Lesson 2: Swords, Cups, Quick Numerology
If you are here for the first time, you can click here to start with Lesson One.
Each Suite Tells a Story
Each suite’s cards, from the Ace (which is One) to Ten, represent a progression from a new beginning and great potential (Ace) to a conclusion (Ten), for better or worse. This conclusion is at the same time the base for the next cycle for the theme represented by each of the four Tarot suits:
- Cups symbolize emotions, which are indirect but a powerful force.
- Wands talks about your drive and passions.
- Swords represent intellect. Swords are powerful, but they are to be used carefully.
- Pentacles symbolize material matters: money, home, health.
Each suite’s cards, from the Ace to Ten, represent a progression.
Understanding the basic numeric progression makes it easy to “map” it onto a topic that each suite stands for.
Numbers 1-10 Represent a Progression
Aces represent new beginning and great potential.
Two signifies a choice or decision to be made and also the need for balance or the connection of two inherently separate things.
Three represent first tangible results and situation development.
Four represents stability and solid foundations (e.g. four corners of a house); but it could also indicate increasing boredom as there is a lack of dynamics.
Five ruins the balance and brings unexpected change with all the challenges that accompany it.
Six again brings stability in one way or another and things can go on.
Seven brings a moment of rest and the opportunity to plan the next steps.
Eight puts material stability (e.g. money or something palpable) in focus as either a positive or a negative influence.
Nine represents the last step before coming to a conclusion, with all the consequences of past actions and all the good and the bad associations that come with it.
Ten represents conclusion, which is at the same time the base for the next cycle.
Memorize 1-10 Progression
Repeat this progression couple of times and you will have it memorized.
You can use this flashcards deck:
Swords Suite Represent Intellect and Conflict
Now let’s put this knowledge of (very basic) numerology into practice with four tarot suites.
What we know so far is:
- Four tarot suites (minor arcana) deal with specific everyday worries and events.
- Each suite tells a story, with numbers 1 to 10 making that progression.
The only thing left to know is what each tarot suite represents. Let’s starts with Swords.
Swords have two sides of the blades and represent the mind which solves complex problems but can also be a source of conflict and destruction and is to be used carefully. It is a great power that can be used for either good or ill.
Suite of Swords: Cold rationality often leads to trouble
In other words, Swords deal with cold rationality that often leads you to take uncompromising actions with courage. However, the most brilliant mind can get into (or even provoke) a lot of trouble when not balanced by spirit and feeling.
The Story: Struggle of the Swords
It has suddenly dawned on you how to resolve a complex situation (Ace of Swords), and you are full of renewed energy as you start towards the solution.
Of course, you are quickly faced with a tough decision (Two of Swords), and you are stuck because you don’t know how to integrate two critical but contradicting interests.
Finally, you made the decision, and there is no going back. You move on, but the consequences are painful (Three of Swords) because, whatever you had to do, some options are now lost forever.
Maybe it’s best to restrain from too much action (Four of Swords), charge your batteries and prepare for the conflict that’s coming.
The conflict came and went, and somehow you have won (Five of Swords) but not without losses; you realize that each victory is at the same time someone else’s defeat. Maybe you could have done better, but the path is clear now.
Finally, without distractions, but also without much joy (Six of Swords), you continue along the path toward your goal. You have found out the hard way that your actions affect other people too.
But the path everyone expects you to take is not for you, and on your own, you go for the alternative (Seven of Swords).
As is often the case in life you got yourself into a tough situation with seemingly no way out (Eight of Swords). But there is both the solution and the path to take, if only you managed to open your eyes and see things as they really were.
You are in reach of your goal, but worries and doubts are killing you (Nine of Swords), and subconsciously you don’t dare to take the last step. What you need is to find the courage to honestly confront your fears and expectations.
The situation is finally and conclusively resolved (Ten of Swords), and although the result may be far from what you hoped for, the long struggle is over. Unexpectedly, you feel almost calm … now is the moment for reflection and learning your lessons.
Memorize the Swords Suite Cards
Let’s quickly summarize each scene in the story. Think of a role each card plays as part of a progression.
If you don’t have the cards handy, you can use this slideshare deck:
Suite of Cups Represent Love and Emotions
Cups represent your emotions; basically your love life and relationships with other people. Cups are related to the Water element so its actions are indirect but very powerful, and water always finds its way. Just like emotions.
Cups provide advice on love and relationships.
In other words, Cups are associated with anything emotional, from marriage to personal possessions and concerns. This also covers anything relating to partnerships, whether in a work or personal context. The actions influenced by the Cups are very different compared to, let’s say, Swords direct-action approach.
The Story: Fulfillment of the Cups
Suddenly you recognize a new beginning; you feel it as (Ace of Cups) an emerging river of positive emotions and even though it’s still small, you know nothing can stop it.
You let yourself be guided by your intuition, and you are rewarded with a deep emotional connection (Two of Cups) full of the hope and promise that mutual enrichment will grow into real harmony and balance.
Your problems are behind you and fulfillment is here. You are happy (Three of Cups) with what you now have and you are ready to enjoy even more good things that are bound to come.
You are surrounded by happiness but you feel there is more (Four of Cups) and you don’t enjoy it so much anymore; you start taking what makes you happy for granted.
Soon, the feeling off fulfillment vanishes and you decide to move on. You mourn what could have been (Five of Cups) and are disappointed with both yourself and others.
The past comes back to help you (Six of Cups) and again you gain inner harmony. Calm and confident, you are open once more to new experiences.
It’s time for real effort and to cease building castles in the air (Seven of Cups). You realize that some of life’s choices are not in reality what they had seemed.
You go through much happiness and sorrow to get what you have, but your happiness is only an illusion (Eight of Cups) and drains your life energy from you. You recognize the moment is here and leave stagnation behind you. You move on into the unknown.
Finally, you are in complete harmony with your intuition, and your goals and desires become crystal clear. You are so aware and confident that you radiate happiness (Nine of Cups), and create it both for yourself and the people around you.
After a long and hard journey, you remember everything you’ve been through and completely and consciously enjoy (Ten of Cups) your dreams coming true; because you know that complete awareness of everything that has led to this moment is the only way to reach for even more.
Memorize the Cups
Let’s summarize in the same way as with Major Arcana and the Swords; look at each card and think about it’s scene in the story.
You can use this flashcards deck I’ve put on Slideshare:
Use the cards to tell the story by yourself; improvise if needed. Repeat a few times to fill in the gaps and to make it stick. And don’t forget to repeat again tomorrow.