The deck is shuffled and your tarot cards are dealt on the table, face down.
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Once revealed, click on a card to learn of its significance, alongside a larger image of the card. You can leaf through different books offering tarot card interpretations by use of the drop-down list, above (the default selection, The Pictorial Key to the Tarot, is recommended for the casual querent).
The advanced cartomancer can draw additional cards to further clarify the tarot reading, by clicking on the Show Deck button, appearing below the tarot spread, and dragging a card away from the deck. Once dropped, the card can be moved again to a different position.
Good luck on your tarot reading.
This card covers the query’s subject. This is the person or thing’s general environment at the time, the influence with which he or she is actuated all through.
A calm, stately personage, with his back turned, looking from a cliff's edge at ships passing over the sea. Three staves are planted in the ground, and he leans slightly on one of them.
He symbolizes established strength, enterprise, effort, trade, commerce, discovery; those are his ships, bearing his merchandise, which are sailing over the sea. The card also signifies able co-operation in business, as if the successful merchant prince were looking from his side towards yours with a view to help you.
The end of troubles, suspension or cessation of adversity, toil and disappointment.
A very good card; collaboration will favour enterprise.
Three of Sceptres - Enterprise, Undertaking, Commerce, Trade, Negotiation.
Hope, Desire, Attempt, Wish.
Enterprise, effort, essay, trade, commerce, discovery, usurpation, daring, temerity and also imprudence, interruption, cessation and 'the end of troubles,' discontinuative.
The rather contradictory descriptions of this card's significance are well explained by its zodiacal position: Air on the Third house, which doubles the influence of 'air' and of the mercurial vibrations and effects. This card has the accent of the suit of wands. It must consequently denote: communication, reflection and all that comes from these. This needs little explanation.
Communication, instruction, reflexion, message, writing, postage and letters, superficial knowledge, airiness, passing impressions, discontinuance, interruption, change, perhaps a certain amount of geniality, imprudence also; neglect or want of proper attention; as to 'temerity' I should say only in so far as this means an easy manner of overcoming obstacles, quick insight; effort, essay, trade are correct. Mercury being the God of merchants, and thieves, this card may relate to commerce, theft and loss. "The end of troubles" is indeed well said, because this card gives the key for their solution and shows the way of escape.
This card is the obstacles of the query’s subject. If it is a favorable card, it will be something good in itself, but not productive of good in the particular connection.
A fair, pleasing, somewhat effeminate page, of studious and intent aspect, contemplates a fish rising from a cup to look at him. It is the pictures of the mind taking form.
Fair young man, one impelled to render service and with whom the Querent will be connected; a studious youth; news, message; application, reflection, meditation; also these things directed to business.
Taste, inclination, attachment, seduction, deception, artifice.
Good augury; also a young man who is unfortunate in love.
Obstacles of all kinds.
2 Pages - disquiet; reversed - society.
Knave of Cups - A fair Youth, Confidence, Probity, Discretion, Integrity.
A Flatterer, Deception, Artifice.
Fair young man, studious. Work, application, reflexion, occupation, observation. Profession, employment. News, message; has to do with business. Reversed: Tendency, inclination, attraction, attachment, friendship, desire, engagement, invitation, seduction. Flattery, praise, cherishing, etc.
The Page or servant, messenger, of the cups suit comes on the Eleventh and on the Seventh house, and has to do with friendship and relations, e.g. marriage. He must be the friend who brings inviting messages, seductive proposals, if not of formal marriage, perhaps of some love-affair or jolly gathering, sportive meeting, or intellectual entertainment, lecture, etc. It is not quite impossible, that the idea of 'seduction' is connected with it or at least a strong sense of persuasion. If it relates to news, there is emotion in it, news that will affect the feelings in some way or other. Relations will be of a passing nature, but may be very pleasant. The combination of the Water with the Air generally adds much to the instruction, development or education of people So there must be much of all this in the Page of Cups. The effects do not always bear the characteristic of reliability, nor of permanence.
(On the eleventh house) Friendly message, good news, invitation, proposal and the bringer of the same. A young man of a democratic turn of mind, brotherly feelings, international relationship. (On the seventh house): Proposal of marriage or love-affair, intellectual entertainment, lecture, demonstration. Proposal or invitation to a position or employment. Solicitation. The outcome of this card is still uncertain and must be derived from the neighbouring cards. Change of relations and connections, sympathies.
