AND GAELIC PRONUNCIATIONS
Trumps of the Major Arcana
The first thing I do want you to know is that these decks are the result of forty years of research, so it's a bit difficult to copy what others have done and point to the meanings of the cards that most decks represent. The trump cards of the major arcana point to two ideas. The Anieth deck refers to characters in the Tales of Anieth series, however, those characters are in themselves mythological. In all three decks I have followed my work done with story archetypes. The cards are alphabetical, done with Ogham runes rather than a Greco-Roman alphabet or the Hebrew alphabet, but more importantly, they represent points in the great myths that have been passed down in the form of stories. I have gone into great detail about these ideas, so I shall confine this pages to the specific meanings an how to say the Gaelic.
Gaelic is an offshoot of Irish, which is one of the languages that evolved out of Proto-Celtic which was spoken all across Europe at the time of the Greeks and Romans. Ogham runes are dated much later, but show up on marker stones as early as Roman times. The important thing to know is that there are many ways to pronounce Gaelic. Irish has three main dialects that survived the destruction of the upper classes. Scots Gaelic and Manx are other offshoots. I went with Scots Gaelic pronunciation to avoid discussions about the "proper" way to pronunce Irish, but you should know that all the guides are approximate. We know some about the ancient languges of the Druids, but not enough to speak their language. We know that they used ciphers and that Ogham alphabets were tied to trees, birds, animals, or anything that could replace a letter or be used as a way to remember the alphabet order. The surviving Ogham is Tree Ogham, which is common among Druids and Wiccans and Pagans of today.
The Celtic tongues are ancient, but transcribed by priests who used the Latin alphabet. They tried very hard to make the sounds of the Celtic tongues transparent through spelling. This is a bit of disaster and there has been a lot of reform in Irish and Welsh to help with the massive spelling problems inherited through this transcription. This is another reason not to worry about pronunciation too much!
Amadán: AM a dawn
The Fool is the child or the novice who sets foot upon the path of development. The word amadán literally means "non-minded." When this card shows up in the reading it means that a new path will be taken. It also means that the querent has the right state of open mind to pursue that path. Ogham letter "a" is the elm, fir, or pine tree: ailm.
In the reverse position, the Fool card may indicate confusion or awkwardness in the situation at hand. Reversed or ill-dignified (surrounded by contrary cards) the Fool card also means that the querent or aspects of the question are subject to blindness or the inability to create habits that help the issue.
The animals represent the extent to which they will endanger themselves to get at something. The badger and the mouse are hanging in the elm trees. Among the Celts, the badger is a shape-shifter but protection against witchcraft. The mouse is considered the soul of a person who was killed. The man, Peter Shields, in the Anieth deck is dressed formally, but is stepping off of a table, a sure sign that he does not see that his actions may have dire consequences.
Feartach: FYAIR takh
The Magus or Magician card represents unexplained miracles, magic, or trickery that the querent does not understand. The word feartach means a tricky man, or a miracle worker. This card is the symbol of awe in the miracles of life or the abilities of a masdter or the dazzling aspects of the new. Ogham letter "f" is the alder tree: fearn.
In the reversed position, the Magus card can represent how an inexperienced person sees a new situation. It can be a symbol of mistrust or skepticism. Magicians were ancient shamans and callers of magic, both good and evil. This card may mean that the situation is under the "evil eye" and should be viewed with caution.
The falcon is a symbol of the shape-changing wizard, Merlin. In most European cultures, blackbirds were a symbol of trickery, and the wolf has long been another symbol of the lone shaman of the North. The man is called Faol, (wolf) and is tied in the books to the raven dance of the Alder people. If you see any cards in your spread with ravens, falcons, or wolves, you should take this as a symbol of the power to call forth magic out of winter skies.
The High Priestess
Síofróg: SHEEF rogue
The High Priestess card is the image of an ancient kind of spiritual channeler. This priestess or goddess lived in every spring and river in ancient Europe. She was also the caretaker of animals, the bringer of fire, and teacher of crafts. The priestesses of Brigit and the Vestal Virgins were dedicated to this kind of magic. She represents the spiritual fire beyond words, inspiration, and the muse of poetry, art and nature. Síofróg is the Celtic word for elf, enchantress, or fairy. Ogham letter "s" is the willow tree: sail.
Ill-dignified, the Priestess card is the fear of the otherworld touching the world we see and hear. Forces beyond explanation are often frightening and illogical. If this card is reversed, look for the hand of the fair folk, or an element of luck that m ight be quirky, impossible to control, like a fire that gets out of hand.
This card is an ancient symbol of the word, but also means “power from within” or wisdom. The heron was a symbol of letters and the stork a symbol of birth. The fox has long been a trickster in Europe, but is always a shape-shifter with innate power of procreation. Edna Shields, who saved the world of Anieth from destruction, but lost her love doing so.
Úire: OOR ye
The Empress card symbolizes the "desire" force in the world. A passive, rather than an active voice, it is the rich call of the fertile earth, the ocean, or that which needs to bear fruit and transform over time. This card may denote a desire in the querent to gather power from the "other" in order to learn, grow, and shape the future. The word úire means new earth, but also implies the human body, the grave, and physical desire. Ogham letter "u" is the heather tree: ura.
Reversed, this card is the power of life coming from death, but also the continuity of the cycle of life and death. The force of the earth is in its changing aspects. This card can, if surrounded by similar cards, be a dark goddess in the midst of the spread, a hole in the earth or the heart which causes the force of life to be a gluttony of sickness and dying.
In Europe, both the cat and the hare represent fertility. The hare was a symbol of Easter and the goddess of replenishment. The woman is LiHara, the Elk Queen, who became High Queen of the Horse People. She reprensents Hera, but more closely the wild goddesses of the pastoral North who brought both life and death.
The Emperor card is the representation of "rage" force, or the force of the living blood and sap that makes life burst forth. The word smacht means both rule and discipline, but also fine, or subjugate. The Emperor card may symbolize a passion in the querent or in the question that demands to be seen and heard. Ogham letter "z" is the blackthorn tree: straif.
The Emperor card, when reversed, may denote combat, punishment and argument, or merely a position of truculent defense. No matter what the question, this card makes it imperative. If the Emperor card is surrounded by other problematic cards, consider that the situation may be too polarized or prone to battle. You might need to be ready to attack or defend, or both!
The bear and the eagle have long been symbols of the might of the ruler. Warlord symbols descended down to be the symbols of kingdoms and empires. In the South, this tree was probably the cedar tree, another symbol of the ruler. The man depicted is Marsyas Gallanis, a Zelosian warlord. He represents the intrusion of Aryan sky gods into the lands of pastoral and older farming cultures, replacing tricksters and earth goddesses.
Uamhan: WAW van
The Hierophant is the sacred or holy ritual of initiation or union that introduces the querent to the door of the path. This card may also be a "door guard" or a medium through which a person passes from one life into another. This card means both a union of two worlds, and a threshold into the unknown. The word uamhan means awe. Ogham letter "h" is the hawthorn tree: uath.
The Hierophant reversed implies something horrific, terrifying, and exciting. This may be a challenge but might also be the fear or reluctance to cross over onto a new path. This card is indicative of a need either to be challenged or admitted into secret knowledge. If you cannot pass the exam to go through the door, consider going back to the drawing board or to the books to study.
The European birds of the cuckoo and the owl are ambivalent symbols. The owl is a bird of the other world, representing souls and oracular predictions. The cuckoo is a fertility bird but also oracular signaling the advent of spring. The legend of Blowedd of the Flowers who was an owl shaper, is from the Welsh Mabinogion. I have alluded to that tale in the goddess shown here who is queen of the Hawthorn.
Cuidigh: CWID ee
The Lovers card implies a marriage or a union, but more importantly this card represents sharing, or a responsibility of a legal accord. The Celts had over two hundred different forms of marriage and family bonds, so it was very important to them to create a wide range of contracts. The word cuidigh means to share. Ogham letter "q" is the apple tree: quert.
The Lovers card in the spread indicates a partnership based on care, but it may also mean that a partnership is now one-sided or does not benefit either party. If reversed, this card can mean a split or the end of a union.
The couple here are married and represent bonded parents of a family. The wolves and the doves are both white, which, in the West, was a color of purity and innocence. The tree is an apple tree, the tree of Freya that supplanted the other fertility fruit, the pomegranate of the story of Persephone. The heather was also a fertility plant in Britain espeically where it grew and bloomed on acid soils. The colors of this card, red and green, have traditionally been the colors of everlasting love. Fertility couples were more common outside of the Celts, the Celts have more stories of tragic lovers than fertility couples.
Carbad: CAWR bad
The Chariot card is mistaken for many things, but it is basically the need to take, carry, drive, or defend by removal or moving. This card can mean either "digging in" or "relocation" depending on the best strategy for the question. The word carbad is rooted in two meanings, one dealing with wicker baskets or a vehicle made like a wicker basket for carrying things. Holding onto what you have is the real meaning of this card. Ogham letter "g" is the ivy tree: gort.
The Chariot card in less favorable aspects means loss while trying to protect what one has or relocating without the ability to keep what you have. It can also mean the inability to move or leave because of attachments. This means responsibilities that tie one down, but also the lack of accepting responsibility or the fear of not being able to leave the situation.
The chariot card traditionally housed a knight who was representative of the sun. The man in the Anieth deck is a prince of the Nation of the Rising Sun, and may represent Apollo, but also Helmdal, guardian of the rainbow bridge to Asgard. The snail on the ivy leaf is a symbol of the fragility of the vessel of life that carries us across the waters.
Muinín: MWEEN een
The Strength card represents the blithe confidence that comes from health, courage and conviction. This is a powerful card which reinforces other good cards in the reading. It is the feeling of being on a lucky path, as if nothing can go wrong. The word muinín means both trust and confidence, but is also closely tied to the word for learning. This card can represent the confidence that comes from experience or the mastery of a subject, as well as luck. Ogham letter "m" is the bramble tree: muin.
The flip side of the Strength card is that muin also means vine or wine, indicating another kind of false confidence that comes from drinking, such as boasting or blustering. Celtic warriors were masters of the boast and eager to prove themselves by out shouting their opponents. This card reversed can mean that there is nothing under all the bluster, or the whole reading is swollen and fragile with bursting gas.
The animal cards show the lynx, an animal in Europe associated with the other world for its silence and stealth. The girl is a Persephone figure pointing to the long tradition of a girl taming the lion, or in this case, a large black wolf.
Eolaí: YO lee or Cumhach: COOV akh
The Hermit card heralds a light in the darkness: the person or force capable of guiding the querent on the path. This force can be in the form of a mentor or a teacher or a guide, or it can merely be a feeling that "this is the right way" given one's experience and knowledge. It is not a vague feeling as indicated by the Priestess, but a concrete clue in a mystery that points in a direction not previously considered. Cumhach means power, but also loneliness, the supernatural power of the hermit’s magic. Ogham letter "c" is the hazel tree: coll.
The Hermit card reversed is the lack of knowledge or the lack of a guide. The feeling can create confusion or the feeling of being lost in a great wood full of monsters, for coill means hazel, wood, and monstrous. If this card is ill-dignified, it can mean a general lack of any clue as to what is going on. The appearance of this card in the reading means that the conscious mind is incapable of understanding, so any guides will be invisible or misunderstood.
This card represents the great Taliesen, a Welsh druid/wizard. He was a slave to a witch and ate some of the salmon soup. The salmon had fed on the hazel nuts of knowledge. The fox is also a European symbol of wizardy, but the hazel tree is the core.
