Daily card: Seven of Cups

Another seven and another card about wishes and desires, fulfilled or otherwise. It’s not clear which way is up on this card – the sun shines at the bottom, the moon at the top; some cups face upward, one central cup faces downward. Are the cups against a distant rainy mountain range, a clear sky, a lake? It’s not obvious.

Your desires, the things your heart tugs you towards, may not be quite what you think they are. Today I’ve been considering the complications of metawanting; of wanting to want something, despite not actually wanting it. And actually this is such a complicated and multilayered desire, it feels like it fits the Seven of Cups and its confusion and topsy-turviness well. The Seven of Cups suggests that perhaps the thing I want, or the thing I’m trying to want, isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, or that I’m not seeing it clearly.

Daily card: Seven of Cups

I originally learned this card as the card of ‘fairy favours’, a warning against illusion and wishful thinking, of basing too much on what you wish was true, rather than what’s really true. The card also shows what could be a rainy sky in the background, washing away illusion in the end, and a rainy blue wash over the distant mountaintops.

It can also be a card about longing for something you can’t have; the thing you’ve imagined you want may be illusory and simply not exist in the form you wish for. What you wish for may not be quite what you think.

Nothing I’ll post here, despite the anonymity, but this is a valuable reminder when it comes to thinking about which clients to accept, in my work, and which to… if not reject, at least ask more searching questions of.

Daily card: Ten of Cups

Ten very plain and simple cups face inwards, almost looking like stage lights, pouring beams of light or energy inwards towards the centre, bouncing back and forth between each other. They are deeply interconnected, supporting and boosting each other, each one essential; this is a hugely positive card of fulfilment, of power realised, of radiating energy, and speaks to me of the emotional importance of connection – that much light can’t come from one source alone. Your success comes in part from the networks and the love that surrounds you, and from the support you offer others.

Daily card: Five of Cups

This card represents immense regret or disappointment; the horse’s head is bowed in sadness. But, its head is bowed away from the cups that still wait brightly above it, and away from the light at the top of the card. As this is a Cups card, this is a real and heartfelt emotion, not something that can be reasoned away, but nevertheless there is an implication that all is not lost – once you’re able to lift up your head again, you’ll see that. It’s not that there’s necessarily a choice (unlike the Ten of Swords), but this is just a reminder that what you’re experiencing right now won’t last.

It can be hard to let go of the past, of disappointment in oneself or in others; it can seem like a real physical weight. But there’s no weight to be seen here. 

Alternative Tarot Course, week 2: Four suits, four elements – four aces

Thanks to LittleRedTarot for this course! This week I’m focusing on the suits, and the elements they represent.

Ace of Swords

Depicting an ouroboros wrapped around the hilt of a sword, against a dark background with two streaks of lightning striking. Swords connect with air, and with the mind and mental clarity; this strongly suggests a strike of inspiration, a new idea, a ‘lightbulb moment’. The light in the darkness also suggests a sudden new clear-sightedness, a flash of clarity to illuminate something previously confusing or shrouded. The sword held aloft is reminiscent of ‘fighting the good fight’, inspiring others, taking on battles for justice; perhaps it suggests a new cause or a call to action is presenting itself.

The ouroboros also gently suggests eternal renewal, the cyclical nature of things, that all beginnings are endings and vice versa; a reminder that no matter how illuminating this inspiration may be, you may follow the same cycle in future and will need (and have) another moment of inspiration to lead you out of as-yet-unforeseen problems! The ouroboros also connects this card, curiously, to the Wands suit, which uses snakes in this deck – making it clear that new intellectual inspiration relies on plans and creativity to drive it onwards.

Ace of Cups

A simple cup drawn against a subtlely-coloured snakeskin background; that snakeskin links (again) to the snakes of Wands, remembering that the energy of the Aces requires your input, it won’t just happen to you – your planning and creativity is needed. Cups I always find to be the simplest of the suits to understand; these are pure emotion, often love (in all its forms – romance, friendship, empathy, compassion, protection, desire, loss), and also reflect the emotional or spiritual side of ourselves – expressed through religion, art, spirituality, creativity.

