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Written by: Matthew McFarland
Developer: Ethan Skemp
Editor: Scribendi.com
Creative Director: Richard Thomas
Art Direction and Layout: Aileen E. Miles
Interior Art: Imaginary Friends Studios
(featuring the art of Yasmine),
Michael William Kaluta, Saana Lappalainen,
Stephanie Pui Mun Law, Vince Locke
Cover Art: Michael William Kaluta,
Richard Thomas

MAGE:The Awakening Tarot™ Copyright©2017 White Wolf Publishing AB. All rights reserved.
Reproduction without the written permission of the publisher is expressly forbidden, except for the pur-
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Wolf, Mage and World of Darkness are registered trademarks of CCP hf. All rights reserved. Mage the
Awakening, Mage the Awakening Tarot, Werewolf the Forsaken, and Keys to the Supernal Tarot are
trademarks of White Wolf Publishing AB.
All rights reserved. All characters, names, places and text herein are copyrighted by White Wolf
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Introduction — 4
Reading the Tarot: Celtic Cross — 5
The Tarot in the Chronicle — 7
The Cards
Major Arcana — 17
Minor Arcana — 40

The Tarot deck is more than a simple tool ideas specific to the occult world established
for divination or introspection exercises. It is there. Players interested in using more of the
a work of art — a potent work of symbolism Tarot in their games may be interested in
that represents the myriad aspects of life. Keys to the Supernal Tarot, a supplement
The 22 Major Arcana in particular spell that in part acts as a more elaborate version
out a path, from innocence and ignorance of this manual, as well as providing many
to wisdom and spiritual completion. new elements to the world of Mage.
As such, a Tarot might also fulfill an ad- Does the Supernal Tarot exist as an
ditional role: the exploration of a fictional artifact in the World of Darkness? Could
reality, its cards describing not only the ar- a Storyteller hand this deck of cards to a
chetypes, ideas and concerns of real life, but player and say, “The cards look like this”?
illustrating the forms those concepts might Perhaps. This deck represents a snapshot of
take within another world. Even — and the modern world of Mage: The Awaken-
especially — the World of Darkness. ing, which may make it seem less timeless.
This Tarot deck is designed as a comple- Still, these cards and images could exist
ment for the Mage: The Awakening game, if desired, either as a newly painted deck
and also for the World of Darkness at large. compiled by an artist or artists with knowl-
The art of the cards represents not only edge of the Awakened, or perhaps as an
many of the traditional forms and symbols, older, enchanted deck whose images shift
but also incorporates images that represent to match the age.

Reading the Tarot: Celtic Cross
Many different spreads of Tarot cards ex- condition. If a card comes off the top of the
ist. The method described here is a common deck upside down from the perspective of
variation of the Celtic Cross, a spread simple the querent, it is read as “reversed.”
enough to use in a chronicle. The first card is placed on top of the sig-
The Celtic Cross involves one significator nificator, “covering” it. This card represents
card, representing the subject of the reading the querent’s present state with regards to
(the querent). This card is usually one of the the question at hand.
face cards (a Page, Knight, Queen or King) The second card is placed perpendicular
depending on the age and temperament of to the first one, forming a cross. This card,
the querent. One of the Major Arcana may always read as if in its right side up position,
be used for this purpose, especially if such “crosses” the querent, showing the forces
a card “jumps out” during the shuffling of in opposition to his interests. Note that
the deck. The significator card is placed in this doesn’t mean forces working against
front of the querent, face up, and oriented him, per se; if the topic of the reading is an
so that it appears right side up from the unpleasant situation at home, the crossing
querent’s perspective. card might be someone trying to help the
The rest of the reading involves 10 cards, querent out of that situation.
drawn from the top of the deck. The querent The third card is placed above the cross,
shuffles the deck, thinking all the while about closest to the reader. This card “crowns” the
the matter that the reading is to concern. It’s querent, showing what the future holds for
possible, too, for the querent to simply let him on this topic.
his mind wander while shuffling; this is said The fourth card is placed under the cross,
to give a reading on the querent’s general closest to the querent. This card, “beneath”

the querent, shows the events that have
happened to the querent in the past.
The fifth card is placed to the left of the

cross from the querent’s position. This card,

“behind” the querent, shows the recent past,
the forces that have just finished bringing
their influences to bear on the subject.
The sixth card, placed to the right of the Wheel of Fortune.

cross as the querent sees it, is “before” him.

This card shows the forces and events that
The Chariot. The Fool.

are about to come into play.

The Hermit.
The Moon.

The next four cards are laid out in a vertical

line to the right of the cross, as the querent sees The Magician. Justice.

it. Starting from the bottom (that is, closest to

the querent), these cards indicate the querent’s
fears and anxieties regarding the issue, the The World.

querent’s environment and the attitudes of

the other people and the querent’s hopes and The HANGED MAN.

goals on the question. The 10th card, known

as the “capstone,” indicates the final result of Death.

the reading, what the querent must do, not do,

observe, etc. in order to change his fortunes.
It’s possible, following the reading, to obtain
a more in-depth reading by using this card as
the significator in a new spread.

The Tarot in the Chronicle
A Mage troupe can get a great deal of work symbolism appropriate to the cards
use out of a Tarot deck in a chronicle, into the chronicle as necessary.
even without involving the Tarot journey
or cartomancy. The deck can be used as a
prop in-game, or as a way to plan events of
The Tarot Journey
the chronicle. Below are some suggestions The “journey through the Tarot” is the
on how to do this. notion that the 22 cards of the major arcana
form a pathway through life. Beginning with

