An Enchanting Child: The Page of Cups

To me, the Page (or Princess) of Cups is the Magical Child archetype Caroline Myss speaks about. She’s ethereal, loving, and imaginative.
If the Page/Princess of Cups represents a person (as the Court cards are wont to do), that person will have Water characteristics: intuition, sensitivity, creativity, nurturing, emotional, and loving. Because it is the Page/Princess, this person will probably be a young girl, a child even, though that is not set in stone.

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The Princess of Cups for the Celtic Deck seems fragile and sensitive. She bears a Cup–what that cup might metaphorically hold depends entirely upon your intuition and any surrounding cards–and holds it aloft with a guileless demeanor. What’s interesting about this card, to me, is that the Princess of Cups is clad in gold and red, colors associated with the fiery suit of Wands. I read this to mean that the passion and desire of the Wands are not mutually exclusive with the intuition and nurturing of the Cups. Fire and Water are both very emotional elements, and these opposite elements, metaphorically, marry quite well, just like night and day.
I also love the Impressionistic background on this card. It’s so lush and green.

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The Goddess Deck’s Princess of Cups is sipping from her own Cup. Right now, the message I’m feeling from this card is Jungian–that one’s own subconscious is a limitless resource of inspiration, joy, and/or knowledge. The suit of Cups and Water are aligned with the subconscious.
Kris Waldherr chose the goddess Venus to be the Cup goddess. Cups is the suit for relationships, so the goddess of love was a good choice. Since the Page of Cups is young, the kind of love this card speaks of is first time love, or a freshly blooming love. If reversed, this love may be a little immature, a crushing infatuation or an inconsequential crush.
The lavender of Venus’ gown is a soft, healing color. Mixed with water, it becomes a cleansing tea. It’s threaded with innocent white and intuitive silver. The hopeful innocence and imagination of the Cups is very healing.

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Barbara G. Walker’s Princess of Cups is Elaine of Arthurian fame. She wears the snow white associated with purity. Her robe and cup are red to signify the power of menstrual blood and the womb as are the two crescent moons on the pillars. The cauldron is a symbol of regeneration, rebirth and immortality. The upside down triangle that pins Elaine’s cloak is also a symbol of rebirth and the womb. The interesting scene on the cauldron is a depiction of a sacrifice and apotheosis (being made into a deity) (Barbara Walker Tarot, 23). The image also reminds me of Achilles being dipped into the River Styx by Thetis to gain immortality–though it’s certainly not an exact likeness. The water sign Pisces is the sign of martyrdom and sacrifice, so it’s no wonder that my most esoteric deck uses the Cups to show the theme.
Elaine also looks like an initiate into a great mystery. Mysteries and spirituality are very Watery areas, as seen in Pisces (the sign of mystics) and Scorpio (the sign of Hecate and the Phoenix), so it’s another apropos subject for the Watery Cups to drop.

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Robin Wood’s Page of Cups is an artist–she has a palette hanging from her belt. Making art is about perception. What does she see coming out of her cup? What do you see? Is it a bird, or a fish?
Although she is young, the Page of Cups is quite intuitive. She is also resilient and adaptive, like the lotuses on the hem of her skirt and sleeve. Lotuses grow out of disgusting muck, and balanced people can take emotional mayhem and make it into something lovely, like a poem, or at least something useful, like a life lesson.
Page of Cups people have a soft, nurturing moon-like glow. They are gentle and sensitive, yet very strong and self-assured when they are feeling happy and secure. The Page of Cups gazes confidently at her cup and what is flying out of it–the fish that swims in the subconscious and finds treasure, or the silver bird that soars high and flies far, seeing all the possibilities. Her mouth curves into an assessing smile. She seems to be thinking–what can I make real today? Her imagination is as pure as her heart. Creating is still fun, and feelings, both hers and other people’s, are not scary, but opportunities for learning, helping, and healing.

If you see the upright Page of Cups regarding a situation, it is a good sign, especially if it is regards
People associated with the Page of Cups:
A nurturing child
A playful, creative person
An affectionate, trusting person
Someone who is sensitive and intuitive beyond her years
A person undergoing a spiritual initiation, like First Holy Communion or Confirmation
Children who are Luna, Scorpio, and Pisces

Reversed (Shadowy Pages):
Whiners
People who take themselves way too seriously
People who are throw tantrumy and weepy

Reversed Situations:
A creative block
High anxiety
A loss of empathy
Relying too much on the brain and not enough on emotion when making a decision

Celebration! The Three of Cups

The Three of Cups is a happy card.  Just look at Robin Wood’s card:

You see? Just look at the pink-garbed blonde on the left! She’s thrilled! They all are so happy to see you!

The Three of Cups is all about celebration.  This celebration may be a get-together with friends, a family reunion, a cast party after a great run…anything you can imagine.  While the participants in the joyous occasion may be any gender, this card has a feminine feel to it.

The women are surrounded by green growing things, and flowers and fruit.  This is a time of growth for the questioner, but this is a happy growth.

The three women traditionally associated with this card are the feminine triad of Maiden, Mother, and Crone.

 

Here, Barbara G. Walker shows the three iconic women, and titles the card “Grace.”  The person for whom this card is drawn is graced.  He or she is blessed with contentment, joy, and good company.

