Card Meanings Rider Waite- The Fool 0

“We are never so close to being fools as when we think ourselves wise,”

To me, this quote illustrates the Fool the best. The Fool thinks he knows everything there is to know just like when we were teenagers we thought we knew it all. The Fool is brimming with optimism, convinced of his own brilliance and utterly unaware that anything could possibly go wrong. All in all, it’s a good place to start because at least he is starting. He hasn’t talked himself out of something before he’s even begun, he sees the possibilities not the problems. He’s the consummate “glass half full” person.

In a reading the Fool’s appearance suggests the start of something new. And it’s the ultimate beginning, even more so then the Ace’s because of it’s deeply spiritual nature. The start of all spiritual journey’s is the acknowledgment that a journey is there to be undertaken. The Fool appears most often when you simply don’t know what happens next but you darn sure want to find out. It is the willingness to leap into the great unknown, of sometimes not being aware that there is a great unknown to find.

In relationship readings the Fool is about new beginnings, adventure and a total lack of regard for consequences. There is also somewhat of an element of loving for the sake of it. In love with the idea of love, as it were. This can be both good and bad. Sometimes it involves seeing the other as a romanticized version of themselves, that is not so much as they really are but as they wish them to be. Think the poet who compares the colour of his loves eyes to the blue of a summers day. Very sweet but not very practical.

In a negative spread position the Fool becomes almost a parody of himself. I often think of Romeo and Juliet. So in love with the idea of love and with each other that the consequences of their relationship were the furthest thing from their minds. So quick to act on their feelings that they neglected all the other elements essential to a happy and full life. The Fool in a negative space become self absorbed, willfully blind and so determined to ‘follow their heart’ that practical considerations are left far behind. It is to act, not only disregarding consequences, but to act as if consequences cannot touch you. Like the man who, having jumped from the top floor of the building says passing the third floor, ‘see I’m doing just fine’.

As a person the Fool can represent someone who refuses to see the world as it really is and chooses instead to see it as he wishes. This can be both positive and negative. Sometimes optimism is called for and it is an important step to take on the journey to creating your own reality BUT sometimes it borders on stupid, like when someone thinks they can ‘positive think’ away a life threatening disease. As a person the fool always represents someone who seems young at heart. Someone who is often tilting at windmills and who never allows the occasional failure to dint their enthusiasm. These people are often fun to be around, though they can be rather exhausting. You’ll often hear them say, “But this is different!”

As a guided meditation, the Fool will take you to the place you need to begin your journey into self. He marks the divide between what you already know and what is a mystery to you.


Card Meanings Rider-Waite The Tens


The tens are resolution, the end result . The keywords here are

  • 10 of Wands- burden
  • 10 of Cups- fulfillment
  • 10 of pentacles- satisfaction
  • 10 of swords- destruction


Going Deeper

10 of Wands

The 10 of  wands represents the feeling of “keep on keeping on”- the need to get a job done, despite potential reward or outcome, simply because the job itself needs to be done. Sometimes it feels like a burden. Hard work for the sake of it. There is always a reason for the hard work even if it isn’t apparent. Responsibilities and duties are also represented by this card. Best case scenario is a determination to achieve. It’s knowing that the effort is worth it.

In relationship readings the 10 of wands still indicates hard work. Sometimes it’s about the work that needs to be done on relationships like counselling or discussions and negotiations. Sometimes its work interfering with the relationship, like long hours or exhaustion compromising the integrity of the relationship. Choosing work over relationships.

In negative spread positions the 10 of wands expresses the worst of burdens- feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders. Feeling alone with unavoidable duties that cannot be relieved. It can also be taking on too much, being overwhelmed with responsibilities or commitments.

As a person the 10 of wands represents someone who prioritises work over everything else, or someone who feels responsible for everything.

10 of Cups

The 10 of Cups is always a welcome sight. It is happiness, success and fulfilment. Joy and the end of a long journey. There is always a feeling of having “made it” when this card appears. This feeling is often temporary because real life keeps going on and new challenges arise. This is the “newly wed” feeling. It’s still worth celebrating because it’s what we aim for- being happy instead of being merely content.

