Symbol Meanings of Tarot A-C
Welcome to the first of a four-page series on the symbol meanings of the Tarot.
In-site links are included after each symbol description. These links take you to the Tarot card meanings with the featured symbol.
Please note: The symbols selected for the creation of these pages were taken from the traditional Rider-Waite Tarot deck (permission notice listed on home page). Other deck renditions (such as the Morgan-Greer which is used to depict the card meanings on this website) may not display the same symbols as the Rider-Waite. For example, the Angel symbol is shown on the Rider-Waite “Wheel” card but is not shown on the Morgan-Greer rendition.
Get more symbol meanings here:
Tarot Symbols D – K
Tarot Symbols L – R
Tarot Symbols S – Z
Symbol meanings of the Tarot beginning with the letters A – C are below listed.
Common Tarot Symbols A-C
Angel: Angels in the Tarot system are symbolic of divine messages. They are messengers of important information. In a reading , their appearance indicates a message (relating to the card) may be coming to the querent in the form of inspiration, divine intervention, or subtlety. Angels also symbolize higher thought and ideals.Learn more about angel symbolism in the Tarot here.
Click the links below to go to each of the Tarot card meanings that have an Angel Symbol.
Lovers / Wheel / Temperance / Judgment / Queen of Swords
Ankh: The ankh symbolic meaning deals with immortality and balance. It is a common Egyptian symbol whose meaning is “life.” Geometrically, the loop on top represents the sun rising above the horizon represented by the horizontal line. This captures both immortality (the sun shall always rise) and balance (the horizon is female, the sun is male in symbolism).
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Click the links below to go to each of the Tarot card meanings that have an Ankh Symbol.
Arch: Arches are symbolic of openings, passage-ways, and initiations. In a reading, the arch is a symbol of a new direction for the querent. This new opening or path is indicated by the card.
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Click the links below to go to each of the Tarot card meanings that have an Arch Symbol.
3 of Pentacles / 10 of Pentacles / 4 of Wands
Armor: The symbolic meanings of armor deal with protection, preparation, and strength. Most Tarot deck renditions depict all the knights in full armor (knights typically represents action and strength). The armor indicates a need to protect ourselves when engaging in activities referenced in a reading.
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Click the links below to go to each of the Tarot card meanings that have an Armor Symbol.
Emperor / Chariot / Death / Knight of Swords / Knight of Pentacles / Knight of Cups / Knight of Wands / 4 of Swords
Bench: The bench is symbolic of taking a moment to examine the details. In a reading, benches indicate the querent needs to sit back, relax, and take some time to examine or savor the situations expressed in the card layout.
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Click the links below to go to each of the Tarot card meanings that have the Bench Symbol.
3 of Pentacles / 8 of Pentacles / 2 of Swords / 9 of Cups
Bird: The symbolic meanings of birds deal with higher thoughts and matters of the spirit. They are creatures of the air, so they symbolize higher ideals. They also represent freedom and ascension. When the bird symbol pops out at us during a reading it is a message that we are rising to a higher level, that we need to free ourselves from bondage and we must make our hearts light.
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Click the links below to go to each of the Tarot card meanings that have the Bird Symbol.
Blindfold: As one would guess, blindfolds deal with our inability to see things clearly. They represent unwillingness to face the truth, inability to accept the facts, or a sign that something is being hidden from us. In a reading blindfolds are a sign that we need to be honest with ourselves, do more research, and/or get a different perspective
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Click the links below to go to each of the Tarot card meanings that have the Blindfold Symbol.
Boat: Boats are a sign there are some pressing thoughts rumbling within the subconscious. These thoughts will have a tendency to put us in motion, and this is another symbolic trait of the boat. Boats deal with deeper thoughts and the motion (to action) these thoughts produce. In a reading boats may also indicate travel, or movement in a different direction (usually after much thought and deliberation). See also “S” for “Ship” symbol meanings.
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Click the links below to go to each of the Tarot card meanings that have the Boat Symbol.
Brick Wall: Seen in the sun card, the brick wall is a symbol that you have been holding yourself back or positive events have been prevented from flowing forth due to negative or incorrect thinking. When we see the brick wall it is a message that we must be in a state of allowing in order for the good (sun energy) to shine upon us. It also indicates that we mustn’t hold ourselves back or sell ourselves short. See also “w” for “wall” symbol meanings.
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Click the links below to go to each of the Tarot card meanings that have the Brick Wall Symbol.
Bridge: Bridges take us from one point to another, and therefore they symbolically represent resources or help available to us. In a reading bridges remind us that the ways and means to accomplish something is always available to us. In the five of cups the bridge represents moving from a place of grief or regret on to another phase of life.
