The Usual Structure
- Major Arcana: 22 cards that can represent either phases of The Hero's Journey or esoteric concepts that transcend daily life. Card 0, The Fool, is considered the precursor to the Joker cards found in modern playing decks.
- Minor Arcana: 56 cards divided into four Suits of fourteen cards each, itself divided between ten "Pip" (numerical) and "Court" cards (named after figures of royalty).
- Wands — Ancestor to the Clubs, this suit symbolizes the element of Fire, as well as will, passion and power.
- Cups — Ancestor to the Hearts, this suit symbolizes the element of Water, as well as emotion, relationships and romance.
- Swords — Ancestor to the Spades, this suit symbolizes the element of Air, as well as intellect and knowledge.
- Coins/Pentacles/Disks — Ancestor to the Diamonds, this suit symbolizes the element of Earth, as well as the material realm, like money and health.
It is important to note that Tarot cards can come in two positions: upright, with the name of the card in the bottom, and reversed position, with the card upside down. Every card has a whole new set of different meaning when reversed. Usually the meaning of a reversed card is the opposite of the normal card, although some reversed card have some specific meanings, and there are exceptions. It's also important to note that reversed cards are neither good nor bad. They just add new sets of meanings.
Unless specified otherwise, all card imagery come from the Rider-Waite version, perhaps the best-known tarot deck.
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The cards of the Major Arcana are numbered 1 to 21, usually in Roman numerals, with The Fool
designated as either first or last ("0" or "22"):
- 0/XXII — The Fool: A carefree jester straying dangerously close to the edge of a cliff, with a dog at his heels. A trickster as often as an innocent protected by his own luck, a madman who speaks with the voice of gods, or an idiot who hides strange powers. The Fool is a symbol of the in-between, of The Grotesque, innocence, divine inspiration, madness, freedom, spontaneity, beginning a journey, inexperience, chaos, creativity, and infinite possibilities.
- I — The Magician: A young man with a symbol for infinity as his hat or halo. He stands over a table containing a wand, a cup, a sword and a disk, symbolizing the Elements as they appear on the Lesser Arcana. The Marseilles version tends to view him more as The Trickster and sometimes a bumbling one (and is sometimes instead named Juggler), whereas for the Rider-Waite versions he's more of a person in control of nature's forces. In divination, it's often attributed to the consultant, so it can more often represent the protagonist. The Magician symbolizes action, initiative, self-confidence, manipulation, and potential.
- II — The High Priestess: A veiled woman with a closed book, a symbol of hidden knowledge, wisdom, female mystery and magic. The card may often double up with Triptic Goddess imagery. She often is a Threshold Guardian, and associated with water and the Moon.
- III — The Empress: A fair young woman, sometimes pregnant, holding symbols of power. She represents prosperity, creativity, sexuality, abundance, fertility and comfort. It can hold symbolism related to The Three Faces of Eve, and represent the main female love interest, as well as the Earth Mother.
- IV — The Emperor: A crowned and often bearded man, enthroned with crossed legs in the shape of a "4" and holding a scepter. This card is a symbol of power, action, leadership, stability and decisiveness. Can be associated with The Government.
- V — The Hierophant: The Pope, crowned with a tiara, blessing two monks. A symbol of education, authority, conservatism, obedience and relationship with the divine. This card is most often associated with The Church, be it corrupt (e.g., dogmatic and intolerant) or saintly (e.g., nurturing and a source of enlightenment).
- VI — The Lovers: In the Marseilles version, it shows a man having to choose between two women, symbolizing the crossroads and the need to make a choice. The Rider-Waite version shows Adam and Eve being blessed by an angel, which can symbolize both love and the synthesis of opposing concepts, but also the danger of temptation and desire.
- VII — The Chariot: A king riding a chariot driven by two differently colored creatures (horses in Marseilles, sphinxes in Rider-Waite). A symbol of war, victory, conquest, self-assertion and command. The image of mastering, controlling, and leading two opposing forces is prevalent.
- VIII — Strength: A young woman taming a terrifying beast (often a lion). Beyond the Beast and Beauty imagery, there's a moral about the superiority of self-control, gentleness, inner courage and virtue over brute force. On the other hand, you may as well call it the card of Waif-Fu. Certain decks reverse this with Justice.
- IX — The Hermit: An old man in a dark place or cave, holding up a lantern. It's associated with wisdom, introspection, solitude, retreat and philosophical searches. Often a symbol for the Mentor, or a Seeker Archetype, but also The Hero undergoing a Heroic BSOD taking a much-needed Journey to the Center of the Mind to sort out his personal demons before returning to kick ass.
- X — The Wheel of Fortune: A wheel of six to twelve spokes decorated with elemental symbols and surrounded by different animals wearing wealthy and beggarly clothes. A symbol of the inevitability of fate and changing fortunes, and the cycle of life. What goes up will go down, what goes down will go up. Easy Come, Easy Go.
- XI — Justice: A woman, sometimes blindfolded, holding a sword and set of scales. A very traditional allegory of justice, objectivity, rationality and analysis, expect references to the Judgment of Solomon, the Balance Between Good and Evil, and other Secret Tests of Character.
- XII — The Hanged Man: A man hanging upside-down on one leg, while the other crosses it, forming a "4", while his arms are typically bound behind him, forming a "3". You may as well call this the Crucified Hero Shot card. It's associated with self-sacrifice for the sake of enlightenment, bindings that liberate, paradoxes, and juxtaposition between heaven and earth. Apart from Jesus, it can be associated with such myths as Odin volunteering to hang from Yggdrasil to learn the runes, the cycle of the murder and rebirth of Osiris, or Dionysus being born twice. It can either represent the Messianic Archetype of self-sacrifice, but also traps, self-entrapment, passivity and surrender.
- XIII — Death: The Grim Reaper, shown in the Marseilles version as swinging his scythe and leaving severed heads and limbs in his wake, and in the Rider-Waite version as an armored skeleton on horseback approaching people prostrating before it as a king lies dead beneath the horse, symbolizing the inevitability of death. It is often used for a cheap effect of doomy foreshadowing, and even more frequently parodied as such. More accurately in Tarot, a symbolism of metamorphosis and deep change, regeneration and cycles. Often, a show will do just enough research to know that the Death card isn't a portent of doom, but a symbol of change, but their research tends to stop there. When drawn, most often, the reader will explain that the card does not actually mean literal physical death, and the story will go on to demonstrate that, in fact, it totally does. (Either that, or the person receiving the reading will not listen, panic, and faint out of sheer fright.)
