Tarotcard 4 of cups: Spoiled or Neglected?

Tarotcard Four of Cups is a card that I always thought was a bit “out of place”. I never really thought about why I had that feeling. The meaning of the card was clear to me. However, something was always gnawing at me somewhere inside, but I never had the time or patience to investigate this. Cups aren’t really my suit anyway ;-). But the other day something happened that reminded me of this card. So I dived in and tried to look at the four of cups with a pair of ‘fresh eyes’.  

The keywords and meanings that are generally assigned to this card are (among others):

  • Not wanting to see what you’re offered
  • Wanting something that isn’t available
  • Being dissatisfied
  • Acting Spoiled, ‘adolescent’ behaviour

Waite also mentions “Aversion” and “disgust.” Literally, he writes in ‘Pictorial Key’:

“A Young man is seated under a tree and contemplates three cups set on the grass before him; An arm issuing from a loud offers him another up. His expression notwithstanding is one discontent with his envronment. Divinatory meanings: Weariness, disgust, aversion, imaginary vexations, as if the wine of this world had caused satiety only; another wine, as if a fairy gift, is now offered the wastrel, but he sees no consolation therein. This is also a card of blended pleasure. Reversed: Novelty, presage, new instruction, new relations”

A.E. Waite – The Pictorial Key to the Tarot (1911)

What does Waite mean by “blended” pleasure? Does he mean that you have too much of something that makes you ‘fed up’? The inverted meaning – which I never see as ‘reversed’ but more as the other end of the spectrum – doesn’t seem to make any sense to me.

Continue reading “Tarotcard 4 of cups: Spoiled or Neglected?”

The Mystical Wine Press and Ten of Pentacles

Pentacles 10 has been showing up a lot lately. A while ago I took a good look at the card again, and only then realized that the symbol on the old man’s cloak is not really explained anywhere. I asked the question on the socials and there were a number of theories and suggestions:

Pentakels 10  from a deck where the symbol on the cloak of the old man is enlarged
  1. It is a fertility symbol (pomegranate and sprites)
  2. It is an astrological symbol: two crescent moons and the (split of the ram?) sign
  3. It is an Alchemical emblem
  4. It is a (family) coat of arms
  5. It’s not a symbol, just decoration

When I heard someone say on You Tube that he thought the symbol on the old man’s cloak was a wine press, I thought that was very far-fetched. The man in question had found a picture of a medieval wine press that looked exactly like the symbol on the cloak however, so I browsed the internet to learn what the wine press could symbolize.

The ‘Mystical’ wine press is Christian symbolism. Some images show Jesus in the wine press, where he himself is pressed along with the grapes. This symbolizes that Jesus sacrifices himself for the people. But more often I read that most people see ‘The Mystical Winepress’ as a symbol for ‘the end of time’ or the ‘day of judgment’ where God destroys the unbelievers.

Luckily, a more humanistic interpretation also exists: the winepress symbolizes the spiritual strength needed to endure suffering. Maybe a bit like ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’?

various depictions of 'Jesus in the magical winepress' as well as photo's of actual antique winepresses
Various depictions of ‘Jesus in the magical winepress’ as well as photo’s of actual antique winepresses

I also tried to search for an image of an antique wine press that looks like the symbol on the old men’s cloak. But I can’t find it. There is a lot to be found about the Symbolism of the grapes, but not about this particular symbol.

Since Waite and Smith where not the kind of people that just ‘doodled’ some cards (every penstroke has a meaning!), I think there’s definitely some symbolism hidden in it. But what?

Please let me know if you have any ideas about this.