Legends: 8 Cups Chapel Perilous


This card definately has a Gothic feel to it, from the trusses in the timbers to the gray dark brick, and the leafless branches and bare roots of the tree that is framed by the alter. The only light comes from the golden candle on the alter and the lightning bolt seen behind the clawed hand. The beams in the ceiling almost create the pattern of a bat's wing, just like a demon/scary night creature. This is so different from the usual turning your back and leaving something behind of the RWS. This one makes me think of the robot in Lost in Space, yelling "Danger! Danger!" I want to run away as fast as I can when I see this card, wild horses wouldn't be able to drag me back.

But I got this card twice this week and it wasn't the DM that grabbed my attention, but the first sentence in the descriptive story for Castle perilous...that black hand reaching into the santuary and extinguishes the light. The lifeless tree encased in the alter...like the body in a coffin, the flame of life being snuffed out. The Chapel also made me think of the Temple of God within our bodies, that this one is empty, just a shell housing the light of life and nothing more.

The lightening behind the hand reminds me of the Tower, the illumination that breaks and burns the foundation, leaving ashes, the sudden and unpredicable quality of natural forces to strike when and where it pleases. That there is no sanctuary and no protection from it, you can run but you can't hide, you have to brave the storm and from that come the peace to continue this ride. We can fear it, we can avoid it, but there really is no real escape sometimes, but to leave that chapel, that sanctuary, the Inner Sanctum behind.

I'd never thought of this card as meaning an actual physical death, but it did. Those natural unpredicable forces of nature beyond all control as the disease that this Knight was powerless against. Cancer the claw that snuffed out the light and left this world a darker place tonight. The storm is over now, gentle rain running down my face in the moonlight.

Look up in the sky tonight where you can see them, I think the Northern Lights will be dancing with his energy.

Farewell Kevin...it's so hard to let go, but I know we will cross paths again.


I'm very sorry WalesWoman - you are very courageous to write about it here, and so soon. You have already expressed the truth so well in what you just wrote, there is little anyone could add.

This is such a sad, and brutally honest card to go with, but also there is so much hope in it. Anna-Marie's last line haunts me, "Once they were clear of the chapel the storm subsided and gave way to calm skies, allowing horse and rider to travel deep into the night". This card speaks so clearly of the eternal soul of your friend, continuing his journey in another form.

Hugs (((WalesWoman))), you and Kevin's other friends and family are on my heart tonight. As for Kevin, I am quite sure you will cross paths again...


I just updated the index, as usual. This card had moved me deeply when I first came across it in its turn. I had wanted to write about it then, but I directed the energies elsewhere. Its ironic, it was the only remaining Eight, as if it was reserved, waiting for you to use this night...


Thank you David, I've actually had several days to mull this card over before I could get myself to sit down and put my thoughts into words. The revelation of what it really meant didn't hit me until I was driving into work the other morning and about sent me into a panic. Tonight, writing up this card was cathartic and left me feeling much better than I have for the past week. I finally braved the storm of thoughts and emotions that come with them and here I am. Still here with things yet to accomplish, like Gawain, maybe not as noble a mission as finding and restoring the Grail, but surviving once again to ride through the night and greet another day.

I think that is why I saw the Tower flashing in the background behind the hand, that sudden insight into what has to be released and left behind in order to go on. This card is so much what we might imagine as the inside view of the Tower, I've never thought of it like this until now. This is why it can no longer be supported, why the foundations are shaken. Just possibly the most dramatic way of it becoming clear.

I've seen this card so many times, recieved it in readings before and never gotten this sense from it. Ended up going with the book type, traditional meanings but never felt it or understood it until this week. That is the problem with being the type of person who can only seem to learn from experience...the lessons always come the hard way. The other lesson being, knowing when to let go and when to cling. It's time now to let go and join the world of the living again.

This is the cross roads...choices to be made that change your whole direction in life, I thought that really important here too. This is but one way of looking at this card, and definately not the only one.

I apologise tho' for unburdening myself and leaving it all here. I brought along a mop and am now putting up the "Watch your step" sign, so no one inadvertantly slips and falls down. I'll probably start using humor more now as a coping mechansim rather than self pity, but yo-yo between the two for a few. thanks ahead of time for putting up with me.


Please don't apologize. What you have said here tonight makes this thread a very real and sacred place, a monument and a turning point. Your willingness to share your vision here is inspirational, and I believe you are already "finding and restoring the Grail".

I think that is profound, that the Legend Eight of Cups is like the inside of The Tower. I will always think of that when I see this card.

Wishing you blessings and a peaceful rest tonight,


I know you need lots of hugs today, so I'll add another one to those I've already sent {{{WW}}}.

The Tree of Life alter does seem to have a most significant meaning, being decorated with the only form of light in the chapel.

The claw brings with it a sense of fear of what will happen when the light is extinguished and also of invasion into a sacred place where one should feel safe.

Take heart dear WW, even the courageous hero, Gawain felt fainthearted at the sight of what was at the window. It is difficult to turn and ride back through the storm to find a secure place, but I know that you will find it ... as David said ... this card must have been specially reserved for you.


Today I got the Knight of Swords...Gawain again... seems he's forever running from one flame or another. I'm sort of straying a bit by this, but it just struck me that he was either on the way to the Chapel Perilous or still in flight in the dark of night from it.

The thing of this card, besides what I got from it, is the realization that dwelling on and holding on to those emotions was also unhealthy and dangerous and could gain a life of their own if held onto for too long, not to dwell there, because it wouldn't be good for me or anyone else.

What this story doesn't explain is WHY does that hand need to extinguish that light, WHAT were those loud laments and threats and WHO made them? It's a definate warning that things are not as they appear, that this is no place to rest or find sactuary...it's very much the opposite of the RWS 4 Swords if you think about it a bit.

So there you go, more layers of meanings for this card. Something else to think about...or not and just leave behind.


When I first saw this card I thought of "dark night of the soul". I know you are currently not a subscriber WW, but there was a thread in the Spirituality section at about the same time on this subject. In participating in that thread it came home to me that I was not comfortable with the idea of darkness being inherently distressing, trying or undesireable, let alone evil, so I am now thinking of this card as depicting "ego death", "depths of despair" or "time of trial".

Any of these testing circumstances can be very distressing and unnerving, but if concluded in a positive way, they can provide an unparalleled opportunity for transformation. It doesn't at all negate the reality of the depth of suffering that is an inescapable truth in this world, but it does provide hope.

As you put it so well:
WalesWoman said:
The thing of this card, besides what I got from it, is the realization that dwelling on and holding on to those emotions was also unhealthy and dangerous and could gain a life of their own if held onto for too long, not to dwell there, because it wouldn't be good for me or anyone else.
Indeed, it is unhealthy to either seek out these "times of trial" or to stay in them longer than necessary. Honest expression of the emotions while you are in this trial is also healing in itself. But at the same time keeping a somewhat detached centre of faith is crucial to acceptance and to moving on.

Everything seems to keep coming back to balance and centredness, to be willing to participate in our emotions so that we can live honestly and empathetically, but to be able to ground ourselves also and celebrate the beauty that still surrounds us. Balanced living means not to cut ourselves off in mystic sterility like a Star Trek Dr. Spock, but to be more like Deanna Troy, a character who was not afraid to risk excursions from the centre but whose one foot always knew how to replant her firmly on the axle.


8 Cups...


  • Legends 8 Cups.gif
    Legends 8 Cups.gif
    41.5 KB · Views: 348