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Tarot Card Descriptions



I want to say this up front, these are general descriptions and are more based on the cards themselves. Combinations and formats can give very different meanings in a reading. If in doubt, find someone with some experience to give you a proper interpretation of the cards. Hope this helps some people, enjoy!

The Trumps or Triumphs
The Fool
The Magician
The High Priestess
The Empress
The Emperor
The Hierophant
The Lovers
The Chariot
Strength
The Hermit
Wheel of Fortune
Justice
The Hanged Man
Death
Temperance
The Devil
The Tower
The Star
The Moon
The Sun
Judgement
The World
Coins, Disc or Pentacles
Ace of Coins
Two of Coins
Three of Coins
Four of Coins
Five of Coins
Six of Coins
Seven of Coins
Eight of Coins
Nine of Coins
Ten of Coins
Page of Coins
Knight of Coins
Queen of Coins
King of Coins
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Cups
Ace of Cups
Two of Cups
Three of Cups
Four of Cups
Five of Cups
Six of Cups
Seven of Cups
Eight of Cups
Nine of Cups
Ten of Cups
Page of Cups
Knight of Cups
Queen of Cups
King of Cups
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Swords
Ace of Swords
Two of Swords
Three of Swords
Four of Swords
Five of Swords
Six of Swords
Seven of Swords
Eight of Swords
Nine of Swords
Ten of Swords
Page of Swords
Knight of Swords
Queen of Swords
King of Swords
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Wands, Staves or Rods
Ace of Wands
Two of Wands
Three of Wands
Four of Wands
Five of Wands
Six of Wands
Seven of Wands
Eight of Wands
Nine of Wands
Ten of Wands
Page of Wands
Knight of Wands
Queen of Wands
King of Wands
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 



The Trumps


The Fool

Also know at Le Mat, Spirit of the Aether or the Ouroboros.
        Card Number: 0, Rulership: Air, Hebrew Letter: Aleph

Story from Aeclectic Tarot - With all his worldly possessions in one small pack, the Fool travels he knows not where. So filled with visions and daydreams is he, that he doesn't see the cliff he is likely to fall over. At his heel, a small dog harries him (or tries to warn him of a possible mis-step).

History - Interestingly enough, we must understand some of the game of Triumphs to understand some of the origins of the this card. The Fool, as a trump card, was worth nothing. He can not win any hand that was played. That is not to say that he was worth nothing, only as a trump card. He is one of three (The Magician and The World were the others) that has point value in the game. There is a tricky deal with the Fool however. Whoever has him, no matter who takes the hand, get to keep him. That is to say, if you play the Fool, you get him back. This adds a whole new dynamic to the game, in that if you are out of trump or a suit, you can hide it by playing the Fool. He is in the game and outside of the game, it is fitting that he is card number 0.
        This leads us into the Fool as a whole. He runs with kings, but has no real worldly possessions. He travels to what he sees is the truth of his world, free of the boundaries that hold us all to our lives and for that he is called the fool. He has freedom and independence in a world of rules and expectations. He is a wandering soul, no idea where he is going or what he will do to get there. Preparing to make his way, wherever the wind takes him, leaving all behind without a care. The bag on his back is all that he needs or wants.
        What comes with not a care in the world, is an almost flirt with danger. This is what the cliff in many of the depictions means. The dog is either harassing or trying to warn the fool who ignores the warning and continues to go its own way. A fool by any other name is still a Fool. The main importance is to enjoy the moment and not to worry about the rest, whatever that is. Ignorance can be bliss, and the Fool takes the bliss to another level making him a very powerful card.

Meaning - a new start(maybe job, home, life, marriage, etc), beginning of a journey, happiness, optimism, high energy, naive, innocence, ignorance, spotaneous, a major change in a pattern, following an inner truth.

Reversed - stuck in a pattern, fear of progress or change, concerned with rules and right and wrong, clingy, lack of trust, misery in life, blind to critisism

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The Magician

Also called Le Bateleur, or Magnus of Power.
        Card Number: 1, Rulership: Mercury, Hebrew Letter: Beth

Story from Aeclectic Tarot - Traveling on his way, the Fool first encounters a Magician. Skillful, self-confident, a powerful magus with the infinite as a halo floating above his head, the Magician mesmerizes the Fool. When asked, the Fool gives over his bundled pack and stick to the Magician. Raising his wand to heaven, pointing his finger to Earth, the Magician calls on all powers; magically, the cloth of the pack unfolds upon the table, revealing its contents. And to the Fool's eyes it is as if the Magician has created the future with a word. There are all the possibilities laid out, all the directions he can take. The cool, airy Sword of intellect and communication, the fiery Wand of spirituality and ambition, the overflowing Chalice of Love and emotions, the solid Pentacle of work, possessions and body. With these tools, the Fool can create anything, make anything of his life. But here's the question, did the Magician create the tools, or were they already in the pack? Only the Magician knows - and on this mystery, our eloquent mage refuses to say a word.

