I. The Magician

Keywords for the Magician


It’s late afternoon, and we see an intense, mysterious looking man standing alone in a secret garden. Dressed in long, flowing robes of red and white, his ritual attire mirrors the flowers blooming here on this sacred ground. 

The red rose we see represents our heart’s desires, the power of our subconsciousness, as well as the body.  It is our primal will, our emotions, feelings, instincts and drives.

The white lily, on the other hand, symbolizes our capacity to discern the truth, the power of our consciousness, as well as our mind. Where they bloom, so do reason, logic, truth, honesty and integrity.

Turning back towards the Magician, we see that he stands before a wooden table, upon which are inscribed various symbols and astrological glyphs. Upon this altar are set the tools of his craft:

A wooden wand, for the spiritual element of fire: that which is active, inspired, fast-moving, adventurous and expansive.

A golden cup, for the emotional element of water: that which is receptive, imaginative, peaceful, gentle and quiet.

A sword of steel, for the intellectual element of air: that which is logical, rational, discerning, and concerned with truth.

A brass pentacle, for the physical element of earth: that which is mundane, grounded, patient, stable and secure.

The magician now casts his circle, calling in the powers of the four directions, asking they be here with him now. 

He thanks the elemental forces for their power and their presence. Then with deliberate intention, the Magician holds a white wand up toward the heavens in his right hand, as he points down to the ground with his left. 

Fully grounded in his power, he connects the Above with the Below. With single-pointed attention, he repeats two words alone to himself as he works his magic. 

Solve: It is the death, decay, and destruction of the current form of being. Every death, every disintegration releases a powerful surge of energy. As the old form collapses, power is made available to be used for creation of something new. 

Coagula: The energy freed in death is transformed. Freed from its imprisonment in matter, it is now available to take on a new shape, to be reborn into new ways of being. 

The task of the Magician is to channel this powerful energy into what he desires to create. In this moment, he is between worlds. He is both passive and active at once. 

He passively receives inspiration and creative power from above. He actively directs what is received through his attention into the desired object or outcome. 

Like Thoth, the God of words, language, and magic, he exists at the crossroads. Similar to Hermes, the Magician acts as a mediator and messenger, communicating the will of spirit in the world of matter. 

The Magician Interpretation

When this card comes up, it often speaks to our capacity to make decisions and manifest change in our material world. It often indicates mastery, a certain level of skill and command of both our inner and outer resources.

This card is a symbol of mastery and controlled action, utilizing the force of one’s focused intent to cause a change in conformity with will.

The Magician also means acting as a channel for divine inspiration to flow through us into material reality. 

This card asks us to turn our attention to channeling our potential (in the form of ideas and inspirations) into something tangible, concrete and manifested in the physical world. 

It is a reminder that, with proper focus and intent, we can truly create magic in the world. 

Eight of Cups

8 of Cups

Keywords for the Eight of Cups 


In the image on this card, we see a darkened sky, at the moment when the moon moves to cover up the sun in a solar eclipse.

Underneath this portentous planetary conjunction, we see a rocky coastline, where rocky green cliffs meet shallow, watery tide pools beneath.

It is the moon which pulls on these tides, stirring the waters of the earth and the blood of our bodies; sometimes, it prompts sudden changes of heart and then the inevitable movement toward newly envisioned desires that call out to us to be embodied more fully. 

Directly before us stand eight cups standing stacked neatly in two rows. In the space left by a gap in the top row we catch sight of a figure wearing a striking crimson cloak and boots. In tarot, the color red typically stands for the power of our desires, feelings and emotions. 

We see that this person has turned away from us, setting out with the intention to find a more satisfying life for herself. It is likely due less to any logical reasoning than a deep seated desire which spurs her to action.

8 of Cups Interpretation

When the 8 of Cups shows up in a tarot reading, it often refers to a situation where we have chosen to leave behind something which still gives us some measure of satisfaction and joy, in order to seek out something better or more fulfilling. 

