Understanding the meaning of Tarot cards can often seem like a very difficult task for many among us. Each picture is different and contains many elements. There is a plethora of associations and correspondences within the images of these 78 beautiful cards which combine together towards forming the meaning of Tarot cards. In short, the key to understanding the meanings of the Tarot cards, you have to look at the cards from these perspectives.
Let’s have a look at these various associations and correspondences:
1. Symbolism: It is a well known fact that the Tarot cards are the repositories of many different symbols. These symbols range from the very simple (red rose stands for desire) to the very complicated (the Kabbala Tree of Life on the 10 of Pentacles card). For the ardent student of the Tarot, it is essential to gain an understanding of these symbols and understand the different meanings which can be derived from these symbols. The red rose on the Magician card adds the meaning of ‘desire and intent’ to all the actions performed by the person in the card, and the Tree of Life on the 10 of Pentacles adds the meaning of completion and perfection to the meaning of that card.
2. Mythology: Myths have been conveyed in the form of in the form of images on the Tarot cards. These myths add another level of meaning to the cards themselves, while giving a lot of background material towards understanding the deeper motives and philosophies behind certain symbols present on the card. For example, the pomegranates on the curtain behind the High Priestess refer to the mythological story of Persephone in Greek Mythology. Unless we read / know the story of Persephone, it would be difficult to understand how and why these pomegranates talk about fertility.
3. Psychology: Noted Swiss psychologist Carl Jung devoted his life to the study and analysis of the various symbols of Man. He considered the Tarot cards to be full of several Archetypes which human beings deal with in their daily life. Studying the Tarot cards from the perspective of psychology can also open up doorways into our inner self and can help us in our process of what Jung called ‘Individuation’. A good example of this concept is expressed in the Empress card, which is a personification of the Mother Archetype.
4. Numerology: There are numbers on each of the Tarot cards (except for the Court Cards). Therefore, it may seem important for some of us to study the numerological aspect of these cards. Each number stands for something. And on the card, it certainly adds into the meaning of the card. For example, the Major Arcana card, the Emperor has the number 4 on it. Among other things, the number 4 stands for stability (any structure stands on four legs). So, this number definitely adds to the meaning of the Emperor card, and says that the Emperor is a provider of stability to his kingdom. Or it can also say that the Emperor has achieved a state of emotional, mental and spiritual stability in his life.
5. Astrology: All the cards in the Major and Minor Arcana are often linked to different astrological signs and so on. A study of these aspects can only serve to add to the meaning of that card. For example, the Magician card is linked to the planet Mercury. Mercury is the planet of communication. And the Magician is always a leader – so, this means that communication is his forte, simply because to be a good leader, one must have good communication skills.
If one studies the Tarot cards with all these different perspectives, it ensures that one is closer to the lessons of self development offered in these wonderful cards. If you want to study the different meanings of the Tarot cards, just visit my website and subscribe to my free email newsletter.