Minor Arcana Pips

THIRD EDITION

THE REVELATION

The RWS equivalent to Scepters is Wands; Chalices is Cups; Swords is Swords; and Orbs is Pentacles. In the Thoth, the equivalents are Scepters to Wands; Chalices to Cups; Swords to Swords; and Orbs to Disks.

SKT RWS Thoth
Scepters Wands Wands
Chalices Cups Cups
Swords Swords Swords
Orbs Pentacles Disks

Hallowed Flame. Ace of Scepters: A switch inside you has turned on your creativity, productivity, and ingenuity. Fire is alchemizing in your world, materializing as a creative project, an innovative new venture, a birth, entrepreneurship, or the spark of inspiration for a passion project. This is also a new direction in career development. This is the Awakening stage of your Path. New knowledge is attained. Divine Reason is the light in your eyes. Take the necessary beginning steps to transform a dream into your reality. Start a new journey and a new chapter of opportunities will unfold.

Holy Grail. Ace of Chalices: The Ace of Chalices is an omen of peace—you will find peace and Love. This signifies energies of beneficence, charity, grace, and the pursuit of that which fulfills the heart. Your soul will be purified by what is to come. What fills you will wash away past hurt. The seed to an opportunity or offering that will be your Holy Grail has been sown. What will be coming into your life emanates with profound Beauty.

Sacred Word. Ace of Swords: A crowning achievement will be realized. You are a warrior philosopher destined for greatness. Sacred Word, or verbalized intentions, become your reality—your words become the truth that become reality. Air is alchemizing in your world, creating intellectual achievements or social advancement. If you take up the sword to fight, to work, to invest the effort and toil, then victory will be yours. You conquer others when you conquer yourself. When the Ace of Swords is dignified, high achievement and holding power is prophesied. Ill-dignified, who was on top will fall, the incumbent defeated, and a new power will rise—the challenger wins.

Bread of Life. Ace of Orbs: A Hand of Spirit, the color of verdant earth, presents an emerald orb to a praying Mariam, wife of Joseph the craftsman (tekton), mother of Jesus of Nazareth. What is to come will feed the many. Earth is alchemizing in your world, materializing as an investment that yields fruition. You are about to receive that which shall nourish you spiritually and also bring you a sense of worldly prosperity. What has been in gestation will bear a great fruit. Featured here is the SATOR acrostic. 18th and 19th century texts describe the SATOR acrostic as a charmed tablet that wards against physical harms, everything from rabid dogs to toothaches. The earliest mention of this magical square was in a 12th century codex we identify as Manuscript Digby 53. Texts in the 15th century say it protects against black magic and even attracts love.

The top left corner of each Ace features its elemental association. The top right corner gives one of the four key personal sensitive points (Asc: ascendant; Ic: imum coeli; Dsc: descendant; Mc: medium coeli). The center gives the sacred relic.

The Discerning One. Two of Scepters: Determine your boundaries and define the scope of your own dominion. This is a moment for you to map out your ambition. Exercise discernment before you proceed any further on this path you’ve chosen. Look out to the horizon and ascertain whether this is the sea you want to embark from. Decide: do you want the kingdom or do you want an empire? To achieve greatness, venture far from what you once knew. You will surpass the past and triumph when you choose courage to tread the unknown. The divinity featured in the upper third to the left is Guan Yu (or Guan Gong), the Taoist-Buddhist god of war, martial arts, and military strategy.

The Joined One. Two of Chalices: The Joined One speaks of an outer accord that also becomes an inner accord. This is emotional and spiritual fulfillment, the spirit of two becoming one, and an omen of Perfected Love, love in all its divine forms. Abyssus abyssum invocat: sea calls to sea, or the depths of me calls out to the depths of you. Do not neglect the relationships you cherish. When you are a blessing to others, blessings will come your way. Hold up agape Love as the highest virtue and you will be fulfilled.

The Blind Seer. Two of Swords: The Blind Seer helps us navigate the stalemate between the Ego and the Self. The twin swords, or twin paths, form the cross that you bear. You have yet to attain the realization you need to make an intelligent, reasoned decision. So take the time to look inward. Arrive at an inner peace and restore a sense of calm before you proceed any further. One of the Seer’s swords is pointing toward the Lighthouse of Alexandria while the other points to a marble statue of Horus, the falcon-headed sky god of sovereignty. The esoteric thesis of the Two of Swords: when faced with an impossible choice between two ways, the best course to take is always the third.

