images by megan leigh dorko. text and concept by amber dorko stopper.
who loves the 80s tarot?
the 80’s tarot is the coolest thing ever. brilliant. I just posted that URL to about 100,000 people who will almost unanimously agree with me thanks for that.
Oh wow. That is really cool. If only that were a printed deck, that would kick all kinds of ass.
I would buy that in a friggin’ second. DEVO as Temperance! That has got to be the coolest thing ever. On the other hand…I don’t quite know why Boy George isn’t the Empress.
Awesome! But no Kate Bush. Phooey!
Why does Ian Curtis have to share a card with Michael Hutchence? But I did particularly like Morrissey as the hermit and David Bowie as Emperor. Although I wonder if Siouxsie Sioux would not have made a better Death than Robert Smith.
When memes collide: A Tarot deck with the eighties theme. You would think it would suck, but you would be wrong.
It’s surprisingly accurate!
The 80’s Tarot … is frickin’ brilliant and a must visit for fans of 80s music.
Até, é claro, me deparar com esse fabuloso Tarô dos anos 80.. tem como NÃO acreditar num tarô que coloca David Bowie como ‘O Imperador”, Marty McFly como “O Enforcado” e Elvis Costello como Rei de Espadas?
My pal Willow sent me the URL for your 80s tarot. I am just beyond upset that this deck isn’t available for purchase :-( I sent out the URL to 15 pals yesterday, and everyone to whom I sent the URL has nothing but praise for your deck. Your matching of icons to card meanings is superb, the work that went into your deck is just incredible. Please please please consider selling this deck!!
Your 80’s deck is SO brilliant!! Well-conceived AND well-executed. However, you are making me and all my friends crazy by not publishing this deck because WE ALL WANT ONE!!!!! What would it take to convince you to cease this sadistic torment? Will pay top dollar for the 80’s deck. Me and at least 20 other people I personally know of right this minute. You could make a fortune. Do a tarot reading and see for yourself if you don’t believe me.
and from the Guardian UK Online…
Currently only viewable online, though attracting interest in a printed deck, it’s a remarkable labour of love….even to non-believers the descriptions are a deadpan joy. Roll on the real thing.
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0 THE FOOL
MEANING: The Fool asks you to have total faith in the belief that life is good Strike out on a new path, recapture your innocence, follow your bliss, be spontaneous. Bring pleasant, happy-go-lucky meanings to the verbs “lie”, “coerce”, and “steal”, and find ways to make everyone love you for executing these little miracles. The Fool is all about taking those crazy chances without the slightest fear of repercussion. Don’t sit around worrying about the “what if’s”; the “what if’s” are the true killers. Get out there! No matter what you do, someone or something will save your butt!
The question isn’t ‘What are we going to do?’ The question is, ‘What aren’t we going to do?’
I THE MAGICIAN
THE CARD: Thomas Dolby as the Magician has many unusual devices at his disposal to carry out his particular brand of magic. In his world, which may seem warped and unusual to the observer, he appears diligent in his mission to get his message across. He speaks whatever language it is necessary for the listener to understand.
MEANING: The Magician represents enlightenment, and he is not averse to using his own folly, faults, or unusual characteristics to instruct others. He is about turning ideas into matter; execution and transmission. There is a bit of the rogue to the Magician; he is playful, and he can disseminate information without sounding tedious.
Is there someone in your life with whom you are having trouble communicating? Maybe simply throwing your voice will be enough to get them to listen to reason. If they are bored with that voice, startle them with a new one. The Magician now reminds you of your own ability to make yourself heard so that people cannot resist the sound of you.
A domino effect in a cloud of mystery
My writing is an iron fist
In a glove full of Vaseline
But I dip the fuse in kerosene…
II THE HIGH PRIESTESS
THE CARD: Annie Lennox is the High Priestess. The small mask she wears represents the boundary between our conscious and unconscious minds; it is this area that the High Priestess guards. The pomegranates seen in the background are a very traditional symbol of the High Priestess in ancient Tarot cards.
MEANING: The High Priestess represents the thin line between the conscious and unconscious. It is she who rends the veil, for some more frequently than others. There is a protective unawareness in ourselves that separates the person we have to be daily (the one who scrambles eggs, vacuums the stairs, buys subway tokens) from the one who knows more (someday someone we love will die; the worst thing in our lives probably hasn’t even happened yet; our bone density is on the downturn). Some of our subconscious remains that way for a reason, yet there is much there to be mined that we can use in our everyday life that will not make us want to lay down and give up. There is, every minute of everyday, an entire person within ourselves that is unaffected by standing in bank lines and cleaning cat boxes; there is, in everyone, an inner self and an inner life. Get in touch with it, utilize it, and above all, trust it.
III THE EMPRESS
THE CARD: The fertile Empress, represented by Paula Yates, demonstrates that a woman’s best accessory is often biological children sired by rock stars (three daughters by Sir Bob Geldof, and a fourth by Michael Hutchence- each and every one bestowed with some reprehensible name like “Fifi” or “Peaches”.)
MEANING: Maybe you’ve got a plan to celebrate your fertile and creative energies that is even better than Ms. Yates’ propensity to get naked on television and gestate an entire generation of females who will be forced to market designer purses bearing their names by the age of ten, and who will inevitably spend hours upon hours in lines at City Hall trying to get their names changed to “Stacy” or “Pat”. Your fertile energy is there now; it is time for the birth of a new project, plan, life. Use your earthly senses and the physical world around you; use your hands and your body as well as your mind. Do not only create, but make plans to sustain, through attention, love, and respect, your “baby”.
