Tarot Interpretations

Interpretations of the basic meanings of the Tarot cards (Rider-Waite deck) - based on several major sources, and researched by Wayne N. Keyser (72070,330)

Wayne N. Keyser

Your comments, additions and corrections would be most welcome!

The Major Arcana

0: The Fool - The Fool may be you or someone in your life, not a stupid fool but (in a sense) a wise innocent, a beginner of a new journey every day, one who has learned to let the future unfold day by day. A few readers see in this card God Himself, the great beginner of all efforts, who has created all things according to a plan that seems "foolish" to us at times ... "For the foolishness of God is wiser than men" [I Corinthians 1:25]. Certainly this card indicates that the question and the event asked about are central to your life. This card signifies a courageous outset, a bold beginning, a leap into the great void of possibilities. There is the possibility of deadly hazard or wonderful riches ... the only thing that is certain is surprise! There is a need for care in making the right choice. Reversed: Some readers say that this indicates a faulty choice, thoughtless action, inadequate consideration. Others say that this card cannot be reversed and is always good.

1: The Magician - This is the card of the ego, the will, the "soul" in the particular sense of your temporal, carnal mind or "human nature" (as distinguished from, and often in conflict with your "spirit" or "divine nature"). It is a symbol of creative talent, organizational skill, human will and the ability to harness the available energy and channel it into a final product. This is a card of success in earthly efforts. It may also concern the desire to transcend from the earthly to the Divine by means of the earthly will and talent (in other words, a desire to achieve the things of "spirit" by means of the "soul" and "body" - an effort doomed to failure). Reversed, it concerns the wrong use of power, the inability to organize or harmonize the forces around one, lack of skill; it might also mean the weakening of "soul" that finally allows "spirit" to arise, an uplifting event that always seems like a tragedy to most people (who see things with earthly, "soulish" eyes).

2: The High Priestess - A card of feminine strength, power and virtue, often representing the creative arts, the spiritual seekers, the harmony understood by the wise and blessed among us. It speaks of a great intuitive power; a future unrevealed, influences hidden, but be assured that these unseen things are held in a universal harmony by a Divine plan. At times this card represents a "perfect" woman of virtue. It also concerns spiritual truth, spiritual communion with God entirely apart from the outward trappings and ceremonies of religion. As is true with so many deep spiritual things, the advice drawn from this card is often that it is best to keep your thoughts to yourself at this time; your feelings and your ideas and your most meaningful spiritual insights are not for consideration by a committee; they are yours alone ... your private right and your private responsibility. Reversed, it indicates the acceptance of surface knowledge, sensual enjoyment at the expense of deeper understanding and deeper joy. This is not a time to trust your feelings; instead, examine the situation fully and objectively before making a decision. A person of weak character or weak will may be indicated.

3: The Empress - The Empress is the "Earth Mother", a symbol of the female sex drive and maternal nature, of fertility in whatever matter the reading concerns. The seed which has been planted will grow into a bountiful harvest. The nature of nature is to multiply and to provide plenty. The seed may be an idea which will grow into a mature concept, a business which will grow into prosperity, a marriage which will grow into a full family, etc. However, it may indicate only earthly (not spiritual) fulfillment. and the bounty should be seen in the light of the reason for the overwhelming fecundity of nature: a thousand offspring are born so that a few may survive many perils. Reversed: infertility, loss of wealth and possessions, waste of resources, unrewarded effort, an upsetting of usually-abundant nature. Someone is in need; this is a time for good counsel and advice.

4: The Emperor - The Emperor stands for authority, paternity, domination, law, leadership, the masculine sexual drive, sometimes for war-making. As with 'The Empress', the forces symbolized by this card can often be only temporal, not spiritual principles. It can indicate a person in a position of authority well-disposed toward you. Often it indicates your own father. Reversed: loss of control, lost battles, harsh dictatorship, emotional immaturity, bondage to parents, sometimes the loss of one's inheritance or heritage. You may be feeling the weight of responsibility or be in danger of taking on too many responsibilities ... this is a time to beware of anyone or anything that does not appear to be self-sufficient.

5: The Hierophant (Pope or High Priest) - This card represents the force of spiritual authority as it manifests itself in our world through institutions: the church, the priest, the commandments and traditions of orthodox religion, the desire to maintain tradition or the literal letter of the law, the conflict that can arise between the faithful and their earthly institutions, between the need for the grace God freely provides and the ability of an earthly institution to deliver it. It can indicate a preference for tradition, for form over substance in any context, a need for social approval (acceptance by family or friends), a desire to belong, or a preference for the superficial at the expense of deeper meaning. Sometimes this card predicts an upcoming ritual (wedding, graduation, award). Reversed: an openness to new and unconventional ideas. New ideas, in this context, will always bring disharmony with the establishment (Jesus said "I came not to bring peace but a sword"). This card warns of an element of falsity: the seeker may be carried away by any attractive fancy just because it is different from what has been imposed on him before. Freedom may be a blessing but it is not always wise to exercise it at every opportunity; neither is it wise to toss all convention to the wind. There is a need for careful choice between the new and true, and the merely new and different.

