The 7 OF CUPS is a very curious, steamy, dreamy card in any Golden Dawn based deck.   Does it make you feel all fuzzy when it comes up? Does it make you want to toss chunks?  Are you undecided?  Let’s dive in. All the 7’s in hermetic decks correspond to the 7th sephiroth on the tree of life, NETZACH, which we can consider as human instinct, the ID, maybe even the group mind.  The 7 OF CUPS is Netzach in the world of Water:  instinct plunged into the vast shapeless ocean.   Venus in Scorpio can be interpreted in many ways depending on which Astrologer you follow, but no matter what Venus is highly sexual in Scorpio, plunging her paramours to the recesses of the forbidden.  But when Venus is in Scorpio, she is often misunderstood, sensationalized or made a scapegoat by those who wouldn’t dare plumb the depths of their own libidos.   And of course Venus in Scorpio is often seen as wildly possessive both of her lovers and of what material trappings she considers rightfully hers. All of this is added into the 7 of Cups!   And to make matters even more unbearably beautiful, Venus is the ruler of Netzach.  Cue Bananarama. The Rider Waite (and its Thomson Leng facsimile) show a man standing before a dreamy cloud of luxurious golden cups.  Perhaps this man is trying to choose the holy grail, but can’t decide.   Both these cards clearly depict Netzach in the world of water (a persons mind lost in a vast ocean of pre-conceived ideas) but I see little evidence of Venus in Scorpio.   Perhaps the a true depiction of this would have been to naughty for 1909 when the Rider Waite was released.  The one way Waite depicts Venus in Scorpio is to show a man obsessed with was he considers to be rightfully his, but does not have.     Take a look at the Thompson Leng version of this card, where each of the cups are filled with roses, laurels, angels and daisies.  Doesn’t it feel like an evangelical delusion of grandeur?  Perhaps this is a man who has a very hidden yet very active freak flag?  Ted Haggard anyone? Crowley’s Thoth card depicts 7 cups oozing slime, with rotting lotus flowers.  What a drama queen!  But this is exactly how most people view Venus in Scorpio.   In this […]


Most decks from the Spanish school of the Tarot utilize the same systems as El Gran Tarot Esoterico; Eudes Picard’s system for the minors and Oswald Wirth’s for the majors.   Here’s what Picard wrote in 1909 about the minors in his Manuel Synthétique & Pratique du Tarot: The study of the minor cards has never been very developed. We don’t find the same kind of harmony and follow-through which holds the Major Arcana series together. It is not easy to gain a foothold in the plan of attack for the minors. Commentators on the minor arcana do not link their ideas together. To tell the truth, we do not know the key. It would be easy to adopt the meanings attributed to these cards without trying to find a reason for them; but the serious student demands more. As for us, we have sought to explain the problem, and without claiming to have solved it, we believe at least to have presented it in a guise which may open new horizons to knowledgeable researchers. We have resorted to astrology using the following principle: since the 22 major arcana represent causes, the minor cards should represent effects. With all the male adepts claiming to have unfolded the mysteries of the tarot around this very time, it’s pretty refreshing how Picard simply wanted to offer a point of reflection.  In fact, Arthur Waite dismissed Picard’s system as completely irrelevant probably because he integrated astrology and the qaballah in a completely different way.  100 years later with thousands of decks in print, the tarot is completely open source just as Picard hinted. Manuel Synthétique & Pratique du Tarot was printed with plates for each key and Picard also sold hand-painted decks.   Martixu, you know I love El Gran Tarot Esoterico, but I’m just foaming at the mouth over Picard’s raw, unrefined style of line drawing.   With Arthur Waite, Manly P. Hall, Crowley and even Maritxu all teaming up with artists to execute their decks, I gotta give Picard props for rolling up his sleeves and drawing the keys himself. He’s kind of the patron saint for self-published tarot artists. If any version of Picard’s original hand-painted deck has survived, there’s absolutely no indication of it on the internet.  Translation: I’d be willing to shell out some serious bank for a set.   I have an appointment at Morgan Library and Museum this week to […]