Gay Tarot - 2 of Cups


Just quoting what I already posted in the first thread:
telcontar said:

I wanted to introduce another card in the discussion. As the Lovers already turned up, the 2 of Cups of the Gay Tarot is very interesting, too, I think. As so many cards of this deck...

A man in the clothes of an bushido-student is standing in font of a mirror and tentatively reaches out for his reflection. What strikes me is his shadow: it doesn't behave like normal shadows, having the shape of the whole person that casts it but is only half- reaching from the man's toes to the mirror and the same thing on the other side of the mirror. Where is the head of the shadow? Do the two shadows merge where am and reflection cannot? And what does this mean? It has some lunar quality about, too, I think :)

But the symbolism of the picture is enough to discuss even if you leave the shadow aside. Two persons of the RWS have become one person and his reflection. That makes it a card of loving yourself, I think, and of the perfect lover being a good mirror and matching you. The old thesis that homosexuality derives from narcissm comes to my mind, too, but I hope that's obsolete by now. - Beware, there are still Freudians out there :joke:

As the whole deck is about accepting your feelings and respecting them and the feelings of others, my preferred interpretation would be reaching out for your own love. Taking responsibilty for your own actions nad care for yourself- in spite of your darker sides.

That's my interpretation, looking forward to read yours! :)

The card brought one of my favourite songs to my mind and I'm still startled how well it fits; it's "The Man in the Mirror" from a german band called "The Seer":

Man in the mirror

All the nights without end
all the days without a start
Weird hours that last eternities
All the one way streets
that lead to their beginning
to bring the same old stories back

The man in the mirror whispers my name
for your life no one else will
no one else will
The man in the mirror whispers my name
for your life no one else will
no one else will take the blame

We will jump over hills
we will break down the barriers
I'll take you on a long long ride
I'm the one you can count on
I'm the day and the night
I'll be with you on the other side

- I think that's a great song about making friends with yourself. Though the feeling of being captured that it carries is more like the RW-version *thinking* Well, maybe it is a little in this one, too. Looking in a mirror has something narrow about it, too, I think.


Just wanted to pop in and say that self-examination is certainly more emphasized in the card rather than relationship with others. Or, as telcontar says, relationship with oneself.

Since I tried to make the numbered minors relate to their correspondingly-numbered majors, all the 2 cards will relate to their major card, which is The Intuitive (High Priestess in other decks), so that's one reason why the card focuses on self-relationship rather than relationship with others. Also, although I didn't realize this at the time, I was probably unconciously influenced by the 2 of Worlds in the Voyager deck, which is titled "Reflection."

Of course, other things might be seen in the card as well. For example, he might be practicing a presentation in the mirror.

-- Lee


2 of Cups

The more I read, the more I can't wait for this deck! I am generally rather conservative in terms of my tarot interpretations; I'm very attached to the RWS standard. But the variations I have been seeing so far in this deck seem to be the kind that deepen rather than fundamentally change the traditional meanings I am familiar with.

:T2C I love this idea of a man looking at his reflection in the mirror for the 2 of cups. And frankly, I think it would be silly to deny that there is quite a bit of narcissism involved in being gay, Freud or no Freud. I mean, gay culture in America seems to foster narcissism to a great extent (actually, just about all culture in America does that). Yet at the same time, there is quite a bit of self-hatred as well. I think narcissism covers both extremes of self-love and self-hate. I think of it as mainly a preoccupation with oneself rather than the original sense of being in love with oneself (as the mythological Narcissus). A person who thinks he is the ugliest person in the whole world is just as narcissistic as one who thinks he's gods' gift.

It's somehow ironic that the mirror is most often used as a metaphor for seeing aspects of oneself that exist below the surface (because it allows you to see yourself from an angle that is otherwise physically impossible), when in actual fact a mirror can only reflect what's visible and external, and to me it actually accentuates and emphasizes the physical surface of things rather than their "true nature." "Beauty is only skin deep." Loving yourself can be *because of* what you see in a mirror or *in spite of* what you see in a mirror.

What the mirror does do, I think, is open up a disconnect between external appearance and internal awareness. Any combination is possible: you can love what you feel on the inside and hate what you see on the outside, or you can hate what you feel on the inside and love what you see on the outside, or hate both, or love both. The mirror opens up the gap between the inner and the outer consciousness. That's why narcissism is such a critical part of psychological development. I'm not devoted to Freud, but he was definitely on the right track about a lot of things; when a child begins to understand what it means to see one's own reflection in a mirror, consciousness is transformed in a very radical and rather metaphysical way. The French psychologist Jacques Lacan made a whole career around the concept of narcissism, the mirror, and the gulf between the Self and the Other.

Sooo.... what does this all have to do with the 2 of cups? I guess to me, as far as the image of this card goes (which I have not actually seen yet.... can't wait, can't wait), there's still a very strong connection between it's symbolism of gazing at oneself in a mirror and the "traditional" 2 of cups symbolism of two people gazing at each other. Self-love is an important, but quite often overlooked, prerequisite for truly loving another. If you don't love yourself, that lack is going to be projected in some way onto the object of your love, and that love will, on some level, always be the love of something else, something that you feel you lack and need to find in someone else.

