Interpretations depend on a card's dignity. Generally, the easier, more positive qualities of a card are revealed when it is well-dignified; the negative qualities come to light when is poorly dignified. In the keywords below, the well-dignified (or "right-side-up")meanings generally come first, followed by the reversed, or ill-dignified meanings.
Tarot readers determine dignity in different ways. A card may be "ill-dignified" if it shows up in a spread reversed. A card may also be weakened or strengthened by the cards next to it, especially in spreads using more than one card per position. Generally, Disks (Pentacles--Earth) and Swords (Air) are inimical to one another, as are Cups (water) and Wands (fire). Adjacent cards of like suits strengthen one another. Generally, Major Arcana strengthen adjoining cards.
It is important to realize that a card's dignity depends largely on its relationship to other cards in the spread, and the tone of the spread as a whole. A reversed card, for instance, may not necessarily have a negative meaning. It may refer to a delay, or to some unrealized potential. On the other hand, if the card's core meaning is problematic, it may show an intensification of those difficulties, or a release from them. Say, for instance, that the Devil reversed shows up in a Celtic cross, in the covering position (card 1), crossed by 8 Swords. This might show a querent's unsuccessful attempt to free herself from an oppressive situation. Let's say, though, that the Devil reversed is crossed by the Two of Swords: This may show the querent's unwillingness to free herself from a restrictive situation. If the Devil reversed is crossed by a more assertive card, however, something like Strength, or the Ace of Wands, it may show that the querent has broken out of some restrictive or unhealthy situation. In other words, while each card has a basic, core meaning, the interpretation is shaded by the other cards in the spread. The cards themselves are the best guides.
Openness, unaffectedness, youthful light-heartedness. Life is an art, experimenting, exploring, non-conforming. Receptivity, spontaneous feelings, intuition, ideas. Pure heart and right motives. Transcendence. Dreaminess, instability, being out of touch with reality. Recklessness, lack of insight into people. Disillusionment with a person one has placed great hopes in. Folly, eccentricity, idealism, failing to use creative powers, inability to see projects through. Mania. Consider carefully a decision you are about to make, a journey (metaphorical or otherwise) you are about to embark upon, etc.
Sovereignty, willpower, effective and determined action. Drive, energy, talent. Inspiration borne of self-motivation. Someone who is convincing, innovative and very original. A penetrating mind and highly developed communication skills. Trickiness, deception, back-stabbing. Wisdom. Message. Learning, business skill, craftiness, shrewdness, initiative. Charisma. Politician. Writer. Timidity, hesitation, speech impediments, delayed messages.
THE HIGH PRIESTESS-II
A mysterious woman. Something coming into manifestation. Intuition, empathy, sudden insight. Security due to inner clarity. Wisdom, knowledge of human nature. Chastity. A-sexual love. Change, fluctuation, increase and decrease. Mysteries, secrets, unknown influences. Flexibility. Spirit-guides. "Follow your intuition." Or, lack of foresight. Problems with women. Misogyny. Arrogance, rigidity, ignorance; following the wrong people's advice. Allowing emotions to cloud judgment.
Beauty, happiness. A project bears fruit. Remuneration for one's efforts. Completion. Cycles. Elegance. Fertility. Stability at home. Sometimes pregnancy, marriage, love. Reaping what one has sown. Friendship. "Do what you love, and the money will follow." Enjoying life. Material and emotional comfort. Fickleness. Sensuality. Debauchery. Promiscuity. Unwanted pregnancy.
Solidity, stability, and reliability. Organizing one's life; adding structure to fledgling projects, relationships, ideas. Government. Ambition, victory, ego, enterprise, self-promotion, good public relations. Maturity and self-control Vigor. "Full steam ahead!" Father, husband, lover. Logic. Perseverance. Campaigns. Rashness, violence, stubbornness, restriction (too much organization). Abuse of power, loss of control, chaos. Avoidance of power. Rebellion. Imposing one's will on others. Bad planning.
Teaching & teachers. An appeal to a conventional guide or teacher. Clergy. Mainstream ideas, widely-held opinions and morals. Divine guidance. Wisdom. Goodness of heart. Benevolent superior. Patience, peace. Kind, persevering, but perhaps unoriginal. Sticking to the rules. Marriage, with other confirming cards (such as Two of Cups, Empress). Practical application of ideas. The search for Truth. A call to examine our lives for meaning, to look at the foundations of our principles. Impractical solutions. Theory without application.. Narrow-mindedness. Unconventionality. Oppressive or outworn ideas, ethics, customs. A call to reform rather than conform. Unconventionality. Distortion of truth. Religious fanaticism.
Choice, hunches. Effortless (or passive) inspiration. Integration, with a group or within oneself. Love, flirting, a romance. Beauty, sensuous pleasure and powerful emotions. Having overcome past difficulties, all things fall into place of their own accord. "Weigh your options." Duality. Indecision. Bad information leading to the wrong choice. Unrequited love. Problems in relationships, disillusionment with a person. Unrealistic plans. Disintegration.
