10 of Cups: Count It All As Joy
(c) Cheryl Lynne Bradley 2006-10

Morgan Greer Tarot: 10 of Cups

Joy is the will which labors, which overcomes obstacles, which knows triumph.
-William Butler Yeats

The excursion is the same when you go looking for your sorrow as when you go looking for your joy.
- Eudora Welty

Capacity for joy
Admits temptation.
- Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Aurora Leigh
(bk. I, l. 703)

We live in a world which is increasingly difficult to understand and to navigate. Morals, ethics and justice seem to be taking a back seat to greed, rampant consumerism, hatred and misuse of power on a global scale. The problems facing our world are all products of the corruption and self-destructive, self-absorbed lean of our society and our increasingly pessimistic view of what the future could hold. It doesn't look promising at all.when we see how many people in our world don't get enough to eat, don't get proper medical care, live in battle zones or have known nothing but war, unrest and persecution (real or perceived).

The 10 of Cups in the Tarot is a happy card. It contains images of happy families, rainbows and gives us a sense of joy and emotional fulfillment. Wouldn't it be wonderful if life could always be this full of happiness and contentment. The reality is that life is hard and sorrow is always plentiful. Our situations can change quickly, without reason or rhyme. As I always say, people can be cruel and disappointing far more often than they can be compassionate and supportive. Sometimes I think people are bored with their own purposeless lives (and so boring) that they have nothing better to do than be mean, petty and hateful. This card tells me that the people depicted have chosen to count only joy.

“One reason for the epidemic of self-destructiveness that has struck British, if not the whole of Western, society, is the avoidance of boredom. For people who have no transcendent purpose to their lives and cannot invent one through contributing to a cultural tradition (for example), in other words who have no religious belief and no intellectual interests to stimulate them, self-destruction and the creation of crises in their life is one way of warding off meaninglessness.”
Theodore Dalrymple, "Our Culture Whats Left of It: The Mandarins and the Masses"

I believe that this card is telling us that no matter what is happening in our lives, no matter how difficult the situation we are in, that we have to count and consider it all as joy. We have to learn to fill ourselves up on the beauty of the past and the hope of the future, and to keep only these things in our heart. It is easy to get stuck on thoughts of what might have been, what could have been, what should have been and what we wanted it to be. It is much harder in some situations to accept the reality of what was. It is difficult to be clear and in the present when we are dwelling on events in our past that cannot be changed, but that may have been deeply devastating or traumatic for us. It overshadows any of the joys we may have experienced in that same past, but those joys were there, they did occur and they deserve to be remembered.

{2} My brethern, count it all as joy when ye fall into divers temptations,
{3} Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience
{4} But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing
James 1:2-4, KJV

You can choose pain and suffering as your lifestyle, maybe you like the attention of being a martyr or a victim. Many people like the excitement and attention of having a crisis, life is boring to them without an ongoing crisis. There are many people who like to tell other people in grief that their pain, their sorrow and their tragedy aren't as valid or deep or real as the victim/martyrs' is, as if it was some kind of contest. It shows a real lack of compassion for the issues of grief and loss that each and everyone of us will experience in our lives. Quite often people are involved in the sixth stage of grief, which is litigation, as if money can compensate in any way for loss and pain. I guess they are under the misconception that money can buy happiness or reclaim the errors or traumas of the past. There is no way to buy joy, purpose or meaning.

“The poor on the borderline of starvation live purposeful lives. To be engaged in a desperate struggle for food and shelter is to be wholly free from a sense of futility. The goals are concrete and immediate. Every meal is a fulfillment; to go to sleep on a full stomach is a triumph; and every windfall a miracle. What need could they have for ‘an inspiring super individual goal which could give meaning and dignity to their lives?’”
The True Believer by Eric Hoffer

We cannot fill ourselves up with our own, or other people's, bitterness, anger, self-pity, blame or hatred. If we keep ourselves full of the only that which is sweet and joyful, we cannot swallow pain and sorrow. We need to learn to discern the difference between depression and unhappiness. It is a lesson in conscious, purposeful acts of will, endurance, fortitude, steadfastness, perseverance, priorities and personal choice to create and allow the capacity for joy. We must be like ants among the sugar and the sand, we must only eat what is sweet and nourishes us.

Only tears of joy can overcome our tears of sorrow. Send your sorrow floating away on a sea of joy. We need to learn to endure all trials, tribulations and tempations with grace and dignity. We have to shed our tears both of joy and of our deepest sorrows. Joy is the spirit of optimism and hope responding to the challenges of life. It takes maturity, wisdom, resilience of spirit, sincerity, endurance, patience, mercy, faith, the love of peace and a lot of hard work to be able to count it all as joy. I didn't say it would be easy.


This page was created November 13, 2006 and updated 2010-06-11.