Exploring Your Persona Cards

Sharman Caselli Court Cards
Sharman-Caselli Tarot © 2005 Connections Book Publishing Ltd

The court cards in the Tarot represent personality types, and in a reading they can relate to people, energies or personality traits that need either to be applied to a certain situation or avoided.

If you use the Tarot to deepen your self-knowledge, you can explore your personality (and that of others) by identifying your persona card and its opposing shadow card.

First of all, find your persona card from the list below; this card relates to your sun sign:

Aries—Queen of Wands
Taurus—King of Pentacles
Gemini—Knight of Swords
Cancer—Queen of Cups
Leo—King of Wands
Virgo—Knight of Pentacles
Libra—Queen of Swords
Scorpio—King of Cups
Sagittarius—Knight of Wands
Capricorn—Queen of Pentacles
Aquarius—King of Swords
Pisces—Knight of Cups

The Pages are not included in this list, but if you feel more like a child-like Page rather than a Knight, Queen or King, then choose the Page of the suit that relates to your sun sign, e.g. if you are Gemini (Knight of Swords), you can choose the Page of Swords instead.



Next, identify your opposing card by taking the following two steps:

1. Select the opposite role of your persona card, e.g. if you are a King, select Page:

King – Page
Queen – Knight
Knight – Queen
Page – King

2. Select the opposite of your suit, e.g. if you are Cups, choose Wands:

Wands – Cup
Cups – Wands
Swords – Pentacles
Pentacles – Swords

So, for me this means that my persona card is the Knight of Cups (I’m Pisces), and my opposing shadow card is the Queen of Wands.

Your persona card relating to your sun sign reflects your outer personality and your strengths; personality traits you openly express and feel comfortable with.

Your shadow card on the other hand indicates hidden elements of your personality, weaknesses, and character traits and behaviours you prefer to keep hidden, are unconsciously suppressed, or may need to be developed.

In my case, the Knight of Cups reflects my introvert, dreamy and intuitive personality, and the Queen of Wands indicates a need to be more social, take action and feel more confident about my abilities.

Have you worked out your persona and shadow card? What do they teach you about yourself? 

Try this exercise with family members, colleagues and friends. This way you can explore and identify people’s strengths and weaknesses and develop good judgement of character over time.

Warmest wishes,

Christiane

Transform your life this year:

starlight tarot astrology course self study
Learn more about Persona Cards in my Starlight Tarot Astrology course.

 

 

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.

Learn more about numbers 11 – 22 in my Discovery Tarot Course.

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 – Major Arcana

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.

For in-depth tarot card meanings, check out the Cosmic Faery Tarot Guidebook.

Discover Your Tarot Year Card

Tarot Year Card MeaningsTarot, just like your zodiac sign, can help you gain personal insight into your annual lessons, tests and experiences you will go through by establishing your tarot year card.

Add the month and day of your birth to the current year, e.g.:

18th July in 2006 = 18 + 7 + 2006 = 2031 = 6 (The Lovers)

Only the Major Arcana cards are used, so you need to keep the final number under 23 (22 = The Fool).

There are two options regarding the time period for the year card to be valid:

from birthday to birthday (in this case from 18th July 2006 until 17th July 2007)

Calendar year (1st Jan—31 Dec)

You can use either or combine both. When combining them, The Lovers and The Hierophant (from 18th July 2005 onwards) would be both valid from 1st January 2006 until 17th July 2006 and in that period would interact with each other.

If you are a Tarot student, an interesting exercise would be to calculate your year cards from your birth year onwards and note all key experiences you had in each year (as far as your memory allows).

The result may surprise you, especially when you find out about your personal rhythm.

For example, you may notice that some cards do not appear in your chart at all even though your age might be well above 22. Other cards will appear on a regular basis.

It is up to you to determine the relevance of the absent cards and those that turn up in regular intervals with regards to your life lessons.