Success following from hard work and steady effort, rather than luck. Victory. Health. Individuality, personal independence. Self expression, self expansion. "You should be proud of yourself." Taking the bull by the horns. Meeting a problem head on, with action. Ruthlessness. Sticking to your guns. Self-control. Triumph of the will. Mastery of one's environment. Security and safety. Egotism. Destruction. Heavy-handedness and intrusiveness. Failing to take into account others' points of view. Self-imposed limits. Lack of confidence. Fear. Cracking under pressure. Loss of security. An inability to surmount obstacles.
STRENGTH/LUST-VIII (In some decks, Key XI)
Strength rising from centeredness, love. Courage. Power leading to action. Endurance. A strong woman giving sound advice. Lust for life. Breaking free. Passion. Vitality. Acting from the highest motives. Overcoming one's baser instincts. Spiritual force acting on the material world. Weakness and defeat. Cowardice. Stuck in a rut. Selfishness. Self-indulgence. Mercy becoming weakness. Corruption of ideals. Mistaken or dishonest motives.
Prayer and meditation. Asking for guidance. Receiving guidance. Intelligence, wisdom, insight, calmness. Contemplation, concentrating on what is essential. Illumination from within. Retreat from the world. "Downtime." Self-nurturing. Leaving a situation, project. Prudence and careful consideration. "Look before you leap." Losing touch with reality. Being overly cautious. Good advice refused. Immaturity.
WHEEL OF FORTUNE-X
Change for the better. Good luck. Synchronicity. Karma. New conditions. Getting what one deserves (good or bad according to dignity). Actions and their consequences. Change, usually pleasant, and for the better (compare to Death). Increase, abundance, debts paid.. If poorly-dignified, delayed changed, obstacles to prosperity that must be navigated. Feeling trapped in the current situation. Failing to recognize opportunity; failing to see what one has to be thankful for.
JUSTICE/ADJUSTMENT-XI (In some decks, Key VIII)
Justice, law and order. Accountability. Acuity of discernment. Balance. Legal affairs. Perhaps marriage, if the other cards bear it out (3 cups, Empress, Lovers, etc.). Adjustment. Lawsuits won. Honesty. Impartiality. Objectivity. If ill-dignified, bias. Prejudice, self-righteous sternness. Injustice. Biased judges, unjust laws, unfair judgments. Dishonesty, perjury. Denying one's responsibility in a situation. Legal complications. Difficult, protracted litigation. Decisions reached against you. Examine whether you are considering everyone's best interests in some choice you are about to make, or action you are about to take.
THE HANGED MAN-XII
Ability and willingness to adapt to changing or difficult situations. Self-surrender. A reversal of one's perspective. A radical change in one's orientation in the world, society, job, family. Making a willing sacrifice for future benefit. Independence. Doing your own thing. Flexibility. A deep peace that comes from having endured and learned from difficulties or suffering. If poorly dignified, or indicated by other cards: Forced sacrifice. Constraint. Suffering and loss. Maintaining the status quo, when pattern-breaking is called for.
Rarely a card of literal, physical death. Difficult, transformative changes. Letting go. A call to change one's behavior. Fear of change. Rebuilding. Unseen positive aspects in a difficult situation. Or, refusal to change, stagnation, crippling fear of the unknown; a more forceful, less voluntary change or transformation, due to one's unwillingness to make such changes voluntarily, depending on dignity.
Balance, harmony, a blending of opposites. Good management. Delegation. Having to balance the needs and desires of several people. Management. Elaborate maneuvers may be necessary. Action. Moderation. Co-operation. Sound judgment. Tolerance and generosity. Adaptability. Conflicts of interest. Misapplied force. Restlessness, poor organization, inability to delegate. Poor judgment. "Too many cooks in the kitchen." A volatile situation or mix of people. Inappropriate behavior. Going to extremes. A call to look at a situation calmly. Right action (which may be no action).
Repressed desires and instincts. Materiality, material temptation. Hard work performed because the querent wants material comfort. Collecting and hoarding material things. Greed. Discontent. Blind ambition. Impulse. Abuse of power. Bondage to desire, a bad relationship, or situation. Sexual excess, obsession. If reversed, leaving a bad situation, breaking bonds, disabusing oneself of harmful or limiting behaviors, depending on other cards. An unscrupulous or unfair superior. Angeles Arrien sees the appearance of this card as a call to meet one's bedevilments and challenges with mirth and productivity. I rarely have seen this card betoken something profoundly negative.
Unpleasant, radical change of circumstance. Destruction, danger, fall, ruin. War and conquest. Hospitalization. Conflict, disruption, argument. Crowley says, "Escape from prison." The prison may be literal or metaphorical. Change of residence. Eviction. The "Universe, " or circumstance, forcing you to make a necessary change that you refuse to make yourself. Emotional breakdown. Verbal abuse. Situations might repeat themselves, but you don't respond to them in the same way.
