What To Include In a One-Card Reading (and FREE Journaling sheets!)

one card reading booklet front cover
Cards: Sharman Caselli Tarot

I have mentioned before that one-card readings can be very effective.

There is no need to draw multiple cards to get valuable insights from a reading, which is good news for beginners.

There is much you can see in just one card, and here I would like to demonstrate what you can cover in a one-card reading:

  1. First impressions: Keywords and phrases that come into your mind when you see the image. Also any feelings the image evokes.
  2. What to do / action to take: This should cover something practical and doable, active steps that can help influence a situation to achieve a positive outcome.
  3. What to avoid: Personal traits / habits / beliefs that could hinder a desired development or outcome.
  4. What to look out for: Something that is hidden; opportunities, obstacles, internal blocks…
  5. What needs attention: This could relate to a skill you need to develop, people around you, work, relationships, life style… a certain area of your life.
  6. Power Word / Phrase: A catch phrase, mantra or just one single word that will guide you onto the right track and towards achieving your desired outcome.
  7.  Affirmation: Same as 6, a positive statement to help you shift your mindset in a positive way.

You don’t have to cover all these points, especially when you’re just starting out learning the Tarot, but once you get stuck in, you will find it’s much easier than you first think.

two of wands tarot of quotes

Here’s an example with the Two of Wands, a reading I did for myself the other day, so the answers are specific and personal (your answers may differ):

First impressionsPlanning ahead! The only way is forward. Follow my passion. Embrace the unknown. Excitement. Opportunities. Vision. Travel and journeys.

What to do / action to take: Make a to-do list!

What to avoid: Procrastination, fear of the unknown

What to look out for: Turning new creative ideas into reality more quickly, becoming more efficient; planning and implementing with others. Diversifying…

What needs attention: Firing up and nurturing my ambition; be more driven. The changes I want to create in my work and personal life.

Power word / phrase: Get organised!

Affirmation: I can do this!

As you can see, there is no need to write a long essay. Keep it short and sweet, and for this purpose I have designed some fab journaling sheets for you:

one-card reading booklet A5 detailA4 Angel one card reading sheet (PDF doc.)

Two pages of the same sheet, so you can print double-sided, if your printer is set up for it.

A5 Angel one card journaling sheet (PDF doc.)

Two A5 angel sheets on one page, so you can create a booklet by printing on both sides of an A4 sheet.

You can print as many A5 sheets (double-sided) as you like. Perhaps you would like a booklet for the month ahead, for which you need 16 double-sided sheets folded in half.

You can use the cover page to name your booklet, e.g. My Angel Card Messages, My Oracle Card Readings, My Daily Draws etc.

I hope you will enjoy using these sheets. I’d love to see how you use them. Post yours on Instagram and tag me (@cosmicfaery).

Warmest wishes,

Christiane

PS: If you love Tarot journaling, check out the Tarot Moon Journal 2016 to help you plan, manifest your dreams and grow your life with powerful cosmic journaling in tune with the moon.

Transform your life this year:

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Learn Tarot – A magickal, inspirational tool for life
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Simple But Powerful Ways To Connect With The Tarot

5 simple yet powerful ways to connect with the tarotNothing is as difficult and frustrating as trying to memorise Tarot card meanings from a book.

Since 2006, Tarot students from all over the world have worked with me to discover a better – easier – method to connect with the cards.

If you are just starting to learn the Tarot or find it hard to remember card meanings, here are my tried and tested powerful ways to connect with the Tarot without ever having to look at a book again:

1. Choose a Tarot deck that speaks to you

The best beginner’s Tarot deck is one, where all cards are fully illustrated, each image tells you a story and you find the artwork appealing.

The most famous and popular Tarot deck of all, the Rider Waite Smith (RWS), is one I do recommend, but you may prefer the Sharman-Caselli deck, which has been specifically designed with the Tarot novice in mind.

tarot decks
Left row: Universal Waite Tarot, middle: Sharman Caselli Tarot, right: Crystal Tarot. Top row: Nine of Cups, middle: Seven of Pentacles, bottom: Eight of Wands

On the image here on the right you can see both decks together with the Crystal Tarot, on which the Minor Arcana cards are illustrated with just the symbol of the suits.

