Wednesday 28 May 2014

John Matthews | How can Happiness be a negative?

10 Vessels Wildwood Tarot Happiness

We received a question this week from a Wildwoodean via Twitter asking how a card such as the 10 of Cups, which is over-brimming with happiness, could ever be considered negative, as when it falls in a position such as ‘Actions to avoid?

This is one of those times where a subtle reading of the card has to be taken and perhaps considered along with its companions. Of course one would not generally wish to avoid happiness. But there can be situations where too much happiness can overwhelm – where joy can be too great to bear, where life itself actually needs to be considered more seriously, the happiness weighed against darker things.

Every tarot reading seeks to reach a point of balance, where positive and negative are cancelled out and the reality of a situation revealed without its baggage of good and bad. If such a card were to land on such a position with this meaning, I would look at the situation and the cards that balance it, and try to find the fulcrum of balance.

Alternately, the power of the card itself – which in this instance is one that radiates joy, may actually override its position in the reading. Though such events are rare they do happen and can overturn the reading, causing it to become reversed or read in a wholly different way.

John Matthews ©    22.5.14


  1. Sometimes we can delude ourselves with "happiness" and not face the things that we must in order to grow. If 10 Cups fell in "actions to avoid" could it not simply be a warning that we are to not forget that there are always dark forces at work within us and happiness can only be attained when we face them and let go of them? It's hard to speculate without knowing what surrounds...
    I LOVE my WW Tarot BTW - it is very inspiring!!!

  2. Overindulgence; ego-centric....

  3. How about avoiding the tendency to see a situation with rose coloured glasses.