In-Character Readings the Fool, the traveler moves from ignorance

to knowledge to enlightenment, learning
The Tarot is a useful tool to a Storyteller through pleasure and suffering along the
in any World of Darkness game, for precisely way. For a mage, this journey begins with
the same reasons it’s useful as a divination the Awakening and ends with ascension,
tool. The symbolism on the cards, combined potentially a return to the Supernal Realms.
with the open-ended nature of a role-playing But it needn’t be anything so grandiose. The
game, means that any reading can be retro- character might simply discover exactly
actively interpreted to fit any set of events. where he belongs and what his true role in
As such, it’s possible for a Storyteller to the Fallen World is.
perform a reading either for a character or A character studying cartomancy (see
for the entire cabal while playing the role of below) might endeavor to identify exactly
a diviner using the Tarot. Use the method where he is in this journey, but the journey
above or some other spread of cards (many of might just as easily be something only observ-
which are readily available on the Internet), able to the player. When the chronicle begins,
and write down the results so that you can the character is the Fool. The Storyteller and

the player then decide when the character there might well be a burst of inspiration or in-
progresses on to a new lesson and a new sight). A character that recognizes the journey,
trump. A change in trump might be a good though, probably does make the distinction in
way for the player to claim the Learning Curve a public way, especially if he belongs to a cabal
experience point described on p. 217 of the of cartomancers. One character might get a
World of Darkness Rulebook. Depending new tattoo with a symbol appropriate to the
on the circumstances, it might also be a way current station. Another might always carry
to claim Arcane Experience. one Tarot card, corresponding to her present
Not all characters make it all the way to stage on the journey.
Key XXI (The World), however. It’s possible The journey through the Tarot, therefore,
for a character to remain stuck at a particular can be a narrative tool or a facet of the Mage
place. For example, a mage who withdraws setting as you choose.
from external affairs to focus only on his own
knowledge will remain symbolically at Key IX,
the Hermit. There’s no guarantee that he’ll
Character/Story Creation
move past this stage any more than there’s a If you have a Tarot deck, you can use it to
guarantee that any mage will make the wisest help players make characters, or to create a
decision in any given important dilemma. story or chapter if you get stuck.
Players may encounter such characters and Character Creation
help them move across to the next stage. Sometimes, coming up with a character
The Tarot journey is symbolic, and that is as simple as hearing a song that inspires
means that moving from one stage to the next you, or looking at a combination of Path
is a highly subjective matter. The Storyteller or and order that seems interesting. Sometimes,
the player can make the decision that a charac- though, players get stuck. Mage is a big game,
ter has moved along, and there’s no ceremony and it’s easy to get lost in all of the possibili-
or flash of light that goes with it (although ties. The best way to start if you’re having

trouble coming up with a character is to ask character’s first exposure to other supernatu-
the Storyteller what the chronicle is going ral beings was like. Although it’s positioned
to be about and what kinds of characters after the Awakening card, nothing says that
would be appropriate. But failing that (or this experience didn’t take place when the
if the Storyteller decides that the chronicle character was still a Sleeper. This card can
is going to be character-centered, meaning also inform the character’s choice of order,
he is waiting on the players to determine as can the next one.
what the chronicle is about), you can use The fourth card is the character’s Virtue.
the Tarot to get a start on your character’s While it might indicate the character’s
identity and history. Virtue trait outright (Temperance or Justice,
Shuffle the deck and deal out five cards in for instance) the real use of this card is the
a row. You can choose to read them all right character’s strong point. This might be a
side up, or use the reversed meanings if any high rating in an Attribute, or a particular
of the cards come in upside down. Merit, or the character’s order.
The first (leftmost) card is the Sleeper card. Finally, the fifth card is the Vice. While
This card indicates what things were like for it can indicate, and should at least point to,
the character pre-Awakening, and should the character’s Vice trait, it should show the
hopefully help you determine what kind of character’s weaknesses and failings. It might
circumstances the character was in when he indicate a dark secret, or the character’s Bane
had his visit to the Supernal Realms. (if you take the Destiny Merit).
The second card is the Awakening card. Example: Matt is making a character for
This should inform the character’s Path, as Fred’s upcoming Mage game, and doesn’t have
well as his experience of the Awakening. a strong idea about what sort of mage he’d like to
The third card is the character’s World of play. He turns to the Tarot for some help. The
Darkness card. This card indicates what the cards are as follows: The Chariot (Reversed),

The Moon, Five of Pentacles, Five of Cups, supernatural actually happened before his
Knight of Wands (Reversed). Awakening, he just doesn’t know it. On the day
The Sleeper card is one of the major arcana. of his audition, one of the other mages in the city
The Chariot Reversed means cowardice or losing accidentally summoned up a spirit of fear and
one’s nerve in the middle of an attempt. Matt then lost control of it. The spirit “rode” Matt’s
decides that his character was an actor who got character, plaguing him with doubt and anxiety,
a big break — he was granted an audition with until he couldn’t bear the strain. Matt talks this
a renowned New York stage director. But on idea over with one of the other players, and she
the day of the audition, he choked, flubbing his agrees that her character was the one who called
lines and running offstage. up the spirit, creating a potential for conflict
The Awakening card is the Moon. Matt decides between them later in the chronicle.
that following the failed audition, his character sank The Virtue card is the Five of Cups, which is
into a deep depression and starting abusing hallu- a somewhat difficult interpretation, given that
cinogenic drugs. He started seeing horrible visions the card usually indicates disappointment or
whenever he touched people, and these nightmares rejected kindness. Matt decides that after the
plagued him day and night. One night, he went out audition, his friends turned their backs on the
onto the roof of his building intended to jump off, character, figuring that he’d lost his nerve and,
but instead, he saw how peaceful the city was and in the process, offended someone important. The
stayed there until morning. When he woke up, his actor’s slide into drug use didn’t make things any
head was clear, and he was a mage on the Mastigos easier. Post-Awakening, though, he’s risen above
Path (the Moon is traditionally associated with the his bad fortune and become self-reliant. Matt
Thyrsus Path, yes, but Matt likes the notion of an decides that the actor’s Virtue is Fortitude, and
actor Warlock. He does make a note to take some that he will give the character a high rating in
dots in Spirit, though). Resolve to reflect his inner strength.
The World of Darkness card is the Five of Finally, the Vice card: a highly appropriate
Pentacles. The actor’s first run-in with the Knight of Cups Reversed. The actor might have

