Intro to Tarot Part 2

Intro to Tarot Part 2

Last week, we discussed the basic components of tarot, including the major and minor arcana. This blog post will go over more symbolism within tarot, and how to begin reading for yourself and others!


Just like in the real world, symbolism exists within each tarot deck to help us better understand the message behind the cards. We’ve already gone over two types of symbolism in tarot, numerology, and suits, which tell us the essence and overall focus of the pull.

In addition to numbers and suits, each card in a standard deck has unique imagery that aids our understanding of the nature of the card. There are many images depicted within a Waite Tarot Deck. Some common symbols include:



Beyond the symbolism that the suit of cups provides us, depictions of bodies of water within tarot cards typically reveal something about our subconscious emotions and encourage us to reflect on ourselves in some capacity. While a still body of water suggests confidence and a willingness to act, rushing water may be wanting us to focus on a decision we have been struggling with.


The airspace within a card can propose different messages, depending on the images in the sky. For example, the moon focuses on our intuition and inner reflection. Night skies with stars may be ushering us to seek guidance for our current situation. A cloudy sky typically symbolizes clarity and coming out of a situation with a new idea or understanding. When this imagery is more of a storm, it may represent change, and a warning to be careful.


Any form of archway depicted in tarot carries the message that there will always be another side of things. This could mean that you should way your options more thoroughly, or as a positive message that there is greener grass out there.


There are many types of animals shown throughout a standard tarot deck, each having unique traits. Reptiles, for instance, are about change and growth. While lizards are more focused on using energy to achieve your goals, snakes reveal potential deceit or that may soon uproot your life. Imagery of horses typically relates to wealth or success. Seen as a status symbol, horses in tarot relate to some sort of achievement that you have or desire to attain.


The background of a card can reveal a lot about the message behind it. This could be natural scenery, such as trees and mountains, or building landscapes with a village or town. Trees usually signify strength and protection. They represent how far you’ve come from a journey or situation, and a reminder of your capabilities. Similarly, mountain imagery emphasizes how far along we are on our journeys, and the obstacles we have overcome to get to where we are. Towns and villages in the background, by contrast, focus more on our communities. This may outline our need for external guidance or highlight the desire in spending time alone to reflect.


Beyond picture imagery, colors are a great source of symbolism used in tarot. Here are the basics:

Black – protection, grounding, negativity,

Red – safety, security, stability,

Orange – creativity, passion, and energy

Yellow – optimism, joy, vitality

Green – prosperity, balance, healing

Pink – love, compassion, femininity

Blue – calming, communication, trust

Purple – intuition, spirituality, divinity

White – rebirth, change, renewal


These colors can also be interpreted as being associated with our chakras. Our chakra article breaks down the chakra and color association, so be sure to check it out for more info.

Beyond numerology, elements, imagery, and colors, there are countless other ways to interpret tarot symbolism. You may use astrology, cultural or religious symbols, angel/life path numbers, and reversed card. It’s up to each individual reader to decide what is important for them to include in their reading of tarot.

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  • Ashley