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Unconditional Love and the Tarot’s SIX cards

September 20, 2010

Today’s entry in The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo ended with this quote:

Unconditional love is not the hole in us that receives the dirt, but the sun within that never stops shining.

Since it mentions the sun within, this quote reminds me of the sixth Sephirah of the Kabbalistic Tree of Life. This Sephirah (Tifarah) is associated with the Sun and it emphasizes love, beauty, self sacrifice and service. Being the sixth Sephirah, it is also related to the Six cards in the Tarot’s Minor Arcana, so I thought I would come up with an Unconditional Love meaning for each of those cards today.  Here is what I came up with.

Six of Wands -- Tarot of the MastersSix of Wands:
Show support and enthusiasm for the success of others, even when your own efforts have not yet culminated in success.
Consider how easy it is to be jealous of the accomplishments of other people when success has eluded you.  It takes a bit of unconditional love to overcome that and to be genuinely happy for someone who has succeeded when you have not.Six of Cups -- Tarot of the Masters

Six of Cups:
Love the unlovable.
You know who I mean!  We all have someone like that in our lives.  But again, remember that this doesn’t mean giving them a pit within us for their dirt, but rather it’s about providing sunlight to brighten the shadows in their life.

Six of Swords -- Tarot of the MastersSix of Swords:
Lend a sympathetic ear to someone with a problem.
Just listen without judging and without trying to solve anything unless you are asked for that sort of help. Often just having someone who will listen to our problems is a wonderful help. Perhaps that’s why people will tell some of their most intimate secrets to bartenders and strangers on an airplane: No judgments, no “solutions” and no consequences.Six of Coins -- Tarot of the Masters

Six of Coins:
Give a coin along with a smile and a kind word to a homeless person.
This doesn’t mean merely sending a check to a charitable organization, although you can do that too. An important part of charity — and of the message of this card — is the personal touch that goes with your generosity: the smile and the kind word. That’s also what makes this advice so challenging, and thus so rewarding to you too.


Note that a while back I wrote another spiritually oriented post about the Tarot’s Sixes, and I’ve written ones about the Six of Coins and Random Acts of Kindness and one about the Six of Cups and Paying Love Forward.  I am coming to the conclusion that they are the most spiritual of the numbered cards in the Tarot deck!

  1. Love it and what a great quote to start the post with. Thanks for sharing. BB Idun

    • Thanks, Idun.
      I loved that quote because it addresses the most comment question people have about the concept of Unconditional Love — “What about if you’re in an abusive relationship?” Well, UL doesn’t mean taking someone’s crap. I call that “doormat love.”

  2. Thanks James, this is a great post! I have a situation where I am in close quarters with someone rather irritating on a regular basis. For some reason, I decided that the only way to make things bearable was to be intentionally nice to her and now it no longer feels like a chore. It is amazing the difference a change in mindset makes. I guess that is 6 of Cups in action:-)

  3. Hi James,

    I loved this post, but was a little surprised by the 6 of Cups suggestion. Really wondered how you got from that card to someone unlovable. Thinking about unconditional love, what came up for me with the 6 of Cups is supporting someone with their dream, even if you think it’s ridiculous. It’s their dream, so help give them the emotional strength to follow it for as long as they want. I guess this is one of the many joys of tarot, we all see different ideas in it, even when following a particular concept.

    Many thanks for your ideas, even when I don’t use them fully, I always enjoy thinking about them.

    • Hi Chloe
      Thanks for your thoughts about the 6 of Cups.
      What I was getting at (or where I was coming from) with that one when considering unconditional love is this:
      I see the 6 of Cups as loving everyone, like universal love. (Consider how children can be so totally open to loving anyone.) Then I thought that out of everyone in your life, there is always someone (or a few someones) who is really hard to love, so that’s who it is most rewarding to learn to love. If you can love someone who you find annoying or abrasive or whatever, that’s gotta be pretty unconditional!

  4. James, I had never thought about the 6s from this point of view! This is very interesting – thank you for sharing! The 6s were often cards that confused me, now I can add some depth to my interpretation of them during my readings :o)

  5. James, this is a beautiful entry, a lovely journey through the sixes. I’ve always struggle myself with associating the Sephirah with the Minors. I like how you handled all of them, but particularly the Wands. And the Swords. Oh, I cannot pick. They are all good.

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom!


    • Thanks, Barbara. Glad you liked the post.
      I’ve found that the more I think about the SIX cards, the more I love them. I’m certainly not an expert at associating the Kaballah and the Tarot, but I do get how Tifarah (however one may spell it) relates to these cards.

  6. beautiful thoughts…touches my heart

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  1. Pithy Tarot meanings — Six of Cups « James Ricklef's Tarot Blog

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