SYMBOLISM and the TAROT - Symbols and Symbology of the TAROT

The secret that the ancient masters have handed down to us is that all earthly emotions and experiences are contained within the symbology of the Tarot. A true understanding of this symbology enables us to elevate our daily feelings and experiences into a higher spiritual vibration. The conscious, human mind is not able to fully grasp the full symbolism of the Tarot.
The esoteric system of symbolism was used to produce the symbols on the Tarot cards. Each card has been intricately designed and drawn to include its true meaning through the use of symbols, which are Universally acknowledged through our unconscious minds.
Angels:
The Angel is a symbol of the super-conscious, and is a messenger who is many times unaware of the role they play in imparting news or information. Each of us is said to have at least one guardian angel (or spirit guide) that we can contact through meditation. Our guardian angels watch us, and only have our best interest at heart. In the context of the Tarot, the Angels depicted within the deck are indicative of our subconscious minds.
Angels are seen on The Queen of Swords, Queen of Pentacles, Queen of Cups, Judgment and Temperance.
Ankh:
The Ankh is the Egyptian symbol of eternal life, truth and regeneration. Because of the Ankh’s resemblance to the glyph for the planet Venus, many people equate this symbol with love and beauty. The Ankh is also called the ‘mirror of Venus’.
The Ankh is seen on The Emperor card in the Tarot deck.
Anubis:
Anubis is a jackal-headed Egyptian god who represents the evolution from lower to higher levels of consciousness. He is the Egyptian equivalent of Mercury, and therefore represents intellect, communication, teaching, writing and the relaying of messages.
The Anubis is depicted on The Wheel of Fortune.
Banner:
The banner represents freedom from the material realms.
The banner carried in the left hand indicates that the level of awareness has passed from the conscious self to the subconscious self, and has become automatic.
The banner is seen in the Major Arcana on the Wheel of Fortune (10),
The Death card (13), The Sun card (19) and on Judgement (20).
Bed:
The bed is considered to be a vehicle of rest, relaxation, healing and even pleasure. The purpose of the bed provides a clue as to the nature of the situation.
A bed can be seen on the 9 of Swords and the 4 of Swords.
Boat:
A boat is seen as a medium to get us from one point to another - quite often through a sea of emotions (water always symbolizes the emotions). If the boat is of good construction then we will receive a great deal of support. If, on the other hand, it is tiny or not well built, then it will be unlikely that we will receive assistance in our endeavours.
A boat can be seen on the 6 of Swords and the 2 of Pentacles.
Book:
Books contain knowledge that must be assimilated before further illumination can be achieved. Books are, however, very subjective devices that reveal the inherent motives of their authors. Therefore, a close look at the credibility and authority of the creator of each work will be necessary in order to determine the validity of the contents of that work.
Books are displayed on The World card (21).
Cabala:
The Cabala is a system of Jewish mystical thought that attempts to put the essence of events that occur in the Universe into clear perspective.
The Cabala can be seen on the 10 of Pentacles.
Chain/s:
Chains are self-imposed restrictions. Chains can, on some level of reality, represent security because they impose limits and boundaries that we dare not trespass.
Chains also represent dependence, because it is often easier to stay in a bad situation due to obligations, rather than pursue the unknown in search of freedom.
Chains are seen on The Devil (15).
Chair/s and Throne/s:
Chairs generally represent a support mechanism, which is essential in order to achieve success. The chair will generally be more opulent with the increased status of the person using it.
A chair/throne can be seen on The Emperor (4), The Empress (3) and the Kings and Queens of the Minor Arcana.
Circle:
A circle is usually a polygon with an infinite number of sides, representing eternity, spirit and completeness. The circle is a symbol of perfection, unending love, and the super-conscious.
The circle can be seen on The Wheel of Fortune (10) and The World (21).
Coffin:
A coffin is considered to be a receptacle to hold things that are waiting to be reborn into another sphere of existence. A coffin also represents a loss in one form or another, but with this emptiness will come new opportunities and success.
