Outline Of Divinatory Meanings

(As taught by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn)

THE FOOL. Idea, thought, spirituality, that which endeavors to rise above the material (That is, if the subject which is enquired about be spiritual). If the Divination be regarding a material event of ordinary life, this card is not good, and shows folly, stupidity, eccentricity and even mania, unless with very good cards indeed. It is too ideal and unstable to be generally good in material things.

THE MAGICIAN. Skill, wisdom, adaptation. Craft, cunning, etc., always depending on neighboring cards. Sometimes occult wisdom.

THE HIGH PRIESTESS. Change, alteration, increase and decrease. Fluctuation (whether for good or evil is shown by cards connected with it). Compare with DEATH and THE MOON.

THE EMPRESS. Beauty, happiness, pleasure, success, also luxury and sometimes dissipation, but only if with very evil cards.

THE EMPEROR. War, conquest, victory, strife, ambition.

THE HIEROPHANT. Divine Wisdom. Manifestation. Explanation. Teaching. Differing from, though resembling in some respects, the meanings of THE MAGICIAN, THE HERMIT and THE LOVERS. Occult wisdom.

THE LOVERS. Inspiration (passive and in some cases mediumistic, thus differing from that of THE HIEROPHANT, THE MAGICIAN and

THE HERMIT). Motive power, and action, arising from Inspiration and Impulse.

THE CHARIOT. Triumph, Victory, Health. Success, though sometimes not stable or enduring.

STRENGTH. Courage, Strength, Fortitude. Power not arrested in the act of Judgment, but passing on to further action. Sometimes obstinancy. Compare with JUSTICE.

THE HERMIT. Wisdom sought for and obtained from above. Divine Inspiration (but active, as opposed to that of THE LOVERS. In the mystical titles, this with THE HIEROPHANT and THE MAGICIAN are the three Magi.

WHEEL OF FORTUNE. Good fortune and happiness (within bounds), but sometimes also a species of intoxication with success, if the neighboring cards bear this out.

JUSTICE. Eternal Justice and Balance. Strength and Force, but arrested as in the act of Judgment. Compare with STRENGTH. Also, in combination with other cards, legal proceedings, a court of law, a trial at law, etc.

THE HANGED MAN. Enforced sacrificed. Punishment. Loss. Fatal and not voluntary. Suffering generally.

DEATH. Time. Age, Transformation. Sometimes death destruction, but rarely the latter, and only if it is borne out by the cards with it. Compare also with also with THE HIGH PRIESTESS.

TEMPERANCE. Combination of Forces. Realization. Action (material). Effect either for good or evil.

THE DEVIL. Materiality. Material Force. Material temptation; sometimes obsession, especially if associated with THE LOVERS.

THE TOWER. Ambition, fighting, war, courage. Compare with THE EMPEROR. In certain combinations, destruction danger, ruin, fall.

THE STAR. Hope, faith, unexpected help. But sometimes also, dreaminess, deceived hope, etc.

THE MOON. Dissatisfaction, voluntary change (as opposed to DEATH). Error, lying, falsity, deception (The whole according to whether the card is well or ill-dignified, on which it much depends).

THE SUN. Glory, Gain, Riches. Sometimes also arrogance. Display. Vanity, but only when with very evil cards.

JUDGMENT. Final decision. Judgment. Sentence. Determination of a matter without appeal on its plane.

THE UNIVERSE. The matter itself, Synthesis. World. Kingdom. Usually denotes the actual subject of the question, and therefore depends entirely on the accompanying cards.

ACE OF WANDS. Force, strength, rush, vigor, energy. It governs according to its natural various works and questions. It implies natural as opposed to Invoked Force.

TWO OF WANDS. Influence over another. Dominion. Boldness, courage, fierceness, shamelessness, revenge, resolution, generous, proud, sensitive, ambitious, refined, restless, turbulent, sagacious withal, yet unforgiving and obstinate according to dignity.

THREE OF WANDS. Pride and Arrogance. Power sometimes. Established force strength. Realization of hope. Completion of labor, success of the struggle. Pride, nobility, wealth, power, conceit.