Which images do you find easier to connect with? And what different stories do they tell?

2. Describe the images

Yes, this requires you to actually LOOK at the image carefully and explore the scene. Give me your first impression: is it positive, neutral or negative?

Then tell me why. What do you see? What is happening?

Go into more detail. Are there any people in the card? What are they doing? How do they look?

Notice their body language. What is the landscape like? Can you see buildings, plants, animals?

Some cards are easier to read than others. Don’t be disheartened, if you draw a blank with some of them. You will learn to read them in time. Build your confidence by focusing on the easy cards first.

3. Be the person in the card

This is a fun yet insightful way to connect with the cards. Imitate the posture of the person in a card.

Stand with open arms just like the Fool, sit like the High Priestess, kneel like the woman in the Star image – will you take it as far as being naked? Smile

You can personify the Hanged Man by doing a headstand, perhaps against a tree, or if that is too strenuous for you, lie down and lean your legs upright against a wall or a tree.

Replicate as much of the image as you can.

For example, stand by a field and look at the crops just like in the Seven of Pentacles. What goes through your mind? Harvest? Hard work? Reaping rewards? Sowing new seeds and a new cycle?

How do these postures make you feel?

Close your eyes and imagine the landscape of the card surrounding you. How does it affect your mood, dreams, ideas or imagination?

4. Connect each card with your own life experiences

The archetypal images of the Tarot live in all of us. For example, we have all been a Fool more than once in our lives, but that doesn’t necessarily mean in a bad way Laughing

The Fool Tarot of QuotesThe Fool suggests amongst other things new beginnings. This is how some of my students associate the Fool with events in their lives:

“My first day at school. I can remember being so excited.”

“When I went backpacking to South America. I was naive when I started but so much wiser when I came back.”

“My first marriage. We were too young.”

“Starting my business. I didn’t have a clue, just jumped in, and it was quite a learning curve. But I loved it.”

All these statements are short, but they tell you so much more.

By linking the cards to your life, you will find it much easier to remember their meanings, because you connect them to feelings, lessons and advice you have experienced.

5. Start A Journal

When you start exploring your Tarot deck, make notes of your observations and new discoveries about the cards. Writing things down helps your memory, too.

Be a Fool today and start your Tarot Journal by downloading my Tarot freebies.

You can add your own pages as you continue to work with the cards, and over time you will create a unique Tarot reference book full of your personal wisdom and inspiration.

By signing up to my mailing list, you will also receive more freebies in the future and learn about exciting new journalling products available soon!

6. Play with the cards every day

Even if it’s only for five or ten minutes, spending time with your cards every day will help you learn the cards more quickly.

Pull a card on an evening and make a note of it. How does it reflect the events of the day you’ve had? Or what message does it offer you for the following day?

Even if you cannot think of anything, at least you are looking at the card, begin to memorise its image and associate it with its name. Soon you can picture the images in your head without having to look at them, e.g. you will know by heart what the Six of Wands looks like.

7. Card meanings can be found in the Name

The names of the Major Arcana images all trigger some associations you have stored in your head. Quite often, Tarot novices are not aware of them. They see the name written on the card but don’t take it further.

One of my students couldn’t make sense of the Hermit. So I asked: “What is a Hermit? What does a Hermit do?”

Her answer: “It’s someone, who lives on his own. Far away from civilisation.”

We have then talked about the archetypal Hermit personality, and how it fits into our modern lives and in readings.

So, what does an Emperor do? Well, I suppose he rules and makes decisions. And what does Justice mean? It makes me think about the law, and how we associate it with objectivity, truth and fairness.

As you can see, the names of the cards already tell you a lot about their meanings, so they are worthwhile exploring further.

8. Music and Quotes

Link individual cards with songs that relate to their meanings, e.g. Don’t fear the Reaper goes well with Death, or I’m not in Love reminds me of the Five of Cups.

Find your own favourite inspirational quotes for each card and record them in your journal. I started doing that a few years ago, and in the process began creating my Tarot of Quotes.

Last but not least, if you still feel stuck connecting with the cards, consider booking a brainstorming session with me via Skype. It’s great to talk, and you will already notice the benefits after just one call.

