Page of Wands Card facing down The Lovers - reversed Card facing down Page of Swords - reversed Card facing down Three of Cups Card facing down Five of Swords - reversed Card facing down The Fool Card facing down Seven of Swords Card facing down Wheel of Fortune - reversed Card facing down Eight of Wands - reversed Card facing down Ten of Pentacles - reversed Card facing down

Select a book to consult:







Celtic Cross Tarot Reading



The deck is shuffled and your tarot cards are dealt on the table, face down.

Reveal the cards

Please reveal each card by clicking on it, or reveal all cards at once by use of the button appearing below the tarot spread.

Decipher the cards

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).

Advanced options

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.


Page of Wands


Card position:


First Card - this covers you

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.

Card interpretation:


Description

In a scene similar to the former, a young man stands in the act of proclamation. He is unknown but faithful, and his tidings are strange.

Divinatory Meanings

Dark young man, faithful, a lover, an envoy, a postman. Beside a man, he will bear favourable testimony concerning him. A dangerous rival, if followed by the Page of Cups. Has the chief qualities of his suit. He may signify family intelligence.

Divinatory Meanings - Reversed

Anecdotes, announcements, evil news. Also indecision and the instability which accompanies it.

Additional Divinatory Meanings

Young man of family in search of young lady.

Additional Meanings - Reversed

Bad news.

Card Recurrence

2 Pages - disquiet; reversed - society.


Page of Wands


Card position:


First Card - this covers you


Card interpretation:


Divinatory Meanings

Knave of Sceptres - A Good Stranger, Good News, Pleasure, Satisfaction.

Divinatory Meanings - Reversed

Ill News, Displeasure, Chagrin, Worry.


Page of Wands


Card position:


First Card - this covers you


Card interpretation:


Tradition

Stranger, unknown man, young man in search of somebody, extraordinary or at least uncommon man; postman, envoy, dark young man, faithful lover. Further it denotes an announcement, instruction, advice, tale, lesson, advertisement, something wonderful, unexpected, admirable, unusual. A notion as well as a miracle. News.

Theory

We have to keep in mind, that the page of Air relates to the Third and to the Eleventh house both. Some of the indications show the mark of aquarian, i.e. uranian parentage, others are purely mercurial. The pages always cover the meaning of houses of Air, as we have seen the page of the airy element--wands--is the most airy of them all. The interpretation is easy enough, and the renderings are quite correct, with the exception of one item: we can never see this page as a 'stranger' but rather as an acquaintance, a friend, conforming to the connection with the eleventh house. That with the Third house even may bring his personal standing nearer to the querent, viz. as a brother or schoolmate.

Conclusion

(From the Third house) A brother, schoolmate, messenger, postman or envoy, functionary or official of subordinate position, generally a younger man, sometimes on an errand; messages, letters, communications, teaching, instruction, lesson, advertisement, advice, announcement. News. (From the eleventh house): A friend, some one in business relation with the querent, or with whom he agrees. Telegraph, telephone and wireless. Intuitive connection, telepathy, invention. Helpful influences in general, helpful people of all sorts, tradesmen, purveyors, etc.


The Lovers - reversed


Card position:


Second Card - this crosses you

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.

Card interpretation:


Divinatory Meanings

Attraction, love, beauty, trials overcome.

Divinatory Meanings - Reversed

Failure, foolish designs. Another account speaks of marriage frustrated and contrarieties of all kinds.

Inner Symbolism

The sun shines in the zenith, and beneath is a great winged figure with arms extended, pouring down influences. In the foreground are two human figures, male and female, unveiled before each other, as if Adam and Eve when they first occupied the paradise of the earthly body. Behind the man is the Tree of Life, bearing twelve fruits, and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil is behind the woman; the serpent is twining round it. The figures suggest youth, virginity, innocence and love before it is contaminated by gross material desire. This is in all simplicity the card of human love, here exhibited as part of the way, the truth and the life. It replaces, by recourse to first principles, the old card of marriage, which I have described previously, and the later follies which depicted man between vice and virtue. In a very high sense, the card is a mystery of the Covenant and Sabbath.

The suggestion in respect of the woman is that she signifies that attraction towards the sensitive life which carries within it the idea of the Fall of Man, but she is rather the working of a Secret Law of Providence than a willing and conscious temptress. It is through her imputed lapse that man shall arise ultimately, and only by her can he complete himself. The card is therefore in its way another intimation concerning the great mystery of womanhood. The old meanings fall to pieces of necessity with the old pictures, but even as interpretations of the latter, some of them were of the order of commonplace and others were false in symbolism.