It is interesting to note that, in contrast to the 5 of Cups we saw earlier, all of the cups in this card still remain standing. Nothing here has been lost, and on some level, there still remains a considerable amount of potential for happiness here.

As a result, the 8 of Cups can often mean leaving behind the known, and embarking on a journey of self-discovery to find what is more fully aligned with the true desires of your heart. 

In addition, the eclipse of the sun we see in this card can guide us to seeing some of the deeper meanings at play. The Sun represents the solar mode of conscious, rational awareness. In turn, it is being covered by the Moon, which represents the lunar mode of subconscious, emotional awareness. 

This indicates that we are being prompted to trust our “gut feelings,” and allow our intuition to be our guide into what could be a more promising future for ourselves. 

As a result, the Eight of Cups in a reading can mean disregarding our typical left-brained rationalizations which tend to encourage us to follow the more conventional path, the part which expects us to fall in line with what society expects of us as the only “reasonable” choice.

 Instead, this card asks us to take a chance and follow the promptings of our hearts instead.

Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you truly love. It will not lead you astray.”


Queen of Cups

Queen of Cups

Keywords for the Queen of Cups


In the image on this card, we find ourselves down by the water’s edge early on a bright spring day.

To our right, we see yellow cliffs rise up in the background. On our left, we see water flowing gently up against the sand of the seashore.

Directly before us, we see a beautiful woman dress all in shades of blue. Her dress gently flows down to blend into the water at her feet, becoming at one point nearly impossible to determine the sea begins and she ends.

This speaks to how integrated this Queen is with the waters of the unconscious represented by the ocean.

This is the source of her vast creative powers. She draws easily upon the divine source for all of her inspiration and creativity. She easily receives guidance from the deeper waters of the greater unconscious depths.

Queen of Cups Interpretation

The Queen of Cups in a reading can refer either to someone we know in our external world, or alternatively to ourselves and how we have been showing up in a particular situation. 

Either way, it indicates a woman who possesses a certain sweetness and sensitivity to her nature. 

She is caring and nurturing to those around her with an almost motherly quality that carries all the connotations of generosity and concern for those she loves, while retaining a certain youthful and spontaneous attitude. 

This is a woman who is very creative. She uses her visionary imagination to manifest art, relationships, and much more from the heart.

The Queen of Cups is also the most intuitive and even psychic of all the court cards. Her inner visions are not merely flights of fancy, but rather often intimations of a deeper truth. This is a queen who is grounded in reality, who has the capacity to utilize her inspired visions to make her dreams a reality. 

Nine of Swords

9 of Swords

Keywords for the Nine of Swords


In the image on this card, we see someone sitting up in bed, holding their head in their hands. They appear as if they had just woken up from a nightmare, or recalled some horrible, traumatic memory.

Now, they cry bitterly, sad tears of despair in the middle of this long, dark night.

The pain and suffering evident in this card is palpable.However, it is an experience of inner suffering, of a mental or emotional pain which may sometimes come upon us unbidden in the darkness of the night.

The nine swords we see here make reference to the mental nature of this kind of pain, and their position fastened up high on the wall indicates that they are not something which can be of active use to us. 

Instead, they are heavy reminders of past limitations that only serve to keep us trapped in difficult conditions.

Also of importance here are the figures we see depicted on the bed and blanket which belong to this unfortunate soul. 

The blanket is covered in an alternating pattern of red roses and astrological symbols. The red roses symbolize, once again, the power of our emotions and our desires to create the reality of our lived experience. 

The astrological glyphs, on the other hand, are a reference to a more large-scale view of causality and creation, one which is deeply related to the concepts of karma and reincarnation. It demonstrates the idea that we are born into life conditions which are a direct result of our previous actions and behaviors.

It is this combination of personal desire and impersonal karmic forces that creates our destiny. Together, these cover the person in bed, keeping him contained within his own personal sphere of “fated” experience.

Carved into the wooden bed is a scene of a man whipping or beating another. This person lies defenseless on the ground, unable to resist or protect himself. 