This card crowns the query’s subject. It represents (i) the best that he or she can arrive at; or (ii) his or her ideal in the matter; (iii) what he or she wants to make their own; (iv) but it is not his or hers at present.
A young man is seated under a tree and contemplates three cups set on the grass before him; an arm issuing from a cloud offers him another cup. His expression notwithstanding is one of discontent with his environment.
Weariness, disgust, aversion, imaginary vexations, as if the wine of this world had caused satiety only; another wine, as if a fairy gift, is now offered the wastrel, but he sees no consolation therein. This is also a card of blended pleasure.
Novelty, presage, new instruction, new relations.
Four of Cups - Ennui, Displeasure, Discontent, Dissatisfaction.
New Acquaintance, Conjecture, Sign, Presentiment.
Annoyance, aversion, disgust, affliction, discontent (with his environment), satiety; blended pleasure. Reversed: News, presage, new light on things, novelty, new acquaintances made, etc.
The Water of the soul on the Twelfth house, which rules many changes, and adverse influences and, in general, the surroundings so far as they are not yet mastered, and therefore inimical. Indeed this house brings much affliction in matters of the world; materially it is anything but successful and in this respect will certainly bring annoyances, but on the other hand new knowledge of Nature's wonders is revealed in this house. Discontent with environment, certainly, but at the same time it shows the querent throwing his future on the waters of new adventure, leaving home and family to wander forth towards new experiences, enlarging the horizon of his views. There may be some ailment of the soul, however, in this house and in very weak cases alienation even. Sentiments not reciprocated, nor understood. A feeling of being outside one's proper environment. There may be encounters with strangers or foreigners, and discoveries, as results of discontent or dissatisfaction with present conditions. So in relation to these conditions it may mean: failing to understand or to appreciate things as they are, estrangement of the world, which may lead to seclusion; secluded feelings.
Discontent with present conditions or environment; estrangement, unrest, aversion, troubles, disgust; discord, failing to understand people or to make oneself understood. New discoveries, researches in unknown countries or territories, meeting with strangers. Instability, changes, generally for the worse in a material sense, but having some distant aim. At war with current opinions. Better to keep silent than to talk, because one will certainly be misunderstood. There may be "imaginary vexations." (Waite) Seclusion; alienation.
This card is beneath the query’s subject. It is his or her own – that which he or she have to work with and can use.
Fruitfulness, action, initiative, length of days; the unknown, clandestine; also difficulty, doubt, ignorance.
Light, truth, the unravelling of involved matters, public rejoicings; according to another reading, vacillation.
A stately figure, seated, having rich vestments and royal aspect, as of a daughter of heaven and earth. Her diadem is of twelve stars, gathered in a cluster. The symbol of Venus is on the shield which rests near her. A field of corn is ripening in front of her, and beyond there is a fall of water. The sceptre which she bears is surmounted by the globe of this world. She is the inferior Garden of Eden, the Earthly Paradise, all that is symbolized by the visible house of man. She is not Regina coeli, but she is still refugium peccatorum, the fruitful mother of thousands. There are also certain aspects in which she has been correctly described as desire and the wings thereof, as the woman clothed with the sun, as Gloria Mundi and the veil of the Sanctum Sanctorum; but she is not, I may add, the soul that has attained wings, unless all the symbolism is counted up another and unusual way. She is above all things universal fecundity and the outer sense of the Word. This is obvious, because there is no direct message which has been given to man like that which is borne by woman; but she does not herself carry its interpretation.
In another order of ideas, the card of the Empress signifies the door or gate by which an entrance is obtained into this life, as into the Garden of Venus; and then the way which leads out therefrom, into that which is beyond, is the secret known to the High Priestess: it is communicated by her to the elect. Most old attributions of this card are completely wrong on the symbolism--as, for example, its identification with the Word, Divine Nature, the Triad, and so forth.
3. The Empress, who is sometimes represented with full face, while her correspondence, the Emperor, is in profile. As there has been some tendency to ascribe a symbolical significance to this distinction, it seems desirable to say that it carries no inner meaning. The Empress has been connected with the ideas of universal fecundity and in a general sense with activity.
The Empress - Action, Plan, Undertaking Movement in a matter, Initiative.
