How to connect and link tarot cards is a question most tarot teachers are regularly asked by students. It can be very frustrating to turn over cards in a spread only to discover you cannot make a single connection between any of them. We all love to get the obvious card combinations that carry very definite associations. Take for instance, the Reversed Two of Cups, the Three of Swords, The Five of Cups and The Star in a spread. Well this tells its own sorry tale of a probable broken relationship, followed by heartbreak and angry words, the grieving period and then the return of faith and hope in life and love again. It is awful now, but you will survive and recover. However, mostly we are not gifted such obvious story-lines in the cards but have to go in search of them instead. Connecting and linking cards is all about finding at least one thread and working from there. As you pull on the thread, more threads will reveal themselves and you just start to reel them in. You must be able to pull a story together out of all the threads and this is where the challenge begins for those who find it does not come naturally. Over the coming weeks and months I will be addressing the area of connecting and linking cards regularly. I am heavy into writing for the course, but I will make the time for this as I go.
To kick-start the ball rolling, I pulled three cards randomly from the deck with the intention of pulling a story together. I did not ask any question, instead wanting my creative imagination take over. Of course, I based the story on the actual card meanings, Elements and numbers, but did not decide if it would be about a relationship, career or general stuff. I didn’t study the cards for too long once they were turned over, but started writing whatever came to mind. The interpretation or story below was typed in one go from beginning to end. I went back over it to correct spellings, but left the rest as is. At times I drifted and then came back to the story. When I re-read it, I had forgotten a lot of what I had written, and thought, Oh, did I write that? The hardest part is starting. Once you have that first thread, you keep pulling.
What is important to remember before you read the story below, is that this is just one story-line I could have used. It was the first one that came to me today. It does not mean that every time these three cards appear in a reading, I will attach the same story. It is a not a definitive interpretation of these three cards together. It is simply my musings on their connections and creating a believable story to go with them on this occasion.
Connecting and Linking The Seven of Cups, The Seven of Wands, The Page of Pentacles
The card that stands out immediately for me is the Seven of Wands. It is not the only Seven, for we also have the Seven of Cups, but it is far more forceful and active in comparison to its Cups counterpart. And then there is the Page of Pentacles who stands still while focusing intently on the Pentacle in his hand, his prize possession, his goal, his gift, his ambition. The figure in the Seven of Cups also stands motionless, he too caught up in his thoughts and musings, not fully aware of his immediate surroundings. The figure in the Seven of Wands seems to be exerting far more energy than the figures on either side. It is as if it is left to him to save the day, to step in and sort things out.
We know that 7 is a number of challenge, of introspection, of reflection, of tenacity and victory. It is also a card of luck. The Seven of Cups deals with the challenge of choice, of temptation, and of distraction. It is also a card of reflection and introspection as it brings with it soul-searching with a need to identify one’s needs and true self. It brings confusion as to these needs and desires. One is not so sure of the direction they head in when the Seven of Cups appears. It is a multiple-choice card which in itself presents numerous challenges. All options seem appealing and attractive, yet many are superficial, transient, and shallow in their offerings. All that glitters is not gold, but the external packaging may make it look as so. The figure is consumed with what is on offer before him and his imagination runs away with it. The Cups drift by on clouds. The grey colouring of these clouds would suggest mental confusion. He is not thinking clearly. He sees only what he wants to see, what he imagines he sees, or perhaps what others intend him to see. The Cups and their contents may not be based in reality at all. There is no representation of the realm of earth. The figure depicted may be floating in the sky along with the clouds. Perhaps he is in dream state, not fully present, daydreaming, drunk or drugged. Whereas the other cards show the figures planted on earth, with landscape in the background and sky above, the Seven of Cups appears to be of another realm altogether. The figure is depicted in black, his shadow dream-self, his subconscious and unconscious state. He may not be consciously present but lost in a world of make-believe, fantasy, and of course wishful thinking. He dreams of acquiring all the Cups and the contents they hold, but unless he can successfully manifest them in the physical, they will stay but figments of his imagination, nothing more. The Seven of Cups can be a card of procrastination, of talking the talk but not being able to walk the walk. He can dream and wish all he likes but he cannot simply wish them into existence. He may see the Cups as real, as tangible opportunities, but when he reaches out to grab hold of one, his hand passes right through, disturbing the vaporous mist that supports the illusion.