A coffin is depicted on Judgement (20).
Clouds:
Clouds represent a psychic veil that must be transcended. There are many emotions that have been kept at bay, but which must soon be revealed.
If the clouds are bright it indicates a feeling of upliftment and spirituality - but if dull, depression is imminent.
Clouds can be seen on The Wheel of Fortune (10), The World (21) and The Tower (16).
Crescent:
The crescent represents the soul.
The crescent is seen on the Major Arcana cards, The High Priestess (2) and The Chariot (7).
Cross:
The cross is an ancient symbol that predates Christianity. It represents humanity’s incarnation on earth, and it is death regeneration.
The ‘Solar Cross’ indicates the union of masculine and feminine elements.
The cross is seen in the Major Arcana on The High Priestess (2) and Judgement (20).
Crown:
The crown represents the ‘Crown Chakra’. The Crown Chakra is represented by the colour white, and is considered to be a direct link to God or the higher self. The crown depicts being ‘master over the self’ in terms of expanded awareness and spirituality.
The crown is seen in the Major Arcana on The Empress (3), The Hierophant (5) and The Tower (16).
Cube/Square:
The cube is sometimes depicted as a square. The square represents earth, material matters and earthly concerns. The cube or square has four sides, and the number 4 is very significant to practicality, reliability, responsibility and work. It helps us to build our foundations on the earth plane.
The cube is seen in the Major Arcana on The Devil (15).
Cups:
Cups are associated with the element of water and are very receptive. Cups represent the astrological signs of Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces. Cups represent the emotions and this feeling can span from the Cancerian pure, trusting love, to the Scorpionic intense, transforming love - and finally to the Piscean idealistic, sacrificial love.
When looking at the cup, it is important to look at its environment and position. It is upright or overturned? It is empty or full? What, if anything, does the cup contain?
Cups are displayed in the suit of Cups aswell as in the Major Arcana on The Temperance card (14).
Cypress Tree/s:
The Cypress tree is sacred to Venus.
Trees often represent the ‘Tree of Knowledge’, and the fruits of our labour. Trees also symbolize new growth and stages of life and death.
In Native American teachings, trees are ancient beings that possess much wisdom and contain a great deal of energy that humans can tap into just by being near those majestic beings.
The Cypress tree is seen in the Court cards of the suit of Swords, and on the Major Arcana card Temperance (14).
Ellipse:
The ellipse is the symbol of the ‘superconscious’.
The ellipse is seen in the Major Arcana on The World (21).
Epsilon / Lemniscate:
In electronics and mathematics, the epsilon (or Lemniscate) is the symbol for infinity and is used primarily when measuring resistance. The Epsilon (Lemniscate) is a very powerful, ancient symbol mathematically, it is the symbol for ‘infinity’, and resembles a figure 8 lying on its side.
In esoteric studies and occult teachings, the Epsilon symbolizes eternity, eternal life, harmonious interaction between the subconscious and conscious, life and feeling, and desire and emotion and infinity, and is often used to depict ‘Cosmic Consciousness’ . This symbol may also mean dominion over the material realms.
The Lemniscate (Epsilon) provides a simple but effective means of focusing concentration and eliminating negative or confusing vibrations and energies.
The Epsilon is the symbol of ‘everlasting life’ and when seen above the heads of a couple, it suggests ‘soul mates’. The Lemniscate tells of someone who is an ‘old soul’, who has had many and varied life times, and has learned the lessons of these lifetimes.
The Epsilon is seen in the Major Arcana on The Magician (8) and The Strength card (8).
Fire / Flame:
The flame is the symbol of awareness, light, enlightenment, warmth and desire. It represents ‘spirit’ which can be magical, enlightening, stimulating, transforming or even destructive. Fire represents passion, enthusiasm and spontaneity.
The Native Americans consider fire to be sacred.
