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Learning Tdm (Resources And Discussions)


Raggydoll

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I finished reading Camelias book on the pip cards. It felt more substantial than the one on the trumps, but it’s still a fairly thin book. She uses lots of semantics and big words and while I do believe that I understand her examples there’s a great deal that doesn’t really resonate. Her style of writing is somewhat reminiscent of the authors of “skinny bitch diet”. I’m not sure if anyone remembers it, it was a vegan manifesto that became very controversial and I had to read it just to see what everyone was talking about. Some called the style “tough love” “no-nonsense” or “sassy”. Others said it was condescending and on the verge of abusive. I wouldn’t exactly call Camelia the latter, but I do feel that her image of ‘reading cards like the devil’ is not always coming across as clever or on point as I had hoped. It gets a bit too much at times and I do feel like several of her example readings could have been interpreted in many other ways that perhaps would not have fitted as well with her attitude or her conclusions. I will also admit that I struggled to resonate with her business advice for tarot readers. Maybe it was how she first told readers not to care what other people think and not to hope for a certain result, and then later shared her own love for collecting antique samurai swords in the category of 10000 dollars. It makes me think that she probably has the financial means to care less about what other people thinks than most of the struggling tarot readers out there. But that can surely be a bias on my side - I’m definitely not immune to being judgmental of others. I did appreciate her tips on further reading material and I did find it fascinating to hear her personal zen philosophy. And there were some tips and tricks that I will take with me. 

 

I still have one more book of hers to read and it looks to be the most substantial one of them all. So maybe I’ll change my mind then! 

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2 hours ago, devin said:

Well, to be fair, I don't think anyone here was claiming a single correct method or perspective for reading the TdM.

 

 I wasn't implying someone had said there was, I was replying to one (or more?) of the posters who had asked whether there was, and what the standard or established method was, i.e. the way the Tarot (of Marseilles) was meant to be studied, etc. That said, it will be clear from the other article that both the analytical as well as the analogical methods are based on close contemplation-observation of the cards themselves, so that would be a very good place from which to begin, given this commonality. Committing them to memory might be a tall order, or even excessive, but careful examination will bring its own rewards. Incidentally, "monolithic" would be a good word to describe Paul Marteau's book, which I have suggested above for those so inclined.

 

2 hours ago, devin said:

Still, while a monolithic orthodoxy might not exist, we do have at least two hundred years worth of practice to draw on. Which is worth a lot, imo. 

 

That is true, but remember that for the first hundred years, Etteilla's methods, if not his cards, dominated the divinatory side of things, until the later (and simpler) Péladan/de Guaita/Wirth cross spreads. The first half of the 20th century consists largely of iterations of the occultist-derived methodologies, and the latter half mostly of "psychological tarot" style methods and watered-down "pop Tarot" works. 200 years of Tarot practice is not as varied as one might think, at least not where reading is concerned.

 

The quote you cite ought to be a summary of Doane & Keyes (who based themselves on Zain's work AFAIK), whom I haven't read. You might care to investigate the matter further if it resonates with you; those books should be on the Internet Archive or online somewhere at this stage.

 

3 hours ago, devin said:

To me, it is a nigh on impossible task for a beginner to develop such a method or system without referring to what has come before. Even Ms. Unger did not, presumably, start out using the Unger method.

That is a fair point, but as you know, Tchalaï, like Anéma in the translation posted, insists on the usual scientific method of observation-hypothesis-experiment-conclusion. This is not at all exclusive to the study of the Tarot, and to the scientifically-minded, of which she was, would be the logical starting point for any serious investigation. 

 

3 hours ago, devin said:

can we not say that TdM practice and speculation is nothing more than a long series of footnotes to the 18th century esotericists?

On the face of it, this would seem to be a fair assessment, but I have a suspicion that that is not the full story. Call it a hunch.

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19 hours ago, _R_ said:

 I wasn't implying someone had said there was, I was replying to one (or more?) of the posters who had asked whether there was, and what the standard or established method was, i.e. the way the Tarot (of Marseilles) was meant to be studied, etc.

