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Playing Cards, Clubs 2

January 1, 2012

Seven of Clubs – Promises good fortune and happiness, but bids a person beware of the opposite sex.
SEVEN. You will receive a small amount of money. You must finish what you start if you seek success.
Seven: Prosperity and success. Be careful of trouble coming from a person of the opposite sex.
7: A card of good luck, if other favorable cards are around. Success if there is not interference from the opposite sex.
7 of Clubs: Business success, although there may be problems with the opposite sex. A change in business that may have been expected or earned, such as a promotion.
7: prosperity, chance of romantic interference, good fortune, beware of opposite sex.
Madeline Montalban – Seven: A child. Reversed – Money worries.
Hilda Marie – Seven: Money or its equivalent.
Gypsy – 7: Success, recognition of good deed, small investment gives good return.
Minor Arcana – 7: Good fortune and happiness, but beware someone of the opposite sex.
Etteilla – Seven: Negotiations. [A little money, though the main source has: Money, Wealth. Reversed: Anxiety, Mental Torment.]

For many authorities, the 7 of Clubs is a money card, fortunate when upright, its benefits reduced in varying degrees when the card is debilitated. This possibly arises from Etteilla’s ‘Money, Wealth’, ‘a little money’ attributed by him to the 7 of Coins/Diamonds. Certainly his ‘Negotiations’, assigned to the 7 of Rods/Clubs , is nowhere reflected in meanings given to the 7 of Clubs in the English-speaking world.

Where money or wealth are not specifically mentioned their corollary, Prosperity, is. Where none of these terms appear, business success, which naturally implies financial gain, is spoken of. Then there is the Gypsy meaning of ‘small investment yields a good return’.

The card is taken to indicate ‘trouble coming from a person of the opposite sex’, someone who may interfere in the inquirer’s plans. One entry suggests that the interference will occur in the area of romance. However, I suspect that, for those who approve the meaning ‘interference’, it can take place in any department of life depending upon the question asked or the message contained in the other cards that make up the spread.

Two meanings that stand slightly to one side of the others are ‘you must finish what you start if you seek success’ and ‘recognition of a good deed’. These may be later accretions of doubtful significance. Of the two, I would be inclined to give great weight to the latter, a Gypsy meaning, because I have much respect for gypsy methods, as they are often rooted in sound psychology or equally sound esoteric lore.

Madeline Montalban’s suggested meaning (‘a child’) is at odds with all others. That said, the reversed meaning she gives may throw light on other interpretations. She says the 7 of Clubs reversed represents money worries. Might this indicate that the upright significance of the card should actually be, not ‘a child’, but financial good fortune? Possibly the list of meanings Miss M. was using had become garbled over the years. The more I study different sets of divinatory meanings the more aware I become of a kind of Chinese Whispers effect altering or diluting delineations a little at a time, from generation to generation. I once saw a meaning for a card written as ‘arrival or an enemy’. The two concepts have absolutely no connection, so why should one card be charged with denoting both on an either/or basis? It wasn’t, of course. The meaning of the card in books dated twenty years earlier was ‘a rival or an enemy’. In this case the concepts are related and the interpretation makes better symbolic sense. A mishearing or a typographical error was in the process of enervating the original meaning of the card. It is possible to trace such errors of transmission back quite a long way, should one have the time and inclination to follow Ariadne’s thread through that extensive labyrinth that is the world of tarot and playing card meanings.

Six of Clubs – Predicts a lucrative business.
SIX. Working with other people pays off for you now. Also, many invitations heading your way.
Six: Business success. Getting financial help.
6: A partnership card. Success based on mutual goals and friendship.
6 of Clubs: Financial aid or success.
6: business success, profitable business in partnership.
Minor Arcana – 6: Profitable business in partnership.
Etteilla – Six: Domestic. [The present. Reversed: Desire, Wish, Ardor.]

Etteilla’s interpretation of neither the 6 of Clubs nor the 6 of Diamonds connect with the other meanings given for the 6 of Clubs. These exhibit some differences but it looks probable that, if traced back, they would lead to the same source. They mainly concern business success, on one occasion framed as ‘financial aid or success’. Four commentators stress ‘profitable business in partnership’, one even dubbing it ‘a partnership card’. Summing up, we can say that, setting Etteilla aside, there is a pleasing level of agreement between the remaining six playing card authorities that also encompasses a one-time meaning for the Tarot’s 6 of Wands.

Five of Clubs – A prudent marriage.
FIVE. A good marriage with financial advantages. You may have a fight with a close friend.
Five: New friends and a successful marriage. Help from friends.
5: A marriage card, or the beginning of a long standing alliance.
5 of Clubs: New friendships, alliances are made.
5: help from a friend or spouse, marriage with a wealthy woman.
Minor Arcana – 5: Marriage with a wealthy woman.
Etteilla – Five: Gold. [Lovers]

Apart from Etteilla, all authorities consulted concur that the 5 of Clubs forecasts a marriage, most often a financially advantageous one. Otherwise it is a card of friendship, denoting either help from friends or the forging of alliances. There is one voice of dissent: ‘you may have a fight with a close friend’. As it runs counter to the general flow, it is possible that this meaning can be discounted.

Etteilla has the 5 of Coins/Diamonds representing ‘Love. Lover or Mistress, Spouse (Husband or Wife). Reversed: Muddled, Disorganization, Debauchery.’ This meaning is reflected in delineations given to the Tarot’s 5 of Wands. Note yet again a crossing over from the suit of Diamonds/Pence to that of Clubs/Wands. Here is what Sepharial has to say in The Art of Card Fortune-Telling of the 5 of Wands: –

‘Love or affection. Reversed, the card calls for great discretion on the part of the diviner, as it may mean unfortunate but honest love, though it often means illicit or immoral passion, as in the case of a married woman.’

