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Playing Cards – Diamonds 2

January 10, 2012

Seven of Diamonds. – Satire, evil speaking.
SEVEN. Somebody mocks you or says harmful things about you unjustly. Don’t gamble now. You may receive a gift you didn’t expect.
Seven: Surprise news or a gift. Problems and losses at work.
7: Bad luck in an enterprise or with an idea. A man who is unreliable, a gambler or drinker.
7 of Diamonds: An argument concerning finances, or on the job. Generally expected to be resolved happily.
7: a gift, lies, rumours, unlucky gambler, criticism.
Madeline Montalban – Seven: A present. Reversed – Quarrels and disputes involving money.
Hilda Marie – Seven: Money or something costing money.
Minor Arcana – 7: Lies, rumors, unkind criticism; an unlucky gambler.
Gypsy – 7: Annoying or unfriendly remarks, sibling, child or pet involved.
Etteilla – Seven: A little money. [Discussion, Interview, Conference. Reversed: Indecision, Hesitation, Fickleness.]

Hilda Marie’s meaning, ‘money or something costing money’, seems descended from Etteilla’s thoughts about the 7 of Diamonds. Madeline Montalban’s meaning of ‘a present’ might be so descended also though in a more distorted form. The meaning Etteilla gave to the 7 of Diamonds in his book on telling fortunes by means of a piquet deck was ‘Gossip’. This was later changed to ‘Negotiations’ and transferred to the 7 of Batons/Wands, where it was expanded into Discussion, Interview, Conference. This accent on speech seems to have percolated through to playing card meanings for the 7 of Diamonds, accounting for such entries above as ‘lies, rumors, unkind criticism’ and ‘annoying or unfriendly remarks’. That said, the ‘gift’ aspect is well in evidence, too: ‘You may receive a gift you didn’t expect’, ‘surprise news or a gift’.

Thus opinion divides into two camps. One takes the card to have the positive connotations of ‘a little money coming the inquirer’s way’ and ‘an unexpected gift’. The other has it as a card of difficulties, exemplified by the entry: ‘Bad luck in an enterprise or with an idea. A man who is unreliable, a gambler or drinker.’ At times, the edge is taken off the ill portent, as with, ‘an argument concerning finances, or at work, generally expected to be resolved happily.’ But most often it is negative forms of speech that are underlined, the ‘lies, rumors, unkind criticism’ and ‘annoying or unfriendly remarks’ mentioned above.

The cause of the divided opinion seems to lie with Etteilla, due to his allotting the meaning he had given to the 7 of Diamonds in his first book to the 7 of Batons (and not to the 7 of Pence/Pentacles) when he produced his book on Tarot divination.

Six of Diamonds. – Early marriage and widowhood.
SIX. Don’t be too materialistic. An early marriage will end unhappily in a short time.
Six: Problems in a second marriage.
6: An early marriage, but an unhappy one . . . and one not destined to last. A second marriage would also be unhappy.
6 of Diamonds: Relationship problems, arguments. Separation.
6: a reconciliation, warning against a second marriage, early marriage; early end.
Minor Arcana – 6: Early marriage – but also an early end to the marriage, and bad indications for a second.
Etteilla – Six: The present. [Domestic. Domestic Worker, Servant. R. Expectation, Hope [Desire].]

The only sign that one is dealing with a card of the Diamonds suit (whether one takes Diamonds as representing career or money) is to be found in the admonition: ‘Don’t be too materialistic’. Otherwise the accent is, curiously, on marriage or relationship problems. There is talk of arguments and separation but also of reconciliation.

By many it is considered a card predicting early marriage but sadly an early end to that marriage, most probably through the death of the spouse. A second marriage is spoken of: the inquirer is counseled not to enter into this union since it is likely to be an unhappy one. I wonder if this is not the significance of the 6 of Diamonds when functioning as a Life Card; a thought that falters because, once this meaning is removed, there’s little else left for the card to denote!

Etteilla’s contemplations on the 6 of Diamonds and the 6 of Batons/Wands from the Tarot have not touched the playing card meanings for the 6 of Diamonds at all.