Rotha: ROW ha or Ádh: AW
The Wheel of Fortune card represents fate or the end result of the causes and conditions of the current situation. When upright, this card symbolizes an outcome that will be to the benefit of all those involved in the question. This is not just a single fate, but the recurrence of a result such as a good harvest every year. This card also means that the resources are in place to take advantage of any opportunity that comes along. The word adh means luck, aiteas means fun, but also a sharp premonition. Ogham letter "a" is the juniper: aiteal.
The reversal of Fortune needs no explanation. However, if this card is reversed, it can also mean that the querent or the questions are on the rim of the wheel, flying around some other center of a storm that is out of control. One moment seems good, the next bad, wildly spinning back and forth. The feeling is one of intense anxiety, not confidence.
The animal cards show the seal, intent on eating herring, unaware of being pursured by a shark. The seal, like the dolphin, is a symbol of good fortune, unlike the shark, who is the reverse. The Anieth card shows Lucia Shields, who created Anieth, with the two boys who changed the fate of Anieth.
The Justice card symbolizes a position of balance, yet it also stands for the power behind the ability to discern. The word breith means to judge or weigh the facts, but it also means to birth or bear forth, both the birth of a child and the bearing of a judgement. The primary acts of people are acts of discernment: is this good? is that dangerous? is it helpful? This card is the balance point where you can see all aspects of the problem and make a fair decision. Ogham letter "b" is the birch tree: beith.
The birch tree is favored both for its wood for making cradles and for its twigs used to "birch" someone, or to punish them. The Celtic word for birth, beith, also means to be. The Egyptian goddess Maat weighed the souls of those who died against a feather. Positioned unfavorably or upside down, the Justice card becomes a punishment, often called "karma," which is the consequence of some ill-birthed act.
The deer and the birch tree are both associated with the acts of dominance and control. They both open the year of the old Celts with the brilliant gold colors and the show of antlers and the struggle of the bucks. The man shown is Korutos Gallanis who made the Peace of Anieth and forced law upon the Clans.
Sacrifice or the Hanged Man
Fear Chrothta: FAIRKH row a or
Dán Ríoga: DAWN REE a ga
The Hanged Man card is the power of sacrifice, once of vital importance to the ancients. For modern people, the card means the power of the selfless act, either heroic or humble. Humans have a remarkable ability for heroism in emergencies, even when helping might mean the risk of dying. This is also the power of the spirit to jump into the fray or to will the body beyond what seems possible. The Hanged Man indicates a great need but also the willingness and ability to meet that need. The word dán ríoga means kingly gift, or the royal sacrifice. A hero is not a hero unless there is a sacrifice involved. Ogham letter "d" is the oak tree: dair.
If ill-dignified or reversed, the Hanged Man ceases to be a sacrifice to improve the situation and becomes a needless waste of energy or resources for a bad cause. History gives us more examples of poor sacrifices than of good ones. If the Hanged Man appears, ook for something lost, something innocent, wholesome or good, but for what reason? Sometimes a poor sacrifice can be turned into a life lesson, or a cautionary tale.
The wren is a sacred bird to the Celtic druids, for whom it was the king of birds. The oak is also the king tree. The man is the sacrificial consort of the serpent queen.
Marbh: MAR ev or Léig: LAYG
The Death card represents profound change: the change of initiation, or skin-changing that appears in many fairy tales. The other cards of the Major Arcana pale before this card that demands that the querent look for deeper meaning, often not in the immediate question, but in a more fundamental question. The word léig means decay, but also the art of healing, or leachcraft. Although we often associate death with illness, this card represents going through illness and cure to remedy the spirit. Ogham letter "l" is the yew tree: luis.
The Death card reversed means the opposite of change: to be numb or in deep slumber that is virtually catatonic. Its appearance means the loss of life or animation. The reversed card may mean that the situation can go nowhere because its roots hide underground in the lands of the dead.
For centuries the bat and the black corvid have signified death to the Celts. Both animals are oracles, the bat for weather and the corvid for fate. The bat was a shape-shifter of a spirit of the other world. The tree is the rowan tree, which was synonomous with fire. The man in the picture is going through a door way between Eath and Anieth that drove people mad or was used at death.
Maith: MAY or Eagna: YAG a na
The Temperance card does not just mean "to all things in moderation;" it means forgiveness, patience, and deep compassion. This is the card of Mary and Quan Yin, the card of mercy and empathy. Many people come to this state only after experiencing great suffering and pain. This card asks for forgiveness of others and of the self. The word eagna means wisdom. Ogham letter "e" is for the aspen: eadtha.
Upside-down, the Temperance card becomes the wild spirit without wisdom. Unable to forgive, unable to step back, unable to rest. Many people enter this state of wild abandon to the emotions as a manic reaction. If a tempest is raging throughout the cards, it might be a sign that no good will come without first patiently waiting for the winds to die down.
The swan is seen as a bird of fertility and love, but also as a bird of the other world, or a shape-shifted maiden. The stories often tell of women, who fearing for themselves, take on the form of the swan. The swan represents also those who are enchanted or imprisoned. The woman on this card is a victim of love, blamed, but ultimately a symbol of forgiveness.
The Devil card is temptation, but it is also a goad card. It is a reminder of the fact that life is full of small irritations that are often more annoying than the large catastrophes. This card is a hair shirt, or a jab when things seem too comfortable. This card can also mean that the situation is full of distractions, either pleasant or irritating. The word prioc means to prick or goad. Ogham letter "p" is the viburnum tree: peith or féithleog, honeysuckle.
Just as the goading Devil card can remind everyone not to stray from the path, reversed it can mean the situation is tempting but strangling, and ultimately will lead the querent far away from the original goal.
Again, as in the Death card, the bat and corvid show again. Both of these animals have reputations for meaning the other world, death, and also a warning. Magpies in particular are birds of ill-omen, and the bat became a sign of the attempt to hold onto life beyond what was natural. The entire corvid family is seen as trickers. The man in the picture is trained to be a goad, or a thorn in the side of his ancient enemies. He fights with a thin spear of holly wood. The animal cards are tied to the viburnum, but this tree was a European adaption of the giant reed.
The Tower/The Storm
Tubaiste: TOO beesh te or
Treascairt: TRAS cweerch
The Tower card is a sign of sudden and violent change. It also signifies that the situation is on shaky ground. The word treascairt means to overturn. However, this card need not represent a physical disaster, but possibly an epiphany, or a renunciation of old beliefs. The tower's fall will bring light to the edifice that one has built up out of old wounds. Ogham letter "t" is the holly tree: tinne.
If reversed, the Tower card is a caution that the chosen course of action is winding onto shaky ground. If the querent persists in ignoring this warning, disaster is often the result. Sometimes you might deliberately seek out the storm in order to rid yourself of old baggage. This is a warning that the storm will wipe out all you wanted to retain.
Shown on these cards are holly trees struck by lightning. The holly is the Celtic tree of plenty, but also of the death of the year, or the height of winter, and the king of winter. In ancient times, destruction more often than not came in the form of viloent weather. The woman is a tragic figure, a symbol of the old gods who faced the end of their world, the overturning of their stone monuments by the civilizing forces of empire.
Réalta: REEL ta
The Star card means hope. The Celtic words for star: réal, reul are the words for bright things, but also mean reality or manifestation. Hope is a longing for a bright point in the darkness or the first sign of rain in the desert, or the return of the sun after winter. Old meanings for "galaxy" were a river of stars or a ring of stars like a moat between worlds. When the creatrix poured the stars out of her vessel, they became a river in a dark land. Ogham "r" is for the eleagnus or the buckthorn: draghean.
The Star reversed means illusion or a ghost light that seems like a star, leading you into danger. Just as the upright Star can mean hope, the reversed Star can mean false hope or delusion: the water that looks wet is merely an illusion. If this card is in the spread reversed, look for a mirage that vanishes upon approach.
The birds who represent night are seen here on the animal cards: the owl and the nightjar. Many animals and trees can symbolize hope and renewal, but birds were most often seen as messengers of the other world, crossing the starry path of the cosmos. The nightjar is in the strawberry tree, another tree that could represent the “r” letter in Ogham. The Anieth card shows a wolf, and two posts and a map of a stellar observatory/calendar.
The Moon/The Storm
Gealach: JAWL akh
The Moon card is like the word: moody. The Latin word "luna" is the basis for the word lunatic. This card also symbolizes time and the cycles of time, and denotes "this too shall pass." A fateful card, people know that the moon causes tides, but it also keeps the earth from flipping over on its axis. So consider this card as cycles within a stable system. Geal means to whiten or brighten and is related to the word yellow. Ogham letter "y" is the reed: giolcach.
In its positive aspect the Moon card contributes to overall stability; its smaller cycles can nevertheless create havoc in any situation. If the Moon card is reversed, the querent can expect the rise and fall of lunacy. The only way to survive this kind of crazed influence is to have a sense of humor, for the world will be turned on its head while the cycles continue.
The moon was an acient sign of fertility and the animals associated with it were seen in three colors: white, red and black, or animals that changed colors with the seasons, like the hare or the weasel. The plants of the moon are water plants: the willow and the reed, or plants also of three colors: like the white, red and purple willow.
The Sun card is both light and merry, humorous and warm. Grian is a word for bearded. For the Celts, the sun was a jolly man of bearded light. In the Tarot, the Sun is a child with a halo of golden hair. This card symbolizes joy and happiness in life and creates a favorable aspect that makes other cards less negative. Ogham letter "r" is the last tree in the alphabet, the elder tree: ruis.
Reversed, the Sun card is clouded. What this might mean in the reading depends strongly on the question and situation. Reversal of this card does not cause the other cards around it to be more negative, but it darkens the situation and makes it hard to see what is going on.
The animals shown are again the two animals of luck: the seal and the dolphin that signified good weather to sailors. They are both playful animals who are also depicted as shape-shifters. The elder is seen as a witch tree, but of good craft, and said to be a entire medicine chest. The Anieth card shows a bear and his child, who both symbolize the coming of hope out of the darkness of war and uprising. The elder ends the year in the Ogham alphabet, a tree of October when the harvest is in.
The Judgement card represents the act of atonement. Justice weighs out the matter, but the Judgement card means that a payment is due. In ancient times, every person, animal, and even trees had their price. Everyone paid fines for everything. If this card appears, there is a matter to be settled. The word gníomh means the action of making amends, and is related to the word nemesis. Ogham letter "n" is the ash tree: nion.
In ancient times, if a person could not pay the penalty for an infraction of the rules, that person was usually sold into slavery. Often people sold themselves into slavery to save their families from the debt. If the Judgement card is reversed, it means that the fine or penalty for the misdeed is so high that the querent should weigh out whether or not it is really worth doing.
The tree here is the ash tree and the adder. The ash was the world tree of the North. The oak replaced the alder as the world tree for the Celts, but the Norse kept their world tree and their winter story of Ragnarok until modern times. The story of the world snake, or serpent, comes from the fact that the contellation Draco (serpent) used to be the polar constellation and the serpent spun around its tail with the seaons. The Anieth card is of a united war front, dreaded long by the locals.
The World card means completion: completing a phase of life or finishing an era. The appearance of this card may evoke this feeling or a sense of satisfaction. Just as the Fool indicates the beginning of a journey or venture, this card represents its satisfactory completion. The word aois means "age" or completing an age or coming of age. Ogham letter "o" (omega) is related to the word ogham for complete. It is the furze tree: onn.
Reversed, the World symbolizes an uneasy feeling of "things left undone." It may mean that unfinished business has loose ends or that the fabric of the adventure is unraveling without a proper hem on the end. The entire reading is in question because nothing can be resolved.