This speaks of the fact that the suffering shown here is rooted in a serious issue. It is not a matter of a simple misunderstanding or having had a hard day. The shame and regret and loss re-experienced here is instead rooted in deep injustice, in true oppression and subjugation of others.

9 of Swords Interpretation

When the 9 of Swords comes up in a tarot reading, it typically speaks to an experience of great suffering and loss that has occured in our past. 

It can indicate a longer, more enduring experience of suffering and shame over a longer period of time. It tells of the things which have left their marks on our souls, which linger within us as fears and anxieties, and in some cases can even manifest as consuming pangs of guilt or  soul-crushing shame.

The 9 of Swords can at times refer to events so painful, they are not always even fully available to us in conscious awareness. These are the feelings and experiences we may have been forced to repress and deny in service of our own self-protection and well-being.

For example, we may bury our rage at an abusive parent who significantly harmed us during our childhood, and now have difficulty acknowledging or expressing our own anger in the present. 

This pattern rooted in unconscious defense mechanisms often leads to further situations where we are put in a position of powerlessness. There we may re-experience the original rage of our youth, and in so doing perpetuate the cycle of oppression and suffering.

This is a card which at times may even represent the deepest inner turmoil known to us as human beings. It shows the powerfully debilitating sense of shame known by survivors of trauma and abuse.

As a result, this card can represent the pain and rage which, when not allowed expression in the outer world, is often turned inward against oneself. 

XV. The Devil

Keywords for The Devil 


In the image on this card, we see the Devil represented not as Lucifer, bringer of light, but instead as Baphomet, part man, part goat, with the wings of a bat and feet of a bird. In this form, he is representative of the forces of darkness. 

This is further reinforced by the dark mark, perhaps a stigmata, we see etched into the palm of his right hand. It is the glyph for Saturn, planet of limitation, restriction, and boundaries. Saturn also represents incorporation into physical form, along with all the physical limitations inherent in materiality. 

This symbol, like many other elements here, is as if to say, “This is it—the physical, material world you see before your eyes is all there is—nothing more is possible.” It asks us to forget the spiritual, to tie our hopes and desires to the physical only. It encourages blind consumption, sex without soul, obsession with form and ignorance of spirit.

This is further echoed by the appearance of the man and woman standing with chains around their necks by the feet of the Devil. They are parallel figures to the pair we saw earlier, blessed by Archangel Raphael, in the Lovers card. 

Here, they appear with a set of horns on their heads, indicating their animal-like nature. There are no trees as we saw earlier in the Garden of Eden. Instead, the woman herself bears the fruit, her tail extending behind her as a ripe bunch of grapes. 

The man’s tail is made entirely of fire, likely an allusion to the libido, or sexual life force energy. He holds his right hand with palm facing up, touching the clawed feet of the Devil. 

It is interesting to note that the Devil himself lights his torch from the flames produced by the fiery energy of the man in this image. It is as if to say that the ideas represented by the Devil (bondage, ignorance, focus on the physical instead of the spiritual) springs from the sexual impulses of man when uncontrolled or unskillfully expressed.

The Devil Interpretation

When the Devil comes up in a tarot reading, it can refer to the feeling of being trapped, despondent, or hopeless. We may despair of ever finding a way out of our difficult and limiting circumstances. 

This card can also speak to themes around captivity, bondage or enslavement. We may feel like we are in chains, bound to a destructive force that is much greater than ourselves. This often takes the form of overindulgence in or addiction to various substances such as drugs and alcohol, as well as process addictions like shopping or gambling.

It also speaks to obsessions, especially those of a romantic or sexual nature, where we may feel compelled by physical drives to engage in relationships or other forms of social interaction which we know on some level are ultimately unhealthy for us.

A central theme of this card revolves around what value we attribute to the physical & material elements of our world. The upside down pentagram which we see suspended at the crown of the Devil’s head provides a key to understanding these themes more deeply. 

The pentagram, right side up, is a five pointed star meant to represent the human body and our relationship to the five elements. The top point of the star represents the head, the two sides the arms, and the lower points the legs and feet. 