FOUR OF WANDS. Settlement. Arrangement completed. Perfected work. A completion of a thing built up with trouble and labor. Rest after labor. Subtlety, cleverness, mirth, beauty, success in completion. Reasoning faculty, conclusions drawn from previous knowledge. Unreadiness, unreliable and unsteady, through over anxiety and hurriedness of action. Graceful in manner.At times insincere.

FIVE OF WANDS. Strife. Quarrelling. Fighting. Violent strife and contest, boldness and rashness, cruelty, violence, lust and desire, prodigality and generosity, depending on whether well or ill-dignified.

SIX OF WANDS. Gain and Success. Victory after strife, success through energy and industry, love, pleasure gained by labor, carefulness, sociability and avoidance of strife, yet victory therein. Also insolence, pride of riches and success, etc. The whole depending on dignity.

SEVEN OF WANDS. Opposition, sometimes courage therewith. Possible victory, depending on the energy and courage exercised; valour, opposition, obstacles, difficulties, yet courage to meet them, quarrelling, ignorance, pretence, wrangling and threatening, also victory in small and unimportant things, and influence over subordinate. Depending on dignity as usual.

EIGHT OF WANDS. Swiftness. A hasty communication. Letter, message. Too much force applied too suddenly. Very rapid rush, but too quickly passed and expended. Violent but not lasting. Swiftness. Rapidity. Courage, boldness, confidence, freedom, warfare. Violence, love of open air, field sports, gardens, meadows. Generous, subtle, eloquent, yet somewhat untrustworthy. Rapacious, insolent oppressive. Theft and robbery, according to dignity.

NINE OF WANDS. Great strength. Power. Health. Recovery from sickness. Tremendous and steady force that cannot be shaken. Herculean strength, yet sometimes scientifically applied. Great success, but with strife and energy. Victory preceded by apprehension and fear. Health good, and recovery, yet doubt. Generous, questioning and curious, fond of external appearances, intractable, obstinate.

TEN OF WANDS. Cruelty and malice towards others. Oppression. Overbearing strength. Revenge. Injustice. Cruel and overbearing force and energy, but applied only to selfish and material ends. Sometimes shows failure in a matter, and the opposition too strong to be controlled arising from the person's too great selfishness at the beginning. Ill-will, levity, lying, malice, slander, envy, obstinancy, swiftness in evil, if ill-dignified. Also generosity, self-sacrifice, and disinterestedness when well-dignified.

PRINCESS OF WANDS. A young woman with gold or red hair and blue eyes. Brilliance, courage, beauty, force, sudden in anger or love, desire of power, enthusiasm, revenge. Ill-dignified, superficial, theatrical, cruel, unstable, domineering.

PRINCE OF WANDS. A young man with yellow hair and blue or grey eyes. Swift, strong, hasty, rather violent, yet just and generous, noble and scorning meanness. If ill-dignified, cruel, intolerant, prejudiced and ill-natured.

QUEEN OF WANDS. A woman with red or gold hair, blue or brown eyes. She is steady and resolute, with great power to attract. Kind and generous when not opposed. When ill-dignified, she is obstinate, revengeful, domineering, tyrannical and apt to turn suddenly against another without a cause.

KING OF WANDS. A blond or red-haired man with blue or hazel eyes. Active, generous, fierce, sudden and impetutous. If ill-dignified he is evil-minded, cruel, bigoted, brutal.

ACE OF CUPS. Fertility, productiveness. Beauty. Pleasure. Happiness.

TWO OF CUPS. Love. Marriage. Pleasure, Warm friendship. Harmony of masculine and feminine united. Harmony, pleasure, mirth, subtlety, sometimes folly, dissipation, waste and silly action, according to dignity.

THREE OF CUPS. Plenty. Hospitality, eating, drinking. Pleasure, dancing, new clothes and merriment. Abundance, plenty, success, pleasure, sensuality, passive success, good luck and fortune. Love, gladness, kindness and bounty. According to dignity.