History - I find this to be one of the more interesting cards in the deck. This is a Trump with some character. First let tackle the duality of the card. In modern times the Magician is looked upon as a magus, or magnus. A powerful mage that has untold powers and uses his power to push and pod everyone else to the end that he desires. In the story above he sounds like Gandalf or Merlin, always in the know, always one step ahead, and power and confidence just oozes from his pores. He knows what needs to be done and no task is insurmountable. He is a powerhouse, heck he is practically a force of nature.
        This is pretty impressive, as it should be, and makes him a damn fine card. You will notice however, that I said in modern times above. Prior, such as in the Marseilles-type tarot, this card meant something different. The art still had all of the suits in it, the only card to do so in all of Tarot, but with a different feel. The wand was a prop, the cup more of a tumbler instead of a fine goblet, the sword may have been a knife and the coin may have been a few balls. This magician was an entertainer, an illusionist, like David Copperfield or Seigfred and Roy.
        The older cards were shown with tools of the trade on the table, giving credit to the dedication that it would take for this vocation. In some ways he was considered a craftsman or an artisan. A magician would have to buy or make all his own props, sometimes inventing some as he went. This was an art form to many and still is to many today. He was also known as a juggler in the old times, either literally as an entertainer, or figuratively in that he would be juggling events, people and information. The art also showed another side of the magician, with a ball under several cups. This an age old game that is still used today in some form and is portraying him as more of a con artist.
        This give a totally different view of the card. The magician was still in the know and moved people and events where he wanted them to go, but not with raw magical power, but with guile and cunning. As one of the three Trump cards that count for as many points as a King (the Fool and the World are the others) the Magician was interesting to play as well. Unlike the Fool and the World, for when you play them you will get them back at the end of the round, the Magician can be taken. It is outranked by all other Trumps, which means that there are only a few scenarios that can happen and still have you keep the points of the Magician. Either everyone else has a suit that you do not, or everyone else is out of trump completely. Not an easy thing. As a matter of fact one of the better ways to pull this off is to wait until the end of the hand to see if people will run out of trump and you can sweep the last hand, many times pulling kings, which are worth a lot of points as well. Not only is the good strategy, you can actually get more points for this tactic!
        Not everyone is interested in the game, but this adds some insight to me on the kind of charater the Magician really is. Either he is an all powerful mage or he is just a man, not royalty or anything else, surviving and playing the game of life by his wits and guile. And hanging with the big dogs I might add. In either case, it is impressive display, if ever there was a great Player the Magician is it. There is a reason he is the number one card.

Meaning - initiative, in charge, on the ball, alert, ready for any challenge, willing to take risks, wit, master of material world, sees own potential, creativity, charismatic, The "reveal"

Reversed - inabilty to act, indecision, sense of feeling lost, confusion, improper time managment, hesitation, low self-esteem, low energy, no inspiration, giving up, klutz

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The High Priestess

Also called Papess(La Papess) or the Priestess of the Silver Star,
        Card Number: 3, Rulership: Moon, Hebrew Letter: Gimel

Story from Aeclectic Tarot - Continuing his journey, the Fool comes upon a beautiful and mysterious veiled lady enthroned between two pillars and illuminated by the moon. She is the opposite of the Magician, quiet where he was loquacious, still where he was in motion, sitting while he stood, shrouded in the night where he was out in the bright of day. She is the High Priestess and she astonishes the Fool by knowing everything about him. "Since you know me so well, perhaps you can help me," says the Fool, laying out his sword, chalice, staff and pentacle. "The Magician showed me these tools, but now I'm in a quandry. There's so many things I could do with them. I can't decide." In answer, the High Priestess hands over to him a pair of ancient scrolls. "These will teach you how to decide." Seating himself at her feet, the Fool reads by the light of her crescent moon. Finally, the Fool knows enough that he can now decide what he wants, where he will go, and what he will do. Though he suspects that the High Priestess has even more secrets she could teach him--like what lies behind the pomegranate curtain--he is focused and ready to be on his way. Thanking the High Priestess, he heads off. But as he leaves he hears her whisper, quiet as the waters which bubble up from beneath her throne, "We'll meet again...when you're ready to travel the most secret path of all."

History - If ever there is a card that represents Tarot, heck lets go so far to say mystisism as a whole, this is it. Although the Papress does have some similiarities to the Magician, especially since they are right next to each other in line of numbers, I try hard not to compare the two of them. The High Priestess is part of the quaternity of the Papress, the Empress, the Emperor and the Pope and this where the real symmetry happens, with the leaders separated by religion and gender. These four cards are the only ones that do not follow the ranking of sequence since they are all equal in the game of Triumphs. There seems to be a certain pattern in the Tarot that women are the ones that make things happen. Men may have the ideas, but the women bring it into practical use. This is portrayed in the story above as the Papress gives the Fool the direction he needs to make his decisions.
        The concept of the female Pope, goes back to the thirteenth century, when tarot was really starting to become popular. Although it was established at truth by the church in the fourteenth century, Pope Joan is now in question as whether it is fact or ficiton. For those not familiar with the tale, in 855 A.D., after the death of Pope Leo IV, an Englishman by the name of John of Mainz was elected as the Pope. He reigned for two years at which time there was an incident while traveling from St. Peters to the Lateran. The incident was, that he(she) had a baby. Pope John was actually Johannes Anglicus, a nickname was used calling her Pope Joan. The details after this are sketchy, she died in labor, she was dragged through the street and stoned to death by a mob, another stated that she lived out the rest of her days, after being deposed, in penance. Most tales agree that her son became the Bishop of Ostonia.
        Especially since this was a popular tale at the time that tarot was making a major surge in the thirteenth century, we see the Papress still here in the tarot. I would like to think as well that the creators of the decks appreciated the completeness and the duality by including the woman side of religion. The easy acceptance of the Virgin Mary in Christianity, although no referrance to the Papress at all, shows that the people at large to appreciate a feminine entity in theology.
        The symbolism in the card itself tells us a lot about the High Priestess as well. The veil she sits in front of separates us from the mysteries of the world. She is the holder of secret knowledge and the master of intuition. She has secrets and tells secrets to those who are willing and worthy. The light and dark pillars on either side represent existence and negation or wax and wane. Certain tools, rituals, or talents will allow some of the information that is behind the curtain to be revealed. One such tool is the Tarot itself. The High Priestness has all of the lost or obscure knowledge at her disposal, and as such, some of her understanding in how the world and people work can be enlightening or even frightening to others.

Meaning - Intuition, feminine influence, secret knowledge, a barrier to answers, hidden truths, patience or faith that answers will come, duality, mystery, insight to solve problems.

