Nine of Cups

Upright/Well Dignified: There’s more than a few places that refer to the Nine of Cups as the “wish” card. Considering that the title given to it by some groups is “Happiness”, I don’t think that it’s difficult to spot why. The Nine of Cups most often points to a time when you’re happy with the way things are going and content with the situation at the moment. Good things are flowing from other good things and there is a strong sense of positive expansion into unexpected, but not unwanted directions. Summed up, there is a lot of contentment in this situation when a Nine of Cups turns up.

If there are Wands about the place, it could be a sign that the good things aren’t here yet, but things are definitely moving in a positive direction. It can be a good sign that you are on the precipice of something that is going to produce a lot of joy for a lot of people and as a result, a fair amount of that will be flowing back. This is a card about not just happiness, but also the spread of happiness.

In some cases, when a person is wondering whether something good is going to come to pass and the Nine of Cups shows up in a prominent position in a spread (or just happens to fall out of the deck), then it’s a good bet that it’s waiting for something to happen before it manifests. Give it time and an avenue to happen and it will do so.

Reversed/Ill Dignified: One of the primary reasons why the reversed Nine of Cups might show up is due to indulgence to the point of interfering with other aspects of things that might need your attention. When reversed, this card can be seen as too much of a good thing affecting things that it has no business affecting. At its worst, this card can be talking about an addiction that is slowly creeping into the life of a person and creating a situation where ultimatums may be made and unfortunately carried out for the sake of making a point.

In many cases, this could be a situation where you’ve been letting the good times flow and not actually doing anything to maintain them. Looking at the situation and allowing things to run their course is one thing, but letting a good thing fizzle out because you didn’t put in the effort is another thing entirely. Look at what’s working positively at the moment and pay attention to maintaining that, or if they’re not working positively, what needs to be done in order to make good things happen. While “don’t fix it if it ain’t broke” might be good words to live by a lot of the time, there are points where it’s simply being used as an excuse to sit on our behind rather than look at things that might need to be more closely examined.

Then, with this card reversed, there’s the shadow cast over the “wishes” aspect of this card. It might be a sign that what you’re wishing for simply isn’t going  to happen. While it’s disheartening to hear that this could very well be the case, this also means that you’re able to let go of one idea to embrace another. There’s also the possibility that what you’re doing to help things along is exactly the last thing that you should be doing. It ight be time to look at how you’re contributing to your current situation, rather than the situation that you want to bring to pass.


Nine of Pentacles/Disks

Upright/Well Dignified: In spreads that are involved with financial success, the Nine of Pentacles is one example of a card that says “You’ve got what you need, so what are you gonna do with it?” This is a card about growth, whether that growth is personal growth or simply growing something like a business or career. It is very much a card of expansion and letting the foundations of earlier hard work continue to work for you and grow organically to help fuel further achievements later. This isn’t a card of complacency though as there is still the directing the organic growth to help you earn what it is that you are working toward.

The Pentacles in general are about, among other things, materialism and attention paid to material matters. This particular card, sometimes titled “Gain”, is all about using the gain that you’ve acquired so far and using it to expand further. This card is not so much about gain for the sake of gain itself, but for the sake of further creation. There is still a strong sense of enjoying the fruits of your labours even as you make what you’ve earned so far work for you. This is largely a happy card, taking joy in what you have and what you can gain as a result of knowing how to make what you have work for you.

This card is also a card about security, almost to a fault. It does nudge you into asking the question: When does security stop being security and start being isolation? It also asks you to look at whether or not your emotional security is tied to your physical security and whether or not you are trying to overcompensate for feeling insecure in and of yourself. Whether or not this is a possibility can usually be read by the surrounding cards, but often, you may already know.

Reversed/Ill Dignified: A reversed Nine of Pentacles is effectively telling you that while you’ve put in the hard work, there is a strong possibility that there is something that you might have missed and all that hard work may have been for nothing. One aspect of things has been forgotten and is affecting the rest of your plans in a detrimental way. Whether things need to be taken apart and put back together again with the missing piece, or things need to be started again, will most likely be dictated by surrounding cards or your own gut feelings toward a situation.

