This is a two-card reading, with the first card representing the present and the second what is blocking you from what you would like. The deck used is the Original Rider Waite Smith.
OVERVIEW: THE SUIT OF PENTACLES:
The suit of Pentacles represents abundance, manifestation, realisation, material possessions, health, wealth; work, business, career success. It is about our outer surroundings, the physical world; how we create, shape and guide it. On a more esoteric level, it is also about the ego and how we let it and not our higher self determine that journey. For this reason, it can also represent possessiveness, jealousy, over-indulgence, greed, materialism and selfishness.
It’s element is earth and its season is Autumn; or, if we are looking at timing, years.
Pentacles people are serious, hardworking, practical and realistic. And while they might like dreaming about what they want, need, wish they had, etc., they never lose themselves in the future; they will not wait to win the lottery: they will live their lives, doing their best to create their own fortune. They are also loving, kind and tactile/kinaesthetic, relating to the world and their surroundings and filling themselves back up through the practice of touching, feeling, smelling, tasting, hearing, etc…
THE SUIT OF CUPS:
The suit of Cups represents our heart and how we see, hear, feel, live and create from inside. It is all about our emotions, feelings and mental well-being and determines the quality of our inter-personal relationships, interaction with others and connection to the surrounding world. It is spontaneous, passionate, authentic, honest, optimistic, romantic and imaginative. As a result, it can also represent the opposite – especially when drawn upside down, as it was in this particular reading: indicating a situation or person who has untidy/mismanaged energy, is emotionally unbalanced, disengaged, dispassionate, unrealistic and fantastical. There will be unresolved traumas and issues and negative compulsions and behaviours blocking their Path.
It’s element is water. And it’s season is Spring.
Cups people are highly-sensitive: they feel everything inside. They love with every molecule in their body and care deeply about others and the world. Because of this, they get hurt often and easily by simple interactions which would not bother others: a snub remark or careless comment can injure them. In a bid to protect themselves, they have a tendency to overreact: jumping in fear to defend themselves when there has been no intended slight.
IN-DEPTH ANALYSIS: THE QUEEN OF PENTACLES
The Queen of Pentacles card stands in the position of the present; it tells us about where we have come from, what we have been through and where we are now. It is a card full of emotion: of things pent-up, repressed and/or denied. And even though the card was drawn the right way up in this instance, usually pointing to a reading indicating manifestation, accumulation, prosperity and success… the energy coming through, especially when paired with the Ace of Cups which crosses it, leans me to intuit and report the opposite.
Let’s unpick the image slowly to understand why:
• cheerfully coloured in yellow, blue, green, orange, pink and red
• landscape ripe and abundant, rich with flowers and fruit,
roses and tulips
• rabbit – suggesting energy, strength, youth, birth, fertility and new life
• queen is sat beneath a canopy of flowers
• sun is shining
• background is gold
• throne: big and strong and finely made
• clothing: expensive and tailored
• gold coin, engraved with a pentacle
• she, the queen, sits: grounded, surrounded by a reality of her own making
• setting looks warm and balmy
• feels peaceful and relaxed
• energy is slow and somnolent
I imagine a rich mountain pasture or meadow, an accompanying orchestra of birdsong and crickets, a tinkling goat bell, the bleat of a sheep, busy bees… The trees overhead creak gently as a bird shifts. There is the melody of a stream playing out in the distance. Occasionally, there is a sigh as the queen shifts, stretching her arms and legs. Her dress and cloak rustle against the cold hard throne; she cannot get comfortable no matter what. With the side of her sleeve she polishes the coin, continuing until her arm is tired and its surface is a mirror. Inside she can see her face: a wistful woman looking back, tired and worn. Childless, widowed or single, bereft of one or more important family members: her heart is made of water and ice. Having been denied within her personal life and internal world the abundance she is seemingly creating all around her, she looks upon the landscape with its roll-call of flowers and feels hollow and empty. She has made things, she is surrounded by accolades and achievements; she sits up high on her throne, central in her kingdom – and yet she is profoundly alone, her life a puzzle of misplaced and missing pieces.
• rabbit is running
• throne is:
– covered in disturbing carvings
• there are blue/grey mountains in the background, barren and cold
• gold coin, oppressive and heavy
• crown, more befitting of a man
• clothes too large
• posture stooped
• face down-turned, pensive and sad
• lethargy in her body, and despair
• I feel acutely sorry for her, like weeping
So while I am looking at an image of wealth and prosperity; feasting on splashes of vibrant colour, rich indulgent landscapes, floral festivity, accumulation, decadence and ownership: the queen at its centre, our main concern and focal-point, looks detached and sad: lost in thought, preoccupied by problems in her own personal relationships and/or her domain.
Maybe the coin in her lap is to blame?
It is very large and must therefore also be very heavy too.
Did she sacrifice too much in its attainment?
Has she had to fight to keep it close?
Has she lost things and people she cared about in its ownership or protection?
She is staring into it as if it were a crystal ball, as if the answers she seeks might be lodged there.
