The Aces are generally thought to represent beginnings of all sorts,
whether of new phases of one's life, new enterprises, new
relationships, or of any other matter of concern. They may
also, however, represent completion: the whole of the meanings of the
other cards in their respective suits distilled into a single symbol. To borrow a phrase from another religion, each Ace is the alpha
*and* the omega of its suit.
Coins being mined from the Earth represent the Earth in both the
mundane and the magical senses. When they appear in readings
which indicate conflict, they generally are a shield against
Favorable: A new monetary venture; a new career - or the idea
for either, which must be acted upon. Turning earth for a
garden; planting a new tree. New awareness of the ecology and
one's place in it; oneness with Nature. Attainment of mundane
goals or spiritual goals connected with one's surroundings. The
founding of a Circle which has the potential to grow. When
heavily influenced by Cups or Triumphs which generally signify
emotional involvement: bliss or felicity.
Unfavorable: The corruption of character by wealth and the
mundane power which accompanies it. Neglect of the environment. Blight, whether from natural causes or manmade pollution. The beginning of an enterprise which, although personally
profitable, may harm either the environment or those with whom one
comes in contact. Devotion to the spiritual at the expense of
both mundane matters and other people; selfishness. When
heavily influenced by adverse cups or Triumphs, ecstasy to the point
of divorce from reality such as might be induced, for instance, by
dependence upon substances either natural or synthetic which alter
one's perception of the world.
Swords usually correspond to Air, perhaps due to the preponderance
of metaphors in languages of northern Europe which liken the north
wind to a knife or sword. In many decks, the Swords as a suit
are depicted with two edges, indicating the ability to cut in either
direction, just as the weather may vary from the pleasant to a
hurricane within a matter of moments. A layout with a
preponderance of Swords might well be considered alarming, even if
the cards lie favorably.
Favorable: Triumph, conquest by force of arms or by force of
will. Virility to the point of satyriasis. Courage to
defend the right; "the courage of one's convictions." Will-power, perhaps enough to enable one to stop a habit such
as alcohol or tobacco "cold turkey." In material matters it may
also mean skill, particularly with cutting edges such as a surgeon's
knife or a fencer's sabre. The recruitment of allies for an
Unfavorable: The triumph of an evil or unjust cause. A
lost cause. Rape. Weakness in the face of opposition;
inability to make a decision. Lack of will-power. Force
applied foolishly or with deliberate malice, resulting in
manslaughter or murder. A declaration of war. Persecution
of the innocent; dictatorship; cults of personality.
Cups are generally associated with the element of Water; like the
Coins, when they appear in a layout which seems to indicate conflict
they represent a defensive armament - perhaps a helmet or other
head-covering. Hence, they also represent not only the emotions
but also psychic and magical attributes and abilities. They may
also represent wisdom.
Favorable: Nourishment and abundance, though more emotional
and spiritual than material. Love. Novitiate in religion
and/or magic. Birth of psychic powers. Beginning of a
relationship. Inspiration. The womb: hence, the
Sea, which is the Womb of Life.
Unfavorable: Strong emotions such as hatred, jealousy, and
possessiveness. Abandonment of the spiritual for the mundane. Loss of psychic or magical power. Emotional fragility
usually induced by events in early childhood: frequently, the victim
of child abuse. Constant search for instant gratification. Barrenness.
Wands are most frequently, in the Tarot, assigned to represent the
element of Fire: when depicted with that element they are
represented as burning while remaining unconsumed, like Moses' bush. They are the stout quarterstaff of the peasant and the lance
and arrows of the warrior. Their association with fire may be
extended to other forms of energy, from the unpredictable violence of
lightning to the more subtle energies which power growth and
maturation. They are also associated with the intellect.
Favorable: The beginning of an enterprise which may or may not
bring fame and fortune, but which will be of benefit to the person
carrying it out. Start of a scientific, literary, historical,
or other intellectual inquiry: invention. Forensic prowess;
intellectual courage. Spring, when seeds germinate and many
animals bear their young: conception and the virility which
leads to it.
Unfavorable: Intellectual stagnation, antagonism towards new
ideas. A blind alley. Impotence. Overly meticulous
attention to detail at the expense of the whole. Superficial
understanding, as is sometimes displayed by the "astrologer" at a
party or in a bar. Dilettantism. Misdirection of sexual
energies towards minors; dislike or abuse of children.