done. The Seven of Pentacles is asking you to take that time now. Stop for a bit, look around, and compare where you are now to where you were a year ago. See the difference?
Lastly, this card tells you to start appreciating your own work. Very often, even when we look back with the intent of seeing how far we've come, we are blinded to our progress due to our own negative thinking. “That's not very impressive,” we say to ourselves, “Other people have gone farther.” Never compare your life to the lives of others – they will never go through the same exact experiences as you, and thus it's useless to compare. Take time to pat yourself on the back, and really appreciate what it is you've gone through to get where you are now. Try writing down a list of things you've done over the past year – it may surprise you.
Here are some things to ask yourself when you see this card in your readings. What do you consider to be your own personal garden – your project, hobby, or other pastime? How far have you come in your goals and achievements? Can you take time to pat yourself on the back? Can you trace what you've done between last year and now? Can you allow yourself to feel proud for getting this far? What fruits of your labor can you (or have you) reaped lately?
Two cards that have a lot in common with the Seven of Pentacles are the Empress and the Four of Swords. The Empress talks of luxury, of having enough to be quite comfortable, and of (literally or figuratively) bearing fruit – the two cards go quite well hand in hand. The Four of Swords speaks more to taking a rest, just as the Seven of Pentacles ask you to do. Both cards request that you dwell on your thoughts a while in order to reach clarity.