ehwaz : horse
Phonetic equivalent: e (as in ‘egg’)
- DIVINATORY MEANINGS:
- transportation, motion, assistance, energy, power, communication, will, recklessness
- MAGICAL USES:
- power, aiding in communication, transportation; to ‘send’ a spell
- ASSOCIATED MYTHS & DEITIES:
- Sleipnir, Freya’s feathered cloak
- The horse has been a powerful symbol in nearly every culture and every age. They were often believed to draw the sun about the heavens. Strong, swift and loyal, their relationship with humankind is unique. They allow us to perform tasks that would normally be beyond our strength, and to travel distances that would normally be beyond our reach. The mare symbolizes fertility and fecundity, and the stallion is the epitome of virility and raw energy. It is an animal that never lost its power by being domesticated.
Like the sun which is its counterpart, ehwaz represents energy and motion. In this case, however, there is also respect for the source of the power to be considered. This is not merely an impersonal energy source – it is a living, breathing thing whose needs and desires must be taken into consideration, rather than be simply used as a slave. This is the power that was given by the God at algiz, and this rune reminds us of our oath to only use it to help, never to harm. Like the two-edged sword, the horse is a powerful tool, but must be carefully controlled to avoid harming yourself or other. It is tempting to just go barrelling along recklessly, but to do so is to risk loosing that power forever. This is the balance that must be achieved on the path of pure magic.
- letting go
- having an emotional release
accepting what is
surrendering to experience
ending the struggle
being vulnerable and open
giving up control
accepting God’s will
- turning the world around
changing your mind
overturning old priorities
seeing from a new angle
upending the old order
doing an about-face
- suspending action
- pausing to reflect
feeling outside of time
taking time to just be
giving up urgency
living in the moment
waiting for the best opportunity
- being a martyr
renouncing a claim
putting self-interest aside
going one step back to go two steps forward
giving up for a higher cause
putting others first
The Hanged Man is one of the most mysterious cards in the tarot deck. It is simple, but complex. It attracts, but also disturbs. It contradicts itself in countless ways. The Hanged Man is unsettling because it symbolizes the action of paradox in our lives. A paradox is something that appears contradictory, and yet is true. The Hanged Man presents to us certain truths, but they are hidden in their opposites.
The main lesson of the Hanged Man is that we "control" by letting go – we "win" by surrendering. The figure on Card 12 has made the ultimate surrender – to die on the cross of his own travails – yet he shines with the glory of divine understanding. He has sacrificed himself, but he emerges the victor. The Hanged Man also tells us that we can "move forward" by standing still. By suspending time, we can have all the time in the world.
In readings, the Hanged Man reminds us that the best approach to a problem is not always the most obvious. When we most want to force our will on someone, that is when we should release. When we most want to have our own way, that is when we should sacrifice. When we most want to act, that is when we should wait. The irony is that by making these contradictory moves, we find what we are looking for.
- gives good advice
has a deep grasp of human nature
teaches through loving attention
knows what others need for growth
sees right to the heart of the matter
understands many levels of experience
- maintains his or her composure
has a quieting influence on others
is emotionally stable and secure
keeps his or her head in a crisis
never seems nervous or tense
- can balance the needs of many people
keeps everyone working together happily
can diffuse a tense situation
achieves goals through subtle influence
says just the right word at the right time
- responds to emotional needs
is a natural healer and therapist
takes action to help those in need
feels compassion for the less fortunate
does volunteer and charity work
- has open and broad-minded views
accepts the limitations of others
is comfortable with all types of people
allows others their freedom
is patient in trying circumstances
The personality of the King of Cups is a combination of the positive water energy of the Cups suit and the active, outward focus of a King. He is wise and understanding, with a deep knowledge of the world that comes from the heart. He is a teacher and way-shower who guides his students with loving attention. He cares about others sincerely and always responds to their needs with compassion. He heals with a gentle touch and a quiet word. He is calm and relaxed in all situations, seeming to know intuitively what is called for at any moment. Others turn to him for advice because they know he will listen attentively. There is always a peacefulness around him that others respond to. He is tolerant of all points of view and shows patience in the most trying circumstances. He gives others freedom to grow and develop in their own ways without asking anything in return.