FOUR OF CUPS. Receiving pleasure, but some slight discomfort and anxieties therewith. Blended pleasure and success. Success and pleasure, approaching their end. A stationary period in happiness which may or may not continue. It does not show marriage and love so much as the previous symbol. It is too passive a symbol to represent perfectly complete happiness. Acquisition and contention; injustice sometimes. Some drawbacks to pleasure implied.

FIVE OF CUPS. Disappointments in love, marriage broken off, unkindness from friends (whether deserved or not is shown by the cards with it). Loss of friendship. Death or end of pleasures. Disappointment. Sorrow and loss in those things from which pleasure is expected. Sadness. Deceit, treachery, ill-will, detraction, charity and kindness ill-requited. All kinds of troubles from unexpected and unsuspected sources.

SIX OF CUPS. Beginning of wish, happiness, success, enjoyment. Commencement of steady increase, gain and pleasure, but commencement only. Also affront, defective knowledge, and in some instances, contention and strife arising from unwarranted self-assertion and vanity. Sometimes thankless and presumptuous. Sometimes amiable and patient, according to dignity.

SEVEN OF CUPS. Lying, deceipt, promises unfulfilled, illusion, deception. Error, slight success, but not enough energy to retain it. Possible victory, but neutralized by the supineness of the person. Illusionary success. Deception in the moment of apparent victory. Lying error, promises unfulfilled. Drunkenness, wrath, vanity, lust, fornication, violence against women. Selfish dissipation. Deception in love and friendship. Often success gained, but not followed up. Modified by dignity.

EIGHT OF CUPS. Success abandoned. Decline of interest in anything. Temporary success, but without further result. Things thrown aside as soon as gained. No lasting even in the matter at hand. Indolence in success. Journeying from place to place. Misery and repining without cause. Seeking after riches. Instability according to dignity.

NINE OF CUPS. Complete success. Pleasure and happiness. Wishes fulfilled. Complete and perfect realization of pleasure and happiness almost perfect. Self-praise, vanity, conceit, much talking of self, yet kind and loveable, and may be self-denying therewith. Highminded, not easily satisfied with small and limited ideas. Apt to be maligned through too much self-assumption. A good, generous, but maybe foolish nature.

TEN OF CUPS. Matters definitely arranged and settled as wished. Permanent and lasting success, happiness because inspired from above. Not sensual as Nine of Cups, "The Lord of Material Happiness," yet almost more truly happy. Pleasure, dissipation, debauchery. Pity, quietness, peace-making. Kindness, generosity, wantonness, waste, etc., according to dignity.

PRINCESS OF CUPS. A young woman with brown hair and blue or brown eyes. Sweetness, poetry, gentleness and kindness. Imagination, dreamy, at times indolent, yet courageous if roused. Ill-dignified she is selfish and luxurious.

PRINCE OF CUPS. A young man with brown hair, grey or brown eyes. He is subtle, violent, crafty and artistic. A fierce nature with a calm exterior. Powerful for good or evil, but more attracted by the evil, if allied with apparent Power or Wisdom. If ill-dignified, he is intensely evil and merciless.

QUEEN OF CUPS. A woman with gold-brown hair and blue eyes. She is imaginative, poetic, kind, yet not willing to take much trouble for another. Coquettish, good-natured, underneath a dreamy appearance. Imagination stronger than feeling. Very much affected by other influences, and therefore more dependent upon good or ill-dignify than most other symbols.

KING OF CUPS. A man with fair hair and blue eyes. Graceful, poetic, Venusian, indolent, but enthusiastic if roused. Ill-dignified he is sensual, idle, and untruthful.

ACE OF SWORDS. Invoked as contrasted with natural Force; for it is the invocation of the Sword. Raised upward, it invokes the Divine Crown of Spiritual Brightness. But reversed it is the invocation of demoniac force, and becomes a fearfully evil symbol. It represents therefore very great power for good or evil, but invoked. Also it represents whirling force and strength through trouble. It is the affimation of justice, upholding Divine authority; it may become the Sword of Wrath, Punishment and affliction.

