Tarot Pairs: The Ace of Cups Reversed and the Star Reversed

Ace of Cups Reversed

When the Ace of Cups and the Star show up reversed together in a reading, it is a strong indication that the querant is going through an emotionally challenging phase of their life. There may be a feeling of being stuck in a rut of loneliness, spiritual and emotional lack of fulfilment, disillusionment, negativity, and an overall pessimism that these feelings will ever change. It can be a heavy feeling, and working to change it can feel like the old cliché about dragging yourself uphill through molasses in the middle of winter. The good news is that you can change this. The bad news is that it’s up to you to change this.

I’m not saying that you put yourself in this position, although that’s possible. The Ace of Cups can indicate that you are having a hard time connecting to love, and maybe that’s because you’ve been hurt in the past. On the other hand, maybe you keep falling for the wrong type of person, someone who is no good for you. The relationship seems promising at first despite the red flags, but eventually the cup gets tipped over and goes down the drain. You might be looking for someone to “complete” you, but The Star reversed can indicate that what you really need to focus on is loving yourself, feeling complete and integrated in yourself to break this pattern.

If you are having trouble connecting to your spirituality, it may be that you feel that you have external influences that have you convinced you need to behave in a certain way to please others, which can make you want to push any spiritual beliefs or practices into the broom closet just to conform to what others think. There is a lack of confidence implied by these two cards together that can feed into that feeling of remaining hidden. On the other hand, maybe you don’t feel like you’re making enough progress, or making it fast enough, and you feel let down by this. Are you expecting too much too soon? Or should you try different approach, mix it up a bit to see what happens? Trying to force a feeling never works, but playing with the energy of your feelings might get things flowing again. Don’t let the Star make you feel afraid to experiment.

In a work-related reading, this message is similar. You might feel stuck in a career that has ceased to fulfil you, but you feel unable to go in a different direction because it pays the bills and people are counting on you. I’m not advising you to throw caution to the wind here, but maybe challenge your beliefs a little and see whether there is some other way to make a living that gives you more of a feeling of satisfaction. It’s possible you have a fear of trying something new because you might fail. How do you really know unless you try?

The Star reversed reinforces these themes of negativity, pessimism and fear as well as lack of self love. There can be an overwhelming feeling of being uninspired and blocked from the flow of love, spirituality and hope.

When cards come up reversed, it can be an indication that there are lessons from the previous card that you need to learn. In the case of the Ace of Cups, this being the beginning of the cycle, you might want to go back to the Ten of Cups and ask yourself what truly makes you happy. With the Star, you might want to go back to the previous card, the Tower, and see whether there something you are clinging to from the past that is getting in the way of your happiness? Are there patterns or beliefs that you know should crumble and fall away but you haven’t yet managed to shake them? By answering these questions honestly, you may be able to extract yourself from the emotional quagmire of the Ace of Cups and the Star both being reversed.

Tarot Pairs: The Hierophant and the Six of Wands Reversed

The Hierophant can represent conformity, structured, formalized education, organized religion or a combination of any or all of them. It can also represent a person or an institution that displays those characteristics, not necessarily a religious one but, for example, a university or organization where the leaders have a deep-rooted belief in their structure and approach towards their mission, and one has to adhere to their rules to gain and retain admission. Looking at the card in the RWS deck, there are parallels between the Hierophant and the High-Priestess—both sit between two pillars of their temple like a gateway to what lies beyond. You need to get their blessing to be admitted.

The Six of Wands is about success, leadership, and being acknowledged for your achievements. Reversed, it is more probable that this card is referring to someone who is not much of a leader, and not very successful.

Which brings me to a reading I did for myself the other day in which these two came up together—the Hierophant as what I need to know for that day, and the Six of Wands reversed as the possible outcome. As it happened, I had a job interview scheduled for later in the day. I looked at these cards and thought, “I’m not being hired for this job.” I was perhaps being too pessimistic, one of the hazards of reading for yourself, but I had become used to disappointment since my last contract ended and this seemed to be a fairly clear message, or so I thought.