A reversed Nine of Pentacles can also be pointing at isolation. If there’s a lack of Cups, or “community” cards, it might be a hint that you’ve been burying your head in creature comforts so that you don’t have to pay attention to your own loneliness. It might be time to look at perhaps opening yourself up to people a little or simply being where other people are to try and reconnect with others or even a part of yourself. Comfort isn’t always the same as safety.

There is another possibility here though. It could be that you have enough, but are so used to not having enough that it isn’t the need for security or wealth that is driving you, but the feelings that these things bring. This could be especially true if the feelings aren’t coming. I’m pretty sure that I don’t need to point out that all the wealth in the world is worthless if you’re unable to recognise what you have is more than what you need. It might be time to seek a better viewpoint, rather than more of the same.


Six of Swords

Upright/Well dignified: When you find yourself looking at a problem from an emotionless point of view, then you have a good idea about what the Six of Swords is all about. The Six of Swords is about escape from the current situation, usually in a manner that you’re less than happy about, but often seems like the only way out. This is not one of the happier cards, but at the same time, it can often lead to better things, or at least respite from the worse scenarios.

While in some cases, it can be seen as running away, there are other circumstances where it can be looked at as a tactical retreat from a situation. It’s not always about trying to escape from something, but trying to make it to elsewhere, even though leaving what you know can be difficult and  sometimes painful. This card can sometimes denote grief or the grieving process that will eventually lead to being able to move on from an emotionally painful place.

The Crowley Thoth Tarot refers to the Six of Swords as “Science.” This can be seen to mean that the card talks about objectivity and the need to be looking at things without getting emotionally involved with them. Removing yourself from the situation, whether permanently or just long enough to get some perspective can do people a world of good, especially when things are emotionally charged, which in many cases where the Six of Swords turn up, they are.

The journey talked about in the Six of Swords can sometimes be literal, but this will need to be verified by other cards.


Reversed/Ill dignified: Where the upright Six of Swords is all about the moving away from the situation to find something, the reversed Six of Swords can often be seen as the opposite. There is a good chance that while you’re moving away from the situation, you’re actually going on to another place to create pretty much the same issues elsewhere. The reversed Six can be a warning that you’re taking the issue with you, carrying unnecessary baggage because the issue is more “safe” than the changes that come with a solution. The card is often asking you whether you’re actually starting anew, with a new lease on life, or simply starting again and living a rerun of a situation until it drives you a little mad.

Another interpretation is that the answer to your issue isn’t trying to get a better perspective from afar, but perhaps immersing yourself in the problem at hand. While there are some things that can be solved by analysis from a safe distance, sometimes full immersion is what’s necessary to provide you with a more complete understanding of what’s going on and how to defuse whatever might be in danger of blowing up in people’s faces. There are many situations where people try to solve a problem from elsewhere so that they don’t get hurt, only to get hurt by parts of the problem that weren’t initilly addressed because they couldn’t be recognised from afar for what they actually were.

There are certain situations where this card reversed can be a sign of trying to deal with grief before it’s been fully realised. It can be a momentary respite from a situation, but it only delays the inevitable at best. At worst, it can create a long-term mindset that doesn’t allow emotions to be recognised and harms people much more than it helps them.

Nine of Swords

Upright/Well Dignified: Even when upright, the Nine of Swords is a card that is hard to see as a “positive” card. It’s one of those cards that looks simple to translate because it’s one of those damned near universal experiences that we all have as people. The Nine of Swords is a card about those dark nights of the soul and when they hit. It is one of those cards that talks about feeling powerless due to news that you’ve just received and the inability to do too much about what you’re being told. Worry, emotional breakdowns due to overwhelming news and grief are often talked about when the Nine of Swords shows up in a reading. In some ways, to say that the Nine of Swords is bad news is an oversimplification. It is the news that isn’t only bad, but also hits you in an emotional place that you may not have even known you had. This cards won’t tell you what the news or the “dark thoughts”, so looking at the rest of a spread or even drawing an extra card to “cover” this one might give you an idea of what’s going on.

