There is fairly wide variation of the symbolism for tarot cards used in divination. The interpretation of the tarot card spread will always be filtered through both the person doing the spread and the questioner. The spreads for the tarot cards will also vary, although there are certain popular spreads that are used more frequently. A tarot card spread may use one, three, seven and ten cards depending upon the type of question that is being asked and the preference of the reader. A belief that the symbolism of the cards can help in understanding the preferred course of action or decision making process is fundamental to seeking and accepting the results.
Minor Arcana from the Kabbalah
The tarot cards known as the Minor Arcana are similar to Anglo-American playing cards. The Minor Arcana consists of four suits of 14 cards each for a total of 56 cards. Each of the four suits, representing the four elements of Earth, Fire, Water and Air includes the numbers Ace through ten plus four face tarot cards representing the King, Queen, Knight and Page. The four suits are depicted as Pentagrams (Earth), Swords (Air), Wands (Fire) and Cups (Water). The face cards also correspond to the elements, so the Page of Pentagrams tarot card is particularly powerful, as is the Knight of Swords, Queen of Cups and King of Wands. The King of Wands or Fire of Fire is the strongest Minor Arcana tarot card.
Major Arcana Tarot Card Symbolism
The 22 tarot cards of the Major Arcana are the ones that most people are familiar with. The illustrations for the tarot card decks that are most recognized are rich with symbolism from many different spiritual and philosophical systems. Colors, astrological symbols, garments, background details and position of the central figure all have significance in the reading of the tarot cards spread.
Symbolism of the Hanging Man Tarot Card
The profound significance of the Hanged or Hanging Man tarot card is often veiled. It can represent passivity, sacrifice, acceptance, waiting or a different point of view. Some read the Hanging Man tarot cards as an indication of a changing perception or better understanding of some of life’s mysteries. The tarot cards associated with the Hanging Man may also represent the sacrifice of oneself for the greater good. The card has symbolism tied to the Norse god Odin, the Christian Jesus Christ, the Egyptian Osiris and the Roman Mithras.
Significance of the Tarot Card for the Chariot
Some of the interpretations for the Chariot tarot card include victory, honor, conviction, inflexibility and command. Tarot cards depicting the Chariot show a crowned or helmeted princely figure in a two-horse chariot. Some of the depictions show the Chariot pulled by sphinxes. The steeds may be colored in stark black and white. Some tarot cards show the charioteer in control of four creatures, symbolizing control of the elementals to achieve a goal. Victory for the Chariot requires determination, steadfastness, power and self-confidence. However, reaching of the goal or desired end result implies control of external forces rather than internal struggles