Many have debated the alpha and omega of the Celtic alphabet because the letters are in flights of five and polluted by the influence of foreign letters into the runes. The number of letters is 19 or 20, but scholars have debated this. Since the letters are of trees, that is also debated. One of the cards show the galaxy and bare trees, the other the pine and the otter. The Anieth shows the cosmos in the collection of bardic tattoos and the maze and gate between worlds.
Summer, Water, Body, Hearts, Blue, South
Ace of Cups
Cuach: COO akh
Awareness - The first card of water magic is awareness. This card is a sign of stillness and of basic breathing: the heartbeat of the self. This card signifies awareness of the situation and a center which is flowing, like a fountain at the core of the world.
Sleep - Reversed, the Ace of Cups represents the shut down of bodily awareness into a sleeping state. The senses are inoperative and the mind dreams. If this card shows in the reading there may be thoughts, feelings, and even actions, but the querent is unaware, as if dreaming.
The blue-gray bird is a goshawk sitting on a willow; the other is a harrier flying over a willow bed with a fish. The Celtis tied various hawks to the willow. The word for hawk is seabhac (SHAW vack) further tying this bird to the Ogham letter s. The center card holds a shaman tattooed all over in blue dots indicating that he is a master of the first leg of the human chair, the leg of awareness and survival, body and health. He holds up one finger to indicate this and is in a round vessel, called a coracle by the Celts.
Two of Cups
Dá na Cuacha: DAW na COO a kha
Connection - The first act of a baby mammal is to connect with its mother for food and comfort. This first connection is vital to the psychology of the animal as well as for its physical well-being. This card symbolizes our deep need as mammals to have physical contact. The Two of Cups is a sign that nothing needs to be faced alone.
Exhaustion - Mothers talk about being "touched out," which is a state of physical exhaustion so profound that any attempt at further contact becomes overwhelming. Many introverted people have this same problem as well. Sensory overload can lead to a state of physical breakdown. If this card is reversed, pay attention to the possibility of "burn out" from too much stimulation.
The otter symbolizes the dog of the water for the Celts. Like most weasels, the otter is a ferocious predator, but was hunted by man for the skin, which was said to make one invincible, able to heal any wound received. Otters represent play and devotion as well as the perfect coordination of a being as adept in the water as on land.
Three of Cups
Tri na Cuacha: TREE na COO a kha
Nurturance - When a baby connects to its mother, the mother nourishes it. Later, food becomes a reminder of comfort and connection. The sharing of food is sharing of basic need. Nurturance can also be something as simple as wearing clothing or coming in out of foul weather. The Three of Cups will support the querent no matter what storms may be to come..
Isolation - For some, isolation is a form of rest, for others it is a punishment. If the Three of Cups is reversed, there is a need to take a break, go off and be alone. There might also be a feeling of desertion or of isolation. Often, the indulgence of the senses is isolating rather than nourishing. Reversed, this card says, "wake up and pay attention to your own needs!”
The animal cards show a family of fallow deer and a family of snipe. A highly social animal, the fallow deer were brought to Britain by the Normans to hunt. A bird of the marsh, the winnowing sound of its wings makes the snipe a thunder bird. The women shown are an oracle with her attendants, seeing a death in the water of a scrying bowl.
Four of Cups
Ceithir na Cuacha: CAY heer na COO a kha
Luxury - Beyond basic needs, everything else is luxury. We often forget this. A basic need for shelter somehow becomes a need for a car. A basic need for enough food to eat then becomes a need for chocolate. These might seem like needs but they are luxuries. This card cautions us to be aware of "living in the lap of luxury," even in the poorest of lives. It can signify true appreciation for a good life, or the need to look at whether everything is a real need or just a luxury that one has come to covet.
Deprivation - The Four of Cups reversed is a sign of some perceived lack. Sometimes a need is only a habit, sometimes the lack is a true need that is being neglected because other habits crowd it out of awareness. This card is a warning that your physical setting is being deprived of something.
For the ancients both the goose and the duck were symbols of honestly and simplicity but moderns have turned them into fools. The frog, another fertility symbol, has also been turned into a foolish character of low birth, or enchanted. All of these animals are shape-shiftering spouses in fairy tales.
Five of Cups
Cóig na Cuacha: COE idge na COO a kha
Disappointment - Buddhists teach us that all attachments formed of ignorance must ultimately lead to disappointment. Essentially, if attachment meets a need that is a habit or a desire, it will cease to be pleasurable. If the Five of Cups appears, something about the question or the situation has become old. Either look at it with new eyes, or break your attachment to it. This card can also mean that someone else is currently disappointed by attachment.
Abstention - Too often, if a habit is too deeply ingrained and tainted the cycle of expectation and disappointment cannot be moderated. This card indicates that something in the reading needs to be discarded. Often it is a physical habit, like drinking alcohol or sitting around. This card reversed can also mean that everyone concerned with the situation needs to take a deep breath and abstain from pushing too hard.
The eel, the bat, and the stag were visitors to and from the other world. The eel was said to spawn in Atlantis, and stags were hunted into enchanted lands. The bat was a symbol of good weather, but seen as a spirit from the other world.
Six of Cups
Sé na Cuacha: SHAY na COO a kha
Gratification - Most people equate gratification with happiness. The Six of Cups is a sign that something is creating happiness and satisfaction, or that happiness will shortly come. Embrace the feeling of being "full" while it lasts and then let it go. This card can also mean that someone is chasing gratification or trying to be overly happy without any real reason.
Sacrifice - Everyone who has had to diet knows the physical sacrifice of giving up bad habits. Sometimes a sacrifice is simply to be wet so that a little one can use the umbrella, and sometimes it is a large thing like giving up a house. The Six of Cups reversed denotes that some kind of sacrifice is currently taking place or is about to begin. Look upon it as an opportunity for change.
The storm petrel is another weather bird that is said to be the soul of an overly harsh sea captain, doomed never to come to land. The gray seal is another shape-shifter, shedding its skin to become human. Polygamous, seals are called “the people of the sea,” and are sacred to northern coasts.
Seven of Cups
Seachd na Cuacha: SHAKH na COO a kha
Gluttony - The Seven of Cups signifies that, being disappointed, someone close is trying something more extreme that will disappoint again. This cycle continues until the senses are so dulled that only the most horrifying experience will touch them at all. A person caught in the throes of gluttony will continue to eat and drink without satisfaction. If this card appears in a reading, it is an opportunity to break this cycle.
Temperance - "All things in moderation," is what the Greeks taught. Sometimes this is not enough to break the cycle. Sacrifice is a one-time event, but temperance is becoming used to doing without, completely. The body often needs to stop sensing, and then start again in smaller doses. Fasting is one ancient custom to break this cycle. The Seven of Cups reversed is a fasting message
Although the bear is a symbol of health and wisdom, as well as strength, there are stories about bears stealling food from other animals in their glut for winter. The toad is also a glutton, but a stone from it’s brain is a protection against poison.
Eight of Cups
Ochd na Cuacha: OWKH na COO a kha
Stagnation - The Eight of Cups is a place where nothing works. Water, when not flowing, becomes a quagmire. Nothing is pleasurable, all seems rotten and painful. This card indicates that somewhere the flow of life is blocked up so that all around it is tainted with rot..
Health - When the Eight of Cups is reversed, the flow of life is like a small stream in the spring that supports all around it in glowing health. Look for ways in which the situation can be made healthy. When this card is surrounded by other messages of disorder or violence, it means that your life is finally cracking open to allow the flow of health.
The symbolism of this card is not in the fox or the heron, both symbols of the goddess of creation, but of the fen, where water is trapped, grows stagnant, and often poisoned. Fens occur in very acidic environments, and host a wide variety of plants and animals adapted to the stagnant conditions. The peat the formed in the fen, was so rich with organic matter, that it was used as bricks for fuel. Even the most hostile places on Earth become spots of unique biodiversity.
Nine of Cups
Naoi na Cuacha: NAY na COO a kha
Fulfillment - The Nine of Cups can mean great pleasure and happiness in physical fulfillment, but it can also mean that there is nowhere to go from here. The path of the querent has been walked and now it is time for something new.
Appetite - People often notice that they enjoy having an appetite almost as much as being full. Appetite is a sign of health. If the Nine of Cups is reversed, the current situation can be made interesting and pleasurable and is to be lived with gusto!
The killer whale’s name in Latin, orca, literally means “large jar.” Both the whale and the herring eat constantly, and are native to European coasts. The whale is said to have knowledge of life and death and are associated with creativity. The herring is called the “silver of the sea” and is such a part of European history that much of the North could not have survived without it. Like the killer whale, humans depended on the silver fish for survival itself. Herrings were also used as bait, formng a chain where the smaller became the larger. Here, the nine killer whales herd the herring into a tight spiral so that they are easier to prey upon.
Ten of Cups
Deich na Cuacha: DEEKH na COO a kha
Saturation - At some point in life, there is no more that can be experienced. The T en of Cups is a sign that the situation is full, or saturated to the point where nothing else can happen. A significant change is called for, or one must wait until the flood waters recede. Tighten the belt and try to be patient.
Growth - When the Ten of Cups is reversed it means that there is opportunity for growth. This card is a "green light" in the reading, a sign that the situation will lead to change and growth and a higher state of awareness.
The cards here show a flood. Two of the cards show a wild pig trying to swim the waters, the other a red deer swimming by a willow with germander flowers in the foreground and a crow on its antlers. The pig is crowned by ten seagulls in front of a flock of the birds, looking for food. Both the pig and the gull were weather animals. Pigs could see the wind and gulls flew inland if there was a storm at sea. The germander, called ‘hind’s heal” was a bitter, used to flavor beer and stop bleeding. The stag is an anciet male fertility symbol, as was the pig, but here shown fighting for their lives.
Muse of Cups
Fíor na Cuacha: FYER na COO a kha
When people think of the iMuse, they think of inspiration or physical beauty. This is the nubile beauty that dazzles and delights. People become more captivating when someone falls in love with them. This card means sex, and dazzling sex, and more and more dazzling sex. Enchantment and pleasure, excitement and ecstasy.
The Muse of Cups reversed means drowning in the senses. This is the inability to break off attachment to sensory experiences that delight and destroy. This card can mean that the entire situation is undermined by severe addiction of some form.
This card reprsents the ability to change under water. The greyling is a plain fish of Europena rivers, yet, underwater, it takes on a multi-colored sheen. The plantain is another plant that, when wet, puts off a gel that makes the seeds one of the most soothing muscilages on the planet. The man is a picture of the king salmon, another shape-shifter of the water, a male version of the selkie myth, an animal groom of fairy tale. The moon is a crescent, for the first leg of the human journey.
Hero of Cups
Laoch na Cuacha: LAYKH na COO a kha
Almost everyone wants to perform to the height of their physical power and never feel tired. This card signifies the feeling of performing without constraint or effort, like dancing in a dream where you can fly, or dazzling everyone with the way you can play a game or make love.
The Protector of Cups reversed is whimsical. One day you can perform perfectly, the next day you can't seem to find that "groove." Ultimately frustrating, this card can mean that the ups and downs of the performance of the body are dragging you down, despite your attention to them.
The frog prince is an ancient story of an enchanted groom. The frog stands for transformation and fertility, but is also seen as foolish. In other stories, frogs are animal helpers. It was not until much later in Europe that their licentious behavior made them symbolic of witchcraft and the devil. The center card shows a warrior of the Willow with her bewildering S spears meant to hypmotize victims. She is a dryad protector of an ancient people who despise human intrusion. Note that the word hero means a lay person or commoner in Gaelic.
Queen of Cups
Athrú na Cuacha: AW hroona COO a kha
This card represents someone who can take the overwhelming panoply of the senses and harmonize it into an ecstasy that is beyond the physical, as if rising up out of the rain and clouds into the full sunshine of enlightenment. This card represents the ability to rise above physical constraints and leap out of the waters of the present state, if only for a moment.