There are basically six forms of fire that manifest themselves in many ways. One primary source of fire relevant to esoteric studies in the flame within us call the Solar Plexus or ……… Chakra. It is the life force within us that keeps us alive and healthy.
Flames can be seen in the Major Arcana on The Tower card (16).
Flowers:
Flowers depict spiritual thoughts, love and happiness. They represent kindness, caring, joy, compassion and grace.
Flowers are an expression of love, beauty, freedom and healing qualities and energies.
Flowers are seen on the 6 of Cups.
Fruit:
Fruit represents fertility. It implies the reaping of the results of what we have planted in the past.
Gold:
Gold is the metal that represents the Sun, the masculine and stands for consciousness. Gold is the colour of the Solar Plexus, and the life force emanates from that chakra located just above the naval on the human body.
On the mental and /or emotional level, the Solar Plexus represents ‘power’ issues, control issues, accomplishments and our self-image and ego. On the psychic level, the Solar Plexus controls sensitivity to vibrations from other people and places. When the Solar Plexus is functioning properly, we may take on more than we can handle at one time, experience power struggles with others, or feel anger, fear and/or hate. A physical side effect of the Solar Plexus malfunctioning is to experience digestive problems.
Gold represents ‘spiritual gifts’.
Grapes:
Grapes represents abundance and pleasure.
Hand:
The right hand represents positive and masculine forces, which are generally associated with logic, rationality and the sciences of mathematics and astronomy.
The left hand represents negative and feminine forces that are generally associated with emotions, vibrational influences, intuitive and ‘gut instincts’.
Two minor chakras located on the palms of the hands emanate energy from the body. These chakras on the palms of the hands are said to be directly linked to the Heart Chakra, and perhaps this is the reason why lovers can frequently be seen holding hands.
A hand is seen on the Ace of Cups, the Ace of Swords, the Ace of Wands and the Ace of Pentacles … each representing a different aspect of the symbology of the hand.
Heart:
The heart is associated with the Heart Chakra located at the centre of the chest.
In the Heart Chakra, the sensation of love is either expressed or blocked. When the Heart Chakra is functioning properly we will generally experience unconditional love, forgiveness, compassion, balance and ‘oneness’ with life.
When the Heart Chakra is blocked or malfunctioning we may experience repressed love, emotional instability and a general sense of imbalance. The physical side effects of an improperly working Heart Chakra are heart and circulation problems.
The heart can be seen in the Major Arcana on The Empress card (3).
House:
A house is seen as a support mechanism to shield us from both manmade and natural elements that come into the atmosphere. The condition of the house is a reflection of the nature of the situation. Therefore, if the house is well built and furnished, then much stability is suggested, but if it is in need of repair there are important elements that need to be resolved before progress can be achieved.
A house can be seen on the 10 of Pentacles and the 4 of Wands.
Iris:
Iris is the Greek goddess of the rainbow, symbolizing God’s grace and protection. It is a sign of blessing, goodness and can be seen as a sign of peace after a storm.
The iris appears in the Major Arcana on The Temperance (14) card.
Jewels:
Jewels are an indication of opulence and success. They represent treasures and a sense of wholeness in us.
Jewels can be seen on the 7 of Cups.
Keys / Crossed Keys:
Keys represent access to something that is sought after. Keys can be seen as an opportunity to unlock some previously inaccessible potential or treasure. Crossed keys symbolize ‘keys to the kingdom’, hidden doctrine, or secret esoteric teachings that first must be understood before they can be tapped into.
The gold key represents the solar and/or masculine energy, while silver represents the lunar and/or feminine energies.
Keys are seen in the Major Arcana on The Hierophant (5).
Lamp/s:
Lamps are representative of enlightenment, awareness, insight and perception. Lamps indicate ‘spiritual light’.
The Lamp can be seen in the Major Arcana on The Hermit (9).
Leaves:
Leaves represent growth and vitality, new starts and beginnings and/or a new chance in life … hence the term ‘turning over a new leaf’. Leaves also represent the healing forces.
