Sacred Texts  Tarot  Tarot Reading  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book at

The Pictorial Key to the Tarot, by A.E. Waite, ill. by Pamela Colman Smith [1911], at


WANDS. King.--Generally favourable may signify a good marriage. Reversed: Advice that should be followed.

Queen.--A good harvest, which may be taken in several senses. Reversed: Goodwill towards the Querent, but without the opportunity to exercise it.

Knight.--A bad card; according to some readings, alienation. Reversed: For a woman, marriage, but probably frustrated.

Page.--Young man of family in search of young lady. Reversed: Bad news.

Ten.--Difficulties and contradictions, if near a good card.

Nine.--Generally speaking, a bad card.

Eight.--Domestic disputes for a married person.

Seven.--A dark child.

Six.--Servants may lose the confidence of their masters; a young lady may be betrayed by a friend. Reversed: Fulfilment of deferred hope.

Five.--Success in financial speculation. Reversed: Quarrels may be turned to advantage.

Four.--Unexpected good fortune. Reversed: A married woman will have beautiful children.

Three.--A very good card; collaboration will favour enterprise.

Two.--A young lady may expect trivial disappointments.

Ace.--Calamities of all kinds. Reversed: A sign of birth.

Cups. King.--Beware of ill-will on the part of a man of position, and of hypocrisy pretending to help. Reversed: Loss.

Queen.--Sometimes denotes a woman of equivocal character. Reversed: A rich marriage for a man and a distinguished one for a woman.

Knight.--A visit from a friend, who will bring unexpected money to the Querent. Reversed: Irregularity.

Page.--Good augury; also a young man who is unfortunate in love. Reversed: Obstacles of all kinds.

Ten.--For a male Querent, a good marriage and one beyond his expectations. Reversed: Sorrow; also a serious quarrel.

Nine.--Of good augury for military men. Reversed: Good business.

Eight.--Marriage with a fair woman. Reversed: Perfect satisfaction.

Seven.--Fair child; idea, design, resolve, movement. Reversed: Success, if accompanied by the Three of Cups.

Six.--Pleasant memories. Reversed: Inheritance to fall in quickly.

Five.--Generally favourable; a happy marriage; also patrimony, legacies, gifts, success in enterprise. Reversed: Return of some relative who has not been seen for long.

Four.--Contrarieties. Reversed: Presentiment.

Three.--Unexpected advancement for a military man. Reversed: Consolation, cure, end of the business.

Two.--Favourable in things of pleasure and business, as well as love; also wealth and honour. Reversed: Passion.

Ace.--Inflexible will, unalterable law. Reversed: Unexpected change of position.

SWORDS. King.--A lawyer, senator, doctor. Reversed: A bad man; also a caution to put an end to a ruinous lawsuit.

Queen.--A widow. Reversed: A bad woman, with ill-will towards the Querent.

Knight.--A soldier, man of arms, satellite, stipendiary; heroic action predicted for soldier. Reversed: Dispute with an imbecile person; for a woman, struggle with a rival, who will be conquered.

Page.--An indiscreet person will pry into the Querent's secrets. Reversed: Astonishing news.

Ten.--Followed by Ace and King, imprisonment; for girl or wife, treason on the part of friends. Reversed: Victory and consequent fortune for a soldier in war.

Nine.--An ecclesiastic, a priest; generally, a card of bad omen. Reversed: Good ground for suspicion against a doubtful person.

Eight.--For a woman, scandal spread in her respect. Reversed: Departure of a relative.

Seven.--Dark girl; a good card; it promises a country life after a competence has been secured. Reversed: Good advice, probably neglected.

Six.--The voyage will be pleasant. Reversed: Unfavourable issue of lawsuit.

Five.--An attack on the fortune of the Querent. Reversed: A sign of sorrow and mourning.

Four.--A bad card, but if reversed a qualified success may be expected by wise administration of affairs. Reversed: A certain success following wise administration.

Three.--For a woman, the flight of her lover. Reversed: A meeting with one whom the Querent has compromised; also a nun.

Two.--Gifts for a lady, influential protection for a man in search of help. Reversed: Dealings with rogues.

Ace.--Great prosperity or great misery. Reversed: Marriage broken off, for a woman, through her own imprudence.

PENTACLES. King.--A rather dark man, a merchant, master, professor. Reversed: An old and vicious man.

Queen.--Dark woman; presents from a rich relative; rich and happy marriage for a young man. Reversed: An illness.

Knight.--An useful man; useful discoveries. Reversed: A brave man out of employment.

Page.--A dark youth; a young officer or soldier; a child. Reversed: Sometimes degradation and sometimes pillage.

Ten.--Represents house or dwelling, and derives its value from other cards. Reversed: An occasion which may be fortunate or otherwise.

Nine.--Prompt fulfilment of what is presaged by neighbouring cards. Reversed:Vain hopes.

Eight.--A young man in business who has relations with the Querent; a dark girl. Reversed: The Querent will be compromised in a matter of money-lending.

Seven.--Improved position for a lady's future husband. Reversed: Impatience, apprehension, suspicion.

Six.--The present must not be relied on. Reversed: A check on the Querent's ambition.

Five.--Conquest of fortune by reason. Reversed: Troubles in love.

Four.--For a bachelor, pleasant news from a lady. Reversed: Observation, hindrances.

Three.--If for a man, celebrity for his eldest son. Reversed: Depends on neighbouring cards.

Two.--Troubles are more imaginary than real. Reversed: Bad omen, ignorance, injustice.

Ace.--The most favourable of all cards. Reversed: A share in the finding of treasure.

It will be observed (1) that these additamenta have little connexion with the pictorial designs of the cards to which they refer, as these correspond with the more important speculative values; (2) and further that the additional meanings are very often in disagreement with those previously given. All meanings are largely independent of one another and all are reduced, accentuated or subject to modification and sometimes almost reversal by their place in a sequence. There is scarcely any canon of criticism in matters of this kind. I suppose that in proportion as any system descends from generalities to details it becomes naturally the more precarious; and in the records of professional fortune-telling, it offers more of the dregs and lees of the subject. At the same time, divinations based on intuition and second sight are of little practical value unless they come down from the region of universals to that of particulars; but in proportion as this gift is present in a particular case, the specific meanings recorded by past cartomancists will be disregarded in favour of the personal appreciation of card values.

This has been intimated already. It seems necessary to add the following speculative readings.

Next: Section 5 The Recurrence of Cards in Dealing