Tarot is visual; the art is such an important part of the experience. And sometimes it seems that the art needs no words. The Tarot of Durer is, I think, one of those decks. However, since I really cannot keep quiet, I will add a few comments. Today we’ll look at the three cards and on Thursday I’ll share another three.

Before looking at the images, here’s a bit about this deck. Giacinto Gaudenzi, the artist, used animals as allegorical symbols. They show up in the major arcana cards and shape the minor arcana suits in this way:

Cups feature doves, representing feelings, spiritual abundance, and white magic.

Pentacles feature eagles, representing economic situations, well-being, and earthly power.

Wands feature lions, representing courage, daily struggles, and rule.

Swords feature foxes, representing initiative, sharpness of mind, and defense.

The 8 of Cups creates such a physical reaction; I can feel the cold, pelting rain, the precariousness of the setting, and the helpless sense of loss as things that were once valued flow away.


Each of the major arcana cards has a Latin motto on them. The Hermit translates as “Only by doubting can truth be reached.” I love this image and the saying. When we go into hermit mode to identify our truth, we must question everything we bring with us and only keep that which stands up to examination.


Justice proclaims, “There is a right way to do things.” I think the artist did the right thing by adding the red apple and the blue ribbon. Those little shots of color make this image perfectly intriguing, and, like Justice herself, perfectly balanced.


Written by Barbara Moore
The tarot has been a part of Barbara Moore’s personal and professional lives for over a decade. In college, the tarot intrigued her with its marvelous blending of mythology, psychology, art, and history. Later, she served as the tarot specialist for Llewellyn Publications. Over the years, she has ...