Leaves can be seen on all Wands cards, The Hanged Man (12), The Empress, The Lovers, The High Priestess, The Sun, Strength, The Magician, Ace of Pentacles, 3 of Cups, 4 of Cups, 6 of Cups, King of Pentacles, 7 of Pentacles, 9 of Pentacles amongst others.
Lemniscate/ Epsilon :
In electronics and mathematics, the Lemniscate (or Epsilon) is the symbol for infinity and is used primarily when measuring resistance. The Lemniscate (Epsilon) is a very powerful, ancient symbol mathematically, it is the symbol for ‘infinity’, and resembles a figure 8 lying on its side.
In esoteric studies and occult teachings, the Epsilon (Lemniscate) symbolizes eternity, eternal life, harmonious interaction between the subconscious and conscious, life and feeling, and desire and emotion and infinity, and is often used to depict ‘Cosmic Consciousness’ . This symbol may also mean dominion over the material realms.
The Lemniscate (Epsilon) provides a simple but effective means of focusing concentration and eliminating negative or confusing vibrations and energies.
The Epsilon is the symbol of ‘everlasting life’ and when seen above the heads of a couple, it suggests ‘soul mates’. The Lemniscate tells of someone who is an ‘old soul’, who has had many and varied life times, and has learned the lessons of these lifetimes.
The Lemniscate is seen in the Major Arcana on The Magician (8) and The Strength card (8).
Light:
Light represents spiritual emanations and/or activity of God. Light also represents spiritual illumination. If an area is well lit, there is much illumination, but if the surroundings are dim, more needs to be discovered about the situation in question. In many occult teachings, light is seen as alive and intelligent, which both conceived and sustains creation. Devas and angels are said to live and reside in the light.
In modern technology, the harnessing and use of light has become a powerful medium that is used for communication such as fibre-optic technology, solar energy, healing light and even destruction - lasers are believed to have been the downfall of the advanced civilization of Atlantis.
Lightening:
The Lightening flash, the ultimate fire, brings unprecedented spiritual growth and soul illumination. Lightening is seen as the flash of inspiration which helps us to understand the problems we are dealing with at the time. Lightening can also be a signal to alert us of an upcoming storm. It is thought to be the life-power that descends down to the Cabalistic Tree of Life. A lightening flash is said to extend from the first sephira to the tenth sephira - the lightening flash of creative energy proceeding from eternal unity.
Lightening can be seen on The Tower card (16).
Lily:
The Lily is considered an abstract thought that hasn’t been tinged with lust, desire or lower based ideas.
The Lily is seen in the Major Arcana on the Magician (1).
Moon:
The Moon rules the astrological sign of Cancer and represents emotions and feelings. Before the discovery of the planet Neptune in the nineteenth century, the Moon also ruled the subconscious mind and psychic abilities. The Moon is feminine in nature and represents women in general, motherhood, water, emotions and intuition.
The Moon is seen in the Major Arcana on the High Priestess (2) and The Moon (18).
Mountains:
Mountains represent wisdom and understanding. They denote being in a higher state of consciousness and closer to God. Mountains also represent clear, rational thinking and the height of abstract thought. Mountains can at times represent a barrier we must overcome or a pinnacle we must reach.
Orb of the World:
The orb of the World is a traditional symbol of the earth dominated by the Lord. A more modern interpretation of this symbol is that it is the sphere of our own experience, our own world of awareness and activity, or the way in which we experience the world.
The orb of the world can be seen in the Major Arcana on The Emperor (4).
Ouroboros Worm:
The Ouroboros Worm is depicted with its tail in its mouth and indicates ‘the end in the beginning’
The worm Ouroboros is depicted on The Wheel of Fortune in the Major Arcana.
Palm Tree/s:
The palm tree is a symbol for victory over death and by some is considered to be of a masculine energy as it is seen as the male aspect of life. The palm is an active force and represents the unfolding of spiritual forces.