While The Complete Book of Fortune (1930s) gives this meaning to the 5 of Wands: –

‘A love affair; also, a triumph over impediments that threaten the success of an undertaking. Reversed, unreciprocated or even tragic love; badly aspected as well as reversed, illicit love.’

Both delineations, apparently, derive from Etteilla’s meaning for the 5 of Coins; likewise the meanings awarded to the 5 of Clubs in playing card divination, I would hazard.

Four of Clubs – Cautiousness against inconstancy or change of object for the sake of money.
FOUR. Someone is lying about you behind your back, but it won’t hurt you. You have more friends than you realize.
Four: Changes for the worse. Lies and betrayal.
4: A danger card, showing misfortune or failure. Supposed friends getting in the way, or turning against the querent.
4 of Clubs: Beware of dishonesty or deceit; avoid blind acceptance of others at this time.
4: bad change of fortune, failure of project due to friends.
Minor Arcana – 4: Beware the failure of a project, which may result in financial loss, or itself be due to lack of money. False or unreliable friends play a part.
Etteilla – Four: Social success. [A gift]

The number four is regularly associated with obstacles and tribulations, Etteilla’s ‘social success’ (4 of Clubs) and ‘a gift’ (4 of Diamonds) notwithstanding. Four suggests the sides of a square, and a square aspect in astrology denotes hindrances and delays, while symbolically a square represents a person being ‘boxed in’. This line of thought, rather than the suggestions put forward by Etteilla, most probably account for the meanings given to the 4 of Clubs above. These range from ‘dishonesty or deceit’ to ‘misfortune or failure’, taking in ‘changes for the worse’ and ‘false or unreliable friends’ along the way. As one entry has it: ‘a danger card’. However it has come about, at the time of writing, the 4 of Clubs is widely considered a card of ill-omen by those who divine by playing cards.

Three of Clubs – Shows that a person will be more than once married.
THREE. You may be married two or more times or be engaged to one person for a long time and end up marrying someone else. Someone misbehaves in public.
Three: Marriage to a wealthy partner. Money coming from the partner.
3: A sign of a second marriage or even a third. Or an engagement with someone, then a marriage with another, after a friendly separation.
3 of Clubs: Love and happiness; successful marriage; a favorable long-term proposition. A second chance, particularly in an economic sense.
3: good marriage or partnership, long engagement, and then a fast wedding
Minor Arcana – 3: A sign of more than one marriage; it may also be interpreted as a long engagement to one person, followed by a sudden marriage to someone else.
Etteilla – Three: Enterprise, Undertaking, Start. [Important, Noble]

So far as the English-speaking world is concerned, Etteilla’s meanings for the 3 of Clubs seem not to have impacted upon the sphere of playing card divination. There would appear to be a common source for the remaining meanings listed, including the one applying to the 3 of Wands, but what that common source was I cannot say. Whatever their point of origin, the meanings above (minus Etteilla’s) all relate exclusively to the field of love and marriage. This seems strange as we’re dealing with a suit generally taken to represent friendship or finance. Possibly it developed in a time when the majority of readings were made for women interested in learning their marriage prospects, though this is only a guess. Another probable alternative is that the meaning at one stage related exclusively to a person’s life path, so that whoever drew it as ‘their card’ would be told that they would either marry more than once or have a long engagement to one suitor but end up marrying someone else entirely. This is the kind of reading that cartomancers such as Mlle le Normand specialized in. Usually the deck was cut once and the top card turned over and read as the inquirer’s ‘fate’. Several modern day divinatory meanings for playing cards can be used in the same way – but I have uncovered no proof that they ever actually operated at this level.

Two of Clubs – A disappointment.
TWO. If you are careful you can avoid misfortune. Take nothing for granted.
Two: Gossip. Disappointments and opposition.
2: Bad luck. Being let down by those around. Opposition from friends and family. Do not count on others.
2 of Clubs: Obstacles to success; malicious gossip.
2: disappointment and opposition from friends or associates.
Minor Arcana – 2: Disappointment and opposition from friends or business partners.
Etteilla – Two: Sorrow, Chagrin, Melancholy, Affliction. [Embarrassment, Obstacle, Trouble. Reversed: Note, Written Document.]

All other meanings given above might derive either from Etteilla’s ‘Sorrow, Chagrin, Melancholy, Affliction’ (2 of Clubs) or his ‘Embarrassment, Obstacle, Trouble’ (2 of Diamonds). Of the two, the latter seems the more likely. His ideas about the 2 of Diamonds obviously inform the Victorian/Edwardian and the 1930s significances given to the 2 of Wands/Rods in the Tarot. Of that card, Sepharial says it represents: –

‘Worry or difficulties. Reversed, it signifies a letter or message; good, bad or indifferent.’

while The Complete Book of Fortune has: –

‘Trouble, crossings in love, unforeseen obstacles in a business enterprise. Reversed, the receipt of a message, probably taking the form of a love-letter.’

The parallels are crystal clear. Just as evident are the links between these meanings and those assigned to the 2 of Clubs above: ‘disappointment’, ‘obstacles to success’, ‘opposition for friends or associates’. One source tells us, meaning to be helpful, that ‘if you are careful you can avoid misfortune’, but by and large the 2 of Clubs is an ill-omened card. The number two is frequently seen in negative terms. Where One represents Unity, Two indicates Opposition to Unity. By extension, if One denotes God (‘One is One and all alone and evermore shall be so’), then Two is associated with His opponent – Satan or the Devil.

As a card of ill-fortune, the 2 of Clubs is assigned meanings such as ‘malicious gossip’ and ‘bad luck’, and the inquirer is counseled ‘take nothing for granted’ when it holds a significant place in a spread. The consensus is that it is a mildly malefic card.

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