Or check out my online beginner’s Tarot course. You will be working with me on a 1-2-1 basis, and unlike other courses available online, you will be working with me personally and not some assistant of mine or in a large forum group.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

Warmest wishes,

Christiane

 

Transform your life this year:

Tarot Readings – Insightful guidance when you need it
Learn Tarot – A magickal, inspirational tool for life
Tarot eBooks – Great value, innovative Tarot study material

Make sure you subscribe to my feed to receive the latest news and Tarot articles straight into your inbox when published.

 

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Five Effective One Card Readings

Chariot, Universal Waite Tarot
What can you see in the Chariot card?
© 1990 US Games Inc.

If you are just beginning to get to know the Tarot, you may want to avoid the 10-card Celtic Cross spread and start off with simple yet effective one card readings.

Yes, pulling just one card from your deck can already tell you a hell of a lot about what is going on around you.

It can even tell you a bit about your personality, habits, strengths and weaknesses.

Here are five ways to read one Tarot card and get instant, meaningful messages:

1. Calculate your year card. It offers you some insight on the energies and overall theme that will be influencing you during the course of the year. Do the same for family and friends to get to know the cards and discover what might be in store for them over the year.

2. Calculate your personality card. This card will give you some ideas on your life lessons and purpose in this life; another great one-card reading to try on your family and friends.

3. Discover your persona card. Find out which court card is linked to your sun sign and explore your court card personality. This is a good way to acquaint yourself with the often tricky court cards, so make sure you also practice the persona card reading with plenty of people you know.

4. Do a daily one-card draw. You can either pull a card in the morning to see what may come up for you during the day, or you can pull one in the evening for the following day. Record them on a chart like this, and after a week analyse the cards drawn for more insight: Which suit has come up most? How many Major Arcana cards? How many court cards and which ones? How accurate have your interpretations been?

5. Do a weekly one-card draw. If you are too busy for a card-a-day, you can draw just one card for the week ahead to offer you some insight on the energies you can expect over the forthcoming days. Use this journalling sheet to record your interpretation and predictions you come up with.

For your daily and weekly draw you can also use my ebook Empowering Messages from the Tarot to help you with your readings until you are more confident with your interpretations. Also, check out the Tarot Study for more journalling sheets and Tarot lessons.

The more you practice, the more messages and insight you will receive from just one card. Take your time when you look at the image, and let its symbolism speak to you: what kind of landscape do you see? What colours? Any people? Are they happy, sad, angry, alone?

Learn to notice the little details, and over time you will find it easier to interpret the cards without the help of a book.

For a beginner, larger spreads can be confusing, and a one-card draw is the ideal starting point for simple yet insightful readings.

Warmest wishes,

Christiane

 

Transform your life this year: 


Tarot Readings – Insightful guidance when you need it 
Learn Tarot – A magickal, inspirational tool for life
Tarot eBooks – Great value, innovative Tarot study material

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Tarot Numerology

Tarot NumerologyThe prominent 19th century occultist and Golden Dawn Member S. L. MacGregor Mathers wrote about the significance of numbers in an ordinary card deck in his essay The Tarot, published in 1888:

It has been long known that the ordinary 52 card pack was susceptible of some peculiar numerical significations, e.g.: 

52 Cards in the pack, suggest 52 weeks in the year.

13 Cards in each suit, suggest 13 lunar months in the year, 13 weeks in the quarter.

4 suits in the pack, suggest 4 seasons in the year.

12 Picture Cards in the pack, suggest 12 months in the year, 12 signs of the Zodiac

Furthermore, if we add together:

The pips on the plain cards of the four suits = 220

The pips on the 12 Picture Cards = 12

Twelve Picture Cards reckoned as 10 each = 120

The number of cards in each suit = 13

We shall obtain the number of days in the year = 365

But concealed behind their apparently arbitrary and bizarre designs, the Tarot Cards contain a far more complicated system of recondite symbolism.

We find the number ten multiplied by the mystical number four, and combined with a primitive hieroglyphic alphabet of twenty-two letters.”

Before we look at the deeper meanings of numbers in Tarot, it is worthwhile noting that the esoteric science of numbers, arithmology, was first developed by the Greek mathematician and philosopher Pythagoras (c. 570 – 495 B.C.).

In the centuries that followed, his teachings were passed on over generations in Europe and the middle East, mainly within secret societies, which were formed due to political unrest and upheaval.