The palm tree is found in the Major Arcana on The High Priestess (2).
Path / Pathway:
The path is seen as a way of progressing in our spiritual evolution. It is the method we choose to take on our journey to self-discovery, increased self-awareness, and a deeper participation in life. When surmounted by one obstacle after another, we need to look closely at the path we are on because it may not be taking us where we need to go.
Paths or pathways can be seen in the Major Arcana on Temperance (14) and The Moon (18).
Pentacle:
The pentacle is a five-pointed star, or pentagram, which as been fashioned into an amulet. It is an ancient symbol used to describe the five stages required to transform animal nature into true ‘humanhood’.
In the Tarot, the pentacle represents the element of earth, so it is primarily concerned with work, career, money, sensuality and fertility.
When the pentacle is in the form of an amulet, it is said to protect us against ‘evil’ spirits.
When the pentacle is upside down, it represents the exploitation and glorification of animal drives and erotic forces.
The pentacle (upside) is seen in the Major Arcana on The Devil card (15), The High Priestess (2), The Hierophant (5), Justice (11), aswell as throughout the suit of Pentacles.
Pillar/s:
Pillars provide support, backing and balance. When the pillars are coloured, the white represents positive energies and the black represents the negative. Together the two pillars provide an equal balance. When looking at the two pillars it is important to note whether we are drawn to one over the other, which could indicated that there is an imbalance somewhere in our lives.
Pleiades:
In astronomy, the Pleiades is a loose cluster of 400 to 500 stars in the constellation of Taurus, about 415 light years from our own solar system.
In Greek mythology these stars are the seven daughters of Atlas and Pleione. There are several stories concerning these mythical beings, but one version is that they are the attendants of Artemis, god of wildlife and hunting, and were pursued by the giant hunter Orion, but were rescued by the gods and changed into doves. After their death or metamorphosis, they were transformed into stars, but are nonetheless still pursued across the sky by the constellation Orion.
The Pleiades can be seen in the Major Arcana on The Star card (17).
Pomegranates:
The pomegranate is a symbol of fertility, passivity and receptivity.
Pomegranates are shown in the Major Arcana on The High Priestess card (2).
Pyramids:
Primarily the pyramid symbolizes and represents ‘spirituality’ and are said to have higher vibrations and much spiritual power. Many people use pyramids as aids in meditation and healing.
The pyramid is seen as the earth in its material aspect. The triangular shape of the pyramid suggests the three-fold principle of creation. More modern meanings of the pyramid are a wider awareness and/or integration of the self, or death of some sort.
According to some, the huge stones used to build the ancient Egyptian Pyramids, were/are imprinted with knowledge and wisdom of the Universe, and it was put there by an intelligence greater than our own here on Earth, making the pyramids temples of worship and knowledge.
A pyramid can be seen on the Page, Knight and Queen of Wands in the Minor Arcana.
Rainbow:
The rainbow is a sign from spirit and the Universe of blessings, happiness and future protection.
In the old Testament, the rainbow was considered to be a covenant between God and humanity that he would never again send a flood to destroy the earth.
The rainbow is also seen as ‘peace after the storm’, ‘God’s grace’ and blessings.
The rainbow can be seen on the 10 of Cups in the Minor Arcana.
Rose/s:
Roses symbolize beauty. Some people interpret roses to mean sexuality, with the bud of the rose depicting either the male or female sexual organs. Since roses must be cultivated, they generally represent cultural activities.
The white rose symbolizes freedom from lower forms of desire and passion, while the red rose represents Venus, nature and desire.
Roses can be seen in the Major Arcana on The Fool (0) and The Magician (1).
Scales:
Scales symbolize balance, judgement, karma, harmony and fairness. Scales are the symbol for the astrological sign of Libra. Libra tries to maintain equilibrium, but even a tiny feather added to one side of the scale is enough to bring it completely out of balance.
