Date of murders: March 31st of 1922
Location: Bavarian farmstead in modern-day Waidhofen, Bavaria, Germany
Disclaimer: Tarot readings should not be taken as absolute claims that something did or did not happen. I only report the meaning of the cards, their relationships and the meaning in the context of those relationships, as well as intuitions I have based entirely on the cards presented in the reading. Tarot reading is an art and not a science.
The Hinterkaifeck murders are said to have occurred on the night of March 31st of 1922. Six people were murdered inside the home: Andreas Gruber (63 years old), Cazilia Gruber (72 years old), Viktoria Gabriel (35 years old), Cazilia (7 years old), Josef (2 years old), and Maria Baumgartner (44 years old). Four people were found deceased and in the barn. Two were found inside the home. Maria was new to her job as a maid because the prior one had quit – reportedly after hearing strange noises in the attic at night. The murders remain unsolved to this day.
Question: Who murdered the six people living at the farmstead referred to as Hinterkaifeck?
Temperance (reversed) – Queen of Wands (reversed) – High Priestess (reversed)
Card pulled for the Queen of Wands (r): King of Cups
Card pulled for the King of Cups: King of Wands
Card pulled for the King of Wands: 6 of Pentacles
Queen of Swords – 7 of Wands – 8 of Wands (reversed)
Card pulled for the Queen of Swords: 8 of Pentacles (reversed)
9 of Cups (reversed) – 10 of Swords (reversed) – Ace of Swords
It seems as though the person/people responsible for the murders had some kind of ongoing situation or conflict with the family. I’m not sure if it was well known, but Temperance reversed came up first which is telling me that this conflict (these issues that a person/s had with one or more members of the family) is at the heart of why it happened, and who did it.
The Queen of Wands reversed is depicting an adult female as being involved or having direct knowledge about the murders. This person is coming up early which tells me they likely knew they were going to happen before they did. There are two adult males associated with the Queen: the King of Cups and the King of Wands. So it’s looking like there were three people somehow involved and/or had inside knowledge about what happened.
The Six of Pentacles is saying that one of these people gave someone in the family something. I don’t know if it was a single item, multiple items, or what. It could have been money or something else. Something was given and there was no known or communicated expectation of the receiving person to reciprocate. For some reason, this process of giving and receiving is important to this case because it’s coming up in the reading. It is probably something that would identify at least one of the people involved.
The High Priestess reversed is associated with secrets and hidden enemies and this all suggests that the murders were not completely random. There may have been one or two people in the background that would not seem to have an obvious motive or issue with anyone in the family. It doesn’t seem like someone came across the farm and just killed everyone for the sake of committing murder. There does appear to have been a plan and more than one person assisted in carrying all of it out – to varying degrees, I would say.
The Queen of Swords, and the Eight of Pentacles reversed, is pointing to a woman involved who appears to have had some kind of financial or material motive. This is likely the same person referenced in the first row. I don’t know why or how she thought she would profit or benefit from the murders, but it’s showing me this. Also, she might have been the ring-leader so to speak because the Queen of Swords is someone who is strategic and plans ahead of time.
The Seven of Wands shows at least one of the people involved as having been on the defensive –like they were blamed or accused of something – possibly after the murders, but not necessarily. It’s like someone was trying to force them to take blame or responsibility for something and they didn’t want to do that. There is also a territorial component to these murders. I do think there’s a good possibility there had been one or more past fights or arguments between one or more of the people responsible and someone (or multiple people) living at the farmstead where the murder occurred. However, I don’t think everyone with knowledge, or that was involved, had a direct negative history with anyone in the family. The High Priestess points to one or more hidden enemies – with secret motives and a secret agenda.
The Eight of Wands shows waiting and delays. There are a couple things I am getting from this. One is that I think one or more hung around the crime scene after the fact. I don’t mean the time between the murders happening and the discovery of them; I am referring to immediately after that when it was clear everyone had been killed. I’m getting this repeating thought of the word “loitering” and so at least one of the people came around – probably to get an idea if they were suspected and possibly to intentionally create delays or setbacks – and it was probably more than once.
