Seven of Cups — Victorian Trade Card Tarot

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Marcia McCordDeck by Marcia McCord


This Seven of Cups depicts an apothecary mixing medicines with his gigantic mortar and pestle. His own chosen potion peeps from the back pocket of his pants.


The occupation of apothecary dates from some of the earliest written records— at least 2000BC in Egypt— through the 19th century. In addition to selling medicinal compounds, he offered medical advice and services now performed solely by medical specialists. The apothecary is mentioned in the King James Version of Exodus Chapter 30 verse 25: “and thou shalt make it an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compound after the art of the apothecary: it shall be an holy anointing oil.”


The Oxford translates this same chapter: “and you shall make of these a sacred anointing oil blended as by the perfumer; a holy anointing oil it shall be.” A perfumer is an artist trained in the concepts of fragrance aesthetics, capable of conveying abstract concepts and moods with fragrance compositions. The word perfume comes from the Latin “per” meaning “through” and “fumus” meaning smoke: the first form of perfume was incense. Perfume was initially developed to attract the goodwill of the gods. For many years, perfume use was restricted to religious ceremonies performed by priests— and to the very wealthy. This gives the Seven of Cups a bit of a smoke-and-mirrors feel I associate with it.


Both the perfumer and apothecary were chemists, the difference between the two occupations being historically nebulous at times. Both perfumer and apothecary used potions in attempt to bring dreams into reality: dreams of health, dreams of heaven, dreams of love.


With every dream, there is a risk of illusion. Those prone to intoxication and escapism have no clear boundary between reality and fantasy and thus fall easy prey to the claims of the snake-oil salesman. The goal to distill the workings of a highly-developed imagination from the substance of every day life.

Three of Cups — The Lovers Tarot

Monday, March 19th, 2012

Jane LyleArtist: Oliver Burston
Book: Jane Lyle


Although I am not a fan of the Lovers’ Tarot per se (see my previous rants here and here), I generally like what Jane Lyle has to say about cards even if I was sarcastic last time and critical about the art the time before.


Because I am using the Lovers’ Tarot, and because I do not particularly like asking questions, I recite “I love my baby” over and over while shuffling this deck then draw a card: Three of Cups, reversed.


Three of Cups says:

Cup, cup, & cup: joy, laughter, & celebration. Positive energy brings on positive energy. Be careful about over-doing the celebration, tho, Barefoot (& Pregnant) Fool: you know you’re prone to over-eating, and it doesn’t help any.


B. Fool hides her dish of food behind the computer screen & wipes her hands on her pyjamas.


Three of Cups continues:

And watch that spending because— income? what income? If you’re going to spend money, try to classify the expenditures as investments or necessary. For example, how many new tarot decks do you really need?


The Fool gets defensive and cries:

Investment! Necessary! Support the Arts! I promise to forego adding to my striped-wool-sock collection! —Tho if there are really cute ones in baby sizes, they’re technically not for me.


Three of Cups rolls three gold eyes & has the final word:

It is possible to have fun while remaining balanced. Be honest with yourself and with your partner. Eat green vegetables in addition to chocolate. Cook for your lover and eat together. Do some yoga tomorrow, go for a short walk, and it will feel good. Admit your accomplishments. Love your friends. Enjoy these fat and happy days. Life will change in a minute.

Two of Cups — Tarots Oreste Zevola

Sunday, March 18th, 2012

Artist: Oreste Zevola


Excellent! Two of Cups again. I admit, I still find this deck’s artwork slightly unnerving. My younger sister, who is still visiting, points out that that the cups are smiling and that it’s not their fault if they have pointy teeth. I don’t want her to leave, but I haven’t told her so. Perhaps she will only find out if she happens to read my blog. Before tomorrow. Morning. She is my Two of Cups buddy.


with another—
in union
in friendship
in partnership
in working
in sharing
in helping
in seeing how
two are the same.


Make peace
in a relationship.
are gone.
and forgive
and forget.


Drawn in.
Move forward





Four of Wands & Two of Cups — Napo Tarot

Friday, March 16th, 2012

My younger sister was willing to pick a card, although she was not willing to ask a question. She likes this deck. I asked her what the picture made her think of. She said, “Not a thing.” I think it’s great that she specifically does like the colors and shapes of the deck but attaches no meaning to the image because it is too abstract. I have trouble liking something that I find too abstract to attach meaning to.


Interpretation: “Completion of work. Activity at a standstill, work unresolved. Union of equal forces.”


I need to make a story for everything. Sometimes, the story is particularly boring. These people are cheerleaders, shaking their pom-poms of fruit and leaves because they are happy to be done with what they set out to do.


I need a clarifying question, as it is obvious to me that neither my sister nor I are accomplishing what we mean to be doing. “What is the purpose of procrastination?” I ask, and draw the Two of Cups, reversed.


