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

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Undine Energy: The Healing Properties of Water

Water is our last element for our healing energy series.

The power of water (and I heard the Captain Planet intro as I typed that. Sorry.) cannot be denied.  Human beings are mostly water, as is the earth, so, when it comes to sympathetic magic, like truly works with like.  I believe it is important that we view our bodies of water as living organisms, because if our waters are healthy, it will be reflected in our own bodies.  The health of the waters also directly influences the health of the soil, and vice versa.  Water, like Earth, is a feminine, nurturing element, and, when both are balanced, the two tend to support each other.  Water signs tend to get along with Earth signs.  Emotional Water likes the steady, comforting, warm presence of Earth, and Earth is soothed by the cleansing, fertile inspiration of Water. Earth cradles Water, and Water helps Earth make new life.  Don’t think Air and Fire are left out. The warmth of the sun helps seeds sprout and the wind helps spread the seed to their new homes. All the elements are needed; it’s simply that, just as Air and Fire feed each other (sometimes whipping each other into frenzies) Earth and Water just mesh.

Water is the energy of deep feelings.  We “well up” with emotion. The sea inside can be calm and sunny, or froth-capped in irritation or anxiety.  When out of balance, the emotions become a tsunami, threatening to wipe out all other aspects of the personality, including rationale, intellect, motivation, and esteem for self and others.

On a positive note, Water is the energy of compassion and empathy.  It is the element of shared tears, and we spend nine months curled up warm and safe in its embrace.  It is any wonder Water energy, as well as Earth energy, is the energy of mothers and children, and of nurturing?

Water energy is tremendously healing because it embraces and cleanses.  It cools a fever and warms a chill.  It not only accepts but wraps itself around anyone who chooses to step into it, without any discrimination or judgment. In this way, Water is the energy of unconditional love. It’s a salve to anger, self-loathing, and anxiety.

Since Water can be hot or cold, and can exist in different material states (as a solid, liquid, or gas) it is extremely versatile and adaptable. This is where the admittedly cliche term “go with the flow” comes from.  If you tap into (see what I did there? I can’t stop!) Water energy, you will find that it helps you calmly relax into your tasks and comfortably fit in to tight situations, just as water used to mop a floor effortlessly rolls into all the nooks and crannies and covers the floor like a blanket.

Water is also the element of the subconscious.  The ocean has been compared to outer space because of all the treasures and terrors it hides from us.  We have our own ocean inside of us–it is where all our dreams and memories are stored. It is where universal truth can be discovered through meditation. It is, according to Jung, where our primordial knowledge lies, and where the archetypes dwell.  As such, this energy is transcendent.  It propels us into other realms. It carries us on its currents through darkness (and sometimes through the sewers). If consciousness is like a river, then its head begins at the deepest part of the subconscious.

A good way to manifest creative ideas in reality, or to alleviate artist’s block, is to free write or doodle–move your pen and write without any censoring or knowing where the train of thought is going. This is a good way to access that river of the subconscious, which is always brimming with ideas. When your words and shapes flow like a river, it bursts through any blockages and allows the ideas to come.  This is a good use for Water energy.  It is extremely helpful for when your imagination feels all parched and chapped.

Water is the energy of dreams and secrets.  When you pay attention to your dreams, you are tapping into Water energy, the energy of the subconscious.  These are watery visions, not always clear, like images viewed through water.  Just because you cannot see to the bottom of the pond does not mean there is nothing there, however. Looking through water helps you learn how to tell truth from illusion. It also makes you brave.  Are you willing to dive deeper into yourself?

The elemental spirits of Water are Undines. There are variations of the Undine–sometimes they are depicted as tiny water sprites, and sometimes as being identical to mermaids.   A similar creature that I think of as a Water elemental is the Selkie, or Seal-Woman of Celtic folklore.   A Selkie could remove her seal skin and become a woman, and, if a man found her seal-skin and hid it, she couldn’t go back to the water, and had to marry him.  However, even if she fell in love with her husband, and had children with him, she would still go back to the sea if she ever found her seal-skin. This, to me, is an apt metaphor for Water energy people–they always are yearning for love, and their true homes.  Water is associated with parental/child love, and the bonds Water energy people can forge are unbreakable.

If You’re Drowning

The best counters for Water are, naturally, Fire and Air. So if you find yourself feeling weepy, or sorrowful, or unable to stop giving, or having mood swings, try these:

1) Work out. I’m not going to go into the scientific proof that exercise is good for your mental state, because it is–it releases endorphins and other chemicals in the brain that relieve stress in depression. It also increases Fire and Air energy.