learned self-reliance, but he’s also learned that just as described above. The cards have the
other folks aren’t to be trusted and he never following significance:
quite got over his reliance on drugs as an escape The first card is the Theme of the story.
tactic. Matt takes the Addiction Flaw for the This card should influence the way that Sto-
character (p. 218 of the World of Darkness ryteller characters behave, the way that the
Rulebook), and sets the character’s Vice as story unfolds and any recurring motifs.
Sloth (he does drugs to escape, not because he’s The second card is the Mood of the story.
physically addicted). This card should inform atmospheric details
From all this, Matt has a good sense of how and, should you use it, what music you play
this character is going to behave in the game, during the story.
and how to assign his dots. He’s also created a The third card is the Antagonist card. As the
point of contact with another mage, even if it’s name suggests, this card should indicate who
something they’re likely to fight over someday. is working against the characters. If the card
The cards don’t suggest an order to him, so doesn’t easily correspond to someone in your
Matt decides to wait and see what other orders chronicle, you’ll need to make someone up or
are represented in the troupe’s characters and pull a character from one of the Mage books
let that help guide his decision. (this one has quite a few to choose from!).
Story Creation The fourth card is the Allies card. This
Storytellers get writer’s block sometimes, card can indicate literal allies, other charac-
especially in long-running chronicles. And ters who are willing to come to the cabal’s aid,
then, sometimes folks show up and want but it can just as easily indicate advantages
to play Mage, and it’s handy to be able to that they have. These advantages don’t have
come up with a one-shot game. The Tarot to be bestowed upon them for the story. They
can help with that, in much the same way can be traits or resources that will come in
as creating a character. Lay out five cards, especially useful.

Finally, the fifth card is the Wild card. slamming a door during a fight with his parents,
This card is the “twist,” that element of but it’s got the potential to be painful just the same.
surprise or strangeness so important to World Matt notes that the characters will see people
of Darkness stories. If you feel that the first arguing often, and that incidental characters
four cards enable you to run the story, don’t will be curt and unpleasant to them.
bother with the Wild, but it’s always worth The Mood card is the World Reversed. This
considering how this extra element might card indicates destruction and natural (or man-
change things. made) disaster. This fits nicely with the Theme
Example: Five people wind up at Matt’s card, actually. The strife in question is over petty
house on a Saturday with nothing to do, and concerns, but it’s still real enough to cause real
someone mentions that she’d like to try Mage: damage. Matt decides that there’s some kind
The Awakening. Matt hands around character of warfare going on. Maybe it’s a gang war,
sheets, guides folks through character creation, maybe it’s a battle between police and organized
and then puts a quick story together using the crime. He wants to keep the bulk of the conflict
Tarot. He shuffles the deck and deals out the confined to Sleepers, though, because then it can
following cards: The Page of Swords, the World be more overt.
(Reversed), the Four of Swords, the Star and the The Antagonist card is the Four of Swords.
Five of Swords. Lots of swords — Matt notes Matt decides that he’d like to begin the story
that this story is going to have plenty of violent in media res, with the characters licking their
conflict. That should be fine, as his players all wounds after a particularly nasty experience.
enjoy a good scrap. He further decides that the disaster in question
The Theme card is the Page of Swords. Face should combine aspects of man-made and natural
cards usually indicate people, but since this in the disaster. Matt sets the game in California, on
Theme position, Matt decides that the basic motif the heels of a large earthquake. It’s shut down
of the story is conflict due to immaturity. The power to the city. Emergency services are busy
fight in the story isn’t any deeper than a teenager and overworked, the roads are damaged so get-

ting more supplies into the city has been slow on Lucius because Lucius made him look like an
going. In addition, riots and looting have started idiot at a caucus some months back (this rather
up. Matt tells the players that their characters petty reason for seeking vengeance refers back
had a Sanctum, but it’s been almost completely to the Theme card). Matt decides to run the
destroyed by the quake (that way they don’t have first scene as a flashback to that caucus, and
to put Merit dots into it for a one-shot). The then jump forward to the characters picking their
card itself refers to the quake and the looters, and way out of the wreckage, injured and apparently
possibly the police — getting out of the situation without help in the darkened city.
will be the main conflict of the story.
The Allies card is the Star, which is highly ap-
propriate. The advantage that the characters have
is something guiding them. Matt embraces the
“Cartomancy” is just a fancy word for
symbolism and settles on a guide named Lucius. using cards for divination. In Mage terms,
But Lucius is out of his element, cut off from his though, any mage that uses cards (Tarot
money and his high society. He can be the character’s or otherwise) as a focus for his magic is a
light in the darkness, but they have to find him and cartomancer. This section provides a look at
rescue him first, perhaps from a band of looters who the practice of cartomancy in the context of
want to hold him for ransom. Mage and provides some systems for playing
Finally, the Wild card is the Five of Swords. a cartomancer character.
This indicates failure because of bad sports-
manship. Matt decides that a powerful figure
in the Consilium is actively working to hinder The Awakened Cartomancer
emergency services getting to the poorest areas A cartomancer doesn’t possess skills or
of the city, specifically because Lucius is there. magic that are much different from other
He’s going for a cut of the ransom money, but Awakened mages. What is different is how
that’s not his highest priority. He wants revenge the mage uses the power that he has. Car-

tomancers all engage in divination, even if take up the practice is unquestionably the
the lack the expertise in Fate or Time magic Acanthus. Again, though, any mage can
to cast spells that allow knowledge of the become a cartomancer.
future. In addition, they use a random draw
in order to assist them in other magical tasks.
This does not require a special deck, but it
New Merit: Cartomancer
does require that the mage make a study of (• to •••)
the Tarot and can interpret a card in the Prerequisites: Awakened, Occult Spe-
space of a few seconds (the Cartomancer cialty — Tarot, Wits •••
Merit is described below). Once the mage Effects: A cartomancer is never without
has mastered this art, a draw from the Tarot a Tarot deck. In the myriad possibilities of
can enable him to cast magic with greater the Tarot lies true magical power and a way
confidence, and lessen the risk of Paradox. to make Awakened magic fit a bit more
All five of the orders include carto- seamlessly into the Fallen World. A mage
mancers, but they are more likely to be can become a cartomancer without training
apostates or adherents of the Tarot pre- by another mage, but must still fulfill the
Awakening than to have been trained in perquisites.
the cards by an order. None of the Pentacle The Cartomancer Merit is progressive.
orders regularly trains its members in carto- Each dot is a prerequisite for the next dot.
mancy, nor do the Seers of the Throne. An So your character cannot have the “Inter-
individual mage who practices cartomancy, pretive Draw” ability unless she first has the
however, might train a pupil in using the “Divinatory Eye” ability.
cards for magic. Of the five orders, the Myste- • Divinatory Eye: This level of the Merit
rium has the highest number of cartomancers represents basic familiarity with the Tarot
in its ranks, and the Path most likely to

