General Book of the Tarot, by A. E. Thierens, , at sacred-texts.com
TRADITION: A dark girl, honest girl. Reversed: usury, voided ambitions, vanity, cupidity, avarice. W. says: "Work, employment, commission, craftsmanship, skill in craft and business." Another
version has also: abundance, hospitality, politeness, kind reception, majority, augmentation, etc.
THEORY: It is the Fire on the Twelfth house. This has not much to do with useful work directly, nor with employment, but very much with skill and ingenuity, genial finding-out of the nature of things, so 'craftsmanship' may stand. For the rest, it is the house of offering, devotion, self-undoing, imprisonment and treason. The combination of the fire of the heart with it produces very different effects. Above all it gives skill and bravery, far above the average, outdoing the commonplace, neglecting fashion, sinning against tradition but widening the views and outlook. Dexterity will ensue from it. In matters of the heart it always tends to the unusual, superhuman, exotic, wayward, strange or dreamy. The illustration of the card is to be taken more as a warning against the dangers of this house than as a direct descriptive image of its nature; as a sort of hint: keep to your work, do not let yourself be led astray or misguided. It is also the house of the sick, the hospital and the addiction of 'hospitality' may well allude to this fact. Charity comes under it. That ambitions are wrecked in this house is correct in general, still the pentacles are never strong in any evil sense, and they are apt to wreck fortunes or bubble reputations rather than ambitions. With 'avarice' it has nothing to do whatever, as far as we can see. The 'dark girl' is another question: apart from the court-cards the ace is very often taken to indicate a boy or youth, the eight a girl. The cups are generally taken to denote fair people, the pentacles dark people. Apart from this Eteilla makes the
cards of wands--ace to ten--stand for young people, from one to twenty years of age. The reason for this we have not found out. If the eight always indicates a girl (which may be so because the eight always falls upon a house of water, which is entirely feminine in its nature), and the fiery pentacles must relate to dark-haired or even dark-skinned people, then the indication is right, and we shall accept it as far as it goes.
CONCLUSION: Devotion to what is not a prescribed duty, charity, skill, artistic ability, work done under inspiration, dexterity, uncommon qualities, perhaps geniality or even genius. Researches into the mysteries of Nature; nursing, work in hospitals or sanatoria, and these institutions themselves. In weak cases misleading appearances, making a useless show of activity. In very strong cases there is an artistic or genial ability, which will be only appreciated later. There will generally be sacrifice accompanying a work. Work for hospitals or prisons. Good card for a medical man or a clergyman. In weak cases there may be Bohemian love ending in degradation, depravation, waste of money, etc., though never by this card alone. On the contrary, it may indicate the conversion of a good-for-nothing to labour. Dark girl.