6: The Lovers - "The Lovers" pictured in this card are Adam and Eve, who made the original (and, some would say, inevitable) bad choice. When this card appears, there is an important choice to be made in the area of love, feelings, and desire; the need to choose between (or to harmonize) your earthly and your spiritual nature. This card symbolizes temptation, uncontrolled attraction, the struggle between sacred and profane love, the struggle involved in choosing between the wise, the perfect, the truthful against the tempting, the tawdry, the unwholesome. Reversed: disharmony, quarrels, danger of a broken union (a marriage, a business relationship, a friendship, whatever). There is a need to stabilize the emotions, to wrench the unbalanced back into a stable position. The wrong choice lurks anew at every moment!

7: The Chariot - The occupant of The Chariot rides forth in glory, successful, triumphant, victorious! This is a card of hard intellectual work, particularly of self-control, which brings success through preparation and brings control over anything in question: health, money, one's own conflicts, enemies. Reversed: the use of unnecessary force, unchannelled effort, lack of self-control, an unethical or temporary victory, a restless desire for major change, a control over things that should not be controlled.

8: Strength - The picture on this card shows a woman closing the jaws of a lion, which she has subdued. This is the card of spiritual and emotional courage. Courage of this sort can tame the animal (flesh/"soul") nature; love can triumph over hate, character and spiritual power can supersede material power. It also shows a need for reason to temper emotion, especially in domestic matters. The things you fear may, on closer examination, turn out to be unreal. Reversed: fear of the unknown, the spiritual being dominated by material interests, moral cowardice or moral weakness, a desire to be abusive. There will be no progress until you face reality.

9: The Hermit - The Hermit is a bringer of light, wisdom, good counsel, but he retreats from society and will not come unless he is sought. He represents wisdom, prudence, discretion, expert advice. His power comes from the union of (masculine principles) mental agility and reason and (feminine principles) emotional and moral strength. He also can herald a meeting with someone who will guide you on your journey. At this time, more understanding is needed. Reversed: immaturity, refusal to heed wise counsel, foolish vices, running away from reality. There is a need for a better attitude.

10: The Wheel of Fortune - The continual cycle of change is represented by the Wheel of Fortune, in which good and evil, luck and ruin, harmony and discord perpetually wax and wane. The card indicates a turn of luck (generally for the better), or at least a change from the current condition (and in so many cases, any change at all might free up a stuck situation). Don't start to feel sorry for yourself ... look for new opportunities. Reversed: a setback, the failure of an endeavor, the need to be prepared for a downturn or a run of bad luck. This would be a good time to re-evaluate your own abilities, to learn from a hard lesson, and to put the value of your own ego in a better (less important) perspective.

11: Justice - "Things will be balanced and put to rights" is the message of the Justice card. Balance will be restored, useless trivia will be eliminated and all will be sorted out until a simple balanced truth is arrived at. The unclear will be made clear. This is no time to be taken in by persuasion. Do what your experience has taught you is best. Reversed: injustice, senseless entanglements, confusion of the truth, and wrong judgement ... it calls attention to the need for gentle judgement of others; remember that God's final judgement is always mercy; bear also in mind that everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. You have done as much as you can ... take what good you can from this, learn its lesson, and get on with your life.

12: The Hanged Man - The Hanged Man represents a surrender of the self, the "soul", to the calling of the spirit, leading to the progress and transformation of the personality for the better. It speaks of a turning from material temptations, a suspension of earthly concerns (either for a time, or a permanent renunciation of that which formerly mattered a great deal). Sacrifice is an element of the card's meaning, along with great idealism. Change is near! Reversed: a preoccupation with the ego, a clinging to the merely physical and a willful ignorance of the spirit.

13: Death - Do not fear this card! It almost never concerns an actual death, but instead indicates a change, a transformation, a spiritual "dying to the old" so that you may be "born again" to the new. Think of the Indian god Kali, the ten-armed slayer with a necklace of skulls, whose purpose is to sweep away the old, useless and worn-out to clear way for the new. There will be many changes; this is not a time to cling to the past! Face the future with new faith and accept the changes! Reversed: either a stagnation (an unmet need for change) or a senseless upheaval without cleansing benefits. In such a time you can still think and plan for change in the future.

