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Ask KnightHawk — Mean People

July 1, 2010

Dear KnightHawk,
I’ve been seeing this energy a lot around me and other people in my life, so I hope this question might help many people, not just myself:  “What is the best course of action when I see people doing mean things?”
A Nice Person

Dear Nice Person,
Thank you for this great question.
Here are the cards I dealt for your reading:

. The Sun -- Tarot of the Masters . Tarot of the Masters -- Queen of Cups . Six of Cups from Tarot of the Masters

Card 1 (Major Arcana Card for Spiritual advice) – The Sun card
Card 2 (Court Card for a trait to develop or emphasize) – Queen of Cups
Card 3 (PIP card for a suggested action) – Six of Cups

A quick look at the cards here yields an obvious initial message: All of the cards here counsel strongly against responding to meanness with more of the same. Also, it is significant that the two cards of “worldly” advice (the Minor Arcana) are Cups, i.e., water cards.  This calls to mind a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr.  When asked why he believed violence and hatred could be overcome with nonviolence, he said, “Because you can’t fight fire with fire.  You have to fight fire with water.”

Now on to the specific cards in this reading …

First, the Sun card. I see optimism in this card, an indication of trying to see the best in people in order to give them something to live up to. It also urges you to stay positive yourself and not to let yourself get dragged down to the darkness. In my Tarot of the Masters deck, we see Apollo, who, besides being the Sun God, was also associated with a person’s “inner light.” So another implication of this card is that when you are confronted with the darkness of someone doing something mean, stay in touch with your own inner light, which is the only way you can dispel shadows.  Or to use another quote from MLK, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

This card also suggests “a new dawn,” and a specific application of that implication is to allow your relationships (even those with people who does mean things) to start fresh and with a clean slate every day. By letting go of the emotional baggage of yesterday, you allow today to shine with forgiveness and new opportunities.

The next card is the court card that is most indicative of compassion. In addition, the dove in my ToM version of the Queen of Cups is a symbol of gentleness and peacefulness.  So this queen urges you to deal with mean people with a compassionate heart. When someone is mean, it is a sign of their own emotional pain and suffering, and it is your compassion that can heal them, not your anger or judgment. This truly is the only way to change their behavior. Fighting with mean people only feeds their anger and pain, which makes them meaner. In short, then, this card urges you to manifest your own internal Queen of Cups and be more gentle, peaceful, and compassionate with mean people.

The Six of Cups suggests a couple of things you can do.  One is to try to find common ground with the person who is being mean. Perhaps spend time with them (when they aren’t being mean) to get to know them better; you can better understand where this person is coming from when you know them better. Or try to empathize with this person;  try to understand how their feelings about something—their own fears and feelings of being wronged—is making them act badly. Another thing that you might do is make a peace-offering with this person. Doing that doesn’t mean you’re saying, “What you did was okay;” it says that you are willing to build a bridge. It’s amazing how something as simple as a small act of kindness can disarm a mean person. Finally, since the 6s of the Tarot are about reciprocity, this card urges you to realize that we all do things now and then that seem mean to someone else, and realizing that, you may be able to find empathy for a mean person. And empathy is a necessary beginning of healing.

By the way, both the Queen of Cups and the Six of Cups are cards that I have previously discussed on this blog, in case you want to read more about them to see what else they may have to say to you.

Finally, here are a couple of affirmations from my book, Tarot Affirmations, that can help you deal with mean people.

The first one is based on the Queen of Cups:
I intuitively understand and empathize with other people.

The second one works well with the Six of Cups:
I let love flow through me and lead me to happiness.

I hope this helps you deal with whatever difficult people there are in your life.

Bright Blessings,


“Ask KnightHawk” Readings:  If you would like to get an “Ask KnightHawk” reading from me, click on the Ask KnightHawk tab at the top of the page for more information. And if you would like to read a collection of KnightHawk readings for mythical, fictional, and historical figures, you will love my books Tarot Reading Explained and Tarot: Get the Whole Story.

Tarot Deck:  The deck used for this reading was my own Tarot of the Masters which you can only purchase from me. 

Private Readings:  Note that I offer private readings that are more in-depth.  They can be on the telephone, via Skype, using email, or in person (if you are in the Los Angeles area.)  For more information about that, see my reading services page.

Archives:  To see past “Ask KnightHawk” readings, see the KnightHawk Readings Index page.

Disclaimer: A Tarot reading is not a substitute for medical, psychological, financial, or legal counseling.  For such advice, please consult a qualified professional. The information provided in a Tarot reading is not legally binding and the Tarot reader assumes no legal liability for any damages, losses, or other consequences of any client decisions or actions, subsequent to, or based on, this service.

  1. WOW WOW WOW. This was so powerful, James. Thank you for doing this and for helping us see things with empathy and compassion. This was beautifully done.

    I look forward to more of your “Ask Knighthawk” readings. This was beautiful.

  2. Nice job on the reading. You are very insightful with the cards. I look forward to more readings.

  3. Davina permalink

    fantastic. A great question and one that I can certainly refer to when I am faced with similar questions or issues. I have never really appreciated how powerful the quotes of MLK were. Timeless in their application and so compassionate. Your reading / intepretation was so empowering. Will definitely be watching this thread with interest. With just a 3 card spread you are showing how much wealth of information can be forthcoming.

  4. Nice reading. If only this path of action was easy to take! When people are cruel, it brings out the warrior in those of us who desire a world of kindness and compassion.

    Being compassionate with mean people is not an easy road but like Ram Dass says: “Treat everyone you meet like God in drag.”

    • Theresa – No one ever said the path to enlightenment would be easy! 😀
      PS: Love the Ram Dass quote. Thanks!

  5. Karen Borusiewicz permalink

    KnightHawk has landed! Love your way of placing meaning to the cards and really enjoyed your post James. I think I need to get my KnightHawk books out again and re-read them!!

  6. Susan Mc permalink

    What a coincidence 😉 that “meanness” was an issue for me just this last week. I was the one accused of being “mean” and my response was to say something else… mean-er. Of course, I then went home in tears because someone had called me “mean.” We Sag’s think the world should appreciate our HONESTY–we’re not being “mean.” Since then, I have had a lot of inner conversations with myself and yesterday I saw the person that I had this misunderstanding with and we both had moved into a more civil and actually kind method of talking to each other. I really appreciated the insight you gave me via this reading (about someone else!) as it has given me a way to view these confrontations in the future and get closure with this one. Yes, this IS a Homeowner’s Association matter so there WILL be other confrontations I am sure. 😉

    • Hi Susan – Yes, as I mentioned in the reading, we all do things sometimes that other people think are mean. Knowing that can, perhaps, help us deal with other people’s meanness with more compassion and understanding. Glad this helped.

  7. Thanks everyone!
    I’m pleased to see how well this new feature has been received in so short a time, both in terms of the great responses like these and for the fact that I’ve already gotten about a dozen reading requests, enough for a couple of weeks worth of posts. (And here I was afraid that I might not get enough, or any requests!)

  8. This is such a treat! I have told my friends and hope you hear from them.

    I saw a mean person in action the other day and my compassion went straight to the “victim”, I did not spare a kind thought for the mean one.

    • Hi Helen,
      Yes, it’s easy to have compassion for the “victim” and very hard to have compassion for the “mean one” even tho’ that is part of the healing solution.
      And thanks for spreading the word about my blog!

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