Description

6. The Lovers or Marriage. This symbol has undergone many variations, as might be expected from its subject. In the eighteenth century form, by which it first became known to the world of archæological research, it is really a card of married life, shewing father and mother, with their child placed between them; and the pagan Cupid above, in the act of flying his shaft, is, of course, a misapplied emblem. The Cupid is of love beginning rather than of love in its fulness, guarding the fruit thereof. The card is said to have been entitled Simulacyum fidei, the symbol of conjugal faith, for which the rainbow as a sign of the covenant would have been a more appropriate concomitant. The figures are also held to have signified Truth, Honour and Love, but I suspect that this was, so to speak, the gloss of a commentator moralizing. It has these, but it has other and higher aspects.


The Lovers - reversed


Card position:


Second Card - this crosses you


Card interpretation:


Divinatory Meanings

The Lovers - Wise Dispositions, Proof, Trials Surmounted.

Divinatory Meanings - Reversed

Unwise Plans, Failure when put to the test.

Symbolism of the Keys

The Lovers - This is usually described as representing Man between Vice and Virtue, while a winged genius threatens Vice with his dart. But I am rather inclined to the opinion that it represents the Qabalistical Microprosopus between Binah and Malkuth (see my Kabbalah Unveiled), while the figure above shows the Influence descending from Kether. It is usually considered to mean Proof or Trial; but I am inclined to suggest Wise Disposition as its signification.


The Lovers - reversed


Card position:


Second Card - this crosses you


Card interpretation:


Description and Meaning

From the original meaning of the sign Virgo, the virgin matter of the cosmos or world-ether, to that principle which makes 'lovers' is rather a long step, but we will observe that all these Tarot symbols relate to human points of view and human life in particular, i.e. cosmic principles seen from this particular standpoint which gives more of a practical image than of abstract reasoning, the abstract cosmic significance, however, being imbedded fairly accurately in them. So in the human constitution the sign Virgo means the nervous system and everything acting as an organ as well as the relatively 'virginal matter' which is extracted from the food and will serve to build up the body. So this house is known to rule health and sickness. It is further known to relate to the principles and materials of our work. And so the card of the Lovers must in the first place symbolise these things. It does indeed. Papus says it is connected with the Hebrew letter Vau in its significance of "the eye, and all that relates to light and brilliancy. The eye establishes the link between the external world and ourselves; by it light and form are revealed to us." In fact 'the eye' is a very ancient symbol for the idea of 'organ'; the Neoplatonists repeatedly used it. When saying it "establishes the link," we must be aware, however, that it is not yet this link itself but offers the elements for it. And again this card does not say 'love' but 'lovers' (in the French edition of the cards the singular is used: l’amoureux). Evidently the meaning is this: what makes man feel 'amorous' is his sensuousness, the word used in the strictly philosophical and biological meaning of receptivity of the senses for agreeable, caressing, benefic, gratifying vibrations. The same receptivity, however, exists on the other hand for disagreeable, painful, disturbing, malific vibrations. The receptivity and the condition of an organic centre in its double possibility of experience is only the phenomenal expression of the same in organic existence in general, consequently stamping the whole of manifestation with the law of duality of 'good' and 'evil.' The latter is well illustrated by the picture on the older cards where a youth is represented standing between two women, the one appearing to be benefic, the other malific. This sensuousness indeed can lead to a lower sensuality or can be the means of demonstrating love. A sort of angelic figure (Cupid?) is seen shooting an arrow: symbol of the ray of light. The card which was drawn on the authority of Mr. Waite shows a man and a woman in a state of paradisical nudity, and over the two hovers the figure of an angel. It confers much the same meaning, of course. "This is in all simplicity the card of human love, here exhibited as part of the way, the truth and the life." (Waite) And we shall find, that the same force which makes us love, physically, is at the back of all the work we do. Because it is the material response to the fiery and central pushing power and includes actual possibility on the basis of practical knowledge, experimental knowing. Waite did well to show the Tree of Knowledge in the drawing, it being the symbol of Nature in general and of the seed or seminal elements.

Astrological Correspondence

Virgo


Page of Swords - reversed


Card position:


Third Card - this crowns you

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.

Card interpretation:


Description

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.

Divinatory Meanings

Authority, overseeing, secret service, vigilance, spying, examination, and the qualities thereto belonging.

Divinatory Meanings - Reversed

More evil side of these qualities; what is unforeseen, unprepared state; sickness is also intimated.

Additional Divinatory Meanings

An indiscreet person will pry into the Querent's secrets.

Additional Meanings - Reversed

Astonishing news.

Card Recurrence

2 Pages - disquiet; reversed - society.


Page of Swords - reversed


Card position:


Third Card - this crowns you


Card interpretation:


Divinatory Meanings

Knave of Swords - A Spy, Overlooking, Authority.