The figure in the Seven of Cups, may be aware of their illusory nature, but entertains their presence nonetheless. He identifies them as all the things he would have for himself, if his life were different, if he had the luck that others take for granted, if he was younger perhaps, or if he had the resources. He likes to conjure these images up regularly and think of all the what ifs. He could be wealthy, successful, popular, handsome or sexy. He could own that big house, live the life he deserves, if only things were different. He buys his lotto ticket every week, and in the days before the draw, he tunes into his dream and crosses his fingers, hoping that this time he will be lucky, this time his numbers will come up and he can have all that his heart so desires. Each week his numbers fail to appear, and the promise of his golden Cups and all they contain dissipate in return. He will trudge on until the next week when once more he awaits luck and the dream life to be delivered to his door. He wants it all, but may not want to put in the hard graft to achieve it. He may be living in la, la land, away with the fairies. He may feel a sense of entitlement. A fortune-teller once told him he would win the lotto or come into a substantial sum of money, and he has held onto this prediction ever since, planning the life he would lead when his luck turned.
In the Seven of Cups, I see the figure as the young child who dreams of becoming famous. He sings or performs in front of his mirror each night. His family and friends tell him how wonderfully talented he is. He entertains great notions of being discovered or talent-hunted. He keeps his dream close to his heart as he grows, waiting for his big break, thinking it only a matter of time before he is discovered and set on the road to fame and fortune. He wants to be in the boy/girl band as they appear to have the life he so desires. He cannot wait to be mobbed by adoring fans and travel the world in style and luxury. That would be the life. Whenever he is asked what he wants to be when he grows up, he has a big spiel prepared.
The Seven of Cups sets the scene for fantasy, wishful thinking and dreaming. It is the realm of the imagination and the birthplace of all creativity. However, the Seven of Cups is abstract in nature, it is not real, not formed in the physical. It may never develop into anything. The figure may be better at building castles in the sky instead of building them on solid ground. When built in the sky, he can rebuild them as often as he pleases without much effort on his part. He may change his mind from day to day about which castles he prefers. He may re-arrange them regularly as his mood changes. Today’s castle of choice may easily become obsolete and unwanted by tomorrow. His mind flits between his castles, with no pressure to retain consistency in choice. He may become easily distracted, neglecting previous castles that once held so much promise for him. While he dwells on his castles, life could pass him by. He is but a window shopper, dawdling and drooling over the items on display, but without the resources to buy them. He can look but he can’t touch. They are out of his reach and unattainable, but he may as well dream here as in bed. He must work with what he has. Or, he must work hard to get what he wants.
The question is, exactly what is it that he wants? The shroud-covered figure in the Seventh Cup holds the answer, yet it does not look as attractive as the contents that spill over in the other six Cups. This is because, the shrouded figure represents his potential, the potential that exists in all of us. It remains inactive until we awaken it. However, potential is not always easy to realise as it usually involves focused application, hard work and sustained effort. The figure would rather it not be so hard and possibly looks for an easy way out or believes it will just come into existence itself without input from him. The bling and glitter of the surrounding Six Cups keep him occupied. Once they provide enough of a distraction, he can ignore the shrouded figure and his duty to it.
As we glance over to the Page of Pentacles we find a very different scene and atmosphere. The Page too is consumed with something he observes. The difference is, his focus is on just one subject. His energy is channeled into the one Pentacle he holds aloft. His gaze does not wander. He appears to be in awe of what he holds. His demeanor is one of respect and admiration. The sum of all his ambition and dreams is tightly contained within this small pentacle. He handles it with kid gloves for it is worth is mighty. The Pentacle is a representation of what or who the shrouded figure in the Seven of Cups could become if there was less distraction and more focused concentration. The Page of Pentacles is of the Element of Earth – steady, hard-working, committed and dedicated. There are no grey clouds of confusion to be found about this Page. The sky is brilliant yellow, suggesting strong positive mental clarity. He is totally sure and convinced of what he wants and how is going to achieve it. He does not believe in building castles in the air unless there is a hope or chance of physically building them too. He is aware that before anything can become manifest, it must first originate as a spark of imagination or inspiration.
The Page of Pentacles is a realist, a pragmatist and not a dreamer. Dreams have their place, but only up to a certain point. What purpose is there in a dream unless you are prepared to chase after it. The figure in the Seven of Cups watches as his dreams drift by, he cannot touch or feel them as they have no substance in this state. It is the Page of Pentacles who draws to him the dream of his choice and solidifies it. He can hold it in his hand because he has breathed life into it. He is making his dreams come true through focused application. For the Page of Pentacles this could be anything. He may be the committed student, the young business person or entrepreneur, the builder or farmer, the singer, musician or actor. His hands look strong and capable in comparison to the delicate fingers of the figure in the Seven of Cups. He is used to hard work, not afraid of the toil towards success and achievement. He too wants what the Seven of Cups figure wants; the riches, the big house and car, the fame, the acclaim, but he knows that it is up to him to achieve it. He may buy his lotto ticket each week but doesn’t sit back waiting for his numbers to come up. Instead he is out and about, busy making his own luck just in case. He stands the same chance of winning like everyone else, but he has a contingency plan in place. It would be nice to win and live the life, but he is not going to count on it. If he wants the good things in life, he will have to work hard for them and not expect them to be given to him.