IV THE EMPEROR
THE CARD: David Bowie as Jareth the Goblin King in the 1986 film Labyrinth. It is not only this incarnation of Bowie that would be representative of his status as Emperor; in fact, it is in his tendency to structure and restructure his identity, not only in film roles, but as the Thin White Duke, Aladdin Sane, etc.- that he demonstrates his need to set standards of behavior and operate from the principals he sets forth. Bowie as an artist has always been capable of setting the tone, and providing direction and inspiration; he is systematic and commanding. He is also capable of offering security (literally, securities: Bowie is the first entertainer to ever offer the purchase of bonds against his future earnings as a performer.)
MEANING: The Emperor in your reading may refer to an aspect of yourself, regardless of your own gender; or it may be someone in your life whom you may turn to now. The Emperor is a father figure; his presence may seem rigid and confining, but it can put bread on the table. Think of the areas in your life where an Emperor might be able to exert control; in matters of discipline, in legal matters, in any position of authority, implied or assumed. Do you need an Emperor, or are you battling one? The Emperor has no wish to overpower, but only to guide in the way he knows how. To balance the Emperor within yourself, be warned not to give in to an arbitrary or despotic nature, but to rule with firmness, from the ironclad principals that have served you well.
V THE HIEROPHANT
THE CARD: Howard Jones is the Hierophant, an embodiment of spirituality, the Word made flesh. He pursues knowledge, understanding, world views, and faith, but he does these things in a fairly mild and conventional manner (hairstyles notwithstanding). Face it, didn’t your mom love Howard at least as much as you did? Did anybody ever get grounded for listening to “Human’s Lib”?
MEANING: Seeing the Hierophant in a tarot reading, one may reflect on one’s identity within a given culture, group or cause. Are you loyal? A part of a team? A member of something larger that you can believe in as much as you believe in yourself? These are hard values to live by, but the Hierophant reminds us that group identity is not a bad thing, all the time. The value of groups, clubs, societies, does depend on how much we as individuals contribute to them. When receiving the Hierophant, look to your teachers, your leaders, the institutions that enrich your life- not the ones that box you in, make you feel inferior, oppress you.
Hope you find it in everything, everything that you see
Hope you find it in everything, everything that you see
Hope you find it, hope you find it
Hope you find me in you
VI THE LOVERS
THE CARD: The Cocteau Twins in the pink opaque, the rosy glow of intimacy, remind us that lovers do not always add up to two- and twins, both Thompson and Cocteau, can sometimes add up to three. Lovers experience the moon and the melodies, annointed with the oil of angels in this, the highest of unions.
MEANING: While the Lovers card does represent romance and sexuality, it can also represent any other force of attraction, in reference to: allegiance to the group which one belongs in society, in politics, in ideology. We must choose what we love over what we do not love, regardless of what others tell us is right. When the Lovers card is revealed, look for an opportunity to make a moral or ethical decision based on what puts you head over heels, whether it is a person, an organization, or a philosophy. This kind of devotion is not easy; be prepared to weather love’s easy tears to ultimately benefit from the milk and kisses rewarded you.
MEANING: Unlike the Strength card which follows it, the Chariot gets its power from hardline, vigilante energy. It represents combat for the side of right in the personal or political contexts (not the political “right”, but right politics.) Self assurance, self control, and self directedness are all attributes of the Chariot. Victory is yours and you alone are to thank for that.
THE CARD: Alison Moyet may have claimed weakness in the presence of beauty, but isn’t the true test of strength in one’s ability to feel? Unlike the Chariot, Strength masters not with militancy but with compassion and the ability to make oneself vulnerable. Strength has the energy of, as well as the energy to tame, the beautiful beasts.
MEANING: To quote the legendary “Love’s Baby Soft” television commercials: you can love hard; or you can love soft. The Strength card suggests the need for the latter. Balance your human needs with the animal ones; poke gently with your muzzle instead of showing your teeth. Strength depends on trust, on compassion, and on patience. Consider the situations in your life in which you might be pushing too hard or too fast, and pull back the reins at the same time as you hunker down for the long haul.
IX THE HERMIT
THE CARD: Morrissey, sulking, self-righteous and ostentatiously undersexed, illuminated by Light That Never Goes Out, is our Hermit. His isolation is part of the price that he pays for his wisdom and attainment, but it is also his love for the material world and society that makes his struggle necessary to him. He is the ultimate outsider.
MEANING: Since obviously no one has invited you anywhere, take this opportunity to reflect, alone, and look for the answers you seek within. Perhaps there is someone you know who eminates the light of truth that is the Hermit’s one true possession; you may also consider going to this person now for knowledge. Still, there is always a Hermit within us, and instead of moping, utilize your stripped-down social situation discover something you can use later, perhaps with company.
I’m writing this to say
In a gentle way
Thank you, but no.
I will live my life as I will undoubtedly die,
X THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE
THE CARD: Brat Packers spinning the Wheel of Fortune must accept that they will not know exactly where it will stop, and must take responsibility for making their turn of fate the best it can be.
MEANING: The tenth card in the Eighties Tarot is well represented by the whirl of adolescence; the Wheel of Fortune is a card that leaves one open to fate, change, and life’s pivotal moments. What we learn from the Wheel is that while we are responsible for our actions in life, there are always forces we cannot control and which move us in circles. Like teenagers discovering freedom, or love, or identity, we also can feel daunted by the fact that so much is out of our hands. But we can still look at the world with a sense of wonder, remain aware of the Wheel, and respect and depend on the concept of Destiny in our lives, while we also depend on ourselves.
THE CARD: Corey Hart wears his sunglasses at night, representing blind Justice. He wears them so he can see the light that’s right before his eyes, among other reasons. Don’t mess around with the guy in shades, but don’t be afraid of the guy in shades- ‘cause you’ve got it made with the guy in shades. Justice may be represented on later, Nineties-version decks, by David Duchovny, but the actual differences are hard to detect.