14: Temperance - Pictured on this card, an angel pours from cup to cup the essence of life. This is the card of balancing force, one of the central ideas of Tarot. Opposing forces, ideas that are difficult to reconcile, are everywhere; what is needed in the spiritual journey is the ability to choose between irreconcilable concepts, to harmonize opposing forces, to bring the radical under constructive control. The Temperance card speaks of good management, successful combinations, good communication. This is not the time to rush anything; look for the opportunity to create harmony. Reversed: competing interests, disharmonious combinations, quarrels, corruption, separation, loss of moderation. Things are being thrown out of balance by too much pushing.

15: The Devil - The Devil symbolizes the dark side and the wrong use of all the principles of the universe. He represents gross materialism, bondage to the material and to the flesh, "black magic", the use of a little knowledge to do foolish things without understanding. It also speaks of the best instincts being repressed by too much logic and intellect. Reversed: a lesser degree of the problems above, from which it might be possible to turn toward spiritual understanding, toward a renunciation of bondage to the physical, toward an overcoming of pride and self-interest and toward a newly-opened door to truth and freedom. However, this renewal comes after a period of delusion; it may be necessary to make amends.

16: The Tower - The picture on the Tower card shows a great house being broken by a storm and the people in it falling from their place. The Tower speaks of the loss of the old, secure things when new understanding strikes like a lightning-bolt. The Tower here may be seen either as the outdated ideas or material circumstances we have to leave in order to progress, or as a house built upon sand (error, misapprehension, sin). In any case, there will be a time of change, conflict, upset, disruption, followed later by enlightenment. It will not be fun for anyone involved! Do not cling to old goals; this change will surely come whether or not you resist it. The tower of self, of Soulish ambition, will come to an end. Reversed: an oppression of the spirit by false accusations, false ideas, false goals. This is a time to work toward gaining freedom even though it may be at great cost. Do what you know is right, and do it before it is too late.

17: The Star - The picture on this card shows a nude woman under a starry sky pouring water from two urns, some onto the land and some back into a pool. The Star symbolizes the pure truth, the illuminating insight, the light of hope, undying unselfish love and, most importantly, the Creator's gift of unmerited grace. It is a card of very good luck and health! Reversed: a lack of perception, a blindness to the gifts of the spirit, an ignorance of the love that is offered, a dwelling on pessimism and negativity when everything around you is bathed in the pure light of love.

18: The Moon - The picture shows a bright moon shining down on a path leading into the distance. A lobster is crawling out of its water and along the path; farther along are two dogs and in the distance are two towers. The moon lights one's dreams, and it also lights the way of one who journeys courageously and unceasingly day and night. Dreams are important when The Moon turns up in one's reading. It signifys the unfolding of intuition, psychic powers, and freedom from normal limits, but it may also signify trouble for your loved ones ... especially if you see your journey as being very important (as this card may indicate). This is a time to trust your feelings, to build your own security and self-reliance and not to lean on others. You may have fears, even a crisis of faith, but have courage especially when you feel fear; do not cease in your journey! Reversed: practical concerns may supersede imagination and daring at this time ... your "bold nighttime journey", your courageous undertaking, may be too perilous at this time, and the wise person may do well to wait before risks are taken. Things will get better "in the morning" (soon).

19: The Sun - In this picture, the glorious Sun shines down on a little child who, unclothed and on horseback, carries a bright red flag. This card always means great joy. Most of the preceding cards have dealt with the need to transcend the physical, the here-and-now, the earthly desires. Here, the Sun shines on the seeker who has transcended the flesh, and gives back in abundance the things that were outgrown on the seeker's journey to spiritual maturity (just as, when we are adults, we can enjoy 'toys' we could never be trusted with until we transcended our childish need for them). It is a card of material happiness, success, mastery, a happy family, achievement in every realm. Reversed: the loss of material success, family trouble, loneliness, spiritual darkness and other problems. This is not a time to begin new projects. Projects you are considering now should be looked into very carefully, even suspiciously!

20: Judgement - The card bears the picture of the Last Judgement much as the Bible describes it. The Judgement here is a final judgement of praise and mercy, a life well lived, a journey well completed, an accomplishment of the great work of spiritual transformation. There have been mistakes and harsh judgements against you along the way, but God's only final judgement is mercy. You can awake now to a final truth and mercy that you could never have understood when you were just beginning your journey. Rise now from your difficult situation and answer the call to glory! Reversed: fear of death, inability to maintain a balanced perspective, separation from the ultimate good, failure to find hoped-for happiness. This is a time to review your efforts and plan for better efforts in the future. Try new ideas, a new dwelling, a new job ... come out of the darkness!

21: The World - In the picture on this card, a nude young woman dances, encircled by a wreath that symbolizes the natural world and by mythical figures symbolizing the spiritual world. This is the card of final completion, fullest development, ultimate understanding, triumph in undertakings, complete mastery and liberation. There will be reward, peace, joy, completion. There is a mature freedom to move, to change, to live. Reversed: success that has not yet been won, a journey not yet completed, too much attachment to the past or to the earthly.