Divinatory Meanings - Reversed

That which is unforeseen, Vigilance, Support.


Page of Swords - reversed


Card position:


Third Card - this crowns you


Card interpretation:


Tradition

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.

Theory

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.

Conclusion

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.


Three of Cups


Card position:


Fourth Card - this is beneath you

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.

Card interpretation:


Description

Maidens in a garden-ground with cups uplifted, as if pledging one another.

Divinatory Meanings

The conclusion of any matter in plenty, perfection and merriment; happy issue, victory, fulfilment, solace, healing.

Divinatory Meanings - Reversed

Expedition, dispatch, achievement, end. It signifies also the side of excess in physical enjoyment, and the pleasures of the senses.

Additional Divinatory Meanings

Unexpected advancement for a military man.

Additional Meanings - Reversed

Consolation, cure, end of the business.


Three of Cups


Card position:


Fourth Card - this is beneath you


Card interpretation:


Divinatory Meanings

Three of Cups - Success, Triumph, Victory, Favourable issue.

Divinatory Meanings - Reversed

Expedition of business, Quickness, Celerity, Vigilance.


Three of Cups


Card position:


Fourth Card - this is beneath you


Card interpretation:


Tradition

Success, happy issue, lucky solution, victory, accomplishment, cure, healing, fulfilment. Matter in plenty, perfection, merriment. Reversed it is said to denote: Expedition of affairs, dispatches, achievements, end, conclusion, etc.

Theory

The Water on the house of friends, the Eleventh, must bring concord, etc. Friendship, but on this airy house more platonic than that of the foregoing card. It is the house of surroundings so far mastered by the Ego and on this account 'friendly.' So the soul-life in surroundings that have been mastered will enjoy desirable and 'good' conditions and feel 'happy.' There is no feeling whatever of being hampered or thwarted, or depressed. All goes well and the general sensation is cheerful. It is the sign of a good time, good luck and general satisfaction. As the eleventh house also rules the blood, it is very favourable for health and eventual recuperation. Moreover this house has to do with commerce and business, and the card favours them beyond a doubt, giving a good understanding of opportunity and of the character and wishes of those with whom we have to do, so that we can supply what they ask.

Conclusion

'A good time,' favourable opportunities, commercial and intellectual friendship, success good issue of everything; good health and eventual recuperation, healing. Being in good relations with people. Light-heartedness, joy, holidays.


Five of Swords - reversed


Card position:


Fifth Card - this is behind you

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.

Card interpretation:


Description

A disdainful man looks after two retreating and dejected figures. Their swords lie upon the ground. He carries two others on his left shoulder, and a third sword is in his right hand, point to earth. He is the master in possession of the field.

Divinatory Meanings

Degradation, destruction, revocation, infamy, dishonour, loss, with the variants and analogues of these.

Divinatory Meanings - Reversed

The same; burial and obsequies.

Additional Divinatory Meanings

An attack on the fortune of the Querent.

Additional Meanings - Reversed

A sign of sorrow and mourning.


Five of Swords - reversed


Card position:


Fifth Card - this is behind you


Card interpretation:


Divinatory Meanings

Five of Swords - Mourning, Sadness, Affliction.

Divinatory Meanings - Reversed

Losses Trouble (same signification, whether reversed or not).


Five of Swords - reversed


Card position:


Fifth Card - this is behind you


Card interpretation:


Tradition

Loss, dishonour, degradation, defeat, ruin, reversal of fortune, diminution, wronging, bad luck, destruction, etc. Reversed: Much the same, burial, obsequies. It is also said to represent a thief and theft, corruption, seduction, plague, and all that is hideous and horrible.

Theory

The element of Earth with its influence of Mars and Saturn on the Fifth house, ruling the heart, cannot be very 'favourable' in the ordinary sense of the word and is certain to lead to a feeling of being wronged by the world, an inner bitterness and impotence, which hinders enterprise and business; so these will suffer. And the heart itself, being of precisely the opposite nature, will suffer and find things awkward, horrible, hideous, etc. In the same way this card must indicate affliction of honour, which is ruled by the Sun. Moreover, as "from the heart are the issues of life," the card may indicate vice and a bad use of the inner or spiritual forces. Still there is another possibility, and this is given by Mr. Waite when he says that this card's image signifies a man who "is master of the field." So he may be if the inner force is great enough to conquer the afflictions which assail him. In other words, it need not be a card of absolute defeat, for there may very well be a good result, but nevertheless it denotes serious difficulty and a critical moment or period in life, in which the querent or some one to whom it relates will be threatened with the above-mentioned sad effects.

