One thing many students of tarot find fascinating is learning what some of the mysterious symbols on the cards mean. During the Renaissance, when the tarot was invented, people were largely illiterate and were therefore very literate in symbol recognition. Their churches told the stories of their faith in stained glass and granite images. These days, we as a culture lack a shared symbol system and even the popular Rider Waite Smith tarot includes many symbols that are meaningless today. Meaningless until we unearth the meaning.
In Rachel Pollack’s brilliant Tarot Wisdom, she casually and conversationally reveals many symbolic meanings. If you are looking for an enjoyable and readable book on tarot symbols, this book is for you. You can read more or order HERE:
The Wheel of Fortune contains a message about the nature of tarot, one that gives us a clue regarding the wisdom within the cards and the proper usage. Pollack says this about the strange letters found on the Wheel of Fortune:
The four Roman letters illustrate how if we see life as a wheel, we get so many more possibilities than if we consider it a straight line. Starting at various points and going in either direction but staying in order, we can find various four-letter words in different languages. Here is a sentence from MacGregor Mathers, co-founder of the Golden Dawn: ROTA TAROT ORAT TORA ATOR. The Wheel (Latin rota) of Tarot (tarot) speaks (Latin orat) of the law (Hebrews Tora, usually spelled Torah) of Love (from Ator, or Hathor, an Egyptian goddess akin to Aphrodite).