with respect to Awakened magic. This has favorable, the Storyteller may deem it an
two effects. First, the character gains a +2 to exceptional success. But by the same to-
all attempts at divination, including spells ken, if the draw indicates something truly
that attempt to see the future or uses of the disastrous, the character suffers a failure or
Dream Merit, if she uses a Tarot deck in the a dramatic failure.
attempt. Second, the character can dedicate The dice pool, should you choose to use
a Tarot deck as a magical tool. She can also that system, is Wits + Occult. Drawing and
dedicate individual cards as Arcana tools, interpreting the card is an instant action,
but she needs a way to find a particular card meaning that the character casts the spell
quickly in a crisis situation if this is to be on the following turn.
of much help. Roll Results
•• Interpretative Draw: Before casting Dramatic Failure: The spell is the wrong
a spell, the character draws one card from choice for the situation. If the mage chooses
her Tarot deck. Depending on what the card to cast it, the player rolls a chance die. A
is, it can help her cast the spell or warn her dramatic failure on this roll is treated as a
against it. The system for this can either be Havoc Paradox, whether or not the spell
a dice roll or a literal random draw from a was vulgar in aspect.
Tarot deck. Failure: The spell isn’t the best choice,
If you choose to use a random draw from but it might work. Apply a -2 to the char-
a deck, the Storyteller and the player must acter’s casting attempt if she chooses to go
interpret the card in relation to the spell through with it.
being cast and the situation at hand. If the Success: The spell is a good choice given
card indicates that the casting is favorable, the situation. Apply a +2 to the character’s
apply the bonus as described below under attempt. If the character has the High
“Success.” If the card is something extremely Speech Merit and chooses to spend the next

turn chanting, this bonus stacks with the turn. Alternately, the character can draw,
High Speech bonus for a total of +4. interpret and then chant in High Speech,
Exceptional Success: The spell is ex- thus gaining the High Speech Merit along
actly appropriate for the circumstance. with the bonus from this Merit (if any) on
The player receives a 9-again bonus on the the following turn. Although the mage
casting roll. does not have to cast the spell if the draw
••• Instinctive Draw: The character isn’t favorable, the mage can only make
can now use the Interpretative Draw abil- one draw per spell, even if the draw is a
ity as a reflexive action, meaning that she reflexive action.
can draw, interpret and cast in the same

Key 0: The Fool:
The first step on the long journey.
The Fool is the card of beginnings.
More generally, the Fool can be seen as a
metaphor for the Awakened condition.
The Fool is the divine madman, the
person whose perspective is so different
from those around him that he is nearly
unable to function in the world.
Reversed: Indecision. Apathy. Iner-
tia. Arrested development — the boy is
old enough to be a man, but will not take
up his rightful place. Destiny perverted:
the decisions were mistakes, or the path
is a lie and there is no destiny.

The Fool.

Key I: The Magician:
Will and intelligence personified,
forged and directed — in many ways,
the perfect analog for the Awakened
condition. Possibly a charlatan, some-
one who uses his skills in a way that is
not necessarily harmful or purely selfish,
but is still misrepresenting himself.
Reversed: The reversed Magician
ignores his skill, or puts his will to evil
or selfish use. He turns away from his
true calling, pursuing frivolous or un-
reachable goals. Alternately, someone
of genuine skill that others regard as a
spellcaster or miracle worker.

The Magician.

Key II: The High Priestess:
She is resting potential, the power
of intuition and the collective un-
conscious. She is spirituality without
religious dogma, authority without
chest-pounding masculinity. A common
interpretation among the Awakened
signifies the Guardians of the Veil.
The High Priestess is the mistress of
her own Labyrinth, mysterious and
inscrutable, doling out knowledge that
can enlighten or mislead.
Reversed: Intuition gives way to
impulsivity. Spirituality is ignored in
favor of dogma. Patience is abandoned,
and the mage’s journey halts for the
mage to pursue petty, or at least earthly,

The High Priestess.

Key III: The Empress:
The Empress is an expression of
the female form made divine. She is
Ishtar, Astarte, Demeter and Isis. She
is a symbol of fertility and plenty and,
more abstractly, a symbol of wisdom
stemming from a combination of
intuition and natural insight and the
experience of years. To the Awakened,
the Empress card resonates with the
Thyrsus Path and, more specifically,
the Life Arcanum. The Empress is a
symbol of all growing things, of fertility
and fecundity, and of life born anew.
Reversed: Barrenness of body and of
soul. The patience and wisdom of the
Empress stops short, becoming short-
sightedness and contrariness. Gentle
words become sharp retorts, and sweet
fruit becomes painful thorns.

The Empress.
Key IV: The Emperor:
A domineering, paternal figure,
bearded and wizened; the consort of the
Empress who contains the male spark
of creation. May represent a need to
listen to higher authority (spiritual or
mundane), or dominance from such an
authority. The Silver Ladder in particu-
lar, but also the influence of any of the
orders, or at least a mentor.
Reversed: Drunk with power, no
longer dispensing worthy advice. Self-
serving authority: domineering, brutal
and petulant. Alternately, authority
that means well, but lacks conviction
and ability.

The Emperor.

Key V: The Hierophant:
The need to return to or observe
orthodoxy or the danger of relying on
it too much. Questions of morality
and belief. Mages often associate the
card with the Seers of the Throne or
the Exarchs.
Reversed: Orthodoxy and dogma
used for temporal or greedy ends, rather
than to further the beliefs and morality
of the system in question. Alternately, a
lack of established beliefs and rituals.

The Hierophant.

Key VI: The Lovers:
Romantic love; or purity, innocence
and naivety. The card can also refer
to origins — love in the card is still
in the heady, “honeymoon” phase,
exciting, but also not terribly realistic.
The Awakened often associate this
card with Sleepers, or more commonly,
Sleepwalkers — those who are closer to
the hidden world of magic than most
Sleepers will ever be.
Reversed: The honeymoon is over.
Indecision and doubt creep in, and
the relationship might not be strong
enough to stand up to the rigors of the
“real world.” Infidelity or lies; maturity
by way of misery.

