A photograph dating back to the beginning of the 20th Century portrays a mother holding her baby. The baby opens his right hand as if to receive something; with his left hand, he pushes something away as if to refuse it. The photograph is set within a golden frame. Four ancient Greek cups decorate the bottom of the card.
The cubic shape of both the photograph and the frame accentuate the symbology of the number 4. The 4 represents stability, security, foundations and protection. It also represents the Earth, the material world. Therefore if a four is found in a Water (cup) element, it refers most often to some kind of spiritual inheritance.
The Greek cups remind us of our link to the past. Of the inheritance we have received from the Ancients - the philosophers, mathematicians and artists. They remind us of the foundations of our civilisation.
The mother and child point also to an inheritance, to a legacy, but this time closer to home. A mother provides not only protection, security, stability and foundations. She also transmits to a child her values, principles and very often family traditions.
The baby knows instinctively that some of these values, principles and traditions are to be received with gratitude, and so he opens his right hand to receive them. Others he knows are either no longer valid for his times, or that he does not need them in order to succeed in his life's quest. They could even hinder his journey. So he pushes them away with his left hand.
The 4 of Cups almost always speaks of values transmitted by love. Family traditions are passed on, sometimes cultural values, even patriotic values. Not all inheritances and legacies are good. It is very important to sort out the chaff from the wheat.
To take an example: if a reading concerns a marriage, it would be wise to discuss with the future partner which traditions and values he or she wishes to bring into the marriage and which ones he or she wishes to transmit to the future generation, for these could very well clash with the other partner's wishes.
Another example: if the reading concerns a child, this card could be a warning not to expect your children to live according to your standards and values, but to let them work out their own, even if they do not correspond to yours.
Give only what is gladly received.
Receive only that which your heart tells you is right.
Diana was born in 1959 and grew up in apartheid South Africa. But for many years now she has been living in Switzerland. The Tarot of Marseilles is her passion and she believes it to be the only true Tarot, the only one that embodies with absolute perfection the Essence of the Tarot.... and the Essence of things unseen. The photograph used for this card is in her family album and is part of the legacy she has received... and which she decided to keep.
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