Monday, February 7, 2011

A Journey Through My Decks: ACE OF CUPS (by Zanna)

In this series of posts, I plan to discuss all of the Tarot cards in order, using a different deck for each card. Today I'm exploring the Ace of Chalices (Cups) from The Dragons Tarot by Manfredi Toraldo, with artwork by Severino Baraldi (published by Lo Scarabeo).


The Dragons Tarot by Toraldo and Baraldi depicts dragons and people from many cultures and civilizations. The four suits are organized as follows:
Swords – Air, the North, European dragons
Wands – Fire, the South, Earthly dragons (Babylon, Egypt, Africa)
Pentacles – the Earth, the West, Feathered serpents (the Americas)
Chalices – Water, the East, Eastern dragons[/b] (China, Japan, Far East)


The LWB offers a very brief description of each Minor Arcana card.  For the Ace of Chalices we read:
"A female hand keeps an ornate chalice from a Chinese dragon." My first inclination is to interpret this to mean that the woman is withholding the chalice from a dragon, i.e., keeping it away from the dragon. However, the image on the card does not suggest that to me. The keyword for the card is given as Nourishment.
Let's just say that the chalice is a source of nourishment, and that the chalice depicts a Chinese dragon fighting with a swordsman. 


The use of a female hand on the Ace of Chalices reflects the passive or "feminine" quality associated with the suit of Chalices and the element Water. In this deck, a female hand also appears on the Ace of Pentacles (Earth). Male hands appear on the Ace of Swords (Air) and Ace of Wands (Fire), commonly seen as "masculine" or "active" suits/elements.


Book T* describes the Ace of Cups or Chalices as symbolizing "fertility – productiveness, beauty, pleasure, happiness, etc." In my tarot system, Aces indicate a beginning or fresh start, the core energy of the suit, potential or opportunity, self-reliance, expression, and consciousness.


The shining light emanating from the chalice on the Ace of Chalices in Toraldo's deck suggests "a golden opportunity" to receive the emotional or spiritual nourishment needed to pursue a new direction or begin a new endeavor.


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* Book T - The Tarot, Comprising Manuscripts N, O, P, Q, R, and an Unlettered Theoricus Adeptus Minor Instruction. A Description of the Cards of the Tarot with their Attributions; Including a Method of Divination by Their Use. A public domain manuscript.

1 comment:

  1. This is another deck I don't possess, but it looks beautiful and thanks to your great post about this card it also appears to be a very interesting one. The question now is do I need to add it to my collection? Hmm...

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~ Zanna