Inspiration and hope. Orienting oneself towards a higher ideal. Vigor and health. Help from an unexpected source. Clarity of vision. Perception of a situation and its possibilities. Enthusiasm and confidence. Trust. Freedom. Calm and good fortune after a trying period in one's life. A plan that will work. Peace, meditation, tranquility. Poorly dignified, the card shows misperception. Querent unrealistically sees little hope in a situation. Self-doubt, mistrustfulness. Stress, anxiety, not necessarily warranted.
The subconscious. Talent in the arts-a vivid, perhaps troubled, imagination. The brink of change, generally more voluntary than involuntary (as opposed to Death and The Tower). Intuition. Dreams. Psychic work. Deep emotion. Evolution. Process. Things taking their natural course, although the future of such a course may be neither apparent nor expected. Our deepest instincts. Some aspect of the past (such as a relationship) influence the present, and needing to be dealt with-in this sense, karma. A deeply spiritual experience. The Astral realm. Also, error and self-deception. Mania, hysteria, fear, emotional overload. Escapism, mental illness. Lying, deceit. Crowley says, "The darkest hour before the dawn."
Good health, success, riches. Pleasure. Forthrightness in one's dealings. Growth. Recovery from illness, especially with 4 Swords. Marriage. Academic success, and the self-discipline required to achieve it. Fame. A perception of life, and an appreciation of it, at a new, higher level, and a resulting profound joy. With Empress, Two Cups, Justice, Hierophant, may suggest marriage. Also, troubled partnerships, arrogance, vanity, recidivism, delusions of grandeur, broken agreements, poor performance, failure.
A new beginning. A final decision. The end of one project, or period of one's life, and the beginning of a new one. Renewal. A commitment to positive change. Healthy resolutions. Taking a definite step. Releasing guilt. Also, refusing to make an important change, not knowing one needs to make such a change, or knowing that something needs to change, but not knowing what, or how: lack of direction. Guilt. Hearing a call, but refusing to heed that call. Generally, changes tend to be deeper, more karmic, than those signified by other minor change cards, such as the 2 of Pentacles.
THE WORLD/THE UNIVERSE-XXI
Following your bliss. May represent the subject of the question itself, and accompanying cards will modify it, comment on it. Completion. Success. Perfection. A peak experience. Achievement and satisfaction. A goal or dream reached. End of a cycle. Unification, synthesis of disparate elements. Also, delays. Stubbornness and difficulty. Opposition. Something ending in a way other than the querent had hoped.
KING/KNIGHT OF WANDS
(Fire of Fire)
The benevolent despot. Right action. Sudden or impetuous action. Someone who is proud, impulsive, strong-minded. A man of integrity. Might come off as arrogant, because he is so sure of his own rightness that he doesn't seek a second opinion. A positive outlook. No time for naysayers. A can-do type of guy. A dynamic, exciting initiation of events. An idealistic, striving nature. A sound piece of advice or good news, an unexpected opportunity. Honest, with a love of tradition. If poorly dignified, the Knight's headstrong ways may lead him into trouble. He might actually be arrogant, tyrannical, motivating others through intimidation. Bigotry. The appearance of this card in a reading may be urging the querent to move forward in a project or relationship with confidence, initiate a plan with great vigor-in any case, to act! "How might you best embark on this project? What is the most constructive way to head towards your goals? To whom might you appeal for help and leadership?"
QUEEN OF WANDS
(Water of Fire)
Great charisma. The Knight/King initiates projects, but the Queen has the patience, adaptability, and understanding to see them through, to keep up the head of steam. Able to move people, sway opinion. Kind, generous, just. Quiet enthusiasm. Independence. The appearance of this Queen in a reading can indicate a rich and fulfilling period in a person's life, or a time to seek greater independence and personal development. Poorly dignified, the Queen is stubborn, vengeful, angry, domineering. It may indicate a stalled project, relationship, or course of action. The querent may lack confidence in his own understanding of a situation, or may actually fail to understand it fully. "In what ways, or for what reasons are you passionate about this situation? How might you best direct your creative energies? Whom that you know is charismatic, patient, etc.?"
PRINCE/KNIGHT OF WANDS
(Air of Fire)
Rash and willing to take risks, the Prince is, in many ways, like his father the Knight/King. He is a man of action, sure of his own rightness, but lacks the experience and wisdom of the Knight. A brave lover-of-life, given to bragging and telling bawdy jokes. Helpful, honorable, but perhaps too unpredictable and impetuous to be fully trusted. May indicate sudden departures, or premature decisions. The card may also urge that the querent follow through on some course of action, or be more patient and thoughtful. "Fools rush in where angels fear to tread." May be arrogant and cruel if poorly dignified. "Sturm und drang." May be urging the querent to embark on an adventure, have some fun, stop being such a fuddy-duddy. "How are you taking risks? Have you thought this through adequately? Is this the time for swift action?"