The Nine of Swords can be a sign that for all the planning and good intentions that we might have had in a certain endeavour, you sense getting involved at all was probably a bad idea. While this may be the case, it may just be doubt and a lack of faith in your own abilities and talents. Even when things look their darkest, often the best thing that you can do is look at what’s actually going on, take a deep breath and say to yourself “This Too Shall Pass.” Whether or not it helps is entirely based on what you do from there.

Reversed/Ill Dignified: The Nine of Swords is one of those “special” cards that doesn’t change meaning as much as you’d hope when reversed. If anything, this can be an amplification of what’s going on. This card reversed hints at depression and the inability to let go of a piece of bad news. The death of a loved one is an example of this, as well as extreme money troubles or whatever else might keep the querent up at night.

There are times when the news has been received but hasn’t properly been processed in the mind. There are many horrible realisations that people try to keep at bay and it is here, with the reversed Nine of Swords, that the need to process fully what’s going on is highlighted. It might take a while for a person to realise the full implications of the information that they’ve received. There’s also the possibility that they could go into shock and may not accept the news until it becomes apparent that it can’t be avoided any longer.

Occasionally, this card can be about a person blowing things out of proportion, but this is a difficult call to make at times. There may be times when you need to sit down and figure out just what’s the reality of a situation and what’s merely being projected onto the situation. Things might be more gloomy than you like, but the light will come eventually.

Ten of Wands

Upright/Well Dignified: The Crowley Thoth tarot gives the Ten of Pentacles the title “Oppression” as there is a lot of fire energy that is creating extra burdens in a situation.  With each new responsibility that a person undertakes, there is an extra weight that needs to be carried, but that doesn’t mean that you need to carry all of the weigh at once. Many versions of the card also have the sticks featured on the card pointing in different directions, as if to show that the fire energy heading off in directions and making things more difficult than they need to be. One of the main points of this card is simple: You are taking on too much and trying to make it work without really thinking too hard about how you’re going to achieve it. The energy of this Ten needs to be reigned in by forward thinking, or at least by tying your wands together so that all of your energy is at least focused in the right direction.

The Ten of Wands is often read in a negative light as it seems like the youth carrying the wands is struggling under the weight and when a person is experiencing this card’s particular energy, it feels very much like that. Things that started as hobbies become duty for one reason or another. The things that you used to do for enjoyment become obligations, whether from the expectation of others or from some sort of perceived value that you have placed upon it. While the person on this card has is carrying ten wands, that doesn’t mean that they can’t be tied together to make them easier to carry, or even that they need to all arrive at their destination at once. All it takes is a little planning.

Reversed/Ill Dignified: The Ten of Wands reversed can be seen as what happens when those wands finally fall all over the place. There’ll often be a mess and a lot of effort expended in order to get those wands picked up again (at least the ones that aren’t broken). The effort expended so far might be put on hold, or due to some things going well and truly screwy, you might find yourself having to start what you’re doing all over again. Thankfully, it doesn’t mean that you start all over again without understanding what you’ve been doing wrong. This doesn’t mean that you’re doing it right, just that you’re in a place where you CAN start again and end up getting things done better than you did them earlier.

There’s also the other possibility.

This is when the wands have tired you out and you crumble under their weight. The upright Ten of Wands warns about this being a possibility, but when you carry too much for too long, there’s a good chance that your legs will buckle and you’ll find yourself a lot more exhausted than you would have let yourself admit. The Ten of Wands reversed can be a good sign that your knees are starting to buckle. It ight be a case of putting the wands down for a while and taking a breather. It might slow things down, but not as much as being crushed by the weight of your own responsibilities.


