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Predicting With the Tarot, 16

June 15, 2014

A follower of this blog, Barbara, has e-mailed me with a problem. She has laid out a horoscope spread for herself and has been unable to interpret the 5 of Cups in the second house. I haven’t dealt with the minor arcana yet, but as Barbara’s problem is a common one, I’ll give my thoughts on it here on the blog as I think many of my readers will benefit from seeing the explanation.

Barbara, it is apparent from her e-mail, has learnt the meanings for the minor arcana advocated by the Golden Dawn. For anyone who doesn’t know, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (G.D. for short) was an occult society founded in Victorian times. Its teachings have influenced western esotericism greatly, partly though the work of a handful of its initiates – A.E. Waite, Paul Foster Case and Dion Fortune, to name only three. As the significances the Golden Dawn gives to the spot cards align fairly well with the illustrations on the Waite-Smith tarot cards, some 95 per cent of the divinatory meanings in use to day are synonymous with those taught by the G.D.

And it is here that Barbara’s difficulty with the 5 of Cups lies. According to the Golden Dawn knowledge papers, the 5 of Cups relates to love and/or friendship. But in Barbara’s reading it occupies the second house of Money. How is the diviner to interpret a Love card in the house of Finances?

Here is what the G.D. knowledge papers say about the 5 of Cups.

Disappointment in love. Marriage broken off, etc. Unkindness from a friend. Loss of friendship.

Later, however, a delineation written from a slightly altered perspective is to be found:

Death or end of pleasures. Disappointment. Sorrow and loss in those things from which pleasure is expected.

It is to the latter group of significances that we must turn if we are to get to the bottom of the implications the 5 or Cups has when it occupies the second house of a horoscope spread. Our starting point must be that the second house relates to money and that any card falling in the second house requires to be interpreted from that angle and no other. That is to say, it is the card meaning that must adapt to circumstances, not the house meaning.

Taking this edict as our cue, it becomes clear that Barbara is due some disappointment in the area of money. Perhaps a loan she made to a friend will not be repaid, or a bonus she was hoping to receive will not materialize. This last, or something very like it, is a distinct possibility because as we have seen the 5 of Cups denotes “sorrow and loss concerning those thing from which happiness was expected.” Being short of ready money will curtail some of Barbara’s leisure activities such as trips to the movies or eating out, for the card marks the end of a time when she could indulge herself now and then with treats of this kind.

mmTarot 46  pentacles 7   r-w-lovers

Barbara also has the 7 of Pentacles, a card associated with hard work that brings in only a paltry reward, in her ninth house. She is keen to know whether she will be able to fly to Europe in October. She looks, therefore, to the ninth house because that is the house denoting foreign travel. But again the card’s meaning doesn’t readily fit the significance of the house. The G.D.’s notes say of the 7 of Pentacles:

Unprofitable speculations or employments.Little gain for much labor.

And later:

Promises of success unfulfilled. Loss of apparently promis­ing fortune.

Sadly, Barbara’s dream of coming to Europe will not be fulfilled in the near future, no matter how likely it’s manifestation seems to her at this moment. But the 7 of Pentacles is a card of delay or deferred pleasure (as Paul Foster Case remarks), and so it is possible that Barbara will travel to the UK and France, her preferred destinations, in 2015, especially if she can get her financial affairs back in order in the meantime.

In her e-mail, Barbara also expresses the worry that she might be in the wrong job. She works in a bridal boutique and though she enjoys what she does, she has a hankering for office work and wonders whether to take a secretarial course. To her frustration, she found Trump 6, the Lovers, in the tenth house of her horoscope spread, a card, she says “which has nothing to do with career, just love and emotions.” She has failed to notice that the Lovers is the perfect card to describe someone who works in the bridal industry. Love, preparation for marriage and the fun of choosing exactly the right dress for a girl’s big day – all these things are covered by the predictive meaning of Trump 6.

Reading between the lines, I guessed that Barbara is worried that in her present employment she doesn’t get to meet many men. By working in an office, she imagines she’d have more opportunities for meeting males, every one a prospective Mr. Right. Looking to the seventh house, I saw the Knight of Wands laying there. So my advice to Barbara was that she had no need to change her line of work in order to meet Mr. Right; Dame Fate has already set him on a trajectory that will cause him to enter Barbara’s life in the very near future. As he will materialize whether Barbara is working at the bridal boutique or in an office, she might as well continue to do the work she enjoys.

Pages, coming after the 10s, are assigned the number 11, Knights are assigned the number 12, Queens 13 and Kings 14. I’ve suggested to Barbara that round about 11 weeks after the date on which the spread was laid out an eligible male will be making his presence felt. She’s promised to keep us informed.

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One Comment
  1. Thank you so much for this wonderful series. I have seen many blogs about tarot, but your blog is among the very best!

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