MEANING: One of the most self- explanatory cards, Justice can represent legal matters and situations where someone, perhaps the reader, is finally “getting their due”. It will not indicate a surprising turn of events; it will be the logical, fair effect of whatever factors preceding it had set in motion.
XII THE HANGED MAN
THE CARD: Marty Mc Fly travels to the 1950’s, only to have his teenaged, yet-to-be mother fall in love with him, decreasing his own father’s chances of ever hooking up with her and thereby risking making himself never born at all. He is the Hanged Man; he must hold his breath in the past, so that he can flourish in the future.
MEANING: As difficult as it may sometimes seem, the best course of action is, occasionally, no course of action. Marty Mc Fly’s ultimate challenge is to not intervene. If you have received the Hanged Man in your reading, think about “giving up” in a new way: you may need to lose the battle to win the war, or go one step backward to go two forward. The Hanged Man asks you to accept your situation, recognize the current, and not fight against it; for if you do, you will undoubtedly waste much time trying to undo your own good intentions. Instead, surrender, for the good of the cause, and in time you will again be upright, with the wind at your back.
MEANING: When receiving the Death card in your reading, don’t fear the unexpected demise of someone or something around you; not before you take the time to look at what you already know. Is there something in your world- a relationship, an activity, a belief- that is dead, as much as you have refused to let yourself admit it? Would there be room for something new and vibrant in your life if you could only move this dead thing aside? Living isn’t cumulative; eventually, everything must be let go. The Death card puts you on notice to acknowledge what needs to fall away forever and make room for the living.
The sky coloured perfect
As the man slipped away
Waving with a last vanilla smile
>THE CARD: Five blank-faced, similarly-sized guys from Ohio, the band Devo exemplify a deliberate, composed, and moderate existance, while at the same time flourishing with great energy and vibrance. They are Temperance, a virtue requiring balance and exuberance, a combination of forces, and pursuit of the “golden mean”.
MEANING: Temperance is a card that is often recast in modern decks; “Art” is not an uncommon subsitute for what is apparently an outdated virtue. Still, Devo represent both Temperance and Art in their demeanor and politics. When Temperance appears in your reading, exercise self-restraint while at the same time moving forward, trying new combinations of attributes until you find the perfect mix: physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally, digitally, evolutionarily.
SWEAR OUT THE DEVOLUTIONARY OATH:
1. Be Like Your Ancestors Or Be Different, It Doesn’t Matter.
2. Lay A Million Eggs Or Give Birth To One. So Shall Your Species
3. Wear Gaudy Colors Or Avoid Display, It’s All The Same.
4.The Fittest Shall Survive Yet The Unfit Shall Live.
5. We Must Repeat!
MEANING: If even just a small part of us remains tethered to reality for safekeeping, we need not fear the Devil card. The Devil may represent sensual pleasure or overindulgence. Sometimes this sort of revelry is a necessity, but what is just as vital is our ability to turn our backs on it when we have had enough. The Devil may then represent our inability to leave the party, or our reluctance to face reality when we know we really must. It is this tendency that truly enslaves us, and we ourselves are more to blame than the actions or balms we turn to for solace or respite. When receiving the Devil in your reading, ask yourself what keeps you in bondage. What the Devil is really telling us is that we’re wanting something so badly that it’s hurting us to do so, and that it’s time to take a step back from the material, the sensual, and concentrate instead on the spiritual.
XVI THE TOWER
THE CARD: Peter Murphy is the Tower, an impartial yet revelatory institution of necessity. One can easily see why few welcome the Tower, yet what the Tower brings about is often what keeps us from slipping continually downward in life, and sometimes is our salvation. Wake up and smell the ozone- the one thing this Tower does not offer is shelter.
MEANING: The Tower is about forcing its recipient into a better direction, usually through fear, or shame, or upheaval. It is not a serene or gentle card, but fighting it is a mistake. In very physical terms, the Tower is a pristine, glistening surgical tool- something no one embraces, but something which is nonetheless counted on to bring about well being and happiness. The Tower as a force is natural, unstoppable and correct, and may give a power-cleaning to parts of you that were perhaps sullied; egotists can be broken in times of the Tower. Be prepared to accept and move with the changes it brings.
Hell is not the fire
Hell is your belief
In yourself as the higher
MEANING: Believe in the future; your future. Wonderful things are ahead for you. You have a vision of greatness, and the Star gives you the go ahead to live within that vision if you choose. The path is clear for it to become a reality- so feel renewed and sparkly.
XVIII THE MOON
THE CARD: Edward Scissorhands, bizarre and fear-provoking to many. He himself is confused and disoriented, somewhat crippled by his own fears and anxieties, but capable of producing the tableaux of fantasy. This is the nature of the Moon. Like Edward, the Moon radiates a sense of surrealism, distortion, and illusion.
MEANING: Could it be that the world you are living in currently seems to bear no resemblance at all to the one you woke up in a week ago- even though your home, your friends and family, and even the jar of mayonnaise in your refrigerator are all the same as they ever were? You are seeing the world from the Moon side. What has brought you here? Are you experiencing fears that put unattractive shadows on the things you know and love? The Moon can be a wake-up call to return to the safer reality; to do so is within your grasp. Although the Moon can frighten with its illusion, it can also be seductive, but the same warnings still apply. The Moon is a signal to wake yourself up and face the reality around you, no matter how harsh it may seem; this is the only way you can truly do something to change it.
MEANING: The Sun is a simple card. Warmth and light, illumination, health, and new beginnings are often represented, and brought about by, the Sun. Be glad when the Sun appears in your reading; you may be on your way to experiencing radiant health, warm accolades, or brilliant enlightenment.