Five of Diamonds. – Unexpected news.
FIVE. Good news in career matters or romance, but you may argue with a friend.
FIVE. You will be happy after you have overcome some present obstacles. Don’t be upset by what you hear now.
Five: Success in business. Happy family.
5: Prosperity, long enduring friendship. Pride in family. Success with children.
5 of Diamonds: Happiness and success. A change for the better. A birth, or good news for a child. A good time to start new projects.
5: successful meetings, especially business, unexpected news; may be business success
Minor Arcana – 5: Unexpected news; its outcome may well be business success, realization of an ambition, or a contented marriage.
Etteilla – Five: Love, Lover, Mistress. [Gold]

Unlike the 6, the 5 of Diamonds does reference career and business matters. It is said to indicate successful business meetings and unexpected news, the outcome of which might well be commercial success, and it denotes a favorable time to start new projects. Good news, or unexpected news that is more than likely also good news is a meaning that comes up fairly often in the entries above.

To a few it is a love/marriage card, for the good news may, in the eyes of some, as well be about romance as about business. It can forecast a contented marriage, pride in family life, the birth of a child, good news about a child. Here we find highlighted a nexus of ideas all too familiar to those who study the formulation of divinatory meanings: marriage, birth of child, establishing a contented family life. Trump 3 in the Tarot, The Empress, frequently has all these attributions associated with her. It is unusual to find them allocated to a Diamond or Pence card; the Heart/Cup suit is a more accepted place to encounter them. The explanation of the anomaly appears to be that Etteilla’s meaning for the 5 of Coins – Love, Lover, Mistress – has been accepted, in spite of its inappropriateness from a symbolic angle, and built on.

There are contradictory perceptions of the card when it comes to the matter of friendship. Some say the 5 of Diamonds forecasts an argument with a friend; others that it indicates a long and enduring friendship. However, friendship seems a secondary concern at best. Indeed, friendship may be a recent addition to the canon, one that is not wholly to be relied upon. On the other hand it could be an extension of the love-marriage-birth motif; for where the question is not about romance, the card, being clearly an indicator of happy relationships, must be applied at another level, where it will tend to mean ‘good friends’, ‘enduring friendships’ and such like.

The one dissenting voice is heard in this entry: ‘You will be happy after you have overcome some present obstacles. Don’t be upset by what you hear now.’ It obviously works as a meaning for some or it wouldn’t have been recorded. But it is at odds with the majority view.

Four of Diamonds. – Trouble arising from unfaithful friends; also a betrayed secret.
FOUR. Someone close to you will betray your faith in him or her but you will overcome this problem.
FOUR. A slight, annoying illness may slow you down. Check into matters thoroughly now.
Four: An inheritance. Improvements in finances.
4: Quarrels: Forgotten or neglected friends and family. Situations that have been brewing and now come to a head.
4 of Diamonds: Financial upswing; an older person may give good advice.
4: an inheritance, changes for the better, unhappiness from bad friends, betrayal
Minor Arcana – 4: Unhappiness arising from neglected or unfaithful friends; perhaps a secret betrayed.
Etteilla – Four: A gift. [Social success. Society, Assembly, Gathering. Reversed: Prosperity, Increase, Growth.]

A wide spread of meanings has been assigned to the 4 of Diamonds over the years. Among those who assign the card an unfortunate significance, some see it as presaging ‘a slight, annoying illness which may slow you down’. A sizeable majority, however, take it to indicate that situations which have been brewing for some time concerning abandoned or neglected friends or family members are about to come to a head and/or a betrayal, probably entailing the revelation of a secret.

To those for whom the 4 of Diamonds is a positive symbol, its meaning concerns financial improvements with the possibility of an inheritance of some kind. One commentator suggests that an older person can give good advice to the inquirer. Another performs a mash-up of the beneficent and ill-omened readings and so produces: ‘an inheritance, changes for the better, unhappiness from bad friends, betrayal’. I suspect this is an attempt to reconcile both divinatory strands. It is probably confusing to work with; cards that have meanings unequivocally favorable or unfavorable are easier to deal with. At the same time, symbolically it is more reasonable that a card’s meanings should lie one side of the fence or the other, operating on a kind of sliding scale. The clutch of meanings associated with The Empress, and with the 5 of Diamonds in some quarters, demonstrates what I mean. These cards, when upright, are auspicious for an interconnected group of events – love, marriage, birth and the raising of a family. What these cards portend in any given spread is dictated by the querent’s condition. Should an unattached female be the subject of the reading, a new love is suggested. For a man with a sweetheart, marriage is indicated. Those already married and eager for children are assured that a pregnancy is on the cards. The point being that the meanings are all of a piece; they don’t range between joyful love, business failure, perfect health and the death of a close relative.