Oh, I know it was all, like, totally, completely, actually, personally, directed at me. You bastard.

19 hours ago, _R_ said:

That is true, but remember that for the first hundred years, Etteilla's methods, if not his cards, dominated the divinatory side of things, until the later (and simpler) Péladan/de Guaita/Wirth cross spreads. The first half of the 20th century consists largely of iterations of the occultist-derived methodologies, and the latter half mostly of "psychological tarot" style methods and watered-down "pop Tarot" works. 200 years of Tarot practice is not as varied as one might think, at least not where reading is concerned.

Well, first of all, I have to say that my appreciation of the above is largely down to the various nuggets you've thrown about the place. A year ago I would have fashionably and loudly bemoaned the occultists for having muddied the waters of the cartomantic folk-tradition with their correspondences and suchlike. (Ah, good times.)

 

It's like @Marigold said, If you take up the TdM, be prepared to die everyday. 

 

I think it's probably a strength that tarot practice can be divided into only a few streams - less tangents, more exposition. Couldn't we perhaps also add that some of tarot's divinatory cousins (lenormand, playing cards, etc.) have stayed relatively close to their early incarnations (or at least missed the second half of the 20th century), giving us tarot fanciers another tributary of practice to draw our methods from?

19 hours ago, _R_ said:

Tchalaï ... insists on the usual scientific method of observation-hypothesis-experiment-conclusion.

Sure enough. Although, since we're applying it to practical matters, this is not, I suppose, a million miles away from the kind of folk-empiricism that has stood humanity in such good stead for the last few hundred thousand years or so.

19 hours ago, _R_ said:

On the face of it, this would seem to be a fair assessment, but I have a suspicion that that is not the full story. Call it a hunch.

It's like they say, "If time has proven something wrong, more time may yet prove it right."

 

Edited by devin
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20 hours ago, Raggydoll said:

I finished reading Camelias book on the pip cards. It felt more substantial than the one on the trumps, but it’s still a fairly thin book. She uses lots of semantics and big words and while I do believe that I understand her examples there’s a great deal that doesn’t really resonate. Her style of writing is somewhat reminiscent of the authors of “skinny bitch diet”. I’m not sure if anyone remembers it, it was a vegan manifesto that became very controversial and I had to read it just to see what everyone was talking about. Some called the style “tough love” “no-nonsense” or “sassy”. Others said it was condescending and on the verge of abusive. I wouldn’t exactly call Camelia the latter, but I do feel that her image of ‘reading cards like the devil’ is not always coming across as clever or on point as I had hoped. It gets a bit too much at times and I do feel like several of her example readings could have been interpreted in many other ways that perhaps would not have fitted as well with her attitude or her conclusions. I will also admit that I struggled to resonate with her business advice for tarot readers. Maybe it was how she first told readers not to care what other people think and not to hope for a certain result, and then later shared her own love for collecting antique samurai swords in the category of 10000 dollars. It makes me think that she probably has the financial means to care less about what other people thinks than most of the struggling tarot readers out there. But that can surely be a bias on my side - I’m definitely not immune to being judgmental of others. I did appreciate her tips on further reading material and I did find it fascinating to hear her personal zen philosophy. And there were some tips and tricks that I will take with me. 

Yeah, the whole goth-samurai-zen routine can get tiresome. To be fair, I reckons it's probably all marketing shtick (and it does seem to work, doesn't it?). I haven't read her pips book (and probably won't), but thought her Marseille work was okay, definitely not useless, and probably better than some. I might be alone in this, but I actually prefer it Yoav Ben-Dov's book. That being said, all your criticisms are fair and apply to the general body of Elias output, imo.

 

Maybe we could call her the Marmite of the tarot world (dark and yeasty?).

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1 hour ago, devin said:

Yeah, the whole goth-samurai-zen routine can get tiresome. To be fair, I reckons it's probably all marketing shtick (and it does seem to work, doesn't it?). I haven't read her pips book (and probably won't), but thought her Marseille work was okay, definitely not useless, and probably better than some. I might be alone in this, but I actually prefer it Yoav Ben-Dov's book. That being said, all your criticisms are fair and apply to the general body of Elias output, imo.

