STEPHEN Reid

stephen@stephenreid.net

I'm studying tarot by drawing cards from time to time and writing about them here.

number major arcana swords swords intellect, logic, reason, communication wands wands energy, enthusiasm, vitality, action, inspiration, creativity, the masculine cups cups feelings, emotions, relationships, the heart, the feminine, the unconscious pentacles pentacles practical matters, grounding, the physical, the material, routines, habits
zero 0 fool The Fool carries the number 0 and stands alone and apart at the beginning of The Major Arcana . The number 0 represents his pure essence. 0 has not yet begun and is strangely void of any activity. It symbolises a certain emptiness that is waiting to be filled. As 0 it has the potential for great things that have not yet formed but desire to manifest.
ace i ace i These Aces can symbolically represent the raw potential each and every one of us are born with. It is what we do with them after, on our journey through life, that we see how successful such potential can be realised or destroyed. In the Upright Aspect of The Four Aces, we step forth on our journey from higher ground, untainted. We get off to a good start. In the Reverse, we traverse the lower planes and will need to climb out of them. As in The Four Aces suggest our raw beginning in life, so do they represent the launch of every new cycle or stage of life we experience, from minor to major. The Wheel of life constantly turns, and everything has its natural cycle or lifespan. There will always be beginnings and endings to deal with along our personal journeys, but we are expected to learn much as the Wheel turns. We must bring wisdom and knowledge forward into the start of each cycle, so that we progress and not regress. New cycles should not see us going over old ground indefinitely. the ace of wands The sky is clear and bright. Young trees come into leaf in the background while a castle sits atop of a steep hill or mountain. The castle symbolises security, goals, dreams, opportunities, ambitions, the ultimate destination. A river meanders through the landscape symbolising the emotional currents that flow through the situation. The River does not follow a straight path. This symbolises challenges ahead, but none so great that cannot be overcome.
two ii two ii The Four Twos in The Minor Arcana, generally refer to decisions being made, need to be made, or have already been made. Decisions do not always apply to two people deciding on a situation. On the contrary, most decision-making processes are done individually, but decisions are all about weighing up the pros and cons of a situation. This can involve deciding between the Head and the Heart (2), your Feminine or Masculine side (2) or what is Right or Wrong (2). The decision process may involve deciding on two different directions to take, or whether to stay or go (2). the two of cups The Two of Cups is a very positive card and is always welcomed in a relationship spread. This card has many interpretations but its overriding one is to do with love, matters of the heart and relationships. When it appears in a spread it generally represents a deep loving relationship or the offer of a relationship. It is a very exciting and reassuring card and reminds us that we can love and be loved. Love is all and love makes the world go around. It can represent that heady stage at the onset of a relationship when we get so caught up in love and our other half that nothing else is important. Our world revolves around each other and we think of nothing else but each other. We also believe that it will always be this way.

The Two of Cups can also suggest that you may have reached that stage in a relationship where you must decide to commit long-term or get married
the two of pentacles Harmony in the midst of change, alternation of gain and loss, travel in quest of wealth
three iii three iii The Threes in the Tarot represent creativity, growth and development. The number Three in numerology represents the upright triangle. By adding an extra number, Two has been forced out of its inertia and moved forward. Therefore, all the Suits will be experiencing a development or growth in their individual situations which will accelerate their journey through the Minor Arcana.

Therefore, we see them individually act on the decisions that were taken in the Two. After deliberating over whether to stay or go in the Two of Wands, a decision has been arrived at and definite action is taken in the Three. The loving couple so drawn to each other in the Two of Cups are celebrated and congratulated by all in the Three, as their relationship strengthens and grows. The stressful decisions or dilemma in the Two of Swords leads to deep pain and despair as the hurt intensifies in the Three. The financial balancing act in the Two of Pentacles begins to stabilise as the correct action is taken in the Three to develop and maintain financial growth.
the three of wands creativity, growth, birth, abundance, movement and expansion... The figure has used the energy of this third Wand to drive his plan of action forward.
four iv emperor The Fool encounters The Emperor, the Paternal Father who will take him firmly by the hand and instruct him in matters of responsibility, order, control and discipline. It is through the Emperor he will learn that society has established laws, rules and regulations put in place to create order and stability for the good of its people. Without it, chaos would reign along with a breakdown in morals, respect and lawful behaviour.

As a conscientious and caring father The Emperor first prepares The Fool for the harshness of the outside world by setting examples and laying down easy to follow guide lines within the family structure and home. In The Emperor, The Fool experiences the second love in his life – the love of a child for his father. In his positive sense The Emperor can become the perfect Role Model for his son and the Hero to his daughter. The son’s future relationship with women and how he treats them will be influenced by his father’s attitude and behaviour towards his mother. The daughter’s future self-esteem and relationship with men will also be strongly influenced by this.