And just to be confusing, I also believe that loving another person is, actually, about finding something that's missing, that in the love of another person one feels "completed." But finding someone who has something you don't does not have to imply that you yourself are somehow incomplete or inadequate. No matter how complete you are in yourself, no matter how satisfied and whole you are, another person will always, invariably, inescapably, have something you don't: their own perspective. In this way, loving another person is very much like looking into a mirror, except that the other person reflects back to you far more than your mere physical appearance.

OK, I think I'm starting to ramble now, because now I'm starting to think about how the mirror itself, as a physical object, does not necessarily reflect "purely" what is facing it, but can actually change it; consider a mirror in a fun house that can stretch, condense, or otherwise distort what you see. Another person is like that, too; they don't reflect you in a completely unmediated fashion, and no two people will reflect you identically. But that's just too much for me to expound on in a single post, and already this is growing to be more like a lecture (that's my Aries Saturn aspecting my Gemini Mars and Mercury), so I'll just stop now and let someone else talk. Telcontar? (Or can we call you Strider? ;) )


Hi Elentir.

Well, if your ancestors come for you, you probably have to let them chose any of your many names ;) Do as you like. I personally even prefer Strider.

It's somehow ironic that the mirror is most often used as a metaphor for seeing aspects of oneself that exist below the surface

"Below the surface" and Narcissos freshly in my mind made me think of the certainly first mirror of human faces: water. And water symbolizing the unconscious is a symbol even I, not the best friend of standardised meanings have internalized. That's probably why people still expect from mirrors to show more than the obvious. Moreover, there's the bad Queens mirror in Snowhite (?), telling her about her beauty, there is Alice, walking through the mirror into another world... There's a lot hiden behind mirrors. Which brings me back to the question: where is the rest of the shadow!? But as you don't have the card in front of you, that's difficult. When will you get the deck?

And I DO think that mirrors often reveal things. Like all the grey hair you suddenly spot on your 30th birthday and you never had before. *g* We are all so carefully building our shining (or chilling!) self-images that really looking into a mirror can be a shocking experience. "That's nor me", you're tempted to say. But you are. And you have to get along with it. Somehow Dorian Gray comes to my mind, too.

I even thought about the Bible and the rule that you should love others like you love yourself. Something very wise for once. That you can't love others if you don't love yourself.

And your post made me think of the creation myth, that we were all perfect once and then separated and since then looking for our other half. I still like this idea, especially as these beings were not only split up in pairs of man and woman but also pairs of two men and two women...

Too much to think to make the thoughts march in neat little rows :( But I think you have dipped your cup in a deep pond here, Lee :)


You may be interested in my original plans for the Fool, the Devil, and Judgement, before I changed them to what they are now.

The Fool: A 17-year-old looks at himself in a mirror. He is wondering who he is and what life has in store for him.

The Devil: The young man from the Fool, older, sits again at his mirror, this time looking down and clutching his head in despair. Self-hatred is a problem for many minorities, including gay people.

Judgement: The man from the Fool, a little older than he was on the Devil card, sits once more at his mirror. This time, in the only depicition of magic in the Majors, he reaches into the mirror and takes the hand of his reflection. After the struggle of growing up as an outsider in society, self-acceptance is an empowering moment.

-- Lee


Those sound fascinating; not having my deck yet, I can't compare them to the final Fool and Judgment cards.

I ordered my deck through Tarot Garden and have asked that it be one of the ones autographed by Lee :cool:, so he knows better than I when it might arrive!


Well, probably several weeks at least. Tarot Garden has to get them in (sometime in October, I hope), then Jeannette has to mail me the cover cards and I have to mail them back to her, then she can ship the autographed decks.

Waiting makes the heart grow fonder... :)

-- Lee


Hi Lee.

Thanks for shareing your original plans for those cards. I think the ideas are still there- but I love the Judgement as it is now. I think it is still an improvement to the first idea which I like, too.

I like the symbol of the mirror more and more and I wonder why it doesn't show up in other decks more often. It is in both LOTR - decks with Gollum as The Fool at a pond, in the moonlight, thinking about himself and his options.



Did the final deck end up using a figure that recurs from one card to another, as you describe in your original plans for the Fool, the Devil, and Judgment?

As a quick aside, I noticed in the Tarot Garden interview images that the 8 of wands has no human figure in it at all; nor any wands, for that matter. I was wondering if there are many cards like this in the deck.

Telcontar, if this question looks like it might warrant it, perhaps you'd want to begin a new 8 of Wands thread?


Apart from the Aces there are only two cards without people in the deck: the Eight of Wands (Eight flying geese) and the Three of Swords (Three umbrellas in a puddle).

As the 8 of Wands was one of my favourite cards the moment I saw it I'll open a thread on it right away though there has been no reaction to the 5 of coins so far :)

I don't think there are any recurring persons apart from the pattern that the persons from the Majors reappear on every corresponding numbered card. So someone who looks like II The Intuitive is on every suits II. I still haven't made up my mind about it...