Right side up, the pentagram has the head over the heart and body, in a relationship of “mind over matter,” where our desires are informed and directed by our reason and higher mind.

Inverted, the Devil’s pentagram signifies desire over reason, and matter over spirit. In this case, we let our lower animal passions drive our conscious mind. Instead of utilizing our consciousness constructively, reason is instead used solely for the purpose of rationalization, to justify wrongs done in the name of passion. 

When we allow our “lower” (or our unexamined or unmediated) desires to rule our lives, we find that our entire system can be thrown off balance. 

It often expresses itself in what we might call the “sins” of materialism. Materialism is not simply an obsession with money and the physical objects it can buy, but also a more philosophical orientation towards the world that holds that nothing exists beyond the world of the senses. This is especially common in the modern scientific outlook which holds that if it cannot be measured, then it must not exist.

Remember that the word “sin” originated as a latin term from archery meaning “to miss the mark.” With this in mind, we see how this obsession with form is not necessarily “evil” per se, but simply misses the mark. It is incomplete, and as such, fails to draw a complete picture of our reality. 

Unfortunately, this failure of perception results in grave errors that undermine our experience and even our capacity for continued existence on this living planet Earth. We can see this today, for example, in overconsumption, the drive for endless economic growth, and its relationship to climate change and environmental destruction.

This is the bad news. The good news is that we are not condemned to continue the errors of the past. Look at the chains which hold the woman and man on this card. They hang loose around their necks. It would be so easy to remove them and become free. 

First, they would need to become aware of their bondage, and recognize the falsehood of the lies which have held them chained. Liberation would then become inevitable. For those who have developed the eyes to see, it would then be a simple task to lift the chains from off one’s neck, drop the lies, and step into the future free from the limitations of ignorance.

King of Pentacles

King of Pentacles

Keywords for the King of Pentacles


In the image on the card, we see the King of Pentacles seated out in his garden, with his castle rising visible to his right in the background. He is dressed in rich, sumptuous robes made of a dark velvet embroidered with ripe purple grapes.

We also see the King’s left foot emerging from the folds of this cloth, and are able to see that he wears a suit of armor underneath the fine fabric. 

This foot rests firmly upon an anvil, representing how he is grounded in the physical, as well as the [gravitas] and weight of his personality, displaying the role that his own hard work has had in tempering his character and creating his world.

The images of oxen which cover his throne reinforce this connection to the cultivation of self and world through strenuous labor carried out with intention. 

Although he is now free to enjoy his extensive wealth and abundance, he will never lose sight of what has made all of this possible. 

King of Pentacles Interpretation

Like all of the court cards, this can represent someone in our outer environment that shows the same qualities and characteristics of the King of Pentacles. Alternatively, in some instances it can also refer to how we ourselves are showing up in a given situation.

Either way, the King of Pentacles represents someone who is grounded and secure both in himself and his achievements. He is a practical man possessing common sense, who is competent and capable in all that he does.

He can often be seen in the image of the successful businessman or entrepreneur as someone who has the capacity to take his ideas and turn them into practical results in the material world. 

However, he is not limited to the fields of money and business, but can also be an artist, an architect, or an engineer, as long as he is able to translate his vision into value expressed in the realities of the physical world. 

Unlike the Knight of Pentacles, however, he does not glorify work for the sake of work. Unlike the Knight, who lives to work, the King of Pentacles works to live. He sees his practical action in the world as necessary to create an abundance which is meant to be enjoyed.

This King is one who enjoys both the simple pleasures of nature as well as the finer things in life. He is not afraid to indulge in luxuries such as fine wine, a gourmet meal at his favorite restaurant, and expensive, well-made clothing and attire.

He has the ability to appreciate not only the physical but also the spiritual value in the material objects which surround him, engaging with them to create a sense of deep-rooted fulfillment and a peaceful satisfaction with life.

Queen of Pentacles

Queen of Pentacles

Keywords for the Queen of Pentacles


It is a sunny and warm late afternoon in the countryside. We see a land filled with verdant fields, flowering trees and abundant wildlife all around. 