PRINCESS/PAGE OF WANDS
(Earth of Fire)
Strongly independent. Brave, enthusiastic, enduring. Desiring power, and wielding it effectively. Daring, brilliant, confident, liberated, free. The princess creates her own opportunities. May also indicate a message or messenger bearing good or bad news, according to dignity (especially with other message cards like 8 Wands). Can represent a faithful friend, a trusted lover. Spontaneity. Healthy and enjoyable sex. Successful completion of a project. "In what ways are you most independent? What are the opportunities this situation presents you with? Have you taken advantage of these opportunities?"
TEN OF WANDS
(Saturn in Sagitarrius)
Burdens and hardship. Getting more than your fair share of the workload. Success only at a great price. A project that has become unmanageable. A force too great for the querent to oppose, hence failure. Cruelty and malice. Taking on too much responsibility. In need of time off, time alone. Force sacrifice. "What is preventing you from doing what you want, or need to do? Why have you taken on more than you can handle? How can you lessen your burden?"
NINE OF WANDS
(Moon in Sagitarrius)
Great strength and power. Recovery from illness. Dedication, persistence. Success, but not without strife or opposition. Winning a battle. Also, stubbornness and fear. Lack of preparation. Illness. Lack of discipline. Giving up. "What is your greatest source of strength in this situation? In what areas of your life are you most dedicated and persistent? How can you better prepare yourself? Are you giving up too soon?"
EIGHT OF WANDS
(Mercury in Sagittarius)
Speed. Messages. A sudden application of force. A burst of energy, that soon dies out. Sports. Approaching one's goal. Journeys. Rapid growth. Quick thinking. A sharp, effective communicator. Getting carried away. Also, theft and robbery. Disruptive energy, hasty judgments, bad news, quarrels. "What are you excited about? What are you rushing into? What have you thought about telling someone else? In what areas of your life do you find your ideas most effective?"
SEVEN OF WANDS
(Mars in Leo)
Bravery in the face of opposition. More of a card of courage than of victory, although victory certainly is possible, depending on other cards. Valor. Loyalty. Obstacles. Keeping a stiff upper lip. Not letting them see you sweat. Hanging on to the bitter end. Also, petty power plays, fighting, bickering, maneuvering and dishonesty. "In what ways are you meeting obstacles bravely? To whom are you loyal? Who is loyal to you? How can you most effectively meet the opposition?"
SIX OF WANDS
(Jupiter in Leo)
Victory after strife. A battle won. Rewards. Optimism. Gain, money, recognition. Problems resolved. Pride. Working well with others. Also, success delayed, perhaps indefinitely. Success at too great a price. Going about things the wrong way. "What are you proud of? Where are you most confident? How might these problems be solved without a battle? What are you optimistic about? How can you inspire the people around you?"
FIVE OF WANDS
(Saturn in Leo)
Strife, fighting, bickering. Competition, opposition. Disputes. Situations that can't be resolved. Meeting obstacles with too much force. Wasted energy. Enjoying a good argument. Desire. Creative power that is blocked. Strenuous hard work. Spite. "Where are you blocked creatively? What do you do to contribute to a stressful situation? How are you fanning the flames? What do you desire?"
FOUR OF WANDS
(Venus in Aries)
Issues settled, work completed. Success. Celebration. Rest after labor. Prosperity. Domestic happiness. Peace and harmony. Romance, with confirming cards. Or, delayed completion. A wrinkle in happiness. "What do have cause to celebrate? What have you successfully complete?"
THREE OF WANDS
(Sun in Aries)
Virtue. Strong foundation. Opportunity in business and other areas of life. Self-confidence and honesty. Wealth & power. Strength & integrity. Political power, persuasion. Ambition achieves its goal. Growth, teamwork, good advice. If poorly dignified, comeuppance, conceit, arrogance. Move ahead only with caution. Refusing help, advice. "In what areas of your life are you, or do you need to, exercise integrity? What opportunities are facing you? What are your ambitions? What areas of your life are experiencing growth?"
TWO OF WANDS
(Mars in Aries)
Dominion. Influence over others. Authority, success, wealth, gained honestly, through work and achievement. Fierce courage, but justness, and harmony. Success on the job. A good card to pull in career questions. A source of strong, balanced energy enters your life, projects, ambitions, etc. Possibly a sense of weariness after one has fought the good fight, and it has been won. Decisiveness. Also, restlessness, harshness, disillusion, good intentions don't yield hoped-for results. Presumption. Conflict. "What are you good at? Where do your strengths lie? How can you get what you want in a way that benefits everyone?"
ACE OF WANDS
Inspiration. Initiation of force. Rush of energy. Virility. Ambition. Enterprising spirit. Initiative. Self-realization. Vigor. A great start. A burst of growth. Eagerness. Poorly-dignified, the positive fire energy of the Ace is thwarted. Eagerness wanes. Projects falter. "In what areas of your life do you feel most inspired? What can you do to make yourself most receptive to inspiration? Where are you focusing your energy? Have you been offered an opportunity?"