 

You may have noticed that both Barbara G. Walker and Robin Wood have drawn a blonde, a brunette, and a redhead.  The blonde symbolizes the Maiden, the redhead the Wife or Mother, and the brunette the Wise Woman.  On a deeper level, this card is one of feminine power–the potential and purity of the Maiden, the fertility of the Wife/Mother, and the experience of the Wise Woman.  By ‘purity’ I don’t mean virginity, but something more like the mindset of the Fool.  Our Maiden here is open, enthusiastic, and curious.  By fertility, I don’t mean necessarily pregnancy, thought that is a possibility, but also the birth of new ideas and creativity.  The Wife/Mother is self-assured. She is the symbolic Wife/Mother of her passions–represented by the color of her hair.  She is generous, a trait that continues with the Wise Woman.  The Wise Woman has dark hair, alluding to her knowledge of mysteries, and her intuition.

The Wise Women is normally seen as an old woman with silver hair.  The Three of Cups shows three young women because this card is associated with new romances, new babies, and weddings (Cups are associated with romantic relationships and family), as well as coming-of-age ceremonies, particularly for young women.

 

 

Kris Waldherr includes an older women with silver hair in her Three of Cups.  This card looks like it could be depicting the young woman’s initiation.  There is a white gown, for purity, pink for love, and purple for royalty.

The Three of Cups for Julian De Burgh’s Celtic deck shows five people, the traditional three and a couple anticipating the birth of their baby. They have gone from the happy couple of the Two of Cups to the family of the Three.

 

Reversed, the Three of Cups may symbolize dashed hopes or disillusionment in the area of romance, a wedding, or the birth of a new baby.  Metaphorically, it could also mean frustration in a creative pursuit. On a less depressing note, it could mean that there will be a postponement or rescheduling in one of these areas. You may have to wait a little longer for that wedding, or the fertility treatments may take longer than you thought. Perhaps that art gallery opening or performance got pushed back.  Ask yourself if this, while frustrating, may actually turn out for the best.

A Dream Come True: King of Cups

The King of Cups, like his wife, represents beauty, poetry, and dreams.  He is the King of the emotional realm, the watery subconscious.  He is romantic and poetic. He is the masculine principle of unconditional love and devotion.

The King of Cups is gentle and empathetic, and, even though the Air signs are known for their communication skills, those strong in Water have their own comforting eloquence–they know what to say, and also when to stay silent.

Dolphins, the playful mammals that live in the sea, represent the King of Cups’ comfort both in the land of reason and in the water of feeling.  The King of Cups is aware that the human imagination and capacity for compassion is limitless, like the ocean itself.

The King is gazing far off, indicating the intuition associated with Water signs.  The King of Cups can see into the future, using his heart (or his gut) as his guide. The watery King does not rely exclusively on his brain.  Because he is so empathetic, he is also pretty good at anticipating what another person may need.  However, because the person in question is a human being, don’t be too hard on them when they don’t!

Robin Wood’s King of Cups is dressed in the same watery yet powerful colors his wife the Queen wears, and the background is colored in pale, soft, colors.  These colors show both the majesty, splendor, and tenderness of the King of Cups.

The King of Cups is a man who is “in touch with his feminine side.” He is nurturing, and has a comforting presence.  As you can see here, on Kris Waldherr’s King of Cups, the King is dressed in the feminine color of lavender; however, the King of Cups should never be thought of as weak.  The people whom this card represents are loyal, strong, and true, and willing to take on anything for the people whom they love. Lavender is a healing, peaceful color, and peace takes power and courage, perhaps a different kind of courage than the more masculine Wands and Swords, but courage nevertheless.  The soft glow that surrounds this King is his true nature, but keep in mind that the Water signs can be intimidating–Lunas have claws, Scorpios have the stinger, and Pisces–well, you’ve heard of barracuda, piranha, and great white sharks.
The King of Cups has a pensive, dreamy quality, which can be seen in the way the King gazes down into his cup. That cup is full of mysteries and wonders of the subconscious, the beauty and power inside every person, and the inner peace accessible to all.
Little side note: the Suit of Cups are sometimes associated with blondes.

The Celtic King of Cups looks concerned, even though he has all the qualities embodied in the King of Cups. This can be a common pitfall of the King of Cups–even though he has all of these loving qualities, and intuition, and imagination, they can be plagued by insecurity and doubt.  Yet, this vulnerability can be a great strength. Openness and exposure is an act of courage.

Barbara G. Walker chose the Welsh god of the sea, Dewi, to be the King of Cups for her deck.  Dewi later became known as Davy Jones, and Saint David (Walker 24).  He is the ruler of all the oceans, the symbol for the subconscious, its mystery, its power, its beauty, and its terrors.  The Welsh god was a protector, like all King of Cups who are balanced and whole, and was a symbol of “ageless power and strength, [and] irresistible forces underlying a calm surface” (Walker 25).  Still waters run deep.
The King of Cups, like all Kings in a tarot deck, typically represents a father figure. The King of Cups is the kind, loving, affectionate, and nurturing father.
When the King of Cups is imbalanced, he can be narcissistic, needy, estranged, or even bipolar.  He can also be emotionally cruel or abandoning.
Archetypes and people associated with the King of Cups
Kind, loving fathers
Artists
Poets
Devoted husbands
The Lover
A Sensitive Man
Priests
Monks
A good therapist
The Romantic
Males born under the Water signs and have a lot of that energy
Work Cited:
Walker, Barbara G.  Barbara Walker Tarot.  Stamford: US Games Systems, Inc. 1986
Like my Emperor post, which was dedicated to my beloved Grandpa, I dedicate this post to my dearest Uncle Tim, who passed away on November 13 (and was a Pisces), and my lovely Uncle Mike, who just celebrated his birthday (and is a Scorpio).

