Tarot Card Symbol Meanings

There are a wide selection of Tarot cards on the market certainly way too many to mention here. It is really down to personal choice which deck you prefer and you will really only find this out by using different decks.
When I first started off learning the tarot which seems like many years ago now! I started off with a free deck from a magazine I purchased, these were of course very basic and I did not connect with them at all in fact I hated them! However it started me off so I guess they were useful really.
As I progressed I brought another deck again on the cheaper side but at the time I thought they were good as I didn't really know that much about that so I will be honest and say I went for the pretty pictures on the box ~ not the best way for choosing a tarot deck I agree! I then learned by trial and error the newer deck I had brought I found the cards really annoying as they were two small, I don't have very large hands so when I looked at the box I thought perfect I can hold the box in my hands so the cards should suit me fine ~ how wrong was I!

I then learned that you shouldn't really buy your own Tarot cards they should be given to you, now this made me panic a bit thinking oh no this isn't good! I did a bit of research and there seemed to be a lot of conflicting information on this many people say do not buy your own and many say do, so where do you go with this I thought!

Well let me put your mind at rest here, it is perfectly fine to purchase your own tarot cards it is a total myth that you can't. I mean think about it how can you expect to work with a deck and connect with them if they were not your choice?
It takes time to learn the tarot and you must connect with your cards so the pictures and the general feel of the cards are important so by all means purchase your own deck and choose how the cards feel to you, do you like the pictures, do you like the size of the cards, do you feel a slight connection with them? If you answer yes to all questions then your on the right track and you should purchase them.

Inside your chosen pack you will find 78 cards there are the minor arcana and the major arcana, 56 minor and 22 major cards and you have to learn them all! Now don't be put off by this task. I admit it does take time but practice and you will get there. It took me about two years to fully understand each card and know the meaning of the cards without having to look for notes or reading the little booklet that comes in all decks. Remember the saying 'practice makes perfect'.

Now mentioning this little booklet that comes inside the decks I would like to add a note of caution here before you totally get confused and bogged down with reading the booklet and examining the cards. Every reader will see the cards in a slightly different way so you really do need to trust your own judgement on the cards as your learning. Don't get me wrong the little booklets are good and they can help but don't take what you read as gospel. I found the easier way for me to learn was to take one keyword from the booklet and I made a note of one keyword for all the cards. I then sat quietly and studied each card until it meant something to me. I then made a 'story' around each card so I was adding a few more keywords to each card, I made notes again and gradually I learned the meaning for the cards.

I started off with the major arcana cards first and got to know them very well and then I started on the different suites. Now some decks call the suites different names so you need to learn your deck, for example I use most of the time. The deck I use most of the time is the Rider Waite deck and this deck calls the suits Wands, Swords, Cups and Pentacles. Some decks use coins, staves, rods, batons and chalices so depending on your chosen deck you need to follow how the suits are named. Take your time when learning there is no rush do it gradually.

After buying my second deck of cards I still found I didn't connect with them the way I wanted to like I said they were cheaper and the images were not very good it was more colourful which didn't help me any! We were approaching Yule (Christmas) and when my parents came round and we were unwrapping our gifts what do I find as one of mine? The Rider Waite deck! To say I was happy is an understatement here I was delighted! Yule then kind of past in a bit of a blur because I constantly had my nose in the Tarot cards and no one got any sense out me! I connected with this deck in a huge way and I loved the images on the cards I suddenly found it much easier to learn and they made sense to me finally ~ so it really is important you find the right deck your happy with and the rest is much easier to do.

Now I am not saying this deck is for you, you may feel differently and prefer a different deck but for me I love the Rider Waite and I still use it to this day. I was also very lucky when talking to an uncle a year or two later to find he had a set of tarot cards and for him they gave him the jitters! He didn't like knowing they were in the house and he wanted them out ~ you will come across many people who feel this way especially the older generation but that is only because they do not understand the tarot cards and they feel they are to do with the occult which of course I don't agree with.