Reversed - situation not what it seems, suppressed femininity, lack of intuition, knowledge that is known but just "not seeing it", ignoring of facts or feelings, lack of trust in self, issues resulting in lack of foresight.

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The Empress

Also known as L'Imperatrice, The Daughter of the Mighty Ones, or just The Mother,
        Card Number 3, Rulership: Venus, Hebrew Letter: Daleth

Story from Aeclectic Tarot - Having decided what shape his future will take, the Fool strides forward. But he is impatient to make his future a full-grown reality. This is when he comes upon the Empress. Hair gold as wheat, a crown of stars, a white gown dotted with pomegranates. She rests back on her throne surrounded by an abundance of grain and a lush garden. It is possible that she is pregnant.*
        Kneeling, the Fool relates to her his story. And she, in turn, smiles a motherly smile and gently gives him this advice: "Like newly planted grain or a child in the womb, a new life, a new love, a new creation is fragile. It requires fertile soil, patience and nurturing, it needs love and attention. Only this will bring it to fruition." Understanding at last that his future will take time to build and create, the Fool thanks the Empress and continues on his way.
        * Pregnant. Well, not in the Rider-Waite deck she isn't. But she is in early decks, and it is an apt symbol for this card.

History - This card is pretty straight foward, however there are some quirky and interesting considerations. First, the card mainly stands for the maternal or motherly nature in women. It could even be said that it stands for Mother Nature herself, which is why it sometimes drawn with her wearing a gown with pomegranate on it. This in reference to Persephone, the daughter of Demeter, who is the closest to Mother Nature of the Greek gods. Persephone ate a pomegranate while in the land of the dead, holding her there as Hade's wife for three months out of year, one month for every seed she ate. While Persephone is in Hade's care, Demeter mourns and doesn't help the world grow causing three months of winter.
        Some of the older cards show her as pregnant, the Rider-Waite does not and many follow its example, but it would be fitting as she also represents fertility in all its forms. Also in comparing the older cards, the Empress was sitting on a throne in years past. This throne had a flare to it that was converted into wings in some of the newer cards. This can also be seen on the Judgement card.
        The main essence of the card to remember is maternity in its broadest sense, so as to include all life in its creation and nuturing. The also encompasses the physical and emotional, love for example. Although considered a good card, there is also a balance of bad. Mother's can be jealous and possessive of their "children". Fretting and doting on their subjects has its moments of joy and sometimes annoyance, leading to feelings of smothering. To use an example from Aeclectic Tarot, a plant can die just as easily from over-watering as from neglect. Typically, however, the Empress has the patience to let things happen in their own time. Life has a way of taking care of itself with a few prods in the right direction.

Meaning - fertility, security, creative in finance, love as in child or friend, parenting, maternal, domesticly stable or a safe home, marriage, pregnancy, healthy, financly well,

Reversed - domestic issues, poverty, infertility, unwanted pregnancy, lack of affection or unwanted affection, writer's or creative block, lack of empathy.

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The Emperor

Also known as L'Empereur, Son of Morning, Chief Among the Mighty or just The Father.
        Card Number 4, Rulership: Aries, Hebrew Letter: Heh

Story from Aeclectic Tarot - The Fool was given options by the Magician, and decided on one with help from the High Priestess. He learned how to develop it, thanks to the Empress. Now he must manage it. How to do this? He approaches a great Emperor seated on a stone throne. The Fool is amazed by the way the Emperor is instantly, eagerly obeyed in every particular, at how well his Empire is run. Respectfully, he asks the Emperor how it is he does this. And the Emperor answers: "Strong will and a solid foundation. It's all very well," he explains to the Fool, "to be dreamy, creative, instinctual, patient; but to control one must be alert, brave and aggressive."
        Ready now to lead rather than be led, the Fool heads out with new purpose and direction.

History - A very ironic card in my mind. The Emperor is the king of kings. When tarot begin in the 1400s, the Romans were very much in power. This is seen in the this card by the eagle, many times seen on a shield, an obvious reference to the Roman Emperor.

Meaning -

Reversed -

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The Hierophant

Also known as
        Card Number 5, Rulership: Aries, Hebrew Letter: Heh

Story from Aeclectic Tarot - Having created a solid foundation on which to build his future, the Fool is struck with a sudden fear. What if everything he's worked for is taken away? Is stolen, or lost, or destroyed or vanishes? Or what if it is just not good enough? In a panic, he heads into a holy place where he finds the Hierophant, a wise teacher and holy man. Acolytes kneel before the man, ready to hear and pass on his teachings. The Fool tells the Hierophant his fears, and asks how he can be free of them.
        "There are only two ways," says the Hierophant sagely, "Either give up that which you fear to lose so it no longer holds any power over you, or consider what you will still have if your fear comes to pass. After all," the Hierophant continues, "if you did lose all you'd built, you would still keep the experience and knowledge that you've gained up to this point, wouldn't you?"
        This surprisingly pragmatic advise releases the Fool from his fear, and he is able exit out of the sanctuary and face the world's challenges once again.

History -

Meaning -

Reversed -

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The Lovers

Also known as
        Card Number 6, Rulership: Aries, Hebrew Letter: Heh

Story from Aeclectic Tarot - The Fool comes to a cross-roads, filled with energy, confidence and purpose, knowing exactly where he wants to go and what he wants to do. And comes to a dead stop. A flowering tree marks the path he wants to take, the one he's been planning on taking. But standing before a fruit tree marking the other path is a woman. He's met and had relationships with women before, some far more beautiful and alluring. But she is different. Seeing her, he feels as though he's just been shot in the heart with cupid's arrow, so shocking, so painful is his "recognition" of her. As he speaks with her, the feeling intensifies; like finding a missing part of himself, a part he's been searching for his life long. It is clear that she feels the same about him. They finish each others sentences, think the same thoughts. It is as if an Angel above had introduced their souls to each other. Though it was his plan to follow the path of the flowering tree, and though it will cause some trouble for him to bring this woman with him, to go somewhere else entirely, the Fool knows he dare not leave her behind. Like the fruit tree, she will fulfill him. No matter how divergent from his original intent, she is his future. He chooses her, and together they head down a whole new road.