The Queen of the Subconscious: Love, Beauty, Purity, and the Queen of Cups

Cups are the suit of the feminine element of water, and the keywords are love, romance, dreams, the subconscious, empathy, artistic pursuits, and feelings.

 

The Queen of Cups is a person of beauty, kindness, and sensitivity.  Like all the Queens in the tarot suits, she is symbolic of the Mother archetype, with a watery disposition.  The reader’s intuition, the other cards in the spread, as well as the question at hand itself, will give more insight into the role of the Queen in the questioner’s life, whether or not the Queen is a person in the questioner’s life or an aspect of the questioner’s own Self, and whether the influence is positive or negative.

The energy of the Queen of Cups, when balanced, is soft and gentle, yet powerful. This power is one of the Water Mother–all loving and all caring.  This softness is seen in the shades of purple, yellow, and green Mary Guinan chose to illustrate the Queen of Cups in Julian De Burgh’s deck.  The Celtic Cup Queen also is blonde. Cups can be associated with blondes, so if your intuition tells you a blonde is involved, go with it!

I am particularly drawn to the Queen of Cups’ eyes today. The Queen of Cups’ gaze on the Celtic Deck is loving, but direct. She will brook no bullshit. The Queen of Cups, although watery, is not weak. The energy of water, when balanced, is very powerful, very clear, just like the Queen’s eyes.  But belying the directness is mystery. Even a clear lake has mystery–the reflections it gives may give a different impression than what is real, or it may help the viewer see something they have missed.  How appropriate that Water is the element of the subconscious, the mysterious realm inside all of us where answers can be found but are often given as riddles. What is making the Queen of Cups smile this Mona Lisa smile? Is she completely relaxed, or alert? This can be a litmus of the questioner’s emotions–if you see something in a face or a gaze, go with it.

 

Like the Celtic Deck, Kris Waldherr’s goddess (Venus, in this case) is blonde, and dressed in soft cool colors.  Her hair and veil flow like water. Her smile is serene.  The water behind her is placid–but are those mountains or storm clouds in the background? Is there anything churning under the facade of peace?  There may not be.

Venus is fitting for the goddess of the Cups suit because she is the goddess of love and beauty. Cups are concerned with love–romantic love, parent-child love, friend love, sensual love, infatuation, even the love for an art form. Emotional connection is key for the Cups.  Beauty is also important, for Cups also indicate creativity and inspiration, as well as dreaminess.  This isn’t being spacey; it’s tapping into a deep well of ideas and passions. It is connection to a purer part of the self and a higher intuition.  This is the archetypal energy of the Water signs–Luna, Scorpio, and Pisces.

 

Robin Wood’s Queen of Cups is breathtakingly lovely, the picture of romance.  Like the Celtic Queen of Cups, there is a mystery about her–what is in her cup, all covered in a cloth? Whatever it is, the cloth cannot hide the light emanating from it.  That is the Queen of Cups in balance–a light shines out of those with her energy, like the sun or moon shining on the water.  They have an open, generous spirit, and a tranquil wisdom. The deep greens and purples of the Queen’s cloak indicate the depth of the Soul.

The bottom hem of the Queen’s dress is decorated with a scene of children and fish happily cavorting in the waves. Cups can be the suit of childlike joy, as well. Check out the seals in the background. They may look a little like rocks.  They symbolize this joy in being alive, and in delighting in one’s dreams. This is deep, abiding joy.  The seals also symbolize adaptability–they live on the rocks and beaches, but can dive down very deep, bringing up juicy fish. Metaphorically, this is the balanced Cup’s ability to plumb the subconscious and their deeper emotions, and then bring back treasures to “the real world.” Seeing this card in a reading may indicate the questioner has this ability, or knows (or will know) someone who does, who can help them.

 

 

Now I’m going to get all mystical, but since you’re reading a blog about archetypes and tarot and astrology, you have to expect that kind of thing.

I believe in the “still, small voice” that 1 Kings 12 speaks of.  In the Bible, that still, small voice is God. It may be. It may also be our inner voice, our pure, ageless Self.  This Self lives deep within each of us, and it is our highest, greatest, purest Self. It is serene and wise.  When I see the purity of the Virginal Queen of Cups, and the clarity of her crystal goblet, I think of this pure Self.

Is this Queen meditating? What is she visualizing? What voices does she hear? Is she preparing herself for a sacrifice, which she will meet with dignity and selflessness? Because Water is the element of deeper emotions and love, it is often also associated with the concept of selfless sacrifice.

The love this Queen of Cups represents is not gushy or immature (though the Cups certainly can and do represent infatuation, and there is nothing wrong with that. I myself am constantly infatuated with someone or something). It is meant to make the person it is given to become better, and more attuned to the true Self, which can sometimes hurt.