TWO OF SWORDS. Quarrel made up and arranged. Peace restored, yet some tension in relationships. Action sometimes selfish and sometimes unselfish. Contradictory characteristics in the same nature. Strength through suffering. Pleasure after pain. Sacrifice and trouble, yet strength arising therefrom. Peace restored, truth, arrangement of differences. Justice, Truth and untruth. Sorrow and sympathy for those in trouble, aid to the weak and oppressed, unselfishness. Also an inclination to repetition of affronts if once pardoned, of asking questions of little moment, want of tact, often doing injury when meaning well. Talkative.

THREE OF SWORDS. Unhappiness, sorrow, tears. Disruption, interruption, separation, quarrelling, sowing of discord and strife, mischief-making, sorrow, tears, yet mirth in evil pleasures, singing, faithfulness in promises, honesty in money transactions, selfish and dissipated, yet sometimes generous, deceitful in words and repetition. The whole thing according to dignity.

FOUR OF SWORDS. Convalescence, recovery from sickness, change for the better. Rest from sorrow, yet after and through it. Peace from and after War. Relaxation of anxiety. Quietness, rest, ease and plenty, yet after struggle. Goods of this life abundance. Modified by the dignity as in the other cases.

FIVE OF SWORDS. Defeat, loss, malice, spite, slander, evil-speaking. Contest finished, and decided against the person, failure, defeat, anxiety, trouble, poverty, avarice, grieving after pain, laborious, unresting, loss and vileness of nature. Malicious, slandering, lying, spiteful and talebearing. A busy-body and separator of friends, hating to see peace and love between others. Cruel yet cowardly, thankless and unreliable. Clever and quick in thought and speech. Feelings of pity easily roused but unendurable. As dignity.

SIX OF SWORDS. Labor, work. Journey, probably over water. Success after anciety and trouble. Selfishness, beauty, conceit, but sometimes modesty therewith. Dominion, patience, labor, etc., according to dignty.

SEVEN OF SWORDS. In character untrustworthy, vacillation. Unstable effort. Journey, probably over land. Partial success, yielding when victory is within grasp, as if the last reserves of strength were used up. Inclination to lose when on the point of gaining through not continuing the effort. Love of abundance, fascinated by display, given to compliment, affronts and insolences, and to detect and spy on another. Inclined to betray confidences, not always intentional. Rather vacillating and unreliable, according to dignity as usual.

EIGHT OF SWORDS: Narrow or restricted. Shortened Force. Petty. A Prison. Too much force applied to small things, too much attention to detail, at expense of principal and more important points. Ill-dignified, these qualities produce malice, pettiness, and domineering qualities. Patience in detail of study, great ease in some things, counterbalanced by equal disorder in others. Impulse, equally fond of giving or receiving money, or presents. Generous, clever, acute, selfish, and without strong feeling of affection. Admires wisdom, yet applies it to small and unworthy objects.

NINE OF SWORDS. Illness. Suffering, Malice. Cruelty, Pain. Despair, cruelty, pitilessness, malice, suffering, want, loss, misery. Burden, oppression, labor, subtlety and craft, lying, dishonesty, etc., according to dignity.

TEN OF SWORDS. Ruin. Death. Failure. Disaster. (Almost a worse symbol than the Nine of Swords). Undisciplined warring force, complete disruption and failure. Ruin of all plans and projects. Disdain, insolence and impertinence, yet mirth and jolly therewith. Loving to overthrow the happiness of others, a repeater of things, given to much unprofitable speech, and of many words, yet clever, acute and eloquent, etc., depending on dignity.

PRINCESS OF SWORDS. A young woman with light brown hair and blue eyes. Wisdom, strength, acuteness, subtleness in material things, grace and dexterity. Ill-dignified, she is frivolous and cunning.

PRINCE OF SWORDS. A young man with dark hair and dark eyes. Full of ideas and thoughts and designs, distrustful, suspicious, firm in friendship and enmity, careful, slow, over-cautious. Symbolizes Alpha and Omega, the Giver of Death, who slays as fast as he creates. Ill-dignified; harsh, malicious, plotting, obstinate, yet hesitating and unreliable.