When occult groups such as the Freemasons, became interested in Tarot from the late 17th century onwards, it seems logical that arithmology would be gradually embedded into the Tarot.

Today, the meanings of numbers in the Tarot are still based on the teachings of Pythagoras.

However, you will find that changes have been made to the card sequences in various decks, which follow different traditions.

Here is an overview of the significance of numbers:

Number

Pythagoras Numerology and Tarot

0

A mystical symbol, not a number. Mathematically and philosophically Zero represents nothing and everything, the two infinite ends of the finite, neither of which is physically attainable. God force; the force before entering into manifestation.

In Tarot: The Fool. In some decks the Fool is numbered 22—see below.

1

Monad

Root of all numbers, unity, principle of all things, indivisible

Gender: male and female (containing the odd and even)

Time: The present now

Positive Attributes: Essence; beyond all knowledge

Negative Attributes: chaos, confusion, obscurity, darkness; ambiguous

Mind of Man: Intellect (source of all ideas)

 

Divine spark, male principle.

The number One represents ambition and courage; associated with the sun.

In Tarot: Aces/One—Potential, gift, spark, ideas, beginnings; births; initiation, opening, opportunity, starting point. Concentration of will; mindfulness, intention, commencement, focus.

The Magician – male principle; new beginnings and potential as suggested by the four suit symbols on his altar.

Mercury.

2

Duad

First increase; first change from unity; indefinite.

Gender: First female

Time: night and day as a twofold aspect

Positive attributes: power, summit, patience, harmony, root

Negative: strife, falsehood, ignorance, defeat

 

Differentiation; female principle.

The number Two represents emotions and harmony.

In Tarot: Personality, feelings; reflection; duality; opposites. Striving for balance; subconscious. Passivity, choice, intuition, inner guidance.

The High Priestess – female principle.

Moon.

3

Triad

First odd, first number to be called multitude; cause of plurality of numbers; allows power of monad to proceed into energy and extension

Gender: the first male number

Time: Past-Present-Future as a threefold measure of time

Positive Attributes: harmony, good counsel

Mind of Man: Intellect, intelligence, knowledge

 

Manifestation; holy trinity of wisdom, love and truth.

The number Three represents creativity, joy and expansion; associated with the planet Jupiter.

In Tarot: Manifestation, foundation, affection, understanding, harmony, beauty, integration, combination, fecundity, growth. Unfolding; co-operation.

The Empress.

Venus.

4

Tetrad

First square number among even; second even number

Gender: Female in first extension; to open and shut the recesses of generation

Time: the four seasons

Positive Attributes: Fountain of natural effects; keybearer of nature

Mind of Man: the fourfold division of Man in terms of soul, body, desire

 

The Earth; four seasons, four elements; four holy creatures guarding the throne of god (human/air, eagle/water, lion/fire, bull/earth – see Tarot cards Wheel of Fortune, The World).

Will, discipline, construction; associated with planet Uranus.

In Tarot: Grounding, focus inward on self, stasis, boredom, stability, order, completion, turning point. Reason, consolidation; assessment of needs; organisation, establishment.

The Emperor.

Earth/Sun.

5

Pentad

First number to combine odd and even; second odd number; privation of strife (as a number uniting 3 + 2)

Gender: Male (as odd); male and female (as 3 + 2)

Positive: Justice

Negative: Vengeance

Humanity. Freedom, mental dexterity, communication; fruitfulness and new learning.

Associated with the planet Mercury.

In Tarot: Challenge, strife, struggle, conflict. Breakdown. Chaos, upheaval, stress. Disturbance, anger, loss (of temper, feelings, security or integrity).

The Hierophant – authority, education, dogma, structure; potential for rebellion.

Mars

6

Hexad

First perfect number. Gender: Female (as even)

Time: Regeneration (which occurs after 6 x 6 x 6 years)

Positive attributes: harmony, perfection of parts, benevolence, peace, principle

Mind of man: Truth; only number adapted to the soul of Man

Beauty; creation and perfection.

The number Six represents love, wisdom and responsibility; associated with the planet Venus.

In Tarot: Advancement, reciprocation, sharing, contemplation. Exuberance; co-operation, choice;

The Lovers – responsibility.

