Tyldwick - Ten of Cups


Seeing the cabinet filled with various containers (cups, pitchers, teapots, vases, etc.) in this card reminded me of a visit I made to see my grandmother in the nursing home years ago. She took me to see a quilt that hung on her friend's wall across the hall. Each square marked some part of the woman's life: her diploma, a wedding picture, symbols of her career, beloved pets, children and grandchildren, hobbies and friends. Like the cabinet filled with the containers, it was a testament to the emotional peaks in her life. It marked a life of emotional fulfillment, a life blessed by many experiences, challenges and people. The quilt squares and containers are symbols of acknowledgement of lives well lived. Yet the quilt and cabinet are memorials of a sort, put on a wall and in a cabinet as future guidance for those whose lives or relationships are just beginning. The race has been run, and the finish line has been crossed; now it is time for new runners to take their places at the starting line. On your mark, get set...



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I had an interesting, somewhat random reaction to this card when I used it in a writing exercise today. I saw the "treasured items" in the cabinet as being idealized, almost worshipped in a sense--they were beautiful, but they weren't being allowed to actually fulfill their intended function on a regular basis. Instead, they were so precious that they were kept under glass...and yet, there's something profoundly sad about that to me. Their value was in their beauty alone, but these aren't art objects--they're all tools that were made to be used and should be appreciated for that purpose as much as for some arbitrary, idealized standard of perfect.

For me, it was a reminder that the fairytale "perfect" happy ever after is something to work at and with and towards, not something to be put on a pedestal or behind glass if you're lucky enough to achieve it.


My wife's great-grandmother had a china cabinet like this, full of heirloom pieces that are just "for show"... or only to be used "if the Queen of England comes over" as Monica says in an episode of Friends. So for me this antique furniture with the floral wallpaper is a perfect symbol for domesticity; the comforts and satisfactions (or strain and conflict) of family life, especially multi-generational relationships.

There's a challenge from this card to consider how you value your physical possessions (or interact with the world in general). Are they merely trophies to be locked away and admired for their nostalgic value, or functional objects to be taken out, touched, and potentially broken? The stark black-and-white checkerboard pattern reinforces the duality of this decision. Sterile and safe or useful and vulnerable? You can't have it both ways!