What does she regret?
What does she desire?
What does she long to undo?
Maybe what she holds is an imaginary coin – real wealth on a physical level still alluding her?
It could be all and any of these things. Answer the questions, look at the card and read it intuitively, then summarise what it means to you.
I feel that the role is stifling her, that she longs to be released from her obligations, that she feels the weight of the world on a daily basis, and that she carries too much in her mind and on her frame.
Why are her clothes so much bigger than her frame, their fabric thick and heavy?
Why does her crown suggest that it was made for a man?
Why is her throne covered in ghost-like wraiths and demonic-looking creatures?
It feels like she is imprisoned in a masculine role, having perhaps lost her husband, brother or father and been forced to then inherit. It doesn’t strike me as a gentle kingdom: one full of laughter, fun, lightness and life. It looks serious, heavy and hard, full of burdens and responsibilities.
Even with the flowers, which typically are full of positive energy, potential and new life: there is the feeling of oppression and being closed in. They feel as if they mean to devour or stifle her, inhabiting her person and throne like a garden gone to weed.
Look how bright the sun is; the sky without a trace of blue. Imagine sitting beneath it for hours and hours. Breathless, devoid of space and movement and breeze: it would drain and harm you.
The ground by her feet is also barren, with great big bald patches spilling outwards – further evidence of the neglect we are witnessing. It’s almost as if she sits in the middle of the jungle – her kingdom the Congo, wild and untamed; her life dictated by the political climate and the changeable nature of her family and friends.
As I sit and stare into the card, my eyes keep coming back to the throne and it’s nightmarish creatures. Here is a queen dressed like a person who believes in human kindness and God, who looks like she goes to church on a regular basis, says her prayers and tries at all times to be nice. But she is sitting in a chair that is designed for ritual and sacrifice and waking the dead. I could not sit even for a moment in that chair, without feeling immediately compelled to leap out.
The Queen of Pentacles represents prosperity, security, hard work, practicality and independence. She is caring and kind and gives freely to others. She is a good mother, both to her family and friends: the person you go to for comfort and advice when you need help. She is grounded and down to earth. She does not live in the clouds but exists in reality, sourcing from her surroundings, from things that are visible, imaginable and tangible. She sees the world as a puzzle, everything inside it a lesson to learn about life. She is highly creative and thinks outside of the box. She is resourceful and versatile and has an answer for most problems that present themselves. She is a descendant of Mother Earth, good at growing things on the physical plane – be it a beautiful garden, a delicious meal, a family, a successful business and career…
In this reading, she speaks of a situation that has been hard-won and things that have been lost: a person who is in mourning for their passing. For while there has been some measure of success (the measure varying for each person reading this article…), of changing and obtaining: there has also been the need to let go of and lay much aside.
Have you had to sacrifice things that were important to you?
Have you had to walk away from people you love?
Have you had to leave one life behind in order to embrace another?
Have you been working too hard for too long without a break?
Do you have enough fun in your life?
When was the last time you laughed until you collapsed on the floor, ran out of breath, hurt your stomach or cried?
Are you holding onto things that you know you have to release?
Be honest about these things. Ownership is the first step towards resolution.
There is conflict in your life, and repression and denial, and it is standing in the way of your happiness and growth. You have to let go of the past in order to embrace the present. And permit change in the present if you wish to manifest what you desire in the days and the years to come. And while this is hard and requires yet more sadness and sacrifice, it is for the greater good.
Have faith in the universe and trust in a better future. Embrace the help that surrounds you and all of its gifts.
IN-DEPTH ANALYSIS: THE ACE OF CUPS
The Ace of Cups card stands for what blocks our path. It tells us what is out of balance, what needs changing and what we need to do in order to right the wrongs revealed in the Queen of Pentacles. It is all about contrasts and opposites; making sure that instead of just the one, we take both presenting roads – allowing and denying, laughing and crying, joining and rejecting, advancing and retreating, depending upon and choosing solitude – filling up with new experiences and opportunities and letting go of those we no longer need.
As a result, there is a lot of turmoil and what feels like an overload of emotions. Life feels intense, everything happening in technicolor: small things, like a simple disagreement, amplified so that inside they feel like World War ll.
Let’s unpick the image slowly to understand why:
Please note: to begin I am reading the card the right way up, telling the story as it is meant to be told. This is not the outcome for the reading we are working on. I am presenting it as a study aid, to help you to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the tarot and to learn as you follow along.
– five jets
• ten * water lilies
• ghostly white hand, surrounded by mist
• golden cup or chalice
• white coin with a cross in its centre
• white bird, either a dove or an eagle
• sky light and clear
Imagine the cup as your soul and the hand the ‘Hand of God‘ holding you up and giving you healing, (like reiki only much more powerful). As you receive it you are reconnecting to all that is sacred – remembering what you once knew, where you originally came from, where you have been, how it felt and why you are here. It has appeared out of nowhere to catch you – lest you fall and disappear into the the water below. Or else raise you up out of the edgeless lake you have been swimming in for many years, the carpet of water lilies the only things keeping you afloat. It’s touch is gentle and kind. You feel safe and supported.
