Card Meanings Rider-Waite- The Aces

Aces are all about beginnings. The keywords here are-

  • Ace of Wands- a physical beginning
  • Ace of Cups- an emotional beginning
  • Ace of Pentacles- a practical beginning
  • Ace of Swords- a mental beginning

Going Deeper

Ace of Wands

Physical beginnings can take many shapes- you start a new enterprise, or project, or take action on plans you’ve had for a while. This card is the “go ahead” card, the green light, so to speak. It suggests that success is possible (the castle in the distance) you just have to get there. There is a lot of energy behind all the aces, but this one in particular is about being raring to go, with an energy similar to a bouncy child who can’t sit still. It’s all “go, go, go, do, do, do.” In some ways, the energy of the Ace of Wands is similar to people saying, “when do you want it done?”, “Yesterday!” There’s an impatience to just get on with it.

In relationship readings the Ace of Wands is about activity. It can be a rather sexual card suggesting that it is a more physical relationship, based on pure excitement and impetuousness. This is the relationship that says, “hey let’s…” At it’s best it’s exciting, at it’s worst it’s exhausting.

In negative spread positions, the Ace of Wands is all beginnings and no follow through. This is the card of having a dozen projects (or partners) on the go but never seeing any through to completion. It’s someone who gets bored easily and is in constant search for novelty. It can be cruel in a thoughtless way, speaking or doing first before really thinking through the consequences of your actions.

Ace of Cups

Emotional beginnings are generally connected with new relationships, but it can also symbolise healing on a deep emotional level, passing a rite of passage, or reaching a new level of emotional connection. In the Rider-Waite deck, the Ace of Cups overflows with water- my cup runneth over. It’s emotional satisfaction and happiness. The dove with a holy wafer in it’s beak suggests commitment, faith that things will work out, faith that what is meant to be will be.

In relationship readings the Ace of Cups is a wonderful card to get. This is the first flush of love, or a renewal of that feeling. It’s about feeling full emotionally, feeling like maybe happy ever after does exist, that there are so many possibilities ahead and that finally you have found someone or something within yourself that you can count on. This is about intimacy, secrets whispered in the middle of the night, being at one with your partner.

In negative spread positions this can be taken too far. Overly emotional, irrational, scenes and drama. It can symbolise tears of hurt as much as tears of joy. That dove can symbolise plunging in despite not knowing the depth, risking breaking your neck in a relationship that you thought had depth that turns out not to. Blind faith instead of thinking things through or trusting your instincts.

Ace of Pentacles

Practical beginnings include such things as starting a business, buying a house, putting your money where your mouth is. Pentacles often involve a financial aspect. The Ace of Pentacles is often about things that are closer to home. It’s about the practical and day to day realities. How you pay your bills, put food on the table and a roof over your head. Beginnings here can also be about how you look after yourself- a new diet or exercise regime, quitting smoking or drinking, getting healthy.

In relationship readings this can be about family, partners, children or neighbours. It can be a new school, new shopping routine, new neighbours (or a fresh start with current ones). A practical beginning in relationships can be a simple as deciding who’s paying for what, pooling your resources, taking your relationship to a new level to make the most of partnered financial strength. It’s about presenting a united front as a couple no matter what is going on behind the scenes.

In a negative spread position this can be about being mercenary- a gold digger, a sugar daddy or a cougar. Someone who uses their wealth (or poverty) as a weapon. It can also suggest a lack of imagination or adventurousness. Someone so methodical they simply can’t or won’t believe anything they can’t quantify.

Ace of Swords

Mental beginnings are also known as new ideas. Everything comes from some new idea- before it comes into being it has to be imagined in the first place. It’s about being quick witted and imaginative. It’s brainstorming and creativity, solutions and answers. It’s also beginnings in all things related to the purely mental world- a new pen friend, or blog, an email communication, or post and online discussion. New beginnings here can sometimes be a simple as finding a new website that provides you with valuable information or the new information itself.

In relationship readings the Ace of Swords is about discussions, discussions, discussions. Sometimes talking so much you forgot what originally started the conversation. It’s not about making decisions, it’s about discussing possibilities, ideas, planning for the future and dissecting issues to death. As a person this be someone who lives in their head, an ideas person, a “gonna- do”, someone who says they are going to this, they are going to do that, but never actually does anything.

In a negative spread position, the Ace of Swords can be cutting and hurtful remarks, thoughtlessness. Over analysing things and constantly coming up with new and ever weirder theories. This is about discussing your relationship problems with friends rather then with your partner, gossip and bitching- negativity masquerading as objectiveness.

These meanings are not the only meanings, but they are a good place to start as you learn for yourself what the cards mean to you.


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