2) Get out in fresh air. If you aren’t afraid of heights, go someplace high up, like a balcony, a roof, or a tree.  Take a panoramic view.

3) See my entries on Fire and Air and perform the visualizations.  Air is here: https://turtlephoenix.wordpress.com/2012/12/02/energy-and-elements-air/

and here is Fire:

https://turtlephoenix.wordpress.com/2012/10/23/energy-and-the-elements-part-i-fire-and-earth/

Visualization for Forgiveness of the Self and Others

If you are feeling lonely, unloved, or hateful, or are having trouble forgiving someone (or yourself), imagine stepping into a pool of water.  If you can step into a pool or a bathtub in real life, so much the better.  A visualization will work just as well on dry land, though, provided you let yourself really get into it.

As with all the visualizations, make sure you get yourself into a place where you can be relaxed and undisturbed for at least 20 minutes.  Begin by sitting or lying down in a comfortable position.  Breathe naturally for a few moments. As you pay attention to your breath, you will find it slows and deepens.

Imagine that you are approaching a pool. The pool is deep blue and turquoise. The sand around it is soft and warm. If you find the night more calming, imagine the water reflects the clear sky, and all the stars in it.

Step into the pool. The water is silky, and smells like jasmine.  You splash your face with some of it.  As it touches your face, you feel a loosening. This loosening comes from a cleansing of any guilt or shame you may be feeling.  It floats away like grime, carried by the gentle lapping of the water.   You may decide to pour some of the water over yourself, washing everything away.  Or, you may dunk yourself, like a baptism, and have a little rebirth–the symbolic intention of baptism.

Imagine someone you are angry with, or afraid of, standing at the edge of the pool. This person is unable to harm you in any way.  He dangles his toes over the edge of the water. You make eye contact with him.  He asks you, either verbally or wordlessly, if he can step in.

If the thought upsets you, don’t force yourself to welcome this person into your healing pool. Perhaps, in time, with repeated practice of the visualization, you will be able to give your assent, and the person may enter the pool.

You may already feel welcoming to this person. If so, he may simply join you.  If you’d like, you can also gently splash him with the water, as well, or carefully anoint them with the water.  Don’t dunk them, as you might get a little carried away (just kidding). This person leaves whenever you want him to.

When you feel you are ready, gently rise from the pool.  The sun shines gently, or the stars sparkle brightly. The path welcomes you back home. If you are doing this in the bathtub, you can visualize your feelings of guilt, shame, and/or anger being sucked down the drain when you release the stopper.

Visualization for Greater Self-Awareness

Find your place where you will be uninterrupted, a place where you will feel safe and cozy.  Focus on your breathing, and relax. In this visualization, you are diving into your own subconscious, so, wherever a question is asked, don’t think to hard about the answer.  Let the images and words pop up to the top, like ducks bobbing on a lake. Just let it flow.

Visualize yourself walking on a beach.  The sand is soft and fine under your feet.  The waves are the breath of the world as they move in and out with the tide.  The water is cool and pleasant, and a shade of deep blue.  Around you are bountiful seashells of pearl and peach and blush.  Among them are chips of onyx glittering smooth.  As you walk along, picking them up, you notice they lead you right up to the rocky part of the beach.   The land slopes upward from the rocks here, and inside the slope, you see a cave mouth.

The floor of the cave mouth is damp and smooth.  Through the middle of it runs a little stream that begins deep within the cave.  The little stream is lined with rocks that make perfect stepping stones. You step from rock to rock, following the stream.

As you go deeper into the cave, it becomes lit from within with phosphorescent colors.  Pay attention to the colors your subconscious picks for this exercise. Pink is innocent and happy. Yellow is sunny, but can also be sickly to indicate fear.  Green may be dark and cool, encouraging calmness and objectivity.  It may also be oozy and gangrenous.

No matter what the color, you are not afraid. You feel a sense of well-being, and excitement about what you will discover.

You reach the end of the path, to the mouth of the stream, and find yourself in a magnificent grotto, lined with precious gems and stones, stalagmites and stalactites, and looking at them is like finding shapes in the clouds–quick! what form do your stones shape? Are they castles? Dragons? Reclining mermaids? Monsters with wide jaws, or wolves with wise eyes of amber?  What do these shapes tell you? Do you see a humongous cluster of rubies in their pure state, forming what you swear looks like a Ferrari?

Do the stones sparkle, or are they dim?

