Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Today's Card: The IV of Wands

Ok, obviously I'm not spending as much time blogging as I thought I would, or even wished I was.  But I'm doing a lot of other important things and learning a LOT!  And clearly I haven't forgotten about blogging.  I mean, here I am.

Today's card is the IV of wands.  Generally thought of as one of the most positive cards in the deck, the Rider Waite depicts the IV of Wands as a card of celebratory ceremony.  It is a special day.  Two figures raise their hands triumphantly in the air, bouquets joyously held high.  In the foreground is a trellis or a wreathed threshold, symbolizing movement through or onto a new phase.  In the background is the castle, denoting home, society, or community, and the townspeople have gathered or assembled and are milling about.

The general environment of this card is one of joy, festivity, communion and a happy home life.  There appears to be a celebration going on and it's possible these figures are dancing.  The threshold, draped with garlands and ribbons, stands as a point of transition, as the couple seem to either be approaching it or have just passed through it.  It is a milestone or the completion of something monumental, and there is a sense of abundance and fertility in the air.  Perhaps they celebrate a bountiful harvest, the birth of a baby, or an auspicious union.

Without a doubt this is one of the happiest cards in the deck.  But the cards are nothing if not balanced.  Just as what's commonly perceived as one of the "worst" cards, Death, is not necessarily a bad card at all, despite its dark and ominous imagery and name - even one of the "best" cards (like the IV of Wands) may not be so rosy.  In the tarot, as in life, there is always a capacity for good and bad, dark and light.

The darkness (or warning if you will) found in such a bright card lies in the fact that the figures in the IV of Wands are assembled in front of the castle.  While the castle and its townspeople stand as a grounding or unifying element on the surface, there is an "official" sense about this gathering, and it may very well be that they have been mandated to do so.  The entire scene wreaks of pomp and circumstance and the whole thing may be a nicely orchestrated and choreographed show!  For who really knows what goes on beyond those castle walls?

It must be conceded that this grim reading of the IV of Wands is definitely not the dominant reading of this card, yet it does exist.  It's usually safer, easier, happier to take things at face value.  But the fact remains that not everything is always as it seems.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Welcome - Intuitive Tarot Readings, Spiritual Jewelry, Art

Welcome - Intuitive Tarot Readings, Spiritual Jewelry, Art

Today's Card - X of Cups

Today's Card

X of Cups

Special thanks to Ms K for her help with the cards today

10s have been coming up in my own readings like crazy lately.  10s signify completion and mastery on some level, and may indicate that it's time to look ahead towards the next challenge.  Symbolically, the number 10 is thought to be the most "whole" number, and as such is considered an auspicious or fortuitous number.

Rider Waite

In the Rider Waite deck, X of Cups is depicted as a joyous scene: a rainbow of cups is spread overhead in the sky, a pastoral scene with a man and a woman marveling at their good fortune while two children dance with joy off to the side.  The symbolism is bounty and the suggestion of familial bliss and a happy home life.

Morgan Greer

The Morgan Greer deck shows the X of Cups this time with the 10 cups crossing through the rainbow.  Two arms, the arms of two different people, are raised, cups in hand and are halfway entwined in a toast.  In the background is another representation of a peaceful landscape.  While the two arms are clearly the arms of two different people, it is somewhat ambiguous as to who they belong to.  One arm is strong and suggests masculinity and hard work, the other arm is more delicate and the sleeve here is finer and more detailed, suggesting either a woman or perhaps another male but of more refined and genteel breeding.

The landscape scenes in both of these cards are noticeably similar: a calm and serene body of water, gentle rolling hills, and in general a calm picture of nature.  Beyond this, though, there is the suggestion of something bigger than merely one family's happy home or one harmonious partnership, and there is a sense that such a blissful union brings peace and joy to many throughout the land.


The Cagliostro deck is another bird altogether.  While there is a certain amount of controversy surrounding this deck, who created it and how it came to be, I leave the history lesson for another day.  I include it in this discussion, however, because I've had this deck for more than 20 years and I never look at and I decided recently to become more familiar with it.   

The minor Arcana cards in the Cagliostro deck resemble modern day playing cards more than our familiar illustrated tarot cards.  The picture is simply of the 10 of Cups: 3 rows of 3 with the 10th cup stuck up on top of the stack, laying sideways.  There are no reverse positions per se in this deck, as each end has printed a couple of words associated with the card meanings.  On one end of the 10 of Cups it reads "Town * Wealth * Friendship" and on the other end is "Indignation * Loss of Friendship."  While the cups on the "bad" end appear upside down, there is no rich symbolism in this deck to draw from.  

The Cagliostro deck assigns each card a corresponding sign of the zodiac, and the 10 of Cups here is associated with Libra.  The symbol of Libra, of course, is the scales that represent balance, fairness, and justice.  In light of this, it's not a stretch to see how the symbolism in each approach could relate to each other. The Cagliostro's inclusion of the the word "Town" and the symbolism of Libra pointing to bigger things than merely one family's happy home allude to that sense 'peach throughout the land' that I get from the other two decks.

There is another reading of the X of Cups to be found in the Rider Waite and Morgan Greer (and many other) decks that is impossible to pick up on in the Cagliostro: depending on where it falls, the card can serve as a warning or attempt at grounding an individual who may have an unrealistically idyllic view of a relationship.  It can serve as a caution to think about one's expectations as well as a call to view a situation for what it is, rather than what you'd like it to be.  The only little clue I can see that might allude to that reading is the one cup that rests on its side. 

But man I have to squint to see that!