THE CARD: Peter Gabriel as the angel Gabriel. How we view our Judgment has everything to do with how we have judged ourselves. There will probably be few surprises for any of us, good or bad, when the day comes.
MEANING: Judgement is a necessary part of life, and one that we may find ourselves on either side of. Sometimes you have to decide whether to keep or throw away, forgive or condemn. Sometimes it’s done to you. On one side of Judgement, we may cringe at the outcome, but at least we will know that when Judgement is passed, our slate is finally clean and we may begin again; go back to the drawing board. Of course, we may also have passed through our own Judgement successfully, which would lead us to the sublime joy of the World. But pass or fail, what is most important about Judgement is the commitment it requires. Being judged does not require you to lose your own sense of accomplishment or self-worth, but to realize that the world is a discerning place, and to live in it, one will continually be censured, crowned, denied, absolved, forgiven, and glorified. The trick is to be able to get back in line for that Judgement again and again, and to accept its processes. Heed the call.
XXI THE WORLD
THE CARD: The members of Depeche Mode stand triumphant before Planet Earth. They have experienced full cycles and true evolution; they have been born and reborn again, and now they have reached a point where all their past selves have melded into their strongest, most beautiful incarnation. They have enlightenment in both the personal and the creative and they revel in the moment, beaming.
Let’s take a map of the world
And tear it into pieces
All of the boys and the girls
Will see how easy it is
MEANING: In the Tarot, Aces represent the new: a new spirit, a new way of thinking or doing. When Sensible left the band the Damned to birth his own extremely creative career in pop, he was exhibiting just about every trait of the Ace of Wands: adventure! intrepidness! inventiveness! excitement! The Ace of Wands often appears in a reading for someone who is about to strike out on a new artistic path, to make a name for themselves. It speaks of the need for moxie as well as talent, confidence and initiative as well as skill. It is a great card to get in any situation, and comes off looking particularly powerful around cards like the Magician, the Empress, or the World.
MEANING: In a nutshell, Young Guns Go For It. The first logical step beyond the power of the Ace of Wands, which is all potential, is to take action. It is time to choose your arena. Choose where you will work, who you will work with. Start drawing some attention to yourself and your project. Start doing the risky things that will show how different you are, and do them with confidence.
MEANING: It ain’t what you do, it’s the way that you do it: that’s what gets results. The Three of Wands is about adventuring into the unknown and claiming it, but doing it in a responsible way- a way that sets an example for others. Rally the troops, but prepare yourself for possible roadblocks. Become familiar with your new territory so you can anticipate it’s rough patches. Seek out the new, but use tact and discretion along with your taste for the wildly unfamiliar.
MEANING: The Four of Wands is a happy, spazzy card. It represents the celebrations that come after reaching little plateaux or milestones in life: birthdays, graduations, and the like. It can be a reminder that not only do you deserve a reward at the completion of a project, you deserve rewards at the little resting points along the way as well. So celebrate!
FIVE OF WANDS
THE CARD: That big snake painted up the side of your body is smearing in the tropical heat. It’s too damn sticky to be wearing a felt fedora. Someone has been smoking your little Egyptian cigarettes without asking. And you’ve got conjunctivitis, probably from sharing eyeliner. My, my, my, the little day-to-day troubles of being Duran Duran.
MEANING: The Five of Wands is an annoying card, but it is by no means the end of the world. It represents all the little hassles we run into everyday; long lines, bickering, bad attitudes. It may mean that you have a day ahead of you filled with such trivial disagreeing things, or it may also mean that you should be aware of your own attitudes out there in the world: is it you who is looking to pick a fight?
MEANING: A great card to get, the Six of Wands is all about going back to that high school reunion, looking fabulous, being the center of attention. It’s a sign of vindication, triumph, and the public attention attached to these. It may also hint of the unsavory elements associated with pride- arrogance, flippancy- and you may wish to look to other cards in your reading to see if this particular interpretation applies to you. For the most part, the Six of Wands is about the healthy joy and reward associated with doing a good job, looking great, and being proud.
MEANING: The Seven of Wands is about defying what you feel is wrong, standing up for what you feel is right, and doing it with real aggression. It can also represent skill in teaching or instructing others in correct behaviors and ethics. It is a powerful card with all its energies directed in the right place, even if they seem to be harsh energies. Fight the good fight!
MEANING: In modern Tarot, the Eight of Wands is (apparently) sometimes referred to as the “orgasm” card; it is about conclusions, and generally pretty good ones. Seeing it in your reading indicates news is at hand. Perhaps someone is going to make an announcement, or you will obtain some information that sets you on a new path- but you are about to be swept up into it, alive and kicking.
MEANING: On the good side, the Nine of Wands is about having great resolve, and preparedness against attack. On the flipside, it can indicate that one is being a bit paranoid about one’s situation. At its heart, the energy required to guard and protect- whether it be home, family, whatever fortress- is the issue here. You will be tireless in your efforts.
TEN OF WANDS
THE CARD: Dexy’s Midnight Runners made a brief fashion statement by looking decidedly down-in-the-mouth and down-on-their-luck. The romance of poverty and the working class combined with emotional struggle is the essence of the Ten of Wands.
MEANING: Welcome to the working week. The grind. The rat race. The treadmill. Someone receiving the Ten of Wands may be wallowing a bit in their situation; they can see nothing but their own burdens. Sure, they are there, but remember that there is usually someone around who can help us when we have fallen on hard times. Everything may feel like pulling teeth for awhile, even the simplest things, but be assured that it will come to an end. Try to make it easy on yourself.