The ice in the cavern makes me think of the rune Isa, which is a vertical line that looks like an I, the letter it stood for in the ancient Germanic alphabet. This rune meant “ice,” and, while we think of ice as being cold and barren, I feel that ice is also about introspection and rest. Many things happen under the ice, and as it melts it cleanses. So, I don’t think of the ice in this picture as a bad thing.  I look at it as meditative.

 

Because Cups are a feminine suit, the characteristics are really “exalted” in queenly form.

 

When a Queen of Cups card is reversed, it can indicate emotional instability, obsession, heartache, and narcissism–the Shadow side of the water element.  It can also warn of cruelty, and selfishness, especially on the part of a woman.  Depending on the question, it can also tell of blocked creativity or lack of communication with the Self.

 

The type of people associated with the Queen of Cups are women who are very kind, caring, sensitive, empathetic, and intuitive. It can also stand for a very creative woman, or a woman who is dreamy. These women can be older, or very mature, or a young woman with an “old soul”. They may seem mysterious and/or vulnerable. It can also represent men who are very nurturing and/or intuitive.

10 of Cups

In numerology, the number ten symbolizes the end of an old cycle and the beginning of a new one.  Because of this, it resonates with a very similar energy to the number one.

 

The suit of Cups is the suit of Water. It is associated with the feminine, and with emotions, creativity, intuition,  psychic ability, caring, and relationships.

 

The Ten of Cups is thus associated with great joy in its upright position.

 

 

Robin Wood’s Ten of Cups shows a very happy family who has seemingly found Heaven on Earth.  The circle of the rainbow shows the full-circle completion represented by the Earth. In a reading, the reader may also sense that the rainbow may symbolize joy after pain.

The Ten of Cups shows a very happy family life, a very happy marriage, or the realization of a dream.  If this card appears, the reader may be, or will be, in a euphoric state. It may also symbolize an awakening or a healing.

 

 

The Celtic Deck shows a young couple who look to be just starting out.  They have their “Cups stacked.” A life role has ended–that of being single– and a new one is beginning.  They are becoming life partners,  and possibly parents.  For a single person, this card may symbolize another new, happy beginning. Perhaps they may have finally found a publisher for their novel, for example.

Like the Robin Wood deck, there is a message of hope–the clouds above are clearing, and the couple may have walked “out of the woods.”  This may be another message of the 10 of Cups; the questioner may have emotional clarity after being muddled.  They questioner may finally be stepping into the light after a dark night of the soul.  

 

 

The 10 of Cups for the Goddess Deck has the rainbow making an appearance.  The “full circle” is there too; look at the reflection in the water! The water is also calm and clear.  There is serenity and clarity.  Kris Waldherr, who chose Venus for the Cups suit, reminds us that Venus was born from water like this. A major theme of the Cups is love, after all.  The moon above, like the element of water,  represents the divine feminine and emotions.

 

Barbara G. Walker’s Ten of Cups shows a white castle, which may symbolize the goal of spiritual enlightenment, a creative endeavor, or true love.  He is guided by his feminine side, his anima, or emotions. He is thinking with his gut and heart, which will lead him to his goal.  The Ten of Cups may be advising that you may need to turn off the logical, reasonable part of the brain, which may be keeping you hemming and hawing, and instead listen to your emotions.  When you think about a certain course of action, how do you feel in your body? Do you feel lighter and relaxed, or heavy, tense, and queasy? Does the “sensible” course of action leave you feeling numb, cold, or sad?  These feelings shouldn’t be discounted.

Another interpretation for the Ten of Cups, as seen in the Barbara G. Walker deck, is that love can save.  Salvation can be found through strong, loving relationships with others.  Unconditional love is especially potent as an agent of healing, whether this healing is physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual.

 

The Ten of Cups reversed may indicate dissatisfaction. The questioner may be blind to the good things in her life. The Ten of Cups may also indicate discord or disharmony, or a lack of love.  There may be fighting, or the thrill may have gone out of a relationship.  There may be problems between parents and children.  Other cards will help the reader figure out what is happening.  

Heavenly Sevens

In numerology the number seven is associated with wisdom and intelligence. There is a difference between the two. A person can be intelligent but not wise, and vice versa.  Wisdom is more spiritual. Intelligence is more worldly–it has to do with what you can learn, and is cerebral.  The number 7 covers both.  It is also associated with spiritual growth and meditation. As God rested on the seventh day, the number seven implies a need for rest and introspection.

Let’s start with Wands in the Minor Arcana.

Here, the man in the kilt stares down six Wands, his own Wand blazing. Who or what is holding those other Wands? What is this man’s goal? He is fortunate to have the high ground, though, and his legs are strong in his stance. He even has a slight smile on his face. He is confident in his strength and in himself.

In the Celtic Deck, it is apparent that the protagonist on the hill is fighting against six other men. He still holds the high ground, and has a determined expression.  Generally, if Seven of Wands shows up in a spread, it’s telling you to stand your ground. You’re probably going to come out on top, or at the very least learn what you’re capable of.

Freyja, the mediator goddess between the warring gods of Aesir and the peaceful Vanir, is the goddess of the Staves. While the men on the Robin Wood and Celtic decks are confident,  Freyja is uncertain. In certain situations, it is good to be wary. It could very well be that there are aspects of the situation that you are not aware of.  Being wary will help you keep your position and maintain your supremacy.