Reversed, the Queen of Cups means that everything is sinking into the bottom of the lake, to be lost among the dregs and weeds. It is a cautionary card, indicating the inability to free oneself of drowning habits that one loves too much.
Swans, egrets and dolphins are all symbols of fertility goddess. The egret is a close relative of the stork a bird that is still associated with good luck and fertility. The swan and the dolphin are both symbols of sex, family, and playful fun. The woman depicted is the Swan Queen shown against the aspen, which was closely associated with the swan in Europe, both connected to Persephone, Hades, and the cycle of the seasons. Swans, egrets and white herons, and dolphins all represent the purity of the spirit.
King of Cups
Múintir na Cuacha: MUEEN ctir na COO a kha
The King of Cups is the power to ride the whale, the power to dive down into the dark and rise back up, exploding into light, showering all with foam. This card is pure physical power and can either override or support everything else in the reading.
If the King of Cups is reversed, the ride is too much. Hold on for dear life to what you can, for you will eventually reach the still waters where you can rest once more. But this is also a drowning card, so be cautious and watch out for the tentacles from the deep dark.
Again, depicted is the salmon king, an ancient shape-shifter that symbolized the migration, return to home, and the ferocity of the battle upstream. The crake is another shape-shifter because it disappeared in winter. The crake chick, unlike its siblings, is looking at the salmon, a fish who ate nuts from the tree of knowlege. It is a symbol of Taliesen, who served a cannibal witch. The man depicted is the Holly King, with his first-born son. The image of the man as a father, passing along his knowledge to his children is symbolic of the salmon king, who passes along his knowledge only to those who eat of his flesh.
Sage of Cups
Saoi na Cuacha: SEE na COO a kha
The Sage of Cups is the power to drink from the waters of life and never drown. This is a power card, supporting all other cards with a physical presence, as if the world itself were a living being, breathing into all you do.
The Sage of Cups reversed is also a power card, but dark, out of the nightmare world of the deep beyond. This card indicates that everything is unseen and unheard, submerged and prone to weird and strange sensory illusions. Sometimes the way around is through. This card might indicate that you need to hold your breath, perhaps for a long time.
The swan is an ancient totem of chastity and monogamy, but also of fertility. The swan is often depicted as an animal groom, or a symbol of the sun gods. The woman shown here is the White Doe, mother of the Nine, who was notorious for enchanting her stag husbands, killing them, and then eating of their flesh. This is symbolic of the way that the first level of the human experience is that of the dying of one generation feeding the next. Sex is seen both as redeeming and as a form of death wherein life is renewed in one’s offspring.
Autumn, Fire, Emotions, Clubs, Red, West
Ace of Wands
Bata: BAW ta
Sympathy - The Ace of Wands represents natural feeling and the welling up of innate energy. The core of feeling is sympathy and aspiration: dreams and hopes which are felt but not realized. This card also symbolizes the fire of creativity. It is the root of power and love.
Apathy - The Ace reversed means that feeling is suppressed to the point of not being there at all. This can mean that no one is engaged spiritually with the situation or question.
The birds are the swift who is almost crippled on the ground, hanging to the trunk of a holly tree and a raven eating the berries of a rowan tree in the blaze of autumn. The swift has the reputation of being a visitor of the other world, for it is nocturnal and can be seen, like a bat, swooping for insects. The raven and carrion crow are the birds of war and death as well as oracular birds. The seated shaman is covered with red stripes indicating mastery of the second path of emotion, creative forces, and will. Seated before a holly in a clearing of bracken, two roe bucks stand behind him as he shows us two fingers. Red is fire, red is blood, and red is life.
Two of Wands
Dá na Bataí: DAW na BAWT ae
Direction - The first act of will or intention is direction: to focus the attention on something attractive. In a child, this may lead to the desire to taste the object. Omnivores have a natural curiosity. The Two of Wands indicates focus and drive without discernment. Resilience and curiosity, delight and disgust, but without conscious intent.
Contention - The Two reversed becomes the whim of a fickle child: violently desirous, but without direction or focus. It can mean that there are too many directions all pulling at once.
Wolves have long been feared by humans even as they are attractive. For the Norse, the wolf signaled the arrival of the winter dark, which could only be defeated by the battling of the gods. Like humans, the wolf is territorial, pack oriented with social protocols, and defensive when threatened. Two wolves howl their nightly song, a mother wolf stands guard over her pups in front of a holly tree as evening approaches. The Anieth card is of a cat, another predator looked upon with ambivalence. The kit faces a scolding shrew on a stone in autumn bracken in front of a holly tree.
Three of Wands
Tri na Bataí: TREE na BAWT ae
Will - The Three of Wands signifies virtue, intention, and alignment of emotions toward a common goal. It means the joy of a new venture just begun, or the excitement and inspiration of cooperation and shared desires. This card means that the will is there, despite any lack of ability or experience.
Reservation - Upside-down, the Three of Wands is reluctance or caution. It is an over-experienced person approaching a new venture. There is little expectation, and a desire to wait and see rather than pursue the path.
Two cards show a crow dead set on getting to a seed pod of an alder tree. For the Celts, the crow, raven and alder were tied into one identity of the ancient god replaced by the oak. This is the Celtic Odin, who spun up magic. The alder was a water resitant tree, and bled red sap when cut. It was considered a shaman’s tree and sacred to the raven, Bran. The other animal is a stoat, turning from brown to white as winter approaches. Animals that changed color or migrated signified a journey into the other world, a spiritual journey that would take the shaman onto a path to channel energy back into the human world.
Four of Wands
Ceithir na Bataí: CAY heer na BAWT ae
Domination - This card symbolizes dominance over a group, or over the self. This means that the will is now aligned with the emotional state toward success, but it can be contentious if the reading is primarily about other people. The querent may fear domination by the situation. It may also mean that childhood passions have finally been mastered and that an adult personality is in full control.
Suspense - The Four of Wands reversed means that the situation is suspended: everyone is holding their breath waiting for the next move. It can mean balance, but balance that is only temporary, leading to feelings of anxiety or excitement or both.
Again, the wildcat shows dertermination to hunt the shrew, just as the salmon shows determination to dominate the river and return to spawn. Driven by the forces of nature, animals often seem to us to be cruel or powerful. The Anieth card shows the Black Lynx Princess of the Nation of the Starry Night who is invovled in intitation rituals by the Rowan. Here, she meets the Quicken King, dressed in his cloak of crow feathers, another represention of a successful traveler to the other world.
Five of Wands
Cóig na Bataí: COE idge na BAWT ae
Struggle - Our emotional lives are often a struggle. The Five of Wands is about this inward struggle. The card signifies lust, contention, desire and frustration. It means that underneath a calm appearance, violent emotions are at war, unseen by others, but felt.
Resignation - The Five of Wands reversed indicates that one of the players feels that the show is no longer of any use. This card is a sign that caution must be observed, for resignation often leads to battle and failure. It means that the spirit has been defeated.
All the cards show symbols of tricker animals involved in struggles, indicating that the energy here is mental as well as physical, borne out by emotionally charged interaction. The jackdaws are poised on the skull of a fallow deer, looking like carrion birds in front of the dead rowan tree in a wood of autumn rowans. The fox pups are engaged in sibling play which social animals use to establish dominance. The mood is a bit ominous, indicating the arrival of winter, sunset, battle, and struggle.
Six of Wands
Sé na Bataí: SHAY na BAWT ae
Truce - The interpretation of the Six of Wands has usually been harmony and success. It means the realization of effort and reaching a state where everyone is united in celebration. It can also mean an artificial agreement, rather than a true alignment of spirit. This card is the first step toward cessation of hostilities and the complete harmony of those involved. It also means the ability of theadult personality to live with internal conflict.
Rebellion - Most children reach a point where they must disagree in order to escape the nest. Rebellion, or the appearance of it is the rattling of the spines of the spirit, or the hot breath of the emerging dragon. It can feel exhilarating and joyous. Rebellion is a vital part of the individual mind as well as of collective society. If this card is reversed, look for a dragon, joyfully trying to set fire to the truce.
Here is shown an otter family, who are clowns of the natural world. They are depicted against a sunset and the pine trees of the far north. The other card shows a field of poppies and a holly with a flock of blackbirds. in the foreground is a nightingale singing a love song that is also a lament.
Seven of Wands
Seachd na Bataí: SHAKH na BAWT ae
Suspicion - As the path of emotion is expressed, ultimately any truce becomes untenable. Control is never perfect. It is illusion, for conditions change from moment to moment. Rather then accept this, people posture in an atmosphere of uneasy suppression of hostility
Confidence - Sometimes, despite contrary indications, there persists a feeling of confidence. Confidence of feelings, rather than of knowledge, indicates a way out of a bad situation. This card means to trust in intuition, for it is a bright spark in the surrounding darkness.
The birds shown here are a robin in a blooming apple tree and a short-eared owl in a holly tree. The robin was a bird of fortune and it was extremely unlucky to kill one. The owl is also a spirit messenger whose Latin name means flaming eyes. It will steal prey from even large raptor and is considered a bird of ill-fortune. The ancients were bound by fate and crossing an animal or tree could have dire consequences. The Anieth card shows an avenue of ancient beech a tree that signifies the passage through death to realization.
Eight of Wands
Ochd na Bataí: OWKH na BAWT ae
Suppression - Rather than to back off from a poor situation, an outward roar of emotion will cause some to lash out at others in order to suppress all argument. The Eight of Wands indicates that the doors of the castle are slamming shut; the enemy is rising up over the horizon. If you draw this card, look for a feeling of being besieged and needing to focus intently on projecting emotional armor.
Integration - The Eight of Wands upside-down represents complete freedom from opposition within and without: the feeling of being whole. Sometimes it is letting go of desire, sometimes it is a moment when the skies clear and a higher desire manifests. If this card appears, it means that most arguments and problems are delusions, and that there is a greater unity on the horizon.
The animal cards show the raven again, eating the bittersweet berries of the rowan, a starling singing atop a thistle in an alder wood the skull of a mouflon in the foreground and a wildcat in a thicket of rose. The starling stands for adapability and abundance, the raven for intelligence and resoursefulness, and the cat for independence and elegance. All of these animals have mized meanings for humans, admired, spiritual, but also pests and symbols of irritation and the suspension of control.
Nine of Wands
Naoi na Bataí: NAY na BAWT ae
Pacification - This card represents the feeling of pure power. It is not peace, but the suppression of all dissonance. This might feel like peace and tranquility, but the amount of energy required to maintain the silence is like a dragon holding its breath. This card reminds the querent to beware of dominance, submission, and the absolute power that cannot be appeased.
Resistance - Power leads to the necessity for resistance. Power over a child goads that child into defiance. This card gives the querent the courage to resist. The Nine of Wands reversed means that no plan can go forward, for the foundations are shaking too much to be ignored.
The red stag is called the elk in the Americas, and has long been a power symbol in Europe. The other animal card shows raven flying of a field of poppies that was seen on the nightingale card. Humans have long had a relationship with the poppy, both for its seeds and narcotic properties. The Anieth card shows the serpent boats passing down the river at sunset. The boy in the corracle has a barn owl familiar.
Ten of Wands
Deich na Bataí: DEEKH na BAWT ae
Oppression - The Ten of Wands indicates that the emotional atmosphere is oppressing everyone within it. The air cannot be cleared without some battle or rebellion. The shouting has silenced the house, but now everyone wants to leave. This card is a warning to be very careful. Tread with caution, and watch what you do and say: it cannot be undone.