Jupiter.

7

Heptad

Only number in decad that did not arise from any union and does not unite with anything.

Gender: Male (as odd)Time: The lunar cycle as four sets of seven days

Positive Attribute: Veneration

Mind of Man: Dream (vision)

Perfect order.

The number Seven is the highest mystical and sacred number; it represents life, higher learning, spirituality and contemplation.

Associated with the planet Neptune.

Male magic (based on anatomy—7 orifices)

In Tarot: Movement, mastery, struggle, new direction, inner growth, self-reflection; discipline, restraint, self-expression, independent action, foresight, indecision.

The Chariot.

Saturn.

8

Ogdoad

First cube number among even; first cube of energy

Gender: Female (as fourth even number)

Time: One third of a day; the day divided into 8 + 8 + 8 hours; the eighth day as rejuvenation, or regeneration of the cycle of seven days

Strength; divine law, authority, materialism; associated with the planet Saturn.

The figure of Eight is a symbol of spiralling motion of the creative forces, also representing karmic justice ‘as above, so below’.

Female magic (based on anatomy—8 orifices)

In Tarot: Energy, thrust, evolution, movement, inspiration, restrictions, evaluating, prioritising, persistence, resilience, expansion.

In the RWS tradition: Justice.

In the Marseille/Crowley tradition: Strength.

Uranus.

9

Ennead

First square number among odd numbers; the number which flows around the other numbers within the decad like the ocean around the earth; the first triangular number (3 x 3)

Gender: doubly masculine (as odd and as the first odd square)

Time: the nine months of gestation

Positive Attributes: concord, freedom from strife

 

Completeness; end of a cycle; the beginning and the end.

The number Nine represents unconditional service and action.

Associated with the planet Mars.

In Tarot: Solitude, gestation, self-reliance, isolation, integration, experience. Fulfilment, peak, self-awareness, narrow-mindedness, inflexible.

The Hermit.

Neptune.

10

Decad

Contains in itself both even and odd

Gender: containing both male and female

Positive Attributes: strength (ruling over all other numbers), faith, necessity

Mind of Man: Memory (as mental calculation)

Perfection through completeness; return to unity, accomplishment of purpose. Transformation.

In Tarot: Completion of a cycle; endings and beginnings, result, regeneration, release, responsibility, consolidation; new direction or re-commitment; purpose.

The Wheel of Fortune.

Pluto.

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Tarot Symbolism

Each of the 78 scenic images of the RWS  (Rider Waite Smith) Tarot deck contain a number of symbols. When familiar with their meanings and possible interpretations, it is easier to “read” and interpret the cards.

Major Arcana Symbols:

 

0 – The Fool

White rose in hand – the soul, the heart, love. White = purity, innocence

Bundle on stick – provisions, potential, possessions (not much = flexible, light, independent). Stick = wand

Sun/Sky – blue, sunny, warm; the right time to travel, make a move

Mountains – obstacles, problems, difficulties in the far distance

Cliff – pitfall

Dog – instinct, spirit guide, warning from the intellect or playfulness

Orange – zest for life, energy

Yellow – Air, thoughts

Eagle’s head on bag – soaring spirit

Fool’s Posture – open, receptive, trusting, happy-go-lucky,  facing left (yin, feminine, unconscious)

1 – The Magician

Lemniscate above his head – symbol of eternity;  infinite potential, connection with universal principles

Red/White clothing – Alchemy; alchemical process catalyst for change

Red roses – passion

White lilies – purity, higher spirit

Objects on the table – 4 elements (4 Minor Arcana suits); possibilities, choices, potential

Garden – nature’s sacred space; emotional and creative power

Magician’s Posture – As above so below; making something real; manifesting spirit force by connecting heaven and earth.

