You will die knowing that your legacy is secure, or at least you think it is. It may not be. What have you done!?!



Placement: The Minor Arcana



Ten golden cups sit on a rainbow over a rural family of four who are happy and, in some versions, dancing. The fields are green. The family’s house looks cozy. In some decks, the Ten of Cups card does not feature a rainbow, perhaps because the sky in the background is clear and blue and rainbows rarely appear in such conditions. This card in antique decks, such as the one in the featured image above, has no rainbow, no family, no sky and no farm. You will have to imagine that all of these details are present.


Right side up:

Tens are about sharing your story or legacy with those who can carry it into the future. This family’s farm looks healthy, and it will continue being healthy for their children and their children’s children and so on until one of them leaves for the big city to busk as a close-up illusionist and her siblings have to sell the property to pay off their debts. Both may find themselves engaging in desperate acts to keep from starving, a legacy that they too will pass to the next generation despite their best intensions.

In another interpretation of the card, discover happy hour at the local LGBTQA bar if you self-define as a person of at least one of those persuasions. Feel free to dance, or cozy up with a beverage of your choosing. As patronage dwindles, these venues will die, which is sad because they are of historic importance to LGBTQA communities. For the sake of the next generation, do not let them fade into obscurity. Matchmaking apps, an alternative to the bar scene, host no community events, nor do they encourage dancing, which is a good and wholesome form of exercise. When I asked Cups expert Crystal Balque about this interpretation of the Ten of Cups card, she gave me a puzzled look and pointed to herself. I may have misworded the question.


Upside down:

Exploitation. Your land* will be used up and your greenery** will no longer grow because you failed to manage it properly. Alternatively, commercial planes equipped with gas emitters will spray multicoloured chemicals onto your land* because the corporation who installed the device would like to use said land* to build an underground bunker for the secret real government to protect themselves when the bombs drop.

Oncoming doom aside, rainbows are quite pretty.


*or equivalent, for those of us who own no land.

**I haven’t the foggiest idea as to what the equivalent might be in this case. Gentle readers, if you think of something, please let me know.


Classic Ten of Cups deaths:

  • Exposure to poisoned drinking water, air pollution, or radioactive soil. None of these hazards will endow you with superpowers, unless you count the ability to die slowly and racked with pain.
  • An inherited haunted house, which you too will eventually haunt to the utter torment of your heirs.
  • The equivalent to the Cups suit in modern playing cards is Hearts. If your family has a history of heart disease, make sure to schedule regular checkups with your doctor. Ask questions such as “How many bottles of red wine should I consume before exercise?”
  • The land that feeds you falls prey to desertification. On the bright side, at least you will not be alone in this futile struggle. Perhaps that counts as a dark side. Never mind.