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VII of Cups Symbolism

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Originally Posted by Ruby Jewel View Post
Say you are doing a reading for a client and she is worried that her husband is cheating on her and VII of Cups in past, future, or outcome comes up that says she is having illusions.....how would you interpret it.....relative to the message or images in the cups that says basically, she is wrong....maybe even neurotic....of what significance are the individual images in the cups ......
Well, you would probably have the general meaning of the card right in those cases, or something similar anyway. Regarding the separate images and their relative meanings, those would be considered esoteric or hidden messages that tie into deeper aspects of the Tarot. Perhaps they are hidden gems that Waite supposedly included throughout the deck, which is exactly what we're trying to understand, if anything of the sort even does exist with this imagery.
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Originally Posted by Shardz View Post
Well, you would probably have the general meaning of the card right in those cases, or something similar anyway. Regarding the separate images and their relative meanings, those would be considered esoteric or hidden messages that tie into deeper aspects of the Tarot. Perhaps they are hidden gems that Waite supposedly included throughout the deck, which is exactly what we're trying to understand, if anything of the sort even does exist with this imagery.
Interesting. When I first encountered this card, I scratched my head a bit and then decided to go back to the Thoth version I had been using for several decades before I ever bothered with the RWS. Some things just don't seem to be worth the effort.
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Originally Posted by Shardz View Post
Okay, for the first round of unbelievable speculation, I have a theory from Katz and Goodwin (whose information I normally do not trust or use due to uncovering way too many errors in their work). They state that "the strange symbols in these seven chalices are stages of the alchemical process, based on Michael Maier. The transformative stages of alchemy are categorised differently according to various authors, but often fall into a pattern as thus:"


1. Calcination - salamander (dragon - fire of calcination)
2. Dissolution - victory in death (wreath with skull cup)
3. Separation - treasure (sorted jewels)
4. Conjunction - castle (conjunction of all elements)
5. Fermentation - serpent (drunk reptile?? Explanation not given)
6. Distillation - divine figure (purity of distillation)
7. Coagulation - human being (the complete philosopher’s stone, the perfected human being.)

Perhaps I should consult Robert Place to try to make sense of this mess since it involves alchemy, though I don't know if he refers to the RWS deck at all. These two authors don't even know the correlating suits between the Tarot and playing cards, so I'm taking this information with a grain of salt (pun intended) as grand illusion, just like the card meaning. More researching for me since at least something wacky came up thus far, which might result in final truth with more effort.
Other than my knowledge and interpretive use of the Papus layout of the cards in ternaries and septenaries, I am unfamiliar with the Qabbala or the Tree of Life....so I guess that sort of precludes my use of these categories or understanding the related theories. I tend to extreme simplicity....hence my bringing this issue up originally. Nor am I familiar with Robert Place. Although I have heard of him in the past and plan on looking up some of his writing, have yet to do so.
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Barleywine: Indeed, with the proper literature, Debauch is a much more clear and concise concept to grasp. Though, I'm sure the Book of Thoth is equally convoluted in its own charming way, I mostly rely on third party authors to give me the lowdown on Thoth, such as Lon Milo Duquette. After attempting to get through the barrage of pages that Crowley wrote on The Fool card alone, I decided that Thoth would be a parallel pursuit alongside the RWS.

Ruby: It sounds like you are doing just fine with your interpretations, and most really aren't experts in alchemy, gematria, numerology or even Kabbalah (my chosen spelling) just to read the cards. Like some, I tend to look at Tarot as a learning tool more than a divinatory method, and find all aspects interesting as they do link as far as you wish to learn. I certainly didn't mean to hijack this thread, however. But the 7 of Cups is quite a unique card for many reasons stated thus far.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shardz View Post
Barleywine: Indeed, with the proper literature, Debauch is a much more clear and concise concept to grasp. Though, I'm sure the Book of Thoth is equally convoluted in its own charming way, I mostly rely on third party authors to give me the lowdown on Thoth, such as Lon Milo Duquette. After attempting to get through the barrage of pages that Crowley wrote on The Fool card alone, I decided that Thoth would be a parallel pursuit alongside the RWS.

Ruby: It sounds like you are doing just fine with your interpretations, and most really aren't experts in alchemy, gematria, numerology or even Kabbalah (my chosen spelling) just to read the cards. Like some, I tend to look at Tarot as a learning tool more than a divinatory method, and find all aspects interesting as they do link as far as you wish to learn. I certainly didn't mean to hijack this thread, however. But the 7 of Cups is quite a unique card for many reasons stated thus far.
You do not even come close to hijacking this thread Shardz....not to worry...I'm so happy to have all the input I can get. I do happen to have either 2 or 3 of Crowley's "greenies"....but I have never been able to use them...however, I have plans to do so at some point, as well as the TdM...decks. All is good when it comes to learning...nothing exempt as far as I'm concerned...so, please feel free to continue the interactions.
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Katz and Goodwin's alchemical theory of this card is nonsense of the highest order in my opinion. It's based on a vague comment Waite makes about Maier as having a "fantastic spirit," the same phrase used in the description of the 7 of Cups. In his Azoth, or The Star in the East Waite does give a list of alchemical processes as they correspond to the stages of interior progress, but there are nine, and they seem to roughly correspond to the nine degrees that would later make up the Fellowship of the Rosy Cross.