Inaction, Frittering away of power, Want of Concentration Vacillation.
The Empress - A winged and crowned woman seated upon a throne, having in one hand a sceptre bearing a globe surmounted by a cross, while she rests the other upon a shield with an eagle blazoned therein on whose breast is the cross. She is the Symbol of Action, the result of the union of Science and Will.
If the Hebrew letter Gimel means the throat (as a canal for sound) and also "the hand of man half closed in the act of prehension" (Papus), then it may indeed well stand for the house of Gemini as for no one else; because Gemini is the macrocosmic 'relation between the two' which is potential vibration, symbolised by 'sound,' and this sign rules the hands of man, with which he grips this relation actually. It rules the 'Word, which was with God in the beginning' and words, speech and correspondence in this world below, as above. It means cognisance, from which science may spring later, but it is not science itself. Nor is it 'action' (Mathers), though it is the origin of, sometimes the pretext for, activity. But it includes indecision, uncertainty, doubt, change, intercourse, reflection, appearance and everything that the sign Gemini may further communicate.
This Empress is indeed "a daughter of Heaven and Earth" (Waite), for she represents the sphere of Mercury, Messenger of the Gods, and so this card always bears the meaning of messages and writing, and of news to be heard, instructions to be received.
Twelve (in older pictures nine) stars are placed around her head and this certainly means that down here on earth the messages come to us from the stars, a gentle hint at astrology. We regret that in the picture of Waite, the wings, with which the figure is gifted, and the shield with eagle in her right hand, as shown in older editions of this card have been omitted, for both hold a due indication of the element Air. Gemini is the first house of Air, and sound uses the air as its medium. The use of the sign of Venus is not very clear in the picture given by Waite because it is not Venus but Mercury that rules the house of the Empress. One of the older editions shows the Empress holding in her left hand a wand with a heraldic lily, a sort of trefoil on its top, very suggestive of the origin of the colour or suit of Wands, which of course has a close relation with the card of Gemini.
Why this idea of the messenger is drawn as a woman, and given the name of the 'Empress' is very well explained by Mr. Waite in these words: "because there is no direct message which has been given to man like that which is borne by woman." Woman rules the world. As a mother she is the 'canal' by which the human being is conducted from another world into this one, and as a female she attracts the man, in order to 'double' herself and to impart a double value to life on earth. This is indicated in the image of the Twins, originally Adam-Eve destined to be united by Knowledge. This is the card of Knowledge.
Also of 'universal fecundity' as Waite has it.
This card is behind the query’s subject. It is the current from which he or she is passing away, and it may be the past of the matter.
Graceful, but not warlike; riding quietly, wearing a winged helmet, referring to those higher graces of the imagination which sometimes characterize this card. He too is a dreamer, but the images of the side of sense haunt him in his vision.
Arrival, approach--sometimes that of a messenger; advances, proposition, demeanour, invitation, incitement.
Trickery, artifice, subtlety, swindling, duplicity, fraud.
A visit from a friend, who will bring unexpected money to the Querent.
Knight of Cups - Arrival, Approach, Advance.
Duplicity, Abuse of Confidence, Fraud, Cunning.
"The higher graces of the imagination" (Waite). Arrival, approach, advances, proposition, demeanour, invitation, incitement, reception, comparison. Reversed: Trickery, fraud, duplicity, subtlety, swindle, artifice.
The Water of the soul on the Twelfth and on the Eighth house. The double influence of water makes the emotions and feelings prominent, relates to the imagination, to deeper experiences and strong reactions of the soul, processes of psychic life, which may end in wonderful success or in less desirable phenomena. It is sure to indicate much relating to the subways of human life and the human soul. This is not always favourable or pleasant, of course, but is in almost every instance intensive, though the cups never go to anything like hatred or crime or real malice. Their weakness is in being unreliable or incalculable with regard to things of the exact world or matter. So in the worst cases this card may indicate everything connected with swindling from sheer mental instability. But it may also be, that the term 'swindler' (charlatan) is wrongly given to people who are standing apart from the common herd and are more or less occultists. The "higher graces of the imagination."