Conclusion

Affliction, crisis, morose disposition, bitterness, impotence, lack of self-respect, or self-confidence; it may be that self-confidence is ascertained by some struggle or conflict; difficulties, which after all may prove very useful but necessitate much self-discipline. In the same way discipline of children is necessary. Enterprise or expansion is impossible or not advisable. Things indicated by this card may indeed be bad-looking or unpromising. There will be a question of a loss in most cases.


The Fool


Card position:


Sixth Card - this is before you

This card is before the query’s subject. It is the current that is coming into action and will operate in the specific matter.

Card interpretation:


Divinatory Meanings

Folly, mania, extravagance, intoxication, delirium, frenzy, bewrayment.

Divinatory Meanings - Reversed

Negligence, absence, distribution, carelessness, apathy, nullity, vanity.

Inner Symbolism

With light step, as if earth and its trammels had little power to restrain him, a young man in gorgeous vestments pauses at the brink of a precipice among the great heights of the world; he surveys the blue distance before him-its expanse of sky rather than the prospect below. His act of eager walking is still indicated, though he is stationary at the given moment; his dog is still bounding. The edge which opens on the depth has no terror; it is as if angels were waiting to uphold him, if it came about that he leaped from the height. His countenance is full of intelligence and expectant dream. He has a rose in one hand and in the other a costly wand, from which depends over his right shoulder a wallet curiously embroidered. He is a prince of the other world on his travels through this one-all amidst the morning glory, in the keen air. The sun, which shines behind him, knows whence he came, whither he is going, and how he will return by another path after many days. He is the spirit in search of experience. Many symbols of the Instituted Mysteries are summarized in this card, which reverses, under high warrants, all the confusions that have preceded it.

In his Manual of Cartomancy, Grand Orient has a curious suggestion of the office of Mystic Fool, as apart of his process in higher divination; but it might call for more than ordinary gifts to put it into operation. We shall see how the card fares according to the common arts of fortune-telling, and it will be an example, to those who can discern, of the fact, otherwise so evident, that the Trumps Major had no place originally in the arts of psychic gambling, when cards are used as the counters and pretexts. Of the circumstances under which this art arose we know, however, very little. The conventional explanations say that the Fool signifies the flesh, the sensitive life, and by a peculiar satire its subsidiary name was at one time the alchemist, as depicting folly at the most insensate stage.

Description

21.--which, however, in most of the arrangements is the cipher card, number nothing--The Fool, Mate, or Unwise Man. Court de Gebelin places it at the head of the whole series as the zero or negative which is presupposed by numeration, and as this is a simpler so also it is a better arrangement. It has been abandoned because in later times the cards have been attributed to the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, and there has been apparently some difficulty about allocating the zero symbol satisfactorily in a sequence of letters all of which signify numbers. In the present reference of the card to the letter Shin, which corresponds to 200, the difficulty or the unreason remains. The truth is that the real arrangement of the cards has never transpired. The Fool carries a wallet; he is looking over his shoulder and does not know that he is on the brink of a precipice; but a dog or other animal--some call it a tiger--is attacking him from behind, and he is hurried to his destruction unawares. Etteilla has given a justifiable variation of this card--as generally understood--in the form of a court jester, with cap, bells and motley garb. The other descriptions say that the wallet contains the bearer's follies and vices, which seems bourgeois and arbitrary.


The Fool


Card position:


Sixth Card - this is before you


Card interpretation:


Divinatory Meanings

The Foolish Man - Folly, Expiation, Wavering.

Divinatory Meanings - Reversed

Hesitation, Instability, Trouble arising herefrom.

Symbolism of the Keys

The Foolish Man - A man with a fool's cap, dressed like a jester, with a stick and bundle over his shoulder. Before him is the butterfly of pleasure luring him on (while in some packs a tiger, in others a dog, attacks him from behind). It signifies Folly, Expiation.


The Fool


Card position:


Sixth Card - this is before you


Card interpretation:


Description and Meaning

The average stage of man in the present stage of Earth-evolution is 'human,' but not yet at the stage of wisdom, consequently that of the 'unwise man.' To us, creatures living upon the Earth, this globe cannot be observed by us in toto, and the Fool is represented as a man walking without paying attention to himself. There is something of absolute Fate about this figure, which reminds us of the old saying of astrologers: "The wise man rules his stars, the fool obeys them." On the point of this fatality all authorities agree. For the rest the explanation does not seem very satisfying. To us there appears to be no doubt regarding the nature of this Fool, presented as a final 'principle,' if we may call it that, after those of the planets. A principle, however, without a number, a principle of nothing, nothingness.

The planets give us the symbols or ideas of organs of consciousness, the zodiacal signs denote modes of substance, from which consciousness is derived. So the zero-principle is the symbol of unconsciousness. In fact he who is unconscious, of himself or of Self, will obey every intimation from without and obeys 'his stars'--his senses, stupidly, blindly.

