View Full Version : Gay Tarot - 2 of Cups
Just quoting what I already posted in the first thread: Originally posted by telcontar
I wanted to introduce another card in the discussion. As the Lovers already turned up, the 2 of Cups of the Gay Tarot is very interesting, too, I think. As so many cards of this deck...
A man in the clothes of an bushido-student is standing in font of a mirror and tentatively reaches out for his reflection. What strikes me is his shadow: it doesn't behave like normal shadows, having the shape of the whole person that casts it but is only half- reaching from the man's toes to the mirror and the same thing on the other side of the mirror. Where is the head of the shadow? Do the two shadows merge where am and reflection cannot? And what does this mean? It has some lunar quality about, too, I think :)
But the symbolism of the picture is enough to discuss even if you leave the shadow aside. Two persons of the RWS have become one person and his reflection. That makes it a card of loving yourself, I think, and of the perfect lover being a good mirror and matching you. The old thesis that homosexuality derives from narcissm comes to my mind, too, but I hope that's obsolete by now. - Beware, there are still Freudians out there :joke:
As the whole deck is about accepting your feelings and respecting them and the feelings of others, my preferred interpretation would be reaching out for your own love. Taking responsibilty for your own actions nad care for yourself- in spite of your darker sides.
That's my interpretation, looking forward to read yours! :)
The card brought one of my favourite songs to my mind and I'm still startled how well it fits; it's "The Man in the Mirror" from a german band called "The Seer":
Man in the mirror
All the nights without end
all the days without a start
Weird hours that last eternities
All the one way streets
that lead to their beginning
to bring the same old stories back
The man in the mirror whispers my name
for your life no one else will
no one else will
The man in the mirror whispers my name
for your life no one else will
no one else will take the blame
We will jump over hills
we will break down the barriers
I'll take you on a long long ride
I'm the one you can count on
I'm the day and the night
I'll be with you on the other side
- I think that's a great song about making friends with yourself. Though the feeling of being captured that it carries is more like the RW-version *thinking* Well, maybe it is a little in this one, too. Looking in a mirror has something narrow about it, too, I think.
Just wanted to pop in and say that self-examination is certainly more emphasized in the card rather than relationship with others. Or, as telcontar says, relationship with oneself.
Since I tried to make the numbered minors relate to their correspondingly-numbered majors, all the 2 cards will relate to their major card, which is The Intuitive (High Priestess in other decks), so that's one reason why the card focuses on self-relationship rather than relationship with others. Also, although I didn't realize this at the time, I was probably unconciously influenced by the 2 of Worlds in the Voyager deck, which is titled "Reflection."
Of course, other things might be seen in the card as well. For example, he might be practicing a presentation in the mirror.
The more I read, the more I can't wait for this deck! I am generally rather conservative in terms of my tarot interpretations; I'm very attached to the RWS standard. But the variations I have been seeing so far in this deck seem to be the kind that deepen rather than fundamentally change the traditional meanings I am familiar with.
:T2C I love this idea of a man looking at his reflection in the mirror for the 2 of cups. And frankly, I think it would be silly to deny that there is quite a bit of narcissism involved in being gay, Freud or no Freud. I mean, gay culture in America seems to foster narcissism to a great extent (actually, just about all culture in America does that). Yet at the same time, there is quite a bit of self-hatred as well. I think narcissism covers both extremes of self-love and self-hate. I think of it as mainly a preoccupation with oneself rather than the original sense of being in love with oneself (as the mythological Narcissus). A person who thinks he is the ugliest person in the whole world is just as narcissistic as one who thinks he's gods' gift.
It's somehow ironic that the mirror is most often used as a metaphor for seeing aspects of oneself that exist below the surface (because it allows you to see yourself from an angle that is otherwise physically impossible), when in actual fact a mirror can only reflect what's visible and external, and to me it actually accentuates and emphasizes the physical surface of things rather than their "true nature." "Beauty is only skin deep." Loving yourself can be *because of* what you see in a mirror or *in spite of* what you see in a mirror.