So I “go” to the interview, online, and meet the Hierophant who seems to be a jovial and benign character, not out of line with the card that represented him in my reading. He’s not the Emperor after all, and he’s quite satisfied in his world. As it happens, this was a position with the internal education department (more Hierophant vibes) for a major technology company that has many large customers in a niche market. I knew I didn’t tick all the boxes for the job description requirements. I discussed that with the hiring manager at least twice. (they reached out to me based on my CV). The answer I got was basically, “Don’t worry about it.”

I discussed this during the interview with the Hierophant, as well as other work-related things. But a significant amount of time was spent talking about who I was as a person. The focus seemed to be on whether I would fit in with my prospective colleagues more than whether I was a worthy candidate work-wise, which seemed to be a forgone conclusion based on my CV. The interview went well and ended with me being pushed forward to go to the next phase of the hiring process. I got past the Hierophant after all.

So was the Six of Wands reversed wrong? No, because in my pessimism earlier in the day I completely ignored that this card reversed can also indicate success delayed, not just outright failure. That absolutely fits with what happened. You see, I was first contacted by this company in May, then never heard from them again until October. By the Hierophant’s own admission, the company moves slowly. That already makes this the longest candidacy for a role I’ve been through. And the next phase where I meet with a couple of other people to further discuss my technical knowledge will happen….in a couple of weeks. And then, sometime in the future beyond that will be a writing assessment to prove I can actually write, par for the course with these things.

So I suppose today’s message is, when you see cards that seem to be delivering bad news, don’t just jump to the worst-case scenario. Be open to other possibilities. Being in a hiring process that takes half a year or more to complete isn’t brilliant news, but it’s better than a “no”.

Tarot Pairs: Page of Wands and Seven of Pentacles

Page of Wands Seven of Pentacles

The Page of Wands is all about youthful energy, creativity and passion. By youthful I mean fired up in a way that one can be when starting new projects, for example artistic endeavours, hobbies, work projects or home renovation. This energy can be a great advantage to you for starting a project. However, the Page of Wands has a tendency to get bored easily, and flit from one thing to another, more youthful traits. So that energy for starting a project might wane a bit when it comes to following through with a project, especially when it comes to all the boring bits of actually completing the job once the brainstorming is done. Coming up with exciting new ideas is fun. Finishing up all that boring paperwork – not so much. Especially when there are new ideas to get excited about. That previous idea I had, that was so ten seconds ago (depending on how long it took to read this paragraph).

And then along comes the Seven of Pentacles with another point of view. Here is somebody who has not only started a project, quite possibly with the help of the Page of Wands, but has also followed through to a point where they’ve gotten some traction and seen some results. But there is still plenty of work to be done. The garden is planted and the fruit is ripening, metaphorically speaking, but there is still all that weeding, harvesting, marketing, distribution and so on.

“Booooorrrr-rrriiiingggg!!!”, says the Page of Wands. And in fact the Seven of Pentacles, if not bored, might be feeling a bit weary at this point, taking a breather, leaning on the hoe gazing down at all those ripening Pentacles that are still demanding time and attention even after the effort that has already been put in.

If only we could get these two to work together, to put some discipline on the Page of Wands and renew the energy of the Seven of Pentacles, which is one possible message when these two come up together in a reading. Sure, the pentacle here may be yearning for the excitement of starting something new, which could be making their current project feel even more like drudgery, and the Page of Wands could be luring them away from their garden to let the weeds grow and the fruit rot on the vine. But wouldn’t it be better if the Seven of Pentacles could find a way to channel that page of Wands energy into what they’ve already started, to find renewed interest in the next phase of the project and energize them to be excited about completing the task at hand. Easier said than done perhaps, but well worth pursuing if you want to accomplish your goals as opposed to flying through ideas that never manifest.

On the other hand, depending on the other cards and your intuition, the Page might be asking the Seven of Pentacles to evaluate whether their project is working out for them, or if maybe there is a new direction that might be more fruitful, so to speak. Perhaps not, considering both cards are in their upright position, but you might want to take an honest look and weigh the pros and cons while being informed, but not distracted by the Page of Wands.