As the archetypal father, The Emperor will be strong, firm and assume leadership and authority within his household. A man of honour and respect, he is a commanding figure. He will provide his family with stability, security and protection. Not afraid to go into battle, he will rush to defend their honour and do what has to be done during times of crisis or trauma. He will be responsible for setting rules and boundaries that The Fool must obey. He is also the disciplinarian who will enforce and administer the necessary punishment should The Fool fail to comply.

The Fool must now learn that for every action he takes there will be a consequence. The Emperor helps him to understand that even though he may not appreciate these often harsh lessons at the time, he will one day be grateful to his father for curbing his impulsive behaviour and unruly thoughts. The Fool still turns to his mother, The Empress, for comfort and nurturing but he has now learned that it is to The Emperor, his father, he will turn to when in need of sound advice or guidance in practical matters. He respects not only his authority but also his seniority and vast experience. The Fool in turn will one day pass on these values to his own children.
five v
six vi six vi The Four Sixes in the Tarot represent stability and security or the potential or opportunity to find it. A halt or ceasefire has been called on their individual battles or difficulties. Now that the storm has passed each Suit will seek comfort, harmony, peace and equilibrium in the only way they know which is governed by their influencing Element. Most of the Suits will be showing signs of exhaustion and weariness after the Five and some may just want to crawl into the nearest hole and stay there until their breathing and heart beat returns to normal. They may all need help and support from those around them and so fittingly, the Sixes in the Tarot are also connected with Charity, Patronage and Support. Some, more than others, may have found that the demands of the Five have left them drained and low. They must now look to those around them, family, friends or the wider community to assist them on their continued journey. All have a role and duty to play at this stage and the act of Giving and Receving comes into strong focus in the Six. the six of cups Emotional Security, Being Cared for, Giving and Receiving, Openness, Sharing, Goodwill, Kindness, Charity, Gifts, Blessings, Simple Joys, Helping, Forgiveness, Peace, Harmony, Protected, Being Guarded by another, Calm, Contentment, Sanctuary, Fortress, Security, Restricted Freedom/Movement, Predictability, The Past, Past Influences, Nostalgia, Longing, Yearning, Homesick, Familiarity, Innocence, Trust, Childhood, Childhood Sweetheart/Friends, A Child/Baby, Young Person, Playful, Youthful, Courtship, Memories, Reminiscing, Trip down Memory Lane, The Homestead, Hometown, Old Haunts, Old Friends, The Good old Days, The Past, Childhood Issues/Abuse, Old Age, Senility, Nursing Homes, Nurseries

When the Six of Cups appears in a Spread, it often suggests that the past is being focussed upon or that the issues surrounding the Reading are being influenced by something in your past. By looking into your past, you may find the answer, solution or at least an explanation. Memories of the past flood in. For some reason or other, the past is significant in your life right now and you must ask why? It may be due to your current situation not bringing you the happiness you seek. If you were happy in the past, and it does not necessarily mean childhood, then you could be yearning for the old days or how things used to be.

The Six of Cups is an extremely nostalgic card. It speaks about childhood and reminiscing about days of yore. Generally, The Upright Six brings happy memories and fond recollections of times gone by.

If you have been through a tough time, then the Six of Cups can suggest that you are, or need to, seek support or solace from friends and family at this time. You may feel safer and more comfortable with familiar faces and places so it is not a good time for starting new things or heading off on your own. If you need to talk to someone about a problem then it should be someone who knows you well as he or she will better understand your situation and how it is affecting you. There are many you know who would gladly help. They may be standing by waiting for you to make the first move. Perhaps, an older member of the family who you look up to and respect? They may be only too willing to share some wise experience with you.
seven vii seven vii The Four Sevens in the Tarot represent challenges and obstacles that must be overcome in order to achieve aims or goals. After the stabilising time spent in the Six the Universe has decided that more is now required of the individual Suits before they grow lazy or lack lustre about finishing their journey.

By now, the Four Suits should have a growing understanding of their personal strengths and weaknesses in relation to any apparent successes or failures experienced to date. The Universe will not tolerate them making the same mistakes over and over so the time has come for them to ‘know thyself and thy abilities’. Therefore, the Sevens also deal with introspection and the reassessment of goals and aims. Some adjustments may need to be made in the way the Suits go about achieving them. Some challenges or obstacles faced, may seem familiar at this stage and they may ask, “Hey, what am I doing here again?” but if they stop to think long and hard enough they will realise that if they are getting the same unwanted results for the same actions then change or a new strategy is needed.
the seven of wands Determination, Tenacity, Stamina, Standing Your Ground
eight viii
nine ix nine ix The Four Nines of The Minor Arcana represent the final stage of action, reflection, thoughts and deeds of the Four Suits. It heralds the end of a cycle and the natural winding down or closing stages of a period of your life, incident, situation, relationship or stage of a relationship . This does not mean that the situation is over and done with or gone forever. What is does mean is that it has run its natural course and is the total culmination of all you have done, all the effort put in and all your hopes, wishes and dreams. The Goals that each have struggled long and hard for are now in sight and ready to be claimed. Wishes are just about to come true and dreams realised.

