Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Tarot Tales: X is for X of...

Welcome to the 2021 A to Z Blogging Challenge! My theme this year is Tarot Tales. I am making a selection of folktales, legends, and other traditional stories that correspond to tarot cards. Storytelling and tarot go well together. Do other stories come to mind? Let me know in the comments!

Today I once again post about four cards instead of one: the Tens (X's) of the Minor Arcana. Tens are the highest non-court cards, and thus they represent the completion or fulfillment of the symbolism of their entire suit.

Ten of Cups
This one is a lovely card (although I struggle to differentiate if from the Nine of Cups...). It is about joy, happiness, love - living a whole and harmonious life filled with nurturing and meaningful relationships. Cups represent water and emotion, therefore this is all about nice warm and fuzzy emotions.

A young man sets our from a cold and desolate village to bring the Bird of Happiness to his people. As he climbs higher and higher in the mountains he encounters various monsters that threaten him, and demand payment for letting him pass. The payment is always killing or hurting someone else from the village, so the young man repeatedly refuses, and suffers the consequences instead. Finally, blinded, starved, and bruised, he finds the Bird of Happiness. The bird heals him and carries him down to the village, singing a beautiful song that makes the sun shine, the fields bloom, and everyone's heart fill up with joy.

Ten of Swords
This is a baaad card. It is about deep pain, grief, loss, and despair. It is about hitting rock bottom, going through your darkest hour, being betrayed, hurt, abandoned. Lots of hard, painful feelings. The silver lining of this card is the proverbial "nowhere to go from here but up." 

The Nameless Son of Urizhmag (Ossetian Nart saga)
One of the most heartbreaking stories I know. The great hero Urizhmag kills his own child in a freak household accident. The child's spirit begs the ruler of the Underworld to let him return to the land of the living, to go on one adventure with his grieving father. He receives permission, and returns to his father's village. Urizhmag does not recognize him, but he decides to go on an adventure with the brave young warrior anyway. When they return, the boy has to go back to the Underworld; his mother realizes too late who he was. She runs after him, begging the sun to stand still on the horizon, giving her a few precious moments to catch a glimpse of her child before he disappears again.

Ten of Wands
As an overachiever, I relate to this card a lot. It is about taking on too much, and struggling to carry all the responsibility. It is about things weighing you down. This card usually signals that you have to learn to say no, and choose your battles carefully. The workload is too much, and something's gotta give.

The Magic Hen (Hungary)
There are many legends in Hungary about a creature called a lidérc, a kind of spirit that can be both helpful and dangerous. In one story, the lidérc takes the shape of a black hen that never stops working. It brings its owner whatever she desires - gold, silver, diamonds, food, etc. - and keeps bringing more and more of it until it is told to stop (or until the house fills up). If it doesn't get a new task, it takes the owner's soul to Hell. It is very hard to get rid of: the only way to kill a lidérc is to give it a task it cannot fulfill.

Ten of Pentacles
Another nice card. It is about long-term wealth, success, and financial security. Basically it represents achieving a place in life where you can provide safety and comfort to your own family - whether they are blood relations or otherwise. It is about an abundance of material resources that create a secure and nurturing environment. 

A version of the King Thrushbeard tale, but with a better outcome. A pasha's wise and clever daughter refuses to marry anyone she doesn't love. When she rejects a very high ranking suitor, her father grows furious and orders her to be married to the most wretched man in the city. Such a man (a fire stoker from a public bath) is selected, and married to the girl, then they are both kicked out of the palace to fend for themselves. However, the young woman, Uns-ul-Juloos, does not panic. She starts befriending her new husband, little by little, and he turns out to be a kind, trustworthy man. She sells her jewelry and begins renovating the small hovel they live in. She also helps her husband find a new job, and slowly but surely their lives turn for the better. By the end of the tale, with the help of a friendly jinn, they become a wealthy and respected couple. They live in their own palace comfortably, and even manage to make peace with the girl's parents and family.

These cards all represent great highs and lows. How are you feeling about them? 


  1. I like the Pasha's Only Daughter story. The young woman handles her self well, stands by her word to her father, works hard to better her and her husband's life. I guess the king was expecting her to grovel at his feet. I am thinking of a job that hen can do forever! Oh, but, the Bird of Happiness is a good one too! He's not after the bird for himself, which must make the difference to the bird.

  2. A quiver full of stories today:)
    Enjoyed them all.
    The Ten of Swords reminds me of India's current Covid-19 situation.

    And the black hen one--perhaps she should be asked to fix the follies of the human race--that should keep her busy!

    And well done to the Pasha's daughter. Patriarchy can be dealt with, one husband at a time:) But she had a djinn who helped her. Hmmm...

  3. This was a delightful surprise - I couldn't imagine what you'd choose for X. LOL. I find the magic hen tale particularly fascinating. I've been thinking a great deal lately about what "enoughness" is. I like Arti's suggestion for a task to set for the hen.

  4. Great X post! The bird of happiness looks good 😊

  5. Those are some great stories. I love the highs and the lows. Life always has some of both. I've always found the 10's so interesting in terms of those extremes.

  6. This is so beautifully written. Makes me want to get a reading.
    I love letter X posts! Always such variety.
    It's hard to believe the blogging challenge is almost over. Then the after survey, reflections, and the road trip sign-up.
    Plus, I'm taking part in the Bout of Books read-a-thon in May. So much excitement!
    J Lenni Dorner~ Co-host of the #AtoZchallenge, OperationAwesome6 Debut Author Interviewer, Reference& Speculative Fiction Author

  7. Interesting collection!

    Ronel visiting for the A-Z Challenge with an A-Z of Faerie: Iron and Fae