History -

Meaning -

Reversed -

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The Chariot

Also known as
        Card Number 7, Rulership: Aries, Hebrew Letter: Heh

Story from Aeclectic Tarot - The Fool is close to completing what he set out to create long ago, back when the Magician revealed those tools to him. But enemies are now standing in his way, devious human enemies, bad circumstances, even confusion in his own mind. There's no more forward momentum; he feels he is fighting just to stay where he is. Walking along the shore, watching the waves come in, he puzzles over how to defeat these enemies and get things moving forward once again.
        It is here that he comes across a charioteer, standing in his gold and silver chariot, his black and white steeds at rest. "You seem a victorious warrior," the Fool remarks. "Tell me, what is the best way to defeat an enemy?" The Charioteer nods out at the ocean. "Have you ever been swimming in the water and been trapped in that tide which pulls you out to sea? If you try to swim forward, head-on, you go nowhere. You swim forward, the tide pulls you back and, if you tire yourself out, you drown. The only way to win without sapping all your energy is to swim parallel to shore, and come in slowly, diagonally. So, too, when fighting in a chariot. You win by coming up alongside that which you wish to defeat." The warrior nods to his beasts. "Your steeds keep the wheels turning, but it is your control and direction that brings victory. Dark and light, they must be made to draw in harmony, under your guidance."
        The Fool is impressed and inspired. He thinks he now knows how to win his own war. He thanks the warrior, but before he leaves, the warrior stays the Fool, "One thing more," he says, "no victory can be won unless you have unwavering confidence in your cause. And remember this above all, victory is not the end, it is the beginning."

History -

Meaning -

Reversed -

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Strenth

Also known as
        Card Number 8, Rulership: Aries, Hebrew Letter: Heh

Story from Aeclectic Tarot - The Fool, victorious over his enemies, is feeling arrogant, powerful, even vengeful. There is a hot passion in him that he can barely control. It is in this state that he comes across a maiden struggling with a lion. Running to help, he arrives in time to see her gently but firmly shut the lion's mouth! In fact, the beast, which seemed so wild and fierce a moment ago, is now completely at her command.
        Amazed, the Fool asks her, "How did you do that?" One hand on the lion's mane, she answers, "Will power. Any beast, no matter how wild, will back down before a superior will." At that moment, the Maiden meets the Fool's eyes; though sanity and young, her look is knowing and filled with great power. "Likewise," she says to him, "there are many unworthy impulses inside us. It is not wrong to have them. But it is wrong to let them control us. We are human, not beast, and we can command such energy, use them for higher purposes." His rage quieted, the Fool nods, enlightened, and walks away knowing that it wasn't only the lion who was tamed this day by a Maiden's pure and innocent strength.

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Reversed -

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The Hermit

Also known as
        Card Number 9, Rulership: Aries, Hebrew Letter: Heh

Story from Aeclectic Tarot - After a long and busy lifetime, building, creating, loving, hating, fighting, compromising, failing, succeeding, the Fool feels a profound need to retreat. In a small, rustic home deep in the woods, he hides, reading, cleaning, organizing, resting or just thinking. But every night at dusk he heads out, traveling across the bare, autumnal landscape. He carries only a staff and a lantern.
        It is during these restless walks from dusk till dawn, peering at and examining whatever takes his fancy, that he sees and realizes things he's missed, about himself and the world. It is as if the secret corners in his head were being slowly illuminated, corners he never knew existed. In a way, he has become the Fool again; as in the beginning, he goes wherever inspiration leads him. But as the Fool, his staff rested on his shoulder, carrying unseen his pack. The Fool was like the pack, whatever it was he could be was wrapped up, unknown. The Hermit's staff leans out before him, not behind. And it carries a lantern, not a pack. The Hermit is like the lantern, illuminated from within by all he is.

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Meaning -

Reversed -

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Wheel of Fortune

Also known as La Roue de Fortune, Lord of the Forces of Life or just The Wheel.
        Card Number: 10, Rulership: Jupiter, Hebrew Letter: Kaph

Story from Aeclectic Tarot - From out of hiding comes the Fool, into the sunlight, as if being pulled up from some low, dark point on a wheel. It is time for a change. Staff in hand, he heads back out into the world, expecting nothing. But, strangely, things seem to happen to him as the hours go by, good things. Wandering by water wheel a woman offers him a drink in a golden chalice, and then urges him to keep the cup, just because she likes him; as he wanders by a windmill, he stops to watch a young man swinging a sword; when he expresses his admiration of the weapon, the young man presses it into his hand, insisting that he take it.
        And finally, when he comes upon a rich merchant sitting in a wagon, right over one of the wheels, the man hands him a bag of money. "I like giving away money," explains the Merchant, "and I decided, just randomly, that the tenth person who walked past me today would get this money. You're the tenth." The Fool hardly thought he could still be surprised, but he is. It is as if everything good that he ever did in his life is being paid back to him, three-fold. All luck this day is his.