Waterfalls flow down the walls and into the pool.  Droplets spray up and land softly on your lips and cheeks. It tastes like ice wine–sweet and cool.  Looking at the surface of the pool, you see the colors that swirl around the edge.  Are these colors greens, yellows, and blues?   Or are they the colors of the sunset? Maybe the water is murky, and yet, no matter how murky the water is, you still are not afraid.

You step into the pool and swim until your feet can’t touch the ground. And then you dive.

You swim deeper and deeper, and as you go you realize you can breathe.  This is a relief, and it gives you confidence. If you feel a little nervous, that’s okay. Just keep breathing deeply. The deeper you go, the more you feel yourself relaxing into sinking deeper, and deeper.

Deeper……

Deeper…..

Then, you’re at the bottom.

Now, what do you see?

What does it look like?

What is waiting for you, or who?

What do they have to say?

Is there an object? Can you take it back with you?

Spend as much time here as you need.  Then, gently breathe yourself back up. Imagine that each breath brings you closer, and higher, and closer to the surface.  You see the lights of the grotto getting brighter, and brighter.

When you break the surface and swim to the rocks, take a moment to enjoy the feel of the water. This is your subconscious. It is a safe, nurturing place, even when it seems scary.  It can be tough, but once you explore it, and trust it, it will be your wise coach, your friend, even your savior.

Once you are out of the cavern, stay as long as you’d like in a relaxed, meditative state.

 

Energy and Elements: Air

Air

Air is a masculine energy.  It is the energy that compels us to soar, to dream, and to see the big picture. In my mind, Air energy is exemplified by birds, particularly hawks, eagles, ravens, and crows, because these are birds, according to mythology, that have been credited with being messengers of the gods and escorts to the underworld.

It will behoove us to remember this.  Air is so often associated with the mental, with the objective, and the reasonable and the rational. Air is indeed the intellectual element, but these birds remind us that people with Air energy have a birthright to the subconscious and the spiritual.

The creatures associated with Air are the sylphs, tiny fairy creatures that ride the breezes.  They are  known for their slender figures and large eyes. Although they are associated with a masculine element, they are all female.

Air is the energy to harness when things are feeling obscured.  It blows away the fog. It is the energy that will help you find calm and objectivity in times of stress and sorrow.  It is the view from the mountaintop, with the breeze clean, and the view clear.

Air energy is also like a blade. It cuts away pain, and rents holes in obstacles. It is the knife that Kali, the Hindu goddess of destruction and rebirth, wields, uses to slice away Illusion.

Air is also the energy to use when you need a boost in communication. Mercury, that winged messenger of the Gods (as things with wings are wont to be, going back to the hawks and eagles) isn’t associated with the Air sign Gemini for nothing. Air is energy that grants the gift of blarney.  People with Air energy are well-spoken and charismatic. They are consummate at the art of persuasion, and have a gift for wit and the turning of phrases.

I associate Air energy with the eyes.  Air energy can be used to see the big picture, and the little details. It is this gift for intense scrutiny that helps solve problems. The creativity of Air energy is that of inventiveness.

Air is also good to tap into with travel matters.  It will ensure swift, safe motion.  This travel can be literal or metaphorical, such as the movement through the five stages of grief.

Healing Visualizations

Air energy is good when you have an excess of Earth and Water energies–when you feel murky, weighted, and lachrymose. In Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of health, Air/Ether energy is called Vata, just as Fire/Water energy is Pitta, and Water/Earth is Kapha. Here are some visualizations to increase Vata.

To bring Air energy into your life, there are a couple visualizations. Before these visualizations, make sure you are in a place where you can be uninterrupted, a quiet place where you can feel safe. Spend a few minutes progressively relaxing your muscles, letting your breath slow and deepen.

Now, imagine you are in a wide open space. The air is clear and clean. Imagine you have wings. These wings can look however you want them to look–angelic, butterfly, raven, hawk–and these wings are strong.  These wings can carry you high and far.

Now imagine moving those wings. With each beat of these wings, energy and power builds, traveling all throughout your body, up your spine, lighting up your heart and third eye.  As this power rises, so do you, and soon you are soaring.

As you soar, you look ahead and you see your goal in front of you. As you fly closer to it, you can see the path to get there. It is clearing and opening for you.  You can see the steps to take.  You see where the shadow ends and the sunlight begins.

The sky opens to you, and it welcomes you. You feel expansive and light.  What does your sky look like?