9 Stages of Interior Progress

1. Purgation (Cleansing of the desires of the heart).
2. Dissolution (Soul dies to itself).
3. Separation (Separation of subtle from gross).
4. Conjunction (Gathering of forces toward one end).
5. Congelation (Unification of potencies).
6. Cibation (Soul fed from above; whole being is sublimed).
7. Fermentation (The spiritual subject is augemented with the Spirit of Life).
8. Exaltation (Rectification of elements).
9. Mystic Union (Conjunction of God and Soul; Beatific Vision).

I can see how theoretically it could make sense that Waite might have used Maier's processes as illustrations of fantasies to be avoided. But Katz and Goodwin don't point to any definite arrangement used by Maier that Waite might have drawn on, but they use a list given by a modern author [The Emerald Tablet, 1999].

Ruby Jewell, I see where you're coming from though. In a reading situation the details on the card wouldn't really matter, it seems to me.
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Just wanted to reiterate that I fully agree with Ruby Jewell. I've never thought that the seven cups purport to deliver any kind of objective reality. They're like an elaboration of the old shell game: outwardly they look promising (or at least interesting) but ultimately it's impossible to tell which one is hiding the "object of the heart's desire." So self-deception as Wang states (or outright delusion and unproductive contemplation of phantasmal opportunities) poses the major risk. The Golden Dawn title of "Illusory Success" seems entirely appropriate; there is nothing solid here to sink your teeth into.

From an alchemical perspective, I've always been taken by Crowley's observation that the 7 and 8 of Cups capture the ideas of the corruption and putrefication that are essential precursors to restoration of stability with the 9 of Cups. The artwork on the Thoth cards certainly conveys these ideas. Once the energy leaves Tiphareth and departs the Middle Pillar, it just seems to lose its way; its actually going through a necessary process of transmutation to restore its purity.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barleywine View Post
Just wanted to reiterate that I fully agree with Ruby Jewell. I've never thought that the seven cups purport to deliver any kind of objective reality. They're like an elaboration of the old shell game: outwardly they look promising (or at least interesting) but ultimately it's impossible to tell which one is hiding the "object of the heart's desire." So self-deception as Wang states (or outright delusion and unproductive contemplation of phantasmal opportunities) poses the major risk. The Golden Dawn title of "Illusory Success" seems entirely appropriate; there is nothing solid here to sink your teeth into.

From an alchemical perspective, I've always been taken by Crowley's observation that the 7 and 8 of Cups capture the ideas of the corruption and putrefication that are essential precursors to restoration of stability with the 9 of Cups. The artwork on the Thoth cards certainly conveys these ideas. Once the energy leaves Tiphareth and departs the Middle Pillar, it just seems to lose its way; its actually going through a necessary process of transmutation to restore its purity.
Well said, and I agree. I usually like to ponder the meanings of the symbols in card images, but with this card, that doesn't seem that important to me, funnily enough. Things depicted on the image are illusions anyway and for that reason beyond our reach. In a way, I can see this card making a joke on us readers' expense when we try to desperately grasp on these things and try to make our lofty claims.
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Originally Posted by Samweiss View Post
Well said, and I agree. I usually like to ponder the meanings of the symbols in card images, but with this card, that doesn't seem that important to me, funnily enough. Things depicted on the image are illusions anyway and for that reason beyond our reach. In a way, I can see this card making a joke on us readers' expense when we try to desperately grasp on these things and try to make our lofty claims.
Hmm, Waite made JOKES?
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In retrospect, "reduction" may be the correct term for what Crowley was talking about. The energy doesn't change in essential nature, it just enters the preparatory phase of sublimation (on a "lower arc," of course). In that sense, the RWS 7 of Cups may be offering a bizarre kind of hope through the process of elimination. If we wade through the morass up to our eyeballs long enough and investigate each clot of impurity, we may eventually arrive at a solid piece of ground that we can stand on. Or maybe not, and we will just have to tread water impotently. This card has always suggested frustration to me.

ETA: Come to think of it, this sense of dissonance is common to all of the Sevens: the man in the 7 of Wands is facing grossly unfair odds; the unseen people in the camp on the 7 of Swords are having something stolen from under their noses; and the weary-looking man in the 7 of Pentacles seems dissatisfied with his progress.
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