Well, this is an appropriate card for a fantasy writer to pull. :)
Card of the Day: Seven of Cups, "Fantasy"
In the Russian Tarot of St. Petersburg's Seven of Cups, the central figure is that of a serf observing cups overflowing with a wide array of fantastical objects: what might be imperial jewels; an unlikely dragon; the severed head of a despot, perhaps; the golden cupolas of an Orthodox cathedral; a viper ready to strike; a wreath of flowers; and a burst of fantastical stars floating off into the ether.
I think it's interesting to note (and you'll have to take my word for it, since you can only see it up close in these fabulously painted miniatures by Yuri Shakov) that his gaze is on the flowers: the essence of the Russian spirit, beauty from the land itself that a price cannot be put on, and something the poorest peasant might have for the taking. The serf seems least of all interested in the imperial jewels.
The general meaning of the Seven of Cups is about dreaming of what might be, and not focusing on what is. This isn't always a bad thing. Without our fantastical dreams, what would we writers be?
I think what the Russian Tarot of St. Petersburg's Seven of Cups is saying is that the wildly out-of-reach dreams and the dark and frightening fantasies are irrelevant. Each of the other cups contain something the serf can never attain, or need never worry about. He keeps his eyes on the one thing he knows is within his grasp, a creation he can take pleasure in and one he can cultivate to bring beauty and joy to others.
When I first arrived in St. Petersburg in 2006 for my summer study abroad, this lovely sight greeted me on the balcony of my room:
They were just a few simple flowers, but it was a touching gesture and made me feel instantly at home. In Russia, it's important to give a gift to someone when you visit, as well as when someone comes to visit you. The people we met there shared with us happily though they had little to give. When it was time to return to the States at the end of this enchanting trip, my roommate and I wanted to give something to our "khaziayka," Yelena Volfovna, to thank her for her hospitality. Andi and I had both given Yelena chocolates when we arrived, and she laughed and showed us the cupboard full of chocolates from other students she'd hosted; she set them out every night with tea before bed to try to get us to eat them so she wouldn't get fat.
We ended up buying her flowers for our thank-you gift, and we didn't have much money left by the end of the trip, so it was a very small bouquet (you can just barely see them in the bottom left in the picture, and you can also see the typical painting of flowers on the wall behind Yelena). Yet she was moved when we gave them to her, as if we'd brought her two dozen red roses.
The lesson of the Seven of Cups is something I needed a particular reminder of right now. Today I received the official ebook copy of The Devil's Garden, and while it ought to have made me jump for joy, instead I focused on the imperfections of the words that are now permanently set in type, and on the pieces of my dream that I haven't yet attained. I have to try to remember that it's just a little story I put down in words to entertain someone. It doesn't have to be perfect. It can't be perfect. I'm never going to have the imperial jewels of literary talent, nor do I need them. I just need to keep cultivating what I do have and enjoy sharing the simple pleasures of my gift.
So much more easily said than done.