The Tension. Two of Orbs: Past suffering sires future opportunity. Work harder and double down—shoulder more commitments and steer your ship through the rough tides. Carpe noctem: work at your dreams late into the night, harder than everybody else, and the gods will reward you for your dedication. Pictured here is Ala, an Alusi of the earth and the underworld from the Odinani or Igbo pantheon. The python comes as her messenger. This is prognostication of a pivot, one with financial implications. Exercise pragmatism in money matters; don’t make it personal. The constellation Draco is visible in the top left corner of the skies; the brightest star is Thuban (a binary star system), meaning python in Arabic. From 4000 BC – 2000 BC, Thuban was the north pole star, prior to Polaris. Tension is the pull between a pair of forces, and the harbinger of change. Tension portends change. Forces are volatile and in motion—your next step will be determinative.

The Politic. Three of Scepters: Your diplomacy, tact, pragmatism, and prudence is why you are about to achieve great glory. This is the spirit of ingenuity and wielding your personal brilliance, social intelligence, and psychic dexterity to successfully navigate complicated social or political situations. This is the spirit of established strength by your side, coming to you as three Babylonian magi, or high priests from the Chaldean Empire. Upon their staves, the names Metatron and Uriel; talismanic sigils from the Holy Tablets of the Fathers (1614); and petitioning sigil for drawing down the powers of the Sun. Here, we see powerful allies supporting you in your endeavor. This isn’t about working harder; this is about working smarter. Expedient success is coming your way, but be prepared to act when the opportunity arrives. There is advancement in the sciences, arts, and culture.

The Kindred. Three of Chalices: The Kindred is the spirit of affinity. This is abundance in love, camaraderie, and the prophecy of jubilee to come. Human bonding, affection, and trust are the true bedrock of society. A personal zenith point is reached in your community relations. This spirit also appears when you need a reminder to tend to the familial relations that matter the most to you. Pictured here are three gyoja, or shamanic priestesses and seers as a Norse maiden, mother, and crone from Viking Age Scandinavia. In Old Norse, they are seiðkonur venerating Lady Freyja, their patron goddess of love, war, beauty, prosperity, and seiðr. Seiðr was the practice of magic, a practice that encompassed shamanic visionary journeying. Magical staves are sourced from the Galdrabok, a 16th century Icelandic grimoire. The Kindred invokes the three Graces that bring goodwill, beauty, and fertility.

Read Book of Maps excerpt on The Kindred: click here.

The Bereaved. Three of Swords: The Bereaved is sabotage after fruition, but there is a foretelling of resurrection through the story of Isis mourning her husband, the god Osiris, and the coming conception of Horus. This is the spirit of bereavement by your side. This is sorrow, mourning, sadness, and deprivation of love. Yet this is also the power of resurrection after sorrow. The Bereaved invokes the empathy of Isis to your cause.

The Mason. Three of Orbs: A brilliant idea is nothing without execution. Genius is nothing without dedication and tenacity. Ex nihilo nihil fit is the philosophy that every Work comes from a preexisting Work. Build upon precedent to achieve the advancement you seek. The Mason is the spirit of innovative architecture, of construction, and material works that come by the sweat on your brow. Labor omnia vincit: Hard work is the method through which we overcome negative odds. This is the achievement of HRU and the thesis statement of the SKT. Imagery: The Blue Mosque in Istanbul.

The Demiurge. Four of Scepters: The Demiurge builds our physical platform of success. An intangible idea has become a tangible work product, one that will take on a life of its own. The Demiurge marks progress, achievement attained, and marks a momentous rite of passage. The setting is the Holy Roman Empire in the early 14th century, the start of Renaissance humanism, and just before the Great Occidental Schism of 1378. The maiden on the left is Peace and Faith. The maiden on the right is War and Will. An omen of concord, fulfillment, completion.