 

Maybe we could call her the Marmite of the tarot world (dark and yeasty?).

😁 I am going to read her "big" book soon. I will honestly say that I started with the other two because they were so thin and felt like an easy read. I am reading some other, heavier, books on the side so that worked best for me. But as soon as I am done with Lothar Schäfers book on quantum physics I will start on hers, and read it alongside some of the Mahanaya sutras. I do love a good mix of interesting topics ☺️ I have read Ben-Dov but its been a while so I will have to freshen up my memory before I compare it to Camelias book. I do distinctly remember, however, that I preferred Ben-Dov over Jodorowsky. But I am not sure if I ever really gave Jodorowskys book the chance it deserved. Since I read Ben-Dov first it somehow felt like Jodorowsky's book was pretty much a denser version of it (though I absolutely understand that Jodorowsky was the teacher and that I probably should have read his book first.) 

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2 hours ago, devin said:

Yeah, the whole goth-samurai-zen routine can get tiresome. To be fair, I reckons it's probably all marketing shtick (and it does seem to work, doesn't it?). I haven't read her pips book (and probably won't), but thought her Marseille work was okay, definitely not useless, and probably better than some. I might be alone in this, but I actually prefer it Yoav Ben-Dov's book. That being said, all your criticisms are fair and apply to the general body of Elias output, imo.

 

Maybe we could call her the Marmite of the tarot world (dark and yeasty?).

Love Marmite, not happy with her.... :lol:

 

Seriously, JMD for me.

2 hours ago, devin said:

Oh, I know it was all, like, totally, completely, actually, personally, directed at me. You bastard.

 

May I join you ? Calling someone a bastard is a GREAT way to start the day !

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1 hour ago, Raggydoll said:

though I absolutely understand that Jodorowsky was the teacher

I didn't realise that so I went googling and went down the internet rabbit hole and then I found this lecture Ben Dov gave in the US on QUANTUM REALITY, TAROT AND PSYCHOMAGIC (which I think might tie in with Lothar Schafer's work? Which I've ordered, btw! Thank you for the recommendation. 🙂 ) 

 

 

 

I know the Tarot decks produced by Waite and Crowley were products of the 19th century western occult tradition (which I know next to nothing about) but I didn't realise the Marseille also has some links to the occult. Is it more along the lines of inner alchemy or is there an older tradition than the Golden Dawn? I've yet to watch the lecture above, so I'm wondering if the Quantum Reality part is the modern explanation of how the Marseille "magic" functioned/s. 

Edited by Starlight
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13 minutes ago, Starlight said:

I didn't realise that so I went googling and went down the internet rabbit hole and then I found this lecture Ben Dov gave in the US on QUANTUM REALITY, TAROT AND PSYCHOMAGIC (which I think might tie in with Lothar Schafer's work? Which I've ordered, btw! Thank you for the recommendation. 🙂 ) 

 

 

 

I know the Tarot decks produced by Waite and Crowley were products of the 19th century western occult tradition (which I know next to nothing about) but I didn't realise the Marseille also has some links to the occult. Is it more along the lines of inner alchemy or is there an older tradition than the Golden Dawn? I've yet to watch the lecture above, so I'm wondering if the Quantum Reality part is the modern explanation of how the Marseille "magic" functioned/s. 

I will have to look at that video later, thank you! I am not surprised that it ties together.