Here is a man in a Damocles situation. What is unique about this card is that it reminds us that conflict may be caused by ourselves. We may take on to much and find ourselves overwhelmed. Such is the price tag with success, a concept associated with the Wands/Staves, as they are aligned with the external masculine energy.

Reversed, the Seven of Wands/Staves means that the questioner is overwhelmed and unstable. A retreat may be in order.  It may also mean an argument will not be won, or a request will not be granted, as they are too many things working against it.

Moving along to the Coins/Pentacles:

The Seven of Pentacles/Coins is in keeping with the theme of rest and contemplation associated with the number.  Here, a man is very content with his handiwork, which is growing and almost ready for harvest.  From his gloves, it’s apparent that it took hard work to get here, but it was worth it.  This card signifies that now is a waiting period, and that good things are on the way, particularly if the question concerned financial, health, and real estate matters, which are under the umbrella of the earthy Pentacles.

The man here is contemplating his money. How much does he already have? How much more does he need? If he needs more, how can he get it?  Those may be the questions the Seven of Pentacles may recommend the questioner consider.

In keeping with the garden theme–gardens as a metaphor for fertility, abundance, richness, patience, cycles, and hard work paying off–Lakshmi is depicted tending hers.  The work is satisfying, and is not a hardship. She is full of happy anticipation. If the question is concerning whether work, education, or another venture will pay off, the Seven of Pentacles is a good omen.

Of course, Barbara G. Walker has to break up the happy-fun time and poop on everybody’s party (I mean no disrespect. Barbara G. Walker is one of my heroes. It’s just I know this change in tone is quite jarring and I wanted to add some levity).  In her deck, Seven of Pentacles can mean failure. As far as I can see, this has to do with the nature of cycles, which is one of the concepts the Earthy Pentacles have to teach –sometimes the garden is fallow or frozen. However, in the distance is a dark door flanked by seven stars, leading into the cave. What is in that cave? Is there gold? Or perhaps a place to rest and recuperate from loss? Look at the other cards.

The Seven of Coins/Pentacles reversed in other decks say basically what Barbara G. Walker’s upright Seven of Pentacles says, and also warns against impatience, laziness, and entitlement.

The Seven of Swords indicates a need to protect oneself, and vulnerability. It also indicates shadiness or deception, on the part of the questioner or on the part of someone the questioner knows.

The Seven of Swords tells the questioner to be careful–someone is either actively trying to harm them, or an impersonal crime may take place. Put up extra protection and be very watchful.  Someone may be sneaking around or spreading rumors. This card can also indicate that the questioner may be up to no good, and are about to be caught, or get themselves entangled in the negative behavior. Those who live by the sword die by it.

This picture makes me think of Caesar’s last moments. Watch your back, the cards are telling you. Someone may be a traitor.

Isis, the goddess of the Swords suit, is frightened as she carries her five swords.  Her brother/brother-in-law Set (I know, right?) has killed her husband/brother, Osiris (I know, right?), not once, but twice, dismembering him the second time,  and she must now put Osiris back together, all the while watching her back in case Set tries to kill her and Osiris again. The Seven of Swords is sympathetic. It knows how difficult it is to carry the burden of fear.  It would make a world of difference if someone came to help carry the burden, but the Seven of Swords indicates isolation, or the feeling of isolation. When the Seven of Swords shows up, it may be beneficial to take stock of whom you can trust. You may not be as alone as you think.

Okay, I’m going to point out the elephant on the wall before anyone can jump to conclusions. Yes, that is a swatstika on the wall. Yes, when I saw it, I literally flinched. But trust me, Barbara G. Walker is NOT a Nazi. Here’s the a brief history of this symbol, from her invaluable book, The Woman’s Dictionary of Symbols and Sacred Objects:  “Named for the Sanskrit ‘so be it’ or ‘amen,’ the swatstika has been a religious emblem of worldwide occurrence since at last 10,000 B.C.  It appeared on the oldest coinage in India, on images of Buddha in Japan, and on Greek and Roman figures of the Great Goddess…It was still used as a magic sign in Europe up to the beginning of the twentieth century” (Walker 61). Even with such an illustrious history, the swatstika is another casualty of the Third Reich, and I won’t touch it in my work with the runes (the Futhark and Futhorc do not even have the swatstika anyway).

Okay, now that that’s out of the way, the woman, who is a wise crone, has created a circle of seven swords over her as a protective amulet. She sits with closed body language, with her arms and legs crossed. The black cat by her side is her familiar, an extension of her soul and boon companion. Again, this card seems to ask whom we can trust.

Reversed, a Seven of Swords indicates paranoia, or unrealistic fear,, and indicates that the questioner must seek help. It can also reveal truly dangerous activity or a terrible threat.  Your intuition may also tell you, looking at the card, that a reversed Seven of Swords indicates the danger is past. Use the other cards surrounding it.

The Seven of Cups is a card of dreams and decisions.