Wand – lightning rod; energy

2 – The High Priestess

White gown – purity

Headdress – three aspects of the moon (symbol of the Egyptian goddess Isis)

Equal-armed cross – uniting masculine and feminine powers

High Priestess’s Posture – right hand of power is hidden; left hand holding the Tora, Jewish book of law/5 books of Moses

Veil – something hidden, the unconscious/hidden knowledge

Water behind the veil – unconscious, intuition, mysteries

Pomegranates on veil – fruit of the Underworld, a connection to the myth of Persephone, who spent a third of her life in the Underworld with Hades, because she ate the seeds of the Pomegranate

Palm trees – ability to create through action (fanning), masculine, assertive energy

Columns – entrance to King Solomon’s Temple of Wisdom, Hebrew temple in Jerusalem

B and J – Boaz and Jakin, names of the two  main pillars of King Solomon’s temple

Black and white – opposites, night and day, yin and yang

Lunar crescent –  beginning of esoteric cycle

3 – The Empress

Empress’s Posture – comfort, luxury

Sceptre in right hand – taking the lead, creatrive energy

Gown – pomegranates; link with High Priestess, two aspects of the feminine

Headdress – 12 stars of the zodiac

Shield – heart-shaped, gentleness, passion; symbol for Venus, Goddess of love and beauty

Trees – growth, wisdom

River – feelings, nurture, emotions, life force, change

Corn – Fruitfulness, fertility

Red – passion, love

Yellow – gold, the sun

4 – The Emperor

Emperor’s posture – sitting straight, full-face image, confident, decisive, focused

Clothing – red cloth over armour, protection; ram shield symbolising Zodiac sign Aries

Red and white – in crown, white beard, red cloak: alchemy

Sceptre in right hand – yang (ankh, symbol of life)

Orb in left hand – yin

Sceptre and orb – two contrasting elements, balance

Ram – Aries, assertive power,  force, Aries rules the head, 1st sign of the Zodiac: new life

Background – bare, desolate mountains – limitations, water – little emotions

Stone throne – long-lasting, rigid

Red – colour of Aries, Mars

Yellow – Sun

 

To be continued….

 

 

Tarot Card Meanings

Quick reference guide to the keywords and card meanings for Rider Waite Smith (RWS) style tarot decks:

The Major Arcana

Number Card Meaning
0 The Fool New beginnings; spontaneity; carefree; enthusiasm; optimism; folly; no worries or fears; restlessness.
1 The Magician Awareness of choices; focusing on achieving a goal; potential; purpose; commitment;  using personal skills (organising, communicating); cleverness; manipulative.
2 High Priestess Inner wisdom; intuition; patience; mysteries; secrets to be unveiled; self-reliance; retreat; receptivity; thinking.
3 The Empress Motherhood; nurturing; abundance; fruitfulness; nature; productive; creative; well-being; self-indulgence.
4 The Emperor Fatherhood; authority; leadership; decision-making; confidence; vision; planning; ambition; stability.
5 The Hierophant Teacher; advisor; ethics; morality; spirituality; tradition; loyalty; guidance; conformity.
6 The Lovers Relationship; choices; combining elements of head and heart; partnership; responsibility; love and its consequences
7 The Chariot Self-control; discipline; tension; struggle; sense of direction; breaking free; making progress; travel; victory.
8 Strength Endurance; conquering fears and obstacles; gentle persuasion; courage; abundance of energy; love and passion; perseverance
9 The Hermit Solitude; withdrawal; prudence; inner searching; patience; observance; silence; simplicity
10 The Wheel of Fortune Cycles and turning points; karma; luck; shift of fortune; changes in circumstances.
11 Justice Balance; harmony; decisions; fairness; objectivity; mediation; equality; legal situation.
12 The Hanged Man Sacrifice; suspended action; stalemate; waiting;  stagnation; loneliness; new perspective
13 Death Renewal; transformation; transition; discarding old patterns or restrictive habits; liberation; potential for new growth; rites of passage; initiation.
14 Temperance Compromise; compatibility; moderation; creating harmony; blending your personal needs with your responsibilities; bringing together opposites; tolerance; healing
15 The Devil Ignorance; bondage; trapped; gullibility; inner limitations; restrictions; apathy; self-importance; taking advantage of others; obsession; temptation.
16 The Tower Radical changes; shock; break-up of habits and structures; humiliation; unexpected change or shock; mental breakdown; erupting emotions; damage.
17 The Star Hope; healing; inspiration; regeneration; cleansing; serenity; insight and truth.
18 The Moon Insecurities; doubts; illusion; fluctuation; mood; instability; confusion; disillusionment; depression; feeling alone; swamped with feelings and emotions; imagination; fantasies.
19 The Sun Joy; happiness; clarity; enlightenment; creativity and personal growth; optimism; good health; confidence; full of energy; enthusiasm.
20 Judgement A review of past actions; coming to a crossroads; self-evaluation; conscience; repentance; apology; atonement; guilt; forgiveness.
21 The World Arrival; achievement; the end of a cycle; success; aware of your limitations; contentment; living comfortably; being established.
If you like a printable PDF version of the complete chart of Tarot card meanings (including Minor Arcana and the Court cards), pop over to the freebies section, where you can get a folder full of Tarot goodies.