In another visualization you can try, picture yourself standing on a mountain. You have a 360 degree view, an eagle’s view. You have scaled this mountain. You have earned this vantage point. You are now above your pain and confusion. It is down in the foothills. Up here, you can see past the current difficulty, and over the fog that surrounds you.  Enjoy this moment. What does you see, down at the foot of the mountain and beyond? What is above you?

Excessive Air Energy

Excessive Air (or Vata) energy can make you feel anxious and jittery, and even give you insomnia.  It can also make you dead to your emotions, over-rational, and distant from others. Here are some meditations to help you balance this out. The best way to counteract Air is with Water and Earth.

Again, before any visualization, make sure you’re in a quiet, safe place, with no interruptions. Center yourself first with progressive muscle relaxation and mindful breathing.

If you feel you need to connect with your empathy and your subconscious, you might want to try this Water visualization:

You are entering a moonlit glade. In this glade is a pool. The water is clear and clean, and the perfect temperature. You sink into it.  As you float, the moon and stars play on your face.

Or, perhaps it is a sunlit glade, and the shadows and sunshine flit across the surface of the pool like fish.

The silky water is soothing. You duck under the water, and swim through the grotto. What do you see below the surface? Are there fish? Anemones? Or perhaps just jewel toned sand? Feel the water slide and sinuate around you.

Also, on a more concrete plan, you can take a nice hot bath, or jump in a pool and do some laps.

If you need to be more grounded, try an Earth meditation:

After becoming centered, put yourself in a forest. The forest is made of trees that tower over you, forming a protective bower. They are ushering you, with a flourish, to your destination–the entrance to a cave. However, spend as much time with the trees as you’d like. Let your imagination pick whatever season it wants to settle into.  You may feel an incredible relief just being among the trees. Let it happen.

When you get to the cave entrance, you find that it is the perfect size for you to enter. The cave is cozy, warm, and sweet smelling, like a Narnian rabbit warren, or a Hobbit hole. Everywhere is a soft glow.

As you curl up, or stretch out, on the soft, comfortable bed of earth, you feel a gentle sound, infinitely familiar. It is the sound of a heart beating.

Spend as much time as you need to feel grounded and secure.

You can also increase this experience by making yourself a little hidey hole and curling up.

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.  

Luna

I think it’s time to change Cancer’s name.  Please don’t take this to mean I’m arrogant enough to suppose a name thousands of years old can be changed because I want it to. It’s more that I personally feel uncomfortable referring to myself and my brethren as a disease. Let’s face it, we don’t think of the constellation; we think of the illness.  I don’t know about you, but that makes me feel kind of shitty.

Just for fun, what could Moon Children call themselves? Here are some ideas:

1) Selene. Selene is the goddess of the Moon in Greek mythology. This name is easy to remember, and sounds as lovely as the goddess herself.

2) Fegarri. Fegarri is the Greek word for moon. I think it sounds harmonious with Sagittarius and Virgo. The bad part is that it sounds like an alien race from Star Trek. 


3) Huitaco (pronounced we-tah-co) (thanks to my awesome soul sister and colleague, Whitney. Check out her blog, wheresmytower.wordpress.com). Huitaco is the Columbian goddess of the Moon and protector of women. She was also the goddess of pleasure and happiness. The frequently tangled with her consort, Bochica, the god of hard work and sorrow. Bochica reminds me of Saturn, the planet that rules Capricorn, the sign of hard work and hard lessons. Moon Children oppose Capricorn (not OPPOSE oppose, but are opposite each other on the zodiac wheel).  There’s some nice synchronicity there, but the name sounds like “Wheat Taco” which is what we will forever be known as to people who don’t know about the myth.

4) Luna. Italian for Moon, and the Roman parallel to Selene.  Yes, it’s a Harry Potter character (and a character with very Piscean energy, at that, but Leo is a DiCaprio).

I think, for this article, I will refer to this energy as Luna/Lunar. It is the name of our Moon.

I myself am a Luna, and far from perfectly balanced.  I tend to focus on what is difficult about this energy. Luna is a water sign, and Lunar energy is highly emotional. I mean, EXTREMELY so.  It is difficult to separate this energy from these emotions and look at things rationally and impersonally. Also, this is an intense energy. Irritation quickly becomes raging frustration.  The blues and everyday disappointments can lead to sogginess from copious weeping.  On the other hand, contentment becomes joy, happiness is euphoria, and love turns into rapture. We are also literally quite watery; we tend to weep a lot.