The Hollow Void. Four of Chalices: Here is a monastic practicing Korean Seon sitting meditation. They have put up walls around their mind—the precondition for finding one’s Path of Light. In the distant background is a temple inspired by the Jeungsimsa Obaekjeon Temple atop the Mudeungsan mountain in South Korea, in the city of Gwangju. This is the “contemplating the meaning of life” card. You feel like you’ve lost sight of the Purpose, and now need a moment to yourself to reflect. The Hollow Void builds our psychic inner platform for spiritual strength. Offerings from others are made with good intentions, but aren’t the answer you seek; you must look within and trust your intuition. Detach, and you’ll transcend. This Key evokes Gwan-eum gwanseeum while the scorpion reveals the watchful, protective Serket, goddess of healing and magic, divine forces now by your side.

Read Book of Maps excerpt on The Hollow Void: click here.

The Convalescent. Four of Swords: A fallen warrior recuperates after battle, still in full armor, now in incubatio, or temple sleep, resting inside an asclepeion, an Athenian healing temple. The Greek goddess Iaso, the goddess of recuperation and recovery from illness, appears through the window. She holds an amphora containing the Universal Medicine, an elixir whose recipe she shares with her sister Panacea. Iaso is the daughter of Asclepius, granddaughter of Apollo. You are recovering from old wounds. You’ve reached a state of grace. The Convalescent is the net loss after construction. This is needed rest and restoration after enduring strife. The Convalescent is the spirit of nursing you back to full health. This is the spirit to bring you rehabilitation after fighting battles. Fortune comes to you after you have taken the time to restore both inner and outer balance in your life.

The Conservator. Four of Orbs: The Conservator, dressed as a Russian boyar, an aristocrat, personifies an eclectic collector of curiosities. This is the spirit presented in your life path when you are demonstrating an inordinate attachment to the material. This is earthly power you are clinging on to, at the expense of greater spiritual realization.  The Conservator is both the spirit of that which is empirical and orderly, efficient and pragmatic, but that which is self-serving, covetous, and parsimonious. You are so afraid of losing what you have, you cling on to what you do not need. Take inventory of what’s been cluttering your life. Freedom comes when you learn how to let go.

The Contender. Five of Scepters: The Contender is the spirit of strife and a zero sum game. Stay calm yet be aggressive in the face of competition. This is the battle, the contention you fight for domination. There is a rivalry for supremacy. Behind the focal point of five rods is Medea, sorceress and priestess of Hekate, granddaughter of the sun god Helios, and niece to Circe. The back of the head pictured is Jason, who Medea falls in love with. Her father Aeëtes, King of Colchis (modern-day Georgia) is in possession of the Golden Fleece.

The Grotesque. Five of Chalices: A cloaked viscount holds a wilting dahlia, with its petals falling—an omen of unease and caution. In the distance beyond the stream, a rusalka appears in the waters, larger-than-life. The setting is northern Russia during the Smuta, or Time of Troubles (1598-1613). Visible in the skies is the constellation Orion. The Grotesque tells the story of “the other,” of heartbreak, and fragmented dreams. It is a story of loss, mystery, and yet also of unseen power rising. The still-upright chalices and the symbolic references to The Angel reveal to you that unseen power. You tried so hard  to do what was right, but the situation backfired on you and you’re left holding the broken pieces. Yet take heart, for not all is lost. Events past have put you on the cusp of a major spiritual transformation. Dear One: What you think makes you unattractive is in fact what makes you powerful.

The Hector. Five of Swords: Hector was the greatest warrior of ancient Troy, and through that namesake, The Hector is the spirit of indomitable strength, but it is indomitable strength at any cost, and it will cost you. The Five of Swords marks a defeat of your opponents by unfair advantage. There is an imbalance of power in the situation at hand. Heed also: the Hector is the spirit of that which upon first impression is predicted by all to be victorious, but who will end in defeat if you do not learn the important lessons The Hector is here trying to impart to you. Indomitable strength does not come from lording your power over others; it comes from using your charisma to sway others. Pictured in the background is a reference to the Trojan War. Aphrodite on the left is aiding Hector, the Trojan warrior. Athena in owl form aids the Greek warrior Achilles. Be mindful and keep your aggressions in check. Do not lash out in anger or spite; don’t use your words to hurt others just because you can.