There may be certainly a considerable degree of falsehood expressed by this card: false interpretation, misjudgment, tendencious or fantastic narratives, exaggerated complaints, imaginary wrongs, pathos and what the world calls miscarriage. On account of the eighth house all this may be connected with sex-questions or intimate and private affairs. The card may express indiscretion committed and slanderous reports, secretly promulgated. It has to do with secrets and the divulgation of secrets. But there may be also a higher sway in the emotional realm: devotion, sacrifice, charity.
(On account of the twelfth house) A stranger, sailor or naval officer, man coming from far away. It makes one forget troubles, perhaps intoxicates. Wine or strong liquors. Merchants of same. Narcotics. Imagination, vision, dreams, poetic turn of mind. Occultism. Devotion, sacrifice, charity. (On account of the eighth house): Strong sexual tendencies, but the power to master them, and extract from them the element of happiness and health: transmutation of inner forces. The latter may also be translated as: changing his aspect of life wholly: going from one state of life into a quite different sort of existence. In some cases: falsehood, venomous reports, slander, blackmail, trickery, fraud, subtlety, swindling, artifice. The evil influences may cause the reasons for the said change of life, which in itself may well prove benefic after all. There is much occultism in this card; this Knight may be unknown or anonymous but a very important messenger (to the soul?) At its best he is Saint George, killing the dragon, the Rosicrucian brother.
This card is before the query’s subject. It is the current that is coming into action and will operate in the specific matter.
A tall man looks from a battlemented roof over sea and shore; he holds a globe in his right hand, while a staff in his left rests on the battlement; another is fixed in a ring. The Rose and Cross and Lily should be noticed on the left side.
Between the alternative readings there is no marriage possible; on the one hand, riches, fortune, magnificence; on the other, physical suffering, disease, chagrin, sadness, mortification. The design gives one suggestion; here is a lord overlooking his dominion and alternately contemplating a globe; it looks like the malady, the mortification, the sadness of Alexander amidst the grandeur of this world's wealth.
Surprise, wonder, enchantment, emotion, trouble, fear.
A young lady may expect trivial disappointments.
Deuce of Sceptres - Riches, Fortune, Opulence, Magnificence, Grandeur.
Surprise, Astonishment, Event, Extraordinary Occurrence.
Melancholy, sadness, surprise, astonishment, consternation, terror, fear, enchantment, trouble, but also on the other hand riches, fortune and magnificence.
Air on the Second house, that of Taurus, which explains at once the latter significances ascribed to the card by some authors; the other category of definitions derives from the earthy nature of the Second house, which, put into the tone of the airy element, may cause something of the oppression, which the heaviness of this fixed and earthy house exercises on the mind. It is the impression of heaviness, of a load on the back, which easily may attain the more concise form of a fear, a gloom, a feeling of being downcast, impotent, weak and not able to resist circumstances. So it may signify the pressure of material conditions, the responsibility imparted by riches, but also projects or conceptions of an economical nature and the idea of capital and capitalising. Further the combination of the principles of air with the house of Taurus must give music, and we may be sure that this card always has some significance in that way and in the sphere of art intellectually and in general. This is a very important significance.
Music, art, artistic ability in general; capital, riches, heavy responsibility, pressure, obsession, melancholy, fear, weakness, impossibility or material power (on one side and on the other), gloom, dullness, 'spleen,' impotence, subjection to material circumstances; attitude of 'wait and see'; the future is for those that can (afford to) wait. Country life.
This card signifies the querent, his or her attitude and relation to the matter.
He sits in judgment, holding the unsheathed sign of his suit. He recalls, of course, the conventional Symbol of justice in the Trumps Major, and he may represent this virtue, but he is rather the power of life and death, in virtue of his office.
Whatsoever arises out of the idea of judgment and all its connexions-power, command, authority, militant intelligence, law, offices of the crown, and so forth.
Cruelty, perversity, barbarity, perfidy, evil intention.
A lawyer, senator, doctor.
A bad man; also a caution to put an end to a ruinous lawsuit.
King of Swords - A Lawyer, a Man of Law, Power, Command, Superiority, Authority.
A Wicked Man, Chagrin, Worry, Grief, Fear, Disturbance.
A man of the law or robe, councillor, senator, business-man, doctor, etc. "Whatsoever arises out of the idea of judgment and all its concessions, power, authority, command, militant intelligence . . ." (Waite) Reversed: Bad intentions, evil, perversity, perfidy, cruelty, etc.