The Minor Arcana


Cards in the suit of Wands generally represent energy, enterprise, vitality, growth and progress.

Ace of Wands - Pictured in this card is the hand of God holding out a flowering wand. The Ace of Wands signifies that something of a creative nature is being offered: the beginning of an enterprise, of a journey, of an adventure, of one of life's memorable episodes. It often represents a birth, or foretells the arrival of an invitation (which you should seriously consider accepting). Reversed: the cancellation of such an enterprise, the deferral of a journey, a false start or thwarted promise of success.

Two of Wands - Illustrated on this card is a lord looking out on the world from his carefully-constructed, strong battlements. The Two of Wands signifies the bold undertaking of an enterprise, tempered with careful planning and genuine ability. It is a sign of achievement in business and plans. It may indicate a person of generous capacities but with a proud and unforgiving nature. Reversed: the restlessness that comes from the inability to begin something, or the refusal to do something, or the fear of doing something, or a good beginning that has gone wrong (or which careful foreplanning will counsel against beginning). Things should be clarified to prevent misunderstandings; organization and order is needed in your personal life.

Three of Wands - The picture on this card is of an established merchant watching his ships come into port. The Three of Wands stands for the merchant, the businessperson who tends what is his and offers valuable help to his fellows. Someone may be willing to give assistance, or to join you in partnership. Cooperation is called for; the seed well-planted can grow. The card carries the possible indication of established strength and wealth and power, with a caution against pride and arrogance. Reversed: offered help may not be trustworthy, established wealth may slip away; there is a possibility of treachery. Check carefully before moving ahead; do not be overconfident or careless.

Four of Wands - On this card, the picture is of four wands holding up a canopy for a celebration. The Four of Wands stands for the end of a period of labor, the day's rest and rewards, a job well done, peace, prosperity, harmony, with the added implication of romance. Reversed: the day's work may not be enough, that rewards may not be forthcoming, that the task at hand may be harder than was anticipated; the job is probably doable, but at a much greater effort than was foreseen; romance may still be available, but it has not yet been completely won (if you care, show it now!)

Five of Wands - Pictured here are five young men fighting with five wands or clubs. The Five of Wands represents bold and inharmonious competition, serious quarrels, battle and struggle for a cause or a purpose. Boldness and courage in entering the fray may bring rewards to offset the battle scars. Be firm; state and stick to the facts. Reversed: new opportunities, victories won after some difficulty. Harmony is available to you; don't be too defensive to accept the offered attention and generosity.

Six of Wands - Illustrated here are a victorious commander carrying a laurel on his staff; his men, marching beside him, have five more staves. The Six of Wands represents good news, the victorious end of a battle, success after toil, advancement in one's field, helpful friends and alliances. Have faith and keep trying; you can win! @@ card is Reversed: portending the delay of rewards, difficulty in getting things together, successful enemies, proud and inconsiderate victors. Don't build up tension, even though things may not be going well.

Seven of Wands - On this card, a brave young man fights with his staff six opponents also armed with staves. The Seven of Wands indicates victory through courage, the ability to win through inner strength and to succeed against opposition through boldness and industry. This is a card of success despite competition and pressure. You will see things more clearly if you rest from undue tensions. Reversed: a time for definite decision; your position appears weak but is stronger than you think. Don't make unwise decisions or feel threatened, but don't retreat from the struggle either.

Eight of Wands - The picture on this card is of eight wands in the air, about to come to rest after a long flight over land. The Eight of Wands portends advancement, probably too-rapid advancement, great haste (possibly at the expense of too much energy), nearing one's goal, and sometimes love messages or business travel. Reversed: delays, lack of progress, possibly jealousy and worry. Control your emotions; they will not help you solve problems. This is a time to avoid force or pressure, a time to think about things a little more. A small adjustment could solve everything.

Nine of Wands - In the card's picture, tall wands form the boundary protected by a tired, battle-scarred man. The Nine of Wands portends a pause in the struggle, a resting and re-marshalling of strength, the possession of enough power to win a victory after long effort. It carries meanings of health, strength, obstinacy. Hold on to your endeavor and to your faith. Reversed: weakness, unpreparedness, the lack of enough strength to win, no rest from a losing battle, many obstacles. Try not to bend under the difficulties; try to keep up the effort.

Ten of Wands - Illustrated is a man carrying a too-heavy burden of ten wands. The Ten of Wands indicates an unwise clinging to burdens, an unwise use of power, tremendous responsibilities (do you prefer your life this way?). It also represents the trial by ordeal, the spirit tested and tried and refined through pain, a cross to bear, a problem that should be solved soon. Reversed: a too-great burden, or someone trying to unload his burden on others. Energies are being wasted in the wrong direction; take another look at your goal to get back on course

Page of Wands - The Page of Wands is ALWAYS associated with a young person, one who brings news, messages, or information. The source of the information is generally a close friend or relative. It also describes a person who wears his passions on his sleeve, being quick in affection and quick to anger. Reversed: a cruel, unstable, domineering nature - in its worst form, it may foretell an abusive relationship. It may also foretell the arrival of bad news.