If these cards come up in a relationship reading, someone (you or a significant other) could be longing for, or tempted by a new relationship, or maybe even a life change,  that is fresh and exciting, which could be causing them to re-evaluate a stable, long-term relationship. Do you (or the other person) really want to give up what seems to be a good solid relationship, even if you have to work at it (are there relationships you don’t have to work at their?) for someone you might be temporarily crushing on? No, really, that’s for you to decide. It’s your life. I’m not going to judge.

Tarot Pairs: Eight of Pentacles Reversed and Two of Swords

The Eight of Pentacles is all about mastering your craft, often about work, but really anything related to the material, such as financial matters or health. So when this card reverses it can signify that something is amiss in this area. When the two of swords comes up with it, this can indicate that it is time to consider and decide what to do about it, perhaps before a decision is made for you.

It could be that this person is working at a job or trade that you’re just not that into and this is showing up in the quality of their work. Or maybe they’re just not the kind of person who cares all that much about what they are producing. Maybe they don’t care about the work at all and it’s all about the end result—the money, the house(s), the car, etc.

On the other hand, maybe they are in a position they were once inspired by, but have become burnt out or disenchanted with the work over time. In any of these cases case, the Two of Swords might be advising them to consider whether they should be doing something else, or at least find a way to motivate themselves. They might be in denial about this and they might have got away with it up ’til now, but that won’t last forever, and it won’t lead to any lasting success.

The Eight of Pentacles reversed can sometimes indicate a creative block or a lack of focus. That person might be going through a slump and the inspiration isn’t flowing. Sometimes people get into the habit of being busy and having to trudge on regardless—the job has to be finished, the art work delivered, the score arranged by the deadline. In that case, the Two of Swords could be advising them to take a step back and reflect on what it is they are trying to accomplish, then consider if there is a better way to go about it. It’s time to listen to that quiet voice within instead of drowning it out with the ever-turning grindstone.

If someone is having trouble finding work, the Two of Swords could be indicating that they are at a crossroads where maybe they need to choose a different direction. It could be that they need to retrain or acquire additional skills or qualifications because their chosen field has moved on with the times. Having worked in the technology sector for quite some time, I can tell you that this is a never-ending process. It could be that their line of work is becoming obsolete, and they need to find a new area to pursue.

The Eight of Pentacles can sometimes shine a light on someone having unrealized talents and abilities. “I’d like to (write a novel/start my own restaurant/become a professional musician, etc.) but I don’t have the time.” In that case, the Two of Swords indicates that they should try to find the time, because they have the ability to succeed. It also indicates that this could be a challenge, perhaps because they are already financially comfortable where they are, even if they aren’t fulfilled, and there are going to be considerations about keeping their family, or even just themselves, in a manor to which they have become accustomed until the new career is established. Not to mention the push back from friends and neighbours if the local solicitor, for example, rocks up teaching a yoga class one day. It will challenge their perceptions, which could be a negative pushback. But who are they making this change for, themselves or their neighbourhood critics?

It’s also worth considering that, because pentacles are about the material, this card could be related to a person’s physical health, which may have been neglected. In such a case, the Two of Swords is warning against turning a blind eye to what your body is telling you. Stop and listen to it, and seek professional medical help it seems appropriate.

As always, the interpretation of these two cards is going to depend on the question, any other cards around them, and any insight or intuition you might have during the reading.

Tarot Pairs: Six of Cups Reversed and Four of Pentacles

When you see the Six of Cups and the Four of Pentacles together, there is a good chance that someone is holding on to the past. With the Six of Cups reversed, that past probably has too much of a hold over them, and might even include trauma experienced in a family situation or a relationship, which could include abuse, neglect, instability or insecurity. As a result, that person could have difficulty letting go as well as being closed off to new experiences.

The Six of cups has a child-like energy to it. It speaks of innocence, security, feeling loved and protected, maybe even a love relationship of the seemingly fairytale variety. It is just as likely that you are experiencing this energy as happy memories.