The fact that Etteilla gave Prosperity, Increase, Growth as meanings for the 4 of Batons/Wands reversed may be nothing more than coincidence. The influence of Etteilla was at one time far stronger on the Tarot’s Minor Arcana than on playing card divination. Sepharial has the 4 of Pence/Pentacles indicate: –

Company, society, pleasure.

which The Complete Book of Fortune embroiders into: –

Social amusements and association with entertaining people, which, if the card is reversed, will probably involve the inquirer in excessive expendi­ture.

The source for all this, of course, is Etteilla’s meanings for the 4 of Batons/Wands.

Three of Diamonds. – Quarrels, law-suits and domestic disagreements.
THREE. Arguments with close associates or loved ones and the possible ending of an old friendship.
THREE. A very unfortunate card for love or marriage. Stop and think. Mistakes slow you down.
Three: Legal problems, domestic arguments. A legal letter.
3: A card of disputes and quarrels. Lawsuits, legal actions. A sign of separation or divorce.
3 of Diamonds: A legal letter. Be tactful with others in order to avoid disputes.
3: legal or domestic battles, quarrels, domestic disagreements.
Minor Arcana – 3: Quarrels, lawsuits and domestic disagreements.
Etteilla – Three: Noble, Nobility. [Enterprises]

Putting Etteilla to one side, universal agreement exists regarding the 3 of Diamonds. It is regarded as a mildly unfortunate card indicating quarrels, lawsuits or domestic disagreements. The few other meanings there are are variations on this theme: ‘a legal letter’, ‘legal problems’, ‘be tactful with others to avoid disputes’, ‘the end of a longstanding friendship’, all arise out of the basic premise that the card represents disagreements and disputes in some sphere of life. The same is true of the line, ‘very unfortunate for love or marriage – stop and think’, where the delineation is simply refocused on another area, that of romance, which isn’t covered by any of the other entries.

One practitioner suggests ‘mistakes slow you down’. How much validity this interpretation has, students of cartomancy must decide for themselves.

Two of Diamonds. – An engagement against the wishes of friends.
TWO. Something will separate you from your present home or from someone you love. Sadness. Watch your pocketbook.
Two: A love affair attracting disapproval from others. A business partnership.
2: A serious love affair, resulting in a marriage or interfering with one depending on surrounding cards.
2 of Diamonds: A business partnership; a change in relationship; gossip.
2: a great love affair increases in importance, opposed by friends.
Minor Arcana – 2: A passionate love affair, but opposed by friends.
Etteilla – Two: Embarrassment. [Sorrow]

Again, I begin by kicking the Etteilla meaning into touch. We are then left with three primary motifs: ‘A passionate love affair, but opposed by friends’, ‘a business partnership’ and ‘something separates you from your present home or from someone you love’. A love affair may be opposed by friends for several reasons. One is suggested by the entry: ‘a serious love affair, resulting in a marriage or interfering with one’ (my italics). Nothing written above suggests that the business partnership is to be avoided. Perhaps one needs to take note of other cards in the reading before one can decide whether the inquirer would be wise of foolish to enter into such a partnership. The card’s third meaning is explained by ‘a change in relationship’. The implication is that what was stable is about to be disrupted, resulting in the querent being separated from someone they love. This is extended to include the home, representing domesticity, domestic bliss.

The card’s minor themes are ‘gossip’ and ‘watch your pocketbook’. The latter, implying overspending, is apposite for a card of the Diamonds suit, though the correspondence between Diamonds and Pence/Pentacles has only come about relatively recently. I’m not sure where ‘gossip’ fits into the picture symbolically; it sits at a tangent to the other meanings associated with the card.

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