KING/KNIGHT OF CUPS
(Fire of Water)
Crowley calls this Knight a graceful dilettante. Rachel Pollack says this he directs creative powers into socially responsible accomplishments. Can represent loyalty and love, trust. May show, too, putting responsibility before personal needs and desires. Authority, but with a sense of innocence, too. Very responsive to stimuli (love, attraction, excitement, etc.), but not as enduring as the Queen or Princess. Can represent mastery of some creative talent. Poorly dignified: superficial, lazy, perhaps prone to drug or alcohol abuse. "What responsibilities are you allowing precedence? What personal needs/desires are you allowing to be shorted? Are you comfortable with this? To whom do you feel a deep loyalty and sense of responsibility?"
QUEEN OF CUPS
(Water of Water)
Creative, stable of effort, a good implementer of other's (as well as her own) ideas. Powerful intuition, directed down productive avenues. Love, feeling, tranquillity. Non-judgmental relationships. A woman who is calming, steadying. Honest relationships. Fidelity. Also, a spiritual appreciation of life. Too easily influenced by other people. Tranquillity disturbed, love tinged with distrust or jealousy-according to dignity. "Where are you directing your efforts? Where are you letting your intuition guide you? What brings you the deepest sense of tranquility? In what areas of your life are you acting in a loving manners? Who is nurturing you? Who is expressing him- or herself in an authentic manner?"
PRINCE/KNIGHT OF CUPS
(Air of Water)
Still waters run deep. Very secretive and attracted to power. Stronger in imagination than motivation. Quiet, but fierce. A person of extreme likes and dislikes,which often leave no room for a sense of responsibility . Possessing great capability, but easily discouraged, hard to manage and keep satisfied. May signify invitations, opportunities, proposals, depending on other cards. May lack conscience. "What great power do you possess? What emotions are you keeping under wraps? What do you feel intensely about?"
PRINCESS/PAGE OF CUPS
(Earth of Water)
Gentle, kind, reflective, artistic person. Sensitive, charming, attractive. Imaginative. Intuitive or psychic. Mastery of feelings-not by suppressing them, but by working through desire, possessiveness, and so on. Open to love, and relationships. News of engagement, birth, marriage, etc. Or: selfish, insecure, fearful, rash, by dignity. "What is your intuition telling you about this situation? How have you had to master your emotions? Who loves you? Whom do you love?"
TEN OF CUPS
(Mars in Pisces)
Good fortune and perfect success. Projects completed successfully. Happiness, pleasure, but not sensual, as in the 9 Cups. Friendship, happy home life. Perhaps a call to recognize the good in a given set of circumstances. Poorly dignified or with difficult cards (say, Death reversed, 8 Wands reversed, etc.) could signify stagnation, being happily stuck in routine; excess, dissatisfaction, "glass-half-empty" attitude; getting what you want and realizing you don't really want it. "What is giving you deep emotional satisfaction? In what areas of your life are you satisfied? In what areas of your life to you feel sated?"
NINE OF CUPS
(Jupiter in Pisces)
Happiness. Wishes coming true, things working out as you want them to. Simple pleasures, rather than the deep contentment of the 10. Emotional and sexual satisfaction. Good times, parties, health. Relationships bring joy, business arrangements progress smoothly. Generosity. Also, gluttony, outcomes falling short of what one hopes for. Wasting resources. Greed. "What are you wishing for? Where in your life do your simple pleasures lie? Have you adequately acknowledged them?"
EIGHT OF CUPS
Saturn in Pisces
Inaction leading to stagnation. Momentary success, but not lasting, perhaps because interest is lost in a project. Schlepping along even if a situation is unsatisfying. Leaving something unfinished or unresolved in order to pursue something else, maybe a better perspective. A turning point. A journey. Energy drain. Restlessness Searching for an ideal. "What would you like to leave behind? What are you searching for? What about the present situation bores you? What more do you want out of this situation?"
SEVEN OF CUPS
(Venus in Scorpio)
Unrealistic goals, illusions, fantasies. Lying. False promises. Alcohol or drug abuse. Living in denial. Error in judgment. Deception, distorted information, delusion. Over indulgence. A confusing array of opportunity leading to indecisiveness. "Who is being dishonest? In what ways are you overindulging? What are your choices? How realistic are they? Are you on the verge of making the same mistake twice?"
SIX OF CUPS
(Sun in Scorpio)
Pleasure. Pleasant & significant memories. Beginning of success. Well being, and ease. Regeneration. Renewal of hope after disappointment and loss. Giving and receiving. Balance and harmony. Also, living in the past that restricts present growth. Refusing to let oneself enjoy earned success. Past difficulties cloud present successes. "Where do you seek/find your greatest pleasure? What gift have you recently received, and how is it significant? What is bringing harmony to your life, where is it most balanced?"
FIVE OF CUPS
(Mars in Scorpio)
Disappointment. Lost love, lost friendship. Regret. Failing to see that, despite what is lost, something remains. Refusal to accept a loss and move on. Treachery from someone close to you. Also, letting go of past sorrows. "What have you lost? What remains to rebuild on?"
