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What’s cynical in the Tarot?

January 30, 2015

I recently wondered which card people would associate with the attribute of cynicism.

Pithy RWS Tarot Page of Swords (Reversed)First, I considered that I might find this from the back door. I see the Page of Swords as being naïve and trusting, and the opposite of that can be cynicism. So I thought, maybe we might think that the Page of Swords reversed is cynical. Or perhaps there is another Swords court card that would work? The Queen perhaps? I sometimes see her as someone who has gained wisdom through painful or difficult life experiences. But that sort of path to wisdom can take us to cynicism instead.

Another way of approaching this is to say that cynicism is the opposite of optimism, which is something that I associate with the Sun card. So what might be the opposite of that card in order to find a card for cynicism? Pithy RWS Tarot MoonThe Moon, perhaps? We could certainly say that the Moon says we are seeing the dark side of things.

So I asked people on my Facebook page what they thought about this and a lot of people there suggested the Seven of Swords. (One person posted an image of the Seven of Swords from the Osho Zen deck, which does work well for this meaning!) I liked that suggestion. I can see how the Seven of Swords might be cynical. Since he’s devious, he probably thinks everyone else is too (we do tend to assume other people are like us) and you have to be a bit cynical in order to justify cheating like this card indicates.

Osho Zen Seven of Swords So those are a few suggestions for a card that indicates cynicism:

The Page of Swords reversed
The Moon
The Seven of Swords

But if any of my readers here have other suggestions, please leave a comment with your thoughts.  For example, does anyone think the battle-weary Nine of Wands may become cynical?

Nine of Wands -- Tarot of the Masters.


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