MEANING: The Ace of Cups is about new emotional experiences: it is the perfect love-at-first-sight card, and is indicitive of challenging, curiosity-inspiring, flowering romances and friendships. A fabulous card in a love reading, or in any reading involving people, the Ace of Cups is the yet-unwrapped gift of the Eighties Tarot.
MEANING: The Two of Cups is about attraction and partnership: a consensual joining of two. While the Ace of Cups keeps itself open to all new relationships, amorous or otherwise, the Two of Cups commits itself to the pursuit of romantic love. It can mean the emergence of a significant other, a new crush on the horizon, or any positive step forward in a relationship.
MEANING: The Three of Cups celebrates the high-spiritedness and giddiness involved in good friendships. Not so represenative of a bond between two close friends, this card is about groups, cliques, communities, and the energy they create. Celebrate with friends, and celebrate the friends themselves!
MEANING: Some Tarot decks denote the Four of Cups as a representation material luxury, and an excess of it- so much of it that one hardly notices it anymore. On other decks, one of four tempting cups is being offered from a ghostly hand, to an individual who does not seem to care. The Four of Cups is about withdrawing into yourself, not necessarily in a bad way, but perhaps in just a meditative way. There is always some outside sacrifice to be made, something to be missed, in the withdrawal, even when it is necessary and beneficial to do so. If you must “disappear”- whether into luxury or silence- keep in mind what you may also be missing. When you snap out of it, maybe you can track it down again.
MEANING: The Five of Cups is clearly about loss, but it is not about huge, final losses. It’s more about the little things: having to say good-bye, even if we know we will see someone again, someday; wishing things had turned out differently than they had; and often, in many decks, “crying over spilt milk”. Sometimes it is best to recognize these losses, because it makes it easier to move on from them. That is what makes the Five of Cups not quite so hopeless- those cups can be filled up again.
MEANING: This card frequently comes across as having to do with children, but not always. It can also represent the re-emergence of old friends, getting a kick out of simple things (peanut butter and jelly, blowing bubbles) or just reveling in the past- something the Eighties Tarot heartily condones. Upon receiving this card, you may want to do something kind for someone else as well- call an old friend, give someone a silly little gift, share your Cheetos. Above all, have some good clean fun!
MEANING: The Seven of Cups is about daydreaming and fantasizing, both of which are good things, usually. But it can also warn against a loss of control, or living too much in one’s own mind. Do you need the mental break from your workaday week just to keep body and soul together? That’s fine. Do you need to go one step beyond and start making your dreams a reality? Maybe.
MEANING: Sometimes you just have to say “no”. This is what the Eight of Cups is telling you; just walk away from it, whatever it is, whether it looks good or bad. Whatever “it” is, it has proven itself to be too much of an energy vampire; you must disassociate from it/him/her/them, and you will be much better of for it. Consider it the first stop on a new and fabulous journey, even if it seems lonesome, and even if it seems like you’re leaving it all behind.
MEANING: The Nine of Cups is often called the “Wish Card”. It can be taken very literally, and appear in readings when someone is about to “get their wish”. Getting one’s wish sometimes means getting what you wanted; sometimes it means getting what you asked for. Although there is a bit of warning there, the results when this card appears are almost always pleasing- at least, for awhile. The Nine of Cups can also indicate sexual satisfaction or other kinds of indulgence- eating, experiencing music or art very deeply. The Nine of Cups also means my friend Trish wishes I would give back her “The Riddle” album, six years after “borrowing” it.
MEANING: A card about happiness and people coming together, the Ten of Cups often has to do with happy family situations. Bury the hatchet with anyone you can, and enjoy some bonding time.
MEANING: The Ace of Swords is like the other Aces in that it represents a new beginning or a new outlook. This new outlook is on truth, and strength, and intelligent, honest forcefulness. The Ace of Swords understands things clearly, faces his troubles squarely, accepts the truth whether he likes it or not and uses his brain to find a solution. An Ace of Swords in your reading ushers the outlook of the Ace of Swords into your situation- use it.
MEANING: The Two of Swords deals with being at stalemate; an inability to make a decision, and an inability to move forward because of ones’ refusal to choose. It may suggest that it is only the reader who is causing this blockage, and not the circumstances themselves. However, the period of inaction may be a necessary and helpful one.
MEANING: It’s not like this is a card that anyone goes looking for. Betrayal. Loss of love. Suffering. Rejection. Pain. Humiliation. Well now! Shall we move on?
MEANING: When you need to hide, convalesce, plot out strategy, and take a break from everyone and everything around you, the Four of Swords will make an appearance. It represents down time, quiet time, time out and away. It may be taken in the “I vant to be alone” sense, or it may sneak up on the reader in the guise of giving up in frustration on a beloved project or relationship. The Four of Swords tells you in this case that it isn’t over yet, but only in repose.
MEANING: Is your integrity slipping a bit? Looking out for number one? Are you creating win-lose situations, and trying to wield power that maybe you aren’t all that sure you really have? The Five of Swords is about those nasty, pushy, bossy moods we can get into when we are feeling insecure. It is a warning, that if you are feeling like you are in the driver’s seat, or saying that you are, you probably need to think again. Time for a dignity check.
MEANING: Sometimes the Six of Swords will appear in a reading when nothing really great is happening in the reader’s life; sort of a low-energy holding pattern. However, more often it shows that one is about to pull themselves out of such a low state, into a period of recovery. It’s a camped-out-on-the-couch-with-a-blanket-and-a-box-of Kleenex sort of card; it’s the first step out of a rut, which isn’t particularly glamorous in and of itself, but is better than a lot of things. The Six of Swords can also indicate travel, or relocation.