The King of the suit of Earth, coming on the house of Aries, First house or ascendant. Whatsoever we may say of the 'reversed' side or weaker cases of this card, a king is a king and always denotes a higher accord, some one or something of principal value and rank. The king of the Martian and Saturnian element naturally is the king of matter and of war, i.e. also he who wins war and conducts the battle of earthy interests. It denotes the dominion and rulership of this element, consequently the military chief. This by the way we are astonished not to find mentioned by tradition, which mentions the man of the law, lawyer, advocate or judge, who rules or guides worldly strife and contention. As the ruler of the ascendant, the card may certainly mean any person heading a cycle of material activity and before all a pioneer on this plane, an independent man living on his own means. While material integrity is implicit, duplicity, doubt, double-dealing or uncertainty are definitely excluded. It indicates material certainty and severity, whether benefic or malific from a personal point of view, healthy or rude, even cruel. But we fail to see what it has to do with perversity, unless the meaning be the overruling of everything else, the higher by the material power, and the misuse of the latter. The card means an emphatic Yes.
General, captain, military chief, worldly authority, chief or captain in any branch of activity, man of the law; power, command, decision, initiative, pioneering, valour, integrity, severity, material certainty; in weak cases cruelty, misuse of power, tyranny.
This card signifies the querent’s house, his or her environment in the affair; the influence, people and events around the querent.
A lithe, active figure holds a sword upright in both hands, while in the act of swift walking. He is passing over rugged land, and about his way the clouds are collocated wildly. He is alert and lithe, looking this way and that, as if an expected enemy might appear at any moment.
Authority, overseeing, secret service, vigilance, spying, examination, and the qualities thereto belonging.
More evil side of these qualities; what is unforeseen, unprepared state; sickness is also intimated.
An indiscreet person will pry into the Querent's secrets.
2 Pages - disquiet; reversed - society.
Knave of Swords - A Spy, Overlooking, Authority.
That which is unforeseen, Vigilance, Support.
Overseer, artist, learned man, spy, indiscreet person, who will eventually "pry into the querent's secrets." Secret service, vigilance, examination, calculation, speculation. A note, observation, remark. Reversed: "The more evil side of those qualities" (Waite); the unforeseen sudden, surprising; improvisation. Acting or speaking without due preparation.
The Martian and Saturnian element on the Third house and on the Eleventh. It is very remarkable, that the first series of meanings in this case hint at the third house, while the so-called reversed meanings bear all the characteristics of the Uranian eleventh house: suddenness, surprise, etc. This element on the house of Air, Gemini and Aquarius, must, of course, denote either intellectual facts or concrete results of intelligence. The latter may be called 'proof' or 'outcome' or exact knowledge. The knowledge of facts may be the fruit of an elementary school curriculum, of journalism, of spying, etc. But it is justly indicated by tradition, that the Martian and Saturnian Gemini-man is a specialist in unlawful knowledge or in knowledge gathered at the cost of much trouble and effort; so it may be also knowledge gathered later in life, university extension. Exact intellectual results may appear as: remarks, observations, notes, etc. When put in the negative there may be investigation, examination, etc. All these are truly the effects of Gemini. There are, moreover, the personalities representing the facts. On account of the eleventh house we shall have to note the same sort of results but more or less reciprocal and sudden, whereas Uranus, lord of this house, accelerates the energy of Mars in this element but is apt to destroy the Saturnian vibrations or at least counteract them. It is quite true, therefore, that this card may represent speaking and acting without sufficient preparation and without dogmatic or very formal outlines: improvisation. Tradition was very correct in this. It could not know, that this page, on account of its eleventh house relations, will represent the railway-, tramway- or bus-conductor as well as the constable regulating the traffic, also the warnings of the same.
Results of exact studies, knowledge, note, observation, warning, indication, examination, inspection, investigation; inspector, constable, police-officer, and their orders; spy, detective, examiner. Dilettante, one who will surprise by his daring but is not well prepared in speech or acting., The latter in weak cases. Sudden, rather unexpected, surprising events or effects.
This card signifies the querent’s hopes and fears.
A ferryman carrying passengers in his punt to the further shore. The course is smooth, and seeing that the freight is light, it may be noted that the work is not beyond his strength.
journey by water, route, way, envoy, commissionary, expedient.
