|Card 1||Knight of Coins|
This card is usually called the Knight, but in some modern decks appears as the Prince. Traditionally, this card in this suit pictures an overseer of fertility and growth. His period of ascendancy is during the quiet years between conflicts, when everybody can collaborate in raising the collective standard of living. His horse is usually huge and thickset, more suitable to pulling a plow than riding swiftly into battle. His temperament is easygoing and relaxed, he's moving at the rate of the flow, because he knows that you can't hurry time.
Seeing the bigger picture, like a farmer planning for the future, he doesn't allow momentary fads or fancies to distract him, and he doesn't take seriously those who do. One can feel his stability and dedication -- he is totally responsible and even somewhat predictable when it comes to his projects. He is earthy and gentle, as simple and deep as the soil he tills and the flowers he loves.
|Card 2||Two of Cups|
The Two in this suit signifies a union of souls. This card traditionally describes a romantic relationship, but also includes the idea that all good friendships and partnerships are based on a natural affinity and a deep mutual understanding. As a personal reflection, it can also signify that your mind and your soul are discovering each other, maybe for the first time.
This card also symbolizes a karmic tie, often portrayed by a wreath or figure eight ribbon twining around the two cups. Occasionally you see a symbol referring to the union of alchemical opposites (as in sacred sex), pictured as a long-necked flask twined with serpents -- sometimes with wings -- spouting flames. This image is from Alchemy, indicating the refining and mutually completing effect of a true and lasting love.
What has traditionally been known as the Death card is not about literal death of any person. It may represent the death of something else, like a project, plan or relationship. It also points to a time of harvest, symbolized in classical decks by the reaping skeleton. Unless the fruits of summer are harvested, they are lost to winter's harshness, and the people do not eat.
This card portrays the action of winter on the landscape -- lush greenery is cut back, revealing the bones of the landscape. The season of dark and cold separates the annual plants, who live and die in one year, from the perennials, which can take refuge in their root systems until the following Spring, to sprout anew.
As the scythe cuts the cords that link us to the past, it liberates us to go forward without fear, because we have nothing left to lose. We can see that everything pruned away is recycled for the fertility of the future, so that nothing is really ever lost, despite seasonal cycles of gain and loss.
In the more modern decks of the English school, we see Death mounted on a horse and wearing black armor. The emphasis in these decks is on the punishment of sin, as in the way the medieval Plague, which the death image was based on, was used to explain the wrath of God. Luckily, in modern times, we are not so encumbered with such a guilt-ridden philosophy.