Knight of Wands - The Knight of Wands represents a young man full of energy and vitality, effusive and generous but possibly cruel, hasty and self-absorbed. This card may also foretell a change of residence, a quick departure, or (as with any of the knights) the sudden coming or going of a matter. Reversed: an interfering force, a lover possessed by jealousy, a creator of conflict, a source of frustration and confusion.

Queen of Wands - The Queen of Wands represents an energetic and vital woman, able to attract the things and people she wants. She has both a loving nature and practical abilities, with sound judgement. If she represents some principle rather than an actual person (depending on the card's placement in your reading and the nature of your question) then she may represent success in undertakings, love of home and hearth, kindness, understanding and generosity. Reversed: an unwise, obstinate, vengeful person or influence, domineering and given to sudden and unexplained reversals of feeling.

King of Wands - The King of Wands represents either a person or a principle. He may be a bright, able, well-off person of strong feelings and sufficient wealth, probably married with a family, who may at times be a bit hasty. Alternatively, the card may represent the traits of honesty, friendliness, strong feelings, unexpected discovery of a heritage, or a good marriage. Reversed: an intolerant and prejudiced nature, or the possibility of being unrealistically high-principled, severe and ruthless in judgement.


Cards in the suit of Cups generally represent love, happiness, the emotional fulfillments life can offer.

Ace of Cups - In this card, the hand of God holds forth a cup overflowing with the blessings of the spirit. The Ace of Cups represents the beginning of all good things: strong love, joy, health and contentment. Beauty and the things of the spirit will fill your spirit full and go on to bless your physical reality as well. There will be new spiritual insight. Also, there may be activities affecting the home (for the better). Reversed: false love, clouded joy, a need for a change and for spiritual refreshment, and the hesitancy to nurture available love. There is a need for balance: you may love too intensely or not enough.

Two of Cups - Pictured in this card, a man and a woman each offer the other a cup as the lion of carnal desire flies away. The Two of Cups represents the balance and harmony of the masculine and feminine (whether this is a balanced and mature relationship between a man and a woman or achieving the balance of opposite natures in any realm). It may herald the well-founded beginning of a love affair or friendship, or agreement with associates on some idea or plan. Good ideas are arising, kindness and thoughtfulness are bearing fruit. Reversed: false love, disunity, possessiveness, misunderstanding, discord. The false feelings that destroy any possibility of love are present: possessiveness, pride, demands, a closed spirit, perfectionism, lack of balance and lack of perspective.

Three of Cups - Illustrated on this card, three maidens in a garden raise their cups in a dance of celebration. The Three of Cups represents success, abundance, good fortune, a successful outcome, hospitality, a well-earned celebration. Sometimes indicates pregnancy, anticipating the arrival of something good. Reversed: too much sensuality, overindulgence in food and drink, an overconcern with the flesh, bringing pleasure to pain and bringing success to a failed outcome. What was good is now causing pain; turn around and concentrate your energy in a different direction; take charge of yourself and make new forward-looking plans.

Four of Cups - Pictured is a youth deeply contemplating three cups in front of him and ignoring a fourth cup being offered to him. The Four of Cups represents a dissatisfaction with material success, a period of contemplation and the re-evaluation of the things of this world. It speaks of the concern and the kindness offered by others, and warns not to ignore these offerings. This is the card of depression and emotional introversion, of a person who thinks too much and feels either too little or unwisely, a card of withdrawing from engagement with others (nobody seems to understand). Reversed: a waking from (or turning from) a period of contentment and "resting on one's laurels", or an awakening to action after a period of consideration. New goals, ambitions, projects, undertakings are now sought and are now possible.

Five of Cups - In this card, a despairing and solitary person looks in sorrow at three cups which have spilled, and ignores the two full cups which remain intact. The Five of Cups represents disappointment, sorrow over the things from which pleasure was expected. It may indicate failed romantic relationships or lost friendships, but the regret indicated by this card is (to a degree) vain, because it also indicates that something of what was lost is left over. Think carefully before making a decision: are you seeing the entire picture or are you ignoring something? Reversed: the return of enjoyment, learning from past experience, the formation of new relationships, the return of someone close to you, and hope. It might be time to relocate.

Six of Cups - In the card's picture, a child offers another child one of six flower-filled cups. The Six of Cups represents the happiness brought by memories of the past, meetings with acquaintances who have slipped from your circle, or new friendships and new opportunities. This may speak of a chance to make a new friend or to relocate or change jobs. Reversed: a clinging to the past, a need to turn from things that should have been outgrown, possibly associates or friends who have no value. Sometimes it signifies a desire for that which is gone and can never return. Alternatively, there may be a gift or message from the past.