Freedom - Perfect freedom comes by lighting a fire and letting sparks fly up, out into the darkness. Smothering the fire, piling more wood upon it, creates nothing but choking smoke. This card means that no feeling, no intention, no battle is serious: they are all sparks. Sincere good-will and joy are under all the smoke.
The animal depicted is the pine marten with one mouse while another escapes. The marten a shy animal, and an extremely skilled hunter. The avenue of trees shows a stag running through death to the magical world. The Anieth card shows ravens before the burning of the effigies of the Serpent Queen and her Briar King consort.
Muse of Wands
Fíor na Bataí: FYER na BAWT ae
The Muse of Wands represents an independent, open, inspiring person who will encourage all effort. The Muse is the warm fire in the stormy night, offering comfort, joy, and welcome. This is the creative Muse loved by poets and those persons in pursuit of the truth.
The Muse of Wands reversed shows the face of fear, anger and delight in destruction. This card indicates a force that wants to destroy everything and begin again. It also represents the force of emotion that turns upon the self, devouring all peace of mind.
The Muse card shows a moth resting on a nettle. The other animal card shows a butterfly resting on a yarrow plant. The yarrow and the nettle meant arguement or war, but the moth and butterfly were seen as spirits of the dead. The animal card shows the moon in the second phase the crescent of the passage of emotional power of the channeler. The Anieth card shows the Alder Queen, a dryad of an ancient time, smoking mugwort, another plant of dreams and contention. She presides over the long dance of mid-summer with the Raven Clan.
Hero of Wands
Laoch na Bataí: LAYKH na BAWT ae
This card is the Protector of emotion, of spirit, and of the desire to live. This card represents someone who tries to guide the querent through the dark of the world, but it is also the force that drives away the monsters of imagination. This card means that no negative emotion or energy will harm the querent.
The Protector of Wands reversed means that the guide is allied with the enemy and is leading one into disaster. It can also mean that the force that you thought was shelping you is fickle, moody, and unreliable.
The birds shown here are the sparrow sitting on the branch of a currant and a crossbill in the finch family in a pine tree. The tiny house sparrow was, in ancient times, a symbol of death. The crossbill is a symbol of eternity and mid-winter. Both the currant and the pine were symbols of compassion and the act of sacrifice. The Anieth card shows a champion of the Holly, a berserker bred for his ability to use anger to achieve a heightened state of awareness and physical strength. Here he does the dance of fire with flaming spears in front of a holly tree.
Queen of Wands
Athrú na Bataí: AW hroona BAWT ae
The Queen of Wands represents the force of transformation, such as a mother turning inanimate matter into a living child. This card is the transformation of fire. It indicates the power to change any difficult emotion or spiritual crisis into joy and the peace of a warm fire on a cold evening.
The Queen of Wands reversed indicates that all joy and warmth of spirit is being drained by the force of hatred, burning away the leaves of the tree of life and smoking up the sky. This Queen can destroy old for new or channel all emotional spirit into the maw of hate.
The animal cards depict the wolves again, with the holly tree. The wolf represents both devotion and savagery, the holly tree both abundance as the Queen of Winter, and prickly poison. The woman shown is the White Wolf Queen of the Nation of the Setting Moon, seen here in the field of poppies with her wolf companions. All the queens in this deck are pregnant, showing the symbolism of transformation as the agency of change. They represent the different races of Europe. The poppy and the holly are poison and nourshing, numbing and irritating.
King of Wands
Múintir na Bataí: MUEEN ctir na BAWT ae
The King of Wands represents a person who, having mastered some technique, can pass skill and ability along to the next generation, just as a father teaches his children. This card is a mentor of the spirit, demonstrating mastery of emotion, or a saint embodying dedication to a higher power. This card is a vote of confidence that the next generation will stand securely on the shoulders of the one before it.
A brutal teacher can foster, or sometimes destroy, a growing spirit in the young. When the King of Wands is reversed, it means that some person in the reading will burn or beat or bruise. The resulting lesson may be at the harsh hand of discipline, or the teacher is full of unresolved anger.
The lynx in the pine and the wildcat in the bracken both are symbols of stealth, elegance, secret wisdom, surpreme alterness and extreme laziness. They indicate the dual nature of inspiration to elevate or depress or both at once! The father here is teaching his children to enjoy song and dance, the heart of human learning. Before the written word, learning was bound up into the stirring rythmns and rhymes of music.
Sage of Wands
Saoi na Bataí: SEE na BAWT ae
The Sage of Wands represents a person who has complete control over their emotions, not from suppression, but through compete and utter trust that the core of the self i s divine, and is part of this world and its magic. This card is a guardian angel beyond good and evil, beyond attachment and grief, who can lead you out of any darkness.
The Sage of Wands upside-down is no more evil than the upright card, but it exposes all the feelings of the frightened child personality. This card uses fear, shame, and anger to show that they are only smoke and illusion that can fly away from you forever.
Bats mean different things to different peoples. For the Celts, bats were a symbol of the passage through night to rebirth. They were also seen as tricksters who had to hide during the day. In some tales, the bat was a mouse that ate forbidden or sacred food that gave it wings. The shaman here is a Raven shaper who particpates in the Long Dance of Mid-summer held in the alder groves. If the Raven Clan cannot dance the entire night without falling one of them is sacrificed and eaten.
Winter, Air, Mind, Swords, Yellow, North
Ace of Blades
Realization - Humans are thinking animals. Most gurus say that realization is the first step toward enlightenment and that we must return again and again to this basic state. The mind has the ability to survive by modeling complex social situations and by solving abstract problems, but it is subject to trickery and misunderstanding. People often seek to ignore or suppress their thoughts and mind, but this is also delusion. The first step is becoming aware of the world and conscious in it. A child is full of curiosity. When this card appears in a reading it signifies curiosity, consciousness, and the bliss of knowing one is alive.
Boredom - When the Ace of Swords is reversed, it means that the situation is too familiar and no longer of any interest. Rather than arousing curiosity and the excitement of realization, it is just boring. Try to see past boredom at the larger question of why the situation seems so mundane.
The birds are a stonechat in a furze bush, and a long-eared owl in a birch tree. The stonechat is so called because of its cry of alarm and was thought to be protected by dark powers, the owl was considered a fool and called the cat owl, by the Celts. The shaman is of the third path of time-binding, story telling, lies and mental tricks, helped by the hoodie crows who predict the future. He is surrounded by pines, the evergreen tree of winter.
Two of Blades
Dá na Sceana: SHKAN a
Correspondence - The Two of Swords represents the first step a child takes toward understanding: learning to communicate. Correspondence can mean the exchange of letters, a call to an old friend, or getting directions from a stranger. It is the first outward expression of the mind: the free exchange of thoughts and ideas.
Equivocation - Reversed, this card is a sign that no communication is ever straightforward. It is often ambivalent, argumentative, and evasive. Even the mind can be several minds, confused and fighting. This card signifies not only indecision and confusion, but also regret and wonder as to how the problem might have been solved.
The heron is to the north what the ibis is to the south, a bird closely associated with weather prediction, good luck, and divination. The ibis was the bird of Thoth, said to be the source of letters. The lynx symbolizes the revelation of truth, for this cat can see through objects. Its urine, hardened into an amber stone allowed the shaman to tell truth from lies.
Three of Blades
Tri na Sceana: TREE na SHKAN a
Clarification - Correspondence leads to clarification and the path which leads the world toward a better understanding. The Three of Swords is decisive, clear and logical. All parties are in agreement and can see the goal. It can also mean following a clear path having an answer to a question.
Dismissal - The Three of Swords reversed not only means disagreement, but the dismissal of the question as the wrong goal. There is no more argument to be had, and the parties involved need to look at the question from an entirely new direction. Look for new beginnings or a different problem.
Both the badger and the fox are signs of death and said to be notorious shape-shifters from the other world, closely related to the Sidh. The badger was a sign of bad luck and the fox a jolly fellow who would lie through his smile to trick you. Both the trees in the background are the birch, the tree of birth, justice, life and punishment. The Anieth card shows a journeyman druid with a message. Followed by three crows the message is death or a funeral.
Four of Blades
Ceithir na Sceana: CAY heer na SHKAN a
Theory - Once the path is clear, a human builds a model of a goal and a reason for the conditions, or a story. The expression of the Four of Swords can mean the creation of a story, or the forming of a worldview, or the attachment to that view. It can also mean that the story at the root of the situation should be examined.
Confusion - The Four of Swords upside-down means that one cannot see the causes and conditions required to follow a story thread or a logical path. One is lost in the woods without a bread crumb trail. Confusion can be a result of giving up a map or model, but it can also mean that there is no clear way along the path at present. This card means to back off and think for a time.
Again, the long-eared owls are seen to be curious and foolish, cat-like in their cocked “ears.” The Anieth card shows the curiosity of children, looking at a foreign soldier who has gotten lost in the woodl. His is a tale of crossing over into the magical world and risking his life for the love of a shape-shifter. He wears the yellow uniform of an officer of the third level.
Five of Blades
Cóig na Sceana: COE idge na SHKAN a
Argument - For some, argument is the meat of thinking. Debate can be entertaining as well as frustrating, depending on the emotional states of those involved. When the Five of Swords is drawn, the argument will be either pleasant and profitable or distressing and destructive depending on the emotional and the physical meanings of the other cards. This card means to be emotionally neutral, and try to see the different sides of the question.
Evasion - Think of this card as a hunt in the wood, and consider your position. Are you the prey evading the predator? Are you chasing after someone looking for an answer? Sometimes the answer itself is evading you. Evasion is a defensive tactic. When this card appears, look at both sides to see who is really attacking whom.
The animals: the crow teasing the fox and the wolfhound barking at the pine marten indicate that the argument is met with boredom or evasion. The crow and the fox were both tricksters, like priests arguing a diviniation. The pine marten was called the tree cat in Gaelic and revered as a hunter.
Six of Blades
Sé na Sceana: SHAY na SHKAN a
Science - Once a body of theories is constructed, people often organize it into a science. Science is the way in which we see the world, and the very word itself means "to cut" or "separate." Everyone has a science: the informal science you create from your experience is your world view. When the Six of Swords appears, the situation depends heavily on world views, theories, and stories.
Heresy - The Six of Swords reversed is a sign that a scientific prejudice or world view is under attack. This can be extremely healthy if that prejudice is blocking mental progress or emotional recovery. Look to the other cards to determine whether this card is good or bad.
Pied birds, like hooded crows and magpies were seen as oracle birds. The hoodie or hoddy is a fairy bird, long associated with rhymes of prognatication. Like other corvids, they are extremely intelligent, curious, and notorious thieves. The Anieth card shows an ancient observatory. Long before Stonehenge, the peoples of Europe were using wooden henges to celebrate and predict the movement of the stars and planets.
Seven of Blades
Seachd na Sceana: SHAKH na SHKAN a
Artifice - Art, science and religion are all constructs of the mind. When a body of theories or stories is used to bewilder, scam, entertain, or instruct, it becomes artifice. The expression of a world view is an essential part of what makes art meaningful. This card depends on other cards around it to decide whether the art is deceptive and hostile or delightful.
Truth - The Seven of Swords reversed is the card of truth. Art, science and religion claim to be in pursuit of the truth. However, there is not just one truth but many truths, and much of what we consider truth is merely convenience. This card can either be a warning or a breakthrough depending on the other cards around it.
The animals depicted are a lizard, a long-eared bat, and seven swans. The lizard is an ancient symbol of wisdom and rebirth, as well as of sleep. The bat, nocturnal, is a messenger from the the other world. The seven swans are part of ancient folklore, enchanted by their step-mother. All these animals appear one way and mean something else.
