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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 have only rarely seen this card betoken something profoundly negative: It often looks more frightening than in fact it is.


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.


Trumps 0 - IV
Trumps V - IX
Trumps X - XIV
Trumps XX-XXI

Illustrations from the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck®, known also as the Rider Tarot and the Waite Tarot, reproduced by permission of U.S. Games Systems, Inc., Stamford, CT 06902 USA. Copyright ©1971 by U.S. Games Systems, Inc. Further reproduction prohibited. The Rider-Waite Tarot Deck® is a registered trademark of U.S.Games Systems, Inc.

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