The stomach and the breasts are the organs ruled by Luna.  It’s fitting that the breasts would be the organ for Luna–these are the mothers of the zodiac, after all, and the stomach keeps us alive through nourishment, another forte of Lunar energy. The stomach is also full of associations of being loved and mothered with food.

Lunar energy also helps you think with your gut, and aligns you with the third chakra, the bright, sunshine yellow spot of energy located behind your navel.  This spot in your body corresponds to your personal power.  While Capricorn’s lesson is that of mastering perfectionism, and to release the need for external validation, and Scorpio’s lesson is to learn to accept the dark parts of the Self, identify the dark parts that are useful, transmute the useful and let go of what’s not, and eventually rise above the dark parts as a new Self-creation, the energy of Luna is to discover power.  Notoriously timid, this energy’s lesson is to develop a belief in one’s Self, and in the Self’s worthiness.

 Luna rules the stomach, just as Capricorn rules the knees (the work horses of the body) and Scorpio rules the genitals (the seat of birth and death–“Le Petit Mort”).  This is the location of the third chakra. The third chakra is the seat of self-esteem, responsibility, and courage.  Out of balance, this is the seat of low self-esteem and fear, especially fear of rejection and failure (Myss 167-168).

The dark side of Lunar energy is a mess of insecurity. Luna energy that is out of balance give themselves impossible standards, standards so high the person becomes frozen out of fear of failure. It is the same kind of fear that keeps people lonely, because they aren’t willing to approach others.  Lunas are extremely hard on themselves, and tend to say “I’m sorry” a lot.

Lunar love is intense and maternal. It is so intense, in fact, that it hurts. The goddess Raven Kaldera associates with the sun in Luna is Demeter.  Demeter, the goddess of the grain, deeply loves her daughter, Persephone, and when Persephone is taken away by Hades, it sends her into a tailspin, a tailspin that takes the whole world down with it. Crops stop growing, and the earth becomes a cold wasteland. When a Luna feels hurt or abandoned, the psyche becomes a wasteland. A Luna attaches herself to a loved one, not in a creepy stalker way, but a Luna opens her heart to any one she loves, and  gives freely of it.  When the person they love goes away, there is a definite ripping sensation in the heart.

Perhaps this is because Luna is self-protective. When they do trust and love someone, they have to remove layers of their hard, protective shields, the “shell” of the crab. When that trust feels violated, Luna rebuilds the shell again, and reinforces it.

This metaphorical shell is also like a turtle’s shell.  If a Luna is in balance, he can feel at home anywhere  he goes. He will be grounded and secure, and he will help others feel secure as well.

Lunas are all about the love. A Luna will give her all to her loved ones, and will feel guilty if she feels she comes up short.  They are warm, comforting, and sensitive, when in balance. However, when out of balance, Luna becomes clingy and possessive. Unable to express “negative” emotions (and thus possibly anger a loved one) Luna becomes passive-aggressive and as brackish and bitter as a polluted ocean. Alternately, if the Luna is not secure enough to set boundaries, the roiling anger builds up until the dam breaks, and the Luna drowns the world in her rage.

Like the Moon, and the tides the Moon makes, Lunar emotions ebb and flow. This is very feminine; the word “month” comes from the same root as Moon, as do the words menses and menstruation.  I have found that my physical energy, creativity, and motivation also ebb and flow, and I wonder if perhaps other Lunas feel like this. I actually find it rather comforting–I know that when I feel low or dry, the tide will rise and I will be nourished again. Meanwhile, I have spare energies that I can tap.

The Moon is a symbol of illusion. Lunas must be careful to see past illusion. They must be especially careful not to fall into the all-or-nothing thinking common with the shadow aspect of this energy.  When they feel unloved, they must ask themselves if it is really true. They must exercise their minds to see the opposites of their negative thoughts. Can a Luna think of three people that like her? Then, the negative thought is not true. If you feel abandoned by a friend, is it true? Did this friend abandon you? Or are you abandoning yourself by letting this event change how you perceive yourself and your own innate goodness? Did this friend really abandon you? Did a friend abandon you, or just an acquaintance? Or, worse yet, someone who was using you?

Lunas are blessed with great intuition and imagination. Even an out-of-sorts Luna can intuit for her loved ones, even if she can’t intuit for herself. Even if the Luna is suffering from depression or garden variety writer’s block, they have a rich inner life. Sometimes, they must sit down and let the ink flow freely, like water, without any censorship. This helps them access that powerful Moon energy. Since the tummy is the provence of the Lunas, many would do nicely to just think with their “guts” and not overanalyze a decision.