FOUR OF CUPS
(Moon in Cancer)
Mixture of pleasure and anxiety-pleasure is incomplete. Success on the wane. Being carried away by desire. Weakness. Surfeit leads to boredom. "Seeds of decay in the fruit of pleasure." A need to re-evaluate a situation or lifestyle, to change direction, find some excitement. Passiveness. Lethargy. "What is causing my anxiety? Where am I meeting a situation with inappropriate passiveness?"
THREE OF CUPS
(Mercury in Cancer)
"Wine, women, and song." Hospitality. Celebration. Enjoying the company of friends. The christening of a new project or, with other cards (like the Empress, Princess of Disks), birth of a child. Recreation. Also, over-indulgence, escapism. Promiscuity. Problems manifesting as self-destructive behavior. "What have you been sharing with others? How have you been having fun?"
TWO OF CUPS
(Venus in Cancer)
Love, marriage, harmony. Fruitful partnership. Integration of contraries leading to fruitfulness (compare to the tense peace of the 2 Swords). An affair. Satisfying sexual relationship. Being united in a common cause. Poorly dignified, the card shows a failure to merge. Stalled relationships, or relationships approaching their end. Immature romance. Shyness. "What areas of your life are you trying to integrate? Where do you give and receive love?"
ACE OF CUPS
Emotional balance, deep contentment, beginning of an emotional adventure, or cycle. Beginning of love. Fertility, fidelity. Beginning a creative project. A good time to take a new step, make a fresh start. Receptivity. When poorly dignified, blocked emotions, some sort of upset, dissatisfaction, stalled projects, emotional storms, judgment clouded by distorted or inappropriate emotions. "What projects have you been wanting to begin?" etc.
KING/KNIGHT OF SWORDS
(Fire of Air)
A man who is fierce and just. Cleverness. Focused on goals, single-minded. Great energy. Bravery and fortitude. Passionate about ideas, and aggressive in expressing them. Writers, lawyers, politicians & diplomats. A good strategist. Able to delegate effectively. Strong powers of concentration, but probably only for short periods of time. Gathering one's forces in the single-minded pursuit of some cause. Determination. Poorly dignified: pushy and opinionated, unable to focus on what needs to be accomplished. Vague goals. Deceitfulness. Shady dealings. Intolerance. "For what tasks must you 'gird your loins'? Where do you need to show greater tenacity & determination? On what have you been concentrating?"
QUEEN OF SWORDS
(Water of Air)
A woman (or man) who is able to use logic incisively. No tolerance for deceit, or fuzziness. Great mental clarity, very perceptive. Able to observe closely and draw accurate conclusions based on observation and analysis. Confident and independent. May denote a need to be more objective. Preferring to work alone. Perhaps loneliness. This is traditionally considered the "widowhood" card. Someone you can talk to for help, or off whom you can bounce ideas. A problem-solver. A complex personality. Sharp wit, but perhaps sad. Also, severe, sly, deceitful, unreliable, vindictive, depending on dignity. "Where do you need to assert more independence? Is it possible that you are not seeing this situation clearly? Whom can you consult for greater objectivity? A time to watch, listen, and not speak."
KNIGHT/PRINCE OF SWORDS
(Air of Air)
Charging full speed ahead! Much energy. A kinetic thinker-many ideas, but little focus. As soon as he has one idea, he moves on to the next. Idealism and confidence. Intelligent, but lacking stability and patience to follow through on ideas. The need to break free of restrictions. Events are moving swiftly through the querent's life. Assertive. Also, harsh, scheming, indecisive, depending on dignity. "Where do you need more focus? What plans have you had that you just can't seem to find the time to initiate? In what areas of your life do you feel confident? What direction are you eager to move in?"
PAGE/PRINCESS OF SWORDS
(Earth of Air)
Able to cleave through emotions to see the truth of a situation. Very practical. Stern, a fighter for truth and justice. Able to manage material matters with great cleverness. The endurance of the Queen and King, with the enthusiasm and acuity of the Prince. Able to act passionately without allowing passion to cloud judgment, thus, a cool and effective problem solver. Could signify a message that leads to a change. Working hard to keep bad moods at bay. Fighting depression. "Where could you practice more detachment? How might emotions be clouding your judgment? Have you received any messages?" etc.
TEN OF SWORDS
(Saturn in Gemini)
Sudden misfortune. Hysterical overreaction to an admittedly bad situation. Sometimes violence & death. Someone who love to ruin the plans of others. Disaster, but with hope. An accident. Being forced to accept something unpleasant or painful. Resigning oneself to a situation. Fear of ruin. Reversed, some relief from pain, difficulties, or, possibly, letting go of a difficult situation. "In what areas of your life do you feel paralyzed by difficulties? To what should you resign yourself?"
