The top half of the card is dominated by a curving rainbow across a cloudless sky. The line art gives the imitation of shimmering brilliance. Ten large chalices are nestled snugly in the rainbow, turned to follow the curve of the arc. In the bottom half of the card, a man and woman stand with their back to the viewer. He stands to the left of her, and has his right arm swept behind her back. They look up at the apparition with wonder and have their outside arms raised up. Beside them, two children have clasped each others hands and are playing happily. In the distance can be seen a low hill, a meandering river, trees, and a house.
“And they lived happily ever after”, is my theme for this card. The family is reunited, the house is saved from the evil land baron, and the children get along for two-thirds of a second longer than they usually do. This is the moment when everything does work out alright and there is actual and serious hope for the future. It doesn’t take into consideration that the land baron’s downfall means less employment opportunities are available, or that one of the children may be ill, or that termites have infested the house’s support beams. Those thoughts are for later, once the warmth of joy wears off.
This is a temporary card, showing a thin slice of time where the Querent will be able to catch their breath before considering what work is still undone. If this was a movie, in this scene the background music swells, a relationship is confirmed, and the hearts have found a mutual rest before our brave heroes assault the forces against them. It doesn’t matter how great or how little the odds against them. They have found contentment and repose with each other. Now on to truly save the day.
What does this mean for a solitary Querent? Who better to find peace and contentment with than one’s own self? This is the moment when the Querent can say with truth and honesty, “I accept myself.”, “I love myself.”, “Haters gonna hate, but I’m still here.”.
Ill-dignified, this become the card of Elpis, of false hope and foolish blindness. It can indicate vain wishing, and intentionally turning away from reality and responsibilities to try to live in a pretend-world instead. It can warn that an associate is about to betray the Querent, or that what should have been a peaceful place is going to be violent, in word, deed, or both.
Everyone likes a good fairytale, even though we know what difficulties the characters would face after their triumphal moment. The 10 of Cups grants us our own personal fairytale ending. It’s still up to us to make the epilogue a good one.