 

(Be warned - most of my reply is off topic. I promise to try and do better from now on 😋)

 

Lothars book has made me jot down so many other books and avenues that I wish to explore or to re-visit (the ones I really want to re-visit are the works by Maslow and Schrödinger. We touched on them when I studied medicine way back when, but I never really saw the big picture. The teacher pretty much said "self actualization... yes, its hard to explain... but its a wholeness.. and yes, well, lets start by focusing on the first steps on the staircase. And when you are dealing with patients - always remember the importance of SOC!" (=Sense of Coherence by Antonovsky) 😄 I also want to read "In the search of the cradle of civilization" where they apparently discuss how certain thoughts, beliefs and understandings seem to be fundamental in the mind of humans and that is why they have arisen in different cultures, all over the world, since the beginning of time - like the thought of Oneness). Its basically just how CG Jung described the collective unconscious, and I do believe that universal archetypes plays a role in most things that we humans create - especially tarot. I don't, however, think that its necessary to go down that route to be a good reader or to understand the TdM but its definitely in line with where I am on my own path at the moment. The bigger picture seem to want to make itself known in everything I do and study. And I am not complaining, I just enjoy the ride 🙂 

 

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11 minutes ago, Raggydoll said:

I don't, however, think that its necessary to go down that route to be a good reader or to understand the TdM 

 

One can be a good card reader without all this. But if one wants to gain a deeper understanding of the Tarot of Marseilles in all its glory and not only as a means for divination, it is essential. All those paths and even more. It would probably take a few lifetimes and some more. There are some areas however that people focus on that I don't think are inherent in the TdM, notably astrology. I think astrology can be added to it if one wants to but it is forcing things a bit.  Contrary to the RWS, there seems to be nothing really substantial to make it necessary to go into this. 

 

I've often said that the Tarot of Marseilles can be like a university if one wishes it to be so. And it's so vast that I don't know where it ends. 

 

Edited to add : In my early days of tarot readings, people would ask me how the Tarot works. I'd shrug my shoulders and say "beats me - probably something to do with quantum physics."

Edited by Marigold
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11 minutes ago, Raggydoll said:

The bigger picture seem to want to make itself known in everything I do and study. And I am not complaining, I just enjoy the ride 

That's exactly where I am, too. While down the internet rabbit warren, I found the Runesoup Podcast with Michael Hughes (about Tarot) who spoke of some books that I already have that I purchased without any thought of connecting them to Tarot! But a lot of what I seem to be interested in right now is all leading back to Tarot. Which I find very interesting! And a bit exciting!!

 

3 minutes ago, Marigold said:

One can be a good card reader without all this. But if one wants to gain a deeper understanding of the Tarot of Marseilles in all its glory and not only as a means for divination, it is essential. All those paths and even more.

Yes, I'm beginning to see that...

Edited by Starlight
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1 hour ago, Starlight said:

Question: Meditations on the Tarot by Valentin Tomberg (pdf copy available here) - relevant to the study of the TdM?

Yes it can be relevant, though I think it can be just as relevant for the RWS (and sometimes even more so because of the Golden Dawn flavor of it all, but that’s just my personal opinion). Did you see the study group of that book that Marigold is running? I’ve been participating a bit but I took a break since Christian Hermeticism is not something that I’m truly interested in anymore. I used to find it incredibly fascinating though, but my path has evolved in a different direction. But I still feel that the ‘perennial wisdom’ that underlies all profound spiritual teachings can shine through any dogma and the fact that I’m not Christian isn’t what is keeping me away. I don’t mind when people quote the Bible (even Lothar does it in his book, along with several other religious or spiritual scriptures). There is definitely many kernels of universal wisdom to be found there. I guess its just the hermeticism bit that feels a bit forced to me. The deep underlying, core teachings are very similar in most significant spiritual teachings, it’s just dressed up differently and made more or less approachable. I think I’ve begun to be more attracted by the sources that are less mystic or secretive and more aimed at actually being useful for as many people as possible. I’m not sure if that made much sense but it’s how I feel. Occultism feels a bit forced and... sometimes a bit pretentious or elitist, to be honest. 

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Ah, thanks for that, @Raggydoll. I didn't realise it was part of the GD system and I should have put two and two together because Tomberg had links to Anthroposophy/Steiner which came just a bit after the GD if I'm remembering correctly. Theosophy/Mme Blavatsky was the precursor.

 

Since reading _R_'s article about the two different approaches to studying the TdM, when I saw the word "Meditations" I just wondered...