The new beginnings of the Ace of Cups are gently muted here, as befits the start of an emotional journey – this isn’t yet fulfilment, or love, or whatever it is leading you towards. It can suggest a new emotional connection, a friend or a lover, the start of something beautiful and significant coming over the horizon, like the yellow light of the sun rising against the blue of the night sky. Cups being the suit most closely connected with water, the colours in this card also make it reminiscent of the fresh start after rain; the blue-grey clouds are fading away, the bright sun is slowly returning, and everything is damp and fresh and new.

Ace of Pentacles

This is the tiny seed at the heart of the enormous tree, that red-hot spark of life at the root. Pentacles are the suit of material tangible concrete things – sometimes money, but often home, work, craft, things we can do or touch with our hands. The Ace of Pentacles is the prosperous card of new ventures – perhaps a new job, even a dramatic career change; perhaps a new era for your domestic affairs. Just as the tiny seed quickly puts down deep secure roots, this is the moment to root yourself firmly in the earth, in reality, in preparation for what is to come. The many rings of the tree here are a reminder that this is no flash in the pan; what you are embarking on has the potential to be long-running, substantial, significant, and to branch out in new directions.

Ace of Wands

As befits the suit most closely connected with fire, this card – the most brightly-coloured of the Aces – has red-hot energy firing off in every direction, radiating from a flowering wand at the centre. This is a card of inspiration, of excitement, inviting you to reach out and take hold of the power that’s right in front of you; more visceral than the intellectual inspiration of the Ace of Swords, but more planned and creative than the emotional journey begun with the Ace of Cups. The enormous energy of this card has even forced the carefully carved and constrained wand (pictured) to burst into bloom; this is unstoppable creativity and enthusiasm, the kind that makes you fired up, burning to get on with it. Like the fertile abundance of spring, this card can feel like anything is possible, like you’re seeing a whole new world. Be bold, be courageous, be expansive.

Daily card: Son of Cups

I swear I shuffled the cards thoroughly between today and yesterday! Strange to get two successive cards on successive days.

So, today brings more Cups; this time, with the energy of the Son card. It shows a swan seated apparently calmly behind a cup, with bright colours pouring out of the cup – energy and emotion not haphazard, not uncontrolled, but also not contained. This is a card of quiet transition, of inner journeys and development – learning to harness and control strong emotions, learning introspection, learning to sit with feelings and let them pass over you, rather than worrying they’re part of you, or overthinking them. The Son of Cups can also often represent an artist, of whom I have many in my life.

In more traditional decks this would be a Knight card – questing and adventuring. The peacefulness of this card in the Wild Tarot, in particular, suggests that energy but turned inwards – devoted to self-development, building maturity. There is no shortage of strong emotion, no difficulty in connecting with it, no need to contain it (the cup has no lid on it) but that growing maturity makes all the difference – this card suggests emotional development and capability. even if there is a maelstrom within.

I’m in no maelstrom right now, but the reminder to remain calm, to feel your feelings but let them pass over, is never unwelcome.

Daily card: Mother of Cups

The card shows a swan, pointing over a cup to the left; indicating the value of ‘left-brain creativity’ and art, emotion, intuition. She is shown against a dark night sky, but with flashes of light – not just streaks of white, but sparks of blue, purple, and red; out of the darkness can come unexpected insights, as long as you are capable of looking for them.

The Mother cards show great emotional intelligence and nurturing energy, but the Mother of Cups amplifies this immensely given the emotions of Cups. To me this card suggests immense emotional capacity and intuition; the huge and powerful nurturing and loving energy of motherhood. It suggests connection, and reminds me to ensure the connection is solid and I’m not getting in the way of it with overthinking or attempting to apply logic where it’s not needed – whether that connection is to my own emotional and spiritual side, or to others.

Swans are powerful creatures, but calm and graceful – unless pushed. Then they can become aggressive. There is a gentle warning here, to use this emotional power for good and to remain calm and tranquil, not to lash out.

This came up on a day when I was contemplating a particular emotional connection, and provides an excellent reminder of my strength in my home and family; it suggests I’m not wrong in my emotional perception. It also links in with some professional considerations, suggesting my initial focus on the arts is a sensible one.