In readings, the King of Cups asks you to take the kinds of actions he might take. For example: responding calmly in a crisis, using diplomacy rather than force, reaching out to help, or accepting a different point of view. This King can also represent a man or woman who acts as he does, or an atmosphere of caring, tolerance and understanding. In a reading, he tells you that his special energy has meaning for you at this time. Let yourself be inspired by this King in whatever form he appears in your life.
- seeking deeper meaning
- focusing on personal truth
leaving the rat race
looking for answers
concentrating on what is important
starting on a journey of discovery
finding out the facts
devoting more time to the spiritual
- moving on
- realizing the current cycle is over
abandoning a hopeless situation
starting on a trip of unknown length
finishing up and walking away
- growing weary
- feeling drained by demands
dragging through the day
feeling tired and listless
getting weighed down by worries
becoming burned out
A psychologist friend once told me that when a group is ready to break up, the members give off subtle signs to that effect. They display a certain restlessness. They arrive late to meetings, communicate less and seem distracted. At some level the participants know it is time to move on, but they need a while to work up to that final step.
This process applies in many situations where an ending is approaching. Nothing is permanent in life. Sooner or later, everything slips away…or we slip away from it. The Eight of Cups stands for those moments when we realize, once and for all, that the past is gone. What was true is no longer true. The signs of change are in our face, and we must accept them. It is time to move on.
Moving on can mean a physical change such as leaving a job, location or relationship. It can also mean an inner change – releasing old patterns, especially those that have dominated our thoughts and emotions. On the Eight of Cups, we see a man leaving on a journey. He has turned away from his old feelings (cups/river) to strike out on a new path. Sometimes moving on can mean searching for a deeper truth or reality. One day we wake up and realize that we have been asleep in our own lives – living a dream that no longer satisfies.
Some changes can be wearying. Endings are not always easy. One of the signs of a readiness to leave is lack of energy. When you feel tired and dispirited, you know that something is wrong, and it’s time for a new direction. Reexamine your life and your priorities. You will find where in your life you need to move on.
- exploring the unknown
- seeking out uncharted areas
going in quest of new adventure
leaving the secure behind
tackling something different
- having foresight
- being visionary
looking for greater possibilities
knowing what to expect
getting a premonition
taking the long view
- demonstrating leadership
- showing others the way
taking the main role
providing needed direction
rallying the group behind you
assuming a responsible position
setting an example
serving as a representative
On the Three of Wands, we see a figure standing on a cliff looking out over the sea to distant mountains. From this height, he sees all that lies ahead. This is a card of vision and foresight. When we want to see farther, we climb higher. By going up, we increase our range and remove ourselves from the immediate situation. We detach and gain perspective.
In readings, the Three of Wands can tell you to take the long view. Don’t react to the heat of the moment, but step back and reconsider. See how the present fits into the greater picture. This card asks you to be a visionary – to dream beyond current limitations. It can indicate premonitions or other intuitions about what is to come.
Taking the long view is an aspect of leadership – another meaning of the Three of Wands. When we see far, we have the knowledge to guide others to their best future. Someone who knows the way can show it to those who follow. When you see the Three of Wands, know that now is the time to accept your vision and be confident that you can lead others to it.
A leader not only sees far, but he is willing to go there first, if necessary. The Three of Wands is also a card of exploration. Compare this figure to the Fool who is also on a cliff edge. The Fool steps out in innocence, not realizing he is going to fall to his fate. The adventurer on the Three of Wands is also willing to step out, but with full awareness of what he is doing. His courage is more informed, if less spontaneous. The Three of Wands encourages you to move fearlessly into new areas. Let the ships on your horizon take you far out into unknown seas.