Someone involved had a hard time with the murders in that the Nine of Cups reversed is a card of nightmares, self-hate, and misery. I don’t know which person this refers to, but I think the murders took a toll on someone and could have led them down a path of addiction – or exacerbated any already existing vices they might have had. At least one of the people involved, or a person with direct knowledge, did not cope with the aftermath well at all. They were haunted by it – figurately, and perhaps literally. To the point where it would have been noticeable. They could have tried to explain their mental state away and attributed all this to something else entirely, but it would have been known to people around this individual that they were struggling mentally/emotionally.
The Ten of Swords reversed is really interesting because it tells me that at least one of the people responsible came extremely close to getting caught. The whole ordeal almost ended in total ruin and disaster for them. They did something, left something, or said something that tripped them up. I’m not sure why they still got away with the murders. But they did. That is potentially another means of identifying them.
The Ace of Swords is when someone asserts their truth and tells it like it is. One of the people involved did eventually talk about it to someone, or multiple people. What I mean is that they talked to someone who wasn’t involved. They told someone. I have no idea which person did this or who they told. I don’t know why it wasn’t taken seriously – or if it was to some degree, but there just wasn’t evidence to back it up. But there was information shared about what happened that was truthful and accurate. Perhaps people thought they were making it up? I don’t know. They weren’t though. They told someone.
Question: What caused the murders?
Death – Ace of Cups – 9 of Wands (reversed)
Page of Pentacles – 5 of Pentacles (reversed) – The Star
Card pulled for the Page of Pentacles: 3 of Wands (reversed)
King of Swords – 7 of Wands (reversed) – 9 of Pentacles (reversed)
Card pulled for the King of Swords: 6 of Swords (reversed)
The first row is suggesting that at least one of the people involved had a motive that pertained to an emotions and/or family-based matter. Death is showing there was some impending and significant change that was going to occur. The Ace of Cups tells me it is related to matters such as pregnancy, emotions, family, and/or situations in their early stages of existence. The Nine of Wands reversed is someone refusing to compromise and someone who is stubborn. This person didn’t want to do something, or back down from something, having to do with the Ace of Cups. It’s almost like they felt the murders would be easier than going about getting their way using other means. I don’t really understand what that is saying here, but this person did not want to deal with some transition or change-related matter that was looming.
The Page of Pentacles, and the Three of Wands reversed, could mean a couple of things. First, the Page could refer to a child or a message. If it is referencing a child, then the Three of Wands reversed is showing them as being an obstacle and a source of frustration. The card can also reference a failed relationship or a relationship that has kind of taken place at a distance. However, if the Page refers to some kind of news or message, then it was likely one pertaining to money or material matters.
The Five of Pentacles reversed shows someone as wanting to improve their financial situation and put an end to some kind of hardship they were enduring. And the Star tells me that the murders accomplished this specific goal – at least for one of the people involved. So I don’t know if someone owed a debt to the family, or one person in the family, or had some kind of financial hardship associated with one or more members but figuring that out would provide some insight here because the murders wiped that slate clean. Successfully.
One of the people involved – most likely one of the adult males – felt they could not get away from the situation any other way. They felt trapped and the situation didn’t seem like it would get better any time soon. The Six of Swords reversed is often a warning of trouble to come and so I think that something must have happened to make this person feel like their situation would become even worse than it already was. It is like they were anticipating that a problem would get worse, and they felt they needed to address it.
The Seven of Wands reversed is a card associated with being weak or timid in a situation. It could be someone who went along with the plan, despite not really wanting to get involved, because they didn’t feel they had any real power. The card could have more meaning than that, but that’s the gist of what it means in that position. It’s basically someone giving up and giving in.
The Nine of Pentacles reversed often refers to lies and theft. There is definitely a money motive here and the weirdest part about it is the appearance of the Star – in the second row. That card is telling me that the person got what they wanted out of this in that the murders fixed the material or money issue. Another factor associated with the Nine of Pentacles is the possibility that someone did, or had considered, marrying for money. That meaning may or may not apply here; it’s just a secondary one I thought about when trying to figure out what this money matter is all about.
So it seems like one or two of the people involved were a lot more invested in carrying out the plan than anyone else involved. There was at least one person who was kind of caught up in the middle of it somehow. I’m not saying they don’t have culpability or anything like that. I’m just thinking back to Temperance reversed – from the first reading – and the possibility of a power imbalance between those involved. The King and Queen of Wands were the aggressors and more action-oriented, while the King of Cups was more go inclined to go along with it all.