The Hermit

Upright/Well Dignified: When the Hermit makes an appearance, there is a strong pull inward. The things that have been making themselves felt in your life are trying to tell you that it’s time to stop looking at the world at large for answers and look at what you already know to be true. he Hermit is about soul-searching, pure and simple. The lessons that the world has taught you so far have been received and now it’s finally time to draw in and actually put them together. This isn’t a solely internal act though. The Hermit is constantly adapting the lessons that he’s internalised to the world around him. The Hermetic magicians explain this rather simply with the maxim: As Within, So Without.

With this in mind, the Hermit is very much a solitary card, much like the Hanged Man. This isn’t so much because he has been separated from the rest of the world, but because he has decided to live separately to achieve his own goals, whether in a literal sense or simple a withdrawal from something that used to take up a lot of the Hermit’s time.

This is very much a card of searching, or of finding as sometimes the Hermit isn’t someone we need to be, but someone we need to find. There are times when a person’s being called to stop the external noise and just listen to their own internal noise for a while. It is often necessary to take time out every so often in order to find out how you really feel about things, as opposed to being told what your responses are by everything from family to pop media. All of these things can affect you and if the Hermit turns up, it might be time to shut these things out so that you can become reacquainted with how you really understand the world.

Reversed/Ill Dignified: As with the upright Hermit, there can often be a strong sense of seclusion of a sorts, but once you’re secluded, what then? With a reversed Hermit, while the seclusion might be necessary, the lengths that you’ve possibly gone to might not. There is separating yourself from people to work things out, then there’s cutting yourself off from them and removing any chance of getting help should you need it. Knowing when you need to have distance from something is a good thing, but when the separation is overdone, this can lead to a kind of full-term isolation that can create loneliness.

A reversed Hermit can be a reminder to take time out from what’s going on as they are affecting your inner world adversely. As Axl Rose said, “everybody needs some time, on their own.” This time away from other people can be very useful for reconnecting with who you are, what you understand yourself to be and how you express that to the world. These things can easily be lost and the reversed Hermit can be a strong warning that this isn’t just a possibility, but a probability.

All of these examples point toward a distraction from what is truly necessary for you to progress forward. In most cases, the reversed Hermit is trying to right itself by helping you focus on what it is that you need to learn or experience. Once the Hermit has righted himself, that sense of direction and purpose will most likely return.

The Tower

Upright/Well Dignified: There comes a time when certain beliefs and belief structures need to change or be removed. When this needs to happen, you can almost be certain that the Tower will show up in a Tarot reading. How this happens is not often pleasant and the Tower is seldom a card that makes people comfortable. It is a card that takes some of your most cherished ideas and beliefs and either removes them or pits them against each other to see which is the idea that you hold onto most tightly.

The Tower is almost the antithesis of the Heirophant. Where the Heirophant is about the structuring of beliefs, the Tower is where these beliefs are challenged and often removed. The Tower’s methods are seldom sluggish, often coming from nowhere and leaving just as quickly. It could be a moment of inspiration, the culmination of a few ideas finally being put together, or the terrifying realisation that an idea that you’ve held to be true might not necessarily be the case. Anything from finding something out about a lover that you’d have initially preferred not to know, to the full implications of that contract that you’ve signed can be situations that the Tower talks about. In any case, the Tower’s effect is long-reaching, often leaving people wondering how they’re going to deal with whatever revelation the Tower brings with it.

The Tower is very much an “evolutionary” card. You walk away from it quite differently from when you encountered it, but you do generally walk away. It’s one of those cards that a lot of people don’t like seeing because it means huge changes, but the majority of these changes were going to happen eventually either way. You can deal with the changes or hide from them, but if you deal with them, at least you don’t have the indignity of being dragged along kicking and screaming from things that you can’t stop changing.

Reversed/Ill Dignified:

Often, the Tower reversed is about the refusal to change, especially when it becomes apparent that if you don’t change to suit a situation, outside forces are going to make you extremely uncomfortable until you do. Holding on to beliefs that are currently flying in the face of logic and what you are seeing with your own eyes is one of those things that the Tower reversed is all about. The point of this card showing up reversed in many readings is that beliefs that you have never been truly challenged are about to be and the result is less than likely to feel good. Things that you assumed to be true are probably going to be tested and things are going to come up being less than comfortable.