Of course this card has much to do with foolishness, spiritual dumbness, but it bears also the meaning of that which cannot be helped and which we do best to leave altogether aside; or that which will come right of itself and need not be heeded by us: that to which we are subject, as to the Earth course in its orbit. It does not need our personal assistance. Realising the latter fact this 'fool' might after all appear to be wiser than a good many other people, who in their human vanity imagine they are greatly needed for carrying out the intentions of their God, of Whom they claim a sort of personal knowledge. A proverb says, that children and fools tell the truth. Taken as a whole, the card signifies that which will prove to contain more truth than appears; that which cannot be helped; those who are unconscious (of certain things, e.g.,) or unreasonable or foolish, disregarding logical propositions and actions. Also that part of our surroundings over which we have no control or which we do not master; that which we have to obey or which we ignore.

The Hebrew letter Shin is brought in relation with this card, and Papus says it means "the Motion of relative duration," but his explanation does not throw any particular light on the card nor on the relationship. The picture seems to hint also that the fool "is hurried to his destruction unawares." (Waite) And there may be a good deal in it. In divination it may hint at persons suffering under this tendency.

The question may be asked, why the planetary cards have been named in this order. When we agree that Mercury, Temperance, has been put in the place of Jupiter, which after all has been used in a higher octave, we see first named the three planets outside the place of the Earth, governing the building of the physical mould and having to do with the birth and death of it. Then follows the planet of cosmic electricity and of the birth of human spirit in the physical building, which it eventually destroys. Next come the three planetary principles functioning on the spiritual side, which have their meaning only after the birth of human spirit. The Moon takes the place of Mercury-Vulcan, and the order is that of reckoning from the Earth, consequently in a continuous line from the outside: Venus--Moon (for Mercury-Vulcan)--Sun. They have to do with the growth of body and soul. Finally the principle of deliverance from the prison of the body: Jupiter, and that of the cosmic ocean to which the particles return, Universal solvent; ocean which constitutes the real ground for our practical unity in the world. The Fool as the denial of all sense, nonsense.

There may be other explanations of course. The one offered here seems to have the advantage that it is in the line of the suggestion, made before, viz. that the whole system of the Tarot is a sort of symbolism, expressly adapting cosmic principles to human life and to man's personal interests, not always even in the highest sense.

There exists a remarkable difference between the degree of clearness with which concrete particulars of the Lesser Arcana are given, and the diffuse teaching of the Greater Arcana, which appears to have been rather covered and veiled, than divulged. It was in the first place the Lesser Arcana, with which the diseurs de bonne aventure wanted to please their clients, so it naturally had their chief attention.

It is still more remarkable that all explanation about the 'why' of the Lesser Arcana fails. We ought perhaps to take into account a meagre effort made by Papus in his Tarot of the Bohemians, (p. 235-237), where he tries to assign each of the cards to one of the decanates of the zodiac; but he makes no further use of the hypothesis. For the rest I venture to say that it does not hold good at all and does not in the least correspond with the traditional significances given, as the authors tell us, in respect of the Bohemians. Another equally unsuccessful effort at explanation has been made recently by a pupil of Eteilla, d’Odoucet and Papus, a Frenchman calling himself Ely Alta, in a book entitled Le Tarot Egyptien (1922), which bears a close resemblance to that of Papus or speaks of the very same source as the latter. In fact Alta reproduces a treatise of Eteilla's disciple and co-worker d’Odoucet and gives more than Papus in so far as he preludes every significance of a card in the Lesser Arcana with a sort of explanation in a would-be cosmogonical sense. The fact is, that these explanations all fall short of explaining the traditional significance. So they cannot be more than a sort of drapery of eloquence, hung over the tableaux by later commentators, perhaps by Eteilla himself. And the only thing they divulge without any doubt at all is that the key to these 'lesser' mysteries has been lost or has never been given out to those to whom this practice of divination has been presented "as a bible which would make their living at the same time," as Papus has said somewhere.

But the striking fact is, that these traditional significations cover almost exactly and in almost every card the theory expounded by us. So we may be fairly certain that this theory contains or is the very key. We shall verify it systematically and card for card.

Astrological Correspondence

Our Earth

Seven of Swords


Card position:


Seventh Card - this is you

This card signifies the querent, his or her attitude and relation to the matter.

Card interpretation:


Description

A man in the act of carrying away five swords rapidly; the two others of the card remain stuck in the ground. A camp is close at hand.

Divinatory Meanings

Design, attempt, wish, hope, confidence; also quarrelling, a plan that may fail, annoyance. The design is uncertain in its import, because the significations are widely at variance with each other.