The Tarot Garden – Symbolism of Plants

 

Symbolism of Plants in the Tarot

In Tarot, plants are powerful symbols carrying meaning and purpose. They evoke ideas, images and visions. The following list of plants suggests symbolic meanings, and it is up to the reader how to interpret these meanings in individual readings.

Acorn, see Oak
Apple

Sacred fruit of Aphrodite/Venus symbolising sexual desire and fertility. When sliced horizontally, its seeds resemble a pentacle. In Celtic mythology, the apple tree is a symbol of plenty, for choice and a door into greater mysteries. It is one of the three legendary magical fruits (hazel, apple, oak). Symbol of love, faith, generosity and gratitude. It can be found on the RWS Lovers card behind the nude female. The snake in the apple tree links the card with the story of Adam and Eve, suggesting paradise and its forthcoming demise.

Beech

Symbol of beauty and ancient wisdom, prosperity and divination. The beech tree is a symbol for the written word; it was once used to make writing tablets. In Celtic mythology, the beech tree is associated with all gods of wisdom and learning and the human intellect. The wood and leaves were carried as a talisman to increase creative powers.

Birch

Symbol of new beginnings, birth, springtime, young love; renewal and cleansing; new directions and goals. A birch forest appears on the Death card of the Robin Wood deck.

Corn

Cornfields symbolise the potential for cultivation, the need for labour, attention and care in order to achieve material success. A person standing in a cornfield suggests a down-to-earth mentality and  a connection with the Earth element or its energy.

Cypress

The cypress comprises the forest in the background of the Empress in the RWS deck. It is sacred to Venus and Artemis and suggests fertility. Also sacred to the gods of the underworld, Hades and Pluto, it can represent anything developing in darkness, e.g. the unconscious.

Evergreen

Symbolises continuous giving and support, nurture and stability. See also cypress, ivy, palm, pine.

Grain

Symbolises the cycle of life, harvest and new seed. Fertility, nourishment, creative abundance, spiritual maturity. Found on the Empress card of the RWS deck and in the suit of Pentacles.

Grapevine

Grapes represent inspiration and truth (as a result from drinking wine, when inhibitions are released). Also symbolising abundance, fruitfulness and achievement. The vine’s symbolic meaning in the Old Testament is as an emblem of God’s blessing on his chosen people. Grapes appear on Crowley’s Fool suggesting ‘sweetness of life, intoxication’ (Banzhaf/Theler).

Iris

The flower represents the goddess Iris, who was the Greek messenger of the gods. She is also associated with the rainbow, which represents the pathway by which she travelled. Both the flower and the rainbow symbolise her qualities as a divine messenger. The flower can be found on the RWS Temperance card.

Ivy

Entwining ivy is a symbol of romantic desolation; it was associated with death in the 18th century Gothic revival and a symbol of melancholy. Ivy was an essential complement to any ruined building. Its entwining habit represents the movement of the stars and planets and the understanding of their influence on the affairs of humankind. Ivy symbolises the Spirit, search for enlightenment, a warning (Ivy ale was a highly intoxicating medieval drink), binding and restricting, freeing and uniting. It is closely connected with the vine.

Laurel

A laurel wreath was used as a crown of victory or accomplishment for athletes, poets and musicians in ancient Greece. It was associated with the Greek god Apollo. The Fool in the RWS deck wears a laurel wreath, which symbolises his victorious spirit. The charioteer on the Chariot card of the RWS wears a laurel wreath and so does the victorious rider on the Six of Wands.

Lily/water lilies

The white lily symbolises purity, chastity, innocence and also higher spirit.  The three-sided fleur-de-lis (triple lily) is a heraldic symbol of illumination. Water lilies are the Golden dawn’s elemental symbol for water.  They float on the water of the RWS Ace of Cups. Golden lilies appear on the Emperor card of Crowley’s Thoth deck as an attribute of power.