Suggestions for the year lessons of each card:
1. The Magician
  • Focus on options and opportunities
  • Pursue a new direction with willpower and ambition
  • Clarity of mind; all mental activity
  • Communication
  • Make things happen
2. The High Priestess
  • Develop your intuition
  • Trust your instincts
  • Self-nurturing
  • Be patient; situations will be resolved at the right time
3. The Empress
  • Motherhood or maternal instincts
  • Nurturing others
  • Make use of and develop your creativity
  • Fruitfulness, abundance
  • Love of nature and beauty
  • Settling down, security and stability
4. The Emperor
  • Important decisions need to be made, perhaps not easy
  • Be assertive
  • Leading the way
  • Take charge
  • Establish security
  • Finish projects that you’ve started
5. The Hierophant
  • Teaching or studying
  • Social interaction on a professional or ethical level
  • Working within hierarchies
  • Intellectual development
  • spiritual guidance
6. The Lovers
  • Relationships (partner, family, friends, colleagues)
  • Major choices regarding relationships
  • Taking responsibility
  • Following your heart without losing your head
7. The Chariot
  • Setting targets and goals
  • Proving yourself
  • Taking control with skill and determination
  • Overcoming struggle and tension
  • Persevering despite difficulties
8. Strength
  • Courage and endurance in times of adversity
  • Controlling anger or jealousy
  • Strong passions and desires
  • Letting situations unfold without forcing them
  • Being assertive and standing up for yourself
9. The Hermit
  • Solitude
  • Introspection
  • Contemplating
  • Reviewing your options
  • Prudence
  • Taking time out
  • Looking after your health
10. The Wheel of Fortune
  • Luck and fate
  • Completion of one cycle and beginning of another
  • Major change
  • Dealing with unforeseen events
11. Justice
  • Balance and harmony
  • Fairness
  • Legal or financial issues
  • Integrity
  • Partnerships
12. The Hanged Man
  • Gaining a new perspective
  • Making a sacrifice
  • Giving something up
  • Stagnation
13. Death
  • Letting go of something old to make way for something new
  • Transformation
  • Regeneration
  • Dealing with emotional pain
14. Temperance
  • Making concessions, compromises
  • Creating a healthy balance
  • Relinquish excessive lifestyle
  • Give and take
15. The Devil
  • Dependency
  • Manipulation
  • Reluctant to change; putting up with something negative
  • Creating unrest
  • Strong sexuality
16. The Tower
  • Sudden change
  • Shock to the system; can be positive or negative
  • Anger and pain
  • Starting from scratch
  • Revelation or epiphany completely altering your attitude or opinion of something
17. The Star
  • Period of hope and healing
  • Optimism for the future
  • Back to basics and nature
  • Sustainability
18. The Moon
  • Dealing with changing moods
  • Reflections and vivid dreams
  • Acknowledge and work with your inner rhythm and cycles
  • Being drawn by an unknown desire
19. The Sun
  • Achievement of major goal
  • Birth or marriage
  • Self-worth, confidence and contentment
  • Strong creative and passionate phase
20. Judgement
  • Dealing with criticism
  • Evaluation from yourself and others
  • Worldview and understanding
  • Transitions
  • Taking stock; review; analysis
21. The World
  • Sense of endless potential
  • Realising and accepting your limitations
  • Finding your place within a structure or in society
  • Being established
  • Concluding an ongoing situation
  • Settling down
22. The Fool
  • New beginnings and experiences
  • Flexibility and openness to change
  • Taking risks and trusting yourself
  • Travel and adventure

 What is your year card this year? What guidance does it offer you? 

Learn more about Tarot personality profiling in my Discovery Tarot Course

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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.

page of cups tarot of quotes
Page of Cups – Tarot of Quotes

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.

sun tarot of quotes
The Sun – Tarot of Quotes

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.

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Colour Symbolism

Colour SymbolismWhen I researched colour symbolism in Tarot, I came across information about how colour is perceived in different cultures. I realised that my perception of colours are based on the Western culture I have grown up in, whereas people from different backgrounds will link colours with different meanings. For example, in western culture the colour ‘white’ is associated with weddings, purity and innocence, but in Eastern cultures such as India and Japan it is linked with funerals and death.