MEANING: The Seven of Swords is probably one of the most changeable, difficult to pin down cards in any Tarot deck. It can indicate that somewhere, someone is talking about you unkindly; or maybe you yourself have been exhibiting some sneaky behaviors, avoiding duties, being passive-aggressive. It is by no means a positive card; it’s even hard to put any kind of positive spin on it. This card is letting you know that if you are the one causing the problem, things are only going to get worse if you keep it up- and if it’s someone else who is causing the problem, it’s time for you to face it now.
MEANING: The Eight of Swords represents a person, the reader or otherwise, who feels powerless and hopeless and wishes to turn outside of himself to find answers. It is the overworked nature of this individual’s mind that is making things so bad- this person is thinking themselves to death. They are not completely lost yet, but they are certainly responsible for the worsening of their situation, because they seem to be more than willing to play the victim, give up, and hope that someone will come along and help them. The Eight of Swords serves to remind the reader that there is always something one can do for oneself, even when things are really awful. It is a reminder of the reader’s own power, and a call to use it.
MEANING: The Nine of Swords is a step further into the hole than the Eight of Swords. Now, real despair has set in; a self-punishing, anxiety-causing loop tape of “Why? Why? Why?” It is still important to remember that this pain is not external pain, caused by outside forces, the way the Tower or the Three of Swords might seem to be. This is all “in the mind”- not in a dismissive sense, but in a very real sense. Depending upon it’s placement in the spread, the Nine of Swords indicates that someone, either the reader or someone close to the reader, has lost perspective. Something is stealing their light. It may not be forever, but it is important to keep an eye on it nonetheless.
MEANING: If you thought the Nine of Swords looked bad, look out for that last step. The Ten of Swords is representative of the absolute bottoming-out of an individual- quite obviously, it can indicate suicide, or suicidal feelings. But this card also asks the reader to look at their own situation objectively. Martyrdom and delusion are words used in connection with the Ten of Swords: things may be bad, but this card indicates that you may have gone too far with your assessment of just how bad they are. Anyway, there’s no place to go from here but up.
MEANING: An excellent card to receive when looking for a new job, the Ace of Pentacles has general positive implications in the physical world; the body, money, material things. It also indicates a very realistic, honest approach to a situation, and a solid new beginning. An auspicious card indeed!
MEANING: Do you adapt well to new situations, and are you able to assimilate new roles easily into the “old” you? This is the challenge of the Two of Pentacles; that is, if you are looking for a challenge. If you aren’t, this card is just about having fun- kicking back and doing something you really enjoy, and doing it well. Like Pee Wee!
MEANING: The Three of Pentacles is really about working together, when conditions are such that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. It represents the need for teamwork, planning, and putting aside personal agendas to further the goal of the group. Having the Three of Pentacles appear in your reading should remind you, that in this particular case, you are not meant to go it alone. Symbiosis is beautiful, lucrative, and fruitful, and creates relationships as well as successes.
MEANING: An inability or refusal to let go is at the core of the Four of Pentacles. Change and growth is blocked; the reader, or someone the reader knows, wishes things to stay the same, and is holding on tightly to what they once had. This person wants desperately to be in control, but in the most persnickety, greedy way. This is simply a battle that cannot be won; it is time to let go and let whatever happens, happen.
FIVE OF PENTACLES
THE CARD: Out shivering in the cold, with nothing but a measly Pentacle to their names: Feargal Sharkey, Annabella Lwin of Bow Wow Wow, Holly Johnson of Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Aimee Mann and Toni Basil.
MEANING: Sometimes even the best of us fall on lean times. We feel rejected; our health is not good; we are unpopular, broke, sniffly, and totally reduced to bargain-bin status. That is the Five of Pentacles for you. When things get this rough, remember to take care of your body as best you can, and call on whatever form of spiritualism gives you solace- for that is something the Five of Pentacles does not take away.
MEANING: The Six of Pentacles is a card that could just as easily mean the “opposite” of itself, depending on what other cards surrounded it in a reading. It is about goals, and either having or lacking what is needed to achieve those goals. Seeing it in your Tarot reading indicates that you are trying to evaluate for yourself how far you have come with your own master plan. Are you popular? Will you ever be? Do you at least have the things you need to take care of yourself physically- like enough money for food? Are these tools and resources there, and will they be there and plentiful in the future? Do you have so much of what you need, that you are in a position to give some away? The Six of Pentacles cannot affirm or disclaim your haves and have nots, but it clearly shows the reader’s need for that affirmation.
SEVEN OF PENTACLES
THE CARD: Brian Setzer: Stray Cats- era and Brian Setzer Orchestra- era. A true survivor of the Eighties demonstrates the ability to evaluate success, enjoy it, and then take a new direction as the Seven of Pentacles.
MEANING: Some decks choose to interpret the “assessment” aspect of the Seven of Pentacles in a negative fashion: a fear of moving ahead. But many decks also see it as the pause between one phase of life and another, when one can look back on one’s scrapbook of achievements before moving on to the next incarnation. This is how the Eighties Tarot interprets the Seven of Pentacles: a pleasurable footnote made between two satisfying periods of development. Enjoy the look back, but give serious consideration to the choices and possibilities ahead of you.
MEANING: Another card with myriad meanings, the Eight of Pentacles at it’s heart is about work: working for the sake of work. For the time being, exist only for the purpose for which you were “created”. Do not look for rewards now, but work steadily, dedicate yourself fully, and see the steady work as its own reward. Become your art.
MEANING: There is a certain simplicity in being and having the best; a sense of refinement best expressed in minimalism. The Nine of Pentacles is about finally being so sure of one’s place in the world that one can express it simply and quietly. It has to do with possessions and one’s place in the material world, but in this situation goes hand-in-hand with one’s self-esteem. In a reading, it may suggest that it is time to seek out a higher ground- in companionship, living arrangements- or it may solidify the understanding that the reader has reached that plateau on their own.