NINE OF SWORDS
(Mars in Gemini)
Despair, depression, grief. This card describes the inner experience of an external situation. Suffering, nightmares, emotional imbalance, illness. Cruelty. Guilt. Self-condemnation. Self-destructive thinking. Imprisonment. Ill-dignified: more of the same, or, depending on other cards, taking a step to release oneself from self-destructive patterns of behavior, depending on other cards. "Why are you punishing myself? Why do you feel guilty?" etc.
EIGHT OF SWORDS
(Jupiter in Gemini)
Interference. Bad luck. Getting bogged down in details, at the expense of larger issues. Missing the forest for the trees. Failure to persist when persistence could mean success. Circumstances beyond the querent's control block his progress. Confusion. Feelings of isolation. Waiting fruitlessly for some "magic" event to make things right. Having the means to release oneself from a restrictive situation, but refusing to use them. An oppressive situation. Also, release from an oppressive situation, taking responsibility for one's future; choosing freedom-according to dignity. "How important are the details compared to the big picture? What choices do you have in this matter? What is the source of your confusion?"
SEVEN OF SWORDS
(Moon in Aquarius)
Giving up on the brink of success. Running out of resources that would allow you to see something through to the end. Deceit and theft. Sneaking around. Vacillation and compromise. Partial success. Futile striving. Secrets betrayed. Trying to take the easy way out ensures that no real progress is made. Also, standing one's ground, changing one's course in a productive manner, depending on dignity. "Why are you giving up? Who is being deceitful?" etc. This card sometimes signifies a short journey of some sort.
SIX OF SWORDS
(Mercury in Aquarius)
Movement (either physical or emotional) away from difficulty. A long journey. The success of one's labor. Gaining a clearer perspective on a situation enables one better to handle it. Overcoming obstacles, delays. Relief after anxiety. Ill-dignified: relief may only be temporary. Some relief, but continued struggling. A clearer perspective is needed. Put some distance between you and your problems.
FIVE OF SWORDS
(Venus in Aquarius)
Defeat. Anxiety, troubles, weakness. Crowley says, "Defeat due to pacifism." Fear and cowardice leading to defeat. Troubles, loss, negative attitudes. Slander, spite, and malice. Might point to the need to maintain one's virtues even under extremely adverse situations. Avoid trying to get even. Plots. .Reversed, troubles are mitigated somewhat.
FOUR OF SWORDS
(Jupiter in Libra)
Rest after strife. Ease after difficulty. Enduring truce (compare to 2 of Swords, in which some tension remains). Abundance after famine, plenty after poverty, etc. Hospitalization and recovery from illness. Finding one's own quiet place. Time off from work. Convalescence. Stability and healing. Also, returning to action, peace disrupted, recidivism, according to dignity.
THREE OF SWORDS
(Saturn in Libra)
Disruption in personal relationships, especially romantic ones. Sorrow from the past manifesting in or influencing the present. Separation, divorce (with other cards, such as 3 Cups reversed, Lovers reversed, etc.). Sorrow. Heartbreak. Repining. Sadness, generally, although not the kind of torment shown in the 9 Swords. Here, sadness is a normal part of some loss or healing process, leading to the recovery shown in the 4 Swords (where the 9 Swords leads to the 10 Swords). May indicate difficulties in a 3-way relationship. When poorly dignified, the person may not be allowing the healing to occur, may be clinging to the pain, afraid to move on. May indicate alienation.
TWO OF SWORDS
(Moon in Libra)
Peace, probably temporary; in any case, some tension remains. GD literature says, "Contradictory characteristics in the same nature. Strength through suffering." Also, justice, but perhaps incomplete. Might indicate the "peace" that comes from cutting oneself off from one's emotions. Suspending action. Ill-dignified, the card could warn against taking the wrong action, or of trying to maintain an untenable peace, of trying to prevent things from taking their natural course.
ACE OF SWORDS
Mental clarity, personal power, originality. Strength in trouble, conquest, a new beginning, a rebirth. Renewed strength. A clear perception of truth brings with it a great power to effect change in one's life. Tempering emotion with intellect. Victory based on the use of intellect. Overcoming personal problems. Also, wrath, bad decisions, misperception, depending on dignity. Perhaps a misuse of power arising from fear, or bad information. Generally, great power; whether for good or bad depends on other cards and dignity.
KING/KNIGHT OF PENTACLES
(Fire of Earth)
Patient and hard-working. Steady force applied to an endeavor. A reliable, patient person, not particularly adventurous. Solidity, stability. Harvesting the fruits of one's labor. Thinking carefully, acting in a practical manner. Not rushing in. Slow to think and act. Increase in wealth and possessions. Conservative investments. Able to manage material affairs wisely. Also, mismanagement of money, bad financial advise, greed, loutishness, etc., according to dignity.
QUEEN OF PENTACLES
(Water of Earth)
Ambitious and practical. Fruitfulness. Attention to health and nutrition. Quiet, kind. . Conservative and mature; gentle-hearted, confident, charming. Trusting in one's own ability. Knowing what is important in life. Also, moody, brooding, fearful, changeable, overindulgent, depending on dignity.
