By Sarah Taylor
Funny how these things happen, isn’t it? On Wednesday last week, in an article on card reversals, I was writing about how the meaning of cards can be modified and crystallised depending on the cards aspecting them — surrounding cards that are in meaningful relationship. The first example I used are the first two cards in today’s Weekend Tarot Reading: the Two of Cups and the Eight of Cups. This is what I wrote about this pairing:
“If there is love present in your life, it might represent a need to walk away from something. That might be permanently, towards something else, or temporarily, because what came to me in this instance was the fact that the figure leaves, but also leaves a ‘space for the Ace’. The Two of Cups is aspected by the Eight of Cups — just as the Eight of Cups is aspected (perhaps mitigated) in return, depending on where they are in a layout.”
I see this reading in terms of a sequence this week, from left to right, guided this way by the figure in the Eight of Cups — the only figure moving in a specific direction. What he is walking away from is the Two of Cups, and what he is walking towards is The Sun. Let’s have a closer look at each card to see if we can get some context.
The Two of Cups is traditionally the ‘romantic love’ card. I refer to it as such to differentiate it from the other forms of love that we experience in some of the other tarot cards, and in life itself. Two of Cups love is specific: it is the love between a couple; it is about falling in love. When the potential of the Ace is realised here on Earth, it becomes the Two.
This kind of love is exhilarating, and it can ignite some of the most wonderful feelings. It is, however, an opportunity rather than a destination, because it cannot be sustained permanently. The Two of Cups is the ‘honeymoon period’ in a relationship — where each is experiencing themselves as much as the other person: in the card, they are mirroring each other. In many ways, they are falling in love with themselves, and the implication of this is that their partner is yet to be fully revealed as ‘other’. When the love matures, it matures into the Three of Cups, where room is made for a third — in this case, the mystery of the other, who can never fully be known, and the power generated by a relationship where two are constantly adjusting and readjusting into a balance where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Sometimes, looking into a mirror demands a lot from us; sometimes, it is necessary to seek out our own depths to find out who, and what, we have seen in the eyes of our beloved. This is the moment of the Eight of Cups, where a cloaked figure walks away under the masked light of an eclipsed Sun. The Moon is contemplative, eyelids lowered; the figure doesn’t have much light, but his steps seem deliberate and methodical, and he has a staff to support him (he seems almost Hermit-like here, The Hermit representing a period of going within to find our own inner light).
The red from the winged lion’s head above the caduceus in the Two of Cups is echoed in the brighter red of the figure’s cloak in the Eight. The transformative aspects of the relationship he carries with him, the colour brightening as the transformation is embodied and becomes a part of him — something he ‘wears’ independently of others. There is no luminary in the Two of Cups: the illumination is the light generated by the energetic exchange between the two figures — the relationship itself is the light. When the figure walks away, it feels like the light has disappeared; but in reality the Sun is simply being obscured by the Moon — The Moon symbolising a time of imposed darkness where we are asked to get in touch with a deeply feminine quality within us and to use our ‘inner sight': our intuition.
And so to the final card that the figure walks towards. Now the Sun has returned, and shines more brilliantly than ever. The Sun card is about joy and illumination, where everything is accepted, light and shade: the grey horse and wall seem to be cast in shadow and yet they are embraced by the child, symbol of innocence and wonder, unfettered by the restrictions that we tend to place on what we experience — in this case, love. The red of the figure’s cloak in the Eight of Cups now appears on the standard that the child carries with her: she displays it openly; it is for everyone to share in. Transformation is possible when the light is so powerful. There is new life — seen in the sunflowers that bloom from behind the wall. No wall is high enough to stop what is bursting forth from showing itself. All we have to do is to realise that the walls we build within ourselves and between each other are not only surmountable — what lies behind them is perhaps more than we have been able to imagine up until now, cast as we have been in shadow.
And there is the child, arms opening to us, inviting us to share in the light of the Sun. Everything that we thought we had lost never left us in the first place; all it asks of us is a willingness to take a leap of faith.
If you want to experiment with tarot cards and don’t have any, we provide a free tarot spread generator using the Celtic Wings spread, which is based on the traditional Celtic Cross spread. This article explains how to use the spread.