QUEEN OF SWORDS. A graceful woman of grey hair and light-brown eyes. Intensely perceptive, keen observation, subtle, quick, confident, often perserveringly accurate in superficial things, graceful, fond of dancing and balancing. Ill-dignified: cruel, sly, deceitful, unreliable, though with a good exterior.

KING OF SWORDS. A man with dark brown hair and dark eyes. He is active, clever, subtle, fierce, delicate, courageous, skillful, but inclined to domineer. Also to overvalue small things unless well-dignified. Ill-dignified, deceitful, tyrannical and crafty.

ACE OF PENTACLES. Material gain, labor, power, wealth, etc. It represents materiality in all senses, good and evil, and is therefore in a sense illusory.

TWO OF PENTACLES: Pleasant change. Visit to friends. The harmony of change. Alternation of gain and loss, weakness and strength, ever varying occupation, wandering, discontented with any fixed condition of things; now elated, now melancholy, industrious, yet unreliable, fortunate through prudence of management yet sometimes unaccountably foolish. Alternatively talkative and suspicious. Kind yet wavering and inconsistent. Fortunate in journeying. Argumentative.

THREE OF PENTACLES. Business, paid employement. Commercial transactions. Working and constructive force, building up, erection, creation, realization, and increase of material things, gain in commercial transactions, rank, increase in substance, influence, cleverness in business, selfishness, commencement of matter to be established later. Narrow and prejudiced, keen in matter of gain. Modified by dignity. Sometimes given to seeking after the impossible.

FOUR OF PENTACLES. Gain of money and influence. A present. Assured material gain, success, rank, dominion, earthly power completed by leading to nothing beyond. Prejudiced, covetous, suspicious, careful and orderly, but discontented. Little enterprise or originality. Altered by dignity as usual.

FIVE OF PENTACLES. Loss of profession. Loss of money. Monetary anxiety. Loss of money or position. Trouble about material things. Toil, labor, land cultivation, building, knowledge and acuteness of earthly things, poverty, carefulness. Kindness, sometimes money regained after severe toil and labor. Unimaginative, harsh, stern, determined and obstinate.

SIX OF PENTACLES. Success in material things. Prosperity in business. Success and gain in material undertakings, power, influence, rank, nobility, rule over people. Fortunate, successful, just and liberal. If ill-dignified may be purse-proud, insolent from success or prodigal.

SEVEN OF PENTACLES. Unprofitable speculation and employment. Little gain for much labor. Promises of success unfulfilled. Loss of apparently promising fortune. Hopes deceived and crushed. Disappointment. Misery, slavery, necessity and baseness. A cultivator of land, and yet is loser thereby. Sometimes it denotes slight and isolated gains with no fruits resulting therefrom, and of no further account, though seeming to promise well. Honorable work undertaken for the love of it, and without desire of reward. According to dignity.

EIGHT OF PENACLES. Skill, prudence, cunning. Over-careful in small things at the expense of the great. "Penny-wise and pound foolish." Gain of ready money in small sums. Mean, avariciousness. Industrious, cultivation of land, hoarding, lacking in enterprise.

NINE OF PENTACLES. Inheritance. Much increase of money. Complete realization of material gain, inheritance, covetousness, treasuring of goods and sometimes theft and knavery. All according to dignity.

TEN OF PENTACLES. Riches and wealth. Completion of material gain and fortune, but nothing beyond. As it were, at the very pinnacle of success. Old age,slothfulness, great wealth, yet sometimes loss in part, and later heaviness, dullness of mind, yet clever and prosperous in money transactions.

PRINCESS OF PENTACLES. A young woman with rich-brown, or red-brown hair, and dark eyes. She is generous, kind, diligent, benevolent, careful, courageous, perservering. If ill-dignified she is wasteful and prodigal.

PRINCE OF PENTACLES. A young man with dark brown hair and dark eyes. Increase of matter, increase of good and evil, solidifies, practically amplifies things, steady, reliable. If ill-dignified, animal, material, stupid. In either slow to anger, but furious if roused.