- achieving victory
- reaching your goal
coming out on top
beating the competition
- using your will
- being determined to succeed
focusing your intent
rising above temptation
letting nothing distract you
sustaining an effort
concentrating your energies
fixing on a goal
- asserting yourself
- being ego-focused
establishing an identify
knowing who you are
having faith in yourself
looking out for your interests
- achieving hard control
- mastering emotions
holding in anger
getting your way
assuming the reins of power
Picture Julius Caesar riding his chariot triumphantly into Rome. He has defeated his enemies and conquered vast, new lands. This is the spirit of the Chariot. Card 7 represents the victories that are possible through willpower and self-mastery. A military image is appropriate for the Chariot because this card stands for the strengths associated with combat – discipline, grit, determination and assertiveness.
The Chariot represents the positive aspects of the ego. A healthy ego is one that is strong and self-assured. It knows what it wants and how to get it. We can get annoyed at someone whose ego is too healthy, but we often turn to that person to lead us through difficult moments. We know he or she won’t be wishy-washy.
In readings, the Chariot often appears when hard control is or could be in evidence. At its best, hard control is not brutal, but firm and direct. It is backed up by a strong will and great confidence. The Chariot can mean self-control or control of the environment. This card also represents victory. There are many types of wins; the Chariot’s is of the win-lose type. Your success comes from beating the competition to become number one. Such moments are glorious in the right circumstances.
- idealizes love……….lacks self-restraint
emphasizes feelings……….is often jealous
concentrates on the poetry of life……….tends to be gushy and melodramatic
remembers special occasions……….blows hot and cold in affections
expresses sentiments beautifully……….brings flowers, but forgets to put gas in the car
- can tap the fertile unconscious……….indulges in idle daydreams
looks beyond the obvious……….has big ideas that come to nothing
never takes the mundane path……….has an unrealistic approach
spins marvelous tales……….has an overactive imagination
is visionary……….can shade the truth
- is aware of moods and feelings……….is prone to mood swings
helps others open up……….can be petulant and sulky
responds deeply to life……….gels melancholy and depressed
understands the pains of others……….broods excessively
is tactful and diplomatic……….takes offense easily
- appreciates beauty in all forms……….leaves dirty work to others
seeks the finest……….can’t face unpleasantness
creates a pleasing environment……….lacks robust good health
understands subtlety……….emphasizes style over substance
is suave and gracious……….gets overwhelmed by pressure
- values the inner life……….focuses inward to excess
tries to understand why……….avoids active participation
questions motivations……….is driven to self-examination
seeks self-improvement……….exaggerates personal failings
sees below the surface……….can’t relax around others
On the positive side, the Knight of Cups is a sensitive soul. He is a poet – a lover of all things romantic and refined. He uses his imagination in wondrous ways and taps the deepest levels of emotion. He knows how to create beauty and share it with others. On the negative side, this Knight is prone to flights of fancy and illusion. His melodramatic moods are legendary, and his emotions often get the better of him. He’s too temperamental and takes offense easily. He can’t stand unpleasantness and will always let others deal with it.
In readings, a Knight of Cups shows that his sensitive style is involved in the situation as an aspect of you, someone else or the atmosphere in general. You need to ask yourself, "Is this Knight’s energy helping or hurting?"
If his style is evident, then balance is needed. Are your feelings appropriate or excessive? Are your daydreams unrealistic? Is someone’s moodiness driving you crazy? Is your home life ruled by emotion rather than common sense? It may be time for a change.
If this Knight’s energy is missing, a dose of poetry may be called for. Are you too restrained? Express your feelings. Do you always make the most practical choice? Go for the extravagant one instead. Do you avoid introspection? Take some time to look within and think about your life. Let the Knight of Cups introduce you to his world of romance and beauty.