- XIV — Temperance: A woman with angelic wings (sometimes interpreted as the healer Raphael) pouring water between two differently-colored vases (either blue and red or gold and silver, depending on the deck). A symbol of synthesis, prudence, harmony, and the merging of opposites.
- XV — The Devil: A hermaphrodite demon (or a satyr such as Pan) standing over two naked and chained figures. The card of The Dark Side, the urge to give in to selfish impulses. May be the time for a Deal with the Devil, other temptations or the confrontation with one's inner evil. Occasionally interpreted as a symbol of sexuality, knowledge, ambition, or the need to balance indulgence and abstinence.
- XVI — The Tower: A tower on a lonely landscape struck by lightning, from which two people fall to their deaths. A straight Tower of Babel allegory about pride preceding a fall. Often associated to overly arrogant, prejudiced, and authoritarian organizations (including The Government) which walk to their own ironic demise, as well as the necessity of profound, sometimes destructive, change. Also more generically used as an omen of doom and disaster, at least by those who know better than to use Death for that or who think it alone isn't ominous enough. See also: Heel Realization, Heroic BSOD, Break the Haughty, Despair Event Horizon.
- XVII — The Star: A naked woman pouring water in a river and on land under a starlit sky. Associated with hope, faith, altruism, luck, generosity, peace, and joy. Very much a messianic card as well, as an omen of the coming of The Chosen One.
- XVIII — The Moon: A pair of dogs howl at the moon, around a pool with a crab in it, with two towers in the background. Associated with creativity, inspiration, dreams, madness, illusions, fear, fantasy, the subconscious and trickery. Masters of Illusion and Lotus Eater Machines can be associated with it, as can be Shape Shifters and Wolf Men. Also a good spot for a Mind Screw or a Dream Sequence.
- XIX — The Sun: A pair of naked children frolic beneath a blazing sun. A symbol of happiness, joy, energy, optimism, and accomplishment. Can be associated with the hero's reward, or to an initial state of happiness. Sometimes associated with the myth of the androgynes and soul mates (although in Rider-Waite-influenced decks, it's more likely to find the latter with The Lovers).
- XX — Judgment: An angel blows his trumpet, as corpses rise up from their graves. It's The End of the World as We Know It, the time for the Final Battle. The Horsemen of the Apocalypse are probably not very far off. Actions are weighted, plots reach their conclusion, secrets are revealed, and it's time to see if it will all end up for the best or not. Beware of death by redemptions and resurrected messiahs. Whatever the case, no deed, good or evil, goes unrewarded, because here everything is revealed for the whole world to see.
- XXI — The World: A naked woman (or hermaphrodite, depending on deck) dancing with a pair of rods, surrounded by figures a lion, an eagle, an angel and a bull (which represent Fire, Water, Air and Earth, respectively, the transcendent forms of the suits of the Lesser Arcana). A representation of the world, the totality of it, symbol of fulfillment, wholeness, harmony. Often what the hero fights for and tries to save. Sometimes his reward. Called "The Universe" in some decks.
Minor Arcana Part 1: The Number Cards
- The Aces (Is):
- Ace Of Wands: Keywords for Ace of Wands include invention, creation, creativity, birth and transformation, intuition, delays, spiritual blocks, misunderstandings, disappointments, fantasy failed to translate into reality.
- Upright: Fiery and creativity, the Ace of Wands speaks of energy and ambition. Ideas are not enough. It takes hard work and perseverance to take something from a though to reality. With the Ace of Wands, heady optimism mixed with ambition can make any dream come true.
- Reversed: At this time, the urge to change and develop is present but circumstances are delaying progress. In creative and intuitive matters, blocks and delays lead to impatience. Sexual and emotion relationships can also be subject to misunderstandings and dysfunction.
- Ace Of Coins: Keywords for Ace Of Coins include increase, new sources of money, prosperity, contentment, windfalls, lottery wins, new business, confidence and security with money, greed, fear of scarcity, hoarding, disappointments in new jobs, balancing the desire for money and personal satisfaction.
- Upright: The beginning of prosperity, the Ace of Coins suggests transformation in all financial matters. New jobs, raises, the start of a new business, windfalls, inheritance: anything connected to new financial circumstances is brought by the Ace of Coins. Expressive and powerful, the new energy of the Ace of Coins signifies a lasting change for the better after a challenging period. It also indicates that security and contentment are not connected to finances alone; they are also a state of mind.
- Reversed: When reversed, the Ace of Coins can suggest troubles or issues with money. Sometimes, these are emotion problems related to greed or hoarding; it relates to a general belief in scarcity no matter the circumstances. It can also indicate that a new source of income can provide you with more money but not necessarily happiness.
- Ace Of Swords: Key words include power, transformative energy, new thoughts and ideas, new possibilities, karma, balance, sudden changes, imbalanced mind, quarrels and arguments, irritability.
- Upright: Powerful and airy, the Ace of Swords is like the winds of change, bringing energy and vitality to new enterprises. Adding clarity to the mind and power to issues of justice, this card has often been connected to karma. In eastern beliefs, the concept of karma is what balances the universe: we reap what we sow. The energy of the Ace of Swords is transformative, ending what has been outgrown and creating possibility for newness.
- Reversed: Imbalanced and troubled, when the Ace of Swords is reversed, changes can seem too sudden or delayed (and not in your benefit). It speaks of a time where it is difficult to find agreement and others (or yourself) may seem argumentative or quarrelsome.
- Ace Of Cups: Keywords include creative and emotional growth, love, passion, growth in relationships, birth of new ideas or children, intuition, fruitfulness, emotionally drained, chaos, need to withdraw, one-sided relationships, imbalance in relationships, need for replenishment, emotional exhaustion.
- Upright: A card that heralds the start of a new period of blossoming love, friendship and creativity. The Ace of Cups brims over with ideas, feelings and lovely new possibilities. Creative and intuitive periods are filled with imagination, artistic impulses and the birth of new ideas (or even a child). Nurturing and essential for development, the Ace of Cups creates a perfect environment for mutual passion and loving relationships.
