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Friday, 26 June 2015

Page of Cups

The Lovers' Tarot (Connections 2005)
Today's card from my new deck, The Lovers' Tarot by Jane Lyle, is Page of Cups. The image makes very clear reference to the RWS Page of Cups: The figure is facing to the left side of the card, red and blue clothing, standing on the edge of water, and most curiously, there is a fish emerging from the cup. The creator of the Rider Waite Smith deck,  Arthur Edward Waite, provides only this explanation in his Pictorial Key to the Tarot: 'A fair, pleasing, somewhat effeminate page, of studious and intent aspect, contemplates a fish rising from a cup to look at him. It is the picture of the mind taking form' [italics mine]. Now, that's interesting. Many contemporary tarot readers, if they mention the fish at all, talk about the Page of Cups' imagination and sense of wonder being symbolised by the fish emerging from the cup. That may be quite valid. But Waite's explanation, brief as it may be, seems perhaps to go a bit further. 'The picture of the mind taking form' is a very big picture indeed! It is the awakening of consciousness, emotional intelligence, and self-awareness, is it not? The fish is a fitting symbol for these things...a creature that is foreign to us, able to breathe where our bodies would drown, living in a place that we cannot see (beyond the most fleeting glimpses) but can only imagine, hidden from us and our experience, creatures that go with unseen flows, that can travel great distances at great speeds. As most of the earth's surface is covered by water, fish may symbolise greater freedom than we land-crawlers enjoy -- more territory to explore, and moving through it with greater ease and in deeper harmony than we can in our own dry environments. They are light and buoyant and quick, where we are weighed down by gravity, heavy and slow.Yes, the fish is a good symbol of the unseen, the depths, freedom, vastness, unfettered movement...the inner mind, the heart, the subconscious, the emotions. So the fish emerging from the cup represents our first awareness of this rich inner world, the first consideration that we might have depths unplumbed within ourselves, waiting to be explored.

In what way are you awakening to an unsuspected hidden depth? How has its emergence surprised you? What do you think you will do with this new awareness?


  1. This was very enlightening Carla!
    I've jotted it down in my Tarot journal
    Thanks :)

  2. I've been reading The Secrets of the Waite-Smith Tarot and they're quite derogatory about Waite's interpretations of all but the Minors. Whether he meant to give that phrase as much depth as you have plumbed from it I can't say, but it was a lovely post!

    1. 'They' can be as derogatory as they like, but the fact remains, it's Waite's deck.