Here, the girl’s hair becomes the clouds. She is clearly in a flight of fancy. Her head isn’t just in the clouds, it is the clouds! The young girl is constructing many lovely scenarios for herself–there’s a cup of jewels with a dollar sign motif, a castle in a cup with a crown around the brim, and fireworks shooting out of the cup with the heart.  What those stand for don’t need explaining, but some of the symbols are more estoteric. The dragon in the red cup symbolizes power and passion. He’s a little bedraggled, because he’s been fighting temptation and oppression, as shown by the chains on the band of his cup.  Dreams take work to come true, and sometimes a fight.

The snake in the cup with the moon waxing, full, and waning represents, wisdom and healing. Because snakes shed their skins, they were associated with healing and the shedding of disease. The molting of snakes was seen as a symbol of rebirth and renewal. The moons are symbolic of womanly wisdom, the feminine knowledge of the subconscious, the hidden, and nature cycles.

The laurel in the cup with the skull and crossbones motif is a visual pun meaning “Victory over Death” (Wood 201-208).  The last one is a mask in a silver cup.  The color of silver is symbolic of feminine energy and the moon.  The mask is the Self. Getting behind the mask means the ultimate self-knowledge.

This is why I love Robin Wood. She is so rich in meaning and her artistry is stunning.

In the dreamy Celtic Deck, the Seven of Cups shows a woman peering off the back of a boat. Is she longing for the past, which will never come again? Is she happy with the person she is with, the person rowing the boat? Actually, he’s not even rowing the boat. He’s gazing at the beautiful sight before him, seven cups in a glowing pyramid. But is that vision real, or a mirage, an illusion? Is it distracting him from the real goal at hand, which is getting to shore? Is he not paying attention to his surroundings, and putting himself and his companion at risk?

Sometimes, the Seven of Cups warns us against illusions and distractions.  It reminds us to know when to let go of a desire it is impossible to obtain, such as a return to the past, or the returning of a love who is not good for us.

In Kris Waldherr’s goddess deck, Venus, the goddess chosen for the emotional, romantic cups, is dreaming of the snake, the castle, the crown, and the victory laurel.  The skull can represent the ultimate knowledge of the afterlife, a rebirth, or holding death in the palm of your hand, or, in this case, a goblet.  The rose is for sensual pleasure, beauty, and romance.  Then there is a mysterious seventh cup, shrouded by a piece of white cloth. What is it? What surprises does the universe have in store?

There are many things to choose from. The Seven of Cups may indicate several choices, all of them equally appealing. The choice must be made, however, and the best way to think about it is with gratitude, and tell yourself that no bad decision can be made here.

Here, a poet who makes me think of the Romantic poets (those transcendent, nature loving, emotional dreamboats!) or perhaps Rumi, the Sufi ecstatic.  He has his quill and paper, and is gazing off into the soft swirling fires of inspiration, from which emerge a blonde angel (or siren, depending) with a rainbow aura. She sprinkles him with seven blood red drops from an overturned cup.  She is the Muse, watering our imaginations. He leans on a tree shaped like a hand reaching to the heavens, symbolizing the desire to break earthly bounds. Seven of Cups may symbolize a visit from the Muse, but it may be ephemeral.  Watch for insight and revelation, but also be careful of indulging false hopes or red herrings that may lead you away from what you may really want or need. For example, if you’re seriously considering leaving a wonderful person for the person you’re infatuated with simply because you’re bored.  Or, you’re taking a job that you claim to love but you only love the money.

Reversed, Seven of Cups signals self-deception, false hopes, ennui, and indecision. It also may indicate spreading oneself so thin there’s no commitment to any one thing.

Sources: Walker, Barbara G. The Woman’s Dictionary of Symbols and Sacred Objects. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1988. Print.

Wood, Robin. The Robin Wood Tarot: The Book. 1998. Livingtree, 2009. Print.

The Eights

In numerology, the number 8 is associated with power and success, completion and progress.  It is a number that implies just rewards.  As you may recall, Justice is the 8th card of the major arcana in some decks, and it is a card of karma and support from the universe. In other decks, the 8th card is Strength–a card of power, success, stamina, and courage.

In the minor arcana, the meaning of the number 8 depends on the suit.  In the Suit of Wands, 8 is all about swift movement, whether literally, as in travel, or figuratively, toward reaching concrete goals or the realization of subconscious dreams.

Celtic Eight of Wands, illus. by Mary Guinan

In Julian De Burgh’s Celtic Deck, the Eight of Wands stampedes toward the viewer with a look of confidence, a wonderful sign for the questioner.  If this card were reversed (upside down), however, the rider would be bucked off the horse, or crushed under it.  

Robin Wood’s Eight of Wands


Robin Wood’s tarot deck shows Wands–the suit of energy and accomplishment–flying out of Earth’s orbit and shooting past the moon. In the background is what appears to be the planet Jupiter, which is the planet of luck.  Again, very auspicious if upright.  If reversed, it means that there is some crashing and burning going on, or else there’s not enough thrust to get off the ground.

Kris Waldherr’s Eight of Staves

In Kris Waldherr’s deck, the Eight of Staves is framed by seething, roiling lava. This fiery energy could imply inexorable movement that melts or burns away any obstacles.  In the background of the card is striking lightning.  That’s what the energy of this card can be like–it can be a tremendous bolt out of the blue, a stroke of good luck or inspiration.  It can also indicate messages, whether positive (upright) or negative (reversed).  Messages, opportunities, or ideas are things to watch out for when this card is received.