- Reversed: When the Ace of Cups is reversed, it represents a time of emotional drain and chaos. It may refer to one-sided or draining relationships that demand more emotional effort than they return. Creative ideas and artistic projects seem to have dried up and a general feeling of being uninspired is present. Emotion demands seem constant, leaving you feeling drained and needing to withdraw.
- The Twos (IIs):
- Two Of Wands: Meanings include balanced partnerships, productive relationships, work friendships, employment mentors, successful real estate deals, profitable contracts, hollow success, end of partnerships, delays, unexpected expenses, stubbornness and pride.
- Upright: Power and success in career matters is often indicated by the Two of Wands. Productive partnerships may form at this point in time, and many positive relationships may develop at work. Two of Wands can also indicate a successful business man or woman who will act as a guide or mentor, working with you towards greater career achievements. Agreements in business or real estate will make you more money than you expect, and contracts can be easily negotiated.
- Reversed: Partnerships filled with friction and misunderstands can occur when the Two of Wands is reversed. Delays and miscommunication in legal matters are par for the course. Sometimes it is because partners are seeking difference outcomes from their venture; one may want money while the other is searching for creative freedom. Being inflexible can lead to further misunderstandings.
- Two Of Coins: Meanings include financial balance, extra work, new skills, business development, entrepreneur, assistance, balance energies and resources, duality, lack of focus, growing debts, inconsistent action, need for purpose.
- Upright: When the Two of Coins appears, you are being given the opportunity to develop new skills. Even though you may have to perform extra work to get something you want, it's important to see help when it arrives. You may develop additional skills to open your own business or some overtime for extra cash. The Two of Coins can also refer an imbalance in your work life. One day you may be running off your feet, and then next twiddling your thumbs. Likewise, you may be experiencing financial fluctuations where one month you are scrambling for spare change while the next you have more money than you can count.
- Reversed: If the Two of Coins is reversed, everything seems out of balance. Money seems to go out faster than it comes in and trying to sort out looming debts can seem impossible. At first, it is easy to blame your fluctuating moods on your job and money chaos. Really though, it is important to realize that the common denominator is you. Once you stop acting aimless, everything else will gain direction and purpose.
- Two Of Swords: Keywords include uneasy truce, balance, justice, calm after the storm, uneasy peace, caution, take care, think carefully before acting, lies and deceit, stalemate, slow change.
- Upright: Calm after the storm is signified with the Two of Swords but it is an uneasy peace laced with tension. A problem has reached a stalemate and while there is balance, it is also clear that there isn't resolution yet. Relief is in sight so be aware that you won't need to worry much longer. The Two of Swords can also refer to someone who is willing to maintain peace at any price. Not liking fights or disagreements, you may hide your own feelings or pretend like everything is okay to keep the peace. Emotions need to be vented so allow yourself to acknowledge what you're feeling to relieve pressure.
- Reversed: Think twice or even three or four times when the Two of Swords is reversed. Your advisers, intuition and knowledge are clouded and you are not in the best position to make any final decisions. Any changes will occur slowly, and honestly, right now that's for the best. There is an air of deceit the surrounds you and it will be hard find agreements that work to your advantage. While you'll feel like being impulsive to move things forward, you'll regret anything you agree to now.
- Two Of Cups: Keywords include love, harmony, romantic attachments, working partnerships, fun friendships, social butterfly, emotional battles, misunderstandings, separations, need for a break, dissolution, acting rashly, look for common ground.
- Upright: When the Two of Cups appears, partnerships of every kind will benefit. If it is a matter of love, established relationships will become even more loving. For those who are looking for love, a new important love affair will start. When a career question is indicated, a strong working relationship or business partnership will started; from the emotional and mental bonds, great things will be produced. When a friendship is indicated, it will be a strong relationship filled with warmth and fun. With the perfect balance the Two of Cups provides, every type of relationship will benefit and prosper.
- Reversed: Emotional hardships and imbalance are suggested with the Two of Cups reversed. It is a time when it seems hard, if not impossible, to understand where others are coming from. Arguments go around in circle and it may feel like the current situation will never get resolved. Often, the best thing you can do is to just take a break; give yourself and other time to calm down and then reassess the situation. It's important to take things slowly and not do anything too rash. While it may seem hopeless, all is not lost. There is no need to think of abandoning a relationship completely. All you need is a little time and understanding.
- The Threes (IIIs): Three is a number of creative success and positive energy. When you combine the starting energy of One and the balancing energy of Two, you arrive with the happy conclusion of Three. Long regarded in many religions as a holy number, Three contains a vital force and direction all its own.
- Three Of Wands: Keywords include success, manifesting dreams into reality, old contacts, working with the present to create the future, visionary, hard work, need for practical planning, unrealistic expectations, wanting a free ride.
- Upright: Opportunities are quickly approaching, particularly in the areas of creativity and career. These may be connected to relationships nurtured previously, and are likely ideas you've been pursuing for some time. Further growth of your ideas will occur, while some previously developed will start to bear fruit.
- Reversed: Dreams are the starting point for any new venture. In order to become a reality, they need a combination of hard work and practical planning. When success fails at this point, it's usually because of unrealistic expectations and a lack of focussed hard work. You may have another chance to live this dream later but next time be better prepared with the resources you currently have.
- Three Of Coins: Keywords include apprenticeship, on the path to mastery, learning a new skill, being mentored, working towards self-improvement, gaining skills that will lead to prosperity long term, decorating or renovating a home, stick-in-the-mud, unwilling to invest the time needed, holding yourself back, not getting external recognition. *** Upright: The Three of Coins is all about putting in time and effort to gain reward. For those people that have invested in learning a new skill and becoming a master of a field of work, especially the arts or crafts (including woodwork and construction), they are just about to be rewarded. Having spent time to reach the height of a profession, you are now regarded with respect.
- Reversed: The Three of Coins in a reversed position often speaks of delays in success; the cause is usually the self. Either fear of failure or unwillingness to commit to the path of learning are the usual culprits. It's necessary to remember why and if gaining these skills are important to you and to realize that most good things require discipline and hard work.
- Three Of Swords: Keywords include love triangles, betrayal, breakdown in relationships, reassessment, deception, healing, adultery, emotional stress, anxiety, a desire to go back in time, emotional pain, healing, a new start.