Seven of Cups - Pictured on this card, a man stands amazed at the visions that he sees. The Seven of Cups represents artistic vision, sometimes to a degree that it becomes a problem. It also indicates emotional sensitivity (again, often too much sensitivity), an overactive, fantastic imagination, plans that have no basis in practicality, attractive dreams that will only lead to disappointment; the seeker's strength and attention have been too scattered; there may have been deception or willful dissipation; the dreamed-of success is illusory. There is a need to be realistic, to wake up and do what must be done, to narrow down your choices with plain common sense (time to get your head out of the clouds). There will be changes for the better. Reversed: modest success that must be pursued with practical steps to bring a good resolution; a new determination of will and a wise choice is possible, but only at the cost of giving up self-deception.

Eight of Cups - Pictured is a man travelling away from eight cups with which he has finished. The Eight of Cups represents a restless journey, things discarded as soon as they are obtained, a dissatisfaction with and an abandonment of success. There is a need for spiritual fulfillment, and you are tired of your old ways. It is time to look for new alternatives, to reject outworn links with the past. It may indicate that the seeker is aware of a need to turn from concentration on material success in order to pursue higher goals. Reversed: a strong interest in achievement, success, money; a new love. It speaks of a vague wandering for the sake of wandering, perhaps the abandonment of higher things in favor of a return to earthly concerns, or the abandonment of a good love for no good reason.

Nine of Cups - Illustrated here is a well-fed, satisfied person who has nine cups of plenty arranged on his table. The Nine of Cups gives a clear picture of material success, achievement and rewards, the attainment of a wish, and physical comfort and health. This is said to be the "wish card", indicating that a wish will come true, though that meaning is certainly colored by the other cards in the reading. Reversed: a false sense of attainment, a loss or illness, the possibility of overindulgence in material things (especially in food and drink), an unfulfilled wish. Be careful in your diet! Be careful for your health!

Ten of Cups - Pictured here are a young couple and their dancing children celebrating the promise indicated by a rainbow of ten cups. The Ten of Cups represents spiritual contentment, deep happiness springing from the attainment of the better and higher goals, the improvement or perfection of a love, true friendship and the attainment of peace and harmony. Reversed: hurt feelings, a loss of friendship, a lusting after base goals, a waste and a willful turning from the things of the spirit.

Page of Cups - The Page of Cups represents an imaginative person, ready to join and assist, moody and passionate and not entirely practical. It may, if it does not represent a person, indicate an interest in imaginative activities: the arts, meditation, business innovations, etc. It might also indicate news or a birth. Reversed: a lack of creative desire, dilletantism and style without substance, a seduction away from one's proper place, deception, or unpleasant news.

Knight of Cups - The Knight of Cups represents an idle dreamer, one who engages in sensual pursuits, or the bringer of news. Reversed: fraud, untruth, the need to carefully examine any proposals brought to you, or a seduction into idle and sensual pursuits.

Queen of Cups - The Queen of Cups represents a visionary but practical woman, a good wife and mother, or someone else who is full of vision or kind but possibly lacking in practical energy; also indicated are success, happiness and pleasure. Reversed: a perverse character, an intelligent person who cannot be relied upon, dishonesty or immorality.

King of Cups - The King of Cups represents a man skilled in many fields, likely to be an important member of some institution, responsible, kind and considerate. It may also indicate the principles of generosity, creativity, interest in arts and religion. Reversed: a man of power who may also be cunning and savage, fierce in nature but able to mask his violent interior under a calm and respectable exterior, willing to lie and double-deal.


Cards in the suit of Swords generally represent courage and boldness, strife and aggression, even hatred and enemies.

Ace of Swords - Pictured on the card: the Hand of God holds forth the Sword of Reason and Judgement. The Ace of Swords represents conquest, rational ability, the beginning of an opportunity for change, a time to cut ties with the past and start something new. It signals great activity and the power to feel strongly (to love and hate strongly). Reversed: weak spots in plans, conquest with disastrous results, obstacles and risk of loss. It also may signal restriction imposed by force or fear, or the overthrow of just authority. There is a need to plan carefully and check thoroughly.

Two of Swords - Pictured here is a woman balancing a sword on each shoulder, seated before a sea full of rocks that trap the unwary. The Two of Swords represents an uneasy balance, held in place by great strength and effort. It signals tension in relationships, difficulty in deciding what to do, a stalemated situation. Reversed: release of tension, the deliberate stirring up of trouble, the unjamming and movement of affairs from a stuck position (sometimes in the wrong direction), sympathy for those in trouble, and possibly disloyalty. This is not a time for making decisions ... put off decisions until you are absolutely sure.