Barbara G. Walker’s Eight of Wands

Barbara G. Walker is sort of a throwback to the Middle Ages when everybody was dying left and right and you were lucky to get through the day without bringing out your dead or having your crops die of blight or getting whacked upside the head by a lord’s cudgel. She does have a point, however. Sometimes, when things move too fast, or we push too hard, or have too much pride, we end up falling off our Pegasus (Pegasi?).  Eight of Wands reversed, or upright in the Barbara G. Walker Deck, can indicate poor planning or excessive pride, like that of another famous wing-clad mythological figure, Icarus.  


The keyword for Eights of Pentacles (or Coins) is learning.  


Celtic Eight of Pentacles

The Celtic Eight of Pentacles shows a young person minting his own money on a forge. Perhaps that is the message of the Eight of Pentacles–diligence, hard work, passion, and a willingness to learn (embracing of the Beginner’s Mind) will lead to wealth and fulfillment.  


Robin Wood’s Eight of Pentacles

Robin Wood’s deck shows a young boy happily engrossed in creating the Pentacle. The Pentacle’s five points stand for Fire, Earth, Air, Water, and Spirit.  Through this work and learning, the boy will become a well rounded “master of the elements”–a Magician.  The fog lifting from the mountains in the background could represent an obliteration of ignorance. 


Goddess Deck Eight of Pentacles

The Eight of Pentacles in Kris Waldherr’s Goddess Deck shows Lakshmi (the chosen goddess of the suit) creating not only abundance, but beauty. Lakshmi is surrounded by beauty, and the magnificent golden Pentacle is the crowning glory, made by her own hand. This card can represent genuine talent on the part of the questioner. Flowers, symbolic of abundance and fertility, frame the card.  


Barbara G. Walker’s Eight of Pentacles

Barbara G. Walker’s Eight of Pentacles depicts an initiation. The Red Mother aspect of the feminine triad lays hands on the White Maiden while the Golden Crone looks on in the background.  This card breaks the traditions of the others by showing an esoteric ritual, and I am now in the frame of mind to see it as encouragement to go off the beaten path in terms of learning, careers, and goals. It could also represent networking, and may be encouraging the questioner to seek others who share their interests and kind-hearted mentors. 


Reversed Eights of Pentacles may represent an unwillingness to learn or work. It could also mean unrewarded or unacknowledged work.  


Eight of Swords indicate entrapment, restriction, and oppression.  However, the questioner should look closely at the cards.  


Celtic Deck Eight of Swords

The woman on the card for the Celtic Deck seems to be mourning a loss represented by the swords clustered behind her. She seems barred from what she needs, and is forsaken. What the swords are barring, and what the swords represent, are both up to the questioner and the reader.  There seems to be a smooth path in front of the woman. While it may be uncomfortable, lonely, and filled with despair, the new path may gradually lead to fulfillment and joy. Great things stem from forced change.  


 

Robin Wood Eight of Swords

Robin Wood’s Eight of Swords shows a woman bound and blindfolded, marooned on a small strip of land, surrounded by eight swords.  Again, the card shows a path. It is a narrow path. The questioner may have to grope his or her way out of this.  There probably will be stumbles, and the questioner will feel helpless. However, the water on the sides may not be as deep or as rough as the questioner imagines. In fact, it rarely is. The path is there, and it is smooth.  Go slowly and be gentle.  Reversed, this could indicate very rough times ahead, in which case the other cards can be consulted for advice, or, it could mean that the rough times are ending. Use your intuition.  



Kris Waldherr’s deck shows Isis, the wife of Osiris, deep in despair as she tries to find her murdered husband’s body so she can bring him back to life.  If she stands, she can see that the swords are not unmaneuverable; she can tiptoe her way out of them.  It may be, however, that she (and the questioner) may need to rest and have a good cry before she gets up and work their way out of the challenge that is bringing her such despair.

A battle-weary, weather- beaten crusader sits astride a gray horse, a symbol of death, on Barbara G. Walker’s Eight of Swords.  The shadows of the swords on the sand form the shapes of crosses, a symbol of death and loss (like grave stones). Is the crusader grieving his fallen comrades, or does he feel guilty? Look to your intuition, the other cards, and, if you are the questioner, your own feelings.

The key words for the Eight of Cups is disillusionment, disappointment, letting go, and moving on.

The girl on the Celtic Deck’s Eight of Cups card tearfully flees a man in the background, running past eight cups artfully stacked. Her frustration and anguish is apparent.

 Robin Wood’s Eight of Cups shows a man leaving behind eight golden cups to venture out into the great unknown. The mountains, symbolic of enlightenment, are shrouded in mists of uncertainty, but he is not deterred. The Eight of Cups may indicate frustration and disappointment, but it may also show something wonderful coming to replace that which is outdated.

The goddess Kris Waldherr chose to represent the Suit of Cups is Venus, and she shows her looking back in indecision at eight cups. This leave taking may not be easy. There may be regret. But what is more regrettable–staying in an unfulfilling job/relationship/any life situation, or leaving for something better? The cups may be beautiful, but may be filled with something brackish. The Eight of Cups may be telling you to not stay in something that makes you unhappy for appearance’s sake.