- Upright: Heartache and confusion are present when the Three of Swords appears. These relationships were once pleasant and passionate-it may be discovered that there was no depth to sustain them. Usually, there is some form of betrayal involved. What was beautiful and romantic under the light of the moon is exposed as empty and possibly deceitful in the light of day.
- Reversed: Emotional stress and anxiety go hand in hand with the Three Of Swords reversed. Relationships are confusing, communication breaks down and it seems that there is only a great deal of emotional pain left to experience. When this card appears, the relationship has usually ended and healing has begun, even if it seems like the wounds are still raw. Every ending brings a new beginning.
- Three Of Cups: Keywords include celebration, parties, social events, weddings, babies, family gatherings, over-indulgence, over-spending, getting wrapped up in a social whirl, lack of sleep, socialite lifestyle, forgetting about responsibilities, need for rest and quiet relaxation.
- Upright: Celebrations and happy events are all part of the Three of Cups. Weddings, house-warmings, anniversaries, birthdays, promotions, births - they are all part of the joy that comes with this card. Suddenly, there will be many reasons to enjoy family and friends, having good food and wonderful conversation. Sometimes this social whirlwind may seem a little much but it's best to relax and smile, enjoying yourself. It's not often there is so much to celebrate.
- Reversed: Over-the-top indulgence is the key phrase for the Three of Cups. It's one thing to enjoy yourself, but you're having a hard time doing anything else. This can also speak of financial over-spending, allowing your joy to blind you to the balance in your bank account. Take a break from the social scene to regroup and get some much needed sleep.
- The Fours (IVs): Four is a stable number that represents structure and rules. At first, its earthy nature seems a little boring. After all, how many people get excited about rules? What makes Four interesting is how you can use these rules to help make your dreams a reality. Four is the number that reminds you of the practical parts of life, and helps you restructure want you want so you can have it. Four teaches us to learn the rules so we can understand when to work with them and when to break them. Self-discipline and structure can be boring or strengthening - the answer lies in your perspective
- Four Of Wands: Keywords include success, manifesting dreams into reality, old contacts, working with the present to create the future, visionary, hard work, need for practical planning, unrealistic expectations, wanting a free ride.
- Upright: Creating a country home, complete with a bountiful harvest is the perfect visual for the Four of Wands. This card focuses on the stability a home provides and the importance of having this. When a home is signified by this card, it has been long awaited and will be a nurturing environment filled with love and hope. The Four of Wands is about building a strong foundation for years of future successes and growth.
- Reversed: Your dreams, especially in terms of having a home, may be put aside for a little while. It doesn't mean that this dream must be abandoned but rather that there is still some more work for this to be achieved. When this card appears reversed, you may be in such a hurry to wrap things up, you don't realize how many loose ends you're leaving. The Four of Wands reversed is offering you a brief rest and time to collect yourself before you move forward. While the impatient part of you is annoyed by this, enjoy it while it lasts.
- Four Of Coins: Keywords include financial stability, healthy income, modest gains, responsible, savings and investments, social climber, greed, miserly behaviour, financial worries, immersed in the material world.
- Upright: If you've been through a period where every dollar had to be stretched 5 ways, things will be getting easier. The Four of Coins doesn't represent extreme riches but it is about financial stability. When you see the Four Of Coins, you will have more money coming in than going out and with some planning, will even have some money leftover. It's the time to look into savings and how to use money wisely rather than just spending it on stuff. Take care of your money and it will take care of you. Be careful that you haven't fallen into the trap of judging people by what they have rather than who they are.
- Reversed: When the Four of Coins is reversed, your mind is consumed by thoughts of money. Whether financially worried, strapped for cash, or guilty of hoarding, greed or being miserly, you can't think beyond moolah. It may be that you're the responsible one in your household and while others are spending up a storm, you're worrying about the bills. Never allow financial trappings to trap you.
- Four Of Swords: Keywords include rest, relaxation, withdrawing mentally, need for peace and quiet, time for reassessment, small vacation, take it easy, enforced rest, physical issues, mental instability, limited pleasures, feeling isolated, nervous exhaustion.
- Upright: The Four of Swords often appears after a time of illness or anxiety and reminds you that we all need time to rest and recuperate. Sometimes this break is needed for you to accurately see all that you have accomplished; there is nothing like a little distance to gain perspective. The Four of Swords is a message that you need to take a break; if you refuse to listen, your health may suffer for it. It can also suggest that a retreat or a withdrawal from modern appliances and their demands (turn off your cell phones everyone) is just what you need.
- Reversed: When the need for rest indicated by the Four of Swords is ignored, you arrive at the reversed position. This is the time when illness or anxiety will result in health issues needing a long period for healing. There is no longer the option to choose to rest - the choice has been made for you. Rather than worry about how this will affect you, accept that it is necessary and let your body, mind and spirit heal. The Four of Swords reversed can also refer to a time of social isolation where old friends have lost contact; however this is not permanent and new friends will arrive soon.
- Four Of Cups: Keywords include emotional boredom, stuck in a rut, depression, need for new interests, short holiday, fear of love, emotional scars, fear of being alone, new challenges, training for a new career, new hobby.
- Upright: The Four of Cups speaks of emotional reassessment and dissatisfaction. Things and people that pleased you before don't anymore and you're uncertain what to do about it. Troubled by boredom, you're in need of a change - you just don't feel like doing it right now. Think of small things you can do to shake things up - how about a small vacation - and be open to new interests and friends. Just because you were disappointed in the past, doesn't mean that love has to hurt. What is life without risk?
- Reversed: The Four of Cups reversed often represents someone who cannot be alone. Needing the reassurance of people around them, they create a frantic social schedule that allows no time for pleasure, only distraction. Sometimes this card appears when you are needing change at this point in your career. It could be that a project that once gave you much pride and pleasure leaves you feeling empty.
- The Fives (Vs): Five is the number of rebellion and change. Where Four gave us the rules, Five is where we decide to break them regardless of consequences. These are the battles that are fought to break old habits and create new changes. Five will shake us up and force us to strive for progress. The four main elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water are complemented by the fifth, Spirit. While Five isn't comfortable, the hard times will be overcome and positive changes eventually welcomed.