It must be remembered that the energy of the signs is not just for the people born in the sign alone. You may feel you have more energy associated with one zodiac archetype than another, but you can access the archetypal energy of any sign.

Questions for Reflection, and Tips to Bring Lunar Energy in:

1) When making a decision, pay attention to how your body feels, instead of endlessly reasoning yourself through it.

2) Keep a dream journal. Lunar energy, like the other watery energies of Pisces and Scorpio, works with the subconscious.

3) When you nurture others, do you also nurture yourself?

4) What illusions do you maintain? How do they benefit you? How would your life be without these illusions? How can you let go of them?

Archetypes, People, and Animals for Luna

1) Mothers

2) Nurses

3) Family Historians/Museum Keepers

4) Demeter

5) Kwan Yin, the Chinese Goddess of Compassion

6) Turtles and Crabs

7) Wolves and Dogs,, symbols of loyalty, family, and friendship

Book recommendations:

MythAstrology: Exploring Planets and Pantheons by Raven Kaldera (You still haven’t bought it yet? It’s awesome!)

Anatomy of the Spirit: The Seven Stages of Power and Healing by Caroline Myss (I cannot recommend her books highly enough. Expect more discussion of the chakras!)

Loving What Is, by Byron Katie (This is what inspired the suggestions for working with illusions. I’ve worked with Byron Katie not only through her books but on a stage in front of hundreds of people. It changed my life!)

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 World

The World is the 21st and last card of the Major Arcana.  It is a card of accomplishment, completion, success, and joy.

Barbara G. Walker

Most cards for the World traditionally show a woman in the center of a wreath.  The woman is Gaia, the archetypal Earth Mother. She is usually nude or draped in a robe to show a return to the natural state, the purity of the womb (which is associated with the Earth; think of Mother Earth and the Shamanic ritual of burial that ends with  symbolic rebirth).  The wands she holds indicate mastery, strength, and energy–she is a balance of male and female.  The position of her legs form a backward four, a symbol of magical power.

Flanking her are a lion, a bull, an eagle, and a pixie-like creature. Traditionally, these stood for the four Gospel writers, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and also to the beasts referred to in Revelation. The pixie was a man.  Now, they can still stand for those things, indicating community with God and a higher purpose.  However, they can also stand for the four elements.  The lion, the symbol for Leo, is fire; the bull is Taurus, earth; the man is Aquarius, air–which makes the pixie a sylph; and the Eagle is Scorpio, water.  This again illustrates the balance the questioner has achieved; they are at home in all four elements and the qualities associated with each.  Thus, the World card is a card of wisdom, mastery, and balance.

Robin Wood’s World.

Robin Wood’s tarot deck shows the woman draped in a white sheet. It is white for purity, and she is draped in it to show she has achieved great honor.  Her wreath is made of fresh flowers and fruit, for she is fruitful and accomplished and surrounded by beauty.  Ribbons form the infinity symbol at the top and bottom.  The four elements are represented in the four corners, again indicating balance and mastery of the qualities of those energies, and she’s holding two wands in a blessing. Stars sparkle behind her in a blue sky–her thoughts are clear, she has foresight and knowledge, and she is a “star.”

Kris Waldherr’s Gaia

Kris Waldherr’s goddess for the World is, of course, Gaia, the ancient Greek personification of the Earth. The sun and the moon are in position above the Earth, showing, again, a balance of masculine and feminine energy.  At the top of the card is a winter scene, and at the bottom a spring scene.  This shows a knowledge of and respect for the Earth’s cycles, which is apropos to The World being an end of the cycle of the Major Arcana, a cycle began by The Fool.

The two women supporting the Earth are symbolic, I believe, of both Western and Eastern philosophies, and the harmonious marriage of these ideas.

Julian De Burgh and Mary Guinan’s Celtic deck is reminiscent of the stunning Book of Kells. It, like the others, shows the mastery of the four elements and their qualities. The Cup is Water, the Pentacle is Earth,  the Sword is Air, and the Wand is Fire.  The two figures in the center, if you look closely, are a man and a woman bound together in an intricate knot. Their legs are crossed, and the bottoms of their feet are touching, forming the shape of a heart.  They are whole and fulfilled.

If The World shows up in a reading, it is very auspicious and joyous. It may indicate that the questioner’s entire life is going well, or that at least one aspect of the person’s life is booming–pay attention to the question and any other cards.  Reversed, The World may portend postponement of this fulfillment, mastery, and joy.  There may be more steps needed in the cycle before it reaches the completion of The World.