I asked my uncle how he came to have the cards especially seeing how much he wanted them out of his house! He told me he had helped an elderly lady for many years doing some shopping for her and fetching things as she was house bound. One day she said she wanted to give him a little gift and she presented him with these tarot cards, well my uncle didn't want to offend her when she gave them to him so he accepted them took them home and plonked them in a drawer and tried to forget about them!
It turned out the lady he had been helping was also a tarot reader and her deck was 75 years old! So when he gave them to me I was of course ecstatic! So many memories and the cards being so old but in lovely condition you could feel the energies leaping off them. Needless to say I still have them and they are my favourite personal cards ~ I do not read for anyone else with this deck they are for my own personal readings only and they are my pride and joy. Sadly the lady has passed away now and I didn't know her personally but I feel as if I do feeling her energies from the cards ~ a wonderful gift I will treasure forever.

So then lets move on to the meanings of the tarot cards the following meanings are of course for the 
Rider Waite cards these are the most popular deck so it makes sense to start with these!

Symbols and Meanings for all the cards
In this section I will be discussing all the different meanings for the cards from the Major Arcana right thru to the Lesser Arcana first we shall discuss the actual symbols on the cards and what they mean and stand for, this way it will give you a better idea how the cards came about and why they look the way they do.
Then I will give the keyword meanings for each card so it will help you learn the meanings for all the cards.
Further on in this section I will be discussing more in depth meanings for each card and relative information on the Tarot.

Major Arcana 

The Fool
Dog A guardian
Feathers Truth
Wand Will and power
White rose Free from animal desires
White sun The spiritual sun
Wreath Victory and acquired wisdom
New beginnings, new adventures, new opportunities, unlimited possibilities, pleasure, passion, thoughtlessness, rashness

The Magician
Hand Right – positive
Hand Left - negative
Lilies Peace and rebirth
Pentacle An amulet (lucky Charm)
Robe White – purity
Robe Red – passion
Scroll Hidden Mysteries
Sword Protection
Wand Will and power
Rose White, purity and peace within
Rose Red, desires
Serpent Symbol of wisdom
Altar Worship
Cosmic Lemniscates The figure of 8 - A symbol of eternal life
Cups gold Conscious
Originality, creativity, skill, will-power, self confidence, dexterity, sleight of hand

The High Priestess
Crescent moon Inner illumination
Crown All virgin goddesses
Lilies Peace and rebirth
Palm Victory over death
Pomegranate The seeds of life
Pillars White – Joachin, positive aspect of life
Pillars Black Boaz, darkness and negativity
Scroll Hidden mysteries
Veil Hidden mysteries or virginity
Palm tree Victory and help
Book Record of truth
Cross Solar cross – union of male and female
Wisdom, knowledge, learning, intuition, purity, purity, virtue, lack of patience, a teacher

The Empress
Pomegranate The seeds of life
Sceptre topped by globe Power over the world
Shield Heart shaped with the word Venus
River Currents of thought
Cypress tree Sacred to Venus
Tree of knowledge Good and evil
Wheat Fertility
Blooming garden Mother nature
Crown Six pointed stars – reign over universe
Wreath Wreath of myrtle sacred to Venus

The Emperor
Throne A ruler
River Currents of thought
Ram Physically strong
Ankh Cross of life
Globe of power Balance
Accomplishment, confidence, wealth, stability, leadership, father/brother/husband, achievement, a capable person

The Hierophant 
Priest A ruler
Lilies Peach and rebirth
Pillars One is mercy, the other severity
Triple staff Represents spirit, mind and body
Rose Red – desires
Triple cross intellect and physical worlds, power
Crossed keys Lunar and solar currents of energy
Triple crown of a pope The lower means lower material world, the middle means formative world, the top means creative world
A need to conform, social approval, bonded to conventions of society,mercy, kindness, forgivness, compassion, conformity, a sense of historical importance, inspiration

The Lovers
Man is Adam Humanity, earth and life
Angel Messengers
Cupid Love
Eve Feelings
Nudity Innocence
Eden Paradise
Leafless tree The tree of life
Serpent Symbol of wisdom
Snake Wisdom and knowledge
Apples Wisdom and knowledge
Apple tree Temptation
Love, harmony, trust, honour, begining of a romance, meaningful relationship