So what happens when the Six of Cups is inverted and that energy becomes blocked or distorted in some way? It could be that you are simply stuck in the past, longing for the days when you were carefree and innocent like a child. Adulting can have it’s downside, and even people who are good at it wouldn’t mind taking a break from it once in a while. Oh, to have nothing more to worry about than homework, have your dinner made for you, and be tucked into bed at night. Recalling those days is fine, dwelling on them could get a bit depressing for some people.

On the other hand, there could be something darker going on here. Maybe there was an abusive parent, or a lack of security in the home—instability either in a living situation or a parental relationship, apathy, or abuse for example. Maybe the reason that person is stuck in the past is because of childhood trauma that has stuck with them into their adult life. Or, if this card is part of a reading about a past relationship, maybe the fairytale was more of a nightmare behind closed doors.

The Four of Pentacles reinforces this inability to let go of the past. Not only that, but there is a wall of defence around this person—they are not going to let themselves be hurt again. Sure, they are protected, rooted in the material, safe in their own world, but they are closed off from everything else. The Symbolism of the RWS Four of Pentacles couldn’t be more obvious—one coin blocking the heart chakra, another blocking the crown chakra, and one for each foot, blocking the connection to earth. Most of these coins are held as tightly as possible—this security is not getting away from me! But what is the cost? Life is to be experienced, and it is at it’s best when we can be open and vulnerable with each other. These cards together can indicate that there is some serious healing to be done in order to get to that openness.

I recently did a reading where the Six of Cups reversed came up as the root of the situation, and the Four of Pentacles came up as an action card. Why would someone be advised to take up the energy of the Four of Pentacles? Perhaps because the Four of Pentacles also speaks of setting boundaries. So maybe the energy of the Six of Cups reversed is still very much active—it’s hard to heal while you’re still in the midst of whatever you need to heal from, even when what you’re experiencing is more memory than events transpiring in real time. In this case, the Four of Pentacles might be advising that person that they do need to put up a wall around themselves, at least for the short term, in order to get stop feeling all that negativity from the Six of Cups reversed. There’s a bit of yin and yang going on here, because the Four of Pentacles is about holding on to things too. Letting go of past pain is easier said than done. Well of course it is. But remember that the minor arcana cards are about transient energy. Do what you need to do for now. This too shall pass, though you may need to put in the work to put the past in the past.

Daily Draw: The Sun Reversed

The Sun reversed

The Sun is such a positive card of energy, vitality, happiness and success that when it is reversed the energy is more diminished than blocked or twisted. There may be clouds blocking the Sun, but it is still there trying to shine down on you. Maybe there is something overshadowing this energy for you. Maybe you can’t see how wonderful life is because there is some temporary setback weighing on your mind or playing with your emotions. Maybe you’re feeling a bit blocked from the flow of life, even though that flow is still there waiting for you. Maybe you’re a little too focussed on what people want or need from you and not focussed enough on what you want or need. Maybe you’re not using your own unique talents and gifts to their full potential.

Today this card is showing up for me in a few ways. For example, my vitality is a bit blocked by the son. That wasn’t a typo. We have an autistic child who, on occasion, has issues with normative sleep patterns, and so it was that I sat with him until he finally drifted off at 2:30 AM. And even though I’m having a pretty good day, I’m feeling a little rough around the edges as a result.

Then there is the fact that we have to move house within the next six months because the owner is selling up. This came up towards the end of last week, but it’s really just sinking in. Few things can cloud over the sun like moving house. Yes, it brings up potential and possibilities, and a fresh start in a new place. It is also a major pain in the butt, especially when you are talking about moving a family of six. The two of Swords reversed also came up in my morning reading as how I would feel about the energy of the day. And for me that reinforces not only having reality set in about moving, but also the possibility of being overwhelmed by it, at least from an emotional and/or mental perspective. But the Sun says, “Be positive. Roll with it. This, too, is temporary and it will all work out in the end, if not today.”

It’s probably worth saying that the Sun reversed makes a pretty good weather forecast for today, as it has been raining here off and on, with the sun trying to break through but never quite succeeding until now, for as I write this I can see it shining out the window for the first time today. And now it’s getting dull again, but at least the sun let me know it was there. And I know it will be back in full force before long.

Tarot Pairs: the Tower and the Star

No one wants to see the Tower come up in their reading, but if it does the Star is a wonderful card to follow it.

