Divination as a meditative art
Some of the cards that I like the most are the ones that remind me of important people in my life, and the Magician reminds me of...myself. It's come up a handful of times in readings as the card that's supposed to represent where I am or what I'm capable of, and it's an appropriate card for a tarot reader.
The Magician represents the drive to find unity between the material and the spiritual or heavenly, depending on how you choose to interpret it. This card usually includes symbols of the four suits - wands, cups, swords, and coins - to show the Magician's adeptness with all aspects of the natural world.
To temper something is to dilute it, or harden it, or both. Temperance (the card) bridges the gap between Death and The Devil, between giving it all up and indulging in material excess. It's about balance, and about getting comfortable with contradiction.
Not gonna lie, I don't have as much attachment to the meaning of the Queen of Wands (courage, independence, energy) as I do to the fact that this is the card that reminds my mom of herself. She's an Aries and she has a black cat, so it's appropriate. She's also one of the reasons I got into tarot in the first place.
Something has been lost, but there is still something left over. Three cups have been spilled, but two are still standing. Maybe this loss comes with a new inheritance, but it's not what you expected. Whatever was lost, it has left an empty space behind that's almost too great and terrible to look at.
I love the subtleties of this card. It's nostalgia, with all the baggage that comes with that. Happy memories, but also reminiscence on what has been lost. The Six of Cups also positions itself in a place of naivety, where new relationships and new knowledge can bloom.
Swords, my beloved. I love a depressing card. The Eight of Swords represents a mental prison of one's own design. An easy shorthand is the refusal of the call in the hero's journey. There are unquestioned beliefs here that are designed to protect you from being hurt, reactions constructed without external input or internal reflection, but they also keep you in bondage. The good news is that it's not irreversable.
I love a depressing card! To desecrate something is to violate its sanctity or remove its sacred purpose. This is the kind of desolation the Ten of Swords deals in. To face the Ten of Swords means acknowledging the way that trauma breaks and reforms the life around it in its own image. This card doesn't represent death, at least not your own - that would be too simple. Like death, though, and like the ancient concept of hubris and nemesis, there is something inevitable about it.
Although it isn't a face card, this is another one that reminds me of someone important to me - my roommate. To me, it represents some of their core values: home, legacy, love, and generosity. It also reminds me of The World, albeit with a more material angle. It represents the connections between people and the natural world, the bonds and interdependence that create a kind of sacred order.