Card of the day – Lust

I'm going to write about the meaning of the Tarot cards in my deck, but rather than doing it in some dull old logical order I thought I'd just cut one out of the deck when I have the time and see which one turned up.  With time this may even turn into a complete, if slightly eccentric, guide to how to read the Tarot.  I'll also try to figure out if they are turning up randomly or if there's some meaning in which card turns up at which time.


The Major Arcana Card Lust, from the Thoth Deck


There's certainly no shortage of things to express about this card. It is one of the most magickally complex and powerful of the Major Arcana in this deck, and contains many mysteries as well as having some interesting meanings for divination.

This card may be a surprise to those of you familiar with Tarot but who have never used the Deck of Thoth.  In most decks you would instead have a card called Strength.  The meanings are similar, but this deck was of course designed by Aliester Crowley, and is therefore an expression of his magickal system.  Anyone familiar with his private life wouldn't be at all surprised that the concept of Lust would feature prominently in his deck, but then anyone familiar with his magickal work would also understand that this card is about something a little more complicated than simple sexual lust.

So to begin with… how to read this card.  The appearance of Lust is going to indicate we are dealing with the realm of passion, energy and drive.  For those of you who speak Astrology, this card corresponds to Leo.  This is a card of going forth, of feeling things, of being moved.  It may, indeed, represent sexual lust – the kind of desire that comes from deeply wanting another person, the kind of desire that will propel us forward to try harder, do more, strive to do something spectacular to catch the attention of the person we crave.  But it can also represent a more general 'lust for life'.  Rather than meaning the kind of excitement we might feel when we wake up refreshed whilst on holiday and we feel ready to seize the day, this is the kind of deeply felt lust for life that comes from doing the thing you were born to do, from being at the place are meant to be, surrounded by your people.

In Crowley's magickal system this card embodies the concept of 'Love under Will' and that's an important idea to understand when dealing with this card.  Lust is all very well, but if it gets out of hand… it can be problematic.

Over the years I've learned to play bits and pieces of various musical instruments – it's something I enjoy, but I've rarely had the time and energy to pursue them into real proficiency.  But there is one principle in all musical expression that I find is the same – when playing you have to find a balance between technique and emotion.  If, whilst playing, you focus too much on technique then the music you create will often sound 'dry', mechanical, uninteresting.  But if, whilst playing, you really let the emotion sweep you away, you really get lost in the way the piece feels, then often your technique will start to fall apart and you will start making mistakes, losing the complexity of the piece.  As you practice more your technique becomes stronger and it can contain more emotion, more passion, without becoming lost – your playing becomes more evocative, powerful and effective.  This, to me, is the best metaphor for expressing 'Love under Will' and this card.

In life we can play it safe, be careful, not care too much about the things that cross our path.  But if we do so we may find our life is dry, uninteresting and passionless.  If, however, we allow everything to move us, everything to pull us one way or another, every slight raises anger and every affection turns to burning lust… well, we won't be bored, certainly, but we may find our life is constantly in chaos and we crash from one incident to another barely in control.  We have to balance our passion with our Will – our ability to feel, to love, to be moved with our ability to guide, judge and discriminate.  As our Will becomes stronger (through self knowledge, deep consideration and learning more about our place in the world) we can allow ourselves to feel passions to a greater degree – to love more – without those passions throwing us off track.  Indeed, because they are shaped by our Will those passions will inevitably keep us on track.  And moving in the direction we need to go in.

These are the lessons of this card.  Placed positively it indicates a great passion, finding the thing you are supposed to be doing in life, feeling a great, moving, lust or desire.  Placed badly it may indicate that you are being ruled by your emotions, that you are being dragged hurtling forward by drives and desires you cannot control, that you have little hope but to hang on for dear life until this ride ends.

As a card of the day… well, that's complicated.  I would suggest it means 'check in with your passions' – which passions and lusts are you not allowing yourself to express (true passions always lead you in the 'right' direction, when expressed appropriately in accordance with your Will).  Think of the thing you enjoy doing most in the world.  When did you last do it?  When are you going to do it again?  Are you happy about those answers?

But also take the time to ensure that you are still in control of your passions and that they aren't driving you – a love (no matter how good it feels), unchecked by Will, may just be leading you over a cliff.

All this and I haven't even answered the really important question – who's that girl?  The image is of Babalon.  Who happens to be my 'patron' goddess, for want of a better word.  There's a huge amount I could say about her, too… but that will have to wait for another time.

One Response to "Card of the day – Lust"

  1. AW says:

    I did a reading where this card came up as "blocking" or hindering me, and I found your interpretation spot on. A million thanks to you. I enjoy reading your Cards of the Day interpretations, you explain things in a very clear and intelligent way.

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