Mary El Tarot - Ten of Cups

Bat Chicken

When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, "Come and see!" Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword.

Revelation 6 : 3 - 4 ( N I V )

War rises out of passion, the cup held by the skeletal rider holding the skeletal child pours blood red. The serpent follows the blood flowing through the dead and onward. With the quote from Revelations, one would expect this to be the Ten of Swords, but the blood in the chalice makes just as much sense to me.

This is pretty non-traditional in that the RWS and Thoth cards indicate a “happily ever after’ theme, but I suppose all peace, ends in war.


I drew this card a few days back and it seemed to be talking more about remembering to live life. The passion or life force of the red horse is in stark contrast to the dead bones of the mother and child. As a ten, a completion of the suit of cups, to me this speaks about remember that we are a long time dead and this life should be seized. Like the final push or cavalry charge in a great battle, it is not so much that we may die but that eventually we WILL die and it is how we live each moment that matters.

As the red horse from revelations - we also have been given the power to make war, to challenge the status quo, to slay the oppressor (whatever keeps us from living fully). It is in our power but likewise we can choose when and where to wield that sword. Revelation (a sudden understanding of truth) is the end or last book, the last veil to be lifted, the darkness before dawn and the clearing of the path before the truth of creation shines forth. This is the final step and the understanding that everything material, our bodies etc must eventually be swept away in order to truly find bliss and communion with the Divine.

Bat Chicken

I think your last line sums it up.
Milfoil said:
This is the final step and the understanding that everything material, our bodies etc must eventually be swept away in order to truly find bliss and communion with the Divine.

That sounds like a completion - bliss! Thanks Milfoil.... :)


It's the whole cups thing isn't it? Cup or vessel = body. The end of this cycle must be to transcend the physical whether by becoming a pure and clean vessel in which the spirit/life force/divine resides or death of the physical body. Either way is a liberation but the red horse suggests life, blood, passion and fire - the bloodline - that part of us which extends through time and beyond the body of this life time.


Hi all,

I've been journaling the cards as I randomly draw them, so I thought I would write an excerpt from my...I don't know what to call it. Musings? I don't know if I want to go that far, it makes it sound too lofty and makes me want to giggle. I'll just call them thought explorations. How about that. (;

A primal skeletal mother and child astride a fiery horse. The female figure gazes down at the child tenderly while it perhaps suckles at it's breast. The figure is spilling blood from a chalice, while a pale moon-aura shines like a halo behind the mother and child. They are divine. This is not earthly love but cosmic love. Not surface love but deep and abiding. The 10 symbolizes completion. The snake appears to sprout out from the crown of the child and pierce through both ears of the mother. Inner-listening? The snake's head points into the spilling contents of the cup. Sacred blood. This child is safe in it's journey. Both the female and the child are being carried along. There are no reigns on this horse. The horse's body and hair bring to my mind an aortic valve or veins. It kind of looks like a heart.


I'm going to go slightly off the rails here and say that this 10 of Cups makes me think of infertility. The red horse emerging from under the skirt is like menstrual blood, which like the 10 itself, is both the beginning and the end of a cycle. Another cycle without a pregnancy. The infant skeleton raises the possibility of miscarriage or loss of a child. The adult rider is not merely a skeleton, the head is a skull but the arms are fleshy. The pink area on the chest may be where the flesh is pulling away. This figure is in the process of dying without leaving a descendant. This is the end of a bloodline. In the context of war, it could represent genocide. (So far, the 10's seem very large scale.) The blood from the cup spills not into another cup, not even to the ground, it disappears into nothing--the abyss maybe?

I am struggling with how to connect this image with the more common interpretation of the 10 of Cups, of joy and blissful family life. Maybe that pain and bleeding are reminders that we are alive? That true bliss only comes with death?


Also, I just remembered reading in the book that the white unicorn in the 5 of Cups is also in the 2 of Cups, and that his mate is in the 10 of Cups. I find it noteworthy that in the 5 of Cups the trees are bearing pears and figs, while in my interpretation of the 10 of Cups, the rider cannot produce offspring.
5 of Cups = Fruitful, 10 of Cups = Unfruitful

I can also draw parallels between The Lovers and the 2 of Cups (bear with me, it's going to circle back). The white man with white hair is looking down, just as the white unicorn has its head bowed. The dark skinned woman has her chin held high, just like the red unicorn. Her hair covering also mimics the curved horn seen most clearly on the red unicorn. It therefore follows that she is represented in the 10 of Cups, with its implications of the genocides that have beset the African continent and its diaspora.