- Five Of Wands: Keywords include arguments, conflicts, testing circumstances, forging new ideas, creating new products, power struggles, mastering yourself, sharing viewpoints, litigation, court battles, negotiation, inner conflict, anger, possible resolution.
- Upright: Competitive challenges are part of the Five of Wands. There are struggles and tests which may seem like a game at times and a fiery battle at others. The end result is a better product or idea. These battles are just part of the process of challenging the old to create the new. Peaceful sharing of ideas? No way! Arguments will be common and it may be hard to hold your temper in check. Just remember that the Five of Wands has a purpose behind the words.
- Reversed: When the Five of Wands is reversed, legal issues or disputes are likely looming on the horizon. Any resolution to the legal problems will be the result of a lot of negotiation and understanding. Internal conflicts will frustrate and it seems there is no easy solution to these problems. While these trials can seem insurmountable, conclusion may be close at hand.
- Five Of Coins: Keywords include despair, financial hardships, lack of faith, troublesome times, internal struggles, poverty, lack of optimism, hard work leading to strong results, reversing trends, growing faith, increased confidence and self-worth, eventual success.
- Upright: A challenging card, the Five of Coins can signal financial, emotional or spiritual hardship. It is quite simply a time in life where you are going to feel tested. If your finances are affected, you'll experience a significant lack of money. That fact that it may be related to previous over-spending won't make you feel any better. Lack of confidence and a low sense of self worth are also indicated. There is no easy solution but it is crucial to have faith that your circumstances will change.
- Reversed: Challenging situations are also present when the Five of Coins is reversed but in this case, you realize that only hard work and plenty of it will change your life. As soon as you start this process, other forms of help appear - maybe in the form of a grant or gift. While you won't forget the troubles you experienced, you realized that they have helped you become a stronger person.
- Five Of Swords: Keywords include limitations, power struggles, failure, loss, damage, sense of unfairness, creation of something new, underhandedness, releasing pride, defeat, acceptance of defeat, learning to abandon self-pity, moving towards a fresh start.
- Upright: A strong sense of disappointment and failure is inherent in the Five of Swords. It may be that in a quest for power, underhanded tactics were employed - lies, gossip and envy undermine everyone, including yourself. It may be that disappointment was necessary to force a more realistic plan of action. When following a path where nothing seems to work, this might not be your best course. The only thing affected if you change your mind will be your pride.
- Reversed: When the Five of Swords is reversed, it is time to cut your losses. Sometimes, wanting to prove we were in the right becomes more important than being right. At this point, you have already lost this fight, no matter what else you say or do. Jealousy, pride and self-righteousness may be keeping you in battle but it is time to embrace defeat and walk away. Accept what has happened, learn from it and start anew.
- Five Of Cups: Keywords include loss, destruction of ideals, broken dreams, old wounds, unaware why things went wrong, emotional loneliness, restrained hope, new chances, rebuilding old relationship, emotional wisdom.
- Upright: When the Five of Cups appears in a reading it is a sign that we're looking at what we don't have rather than what we do. One of our deepest held beliefs was shattered and we were mourning its loss. Now is the time to get over it. We need to look at what remains and decide what role it can play in our lives. Often appearing when a relationship is challenged, it is important to use the Five of Cups to reassess what is left. Perhaps a vow has been broken or our partner has been emotionally distant - can we work with what remains to heal? In order to decide, it is time to move beyond sadness into contemplation.
- Reversed: The Five of Cups reversed often signals that an emotional reunion is on the horizon. A old friend or lover may suddenly reappear, giving you the chance to possibly rebuilt your relationship. With the new knowledge and experiences you have, it could become even stronger the second time. The emotional hurt leaves you cautious and better able to decide whether a second chance is worth the risk.
- The Sixes (VIs): Six eases the sting of Five and rules peace, harmony, love and beauty. When Six appears, it is usually a signal of the beginning of success. There is another side to the pleasant Six, of course. The Six only hints at the hard work, tension and effort that happens behind the scenes to make all that peace possible. With Six, the rewards are great but so is the effort. Love and choice are a necessary part of Six.
- Six Of Wands: Key words include victory, hard won battles at work and in creative endeavours, legal triumphs, good news, success, troubles caused by others, arguements at work, lack of reward, unable to move ahead, failure to receive promotion.
- Upright: If you've been waiting for good news, the Six of Wands is a sign you'll soon hear it. A positive card filled with successful energy, the Six of Wands usually relates to business and career matters. What you achieve now has required a lot of effort but is well worth it. Negotiations requiring tact and compromise may have occurred to secure this success.
- Reversed: When the Six of Wands is reversed, don't expect to forge ahead in office affairs. Trouble working with others, miscommunication in group projects, and small failures will cause tension for you at work. Whether with co-workers or managers, tempers will flare. The best you can hope for is to keep on until the energies change in your favour.
- Six Of Coins: Keywords include gifts and help given and received, practical help, philanthropy, charity, cash prizes, using influence or success to help others, easy come easy go, losing money through absent mindedness, theft, gambling losses, resolution of wills or divorce decrees.
- Upright: A card signifying bounty and gifts, the Six Of Coins represents generosity which you will give or receive. On the one hand, you may receive a donation or grant which will help you forge ahead in school or business. Remembering the help you received, you may be the source of a legacy or donation to benefit others. If you are currently struggling, expect that help is on its way. When you are in a better position, make sure to pay it forward so a circle of generosity is established.
- Reversed: Financial settlements and loss often occur when the Six of Coins is reversed. As a caution to take care, remember to treat your money with respect and use it wisely. A fool and their money are soon parted. If a settlement is indicated, it is usually a final division of money or property, like from a will or a divorce.
- Six Of Swords: Keywords include leaving strife behind, pleasant times, relief, alleviating stress, renewed hope, physical travel, relieved spirit, tenacity, struggle, grit, temporary truce, delayed victory, hanging on by the skin of your teeth.
- Upright: When the Six of Swords appears, your troubles are moving behind you. Part of this change will be from you releasing your attachment to worrying about this issue. All areas of life will improve with the Six of Swords: relationships, money and career. It will be a relief to move ahead to a happier place. Physical travel can also be a focus and any travels will have you returning feeling more relaxed and optimistic towards the future.
- Reversed: The Six of Swords reversed can sometimes feel like the eye in the centre of a hurricane. All around, chaos and struggle loom on the horizon but only grit and determination will see you through. Tenacity and the willingness to go on are required when this card is present. The only solutions available are temporary; now is the time to catch your breath and wait rather than hope to resolve things.
