A man stands in surprise and wonder, completely silhouetted by the apparition appearing before him (and the viewer). A great cloud of smoke or fog has obscured his path. Upon the cloud, in two tiers, are seven large chalices with smaller figures appearing from them. From the top tier of chalices appears the image of a youth’s face, a veiled maiden all aglow, and a snake that stares back at the man. From the bottom tier of chalices appears the image of a tall tower upon a crag, fine jewels and gold chains, a wreath that crowns the chalice (though a skull’s face is seen in that same chalice), and lastly a dragon that perches on the cup’s rim as if to assault the man watching the apparition.
Selective vision and circumstance combine to give the Querent a choice of illusions to choose from. Not that all illusions are deceptive. It is the Querent’s choice if to use the illusions as prompts that lead to revelation, or to knowingly lose himself in the willful lie. How the card is dignified in the spread is very important. If the Querent summoned the illusions, he is in control of their appearance and is not deceived by them. He may be using them to sort out other matters or to reveal hidden information. If the illusions were foisted upon the Querent, then an external force is attempting to deceive or distract him and he should be wary of those close to him as not all hidden motives are in his favor.
The images in the cups can be mapped to the seven classical planets of antiquity, and by extension, certain Major Arcana cards:
- A youth’s face: Venus. The Empress.
- A veiled maiden: Luna. The High Priestess.
- A snake: Mercury. The Magician.
- A tower: Mars. The Tower.
- Jewels: Jupiter. The Wheel of Fortune.
- A wreath: Saturn. The World.
- A dragon: Sol. The Sun.
Ill-dignified, this card is a brutal awakening for the Querent. What falsehoods she had held on to before is crudely ripped from her, and she is (or will be) forced to confront the harsh truth that she has turned (or was turned) away from. It will not be a pleasant occurence. Strangely, this card is positive when ill-dignified. It forces the Querent to take charge of her life and of the circumstances she finds herself in. It is a very bitter, but very necessary, medicine.