The Vagabond. Five of Orbs: At the heart is this: Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is to not stop questioning. The Vagabond is the wanderer spirit of alienation and feeling alienated. Yet this is also the spirit of Faith. Your soul is weary and restless; you feel beaten and weathered. You are in search of higher meaning. And now you are at the threshold of finding what you’ve been seeking, but first, you must confront your shadow. This is the spirit who will teach you toughness and resilience, but does so by putting you through the gauntlet of material troubles. Abraham’s Stone, the Tzohar, descends from the heavens to illuminate the synagogue, or schul. The final message of The Vagabond is one of hope. The spirit of Hope gets you through your moments of hardship. Remember: Exodus 5. You will always persevere, because your legacy has been divinely ordained. Embrace the light of your faith.

The Champion. Six of Scepters: Positive omen; success comes, but at the cost of a personal sacrifice. The Champion is the spirit of victory. The imagery of the spirit here conveys the core of the message: to be the champion, one must be oblivious to pain. For there to be victory, there must be self-sacrifice. A Norse-Gael queen adorned and crowned with amber sits upon her throne, which features Odin’s wolves, Geri and Freki, cast in bronze. The background features the letters of the god’s name Tyr, Norse god of war.

The Memory Keeper. Six of Chalices: The Memory Keeper is the spirit of reminiscence. Who you once were is trying to speak and reach out to who you are now. Listen to the whispers from the past, for they send premonitions of the future. Initiate an open dialogue between the Past and the Present. The Memory Keeper is your custodian of memories, both fond and adverse, the reflection of your inner child. When The Memory Keeper appears to you in a reading, the past and the present converge. Six blessings are yours when you heed the counsel of The Memory Keeper: Amor: Love and passion. Prosperitas: Good fortune. Gloria: Fame and glory. Votum: Hope. Decus: Honors. Laetitia: Joy. Across the river is a scene of Neolithic Austronesians, the ancestors of indigenous Oceania. These intrepid masters of the seas originated from the island of Taiwan as early as 10,000 BC.

The Quester. Six of Swords: You are being navigated to calmer waters, across what you previously thought was an impossible obstacle to overcome. With logical sensibility, you’ll navigate yourself toward earned success. The success factors that the Six of Swords endows you with are intellectualism, acute and accurate analysis, and claircognizance. Plans move forward. Pictured here is one of the earliest recorded female alchemists and scientists of ancient history—Mary the Jewess (also known as Maria Prophetissima, or Mary the Prophetess), who is believed to have lived some time between 100 AD and 300 AD. The six swords signify the six steps in an early Latin expression of the Scientific Method. The red star in the sky is Arcturus. Mesopotamians associated the star with Enlil, god of winds, air, and storms, who separated the earth from the skies. In Arabic astronomy, Arcturus is the Keeper of Heaven. The Inuit call it Sivulliik, where The First Ones dwell.

The Giver. Six of Orbs: Your charity to others will return riches to you six-fold. Abundance is your birthright. Let the karmic circle remain unbroken: give to receive; receive, but give back. The Giver is the spirit of provision. Seeking anonymity, The Giver shows only the hand in offering. Yet know this about one of the many names for The Giver: Anesidora—the “Giver of Gifts.” In the Six of Orbs, we also see the divine blessings of Demeter, who gifts you with material success. When The Giver appears to you, the spirit of nurture is all around you. Give freely, mercifully and you shall receive freely, and mercifully. In the background, a Punjabi Sikh man and woman extend their right hands, exchanging gifts. The persimmon is symbolic of divine knowledge and longevity; the mango is a symbol of love and affluence. Pictured here is a gurdwara, doorway to the guru.

The Dark Horse. Seven of Scepters: This is the underdog who chooses to fight, even in the face of unfavorable odds. The Dark Horse is marginalization personified, and yet this is the spirit of valor. When outnumbered, you resist. Philippine martial arts is represented here. Appearing in the skies is Apolaki, the Tagalog immortal or god of the sun and war, patron deity of warriors and martial artists. Stand your ground and defeat those who try to overpower you. Fight for what is right. Stand up for yourself, especially when others will not.