Divinatory Meanings - Reversed

Good advice, counsel, instruction, slander, babbling.

Additional Divinatory Meanings

Dark girl; a good card; it promises a country life after a competence has been secured.

Additional Meanings - Reversed

Good advice, probably neglected.


Seven of Swords


Card position:


Seventh Card - this is you


Card interpretation:


Divinatory Meanings

Seven of Swords - Hope, Confidence, Desire, Attempt, Wish.

Divinatory Meanings - Reversed

Wise Advice, Good Counsel, Wisdom, Prudence, Circumspection.


Seven of Swords


Card position:


Seventh Card - this is you


Card interpretation:


Tradition

Hope, wish, design, will, taste, fantasy. Another version says: "Also quarrelling; a plan that may fail." (Waite) Reversed: Good counsel, advice, helpful warning, news, announcement, consultation, observation, reflexion, lesson, instruction, slander, babbling.

Theory

The element Earth on the Seventh house indicates the actual and material union of the Self and the Not-self in the organism, as a material building. In this we have to see the 'accomplishment' or attainment of the Self, that which the Self wishes to join. Since the seventh house represents 'the opponent' as well, there may be something like quarrelling in this card, attempts to reach agreement with an opponent; this will be done in a practical, business-like way. A combative spirit, ready for the defensive. Owing to the diplomatic and fox-like qualities of the house of Libra, the querent may, by this card, attempt to steal the weapons of the opponent, as the figure rightly suggests: using the arguments and fighting with the weapons of the enemy.

Tradition is rather elusive in its definitions of this card; there are some particulars of Libra indicated, curiously enough, but they are not much of the nature of 'swords'--earth. The card must indicate everything in the line of material ability, from the science of the use of tools, crafts and arts up to tricks of abuse. It may equally favour a labourer, an engineer, a dentist, a surgeon and a burglar.

Conclusion

Meeting the opponent, perhaps some fighting, but more probably the strategy than the fighting itself is indicated. Using the weapons of the enemy. Practical ability. Science of the arts and crafts. Tricks. Understanding of practical and material obstacles, and of the work to be done. The enemy will be disarmed, arguments undone. A person of technical ability; favours technical professions. Success by means of capability, combined with diplomacy. Good care taken. Scheme, design.


Wheel of Fortune - reversed


Card position:


Eighth Card - this is your house

This card signifies the querent’s house, his or her environment in the affair; the influence, people and events around the querent.

Card interpretation:


Divinatory Meanings

Destiny, fortune, success, elevation, luck, felicity.

Divinatory Meanings - Reversed

Increase, abundance, superfluity.

Inner Symbolism

In this symbol I have again followed the reconstruction of Éliphas Lévi, who has furnished several variants. It is legitimate--as I have intimated--to use Egyptian symbolism when this serves our purpose, provided that no theory of origin is implied therein. I have, however, presented Typhon in his serpent form. The symbolism is, of course, not exclusively Egyptian, as the four Living Creatures of Ezekiel occupy the angles of the card, and the wheel itself follows other indications of Lévi in respect of Ezekiel's vision, as illustrative of the particular Tarot Key. With the French occultist, and in the design itself, the symbolic picture stands for the perpetual motion of a fluidic universe and for the flux of human life. The Sphinx is the equilibrium therein. The transliteration of Taro as Rota is inscribed on the wheel, counterchanged with the letters of the Divine Name--to shew that Providence is imphed through all. But this is the Divine intention within, and the similar intention without is exemplified by the four Living Creatures. Sometimes the sphinx is represented couchant on a pedestal above, which defrauds the symbolism by stultifying the essential idea of stability amidst movement.

Behind the general notion expressed in the symbol there lies the denial of chance and the fatality which is implied therein. It may be added that, from the days of Lévi onward, the occult explanations of this card are--even for occultism itself--of a singularly fatuous kind. It has been said to mean principle, fecundity, virile honour, ruling authority, etc. The findings of common fortune-telling are better than this on their own plane.

Description

10. The Wheel of Fortune. There is a current Manual of Cartomancy which has obtained a considerable vogue in England, and amidst a great scattermeal of curious things to no purpose has intersected a few serious subjects. In its last and largest edition it treats in one section of the Tarot; which--if I interpret the author rightly--it regards from beginning to end as the Wheel of Fortune, this expression being understood in my own sense. I have no objection to such an inclusive though conventional description; it obtains in all the worlds, and I wonder that it has not been adopted previously as the most appropriate name on the side of common fortune-telling. It is also the title of one of the Trumps Major--that indeed of our concern at the moment, as my sub-title shews. Of recent years this has suffered many fantastic presentations and one hypothetical reconstruction which is suggestive in its symbolism. The wheel has seven radii; in the eighteenth century the ascending and descending animals were really of nondescript character, one of them having a human head. At the summit was another monster with the body of an indeterminate beast, wings on shoulders and a crown on head. It carried two wands in its claws. These are replaced in the reconstruction by a Hermanubis rising with the wheel, a Sphinx couchant at the summit and a Typhon on the descending side. Here is another instance of an invention in support of a hypothesis; but if the latter be set aside the grouping is symbolically correct and can pass as such.