History - The concept for this card is pretty simple, but as in most cases, this creates tons of variations in art and interpretation. In its most basic of concepts, the wheel represents the cycle of luck in life. Fortuna, the fickle godess of luck, is sometimes shown in this card, typically blindfolded to show her indiffence to the whole affair. The wheel itself represent the highs and lows of luck. It can be depicted alone, but many times artist put in depictions of man at the various points on the wheel. It was up to the artist to try to portray the symbolism in the card meaning and this was a busy card.
        The bottom of the wheel is rock bottom, the essence of poverty and misfortune. The figure at the top has seen several versions, a popular one is a king, sometimes shown with ass's ears. This was taken from the Midas story, whose greed eventually earned him his new ears. Also seen at the top is a man with a sword. This is the Sword of Discrimination and the man is sometimes called the watchman or a watcher. The meaning behind this is to say that the watchman is not concerned with the happenings that Fortuna will deal to him. The good and the bad are dealt with equally and not with the typical emotions that come with the rise and fall of emotions. The left and right of the wheel are the rise and fall of luck. There was also a time with there were eight points on the wheel, humility, patience, peace, wealth, exaltation, impatience, war, and poverty.
        There will always be deeper meanings in the card and this is no exception. The wheel can mean the cycle of our lives, in that you come into the world with nothing, peak and decline, to leave with nothing. The Wheel is considered to be an earthy card, it is one of many that deals with human emotions and struggles, like Love or the Chariot.

Meaning - The passage of time, Control over your fortune, good luck, coincidences, change, a new cycle,

Reversed - Out of control, other people guiding you destiny, bad luck, stagnant or resistant to change, gambling difficulties, delays or misfortune

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Justice

Also known as
        Card Number 4, Rulership: Aries, Hebrew Letter: Heh

Story from Aeclectic Tarot - The Fool is looking for a new path, a new aspiration and inspiration for his life. Sitting uncertain at a cross-roads, he notices a blind wise woman listening to two brothers argue over an inheritance. They have come to her for judgement. One brother has the whole inheritance, the other has nothing. "I ask that all of it be given to me," the poor brother demands, "Not only because I have a better right to it, but because I will not be wasteful with it, as he is!" But the rich brother protests, "It is rightfully mine and that's all that should matter, not what I do with it!" The woman listens, then awards half of the rich brother's inheritance to the poor brother. The Fool thinks this only fair, but neither brother is happy. The rich one hates losing half his wealth, and the poor one feels he ought to have gotten all.
        "You were fair," he remarks to the woman after they have left. "Yes, I was," she answers plainly. "With only half the inheritance, the rich one will stop being so wasteful. And the poor one will have as much as he needs. Even though they cannot see it, this decision was good for both."
        The Fool thinks on this, and new insight on his own life comes to mind. He realizes that he has spent his life achieving worldly ambitions, physical goods, while leaving his spiritual self to starve, primarily because he didn't want to make the sacrifices necessary to feed his spiritual self. Now, he sees that this is necessary, the only path he has not walked, one he must walk to regain his equilibrium. Thanking the woman, he heads out with new purpose. It is time to balance his own inner scales.

History -

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The Hanged Man

Also known as
        Card Number 4, Rulership: Aries, Hebrew Letter: Heh

Story from Aeclectic Tarot - The Fool settles beneath a tree, intent on finding his spiritual self. There he stays for nine days, without eating, barely moving. People pass by him, animals, clouds, the wind, the rain, the stars, sun and moon. On the ninth day, with no conscious thought of why, he climbs a branch and dangles upside down like a child, giving up for a moment, all that he is, wants, knows or cares about. Coins fall from his pockets and as he gazes down on them - seeing them not as money but only as round bits of metal - everything suddenly changes perspective. It is as if he's hanging between the mundane world and the spiritual world, able to see both. It is a dazzling moment, dreamlike yet crystal clear. Connections he never understood before are made, mysteries are revealed.
        But timeless as this moment of clarity seems, he realizes that it will not last. Very soon, he must right himself, and when he does, things will be different. He will have to act on what he's learned. For now, however, he just hangs, weightless as if underwater, observing, absorbing, seeing.

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Death

Also known as
        Card Number 4, Rulership: Aries, Hebrew Letter: Heh

Story from Aeclectic Tarot - Having left the tree from where he hung, the Fool moves carefully through an fallow field, head still clearing from visions. The air is cold and wintery, the trees bare. Before him, he sees, rising with the sun, a skeleton in black armor mounted on a white horse. He recognizes it as Death. As it stops before him, he humbly asks, "Have I died?" He feels, in fact, rather empty and desolate. And the Skeleton answers, "Yes, in a way. You sacrificed your old world, your old self. Both are gone, dead." The Fool reflects on that, "How sad." Death acknowledges this with a nod. "Yes, but it is the only way to be reborn. A new Sun is rising, and it is, for you, a time of great transformation." As Death rides away, the Fool can feel the truth in those words. He, too, feels like a skeleton, all that he was stripped away. This, he understands, is how all great transformations start, by stripping things to the bone, and building fresh upon the bare foundations.

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Temperance

Also known as
        Card Number 4, Rulership: Aries, Hebrew Letter: Heh

Story from Aeclectic Tarot - Continuing on his spiritual path, the Fool begins to wonder how to reconcile the opposites that he's been facing: material and spiritual (which he hung between as the Hanged man), death and birth (the one leading into the other in the Death card). It is at this point that he comes upon a winged figure standing with one foot in a brook, the other on a rock. The radiant creature pours something from one flask into another. Drawing closer, the Fool sees that what is being poured from one flask is fire, while water flows from the other. The two are being blended together!
        "How can you mix fire and water?" the Fool finally whispers. Never pausing the Angel answers, "You must have the right vessels and the right proportions." The Fool watches with wonder. "Can this be done with all opposites?" he asks. "Indeed," the Angel replies, "Any oppositions, fire and water, man and woman, thesis and anti-thesis, can be made to harmonize. It is only a lack of will, a disbelief in the possibility of unity, that keeps opposites, opposite." And that is when the Fool begins to understand that he is the one who is keeping his universe in twain, holding life/death, material world and spiritual world separate. In him, the two could merge, as in the vessels that the Angel uses to pour the elements, one to the other. All it takes, the Fool realizes, is the right proportions....and the right vessel.