The Corrupter. Seven of Chalices: The Corrupter is the master of sophistry—superficially your current reasoning seems plausible, but it is fallacious. Let neither desire nor fear manipulate you. There is illusory success and wishful thinking. You’re dreaming big but acting small. We see the allegory of the seven sins. Which of the seven animals is pulling at your attention? The pig is gluttony, the snake for envy, peacock for pride, snail for sloth, lion for wrath, toad for avarice, and the goat for lust. The symbology here is taken from the 18th century Tableau de Francois-Marie Balanant. Do not act on impulse. When The Corrupter appears to you, rethink that idea you’ve been contemplating: it might not be prudent. Also, pay closer scrutiny to your environment: there are poisons around. The Seven of Chalices is falsehood appearing as truth. What you perceive as real may just be imagined. This spirit appearing to you is a warning that misleading perceptions abound. Forego the easy temptation of riches and fame and instead choose what matters most to your heart.

The Rogue. Seven of Swords: The Rogue is mischief personified. Here you see the story of Loki cutting off Sif’s beautiful golden locks of hair while she sleeps. Sif is the Norse goddess of the earth, of plenitude and the grains, affinity, fertility, family, marriage, Mother of Might and Magnificence. She was also a seer. Here is a metaphor that over-intellectualizing and over-thinking are the weakening barriers to success. The Seven of Swords denotes an unstable mind, and unstable efforts. This is the spirit of the sleight of hand. And yet sometimes, a little mischief and sleight of hand is what gets the job done; deceive to get to the truth. When the odds are stacked against you, one-up the odds by not playing by their rules. In the background we see a trickster fox spirit. In Chinese lore, she is the hulijing, a shape-shifting magical being who can bring prosperity as quickly as she can bring misfortune. The fox spirit is a common familiar of the witch. In Japanese mythos, this is the kitsune, and in Korean, gumiho. The Rogue is the spirit of cunning and scheming, and yet also the personification of one who is misunderstood.

The Gardener. Seven of Orbs: The Gardener is one who sows seeds in a private patch, to be cultivated as a form of personal aspiration. Here is the spirit of potential and promised harvest. You are contemplating the prospects of achievement. Past hard work has paid off and there are several different fruits of your labor that you could harvest, but you hesitate, because you’re not sure which of these fruits are most ripe. This is hard work completed, but inaction causing a lack of actual harvest. When The Gardener appears to you, know that you’ve got an idea, a design, or concept worth investing in, and if you see it through, you will achieve the security, stability, and material abundance you’ve been seeking. The Gardener is also a spirit who oversees low magic and can be called upon to assist with the Craft, utilizing herbs, stones, roots, oils, and charms. Consider further study to master the craft of prosperity magic, feng shui, or geomancy. The Gardener appears to you when you are experiencing success unfulfilled. The background is an illustration depicting Tibetan subsistence agriculture, meaning the cultivation of food crops at the small-scale, for your own family or just for your community. Perched in the tree is a male Himalayan monal, a nine-colored pheasant bird with iridescent plumage. The Seven of Orbs can also indicate having achieved success, but the gains are spiritually unfulfilling.

The Sharpshooter. Eight of Scepters: Swift movement abounds around you. This is the spirit of marksmanship. Decisive action must be taken now. The Eight of Scepters is a welcomed omen. You will hit the target you’ve been aiming at, but move quickly, because time is of the essence. In the foreground, Artemis, the Greek archer goddess of the hunt, twin sister to Apollo, aims and shoots with her silver bow, a gift from her father Zeus. She is wearing her signature saffron hunting tunic. Artemis was the patron goddess of Sparta. Appearing in the skies is Athena, the goddess of war and wisdom, another daughter of Zeus, and patron goddess of Athens. She wields her father’s aegis, now adorned with the severed head of Medusa. An assembly of powerful goddess energies are present when The Sharpshooter appears. You are their messenger, a vessel for Divine Will. The words you speak are the words of the Goddess.

The Defector. Eight of Chalices: A defector is one who leaves behind a world you no longer belong to and journeys to a new promise land. This is the spirit of abandoned success. The Defector reveals one who has changed paths, changed sides or viewpoints. This is walking away from what you had otherwise devoted your efforts to, and not looking back. This is the spiritual quest for that which will be more emotionally fulfilling. This is the start of a difficult journey, but a journey that will take you to where you want to be. The setting is the 2nd century BC in the Near East. Standing over the temple is Thoth, or Tehuti, the Egyptian ibis god of science, writing, magic, and art. Along the bottom right corner of the card is a mermaid, the later embodiment of Atargatis, a primordial life-giving and protective mother goddess of the seas, from Mesopotamian and Syrian antiquity. There are challenges ahead. Heal a broken heart by channeling the attributes of Thoth.