For all the Suits involved, it is now time to review and reflect on the consequences of their actions.
the nine of cups A man sits on his own, with arms folded, and lets out a deep contented sigh. Before the doors open, he just wants to sit here and savour the moment, to wallow in his success. This is not just the success of his exhibition, his banquet or whatever else he may be doing but it is his personal triumph in finding his True Self, His Inner-Happiness, his Self-Respect, Self-Worth and Self-Love. He did it. He succeeded in his mission. He had gone on a quest for the Holy Grail and found it.
ten x wheel of fortune The Winged Angel represents Air, the Eagle represents Water, The Winged Bull represents Earth and the Winged Lion represents Fire.

at this point of the journey they would not yet be qualified or versed enough on each Element to have full understanding or appreciation their power. However, they do now understand that to be complete, to be whole and fulfilled within and without they must find the correct balance and understanding of not just their own Element but also of each others. Only then will true enlightenment come.

A Sphinx sits on top of The Wheel holding a sword which is tilted. As before in preceding cards, the tilted sword represents confusion in thought, lack of clarity and things not being straight forward or that there is a slant to what is being seen, experienced or perceived. The Sphinx is guardian to the wisdom of the Wheel and that which it stands for. On one side of the wheel a snake slithers downwards. This snake represents Set, the God of darkness, death and decay. When Set’s energies abound we feel chaos and lack of control in our lives, nothing feels right or works out for us.

On the other side a red-figure depicting Anubis, follows the upward rotation of the Wheel. Anubis is responsible for guiding the souls after death to the spirit world where they eventually will be reborn again into the physical. The lesson to be understood here is that out of decay and death life once again is reborn. Eventually too that new life will decay and die once more before the re-birthing process begins once again. The cycle is continuous. The Wheel represents not just physical life but every aspect of life. The Wheel teaches us the Lesson of impermanence – nothing lasts for ever. Life is in constant motion and what we experience at any given moment in time, is, in the grand scale of things, only fleeting. We can not stop the Wheel of Life from rotating no matter how much we want a particular situation to remain intact or to remain as it is. The Universe will not permit permanence for that only leads to stagnation and lack of spiritual growth. To truly understand the lessons of The Wheel we must experience not just the upward turn of its cycle but also its down turn too. That is after all what we incarnate for.

There is great depth to The Wheel of Fortune for it teaches us some hard lessons. As far as the Sphinx is concerned there is no fortune or ‘Lady Luck’ involved in which part of The Wheel you ride on, for be it on the downward or upward turn you are fully responsible for your position. No finger can be pointed at another in blame or that fate or the Gods are shining down on or cursing you. You got here all by yourself and the Sphinx advises that if you are clever and wise you should stop and be observant as to how you got where you are on The Wheel, for it is not by chance. Be it on the upward or downward turn it is the right place for you at this point of time. However, The Wheel is in constant motion so wherever you are on it, remember that this time too will pass, the Wheel will turn once more and what is in the now will soon become the past.
page/eleven xi page/eleven xi The Pages in the Tarot represent children, a young unmarried woman, or young people (both genders) up to the age of 22. They can also represent the Querant, or someone they know who is older, but has something happening in their life which is making them feel young again. Pages can also represent older people who are starting over in life again, re-training, or going back to college. People of any age but displaying and expressing the energies of the Pages. The Pages may also carry advice or messages that the Querant needs to take on board.

Inner child, childhood issues and problems with children are also dealt with in the Pages. Immaturity can also be suggested if the person represented by the Page is older than 22. The Pages can sometimes appear to represent feeling young at heart or going back to college or studies as a mature student.

The Pages are traditionally associated with News. The type of news these Pages deliver, depends on the Suit they belong to, and whether they are drawn Upright or Reversed. When Upright the news is welcoming, when Reversed, news can bring disappointment, delays, set-backs or distress.

The Pages being the youngest in the Court Card Family, can highlight the early stages of something; the birth of a new way of acting, thinking, feeling or doing. Remember that the Pages in their young and innocent state are only getting to grips with the potential of their Element, and so, bring the understanding that even though they are excited and enthusiastic about life, there is still a lot for them to learn.

