In this article I am going to briefly discuss some of the symbolism used in prophesy. I am sure you may wonder sometimes, how readers dig precise details out with their tools, to provide relevant readings - well the answer is symbols. The Oxford Dictionary (1964) defines a symbol as follows:
"Thing regarded by general consent as naturally typifying or representing or recalling something by possession of analogous qualities or by association in fact or thought."
There is a "racial consciousness" that governs our recognition of symbols. For example, an ant is always busy with industry, thus the symbol of an ant shows constructive activity. A flag is generally waving for celebrations, so a flag symbolizes happiness, celebration and gatherings. The generally accepted associations are endless. This type of symbol identification is the basis of tea leaf reading and is also used when scrying in crystals, sand or water medium.
These basic symbols also appear on the various Tarot cards. But the Tarot includes its own set of symbolic suit indicators. As with a normal deck of playing cards, the Tarot appears in 4 suits which also designate directions and seasons, and colouration and characteristics of the people represented by the court cards in that suit.
Hearts equates with Cups (in the Tarot) and designates the direction of South, the season of summer and people with light brown or blonde hair and pleasant genuine personalities.
Clubs equates with Sticks or Wands in the Tarot and designates the direction of East, the season of spring and people with brown hair who enjoy the outdoors and socializing.
Diamonds equates with Coins or Pentacles in the Tarot and designates the direction of West, the season of fall/autumn and people with glints of auburn in their hair who are usually extremely charming and empathetic.
Spades equates with Swords in the Tarot and designates the direction of North, the season of winter and people of dark colouration with leadership skills and an intense capacity for concentration.
In these suit representations of people, the reader has to decide if all the information associated with the court card appearing in the reading is relevant in that reading. Often the court card symbol is only telling you one characteristic about the person indicated, and although that suit representation might usually indicate blonde people, perhaps instead, on this particular reading occasion, it may be telling the reader the likely profession of a black haired man. This is where intuition and possibly an inner voice can help the reader understand the message represented in the symbols.
Four suits is a common division of symbols in Astrology as well. There the twelve signs fall into one of four element designations, Earth, Air, Fire or Water.
Spades of course relate to "air", because Swords slice through the air. Clubs or Sticks originate from the "earth". Hearts or Cups contain "water" and Diamonds or Coins are the "fire" symbols because fire tempers metals.
With this understanding we can also attribute three possible Astrological signs for each of the people represented by the Tarot court cards. Some experts feel that Sticks/Wands are associated with the element of fire and Coins are the earth related suit, perhaps due to ores for metals being mined, but I am more confident in my reading efforts using the opposite designation.
Chinese Astrology also uses four elements as the common symbols. In that system they discuss Fire, Wood, Water and Earth. Of course each of these elements shapes the basic personality of the twelve Chinese animal signs.
The theme of symbols being affected by other symbols helps the reader pin down what is being revealed during the reading. Think of playing a game of charades and trying to interpret what is being acted out or represented to you. That is how prophesy works for many readers, who work to interpret symbols in their readings, while using a variety of tools.
This page was created August 24, 2002.