The Chariot
Shield A Hindu symbol for duality and unity
Wall Fenced in enclosure
Wand Will and power
River Currents of thought
Sphinx Ancient wisdom – black – severity, White - mercy
Canopy of stars Heavenly influences that play a role in victory
Chariot Vehicle for expressing self
Diadem An 8 pointed star representing power
Winged disk Inspiration
Yin/Yang Light and dark
Perseverance, a journey, a rushed decision, adversity, turmoil, vengeance

Robe White – purity
Rose Chain of, union of desires
Lion Action and secret wisdom
Cosmic Lemniscates The figure of 8 – eternal life
Strength, courage, conviction, energy, determination, action, herosim, virility

The Hermit
Hermit Inner teacher
Wand Will and power
Cloak The mantel of discretion
Lantern Search for truth
Counsel, inner strength, caution, carefulness, patience, withdrawal, a loner

The Wheel of Fortune
Beasts in four corners Fixed signs of the zodiac
Sword Protection, upward victory
Sphinx Ancient wisdom, black – severity, White - Mercy
Wheel Cycle of life
YOD The name of God that is never spoken
Letters on the wheel Spells TARO means the wheel of the tower speaks the Law of Hathor
Destiny, fortune, a special gain, an unusual loss, end of a problem, unexpected events, advancement, progress

Pillars Between positive and negative forces
Scales Balanced judgement
Sword Protection
Veil Hidden mysteries or virginity
Circle In a square – spirit, eternity
Jewels Love and wisdom
Harmony, balance, equality, righteousness, virtue, honour, advice, a considerate person

The Hanged Man
Christ Higher self
Living wood Still earthbound
Halo Spiritual force
Suspension, change, reversal, boredom, abandonment, sacrifice, readjustment, improvement, rebirth

Feathers Truth
Pillars White – Joachin, positive aspect of life
Pillars Black – Boaz, darkness and negativity
Tower False ideas
River Currents of thought
Horse Powerful movement in your life and fertility
Banner With white five petal rose – Life force
Transformation, making way for the new, unexpected change, loss, failure, end of an era, ride fate and see where it takes you

Angel Michael angel of fire and sun
Feet Conscious and subconscious
Iris Greek Goddess of the rainbow
Square On his robe – square physical reality
Triangle On his robe – triangle means balance and creativity
Water Cleansing emotions
Crown Skill
Cups gold Conscious
Moderation, self control, patience, harmony, good influence, confidence

The Devil
Nudity Innocence
Pentagram (inverted) Disharmony
Tail following animal instincts and not moral good sense
Chains Restriction
Devil Confront your demons
Horns Strength
look at yourself and confront your own demons, negative emotions, fear, resentment, jealousy, heal yourself and move forward

The Tower
Lightening Positive truth
Tower False ideas
Lightening Conduct a reality check
Falling Loss of control
Fire An aggressive symbol
Sudden change, unexpected events, an ending, disruption, a time for healing

The Star
Pitchers Healing waters of peace
Bird Symbols of aspiration
Star Guidance
Maiden Nude – nothing to hide or fear
Sky Blue – inspiration
Water bearer Aquarius
                             Hope, faith, pleasure, joy, happiness, happy end

The Moon
Dog and Wolf Dog – symbol of our tamed mind, Wolf - primal urges
Towers Stagnation, false illusions
Lobster Hidden physic power
Moon Subconscious mind
Deception, trickery, danger, double dealing, things are not as they seem

The Sun
Wall Fenced in, holding back
Sunflowers The face of truth
Child Regenerated personality
Feathers Truth
The Sun Radiant energy
Red Banner Action and vibration
Nudity Innocence
Happiness, new beginings, breaking through, accomplishment, sucess, love, joy

Cross Sound judgement is important
Arms Higher knowledge
Horn Inner calling
Banner Freedom from material possessions
Trumpet Power of sound
Water Cleansing emotions
Coffins The tombs of world belief
Faith, honesty, judgement, transformation, a crossroads, be honest with yourself, resurrection, transform your life

The World
Dancing Achievement
Wreath Victory and acquired wisdom
Crossed legs Cross roads – complete
Lemniscate Infinity symbol
Wand Will and power
Beasts in corners Fixed signs of the zodiac,
Leo, Taurus, Scorpio and Aquarius
Completion, perfection, end result, triumph, success, satisfaction, fulfillment


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