 

And thank you for the reminder about Marigold's study group. It had slipped my mind. I'm not in a position to commit to any group studies, but I could lurk for a bit.

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MOT study group is on hold. If someone else takes it up in the meantime, they're welcome. I'm not really running it. I got sort of encouraged to join it by a person who has since "dropped out". I may take up the High Priestess in February when I have more time, but I doubt there will be sufficient interest on TT&Me to pursue it for long. 

 

I didn't see GD stuff in the MOT and if it is I would think this would be incidental. I would have run away as far as my little feet could carry me if I had seen clear evidence of this. I have a deep distrust of the Golden Dawn and their crowd.

 

It's definitely not necessary to read the MOT to understand the TdM. It's a book about Christian Hermeticism and uses the Tarot of Marseilles as it's basis. It's not really a book about the Tarot of Marseilles as most people understand a Tarot book to be.

 

That being said, anyone who reads it will be astounded and amazed. If they can get past their preconceived ideas and prejudices about words like the Christ and such (Christ is just another word for the illumined mind - the Buddha - it's not something reserved for Christians and wasn't invented 2000 years ago.) Also their prejudices against the Bible which is just a record of spiritual consciousness. It has a bad rap that book. 

 

Okay.. I'll put my soap box back under the bed now.

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45 minutes ago, Marigold said:

It's definitely not necessary to read the MOT to understand the TdM. It's a book about Christian Hermeticism and uses the Tarot of Marseilles as it's basis. It's not really a book about the Tarot of Marseilles as most people understand a Tarot book to be.

 

That being said, anyone who reads it will be astounded and amazed.

OK. I'll give it a go after I've gone through the more TdM-oriented resources I already have on my list. :thumbsup:

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It is my firm conviction that one can learn to read the Tarot de Marseille independent of history, esoterica, modern psychology, et cetera.  If one looks at the cards, they are rich in detail and quite clear.   Much of how one learns is dependent on the long-term goal.

 

When I joined the Tarot Association, I felt extremely uneducated.  I had read very little on the subject.   I did not even own a Smith-Waite tarot.  At the time, there were (good) intermediate courses available... but I go back to my first teachers, every time.  

 

If choosing significators, I still use hair colour.   So, my significator would be roi de bâton as I have black hair but with a lot of grey now lol.  I find that is the most neutral method - I know a reader who asks for your job.  I couldn't do that.  

 

In a reading, however, I would just read the roi de bâton as a male colleague, associate, neighbour, a nurse or carer, et cetera.  The characters for me come from pips touching, and I use the traditional temperaments.  

 

There is much information in this thread.  It's one of the best I've seen.  

Edited by leroidetrèfle
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51 minutes ago, leroidetrèfle said:

It is my firm conviction that one can learn to read the Tarot de Marseille independent of history, esoterica, modern psychology, et cetera.  If one looks at the cards, they are rich in detail and quite clear.  

Absolutely. And reading the cards is sufficient for many people and is probably where lies the main interest of people and what draws them to the tarot domain.  

 

I think one can actually learn to read the Tarot of Marseilles without ANY book whatsoever. It could all be done from absolute scratch if one wanted to take the time to do it. 

 

I think a lot of tarot authors are worried about people like Enriquez. Who will buy their books if no-one needs to learn all the other stuff?

 

But for the authors who go beyond just the tarot readings (question/answer) there will always be plenty of space. There's plenty of room. 

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31 minutes ago, Marigold said:

Absolutely. And reading the cards is sufficient for many people and is probably where lies the main interest of people and what draws them to the tarot domain.  

 

I think one can actually learn to read the Tarot of Marseilles without ANY book whatsoever. It could all be done from absolute scratch if one wanted to take the time to do it. 

 

I think a lot of tarot authors are worried about people like Enriquez. Who will buy their books if no-one needs to learn all the other stuff?

 

But for the authors who go beyond just the tarot readings (question/answer) there will always be plenty of space. There's plenty of room. 

Indeed. Growing up, quite a few of the readers I saw were illiterate. Nevertheless they had eyes. 
 