Eight of Blades
Ochd na Sceana: OWKH na SHKAN a
Interference - The path of artifice or of a group of like-minded people is often a hostile one. People eventually want to agree. When the Eight of Swords is drawn, look for an interfering agent, organization, or simply unreasonable rules that prevent mental growth.
Learning - The Eight of Swords reversed represents an open forum or a wide field in which to explore. Humans often do their best thinking without others' interference. This card means that learning is possible even under oppressive conditions.
One card shows a dead pine tree in front of a starling cloud called a murmuration. The clouds were oracular and read by trained shamans. Despised by farmers, the bird is lucky. The owl again was an ancient fool that turned into a sign of evil in later times. The bird on the thistle is the yellowhammer. This bird was persecuted for the drop of red on its beak, resembling blood. The thistle, teasel, and furse were all useful plants covered with spines that made their meanings ambiguous. They were enduring, like the pine, but also misanthropic or austere.
Nine of Blades
Naoi na Sceana: NAY na SHKAN a
Doctrine - The Nine of Swords represents organized thought, or the outward expression of a set of thoughts. This can be very intimidating to a student or a foreigner. Doctrine is not just abstract theory, it is a body of concrete rules concerning stories that people have created, formal and often full of traps for those who might disagree. This card is a warning that the door is locked and you do not have the key.
Originality - Upside-down, the Nine of Swords is about creativity and original thought. It symbolizes the excitement of examining previously held beliefs, and of the synthesis of new beliefs, theories, and stories. This card will overrule any oppression or argument and will show the way through the thicket. Do something original like catapulting over the forest itself!
The nine is a riddle card and all the images are of the Nine, a herd of fallow doe, and the tree that was upside-down, both ancient symbols like the ninth wave, of a world beyond the normal world where things are backwards or misunderstood, a kind of ancient “Through the Looking Glass” world or the land of Fairie.
Ten of Blades
Deich na Sceana: DEEKH na SHKAN a
TOrthodoxy - The full expression of thought is called ortho- doxy, which literally means "right opinion." This card signifies that there is no place for "wrong" thoughts or thoughts that go against the opinions of the establishment. The Ten of Swords is a sign that thoughts cannot break though dogma, and the group mind is locked into a cycle of convention.
Exploration - If the Ten of Swords is reversed, it will nullify all other oppressive cards in the reading, holding open the door for the mind to explore and learn and think freely.
The cat has long been a symbol of ambivalence. It was a sign of the future, but hidden so that to discover it, one cat would have to be tortured so the others would confess. The pike is an extremely agressive fish that will attack anything, symbolizing the death of anything in a mental path of attack. The Anieth card shows the conformity of a group of priests who are taking a captive to become one of them. Since ancient times, science was a part of the priesthood. It was not until very late in the West that science was freed from the Church to become its own priesthood of colleges and schools.
Muse of Blades
Fíor na Sceana: FYER na SHKAN a
The Muse of Swords is the muse of shamans, often called the wizard's familiar. Look at any picture of a wizard, scientist, alchemist, or original thinker. If there is an animal in the picture, that is the muse. Books or magical objects are also symbols of this muse. The muse is the magical part of magical incantation. Drawing the Muse means the appearance someone inexplicable, but necessary to make the magic happen.
The Muse of Swords reversed is the harsh cry of a bird that will not let you sleep. This card is a message from the deeper mind telling you that something important has been forgotten. This Muse is a bizarre trickster, like someone singing backwards while doing handstands. Don't try to understand the overt message, but use this to baffle the hostile forces. Beware: the Muse may require the answer to a secret riddle!
The bird is a goldcrest, confused with the wren in a juniper bush with the half-moon. The fritillary was a sign of rebirth on an eternal eryngo. The Anieth card shows a owl-shaper.
Hero of Blades
Laoch na Sceana: LAYKH na SHKAN a
The Protector of Swords is logic and acute understanding, as if a lawyer was with you all the time arguing with anyone who tries to cheat you or trap you in some logical scam. This card means that you cannot be taken advantage of by any twist of words or stories.
This card upside-down is the king of jesters. He will not protect you as much as annoy you, but through annoyance might keep you from going in the wrong direction. You will chase him with a stick and discover that he has led you to the Fountain of Youth. His teasing aspect is seen in the shapes of mythological creatures, as well as ravens and foxes and other animals who are both curious and annoying.
The hero’s animal of this suit is the bat, foolish, lucky, and able to go between worlds. The Anieth card shows a warrior of the Birch Clan, with her bow and arrows. She represents the moon goddess, Artemis, with equal disdain for those who disrupt her privacy. She is part of a group of huntresses, who are so bound by the future that they operate on their own set of rules.
Queen of Blades
Athrú na Sceana: AW hroona SHKAN a
The Queen of Swords is an agent of the mind. The appearance of this card means that all thoughts can be changed. The mind is the most fluid aspect of being human, and most thoughts are nothing more than "smoke and mirrors." This card is telling you that all is illusion, and that you can see through it all and change your mind.
The Queen of Swords reversed represents the winds whirling around and around and around, putting dust into everyone's eyes, tearing at clothes and hair, keeping everyone up all night, and driving everyone to argue and fight. This card is the wind that can blow away all stupidity, but it is also the dust devil that can blind everyone to the truth.
The chamois is Europe’s antelope, said to be the origin of the unicorn myth, for its horn was prized for healing. The deer was seen as a sign of Sadhbh, the deer goddess of the Celts, swift, graceful, and a denizen of the other world’s wood. The Anieth card shows the Pine Queen with her cats, an ancient Maeve or Brigit, known for her abilit to riddle.
King of Blades
Múintir na Sceana: MUEEN ctir na SHKAN a
The King of Swords is the head professor or the master teacher. This card means that all thoughts, stories, theories and world views are transparent and can be understood. This is the card of every teacher: patiently showing each part of the puzzle.
Everyone has had a teacher who was into intellectual dueling, and through this kind of argument you might have learned both the subject matter and how to stand up for yourself. This card represents a master debater who can dance circles around all opponents. Yet this master is fickle. Whether this card is for you or against you depends heavily on the other cards around it. The King can be good, but if ill-dignified he might argue you to death.
The animals are a red king stag each point on his antlers representing a winter of his life. He stands unbowed before a flock of crows. The old fox ignores the magpie on his head squawking as if an old shaman ignoring the arrogance of the young. The Anieth card is of a man showing his children a craft, pasing down the knowledge that was passed to him by his father.
Sage of Blades
Saoi na Sceana: SEE na SHKAN a
The Sage of Swords is a person who can see through all deception and who understands completely the illusory forms of thought. The act of meditation has one purpose, and that is to quiet the mind. This card is the guru on the mountaintop who can answer any riddle. This card might mean that you must sit on your own and think until your distracting thoughts fly away and leave you with the answer.
Reversed, the Sage of Swords is almost as wicked as the Devil card. Teasing, this card is the Zen master who spouts riddles instead of answers. Riddles and more riddles until you want to tear out your hair. Don't, for you will only be met with laughter. This card is a wild card or joker, so do not expect anything to happen the way you want it to!
The raven is too intelligent to be a bird. Thief, trickster, creator, holder of memory and learning, Odin’s bird and Bran’s bird became a symbol all over the north of piquant wisdom. The dryad in the Anieth card is the Thorn King, covered in flowers and brambles. He is an ancient symbol of the ambivalence and confusion of great learning, a thicket in which you may find answers.
Spring, Earth, Society, Diamonds, Green, East
Ace of Stones
Manifestation - The Ace of Disks represents the earth and stone, but it is also the beginning of social interaction. Action and reaction follow the manifestation of some desirable element in the situation. This can be a place, an object, or a person. The body, feelings and mind all represent existence of a sort, but this card represents the synthesis of the other elements into the means by which things happen. The lights are shining on the stage, we see the setting and now expect something to happen. This is not the mind, but a real play about to occur.
Disappearance - The flip side of this card is when nothing manifests. If this Ace appears reversed in the spread, it means that nothing can occur because the required elements are missing. Rather than being a real play, it is an empty stage with no actors. With this Ace in any position, the problem or situation is not concrete.
Shown here are the eagle, long a symbol of power and the snake, a fertility symbol. The shaman shows four fingers and his green chevron tattoos mark him as a master of the fourth path of action, sexuality, and family.
Two of Stones
Dá na Clocha: DAW na CLAW kha
Valuation - The first decision most children make is one of value: is it good? Is it bad? something to eat? something that tastes awful? One might say that children are the most discerning people. In any exchange, the first step is looking over the goods, and rating everything by its value. The Two of Disks is a question card, and asks of everything "what is it worth?"
Frustration - The Two of Disks reversed is also a question card, but rather than ask "what is something worth?" this card is asking "why is it worthy?" "What is the point?" "Why?" These are questions you should ask yourself when this card shows up reversed.
The animals are two ibexes contending for dominance, and two baby bears exploring a tree and a lynx with a baby in a pine. The ibex is associated with Pan, a fertility god. Bear cubs are said to be licked into shape by their mothers. And the lynx stone is magical. Most animals have meanings of luck or fertility, but the play for dominance and the difference in sibilings is a normal part of animal life.
Three of Stones
Tri na Clocha: TREE na CLAW kha<
Exchange - Money is information, it is not wealth. The Three of Disks is about the exchange of value, exchange of information, and exchange of goods or services. Free exchange is what makes social situations work. Faced with this card you can be sure that the flow of a social situation is healthy, strong and profitable.
Indigence - The Three of Disks reversed is generally a card of sorrow. However, it can be a happy card if you see yourself as needing a vacation from life. It is also a card of reluctance and sloth: nothing can be done and there is nowhere to go and what is the point anyway? This card means that a social cycle is ending and those involved want to limit their exchange.
The three little pigs is an old story about the value of working hard with knowlege: a house of straw, a house of sticks and a house of stone. The deer and the jackdaws under the ash tree make a symbol of patience in the face of clowing. The Anieth card shows two people gambling for magpie feathers. Since ancient times, people have loved to game and loved to gamble, testing their luck again and again.
Four of Stones
Ceithir na Clocha: CAY heer na CLAW kha<
Futility - The Four of Disks reversed represents the lack of desire to master something, not the lack of ability. This indicates an attitude of shutting down and turning away. It might mean that interaction is futile or that the people involved have little interest, or lack the skills necessary to trade.
Futility - The Four of Disks reversed represents the lack of desire to master something, not the lack of ability. This indicates an attitude of shutting down and turning away. It might mean that interaction is futile or that the people involved have little interest, or lack the skills necessary to trade.
The ibex, or wild goat is a symbol of fertility, play and trickery that grew to be associated with the devil of temptation. Here, the goats show their agility climbing to impossible heights. The wolf mother represents intense devotion to family and oversees the struggle for dominance in her children. Wolves and dogs are intensely social animals, with a pack order that is never broken since infancy.
Five of Stones
Cóig na Clocha: COE idge na CLAW kha
Competition - Often mastery is followed by competition. Many people enjoy healthy competition, but competition can lead to dealings that are not fair or just. This card represents a turning point where the extraversion of the querent leads to stealing the show. This is a warning card: is the competition healthy and playful or is it too serious and the reward so great that people will do anything to win?
Desertion - The reverse of this card shows the result when the competition becomes too intense: desertion. This card signifies how competition can turn a mutual exchange into one that is unfair and ultimately unprofitable. This card may indicate that some kind of social struggle is eliminating excellent people by chasing them away.
The skylark is another bird of luck, bad luck to eat one although they were a delicacy at royal tables. The apple tree is the northern version of the fruit of youth and immortality, Freya’s tree and Arthur’s. The lynx kits show the cycle of play for dominance so common in animals, with one kit up in the tree, looking down at the others.