Wheel of Fortune - reversed


Card position:


Eighth Card - this is your house


Card interpretation:


Divinatory Meanings

The Wheel of Fortune - Good Fortune, Success, Unexpected Luck.

Divinatory Meanings - Reversed

Ill-Fortune, Failure, Unexpected Ill-Luck.

Symbolism of the Keys

The Wheel of Fortune - A wheel of seven spokes (the two halves of the double-headed cards make it eight spokes, which is incorrect) revolving (between two uprights), On the ascending side is an animal ascending, and on the descending side is a sort of monkey descending; both forms are bound to the wheel. Above it is the form of an angel (or a sphinx in some) holding a sword in one hand and a crown in the other. This very complicated symbol is much disfigured, and has been well restored by Levi. It symbolises Fortune, good or bad.


Wheel of Fortune - reversed


Card position:


Eighth Card - this is your house


Card interpretation:


Description and Meaning

"It symbolises Fortune, good or bad." (Mathers) So this means happenings, facts. It is indeed in the Tenth house, that the relation between the Self and the Not-self crystallises into fact, happening, deed. Says Papus, identifying this card with the significance of the Hebrew letter Yod, that it indicates "the finger of man; the forefinger extended as a sign of command." This clearly has to do with the significance of the Tenth house as that of authority and authorities, who are qualified to give commandments. The commandment itself comes under the same resort. "This letter has therefore become the image of potential (?) manifestation, of spiritual duration and, lastly, of the eternity of time." In fact, the Tenth house of the zodiacal cycle, ruled by Saturn, has much to do with Time and manifestation in time, but not only potential; real as well.

The image for this idea is very characteristic, perhaps the most striking of all. "The wheel of fortune suspended upon its axis. (Leaving no doubt about the idea of circular movement in time, which we find back in the horoscope.) To the right Anubis, the genius of good ascending; to the left Typhon, the genius of evil descending . . ." (Papus) See the right hand as the East and the left hand as the West, and you have the illustration of the horoscope more accurately still. As we know the East is standing for the source of spiritual force and inspiration, the West for the end of it and dying out.

What the sphinx has to do with it seems doubtful, unless it means that all mysteries will be revealed in time. The symbols of the four fixed signs are holding the four quarters of the card. The four fixed principles are indeed generally accepted as the basis of the material or concrete world. Compare the visions of Ezechiel and St. John of Patmos.

The mid-heaven in the horoscope sees the eastern half of it rising and the western half on the other hand declining.

The divinatory meanings of this card are evident: it denotes the authorities to which the querent is subject, but also his own actions, deeds, manifestations and the position in the world which he occupies, his name and titles. It is the card of karma in the strict sense and that which is indicated by it in divination will come true or be realised actually. Therefrom it has been said to symbolise 'fortune.' As will be seen it must not be accepted as the 'part of fortune' in the horoscope, because this has a more specific meaning and only with regard to the moon.

It is the point where you get at the world or the world gets at you. It is 'ripe karma' above all, facts which are not to be overborne by words. The fruits of former thoughts.

Astrological Correspondence

Capricorn


Eight of Wands - reversed


Card position:


Ninth Card - these are your hopes and fears

This card signifies the querent’s hopes and fears.

Card interpretation:


Description

The card represents motion through the immovable-a flight of wands through an open country; but they draw to the term of their course. That which they signify is at hand; it may be even on the threshold.

Divinatory Meanings

Activity in undertakings, the path of such activity, swiftness, as that of an express messenger; great haste, great hope, speed towards an end which promises assured felicity; generally, that which is on the move; also the arrows of love.

Divinatory Meanings - Reversed

Arrows of jealousy, internal dispute, stingings of conscience, quarrels; and domestic disputes for persons who are married.

Additional Divinatory Meanings

Domestic disputes for a married person.


Eight of Wands - reversed


Card position:


Ninth Card - these are your hopes and fears


Card interpretation:


Divinatory Meanings

Eight of Sceptres - Understanding, Observation, Direction.

Divinatory Meanings - Reversed

Quarrels, Intestine disputes, Discord.