Three of Swords - Pictured here is a heart pierced by three swords under a stormy sky. The Three of Swords represents trouble of the heart, stormy relationships, quarrels, emotional anguish, and a warning of general strife and upheaval. It can also indicate growth through mental or emotional conflict. Reversed: a milder degree of strife in relationships, lack of communication, small quarrels for no reason, a need for a peacemaker.

Four of Swords - Illustrated on the card is the tomb of a knight, decorated with four swords. The Four of Swords represents rest after battle, a release from suffering and strife, the opportunity to relax and take peace, and it indicates an upcoming change for the better. Reversed: a renewal of activity, an incomplete success, the necessity to be wise and prudent, to think before committing yourself and to conserve your resources so that they may be used only where they are needed. This is not a good time to make promises.

Five of Swords - The card pictures an enemy collecting the dropped swords of five defeated men. The Five of Swords represents utter defeat in battle, failure, loss, the conquest of others, unfairness, cruelty, slander, and the cowardice of the strong. Logic and reason are used for evil purposes. It may indicate that someone has run away or left abruptly. The questioner may be either the victor or the defeated party, depending upon the question and the card's position in the reading. Reversed: the milder losses, a need to beware of pride, a chance of defeat, an empty victory, sorrow.

Six of Swords - The card's picture shows a sad woman and child in a boat, heading for a calm shore. The Six of Swords represents a better future, success after worry and anguish, a journey to a better lodging or a different consciousness, leaving a relationship. There will be more peace in the future. Reversed: that you will remain where and as you are; there is no immediate way out of present problems and worries, but you can take time to think carefully: have you considered all the facts?

Seven of Swords - The picture shows a man stealing swords. The Seven of Swords represents a failed plan, or a need for cunning and trickery, an unwise or untimely attempt to take what is not yours, spying, deceit, partial (minimal) success. Reversed: unexpected good, wishes likely to be fulfilled, good counsel. It also indicates a reluctance to follow through on a bold plan at a time when action is most needed, or it may indicate the failure of a plan, unwise counsel, foolish surrender just before victory would have been won.

Eight of Swords - Pictured is a maiden imprisoned within a ring of eight swords. The Eight of Swords represents bondage, restriction, indecision, fear to move out of a situation. Someone is hurt, confused, caught in a painful situation. It is time to seek help. Reversed: that new beginnings may now be possible, a new freedom may be taken. There will be more freedom soon.

Nine of Swords - The picture shows a woman who cannot sleep because of her despair. The Nine of Swords represents a heavy burden of loss, doubt, depression, sorrow. Intense mental insight can bring suffering. However, it also indicates the opportunity to gain new strength and new life: rational and logical strength may be triggered by a situation that cannot be helped by emotions. Have courage; face the fear and pain to overcome the difficulty. Reversed: milder difficulties, unselfish patience, a release from burdens in time, a need to see what the morrow will bring. Faith and trust are needed at this time.

Ten of Swords - The picture shows ten swords piercing a fallen man. The Ten of Swords represents ruin, defeat, unavoidable trouble, (the trouble indicated is not often for an individual but usually for a group or community) with a suggestion that you aid others in trouble. The trouble may stimulate an unusual clarity of mental brilliance and logic. Reversed: the overthrow of evil forces and some success and profit; the courage to rise again; a willingness to look to higher powers for help.

Page of Swords - The Page of Swords represents a possibly young person skilled in working with people, a person of diplomatic talents, grace and ability. It may also indicate a message and, in some cases, spying. Reversed: the exposure of an impostor, frivolity, cunning, certainly the unexpected is to be expected.

Knight of Swords - The Knight of Swords represents a courageous and energetic person, likely to be domineering but pure in heart. The card may also indicate the coming or going of misfortune. Reversed: bragging, extravagance, tyranny over the helpless, a quarrelsome person whose actions cause trouble.

Queen of Swords - The Queen of Swords represents a widow, an angry and closed and defensive woman, a kind but always firm person keen in observation. Reversed: unreliability and narrow-mindedness, gossip, deceit, malice, a prudish and spiteful woman.

King of Swords - The King of Swords represents a person in a position of power and decision, who gives wise advice and is firm in his alliances and in his quarrels. It may also indicate the principle of power, authority, the military, or the law. Reversed: a harsh and malicious influence, a plotting without limit for disruption.

Pentacles (Coins)

Cards in the suit of Pentacles (also called Coins) generally represent money, trade, fortune, business.

Ace of Pentacles - Pictured here is the hand of God holding forth a pentacle (often considered to symbolize a coin). The Ace of Pentacles represents a great beginning of prosperity, pleasure and beauty. Reversed: indicating greed and miserliness, a false start, or prosperity which may present more problems than benefits, a lack of faith in anything beyond the material world.

