3 of Wands

assimilate and expand

Three is the response to the two and its integration (expansion) + Wands relate to our energy and where we put it.

from the Spiral Tarot

In the upright or centered position on the card’s spectrum, the Three of Wands sees the return of the two’s exploration and we’re assimilating and considering what’s next in expanding our horizons. If the two was sending our ships out, three shows them coming in, and we are seeing the return on the groundwork we’ve laid; but things are still in process or evolving (three strives for form), so follow-through is key as we’re building, expanding, managing the next cycle of the journey and the opportunities that allow us to expand. How can we keep growing?

When the three’s Fire is deficient, we’re bored with it already or we lack vision. Fear of the unknown can stifle our desire for expansion.

In excess, we’re overreaching, seeking or seizing opportunities which are beyond our capabilities or rooted in attention-seeking. Are we afraid of missing out?

Questions to ask when this card comes up may include

  • what obstacles prevent you from realizing your vision?
  • Is follow-through a challenge for you?

What else? You may have other insights. How do you see this card? How has it come up for you? Feel free to share in comments.

2 of Pentacles

balance priorities which promote our soul’s growth

Twos aim to balance when an other is introduced + Pentacles represent navigating the material world.

from Darkness of Light (1st ed.)

And so, in its upright or balanced position on the spectrum, the Two of Pentacles invites us to look at what we’re trying to hold in balance. The metaphor of juggling is often used with this card, as the two acts in rhythm and balance, representing the natural flux of life in and flow such as cause & effect. Sometimes it’s up, sometimes it’s down (as the ship in the background of the Smith-Waite 2oP, or the tides as shown in this example from Darkness of Light). Sometimes we must borrow from Peter to pay Paul. Life is a series of cycles, and in this two, we must juggle demands, balance priorities, and weigh our options. If we’re working too hard, rest. If we’ve overspent, save money. If we’ve eaten poorly, adjust our diet, and so on.

As we move out of the seed of the Ace, are we prepared to step onto the path of our soul’s work? What are we choosing to juggle? Now may not be the time to try and multitask too much, but to choose to release those responsibilities not in keeping with our path.

In resistance, we don’t make the connection between cause & effect, perhaps oblivious to our causative role in matters. One thing to keep in mind is that if we choose not to step into our soul’s work, we fail to grow.

In excess, we try to keep everyone happy and, in misplacing our priorities, we struggle to keep all of the balls in the air.

Questions we may ask when the 2oP comes up include

  • Where do you feel out of balance in your life?
  • Are you feeling pulled in opposite directions? Which serves you better?
  • What are you struggling to juggle? Why do you continue to do so?
  • Is there an aspect of your life that you’ve been ignoring? Why do you do so?

What else? Of course, this is just a sampling of this card’s spectrum, and you may have other insights. How do you see this card? How has it come up for you? Feel free to share in comments.

2 of Swords

remain objective

Twos introduce an other in duality + airy Swords represent the mental realm of ideas.

from Touchstone Tarot by Kat Black

And so, in the upright or balanced position of the Two of Swords, we are balancing opposing views, striving to see both sides. Can they be reconciled? Must a choice be made, or can we hold the two in balance? In many modern decks, the figure is blindfolded, reminding us to trust our inner knowing for the truth and to remain objective; don’t allow emotion to cloud our judgement.

In resistance, we cannot remain impartial. Info or ideas inconsistent with our beliefs are dismissed or rationalized; cognitive dissonance.

In excess, we remain in indecision, stifled by self-doubt.

Questions we might ask when this card appears include

  • Are you feeling pulled in two different directions?
  • Is there another side of something that you’re refusing to see?
  • What factors or events from your past may be influencing your decision?

What else? Of course, this is just a sampling of this card’s spectrum, and you may have other insights. How do you see this card? How has it come up for you? Feel free to share in comments.

2 of Cups

look into the mirror of the other

Twos take us from the sole oneness of Ace to the introduction of an other + watery Cups represent feelings and relationships.

from Murder of Crows Tarot, by Corrado Roi

And so, in its upright or balanced position on the spectrum, the Two of Cups is a coming together in relationship — whether a partnership of some sort or as the integration of parts within the self. It invites us to look into the mirror of the other and see ourselves reflected back. Can you accept what you see? This card’s most fundamental message relates to the age-old advice that you will not find love in another if you can’t find it within yourself. It’s important to remember that this card isn’t necessarily about romantic love, but about relationships and love of all kinds, including self.

In resistance, we find incompatibility between the two, or we separate. We may be rejecting a part of ourselves. It may also hint at an independence which rejects others.

In excess, we become dependent on another to compensate for a perceived lack in ourselves which we see reflected. Co-dependency.

Questions we may ask when this card comes up include

  • What part is preventing you from reaching out due to pride or fear?
  • What attracts you to another person in friendship, collaboration, love, etc.?
  • What irks you in another person in friendship, collaboration, love, etc.?
  • What painful event from the past do you need to make peace with in order to heal and move on?
  • How do you balance solitude and connection with others?