In relationship readings it is, not surprisingly, a great card to see. It suggests the right person at the right time, the happy conclusion of any journey and a happy and successful love. This is ultimately the best card to have as the outcome to a relationship question and you can rest assured that no matter what obstacles you have to surmount to get there they will be worth it if this is the outcome.

In negative spread positions it is still worth having though it does suggest that an attachment to a “happy ending” may be blinding you to the reality of the situation. At it’s worst it suggests that this is as good as you can imagine for yourself, feeling like this is as good as it gets even if the reality of the situation is quite awful.

As a person the 10 of Cups suggests a happy and fulfilled person who can make the most of whatever situation they are in, one who always looks on the bright side or one who has achieved what they have set out to do.

10 of Pentacles

This card is also success but in a more practical sense. Rather then blissful happy love it is a more long standing contentment. The sort of happiness you get from years of companionship and camaraderie. It also suggests passing down or sharing knowledge gained. Help from family or well established friends. It is living a full life and enjoying your belongings and life as it is.

In relationship readings it suggests a wealthy or at least comfortable marriage/ partnership. Financial stability arising from your combined assets or ability to accumulate. It suggests being looked after and a dollar value being placed on what the relationship can achieve.

In negative spread positions it suggests a mercenary marriage or a  gold digger. Marrying the money instead of the person. It can, at it’s worst, suggest that family interference is affecting a love relationship, for example when the family does not approve of your choice of love. Or someone who is overly attached to their family and chooses them over their love partner. It can also suggest being trapped in a relationship because of fear of the financial repercussions.

As a person the 10 of Pentacles is someone well established in their career and life and who is comfortable with their financial position (not necessarily wealthy just happy with where they are at). It suggests an older person who has a wealth of knowledge to share and who is willing to share it (whether or not they are asked).

10 of Swords

Probably everyone’s least favourite card to see. The 10 of swords is as bad as it gets. Ruin, destruction, betrayal. There aren’t a lot of nice things to say about this card. It’s rock bottom. It’s not just about giving up but about having all your options taken away from you. At it’s worst its someone or circumstances kicking you while you are down. The only ray of light here is that this is it- they can’t do any worse to you now.

In relationship readings it is betrayal and the end. Consider a relationship with this card as the outcome as dead and buried. It is possible to bring a relationship back from this point, but it is really really hard work and you’d need to ask yourself if it was truly worth it.

In negative spread positions the 10 of swords is at it’s worst so take extra care with your safety. In positive spread positions it can indicate the ultimate in pessimism- seeing the worst in others or situations when there is no need to. It can also be fear of something bad happening. “Worst case scenario” thinking.

As a person the 10 of swords is either the ultimate “poor me”, someone who simply will not heal or move on from past hurts or the worst kind of betrayer, someone who actually goes out of their way cause hurt and pain.

Card Meanings Rider-Waite- The Nines

The nines are culmination, something coming to fruition. The Keywords here are:

  • 9 of Wands- embattled
  • 9 of Cups- satisfaction
  • 9 of Pentacles- contentment
  • 9 of Swords- worry

Going Deeper

9 of Wands

The 9 of wands is a sense of embattlement. A kind of being hemmed in from all sides. It’s not necessarily being attacked, just feeling like you can’t do as you wish. This card would appear most often when responsibilities are weighing down on you, when you feel like you aren’t free to do as you please. It can also indicate not being able to see the forest for the trees- a sense of only seeing the negative of your responsibilities and not their positives. It is one of the few wands cards that is less about action and more about head space. When this card appears first work out if you really are being hemmed in or if you just feel like you are.

In relationship readings the 9 of wands is feeling put upon, as if you are the only partner doing all the work. There is a smidgen of resentment happening. It can also appear when you or your partner has been wounded in previous relationships and is carrying those wounds into the current one. The challenge here is to take previous lessons in life and actually apply them. Sometimes things don’t always go the way you want them in life and the 9 of wands asks us to just deal with it and move on.