Two of Pentacles - The card pictures a juggler skilfully balancing two pentacles. The Two of Pentacles represents the ability to handle several matters at once and keep them in balance, harmony in the midst of change (but new projects may prove to be too much to handle in addition); it also indicates skill in the art of finance, the ability to deal with change calmly, the ability to work with others, lightness of heart and recreation, a frivolous person or sometimes one given to mood swings between manic and depressed states. Reversed: enforced gaiety, clumsy handling of business matters, recklessness, disorganization, the inability to handle more than one situation at a time.

Three of Pentacles - In the card's picture we see a nun and a monk watching as a sculptor makes a carving for their church. The Three of Pentacles represents material gain within the existing commercial system; master craftsmen or skill in commerce; this is a card which often indicates a Mason or member of some other group or society. Reversed: lack of skill, commonplace ideals, preoccupation with gain. More effort and more care are needed.

Four of Pentacles - The card pictures a miser clinging to his four golden coins. The Four of Pentacles represents a high aptitude for business, security of possessions, an assurance of earthly wealth and success, but without an accompanying spiritual gain. It speaks of gifts, inheritances, or it may indicate a person who clings to money in a miserly and ungenerous way. Reversed: covetousness, suspicion, material setbacks and financial losses, either miserliness or spending one's money too freely.

Five of Pentacles - The card pictures a poor man and woman walking in the snow, outside the warmth that glows from a window with a five-pentacle design. The Five of Pentacles represents unemployment, poverty, loneliness, separation from loved ones, or the bond that draws the troubled to friendship through their afflictions. Certainly indicates a "dark night of the soul". Reversed: wealth regained after much effort, new (but possibly temporary) employment, charity, a new interest in spiritual matters. Do not let pride stand in your way; try to show more empathy. Look ahead; today's situation may not be permanent.

Six of Pentacles - In the card's illustration, a good man gives six coins to the needy. The Six of Pentacles represents receiving what you deserve, money dispensed justly, material gains to be shared with others. Reversed: threats to present prosperity, carelessness with money, envy and jealousy (possible need to beware of thieves), bad debts, gifts given with conditions attached.

Seven of Pentacles - On this card, a young farmer leans on his hoe, gazing at the seven pentacles growing on the vine he tends. The Seven of Pentacles represents a temporary uncertain pause in the progress of an undertaking, unprofitable speculations, a need for dedicated work to attain fortune, needless anxiety about a loan, success not yet achieved. Seven Reversed: impatience, paltry gain after hard labor, anxiety about money, an abandoned project.

Eight of Pentacles - The card illustrates an apprentice sculptor carving eight pentacles. The Eight of Pentacles represents the beginning of a profitable venture, the learning of a trade, learning by doing, the prospect of employment, skill in one's profession but possibly skill that is not developed beyond the beginner's stage. Do not concentrate too much on immediate returns; pay heed to the development of your skills. Reversed: the possibility of failure in one's ambitions, or skill misused to unwise ends, a know-it-all attitude, a desire for quick results.

Nine of Pentacles - Shown on this card is the lady of a wealthy manor strolling in her vineyard. The Nine of Pentacles represents wise understanding of one's own interests, an inheritance, material security through prudence, love of home. This card indicates an almost perfect situation regarding security, wealth, accomplishment, safety and stability. Reversed: danger of theft, cancelled projects, possible loss of home or friendship, and the need to be very cautious. The present stability may not endure; do not become involved in intrigues.

Ten of Pentacles - The picture on this card shows the patriarch of a long-established prosperous family. The Ten of Pentacles represents riches, an inheritance, family wealth, a problem concerning a will or pension, possible acquisition of real estate. Reversed: family misfortune, family troubles or lack of family ties, boredom and the risk of setting off in the wrong direction, loss of inheritance, risky projects. There is a need to be objective and take command of the situation.

Page of Pentacles - The Page of Pentacles represents an introverted person, a scholar with a love of learning and a fascination with new ideas. It can also indicate the principles of intelligent application of knowledge, careful management, a bringer of good news and information on money matters. Reversed: imprudence, excess, too great an absorption with material things, wasteful luxury, bad news about finances.

Knight of Pentacles - The Knight of Pentacles represents a responsible and patient person. It can also indicate the principles of responsibility, trustworthiness, or the arrival or departure of an important matter concerning finances. Reversed: the stagnation of affairs, an unprogressive and timid or dull nature, an idle person.

Queen of Pentacles - The Queen of Pentacles represents a bountiful woman, an "earth mother", a noble person in material matters. It may also indicate great security and abundance, trustworthy people, practical talent. Reversed: mistrust, suspicion, neglect, dependence, fear of failure, and want.

King of Pentacles - The King of Pentacles represents a captain of industry with great financial abilities. It may also indicate success in money matters, reliable and steady people. Reversed: stupidity, unreliability, the perverse use of abilities, bribery, vice, villainy, and the need to keep oneself far from untrustworthy people, especially where money matters are concerned.

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