The Lovers.

Key VII: The Chariot:
The flight of the Chariot leads the
rider up into the heavens, away from the
base material of Earth. It can stand for a
literal journey, or a major (and hopefully
beneficial) change to one’s life. For a
mage, the flight of the Chariot can be
seen as a metaphor for the Awakening,
or with Gnosis, the ability to perform
magic at all. The Chariot deals with
successful magical discovery.
Reversed: Cowardice — the seeker
is too afraid of change or failure to
make the attempt. Or he might lose his
nerve in mid-flight, crashing to Earth
like Icarus. His pride is his undoing,
his reach exceeds his grasp, and he
mistakes the power he has for the power
he deserves.

The Chariot.

Key VIII: Strength:
Fortitude. True Strength — Strength
of character and of spirit — that
can tame the oafish heart and bend
muscle toward noble ends. Awakened
cartomancers use the Strength card to
represent the Forces Arcanum.
Reversed: Brutishness escapes. The
lion slips through the maiden’s fingers
and eats her. Lust, depravity and animal
vices rule the day. Alternately, strength
can be over-applied, to the point that
no desire is allowed.


Key IX: The Hermit:
Withdrawal from outside concerns;
assistance gained through effort. A
seeker must come to the Hermit, and
so his lesson isn’t a birthright, but
something that must be earned. The
Awakened see the Hermit as the Mys-
terium’s card. The Mysterium holds the
keys to many forms of enlightenment,
and might even be willing to share
them — with the right seeker.
Reversed: The Hermit reversed is a
madman with no wisdom to impart, or
a charlatan out for self-aggrandizement.
The seeker reaches the Hermit, but
learns nothing. The Hermit is unable
to teach or the seeker isn’t ready to

The Hermit.

Key X:
The Wheel of Fortune:
The notion that fate can change on
a dime, and that luck is the province of
factors beyond human understanding.
Everything moves in cycles. What has
been will be once again, and what is
now shall be gone soon. This, too, shall
pass. To the Awakened, often a symbol
of the Fate Arcanum and the Acanthus.
Reversed: Chaos and randomness; a
world in which cause and effect do not
exist, and the results of an action are
truly unpredictable. Alternately, one is
struggling against one’s destiny and will
come to sorrow for this hubris.

Wheel of Fortune.

Key XI: Justice:
Balance and equilibrium; ebb and
flow, give and take. Redressing wrongs
and bringing things back to center. The
guilty are punished so the innocent can
heal, or so the guilty can learn. The
Adamantine Arrow claims this card
as its own.
Reversed: Justice is perverted into
revenge. Balance falls, either into
passive weakness or overly aggressive


Key XII:
The Hanged Man:
To bear suffering stoically, to learn
from it, internalize it and move on.
Learning from pain, especially if the
pain stems from a mistake or crime.
Suffering that might bring wisdom,
salvation or death and resurrection. The
Mastigos claim the Hanged Man, both
for the notion of bearing suffering for
wisdom, and for the Arcanum of Space.
Reversed: The pain is too much, and
the Hanged Man breaks the rope, giv-
ing up without gaining any particular
insight. He becomes bitter about his
suffering, rather than stoic, and might
seek to take out this bitterness on other


Key XIII: Death:
Change, the “death” of one set of
circumstances for the “birth” of an-
other. Everything must pass away to
make room for the new. The Moros
Path has long claimed this card as their
symbol, and the symbol of the Arcanum
of Death.
Reversed: Stagnation. Instead of
cycles ending and beginning anew,
the cycle stalls and sputters, grinding
its gears and building up pressure. Can
also indicate that someone (perhaps the
seeker) is trying to deliberately subvert
the natural order.


Key XIV: Temperance:
Everything in due proportion; all
ingredients mixed properly. Overin-
dulgence is foolish and dangerous.
Awakened cartomancers often use
Temperance to reflect the Matter Arca-
num, the Moros Path and the practice
of alchemy.
Reversed: Impatience and impulsiv-
ity rule the day. Alternately, instinct and
wisdom are ignored in favor of what the
seeker was going to do anyway.

Key XV: The Devil:
The tempter, the slave-master and,
perhaps, a bringer of enlightenment
through pain and suffering, but most
often, he represents bondage. Also,
power or intelligence applied to self-
ish or base ends. The Mastigos Path
claims the Devil as its primary card,
interpreting it as the temptation that
all of them face, the quick and easy path
to power available to any mage versed
in Mind magic.
Reversed: Slavery ends; chains break.
The Devil Reversed is often a good sign,
but can herald unbridled chaos. It can
also mean that those enslaved change
their focus to loftier goals without los-
ing all fetters.

The Devil.
Key XVI: The Tower:
Lofty goals are brought low; the proud
are humbled. Potential for disaster.
Mages look at the Tower as the perfect
metaphor for their own Fall.
Reversed: A lesson has been learned
and ego has been subverted, at least
for the time being. A crisis narrowly

The Tower.
Key XVII: The Star:
Guidance from above. A path for
those who are lost (literally or figurative-
ly) or the light of inspiration, infusing a
seeker with new knowledge, ideas and
goals. The Star is often associated with
the Arcanum of Prime.
Reversed: Inspiration is gone. The
path is hidden from the seeker, or in-
spiration is from a false or deliberately
misleading source.

The Star.

Key XVIII: The Moon:
Mutability and symbolism — the
notion that anything can represent
something else, especially in dreams.
Symbolism and uncertainty, divination
and premonition. To the Awakened, it
us the card of the Thyrsus Path, specifi-
cally the Spirit Arcanum. It can also
represent the spirit world and the astral
realms, any journey beyond the physi-
cal that a mage might choose to make.
Reversed: Restful sleep, without the
benefit or challenge of dreams. Inspira-
tion does not strike, possibly due to fear.
The sleeper has neither nightmares nor

The Moon.
Key XIX: The Sun:
The mind has awakened to a new
day. Inspiration, new knowledge and a
fresh perspective. Sometimes may imply
religious connotations: the radiance of
a life without sin. The Free Council
claims the card, as the order committed
to new ideas, to the magic of progress
and science.
Reversed: Light turns to darkness.
Inspiration dies on the vine, ignored
or actively shunned. Starvation of the
soul and the intellect.