MEANING: In addition to its obvious sense of good living, the Ten of Pentacles suggests permanence; as much as anything can be permanent. Whatever good fortune you are experiencing now, the Ten of Pentacles tells you that it’s energy may extend for generations to come. Revel in it; it’s yours, with some to spare.
MEANING: The simple, brave lyrics of Bronski Beat’s “Smalltown Boy” are a perfect soundtrack for the Page of Wands. Not unlike the Fool in some ways, this individual (or ideal of an individual) harbors a somber understanding of risk, and the need to intentionally turn away from the sad and the hopeless, in a way that the Fool does not. The Page of Wands, like all Pages, represents someone at the beginning of a journey. Adventuresomeness, courage, and passion are all characteristics of the Page of Wands. In a reading, his energy may in fact be asking you to set out, however alone, on a new path- where you will be more likely to find the answers you seek and the love that you need.
MEANING: The Knight of Wands is certainly something of a bon vivant, and undoubtedly melodramatic. He is a door-slamming, last-wording, passionate aficionado of unrequited loves and firey causes, and can also be vain, superficial, and very sexually oriented. While most people love a bit of the romantic hero, the Knight of Wands is no one you would want to go on a long car trip with. Still, being too careful to stifle his energy within yourself may lead to dullness. A bit of glamour and impetuousness is good for everyone now and again. Examine how heavily the Knight of Wands weighs in your life, and in yourself, and temper him to suit your needs.
MEANING: The Queen of Wands is the wholesome, prom-queen type who sketches horses all over her textbook covers. She manages to have some sort of clique immunity, and can sit in either the front, back, or middle of the bus. She is popular, likeable, and does not rock the boat very hard if she rocks it at all. Peppy, cheery, milk-fed and attractive, she is a reminder in a reading- particularly an Eighties Tarot reading- that sometimes the best way to be is to just be good. Simple, not shocking; kind, not chaotic; enthusiastic, not annhilistic. Sometimes, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.
MEANING: When this King was created, he himself broke the mold. He is the archetypical mastermind, cannot-be-duplicated artistic leader, capable of causing a “scene” or a movement by his energy and presence. Still, his authority and reign will never be disputed within the circle he creates. It is natural for others to defer to him, for though he may often be imitated, he can never be duplicated. He enjoys the grand gesture, the theatrical, and balances his tastes for the showy with the talent and innovation to back it up. He is the real deal, on all fronts; commanding, magnetic, genius, inspiring. Is his energy within you? Do you have the courage of your convictions? Can you truly put your money where your mouth is? The King of Wands is one of the rare few whose truckload of hype does not outweigh his truckload of talent. It’s a good balance to strive for on any scale.
MEANING: What does the Page of Cups want? Like all Pages, he is at the beginning of his journey, and searching for the new. The new experience that the Page of Cups is looking for is an emotional one: a new friendship, a new romance. To initiate intimacy; to give in to his heart’s desire, and to hope that the object of his affections is able to do the same. In the very traditional Waite tarot deck, the Page of Cups is offering a cup with a fish sticking out of it. Can you easily picture snobby teenage girls, in our beloved Brat Pack films, responding to the gestures of AMH just as though he had offered them a fish in a cup? Pages often come across in Tarot readings as children; since most of us responding strongly to the Eighties Tarot are not such children anymore, our new and childlike experiences probably spring from a history of situations behind them, which may have held pain and failure. Because of this, Pages may seem to have a bittersweet nature; their new beginnings, if we are to relate to them, may be flowering from the “compost” of our past experiences. The Page of Cups urges us to offer ourselves and all we have, even if it’s a cup of fish, and in unabashed sentimentality, spark something.
MEANING: Refined in his tastes, perhaps even foppish, the Knight of Cups is an emotional, sensitive, delicate creature. His quest for the beautiful and tender often crosses over into brooding and dissatisfaction. As with all Knights, this one lacks balance, and seeing him in your reading asks you to look carefully at what he represents and verify its quantity in your own life. Do you, in the case of the Knight of Cups, need to put your rose-colored glasses on more often, or take them off occasionally? Is there someone in your life, perhaps draped across a fainting couch behind some dusty velvet curtains, whom you recognize as having the characteristics of this Knight? Are his discerning, fussy tastes just what you need right now- or a trap you should be avoiding? Whether within yourself or seated across the table, a little goes a long way where the Knight of Cups is concerned. Appreciate his sentiment, but keep it in it’s place.
MEANING: The Queen of Cups has a sweet and gentle nature, a soft spot in her heart for the underling, and a strong sense of empathy. She is the person anyone, girl or boy, would seek out for a deep heart-to-heart conversation. The Queen of Cups is an excellent listener and is often considered to be “psychic” when dealing with others. She loves to communicate with and “unlock” people, and can easily become caught up in the pain of those she knows. When receiving the Queen of Cups in your reading, it is likely that you are being asked to cultivate her intuition and kindness in yourself; someone needs it. Or, perhaps what you need is to seek out the person in your life; mother, teacher, friend; who embodies her energy. For the Queen of Cups, feelings and moods demand the utmost respect and attention.
MEANING: The King of Cups is a champion of the human condition. He is often considered a healer and, to balance his Queen, who listens to the emotional needs of others, the King acts on them. He is a natural and comfortable leader, bringing people together and easily sensing what action can be taken to solve or aid problems, often in a subtle and indirect fashion. He has great charm and gentleness. In many Tarot texts, the King of Cups may indicate an individual who is an alcoholic. Seeing him in a reading may indicate cultivation of his qualities in yourself (okay, maybe not alcoholism) – should you be bringing people together for a cause?- or may indicate the uprising of a person like him in your life. Perhaps you will be asked to come into his service. From this peacekeeping, tolerant King, such a call to duty is an honor.