What the mirror does do, I think, is open up a disconnect between external appearance and internal awareness. Any combination is possible: you can love what you feel on the inside and hate what you see on the outside, or you can hate what you feel on the inside and love what you see on the outside, or hate both, or love both. The mirror opens up the gap between the inner and the outer consciousness. That's why narcissism is such a critical part of psychological development. I'm not devoted to Freud, but he was definitely on the right track about a lot of things; when a child begins to understand what it means to see one's own reflection in a mirror, consciousness is transformed in a very radical and rather metaphysical way. The French psychologist Jacques Lacan made a whole career around the concept of narcissism, the mirror, and the gulf between the Self and the Other.
Sooo.... what does this all have to do with the 2 of cups? I guess to me, as far as the image of this card goes (which I have not actually seen yet.... can't wait, can't wait), there's still a very strong connection between it's symbolism of gazing at oneself in a mirror and the "traditional" 2 of cups symbolism of two people gazing at each other. Self-love is an important, but quite often overlooked, prerequisite for truly loving another. If you don't love yourself, that lack is going to be projected in some way onto the object of your love, and that love will, on some level, always be the love of something else, something that you feel you lack and need to find in someone else.
And just to be confusing, I also believe that loving another person is, actually, about finding something that's missing, that in the love of another person one feels "completed." But finding someone who has something you don't does not have to imply that you yourself are somehow incomplete or inadequate. No matter how complete you are in yourself, no matter how satisfied and whole you are, another person will always, invariably, inescapably, have something you don't: their own perspective. In this way, loving another person is very much like looking into a mirror, except that the other person reflects back to you far more than your mere physical appearance.
OK, I think I'm starting to ramble now, because now I'm starting to think about how the mirror itself, as a physical object, does not necessarily reflect "purely" what is facing it, but can actually change it; consider a mirror in a fun house that can stretch, condense, or otherwise distort what you see. Another person is like that, too; they don't reflect you in a completely unmediated fashion, and no two people will reflect you identically. But that's just too much for me to expound on in a single post, and already this is growing to be more like a lecture (that's my Aries Saturn aspecting my Gemini Mars and Mercury), so I'll just stop now and let someone else talk. Telcontar? (Or can we call you Strider? ;) )
Well, if your ancestors come for you, you probably have to let them chose any of your many names ;) Do as you like. I personally even prefer Strider.
It's somehow ironic that the mirror is most often used as a metaphor for seeing aspects of oneself that exist below the surface
"Below the surface" and Narcissos freshly in my mind made me think of the certainly first mirror of human faces: water. And water symbolizing the unconscious is a symbol even I, not the best friend of standardised meanings have internalized. That's probably why people still expect from mirrors to show more than the obvious. Moreover, there's the bad Queens mirror in Snowhite (?), telling her about her beauty, there is Alice, walking through the mirror into another world... There's a lot hiden behind mirrors. Which brings me back to the question: where is the rest of the shadow!? But as you don't have the card in front of you, that's difficult. When will you get the deck?
And I DO think that mirrors often reveal things. Like all the grey hair you suddenly spot on your 30th birthday and you never had before. *g* We are all so carefully building our shining (or chilling!) self-images that really looking into a mirror can be a shocking experience. "That's nor me", you're tempted to say. But you are. And you have to get along with it. Somehow Dorian Gray comes to my mind, too.
I even thought about the Bible and the rule that you should love others like you love yourself. Something very wise for once. That you can't love others if you don't love yourself.
And your post made me think of the creation myth, that we were all perfect once and then separated and since then looking for our other half. I still like this idea, especially as these beings were not only split up in pairs of man and woman but also pairs of two men and two women...
Too much to think to make the thoughts march in neat little rows :( But I think you have dipped your cup in a deep pond here, Lee :)
You may be interested in my original plans for the Fool, the Devil, and Judgement, before I changed them to what they are now.
The Fool: A 17-year-old looks at himself in a mirror. He is wondering who he is and what life has in store for him.
The Devil: The young man from the Fool, older, sits again at his mirror, this time looking down and clutching his head in despair. Self-hatred is a problem for many minorities, including gay people.
Judgement: The man from the Fool, a little older than he was on the Devil card, sits once more at his mirror. This time, in the only depicition of magic in the Majors, he reaches into the mirror and takes the hand of his reflection. After the struggle of growing up as an outsider in society, self-acceptance is an empowering moment.