Therefore, in the following table I have included not only my personal ‘western’ perception (including the correspondences of the Golden Dawn), but also the meanings of colours in different cultures.

However, when interpreting the cards, you need to establish your own view on colours, which thoughts and feelings they evoke in you, so you may disagree with some of the meanings suggested below. But that’s fine, because remember that there is no right or wrong; it’s all about your intuition.

When you look at a card in more detail and study its colours, you may find that some colours stand out at different times. That’s when you can pay attention to your understanding of the colour’s meaning and perhaps hidden message.

Watch out for shades and hues; lighter colours may be associated with the conscious mind, darker colours with the unconscious. Opposite colours indicate contrast. Complimentary colours in juxtaposition may suggest balance.

Colour Western Tradition Other Traditions
Black the unknown, mystery, hidden things, darkness, fear, death, funerals, emptiness, lack of insight China: Colour for young boys
Blue Spirituality, healing, depression, sadness, cold; colour of the fifth (throat) chakra; water; sky.Ruling planet: Moon. The suit of Cups. Iran: Colour of heaven and spirituality
Indigo (Blue-Violet) Intuition, creative insight, clairvoyance, psychic sensitivity, mystery, dream work; colour of the sixth (brow) chakra. Ruling Planet: Saturn
Gold Masculine energy, luxury, success, material value, the sun, illumination
Green Growth, vitality, nature, harmony, healing, Spring; colour of the fourth (heart) chakra, which can also be pink. Ruling Planet: Venus. The suit of Pentacles. China: Green hats indicate a man’s wife is cheating on him; exorcism

India: Islam

Ireland: Symbol of the entire country

Grey Sadness, dreariness, cold, gloom; neutrality, integration, balance of opposites (a mix of black & white)
Orange Energy, zest, vitality, fire, warmth, confidence, creativity; colour of the second (sacral) chakra. Planet: Sun. Ireland: Religious (Protestants)
Pink Love, friendship, femininity; colour of the fourth (heart) chakra, which can also be green
Purple Wisdom, spirituality, power, healing, Royalty; colour of the seventh (crown) chakra.Ruling planet: Jupiter Thailand: Colour of mourning (widows)
Red Passion, courage, life, excitement, danger, blood; willpower; colour of the root chakraRuling planet: Mars. The suit of Wands. China: Good luck, celebration, summoning

India: Purity

South Africa: Colour of mourning

Eastern: Worn by brides

Silver Feminine energy, the moon, spirituality
White Purity, innocence, peace (white dove); truth, light Japan: White carnation symbolizes death

Eastern: Funerals

Yellow Joy, vitality, health, rejuvenation, hope, summer, warmth; colour of the third (solar plexus) chakra. Ruling Planet: Mercury. The suit of Swords. China: Nourishing

Egypt: Colour of mourning

Japan: Courage

India: Merchants

The Major Arcana cards are also associated with specific colours according to their ruling planet or zodiac sign:

Colour Planet Trump
Red Mars Tower
Orange Sun Sun
Yellow Mercury Magician
Green Venus Empress
Blue Moon High Priestess
Indigo Saturn World
Violet Jupiter Wheel of Fortune
Colour Zodiac Trump
Red Aries Emperor
Coral Taurus Hierophant
Orange Gemini Lovers
Gold Cancer Chariot
Yellow Leo Strength
Olive Virgo Hermit
Green Libra Justice
Turquoise Scorpio Death
Blue Sagittarius Temperance
Indigo Capricorn Devil
Violet Aquarius Star
Magenta Pisces Moon

These are all Golden Dawn correspondences; useful if you work with the RWS (Rider Waite Smith), Crowley’s Thoth or the B.O.T.A. deck.

Further Reading:

Angela Wright: The Beginner’s Guide to Colour Psychology

Sandra  A. Thomson : Pictures from the Heart – A Tarot Dictionary

Israel Regardie, Robert Wang: Golden Dawn Tarot Deck [Cards]

 

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