The Symbols of Tarot — Spiral Sea Tarot

4 min read

is, if nothing else, a book of symbols. Not only is it steeped in history and archetypes and myth, it also contains visual details that help tell a bigger story – something beyond what the initial imagery may suggest. They say a picture is worth a thousand words and when it comes to tarot, I think it's actually more.

In this post, we'll be providing you a run down of the common symbols you will find in tarot along with some basic key words. Please note, there is far more to each symbol than what we've captured below. You may see some of these details differently and that's ok. This is simply where our work has taken us, but it is not the final or only world. As well, each symbol may carry a slightly different meaning in the context of the card you can find itself on, the way it interacts, its colour, its size etc.

We've also included some of the cards where you can find each symbol. That part is also not conclusive in all cases. As well, if there is a symbol you're interested in that we haven't included, reach out and let us know!

Skill, talent, determination, work, effort.
As seen in: of Pentacles, 8 of Pentacles, The Magician (though it could be argued this is a table)

A reliance on inner sight, initiation, , looking deep within
As seen in: 8 of Swords, 2 of Swords

Travel, journey, venture, risk, opportunity
As seen in: 3 of Wands, 6 of Swords, Death

Transformation, change, metal agility, freedom
As seen in: Queen of Swords, King of Swords, Knight of Swords

Obscurity, a lack of clarity, confusion, a passing storm
As seen in: The Wheel of Fortune, 3 of Swords, Knight of Swords, The Tower

Divinity, royalty, an open crown chakra, wisdom
As seen in: Death, The Tower, The Empress, The Emperor, The Hierophant

Companionship, an aid, domestication, loyalty, adaptability
As seen in: The Fool, of Pentacles, The Moon

An open mind, an open heart, weightlessness, to be unencumbered, achievement
As seen in: The Fool, Death, The Sun, Page of Wands

Desire, energy, heat, passion, creativity
As seen in: The Devil, The Lovers, The Tower

Intuition, the depth, sensitivity, fluidity
As seen in: Page of Cups, Knight of Cups, King of Cups

Friendship, love, joy, growth, life, beauty, the natural world
As seen in: The Sun, 6 of Cups, Temperance, The Fool

Pleasure, abundance, fertility
As seen in: The Devil, 3 of Cups, 9 of Pentacles, King of Pentacles

Movement, strength, endurance, freedom, heroism
As seen in: The Knights, Death, 6 of Wands, The Sun

Energy, momentum, paradox, ever-lasting life, power
As seen in: The Magician, Strength, 2 of Pentacles

Illumination, enlightenment, a shock
As seen in: The Tower

Bravery, confidence, strength, natural power
As seen in: Strength, Queen of Wands, The Wheel of Fortune, The World

The subconscious, the shadow, what is hidden, the feminine principle
As seen in: The Moon, 8 of Cups, High Priestess, 2 of Swords

Initiation, trials, overcoming obstacles, a higher perspective
As seen in: The Lovers, Strength, Judgement, The Fool

The unknown, a journey, initiation, purpose
As seen in: The Moon, Temperance

Balance, polarity, support
As seen in: The High Priestess, Justice, The Hierophant

Spirituality, healing, ancient wisdom
As seen in: Page of Wands, Queen of Wands, Knight of Wands

These are often presented together as they symbolize dual parts i.e. the masculine (rose) and feminine (lily) principle or the sun and the moon.
As seen in: The Magician, The Hierophant, 2 of Wands

Balance, harmony, judgment, equilibrium, justice
As seen in: Justice, 6 of Swords

Kundalini, creativity, intelligence, forbidden knowledge
As seen in: The Lovers, 7 of Cups, The Wheel of Fortune

Isolation, overcoming adversity, trials, endurance
As seen in: The Hermit, 5 of Pentacles, Judgement

Guardian on the threshold, divinity, hidden knowledge, riddles
As seen in: The Chariot, The Wheel of Fortune

Will power, perseverance, an aid
As seen in: The Hermit, 8 of Cups, 7 of Pentacles, 6 of Swords

Hope, healing, divine guidance, possibility
As seen in: The Star, The Empress, The Chariot, The Hermit

Energy, enthusiasm, joy
As seen in: The Fool, Death, The Sun

Materiality, form, structure, the physical world
As seen in: The Tower, Death, The Chariot, 4 of Wands, 6 of Cups, 4 of Pentacles

Illusion, something hidden, a secret, mystery, protection, the unknown
As seen in: The High Priestess, The Hierophant, Justice

Water may just be one of the most used symbols within the tarot – so that gives us a lot of information as to what these cards, as a whole, are all about…

The subconscious, emotions, intuition (to understand more of what the water is communicating, look at the way it moves/interacts i.e. smooth vs. waves vs ripples)
As seen in: The High Priestess, The Moon, The Star, Temperance, 2 of Swords, 6 of Swords

Divinity, being in touch with a higher source, creativity
As seen in: Ace of Cup, Ace of Wands, The Tower, The Moon

I'm sure we'll be updating this one on a regular basis, so bookmark for reference!

Julia & Tim

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