In negative card positions the 9 of wands really is under scrutiny. Someone around you is making sure that you are dotting your i’s and crossing your t’s. It denotes a time when you have come out of a situation slightly worse for wear but rich in experience. The trick here is not to fall into self pity.

As a person the 9 of wands represents someone who feels embattled regardless of whether the feeling is justified. This is the person who feels that others are against them or that they have worked harder then others but received less reward the they should have. There’s also a somewhat sulky feeling to this person- it’s often hard to get them to say something nice about someones else or their own situation.

9 of Cups

The 9 of cups is almost the opposite of the 9 of wands. Here is a sense of great satisfaction. This the card that appears when you are getting things right. The 9 of cups is a satisfaction that applies to every aspect of life, love life, work, health, happiness, etc. It doesn’t matter if the satisfaction is real or not- life may not in fact be perfect when this card appears, but it certainly feels that way. The only danger is to watch out for the tendency to rest on your laurels at this point. You may be satisfied with your lot but that doesn’t mean there isn’t more to do.

In relationship readings it suggests that you and your partner are working well together, not just romantically but in practical aspects as well. The is a slight sense of smugness attached to this card but nothing obnoxious. More the smugness you get from achieving something someone said you couldn’t. Things are going well when this card appears. Take it as a sign to give yourself a great big pat on the back before tackling other issues. It’s NOT the be all and end all , but it’s pretty damn good.

In negative card positions the smugness inherent in this card really comes out. It’s the insufferable know-it-all who sings “na-na-na-na-na” at you. Or worse, you yourself do it to others. If this card comes up in a negative position for yourself watch out for a tendency towards arrogance or settling. The arrogance tends to come in the form of knowing better then anyone else despite their experiences and the settling comes in the form of thinking that you’ve “made it” when all you’ve really done is reach a new level.

As a person the 9 of cups is a happy and satisfied one who is rather convinced it was all due to their own brilliance. It also represents the clever business person who has worked out how to worker smarter not harder.

9 of Pentacles

The 9 of pentacles s a nice place to visit but not so nice to live in. It suggests being content with your lot and “happy” for a given level of happiness. It’s kind of like going from an income of $500 a week to an income of $600 and being happy with it despite having it within yourself to be earning twice that. The lesson here is to take it as a rest stop on your way to bigger and better things. The 9 of pentacles is happy, but only because she refuses to look at the big picture. You could happily spend your life here if you wanted to but try to remember that there really is more.

In relationship readings it’s a lovely card to have because it suggests that despite how happy you feel right now, there is more. Sometimes it about being happy in a gilded cage. Not realising that you’ve traded security for entrapment. If this card constantly came up in your relationship readings you’d need to ask yourself what it was you refused to see. Are you confusing something sure for something true?

In negative card positions the 9 of pentacles becomes the gilded cage for true. You may be happy where you are but you aren’t free to do as you please or be really true to yourself. You are selling yourself short for what you are capable in life- trading creature comforts and luxury for an authentic life. ‘Happiness’ can be as much of a trap as misery can.

As a person the 9 of pentacles is someone happy with where they are at in life, freedom is not an issue for them because they see themselves as protected. It can also represent someone with a long term plan who is prepared to put in the time it takes to get there.

9 of Swords

Not the happiest of cards. The obvious meaning is of worries , bad dreams and negative thoughts. You have to ask yourself when this card appears about your own mental state. Are you seeing things are they truly are? Often this card appears when you have had a realisation- when you have ‘woken up’ from some self delusion. So often this card appears the moment you say to yourself “OMG what was I thinking?!?” Lastly, in my experience the appearance of the 9 of swords often accompanies a time of disturbed sleep for whatever reason- dreams, insomnia, restlessness- but it is almost always a consequence of the other aspects of this card.

In relationship readings the 9 of swords suggests that you just discovered (or are about to discover) something that changes your view of the relationship. Sometimes that realisation is about yourself, sometimes about the other person. Either way the discovery changes things for you.  It is always a light bulb moment that can lead to either positive change or something less pleasant. Just be on your toes when the 9 of swords appears in a relationship reading. It may not be the end of the world but for a moment there it may feel like it.