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Click the links below to go to each of the Tarot card meanings that have the Bridge Symbol.
Bull: The Bull is a symbol of power, royalty, stability, force and potency. When we see the bull amongst the cards in a reading we know we are dealing with some powerful forces. It is shown in the World & Wheel card because the bull (Taurus) is one of the fixed signs of the zodiac. The bull (and Taurus) also carries symbolic meanings of resistance to change, being stubborn and inflexible.
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Click the links below to go to each of the Tarot card meanings that have the Bull Symbol.
Wheel / World / King of Pentacles
Butterfly: A universal symbol for transformation. Butterflies are shown on the queen and king of sword cards, and typically indicate a change in the thoughts of the querent, or someone close in the querent’s life. Butterflies go through several changes and transformation before they develop into their final state of beauty. They are a symbol that we as human do the same thing to reach our end goal and to obtain a better way of thought and living.
Click Butterfly symbolism in Tarot.
Click the links below to go to each of the Tarot card meanings that have the Butterfly Symbol.
Queen of Swords / King of Swords
Caduceus: Varied in its meaning, the Caduceus symbol meanings deal with balance, health, duality (union of opposites), proper moral conduct, protection and cosmic energy. Seen on the two of cups, the caduceus bodes well for new partnerships, and serves as a message that with honor and respect to balance, new relationships shall be fruitful. It may also indicate the querent is joining forces with another party in order to facilitate healing.
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Click the links below to go to each of the Tarot card meanings that have the Caduceus Symbol.
Castle: Castle symbol meanings deal with goals. Castles are physical representations of our need to build (block by block) upon a strong foundation in order to obtain our goals. Castles may also deal with sheltering ourselves or limiting ourselves from reaching our goals. They are also a symbol of obtaining our desires. See also the “tower” symbol meaning.
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Click the links below to go to each of the Tarot card meanings that have the Castle Symbol.
Chariot / Ace of Wands / 4 of Wands / 9 of Pentacles / 8 of Swords / 5 of Cups / 7 of Cups
Cat: Cats deal with watchfulness, awareness, and perception. Shown on the queen of rods card, the cat is a message that there are energies at work that we may not be aware of, but we can certainly tap into. Cats are also a symbol of psychic ability. In a reading, the queen and her cat will make a point that the querent must keep his/her poise (keep your wits about you) and be aware of all sides to the story in the situation relating to the card reading.
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Click the link below to go to each of the Tarot card meanings that have the Cat Symbol.
Chains: As one might imagine, the symbolic meaning of chains deals with restriction, bondage, conflict, and slavery. Featured in the devil card of the Tarot deck, chains are a message that we may be in a situation where we have become a slave to our thoughts, vices, or to others. It indicates there is restriction or addiction revolving around the situation noted in the reading.
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Click the links below to go to each of the Tarot card meanings that have the Chains Symbol.
Children: Children represent promise, hope, fresh starts, new beginnings, new ideas, and a fresh way at looking at the world. Children are full of promise for the future and as such they are a symbol of this promise. When they show up on the cards in a reading it could mean the beginning of a new venture, the promise of a new beginning, or it could literally mean children are on their way (new births/adoptions).
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Click the links below to go to each of the Tarot card meanings that have the Children Symbol.
Sun / 6 of Cups / 10 of Cups / 6 of Swords / 10 of Pentacles
City/Village: Cities and villages represent centers or gatherings of people, thoughts, energy and ideas. They are a symbol of the culmination of a group that meets for a common goal. They also symbolize protection, harmony, and team-work. When you notice the cities/villages in a reading it indicates a group effort is required, or the querent must tap into some energy centers or thought centers to accomplish what he/she must.
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Click the links below to go to each of the Tarot card meanings that have the City/Village Symbol.
4 of Pentacles / 6 of Pentacles / 10 of Pentacles / King of Pentacles / 7 of Swords / 6 of Cups
Clouds: Clouds hold the symbol meaning of revelation. Consider out of the mists of our deepest thoughts suddenly an epiphany comes, a bright idea comes out from nowhere – this is the basic cloud symbol meaning. Depending on the card, clouds can also symbolize confusion or clouded judgment. Primarily, clouds represent higher thought and messages from the divine.
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Click the links below to go to each of the Tarot card meanings that have the cloud Symbol.
Lovers / Wheel / Tower / Judgment / World / Ace of Swords / 3 of Swords / 5 of Swords / Page of Swords / King of Swords / Ace of Cups / 4 of Cups / 7 of Cups / Ace of Wands / Ace of Pentacles