- Six Of Cups: Keywords include happy memories, nostalgia, old relationships, returning to the past to understand the future, rewards for past efforts, return of past lovers and friends, stuck in the past, refusal to move, fear of future, self-doubt, blame of past, requiring a fresh start.
- Upright: Nostalgic memories play a strong role with the Six of Cups. Your emotional past, old connections, ex lovers, old friends - all of these may be resurfacing to influence your future. In some cases, the return may be to carry on where they left off; reconnecting with a lover, for instance. Other times, you might revisit your past to understand yourself better and learn what you need for the future.
- Reversed: Living in the past is no way to enjoy the present or embrace the future. When the Six of Cups is reversed, you hold your past up to block your future. Remember that our memories of what happened are selective. Usually only the prettiest thoughts of the past remain. We can also use our past to prove our lack of worth. Perhaps our family or lover was non supportive - in this case, these memories and the doubts they create belong firmly behind us. A fresh start begins with realizing who we currently are.
- The Sevens (VIIs): Seven is the number of inward journeys, intuition and connecting with what is hidden. When Seven is present, you will understand more about what you secretly want but also be urged to work hard to get it. It is a number of progress and change but with these changes it is important to make certain what we want. There is the danger that without the necessary effort, the reward of Seven will not last.
- Seven Of Wands: Keywords include standing up for yourself, tenacity, struggle, you against the world, faith in future success, fear of failure, insecurity, risk, embracing your talents, encouragement needed.
- Upright: When the Seven of wands appears, you are in a time where you are trying to stand up for yourself and what you believe in. Everything may seem like a major challenge and external energy is working against you. You may be at a point where it feels like no one is helping you and it is hard to persevere. The positive news is that you are nearly the end of your struggle and victory may soon be at hand. The bad new is that you need to muster up your courage and keep fighting the good fight until you win.
- Reversed: Courage has fled and fear controls you when the Seven of Wands is reversed. You have tremendous talents and abilities but aren't using them - you're afraid to let yourself shine. There may not have been a lot of encouragement to take risks but this is the time for you to support yourself. If you reach and strive now, there is no limit to what you can achieve.
- Seven Of Coins: Keywords include future investment, growth of business, slow return on money, self doubt, satisfying work, groundless fears, unpaid work, mental exhaustion, disappointment, no reward, improving self worth, reassessment, new direction, fresh start.
- Upright: Sometimes with money, there is a lot of labour before you start to see the reward. That's how it is with the Seven of Coins. You may find yourself almost exhausted from the amount of work you're doing but still worried about the outcome. You may have sleepless nights where you worry about whether you did the right thing or whether you are wasting your time but these fears are pretty groundless. What is being built is an enterprise that is satisfying to your soul and will eventually fill your pockets.
- Reversed: Mental and physical exhaustion is indicated when the Seven of Coins is reversed. Again, you've been working hard for little reward but in this case, there is no joy and you can't continue. This is a time to take a break and reassess the situation. You'll find that your attitude becomes more positive and you'll be able to move in a different, more productive direction soon. Right now, you're just exhausted.
- Seven Of Swords: Keywords include sporadic effort, huge volume of ideas, inability to do just one thing, projects left unfinished, mental stimulation, idea theft, hype, false promises, manipulation, schemes, tricks, indecision.
- Upright: Restless energy and a burning desire for new ideas come with the Seven of Swords. This may be a time where new thoughts and directions are arriving faster than you can process them. You may also work quickly, shifting your time rapidly between multiple projects, not finishing anything. This is a time for mental stimulation and you need many things going on at once to feel satisfied. Be careful who you share your ideas with - there is the possibility that someone else will steal them and complete what you haven't.
- Reversed: Indecision is fueled by over-active thoughts at this time. When the Seven of Swords is reversed, there needs to be more authenticity in your life. You, or the people around you, are like used car salesman. There seems to be a slick message being used which is more a version of the truth than the truth itself. Plain-speaking and a hard look at reality are needed now. You are in danger of believing your own hype.
- Seven Of Cups: Keywords include choices, illusions, opportunity, fairy gold, wait and see, emotional choices, deceptions, seeing only what you want to see, losing touch with reality, drugs, alcohol, self-creating fantasies.
- Upright: When the Seven of Cups appears, it seems like you have many wonderful possibilities in your life. Now is not the time to act or try to pin them down. You are seeing beautiful illusions that need time and effort to become more concrete (or merely disappear). Sometimes, the excitement of these choices can divide your energy and commitment - after all, why choose one when you can try to have them all. Without that commitment and choice, it's hard for anything to pan out. Whether for relationship or career choices, look at all the options carefully and wait a little longer before committing.
- Reversed: A dreamy and hazy fantasy world exists within the Seven of Cups reversed. Reality is something you don't want to connect with - living in your dreams or clouding your thoughts with drugs or alcohol is much nicer. You may be deceiving yourself with your relationships and need to search for reality rather than deluding yourself. Sometimes what is real is not as pleasant as your fantasies, but reality is what grounds you.
- The Eights (VIIIs): With Eight, we begin to understand the fine balance needed for power and growth. Eight connects to the idea of karma, that whatever we reap, we sow. If we have been spending our time positively, we can expect wonderful rewards. If we have been destructive, we also have to accept the consequences of this. With Eight, we are progressing and not just randomly changing things. Eight brings our destiny now that we are strong enough to work with it.
- Eight of Wands: Keywords include expanding horizons, travel, far-off places, news, invitations, education, change in career, increase in social life, freedom, extra energy, hurrying creates mistakes, less speed, delays, miscommunication, cancelled travel plans, strikes, reassess choices.
- Upright: When the Eight of Wands appears, news and opportunities may be arriving faster than you can see. Whether travel, education or change in career, the Eight of Wands brings expansion and change quickly. New horizons that expand your mind are highlighted. Energy that felt controlled or stilted is now flowing freely along with exciting opportunities.
- Reversed: Delays, miscommunication and abandoning the need for speed are all part of the Eight of Wands reversed. It doesn't seem no matter now how well things have been planned, they can and will go awry. Now is the time to reassess your choices and think twice before committing to anything. The delays are beyond your control so remember to stay calm or reschedule to avoid headaches.