There are also points where the chaos has come and you’ve figured out that certain beliefs are no longer serving you, only to let go of the wrong ones. If things were simple, it would seem that there was only one solution to any one obstacle, but living in the real world means that things are never that simple. Before making any rash decisions, take a look at what happened as well as your response to it. When there are things kicked up by the Tower being reversed, it’s time to look at what’s been shaken and decide whether or not it’s steadfast enough to be kept as a constant in our way of understanding things. Looking at what we understand to be constants can help us understand what lessons we need to keep ahold of and what we can allow ourselves to let go of.

Three of Pentacles/Disks

Upright/Well Dignified: With the Three of Pentacles being pulled, you know that at least one focus of a reading is going to be in the planning stages of a project. Getting your and other people’s act together isw going to be an important aspect of whatever’s going on. It might seem trivial, but even in the most minor of things, the planning is going to be more important than you realise. People have specific idea as to what needs to happen in a project and looking at the original ideas is going to come into play, most likely saving a few butts.

The Three of Disks is very much about the process of creating something, about how people go about the act of creation. Structuring ideas so that they can be implemented. While this is a card of the planning process, it is often the end of the planning process that this card is talking about. While the project itself has yet to be finished, the panning process has gotten to the point where things can start happening without creating problems for the project later along the line.

As well as talking about the planning and implementation of a plan, this card talks about expertise. Each person involved in this are involved because the skills that they have are important to getting things done properly. Whether or not the people involved are experts, they are all likely to be well versed in their fields, often being professionals. The main thrust of this is that the foundational work is steady enough to have the right people doing the right jobs and to simply get things done.

Reversed/Ill Dignified: The reversed Three of Disks is never a good sign in regards to new projects. Things might seem more or less sorted, but there are a few things being overlooked that are almost certainly going to be problems later. If the situation warned of in the reversed Three isn’t righted, before too long you’ll experience what can only be referrred to as “the Buttefly effect.” Small things affect other small things, which go on to affect other small things and the end product becomes something much more different from what you were initially working toward.

There are times that a project’s planning is perfect and the problem doesn’t lie with the planning, but the fact that a project is going ahead in the first place. If a bad idea is planned perfectly, all that means is that a bad idea had good planners. It might be the perfect time to sit and think about whether or not a project really needs to happen in order to get the results that you’re after. There is nothing inherently wrong with the project itself, but the effect that you’re hoping it will have is most likely a far cry from the one that you will get.

There is also the probability that the people chosen for the project aren’t the best possible people for the job. Whether it’s due to personality conflicts or simple incompetence, you might very well find that the group that you are working with aren’t able to do the job as advertised. It is important to recognise that with this, you are also part of the group and it may take a fair amount of self-knowledge in order to see whether or not you are truly the best choice for the position that you have.

Knight/King of Swords


As a person: There are few sharper and more mentally on the ball than the King of Swords. He’s often a witty person whose sense of humour takes many by surprise with its often dry quality. This king is best suited to situations where keen observation of a situation is needed to ensure that things run smoothly. If there’s a potential problem, this knight will ride in and tell you in no uncertain terms that there could be issues. This king does not mince words when he needs to communicate something, nor will he do so if the only reason why he might need to is to save someone’s feelings. He may recognise and use tact, but these are not his weapons of choice.

As a Situation: There are two primary meanings when the Knight/King of Swords shows up as a situation. The first and foremost is that you are going to need your wits about you if you are going to recognise what’s going on. This might very well drive you mad if you are being told one thing and it seems that another is occurring. The point here, when this King shows up, is that you have a good idea of what’s going on but might not be able to do much about it because seeing things for what they are and interaccting with them aren’t always the same thing.