Interpretation: “Love, affection, relationship, courtship, friendship, marriage, pleasure, joy.”


Procrastination happens when we do not love what we are supposed do and therefore we put off the task at hand by doing something we love to do more.


•   •   •


I somewhat do not like this deck, perhaps because the Little White Book totally sucks. The introduction starts out, “Argentina is a country brimming with esoteric possibilities. Our aboriginal mythology, rich and profound, always skirts around mystery, destiny and hope.”

[…and finishes…]

“Bringing this deck of cards to the public is the satisfying result of a search for inner symbols. The Tarot cards came out of my imagination, and the drawings by Napo came as a result of the knowledge of the cycles of life. We thus immerse myth in history and find the same meanings, the same question, as in the Tarot of the Middle Ages.”


Unfortunately, there is nothing in the book about what the esoteric possibilities of Argentina are, little mention of mythology or explanation of the symbols she used, no talk of what came out of her imagination, no mention about how she and Napo worked together, nothing. Mystery becomes uninteresting when there are zero clues. I’m glad she found her inner symbols. I am sure others of her culture understand the symbols of this deck better than I do. But because she does not help me relate, her symbols do nothing for me. Either that or I’m just grumpy because I’m really sleepy.

Nine of Cups — The Fantastic Menagerie Tarot

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

Artist: Alexandr Ukolov

Author: Sophie Nusslé

Designer: Karen Mahoney


I said, “Give me a card for my friend K.G.”

The deck gave me this fat nine of cups— the foundation of pleasure— the wish card.



(Paraphrased from the companion book into a blessing for K.G.)


May all your wishes come true!

May many things you never wished for, too, come true!

Let these things fill you with contentment.

May you enjoy your sensuality in pleasures found and pleasures shared.

May your desires be fulfilled. May you love both gifting and receiving.

May your heart be fully opened into a solid foundation for your emotions.

May you find joy everywhere, and in the simplest of things.


(I love you & wish you always the best.)

Ace of Cups — The Fairytale Tarot

Friday, February 24th, 2012

1 Cup Fairytale TarotWritten & Designed by Karen Mahoney
Illustrated by Alexandr Ukolov, Baba Studio
Artwork by Irena Třískov


Feeling nostalgic for an era ended not long ago— five months, to be exact— I said, “Tell me something about climbing trees.” The deck showed me the Ace of Cups.


Keywords & phrases: Being open to new  creative beginnings • Bursting with life and passion • Accepting love and affection • Exhilaration about imaginative or artistic projects.


“The Ace of Cups shows us a moment of emotional openness and new beginnings. It’s a card that signals the possibility of new connections with people or with things that arose strongly positive feelings in us. It tells us to accept, rather than analyse, these emotions, and to be glad of the flood of warmth and companionship that they bring.”


The Ace of Cups represents the beginning of love, happiness and compassion. It can indicate the start of a new relationship, the sort in which two souls connect and leave each feeling good about themselves and life in general. It is a card of giving and accepting love unconditionally.


Climbing trees was a love. I loved it. I loved the movement and structure of the tree, the physical exhilaration, mastering the skills necessary to perform my job, and the view from the top. I love trees. Climbing trees is something I am letting go of right now in order to make space for my baby. Although it was my favorite job I ever had, I am not certain I would want to climb for a living in the future. I feel protective. I want to seek out something more subdued and nurturing. I no longer need to prove myself master of a man’s trade. This leaves me nostalgic. Nostalgia is not all bad, though. I know sometime in the future I will be nostalgic for today— the time that is now— when I am newly through with climbing trees and open to whatever this new venture of motherhood brings to me.

Knight of Cups — The Renaissance Tarot

Sunday, February 19th, 2012

Jane LyleIllustrator: Helen Jones
Author: Jane Lyle



Upright: Romantic • Inspirational • Visionary

Reversed: Loss of direction


The Knight of Cups is the Arthurian hero— the grail knight— the spiritual poet— the courtly lover—the romantic artist. Chasing his muse, he undertakes a journey of imagination and creativity through the unconscious. Because he is in love with life itself, he is charming and attractive to others, regardless of their sex. He uses refined, feminine intuition during quests of romance and seduction. Master of following his heart’s inner compass, he makes decisions with little input from his brain and follows the wisdom of his dreams.


In the worst of times, the Knight of Cups jumps to conclusions before looking at facts. He becomes moody, jealous or emotional to the point of incapacity and allows his emotions to control his life.


*   *   *


Tarot of the AbsurdI made a postcard

to celebrate the completion of my deck.

Want one?

Send me a post card for trade

or buy one here.