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The Devil

Also known as
        Card Number 4, Rulership: Aries, Hebrew Letter: Heh

Story from Aeclectic Tarot - The Fool comes to the foot of an enormous black mountain where reigns a creature half goat, half god. At his hooves, naked people linked to the god's throne by chains, engage in every indulgence imaginable: sex, drugs, food, gold, drink. The closer the Fool gets, the more he feels his own earthly desires rising in him. Lust, passion, obsession, greed. "I refuse to give into you!" he roars at the Goat god, resisting with all his might. The creature returns a curious look. "All I am doing is bringing out what is already in you," the beast responds. "Such feelings are nothing to fear, nothing to be ashamed of, or even to avoid." The Fool gestures angrily at the chained men and women, "You say that even though they enslaved?" The Goat-god mimics the Fool's gesture. "Take another look."
        The Fool does so, and realizes that the chained collars the men and women wear are wide enough for them to easily slip off over their heads. "They can be free if they wish to be," the Goat-god says, "Though you are right. I am the god of your strongest desires. But you see here only those who have allowed their base, bestial desires to control them." At this the Goat-god gestures upward, toward the peak of the mountain. "You do not see those who have allowed their impulses and aspirations to take them up to the top of that mountain. Inhibitions can enslave as easily as excesses. They can keep you from following your passion to the highest heights." The Fool realizes the truth in this, and that he has mistaken the Goat-god. Here he understands now, it is not a creature of evil, but of great power, the lowest and the highest, both of beast and god. Like all power it is frightening, and dangerous...but it is also the key to freedom and transcendence if understood and well used.

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The Tower

Also known as
        Card Number 4, Rulership: Aries, Hebrew Letter: Heh

Story from Aeclectic Tarot - As the Fool leaves the throne of the Goat God, he comes upon a Tower, fantastic, magnificent, and familiar. In fact, The Fool, himself, helped build this Tower back when the most important thing to him was making his mark on the world and proving himself better than other men. Inside the Tower, at the top, arrogant men still live, convinced of their rightness. Seeing the Tower again, the Fool feels as if lightning has just flashed across his mind; he thought he'd left that old self behind when he started on this spiritual journey. But he realizes now that he hasn't. He's been seeing himself, like the Tower, like the men inside, as alone and singular and superior, when in fact, he is no such thing. So captured is he by the shock of this insight, that he opens his mouth and releases a SHOUT! And to his astonishment and terror, as if the shout has taken form, a bolt of actual lightning slashes down from the heavens, striking the Tower and sending its residents leaping out into the waters below.
        In a moment, it is over. The Tower is rubble, only rocks remaining. Stunned and shaken to the core, the Fool experiences grief, profound fear and disbelief. But also, a strange clarity of vision, as if his inner eye has finally opened. He tore down his resistance to change and sacrifice (Hanged man), then broke free of his fear and preconceptions of death (Death); he dissolved his belief that opposites cannot be merged (Temperance) and shattered the chains of ambition and desire (The Devil). But here and now, he has done what was hardest: destroyed the lies he held about himself. What's left is the bare, absolute truth. On this he can rebuild his soul.

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The Star

Also known as
        Card Number 4, Rulership: Aries, Hebrew Letter: Heh

Story from Aeclectic Tarot - On the bleak landscape where the Tower stood, the Fool sits, empty, despairing. He hoped to find himself on this spiritual journey, but now he feels he's lost everything, even himself. Sitting on the cold stones, he gazes up at the night sky wondering what's left. And that is when he notices, nearby, a beautiful girl with two water urns. As he watches, she kneels by a pool of water illuminated with reflected starlight. She empties the urns, one into the pool, one onto the thirsty ground.
        "What are you doing," he asks her. She looks up at him, her eyes twinkling like stars. "I am refilling this pool, so that those who are thirsty may drink, and I am also watering the earth so that, come spring, the seeds will grow," she tells him. And then she adds, "Come. Drink." The Fool comes to kneel with her by the pool and drink. The water tastes wonderful, like liquid starlight. "I can see you are sad," the girl continues, "and I know why. But you must remember that you have not lost all. Knowledge, possibilities, hope, you still have all of these. Like stars, they can lead you to a new future." Even as she says this, she began to fade away, like dew, vanishing. All that remains is a gleam that was at the center of her forehead. This rises up and up, until it settles in the night sky as a shining star. "Follow your star," the woman's voice seems to sing from that light, "and have hope." The Fool takes in a breath and rises. It is a dark night, a desolate land. But for the first time, he has a guiding light to show him the way. Distant as it is, it heals his heart, and restores his faith.

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The Moon

Also known as La Lune, Ruler of Flux and Reflux, and Child of the Sons of the Mighty
        Card Number 18, Rulership: Pisces, Hebrew Letter: Qoph

Story from Aeclectic Tarot - Following the star the Fool travels through the night. The full Moon rises, illuminating for him a watery path. And he begins to feel disoriented, as if walking in his sleep. He passes under the moon, between two pillars ancient and strange. Suddenly, he looks around to find himself in another land entirely. When he was in the presence of the High Priestess, he saw hints of this dark land though the sheer veil draped behind her throne. And later, when he hung from the tree, he felt himself between the physical world and this one. Now, he has at last passed behind the veil. Here are the mysteries he sought, at least, here are the dark mysteries, ones that have to do with the most primal and ancient powers, powers of nature, not of civilization. It is a land poets, artists, musicians and madmen know well, a terrifying, alluring place, with very different rules. Wolves, howling in homage to the moon, run wild across this land, hunting along side maidens with bow and arrows; and creatures from childhood nightmares and fantasies peer from shadows, eyes glowing.
        The path the Fool was walking is now a river, and he stands hip-deep in the powerful pull of its salty, moonlit waters. There is, on the nearby shore, a small boat, but it has no rutter, no oar. The Fool realizes he has only two choices. He can lose himself in this desolate, primal land of madness and illusion, howl with the wolves, be hunted down, or he can get into the boat, and trust himself to the river. The moon will be in control either way, but in the boat, his surrender to the powers of the unconscious and the natural world will at least take him somewhere. As the artists and poets and magicians know, inspiration, visions, genius, Moon magic, are the rewards of such surrender. The Fool gets into the boat, and shoves off. As the waters sweep him away, moon beams light his "path" and he feels the Mistress of this dark land gazing down at him with the High Priestess's approving eyes.