The second situation revolves around the receiving of information regarding a situation that’s been driving you around the bend a little. It will be a small nugget of info that will trigger an ‘aha’ moment and you’ll find yourself in a better position to act on what you’ve learned. Whether this is the first situation outlined or the second can usually be gleaned by the surrounding cards. Another knight or Page would usually point to the first, while the second will often be shown by an abundance of Wands cards or other fire cards.


As a Person: When the King of Swords is reversed, you have a perfect example of a wasted intellect. The reversed King of Swords spends a lot of time acting smarter than they actually allow themselves to be. This will often be the type of person that assures you that a particular plan of attack for a project will work, without ever telling you how the plan works or even what the plan is. This person can be extremely absent-minded but often too driven to realise that they might not know where their efforts are taking them.

When representing a person, this card can right itself with a little bit of reflection on the true motives for doing things. The Knight of Swords doesn’t like to swing blindly, often recognising his mistakes if made aware of them and will usually right them if able.

As a Situation: If you’ve ever found yourself in a situation where nobody’s actually sure what everyone is actually meant to be doing, then you’ve experienced the King of Swords reversed. This King can cause chaos through multiple lines of information telling people multiple different things that may all very well be correct, but unable to be correlated with the other information. Misinformation that is being acted on by people is why this card can be one of the most frustrating cards to be reversed. A sense of direction needs to be re-established before everybody finds themselves in messes that they can’t find their way out of…

Five of Pentacles/Disks

Upright/Well dignified: This is one of those cards that makes some people groan a little when they see it. It is, bluntly put, a card about stress and worry. More than anything it’s a card about “going without” something that you’re convinced that you need. This is usually a hint that the things that you’re convinced that you need probably aren’t nearly as important as you think they are. The main focus of this card isn’t the day to day needs that we all have, but what we understand to be our needs. The space between needs and wants can sometimes be obscured by any number of things and it’s this that the Five of Disks is pointing to.

There are times when this card is talking about some sort of material loss, but this isn’t nearly as dramatic as the Five of Disks on a lot of decks portray. There can be some kind of cash settlement that isn’t what you expected it to be but that doesn’t mean that you are specifically at a loss. It means that the feeling of entitlement to something is not going to be fulfilled here. Looking for something that you feel that you are owed is going to make you feel like you’re being left out in the cold.

Often with the Five of Disks, the surrounding cards can  point to where the feeling of loss is coming from. In the case of an abundance of Cups and water-related Major Arcana, there could be emotional needs that aren’t being met and are creating the feeling that something is gone. Should there be many Wands  cards and fire related Major Arcana surrounding the Five of Disks, it’s time to look at what’s needed to revitalise you. Air related cards such as Swords can predict a lack of mental stimulation that is affecting you adversely. More Earth based cards are a sign that there could be financial issues ahead if one isn’t wary.

Reversed/Ill Dignified: With the Five of Pentacles reversed, there’s often a case of ignoring what’s right there in front of you because, while it might fit your needs, it doesn’t fit what you want. Ignoring help that is needed is a silly thing to do at the best of times, but a lot of people do it for a lot of reasons, whether it be because they see it as weakness, because the help that they might need would have to come from somewhere in particular that they would rather not feel indebted to or for any number of other reasons. The point is that the help s out there, but you might not be seeing it.

Alternatively the help might appear to be there, but be something that’s designed to keep you in the position that you’re in at the moment. The friend that always listens and gives you advice might be the person that’s keeping you where you are because their advice only stretches as far as their own experiences. Inability to see past the present circumstances keeps a lot of people in bondage when they could be soaring. It’s sometimes surprising how many people would prefer to relive the same situations over and over rather than move beyond them.

One final question to be asked: When you receive the help, where will you end up? There’s a chance that the situation that you find yourself in could indeed be one that you can’t handle and somewhere in your head you know that. Self-sabotage is a rather nasty thing a lot of the time, but at the same tie there’s often a reason for it. Occasionally, the self-sabotage can be working to protect you from something that you genuinely can’t handle yet. Whether or not this is true for you is up to you to decide.