KNIGHT/PRINCE OF PENTACLES
(Air of Earth)
Strenuous physical activity. An athlete. Exercise. Slow, powerful, steady force applied to a project. Not a quick thinker, but a deeply practical one. Golden Dawn sources say, "Slow to anger, but furious if roused." Steady and patient. Using what one has learned, or communicating it. Industrious, trustworthy, honest. Not as adventuresome as other Princes/Knights. Also, stupid, carnal, material, insensitive; complications in financial matters, according to dignity.
PAGE/PRINCESS OF PENTACLES
(Earth of Earth)
A serious student, quiet and reflective. Generous. Angeles Arrien says that the Princess of Disks has mastered her creative power. Motherhood and pregnancy. Introversion. Thrift. News regarding money matters. A message. A seeker of knowledge. Birth of new ideas, projects. Balance and harmony. Something new is entering one's life. Also, wasteful, creatively blocked, according to dignity.
TEN OF PENTACLES
(Mercury in Virgo)
Old age. Wealth built up over a lifetime. Inheritance and legacies. Permanence. Material gain, even fortune, but not necessarily anything deeper. Remuneration from large corporations. Traditions. Comfort, but perhaps one that allows one to take for granted certain other aspects of existence. Tens can also show a transitional stage . . . perhaps a raise at work, a change for the better at home. Poorly dignified, traditions are corrupted, wealth slips away or becomes a burden.
NINE OF PENTACLES
(Venus in Virgo)
Gain, usually material, but not necessarily. Inheritance, good luck, popularity. Enjoyment of leisure. Right conduct leading to material success. The material success shown by this card may not be as great as that shown by the 10, but there tends to be a deeper sense of satisfaction overall. Careful cultivation of a business or enterprise yields good results. Getting what one has hoped for. Independence. Also, poor choices, dissatisfaction, slothfulness, depending on dignity.
EIGHT OF PENTACLES
(Sun in Virgo)
Skillfulness in some trade or enterprise. Cunning. Financial gain, but not great. Industriousness and love of one's work. Using one's talent wisely, honestly. Self-betterment. Job-training. Also, misusing or not using one's talents. Avarice. Failure of an enterprise, thwarted ambition, depending on dignity.
SEVEN OF PENTACLES
(Saturn in Taurus)
An unprofitable endeavor. Loss of money. Crippling fear of failure. Projects abandoned. Hopes deceived. Laziness leading to loss. Loss of motivation, not wanting what one has worked for. Giving up on the brink of success. Energy is drained. Considering one's mistakes and learning from them, growth possible, but with delay, according to dignity.
SIX OF PENTACLES
(Moon in Taurus)
Philanthropy. Fairness in business dealings. Success, especially financial. Gift-giving. A good time to forge ahead with business plans. Gaining influence. Accepting help, receiving something. Gaining something that benefits us. May describe a stable and mutually beneficial or satisfying relationship, but probably one that is unequal. Also, not getting what one is owed in life, or receiving a gift with strings attached. Ulterior motives. Misused influence-all according to dignity.
FIVE OF PENTACLES
(Mercury in Taurus)
Financial worries. Losing one's job, being demoted. Generally, loss of rank. Anxiety. Survival in adverse conditions. Companionship through troubles; shared misery. Being turned away, denied comfort or succor. Poverty. Poor health. Loneliness. Financial concerns could strain a relationship. Lost faith. Also, faith restored, sanctuary found, getting through a difficult ordeal . . . perhaps not intact, but getting through it, depending on dignity.
FOUR OF PENTACLES
(Sun in Capricorn)
Gain in stature. Promotion. Power. Stability. Securing one's position. Law, order, authority, dominion. Financial gain. Self-preservation. Miserliness. Money and success, but nothing beyond. Selfishness, greed, arrogance, awareness of personal talents and abilities, suspicion-according to dignity.
THREE OF PENTACLES
(Mars in Capricorn)
Sound business acumen. Craftsmanship. Construction, creation, building, business transactions. Financial increase. Creative skills. Working well with others. Talents. Competence. Also, self-mastery and discipline. Prominence, degrees, certification, etc. Mediocrity; lack of devotion to one's talents or a job; weakness and delay-according to dignity.
TWO OF PENTACLES
(Jupiter in Capricorn)
Harmonious change. Golden Dawn says, "Visit to friends." Flexibility, adaptation. Able to stretch a dollar. Alternation of conditions. Varying occupations. Discontent with fixed conditions. Transition. Striking a good balance. Able to "multitask," or handle multiple commitments. Play. Also, overextended credit; foolishness with financial matters, depending on dignity.
ACE OF PENTACLES
The beginning of some practical matter. Manifestation of something. Power, gain, wealth. A new opportunity. Security, groundedness. A gift. Coming up with a tangible plan. Also, protection and security . . . perhaps needing to leave it behind to strike out for new lands. Poorly dignified: False starts, preferring the security of the know to the unknown involved in seeking new opportunity; too rooted in the material.