Scales can be seen in the Major Arcana on the Justice card (11).
Scroll:
A scroll represents Divine Law and hidden mysteries. Scrolls have been mentioned many times in biblical prophecy. The prophet Ezekiel, Zechariah, and John had several encounters with ‘beings’ that showed them scrolls in several different fashions. From biblical accounts alone, it is apparent that scrolls contain only the most sacred material and information and are serious communicating devices.
The scroll is seen in the Major Arcana on The High Priestess (2).
Ship/s:
Ships depict a spiritual vehicle, body or progress. A ship can depict a voyage in life, the soul’s journey, or the path spiritual pleasure, leisure and/or gain.
Ships can be seen on The Death card, King of Cups, the 2 of Pentacles and 3 of Wands.
Silver:
Silver is the meal of the Moon, the feminine and represents the unconscious. Silver is a precious metal that is considered by many to have esoteric implications.
Sphinx:
The Sphinx is said to be a guardian of all that is sacred, or the ancient mysteries. The Sphinx is the guardian of the temple (the Great Pyramid) and it symbolizes the eternity of humankind surviving and looking out over the ‘desert of life’.
The Sphinx is symbolically known as the ‘dweller on the threshold’, and represents fears, illusions or bad habits we wish to be free of.
The Sphinx is considered to be a being in the same order as an angel, and a ‘great mystery school’ is believed to have been located in the immediate vicinity to the Great Sphinx in Egypt.
In mythology, the Sphinx is a combination of human and animal attributes, and many of the Egyptian gods were part human – part animal.
In the Tarot, the white Sphinx symbolizes mercy, while the black symbolizes severity.
Some believe (and in time it will be proven one way or the other) that hidden under the Sphinx is a type of reference library - assumably, the tablets holding many secrets about life and how it should be lived on the Earthplane. (These are said to be from where the original messages of the Tarot come from)
The sphinx is seen in the Major Arcana on The Chariot card (7) and The Wheel of Fortune (10).
Square/s:
In astrology, the square is a 90 degree angle between two planets. This angle puts challenge and conflict into the life of a person where the planet, sign and house of the square occurs.
Four perfect squares that from two 180 degree oppositions to each other constitute a ‘Grand Square’, which is relatively rare in the horoscope. The Grand Square brings many problems, trials and lessons to be learned to help us become stronger within. If a person is able to face and overcome these life challenges and tests imposed by the Grand Square, they will be endowed with great strength and power.
The four corners of the square symbolize the number 4 in Numerology, so it gives 4 solidity, practicality and sense of earthiness.
The square is seen on the Temperance card (14) in the Major Arcana.
Staff:
The staff is a symbol of wisdom, honour, profession, authority and power. It is an implement used by Moses in biblical accounts, the Magician in the Tarot, the bishop in the church and the shepherd when watching his flock.
The staff can be seen in the Major Arcana on The Hermit (9).
Star:
The star is a point of illumination representing our hopes, ideals and/or messages from other realms. Stars generally depict love, peace, compassion and spiritual perfection.
In biblical times a star and a planet were considered the same entity.
The Morning or Evening Star, as referred to in the Bible, is actually the planet Venus. The star that the ‘Magi’ or astrologers used to predict the exact date, time and place of Jesus the Christ’s birth was actually the triple conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn over an eight-month time frame, which occurs only once every 800 years.
Stars can be seen in the Major Arcana on The Hermit (9) and The Star (17).
Stone:
Stones are the oldest beings on the earth, and have been around since the creation of the planet. Stones have seen every age, era, war and evolvement of humankind.
The Native Americans have great respect for these ageless beings, and call them the ‘Stone People’.
The history of the world is said to be recorded into their lines and cracks. The information is ours only for the asking - but we need to develop our intuitive skills before the ‘Stone People’ will speak to us. ‘Stone people’ also have great healing and grounding properties. When we feel nervous, tense, agitated, worried or hurried, we are not properly grounded to the earth. Since ‘Stone People’ are so close to the earth, we only need to hold one in our hands and breathe quietly with the rhythm of the earth to restore our balance, harmony and equilibrium.
