Tarot Symbols Explained
Tarot Symbols Elements
Here we listed in alphabetical order some of the recurring tarot symbols and their common interpretations and elements.
Angels: Divine messenger, inspiration, important news, noble ideals.
Ankh: The Egyptian symbol we find in the right hand of the Emperor. It symbolizes immortality and life
Arches: New path, an opening in a new direction.
Armor: Protection, strength, getting ready for adversity.
Banner/ Flag: Change, transformation, freedom
Bird: Higher ideals and thoughts, taking off to a higher level
Blindfold: Inability to discern what is around us, incapability to accept the truth.
Boat/Ship: Journey, moving, taking a different direction.
Books: Knowledge, understanding.
Bridge: Transition, support to accomplish something, connection.
Bull: Strength, a powerful force, strong will.
Butterfly: metamorphosis, change, transformation.
Caduceus: The wand of Hermes represents duality, partnership, negotiation but also lies and theft.
Castle: Shelter, accomplishment.
Chains: Slavery, restrictions, self-imposed limits.
Children: Harmony, happiness, family, new beginnings.
Circle: Unity, wholeness, continuity.
City: Protection, social interaction, group energy.
Clouds: Messages, revelations, disclosure, epiphany.
Crab/Lobster: regeneration, the subconscious.
Crown: Mastery, royalty
Dog: Loyalty, fidelity, steadiness.
Dove: Pure love, hope, longing.
Falcon/Eagle: Rising above ordinary life, transcending the mundane, superiority, power.
Fire: Creative energy, passion, and destruction.
Fish: Emotions, intuition, creativity, the subconscious mind.
Flowers: Creativity, beauty, happiness, abundance.
Grapes/Grapevines: Abundance, fertility, fruitfulness.
Hammer: Work, getting the job done.
Hand: Force, power, protection.
Heart: Emotions, love, courage.
Horse: Energy, strength, power, movement, progress.
House: Protection, security, family.
Infinity Sign: This tarot symbol represents the eternal cycle of life.
Keys: Discover what is hidden, gaining knowledge.
Lamp: Learning the truth, enlightenment, awareness, keeping watch.
Leaves: Vitality, creativity, abundance
Lightning: Act of God, striking message from above, creation and destruction, blinding clarity.
Lily: Purity and innocence
Lion: Courage, strength, power, beastly instincts.
Moon: Feminine tarot symbol, it represents the intuition, the cycles of nature, and the element of water.
Mountains: Difficulty, challenge, obstacles, and goals, overcoming troubles.
Path: Finding our way, the chosen path, life journey.
Pillars: Looking for the right balance, diplomacy.
Pomegranates: Abundance, fertility, riches, love, sensuality.
Ram: Leadership, authority, determination, action.
Rose: Beauty, commitment, promise.
Rainbow: Hope, happiness, a new beginning.
Salamander: Rebirth, renovation, renewal.
Sea/Ocean: Immensity of the unknown, depths of mystery, emotions.
Shield: Protection and defense, getting ready.
Snake: Rebirth an renewal, flexibility, adaptability.
Square: Structure, stability.
Sphinx: Mythological creature that guards life secrets.
Star: Hope, guidance, healing, guiding light.
Sun: Creativity, growth, energy.
Sunflower: Optimism, energy.
Tree: Protection, growth.
Tomb: Rest, getting rid of wrong attitudes, rebirth.
Veil: Hidden Knowledge
Wall: limitation, blocks.
Water: Subconscious mind and emotions.
Wreath: Victory, peace, success.
Secret Tarot Symbols
Some symbols are less conspicuous than others and recognizing them can give your reading an interesting depth.
Using the Rider-Waite deck I’ll point out some of these secret tarot symbols you can use as a key to an insightful interpretation.
The Fool – The rose in his hand represents purity and rebirth.
The Magician – The stick you see in the magician’s hand is a magic wand, a symbol of his power over the material world.
The High Priestess – The two pillars at the sides of the Priestess represent the duality of the world.
The Empress – The twelve stars on the crown of the Empress are the zodiac signs.
The Emperor – Under his robes, The Emperor wears a protecting suit of armor.
The Hierophant – The triple crown on his head stands for the three stages of masonry apprenticeship.
The Lovers – The Angel and the Sun represent knowledge and logical thinking.
The Strength – The figure of eight on the woman’s head stands for infinity.
The Hermit – The six-pointed star and the lantern represent enlightenment.
The Wheel of Fortune – The four winged creatures represent the elements.
The Justice – The two columns are symbols of the balance of opposites.
The Hanged Man – The tree supporting the hanged man is the surrender to the flow of life.
Death – The rose on the standard represents life and purification.
The Temperance – The symbol on the temperance forehead is the alchemical sign for gold.
The Devil – The star pointing down is a symbol of negativity.
The Tower – The circular crown on the square tower represents human arrogance.
The Stars – The four elements are represented by the star (fire), the bird (air), the pool (water), the ground (earth).
The Moon – The lobster in the water stands for the unconscious mind.
The Sun – The feather on the boy’s head is the vital energy we also find in Death and in the Fool.
Judgment – The red cross on the flag recalls the symbol of the Knights Templar and the call to arms.
The World – The sticks in the hands of the female figure represent the unifying of the opposites and the wreath around her recall the number zero of the Fool.