The Sun.
Key XX: Judgment:
The seeker must act as his own judge;
alternately, external judgment is com-
ing. Judgment can be a condemnation
or an endorsement of the action in ques-
tion, and the person being judged must
interpret the judgment carefully. To
the Awakened, Judgment is the card of
Paradox. Judgment doesn’t necessarily
come from a source that’s fair, impartial
or even logical, but it does come, and
more harshly than one might expect.
Reversed: An incorrect decision,
an assumption based on the data at
hand that might appear rational, but
in fact is completely inappropriate.
The seeker sees what he wants to
see, rather than what he should see.
Refusal to accept judgment.


Key XXI: The World:
Like the Wheel of Fortune, the
World can represent a cycle, but this
cycle is not the random, unforgiving
cycle of the natural world. This cycle
is the perfected, Supernal cycle — out
of chaos comes harmony. Out of pain
comes healing. Out of darkness comes
light. For a mage, the World must rep-
resent both the Supernal Realms and
the Fallen World.
Reversed: Natural disaster, chaos, de-
struction, and everything falls apart with
nothing learned or gained. Worse, the
devastation might be purely man-made.

The World.

The suit of Wands relates to the element of fire, and
to vigorous, virile energy. Although many of the cards
depict conflict, the suit isn't directly related to strife
and struggle the way that the suit of Swords tends
to be. Instead, the energy of the Wands is progressive,
direct and constructive. The suit deals with work and
possibly business (but not commerce, usually, which
is the province of Pentacles) and with initiative and
In Mage terms, the suit of Wands best relates to the
Obrimos Path and the Adamantine Arrow order. Some
cartomancers disagree, however, feeling that the
positive and forward-thinking energy of the suit brings it
in synch with the Free Council.

• Ace of Wands: Beginnings of a new • Two of Wands: Authority, guardian-
enterprise. Start of noble quest. A birth or ship, foresight, vision. Power and energy
conception (especially if this card is near wielded and kept in reserved. The splendor
the Ace of Cups in a reading). Reversed: and wonder of a world waiting to be explored,
Destructive pride. Rushing forward without or the fruits of a long and laborious life.
thinking. Failed initiative, due to lack of Reversed: Surprise, which can be pleasant
preparation or a false start. and welcome or a horrific shock. Blindsided
by fate. Misinterpretation of events.

s .
of Wand
Ace 41
• Three of Wands: Generosity, an enter- • Four of Wands: Celebration, success,
prise or partnership, or a fair trade mediated revelation, completion of a great task. Can
by someone of good character. This card also mean a wedding or a partnership of some
is sometimes connected with sea travel or other kind, or an armistice. Reversed: Being
trade, and sometimes with philanthropy. left at the altar, literally or figuratively. A
Voyages of discovery. Reversed: Failure of wrench in the works, a last-minute compli-
over-ambitious plans, getting overextended. cation, or a damaging natural event.
Inability to look
past one’s own
experience and
take joy in some-
thing new.

• Five of Wands: Ordeals, tests, battle and • Six of Wands: Riding home in triumph.
the glorious chaos of ambition. This card can A hero in victory, arriving to enjoy the fruits
represent the more idealized side of armed of his efforts. The reward after the battle, the
conflict (the reality tends to show up in the recognition for a job well done. Reversed:
suit of Swords). Fighting to achieve one’s goals, Someone else steals the recognition. Dis-
especially against other people. Reversed: loyalty and betrayal. Ingratitude.
Disputes resolved by an outside party, turning
to the courts, for instance. A battle abandoned
or not fought fairly. Trickery.

• Seven of Wands: Individual courage and • Eight of Wands: Urgency, speed,
strength. Beset on all sides by opponents, but energy being expending quickly (possibly
with a significant advantage. Self-reliance. too quickly). Haste and rash decisions. In-
Reversed: Hesitation, indecision, embarrass- fatuation and ill-advised passion. Reversed:
ment in public. An untenable situation. An Inertia, slowing down to a crawl, delays.
unwillingness to ask for help. Jealousy or internal disputes.

• Nine of Wands: Recovery from illness • Ten of Wands: Selfishness, heavy burdens,
or injury. Holding strength in reserve or let- taking on the work of others in addition to or
ting it build against a true threat. Patience, instead of fulfilling one’s own responsibilities.
security and defensive positions. Reversed: Being damned with faint praise or receiving a
Adversity from a tenacious foe. Waste of “reward” that turns into an albatross. Reversed:
saved resources. Being tricked into the aforementioned situa-
tion — deceit, subterfuge. Abandoning one’s
responsibilities entirely.

• Page of Wands: Clever, enthusiastic, • Knight of Wands: A powerful and deci-
witty and vivacious person. An energetic sive, but inconsistent and fleeting person. A
lover or a faithful apprentice. Reversed: A man of action, if not foresight. A harbinger
lazy, spoiled or shallow person. Indecisive of danger, though rarely bearing a direct
and theatrical — confuses being “eccentric” threat. Reversed: A cruel or bigoted person.
with being interesting or educated. Someone with a lot of misdirected energy,
or some genuinely wrong beliefs.

Page of Wands. Knig
ht o
• Queen of Wands: A warm, affectionate • King of Wands: A moral man, but not
and stable woman, someone who is well- a dogmatic one. The King of Wands is pas-
established in her community. That also sionate and intelligent, but his passion has
means, though, that she is stubborn and set been tempered by years and he relies more on
in her ways. Reversed: She is unpredictable instinct and observation than education. He is
and inconstant, likely to turn on friends and proud, courageous and kind, but demanding.
see opponents where there are none. She is Reversed: Morality is tainted with fear and
virtuous, but is too cognizant of her virtue, callousness. His code has to be the rule of the
and uses it as an excuse for rash action. land, not just his own personal outlook, and
he probably has the power to enforce it.