Those sound fascinating; not having my deck yet, I can't compare them to the final Fool and Judgment cards.
I ordered my deck through Tarot Garden and have asked that it be one of the ones autographed by Lee :cool:, so he knows better than I when it might arrive!
Well, probably several weeks at least. Tarot Garden has to get them in (sometime in October, I hope), then Jeannette has to mail me the cover cards and I have to mail them back to her, then she can ship the autographed decks.
Waiting makes the heart grow fonder... :)
Thanks for shareing your original plans for those cards. I think the ideas are still there- but I love the Judgement as it is now. I think it is still an improvement to the first idea which I like, too.
I like the symbol of the mirror more and more and I wonder why it doesn't show up in other decks more often. It is in both LOTR - decks with Gollum as The Fool at a pond, in the moonlight, thinking about himself and his options.
Did the final deck end up using a figure that recurs from one card to another, as you describe in your original plans for the Fool, the Devil, and Judgment?
As a quick aside, I noticed in the Tarot Garden interview images that the 8 of wands has no human figure in it at all; nor any wands, for that matter. I was wondering if there are many cards like this in the deck.
Telcontar, if this question looks like it might warrant it, perhaps you'd want to begin a new 8 of Wands thread?
Apart from the Aces there are only two cards without people in the deck: the Eight of Wands (Eight flying geese) and the Three of Swords (Three umbrellas in a puddle).
As the 8 of Wands was one of my favourite cards the moment I saw it I'll open a thread on it right away though there has been no reaction to the 5 of coins so far :)
I don't think there are any recurring persons apart from the pattern that the persons from the Majors reappear on every corresponding numbered card. So someone who looks like II The Intuitive is on every suits II. I still haven't made up my mind about it...
The 78th Fool
Lee, It's really fascinating to hear your early thoughts for some of the cards !
The two of Cups really challenged me here. Whenever I read with a traditional deck It would never have previously crossed my mind that the relationship issues being raised were ones of self relating yet this is such a valid and viable interpretation. I'm glad that it's so directly portrayed here.
Conversely, I've been looking at this card and working backwards so to speak - What if the Gay Tarot 2 of Cups were to be interpreted in terms of relating to someone else ? A purely subjective interpretation, yes, but I found it helpful in that I so often project my own issues onto other people, for better or for worse. Often I've reacted against someone and later discovered that I don't actually dislike them - rather I'm uncomfortable with something about them which reminds me of the parts of myself I can't expect.
What a great card - It's turned all my established pre - conceptions on their head !
I couldn't have said it better myself!
As one who is very rooted in the traditional RWS symbolism, I, too, balked momentarily at such a radical reinterpretation, only to realize that it was simply another way to look at the exact same principle-- to the deepending of both!
Your response was a perfect way of seeing both 2s of cups simultaneously.
I often read for clients who want very practical, direct answers to the everyday circumstances of their lives (some come weekly or even more frequently!), so it's less common for me to have the opportunity to focus a client's reading on their self-and spiritual development.
Having considered our discussions of the Devil in another thread, with this card I'm beginning to think that the Gay Tarot may be the perfect tool to use for those seeking self-understanding, as a contrast to the more event-oriented deck I have taken to using for more mundane questions. It almost makes we wish I had two Gay Tarots, one for men and one for women (but in all other respects forming a "matching set") and reserve them for more self-awareness-oriented readings.
That idea was very far at the back of my mind and I don't think I would have pulled it out if you hadn't made me, Chris :)
But it's really good. Other people reflecting you and you having to connect with them- and with aspects of yourself in them... Now, the shadow which still startles me makes more sense, too: it is connecting you with the part of you which is in the other person, too. It could represent the darker sides as Chris referred to, the things you don't like in yourself and despise in others- or it could be just the unsconscious, the things that connect you without neither the one nor the other being aware of it. I think I'd have liked magic in this one: the hand reaching into the mirror :) But the shadow is enough, I think.
I still thought about recurring persons and remembered one: The Fool is coming back in the 10 of Wands. I will post them as a new thread tonight cause I don't have the deck at hand at the moment.