History - By way of symbology, the Rider-Waite version is almost exactly like the old Tarot de Marseille pattern. This had the two dogs which hunting the Fool, the crab or crawfish in the foreground, and the towers on either side toward the top being potrayed as in the distance. Of course the Moon looking down from above, over the whole scene below.

Despite the resiliency of the symbolism, there have been several differ dipictions over the years. The Renaissance era brought the symbolism of the female maiden and the Moon, thus having several goddesses drawn on this card. Diana (or Artemis if you prefer Greek) was common because of the hound reference and the dogs found on the Tarot de Marseille. Considering that Artemis was a veritiable symbol for chastity, I suppose the Moon cards meaning of giving up control and let things happens as they may was a little conflicting.

I wouldn't say that is card stands for chaos, but it definitely is not a stable card. Madness would be more the term, but madness comes with pros and cons. Visions of clarity along with illusions. Genius and creative breakthroughs, in science or art, along with sidetracks and deadends. This is the veritable emotional rollercoaster ride of emotions and experience. This has to do with dreams as well, revelations along with nightmares. This is a scary card. Great things come from great emotions and passions and this is emotions in the extreme. "Following after the stigma of madness comes the freedom of profound revelation." There is something primal in this card, a letting go to let nature take its course. If there is mental instablity in the Querent, this is a time to be aware of rough times ahead. Stay the course and ride it out.

Meaning - Imagination, Losing control of daily routine, the unconscious or subconscious mind, not seeing clearly, illusions, dreams, pychic visions, fiction writing, art outlet,

Reversed - Exaggerated versions of above almost painfully so, need for secrecy, deception, illusions, blurring of reality, depression, despair, insincerity in self or others, losing oneself in daydreams.

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The Sun

Also known as
        Card Number 4, Rulership: Aries, Hebrew Letter: Heh

Story from Aeclectic Tarot - The Fool wakes at dawn from his long, restless night to find that the wild river has, at last, come to an end, quietly floating him into a serene pool. There is a walled garden around this pond dominated by roses, lilies and splendid, nodding sunflowers. Stepping ashore, he watches the Sun rise overhead, bright and golden. The day is clear. A child's laughter attracts his attention and he sees a little boy ride a small white pony into the garden.
        "Come!" says the little boy, leaping off the horse and running up to him. "Come see!" And the child proceeds to take the Fool's hand and enthusiastically point out all manner of things, the busy insects in the grass, the seeds and petals on the sunflowers, the way the light sparkles on the pond. He asks questions of the Fool, simple but profound ones, like "Why is the sky blue?" He sings songs, and plays games with the Fool.
        At one point the Fool stops, blinking up at the Sun so large and golden overhead, and he finds himself smiling, wider and brighter than he has in a very long time. Since he started on this spiritual journey, he has been tested and tried, confused and scared, dismayed and amazed. But this is the first time that he has been simply and purely happy. His mind feels illuminated, his soul light and bright as a sunbeam. Like the great Sun itself, this child with his simple questions, games and songs, has helped the Fool see the world and himself anew, to wonder at and appreciate both. "Who are you?" the Fool asks the child at last. The child smiles at this and seems to shine. And then he grows brighter and brighter until he turns into pure sunlight. "I'm You," the boy's voice says throughout the garden, "The new you." And as the words fill the Fool with warmth and energy, he comes to realize that this garden, the sun above, the child, all exist within him. He has just met his own inner light.

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Judgement

Also known as
        Card Number 4, Rulership: Aries, Hebrew Letter: Heh

Story from Aeclectic Tarot - As the Fool leaves the garden of the Sun, he feels that he is near the end of his journey, ready to take a final step. But something is keeping him from doing this, holding him back. He gazes up, hoping to find guidance from the Sun; instead he sees above him a fiery angel, beautiful and terrible.
        "You are right," the Angelic figure confirms, "you have only one last step on your journey, one final step to completion. But you cannot take that step until you lay your past to rest." The Fool is perturbed. "Lay it to rest? I thought I'd left it behind, all of it," he says. "There is no way to do that," The Angel observes. "Each step wears down the shoe just a bit, and so shapes the next step you take, and the next and the next. Your past is always under your feet. You cannot hide from it, run from it, or rid yourself of it. But you can call it up, and come to terms with it. Are you willing to do that?"
        The Angel hands the Fool a small trumpet. The Fool is hesitant, but he knows that this is a final decision. Either to go forward, or stay where he is. He blows, and the trumpet's song echoes across the sky, its vibrations seeming to crack open the Earth. From under the Fool's feet, memories rise. Images of his innocent youth, challenges, loves, failures, losses, success, disillusionment and wisdom.
        For the first time, he does not try to leave them, ignore or forget them, but accepts them. They are, he sees, nothing to fear. They happened, but they are gone now. He, alone, carries them into the present. With that understanding, the memories vanish. Though they remain in his mind, they no longer have any power over him. He is free of them, reborn, and wholly in the present.

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The World

Also known as
        Card Number 4, Rulership: Aries, Hebrew Letter: Heh

Story from Aeclectic Tarot - The Fool turns to take that final step along his final path, and finds, to his bemusement that he is right back where he started, at the edge of that very same cliff he almost stepped over when he was young and too foolish to look where he was going. But now he sees his position very differently. He thought he could separate body and mind, learn all about one, then leave it to learn about the other. But in the end, it is all about self, mind and body, past and future, the individual, and the world. All one. As above, so below, and all opposites are each other, including the Fool and the Mystic who are both doorways to the secrets of the universe. With a knowing smile, the Fool takes that final step right off the cliff...and soars. Higher and higher, until the whole of the world is his to see. And there he dances, surrounded by a yoni of stars, one with the universe. Ending, in a sense, where he began, beginning again at the end. The world turns, and the Fool's journey is complete.