While you are receiving this exchange of energy, you are visited by a white dove, which swoops down from the heavens and deposits a single coin in your cup (essentially the crown of your head). You immediately begin to weep, overcome and touched. The dove is an angelic messenger, the coin a holy prayer, the words the sweetest you have ever heard. You release all of the pain from your heart; empty years of hurt and anguish; feel yourself becoming lighter and lighter until you can stay afloat on your own.
His job done, the Dove returns to the sky leaving you in the capable hands of God. God shakes you, waking you from an enchanted sleep. You slowly re-enter the world. Inside you feel alert, alive, deeply rested. You also feel incredible peace.
* see this article on numerology to learn more about the significance of the number ten. Remember to then apply the opposite of these things to this reading: eg. abundance becomes lack, love becomes loneliness, confidence fear, etc…
• card drawn upside down/reversed: crossing your present,
blocking you from what is best
• down-turned, disembodied hand: heavy and pressing
• water above your head
• lilies like a virus attacking your blood
• five jets, ropes or chords: holding you imprisoned, keeping you suspended
• bird flying up into you, invading, like rape
• coin – less a gift, more something to shut you up
• raining tears
Again, let us consider the cup as your soul and the hand the ‘Hand of God‘; only this time He is the God of the Old Testament, wrathful instead of kind; or else another presence entirely – like a ghost, phantom, spirit attachment, possession or negative chord… Instead of holding you up (see positive scenario…): He, it, is pushing you down, treating you as an obstruction/threat.
Perhaps it resents your desire for expansion and seeks to repress you before you can rise up?
Perhaps you are starting to shine too brightly, challenging its very life?
Perhaps your voice, silent for so long, is now speaking it’s truth and to the hand this is poison?
Look at how you are glued to its centre, rootless and stuck. Note how your base resembles a suction pad. Your stuckness is further amplified by the five jets, which here look more like vines or ropes. You are not releasing tears, emptying out your centre. You are being drip-fed stagnant water.
Imagining myself as the upturned cup (slender-waisted, wide-hipped), I feel like a patient on a mental health ward living off a diet of pills. Here the dove is a well-meaning nurse; the coin a tablet, a concoction of chemicals. I am branded with the letter M, which is the cry of the small me appealing to its supreme mother, begging for salvation and help.
So while I am looking at an image of love, support, compassion, reassurance, healing, forgiveness, rescue, remedy and repair: it is all turned on its head and instead the message coming through is one of sadness, isolation, aloneness and fear; a person living inside a situation or alongside a person that has them trapped.
The Ace of Cups is here to call our attention to the imbalances in our life, encouraging us to pull out and examine all of the constraints that contain us.
Who and what is keeping you small?
Where and when do you lose your strength?
What causes your doubts, your fears, your insecurity..?
Where do you lack love?
The right way up, this card is full of love, support and guidance. This is what you want more of in your life.
However, there is a lack, long overdue, stemming from school, home and childhood.
In opening up and learning to trust again, in re-evaluating your current image of God, in having faith in the universe and calling upon the help of all that surrounds you – friends, family, qualified professionals, your higher self and your guides, etc., you will slowly leave the darkness and move into the light.
The Ace of Cups calls upon you to let go of all that no longer serves you, realising that it is these things and not the universe or God that is letting you down, for in allowing your circumstances and situation to guide you and call the shots, you are in essence allowing life to drain you.
No one has the right to tell you what to do, how to feel or how to behave. Only you control that.
If you are surrounded by negative energy, hurtful remarks, belittling opinions, people who seek to suppress you, etc., you need to exit that environment and return some balance to your life.
You were not born small. God did not intend for you to be powerless. It is only the words and actions of others, the hardship and pain of the world, that has turned your mind.
The Ace of Cups is an invitation: to rise up and take back control of your life, walking with confidence around the beautiful garden that you were given at birth and have, for your entire life, tended and nurtured; to see all of the wonderful things that are yours and know that you have it within you to do anything you want, change anything you don’t like… so long as you set your mind to it and believe in your own power.
You have read this article and found these cards today because they are meant to guide you. Honour yourself with the permission and freedom to really appreciate that.
- Write down the answers to all of the questions in this article, then think about how those answers apply to you.
- Do your own reading of the cards and compare your answers to the questions in the article to your reading of the cards.
- Make a list of the main points, those that strike you as important.
- Check back in with your notes, first daily and then weekly, to inspire change and healing in your life.
- Ask yourself where you need healing, where you need help, where you need balance and where you need love, then commit to spending half an hour each day towards working to achieve this.
If this article has stirred things up for you or made you realise there are things in your life you would like to resolve, please feel free to visit my contact page or email me me to discuss both these things and the possibility of our working together in the future to accomplish these things.
Or, to book an appointment directly, see my contact page.
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