Copyright © 2001 Gray Seal
Tarot relies heavily on symbolism. Esoteric decks, such as Thoth and to a lessor extent, the Waite-Smith make use of every symbol on every card. This is why I always recommend you purchase the book written specifically for your deck if one is available. It will usually explain the designer's use of symbolism in the deck. A dictionary of symbols is also an excellent tool for discerning deeper meanings in the cards. It is especially useful for decks which have no separate book available.
For an example where having the book enhances the interpretation, let's look at the six of wands in "The Witches Tarot" The card shows a woman kneeling in a forest clearing with six branches on the ground before her in two horizontal groups of three. If you look in the booklet that comes with the deck you find "Illumination, realization of bigger things...", but if you look in Reed's book "The Witches Tarot: The Witches Cabala Two" you read that the branches are laid in the I-Ching hexagram Ch'ien Ch'ien. This gives you further insight into what the designer was trying to convey.
Using the Rider-Waite deck, let's examine the same card. We see a man on a horse carrying a staff with a laurel wreath on top. If we look up laurel in a dictionary of symbols we find "Triumph, victory", so even if did not have Waite's book we could get an idea of what the card meant from the symbolism augmented by the picture, which also suggests a triumphant march. If we were not sure of the type of wreath, and looked up the word "wreath", we find "..glory, victory, supremacy..." which still conveys the meaning. If you look in the bibliography of most modern Tarot books, you will probably find at least one dictionary or symbol
Learn more about the Tarot here:
by Kim Krans
Uncover the facts, myth, history, and mystery of the spiritual art of tarot reading. Whether you want to learn to read the cards or deepen your tarot interpretation skills, The Ultimate Guide to Tarot honors the deep heritage of tarot, while guiding you through practical techniques
Learn how to combine the three essential ingredients of a great tarot reading: knowing the meaning of the cards, how to lay them out, and trusting the intuitive messages the images often spark within us during a reading. This synthesis is the true magic of tarot.
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