The Captor. Eight of Swords: You are feeling bound by the Threads of Fate. You’re being pulled in so many oppositional directions that now you cannot move in any direction at all. The themes here are having to confront the evils of oppression, aggressions of those in a superior position to hurt those who are helpless and meek, feelings of isolation, but also, having to learn how to overcome one’s own victim mentality. You see yourself as the captive, but that you are not; you, my dear, are the captor. This is a first-person view of the situation. What have we been doing to falsely imprison logic, reason, free speech, higher ideals, morality, ethics, and the flourishing of the humanities? The setting is Hellenized Alexandria. You’re seeing the Great Library of Alexandria; adjacent to it, the Musaeum, or research institution dedicated to the Muses. The woman pictured here is Hypatia of Alexandria, a Neoplatonic philosopher, teacher, inventor, political advisor, and mathematician. The mob persecutes her because she reminds them of the Light, Reason, and Truth that they are not yet capable of.

The Journeyman. Eight of Orbs: This is the spirit of apprenticeship, of perfecting one’s craft, of routine work that leads to mastery. This is also the spirit of prudence. When The Journeyman appears to you, you are being called to apply discipline, a strong work ethic, and perserverance to hone your skills in a particular trade. The Journeyman is the grind of dedicated work, practice, and careful, methodical study of a specialized craft. Embody the apprentice. Pictured here is a young Muisca shaman-in-training. In front of her is her teacher’s staff, setting an example for her to follow as she practices casting her own orbs. The shaman-in-training works under the watchful tutelage of her gods, Chia, diosa de la luna, her moon goddess, and Xue, dios del sol, her sun god. The backdrop is the high plateau of the Colombian Andes, home of the Muisca (or Chibcha), around 800 AD. Note the orb set into a master’s staff: this is prophetic of an adept who is currently an apprentice, but who will someday exceed the master.

The Pugilist. Nine of Scepters: Here is a world-weary spirit, bandaged, on bended knee, praying at the crossroads for Great Strength. An old power, the Ancient One, has taken an interest in your fiery spirit. The Pugilist is a spirit of great endurance, but that strength comes from having endured great suffering. The Pugilist is one who continues to fight oppression, one who won’t accept defeat as an option. When The Pugilist appears, consider defensive boxing tactics as a metaphor. Sidestep to dodge the blow. Parry to deflect the punch. Cultivate the ability to withstand toil without giving in to fatigue.

The Ancient One is “She of the Earth and Underworld,” or Chthonia, a reference to Hekate, though it can also be a reference to the Sumerian goddess Ereshkigal, Ruler of the Underworld and Lady of the Great Earth. The “Great One of Magic” can also refer to Werethekau, an Egyptian divinity who is the personification of magic and sorcery. She is a protectress in the underworld. “Hekau” means “magic” in Archaic Egyptian. Wield magic as you would your fists and stand your ground.

Read Book of Maps excerpt on The Pugilist: click here.

The Wish Granted. Nine of Chalices: This is the blessing of wellbeing, abundance, and contentment. Every chalice of life you hold up toward heaven will be filled with success, gains, and fruition. Pictured here are the three most prominent forms of Shakti, collectively called Tridevi, the Triple Goddess. Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth and prosperity. Durga in the form of Parvati is the goddess of valor and victory. Saraswati is the goddess of knowledge, culture, music, and the arts. This Key is a talisman for manifesting prosperity.

The Haunt. Nine of Swords: Restful sleep eludes a figure, who sits upright in bed, face buried in hand, in slight fetal position. The horned shadow hovering over her from behind is The Haunt. Crowley describes the Nine of Swords imagery as “a cathedral of the damned.” In a moment of insomnia, the illusions cast upon the walls of the mind project outward and become your environmental reality. Yet your suffering has awakened Mother Hekate, titan-goddess of liminal spaces, magic, and crossroads, who is coming to you in your moment of need. The checkered tiles on the bed frame with the astrological glyphs (a table of essential dignities) represent Fate, while the checkered tiles of the floor behind her, where Mother Hekate stands, is blank, representing Free Will—the path into the future is unwritten.

Read Book of Maps excerpt on The Haunt: click here.