I also made a stamp of the Knight of Sticks

which is way cooler than the postcard

but Zazzle® won’t publish it publicly

because apparently it glorifies weapons

in a way that is not incidental.

Queen of Cups — Sakki-Sakki Tarot

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Monicka Clio SakkiArtist: Monicka Clio Sakki with Carol Anne Buckley


Interpretation: deep • sensitive • creative • compassionate • mysterious • visionary • adorable • practical • achieving


I finished the last card of my deck yesterday. I did! I did! It only took me 13 years or so to interpret and illustrate all 78 cards of the tarot deck. Never before have I had such a pressing deadline as an imminent child. I chose the Sakki-Sakki deck today because its cards seem like colored confetti thrown in celebration. I said to the deck, “I have no questions. Just congratulate me. Give me accolades.” As I cut the deck, out fluttered a card. I flipped it over. This deck hath bestowed the Queen of Cups upon me!


[See January 31 for a complete description of her energy.]


I cannot say I am the Queen of Cups; I can only say I love her. I relate to her. This queen-forever-swimming-in-the-sea finds respite and a place to comb her hair upon a rock— a stone— a sea-borne throne. In the Pre-Raphaelite Tarot (which, as far as I know, does not yet exist and I am not about to take the task of its creation upon myself) she is illustrated by one of my favorite paintings, John William Waterhouse’s “The Mermaid.”


King of Cups — Kitty Kahane Tarot

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

[I have been drawing a lot of other people’s kings lately. I need to get back to work drawing my own kings. Perhaps this one shall have a fish’s tale. A fish’s head? A fish, sitting in a throne…]


Artist: Kitty Kahane
Booklet: Lilo Schwartz


Shuffling the deck, thinking about some new-found health issue of mine, I thought— “Tell me something about health.” Out tumbled the King of Cups— on his head— reversed.


Interpretation: “You rule as king over the world of your feelings. You are accountable for your feelings towards yourself and towards others and you discharge this responsibility with care. Your realm is the sea and you give yourself up to the waves. Dance with them, dive into them, let them flow through you.”


Emotions play a large part in all aspects of health. Although this is largely ignored by modern western medicine and its drug-dealing sponsors, it has been explored in depth in eastern medicine. Many renowned western scientists with a more holistic view on health (Candice B. Pert, PhD; Dean Ornish, MD; David Eisenberg, MD; Karen Olness, MD & dozens of or hundreds of others) have explored this topic in-depth.


A human being is not a mind and a body, but rather a mind/body. The physical body responds to the way we think, feel and act, a commonly accepted phenomenon called the “mind/body connection.” This also works in the other direction: chemical interactions in the body control our thoughts, feelings and actions.


When we are stressed, anxious or upset, the body tells us “something is not right.” The following are common physical signs that emotional health is out of balance:


• Back & neck pain • Change in appetite • Chest pain • Constipation or diarrhea • Dry mouth • Extreme tiredness • General aches and pains • Headaches • High blood pressure • Insomnia  • Lightheadedness • Racing heart • Sexual problems • Shortness of breath • Sweating • Ulcers • Upset stomach • Weight gain or loss •


Poor emotional health can weaken the immune system. During extended periods of stress, chronic illness becomes prevalent. When we are stressed, anxious or upset, we often do not take care of our health as well as we should. Exercising and eating nutritious foods become arduous tasks. Drug addiction (include such mundane drugs as sugar, coffee and chocolate here), sexual promiscuity, and inappropriate social behaviors are signs of poor emotional health that eventually lead to worsened physical health. Years after emotional health has regained stability, physical health may remain compromised. King of Cups, MD, re-minds us: mind and body are one.


Queen of Cups — Tarot of the Absurd

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

Artist: Jessica Rose Shanahan


The Queen of Cups leads with her heart rather than her head. She is highly intuitive, often psychic and dreamy. This can make it seem as if she lacks common sense and rationality. However, there is no intuition more powerful than that of the Queen of Cups.


She easily senses the feelings of others to help them make sense of emotion in a compassionate manner. She is a good wife and a loving mother. She is fair, honest, and warm-hearted. Those who struggle see her as a beacon of light and are drawn to the safe harbor of her care.


The Queen of Cups is a symbol of achievements made possible by the use of imagination and creativity. A lover of beauty, she is highly imaginative, artistically gifted, affectionate and romantic. Whatever her chosen art, it is her best form of self-expression. To study the art of the Queen of Cups is to study the Queen herself.


Because she is so responsive to the feelings of others, the Queen of Cups must constantly uphold her boundaries between herself and others. If not properly protected, the Queen of Cups can lose her own sense of self. This is her greatest vulnerability.


Queen of Cups says: Trust your intuition. Listen to your inner voice. Follow your heart. Lose your head.


I love the Queen of Cups.