Declaration, confession, publicity; one account says that it is a proposal of love.
The voyage will be pleasant.
Unfavourable issue of lawsuit.
Six of Swords - Envoy, Messenger, Voyage, Travel.
Declaration, Love proposed, Revelation, Surprise.
Route, way, path, envoy, journey by water, emigration, manner, expedient. Reversed: Proclamation, declaration, publication, avowal, knowledge, charter, constitution, bill, ordinance, discovery, vision, revelation, apparition. A proposal of love, says another rendering.
This is the element of Earth on the Sixth house, and the Virgo-particulars expressed in 'earth' become the 'ways' that carry the message from the centre, the heart, to the parts of the system. So it is the nervous system and the arterial system in the animal and human body. Thus it must be the way or path leading out into the world from our house or living place. This explains what tradition says about envoy and emigration, though the latter is somewhat far-fetched, and not in every instance will the way lead so far as that, nor the path be trodden until we meet with a 'proposal of love.' But it is true, that the effect of that which this card represents may go far and in general signifies the message in the sphere of matter (Mercury is lord of this house), the message materialised. And this explains why tradition says it means 'apparition'--'publication'--'constitution' etc. It is quite correct therein. The message is conveyed by means of the way, path, canalisation, etc., and appears in some effect or other. So it may even be a vision or materialisation from the 'other side.' It may also, however, be the passing over to that side, the crossing of the Styx, which seems to be indicated by the picture of this card. The cusp of the seventh house in the horoscope is 'the end,' in the same way as the ascendant is 'the beginning.' Though tradition has not rendered it so, this card must in many instances have the significance of passing away.
Route, way, canal, conveyance, nervous system, arterial system; experiment, order of service, practical prescriptions for any service, rules and measures of internal service. It warns that care must be taken for health and the internal service of the body must be cleared, in order to avoid intestine troubles. There may be something of a course, a voyage to be made, a cure or even emigration, if other indications confirm it. If in connection with Venusian influences, sensuality and the expressions of it. If badly aspected: serious illness and probability of the passing away of the patient.
This card represents what will come. It is on this card that you should concentrate your intuitive powers and your experience, in light of what you have divined from the other cards on the table.
The face suggests that of a dark woman, whose qualities might be summed up in the idea of greatness of soul; she has also the serious cast of intelligence; she contemplates her symbol and may see worlds therein.
Opulence, generosity, magnificence, security, liberty.
Evil, suspicion, suspense, fear, mistrust.
Dark woman; presents from a rich relative; rich and happy marriage for a young man.
Queen of Pentacles - A dark Woman, a generous Woman, Liberality, Greatness of Soul, Generosity.
Certain Evil, a suspicious Woman, a Woman justly regarded with Suspicion, Doubt, Mistrust.
Dark woman, who suggests "the idea of greatness of soul; she has also the serious cast of intelligence." (Waite) Opulence, riches, luxury, assurance (insurance?), security, liberty, frankness. Reversed: Doubt, indecision, uncertainty, timidity, apprehension, vacillation, etc.
The higher octave of the two, consequently covering the Sixth house and demonstrating the features of the noble Virgo-type. So this must be a woman always inclined to help and to serve, to make herself useful, a nurse perhaps, a household woman of good standing a good hostess. There are also qualities of science in this house, as it is the house of the Academy and Minerva. So she may be as an incarnation of Minerva herself, protecting science and craftsmanship as the Dame of Wands protects the arts. She must have many qualities and above all refinement, though she may suffer more or less from the evil--so far as it can be called--of doubt, and the difficulty of choosing between many possibilities in her nature. She is generous and benefic. Her presence is a good augury and she brings always protection and material wealth or at least well-being, ruling this house of earth. There may be some timidity; there is always honesty, honourable action, correctness and the right attitude to all problems of life, discretion, education, understanding, knowledge. These qualities certainly engender security in life.
A good and intelligent woman, who will render service to the querent, benefic influence, help, assistance in word, advice and action. Woman of good standing and refined type, the personification of honesty, protection, knowledge, understanding, education, culture. Discretion may sometimes lapse into timidity through sensitiveness. Material benefit, earnings, wealth, rent, products. Security, assuredness, insurance, certificate or diploma. Patronage of science and technical and industrial works.