Amidst this vibrant and lush natural landscape, we see an attractive Queen seated on her throne, holding a golden pentacle in her lap, as gently as if it were her child. 

Her nurturing and maternal nature extend not only to her offspring, but to the cultivation and care for all life around her.

Queen of Pentacles Interpretation

Like all of the court cards, this can represent someone in our outer environment that shows the same qualities and characteristics of the Queen of Pentacles. Alternatively, in some instances it can also refer to how we ourselves are showing up in a given situation.

When the Queen of Pentacles comes up in a tarot reading, it often refers to a person who embodies this queen’s nurturing and down-to-earth personality.

This Queen is known for being grounded and calm, likely due to her confidence and trust in her own ingenuity, resolve, and capacity for resourcefulness. She is practical and wise in the ways of the world, possessing a resilient spirit that will find a way to make do no matter what circumstances or challenges she faces in front of her.

Furthermore, this card refers to a person who is consummately caring and compassionate. She is generous with her love, affection and attention, making sure that the people she loves are taken care of.

This card is related to the archetype of Mother Earth, Gaia, the Divine Mother–figures which are the all-loving, all-nurturing, all-giving source of life and sustenance for what is born from the body and the earth.

As the Queen representing the element of Earth, she is most concerned with the practical matters of life. She possesses a very matter-of-fact way of being in the world and relating to others. She is simple, sensible and realistic.

This Queen is also able to appreciate the beauty and magic which the natural world contains with a sense of wonder and appreciation. She sees and nurtures the living spirit which shines through and animates all matter. 

Above all, she is known for her ability to lovingly create comfort, provide sustenance, and nurture those around her. This is made possible by her deep connection to and reverence for the earth and the many creatures it gives life to. 

Knight of Pentacles

Knight of Pentacles

Keywords for the Knight of Pentacles 


In the image on this card, we see the Knight of Pentacle seated astride his black horse, wearing a dark tunic and heavy suit of armor. Both the Knight and his horse appear to be utterly immobile.

The Knight holds his pentacle outstretched in front of him. And yet, he does so with a certain absent mindedness almost seeming to look past this symbol of magic, hardly even registering the meaning or value that is there before him.

This represents the fact that this Knight is the most practical and materialistic of all the court cards. He places an extraordinary amount of emphasis on the concerns of the physical world. While this Knight is very rooted in the material world, he seems to somehow always miss the magic in it.

Knight of Pentacles Interpretation

Like all of the court cards, this can represent someone in our outer environment that shows the same qualities and characteristics of the Knight of Pentacles. Alternatively, in some instances it can also refer to how we ourselves are showing up in a given situation.

This Knight is cautious, conservative and concerned more with safety and diligence than with speed. He is known to be quite stubborn and often resistant to changes in his life and environment.

However, the Knight of Pentacles does possess many admirable qualities. He is known for being dependable, responsible and reliable to those around him. 

While he is admittedly less dramatic, exciting and spontaneous than the other Knights of the court cards, he is nonetheless someone who is eminently trustworthy and can be counted on to follow through on his word. 

While some might accuse this Knight of being a bit boring and conservative, his unparalleled commitment and dedication to his work and his values have the capacity to make him a reliable friend and trusted associate.

Page of Pentacles

Page of Pentacles

Keywords for the Page of Pentacles


In the image on the card, we see a lush and verdant countryside before us. To our right, we can see soft purple mountains off in the distance. Closer, we are able to discern a furrowed field, quite recently plowed and planted with seeds which will one day bear fruit. 

On our left, we can almost hear a soft breeze rustling through a tall grove of cypress trees. We can easily imagine how enjoyable it might be to take a break from the many demands of the day, pausing to take a break from the late afternoon sun and rest under their shade.

We pull our attention closer, and see that in front of us stands a young man, dressed in what appears to be the simple yet attractive attire of a farmer or peasant. He stands on a soft bed of grass, dotted with small, colorful wildflowers all around. 

This Page holds a brass pentacle aloft in front of him, held gently, almost even adoringly in both of his hands. He gazes up in rapt attention at the object in front of him. 

