There are thousands of symbols on tarot cards. Some you really have to look for and others are right there for you to see easily. As you are doing readings, pay attention to the symbols in the picture on each card or mix the symbols with all the cards in the layout.
I am going to write about the main ones that mostly appear in the layouts as these can give timing to the situation or if in a love spread can give you the astrological symbol of the lover coming to you or the one you are with at present. Letís take a look at some of the symbols and their meanings but I always incourage you to figure out the meaning you think it is as you go with your own gut feeling on them.
Angels: Are giving you a message from the divine, they can also be telling you of high thoughts. Go with what you're thinking or feeling.
Arches: These are doorways which usually means you are going through a transition and will make it through it. Arches can also mean new directions.
Astrology/Zodiac symbols: These symbols can give you direction as to what you are inquiring about. In a relationship reading it will give you the astrological sign of the person coming into your life. If it is a reading about you, then your sign may come up to verify the reading is for you and so on. They also give a time line to a question you ask when something will happen.
Benches: This means to take your time and take a moment to really look at the situation. Something like the saying Ďstop and smell the rosesí. This also means that you need to sit back and relax.
Birds: When you get birds popping out at you in readings it usually means you are rising to a higher level and must release yourself from things that are keeping you sedentary.
Blindfolds: This means you are not seeing what you should be or not seeing the issue clearly, whether you want to or not, you must look at what is happening in your life. This can also mean that things are being kept from you. You need to be honest with yourself.
Butterflies: A symbol for transformation, we must go through the same transformations as the butterfly does to reach our final goal in life.
Castles: This symbol can mean you are sheltering yourself or limiting yourself from reaching your goals. This can also mean you will be obtaining your desires.
Cats: This is awareness. There are energies at work that you may not be aware of but you can tap into them whenever you need. Cats are also a symbol of psychic abilities and be aware of all sides to the situation you are dealing with.
Children: Children not necessarily meaning you are going to have a baby but that could be. Children represent promise and hope, new beginnings and a fresh start.
Clouds: This means bright ideas that are clouded or confusing. They can also mean messages from the divine.
Dogs: This symbols deals with fidelity, loyalty, honesty or truth. The dog symbol means you are on the right path
Flags: This is definite change, not a subtle change but a very bold change. A transformation for all to hear.
Flowers: Opening up and receiving love, joy and compassion into your life. Flowers symbolize the better things coming into your life.
Grapes: Deals with fertility, abundance and blessing. They can also mean youthfulness.
Hearts: As everyone knows that a heart means love and passion but it can also mean courage and your center of focus.
Horns: Like trumpets or the French horn, they mean announcements. Horns announce both victory and harmful attacks so keep this in mind if you get a horn in your reading.
Horses: Strength and action with balance from the universe. Consider where you are charging to and why.
Houses: Protection against theft and is a big symbol for protection. When you get a reading with a house in it, consider if you need protection or if you are protecting yourself too much and need to let yourself go a bit.
Keys: This symbolizes knowledge and uncovering things that are hidden. Think to yourself if you are locking yourself from life or something or if you fell something is being locked from you.
Lanterns: This has everything to do with Light. It represents intelligence, truth and faith as it lights the way through the darkest hour with clarity coming through.
Lightning bolts: A divine intervention. This is a major message from spirit. Pay attention to your surroundings. This is a message to pay attention.
Lizards: Symbolizing renewal, vision, enlightenment and rebirth. The lizard is a reminder that good things come from small efforts.
The Moon: This represents psychic abilities, timing, reflection and emerging from one phase of life to another. The moon represents cycles. Listen to your intuition about what you are allowing to influence you and what direction you are letting things go in your life.
Oceans: Dealing with possibilities, letting yourself go of things at times for the divine to work. Release control of the things that you can not control anymore and recognize the power around you.
Paths: Dealing with direction in your life, and the paths you have chosen to take. Beginnings, endings and the steps you take in between that create the life you are living. Consider the steps you are taking in your life path.
Pillars: These are all about balance. If you get cards that are overwhelming with pillars look to yourself as you may be unbalanced. If you see everything in black and white try to look at the middle ground.
Snakes: Dealing with aspects of your life. With each new part of your life shed parts to let new growth in. You must be adaptive, flexible and adjust the best you can to circumstances that arise in your life.
Staffs: Support, stability and direction. Symbolic to the number one which is new beginnings.
Triangles: Intelligence and the capacity for love; also a sign of balance and creativity.
Waterfalls: Water is a symbol of emotions and the subconscious. Do not let your emotions run away from you, if you are not in control of your emotions it could lead to a rocky bottom.
Karen Artino - Tarot Editor