The young actor, singer or musician, now goes out and knocks on the right doors. He insists people take notice of him, takes him seriously. He practices daily, not every once in a while, has a solid, well-rehearsed repertoire or portfolio to showcase. He is consistent and professional. He works methodically on each piece. There may be numerous takes before he is happy, taking his time with editing and cutting before release. Here is the boy/girl-band member or young star who foresakes the excess of partying when fame comes calling, preferring to concentrate on excelling in his/her work. The Page of Pentacles does not wish to become a passing castle in the sky, something that floated in on the breeze, only to float back out on the next. He plans to stay around, and so will want to lay down strong foundations.
The Page of Pentacles appears calm and in control of his mind, body and emotions. He is ready to get to work and knows what that involves. In the Seven of Wands he shows what he is made of. He rolls up his sleeves and gets stuck in. He is determined to get to the top, to realise his goals, his ambition, regardless of what they might be. To be on top of his game, he must stay strong, determined and focused. He must strive to become better than the best, to stand out from the crowd. He must rely on his own strength to see him through. He must do this for himself, learn as he goes from direct experience. In the Seven of Wands we see the reality of the dream of the Seven of Cups. The reality is far removed from the fantasy where it all seemed so amazing and fantastic. The figure in the Seven of Cups now has to face the harsh real world in the Seven of Wands, where he realises that it is actually much harder than he expected. All his needs and desires come with a price. The dream of the Seven of Cups may not seem as glamorous or attractive anymore. The Seven of Wands shows us the behind the scenes side of it, where all the hard work must be done to bring the external facade of the Seven Cups into true existence. The Page of Pentacles rises early every morning to make the most of the day, to wring out of it as much as he can to further propel him towards his ultimate goal. The Seven of Cups figure may dawdle in bed, musing on life and putting off until tomorrow, what he should be up and doing today. The Page of Pentacles demonstrates his tenacity in the Seven of Wands, but even at that he has his work cut out for him. He is not alone in his quest. Others want what he wants and are hot on his heels. He must keep them at bay and hold his own. He must make his own magic and bend the universe to his needs.
The threes cards together could show the combined force that is needed for the manifestation of any dream. Entertaining numerous dreams is distracting. It dilutes the individual dream’s potential by the need to share coveted space. Dreams must be prioritised, with those most important to the seeker placed top of the list. With a condensed approach to the multiple choice dream scenario in the Seven of Cups, the Page of Pentacles can channel concentrated energy, and package them into realistic goals that are achievable and viable. The Page of Pentacles may hold onto the condensed energy of the goal, nurturing it until ready for launch. It is the Seven of Wands who releases the energy into activity where it will be put to the test, defended and protected. It is the only way to go. The Seven of Wands cares little for those who hold onto their dreams or procrastinates. He is buzzing with adrenaline and needs action.
In the Seven of Wands, we find the boy/girl band, the singer, musician, actor who has achieved the fame once sought. The roaring fans hunt them down, the paparazzi endless in their pursuit, the stories circulating in the media intrusive and demeaning. The online trolls determined to take them down, the critics who take delight in running them down. The up and coming stars who seek their downfall or to replace them. It is a dog eat dog world. The Seven of Wands bursts the magic bubble as the figure in the Seven of Cups is shocked into rude awakeness. This is it, this is what you wanted so badly.
In the midst of all this the Seven of Wands stands on guard between the Page of Pentacles and The Seven of Cups. The Wand-bearing figure is aware of the need for total concentration and commitment from the Page of Pentacles, yet he is also aware of the growing potential for distraction in the Seven of Cups. It may feel like a constant battle to keep the Page of Pentacles on the straight and narrow, keep him intent on his studies or practice. He may be under the influence of others who seek to lure him away in the Seven of Cups. The Seven of Wands must strike each attempt down as he knows it is the only way forward for the Page and ultimate victory. He must keep his feet firmly planted on the ground and allow him take no short-cuts or entertain silly pie-in-the sky notions. Not on his watch anyway!