Six of Stones
Sé na Clocha: SHAY na CLAW kha<
The World card means completion: completing a phase of life or finishing an era. The appearance of this card may evoke this feeling or a sense of satisfaction. Just as the Fool indicates the beginning of a journey or venture, this card represents its satisfactory completion. The word aois means "age" or completing an age or coming of age. Ogham letter "o" (omega) is related to the word ogham for complete. It is the furze tree: onn.
Reversed, the World symbolizes an uneasy feeling of "things left undone." It may mean that unfinished business has loose ends or that the fabric of the adventure is unraveling without a proper hem on the end. The entire reading is in question because nothing can be resolved.
The beaver shows on all three of these cards as a powerful symbol of hard work, engineering, and destruction. It is known as the “kidneys of the earth” because of damming waterways. Hunted almost to extinction for its fur and gland oil, the beaver is a sign of a healthy river system.
Seven of Stones
Seachd na Clocha: SHAKH na CLAW kha<
Theft - This card represents the point where outward expression becomes anti-social. This card indicates that the game has become too serious, with some people trying so hard to win or dominate that they are willing to commit crime. Look for envy, sloth, and desperation.
Invention - The Seven of Disks reversed will balance out any other cards in the spread, making them worthwhile. As one moves inward from the outward expression of action, a surge of genius can take place. If one is creative with materials and supplies, services or connections between people, this can be a fruitful time of great harvest and productivity.
The woodpecker famous for its loud voice, called “yaffing” is also called the “nicker-poker” for its long tongue curled up in his head like a yo-yo string. This bird was sacred to Mars and the gods of farming. The other cards show a wolf thieving its dinner from a bear. The lone wolf was a symbol of an outcast. The bear has destroyed the world of a hive of bees, and was a symbol of power, but also of indiscrimate greed. Like the foturne card: which has thieved whom?
Eight of Stones
Ochd na Clocha: OWKH na CLAW kha<
Organization - This card represents the large markets of humans, systems of economic exchange, and the power plays within those systems. Any organization has power blocs, and many are rife with lust and jealousy. This card indicates that there is someone out there pushing, trying to manipulate. This can be an agency, or a powerful individual. This is also a theater card, in that game-playing is an institution of organized society. Etiquette and elaborate manners hide all sorts of politics.
Industry - People decline social situations so that they can work or prepare for an obligation. The Eight of Disks reversed represents the desire to "make ready for winter:" to build up reserves of strength, to stockpile, or simply to keep busy and not talk idly.
The spider has long been a symbol of industrya nd ingenuity. Weavers had adopted a spider god, and Loki is supected to be a spider god. The squirrel is another symbol of industry, but comes in three colors, and thus a messenger between the gods, sacred to the moon. The oak is the tree of Zeus and Thor, the king tree that guards against lightning.
Nine of Stones
Naoi na Clocha: NAY na CLAW kha<
Security - As power becomes established and then ossifies, the people in power often feel a great need to protect themselves. The Nine of Disks may indicate a need to find o ut what your enemies are doing, or it can mean that the security of your group is threatened. Think on a large scale, of prisons and armies, nothing personal.
Diversification - As one breaks the shackles of social ossification, smaller companies and agents can diversify. In a reading, this card reversed means that there is opportunity to learn something new in the world of economic or social exchange. This might require dropping a habituated role and adopting a different persona.
Here the wild goats show a different kind of symbol, that of security in struggle. Sacred to fertility gods, the struggle of the goat was overlooked by its association with Pan, which turned into the images of the devil. Also associated with fertility, the snake was also the serprent of the tree of immortality. The serpent was the symbol of time, the apples of eternal youth. This grass snake was kept as a household pet against rodents.
Ten of Stones
Deich na Clocha: DEEKH na CLAW kha<
Persecution - Every group mentality, family, or state, has a protocol for the treatment of unwanted members. Drawing this card means that the querent feels some sort of injustice: that they or someone they know is being persecuted. It can mean that a battle is on the horizon, and that free exchange has gone underground in some kind of black market.
Tolerance - The Ten of Disks reversed represents a situation where new cultures are merging or one culture is being overthrown by another. It is a sign that overt gestures of peace and good will are more important than the security of like minds. The Ten of Disks reversed will influence and outweigh even the worst spread so everyone can step back and see that everything is all right.
The bear is such a powerful totem that whole religious ceremonies surrounded this animal back to the Stone Age. The bear and the oak were sacred to the gods of power and weather. T he beech tree was a close relative of the oak and the word “book” came from this tree. The Anieth card shows a woman imprisoned in a stone chamber by a man obsessed with her.
Muse of Stones
Fíor na Clocha: FYER na CLAW kha<
The Muse of Disks is the representation of lucky charm. With it, no matter how a person looks, no matter what their social position, they are popular, successful and beautiful. Drawing this Muse is like winning the lottery. Upright, this card will lighten the load of any reading and make it possible to succeed against the odds.
Reversed, the Muse of Disks becomes whimsical luck. If this card appears reversed, look for fortune to be fickle and misleading. Fortune will be there, but it might cost considerably more than it is worth.
The full moon is behind Lady’s mantle over which hovers a luna moth. Lady’s mantle, called Achimilla, is a powerful herb that stops bleeding. The moth was always a soul of a immortal. The rose is closely related to Lady’s mantle and also stops bleeding. Its hips and petals are used in food and cosmetics. The bee carries messages to the dead and the rose means pleasure and pain both. The dryad in the Anieth card is of the Elder tree, one of most used medicinal trees in Europe.
Hero of Stones
Laoch na Clocha: LAYKH na CLAW kha<
The Protector of Disks is like the hero in many stories. For some reason, no matter how foolish the hero might be, by the end of the story they have slain the dragon and won the kingdom. This card represents someone or something that everyone wants on board. This card can also represent help: like a purse that never runs out of money, or a man with huge ears who can hear a whisper on the other side of the world.
Upside-down, the Protector becomes a difficult person who is like an anti-hero, complaining all the way, but eventually getting the job done. This person might have a quirky side, like having huge feet, or drinking up the entire sea. Strange and grouchy is the motif here, so look for that kind of energy in the reading.
This hero is the humble mouse or tortoise, both animal helpers. The mouse shows up in many tales to do what other animals are too proud to do. The turtle is slow and steady. They are both under a plant of sea kale, a popular vegetable in ancient Europe. The hero in the Anieth card is of the lesser clans, a Rowan stoneworker who throws a stone disk.
Queen of Stones
Athrú na Clocha: AW hroona CLAW kha<
The Queen of Disks is that kind of magic that makes a lump of coal turn into a diamond. This card is better than luck or a talisman, for it is the power to take the basest of materials and create a magical kingdom of riches. This card is the power of the earth to come awake in the spring and to turn dirt, air and sunlight into food.
This card reversed is still powerful, but it will lead the reading toward a superficial goal, like an actor who changes face just to get a new favor or venue. This face will always be false because one thinks that social action is merely a game to get what one wants.
The animals are the bison and the bear, both power animals of the rulers of the north. These animals are also power animals in North America. The bison represents endurance and the bear loyalty. The mother bear has her children in the seclusion of hibernation and thus is said to have created them from her own spittle. The Anieth card shows the Serpent Queen a symbol of the twists of time and fate, knowledge of the future and the pleasure and pain of the rose.
King of Stones
Múintir na Clocha: MUEEN ctir na CLAW kha<
One of the most powerful cards in the deck, the King of Disks will undo any bad luck and make any venture successful. This is the king who laughs at the darkness of winter because he is the roaring Yule log and the flowing ale of summer's harvest.
The King of Disks reversed is the king of winter, and the king of the underworld. This card represents the high price one pays for a magical gift from the darker side of Hades. He will grant your wish, yes, but the price will be your firstborn.
The king card again show a bison, the largest herbivore in Europe. An ancient animal out of the ice sheets, the bison can endure great hardship. The other animal card shows the hedgehog, who, in ancient times, had many of the same meanings as the bear. The animal is clever, hard-working, and no-nonsense. This hedgehog studies a snail, while the other sleeps, showing the two faces of a power animal: work and sloth. The Anieth card is of a man teaching his children about weights and measures, the valuation of the market, and the focus of exchange. The tokens of valuation were essential to human trade.
Sage of Stones
Saoi na Clocha: SEE na CLAW kha
The Sage of Disks will trump any other card in the deck, bestowing good fortune and the warmth of love and friendship into any reading. This card symbolizes the riches of the world laid out on the ground where everyone can find them. All wealth turns to generosity because the Sage of Disks is the root of wealth: creativity.
The Sage of Disks reversed is a desert sage, owning nothing, giving nothing, being nothing. If this card appears in the reading, it is a sign that all fortune is fleeting and that all friendships will end. It is not a nihilistic card, but a card of awareness, not of sorrow, but of peace.
The hawk, like the falcon, is a lesser bird than the eagle, but a symbol of the sun, a drop of victory and death. The hawk was a symbol of beauty, for Freya had a cloak of hawk feathers that turned her into a hawk. The Anieth card show an Elder dryad, a famous healer whose hands are marked with magic. The elder was considered a “medicine chest in itself.” But it is a tree owned by the dark moon, and considered unlucky for cradles and toys.
Timeless, Ether, Spirit, Cords, White, Up
Ace of Cords
Inspiration - Western cultures define four cardinal directions and a center. The center of perception, feeling, thought and action begins with breath. The inward breath, inspiration, is the beginning of life and the thread of every individual. The entire world respires and vibrates with internal energy. This card underlies any endeavor by breathing life into it.
Nihilism - Reversed, the Ace of Cords is the denial of everything: of meaning, of future and past, and of will. This card means that the question is without ground, without morality, without sense. It is a shot in the dark, because you have lost the thread of your path.
Owls had different meanings for the ancient. The feathers would elicit the truth from one who slept. Barn owls are said to herald death, spirits of night, but also despised because they stole the daylight. They were also weather birds, warding off lightning and predicting storms. The shaman in the Anieth card is beyond the four paths of the human, and is firmly integrated and ready for the paths of the other world. The signs are mixed in this card, birds both free and caged, masks and mystery.
Two of Cords
Dá na Snátha: DAW na SNAA ha
Appreciation - Inspiration is often followed by appreciation. Spiritual life is appreciation, sometimes of the beauty of the world, sometimes of the beauty in others. This card means that whatever the reading, there will be deep meaning that the querent should appreciate. It is awe-inspiring: terrible and grand.
Envy - The Two of Cords reversed is appreciation turned into hatred, or the desire to acquire what you want without making an effort. Envy turns on itself and attacks the lucky. If this card is drawn, look for undercurrents of desire that will drain energy and confine it to a box of spiritual death.
The two hares of the moon are in a fight for domination. They dance and box for the chance to mate. Prolific, the hare meant fertility, speed, daring and the purity of spirit. Changing color, they are moon animals. The grey seal, a shape-changer is also seen to be a spirit animal, but to the lands under the sea. Seals, with their plaintive cries, were said to be people who had drowned. To rescue one, you had to take its skin and burn it, a common trick in other tales of shape-shifters.
Three of Cords
Tri na Snátha: TREE na SNAA ha
Interdependence - There is no independent action, thought, feeling or position. Everything in our world arises from causes and conditions, and in return creates more. Interdependence allows one to see that all things are both actions and reactions. The Three of Cords is the hand of the fates, casting the threads of spinning time, for better or for worse. This card means that something will happen.
Senselessness - Reversed, this card indicates an inability to perceive cause and effect as if the world around were completely random. Sometimes this can be a good thing: fate just makes things happen without any real reason. There is no story, no cause, no blame. This can also be a card of confusion: it means that the situation cannot be taken seriously.
