Aces: stem cells of the tarot

Unless you’ve been living under a shell (which I’m often accused of, but this crossed my desk so I’m actually given money to pay attention), you’ve heard about this week’s “stop order“ on federally funded research involving human embryonic stem cells.

It just blows my mind how we can have this engine for potential at our fingertips — easily accessible and (I believe) without doing harm to living creatures — and we shut it down. The embryos are just days old. Just a mass of undeveloped cells, ready to turn into YES, a beautiful bouncing baby girl who would watch The Wizard of Oz 10x/week as a toddler and skin her knees at six and still hang from the monkey bars even though she’s ten and hopefully when she’s a teenager not bully others but then just a few years later go to the prom wearing a corsage on her wrist and then graduate magna cum laude before becoming the next American President.

I get it.

Those blob-like cells also have the potential to turn into a liver to save a life. Or turn into brain cells to stop the progress — maybe even reverse it — of Parkinson’s or Hodgkin’s Diseases. A cure for cancer, or a replacement for a vital organ that cancer destroyed.

But there’re enough news articles and blog posts and rants and crises out there in internet-land about this topic, and that’s not what’s got me all thought-provoked and such.

I was thinking the other night about how stem cells, in effect, are the building blocks of our physical bodies. Likewise, maybe the Aces are simply just the building blocks of our “other selves”.


An Ace in a deck of cards represents the number one. The beginning of the suit. In the game of Blackjack, an Ace can be magical (especially when flipped down on that 10 or face card!) or its value can be chosen and make the difference between busting or handsprings.

As I learn the tarot, each suit’s Ace is beginning to embody the following to me (though any book you pick up will list pages of possibilities):

Wands ::: potential for creative energy or “joie de vivre” (I just love how that rolls off my tongue!)

Cups ::: potential for emotion and relationships (both problems and harmonies)

Swords ::: potential for problems, challenges, strife, and head-knocking

Discs ::: potential for security, life and loves, family and career

Stem cells have the capability – the potential – to eventually eradicate disabling and deadly diseases. They promise our bodies medicine and healing when we’re hurt. They can divide and form whole new tissues, for goodness’ sake!

I see Aces in much the same way in the stories the cards present.

So tell me: how do you see Aces in the world around you? How do they fit into your deck, or your readings? If not full of potential to help (or challenge), then what purpose do they fulfill for you?


My favorite online resources have much more (and better!) info on the cards and their meanings if you’re interested:

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