- Eight Of Coins: Keywords include new skills, apprenticeship, building on previous experience, education, expansion, small savings, financial management, limitations at work, lack of growth, no new potential, dishonesty in business, questionable ethics, moonlighting.
- Upright: New skills and expanding career horizons are all indicated by the Eight of Coins. This is a time where you have the opportunity to learn new things, apply previous knowledge and take some extra courses to add another feather to your cap. This doesn't really indicate starting something new but rather building upon previous skills. In terms of money, small savings and gifts should be carefully invested to increase your worth.
- Reversed: Hard work without pleasure comes when the Eight of Coins is reversed. You may have outgrown your job or feel limited at work. There seems to be nothing new to learn and no where to grow. Try to reconnect to your real talents and consider starting your own business or exploring another line of work. Staying where you are is cheating no-one but yourself.
- Eight of Swords: Keywords include bondage, restriction, closed state of mind, need for fresh thoughts, outside assistance, problems seem impossible to solve, release, freedom, thoughtlessness, hard luck, fresh start, positive state of mind.
- Upright: With the Eight of Swords, you are stuck. Part of this bondage lies in that you can no longer see anything new in your situation. Your thoughts may run around in circles and no matter how you try, you can't find a way out. Fresh thinking and some outside assistance are what you need to break free. Face your problems head on and accept the helping hand that is offered you. Expect the unexpected to move beyond this.
- Reversed: A new state of mind brimming with movement comes with the Eight of Swords reversed. You've realized that the first step in changing your life starts with changing your thoughts. You've gained confidence and strength from the problems you solved. Be wary of people around you being thoughtless - stand up for yourself and make sure you receive the respect you're due.
- Eight Of Cups: Keywords include abandoning relationships, moving away emotionally, travel, lack of substance, futile success, rejection, search for meaning, unsettled, depression, emotional confusion, exhaustion, lack of energy, perfectionism.
- Upright: With the Eight of Cups, there is the sense of abandoning an emotional relationship. It may be that this relationship has not brought you the happiness you thought it would. It can also indicate a relationship that has a great deal of emotional pain connected to it - you may have tried to resolve things in other ways but now your best option is to leave. This leaves you questioning yourself and searching for greater meaning. While this may take place with a physical journey, you'll likely discover what you need inside yourself.
- Reversed: When the Eight of Cups is reversed, you have entered a depressing period of emotional confusion where fantasy and reality have blurred. Desperate from emotional wounds, you have shut yourself off from the people around you and are suffering from emotional exhaustion. At the core of this is your need for perfection, in yourself and in others. Reach out for help to move beyond this point.
- The Nines (IXs): When the Nine appears, it is not the time to focus on what you've already achieved. There is still some more work to be completed to attract what you need. The Nine indicates that you are nearing the end of a cycle but that you still need to reach beyond yourself to grab success. Constant reassessment and drive are an essential part of Nine; it will grant happiness and prosperity to those who work hard. Nine is often associated with spirituality and indicates that what you achieve now will satisfy you on a deeper level.
- Nine Of Wands: Keywords include strength, persistence, inner reserves, prudence, one last challenge, success is in sight, insecurities, doubting your own strength, loss of will, tiredness, metal exhaustion, stress, meditation, delays, overwork.
- Upright: When the Nine of Wands appears, it is asking you to reach down deep inside yourself and find the energy you need to keep going. You may have overcome obstacles, including illness, to reach where you are - but you're not quite where you want to be. One last push and you'll be on the peak of that mountain. Remember too that you need success to emanate from within you to reflect what is on the outside. Sometimes the Nine of Wands says that you don't fully accept or feel comfortable with your successes. Believe in yourself first, and others will too.
- Reversed: Stress and the need to repair are part of the the Nine of Wands reversed. This card will appear during times of overwork, when you are feeling like you can't continue. Constant stress has burdened your body and mind and you need to take a break. You might feel driven right now to finish what you started but if you press on, your health will suffer.
- Nine Of Coins: Keywords include prosperity, money flows, enjoying fine things, treating yourself, pleasure, enjoying your success, lack of funds, bad investments, strapped for cash, unable to expand a business, temporary loss, altering one's lifestyle.
- Upright: Pleasure and financial comfort resound with the Nine of Coins. Your hard work is rewarded and it is time for you to enjoy the finer things in life. Spending money on your home, clothing, and yourself is part of treating yourself well and isn't self indulgent. Money flows easily and is not a source of worry to you right now. Love of nature, spending time outdoors and nurturing a garden can also be indicated. Indulge in the things that give you pleasure - you deserve it.
- Reversed: Money seems to be scarce when the Nine of Coins is reversed. It is time to examine the lifestyle you've maintained and be prepared to cut things back. Unexpected expenses drain your resources and you may have made bad or risky investments that are coming back to haunt you now.
- Nine Of Swords: Keywords include oppression, anxiety, stress, worries, no way out, sleepless nights, trapped by fears, despair, problems faced directly, workable solutions, light, hope, new day, abandoning old attitudes, dark night of the soul, releasing mental fears.
- Upright: The darkest hour is before dawn in the Nine of Swords. Worries and anxiety are overtaking your life, interrupting sleep and turning your fears into oppressive monsters. It's not as if what you worry about is all in your head. You have real problems in your life and you need to face them head on. You also need to allow others to help you regain some perspective. There are solutions but they will take time and effort to create change in your life.
- Reversed: Brightness appears on the horizon when the Nine of Swords is reversed. Dawn is starting to break and the worst is over. You have seen your problems head on, faced your fears and are ready to make way for new things. Worry and stress will take time to fade and you'll still need to be gentle with yourself. When you allow your remaining fears and doubts to vanish, harmony will slowly start to reappear.
- Nine Of Cups: Keywords include happiness, fulfillment, well-being, joy, emotional ease, creative bounty, harmonious relationships, lazy, careless, smug, taking things for granted, selfishness, ignoring work, no maintenance, loss.
- Upright: Happy, happy, joy, joy! When you have the Nine of Cups, you are in a place of contentment, where love, ideas, creativity and friendship flow quickly and easily. There is a blissful quality to this card, where you know the value of all the work that went into arriving here; it helps you appreciate it all the more. All the emotional challenges that have irritated you so far, will suddenly resolve themselves. Relaxed and happy, you are open to all the new possibilities arriving now. Enjoy!