MEANING: The suit of the Swords represents intellect, strife, mental activity and challenge. The Page of Swords, being a Page, and always looking for a new beginning and new opportunity, seems to be itching to get himself into what might look like a no-win situation: to expose dishonesty or corruption, or to force someone’s hand for the better. He believes in truth, equality, fairness, and taking the high road. He is willing to fight his own insecurities and shortcomings to get what he wants, and he thrives on his own resolve. He may use this this active embrace of struggle in an emotional or material situation as well as an intellectual one; but what he uses to attain his goal is his mind, and his will. Seeing him in your reading may mean that you are coming up short on challenges in your life, and that you may intentionally need to stir up trouble where it seems none is necessary- and that you will be happy that you did. Or maybe there is a large, looming problem in your life which you have been avoiding; the Page of Swords is here to tell you it is time to address it.
MEANING: The Knight of Swords is brash, opinionated, perhaps even rude or cruel. He is certainly not afraid to speak his mind, although he could hardly be considered a diplomat. His job isn’t to make friends. He is harsh, dogmatic, maybe vindictive, and does not take the “human” approach; but nonetheless, his opinions are often valid, well-expressed (if not kindly so), and intelligent. As with all Knights, balance is not his forte. Is this Knight’s energy something that is lacking in your life, or something that you already have enough/too much of? Are you someone who is meek and afraid to express what are very important and valid opinions? Could you use the adrenaline boost and lack of trepidation that this Knight represents? Or do you need to be reminded that your own impatience with the opinions and feelings of others may be tainting your authority on the subjects that you stand for? It is one thing to be able to stand up for and express one’s beliefs; it is another thing when one’s methods of expression cancel out anyone else’s ability to hear one’s truths.
MEANING: The Queen of Swords has seen it all. Her strength comes from her experience; she is a school-of-hard-knocks, been-around-the-block kind of Queen. Many of her experiences have been painful ones, but instead of becoming bitter or hopeless, the Queen of Swords has derived strength and peace from all she has seen. She is not one who believes in perfectly happy endings, but she also doesn’t think the world is crumbling around her when it isn’t. Another hallmark of the Queen of Swords is her honesty- she has seen enough to know how little words and promises mean without it, and she respects those around her by being as honest with them as she would want them to be with her. Are you having trouble putting your problems in proper perspective, and refusing to see small setbacks as “learning experiences”, and instead choosing to make large dramas out of them? Maybe you should take the long view- and this lovely Queen is at the end of it. Sometimes, if you learn to take your knocks in life the right way, the bruises will actually end up looking kinda cool.
MEANING: The King of Swords is talented in wordplay and has high moral and ethical values. He is the master of Intellect- passionate about language, and about perfect justice. Jumbles of information and emotion go into the King of Swords, and come out smooth, incisive, perfectly edited, and perhaps even rhyming- yet having lost none of their original fire or high-mindedness. This King, in your reading, may be asking you to be particularly impartial and just in making a decision; asking you, in fact, to relish the process of research and deliberation involved to coming to your final conclusion. See the art inherent in mediation, education, and the analytical mind.
MEANING: Look at various Tarot decks, and you will find that the Page of Pentacles is the most changeable- in name, in meaning- card in the deck. Not only do not all decks use “Pages”, but not all decks use “Pentacles”; so, what may be a Page of Pentacles in one deck may be a Princess of Coins in another, or a Child of Disks in yet another. Furthermore, no card in the Tarot is more historically varied in meaning. To distill all this history, the Eighties Tarot offers the interpretation of the Page of Pentacles as an amalgam of “body” and “belief”; physicality, credibility, tangibility, and realism. For you, the seeker, the Page of Pentacles should serve to remind you that regardless of your spirituality, this is the world you have to live in, and it may well be a perfect model for the next. Use what you’ve got, and, perhaps, upon seeing this card, keep your dreams and ghosts to yourself for a bit. This is more a time for action, growth, and material prosperity.
MEANING: Whoa, baby! The Knight of Pentacles is tireless, diligent, and as particular about detail as a diamond-cutter. Put him to work! Be amazed by his unflagging energies, thrill to his dedication as he examines the situation from every possible angle. Whew! While action is this Knight’s trademark, he is also willing to wait for what he wants. Although his energy is spontaneous, be assured that he has mapped out a plan in advance. If you see him in your reading, batten down your hatches (or don’t)- he is ready to get down and dirty for you!
MEANING: Okay, okay, okay. As Madonna has been so emphatic in impressing upon us all, she is not just the Material Girl- she is a mother, and therefore a nurturer. She’s not just a taker, she’s a giver. Okay? Sure, she has an appreciation for the mortal, physical trappings of life- but she’s really, really very giving and nurturing. Really. Are you a generous, open-hearted Queen of Pentacles like Madonna? Should you be cultivating this side of yourself further? Or, maybe, seeing this card in your reading is a sign that you yourself are in need of nurturing and care, and should turn to another Queen of Pentacles in your own private circle. The Eighties Tarot in no way endorses or will be responsible for the consequences of anyone asking for a piece of cake, a Band-Aid, or any other nurturing item from Madonna. Stick to your own mother.
MEANING: This is the King with the Midas Touch; a man who loves the finer things, a man who is a born entrepreneur. It is his pleasure to take care of those around him, and he always has the means to do so, because he can find opportunity and success at every turn. Like all Kings, he is naturally authoritative and stable. Consider the King of Pentacles and how his energy manifests in your life, and in yourself.
© 1998-2000 megan leigh dorko and amber dorko stopper