Queen of Wands. King 47

of W
The suit of Swords deals with strife, misery, and
violent conflict. Its cards include tidings of war
and death, and the suit boasts the two “worst”
cards in the Tarot deck to show up in a reading (the
nine and ten of Swords). Elementally, the suit is
linked with air, for instability and intellect, but
the predominant motif of the suit is the violent and
stinging blade.
Awakened cartomancers often link swords with
the Mastigos Path and Guardians of the Veil,
though some also consider it to be the suit of the
Adamantine Arrow.

• Ace of Swords: The beginning of a • Two of Swords: One of the few posi-
fight or a tense relationship. Possibly great tive cards in the suit, the Two of Swords
success attained at heavy cost. In some decks, means balance, harmony and accord born
the Ace of Swords means death. Reversed: of constant vigilance and constancy. Can
The same general meanings, but without any mean faithful friendship or a steady rela-
hope of positive interpretation. Violence, tionship, but an element of tension is still
war, and misery loom on the horizon. present. Reversed: The accord breaks due
to treachery or lies. Seeking trouble for its
own sake. Self-destructive behavior.

Ace of Swor ds. 49

• Three of Swords: Dissolution of a rela- • Four of Swords: The peace after the
tionship or marriage. Heartbreak, woe, and fight, time to bury the dead and celebrate
sadness. Selfishness or deliberate mischief. with the survivors. Tensions ease; downtime.
Reversed: More of the same, only worse. Solitude, convalescence, a peaceful retreat.
Madness, mental illness, confusion. Reversed: Peace interrupted, though not
necessarily by more violence. The reading
of a will. A visit to a grave.

• Five of Swords: Failure, defeat, betrayal, • Six of Swords: A journey by water. Dif-
cheating at the game or in war. The trouble- ficulties overcome with hard work, probably at a
maker walks away victorious, and the other great cost. A move away from trouble, hopefully
combatants just walk away. Reversed: Much to brighter circumstances. Reversed: Publicity,
the same, but, again, worse. This time, the de- uncovering of secrets, possibly a declaration of
feated are unlikely to walk away. The scoundrel love. A surprise. Circumstances change, but
kills them or wounds them grievously. remain in the same locale (thwarting travel).

• Seven of Swords: Laziness. Giving up • Eight of Swords: Hoodwinked, impris-
too quickly and thus failing. Leaving behind oned or stifled by red tape or illness. Legal
something important in favor of something difficulties or a run-in with the authorities.
trivial but appealing. Theft. Reversed: Good Bindings, literal or metaphorical. Reversed:
advice, prudence, a wise decision. Stolen Despair, anger, treachery. The same lack of free-
goods returned. dom, but with obviously malicious intent.

• Nine of Swords: Utter desolation. • Ten of Swords: The worst card in
Misery, despair, the long dark night of the the Tarot deck. Death, disaster, utter ruin,
soul. Possibly indicates death, sometimes murder, violence, failure and destruction of
something worse. Nightmares. Reversed: everything held dear. No one can be trusted.
Doubt, suspicion, justified fear. Someone Reversed: A momentary advantage, a
that shouldn’t be trusted. chance to make everything right — but woe
to the one who misses that chance.

• Page of Swords: A young person (if • Knight of Swords: A domineering in-
female, probably a tomboy) with a quick and dividual, one who sweeps others along with
cutting wit, a sharp eye and keen intellect. him (and leaves them wondering why they
Reversed: A spy or a false friend, possibly agreed). Brave, forceful, and exacting. Cross-
a cheating lover. Not intelligent, perhaps, ing this man is unwise, as he does not forget
but cunning. slights and has no use for weak or inconstant
people. Reversed: Impatient and loud, but
indecisive and weak. Takes credit for others’
success, but never takes advice.

Page of Swor ds.

• Queen of Swords: This woman is often • King of Swords: A man of intellect and
a widow, sometimes a barren or simply un- power, possibly a government figure, doctor,
happy woman. She is intelligent and subtle, lawyer or some other powerful profession.
certainly an individualist, but that can lead Well-educated, but often indecisive. Reactive
to loneliness. Reversed: The woman might rather than proactive. Reversed: The man
be attractive, but beneath the skin she is has direction, but it is purely selfish. He is
rotted. Evil, corrupt and vicious, she lives unable to conceive of anyone else mattering
to hurt others, for whatever reasons. in the slightest. Like the Queen of Swords
Reversed, he is evil and calculating. The two
together will probably kill each other.

wor ds.
Queen of S 55
The suit of Cups deals with emotion, love,
relationships, marriage and pleasure. It is considered
the most favorable suit to appear in a reading.
Obviously, it relates to the element of water, and
to intuition and expression.
Cartomancers among the Awakened relate this
suit to the Thyrsus Path and to the Free Council.
More traditionalist mages say that it deals with the
Acanthus Path, but has no order correspondence.

• Ace of Cups: Possibly the most favor- • Two of Cups: Union, harmony, peace
able card of the Minor Arcana, the Ace of accord or friendship. A happy love affair or
Cups indicates happiness, fulfillment and marriage. Reversed: Wasteful, extravagant
the beginning of a new (and good) relation- behavior. Squandering the good things in
ship. Motherhood, conception, marriage or one’s life. A divorce or break-up.
simply a love-letter. Reversed: Something
new, but not something welcome — evi-
dence of infidelity, perhaps.

• Three of Cups: Celebration, dancing, • Four of Cups: Boredom, dissatisfac-
good cheer, fruition, abundance. Success tion. Ennui born of overachievement. Can
gained with little cost or difficulty. Re- also indicate feelings of awkwardness from
versed: The end of the party, now back to another’s charitable behavior. Reversed:
business. Costs for success are higher than Something new coming, but not necessarily
initially thought. something good or bad. A premonition.

• Five of Cups: Disappointment. Wasted • Six of Cups: Nostalgia. Pleasant
energy. Loss of friends, despite attempts to memories of the past. A childlike sense
keep them. Disillusionment. Kindness is of wonder. Alternately, the beginnings of
spat upon. Reversed: Plans will not come a wish coming true or a plan coming to
to fruition, better to focus on maintaining fruition. Reversed: The future is unknown
what advantages are already present. and frightening (but often indicated in the
cards surrounding this one).