Generally, authors are always concerned with sales. During the 70s - 80s, you had a select few dominating the Anglo market. But that went with the 90s. 
 

 

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I want to comment a bit more on the works of Camelia Elias now that I am finally reading her ‘big book’ (Marseille Tarot - Towards the art of reading). This book was released in 2015 and it was before she adopted the “read cards like the devil” notion that Enrique coined for her in one of his reviews. I read her two later books first and so my first impression was very much colored by that image. I want to now give three examples of how I find her approach - or perhaps more her attitude - very different in the first book compared with the following ones. 

 

So, let’s begin with a short snippet from her first book. She is giving a reading to a woman about a relationship that seem to be in crisis and there are signs that it will fail. Camelia tries to soften the blow and continues to pull more cards in order to give a fuller explanation but also to provide this woman with concrete and constructive things to do in order to try and save the relationship:

 

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Then, let’s compare this with her book “The power of the trumps” that was published two years later (2017). This time it’s a male client that’s asking about his relationship:

 

274C815D-90E0-4671-9101-19F409A99967.thumb.jpeg.e920b04a0b9a20d8ad3578f946d1a1fd.jpeg

 

4DB4274B-C4A0-4EA1-A2EC-FCAD5D8D9531.thumb.jpeg.1ffd0c44b1d4fb1f4b11dd931311b462.jpeg

 

Now, let’s end with an example from her latest book “The Power of the Pips” (2018). Here it’s a female client and the topic is transformation and free will:

 

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50F68B4C-B5E5-4170-84AC-56F69D5B3FC7.thumb.jpeg.89b290b28f80cb21e4bf04d7e37ff0da.jpeg

 

I feel that the change is obvious and I also think it’s unfortunate. I think the attitude makes her examples carry less weight. I definitely feel like it’s an image and it feels silly, to be honest. The same message can be said in many ways. Why opt for the rude or condescending one? So far I much prefer the tone in her first book. I haven’t read all of it yet though and I will comment more when I have. But the difference stood out so much that I wanted to share it. 

 

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39 minutes ago, Raggydoll said:

So far I much prefer the tone in her first book. I haven’t read all of it yet though and I will comment more when I have. But the difference stood out so much that I wanted to share it. 

I’ve only read her first book - the change in tone in the others is quite marked. That would have put me right off. 

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11 minutes ago, Flaxen said:

I’ve only read her first book - the change in tone in the others is quite marked. That would have put me right off. 

Yeah. I listened to a podcast with her on the Rune soup and that's when she said that she quickly claimed the phrase "read cards like the devil" because she saw how marketable it could be. So yes, it seems like its an image and its one that some people will like and others won't. And she will most likely not care either way 🙂

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46 minutes ago, Marigold said:

Why would the 7 of Coins be a troubled purse ??? This bothers me a bit. 

Aha, well, I hope someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but Ms. Elias appears to have, ahem, derived her initial pip meanings from Dawn Jackson's never completed Hedgewytchery system for reading playing cards. As far as I know, only the obliquest of oblique credit is given.

 

Anyway, Ms. Jackson seems to regard seven as a troublesome number. Observe her little cartomantic rhyme:

 

***

An Ace brings beginnings,

And Two gives exchange,

Three shows things growing,

But Four does not change.

Five is the body,

Its health and its stead,

Six shows a path

That the Seeker shall tread. 

Seven brings troubles

That Fate has assigned,

While Eight shows ideas

And thoughts in the mind.

Nine heralds changes,

And Ten is the end,

While Kings are the symbols

Of power and men.

Queens are the emblems

Of women and truth,

A Knave is a message,

A girl, or a youth. 

***

 

As usual, and in similar lyrical fashion, coins are 'money, wealth, means, and ends.'

 

And thus the seven of coins (well, diamonds, actually):

 

***

A troubled purse or financial problem.  Profits down.  The means will not reach the end sought.  Clairvoyance and foretelling.  The talent of seeing and speaking true.  Psychism in general. 

***

 

Ta-dah! [Q.E.D.]

 

[Source]

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