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Mental illness shown in cards

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aware7  aware7 is offline
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Mental illness shown in cards

I am aware that the Moon can indicate mental illness but I'd be interested if other cards can indicate that from others' experiences. How about the Hermit? I do know from the original Rider Waite perspective the Magician the right way up indicated sickness and the Star was negative also the right way up - loss, imprisonment - although it was also interpreted as positive.

Or how about any of the minor Arcana? I can't wait for Thirteen to respond - I always find their perspective amazing!
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mahjong  mahjong is offline
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King of Cups (reversed) has come up in my readings when I've asked a question about a person who I know is emotionally and mentally unstable.
Then there's the question of do drugs course mental illness or do people take drugs because of un diagnosed mental illness.I'm not going into that one but I've had The Devil,Moon reversed,knight of cups reversed and 3 of cups reversed (alcohol addiction) before....uummm lots of reversals anyway.I've only recently started using reversals so I'm not sure how I would pick mental illness up if I only used upright cards; probably The Moon or Devil next to the 5 of cups or 7 of cups.
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aware7  aware7 is offline
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Thanks very much!

Of course I should have thought about the 5 of Cups - depression. Somebody who cannot break away from brooding although the reality is not as bad as they perceive as there are two cups left.

I've also been thinking about the King of Cups - even in the upright position he doesn't seem very positive. I think it's because he has a strange look on his face in the Rider Waite deck. I know one interpretation is compassion but I know some tarot readers think he stands for two facedness or something not quite right.

He can be seen as a lawyer too, along with the King of Swords.

To be truthful I am asking this question because there is some intrigue surrounding a parent of a student I know. I get the feeling there's not something quite right about her mother and I get upright cards but ones that still make me think. The King of Cup (could stand for legal business I suppose), the Moon, 5 of Cups, 5 of Pentacles, 3 of Swords, the Hanged Man, the Hermit. I get the Magician and the Star upright, but the Magician can stand for illusion even when upright, can't it?
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celticnoodle  celticnoodle is offline
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yes, the moon is known for some mental issues, and the hermit, I have seen come up for depression issues for people. even the temperance rx card has sometimes popped up for people who are just not mentally all there--usually as a result of drugs or something.

I know the star rx can be seen as mental issues, but I don't recall getting that in readings for such.

as for the minors--the 5 of pentacles has often showed up in my readings for people who have issues due to drugs also. the 9 of wands rx, 9cups rx, and the 9swords also. I think especially so, if these cards are next to the moon card, or temperance rx.
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afrosaxon  afrosaxon is offline
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Hi aware7,

It's always a good idea to use the "Search This Forum" feature, and find out what may have been said on a topic some time ago. It's a great treasure trove of information.


8 of Swords Revisited
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Thirteen  Thirteen is offline
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Originally Posted by aware7
Or how about any of the minor Arcana? I can't wait for Thirteen to respond - I always find their perspective amazing!
Ask and you shall receive

This is one of those questions where just about any card could indicate a particular problem. This was easier in the old days when all mental illness was more-or-less lumped together. The Moon is our all-purpose card for general mental illness--but in this day and age we have a long list of types of mental and emotional problems from anxiety attacks to major schizophrenia. Putting it another way, imagine you had a deck of tarot cards. You're not allowed to say a word. You are told someone has this or that mental problem, and now you have to tell someone else that they have it using only the cards. With 78 cards, you'll use what works best to describe the problem, in image and meaning right? Not limit yourself just to one suit or just certain majors. So if they have a problem with impulse management, you might offer Knight/Wand or 8/Wands. Yes?

That said, most of the time mental problems are indicated by the suit of Cups and the suit of Swords--for obvious reasons. Cups are all about emotions and can be about illusions. So problems with depression or delusions are very much in the cups. This includes, as mentioned, 5/Cups for depression, or 7/Cups for someone who is delusional; and Queen/Cups is often seen as a sort of Ophelia type, lost in her own world.

Swords are intellect and going round and round in one's head. 4/Swords could indicate a mental break-down, 7/Swords a kleptomaniac, 8/Swords could be a paranoid.

And we can't rule out the Wands for the manic/angry side of things.

As for the Majors, The Moon, certainly. Also the Hanged Man, a state of catatonia. But really, any major could indicate a type of mental illness, from the HPS as a agoraphobic shut-in, to the Emperor with a Napoleon complex, to the Hermit's misanthropy...etc.
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Azarial  Azarial is offline
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Temperance reversed I can see as meaning Bipolar.

Nine of Swords, Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

Eight of Swords, as Agoraphobia has come up many times, surprisingly also The Chariot.
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dayeus  dayeus is offline
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the cards for mental illness i get are the moon, hangman, 8swds(schizo), 8cups or 6 swds (depression), 4 cups (lack of grasping the reality).

though i often fail to analyse the intensity of the illness....
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nisaba  nisaba is offline
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Depends what you mean by "mental illness", of course.

If by that you mean a physiological or chemical disorder of the brain resulting in distorted mental perceptions, then no, I'm not sure there's anything specific.

If you mean "mood disorders", depression, unrealistic thinking, extreme introversion etc etc, then we have to clarify what is a "disorder".

A doctor friend of mine with an interest in psychiatry claims that anyone at all living in today's society who is moderately cheerful is obviously pathologically disconnected from reality and therefore completely insane. (On her terms, I claim insanity with pride).

Moderate depression in urban society is not an unrealistic reaction to circumstances, arguably, and thus does not comprise "mental illness" so much as "a normal, healthy response to living conditions". (I'm not talking extreme depression here).

So ... based on the fact that many of us are in urban settings ... are there Tarot cards that show mental illness? Yes ... Ten Cups, Nine Coins, Aces of Everything, Nine Cups ... you name it. All the Happy Happy Joy Joy cards would, for most people, indicate unrealistic thinking, or at least a deep disconnectedness to their society and setting.
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Seafra  Seafra is offline
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I get Hermit with 4 of pents or sometimes World reversed and often the 7 or 9 of wands as agoraphobia.

I'll stick my neck out and say there would have to be a series of cards together in the reading which would re-occur in subsequent readings before the words mental illness would come out of my mouth. There are times where situational depression is natural, people don't want to leave their house, when mood swings occur due to appropriately anxiety-filled situations, etc.

ETA: 9 of cups reversed for narcissistic tendencies.
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