At first blush, today’s tarot cards suggest the balance between authority and compassion or maybe something to do with polarity but there seemed to be more to look at so I added three more cards to give some additional clarity. And now, instead of two cards from the Major Arcana, I have four to contend with along with an intuitive Queen and what looks like a painful ending. Swords and Cups are the suits with Air and Water influencing and the overall numerology is eleven or the Master number for illumination and our connection to Source.
I initially began with three cards to look at general influences and then added two for receptive and projective influences with a final card representing the outcome. The Emperor, Justice, and the Queen of Cups comprise the general influences for today, with Death as the receptive or feminine aspect, and the 10 of Swords the projective or masculine aspect influencing. The Moon finishes out the reading in the outcome position.
When multiple cards from the Major Arcana are present it indicates that soul-level or archetypal energies are in play and with four cards present, it’s a sign to sit up and take notice. Beginning with The Emperor we see a king sitting on a throne with a scepter in his right hand and a golden orb in his left. He wears a jeweled crown atop his long silver hair, his beard long and silver as well. Rams heads adorn the front of his throne with curled horns at its top signifying power and strength. Shades of orange and yellow are in the background depicting vitality.
The Emperor, card 4 in the Major Arcana, represents leadership and structure along with authority and masculine power. He seems lost in thought, his attention toward the past and he doesn’t appear happy, his eyes showing concern or worry. If The Empress was placed to his right, we could interpret his glance as looking at her, but since this is the first card in the spread, we really don’t know if he’s looking at or thinking about something or someone.
Justice, the eleventh card of the Major Arcana is next depicted by a crowned woman sitting on a chair in front of a royal purple backdrop positioned between two pillars. Lady Justice holds an upright sword in her right hand and balanced scales in her left. She wears a red robe with green trim and a green hood. Bright yellow representing the Sun shines above her head illuminating the sky above. Balance, alignment, and legal action or decisions are among the traditional interpretations of this card.
The last card of the initial general influences is the Queen of Cups. The Queen sits on a white throne adorned by tiny merfolk holding a large ornate golden chalice in her hands. Her dress is white covered by a blue and white striped cloak. She sits next to the water, her feet placed on the rounded stones below her. The Queen of Cups is loving and patient, a healer and a natural witch. Her intuition is strong yet she can have difficulty setting boundaries with those closest to her. The Queen observes and reflects on the world around her.
The next level of the spread deals with receptive and projective influences. On the left sits Death dressed in blackened armor riding through life’s most difficult moment on his white steed. The King appears to be dead, his crown overturned on the ground next to his body. A young child kneels before Death holding fast to her saddened mother’s hand while the priest in a golden robe prays, his hands raised in supplication. A river flows in the distance, a boat propelled along by the wind against its sail. The Sun rises in all its brilliance between two towers in the distance. In the position of receptive influence, we’re to allow transformation and rebirth to happen as we move away from what no longer serves into new experiences and opportunity.
Projective or masculine influences are depicted by the 10 of Swords as ten swords pierce the backside of a man as he lay dead on the ground. A large body of water extends toward a mountain range as the Sun breaks through the darkness. We’ve reached the end of illusion and we need to move past whatever it is that we’re experiencing. Much is happening behind the scenes and we cannot ignore intuition or instincts now. The dark night giving way to the light tells us that it’s darkest before the dawn, so we’re to stay strong and stand in our own power.
Illusion and deception are depicted in The Moon in the outcome position of the reading. The face of The Moon looks down at the two barking dogs, somewhat annoyed at their noisy antics. A purple lobster emerges from the water’s edge onto a path that winds up to the mountains in the distance. Two gray towers appear in the distance representing structure and stability. The lobster itself represents the revelation of what’s hidden and reminds us to pay attention to our intuition and dreams, allowing our Higher Self to guide our path forward. The Moon also asks us to face the shadow side of self, challenging us to face our fears so that we’re not controlled by them.
The reading is asking us to find a balance between asserting ourselves and allowing events to unfold without our interference. I can say that as an empath, I need to allow more and engage less so for me the balance would be weighted more heavily on the receptive side of self. But then there’s also power in allowing, a power that is just as strong as when standing our ground so perhaps it’s not an either/or choice that we make after all.
The Hermetic Principle of Polarity defines duality as existing along a continuum of sorts and that either end is merely a reflection of the other and only different in degree. In other words, instead of viewing dark as the opposite of light, see it as one-half of the same concept or essence. Rather than seeing a distinction between the two, perhaps we should experience the Self as more fluid in nature allowing the Self to seek its own balance by acknowledging our polarity within, allowing either our receptive or projective polarity to emerge when necessary.
Rather than conflict with others, the 10 of Swords might also be telling us that the conflict or fear we’re experiencing is within and that the illumination gained when allowing events to unfold irrespective of their outcomes may be the most powerful choice of all.