- Reversed: When the Nine of Cups is reversed, you are in danger of forgetting where you came from and taking your current happiness for granted. With established relationships, there is always work that needs to take place to make sure both parties are feeling happy and respected. With all matters, if you ignore the behind-the-scenes maintenance, you are at risk of losing everything that you've worked so hard to create.
- The Tens (Xs): Powerful and energetic, Ten acts like an overview for all your accomplishments. It is a beacon for transformation and gathers together all the loose ends just so you can begin again. Fate or destiny can lend a hand when Ten appears. Groups of every kind show how organization and energy can achieve anything when combined with the power of Ten. There is movement on the horizon so seize the moment and revel in the joy of your successes.
- Ten Of Wands: Keywords include ambition, burden, drive to win, hard work, realization of a dream, vitality, workaholic, overwork, neglecting other areas of life, welcome responsibilities, expansiveness, great work situation, promotion, raises.
- Upright: With the Ten of Wands, you are on the brink of achieving a lifelong dream. Drive and ambition fuel your passion so all this hard work feels like less of a burden. Sometimes, all the energy you are pouring into this project may feel to be wasted; you doubt yourself and whether this means enough to you. Other times, your ambition may drive you to exclude areas of your life and make your work your sole focus. Learn to relax and leave work at work; you may feel like this is your calling, but you need a life too.
- Reversed: The responsibilities you shoulder right now with the Ten of Wands reversed are just right. Instead of feeling burdened, these are welcome responsibilities that reinforce your worth and create strong feelings of drive. In an environment of strong workers, you are nurtured and working at your best. External forces support you and you feel like you are in sync with your job. Promotions or raises are a likely result of all your hard work.
- Ten Of Coins: Keywords include money and family, gifts, inheritance, loans, financial prosperity, tax rebates, lump sums, material comfort, family support, burdensome family, heavy expectations, conservative beliefs, unexpected expenses, financial drains, disappointments.
- Upright: Money and family are intertwined with the Ten of Coins. Sometimes this can be quite literal, in the case of family businesses, inheritance, loans, or other financial help. Perhaps extended family share a home and in this way the money is interconnected. With the Ten of Coins, it can also be important to show your family that you are successful and desire their approval for how you make money and live you life. The Ten of Coins offers prosperity and comfort, money invested and saved and allows you to look at the long term growth of your wealth.
- Reversed: When the Ten of Coins becomes reversed, the family that is so important to you can seem like a burden rather than a blessing. Perhaps you support relatives or are seeking support that isn't forthcoming. It may be that your family is vocal about how they think you should improve your life. Money matters are especially complicated and there are unexpected drains on your resources. Just when you thought you were getting ahead, that extra money seems to vanish.
- Ten Of Swords: Keywords include betrayal, slander, gossip, revealed secrets, end of relationships, rock bottom, depression, negative thinking, troubled period, improvements that don't last, unconscious beliefs, pessimism, stop looking for trouble.
- Upright: The Ten of Swords often indicates betrayal, especially through gossip, betraying confidences and destruction of trust. Words are the enemy here so be cautious about committing anything to paper. When the Ten of Swords appears, it is usually an indicator that something important is coming to an end: beliefs, convictions, career or a relationship. Confronting that your shared time is over can be painful but at this point, you can't hide from it anymore. Moving forward, there is nowhere to go but up.
- Reversed: With the Ten of Swords reversed, it is time to address how your own negative thinking and deeply held beliefs are affecting your life. You may not realize how pessimistic you've become but there is an element of self-fulfilling prophecy in your life. Start to explore how you can slowly change your mindset and embrace positive thought patterns. Stay open to improvements and they will start to enter your life.
- Ten Of Cups: Keywords include abundant joy, lasting happiness, blossoming friendships, lasting love affairs, happy homes, success in every area of your life, dreams come true, quarrels, disagreements, fear of losing what you love, moving, loss of friendship, emotional distance.
- Upright: The Ten of Cups is the pinnacle of happiness - it is the point where dreams can come true! Established relationships will only continue to grow and develop and new relationships are easy and filled with harmony. The self-love and respect you developed spreads outward, affecting all you love with your joy. It is the card where wishes are granted but this is not just about luck. There was work, developing a stronger bond with yourself, that has lead to this point. Congratulations!
- Reversed: When the Ten of Cups is reversed, you may feel that you are on the brink of losing what is most important to you. Homes might be sold, children and friends move away, lovers become distant. These emotional disruptions affect you even more right now because they hurt deeply, breaking your heart. All the more important to speak from your soul and express the deep feelings you may have been hiding. Leave petty quarrels and misunderstandings behind you and try to find common ground. True love knows no distance.
Minor Arcana Part 2: The Court Cards
: Typically represents a message of some kind, or it refers to a child or child-like person.
- Page of Wands: A message of travel or change. Can also represent a talkative child.
- Page of Coins: A message of financial or business news. Or it could be a child who likes to build or make things.
- Page of Swords: A message of information or problems. Could also be a child who is Too Clever by Half.
- Page of Cups: A message of family or love matters. Or a child who likes to daydream.
: Represents movement or travel, types of energy in one's environment, or an adolescent or teen-like adult.
- Knight of Wands: A long holiday, a time to mature, or a politically active but naive teen.
- Knight of Coins: Travel by foot, a calm and steady energy, or someone with a lot of projects.
- Knight of Swords: Air travel, a time of rapid changes, or a very clever and talkative Teen Genius.
- Knight of Cups: Travel to a body of water, a constantly shifting environment, or an emo teen.
: Represent various types of creation or development, or adult women.
- Queen of Wands: Planning a vacation or career, or a spirited woman
- Queen of Coins: Developing a business, or a down to earth woman
- Queen of Swords: Writing a speech or article, developing an academic theory, or a clever woman
- Queen of Cups: A developing romance or relationship, or a busybody or matchmaking woman
: Represent motivation, command of various parts of life, leaders or general adult men.
- King of Wands: Motivation for a new career, or a charismatic man
- King of Coins: Motivation for starting a business, managing a business, or a
- King of Swords: Motivation for seeking information, or a fair but judgmental man
- King of Cups: Motivation for starting a family or new relationship, managing a family, or a family man