Lotus blossom

The lotus blossom represents the four elements: the earth from which the plant grows, the water supporting its stalk, air into which its perfume escapes and the fire of the sun, which provides energy for it to grow. The lotus represents the soul or psyche rising from the unconscious (the bottom of its watery source) into the clarity of consciousness and enlightenment. Lotuses feature on all the Cup cards of Crowley’s Thoth Tarot (except the Seven and the Knight) as well as the Empress (the Lotus sceptre, representing feminine creativity and life force) and the Devil (wearing a lotus garland as a sign that the bearer is ‘a child of good’ – Banzhaf/Theler).

Mushrooms

Good fortunes, longevity, immortality; also rapid growth and destruction (mushroom cloud). Can also represent restlessness and change (Robin Wood Moon card).

Myrtle

The RWS Empress wears a myrtle wreath, which is associated with female fertility, the forces of nature and also immortality. Myrtle is sacred to Venus. It was a Greek emblem of happiness, often used in marriage and childbirth rituals.

Oak

Celtic symbol for protection and strength; sacred tree of Heracles/Hercules and Jupiter/Zeus; sacred tree of Norse god Thor; acorns are symbols of fertility and spiritual growth. The oak represents courage, endurance and the protective power of faith. In some Tarot decks the Hanged Man hangs from an oak tree. The qualities of the suit of Pentacles is symbolised by oak leaves.

Olive tree

A sacred tree for many cultures, it is associated with light and enlightenment as the oil was used as a lamp fuel in ancient times. In Islamic tradition, the olive tree represents the world tree or world axis. In Judeo-Christian tradition, a dove brought an olive branch to Noah as a message that the flood was over.The olive tree symbolises peace, fruitfulness, purification and wisdom. A branch appears on the RWS Ace of Swords.

Palm Tree

The palm tree, with its solar-like spread of the strong leaves, was associated with victory in Roman times.  Victorious gladiators would be awarded with palm fronds due to the size and evergreen habit, which suggests longevity. The palm tree and its leaves signify masculinity and assertiveness. A palm branch hangs from the RWS Ace of Swords.

Pine

In Greek mythology the pine tree was sacred to Artemis, the moon goddess who presided over childbirth; also associated with gods of wine like Dionysus and Bacchus. Pine cones were used in fertility rites and the pollen was used in money spells. Pine resin was burned to clear negative energies, which could also be done by scattering pine needles around. Its height (taller than most other trees) symbolises foresight, objectivity and overview. Also suggests nature, fertility and life force.

Pomegranate

Symbolises fertility, new possibilities, ‘new birth’ symbol; creative, receptive and feminine energy. Seen on the veil behind the RWS High Priestess.

Rose

Roses symbolise beauty and perfection; they are often associated with the pentagram because of its five-petal structure. Roses that are clearly depicted with five petals relate to the five senses and the inner five-pointed star of the apple; in horticulture, the rose is linked with the apple, which is also a member of the rose family. Roses in Tarot decks are mainly red or white. Red signifies passion and desire (not necessarily sexually); white roses can indicate spirit, soul and abstract thought. A five-pointed white rose can be found on Death’s banner in the RWS deck, signifying the Mystic Rose of life. Red roses appear on the RWS Nine of Swords as a symbol of the heart and strong emotions. The red roses on Crowley’s Star symbolise love and fertility.

Sunflower

Sunflowers are symbols of devotion and steadfastness, as their flower heads follow the sun during the day. They appear on the RWS Sun and the Queen of Wands.

Tiger lilies

In the Seven of Cups of Crowley’s Thoth deck, the lotus blossoms, which appear on all other Cup cards of the deck, have turned into tiger lilies, dropping their poisonous nectar into the chalices symbolising ‘deceptive, sinister seduction’ (Banzhaf/Theler).

Wheat

Wheat represents the entire cycle of nature: death, rebirth, resurrection. It suggests nurturing, abundance and fertility. Psychologically, wheat tied together symbolises the integration of inner opposites, the conscious and the unconscious.

Further Reading:

Ruth Ann & Wald Amberstone: Secret Language Of Tarot [Paperback]

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