By Sarah Taylor
There is a point of choice coming up. It is time to choose carefully — and you can: you have access to a mature, heart-based wisdom. It is time to situate yourself in loving authority, and as one door closes, so another will open.
This feels like a beautiful reading. The options that it presents to us hold their fair share of perils, yes, but nothing that we cannot overcome. There are going to be choices that are no-brainers; some that look good at first glance but hide their true colours below the surface; and others that might call us into the unknown — perhaps more than we are used to or comfortable with.
The key here is to use our hearts. This is not a time for analysis that remains solely in the head. This is not something that we can work out with a piece of paper and two columns. We need to engage with our feelings, indicated by the King of Cups.
The King’s throne rises out of the waves, solid and enduring as if it is firmly anchored in the seabed. He embodies the collective emotional experiences of the preceding Cups cards — from love to nostalgia, heartbreak to joy. He knows and understands the depths of the emotional currents that lie around him, and yet — like the Queen — remains distinct from them. He has assumed authority over his feelings and his life. But this is not a hard-hearted authority: his posture is one of openness and has a certain relaxed air to it. He doesn’t grasp the accoutrements of his rule — the simple, unadorned Cup, the equally unassuming sceptre — but rests them on his knee and the arm of his throne respectively. There is nothing that needs controlling or fighting. The card speaks of a sense of ease. The waves are in motion — there is no stagnation here — but they are supportive of the life on and under them: the fish can swim freely, the ship is in full sail.
[Authority, power, and balance: the Kings in tarot, October 12, 2011]
The King of Cups refers to our emotional natures when we align them with the flow of life. By doing this, we are fully in our feelings, but we are not dominated by them, nor do they dominate us; we do not shy from them, nor are we engulfed by them. There is a foundation to our experience that is unchanging, even while waves might lap, undulate, and crash around us.
The King precedes the Seven of Cups — the ‘choice’ card. He leads us into it, and remains facing it with the full attention of his consciousness. He is what we can call on when we are presented with a number of options, all of which are available to us. In the Seven of Cups, we become the shadowed figure in the foreground, standing in front of the seven cups perched on a cloud. In the Rider-Waite Smith tarot deck, these rounded, cumulus-like clouds seem to be representative of the divine.
The choice we are making is one that feels significant, but there is also the implicit message that, whatever we choose, we are reminded that all choices are valid no matter what experience they offer: all of them rest on the same cloud. There is a clear indication that some are perhaps wiser than others — but that wisdom will be based on our own perspectives. In other words, we are the ones who know how to choose best for ourselves in the situation at hand; there is a part of us that knows what isn’t so good for us, and what is. What we are to do is to look, and feel, within — to get to a calm platform in the moving seas and sense what is being communicated to us by each cup. And we might do well to remember: mystery isn’t always a negative thing. What might our hearts be telling us about taking a leap of faith?
What this choice leads to is The World: the cloud in the Seven of Cups flows off the right hand of the card and into The World next to it. The figure dancing in the centre looks back to the Seven of Cups, as if bearing witness to what has been decided, while her body moves forward and away from it at the same time: the conclusion of something marked by the choice we have made is acknowledged, while we simultaneously turn towards a new beginning.
In each corner of The World card, there is a figure: a man, a bull, a lion, an eagle — representative of the fixed signs Aquarius, Taurus, Leo, Scorpio. I find it interesting that it is the head of the eagle — Scorpio — that has a white cloud as a background. My sense is that this will be meaningful at a personal level for anyone coming to this reading, and I am going to leave it at that.
Therefore, here we have a choice, and it is a choice of, and by, the heart. Heart-based analysis is not limited to emotions, though; it comes down to the use of intuition — and there is every indication here that we have access to an intuitiveness that is both insightful and powerful.
We need to enter a land of trust: of self-trust, where voices from the external world telling us to do otherwise take a back seat. There is only a single figure on each of the first two cards. That is us as individuals and what we embody separate from others. It is what we can own about ourselves. What it leads us to is a greater connection to a core of ourselves that is as enduring as it is transformative. It is up to us to step into it with our eyes — and hearts — open.
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.