The Tower indicates the end of a pattern, situation, or way of life that is coming to a drastic end. For example, it could refer to a job that you’re fed up with but feel like you’re stuck with, a relationship that has been deteriorating for some time, or a nicotine habit that you just can’t, or don’t want to break. In your heart, you know that it’s an unhealthy situation, but it’s what you are used to, and leaving it might represent leaving your comfort zone. Making drastic changes can be daunting. Sleepwalking through life is much easier.

Then suddenly lightning strikes the Tower—you lose the job, have an irrevocable blow-up with your significant other, or get a bad diagnosis from the doctor. It hits you hard. You probably didn’t expect it, even though you might realize you should have. When the Tower comes up, you’ve probably played your part in it being there, even if you’ve contributed little more than complacency and inertia.

The energy of the Tower is often natures alarm clock, and waking up can be a shock. “This isn’t the dream I was having. The floor is cold and I’m still groggy. Where’s the snooze button?” The Tower has no snooze button and waking up to it can make you feel like the world is crumbling around you, and that can feel devastating.

This is where the Star comes in, and why it offsets the Tower so well. The Star speaks of hope, inspiration, healing, and an open spirit. It indicates that, no matter how drastic the changes represented by the Tower, that energy will pass, and that you will be shaken, but not scarred. It can mean mean that you can see an opportunity to change things that weren’t working out, and you have a positive attitude towards doing so. Maybe you already know what changes you want to make. Maybe the lightning strike of the Tower has provided a eureka moment and where you once saw nothing beyond your current situation you can now see the path ahead clearly. The Star is the silver lining around the storm cloud.

It’s worth pointing out that the Star immediately follows the Tower in the major arcana, so these two cards coming together form a natural progression. All is well, even if it temporarily appears that isn’t the case. This is just one more stage you need to pass through, and there are brighter days ahead.

Tarot Pairs: Five of Swords, The Lovers Reversed

The pairing of the Five of Swords and the Lovers reversed is an unwelcome sight in a relationship thread, unless you’re looking for confirmation that the relationship is off the rails, and in that case you probably already know that. Of course, Tarot is a great tool for telling you what you probably already know, but it does help you focus.

The Five of Swords is somebody who’s main interest is themselves, and they don’t mind looking out for themselves by any means necessary, even if it means being a little (or a lot) underhanded to succeed. And if you get hurt in the process, hey, that’s life. Along with this comes discord, naturally enough, another possible meaning for this card.

When you pair the Five of Swords with the Lovers reversed, you see the domain in which this self-interest is acted out, because the Lovers reversed can indicate a fear, or lack of desire for commitment and intimacy, communication problems, and an unwillingness to meet their partner halfway. This could play out as obviously as someone who is cheating on you. Alternatively it can indicate that someone might not be emotionally available. Or maybe you feel like someone is not as candid with you as they should be, which makes sense since the Five of Swords often has a secret they don’t want to let you in on. You might feel underappreciated by this person because they don’t value you enough to take your wants and needs into consideration. If you don’t want to go along with what the Five of Swords wants, then they’ll be just as happy to go along without you. All of which ties into another possible meaning for the Lovers reversed—a dysfunctional relationship.

Of course, this doesn’t have to represent a romantic relationship. Maybe your business partner is telling porkies, or your real estate agent forgot to tell you about the temporarily covered sink hole in the back garden of that house you like, for example.

If none of this resonates with you when you see these cards, then consider the possibility that the Lovers reversed is pointing out either a bad decision or a reluctance to make any decision. Especially with the former, the Five of Swords might have a negative impact on decision making due to the underhanded way of operating, perhaps trying to get away with something they know that they should not. Which usually isn’t a problem for the Five of Swords…unless they get caught of course. So if you’re thinking about writing off luxury items as business expenses, for example, or trying to pass off someone else’s work as your own in the office this might be a warning against doing so. Five is the number of change, and Swords can represent justice, so what seems like a good idea at the moment might not end up being one.