QUEEN OF PENTACLES. A woman with dark hair and dark eyes. She is impetuous,kind, timid, rather charming, great-hearted, intelligent, melancholy, truthful, yet of many moods. Ill-dignified, she is undecided, capricious, foolish, changeable.

KING OF PENTACLES. A man with dark eyes and dark hair. Unless very well dignified he is heavy, dull, and material. Laborious, clever and patient in material matters. If ill-dignified he is avaricious, grasping, dull, jealous, not very courageous, unless assisted by other symbols.


Colors on the Tree of Life (from 777)

assiah yetzirah briah atziluth

White, flecked gold White brilliance White brilliance Brilliance 1

White, flecked red, blue, and Blue pearl grey, like mother- Grey Pure soft blue 2

yellow of-pearl

Grey, flecked pink Dark brown Black Crimson 3

Deep azure, flecked yellow Deep purple Blue Deep violet 4

Red, flecked black Bright scarlet Scarlet red Orange 5

Gold amber Rich salmon Yellow (gold) Clear pink rose 6

Olive,flecked gold Bright yellow green Emerald Amber 7

Yellowish brown, flecked white Red-russet Orange Violet purple 8

Citrine, flecked azure Very dark purple Violet Indigo 9

Black rayed with yellow As Queen Scale, but flecked Citrine, olive, russet, and Yellow 10

with gold black

Emerald, flecked gold Blue emerald green Sky blue Bright pale yellow 11

Indigo, rayed violet Grey Purple Yellow 12

Silver, rayed sky blue Cold pale blue Silver Blue 13

Bright rose or cerise, rayed Early spring green Sky blue Emerald green 14

pale green

Rich brown Deep warm olive Deep indigo Red orange 16

Reddish grey inclined to mauve New yellow leather Pale mauve Orange 17

Dark greenish brown Rich bright russet Maroon Amber 18

Reddish amber Grey Deep purple Yellow, greenish 19

Plum colour Green grey Slate grey., Green, yellowish 20

Bright blue, rayed yellow Rich purple Blue Violet 21

Pale green Deep blue-green Blue Emerald green 22

White, flecked purple, like Deep oHve-green Sea green Deep blue 23


Livid indigo brown (like a Very dark brown Dull brown Green blue 24

black beetle)

Dark vivid blue Green Yellow Blue 25

Cold dark grey, approaching Blue black Black Indigo 26


Bright red, rayed azure or Venetian red Red Scarlet 27


White, tinged purple Bluish mauve Sky blue Violet 28

Stone colour Light translucent pinkish Buff, flecked silver-white Crimson (ultra violet) 29


Amber, rayed red Rich amber Gold yellow Orange 30

Vermilion, flecked crimson and Scarlet, flecked gold Vermilion Glowing orange scarlet .. 31


Black, rayed blue Blue black Black Indigo 32

Every student should paint a Tree of Life. The diagram used for meditation and ritual work has the Sephiroth in the colors of Briah and the Paths in the colors of Atziluth. The preparation of a painting of all four worlds (one above the other) is also recommended. Work is best done on a smooth wooden panel, prepared with gesso. The diagrams should be painted in either oil or artist's acrylic.

Notes on color: The best possible background color for the Tree is metallic gold. This is available in acrylic.

Confusion may exist about some of the colors of Malkuth in Yetzirah and Briah, i.e., citrine, olive, russet and black. The first three are the colors of Hod, Tiphareth and Netzach tinged with the Purple of Yesod. Citrine (Yellow + small amount of violet) is at the top; Olive (Emerald Green + violet) is at the right; Russet (Orange + violet) is at the left; black is at the base.

Colors and Sounds on the Tree of Life

The following color-sound correspondences are taken from the Golden Dawn notebook of Alan Bennett, teacher of both Fortune and Crowley. These correspondences were elaborated upon by Paul Case who developed a system of healing and of invocation still taught by the BOTA.




tarot KEY



Bright pale yellow















Emerald Green

























Yellow, Greenish





Green, Yellowish










Emerald Green





Deep Blue





Green Blue



































Glowing Orange-scarlet








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