@Elentir: You said you have the Osho Zen, too. Maybe you could use that for women- I think it goes at least as deep into self-understanding as the Gay.
Yes, absolutely, Chris's interpretation of the card as someone trying to connect or communicate with another person, but instead projecting his own issues, is wonderfully valid. Telcontar and Elentir mentioned the Osho Zen, in fact there's a card like this in the Osho Zen (I think it's the 7 of Cups but I'm not sure), where a man and a woman are looking at each other but are seeing their own projections rather than the real person.
With the 2 of cups as an example of how a card traditionally referring to a relationship between two people can be modified to refer to a relationship with oneself, did you take other cards in the deck in a similar direction? I.e., is this a theme that's spread throughout the deck as a whole? (Obviously, some of the cards we've read about so far keep their orientation on the relationship between two people; the Moon, the Lovers, et al.)
A good question, I never thought of it that way. I don't have time now, but I'll take a look and report back to you tomorrow.
I'm looking forward to Lee's answer to this, it's an interesting point. Searching for a site that shows the Osho Zen 7 of Cups, I found http://www.angelpaths.com/decks/ohsozen/water/sevenofcups.html It's worth having a look, I think cause after all that has been said here, I think this card can deepen the understanding of Lee's Two of Cups.
-Without me wanting to turn this into an Osho Zen iscussion ;)
Originally posted by Elentir
With the 2 of cups as an example of how a card traditionally referring to a relationship between two people can be modified to refer to a relationship with oneself, did you take other cards in the deck in a similar direction? I.e., is this a theme that's spread throughout the deck as a whole? Okay, I've gone through the deck with this in mind, and I could find two cards which in the RWS show people interacting with each other and I changed it to a person or people not interacting (the 2 of Cups and the 10 of Coins). However, interestingly, there are 11 cards for which the opposite is true, that is, I've taken a card which did not show relationship and changed it to show people relating with each other: Protector (Empress), Wheel, Justice, Revelation (Tower), Moon, Sun, Sage of Cups, 8 of Cups, 4 of Cups, 6 of Wands, and 3 of Wands.
So it appears that the Gay Tarot is actually more relationship-oriented than traditional tarot.
Hmmm, interesting. All these variations on the "traditional" cards seem quite illuminating. I'm curious to see your treatment of the other cards you mention.
One problem I often have with the traditional 2 of cups meaning is remembering that it represents the formation of any emotional attachment, not exclusively romantic or sexual ones. That's tripped me up in readings before. I think the 2 of cups can indicate a new friendship or a "bonding experience" between any two people. But in any case, I really like how this card makes the point that you have to love yourself before you can truly love someone else.
Your remark about the Sage of Cups seems particularly interesting, as I don't think I've ever seen court cards that had more than just one person in it.
The 7 of cups from the Osho Zen is a great representation of the mirror thing we were discussing earlier, as well as projection, which is the title of the card. This has made me want to take another look at that deck, too, and see if it's something I might integrate into my practice. SO MANY clients, though, come in looking for more event-oriented, practical advice. Sometimes it's frustrating, but it's been a worthwhile challenge to master as well; it requires a certain immediacy and familiarity with the cards that I think is otherwise difficult to acquire.
Some time ago, the store I work through tried to set up tarot readings every Friday night at an local gay dance club/bar. I did it a few times, but I think they eventually phased it out. Perhaps with this deck I can look into that venue once again.
Originally posted by Elentir
Your remark about the Sage of Cups seems particularly interesting, as I don't think I've ever seen court cards that had more than just one person in it. You can see the Sage of Cups if you go to this interview and scroll down, it's the fifth card scan down:
I guess maybe we should start a new thread for the Sage of Cups... :)
The first feeling that I get from this card is 'making contact' - whether that is a self-understanding or an understanding with another.
This would have been a very apt card to have drawn a month ago. I had started a relationship that ended quite quickly and this card sums up the initial contact that was made - the reaching out and meeting of someone. It would have also been quite apt at the closing of the relationship as I found that I had nothing in common with the guy. The fact that the guy is making contact with himself through the mirror shows a mutual appreciation and possibly enjoying the simularities in interest and actraction - whether that is in a sexual relationship or friendship. We had neither and this would have been a gentle hint in that direction for me.