The ermine is a weasel in its white phase making this another animal sacred to the moon. It is a sign of royalty and purity. The juniper tree is one of the trees that opens the year, evergreen, a refuge for all the small creatures of the woods. The Anieth card shows the three fates, spinning their threads to capture men’s lives. The tree is the world tree: the ash.
Four of Cords
Ceithir na Snátha: CAY heer na SNAA ha
Devotion - Humans value devotion, whether to a higher cause, or to others. The Four of Cords means that you are devoted to the parties in the question, and that they are devoted to you. This can imply that a positive force of attachment, or it can mean that there may be nothing behind but empty loyalty.
Negation - The Four of Cords reversed is a sign that the situation should be avoided o r ended. This card indicates that something in the question is turning away or should turn away. Note that negation is not always negative. It is also about freeing oneself from roles and old loyalties that no longer have any meaning.
The bird here is the silver-throated dasher, related to the titmouse and chickadee, a jester bird who brings mirth. It is sitting on a group of broom pods. The broom, the symbol of the Platangents, meant immortality for its golden flowers bloomed almost year round. The woman in the Anieth card prepares a sleeping potion that will bring death to a king, sparing a man she loves from having to kill him. She is a slave who has risked her life to help her friends.
Five of Cords
Cóig na Snátha: COE idge na SNAA ha
Idolatry - Often, rather than lose a thought, feeling or person, you might try to make something permanent of it by taking a "real" snapshot that exists outside of time. However, all ideals end up being idols. At first they seem like valid guides, but the ideal usually turns into a holy mandate, or a sacred cow that cannot be criticized. This card means that the question is ruled by images. True, false, or illusory, the images may have become idols instead of spiritual guides.
Agnosticism - Agnosticism is not "sitting on the fence," as people tend to think, but is the refusal to answer a question that cannot be answered. Rather than taking snapshots and calling them truth, you should be looking at all sides of the question without judgement. Keep an open mind!
The crested titmouse is considered a joking bird, a liar, and a thief. An adept acrobat it balances on a sprig of mistletoe, a medicinal plant that grows in trees. The Anieth card shows the Thorn King, a notorious trickster and riddler and and wanderer who is very like a Celtic Odin. He stands in front of a goup of totems with one of his owls behind him.
Six of Cords
Sé na Snátha: SHAY na SNAA ha
Story - Humans excel at story. Stories are created for every action, thought and feeling we have. Life becomes a parade of story. Every act, every scene, spins out new stories. The Six of Cords means that everything in the reading is just a story, but it might also mean that you should seek out the main narrative and unravel the skein of story in your own situation.
Denial - The Six of Cords reversed means "unstory," or denial of the patterns you and others feel compelled to see in the current situation. Yet denial can mean balance. One hand weighs the story, the other weighs the possibility of it being wrong. Denial can mean argument, more often it means that stories are just stories, and their denial may lead to other possibilities.
Deer are known as “fairy cattle” among the Celts, and the roe deer is one of the smaller of the deer family in Europe. This deer is not the great deer of the king of stags, but the otherworld deer that hides in forests. Behind her is a birch tree, a colonizer that is the first to appear on new lands. The Anieth card shows the spider again, or its web, frozen into a pattern with the leaves of an ash, only to disappear with dawn.
Seven of Cords
Seachd na Snátha: SHAKH na SNAA ha
Service - The Seven of Cords is about interweaving your stories with those of others, often devoting yourself to a consensual reality with a group of people working toward the same goal. Service is a strong motivation, a way of saying yes to a group affair. However, service also means that others control the situation. Look for the story in the reading. Is it yours? Or have you been coerced to participate?
Independence - In the West, when people lived on the frontier where there were few people, one could not rely upon others for assistance. This story has become its own myth: the myth that strong people do not need others to survive. The Seven of Cords means that service is not required. The real need is to take off and fly away and look for independence on your own.
The seven card shows the story of the group of princes who were enchanted into swans by their stepmother. Their little sister had to make them shirts to free them, but not speak the entire time she did so. A king fell in love with her, married her, and she c ould not speak or defend herself when accused of killing her children. On her pyre as the fires were lit, she threw the shirts over her brothers and saved them.
Eight of Cords
Ochd na Snátha: OWKH na SNAA ha
Caste - When service becomes compulsion, passed on through generations, it becomes caste, or "to some the silver spoon, to others nothing." Most people think that caste is an effect of fate, or of karma, or of something that happened long before you were born. The Eight of Cords means that something in the reading seems beyond your control to change.
Responsibility - With caste comes responsibility, but responsibility is also a consequence of independence and denial. The Eight of Cords reversed demands that somewhere, someone must stand up and say, "I am responsible." Too often, people bond together using elaborate roles and agreements to avoid all responsibility. Be responsible. This card means that you own the situation.
The animal card show two wolves, famous for their strict pack of dominance where each wolf knows its place for its entire life. This hierachy is established at puppies. The Anieth card shows slaves of working for the Willow Clan, a short life in the marshes where they must work or die. They make cords of fibres that will be braided into rush mats.
Nine of Cords
Naoi na Snátha: NAY na SNAA ha
Determinism - The Nine of Cords is a card of fate. Ancient people all over the world believed in fate and determinism, as if a great goddess spun your fate and wove the fabric of your life. This card is a sign that everyone refuses to change, nor will they acknowledge that it is necessary to do so.
Revision - The Nine of Cords reversed is a wild card meaning everything in the situation can be altered, and the story can be revised. This is one of the most powerful lessons learned by anyone on a spiritual path, that things are not as they seem and all can be changed.
The world gull is another world for foolish (gullible.) Souls of fishemen, gulls are notorious for fighting each other over food, but also beautiful white birds of the coast. These birds fight over fish, and its indetermined who will win. The Anieth card shows one version of the history of an invasion where a king with one arm, betrays his people and is burned alive in a battle. In the book series, two boys try to change this king’s fate and thus the entire history of the world. The king represents Lugh of the Silver Arm or Twy (Tyr) who lost his hand to Fenris wolf.
Ten of Cords
Deich na Snátha: DEEKH na SNAA ha
Fatalism - Determinism leads to fatalism, or the belief that nothing can be done. This feeling can be freeing, alleviating personal responsibility. Yet, more often this realization is depressing and leads to apathy and acceptance of ill. Look into your heart and see if you feel bound to the path without choice.
Identity - The Ten of Cords reversed means that identity is in crisis. This is a powerful opportunity to change and to realize that "the map is not the territory." This means that all the ideas and preferences and styles we adopt are parts of a costume and not of the core self. This card will override other cards with the awareness that all can be a part, and none is really any part, of the self.
The Anieth card shows the king stag of the red deer, the magical stag of every hunt, sacred to Cerunnos a very ancient god of the forest. This stag shows in many myths of a king or prince who was changed by crossing into the other world. A white wave moth rests on a raven skeleton. These were called ghost moths or funeral moths and associated with the souls of the dead.
Muse of Cords
Fíor na Snátha: FYER na SNAA ha
The Muse of Cords is the determination to stay centered and enter onto the spiritual path. The four legs of the chair are grounded: body, feelings, thoughts and actions are all solidly positioned around the spirit. The Muse is a card of calling: sing the chorus of joy in awe of all creation!
Reversed, the Muse of Cords denies all forms of conventional reality in order to serve something unseen. This Muse is a stray thread leading off into dark places without form or sense. This is the card of chaos that cuts all threads of meaning.
The fish is the tench, the doctor fish of Europe, related to the carp, whose medicine was so potent that, when other fish rubbed up against its slimy skin, they would be healed. The moon is the waning moon of wisdom and age. The kelp plant was used by shamans to snare and enchant animals. The Anieth card shows a shape-shifting lynx woman. The lynx was another images of mystery, sacred to the moon, but also representing secrets that could be revealed to the adept.
Hero of Cords
Laoch na Snátha: LAYKH na SNAA ha
The Protector of Cords is the lightning spirit that beckons from odd places, tricking people onto the mirror path or astray into the magical realm. This Protector weaves a web of illusion to dazzle or destroy. You might feel surrounded by unseen energy and guided by voices no one else can hear.
The Protector of Cords reversed binds and snares and nets the unwary up into their own fantasies. The Protector reversed means that everything is snarled beyond untangling and only another powerful card can untie the knots.
The spider is the hero of Cords, trapping with invisble nets. The web is the famous symbol of the spider god trickster, Loki, who was not of Asgard, but invited there by Odin for giving over his famous eight-legged steed. There are man stories of webs, woven by women or nets made to trap the unwary. The Anieth card shows a warrior of the ancient Ash Clan, whose spouse makes him an elaborate outfit of knotted cords. He fights here with a dart-headed string that is made of poisoned bone. He stands in the fog surrounded by the ram, whose spiral horns mimic the spiral of time.
Queen of Cords
Athrú na Snátha: AW hroona SNAA ha
The Queen of Cords is called the Queen of the Spirit. She is the dark queen who rewinds the thread back out of the maze, but she is also the queen of dreams and secrets. She is a blind queen, working in the dark, but she is also the queen of light, spinning her wheel of fire. This card will unravel all elements and remake them into patterns of song and art that reach up into the skies of the spirit.
Reversed, the Queen of Cords represents the spider, eating her own kind in darkness, weaving into gray all contrast, muting color. She is the card of sorrow and loss, a powerful card that adds a solemn tone to the rest of the reading.
The animal card shows the lynx again crossing a bridge of ash. The lynx is said to be able to see through objects, The cat’s name mean’s white and my have been related to the ancient god Lugh of the Silver Hand. The Anieth card shows the Elk Queen riding her white pony. The cards of Anieth show the different races of Europe, this suit belonging to the Saami, or the Norse who have oriental eyes of blue in a brown face with ash blond hair.
King of Cords
Múintir na Snátha: MUEEN ctir na SNAA ha
The King of Cords is the creative power binding all forces into a pattern of instruction, discipline, and spiritual awakening. This is the fisherman of the Christians, the King who nets the souls of those who are lost and infuses them with the light of knowledge. This card means that all is illumined with intricate patterns of meaning. Be patient and look.
If the King of Cords is reversed, the net of meaning is a net of entrapment, an inability to tell one strand from another, a cacophony of random notes that form no melody, but harass you with noise and nightmares. This card means that everything is a squirming mass of screaming blindness that provokes feelings of desperation and futility.
The owlets here are watching the white wave moths. The owls are messengers to the other world; the moths represent the souls of the dead. But one owl has its head cocked, as if trying to understand the message. The Anieth card shows a northern family mending nets. Each of the kings in the royal cards is teaching his children a differnt craft or caring for them. A knight protects, a father teaches.
Sage of Cords
Saoi na Snátha: SEE na SNAA ha
The Sage of Cords represents the ability to walk the tightrope and never lose balance. This is a steady rope bridge over the dark chasm of time, connecting one generation to another across centuries. This card represents the transmission of knowledge through time, and means that everything is part of the same matrix of life. All can be joined together and woven into the fabric of generations to come.
The Sage of Cords reversed is the inability to grasp the great hand behind the curtain of stars. It is a card of caution indicating that more time is needed: more study, more thought, more discipline, if one is to comprehend infinity.
The barn owl is the most hated and feared of European owls. The little owl was the owl of Athena, but the barn owl was looked upon as a bringer of death. It is a solitary bird that mates for life. Here it is seen against the galaxy, for all of Europe a river or a bridge of souls to the immortal lands. The Anieth card shows the Ash Mother, an important figure like Frigg, who spun out the stars from her distaff. Here, she casts her net of stars, bring light to the darkness.