Barbara G. Walker’s Eight of Cups shows what may be the only sad faun I have ever seen.

 All Eight of his Cups are spilled into a pond. He leans against a dryad, or tree spirit.  This is Pan, the Goat god, and Helice (the virgin form of Hecate, Greek goddess of magic, crossroads, the night, and necromancy) mourning the loss of their rites and their ways of life (Walker 22).  Sometimes, the the Eight of Cups may indicate something taken from the questioner’s life, not a voluntary leave taking, which is hard enough.

The Eights of Cups and the Eights of Swords may seem contrary to forward motion. It must be remembered that the oppression, fear, and despair brought on by loss is covers the changes that are happening deep in the questioner’s life.  These changes may be all but invisible, but as the clouds clear and light breaks through, there may be glorious surprises.  I know.  In the darkest time of my life, I once “woke up” (at around 8 p.m.) where I was and found incredible peace and joy. I don’t know what it was, but I believe that something was working on me, slowing blowing a tiny, tiny flame to life inside my heart. Or maybe a seed was planted, and it was slowly taking root.  Perhaps this has happened to you.  I hope it has.

Source: Walker, Barbara G. Barbara Walker Tarot: Instructions. Stamford CT: US Game Systems Inc., 1986.  Print.

The Sixes

The number six, in numerology, is associated with harmony, calm, recovery, recuperation, the past, acceptance, serenity, and family. It is an others oriented number, and is the number of service and community.
The keyword for the Six of Pentacles is generosity. Either the querent (the person the reading is for) is generous himself, or someone else will be generous to them.

Barbara G. Walker’s Six of Pentacles, shown here, shows a lounging woman donating to a musician who has come to beg her favors. She gives him a coin like it ain’t no thang.  The Six of Pentacles shows the opportunity to give in a way that makes the giver feel good, or receive with no strings attached.

The Six of Pentacles can also indicate the receiving of an honor or an award, as seen here in the Celtic deck.

The generosity of the Six of Pentacles is fair and just, which is why Robin Wood chose to show her benefactor holding the scales.

The Six of Pentacles is also generous with knowledge and friendship, as demonstrated by the Hindu goddess of luck, Lakshmi.

The Six of Swords is a card of flight, of respite, and of travel. It isn’t really a card of rest, more like a lull in the action where you can regroup.

This respite may not exactly be relaxing, as you can see in the Celtic deck. Some days you feel like the warrior carrying off the spoils of war, and sometimes you feel like you are the spoils. Either way, there won’t be a lot of resting going on. There may be some desperate scrambling, like the lady here who is trying to grab a sword. This may be a tense time, even though nothing may appear to be happening. Swords are mental, so other people may not see the struggle.

Here, the people in the golden boat look like they’re going to have to confront the Sphinx. Again, this may be a mental challenge, not a physical one, and may not be external, but internal. Life is full of riddles, and you may be stagnant unless you take a risk and answer one of your “riddles.” What riddles are in your life?

Isis, the representative of the Swords in the Goddess deck, is forlorn as she cruises the Nile. Perhaps she’s looking for pieces of her husband, Osirus, so she can put him back together. Have you ever had to “pick up the pieces” in your life? It sucks, but at least the worst is over.

Robin Wood’s Six of Swords is the most soothing. The ghostly figure can be a guardian spirit, or an angel, or a returning loved one. The swan is a symbol of grace, and the swan’s wings fold protectively around the figure as the swan floats him toward a new life. This reminds us that we are not alone.
I’m kind of going through a Six of Swords time of my life right now, so I’m going to focus on them.

The Six of Wands (Staves, in Kris Waldherr’s Goddess deck) represent victory and glory. However, it should be remembered that it is not the last stage of the 1-10 cycle of the minor arcanas. There is more joy and adventure coming up! Be sure to enjoy this Six of Wands energy!

This fiery redhead is Freyja, the Norse goddess of beauty and creativity. In Norse culture, the foundry was a font of fiery creative power.  Iron works were not only useful, but works of pride.

This Robin Wood card is full of details. Perhaps you are drawn to the horse, one of the children in the background, or one of the crystals on top of a wand. What draws you to this detail? Pretend you are the object. What does it mean to you?

The Six of Wands is full of joy and power!

The sun motif on Barbara G. Walker’s card is no accident.
Reversed, Six of Wands is a sign of “a dream deferred,” delays, even humiliation.

Six of Cups is the card of nostalgia, childhood, and happy family life. It tends to show up when daydreaming about the past, or when a childhood buddy is about to come a-calling.

Robin Wood’s Six of Cups makes me smile whenever I see it. Look at how cute it is! It suggests a happy, idyllic time with a loved one, where you’re just having innocent fun.

In the Celtic deck, an older couple looks happily at the six cups floating. It is a card of reminiscing of good times.

This card is quite simple. It’s a lovely cottage and six cups full of flowers. What kind of flowers do you think they are? Are they rosemary for remembrance? Little daisies for innocence?

Now we’ve all had our sunshine and flowers, and Barbara G. Walker wants to throw in some nightmare fuel. Here Six of Cups reminds us of vulnerability, and of being small, and how scary grown-ups can be. Is the mother towering over the child in this picture benevolent? It’s 9 o’clock–do you know where your inner child is?