Like all Pages, he is a student; representing the suit of Pentacles, he is concerned with the element of Earth, representing the physical, mundane, practical and material aspects of life. 

Page of Pentacles Interpretation

Like all of the court cards, this can represent someone in our outer environment that shows the same qualities and characteristics of the Page of Pentacles. Alternatively, in some instances it can also refer to how we ourselves are showing up in a given situation.

Physically, the Pages tend to represent children in our lives, however, these cards can also refer to any person who has a very youthful energy and lighthearted, innocent and carefree way of being in the world. 

As a Page, this card is associated with students, or those who are new to their path in general. They tend to possess a certain pure, uncomplicated passion for life and for the way they express the energy of their suit.

The Page of Pentacles can indicate someone who is very grounded in the material world, and who feels very comfortable and at home in their physical body. 

This card can also refer to a person who appreciates the natural world. He may be a nature lover, someone who enjoys spending time outside, going for hikes out in nature, and likes to observe the wild flora and fauna as he travels through the landscape.

When this card comes up, it can also indicate an opportunity for us to focus on the natural world as the object of our study.

By extension, this Page of Pentacles can refer to sensual enjoyment. Although some would interpret this as sexual in nature, this is not necessarily the case. Rather, in this case it refers more to enjoying our experience of the world through the five senses: smell, taste, touch, sight and sound. 

The Page of Pentacles asks us how we might start to embody his attitude of wonder, awe and joy ourselves. He encourages us to get curious about the world around us. 

This page reminds us of the beauty and magic which permeate the natural world, one which we can have access to any time we are willing to slow down, and shift the focus of our vision to perceive the divinity which surrounds us. 

By channeling the energy of the Page of Pentacles, we can begin to catch glimmers of the magic in the mundane. He knows that the sacred is everywhere, if only we are willing to look.

Ten of Pentacles

10 of Pentacles

Keywords for the Ten of Pentacles


In the image on this card, we come upon a scene in the life of an obviously wealthy family. Inside of a richly decorated interior, we see seated to our left an older man, the patriarch or head of the household. He is dressed in intricately embroidered robes covered in images of ripe purple grapes on the vine, a detail reminiscent of the King of this same suit of Pentacles.

This man looks out toward the scene outside the arch. We can see various tall buildings located within the walls of the family property. We also see the other members of the family: the son stands with his back toward us, facing his wife who looks beyond him, seeming to ignore their child who is anxiously clinging to her dress with one hand while the other pets one of the family dogs.

In fact, the two dogs here are the only ones who pay any attention to the old man within. Although in theory it is he who commands authority as head of household, in practice it seems almost as if he has been forgotten and ignored by those who depend on him. Each is distracted, caught up in their own individual worries and concerns.

Ten of Pentacles Interpretation

When this card comes up in a reading, it often indicates the opportunity for achieving material success, wealth and abundance. It can refer to financial prosperity and good fortune in one’s work, business or career. It can indicate the coming to fruition of our plans and goals, where we finally receive the rewards of our previous efforts and hard work.

The 10 of Pentacles can also indicate stability and security, of having a solid foundation upon which to stand. It can refer to a stable and ordered family life, where each individual has a unique role to play which contributes to the greater overall cohesiveness and functioning of the family unit.

However, unlike the joyful, loving family seen in the 10 of Cups card, the one portrayed here seems to be less emotionally engaged and fulfilled. Although perhaps cohesive as a social unit and capable of meeting the material needs of all members, they seem to lack the emotional intimacy and mutual appreciation that is so clearly evident in the 10 of Cups. 

While the potential exists here, no one seems to pause long enough from their concern on mundane matters to recognize it.

Indeed, this reveals another meaning this card can convey in a reading, that of an excessive focus on the material world, where financial matters and physical possessions are prioritized over connections with other people.

Even though these are people who seem to “have it all,” it appears they have lost their ability to appreciate the magic inherent in the natural world around them. While their blessings are many, they seem to have fallen into the trap of allowing stability to become boredom with what one has.