Eight of Wands - reversed


Card position:


Ninth Card - these are your hopes and fears


Card interpretation:


Tradition

Examination, interior disputes, misunderstanding, regrets, interior agitation, scruples, doubt, repentance, etc. But on the other hand it is brought into connection with everything that has to do with country life, the fields, gardens, woods, etc. Also: pleasure, amusement, enjoyment, recreation. Quite apart from all this: an express messenger, the arrows of love or the arrows of jealousy. "Great haste, great hope, speed towards an end, which promises assured felicity." (Waite)

Theory

The card represents Air on the Eighth house and the influence of Scorpio will make the mind acute and sharp, so as to investigate and to examine the most hidden riddles, while in this house the mind comes to the sensation or consciousness of pleasure and pain, thirst and drinking. (The chalice will begin its suit later on the Ninth house.) It is the house of hidden and 'forbidden' knowledge or rather experience. The 'arrows of love' actually mean passion, and the 'arrows of jealousy,' the common counterpart of the same. The sensation of sex is born in this house and indicated by this card. As to swift or speedy messages, this may sometimes happen, because the Scorpion is sometimes very sudden in its movements. What the card should have to do with country life is less evident. We should say rather that it must stand in relation with the sea, fishermen and sailors. The mind in this house is very critical and sharp-witted, sometimes subject to doubt and misgivings, superstition and jealousy. It is in search of truth and enjoyment. Artistic abilities will run along the line of poetry, music and sculpture. It has always to do with the hidden side of things, the interior, or the inner life.

Conclusion

Examination, interrogation, internal or inner conceptions, knowledge and disputes; misgivings, doubt and sometimes misunderstandings; quick response, reaction, and answer to unspoken words or meanings. The sensation of pleasure and pain, but at the same time the knowledge and the occasion to avoid both or to get the one and avoid the other. Life at or on the sea; sailors and fishermen. Searchers for the hidden side of things, students of occultism. Poetry, music and sculpture. Secret message; hidden meaning; sex questions. Private interview or rendez-vous. Bad weather.


Ten of Pentacles - reversed


Card position:


Tenth Card - this is what will come

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.

Card interpretation:


Description

A man and woman beneath an archway which gives entrance to a house and domain. They are accompanied by a child, who looks curiously at two dogs accosting an ancient personage seated in the foreground. The child's hand is on one of them.

Divinatory Meanings

Gain, riches; family matters, archives, extraction, the abode of a family.

Divinatory Meanings - Reversed

Chance, fatality, loss, robbery, games of hazard; sometimes gift, dowry, pension.

Additional Divinatory Meanings

Represents house or dwelling, and derives its value from other cards.

Additional Meanings - Reversed

An occasion which may be fortunate or otherwise.


Ten of Pentacles - reversed


Card position:


Tenth Card - this is what will come


Card interpretation:


Divinatory Meanings

Ten of Pentacles - House, Dwelling, Habitation, Family.

Divinatory Meanings - Reversed

Gambling, Dissipation, Robbery, Loss.


Ten of Pentacles - reversed


Card position:


Tenth Card - this is what will come


Card interpretation:


Tradition

The house and the household, economy, gain, riches, family matters, archives. Building --a castle as well as a hut--vessel, ship, race, posterity. Fortune, game. Reversed it is said to give: Fatality, destiny, opportunity, fate, gratification, dowry, pension. Also decision.

Theory

The element Fire on the house of Taurus, the Second, confirms again the remarkable correctness of tradition, without giving the astrological key to the significance. Naturally this card must have to do with economy, gain, riches, fortune, etc., while Taurus, as the vast field of action in the universe, actually procures that which is called 'opportunity.' The influence of Venus and the Sun on the second house is very favourable for art as well as for monetary matters. So this must be a card of a great artistic value, foretelling success in music and painting and an immense love of the beautiful. It indicates possession without drawback or danger, domains, land, estates, but more the 'possession' than the 'house' as such, and probably this has been more or less mixed up in the past, because one saw a possession consisting in a house, a castle, even a ship, etc. These very intricate constructions themselves, however, cannot be under the rule of the vast and monotonously extensive house of Taurus. The card must stand for banking or insurance house, and favour both trades: banking and insurance. It promises prosperity by means of economy, agriculture, perhaps art-dealing. Further every collective possession.

Conclusion

Fortune, riches, favourable chance in monetary matters, economy, agriculture, art, specially music and painting, may give a beautiful voice, advantage in worldly affairs, possessions, specially domains, land, property; banking, insurance, art-dealing. In weak cases the card may indicate laziness, idleness, dull luxury and the degenerating influence of an existence without trouble or exertion: it is like full midsummer in human life. There may be some fatality in it. You cannot escape this good ripe fruit of karma, nor the fullness of Nature at its height. The attitude of the wise must be: to enjoy.