The Eminence. Nine of Orbs: Everything is for the best in the best of all possible worlds (an aphorism from Voltaire). All that you have done and invested in is propelling you to the top. The land you have tilled will sustain you and bring you prosperity. The three stratified layers of scenery in this card represent Inca cosmology—the three worlds or Pachas. This is the underworld, the material world, and the celestial world. Here, they are in harmonious balance. Above the three generations of women is the goddess Ch’aska, associated with Venus as a star of dawn and twilight, maidens, princesses, fertility, abundance, dawn, and morning dew.

The Burdened One. Ten of Scepters: The Ten of Scepters is the card of laborious tasks. You have been a carrier of sorrows. The Burdened One is oppression we bring onto ourselves when we don’t temper our willfulness. The series of decisions you have made along the way have led up to this culminating point of unduly carrying the responsibilities for others. Yet rest assured that these burdens you carry fulfill a greater purpose. Many are the beneficiary of the work you do. Pictured here is the titan Atlas holding up a schema of the celestial spheres. The schema diagrams the Ptolemic ten spheres in the firmament above earth. Hands of God feature the Sigillum Dei.

The Joyous One. Ten of Chalices: The Joyous One is happiness we have earned. This is the prognostication of spiritual fulfillment. Creativity becomes productivity, and productivity leads you on a path toward contentment. The rainbow across the heavens is an omen: perpetual success. The Joyous One is the personification of wisdom attained and the support of familial love. The koi fish has transformed into a celestial dragon. Pictured here is Matsu, South China Sea goddess, presented here in her form as Queen of Heaven. Matsu was a 10th century shamaness and sorceress from the Fujian province of southern China, a Hokkein-speaking region of the mainland. She was spiritually trained under the tutelage of the bodhisattva Kuan Yin. The card can also appear to remind you that you are complete, that your life and world is perfected and harmonious as it is right now, that it is not necessary for you to pine for more. Bask in the blessings you’ve been given.

The Destroyer. Ten of Swords: A Tengrist shamaness channels The Destroyer of Obstacles. We are seeing her physical and spiritual forms merging, and so she appears with six arms. The Destroyer spirit might initially feel ominous, but it represents a spiritual catharsis. A catharsis is a sense of purging or purification. In Platonism, a catharsis is needed before you can advance on to receive esoteric knowledge. There is treachery—biting the hand that feeds. A force of uprising and rebellion comes through in the Ten of Swords. This is an omen that you are to be a Disrupter, but powerful figures would rather you not make waves or stir conflict, so they try to hold you back. Disrupters facilitate progress and change, but at the cost of peace. Writers are familiar with the instructive maxim, “Kill your darlings.” The phrase refers to extraneous prose that only serve to amplify the author’s ego, but do not substantively serve the narrative. Thus, in the revision phase, such sentences ought to be removed from the manuscript. Likewise, the Ten of Swords is about excising from your life that which does not advance your soul purpose.

The Dynasty. Ten of Orbs: The setting is Manden Kurufaba (the Mali Empire in West Africa), 14th century Timbuktu. Here was the Golden Age of Trans-Saharan commerce and prosperity. The Dynasty is wealth multiplied. In the foreground, the old man faces the young man—they personify inheritance, legacy, and the multigenerational dynasty. This card portends advancing prestige. The Dynasty is the spirit of collective power that strengthens a tribe. The theme here is successorship. It can also suggest the personal impact on you of much greater national or global affairs. Something greater going on in the collective has reached down to directly affect you, at the individual and personal level. What the Ten of Orbs portends is gains to be had from that impact. While the Ten of Orbs marks a pinnacle of material wealth and success, the Book of Thoth reminds us that the success will quickly go inert if the pinnacle is not immediately put to productive use toward the greater good. Thus, with the benefits and gains you reap, you must direct those benefits and gains toward a greater good. Do not harvest all the blessings for yourself.

On the pip cards Twos through Tens, the top left is the decan planetary ruler and the top right is the zodiac sign governed by that decan ruler. The center is the epithet for petitioning that spirit.

The bottom caption, like the Majors, features the I Ching trigram correspondence to the left, Mayan numeral to the right, and centered is the tarot key title, indicating number and suit.

MAJOR ARCANA | THE COURTS