Originally posted by Elentir
I ordered my deck through Tarot Garden and have asked that it be one of the ones autographed by Lee :cool:, so he knows better than I when it might arrive! Elentir, people are now starting to receive the signed decks from Tarot Garden, so hopefully you will have yours soon...
Actually, I did receive mine in the mail on Friday! I was so excited, it only took two days to arrive; it definitely made my day. The timing was perfect also because I had a card-reading shift on Saturday from 10 to 5 and if it had arrived on Saturday I wouldn't have been able to take it with me and study during my off-time.
There's so much to learn about this deck, now that I have the whole thing to look at. And the back design is way cool!
I know this is off-topic, but there isn't another spot to ask this: you point out that the aces through the 10s all have a correlation with the Major Arcana I through X. Is there also a correspondence been the XI and the aces, the XII and the twos, etc.? Or, using numerological reduction, the XI and the twos, XII and the threes, etc.?
Originally posted by Elentir
Is there also a correspondence been the XI and the aces, the XII and the twos, etc.? Or, using numerological reduction, the XI and the twos, XII and the threes, etc.? Nope. At least not that I intended. But you are certainly welcome to utilize such a correspondence, if you can find one!
Originally posted by Lee
Nope. At least not that I intended. But you are certainly welcome to utilize such a correspondence, if you can find one!
Well, from my first two study-sessions with the deck, I think there might be one that works, but I'll have to look at it again to really get it down before I start trying to promulgate it. The only thing that pops into my head at the moment is that the figure in The Star is like the guy on the skateboard, but I don't remember what pip-rank he is. I'm at work at the moment and don't have the deck with me.
That's right, that would be a good one. That would be VII Chariot, XVII Star, and the 7's in the pips.
Yes, that one in particular *seems* like it couldn't possibly be unintentional! ;) For the other ones, I only remember making thematic associations, not necessarily pictorial ones. I seem to recall relating XV Self-hatred to V The Priest and the other 5s, but I can't picture them all in my head at the moment. Aren't the 5s all images of a couple?
Umm, the 5 of Wands shows a hockey game with more than two people.
This is an interesting concept, I'd be willing to take a look and see what parallels we can draw. Perhaps, Elentir, you'd like to create a new thread for this?
Good idea, but before I do, I'll take another, closer look and make sure that it's not all just in my head!
I rather like the way this card, as others have said, broadens the meaning of the two of cups. Although we see the images as metaphors sometimes those metaphors can take over. I was a bit hesitant about the idea of a single figure on the card which is a good sign that it was time for a regime change.
Lee, since the first ten majors focus on a haratcre or set of characters do the suits follow chronologically for all of them in the same way.... by that I mean do all 10 (except the magician's hat) go through the wands first, then the cups, or some such pattern or is there not set chronology as to when they take place in their lives? Did that make sense?
Hi Shade, if I understand your question, no, there's no chronological pattern. Although, again, if you can find one, I'd be happy to hear about it!
I think there's a limit to how many patterns one can build into the cards without entirely separating them from the RWS standard, or at least someone would have to be a whole lot cleverer than me to do it.
I *think*, Shade, perhaps you've misunderstood the pattern of the minors in this deck (you haven't yet received your copy, correct?). The pattern goes across suits, not from ace to ten within the suits; thus, the four 2s all depict a single character, and all the 3s, and all the 7s, etc., but there is no narrative implied from ace to ten (as there is in, say, the Mythic Tarot or the Renaissance Tarot). Not all the suit ranks follow this pattern, I think, but many do. And no, there is no chronology implied, just different views of a similar character. Does that answer your question? Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, as usual I do not have the deck in front of me and my memory isn't the greatest.
No I understood about theace through 10 i just wondered if there was a swords, wands, etc. order. Wheels within wheels and all of that.
There doesn't appear to be a correlation between the suits themselves. But I like to imagine that the four separate lives we see depicted mundanely in the minors are brought together through the deeper, spiritual aspects of the Majors. The characters themselves don't interact with each other but they share and manifest qualities necessary to all four.