The stone can be seen in the Major Arcana on Temperance (14) .
Stream:
Streams portray a flow of emotion, ideas and/or information and are considered a source of spiritual refreshment, which flows into the ocean of cosmic consciousness.
Sun:
The Sun represents wholeness, good fortune, education and understanding, power, success and glory, a teacher and mentor, and is consider to be a feminine quality and is an active symbol. The Sun lights the way.
The Sun also symbolises the consciousness of the inner self and may indicate growth in various ways and on many levels. It provides enlightenment and success through individual will and symbolizes education and understanding and is a transformative energy. The Sun represents high achievements, honour and goals obtained.
The Sun also represents love, romance, creativity, enjoyment and children.
The Sun is the source of light and the giver of life in our solar system. Without the life-giving energy from the Sun there would be no life on earth as we know it.
In astrology, the Sun represents the life-force, basic character and/or ego. While the Sun is the centre of our solar system, in astrology it usually indicates the ‘centre of attention’.
The Sun’s light and warmth symbolizes life, nurturing, growth and all that is good and in reference to its meaning in the Tarot it implies a positive or ‘Yes’ answer.
The Sun is seen in the Major Arcana on The Fool card (0), The Lovers (6), the Death card (13) and The Sun card (19) amongst others.
Sunflowers:
Sunflowers traditionally follow the Sun’s light. Sunflowers represent nature in its fullness, abundance, sunshine, a sunny disposition and prosperity.
Sunflowers can be seen on The Sun card (19) in the Major Arcana.
Swords:
Swords represent activity that can either be constructive or destructive. Swords can symbolize great power and decisiveness, as witnessed when a king or queen knight someone.
Swords have much spiritual power, which can be used to accomplish what is thought to be impossible.
A two-edged or double-edged sword indicates that it can cut both ways. For this reason, if we intend to inflict damage on another we need to make sure we will not damage ourselves aswell.
Swords can represent the law, and can be used to eliminate outdated and out-moded ideas and practices. The Archangel Michael is always depicted bearing a mighty sword which he uses to cut away negativity and negative energies.
Swords represent the element of Air, and possess many mental and social qualities.
Swords are seen in the Major Arcana on the Justice card 11, and throughout the suit of Swords.
Tower:
The Tower, as depicted in the Genesis account of the ‘Tower of Babel’ is humanity’s creation to help them move closer to God.
If the tower is built on false beliefs, pretenses or on shaky foundations, it will easily come down or be destroyed as it is unstable.
The Tower can represent a higher consciousness or viewpoint, but can also depict a false sense of security.
The Tower is seen in the Major Arcana on The Tower card (16), Death (13) and on The Moon (18).
Tree/s:
There are two primary trees of the Tarot. The first is the ‘Tree of Knowledge’ of good and evil, which bares five fruits to represent the five senses.
The second is the ‘Tree of Life’, also known in Norse mythology as ‘Yggdrasil’. The Tree of Life bears twelve fruits to represent the twelve signs of the zodiac. The Tree of Life reflects all the possibilities of man - the various choices he can and must make in his soul’s journey.
The Tree of Life plays an important part in our philosophical systems of thought because it helps us to identify where we are in the grand scheme of things. The Tree of Life diagram is an important pictorial representation because it illustrates how the Universe was created and is a map of the cosmos at all levels.
Ascending the Tree of Life describes the way back to unity, which instills in us knowledge and allows us to be ‘re-born’.
Trees depict structure within our inner-self. The roots reach down into the earth to keep us grounded, while the branches extend to the sky to help us link with the Universe.
Native Americans believe that trees have much power and energy because of their size and age.
When we are feeling zapped of energy and tired of the hustle and bustle of the world, we only need to sit next to or under a tree and it will gladly give us the energy, peace and tranquility we need to re-centre and ground ourselves.