What else? Of course, this is just a sampling of this card’s spectrum, and you may have other insights. How do you see this card? How has it come up for you? Feel free to share in comments.

2 of Wands

Take the initiative to explore outside of yourself.

Twos take us from the sole oneness of Ace to something outside of ourselves + Wands represent energy and identity; the life force that drives our actions.

from The Relative Tarot

And so, in its upright or balanced position on the spectrum, the 2 of Wands is standing at the threshold, considering the initiative to go beyond what we’ve been comfortable with and allowing ourselves to explore new territory; to reach out; to set goals; sending out our ships, sharing something of ourselves with the outside world. We may be confronted with a choice between inner emptiness and outer fulfillment; between action and inaction. Will we forge a new path or choose to risk nothing?

When this desire is blocked, we may have some hesitancy or indecision around this outward venture, or we’re stuck in a pattern of complacency. For some, negotiating the outside world can be challenging. What holds us back?

In excess, we’re never content with what we have, always searching elsewhere for gratification, or for something bigger & better.

Questions we may ask when this card comes up include

  • Is there a part of you or an identity that’s ready to be brought forward?
  • How are you holding back? Why might you be doing so?
  • Are there competing desires you’re trying to integrate?
  • Is there something about success that frightens you? What might that be?

What else? Of course, this is just a sampling of this card’s spectrum, and you may have other insights. How do you see this card? How has it come up for you? Feel free to share in comments.

Ace of Pentacles

take the first step in manifesting your idea

Aces are offerings or opportunities of the highest potential of the suit + Pentacles deal with the physical domain of earth, and how we as spiritual beings navigate the material world.

from Darkness of Light (1st ed.)

And so the Ace of Pentacles, Disks, or Coins is the potential or foundation for manifesting in the earthly realm. It asks us to get out of our head and implement that thought, desire, idea; take the first step to give it concrete expression. (This is the Ace that brings the others to tangible form.). This journey will likely take time and require tending, like the seed we plant in the soil of our garden and nurture.

In resistance, we’re stuck. We just can’t move beyond our thoughts and dreams. What holds us back from taking the first step toward manifesting? Perhaps we doubt our ability to manifest.

In excess, is there an overemphasis on the material or physical, of security, or some other aspect of earth?

Questions that we may be prompted to ask when this card comes up include:

  • What seeds are you planting?
  • What prevents you from pursuing your soul’s work?
  • Do you feel secure? Is there a part of you that does not?
  • How is your health? Do you get the physical exercise and nutrition that your body needs? How is your relationship with food?
  • Do you have a need for more time connecting with nature?

But of course that’s just a beginning. How do you see this card? How has it come up for you? What is your favorite depiction of the Ace of Pentacles, and how are its shadow aspects portrayed?

Ace of Swords

bring forward your ideas; speak your truth

Aces are offerings or opportunities of the highest potential of the suit + Swords deal with the mental realm of air, and our belief systems.

from the Medieval Scapini Tarot

And so, the Ace of Swords offers an opportunity to bring forward whatever it is that needs to be expressed through us. There may be a challenge to our belief system, perhaps new info or a choice (note that the sword is often double-edged); but the mind is open and we have the clarity to express our ideas and speak our truth.

In resistance, we may not feel ready to articulate. We may be confused or foggy, or don’t have all of the information, yet.

In excess, we may be overthinking.

Questions that we may be prompted to ask when this card comes up include:

  • What keeps you from expressing your ideas? Is there a part that holds you back from realizing your potential? Why?
  • What holds your tongue from speaking your truth? Where did these limiting beliefs come from?

But of course that’s just a beginning. How do you see this card? How has it come up for you? What is your favorite depiction of the Ace of Swords, and how are its shadow aspects portrayed?

Ace of Cups

expand our capacity for compassion and healing

Aces are offerings or opportunities of the highest potential of the suit + Cups rule the domain of water, representing our emotional experiences and how we relate to others.

from Sola Busca Revisited by Tarot by Seven

And so the Ace of Cups reminds us to expand our capacity for compassion and fulfillment in whatever situation is coming up (whether toward self or others). It offers us a chance to more deeply consider what we’re available to receive or take part in.

In resistance, we withdraw. Our heart isn’t available for connection with others, this new experience, or acceptance (again, whether socially or of the self).

In excess, we may hold unrealistic ideals in this new experience or relationship. Are we a little starry-eyed?

Questions that we may be prompted to ask when this card comes up include:

  • How connected are you with your subconscious parts? How can you better connect with and accommodate their needs ?
  • How connected are you with your spirituality or a higher power? What do you hope to cultivate in spiritual practice?
  • What parts of you feel the need to protect your heart?

But of course that’s just a beginning. How do you see this card? How has it come up for you? What is your favorite depiction of the Ace of Cups, and how are its shadow aspects portrayed?