• Seven of Cups: Deceit or false choices. • Eight of Cups: Aimlessness, disap-
Any victory is only temporary. Alternately, a pointment, the realization that what was
difficult choice with only one correct answer, once the ideal has become the reality, and
but many tempting and damning options. it has lost its luster. The need to find a new
Reversed: A strong decision (though per- goal. Reversed: Reveling in what one has.
haps not the right one). A clear choice. Gaiety, laughter, merriment.

• Nine of Cups: Physical health, riches, • Ten of Cups: Success on a moral and
fulfillment in the monetary and occupational spiritual level. Contentment and fulfillment
sense. The metaphorical cup runneth over. that comes not having, but giving. Peace of
Victory, obstacles surmounted. Reversed: mind. Reversed: Violence, disputes, disrup-
Success missed at the last moment, but able to tion of peace.
be regained. More work to do before rest.

• Page of Cups: Quiet, introspective, • Knight of Cups: A young man of passion,
gentle and studious young adult (if a boy, but not necessarily of action. He might be slow
probably slightly effeminate). Not a decisive to anger or he might just be lazy. Possibly a
person, but willing to serve, and imaginative. dilettante. Susceptible to flattery and seduc-
Reversed: Flattering but deceptive, possibly tion. Reversed: A liar, an addict, a borderline
with a bent toward seduction. sociopath. Human interaction means little to
him, and he uses others as he sees fit.

• Queen of Cups: Dreamy, imaginative • King of Cups: Still waters that run
and probably artistic woman. A good wife deep — this man is ambitious, powerful
and mother, if she has family. Easily impressed, and very hard to read. He might be a good
somewhat chameleon-like (insofar as she man, but he might just as easily be mali-
changes to fit the company she is in). Reversed: cious or self-interested. Always looks out for
Inconstant, prone to flights of fancy and attacks himself, even if his actions appear altruistic.
of jealousy. Manipulative and interfering. Reversed: Here, the man is profoundly and
deeply evil. He is suspicious of everyone,
because he assumes everyone is like him.

of 63
The suit of Pentacles deals with money, business,
property, status and worldly influence. It is
related to the element of earth, and therefore also
deals with solidarity and dependability.
Awakened cartomancers often equate the suit
of Pentacles (also called Coins or Disks, though
Pentacles is, of course, most common among mages
of the five orders) with the Moros Path and the
Silver Ladder. Some mages, however, feel that
the suit represents all of the orders, and interpret
a reading with a preponderance of Pentacles as
important regarding Consilium business.

• Ace of Pentacles: A secure position. • Two of Pentacles: Life’s inconsis-
Coming into money or property. Stabil- tencies. Sudden changes in fortune. The
ity. Reversed: Acquiring wealth at the difficulties of managing home and business.
expense of others. Money-grubbing. Self- A shift in finances is imminent. Reversed:
satisfaction, lack of vision. Living above one’s means. Debt. Faking
happiness to keep up appearances.

Ace of Penta 65
• Three of Pentacles: Approval, notori- • Four of Pentacles: Consolidation of
ety, a promotion or an advance in a project. wealth. A solid position. An avoidance of
Acceptance as an apprentice. Constructive risk, but not in a cowardly way — holding
work. Reversed: Work stalls. Mediocrity. on to what has been earned. Reversed:
Weakness, faltering nerve. Delay, cowardice, forces aligning against
one’s interests.

• Five of Pentacles: Poverty, hardship, • Six of Pentacles: A benefactor. Charity
injury or illness that cripples the ability to stay and gratitude. Gifts from a philanthropist.
financially stable. Unemployment or home- A new patron. Reversed: Withdrawal of
lessness. A loss of face or status. Reversed: A support. Greed and covetousness. Promised
chaotic financial or home situation caused generosity that does not materialize.
by carelessness or reckless spending.

• Seven of Pentacles: Hard work that • Eight of Pentacles: Enterprise without
may or may not pay off. A risk with little vision. Mass production. Money flows in
short-term gain. Failure to achieve one’s small, but comfortable amounts. No sense
goals. Being swindled. Reversed: Worry of the larger picture. Little pride in one’s
over money or property. A loan with un- work. Reversed: Hypocrisy. Usury. Fraudu-
foreseen interest. lent dealings.

• Nine of Pentacles: Comfort and safety. • Ten of Pentacles: A family estate, a
Wish fulfillment. A speedy resolution to a business empire or monopoly. A dynasty of
problem. A sizeable “cushion” to fall back on, industry. Wealth achieved in old age, and so
or a good legacy. Reversed: Shady dealings. great monetary success gained without the
Deviousness. The character might find that energy or vigor to enjoy it. Reversed: Will
his nest egg has been stolen. disputes. Robbery. Success pilfered and used
for another’s enjoyment. Identity theft. A
death throws things into disarray.

• Page of Pentacles: A dark-haired youth, • Knight of Pentacles: A hard working,
hard-working and solemn. Deliberate and but not terribly young man. Happy to do the
careful in all he or she says and does. Thrifty work assigned to him, highly tenacious and
and wise beyond years. Reversed: Prodigal responsible, but with little initiative and no
son (or daughter). A wastrel. taste for leadership. A “yokel,” but possibly
possessed of great common sense and good
judgment of character. Reversed: Lazy,
unemployed, idle. Possibly also spiteful,
bigoted, or outright stupid.

PAGe of Penta
• Queen of Pentacles: A generous, happy • King of Pentacles: Slow to react but
and intuitive (if not intelligent) woman. She decisive when he does, the King of Pentacles is
knows her family well and brooks no interfer- a deliberate and thoughtful man. He might be
ence with their dealings. She is a good listener, a teacher, or he might be a craftsman of some
practical and true, but can be stubborn. Re- kind, but in any case he is devoted to his work
versed: A drudge. Possibly stupid or mad, she and his family. He never forgives a slight, but
has no initiative and barely understands what also never jumps to conclusions and thus is hard
is happening around her. Unreliable. to offend. Reversed: The man is a brute, hold-
ing his family in thrall with fear and violence.
He has money, but no principles, and will use
his family as leverage if need be.

Queen of Pentacle