Trees breath carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen, while humans breathe in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide, thus creating inter-dependence between the animal and place kingdoms.
Trees also symbolize new growth and/or stages of life and death.
Trees can be seen in the Major Arcana on The Lovers card (6).
Trestleboard:
The trestleboard is an image or depiction of the sephiram or pathways of life of the Cabalistic Tree of Life.
The trestleboard appears on the Ten of Pentacles in the Rider-Waite deck.
Trumpet:
A trumpet indicates that an important message is coming soon.
The trumpet is depicted on Judgement (20).
Undine:
An Undine is an elemental being that lives in water and is associated with the suit of Cups.
The Undine can be seen on the throne of the Queen of Cups.
Veil/s:
Veils signify things that are hidden. The veil allows us to vaguely see what is behind it, adding a touch of mystique to the subject at hand.
In order to fully see what is behind the veil, it must first be lifted. After the veil has been lifted, the reality of the situation may not be what we had perceived it to be.
Veils present an illusion that may not accurately depict the entire situation, leaving some aspects (or truths) hidden. As veils to our subconscious are lifted, we are able to see more clearly about life, death and truth. It is said that our conscious awareness is veiled to enable us to only see what we need to see. If we were able to tap into all the information that is actually in existence, it would inhibit our soul growth by making many of us unable to deal with the present, and would deter us on our life path and soul purpose.
The veil is seen in the Major Arcana on The High Priestess (2), Justice (11) amongst others.
Wand/s:
Wands represent will, magic, power and transformation. Wands use spiritual forces for positive purposes and are often used to perform rituals and miracles.
The wand is representative of the element of Fire and is depicted in the suit of Wands in the Minor Arcana. The wand is also seen in the Major Arcana on The World card (21).
Water:
Water is the source of all life and symbolizes life-giving energies and the spiritual flow of truth, knowledge, healing and refreshment.
Water symbolizes the subconscious and our emotional state. The state or condition of the water is a good indication of the state of our being. If the water is calm and clear, we are likely to be serene and at peace. If however, the water is turbulent, we may be experiencing some emotional troubles.
Water is seen in the Major Arcana on Temperance (14), The Star (17), The Moon (18) and Judgement (20) amongst others.
Water is representative of the suit of Cups in the Minor Arcana.
Water Lilly:
Water Lillies represent peaceful emotions and eternal life.
The Water Lilly is seen on the Ace of Cups.
Wheat:
Wheat represents abundance and fertility, and is considered a sacred life essence. Wheat also symbolizes wisdom and the harvest of life experiences.
Wheat is seen in the Major Arcana on The Empress (3).
Wheel:
The wheel symbolizes movement and the cycle of life or cosmic expression.
The wheel is seen in the Major Arcana on The Chariot (7) and The Wheel of Fortune (10).
Window/s:
A window acts as a view to the world of others for what we can be. Quite often people can be caught looking out of windows when dreaming of a better life or wandering about the activities of others.
A window is depicted in the 5 of Pentacles in the Minor Arcana amongst others.
Wreath:
The wreath represents the forces of nature and is symbolic of the PlantKingdom.
The wreath is depicted in the Major Arcana on The Empress (3), Strength (8) and The World (21).
YOD (drops of Light):
The YOD is called the ‘Finger of God’. It is an extremely powerful astrological aspect composed of three planets combined to produce two 150 degree angles and one 60 degree angle.
The YOD usually lies dormant until a transit or progression triggers it into action. When the powerful YOD is awakened from it’s slumber, it exacts a major force or decision that makes for a change in life and circumstances from that point forward.
The YOD is seen in the Major Arcana on The Tower (16) and The Moon (18).
Zodiac:
The zodiac is the symbol of the cycle of existence. It is a circle with twelve segments called ‘signs’. Each sign depicts a certain personality type or trait.
All twelve signs of the zodiac, when combined, form ‘completeness’.
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