In negative card positions its easy to see the role the 9 of swords plays. In positive card positions it’s about coming to realisations that help clear the past and pave the way for the future. It’s about “waking up” to what’s truly going on around you. Trust that any ‘bad’ discoveries made when this card appears will eventually lead to very positive life changes.

As a person the 9 of swords can represent someone with health issues such as migraines or insomnia. It can also be a person who is refusing to deal with their health issues but will describe to you (at length) everything that is wrong with them. There is something timid about this person, it sometimes feels like this person simply refuses to look at the world around them.

The Emotional Nature of Readings

There’s no two ways about the fact that fortunetelling, card reading and psychic readings are an emotional gig. Unless you are telling fortunes for fun, chances are people are coming to see you because they are troubled and in distress. They are looking for answers. If they were easy answers they’d sort them out themselves or go to whichever professional (like a doctor or a lawyer) that they’d need to see. People look for answers from readers because they feel that no one else can help them. So how does a reader protect themselves from some of that emotional fallout?

Firstly be grounded. It is of paramount importance that you are centred within yourself. The more emotionally grounded you are the easier you can deal with other people’s emotional “whirlwinds”. In the Celestine Prophecy they talk about “drama’s”- the struggle for power or energy. What this means is that people will fall into one of the drama’s that they play out in order to get energy (attention) from other people. To be of any real help to a sitter, as a reader you have to avoid falling into their drama. The best way to do that- stay grounded.

Another thing to remember is to draw a line in the sand. You can’t stop other people from making mistakes, or living their lives as they choose. As a reader it is not your job to fix anything. You are simply there to provide insight and advice. The task of fixing their living is always firmly in the hands of your sitter. The easiest way to remember this is to remind yourself that you wouldn’t want someone who thinks they know better to come along and live your life for you, so don’t be tempted to do it to your sitters.

Take regular breaks. Like any kind of emotional work, it is imperative that you take regular breaks from reading. However much time you feel you need to clear your mind and energy. Sometimes you just need a few hours, but sometimes you will need to take days, weeks, months or even years. This is normal. It can be disheartening at times. We get into reading for others because we want to help. And no matter how hard you try, it feels like failure when you can’t help. Breaks are important because they help you put things in perspective. They recharge your batteries and allow you to offer genuine help and readings without doing them because you feel you have to. One of the reasons it’s difficult to make a living as a reader is that when it’s your only source of income you have to do a reading even if you’re not feeling up to it. All that ends up doing is short changing your sitter (who gets a half baked reading) and yourself (because your reputation for accuracy and helpfulness is tarnished). So do yourself and your sitters a favour and take breaks when you need them.

Lastly it’s important to remember that you are supposed to feel emotional when you read. You wouldn’t be reading for others at all if you were selfish and uncaring. It’s a rather intimate bond that the reader and sitter share. Sitters will often share things with us that they haven’t shared with anyone else. We have an insight to their most personal hopes, dreams, and worries. As Uncle Ben said, “with great power comes great responsibility” and that holds true with readings as well. We have the power to build people up, give them confidence and courage, wisdom and tools for dealing with life’s challenges. We do that responsibly by not giving them false hope, or telling them what they want to hear. We do that by finding ways to communicate advice that they may have been hearing from their loved ones for ages but choosing not to see or hear. We do that best by being honest, telling them straight if we don’t have an answer, or telling them what is actually there.

As a reader you can’t protect yourself from the emotional nature of reading. All you can do is learn to deal with it. An emotionally stable reader is one who is confident and grounded; compassionate but firm. A good reader feels their emotions but doesn’t let them rule.

How Spread Positions Affect Card Meanings

If you read with spreads (and not everyone does) then it is important to understand how the spread position affects the cards meaning. Sometimes the position is a negative one- for example “what is wrong with the situation?” in which case the card automatically becomes the worst version of itself. At other times the position is positive leading the card to it’s best possible version. One of the hardest things to wrap your head around when you are learning to read cards is how to read a good card in a negative position and a bad card in a positive one.