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The Coins


Ace of Coins


Coins or Pentacles are representive of Earth. This means that they represent the body and the physical. Commonly known for representing health and money, but is can be known for those things that are "down to earth", work, a job, a task, a craft. Consider that this is the most solid or real of all of the suits, I do find it ironic that it also is known as the suit of luck.

Two of Coins


Coins or Pentacles are representive of Earth. This means that they represent the body and the physical. Commonly known for representing health and money, but is can be known for those things that are "down to earth", work, a job, a task, a craft. Consider that this is the most solid or real of all of the suits, I do find it ironic that it also is known as the suit of luck.


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Three of Coins


Coins or Pentacles are representive of Earth. This means that they represent the body and the physical. Commonly known for representing health and money, but is can be known for those things that are "down to earth", work, a job, a task, a craft. Consider that this is the most solid or real of all of the suits, I do find it ironic that it also is known as the suit of luck.


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Four of Coins


Coins or Pentacles are representive of Earth. This means that they represent the body and the physical. Commonly known for representing health and money, but is can be known for those things that are "down to earth", work, a job, a task, a craft. Consider that this is the most solid or real of all of the suits, I do find it ironic that it also is known as the suit of luck.


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Five of Coins


Coins or Pentacles are representive of Earth. This means that they represent the body and the physical. Commonly known for representing health and money, but is can be known for those things that are "down to earth", work, a job, a task, a craft. Consider that this is the most solid or real of all of the suits, I do find it ironic that it also is known as the suit of luck.


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Six of Coins


Coins or Pentacles are representive of Earth. This means that they represent the body and the physical. Commonly known for representing health and money, but is can be known for those things that are "down to earth", work, a job, a task, a craft. Consider that this is the most solid or real of all of the suits, I do find it ironic that it also is known as the suit of luck.


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Seven of Coins


Coins or Pentacles are representive of Earth. This means that they represent the body and the physical. Commonly known for representing health and money, but is can be known for those things that are "down to earth", work, a job, a task, a craft. Consider that this is the most solid or real of all of the suits, I do find it ironic that it also is known as the suit of luck.


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Eight of Coins


Coins or Pentacles are representive of Earth. This means that they represent the body and the physical. Commonly known for representing health and money, but is can be known for those things that are "down to earth", work, a job, a task, a craft. Consider that this is the most solid or real of all of the suits, I do find it ironic that it also is known as the suit of luck.


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Nine of Coins


Coins or Pentacles are representive of Earth. This means that they represent the body and the physical. Commonly known for representing health and money, but is can be known for those things that are "down to earth", work, a job, a task, a craft. Consider that this is the most solid or real of all of the suits, I do find it ironic that it also is known as the suit of luck.


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Ten of Coins


Coins or Pentacles are representive of Earth. This means that they represent the body and the physical. Commonly known for representing health and money, but is can be known for those things that are "down to earth", work, a job, a task, a craft. Consider that this is the most solid or real of all of the suits, I do find it ironic that it also is known as the suit of luck.


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Page of Coins


Coins or Pentacles are representive of Earth. This means that they represent the body and the physical. Commonly known for representing health and money, but is can be known for those things that are "down to earth", work, a job, a task, a craft. Consider that this is the most solid or real of all of the suits, I do find it ironic that it also is known as the suit of luck.


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Knight of Coins


Coins or Pentacles are representive of Earth. This means that they represent the body and the physical. Commonly known for representing health and money, but is can be known for those things that are "down to earth", work, a job, a task, a craft. Consider that this is the most solid or real of all of the suits, I do find it ironic that it also is known as the suit of luck.


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Queen of Coins


Coins or Pentacles are representive of Earth. This means that they represent the body and the physical. Commonly known for representing health and money, but is can be known for those things that are "down to earth", work, a job, a task, a craft. Consider that this is the most solid or real of all of the suits, I do find it ironic that it also is known as the suit of luck.


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King of Coins


Coins or Pentacles are representive of Earth. This means that they represent the body and the physical. Commonly known for representing health and money, but is can be known for those things that are "down to earth", work, a job, a task, a craft. Consider that this is the most solid or real of all of the suits, I do find it ironic that it also is known as the suit of luck.


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The Cups


Ace of Cups


Cups the suit of water. It represents the emotions. It is common that this suit will in some way reprent the Querent's (the person asking for the reading) love life. Extremes in emotion will makes its appearance in this suit as well, elation, depression or euphoria. There are repercussions that come with those emotions, like over-indulgence in food, drink, drugs as well as art, poetry or music. Also, psychic powers, visions, illusions. These are feelings that you surrender to, that you flow or sink into.


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Two of Cups



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Three of Cups



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Four of Cups



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Five of Cups



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Six of Cups



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Seven of Cups



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Eight of Cups



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Nine of Cups



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Ten of Cups



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Page of Cups



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Knight of Cups



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Queen of Cups



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King of Cups



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The Swords


Ace of Swords



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Two of Swords



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Three of Swords



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Four of Swords



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Five of Swords



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Six of Swords



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Seven of Swords



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Eight of Swords



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Nine of Swords



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Ten of Swords



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Page of Swords



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Knight of Swords



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Queen of Swords



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King of Swords



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The Wands


Ace of Wands



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Two of Wands



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Three of Wands



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Four of Wands



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Five of Wands



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Six of Wands



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Seven of Wands



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Eight of Wands



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Nine of Wands



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Ten of Wands



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Page of Wands



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Knight of Wands



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Queen of Wands



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King of Wands



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