Tarot cards are rich with symbolism and understanding the classic symbols that appear throughout the Rider-Waite deck along with other classic tarot decks can help you peel back the layers of meaning and find similarities between the cards.
With 78 tarot cards in a standard deck, learning to interpret the meaning of each can be overwhelming. A firm understanding of the symbols of the tarot that are scattered throughout the major arcana and minor arcana can make this process easier and enrichen your readings. Look to the numbers, colors, and classic symbols to help you unpack the messages in the tarot cards.
Number Symbols of the Tarot
Numbers appear throughout the deck and correspond to numerology. You can look to the numbers for insight into the energy of the card. Here’s a guide to the ten numbers that appear in pip cards:
Ones – unity, new beginnings, renewal, awakening
Twos – partnerships, balance, duality
Threes – expansion, creativity, groups
Fours – stability
Fives – change, conflict, growth
Sixes – harmony
Sevens – spiritual growth, hard work, lessons
Eights – abundance, accomplishment
Nines – coming to an end of a cycle
Tens – completion, success, enlightenment
Another way you can decipher tarot card meanings is to look at the colors being used with the imagery. The colors help create an overall energy of the tarot card and can correspond to the chakras.
Black – Protection, darkness, negativity, illness, being grounded
Red – Root chakra, safety, security, grounded, safety, security, passion
Pink – Heart chakra, love, femininity, compassion, forgiveness
Orange – Sacral chakra, joy, happiness, creativity, sexuality, optimism
Yellow – Solar plexus chakra, enthusiasm, confidence, happiness, spontaneity
Gold – Crown chakra, abundance, self-mastery, divine guidance, spiritual leadership
Green – Heart chakra, healing, unconditional love, self-love, harmony, balance, envy, bitterness
Blue – Throat chakra, communication, boundaries, speaking up, self-expression
Purple – Third eye chakra, intuition, psychic ability, spirituality, awakening
White – Crown chakra, higher self, connection to the divine
Art Symbols of the Tarot
Most common tarot decks use recurring objects and animals that are symbolic beyond their literal interpretation. Some classic symbols that appear through the Rider-Waite tarot deck and other classic decks include:
Angels – Inspiration, guidance on your journey, listen to your inner voice
Cups – Emotions, feelings, love
Dogs – friendship, companionship, community, loyalty, honesty
Embroidered Robes – wealth, status, royalty
Flags – Pay close attention, caution
Grapes – abundance, fertility
Flowers – abundance, growth, success, luxury, beauty
Hammer – chores, hard work, labor, chipping away at something, progress
Laurels – victory, abundance
Lion – patience, strength, romance, taming
Moon – passage of time, cycles, secrets coming to light, making the darkness light, reflection, femininity
Pentacles – materialism, money, success, vocation
Swords – truth, clarity, fast-moving action
Thrones – royalty, importance, establishment, luxury
Trees – shelter, protection, growth
Wands – creativity, passion
Learning the symbolism in tarot can make your readings more succinct and give a greater depth. You may find similarities between the tarot cards that have been overlooked in the past which can enrichen your interpretations. Pulling cards with repetitive symbols could indicate an important message trying to come through. Take note of when you see the same symbols jump out at you.
While the above is a guide to reading the common symbols of tarot, your interpretation may be personal, For instance, you may find that certain symbols such as a dove remind you of a specific person, or the robes worn by the characters in the tarot resemble the wardrobe of a close friend. Use your intuition to determine what message is trying to come through for you.
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