The card meanings I have been posting have included these meanings for the Rider-Waite, but no list of card meanings can give you every single possible meaning under every circumstance. At the end of the day so many things affect the cards meaning from position, to the question asked to your gut instinct. For now, we’ll look at spread positions and their effect.

The infinite number of spread positions fall roughly into just a few categories. Self reflection, advice/ actions, other people, past, present and future.

Self reflection is the broadest category. Some of the positions that come under this category are:

  • Hopes and fears
  • Desires
  • Your feelings
  • Your point of view

It is important to remember with these position types that what comes up may not be the actual reality- it’s just your perception of the reality. Sometimes your perception of reality is accurate, sometimes it’s not. That’s the point of these positions- to see if what you think is happening is what is actually happening. I think it’s important to include some self reflection type positions in any spread because our perception of reality is every bit as important as actual events. It is vitally important that we have a handle on where we are at emotionally and mentally when we are dealing with anything because our mental and emotional state affects our ability to deal with the situation.

The advice or actions type of spread position is also not reality. It’s a suggestion, something you should do, action you should take. In it’s way it’s the most ephemeral position type because it can be the hardest to read. It’s not an inherently positive or negative position so what do you do if you get a very negative or very positive card? I find that the negative cards in this position often suggest that you need to deal with that within yourself. For example if your advice card is the Devil, then the advice is to deal with your tendency to control and manipulate. Positive cards can be similar. For example the Sun as advice can be suggesting you either take a positive attitude or you deal with your tendency to romanticise the situation.

Other people type positions are also tricky. Unless you ask the other person involved whether the card is an accurate reflection of where they are at you just have to trust your reading. I have found that the other people position is actually more of how you perceive other people rather then how they perceive themselves. It’s about their impact on you, not necessarily their inner truth. For example you might get the Knight of Swords for someone else meaning you see them as something of knight in shining armour, always rushing in to help you when you need it- they however might see themselves or the situation differently if you were to ask them.

Past and present positions are probably the easiest to read, especially for yourself. Hindsight is 20/20, so it is relatively easy to see whether the card/s in past positions accurately reflect what actually happened and those for the present accurately describe what’s happening right now. One of the reasons we so often start with past and present positions is to give ourselves a base line. If these two are wrong then chances are it’s all wrong. And yes, as humans, readers can get it wrong. So, if these two positions don’t accurately describe what happened in the past or what’s happening now, scrap the reading and try again later. Having said that, give yourself a chance if the past is not as accurate as you think but the present is. Sometimes current events stem from past actions we didn’t realise at the time. Sometimes it’s a perception thing. For example if you had the 8 of wands in the past and you were thinking that you hadn’t recently studied anything, it may be that your current situation exists because of an unreasonable desire for perfection in the past.

Lastly the future positions, most often described as outcome or something similar. These are the most fluid positions, the ones most likely to change and the easiest ones to misinterpret. The trouble with future positions is that we see the future though the eyes of the present, very often seeing what we want to see or what we are afraid of seeing. The trick with reading future positions is to sketch it in outlines rather then trying to fill in details. No future is set in stone. If you see something you don’t like here do something differently. Re-evaluate, re-assess, re-think. If you do like the future you see, keep on with what you are doing. In some ways the future positions are the most important because that’s a large part of why we do readings in the first place- we want to know what’s going to happen next. But life is full of surprises, even for fortune tellers and card readers. Even we can’t see the details of the future. At best you get a foggy idea, kind of like a memory you haven’t had yet. Most often you’ll do a reading about the future, go “oh yeah right,” forget about and then months or years later say “omg, that reading came true!”

Spreads work well because they give our intuitions a frame to work in, something to bounce off and help narrow down the bewildering array of possible meanings for the cards. As with all things fortune telling, practice makes perfect, so give yourself time to get the hang of working with spreads. Start small then work your way up.

Happy reading!

Card Meanings Rider-Waite- The Eights

The eights are movement, something developing or happening. The Keywords here are:

  • 8 of Wands- communication
  • 8 of Cups- abandonment
  • 8 of Pentacles- mastery
  • 8 of Swords- constriction

Going Deeper

8 of Wands

The 8 of wands speaks of things happening fast and communications of all sorts. It’s ‘movement at the station’. For situations where you have been waiting for something to happen, the appearance of the 8 of wands suggests that movement is about to or is happening. On it’s own it’s neither a positive or negative card, but it is an active one. Sometimes things move too fast with the 8 of wands, leaving you in a swirl of events without much time to think about them.

