The Pictorial Key to
the Tarot of the King
of Cups in Tatters
By James W. Revak



StrengthStrength.  A woman, over whose head broods a fifty-pound dumbbell.  She is Strength personified.  This Arcanum implies that you will soon fail to remove a fur ball from your cat’s mouth.  However, to understand the more profound aspects of Strength, contact your Inner Teacher.  If you are under the care of a psychiatrist, in psychotherapy, or taking Prozac, Ritalin, meth amphetamine, or similar medication, obtain permission from your health care provider before attempting this.  Finally, despite the ravings of Waite and his Golden Dawn cohort, the correct number of this Key was, is, and always will be eleven.

The Hanged ManThe Hanged Man.  This card symbolizes supreme selfless sacrifice, something which you know nothing about (unless you are a Jewish mother).  Some say, with some justification, that it depicts, in part, the highly initiated adept, Soror Galina Vishnevskobratsova, the first ballerina to throw Prudence to the wind, and sacrifice the health of her toes by dancing on point. Thus, these commentators call this Key Princess of the Tortured Toes.  They are correct—albeit on their dance floor.

DeathDeath.  If you are under eighty years old: Know that Death rarely means literally death.  If you are over eighty years old: Know that Death rarely means literally death, on the other hand. . . .  If ill-dignified: The reports of your death have definitely not been exaggerated.

TemperanceTemperance.  She is called the Good Angel of the North, wears a scintillating emerald on her forehead, and fears not the Evil Crone of the West.  This card implies that you will soon travel over the bridge of Iris where bluebirds fly.  On a baser level, it tells you that you will soon meet a tall, dark bartender.  If ill-dignified: He/she will spill your drink.  Interestingly, Temperance was the soul card of both Judy Garland and Al Capone.

The DevilThe Devil.  “Come On Baby, Light My Fire!” is truly the motto of this card.  It also carries three secret (until now) esoteric names: Mighty Lizard King, Lord of Great Force, and Ruler of the Belfries.  Contrary to the ravings of deranged Neopagans he is not the Horned One, Pan, or Lord of the Forest, who encourages you to explore your Goddess-given sensual side.  Don’t be fooled, Daughter/Son of Earth!  He is a disgusting, evil, fat, ugly demon—period.  This card implies that you are a crude, sex-starved animal which constantly satisfies its base urges.  If ill-dignified: You are a crude, sex-starved animal which never has the opportunity to satisfy its base urges. And that’s a damned shame!  Special note: Some say that the demons chained to the Devil’s pedestal depict Waite and his Pixie.  We are inclined to agree.

The TowerThe Tower.  Occult explanations attached to this card are meager and mostly disconcerting; therefore, We will make something up.  Here goes.  In the lowest sense, this card intimates that under no circumstances should you attempt to duplicate Ben Franklin’s very famous and very stupid experiment.  However, in the highest sense this is one of the most revealing cards of the corrected deck.  If you steadfastly inspect it with spiritual eyes, you will learn much about the grave perils of using Waite’s uncorrected deck or relying solely on his writings concerning Tarot.  In fact, the crown pertains to a certain virtue overthrown by Waite when assessing his fellow Tarotists.  Daughter/Son of Earth, know that pride goeth before the fall.

The StarThe Star.  It has been said truly that the motto of this card is “Every Dog Is A Star”.  We agree.  On other, more pretentious planes, false prophets have called this hot babe the “Great Mother”.  (She doesn’t look like any mother which We’ve ever met.)  But I digress.  Back to fortune-telling.  If you are a man: The Star implies that you will soon get it on with a hot naked babe under huge blazing stars.  If you are woman: You will soon find yourself naked under huge blazing stars where you will get it on with a hot stud.  For both genders: You will soon take LSD and ride waves of pure bliss in the Sea of Binah where you just might meet the real Great Mother.  (Please make sure you have a return ticket.)  If you’re gay or lesbian: We encourage you to modify the preceding and any similar divinatory meanings found in this book to suit your fantasies, preferences, or orientations; the corrected Tarot is a very inclusive Tarot.  Besides, you’re not going to tell Us that the Page of Cups is all man.

The MoonThe Moon.  The all-purifying brilliance of the full Moon illuminates a cooked lobster while a stray dog and wolf serenade Queen Luna in her naked splendor.  Many commentators attribute this Key to Pisces for some idiotic reason.  Yet, verily we remind you, Daughter/Son of Earth: the Moon is the Moon is the Moon.  Follow Our advice: life is complicated enough; stick to correspondences which are simple and stupid.  Of greater import, an ancient Celtic commentary (the very same which explicates the Celtic Cross) knowingly says with regard to this Arcanum: “One small step for a lobster, one giant step for lobster-kind.”  Daughter/Son of Earth, contemplate this truth: we are all the lobster.  On a more mundane level, this card implies that you will soon dine at Red Lobster (groan!) or other tacky seafood restaurant.  If ill-dignified: In your next life you will again frequent Red Lobster—but as a lobster.  And, yes, the lobsters are cooked alive.

The SunThe Sun. “Look, Ma, No Hands!” is truly the esoteric motto of this Arcanum.  Waite writes, that the child is “mounted on a white horse and displaying a red standard.”  (Yes, he really does say this!)  We conclude that he must have never spoken to his printer; the horse is usually a dingy gray; and the banner, a drab orange (yuck!).  Naturally, We have made appropriate corrections.  On a more profound level, Daughter/Son of Earth, be trusting as the babe shown here, and the Sun will come out tomorrow.  Be trusting as a babe and throw your sunglasses away.  Be trusting as a babe and sunbathe every day. Note well: Ignore the preceding divinatory meanings if you live within eighty degrees of the equator or under the ozone hole over Antarctica.

JudgmentJudgement.  You will attend a concert in the twinkling of an eye, one which will earn a standing ovation.  Among high initiates this card carries additional significance, but it is fruitless to enter into it in an introductory work of this kind.  Yet, you would not be unwise to study the following formula long taught by the Hidden Church, in which much of great value may be discovered concerning the Grand Mysterium, Great Work, and whether you will get that promotion at work: Dies irae, dies illa, solvet saeclum ex favilla teste David cum Etteilla.  Initiates, musicologists, and Catholics baptized prior to Vatican II know well of what We speak.

The WorldThe World. You will soon win a baton-twirling contest.  Or, you will paint the town red and dance into the wee hours.  Or, you will soon experience the Beatific Vision.  These views cannot be harmonized.  However, more importantly, this card teaches that you are a steward of Mother Earth’s resources; do not buy disposable diapers, Styrofoam cups, or gas-guzzling sports utility vehicles under any circumstances.  If ill-dignified: The World ends tomorrow; do what thou wilt.  Interestingly, this was the soul card of Isadora Duncan, who, like the figure here, had a passion for dancing nude and, unfortunately, wearing long scarves.

Copyright © 2000 James W. Revak.  All rights reserved.  Version 1.0 (4/9/00).