The Four Pages of The Tarot must always be looked upon as Students who are at the early stages of learing everything there is to know about their Governing Elements. Like all students, it will take quite some time for them to study and understand every aspect of their Element. However, just like a group of students turning up for their first day at school or college, they are all full of excitement and enthusiasm for their given subject. It is all very new, novel and interesting at the moment, but all students know that the road to mastery can be long, challenging, and at times downright tedious. It is the disciplined student who will stay the course and put in the necessary work to qualify with the best results possible. Each of these Pages must do the very best they can, for they have entered the hardest and most toughest school of all, the school of life.

For the Page of Wands, he will have to learn the discipline of patience, the Page of Cups will be naïve in the ways of the heart and will certainly learn hard lessons along the way, the Page of Swords will need to learn the art of mental discipline before it destroys him and the Page of Pentacles will have to learn the lesson of tenacity. In their present state they are only embarking on this learning process, and are Apprentices or Students of their Element.

The Pages represent the Airy part of their Suit. Air governs the intellect and thinking processes. In their immature state, their minds are still forming and are easily influenced by their environment, and that which they observe. Any mistakes or bad experiences at The Page Stage of development, can result in the Page Reversing and the onset of long-term problems.
the page of wands "the Airy Part of Fire"

"Therefore in the Page of Wands we have Air influencing Fire, thoughts influencing actions.

The Page of Wands does this by thinking about, or planning (Air) his next course of action (Fire) as he stares enthusiastically at the Wand in his hand. He has been entrusted with the Gift of his Element, Fire. He is the recipient of the Wand that was presented by Spirit in the Ace. He holds his Wand with confidence and pride. He gazes admiringly at it and begins to think of all the things he might be able to do with it. The Page of Wands is full of marvelous and novel ideas. With his brand new Wand, he plans action-packed adventures, where he will travel far and wide to experience the full thrill of life, and all that it has to offer. With the strong Wand in his hand, the world is his oyster and he will make it his own."

the page of pentacles The Page of Pentacles appearing in your Reading can suggest that you are studying, or about to embark on a course of studies that will bring great financial rewards for you in the future. You may be starting college, and are looking forward to getting down to learning and study. This Page augurs well for chosen careers and shows a determination to work hard and succeed. You may even be following in the career footsteps of previous family members as you continue a family tradition. In the Upright Page of Pentacles, this is something you are very happy to do and are proud and honoured to be continuing the line. A scholarly attitude is suggested, along with excellent exam performance. You are certainly aiming at achieving the highest of qualifications.
knight/twelve xii knight/twelve xii Taking action, movement, mobility, courage, strength, vision, passion and daring risk is the realm The Four Knights dwell in. the knight of cups The Knight of Cups must work hard to find a balance between these the Elements of Fire and Water which are capable of totally destroying and obliterating each other should either get the total upper hand. Working in harmony, Water and Fire can do very well together creating a warm, loving, enthusiastic, considerate and exciting personality. A person who cares and is sensitive to the feelings of others, is passive and calm yet when necessary can be assertive, brave, daring, fearless and bold. He is a true Chivalrous and Gallant Knight. When Water and Fire are nicely balanced we find a personality who factors in the interest of others while forging ahead with their own needs, instead of the natural Fiery instinct to blaze their own trail regardless of what others think or feel. A fine balance of Water and Fire will present us with a Knight of Cups who cherishes his friends, is loyal and supporting. This Knight will lay down his life for his friends should the need arise without hesitation or promise of reward.

He may not ride out into battle with the other Three Knights, but he is the one who will make the difference when it comes to negotiating a truce between the warring parties. This makes his role every bit as equal as the combative Knights. He is the one who will singly ride out to meet with the enemy’s leader to promote the peace settlements that have been proposed by his leader. In this role he will not expect to be attacked or harmed and will be allowed to enter and leave the enemy camp in one piece for those are the rules of engagement, surrender and truce.
queen/thirteen xiii
king/fourteen xiv the king of wands "The green mantle and green shoes remind us that this King is the Earthy part of Fire."

"Over the years he has become aware of the mighty and sometimes dangerous power of his governing element."

"He realises that life in itself is boring and monotonous unless risks are taken and fears overcome. He understands life as it should be; adventurous, spontaneous and exciting."

"One very important aspect to remember about the King of Wands, and this applies to all areas of his life is the fact that he cannot stand boredom and restriction. Any job or career that requires him to turn up at the same office day in day out doing the same old duties over and over again from 9 to 5 will either drive him insane or turn him into a flat, lifeless and disinterested spirit. He needs regular changes of scenery, challenging duties and a work day that brings constant surprises and interesting people. He doesn’t mind working weekends, late nights or during the holiday time if what he does holds his attention and interests him. "

fifteen xv
sixteen xvi
seventeen xvii
eighteen xviii
nineteen xix
twenty xx
twenty one xxi

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