In relationship readings you can expect a lot of communication, discussions and changes to happen with the 8 of wands. It also indicates a time of general harmony and ease. It’s not to say that there are no problems, just that whatever problems do exist are easily dealt with.

In negative card positions the 8 of wands can be all talk and no follow through or someone with a million pie in the sky ideas they never really get around to doing. It can be the “gonna do” attitude of someone who always appears busy without actually accomplishing anything. It can also be rushing in before thinking, or jumping to conclusions with too little information.

As a person the 8 of wands is always on their phone, texting, or social networking. That or they could talk the hind legs off a donkey. They are usually quite nice people, just with very short attention spans.

8 of Cups

It is a time of leaving when the 8 of cups appears. Sometimes it’s a situation you are happy to leave behind, at others it’s more sad. For whatever reason you must move on from a situation that once made you happy- either you have out grown the situation or it has run it’s course or you simply need to find a new challenge. It isn’t always a sad card. It’s focus is less on what you are going to- which is new and exciting- and more on what’s left behind, and that needs to be honoured too.

In relationship readings it can indicate a parting of ways. If your relationship is already rocky and you are thinking about it anyway then the appearance of the 8 of cups suggests that you’ll make the decision to move on. It can also indicate taking time away to think things through, a need for space to evaluate your situation. The 8 of cups rarely comes as a surprise because by the time it shows up then walking away will have been on your mind for sometime.

In negative card positions it can indicate someone who turns their back whenever the going gets tough, or someone who is always searching for greener pastures. It suggests someone who, once having conquered the challenge, immediately becomes bored with whatever they have gained.

As a person the 8 of cups is a seeker, always searching for something more. They are looking for depth and meaning and underlying causes. It sometimes represents someone who has recently suffered a loss or one who has walked away from their past.

8 of Pentacles

The 8 of pentacles often appears for those who are studying or learning a new trade or skill. It suggests that you have learnt the basics and are now learning to apply that knowledge to your life. It is patient and wise and suggests that you are taking your time over getting something just right.

In relationship readings the 8 of pentacles is about applying learnt skills to better your relationship. Again, it’s about taking time to get things right. Sometimes it can indicate that your job or vocation is playing an important part in your relationship or even suggest that you are working together.

In negative spread positions the 8 of pentacles can become rather obsessed with perfection, expecting everything to be just so. It can be about never being satisfied with your efforts, instead constantly going over what you could do better or differently. It’s the perfectionist taken to destructive levels.

As a person the 8 of pentacles is the student who is nearing the end of their degree or course of study/ apprenticeship or someone who considers that they have a lot yet to learn in life. It is the card of the diligent pupil, one who never takes short cuts but who is focused on learning to get it right.

8 of Swords

The 8 of swords can indicate a time when outside circumstances are constricting you or your own hang ups and thinking. We often feel powerless when the 8 of swords appears, as if there’s nothing we can do, the only thing we can do is just get through it, one little baby step at a time. Though you may be unable to take the action you would prefer, this situation won’t last forever and you’ll have to trust your instincts in an otherwise uncomfortable situation.

In relationship readings the 8 of swords can indicate a time when the problem to solve isn’t yours. There is nothing you can do because you can’t solve your partners problems for them, you simply have to be patient and prevent yourself from taking over. Be patient.

In negative spread positions the 8 of swords can be willful ignorance. It can be about deliberately choosing not to see anything bad around you or pretending that it’s not your problem. It can be refusing to act or using outside excuses about why your hands are tied. At it’s worst it’s ignoring a situation that you should do something about but refuse to for fear of the consequences.

As a person the 8 of swords represents someone who is trapped by circumstance into their situation. It is also someone who feels they must do “right” no matter the cost. This person has a keenly developed sense of justice and at it’s worst will feel as if they are paying back “bad karma”.