Tarot of Delphi: A Fine Art Tarot Deck & Booklet

Seven of Cups: The Charmer

The Charmer, 1911 (oil on canvas). Waterhouse, John William (1849-1917). Private Collection.

The Charmer, 1911 (oil on canvas). Waterhouse, John William (1849-1917). Private Collection.

Deep in the forest, a nymph sits on the edge of a pool playing a lyre. Fish skitter and jump, dancing to her music, an ephemeral moment that will sink below the surface when the music stops.

The woman plays a kithara, a style of lyre used by professional musicians in ancient Greece. It provided entertainment at parties and was an accompaniment to lyric poetry. This woman plays for the fishes, and not just plays for them, but charms them into a frenzy. While moving her audience to joyous abandon, she sits apart, unable to immerse herself. She plays, but her eyes are shadowed. She teases, but seems melancholy.

Pale pink roses bloom along the pond’s rocky edge. This simple wild rose, called a dog rose, symbolized pleasure and pain in the Victorian language of flowers.


The Seven of Cups reminds us that we can charm and be charmed. We can dream, and we be seduced by a dream. We can be the woman or we can be the fish – but likely we’re both.

Let’s be the fish first, because they’re having far more fun. They’re free, they’re wild, they follow their whims. It’s a charmed life. Anthropomorphizing the fish, we can imagine them charmed by ideas, excited by possibilities. They break the barrier of their watery existence, leaping into the air, peeking at what is beyond their own environment and culture. When we vision, we don’t have to commit. We can simply listen to the music and let our minds dance free, creating dreams that break all the rules.

The nymphal musician provides the stuff that forms our dreams. If we slip into her skin, we can understand why she’s not happy. She (we) dream to move beyond current circumstances. The woman is the personification of our discontentment, mild or severe. Whether we feel neutral or intense, sad or impassive, when we visualize our futures, we often think about what we want to improve. We think about what we want to change. The Charmer personifies desire for more as well as our capacity to charm our deepest longings from below the surface into conscious awareness.