Daily Draw: Four of Swords

The Four of Swords is the first image I encountered from the Tarot deck, and it sold me on the deck immediately. A woman reclines, sublimely relaxed, in a bubble bath. One shoe still on as though she didn’t want to take the time to fully disrobe to get into that relaxed state. Likewise, one sword lays on the ground implying she didn’t want to take the time to properly stack them all—she needed to submerge herself NOW. Her red hair flows out from her head like water against violet clouds as her mind relaxes. Candles enhance the mood.

Compare this image to the corresponding card in the Rider-Waite-Coleman deck. The RWS card shows the tomb of a soldier who is laid in rest. The predominant tone is grey and dark, where in the Bonefire deck the colours are warm and bright. The theme is rest, recuperation, contemplation, and meditation in both cards, but the Bonefire version makes it look that much more inviting.

This card can come up when you need some serious self care. There may have been a period of struggle that has worn you down. It could be as obvious as a physical battle, but it could also be any conflict that has worn you out or frazzled your brain, like a lawsuit for example, a bad break-up, or a work-related conflict that didn’t go well. The preceding card in the suit is the Three of Swords, harbinger of pain and misery, so this is the calm after that.

The Four of Swords doesn’t imply that the struggle is over. This is more like the calm of the storm. There is probably more conflict to come. Therefore, this is the time to get some sleep, eat well, and recover from whatever has been affecting you because you need all that. It’s also a time to reflect on what has happened, think about what you are going to do about it, and plan your strategy for success. Think about all this, but don’t stress about it. For now, it’s time to rest.

The Tower as a Major Seven

The full moon this past week had a more negative impact for me than any I can recall in my recent personal history, resulting in an unexpected upheaval. I was in the late stages of a protracted interview process for a senior role in two separate companies and things were going well. In both I was one of two finalists, and a heavy favourite in one of them. Then Uranus, in opposition to the moon, decided to throw a spanner in the works with a twist worthy of “Tales of the Unexpected” —not only did I not win either role, nobody won either role. Both companies decided to change job requirements and go back to the drawing board. Yikes!

I won’t go into the details of how much time and energy I put into all this, or the knock on effect of having to go back to the drawing board myself, and under a bit more financial pressure this time. But I will say that one of the first things I did after putting down the phone from the second rejection was to lay out a celtic cross spread of what the next month was going to look like for me. In retrospect it might not have been the best idea to launch into this reading on the heels of that fresh energy of frustration, rejection and futility, but nevermind.

Without going into the whole reading, I will tell you that I drew three out of four sevens (no cups) in the minor arcana. Challenges and obstacles to overcome indeed. And just to the right of it all, in the immediate future/concerns slot was the Tower.

The Tower is probably the card one least wants to see under any circumstances, especially when one is contemplating when and where they’ll see their next paycheque. The Tower warns of impending upheaval, crises, inescapable disruption of life as one knows it. So not part of the comfort zone then.

Seeing this card in my immediate future was unsettling, to put it mildly. And then I was reminded that 16, the number of the Tower, reduces to seven. A fourth seven, in this reading. A great big honking seven, but still a seven. Staying upright while the rug is pulled out from beneath you definitely falls into the challenges and obstacles category.

The Tower usually doesn’t come up unless there is a good reason for it, and as harsh as it is, it is not only usually for your own good, but you caused it to come up in some way. You’ve willed it into being by being complacent in a situation you know you should get out of, or you’re letting things slide and not taking care of business, or you’ve been propping yourself up on a shaky foundation, for example. Eventually something’s got to give. If you don’t rise to the challenge of the hints and red flags that you may have ignored, the Tower makes sure you learn the hard way.

The Tower can also mean revelation. In this case, it’s possible both of the roles I was going for were beginning to look like more trouble than they were worth—one company didn’t seem to quite know what they wanted, with an ever-changing the job spec, and the other company was beginning to look quite toxic. But I need the work and I’ll just suck it up right? Guess not, says the Tower, time to reassess and find the path you should be on, not the one you think you should be on, or that is expected of you by others. And while I’m concerned that the fallout from all this might make it tough going for the next while, at least the only pentacle that came up in the next reading was the seven, as a possible outcome. That I can handle.